~ A Young Adult and Fantasy Book Blog ~

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wilde Island is not at peace. The kingdom mourns the dead Pendragon king and awaits the return of his heir; the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is strained; and the regent is funding a bloodthirsty witch hunt, hoping to rid the island of half-fey maidens.
Tess, daughter of a blacksmith, has visions of the future, but she still doesn't expect to be accused of witchcraft, forced to flee with her two best friends, or offered shelter by the handsome and enigmatic Garth Huntsman, a warden for Dragonswood. But Garth is the younger prince in disguise and Tess soon learns that her true father was fey, making them the center of an exciting, romantic adventure, and an ancient prophecy that will bring about peace between all three races - dragon, human, and fairy.

Well, this review had to be short otherwise I run a risk of not finishing my assignment (Boo meeee!!!)

I wish I'd take shorter time to finish this book because it is truly a very charming book. It is that kind of story I would tell my nieces and nephews (as I'm still riding solo ::forever alone::) as bedtime stories. I never thought I'd long for this but yeah, I wish there was more romance because the love story was very sweet, I felt like I want to push Garth and Tess towards each other and yell "What are you waiting for? Just get married already!!"

The story was quite predictable as well but I didn't mind it that much because the writing is very smooth. The prologue was written ridiculously well but that didn't hold true for the rest of the book, probably because the author had to conform to the lighter tone as the story progresses.

But I must say, as much as I admire Tess for her bravery and loyalty, she's not the ass-kicking heroine our Young Adult market is currently flooded with (it's refreshing, believe me). But the story was told in a very traditional way, found in countless other Fantasy books. So, I think it is a good read but it will not be too memorable.

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Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

***Minor spoilers alert***

I wanted to like this book.

I wanted to like this book so bad.

The first 50 pages were so epic I almost ready to sacrifice my sleep to finish this book.

His arms are tatted up, half sleeves to his elbows. His eyebrow is missing a ring they must've confiscated. Dark blue eyes dark brown hair sharp jawline strong lean frame. Gorgeous. Dangerous. Terrifying. Horrible.

My heart almost stopped beating. The writing was very refreshing. Well, I found it refreshing anyway. Absence of commas, strokes here and there, multiple adjectives, exact numbers. Some people might find sentences are not minivans. Well, this got me laughing till my side cramped.

Juliette was captivating in the beginning. A little bit OCD-ish I must say. I liked how most things worked to unnerve her, she meant to be that way, with what she'd experienced. I liked how she was longing for touch not because she was a pervert but because she meant to be like that. But as the story progressed, she annoyed me so much with her overdramatic thoughts and lust (yes lust!) for Adam and somehow for Warner (euwwwhhh!)

I don't care if Adam and Juliette liked each other since they were 14. If the author intended to make their love sounds super grandiose by narrating their background story like that, all I can say is I don't buy it. They were like...trying to make out whenever they had the chance!

Then, there were some weird scenes such as when Juliette having a mental breakdown when she knew that English language would be banned soon. I was like, did I miss something or Juliette was indeed just a little bit psychotic? Next, when she assumed that Adam betrayed her, she still had her eyes on him...in a loving way. LOL! I don't understand you, woman!

But here comes the most ridiculous ending of all (sorry for the hyperbola)

Juliette did not just have Rogue's power, she got her own superhero suit!

Oh look, Mr Fantastic and Electro did a brief cameo.

Eh, we got Randall from Monster Inc as well!

Want to make a superhero series? Pick some original superpowers, will ya?

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The Shapeshifter's Secret by Heather Ostler
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

She tried telling herself to stop, but it was useless. Something had fully claimed her mind and body. A sound began to erupt from inside her chest, a deep sort of growl that seized her entire being. She felt as if there was a grizzly bear inside her, trying to escape. And then a deafening roar echoed from her mouth, only inches away from Lancer’s face. It took everything inside of her not to attack him.
In Julia’s life, timing is everything. Like the time her paranoid father put bars on her window so she wouldn’t sneak out at night—even though she’s never given him a reason not to trust her. Or the time this weird new kid showed up at her school and pretty much every girl in sight instantly and inexplicably fell in love with him. What was up with that?
But as time moves on, things in Julia’s life go from strange to seriously impossible. Now it’s all she can do to keep herself and the life she’s always known from falling apart.
This fast-paced action-adventure story is packed with humor, romance, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing to the very last page. Get lost in a world of hidden royalty, shifting alliances, and dangerous vendettas, but don’t ever forget: nothing is what it seems.

This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Cedar Fort Publishing.

I hate bashing a book by a debut author, but dear Heather Ostler, my feeling after I finished your book is identical to the feeling I got after I had been Rickrolled.
Oh, that famous ankle-dancing simply melts my heart

Like, if I were to pull a prank on an innocent victim, I'd tell that person to read this book because;

This fast-paced action-adventure story is packed with humor, romance, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing to the very last page. Get lost in a world of hidden royalty, shifting alliances, and dangerous vendettas, but don’t ever forget: nothing is what it seems.

Remember that? It's from the blurb. And I got almost nothing of those.


It was bit unfortunate because I read this right after I finished with Daughter of Bone and Smoke, so it was like one of those moments when you just ate a banquet from a top restaurant, you come home and someone offers you a plate or yesterday's microwaved lasagne.

To add salt to the wound, I was forced to read this on my laptop, in pdf format because somehow I couldn't copy it into my tablet (and I don't have a kindle account to ask for the kindle format).

I had several moments where I was so tempted to pile this in my DNF shelf but unlike Wilde's Fire, I kept telling myself to move on because for the first 280 pages out of 330, there was technically nothing going on! How am I supposed to write a review if I had nothing to review on?

This is so frustrating because look at the cover! It is beyond gorgeous!!!

*Tries to calm herself by singing soft kitty*

I'm sorry to say but the opening can't get anymore cliche than that. Set in a US high school, Julia and Sierra are two besties. One day, a new boy, Caleb enrol in the school and he seems to know a lot about Julia and Julia is instantaneously drawn to him.

Usually I'd be grateful when I know that ***Spoilers ahead*** the mysterious guy like Caleb is not the protag, Julia's love interest. That's new! But no, her romance with Terrence was all over the place and more like a customary jock-cheerleader relationship than an actual love.***Spoilers finished***[the mysterious guy like Caleb is not the protag, Julia's love interest. That's new! But no, her romance with Terrence was all over the place and more like a customary jock-cheerleader relationship than an actual love. (hide spoiler)]

The story did pick up afterwards. The home raid and the escape whereby Caleb saved Julia's life was surprisingly well-written. Now that I thought about it, it seems like someone else was writing those parts.

What happens next reminded me a lot of Hex Hall...

...and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret.

Tom Riddle Julia is a descendent of Salazar Slytherin Siron, therefore she's the only one who can open the chamber portal...

Sophie Julia's grandmother mother tries to kill her...

The idea of a school for wizards shapeshifters and water people (yes, that phase is used by the book), the invisibility cloak rock, the bitter Prof Snape Mr Knightley yada yada.

No, simply no.

It's puzzling me that this is a stand-alone book because lots of background information was thrown in the book, some of them are not relevant at all and at the end, ***Spoilers ahead*** Alexis escaped and the government still remained corrupted. And the lie detector ring! I thought it'll come into use somehow!***Spoilers finished***

And last time I checked, this book is tagged as Young Adult not Juvenile or Middle Grade but the writing is very basic and simple. And if I have a middle-grader sister, I would still ask her to avoid this book because I hardly found any inspiring characters or valuable lessons out of it.

God...what's with the teenage angst and deserting your friend because he didn't tell you he has a girlfriend?

And these dialogues...

I imagined them coming out of this girl
Yup, the infamous annoying facebook girl

So...I should expect that this book has many twists and turns?

The only twist I got was at the end, and it wasn't even remotely surprising because I long had expected it to be an inside-job.

Sorry, but I'm off to grab an aspirin.

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

What a ride.

This book was nothing I expected it to be, yet it was everything I hoped it would be.

This review will consist more of my ramblings, disordered thoughts than an actual review. I just have to share my experience with this book!!!

I found out about this book from Amazon Best of 2011 list and after I read The Night Circus, I seriously didn’t feel compelled to read anymore books from this list! My experience with The Night Circus wasn’t a pleasant one because I rushed through it and I couldn’t understand a single thing. Yes, yes, patience is definitely not one of my virtues. I mean, with a cover and a title like that, I thought this would be another book enriched with hidden philosophical messages, making my brain hemorrhaging with riddles which will end up be the sole reason of me flunking my Bioinformatics assignment.

Oh yes, I’ve read this while desperately trying to finish my Bioinformatics assignment. =_=”

...which was not a good combination because this book was impossible to put down! *sigh*

Lemme tell you a story. I had this book for over a month from the library but I was stuck reading other books. And I pretty much need to read other books within these two months but not this book. So, I actually had made up my mind to return this book and decided to read this later. But then I thought reading the first page wouldn't hurt.

“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.”

If a book started off like that, do you think I can stop reading?

By page 12, I had a serious case of nerdgasm. This book was oh, so beautifully written.

By page 50, I was determined to dye my hair blue-black.
to Not that I was blonde before but anyway...

You know, this book was like this exotic fruit, durian.


As like the exterior of durian, I was indeed repelled by the cover and the title of the book. As like the smell of durian, once I opened it, I was drawn by the exquisite oddness of Karou’s world. As like the case of overdosing durians, I had to take regular breaks while reading this book because I felt feverish after about every 50 pages or so. Not feverish bad but feverish good. Like, this book literally assaulted my senses, emotions and imaginations.

And hello, I think if everyone wants their honeymoon to be in Paris, I’d say, screw that! I’ll have mine in Prague. Even if that means I have to marry myself.

Here’s the funny part, do you remember Taylor Swift’s Love Story music video? *wink2* The ball scene in this book was a perfect, yet odd reminiscent of that video. Like, majestic!

The last quarter of the book was quite an erratic ride because I was desperate for the answer! Who is Karou for God sake! And Laini fed me with this flashback within a flashback (flashbackception) that intensely threaten my patience and sanity. I even thought if I had to wait until the second book to know the answer, I’d gone mad in between.

***Spoilers ahead***

Some did pointed out the insta-love element of this book but I thought, it was a justifiable insta love (they were lovers in past life)[(they were lovers in past life) (hide spoiler)]? Alas, Karou and Akiva did kick each other’s butt in their first two or three encounters. One small criticism would be that I was a bit uncomfortable with Madrigal sneaking out at nights to make love with Akiva. I know, me and my conservative mind! :/

***Spoilers finished***

So...I heard that the Universal Studios had bought the right to make the movie adaption. Gee...I think the only adaption possible is to make the it into an anime because this book was so out of this world. But we’ll see...

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The Hobbit [Dramatized] by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The original American full dramatization as broadcast on National Public Radio.
Bilbo Baggins, a gentle hobbit who loves the comforts of home, reluctantly joins a company of dwarves on a journey to recover plundered gold from a fierce dragon. It's a tale of high adventure and astonishing courage-and a magical prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

After watching LOTR trilogy for at least twice, I admit that I'm still a noob in this Middle Earth story. I once hated Bilbo Baggins. I felt sorry for Frodo because he had to clean up whatever mess his uncle had created. I mean, if Bilbo never stolen the Ring from Gollum, Frodo didn't have to go through all the trouble to go to Mordor in order to destroy the Ring. Ha-ha! If it was never stolen, then there would be no hindrance for Sauron to rise to his power all over again. Silly me!

Since then, I felt neutral towards Bilbo Baggins...

...until I've read (or technically heard) The Hobbit!

What can I say, J.R.R. Tolkien was a master in storytelling. It's a shame that I still have yet to read the LOTR trilogy. I do believe that the books must hold greater magic than the epic movies which just stunned me from start to finish, over and over again.

The experience with my first ever audiobook was quite interesting. I kept anticipating for Ian McKellen's voice but instead I heard this dude with Snape's accent playing Gandalf which was odd yet entertaining. But I definitely, definitely need to read the actual book itself because of my short attention span problem!

Release date 14 December 2012? And for Part 2 a year later? One does not simply survive this torturous wait!!!

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Wilde's Fire by Krystal Wade
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most." - Katriona Wilde. Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she's ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she's dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate's forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What's worse, she has no control over her new future, and it's full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made. Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press.

I don’t mind lesser known books, I never mind lesser known books. In fact, by going hipster I discovered Soul Seeker and The Curse Girl :3 So, when this title was up on NetGalley, I was like

Nice cover, interesting blurb. I mean, we’re talking about portal here,
Bring it on!

Sadly, my patience grew paper end and eventually it vanished.

Usually when I did not finish a book, I’ll mindlessly give it 1 star, end of story. But I think this book deserves another star because I given up on it because it was just plain and boring, not like I hated it so much, I felt like I want to drag the author to the parallel universe and demand that she/he returns my lost time, trying to read whatever crap this author had put together.

Like, well, like what I felt and still feel towards Fallen, Shattered Souls and Die for Me.

Overall, this book sounded very armature-ish. The writing was really choppy and stiff at start but fortunately, it got better afterwards but not enough to pull me into the story.

I wished the author can come up with better materials next time because I seriously, seriously had several moments of déjà vu.

1. The main female protagonist, Katriona accidently/forcefully enters a new magical world. The Iron King anyone? To add to the shame, I found out that the humans in this book did call Arland and his people as elves.

2. Katriona is the key to defeat the Darkness, the evil force based on an ancient prophecy. Reminding me a lot of The Fallen Star.

3. Katriona dreamt of Arland even before she actually meet him. Sounded like Beautiful Darkness. =_=”

The characters! Urghh...


I think my favourite was actually the potato.

Yup, seriously. Arland as the supposedly hot, smoldering love interest was stiff as cardboard. Brad? Oh, gosh! I’m sorry but this dude is one pathetic friend-zone guy. Whenever he uses line like ‘I’ve always love you and continue to until I die’ I was like, who says things like that anymore? Maybe your grandpa to your grandma (which is really sweet) but for a teenage boy? I don’t think so.

Moving on to Kate. I don’t care if she says she shared bed with her sister, Brit and Brad before, but for her to invite Arland to her bed and went to the washroom together was just inappropriate. So, she knew him very well in her dreams but she just met Arland for a few days at that time in real life! If the author thought about fanservice, I suggest she read Kuroshitsuji, this manga would make the idea of having a demonic butler as the love interest to a 13-years old boy seems viable.

Kate dreamed a tragic dream, she woke up, she cried. Kate tried a spell, nothing happened, she gave up. Kate tried to open the portal back, she failed, she got depressed. I mean, there were like few pages dedicated just to convey how helpless and defeated she felt.

Luckily, whenever she got emo, she managed to rationalize herself again. But realizing this happened cyclically, I had to given up on this book. I don’t think I can’t handle anymore of her break downs for no valid reasons.

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Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Can true love survive the end of the world?
Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice--between her family--and Chris Parker, the boy she'd given her heart. Now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he's the only thing on her mind.
All Chris "Chase" Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed--breaking his heart without ever telling him why.
Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones to a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk...and feed. As they begin their pilgramage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost--all while attempting to save what's left of the human race?

This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and  NLA Digital Liaison Platform LLC.

This was how the story went for me;

Yup, the first 1/3 of the book was quite annoying but unexpectedly, the story picked up its pace after that and I was quite entertained by the progression. But then, it ended worse than it started. For the last hundred pages, I actually didn't care anymore whether the two protagonists, Chase and Peyton would survived the zombie apocalypse.

Truth be told, I'm currently majoring in Microbiology and I was fairly impressed by the author's knowledge about the possible properties of epidemic plaque. The zombies in this book were depicted as having originally caused by mutated HIV vaccine and the trigger was the infectious super-Flu. Factually, HIV does mutate at a high frequency and flu is indeed very infectious without prior immunity. So, kudos to the author for getting her facts right :)

Okay, here comes the actual review.

I must say that the cover literally represents the story itself in one glance. Here we got our Razor Girl, Peyton Anderson with super-enhanced cybernetics courtesy of her father. She was on a mission to search for his dad after four years being trapped in her basement. Again, due to her father orders. After her mom decided to commit suicide, she went for her journey but unexpectedly, she encountered her ex-boyfriend, Chase and the story built up from there.

It was kind of confusing because we got two parallel stories set at different time, one in the past, once in the present narrated in alternating chapters and this trend actually persisted until the end of the book! I swallowed my pride to say this (because I don't really like Everneath), but Everneath is a prime example of how a book with parallel stories should be written. It's interesting to have a flashback going on but it should only lasted for about half of the book, then the two stories should converge, otherwise we got two disjointed plotlines which actually left me detached with what's going on in the present because the knowledge I need i.e. what happened in the past was told right at the end of the book!

I had several rolling eyes moments at the start of the book when the author started to refer to popular culture (hate to use the word culture here) such as Twilight, the Kardashians and the Knight of the Living Dead etc. Dear author, I'm sorry but I didn't find those as cool. And seriously, there's no need to name every high tech device with the 'i' at the front, e.g. iComm. cough *apple* cough. Seriously, the author could be more creative than that. The author also depicted the old Chase/Chris obsession over Peyton as quite sexual in my opinion. Some reviewers think that this Chris guy is cute or whatever, but I think he was just plain creepy stalkerish type of guy. So, when towards the end, Chase and Peyton did declare their love, I found it hard to appreciate the love as well...love and not lust.

Moving on to the middle part of the book, I actually thought I was lucky I didn't drop this book quarter-way because this part was quite well-written. Peyton and Chase became increasingly likable and inspiring characters and  Chase battle over drugs was very convincing and very likely considering the world that they lived in. Sadly, there were some minor illogical stuff happened such as when Chase single-handedly able to lift his brother's body because I believe corpse is heavier than a living human being by default, plus we were told that Tank was a large man. And the whole Tank ghost inspiring Chase to be a better man was not cool, I'm sorry

Now, let's talk about the last 1/3 of the story.  I honestly don't understand how a bunch of school kids lead by Trey/Tank could organize a pilgrim to the mountains. Then when Chase got bitten , it was the whole Edward-in-New-Moon thing all over again. You guessed it right.


Okay, minor yay throughout this last 1/3 of the book was I applaud the way the author justified Peyton's decision to go through the cybernetics implantation procedure. It was believable.

There was also one major inconsistency, Peyton had a lesson never to trust stranger after what happened to Chase because of Luke but she didn't really give a second thought before following this David to his underground hive. Seriously?

Okay, here what really turned me off. Chase tried to commit suicide! What a weakling. Gosh, and it was after they found this people in hive which has sufficient human resources to improve Peyton's condition. Couldn't he think that if Peyton gets better, he might stand a chance of getting a cure once they found Peyton's dad?

Laughable. Totally laughable.

So, the verdict. Would I still recommend this? Hmm...maybe not. Sorry!

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