Anticipatin’ & Waitin’: June 2014 Releases!

Hello, hello!

It is that time of month again where I talk about the books that I absolutely must have, that are coming out in the month of June! I’ve had a great month of reading since I had a semester break, so you can bet I gobbled some books up. Granted, I didn’t follow my original May TBR, I’m glad I actually picked up some of the books that have been laying on my shelf for a million years! So, in the month of May, I’ve read a total of 5 1/2 books, all of which I’ve done a review on. Come to think of it, typing that out…I feel kind of pathetic, HAHA. I could’ve done so much better than 5,  I think, but I really took my time with ‘Last Sacrifice’, which could’ve been the reason why my number was so low. So basically when I say I had a “great month” of reading, I didn’t mean by the numbers, but instead on how much I loved all the books I managed to read!

Moving on…I finally have a wide range of YA books in this list…okay, maybe not perfect but at least it’s not heavily centred around contemporaries like the last two ‘Anticipatin’ & Waitin’! I think I’ve had a huge dose of them this month, and when I read ‘Unearthly’, I just remembered how much I loved the urban fantasy/paranormal genre…so here I am, BRANCHING OUT on my long lost loves!

5. #scandal by Sarah Ockler (June 17th 2014, Simon Pulse)

#Scandal Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. Andespecially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…

 

I have read all of Sarah Ockler’s previous books and needless to say, this lady has a knack for contemporary writing. I love, love, love all the stories she’s written, especially her debut, ‘Twenty Boy Summer’ which made me bawl like a baby, 20 pages in. If an author can do that to you, you know she’s a keeper. However, I’ve decided to approach this book warily…and not because I don’t think I’ll like it, but because it deals centrally with infidelity. I hate infidelity, and almost never read about it, because of all the books I’ve read dealing with it, the execution just never sat well with me. But I have faith that Sarah Ockler will kick her new contemporary right out of the park, because DUH! She’s Sarah Ockler!

 

4. The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset (June 1st 2014, Sourcebooks Fire)

The Girl Who Never Was Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

 

Doesn’t the synopsis sound fantastic? I love, love, love fae mythology and especially in a urban fantasy setting?! Sign me up. This book sounds like a lot of fun what with the magical parents, a mother who wants to *GASP* kill her and of course, a cute fae boy! 😉 This totally reminds me of Puck’s affection for Meg in the Iron Fey series which I absolutely already ADORE (even when I’m only on Book 3!). Also, can we please just take a seat and think about how a fairy and an ogre did a deed? LOL.  This sounds like a really promising new fantasy series and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

 

3. Inland by Kat Rosenfield (June 12th 2014, Dutton Juvenile)

Inland Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Callie Morgan has long lived choked by the failure of her own lungs, the result of an elusive pulmonary illness that has plagued her since childhood. A childhood marked early by the drowning death of her mother—a death to which Callie was the sole witness. Her father has moved them inland, away from the memories of the California coast her mother loved so much and toward promises of recovery—and the escape of denial—in arid, landlocked air.

 
But after years of running away, the promise of a life-changing job for her father brings Callie and him back to the coast, to Florida, where Callie’s symptoms miraculously disappear. For once, life seems delightfully normal. But the ocean’s edge offers more than healing air … it holds a magnetic pull, drawing Callie closer and closer to the chilly, watery embrace that claimed her mother. Returned to the ocean, Callie comes of age and comes into a family destiny that holds generations of secrets and very few happy endings.

 

I don’t know about you, but this synopsis just enchanted me. I’m still confused about what the entire book is truly about, but the suspense…Good lord, I want it NOW. I really don’t know how to categorise this book, seeing as it sounds a little like a contemporary and then all of a sudden: paranormal/psychological thriller. Could this book touch a little on the possibility of mermaids? Although the premise is not the same, this book gives me a ‘Please Ignore Vera Dietz’ vibe, which I’m so happy for, because I like it 20% more already. Can we also appreciate the beautiful, eerie cover? I’m so hoping my local bookstore will stock this in the month of June (they’re usually two months late!)!

 

2. The Merciless by Danielle Vega (June 12th 2014, Razorbill)

The Merciless Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
 
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
 
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .
 
In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

 

Oh my god. If you didn’t get goosebumps from that description…are you human? This, I can tell, is not for the weak of heart. And I know this because a few book-tubers received review copies and the emblazoned on the first page: NOT FOR THE WEAK OF HEART. This is like The Exorcism plus Mean Girls and I want it SO BAD. I admit, I hate horror movies and gore. I have a weak stomach and I suffer from this weird thing where the skin connecting my ankle to the heel of my foot as well as my wrist are incredibly vulnerable at times where I’m sick to my stomach. And from that, you can probably tell I diagnosed myself. Even after all that, I still want to read this because not only is the book cover amazingly designed (hats off to the irony), but I’m so intrigued to find out how it’ll all end. Also, I hear that Marlene King of ‘Pretty Little Liars’ is already adapting this to go on the big screen! That was quick!

 

1. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (June 3rd 2014, Roaring Brook Press)

The Truth About Alice Cover

Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

 

Do you notice a trend? Yes? Yeah, me too. I know this book is going to wreck me (maybe less so) than ‘The Merciless’, because let’s be real… Any story to do with bullying in highschool? It gets me, EVERY TIME. I especially love darker contemporaries touching base and I know this is right up my alley as it sounds like it will touch base on slut-shaming and public perception and I’ve yet to read one told in this particular way. The book will be in the perspective of four people which always intrigues me because I feel that this is an amazing way to provide so many dimensions to characters–whether it be Alice or one of the four. Not only is the cover so beautiful (cover lust to the max!), but I really love that it gives a little bit of insight on what the book is about–with the girl’s silhouette looking down, ashamed, maybe? I’m so eager to get my hands on this book and I already have a feeling that I will absolutely love it, with all the early glowing reviews!

 

So these are all the books I’m anticipating in the month of June! What are the books you’re looking forward to?! 🙂

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BOOK REVIEW: Branded (#1) by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Branded Blog Tour


Published on/by: June 11th, 2013, Abi & Missy Books
Source: Review copy graciously given by the authors
Format: eBook
Page Count: 295 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. 
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home. 

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain. 

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. 
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. 
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story. 

 

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW:

Let me start this review by saying how original and intriguing the entire concept is. I’ve never, ever read a book like this–with the ‘criminals’ of this dystopian society being branded according to the seven deadly sins– lust, greed, envy, pride, gluttony, wrath and sloth. This entire arc was so interesting to read, especially to find out how it all worked under the dictator called the Commander. We meet our protagonist in a state of despair, and let me tell you…from page 1 onwards, you will be hooked. Lexi Hamilton is such a strong-willed and empathetic character and in the beginning, her character was contemplating a permanent decision which only urged me to root for her all throughout the book. Along with Cole, her new guard and protector in the vile Hole where ‘sinner’s are banished to, and the menacing-adorable dog, Zeus, we go through a raw and gritting journey where Lexi learns to be stronger and how to love again, after the injustice she’s been through.

I recommend going into this not knowing a lot, because I feel the impact of what Lexi goes through will be greater and you will totally sympathise with what she has endured. At first, I thought Lexi was a likeable character in the beginning of the book and I loved that she wasn’t a weak damsel in distress.Well, she seemed like she wasn’t. However, I began to dislike her as the book progressed because I felt like she was full of contradictions. Soon, I honestly started hating her. Her character so much as enraged me with the things she said and I felt that she wasn’t a memorable heroine so much as a Mary Sue.

 

Although I had many problems with the book, other than the main character itself, I feel like many would still enjoy it. I also feel that this book is perfect for those who are in a reading slump, because I don’t know about you…but I need a greatly paced book to save me from one and this book had good pacing! There’s no lull whatsoever, but that doesn’t mean the story was rushed at all. I felt like  Ketner and Kalicicki took the right amount of time to provide a space for the world to grow.

 

The eBook was given to me by the authors in exchange of an honest review! 

BOOK REVIEW: Unearthly (#1) by Cynthia Hand

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Star Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Oh dear, I want the second book ASAP.
Published on/by: November 11th, 2011, HarperCollins Publisher
Page Count: 435 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: When Clara Gardner learns she’s part angel, her entire life changes. She now has a purpose, a specific task she was put on this earth to accomplish, except she doesn’t know what it is. Her visions of a raging forest fire and a mysterious boy lead her to a new high school in a new town but provide no clear instruction. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between the boy in her vision and the boy in her life, between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. . . . When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

 

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW:

I really, really loved this book. I recently finished ‘The Last Sacrifice’ less than 48 hours ago and was convinced I could never love again, but boy…was I wrong. I was so anxious of falling into a book slump after reading the last instalment of the ‘Vampire Academy’ series, that I immediately grabbed this book off my TBR shelf and started reading. Usually, to prevent/get myself out of a book slump, I would read a contemporary. A quick, slightly fluffy one as a palate cleanser from all the magic and vampire and sigh…Adrian Ivashkov… Instead, I picked up this paranormal romance/urban fantasy and boy, was I hooked. My first thought when I was thumbing page from page was how surprised I was quickly burning through the pages. It saved me from a book slump, with excellent writing and an intriguing blend of angels and humans.

Clara Gardner is a Quartarius– a quarter angel, having a human father and a mother who is Dimidius (half angel). She has special powers in the sense that she can do what everyone can, but even better and with some Godly grace (trying to be punny, but failing!). 😉 She also possesses unique Angel abilities like ‘Glory’ where she connects with her core self and is able to emanate pure blinding light. How freaking cool does that sound? Clara is a main character I adored. She was smart, beautiful, self-assured and she had a sense of humour! All her quips and comebacks were very enjoyable to read which made her a very fun voice to follow. I thought her relationship with her family was especially interesting and as the book progressed I really felt for Clara and her mother both as their relationship took a shift, with new revelations. The entire Angel premise was very interesting to me, especially the norm that Angels within the ages of 13-20 will receive a purpose, one they must fulfil with the help of visions. Honestly, I’m still a little fuzzy on this whole ‘world’ but I really appreciated that there was no info-dump at all. The information came when relevant and I want to give medals to Cynthia Hand for being able to do this because it created just the right amount of suspense.

The romance…oh my gosh, the romance. This series is heavily entwined with a love triangle. If you are allergic to that, I won’t tell you not to read this book but instead to take caution, because despite of what you think about love triangles, I actually really liked this one (although it frustrated me at times). This is largely because I prefer love triangles with a clear winner and this book HAD NONE. I am TORN between Christian Prescott–who was the boy in Clara’s vision and Tucker Avery, the boy who makes her angelic heart go all buttery. I did more flip-flopping than a fish, alright. I seriously couldn’t decide between the two which made me love Clara even more when she actually already made her choice. I know it’s not a definitive choice, as it is only Book 1, but it made me admire Clara even more as she actually knew what she wanted, even though she was confused (and rightfully so, under the circumstances).

Overall, I thought this was a beautiful Angel book and I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on Book 2! I didn’t give this a full 5 stars because I still felt like there were some missing parts that could make this story more rich, and also I felt that there were TOO MANY unanswered questions. I understand the author’s intentions, but questions I had even at the start of the book were not answered which then only accumulated as the plot deepened. Book 2, I’m coming for you.

BOOK REVIEW: Last Sacrifice (#6) by Richelle Mead

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Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: My heart is in shambles for my favourite series is over…WHAT DO I DO WITH MY LIFE NOW?
Published on/by: December 7th, 2010, Razorbill
Blurb provided by Goodreads: They come first.

My vision was growing dimmer, the blackness and ghosts closing in. I swore it was like I could hear Robert whispering in my ear: The world of the dead won’t give you up a second time. Just before the light completely vanished, I saw Dimitri’s face join Lissa’s. I wanted to smile. I decided then that if the two people I loved most were safe, I could leave this world.

The dead could finally have me.

Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose – for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.

But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back…and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your whole life is about saving others, who will save you?

REVIEW:

This is the end…I can’t believe I reached the end of this series. Oh. My. God. I’m not going to lie, I cried. My book is filled with sticky-notes and tears and love and oh god. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that I will no longer be reading from Rose’s point of view. This book was a roller coaster…it was epic/heartbreaking/humorous and ugh, ALL THE ADJECTIVES.

This was not a perfect book. Neither books in the series were, honestly, but they were close to the perfect action/romance induced book out there. I was very wary on starting this book. It was the beginning to the end of my (now) favourite series ever. How can I ever love again???????

I know I’m being dramatic, BUT IT’S THE TRUTH. It’s been 18 hours since I finished the book and I’m just.. I can’t stop thinking about the ending. It was as carefully constructed as could be, with just enough loose ends to make me rip my hair off my head. I know they’ll be addressed in the Bloodlines series, but I’m going to have serious Rose withdrawals. Sigh. The character development as wll as the plot developments were INSANE and FANTASTIC and Richelle Mead…I think I love you.

Before I go all spoilery and even more dramatic (if that is even possible), I beg of you to READ THIS SERIES. You will not regret it.

Confident, kick-ass main character with great humour? CHECK.
Great friendships and relationships? CHECK.
Action sequences galore that won’t put you to sleep? CHECK.
Amazing love interests/a love triangle that won’t annoy you that much? CHECK.
A very intriguing world and vampire system? CHECK.

It won’t disappoint, I promise.

SPOILER DISCUSSION:


Let’s get down to business. 

Adrian and Rose

That ending with Adrian made me so so so sad. Like I said, this book was not perfect. Case in point: the infidelity. I hate cheaters, and when Rose cheated on Adrian, it made me super pissed…but I liked how it was handled honestly. In no way was it condoned, and what Adrian said to her in the end was kind of true. But again, I’m so conflicted because it was super duper clear even from Book 1 that Rose belonged with Dimitri. There is no denying that. I also felt that this decision brought a new layer on Romitri because they now have to confront something that they are supposed to strive for: honour. They did a bad thing, I know…but it was inevitable. For a spirit user, I’d thought Adrian could see that their aura was in sync. Guess he was in denial, the same as I was.

I kinda knew the premise of the Bloodline series before starting this series, so again I was wary on Rodrian, but that doesn’t mean I loved them together! I truly did, and I’m just hoping in an alternate universe they can be together bla bla bla. I really hated how we left off, with Adrian despising Rose…but I guess we’ll get more of this angst in the Bloodline series.

I truly, truly hope that Sydney and him can find that same degree of love. I want him to be happy, but I’m also kinda sad that it won’t be with Rose. LOL.

RIP, Rodrian.

Queen Vasilisa & her new family member

I loved, loved, loved this development. That’s what’s so amazing with this series. The character development is so incredible. In book 1, I would have never thought Lissa would be Queen and such a poised one at that. It was fantastic. While she went through the trials, I was so excited because I could see how much she came from Book 1. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really like Lissa and less so in Shadow Kiss. She was the perfect choice for Queen and she really was the epitome of grace and diplomacy.

Jill as the illegitimate Dragomir? Oh snap. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. The hints were all there in Spirit Bound. Especially when we learnt her mother was a dancer…Eric liked to flirt…Eric liked to go to that Las Vegas club… If you think about it…all this information, especially the introduction of someone like Jill who is so far off their age (why does she keep hanging around them?!)…it was like putting two and two together. She had a larger role coming, and boy did it come. I liked Jill, and I felt for her. It was definitely overwhelming for her and all these expectations and the weight of the family name on her shoulders. I felt so, so bad for her.

Lissa’s and Jill’s relationship is strenuous at best. I felt bad for both of them. Lissa proved to be just as poised by not freaking the hell out. I mean, first she learns that her beloved late brother, Andre, used girls at his disposal and now she learns the father she put on a pedestal cheated on her mother and fathered a secret child? It is totally understandable that she was not entirely warm towards Jill. It’s sad for Jill, who is thrown into this huge political mess…but I kinda understand where Lissa is coming from.

Lissa & Rose’s Bond

Oh my gosh. This was one of the biggest surprises in the book. Amidst all the controversy and the death..this was such a shock to me. I understood what Rose meant when she said she’s finally her own person now bla bla bla, but I can’t help to feel that when she was bonded with Lissa…it was just fantastic to see this unorthodox bond between friends. It somehow made Rose have a super power or something, if you know what I mean. It’s still a little shady and confusing on how their bond was severed, but it was such a huge blow. I guess it’s appropriate this happened at the end of the series, because then the books would be 30% less interesting.

Dimitri and Rose

Hahaha, I guess you can tell which guy I liked better, but it’s not to say that I preferred Rose with Adrian! I loved Dimitri for Rose, but I think I’m more attracted and more interested in the unhinged type. Freaking finally, Dimitri realises that he was still in love with Rose. I don’t have much to say about this because all is well in the Romitri area except can we LOL together over Abe & Janine’s conversation with Dimitri?

ʺAh, Belikov,ʺ said Abe, shaking Dimitriʹs hand. ʺIʹd been hoping weʹd run into each other. Iʹd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. Thatʹs what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. Iʹve certainly got a lot of questions Iʹd like to ask you. A lot of things Iʹd like to tell you too.ʺ 

I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome detail exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, especially if firearms were involved.

ʺActually,ʺ said my mom casually. ʺIʹd like to come along. I also have a number of questions—especially about when you two were back at St. Vladimirʹs.ʺ

ʺDonʹt you guys have somewhere to be?ʺ I asked hastily. ʺWeʹre about to start.ʺ



All in all, I loved this series, I loved the characters (I am emotionally tied to them, as you can probably tell), I loved the humour, the action and the fantastic plot… and you can bet that I’ll be re-reading all the books as well as starting the Bloodlines series where I can get more Adrian Ivashkov. 😉 This world is fantastic and so unique with the different kinds of vampires lurking at every corner. Richelle Mead did not disappoint with this fast-paced, epic finale.

TOP THURSDAY’S: Kick-Ass Female Characters!

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So every Thursday, I figured I’d do a list of whatever’s to whittle down my favourites! From characters I’d go to the beach with to books I’d like throw into the jungle away from humanity…I’ll pretty much cover it every Thursday! This Thursday I decided to be a little generic and talk about my favourite kick-ass female characters! Without further adieu here are my TOP 5!

 

5. Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series/Heroes of Olympus Series)

Annabeth Chase

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting to you the BRAIN behind Percy’s pursuits: Annabeth Chase. She is so delightfully smart, caring to those who don’t deserve it (ahem, Luke) and she constantly makes Percy (who is also my book boyfriend, ahem) better. And you know what the best part about loving Annabeth is? You can see her character develop immensely from ‘Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief’ all the way to the books in the ‘Heroes of Olympus’ series. That’s a whole lotta Annabeth and a whole lotta kick-assery! (Percabeth is totally my OTP, you guys and I loved how their relationship blossomed!)

PERCY: “What if it lines up like it did in the Trojan War … Athena versus Poseidon?”
ANNABETH: “I don’t know. But I just know that I’ll be fighting next to you.”
PERCY: “Why?”
ANNABETH: “Because you’re my friend, Seaweed Brain. Any more stupid questions?” 

4. Isabelle Lightwood (The Mortal Instruments Series)

Isabelle Lightwood

Hands down, my favourite female character in The Mortal Instruments series. She is so kick-butt and I remember reading her for the first time: white dress on, whip in hand at Pandemonium. Like DAMN, you do not mess with her. Also, her bantering with Jace and their relationship was so endearing to watch and I really think she’s a funny character. You have Jace Wayland and Simon Lewis providing services as the comedic reliefs but then you also have Isabelle providing quips like these,

“Alec looked at her and shook his head. “How do you manage never to get mud on your clothes?”
Isabelle shrugged philosophically. “I’m pure at heart. It repels the dirt.” 

I really love the direction Cassandra Clare is pushing her towards as well as the relationship she has with Simon. *SWOON*! Definitely a character who can hold her own in a battle as well as a caring and doting sister towards Alec.

3. Waverly Marshall (Sky Chasers Trilogy)

Waverly Marshall

I really think this is the most underrated sci-fi trilogy out there. This is one of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read. It’s pretty much a psychological thriller that kept me up all night. Waverly Marshall is the main female protagonist aboard the spaceship Empyrean and she along with all the other teenage girls are abducted by the sister ship, New Horizon, where they are made to do HORRIFIC things.

I swear, I wanted to vomit just reading what had happened but I really really admired Waverly Marshall. She isn’t kick-ass in the physical sense (but it’s not like she’s frail either) but her character and her determination shone in this book. She is damaged by what had happened to her, but she is brave against all odds.

 “You’re so naïve.” Felicity laughed scornfully. “Don’t you see what people are? They’re animals. Every one of them.”

“Felicity.” Waverly grabbed hold of the girl’s hand and squeezed hard enough to hurt, until Felicity lifted her eyes to Waverly’s. “We’re animals, too. We can fight back.”
Felicity yanked her hand away. “You idiot. It doesn’t matter how hard you fight.”
“It matters to me,” Waverly said quietly.
“So fight, then,” Felicity spat over her shoulder.
Waverly stood up, fists clenched. “I will.” 

2. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Trilogy)

Katniss Everdeen

Cue *gasp*! Call the press! Katniss Everdeen is not number 1! Oh dear lord. Katniss Everdeen is no doubt the most kick-ass female character out there…but why didn’t I put her as #1, you ask? Well for a number of reasons! For starters, she is everybody’s number 1 and for a period of time, she was my number 1 too! Secondly, it’s just been a long time since I read ‘The Hunger Games’ and although the effect of such an influential character is not lost on me, I’ve had read other characters (just one, actually, heh) that has impressed me so much and is fresher on my mind. Now enough explaining myself…

Here is why Katniss is KICK-ASS! …Actually, I don’t even have to tell you…your cousin/brother/grandpa has probably seen the movie/read the book and would know why she’d be considered an amazing character… but basically, for me,  the love she has for her sister is so admirable which really allowed me to emotionally connect with Katniss. The strength she possessed throughout the 74th and 75th Hunger Games and the obstacles she faced? How could she not be classified as kick-ass?

“I want to tell the rebels that I am alive. That I’m right here in District Eight, where the Capitol has just bombed a hospital full of unarmed men, women and children. There will be no survivors.” The shock I’ve been feeling begins to give way to fury. “I want to tell people that if you think for one second the Capitol will treat us fairly if there’s a cease-fire, you’re deluding yourself. Because you know who they are and what they do.” My hands go out automatically, as if to indicate the whole horror around me. “This is what they do and we must fight back!”

1. Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy Series)

Rose Hathaway

Rose freaking Hathaway. She is probably my most FAVOURITE character in the universe right now. She is fiery, hilarious, strong-willed and fiercely loyal to her best friend Lissa Dragomir. Sure she has a short temper and she occasionally breaks the rules…but her rebelliousness is well-intentioned. She never fails to make me laugh and I love how protective she is of Lissa and that she always puts her before her own interests. She is by no means a perfect character; yes, she has flaws (and many of them), but there is no denying that she is never malicious on purpose (only when they deserve it, LOL). That’s what I love about Rose: she’s not afraid to speak her mind, even when she is outnumbered. I’ll never forget the scene of her hearing at the end of Spirit Bound…and the scene where she stood up for the Dhampirs against the age decree the Moroi agreed on. I fist-pumped the air, holding back a “whoop! whoop!” at 3 am. Also, we can’t not mention her enviable guardian skills. So. Kick. Ass.

Can we also appreciate that Rose is not only confident in her skills but in her appearance? I’m not saying characters with low self-esteem are bad, it’s just a little nauseating that I’ve read so many in a row that were constantly bringing themselves down and then they’re like *gasp* when their love interest  says they’re beautiful. Rose is confident in how she looks like, and I think it’s amazing. Looks aren’t everything, yes, but it’s great to read about someone who is comfortable in their own skin and doesn’t need a guy to tell her that to feel ‘validated’.

I crossed my arms over my chest. “Are you lost, little girl? The elementary school’s over on west campus.”

A pink flush spread over her cheeks. “Don’t you ever touch me again. You screw with me, I’ll screw you right back.”

Oh man, what an opening that was.

BOOK REVIEW: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Cosplaying Lara Jean Song!

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Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: WHY IS BOOK 2 ONE YEAR AWAY?! NOOOOO.
Blurb provided by Goodreads: What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

 

Review:

I read this book like how I fall in love…slowly, and then all at once. That was a John Green reference, and I’m not sure if I did it correctly or not, but what I’m trying to say is that, I expected to read a few chapters before going to sleep. However, I found myself gripping the pages, my heart in a puddle in a pool at my feet and the clock flashing ‘4am’. To be fair, I did this to myself. It was 12 am and I knew I had to wake up in 7 hours for a 6 hour lecture in the morning! But no, the cover was too gorgeous to resist, and I knew Jenny Han was a fantastic storyteller. And so I read and read and read, only to have 20% of the book left at 4am. I then took a three hour sleep, read 50 or so pages and a few more on the way to my lecture. It was only at 1pm that I was able to finish the book, during a lunch break, and when class started back up again, I was distraught.

Thank God for Book 2 because that last line ain’t gonna fly for me.

To say I like this book is an understatement. To say I loved this book would be one, too. I simply adored this book, end of. This book was like a Magnum ice cream, coated with deliciousness, but underneath the chocolate ganache, is a rich vanilla. It was so heart-warming, delightfully funny and incredible poignant.

This story follows Lara Jean Song Covey who is dreamy-eyed and such a romantic! In her entire life, she has all but fallen in love with 5 boys, and for herself to get over them, she writes each of them a love “goodbye” letter and keeps them in a hat box her mother gave her when she was younger. So it’s the end of Summer and her oldest sister Margot is going to college in Scotland and Lara Jean is starting Junior Year. As she adjusts to these new changes, she finds out that her hat box has disappeared and her letters have been sent out–one of them to Peter Kavinsky, her first kiss and the other to her sister’s newly ex-boyfriend, Josh. In order to save face, she devises a contract with the most popular boy in her class, Peter, who is also nursing a broken heart after being dumped by his girlfriend of four years for an older guy, to be in a fake relationship. Peter K is a dreamboat. Described by Lara Jean to have that kind of “wholesome good looks” from another decade? SOLD.

This book sounds like it only centres around Lara Jean’s love life, but it’s way more than that! This book covers the vital relationship Lara Jean has with her two sisters, public perception as well as pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I really, really loved the supporting characters, especially her two sisters. They each had their own distinct personalities that really shaped and gave flavour to the story. Margot, the eldest, was perhaps the most complex and the hardest character to like. She’s driven, stoic at times and very practical. Having to be the eldest and sort of the ‘mom’ to look out for her younger sisters after their mother passed away when she was 12 really made her an interesting character and I loved that we can kind of see in the story that all her life she’s based decisions for the benefit of her sisters and now she wants to be brave and do something for herself at once. Although we don’t see much of Margot in the book, mostly in the beginning and in the end, I really loved that she was still an important fixture that shaped Lara Jean as a character. With her gone, Lara Jean developed in this book as the eldest sister, learning to put Kitty (the youngest) before her and kind of juggling with expectations and wants. I know a lot of people didn’t like Margot but I kind of empathised with her; she was not a perfect character, she probably didn’t handle revelations at the end very well but she’s human. Kitty, the youngest, was probably the cutest younger sister in all of YA. She is so sassy and her quips are so hilarious. I especially loved when she interacted with Peter and it was so endearing to see how smitten she was with him and him her (of course, in a brotherly-sisterly way…did I use smitten correctly? LOL).

The romance was so sweet, I have cavities. I really liked the fact that Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship was not an easy one–being fake and all. The build-up was so fun to read and I loved that there was no insta-love at all. We kind of get the vibe from the beginning of the book (when they start their contractual affair, LOL) that it’s slightly love-triangle-ish, but I liked that we didn’t really know where Jenny Han was going to go with it. I definitely rooted for Peter, though, and I really appreciated that Lara Jean and Peter both didn’t put each other on a pedestal. Neither of them were interested in each other at the start, with Peter still in love with Genevieve, his ex, and Lara Jean being confused with her feelings for Josh, knowing she can never betray her sister, Margo,t which I thought provided a really great foundation for a friendship. You know how you act in front of the person you like? Like yourself…but just a little bit of the person you think THEY’D want? The best thing about them not liking each other in that way for most of the book is that they see each other’s flaws. There’s no need to impress the other; what you see is what you get. Before I spoil any further, I just have to share this song: Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson. In my opinion, this is the PERFECT song for this book, and you can bet your bottom’s dollar that I’ve been blasting this all week (and right now, too).

Another thing I adored about this book was that it showcased a half-Asian main character. There is not enough diversity in YA, and I know it’s been said a lot, especially on Twitter, but it’s so true. Lara Jean Song being half Korean was like the cherry on top of this Magnum ice cream. She was believable, realistic and as a mixed person, I related to her, having to adhere to two separate cultures. And can I just add that finally there’s some credible representation here, with no offensive stereotypes? THANK YOU JENNY HAN.

I recently did a video review, discussing spoilery bits so I won’t delve into them here because I’m certain all that will come out is iudfhoiqwuefhqoiufhougberogjb. My feels were tested with this book, you guys.

 

Before I end this review (ish), I’d like to share this…thing I did.

The day after I finished this book, I was inspired to be very Lara Jean for the day and *TA-DA*, my first ever cosplay “photoshoot”, thanks to my patient 12 year old sister. I loved all of Lara Jean’s fashion choices in the book so I thought I’d do something a little Lara Jean-esque, but I highly doubt she’d wear that many dark colours…oh well, gotta work with what was in my closet!

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Ta-da! My first ever cosplay (amateur) photo shoot!

xoxo

BOOK REVIEW: Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

 

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Star Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Ugh, I want Mike Ipolito for myself.
Blurb provided by Goodreads:  Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren’t the most popular girls in school, they aren’t too worried. After all, real life will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. But when an unexpected event proves they’re missing out on the full high-school experience, it’s time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. The trio makes a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge and totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed; it could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want—but that might mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . .

Review:

After finishing Spirit Bound, I decided I needed something quick and cute and slightly fluffy so I don’t combust with the love I had for Spirit Bound. I was pretty sure that if I had continued with Last Sacrifice straightaway, I’d be too distraught to function. I needed a breather, so I decided to pick up this gem which has been sitting on my shelf for quite some time, and I wasn’t that disappointed! In all honesty, I enjoyed the book, but I wish it were a little more complex and a little less annoying. With that being said, it’s a high 3 star read, bordering on a 4…okay, I’m just going to give it 4 stars because eh, semantics. 

The highlight of the book, for me, is the setting. The story centres around Denton, Boston and I really love the atmosphere as well as the mentioning of landmarks that really screamed THIS IS SET IN A REAL PLACE, THANKS. The underwhelming aspect of this book, though, is the main character, Gigi, who I feel has some interesting qualities, but many more face-palm ones.

This is totally inconsequential but I adore the name Gigi, which could be my favourite thing about her, sadly enough. I expected a lot from her, as I do when I learnt that she is supposed to be some kind of Einstein. People actually do call her Einstein in this book, which baffles me even further. Is this the case of book smart but street dumb? Perhaps so. There were countless of times that I wanted to backhand the heck out of her, because really, how can you be the Top of your class and be totally clueless? In the book, she interacts with this LA hottie, who is not a nice guy, and she KNOWS that. Heck, she sees ALL the signs and yet she has feelings for that jerk throughout the book. Well, I suppose that I should give her props due to the fact that they were conflicting. BUT STILL. I also felt like Gigi spent most of the book not having a backbone, and when she finally stood up for herself, it was far too late for me to like her as much as I could have. Apart from that, the romance (for the most part) was very sweet in this book. There is no instalove, just instalust, which I find more acceptable in a YA book. Sure, there’s a slight love triangle, and it did bother me just a little only because Gigi was so painfully clueless! However, in the end, she chose the right guy (duh) and I found myself grinning, because he truly was a great love interest.

I went into this book thinking it would be told in three points of views, but instead found it was only told in one. Nevertheless, I really thought Strohmeyer did a great job incorporating the other two girls, Bea and Neerja. They were far more interesting than Gigi, I thought, with Bea being the fiery red head (it seems that redheads are anything but -.-) and Neerja being the endearing sweetheart of the three. There was a particular character in the book that I wished Strohmeyer had fleshed out a little more–Ava. She was the ex-best friend of Gigi with severe identity problems which I thought could have made the story 50% more interesting if Strohmeyer had some resolution for her. 

All in all, I expected a quick, cute breather and Strohmeyer did deliver. My main criticism is that this story failed to explore the themes the book had, like public perception and insecurity. The problems were presented, but there was no resolution and I felt that Strohmeyer just glazed over it. Recommended to those who need a breather and/or needs a book to get out of a reading slump.