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Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil #1)

Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil #1)Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Series: Sweet Evil #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 1st 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 453
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
five-stars
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

Sweet Evil is such a brilliant YA Paranormal, I feel so refreshed, because sometimes it can be really hard to sieve through the most awful crap in this genre. Although I’ve read a lot of great YA Paranormal books, this one was different, but also incredibly the same. It had the innocent girl who was ignorant about the para world and the inevitable bad boy. But these are used for good reason: the innocence gave Anna time to grow, and the bad boy appealed to me in every way. That’s not to say Kaidan didn’t frustrate me–he seriously did.

The book is set around a really interesting premise about Demons and Angels, where good, Christian Anna is half-Angel and half-Demon. This makes Anna’s character more interesting because she has to deal with things she’s never even dreamed of. Kaidan and Anna are Nephilim–children of Demons. They have to work to corrupt society and humanity, which is pretty soul-destroying. I thought this was so inventive and unique, I’ve never read this kind of premise and it intrigued me all the way through the book. Anna has never gotten drunk or been high, and suddenly these substances are calling to her and she’s expected to use them. Otherwise she will be killed.

Kaidan is such an awesome bad boy, and even though it annoyed me how caught up Anna was with him–I still really loved his character. He drew me in even though he was frustrating. He’s also part of a band and plays the drums…so, yeah. There was a lot of mixed messages and hot and cold about him. There’s attraction between Anna and Kaidan, but they can never be together because their life is dedicated to working.

I enjoyed the way Anna begins to discover who she really is, and her relationship with Patti. They both loved each other so much, a love that I can identify with but don’t see it often in books, for some reason. The parents are always unreasonable or sometimes simply dead, but Patti’s character really warmed my heart and I could feel her love toward Anna through the pages.

Rating: 5 Stars–the premise was so unique and interesting, I began to get invested in all the characters and I’m really desperate to read the next book! (Edit: I read the next book and it’s just as amazing!)

five-stars

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Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux #4)

Review: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux #4)Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #4
Published by Entangled Teen on August 27th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 374
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-half-stars
Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

Well, well, well, this series has certainly picked up the pace. As much as I love the Lux series, I always treat it as a bit of a fun and flirty read with some hot aliens. Even after numerous cliff-hangers, where I’m desperate to read the next book, I still felt this way. I could see the cliff-hanger in Opal coming a mile away and while I was impressed, I wasn’t at all surprised. However Origin felt like a completely different book to me, whereas the other books I’ve not written a review for because I feel they merge together slightly.

I have to admit, I liked the arguments in Obsidian between Katy and Daemon, with the witty back and forth but the undeniable attraction. When Katy and Daemon finally got together as a couple, I was happy, but thought some of the romance felt a bit boring at times. I don’t know if it was the complete change of setting or something else, but the romance felt alive and the chemistry was there once again. The setting change was really interesting, because we’ve been in this small town for all three books now, and it felt really good to see what the actual alien world is like, and how our main protagonist would deal with this world. As soon as I was relaxing into the story, Armentrout brought something completely new to the table and captivated me further. This new plot twist is exciting and could literally go anywhere. It kept me on my toes and makes me so excited to see how this is going to end!

Despite the ending of Opal indicating otherwise, we see our most loved characters and their interactions. I was a little worried we wouldn’t see the usual gang that we’ve come to love, what with the new setting, however this was not the case. Armentrout carefully crafted new settings and new characters, but kept our old and most loved characters in for some familiarity.

Of course, there is a huge cliff-hanger, because Armentrout seems to love this plot device. Everything is going to plan and then shit stuff goes down. Seriously, it’s a pretty huge cliff-hanger and one I loved, because it was certainly not something I was expecting.

Rating 4.5 Stars–I really recommend this series as always, but especially this one. Armentrout has really surprised me in such an amazing way and I’m in love with this series more than ever. Once again, I was taken on a whirlwind of intrigue, humour and also morbid realisation about the aliens and the world Armentrout has created. I cannot wait for the next instalment where everyone will finally get some closure!

four-half-stars

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Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #1/3)

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #1/3)Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Infernal Devices #1
Published by Walker on 3rd March 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars
In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them....
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  • Cassandra Clare is extremely popular for her other series, The Mortal Instruments, especially with the film coming out in 4 DAYS GUYS. Anyway, The Infernal Devices is set in the same world, but a couple of centuries before, and instead of New York, it’s set in London.

Clockwork Angel was highly enjoyable, the world was extensive, the characters were funny and complex. I’m absolutely delighted I have another two books to also read. Although these books are huge and I’m a slow reader, I manage to fly through all of Cassandra Clare’s novels, and this was no exception.

Tessa begins not knowing a thing about the Shadowhunter world, and so things are discovered new from her perspective. Which was interesting for me, because I’d already experienced it in the modern world with Clary. For those of you who haven’t read The Mortal Instruments (and you really should) you can definitely pick this one up and not get confused. There are certain references that will not be understood, but they will likely go right over your head and you won’t notice them.

“Sometimes, when I have to do something I don’t want to do, I pretend I’m a character from a book. It’s easier to know what they would do.” 

Oh how I hate love triangles, and Clare seems very fond of them, which proves inconvenient. Here we have the choice of either Jem or Will. Jem is the safe, intelligent, kind-hearted and genuinely nice person. Will is witty, mean and a badboy. It’s not hard to imagine who the most popular is (Will), everyone loves a badboy.

Seeing the Shadowhunter world in a different time was fascinating, and immortal characters like Magnus and Camille  were also in Clockwork Angel, as well as City of Bones. I adore Magnus, and although Camille is a not a villain, nor a ally in The Mortal Instruments, I loved her character in this series. Magnus and her have a complexity and past that is so slowly revealed, I’m left desperate for more.

The plot is gripping, and something completely unexpected to me, because we’ve not seen these kind of ‘creature things’ before and I loved the fresh take. It was like the Shadowhunter world equivalent of zombies/robots. I’m so excited to read the next instalment when I have time.

I really enjoy Clare’s sarcastic, witty humour, and the Shadowhunter world, overall I give this a 4 star rating, and I expect it’s going to get eeeven better.

four-stars

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Review: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant #1)

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Covenant #1
Published by Spencer Hill Press on 15 December 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 281
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
three-stars

GoodreadsAmazon UK

I honestly don’t know how to start this review. I am a die-hard Vampire Academy fan, always have been since the moment I read it. Therefore, reading Half-Blood makes me a touch defensive, why you ask? Because it’s exactly the same.

Okay that’s a lie, it’s not. But it’s pretty damn close. Instead of the premise of Moroi and Strigoi, it’s about God’s. It’s like all the major events in one series of Vampire Academy, condensed into one book. If you like Vampire Academy, you’ll most definitely like this, I did. But I couldn’t shake the feeling as I read it that it was copied. Then I found my mind wondering into how far this is on the edge of copyright. I chose to read this book because I love Jennifer L. Armentrout’s other series, I obviously still do. However, I’m not too happy about this book.

I started reading it knowing it was going to be alike, as I heard from word of mouth and other reviews. I really liked Alex and her kickass nature, but I don’t think she even matched up to Rose. She didn’t have the right feistiness for me. Rose is irresponsible for the first half, jumping into things, but she makes a conscious decision to stop, and she mostly does. I felt like Alex made the decision, yet didn’t carry through with it. Aiden and Seth are both sexy, funny characters. But they don’t match up to Dimitri and Adrian, at all.

By copying a lot of details from VA, she’s made me compare the two, which wasn’t something I was comfortable with. This is because I’m extremely biased towards VA. Having said that, there is no doubt VA is better, despite my biased position.

The plot did have the elements I love: just the right amount of romance, not too much, not too little. It also had a strong, intriguing heroine, and other fun characters. Aiden was mysterious and a bit broken—not that he would ever admit it. The plot was about God’s, they don’t play much of a part in this one, but I’m sure their part will grow in the next couple of books. There was also another magical element thrown in, which I really liked, which considered Seth and Alex. I really want to know how this pans out.

I will be reading the next book, because I’ve heard how the series completely changes and diverts from VA, which I’ll be pleased to see considering that I enjoyed the potential so much.

Rating: 3 Stars: Overall, interesting, funny characters, and an entertaining plot, unfortunately, it was too much like Vampire Academy for me to love it completely.

three-stars

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Review: White Cat by Holly Black (Curse Workers #1)

White Cat by Holly Black
Series: Curse Workers #1
Published by Gollancz on 29th July 2010
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 324
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
three-half-stars

Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers – people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got any magic, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail – he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago. 

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the cover–I really like it!

This is such an intriguing premise to read about. I don’t read many book where the protagonist is male, so it was refreshing to read White Cat in a different perspective than I usually read Young Adult. Cassel is the black sheep in his family, he is not a Curse Worker. Unlike his two older brothers and his mother, who each have a power to change your emotions, you luck and your memories with simply a touch to the hand. Curse work is illegal, so many become crooks and con men, therefore Cassel has to become the best of the best con men to outsmart those more powerful than him.

Cassel goes to a boarding school and pretends he’s normal, he tries his hardest to blend in and be the average guy everyone wants him to be. Except he’s not really normal. Not only does he come from a family of workers, but he also once killed his best friends Lila—and he enjoyed it. But now he’s filled with self-loathing and he’s found sleep-walking, having dreams that he can’t explain. His brothers are keeping secrets too, so Cassel has to do his best to be conspicuous and out-smart his brothers to reveal the truth.

I really enjoyed White Cat and the premise it was built on. It took me a while to get fully invested because I thought the beginning was quite slow, but once it got going it was a great read. I loved the concept of the conmen and how Cassel tries to excel at lying and playing people, but sometimes messes up.

Cassel is a weird mix of being really flat and at the same time complex. He seemed interesting at the times when he was talking about himself and how he felt about killing Lila and being so out of place in his family. However, the writing style of Holly Black made him seem quite flat at times, and it was a rather weird mix.

I think it got slightly boring at times, but it’s quite a small book and it didn’t take me a lot to keep going, I was interested in seeing the resolution. I really did enjoy it, I just don’t think the characters were interesting enough for me. I wasn’t compelled to read it for the characters, but more the story. I will definitely keep reading this series, as it was a fun read, with intriguing plot-twists and fun con-men elements.

Rating 3.5 Stars

three-half-stars

city of ashes

Review: City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments #2)

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments
Published by Walker on 7th July 2008
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-stars

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.
To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?
In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation
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*WARNING* Do not read, if you haven’t read City of Bones! There are no spoilers for City of Ashes, but there are from City of Bones. *WARNING*

Did you think it was strange that Clary’s brother was called handsome in the blurb, yet Simon was barely mentioned? Well that’s because Jace and Clary were attracted to each other in City Of Bones and then they found out they were related to the same evil Valentine. I’m a little surprised to see the turn this series has taken and I think Clare has taken forbidden love too far. I don’t understand why she thought this would be a good idea, because frankly it just annoys me. ‘Angsty’ looks across the room, because they can never be together, but they can’t help their feelings. No. Sick of this storyline, if it was anything but being related, I’d love it. The chemistry between Jace and Clary is palpable, and I have really grown to like both characters. Forbidden love is awesome, but not this.  And it’s also a bit irritating because you have this great book about gay warlocks and faeries and then…some weird romance thing that is out of place.

I actually still enjoyed this book, although the romance was getting silly. Magnus, Luke, Simon and Maia are all minor characters but I love them all. Magnus with his flamboyant but powerful attitude is incredibly entertaining, his and Alec’s relationship is something I wish was explored more. Alec and Magnus are both attracted to each other but Alec doesn’t want anyone to know he’s gay. I really enjoy this storyline and wish Cassandra Clare would focus on them more. All we get are little snippets and I love their relationship!

I’m glad Jace has an inner conflict with Valentine, because it would be unrealistic if Jace wasn’t confused about his relationship with his evil father who brought him up until he was eleven. I like to read about his vulnerability, I’m glad he’s not the perfect guy, his complexities make him more interesting.

The love triangle has a weird dynamic here, but I don’t want to ruin anything about that, and Simon is as awesome as ever, his character is a favourite of mine in this series. His geeky one-liners are present throughout.

I found City of Ashes surprisingly gripping through most of it, but towards the climax- the area where I’m supposed to be gripped the most- I mostly lost interest because one again, it’s them against Valentine and seemed very samey-samey.

World-building was once again extensive, and I enjoyed it, rating: 4 Stars

four-stars

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Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #3)

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #3
Published by Penguin, Razorbill on February 12th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 401
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars

[button link="#http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8709526-the-indigo-spell"] Goodreads The Indigo Spell[/button]

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

As I said in The Golden Lily review I posted yesterday, I read these the day they were released but when re-reading them, wanted to share how much I love them.

After The Golden Lily, I was anticipating this release eight months later and boy…what a book it was. The Indigo Spell is filled with romance and sexual tension between Adrian and Sydney, and after what happened at the end of The Golden Lily, things were definitely going to be interesting. And they were. The whole gang at Amberwood- Jill, Eddie, Angeline- don’t get as much attention as they did in the previous books, although there are issues and storylines concerning them, the main focus is on Sydney, her Alchemist business and the romance between her and Adrian.

Sydney is an Alchemist, helping Moroi (Vampires) to cover up their existence to other humans because Alchemists believe they are evil monsters. She’s working at Amberwood  boarding school in Palm Springs to protect Moroi Jill and keep her in hiding. She previously feared the Moroi, but she’s finding herself growing away from those beliefs more than she ever thought was possible. Before, she’d freak out when a Moroi even tried doing magic, but as we saw in The Golden Lily, she actively joining in with magic. The Indigo Spell reinforces how harsh and controlling Alchemists are; they hate Moroi and think they’re unnatural, they’ll do whatever they can to stop themselves from working directly with them, lest they get tainted by the evil. Sydney was brought up with these beliefs, so of course they’re a little hard to shake. But the Alchemists are a web of lies, half of them keeping top-secret information from the other half of the organisation. Sydney soon realises, she’s not even sure what she believes anymore.

Things are sizzling between Sydney and Adrian sexual tension wise, but with Sydney refusing to go against her Alchemist beliefs, Adrian promises not to bring up his love confessions. Poor Adrian, he always seems to fall in love with complicated people. As much as Sydney refuses to acknowledge her feelings for Adrian, she still trusts him, and throughout The Indigo Spell, their relationship grows stronger. The romance is bumped up a notch compared to The Golden Lily, so watch out. Cute things, funny things, swoon worthy things, it’s all there! Adrian is as witty as ever, but even with his incessant jokes, he shows a lot of sweet emotion towards Sydney.

The Indigo Spell is also filled with funny elements, kooky characters and hilarious naming. Malachi Wolfe, which seems to be one of Richelle Mead’s favourite minor characters makes an appearance, sharing those far-fetched stories he loves to tell. I think he’s a hilarious character- he also has a Twitter account, follow @MalachiWolfe. Characters like Malachi are typical of Richelle’s writing style, which you might have guessed, I’m a fan of.

I’ve heard many people dissatisfied with Marcus Finch, a character Mead hyped up, but then confessed she changed things slightly for him– apparently he was meant to be another love interest for Sydney. I wasn’t particularly impressed by his character either, and he didn’t live up to expectations. He was completely different to how I thought he would be and I would have liked more to his character, however, I still really enjoyed The Indigo Spell.

Rating: 5 Stars

So, now another nine months to wait, as it’s been said The Fiery Heart ( Bloodlines four) will be released on November 19th.

I’m not sure I can take it.

five-stars

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Review: The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #2)

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #2
Published by Penguin, Razorbill on June 12th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 418
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-stars

 

Golden Lily Golden LilyRichelle Mead; Penguin 2012WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

[button link="#http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8709523-the-golden-lily"] Goodreads The Golden Lily[/button]

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.


Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she’s supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she’s been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?

 

 I actually read this on the day it came out, but I didn’t have a book blog then. Recently I was re-reading it and wanted to share it’s awesomeness.

Bloodlines was the first book in this series, and whilst it was a fantastic book, it was distinctly missing romance. That is certainly not the case in The Golden Lily, we meet a certain barista called Brayden, who is very intellectual like Sydney. This relationship dynamic was utterly hilarious, both of them were completely clueless when it came to social cues, especially in a romantic social clues.

“I was going to have to research kissing.”

It wasn’t just about Brayden and Sydney though, I can confirm there is also Adrian and Sydney scenes that made me catch my breath. Adrian is so witty, everything he says has me laughing and the way he interacts with Sydney is adorable. He’s gotten Keith’s apartment and is sorting his life out considerably,  growing as a character nicely.

The secondary characters such as Eddie, Jill, Angeline are still up to their usual shenanigans, with Sydney cleaning up their messes. Jill has come a long way from Bloodlines, she didn’t rely on Sydney with every little thing and I liked her a lot more than I previously did.

Sydney also has more interactions with Mrs Terwilliger, with her initial alchemist views on magic being challenged. Sydney isn’t as repulsed by Vampires as she once was, and she’s realised that they aren’t as evil as the Alchemists made her believe. That doesn’t mean that she’s going to show that to her supervisors anytime soon, but she treats the Vampires like actual people, not evil monsters. Sydney’s developing as a character, she’s taking action to protect herself and not rely on others. By no means is she Rose Hathaway, but she isn’t sitting around waiting to be saved by the Guardians. Many people say they can relate more to Sydney than Rose, because people don’t tend to be able to relate to Rose’s overall badass personality. However, Sydney’s badass too and is very intellectual with cute quirks which made me smile.

Another book by Richelle Mead that I loved, the storylines are quirky and funny, like the entire book doesn’t take itself too seriously, but with serious undertones. This is where Richelle lulls her fans into a false sense of security, I have no doubt she’ll rip our hearts out in the next couple of books.

Rating: 4 Stars

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) review to come soon.

four-stars

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Review: City Of Bones By Cassandra Clare ( The Mortal Instruments #1)

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
Published by Walker on July 2nd 2007
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-stars

 

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Wow, the reviews concerning this book range from one star hate-hate-hate reviews to five star best-thing-I’ve-ever-read reviews. Personally, I liked it, the world building was so extensive and well written I couldn’t help but be sucked into this world, but there were character minor issues for me.

 

Clary is an ordinary 15-year-old girl, living in New York with her mum, Jocelyn, her father is dead and her Uncle Luke has been taking care of her for as long as she can remember. But soon she realises she doesn’t know them as well as she thought, and her ordinary family, aren’t so ordinary at all. One night she goes to a club with her best friend Simon and witnesses a murder that no one else saw. She meets a group of people called the Shadowhunters; they are demon hunters, and are curious to discover why Clary can see their world when no mundane should. She discovers she has the Sight and can witness the supernatural world, but she’s left wondering why. As her mother mysteriously goes missing through supernatural means, Clary turns to the Shadowhunters to figure things out and find her mother before it’s too late.

Cassandra Clare has set up an incredible world, filled with Warlocks, Vampires, Werewolves, Demons, I could go on. With world building came a huge information dump right at the beginning that was necessary, yet was not handled as well as it could have been. City of Bones was very thick to wade through, however once you get the lay of the land, there were many plot twists and turns,  and I didn’t get bored once.

The things I really enjoyed about the characters were that Cassandra chose various specific characters to focus on throughout the book. City of Bones doesn’t completely revolve around the heroine, we see other characters points of view, and instead of getting bored—which I frequently do in other points of view—I enjoyed reading about the characters. A lot of YA novels have the whole book solely on the heroine, which is quite unrealistic, and can make the world dull and one-dimensional.

Clary had a fiery element about her, but she also had a vulnerability because she was only just introduced to the Shadowhunters when she gets thrown into battles, and therefore can’t kill and didn’t have the fighting training they did. This grew weary because she couldn’t protect herself and didn’t contribute much to fights. But I can’t expect her to be a ninja right away, so I’ll let that go…other than that, I liked her point-of-view!

Simon was Clary’s geeky best friend and I though he was funny; engaging in witty banter with Jace and making Star Wars references made him entertaining. Also, I was picturing him as Robert Sheehan, who’s playing Simon in the film, which didn’t hurt. Jace was a jerk, yet that didn’t bother me much, because it was said many times that it was a facade, and although he had a haughty attitude and a big mouth, I always thought there was a complexity to him and a set of emotions no one sees upfront that he covers up. Unfortunately, I didn’t like Isabelle and Alec as much as I wanted to; Alec had his own issues and I liked that, Isabelle was ‘the beautiful one’ and seemed kind of badass when it came to fighting. But there was always an animosity they both shared towards Clary that I didn’t think was reasonable. It seemed only Jace was actually nice to her and he was meant to be the jerk, which was kind of cliché. There’s also a definite love triangle building here, which I’m not a huge fan of, regardless of the ending I believe this love-triangle is not going away. For me, this wasn’t particularly a love story but was more about world-building than the romance between characters.

Despite minor character issues, I still found this an enjoyable world to read and will be reading the next in the series.

Rating: 4 Stars

four-stars

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Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #1)

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1
Published by Penguin, Razorbill on August 25th 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-stars

 

Sydney protects vampire secrets – and human lives.

Sydney belongs to a secret group who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the world of humans and vampires.

But when Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, she fears she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. What unfolds is far worse. The sister of Moroi queen Lissa Dragomir is in mortal danger, and goes into hiding. Now Sydney must act as her protector.

The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one . . .

 

This is a great series for those that loved  Richelle Meads Vampire Academy  series and is pining for more. Bloodlines is set in the same world as Vampire Academy, with some of the same minor characters being brought to the fore-front. Mead purposefully left some loose strings at the end of the series to be explored and the consequences people would face for helping Rose in Last Sacrifice. Bloodlines can be read on it’s own, but I would recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first and then reading Bloodlines.

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, part of a large organisation that help Vampires cover up their existence to protect humans. They believe the Moroi (Vampires) and Dhampirs (half-Vampries) are evil and Sydney was taught from a young age to fear them and believes they are evil monsters.  Lately, she’s been in some trouble with her Alchemist superiors for helping those very same monsters, and thus, is on rocky ground with her job. The Alchemist’s send her undercover at a school in Palm Springs with Moroi Jill Mastrano in an attempt to save Jill’s life. All she has to do is protect Jill, but Sydney’s beliefs are ingrained, and she fears having to spend so much time with the unnatural beings that she has spent her life being taught to hate.

With Sydney are familiar friends: Eddie, Jill and of course Adrian.  I got completely emotionally invested in the characters, mentally cheering them, and hating others for defying them. Every character was complex and had a convincing motive for every action, all connecting in a web of plot lines. I really like Richelle Mead’s voice, in any of her books. Bloodlines drew me in with serious events one moment and then will flip on it’s side and have a humorous scene involving Adrian’s witty banter the next.

Ah, Adrian. Where do I begin? He’s had an unfortunate time with Rose and is now drowning his sorrows in booze, cigarettes and Moroi women. He was brought along in an attempt to give Jill a familiar face and because, let’s face it, he had nothing better to do. At first, he comes across as self-pitying and selfish, but he’s devil-may-care, he’s bad-boy and his witty quips are hilarious.

At the beginning, I was not completely sold on Sydney. I certainly am now. She was everything Rose wasn’t at the beginning, she’s mature, level-headed and over-thinks everything instead of rushing in situations without a moments thought. Sydney has her own issues with Vampires and their magic, she is conflicted between what her family and the Alchemists have brought her up thinking and what she’s seeing before her. She has father issues as well, with insecurities about her weight, as she compares  herself to the Vampires perfect shape, which was somewhat her fathers fault.

One of the reasons she is such a brainiac was because her father strictly homeschooled her and this meant that she had little normal social interaction. She was socially inept which was utterly hilarious, her cluelessness made her unaware of any simple social dynamics. Sydney also had a tendency to help and protect everyone and everything, which sometimes backfired on her. Nonetheless, she was an efficient, competent woman who stood up for herself when needed and did not cower. It was enjoyable to see such a strong, intelligent character that didn’t need brute force, but had brains. Rose and Sydney both are strong characters, and I liked the stark contrast between their personalities. Bloodlines proves to readers that mental strength is just as important as physical strength.

Both Sydney and Adrian have their issues, and I believe they’re perfect for each other. Their relationship is slowly starting to grow into friendship as they begin to trust each other. They do not jump in each other’s arms five minutes after meeting declaring their love, for which I’m extremely grateful.  I immensely enjoyed the slow build-up and found it more believable.

Mead has once again created a fantastic, funny and complex world, bring on The Golden Lily!

Rating: 4 Stars

four-stars

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Review: Other Side Of Forever by Shannon Eckrich

Other Side of Forever by Shannon Eckrich
Published by Self-Published on 24th January 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 236
Format: eBook
Source: Given From Author
three-stars

Other Side of Forever

Seventeen-year-old Allie Anderson’s telekinetic powers are anything but useful-she can’t bring her father back, can’t stop her mother’s downward spiral into alcohol, and can’t keep her from falling in love with Ethan Bradley. Loving Ethan is easy, but it comes with a hefty price: Ethan is prohibited by his people from interacting with mortals–because he isn’t mortal himself. When Allie and Ethan’s love is discovered, there’s someone who will do anything to keep them apart. If Allie can’t learn to control her powers and fight to save Ethan, this dark entity will make every attempt to stop her beating heart. And if that happens, not even the energy of an immortal can bring her back.

I’d like to start by saying thank you Shannon for giving me this book to review. The Other Side Of Forever had a very original  premise and if you’re sick of the constant vampire/werewolf books being churned out, I recommend this one. The concept of mortals and immortals was refreshing.
The telekinetic powers attracted me because it was unique; Allie hates her powers and can’t manipulate them easily, she has kept this secret hidden and whenever she gets emotional, her powers get out-of-control. I liked the idea of energy and how she could control certain objects, this made for a more entertaining read. Allie’s problems at home gave her a believable background and many teenagers could relate to this. It also gave another layer to her character and made her more complex. She had a hard time loving Ethan, because she’d gotten hurt before, so at the beginning she pushes him away. This angst was great and I thought the build-up to their first kiss was nicely paced. Sadly, as the book progresses, I thought they fell in love too quickly to be believable as I felt they barely knew each other. This ruined the romance slightly for me, as their professing love for each other seemed a little silly.
The bad guy’s bravado was poor, he didn’t infuse me with fear for the characters, no matter how powerful he supposedly was. The climax at the end was good, especially because I always like a bad guy that has a past and reasons for his actions, but it was a bit of an information dump at the end, and he sounded like a bad cartoon character. 
I had problems with Allie being saved a lot- she was saved by Ethan on numerous occasions. All of those times she didn’t even try to save herself and that bothered me. I realise she is a character a lot of teenage girls would like though, because she is very passive and could be easily related-to, but she was too passive for me. I think this might be deliberate to make her stronger throughout the series, at least I hope so because I liked the twist at the end and it seemed to be the beginning of her character development.
Ethan was a great male character, I can see a lot of girls fangirling over him. He grabbed me from the moment when he simply sat down and read a book- guys reading books are hot. He had a certain type of mystery surrounding him that made him more alluring and his past was an interesting back story.
There was also a strong balance between plot and romance, with puzzling occurrences in the beginning that lead to hair-raising conclusions in the end.
Overall, it was a great debut novel and even though I had some problems, it had characters that were easily related-to, an original premise, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

I give this a 3 Stars

three-stars

Review: Morrigan: trials of a teenage witch by Amanda McKeon

Morrigan: trials of a teenage witch by Amanda McKeon
Published by Self-Published on November 27th 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Given From Author
three-stars

Morrigan: trials of a teenage witch

Blurb: 
Morrigan Reilly, or Mo, is a lucky girl and she knows it, but something’s bugging her and she can’t pinpoint what it is. Disconnected from her friends since returning to school, and all but invisible to the guy she likes, things just go from bad to worse when she accidentally puts a hex on someone she loves. What Mo doesn’t know is that she’s a witch, descended from the great Celtic goddess, The Morrigan, queen of battle and strife. Mo’s life is about to get a lot more complicated, and she’ll learn the true meaning of that old adage, ‘Be careful what you wish for’…


Amanda emailed me last week and asked me to review her YA book, and having previously heard about the Morrigan before, I was curious so I accepted. It’s about a normal 17-18 year-old girl who lives in Ireland, called Morrigan. She discovers her powers as a witch descended from the Celtic goddess- The Morrigan queen of battle and strife. Morrigan has never before taken ‘be careful what you wish for’ so close to heart until now.
Morrigan seemed to go through a lot in this book and I really empathised for her, but felt her character wasn’t complex enough. This book is written in the third person yet I never really connected with her for some reason. She didn’t have enough of a individual character for me and I never rooted for her as much as I wanted to. I agreed with most of the decisions she made, I just didn’t have enough to relate to. I enjoyed her character, especially in the end chapters, because she seemed like a realistic teenager and I’d really like to see her powers and her character develop in the next book.
I felt the same about most of the characters, as they are something I really analyse when reading. They’re just missing that spark needed to make a really good bunch of main characters. Other than that, I found myself liking all of them, just not loving them.

I thought the beginning of this book was going to be eye-roll worthy, as in the second scene Robbie asks Mo out and she’s left excited about this dream date. However, Amanda surprised me in that aspect, and as I realised what was actually going on in the romance department, I rejoiced. I really liked the guy she picked, and he came across really nicely for the first book, I just thought it was incredibly rushed. As soon as they’d had their first date, they were talking seriously about a relationship. I think the build-up could have been much more intense, and give us chance to see if the reader actually likes him! I hadn’t even decided if I liked the main heroine and if I wanted her to have the best possible guy yet. It happened too rapidly, and if we’d found out more about him, we could have fallen in love with him easier. It was a shame, because I really liked him.
The main storyline was nicely done for a first book. I think the first book is always setting up the series by showing the rules and whatnot.  It had a nice balance between romance and actual plot, and  we find out Morrigan’s powers along with her. What Morrigan can specifically do is unknown by just about everyone, and I liked the mystery, I just wonder if random powers are going to crop up all over the place at convenient times. She can scry, and animals seem attached to her which was amusing. I found myself laughing at the antics Morrigan used her powers for when she’d first discovered them, and was glad that she didn’t use them too recklessly and immaturely. I was genuinely surprised by the ending, I wonder where in the storyline that’s going to be used and hope it will give another layer. I thought that Morrigan was a realistic teenager when she didn’t do much self-defence in this book, and I can see her powers growing interestingly.
The worst problem for me, had to be the editing. This is a self-published book and the typos were pretty bad. There were too many and this had an effect on the overall rating.

 I enjoyed the mythology used and the overall book was interesting and a nice read.
I give this 3 Stars


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three-stars

Review: Frostbite Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead, Leigh Dragoon and Emma Vieceli

Frostbite Graphic Novel by Emma Vieceli, Leigh Dragoon, Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy Graphic Novels #1
Published by Razorbill on August 23rd 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 144
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-half-stars



Blurb:

The drama and romance continue in this 144-page full-color graphic novel adaptation of the second Vampire Academy novel, Frostbite, which was overseen by Richelle Mead and features beautiful art by acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli.

As you might know, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series is one of my favourite series, and I was delighted to find out that a graphic novel was being released. It was illustrated by Emma Vieceli and adapted by Leigh Dragoon.

I really liked it, and thought it got the whole gist of Vampire Academy. However, with the graphic novel, you miss certain funny back and forth, or entire conversations that simply make the book. It’s harder to empathize with Rose, because you don’t fully get immersed into her thoughts.Yet, I think that’s simply because it’s a graphic novel and you can’t cram it full, it just needs the important bits.  Leigh Dragoon adapted it very well, and the witty thoughts are still there, making me laugh. It’s a really quick, easy read for someone who wants to catch up with the books but doesn’t have a lot of time.
The drawings are amazing, Dimitri is drawn well…ahem, and the characters are how they are described in the book, Emma Vieceli has clearly worked hard at trying to get everything correct. I found myself getting enraptured with the story again and flying through the pages, I haven’t read the books in a while and this reminded me how much I desperately need to re-visit them.
Overall an 4.5 Stars

four-half-stars