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!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Goodbye, Blog!

Hi everyone… *peeks from behind pillow* Long time no see!

The title is pretty self-explanatory, huh? I apologise greatly for this LONG overdue post. I almost wasn’t going to write one since my readers have probably all drifted away in my absence but just in case someone’s still wondering…...

These past two or so years have been amazing. I’ve loved befriending you all, sharing (and growing) my love of books and having the opportunity to read so many great ones. I was introduced to a new world and I couldn’t thank Brodie enough for pushing me to start.

Unfortunately, I think this is the end of the road for me. Blame uni. I could just do the bare minimum or average and be just fine, but I’ve always valued my education and it’ll be my first priority until I graduate. So with the heavy studying, I can’t maintain this blog (or even really read) without going on a break every other week and jerking everyone around - readers and publishers alike. It’ll be the same deal for a few years so it just won’t work out.

However, I’m still going to loiter around. I’ll pop in to see what amazing books are out every once in a while, but my reading will be pretty non-existent for weeks at a time, which is devastating… I can’t wait to have the time to fall in love with books again and to continue/finish a ton of series! Thankfully, the semester has just ended and I’m free from exams now. *DINGDINGDINGHOLIDAYSFREETIME*

To anyone actually reading this, I’m really sorry that I’m leaving (again) and for good now. I’ll miss you a lot! Much love and I hope you guys can enjoy your reading/blogging for many more years to come.

xx Lisa

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #2
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Australia
Published: January 30th 2013
Source: Publisher for review

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

It's been two weeks since Adam and Juliette arrived at Omega Point. While Juliette is training her powers to be of greater use in the war against the Reestablishment, Adam is keeping secrets and undergoing mysterious tests with Castle. I never imagined that I'd be giving this novel anything less than 5 sparkling gold stars, but while there were many terrific things about Unravel Me, there were also a few very disappointing ones too.

My favourite thing about Shatter Me was the characters. Although vulnerable in some ways, they were strong and independent and always found a way to deal with whatever was thrown at them. At the beginning of this novel, Juliette is almost unbearable. People at Omega Point are terrified of her and she fails to make much progress with her training, so she throws herself a pity party because she feels useless! I was very sympathetic towards her situation at first but she took it a bit too far. Then when Adam begins pulling away for unknown reasons, she becomes even more upset and all she thinks about is Adam Adam Adam Adam Adam. We're at war, girl! WOMAN UP! Adam isn't too much better in the man department, avoiding her and trying to play hero like he knows best. Mafi does, of course, eventually turn things around. Juliette's growth as a character was phenomenal! I was in awe of the powers she discovered and her new-found mental strength. The characters go through quite a bit in this novel so by the end, they're all in the right frame of mind and ready for some badassery in book 3!

Adam and Juliette's relationship was always a high point for me too. In Shatter Me, it was flawless and all kinds of delicious! In this sequel, their love is really stretched to the limits as Adam discovers something shocking, hence the secretive tests. Unfortunately, both characters make some VERY questionable decisions in Unravel Me. This leads me to talk about the love triangle… We always knew that Warner would become a love interest and I actually didn't mind it in Shatter Me. Although he was a big villain, we could see that there was something there beneath that tough exterior, a good side, a good person who was just a product of his environment. I like him, really, but the sudden relationship that sprung up between him and Juliette…I wasn't the biggest fan of. I'm probably the only person who didn't fallen head over heels for him. I honestly thought I would before I began reading, but feeling sorry for him and finding out about his past isn't enough! I thought he was a great character who brought a lot of things to this novel, but my issues with Juliette's behaviour and decisions stopped me from just letting go and going into swoon mode.

I really enjoyed the direction the story took in terms of the fight against the Reestablishment. I would've liked to have learned more about Omega Point but perhaps that'll happen in the next book. While Unravel Me isn't as fast-paced as Shatter Me, it has some great twists which should lead to extremely interesting things in the future. Some twists present challenges or new opportunities and others simply make life more difficult. I can't wait to see how Mafi deals with these! I'm also hoping the secondary characters come into play just a bit more, seeing as they faded into the background a little in this book. Kenji was the exception. Front and centre, that adorable flirt never failed to make me smile!

Overall, Unravel Me was very enjoyable despite some moments where I felt like slapping some sense into certain characters. It wasn't the exciting, heart-pounding action story I was hoping for, based on the way the previous book ended, but I have high hopes that these characters will come out guns blazing in book three! Unfortunately it was a bit of a bridging book to me but I'm happy with the new developments and look forward to seeing them through to the end!

What did you think of this sequel? Impressed as you expected? Disappointed?

Find Tahereh on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her blog.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

All Hail The Mail! (14)

All Hail The Mail will be posted weekly to showcase the books I've received for review!

Shadow and Bone & Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Yes, this is one of those awesome two-books-in-one sort of things. I've been meaning to start this series for so long and I'm very excited that I finally have the chance! WITHOUT having to wait until June for the 2nd book! *squees* Lucky me. I think I'll start this after my current read!

Altered by Jennifer Rush
This is another book I've been dying to read. GIVE ME THOSE FOUR COOL GUYS. Beautiful Brodie sent me this for my birthday. I would totally show you the card too but I wouldn't want you all to die from cuteness overload.

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
PEERRRRFECTION. If there were any flaws, too bad, I didn't see them. Blinded by my love for Sydney and Adrian. *incoherent mumbling* THE ENDING!!

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
I've read a few mixed things about this but I'm hoping it follows the trend and is my favourite of the lot since the books have been getting better! Let's end this series on a high note. *fingers crossed* This is my favourite Aussie cover of the series, by the way!

Thanks to Hachette, Brodie, Penguin and Harlequin for the fabulous books!

What was in your mailbox this week?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Spark
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #2
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: September 26th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own...

After I fell in love with Gabriel in the first book of the Elemental series, I was ecstatic when I discovered that Spark would be focusing on the hottest Merrick of the bunch. While Storm was entertainment in it's purest form as we're first introduced to the world and characters, Spark takes on a much darker tone as we delve into Gabriel's mind; a word of warning, it's frightening in there. Luckily for him, he's got a nice girl to keep him distracted and boy was this romance incredible! As spellbinding as you would imagine it to be, Spark is an absolute must-read!

Gabriel Merrick. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. Gabe. How can you not love this gorgeous, witty bad-boy? In the previous book, he was perceived as someone who was easy-going and didn't have things too tough. He seemed to have his life under control and wasn't lacking much at all. After reading Spark…… I can say that we were all terribly wrong. The main issue that's explored within this novel is Gabriel's relationship with his family and how he sees himself. Although it wasn't obvious until now, he's the black sheep of the family, the brother who's always expected to make mistakes and do the wrong thing. Further and further, he and his brothers drift apart, especially him and his twin, Nick. Kemmerer will have you clutching at your heart with this book. The amount of sympathy and frustration I felt at the unfairness of EVERYTHING was indescribable. Gabriel's such a good person with a big, vulnerable heart who didn't deserve a single bit of hurt he was smacked in the face with. What makes it harder as a reader is that many of the conflicts could have been avoided and were caused by a lack of good communication, whether it be Gabriel's unwillingness to explain himself (because he couldn't believe that he even had to) or his brothers' complete lack of faith in him! You can expect this sequel to be full of angst, which just builds and builds. I'm a total wimp with these things but I got through it. Somehow. I'm still recovering, I think.

While Spark doesn't go much into the Elementals/Guides storyline that was set up in the first book, there is some development in the way of Gabriel's powers. Although as a pure Elemental his powers are strong, there are still limitations with what he can do; while he can manipulate fire with great precision, he can't create it himself. In his attempts to remedy this, he causes a fire or two and winds up going into a few house fires too! This allows him to save people and gain more control, but it also brings a lot of heat onto him from his family and the police. Someone else is starting these fires with an unknown agenda and it's not a good thing for him to be at the scene of every crime. I will say though, that the bromance which formed between him and Hunter as a result of these rescues was great. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER?

Now you've all been waiting to hear about it…the romance. Firstly, I have to say that Layne Forrest is one of the coolest people ever. Her character was so refreshing amongst the stream of "average-nothing-special" YA girls we're used to seeing who have no reason to be suddenly noticed by the hot guy. She's smart, conservative, horse-loving and…a social outcast. Even though she's been rejected by her mother for not being perfect, ignored by her father and ostracised from her peers for being "weird", she stands by what she believes in and even has a kind heart to boot. The first time she and Gabriel's not friendly but you just know that the romance will be unbelievably good. Layne does the sweetest thing in the history of sweet things and I still go into mushy mode when I think about it. It's no wonder that Gabe couldn't help but fall for her eventually! She understands him and doesn't confine him to being a good-for-nothing guy like everyone else. Their road to happiness isn't easy in the slightest, what with both of their secrets, but wow. Amazing. Layne's deaf brother, Simon, and her secret, which I won't spoil, made their relationship unique and gave Gabriel many opportunities to make us SWOON.

I want to see the Merrick family back together as one so badly, and with the developments at the end of this book, I think they're on their way. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Elementals/Guides plot plays out in Spirit, and it should be interesting with the switch to Hunter's POV. We won't be seeing the Merricks from an insider's perspective anymore but I've always loved Hunter so I don't mind at all! Kemmerer has really stepped it up and taken this series to another level with Spark. I can't wait to see what she offers up next.

Find Brigid on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

All Hail The Mail! (13)

All Hail The Mail will be posted weekly to showcase the books I've received for review! 

Everbound by Brodi Ashton
I’m expecting amazing things from this book! I don’t know what it’ll be like after the way Everneath ended but I trust Brodi not to lead me astray!

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
I read this the other day - COMPLETELY LOVED IT. The plot and characters were just perfect. I need Cress NOW!

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
I’ve heard great things about this book and I’m ready for some serious Kat/Hale ;)

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
I loved the first book and have been waiting for this one! Fingers crossed this sequel doesn’t disappoint!

Siege by Sarah Mussi
Interesting storyline….kids locked inside a school taken hostage by other armed students? I like it. But I may wait to see what everyone else thinks about it first...

The Eternity Cure by Julia Kagawa
I received an eARC of this and wanted to dig in immediately but I’ll keep it aside for now until I get through some more recent review copies...

Hysteria by Megan Miranda
I’m worried this will turn out like Fracture - good concept, bad execution. Has anyone read this yet?

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
I wasn’t feeling this novel from the synopsis and it’s received quite a few mixed/negative reviews… Worth reading?

Hidden by Marianne Curley
I love the sound of this! Sheltered girl suddenly turns brilliantly angelic? HELL YES. I’m just hoping that there isn’t insta-love in this. Praying to the heavens!

Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce
I’m scared. I’m an absolute wimp when it comes to these stories! I’m not going to read any reviews beforehand because I don’t want to know whether the ending is good or bittersweet/sad.

Kill Order by James Dashner
I still haven’t started this series but I do have the other books waiting on my shelf. I can't wait!

Fearless by Cornella Funkenge
Gorgeous cover, but a strange story from a series I haven’t read before...

Thanks to Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Hachette, Harlequin, Bloomsbury and Scholastic for the review copies!

What did you receive this week?

Leave me your comments and mailbox links!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Legacy by C.J. Daugherty

Title: Legacy
Author: C.J Daugherty
Series: Night School #2
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: January 17th 2013
Source: Publisher for review

In the last year, Allie's survived three arrests, two breakups and one family breakdown. The only bright point has been her new life at Cimmeria Academy. It's the one place she's felt she belongs. And the fact that it's brought the dreamy Carter West into her life hasn't hurt...But far from being a safe haven, the cloistered walls of Cimmeria are proving more dangerous than Allie could've imagined. The students, and faculty, are under threat and Allie's family - from her mysterious grandma to her runaway brother - are at the centre of the storm. Allie is going to have to choose between protecting her family and trusting her friends. But secrets have a way of ripping even the strongest relationships apart...

Night School was easily one of my favourite reads of 2012, and although Legacy isn't quite as good, I still found myself loving it. Daugherty's writing is addictive as always, and you'll pass a large handful of hours reading this without even realising it. Upon starting, I immediately connected with the characters I loved so much again and it was like the year-long wait never existed. 

When Allie Sheridan went back to London for the holidays, she didn't expect to be chased down by a group of Nathaniel's agents, or to be returning to Cimmeria Academy early to help repair fire damages caused by her brother, Christopher. At first, things seem to be going well. Allie and Carter are super adorable and sexy, and there's some funny awkward tiptoeing around Sylvain, since he saved her life post-rape attempt. Unfortunately, our smiles don't last for long as things quickly spiral out of control. The secrets, misunderstandings and total lack of communication are monumental in Legacy. As much as I love Allie and Carter, I don't know whether to bury my head in the sand in defeat or to run away screaming.

In this sequel, the plot thickens as Nathaniel's motives are explained, and as he takes bigger risks in order to get what he desires, the students at Cimmeria are put in unpredictable danger. As a result, Allie is admitted into Night School where the focus is now on self defence and they soon learn that there's a traitor amongst them. One of the members of Night School or staff is Nathaniel's inside spy and so the Night School students are forced to interview another member assigned to them in search of any inconsistencies, with lying leading to expulsion. It sounds simple enough....BUT OF COURSE NOT, THIS IS FICTION!

This leads us to the dirty, frustrating mess that is Allie and Carter's relationship. Not too far into Legacy, Carter transforms into an overprotective, controlling jerk who completely forbids Allie from seeing Sylvain. They can't be friends or even acquaintances. With Sylvain's past behaviour, I understand his concern but this was too much and clearly NOT just about her safety at all. Carter, come here so I can slap the stupid out of you! Unfortunately for us and Allie, everything snowballs from there. Allie's put in difficult situations with horrible timing, and absolutely nothing works out for her, with Carter or her non-Night School friends! My heart was an ugly little mess by the end of this novel. I feel so much for her, even though at times I felt she needed to be slapped too. Everything that happened with Allie was either wrong or unfair and it was horrible! #AngstWimp

As a character, I really did like Allie (for the most part). She does well in Night School, albeit with a shaky start, and tries her best to solve all of the mysteries around her while dodging Gabe who seems to be popping up everywhere. The small clues combined with the subtle foreshadowing and my halfway-there theories have me curious and desperately awaiting the next book. Legacy seems to pose more questions than answers, and I was a little let down that the plot development wasn't huge. I was hoping for a bit more to happen, for a few more answers to come our way, but sadly it looks like that'll have to wait for book three.

Despite all of the heartache Daugherty made me feel, she still managed to keep me laughing with her well-placed moments of wit and humour, and her captivating story will keep you wanting to know what will happen next. Legacy gives us more insight into some of the characters, especially Carter, while making us distrust others. This novel feels somewhat unresolved because of the sheer amount of unanswered questions, but filled with intrigue and dangerous charm, Legacy is an entertaining sequel which will hopefully pave the way to an explosive third book. I have no idea how things will end and I'm honestly a little afraid after these latest developments!

Have you read this series? What did you think?

Find C.J. on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Legacy from Amazon, The Book Depository and Booktopia.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Teaser Tuesday & Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Romances

It's been almost a year since I've done a non-mailbox meme!
Remember to leave a comment below and/or a link for me to visit your blog! :)

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.

I'm loving Scarlet by Marissa Meyer more than I thought possible. All of these characters need to jump into my pocket RIGHT NOW, especially Carswell Thorne. This guy has kept me laughing and smiling throughout. I have no words for how much I adore him!

"They're starting a press conference, to talk about you. Thought you wouldn't want to miss"-Thorne fanned himself, swooning-"his heavenly, chocolate-brown eyes, and perfectly tousled hair, and-"

Gah, I am NOT equipped to handle this level of cuteness. Almost finished and I'm still not immune to Thorne's teasing and joking around. *faints*

What's your teaser this week?

~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~ - ~

This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I can't believe this. The week I decide to get back to memes and this tricky topic comes up! *sighs* My luck, honestly. As always, in no particular order:

Adrian and Sydney - Bloodlines
Everyone's talking about how brilliant the romance is in The Indigo Spell and I AM READY. I've been waiting for this for YEARS ever since I fell in love with Adrian in Frostbite. Let him get the girl, will you, Richelle?! Oh, these two polar opposites are perfection together. Sydney, stop resisting!

Perry and Aria - Under the Never Sky
This couple will never get old and there probably won't be a day when I won't melt at the memory of Aria nursing Perry back to health or them fighting when they first met… If only Aria could mind-talk with Perry like she can with Roar!

Noah and Echo - Pushing the Limits
Their romance was so intense! I loved the delicious slow burn between them and I'm an absolute sucker for "damaged" characters who help heal each other...

Daemon and Katy - Lux
Undeniably one of the sexiest couples in YA. I just read Opal and I've fallen in love with these two a hundred times more. The banter, the UST, the sweetness... How much more can my heart take?

Jace and Clary - The Mortal Instruments
If I had to choose...THIS IS MY FAVOURITE ROMANCE. Jace…I just… Do I even need to explain myself? I mean, really. JACE. Enough said, right? All of that drama they had in the beginning was so worth it! I hope City of Heavenly Fire doesn't disappoint in the romance department; it's the last book! Can we also have our old Jace back, please?

Brendan and Emma - Spellbound
Just about everyone around them is envious of their relationship and for good reason! They get along so well and everything comes naturally to them. Eternal soul mates, anyone? (And can I purchase a Brendan somewhere...?)

Dimitri and Rose - Vampire Academy
The original golden couple who found themselves with millions and millions of fans. Again, no words need to be said. Everyone knows why they're so special! (If you haven't met them yet, you should be ashamed of yourself!)

Harlin and Charlotte - A Need So Beautiful
While their relationship is quite understated because it existed before the series began, I think they're insanely sweet together. You can't help but feel at ease with them and Harlin's proven that he'll love her forever. Do I hear 'aww's in the distance?

Noah and Mara - Mara Dyer
Oh, these two. *giggles* Forever making us fan ourselves! I love how supportive and trusting they are of each other. There aren't any wishy washy feelings or silly problems between them. They're just a great, solid couple.

Ren and Kelsey - The Tiger Saga
I just had to put this on the list. A human/tiger romance? Come on. Who doesn't like something a little different? There is a love triangle with Kishan but at the end of the day, Ren's the one!

I'm feeling guilty (nothing new) about leaving so many other great romances out!
What do you think of this lot?

Which are your top ten favourite romances?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Title: Through the Ever Night
Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: January 8th 2013
Source: Publisher for review

Aria has struggled to build a life for herself outside Reverie. It hasn't be easy adjusting to life in the wilderness but that struggle has been worth it with Perry by her side. But Perry has other challenges. His people are looking to him for answers. Answers about what happened to his nephew and what's happening to their world. And they don't trust the priviledged Aria, one of the enemy, in their midst. Soon he'll be forced to chose between the tribe that looks to him for leadership and the girl that looks to him for love.

As breathtaking as the first book of this addictive series, Through The Ever Night sees Rossi taking us on an intense adventure where her characters blossom and fully come into their own. While Perry must gain the trust and support of the Tides as their new Blood Lord, Aria and Roar take off together in search of the location of Still Blue. With Consul Hess's threats and the vicious Aether storms raging stronger than ever, destroying everything in their path, it's imperative that they find the safe haven before it's all too late.

After months of being apart, Perry and Aria are finally reunited, but their time together is sadly short-lived. Aria must leave to find Sable, Blood Lord of the Horns, for information about Still Blue, and Roar accompanies her knowing that Perry has his own important duties to attend to. Ever since he took over from his brother, Perry's tried to do right by his tribe but has failed to prove himself in their eyes. As he struggles with the lack of food, increase in Aether storms and vulnerable village, the people question his authority and believe he's too young and inexperienced to be a good Blood Lord, but by the end of the book, Perry has grown by leaps and bounds. He becomes a leader who can look after his people and command their respect like Vale once did. I was so proud of him! These tribe folk were STUBBORN and so he truly had to earn every ounce of their trust.

Aria was an amazing heroine. She's always been strong and likeable, but she's adapted to the Outside like a fish to water. No longer is she a delicate Dweller (not that she truly was to begin with), but someone who'll do whatever it takes to protect those around her. Unfortunately, others don't see it that way. To them, she's just a Mole. In the short time that she's at the Tides, she's treated harshly and gains acceptance from very few, but to her credit, it doesn't stop her from trying and I think it made Perry love her even more! Being separated, their romance was far from perfect (let's not mention that annoying little Kirra witch, shall we?) but I know things will be just fine in that camp. We see the terrible prejudice that exists between the Dwellers and Outsiders, but I'm looking forward to seeing this gap be bridged in the future!

Along with the fantastic character development which made me love them all the more, the relationships received the same treatment. The one I loved the most was absolutely between Aria and Roar. Their bond was so refreshing and uplifting, fun and loving at the same time in a completely platonic way. I adore the way they protect each other and have such a strong relationship without it crossing over into more, despite what others may think! After Liv ran away and disappeared to avoid marrying Sable, Roar's been missing a piece of himself even with Aria offering her shoulder to lean on. His yearning for his soul mate yanked at my heartstrings and I felt every little bit of confusion and sorrow that he did when it came to her. The poor thing probably had it the toughest out of all of them. I demand a group hug for him now!

While the Outsiders are racing against the clock to dodge the Aether, the Dwellers surprisingly are too. Slowly but surely, the once perfect Reverie is being destroyed, which is why Soren's father is so desperate to find Still Blue. After Soren reveals his plans to go Outside, a deal is made so that Aria will help him if he gives her information, and what they discover about the Consul's plans is horrifying, yet very exciting plot-wise. I didn't expect to like their friendship at all, but I'm really hoping to see more of it in the next book! Rossi loves turning enemies into friends, doesn't she?

Through the Ever Night was a thrilling read that didn't disappoint in the action department. Full of mystery, anticipation and possibly fatal situations, the plot only intensifies from Under the Never Sky and this sequel certainly isn't that boring bridging book we all loathe. In this second instalment, every character had their own personal issues to deal with but still had the time to help others. What a sight it was to see. I have such a warm place in my heart for these guys and I'm so looking forward to seeing how things progress in Into the Still Blue. Things are finally in place and everything's been leading up to this, so I'm expecting the best book yet!

Of course I prefer the American cover (HELLO PERRY!) but the Australian one is gorgeous too. What do you think? I'm very excited to see what they come up with for Into the Still Blue!!

Find Veronica on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her blog.
Buy Through The Ever Night from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: Rise by Andrea Cremer

Title: Rise
Author: Andrea Cremer
Series: Nightshade Prequel #2
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: January 8th 2013
Source: Publisher for review

Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the  couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.

Although I failed to feel the urgency to continue reading until the last quarter of the novel, when the pace and intensity finally increased, Rise was still far better than Rift. Despite the slow and sometimes lacklustre read, I'm really glad I finished it because this is, mind-bogglingly, a great prequel series.

Rise begins where Rift left off as Ember and Barrow flee from Tearmunn, which has now been overrun by Eira and Bosque Mar. Alistair is their loyal solider and is still delusional in thinking that Ember returns his affections. While I wasn't glued to the book and desperate to continue reading, hence I was easily distracted and took an entire week to finish it, the plot was actually interesting and far better than that of Rift. We're exposed to the darkest parts of this world and finally Eira's actions are part of a bigger picture. Luckily for me, the annoyance I felt towards her in Rift wasn't present while reading this novel. Perhaps it was because we read from Alistair's perspective more than hers, but no matter, I'm very grateful. Alistair was terribly misguided and on such a wrong path that I felt like checking to see if his manhood was still in tact. Until he gets over Ember, he's a lovesick pup who wants approval and will do whatever he's told, especially if it means it'll get him Ember. The antagonists were a great part of this novel, however, and I enjoyed seeing the evil plans they conjured up throughout.

This time around, I felt that Ember wasn't as gung-ho warrior as she was in Rift, and was a little disappointed that she had somewhat reverted back to a 'girl' mentally, despite the things she said otherwise. I enjoyed the romance between her and Barrow and was pleased that it didn't dominate the story at all. The character development honestly wasn't the best - I don't think anyone grew significantly or let us know more about themselves - but I enjoyed having such a large and diverse group to pull from anyway, even though their roles were minor and undeveloped.

Within this book, there are loyal followers, rebels, traitors and moles. Both sides have their own agendas and ideas about how things should be run, and it's all a tense wait to see who will come out on top. Will the rebels against Bosque succeed in banishing the evil beings or is he already prepared with something much more sinister? Now this part, I loved. I was addicted by the end of the novel and it's here that I realised how great this prequel truly was. It wasn't until the end that I realised that the things we were learning were directly related to the original Nightshade series. Some were intended to be revealed at the end, but some were just so slow to register in my mind (cue facepalm). This last minute revelation hit me all at once, rather than naturally a hundred pages earlier, so my mind was a little blown and fangirl excited by that time. FEELINGS OVERLOAD.

This prequel series is probably one of the best in terms of explaining the origins of things within the original series. While the story and characters certainly don't compare to those such as in The Infernal Devices, I enjoyed the insight I got from it and seeing how everything fit together. But as epic as the ending was, I'm left feeling a little empty because it was so open ended, and not in a good way where we can happily imagine things ourselves. Many threads are left loose and untied, and I still have questions! Basically, I have no idea what every character is up to. Are all the villains alive? How will Eira, Alistair and Bosque proceed? Did his plan work? What about the other members of the order? What about Ember and Barrow?! I'm just lost. I guess we have a very vague idea about some things with the knowledge we have from the Nightshade series, but I'm not entirely impressed with the lack of a proper ending here... An extra page, or paragraph even, would've done the trick!

Was I the only numbnut reading this novel? I cannot believe I didn't realise _____ ("spoiler") the minute the idea was introduced. HELLO LISA. THIS IS A PREQUEL SERIES. *groans* Wow. If I had plainly stated what it was that I missed, rather than "_____", you would be on your knees laughing. I can't believe this LOL.

Find Andrea on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: July 5th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

After everyone yelled and screeched about how wonderful this novel was, I finally read it and immediately understood the hype. There's no denying that Kendare Blake has created a magnificent group of characters who undoubtedly take this book from great to absolutely amazing. Furthermore, its eerie setting and the bloodcurdling murders will surely have you darting your eyes around the room throughout the night! This fabulous horror mystery will keep you on your toes and guessing till the very end, and it's an outstanding debut that I won't hesitate to read again.

Being a past Supernatural fanatic, Anna Dressed in Blood struck all the right chords with me. From the moment Theseus Cassio Lowood stepped out wielding his weapons to take down a crazed ghost hitchhiker, I was taken. Making his first kill at fourteen under the guidance of his now deceased father, Cas has moved on to be a professional supernatural hunter, having been to twelve high schools over the past three years. Currently, he's living with his Wiccan mother in Thunder Bay, Ontario for his next kill - Anna Dressed in Blood.

Much like Dean Winchester, Cas is a smooth talker. He pulls the gossip-centre queen bees of every school into his clutches and utilises any other resources he can find. He's always worked alone too…until now. As much as he tries to fend them off, Cas finds himself with a pair of willing helpers - the queen bee, Carmel, and the strange outsider/telepathic, Thomas. The three couldn't be more different and yet they share amazing chemistry as a group. Anna Dressed in Blood is unexpectedly funny and full of wit, which perfectly balances out the action and drama. Although they represent the stereotypes of high schoolers, Blake's characters certainly don't behave within the boundaries of their 'type'. They show us sides to them that we, and they, don't anticipate and it's exciting to wait for what they'll do next. As soon as I became invested in these characters, I was extremely nervous knowing that Cas would eventually have to move on and leave them all behind. You just can't do that to us, Kendare….. YOU CAN'T BREAK UP THIS GROUP!

Anna Korlov is the girl who was suspiciously murdered back in 1958, and she's now the most vicious ghost you can come across. Strangely enough, everyone but Cas who walks through the doors of her house gets killed, and he's therefore the only one who can save her. With his help, we slowly learn about her past and feel the same curiosity and sympathy for her that he does. She's not truly evil, you see, but stuck with a terrible compulsion to harm others in a blinding and uncontrollable fit of rage. Cas and Anna's relationship was definitely unique. I always went into this book anticipating a romance but had no idea how it would work. He's a human, she's a ghost. He's a protector, she's a killer. I didn't think it was possible but their bond manifested very naturally and in such a believable way! Anna is completely aware of what she's (unwillingly) doing and it only makes Cas more desperate to save her, but there are darker forces at work here that won't let him win so easily...

Now that's all I can say without ruining the delicious plot. Anna Dressed in Blood moves at a great pace and is full of complications that you'll have fun uncovering and solving. Blake executes action scenes flawlessly and knows just how to create the perfect mystery. We're always kept guessing about who is good or evil, who is behind a particular kill and how or if things will work out in the end. The individual character development and romances in this novel are unforgettable and enhanced by the great storytelling. Everything about this book was perfect, I tell you. Let me just go and fangirl somewhere now...after I sulk about the huge, horrible cliffhanger.

"Would you rather be a Trojan or a tiger?"
"What kind of a question is that? Do we have any jam?"
"Strawberry or something called Saskatoon, which looks like blueberry."
I make a sour face. "I'll take the strawberry."
"You should live dangerously. Try the Saskatoon."
"I live dangerously enough. Now what's this about condoms or tigers?"
MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. Gosh, how can you not love this guy?

I know. I'm so late to the party, especially since this was published in Australia a whole year later than in America! Was the second book amazing? I still have to get to it!

Find Kendare on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Anna Dressed in Blood from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review: Endless by Jessica Shirvington

Title: Endless
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters #4
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: August 28th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Angels are real. They aren't always kind. Violet Eden is certain of all this because she is Grigori - part angel, part human. She has felt the influence of both light and dark. When Hell unleashes its worst, Violet must embrace every facet of her angel self to save the people she cares about and the world as she knows it. But death is not the worst thing that Violet will face. For her, the endless question 'Can love conquer all?' will finally be answered.

Warning: Mild spoilers in the first two paragraphs if you haven't read the previous book, Emblaze. If you need a push to start/continue this series, I strongly suggest you read the last two paragraphs!

Up until now, we've believed that Violet's mother signed her daughter's human life away in exchange for a life of her own in Heaven. After Phoenix used the Exile Scripture to release Lilith from Hell in Emblaze, Evelyn has magically returned, and Lilith has since been busy using the Grigori Scripture to kidnap children who are destined to become Grigori. As if things couldn't get worse, Violet is summoned to the Academy for her formal Grigori assessment in New York, where Lilith and Phoenix are conveniently lurking.. Get ready for the most epic book yet, as our favourite characters tackle a multitude of tricky obstacles.

First of all, the focus of family in this book was great. In the first three, things are very much focused on Violet's secret life, while her father is absent and left in the dark. In Endless, the gang are forced to reveal the truth to James with Evelyn's surprise return. One of the best things about this book was Violet's relationship with her parents. Everything Violet believed about her mother is challenged, but the thought of admitting that her anger and bitterness all these years was misguided is just too painful to bear. James has spent many hard years dealing with Evelyn's "death" and this bombshell could be one too many for him. Sides are chosen, emotions are toyed with… When will these guys get a break?!

Violet and Lincoln have been fighting their feelings for what feels like years now, but there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for them in Endless. Although Grigori partners aren't allowed to fall in love because it will weaken them and risk their lives, there's now implications that their bonded souls will make them stronger. Endless questions aside, the romance was AMAZING. They let go more than they ever have before and give us some delicious scenes as a consequence. There's also a constant inkling of hope now, hope that they may finally be able to be together.

Aside from Lincoln and Violet, Phoenix is my favourite character. For multiple reasons, it broke my heart to see so many glimpses of a good Phoenix while Lilith was behind him, pushing his hand to do terrible things he wanted no part of. With every bit of help he gave Violet and genuine exchange of emotion they had, I died just a little. Although he's done so before, he truly proved in Endless that he honestly loves and would make sacrifices for her. (After one scene, I wanted to crawl away, cry and die. You'll know what I'm talking about when you read this book!)

To put it simply, this book was perfection and it's impossible for me to be happier that there'll be two more books in this series. Three or four wouldn't have been enough with these magnificent characters.  I can truthfully say that every book in this series is better than the last so if you liked Embrace at all, don't you dare stop reading this series! For readers out of Australia, be patient. It's so worth it! In two words: MY EMOTIONS!! There's always something happening in Endless. Everything is captivating and Shirvington delivers one shock and revelation after another. When I'm not holding my breath from the intensity, I'm tearing up and attempting to hold my heart together. Shirvington's writing has never been stronger. How can you not be in awe of how easily she juggles tense fight scenes with ones of friendship, tender love, and pain and sacrifice?

Endless will keep you guessing until the very end. I don't think I've been shocked into silence so many times in one sitting. The last few chapters of this book…you'll be sweating bullets guaranteed. With such an evil antagonist as well as mystery surrounding what will happen to the main characters, it's a given. Fair warning, the ending is brutal. We're put through the ringer for so long and by the end, BOOM. Unbelievable. Is the human body equipped to handle this?!

I know. A long, gushy, nonsensical review. But you must read this series. MUST.

Find Jessica on Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy Endless from The Book Depository and Booktopia.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Once by Anna Carey

Title: Once
Author: Anna Carey
Series: Eve #2
Publisher: Harper Collins #2
Published: July19th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

For the first time since she escaped from her school many months ago, Eve can sleep soundly. She's living in Califia, a haven for women, protected from the terrifying fate that awaits orphaned girls in The New America. But her safety came at a price: She was forced to abandon Caleb, the boy she loves, wounded and alone at the city gates. When Eve gets word that Caleb is in trouble, she sets out into the wild again to rescue him, only to be captured and brought to the City of Sand, the capital of The New America. Trapped inside the City walls, Eve uncovers a shocking secret about her past--and is forced to confront the harsh reality of her future. When she discovers Caleb is alive, Eve attempts to flee her prison so they can be together--but the consequences could be deadly. She must make a desperate choice to save the ones she loves…or risk losing Caleb forever.

Eve hasn't seen Caleb for the three months she's lived in Califia, and although the other women tell her she needs to forget about her past life, he's all she can think about. But when she follows a lead to find him, she walks into a trap and is hauled into the City of Sand where she's introduced to a world she could never have imagined and told a secret that will completely change her life. While struggling to live with this new discovery and the consequences it brings, she's able to find solace in the man she was looking for all along, even though he's now a wanted man in hiding. I loved Once and found it even more addictive than Eve. Things are more dangerous and crucial than ever before, and this sequel will have you salivating for Rise!

The setting we're placed into has high potential for action and will keep you in suspense for the duration of the novel. Unfortunately, I can't exactly explain this (and several other things) since it involves a big spoiler. I will say though that I loved this twist. It was a great reason for why the King was so desperate to have Eve and the rest of the things that came with this twist were so juicy and complicated. Twist aside, I enjoyed the variety of people living within Sand City. While some were grateful for the King's work, some were obedient but quietly unhappy, while others were outrightly so because he was going to conquer other colonies instead of restoring the Outlands as he promised. A common factor between them? They've been brainwashed by the King's lies, which ends up putting Eve and Caleb in a difficult situation...

In this sequel, Eve and Caleb were unbelievably sweet. I loved the tone of their relationship and Caleb never failed to make me smile! Both characters proved to be strong and determined, however they were incredibly reckless on several occasions when sneaking away to meet each other. I could hardly believe that they'd take such risks and you just knew that getting caught would be inevitable. It was just a matter of when! This was a big element of the story, as plans were always in motion to further the work of the Trail. Would they be caught before they could carry out an important step? I felt very tense reading this novel, just knowing that the other shoe could and would drop at any time, most likely, the worst time!

Often, authors use their second books as a bridge, where nothing of importance really happens and the story just prepares for events to come in the third book. Once certainly doesn't suffer from boring-second-book-itis. Instead, the amount of action and intensity of the plot increased! The story becomes more developed as characters are put in more interesting situations, and the final third of the story will have you leaping up to your feet and shaking your fists. I was stuck between a mixture of disbelief and anger. Nothing in this world is fair! But I will admit, it sure did make for an entertaining story...

This is a difficult review to write, since many things that should be said can't because it involves the spoiler. But trust me when I say that this plot is wonderful and will hold your attention from beginning to end. I was nervous going into it, not knowing what to expect, but all of that worry was completely unwarranted. I have high hopes for Rise, seeing as Once ends at a truly exciting point. There are so many possibilities for what could happen next!

Who's read this sequel and what did you think? Was it better than Once?

Find Anna on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

All Hail The Mail! (12)

The first lot of books are the review copies I received this week, and the second lot are the books I bought from The Book Depository. I'll be catching up with 2012 books I missed throughout the year, starting off with sequels ;)

Night School: Legacy by C.J. Daugherty
I was shocked by how much I enjoyed the first book of this series. I'm desperate to return to this world and see what my favourite characters are up to this time! If you haven't read these books yet, I strongly suggest you do so now!

Rise by Andrea Cremer
Rift was a fabulous read, minus the Eira POV scenes... Fingers crossed that this book is just everything I loved about the previous!

Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
No words needed. Almost everyone on Earth and Mars loved Under The Never Sky and I'm 110% sure that I'll love this one just as much or more.

Hooked by Liz Fichera
I have a strange fascination with stories where chicks play sports on men's teams. I've seen baseball, football, soccer and basketball...but golf. That's a new one! I was really excited when I first heard about this novel. The reviews at the moment aren't stellar but I still hope it doesn't disappoint!

When We Wake by Karen Healey
Another one with a great concept. I haven't read many books involving reanimation, but this one sounds like it has a lot of potential.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Although the book itself was wonderful (and received a high rating from me), I was really disappointed by the romance and Juliette as a character. I disagree with so many things she did... Maybe I'll dock another half star later on when I get to reviewing it... *needs to ponder*

Prodigy by Marie Lu
Can you see the drool leaking from my mouth yet? I'm desperate for more Day and June! If this is as good as Legend... *faints* My weak little heart can't handle it.

Disharmony: The Laeduin by Leah Giarratano
I really didn't like Disharmony that much so I am quite reluctant to continue this series. I think now is a time where I'll be a little mean and let my fellow Aussies read it first LOL.

Endlessly by Kiersten White
I've always loved this series. Kiersten's such a comedian and her characters are very easy to love. I'm really looking forward to reading this final book!

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Well, it's no secret that Daemon and I are soul mates from another life. I am so ready to be charmed by this handsome devil all over again!

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I was told last year that I would be receiving an ARC of this but strangely enough, it never arrived. Cue immense disappointment. Since I only returned recently, I missed out on an Apollyon ARC too because they'd all run out by the time I got here! Cue indescribable disappointment. I'm really not used to missing out on ARCs of this series and having to wait for release LOL.

A Fractured Light by Jocelyn Davies
I'm not sure what to expect from this sequel but I will say this: I hope the love triangle doesn't go out of control. I vaguely remember the main character bouncing between the two guys before... Hopefully she's on her way to making up her mind and not thinking about them both 24/7.

Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs
Sweet Venom was another book I was really surprised by. For me, it was practically perfect and I loved every little thing about it. Can't wait to read this sequel!

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
"Hey, didn't I just see this book......" Why yes you did. But I had to buy myself the US hardcover edition to match the previous book! Now isn't Perry just looking fiiiiiiiine?

Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck
Give me more Ren and Kishan! My body is ready. I remember the previous book left us at a nail-biting cliffhanger. I really hope this book is "epic", considering the first three have been building up to this! Or perhaps Colleen's saving that for the final book.............

Heaven by Alexandra Adornetto
It doesn't seem like this series has the biggest fans, but I love Bethany and Xavier. If their relationship is too sweet and lovey-dovey, I either don't notice or don't care. (It's like sometimes how insta-love doesn't bug you in a book when you usually HATE it.)

Thank you to Hachette, Harlequin, Allen & Unwin and Penguin for the review copies!

Very excited about the books I have waiting here for me! What did you think of them?

What did you receive in your mailbox this week? 
Leave a comment and let me know!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young

Title: A Want So Wicked
Author: Suzanne Young
Series: A Need So Beautiful #2
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Published: July 7th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Elise is a normal seventeen-year-old girl until the day she wakes up in a desert park, with no idea who she is. After that episode, her life takes a bizarre turn. She’s experiencing unexpected flashes of insight into people’s lives—people she’s never met before. Strangers frighten her with warnings about the approaching Shadows. And although Elise has never had a boyfriend, she suddenly finds herself torn between two handsome but very different young men: Abe, the charming bad boy whose effect on her both seduces and frightens her, and the mysterious Harlin, who’s new to town but with whom Elise feels an urgent, elemental connection—almost as if they are soul mates. Now Elise begins to question everything about her life. Why do these guys both want her so desperately? What are the Shadows? Why does the name Charlotte inspire a terrifying familiarity? And who is Elise, really?

Elise Landon doesn't recognise the blue-eyed blond she sees in the mirror. Of course, this is all just a dream...until she finds an angel figurine under her pillow, one that we know belongs to Charlotte Cassidy. From A Need So Beautiful, we're familiar with Young's world in regards to the Forgotten, Shadows and Seers but A Want So Wicked still manages to be full of suspense, as we're eagerly waiting for Elise to find all of the pieces of the puzzle. Although this novel was darker and delved deeper into the characters and plot, I still found myself preferring the first. It had something extra special but A Want So Wicked is truly no less addictive.

Elise's family is a real highlight of this novel. Although they're worlds away from each other in terms of personality, they're a tight knit unit and full of love - her father's "little tribe", as he calls it. Lucy is Elise's older rebel sister who is constantly getting into all sorts of unknown trouble, sometimes with Elise's help. Her dad is a protective pastor who reinforces an 11pm curfew, but can talk boys with his girls and is all around very hip. He's level-headed and a great supporter of his daughters, but also shows his vulnerable side when he questions himself as a single dad after losing his wife to cancer ten years ago. I cherished all of the father-daughter moments. They were perfectly sweet and balanced out the dark supernatural elements of the novel wonderfully.

Elise is an easily likeable character. She's the good girl who had lots of friends in school and is kind to everyone, especially so now with her Need kicking in. Not only does she feel compelled to help strangers after seeing their lives play out like a movie in her mind, she sees memories of her past life as Charlotte and visions of Onika's life. Her discovery of her destiny was even better than Charlotte's, but only because it was two-tiered. She's (unknowingly) learning things for the second time and things are a lot more complicated and mysterious this time around. She must also race against the clock as Shadows begin chasing after her Light.

Now, her two love interests, Abe and Harlin… What can I say? Everyone fell in love with Harlin in A Need So Beautiful, the man who was so devoted and in love with our beautiful Charlotte but had to let her go for the greater good. Initially, he was heartbroken and vulnerable, still damaged from his loss 9 months prior. In this second book, he's drawn to Elise (no surprise there!) but fights his feelings because he's still in love with Charlotte. He swore that he would find her again, but what he doesn't know is that he already has.  His relationship with Elise was exciting and reminiscent of the effortless ease he shared with Charlotte, and once again, he'll make you giggle, swoon and fall in love ALL OVER AGAIN. Their flirty banter with her shy innocence was just perfect. Abe, on the other hand… *SMACK* While he was gorgeous and charming to begin with, you just knew he'd be bad news later on... He showed glimpses of his dark side quite often, something Elise only picks up subconsciously, but we were forced to wait for the big reveal… Torture, I tell you!

I really enjoyed the ending of this novel. It kept us tense and waiting until the very end, some things expected and others not. It wrapped up this series in a very satisfying way, although it was open-ended and definitely allowed room for another book, which I would be happy to receive! We follow a little bit of everyone's story in A Want So Wicked and everyone gets their conclusion, no matter how open, so I'm left feeling happy yet sad that it's all over. This was a great series by Young, and I'm looking forward to more from her in the future!

What did you think of this sequel? Do you think there'll be a third book? I've seen Suzanne talk about her ideas but I'd love it if Harper Collins really gave the green light!

Find Suzanne on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her blog.
Buy A Want So Wicked from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

Title: The Rise of Nine
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: Lorien Legacies #3
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Published: August 30th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I'd been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive. Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others… I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we're looking for the others--including John. But so are they.

Although I Am Number Four wasn't the best book, Pittacus Lore proved that this series was worth reading with the following two. Similar to The Power of Six, The Rise of Nine is full of fast-paced action and makes great use of its multiple points of view. In this third instalment, all of the remaining Garde members, bar Five, must overcome different obstacles, all the while trying to reunite in order to defeat the Mogodorian leader, Setrákus Ra. So many exciting story lines progress and capture your attention at once, so it's guaranteed that you'll be on the edge of your seat for this entire read.

Lore's talent not only lies within his ability to write great action sequences, but also his ability to build anticipation which is tangible and irresistibly good. The Rise of Nine allows us into the minds of John (Four), Veronica (Six) and Marina (Seven) and the Lorics are split into two groups. With every change of perspective, the excitement and suspense builds to an almost unbearable level, as we're desperate to continue the story of the group we're currently with.

Four and Nine, who was saved at the end of the previous book, plan to meet up with the others but must evade government agents at the same time. Shockingly, they're working with the Mogodorians and have no idea what their planet is in for. Nine was a comedic and badass character and his evolving relationship with Four was riveting to watch. They have their bonding moments but spend the rest of their time arguing about what to do, where to go and who the powerful Loric that legend speaks of is. Only one Garde member will become as strong as Pittacus Lore (the elder) and be able to defeat the otherwise unbeatable Setrákus Ra. (Of course, both boys think it's them.)

All the way in India, the others think they've found another Loric, a shapeshifter number Eight. This diverse group had to be my favourite. Six was fierce as usual and became the leader of the group, looking after an insecure Marina and young Ella. Their camaraderie was so uplifting and was the one thing we could be sure of. Eight, known by his supporters as Vishnu, is cheeky and possesses amazing abilities we haven't seen before. Their adventures are even more exciting than Four and Nine's but I'll leave that for you to discover... I won't spoil the story but at some points, certain characters veer off on their own paths with their own problems to take care of. The groups constantly change as they separate and merge and it's simply never-ending entertainment!

The final parts of the novel bring us to a culmination of everything Lore's worked to build from page one. We were treated to explosions and gun fights only a few chapters in, but this is even more intense and extravagant. The ending is filled with twists, surprises and several fear-for-their-lives moments too. The Rise of Nine is truly a magnificent read and it would be a shame to miss out on this series. With a ton of action and suspense, mixed in with friendship and a hint of romance, what's not to love?

Buy The Rise of Nine from Amazon, The Book Depository, Booktopia and Barnes & Noble.

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