Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review of Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed

Title/Author: Cinders & Sapphires (At Somerton #1) by Leila Rasheed
Publisher/Date published: Disney Hyperion, January 22nd 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: One house, two worlds...

Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.

For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name — but it would mean giving up her one true love... someone she could never persuade her father to accept.

Sumptuous and enticing, the first novel in the At Somerton series introduces two worlds, utterly different yet entangled, where ruthless ambition, forbidden attraction, and unspoken dreams are hidden behind dutiful smiles and glittering jewels. All those secrets are waiting... at Somerton.

Guys, you know how much I love adult historical romance. And I haven't yet found that excitement I get from the romance and the dresses and everything in a YA historical romance before, but Cinders & Sapphires was everything I could have wanted! It was what I wanted the Luxe series to be, but what it wasn't for me!

I love that Cinders & Sapphires is set in a time when things are a-changing, there's the movement for women's right to vote and to an education and can I just say how happy I am that things worked out, cause you know I wouldn't be where I am now if it hadn't been for those groundbreakers. I loved experiencing the limitations with the hope of MORE through Ada.

The POV switches between several characters, of which I loved Ada and Rose best, though I must say that I have a soft spot for Sebastian as well. Ada is an intelligent young woman who wants to be educated and I love her for that! I loved seeing the bond developing between her and Rose.

Of course there is a starcrossed romance and I love every minute of it! There are furtive glances, meetings behind luggage (though I must say my favourite is still the meeting behind the potted plant), LOVE LETTERS! *sigh* You just can't compare a love letter to an e-mail/text... I did think Ada and Ravi fell in love pretty quickly, but they just had that connection, you know? And gah, there better be some working out of things in the next book!

I loved the drama and the intrigue and the dresses and the romance... And I loved that Leila Rasheed touches upon more than one controversy and there's a homosexual relationship which is something that was NOT DONE in those times.
I did however think that three female characters seemed to be evil without a very good reason for it, there's the classic stepmonster, but I'm willing to overlook this in light of my absolute LOVE of the story!

I read this 400 page novel in no time at all, it was such smooth reading! I've heard Cinders & Sapphires be compared to Downton Abbey and all I can is: if it is anything like this book, I need to watch it! This is absolutely my kind of book and I think any historical fiction/romance loving reader will enjoy it!

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review of The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox

Title/Author: The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, September 18th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Pop quiz: What would you do if you had to solve your own murder to get anywhere in death?

Maybe if I hadn't slept through my alarm, slammed into Kristin - my high school's reigning mean girl - or stepped in a puddle, destroying my mom's new suede DVF boots (which I borrowed without asking), I wouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I wouldn't have been pushed in front of that arriving train. But I did, and I was.

When I came to, I was informed by a group of girls that I'm dead. And that because I died under mysterious circumstances, I can't pass straight over to the Other Side. But at least I'm not alone. Meet the Dead Girls Detective Agency: Nancy, Lorna, and Tess - not to mention Edison, the really cute if slightly hostile dead boy. Apparently, the only way out of this limbo is to figure out who killed me, or I'll have to spend eternity playing Nancy Drew. Considering I was fairly invisible in life, who could hate me enough to want me dead? And what if my murderer is someone I never would have suspected?

Guys, I was counting on this being a fun read, if maybe slightly macabre, and it totally was!

Charlotte is a pretty average girl who happens to be murdered on her way home from school. Yeah, I would be kinda pissed if that had happened to me. So I was kinda surprised that she wasn't! At least not at first. She took it better than I would have.
I liked that Charlotte really wanted to learn more about the business of being a ghost in limbo. There seemed to be a lot of limitations to being dead (aside from the obvious ones) and though I get that, I was wondering at some things, like ghosts not being able to cross water and I would have liked to have at least somewhat of an explanation about why that was. And who had made The Rules and enforced them. I could have done with a little more background there.

This book went into something you hear people say sometimes: how they wish they could see who would come to their funeral. While I haven't really thought about it myself, everything that Charlotte witnesses after she dies makes me wonder how well anyone knows their significant other or their friends, or their classmates. She'd been together with her boyfriend for 17 months and he still did things that surprised her.

But without going delving further into deep and dark things, the whole ghost thing and Charlotte getting to know the Dead Girl Detectives was pretty fun! And then there's the boy-ghost Edison, who Charlotte finds herself being frustrated with and attracted to, so he brings all kinds of conflict. I must say that I kinda loved Edison, he was snarky and had weird ways of showing it, but I believe he really liked Charlotte.

The ending felt a bit rushed and I was wondering at how few pages were left before the end and wondering how Suzy Cox would wrap it up nicely. She did, but I was left feeling a bit like the last chapter had been fast-forwarded and I would have liked it better if it had lasted a little longer.

This was such a quick read for me and had some laugh out loud funny moments. I could easily see this turned into a movie that 13 year-old me would have LOVED (also, I'd totally watch it now as well cause I'm still 13 inside).

My rating: 3,5 stars

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Daisy Update (31)

Hi guys!

It's been a kinda busy week, but the good kind of busy :)

Last Sunday I had dinner with some of my friends from high school and it was really nice! I hadn't seen one of them in months, so it was nice to catch up and hear what everyone's been doing. Unfortunately it was snowing again so I couldn't stay all that long after dinner cause I needed to drive back, which took over an hour.

Wednesday I had my day off and because the boyfriend was preparing for the defense of his thesis on Thursday, I kept myself busy by baking a New York Cheesecake, which is SO GOOD! Even though it takes HOURS, it was totally worth it, I'd never had it before and I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Thursday the boyfriend defended his thesis and he got a really good grade on it and now he's DONE! YAY! I'm so proud of him for graduating for the second time! He's officially graduating in March :) That night we had dinner with his parents to celebrate and we went to a tapas restaurant. I LOVE tapas! YUM!

Friday is always a slightly crazy day at work cause it seems there are a lot more people coming into the ER than on other days and I had a really sick patient to take care of. So I worked late and was just exhausted when I got home. We had dinner and then I fell asleep on the couch. I felt like a horrible girlfriend...

Yesterday was pretty relaxing cause I didn't have to do much of anything during the day. It was kinda annoying that I woke up at 7.15AM, but I got a lot of relaxing time in that way ;) I read, caught up on blogging and watched a Grey's Anatomy episode, I can't believe I'm 7 episodes behind!! Seriously! With all the hospital drama I see when I'm working, I've sort of been avoiding watching it during my time off I guess.

Then yesterday night we went to see a band play and it was awesome! The boyfriend has known one of the guys in the band since elementary school and has always remained friends with him, we've been to see them a couple of times before and it's amazing to see how far they've come since the first time I've seen them perform!

Today I'll probably be doing some more relaxing, blogging, reading, being excited that it's FINALLY not freezing anymore and that the rain is washing away all the icky snow, hooray!
I hope you all have a great week!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Review of Splintered by A.G. Howard

Title/Author: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Publisher/Date published: Amulet Books, January 1st 2013
How I got this book: bought it

Goodreads summary: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers — precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

I always have mixed feelings before diving into a retelling, I'm both excited and worried the author has screwed up one of the stories I know by heart. I'd heard people rave about Splintered before I started it (namely Rachel @ Fiktshun whose taste in books I completely trust) and guys, IT WAS SO GOOD!!!

I absolutely love the tale of Alice in Wonderland and this darker, twistier version of what exactly happened is just my kind of story! A.G. Howard has managed to completely alter my perception of Lewis Carroll's tale, making me even more intrigued and gah, now I want to re-read his original tale! And this one! I loved the tale but couldn't get into the writing style as a kid, so I might just have to give it another try.

Alyssa is a little off-beat and I like that. I thought using bugs she traps and kills for her art was a little gruesome, but it fit into the story really well. I felt so bad for Alyssa, being afraid she would go mad like her mother and trying desperately not to resemble her in any way. I loved seeing her grow throughout the novel and embrace her identity, it was wonderful! I would have liked to have seen a little more of how things were the 'real world' before diving into Wonderland, but I can easily overlook this, cause the story really took off once we went down the rabbit hole.

Of course there are the boys: Jeb and Morpheus. And for once, while I'm usually all about the good guy, and I do love Jeb, I could actually imagine choosing Morpheus. That is one sexy winged guy! And he could relate to Alyssa's darker side far better and got her connection to Wonderland. I kinda loved his dual nature.
But Jeb stole my heart as well with his protectiveness and his genuine caring for Alyssa and just being selfless.

I really got lost in A.G. Howard's writing and her version of Wonderland! I kinda saw some of the twists coming, but was shocked by the ones I didn't! And it felt wonderful! I was so rooting for Alyssa, Jeb AND Morpheus (I can't help it, I love him) to figure everything out and I wasn't sure whether to wish for Alyssa to stay in Wonderland or to return to her home, but I was just so there in the moment with these characters! I love it when that happens!

I was kinda sad about one thing though:
Jeb forgot EVERYTHING that happened in Wonderland!! I mean, seriously? All the moments in which I adored him and he just doesn't remember any of it?? Also: how is Alyssa ever going to tell him about it? Is she going to tell him at all? I just don't want to let these characters go and want ALL THE ANSWERS!

A.G. Howard's writing is vivid and amazing and completely lives up to the gorgeousness that is the cover of Splintered! With this as her debut, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. I completely fell in love with this dark and twisty version of Alice in Wonderland and am already itching to reread it!

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review of The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Title/Author: The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
Publisher/Date published: Dial, January 10 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, angling to exploit the young Crown's inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

With a tagline that said 'Tamora Pierce meets George R.R. Martin' this book had A LOT to live up to. Fortunately, it was completely awesome, so this wasn't a problem whatsoever!

It took me about two or three chapters to get sucked into the story, but from that moment all I really wanted to do was READ ON. So while I was really busy, I still managed to read it in 3 days time, I just flew through it! The writing was engaging and kept me turning page after page wanting to find out what would happen next and OMG! how were they going to get out of this mess???

I kinda loved Renee. Maybe I was slightly biased because she and my mom share a name, but still, she was just plain awesome. I loved that she wanted to prove her worth rather than sit idly and rely on her father's connections and the place she could claim in society because of it. I love that she learns to see things differently and can admit she's wrong. I could easily see a girl of 16 making the choices she made sometimes and it was amazing to see her grow as a person through all that happens.

So there are some amazing other characters as well, mostly Savoy and his little brother. Savoy is one of those heroes who needs to learn it's ok to have a softer side while being a warrior. He's tough and he's hard on others, but has a firm sense of justice he lives by. I respect that. I may not always agree with him, but I can respect that. Also, his younger brother is all kinds of adorable and I just wanted to reach out and ruffle his hair!
I really liked Alec at first, but towards the end I felt betrayed by him and well, I still can't believe he'd turn his back on his friends, no matter the circumstances.

I really liked the magic system and the worldbuilding and GAH I JUST NEED MORE! Please let there be more! I need more Renee and Savoy and Tildor and the Academy and just ALL OF IT! I'm not done living in this world through the pages!

I really hope this will be an epic SERIES cause I absolutely loved this debut novel! Alex Lidell made me live in the moment with Renee and actually brought tears to my eyes a couple of times and while I'm a huge sap when it comes to romance, other types of novels rarely make me cry, so major kudos to Alex Lidell!
The Cadet of Tildor is everything that makes my fantasy-loving heart happy, highly recommended!

My rating: 5 stars

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Daisy Update (30) and Book Haul (8)

Hi guys!

So work was actually kinda good this week except for Friday when it was beyond awful because I had to give someone news that is unfair and horrible and just wrong.

Last Sunday we had dinner with one of my best friends, we went to a Mexican restaurant and I just love the food there! The boys ended up eating my leftovers cause they give you SO MUCH food and I was completely full! After that we went to see the Hobbit and guys, I really enjoyed it! I still think it's a stunt for money that they're making a 351 page book into a three-part movie, but it was really well done and I actually felt that the 3D added something this time.

It started snowing on Monday night, but with my new car I can actually use the brake and not have to be scared of sliding across the road so that's definitely an improvement. It looks like it'll snow again tonight, I wish it'd just stop. Also, it's been SO COLD! I'm wishing for sun and warmth... I hate winter.

Wednesday night we had one of the boyfriend's friends and his girlfriend over for dinner which was really nice! We hadn't seen them in a couple of months because he's been abroad for his work, which has the added bonus that we can go visit him there in April :)

Yesterday I made the smoke alarm go off because I accidentally turned on the microwave in our combined microwave-oven when I wanted to bake a bun... And the stupid thing wouldn't stop making that annoying beeping noise! I was about to throw it out the window when I though of putting it in one of my boots in the other room and thankfully it stopped after that! The boyfriend totally made laughed at me for that...
We had dinner at the boyfriend's parents' and after hung out and watched a movie together, it was nice to have it just be the two of us for a change :)

I'm going over to my parents' in a little while and after I'm having dinner with friends from high school who I haven't seen in a while, I love hanging out with them but with all our busy schedules (3 doctors and 1 medical researcher) it's difficult to find the time for it.

Book Haul

Egalleys for review:
-The Marrying Season by Candace Camp: I LOVE historical romances where they believe their marriage to be of convenience and have a passionate love instead!
-My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling: YES GREEK MYTHOLOGY!
-Surprising Lord Jack by Sally MacKenzie
-Linked by Imogen Howson: ALL THE EXCITEMENT! Isn't the cover gorgeous?
-The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler: I've been meaning to read one of Sarah Ockler's books, cause I've heard amazing things about them!
-The Earl in my Bed by Sophie Jordan: I LOVE Sophie Jordan's historical romance, so of course I need to read this novella!
-Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll: sounds creepy!
-A Curse of Kings by Alex Barclay: it sounds like the beginning of an epic new fantasy series, of course I'm IN!
-The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm: ok, so this has the potential to be either AMAZING or the cheesiest of chees, I'm hoping for the first.
-The Iron King by Maurice Druon: first published in 1955 and full of court intrigue, yay!
-Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath: I really enjoyed the second book in this series and the novella!
-One More Kiss by Mary Blayney
-Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd: I'm slightly obsessed with Tudor England, so this is bound to be my kind of book :)

-Vortex by Julie Cross: I really enjoyed Tempest and am really excited to find out what happens next!
-Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
-A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James
-Splintered by A.G. Howard: SO EXCITED! The cover is stunning!
-Incarnate by Jodi Meadows: LOVED this when I read it last year and needed my own shiny copy :)

That's all for me! Leave me a link in the comments and I'll be sure to visit your book haul :)
Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review of How A Lady Weds A Rogue by Katharine Ashe

Title/Author: How A Lady Weds A Rogue (Falcon Club #3) by Katharine Ashe
Publisher/Date published: Avon, September 25th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Gentleman’s Rule #1: If a lady is virtuous, he should deny her nothing.

Beautiful Diantha Lucas understands society’s rules: a young lady must find a man to marry. But Diantha has a bigger goal, and she’s not afraid of plunging into adventure to achieve it. When daring, dashing Wyn Yale rescues her, she’s certain he’s just the man she needs.

As an agent for the secret Falcon Club, Wyn knows his duty, but he’s not about to admit he’s a hero of any sort. He has a plan, too: steal a prized horse, murder an evil duke, avenge an innocent girl, and probably get hanged for it — in that order. Wyn can’t afford to be distracted by a pretty face, even one with delectable dimples and kissable lips. But how can a country miss and a hardened spy solve their problems when they can’t keep their hands off each other?

Guys, cold days and busy times at work always make me crave a good romance to just get lost in. And Katharine Ashe hasn't failed me in delivering exactly this!

Diantha was a minor character earlier on in the series and while I wasn't particularly invested in her then, I'm glad she got her own story! I love that Diantha went after what she wanted while stretching the boundaries of what a woman in that time could do. She charms her way around most problems and I kinda liked that. Of course I thought some of her plans were not all that well thought through, but well, you can't have it all.

Wyn definitely adds the whole dark and mysterious thing to the hero, though his drinking problem was a little off-putting to me. Also, his drunkenness didn't really seem to incapacitate him much, which felt a bit weird to me, as I've seen many drunk people and at times they're not even capable of locating their own feet. But I did love him for wanting to sober up for Diantha and his whole hero complex and because at heart he's a good guy.

I really liked their chemistry and that for once it was the woman trying to coax kisses from the hero, instead of the other way around. I like that they're actually together for a longer period of time and really get to know one another instead of just instantly falling in love and that they've seen each other at their best and worst.

There are some obstacles on their path to a happily ever after and I was REALLY annoyed because of one of them: Diantha's brother. He's being a pompous ass and being obstructive for no good reason and a stupid misunderstanding and just GAH!

Towards the end there's one of the often used plot points which I won't explain further for spoilers, but which always manages to bring tears to my eyes. And I just loved it and HAD to finish the book before going to sleep even though it was already way pas my bedtime.

In the past two years I've fallen in love with Katharine Ashe's historical romance novels and this one is no exception. I love being swept away in the rush of falling in love and obstacles and misunderstandings and just ALL THE FEELINGS. While this may not be my favourite of her novels I've read, it's still highly recommended.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Daisy Update (29)

Hi guys!

Work has finally quieted down somewhat, YAY! I hope it lasts, though with the expectation of snow this week it probably won't.

I've been having a couple of crazy busy weeks, the Sunday before Christmas it was my turn again to work a 24-hour shift an the night shift the week after. Luckily I had both days of Christmas itself off (we celebrate Christmas on 25 and 26 December in Holland, it feels so weird that in America you only have Christmas Day!) and I got to spend it with my boyfriend, parents and brother, which was really nice. We just ate a lot of yummy food and exchanged presents and I just love spending time with them all. The boyfriend got me a new fluffy bathrobe, so I've been lounging in that whenever I get the chance.

The day after Christmas one of the boyfriend's friends came over, we hadn't seen him in 3 or 4 years, he actually lives in the US and comes to Holland about once a year, so it was really nice to have him over for a couple of hours.

The weekend after we went away with the boyfriend's parents and his brothers, sister and their significant others, which was nice. And then it was time for New Year's Eve, we hung out with some friends and had a fun time.

And then last week on Saturday I was once again working a 24-hour shift which was crazy busy and left me feeling (and probably looking) like zombie on Sunday, so I just sat around all day, read a bit and tried to muster up the courage to go to work again on Monday. My day off has been switched to Wednesday again, which I actually kinda like, cause it allows me to catch up on some relaxing during the week, so I'm not as exhausted by Friday night. Though I was ready to just sleep for days after my night shift on Friday.

Yesterday I went to the spa with my mom and it was wonderful! We just sat around in the sauna and hot tubs all day and I just felt so relaxed after! We also got a hydrojet massage, which I loved. After I stayed at my parents' and watched some TV with my mom and cuddled the dogs. I love those puppies!

Tonight we're having dinner with one of my friends and her boyfriend and we're finally going to see The Hobbit after! We've been trying to plan it for weeks and it seems like it'll finally happen tonight :) Also: YAY MEXICAN FOOD!

Bookish update: I've been reading again! YAY! I finished two books this week that were amazing and fun and I'm just in a happy reading place at the moment :) There are some exciting new releases that are on their way to my mailbox and I can't wait till they arrive!

I hope you all had a great week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Title/Author: Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins
Publisher/Date published: Hyperion Books, March 2nd 2010
How I got this book: bought, to celebrate the end of one of my internships I think :)

Goodreads summary: Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father - an elusive European warlock - only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

So I totally loved Hex Hall. LOVED. I was dragged into the story right from the first page and now I'm going crazy waiting for the next two books to get here! HOW WILL I SURVIVE THIS WAITING?? And why didn't wasn't this one of those times that I just went ahead and bought the whole series before even reading one of them? *sigh*

There's just something about boarding schools that I love. It intensifies the relationships between everyone cause you're around your fellow students 24/7 and a paranormal boarding school is just all kinds of exciting and mysterious. I loved the school as a setting and especially that it had a spell on it so it looked either shabby or luxurious based on how comfortable you felt there. That is so cool.

Sophie is my kind of girl: snarky, sassy, strong and with my kind of humor. I'd only read about 27 pages and I'd snorted twice already. There were definitely some laugh out loud moments and I'd been craving them! I've been reading somewhat heavier books and this was just what I needed! I love that Sophie isn't all good or bad, she has her greyness and I like that.

And Archer, oh my gosh, Archer. Like Sophie, I fell hard for that boy. There's just something about him. And even though he's arrogant as heck and there's this unnameable thing because OMG SPOILERS! I still love him. So he better unbreak my heart in the next two books. Or else. Seriously.

I literally flew (no pun intended, witches and all) through Hex Hall and have already ordered both of the next books in the series cause I'm DYING to find out what'll happen next. And to meet Sophie's dad. I have a feeling I might not like him all that much though.
I cannot believe it took me so long to read this book!! Seriously, why did noone scream at me until I read this book?? I mean, it's such a ME book!


My rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review of The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title/Author: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Publisher/Date published: Disney Hyperion, December 18th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her — East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

I seriously just finished this book and really you guys: THIS BOOK! How is this book not all over the blogosphere being gushed about or have I just been missing it??? I mean: THIS BOOK!

The summary sounded like it would be just my kind of book: paranormal, breaking away from the system, LOVE, high stakes. And it was all I could have wanted from it and more!!

What happens to Ruby and all the other kids is heartbreaking in itself and it's SO scary how I can actually imagine something like this happening! And all the adults are so scared of the abilities their kids have developed they actually let the government take them away! I don't want to spoil anything, but what happened with Ruby and her parents tore my heart out. I could feel her scaredness and helplessness as if it had happened to me.

And guys, I loved Ruby. She's smart and strong and fierce and loyal and I just loved her. I loved seeing how she grows as a person through her friendship with Suzume, Chubs and Liam and how she learns to trust people again. And can I just say that I loved the whole gang of them? It took me a while to warm up to Chubs, but now I just want to hug his smartass.

And Liam! Liam is amazing and wonderful and has a big ol' heroes complex, but I can forgive that cause he's just such a good guy and as you know I have a thing for good guys. And the slow burn romance made my heart happy and I got to the point where I just wanted to scream at them to kiss already and it was kinda perfect.

The pace is just right and if I hadn't been crazy busy I would have finished this much earlier, I had to physically tear myself away from the pages or else I wouldn't stop reading. I've seriously missed some sleep cause I just couldn't stop reading this book and I didn't care cause it was just SO GOOD!
And again: I don't want to spoil anything but with what happened at the end, Alexandra Bracken left me clutching my heart cause it was being ripped out and stomped on! Seriously!

I felt ALL THE THINGS while reading The Darkest Minds and I absolutely love the world Alexandra Bracken has created and all the characters in it (well, maybe not all, but I do love to hate those I do not love) and I cannot wait for book 2!!

My rating: 5+ stars

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Daisy Update (28) and Book Haul (7)

Hi guys!

This'll be a rather short update, as I'm sorta resembling a zombie at the moment after working a REALLY busy 24-hour shift and even though I slept for a couple of hours I'm still really tired. Work is still crazy, I hope it'll quiet down this week somewhat. With the holidays and work it feels like I've barely been home or reading...
I'll tell all about the last couple of week next Sunday, but for now I'll leave you guys with my book haul, which covers the last month :)

Book Haul

Ok, so keep in mind this is a month worth of books :)

Egalleys For Review

-Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett: SO EXCITED! I LOVED Geek Girl by the same author and this sounds all kinds of wonderful!
-The Forbidden Queen by Anne O'Brien
-Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley: it sounds really intense and creepy!
-Through The Ever Night by Veronica Rossi: I loved, loved, LOVED Under the Never Sky and can't wait to see what's next for Aria and Perry. And Roar (love).
-The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd: I've heard amazing things about this one!
-Requiem by Lauren Oliver: EEE! I still haven't read Pandemonium because I was scared by everyone going AAAH! at the ending, but now I can read this one straight after so I think I'll be ok :)
-School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
-The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander
-The Loop by Shandy Lawson
-If You Give A Rake A Ruby by Shana Galen: I just love Shana Galen's historical romance novels!
-Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt
-Godiva by Nicole Galland: who hasn't heard of Godiva? This is bound to make my little history-loving heart happy!
-The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan
-And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens
-The Rules by Stacey Kade: a girl created in a genetics lab, hello EXCITEMENT!
-Geek Girl by Holly Smale: this sounds like so much fun!
-Sins of a Ruthless Rogue by Anna Randol

Christmas Gifts
Don't You Forget About Me by Alexandra Potter: I love her chicklit :)
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
With many thanks to my brother :)

Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter
The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes: this sounds like just my kind of book and the cover is gorgeous!
Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey: I know Rachel @ Fiktshun is a fan of this book, so that's really enough reason for me to pick it up :)
Tempest by Julie Cross: I really liked it when I read it last year, wanted my own copy

I get really excited looking at all my pretty books :) Let me know what you got, leave a link in the comments and I'll be sure to check yours!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review of Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier

Title/Author: Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1) by Juliet Marillier
Publisher/Date published: Random House Children's Books, September 11th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill — a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk — Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death — but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban’s release from Keldec’s rule.

Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit I'd never read anything by Juliet Marillier before and pretty much EVERY fantasy fan I've met has been singing her praises, so there's really no excuse. I think I even own one or two of her earlier books.
But now I have and consider me converted!

Shadowfell is the beginning of Neryn's epic journey, it's the classical hero's journey, which I happen to love. Neryn's a girl who's been through a lot and has come out stronger for it. She keeps going even when things look hopeless and I was cheering her on every step of the way. I loved seeing how she grew into her canny skills and discovered more about herself. I especially appreciated one scene towards the end in which she faces all the loved ones she's lost, I felt for her pain there and it added a new level to Neryn's character.

And then there's Flint. A guy I'd probably fall in love with in a heartbeat if I'd been Neryn. I really enjoyed seeing the friendship grow between them even though they both have major trust issues. At least their trust issues are based on actual problems. Flint is mysterious and troubled and it's not always clear what his motives are exactly, but I just wanted to hug him. And I absolutely loved him in the final chapters.

The world Shadowfell is set in is really interesting and intricated and I think we've only seen the tip of the iceberg with this first book. There have been hints of creatures and places that I'm really excited about seeing for myself as the series continues and I REALLY want to meet Keldec, the tyrant king.

Shadowfell is my kind of epic fantasy and while some of it was a bit slow, I was thoroughly enjoying myself reading this book! I think the next book will give us more magic, epic battles and just all around fantasy goodness. Also, I want to see more of this lovely, sweet romance we've only seen the beginning of.

My rating: 4,5 stars