BOOK REVIEW: The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Star Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Gorgeous prose, addictive romance and captivating world-building…need I say more? 
Published on/by: May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 416 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

 

REVIEW

Before I start this review, I have to preface with a huge revelation. My reading game has been very poor this past few months, and I can say it’s because of school…but come on. The hours I spend on social media could’ve been better used reading about hot aliens or dark lords taking over the world. And I have to say, it’s not that I didn’t try. I’ve started quite a number of books but none held my attention for long. I’m actually a hundred or so pages from finishing ‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J Maas but, I don’t know, I just didn’t have the mood or enough care to give for Little Miss Mary Sue. And then I realised I’ve been feeling this way about many books for months because I’ve been busy with my SOCIAL life. Busy with people of the opposite gender. My friend nailed it on the head when she told me last night that the reason why I couldn’t emotionally attach myself to books in recent months was because I was already emotionally invested in something else in my real life and I didn’t have enough to give to a book.

 

Starting “The Wrath & the Dawn” was a little difficult. There was no flaw, don’t get me wrong. The flaw was me and my fickled heart. But as the story progressed, my interest piqued. Soon, I was completely enamoured with the world. Inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights” the story was captivating and vivid as we’re introduced to such beautiful world-building. I gotta say, I was so, very pleased with the world (but I mean, c’mon! It’s inspired by ‘One Thousand and One Nights’!) but above all, I was chuffed on how familiar it was. Being of Middle Eastern descent, it felt a little like home…as you can tell by the picture I took above featuring my home decor. I actually had a huge lamp but it didn’t make the cut, unfortunately.

The most excellent part of this book has got to be Ahdieh’s writing skills. She weaved beautiful descriptions of the palace and such enjoyable characters and interactions with such ease. Never did I feel like the prose was too flowery or chunky, but just a joy to read. In just under a couple of hours, two hundred pages had passed.

The characters were incredibly enjoyable. From Shahrzad’s (what a beautiful name, omg) sass and bravery to Jalal’s dependable humour, I felt that most of the characters were used to their full potential. My favourite characters, after Shazi, have got to be Despina and Jalal. Both brought such light and joy to the story as well as companionship to the two main characters and ughhhhh SPOILER! Seriously, I can’t wait to see their relationship blossom in the second instalment! END OF SPOILER!

THE ROMANCE. Oh, my god. This is a romance to melt any icy heart. Trust me on this. In any other book written by any other author, my eyes would have bled by the words Khalid said to Shazi. But Ahdieh? She does it right, and she does it good. I MELT for Khalid. Can we start a hashtag trend? #Melt4Khalid. This boy-king has my heart, dat boi he do! We’re introduced to him in the eyes of Shazi and like her, we have preconceived ideas of this ruler. Heartless. Monster. Blood-thirsty. And of course, us YA readers know that we’ll be proven wrong. This is a common trope in Young Adult. But Ahdieh writes this character in a way that it doesn’t feel like a cheap trick at all. Also, many would say their relationship falls under insta-love, but honestly, it didn’t feel that way to me. I fell in love with him at the same pace Shazi did and if he were in my world I SWEAR I would’ve fallen for him quicker than an ant were to be swallowed by quick sand. Now, let me just confirm that YES, there is a love triangle BUT WAIT. It’s not a cheap one. I mean, yeah. There is a clear winner. From the synopsis alone, you know which couple is endgame, but it’s a love triangle that makes sense. Tariq, Shazi’s first love and childhood sweetheart is not only just her childhood sweetheart, but a friend and son, a leader in his own right and that’s what I loved about the romance in this book. The characters were more than just a device to push the “love triangle” trope.

The element of magic was present in this book, and although it wasn’t fully explored, you can bet that in the second instalment, “The Rose and The Dagger”, we’ll find out more about this dormant magic she possesses and what trouble her father has gotten himself into. The only flaw I can think of this book was how little Irsa, Shazi’s younger sister, appeared. She will probably have a bigger role in the second book but I found myself wondering when I’d see more of this character as she was only introduced in the beginning.

All in all, this was a solid first book of the duology. Actually, it was more than solid. It was absolutely lively and enjoyable. Rich in prose and characters, Ahdieh has managed to create a world that I’m so impatient to jump right back into. And hello? That cliffhanger? No. Simply will not do. 2016, come faster!!!

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Divergent (#1) by Veronica Roth

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Star Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Um, WHAT WAS I WAITING FOR??
Published on/by: February 2nd 2012 by HarperCollins Children’s Books (first published January 1st 2011)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 489 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

STORY TIME ON THE EVENTS LEADING UP TO ME READING THIS:

Yes, why the HECK am I reviewing this book? Everyone and their grandmother have had the pleasure of diving into this roller coaster of a book…so why am I so late to the party?

Yeah, let me explain…

I bought Divergent (the UK cover was only available to South East Asia at the time) in 2012 because even back then, it was all the book blogosphere could talk about. Flash forward to two years later where it still sat on my shelf, bound by its plastic wrapping. Yes. I deserve to go to book prison. There should be a book prison. Heinous crimes like these do not deserve to go unpunished.

Now, what actually pushed me to finally read Divergent? Firstly, it was my best friend. She, like me, had put off this trilogy for as long as she could remember. However, she had a school holiday (we go to different schools) and she decided to finally marathon the series. She slept at 6 am for three nights finishing this series. Secondly, it was the movie. My best friend still had ‘Allegiant’ to go and she was not excited for the movie adaptation at all. Please see why here: Vampire Academy movie. By the end of the movie, I was sold. My BFF, however, was not. (She’s hard to please). Sure, it was a little ‘lol, yeah right’ in soooo many parts, but I found that if you just shut up and nod and take what they give you, you will have no choice but to enjoy the story as it is: a huge roller-coaster (ferris wheel, wink wink) of fun!

Now, let’s ignore the part where I took another four months to pick up ‘Divergent’. I just wasn’t in the mood to commit, okay?!

AND FINALLY, MY NON-SPOILERY BOOK REVIEW:

This book was GREAT. It was just so, so much fun. I loved the world, I loved the characters, but most of all, I loved that I was able (eventually) to separate the actors of the movie with the book. Soon, I was able to form a hotter and younger Four (very important) in my head and also, take things into perspective a little bit. Upon tackling this book (and movie), I had to remind myself of what a fellow reviewer said on Goodreads, which is that the Divergent world is ultimately a game compromising of rules that seemed to be made up by 11 year olds. If you start to question them, things will get loud. But if you just play the game as it is, you will be rewarded. And the reward? Just a plain ol’ fun bucket of fun! Cos that’s what Divergent really is! A huge big sack of action and fun.

I instantly liked Book Tris better than Movie Tris, and well…I also instantly developed the fangirliest crush on Book Four. Granted, I knew the events that would unfold, but the story told in this medium, for me, was ultimately better. I understood interactions clearly this time round (even though I watched the movie twice– the second time put me to sleep, I DON’T KNOW WHY, DON’T ASK ME TO EXPLAIN!) as well as developed a better feel and appreciation for the romance.

Even though the faction system was silly, in my opinion, this whole process of transferring and adapting in new communities and environments was really fascinating to read about. I especially loved Tris’s newfound friends like Christina, Will and Uriah and how different they all were in their mindsets. The initiation process was the best part of the book (apart from Four’s godly presence) as it was incredibly fun to read about. The pacing was on par and the atmosphere created put me on the edge of my seat.

Now, to explain why I did NOT give this a full five stars. You would think it’s because I read this after watching the movie, thus eliminating the factor of surprise, but that is definitely not the case as I was able to read ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett after watching the movie (oh, about 8 times) with fervour, giving it a well-deserved 5 stars. The reason for a 0.5 deduction is because even though I’m trying hard not to make noise over the silliness of the faction world, it’s still a little weak, if I were to nit-pick critically. This whole ‘Divergent’ aspect was interesting, but again, I was super confused (even after watching the movie twice). I had way too many questions when I reached the end of the book that I believe should have been addressed in the first book of a trilogy.

All in all, I have little complaints because this world gave me the beauty that is Four. That is all.

BOOK REVIEW: On the Fence by Kasie West

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Star Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: THIS IS TOO CUTE!
Published on/by: 1st July 2014 by HarperTeen
Format: eBook
Page Count: 304 pages
Synopsis provided by Goodreads: For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can out-run, out-score, and outwit every boy she knows–including her long-time neighbor, and honorary fourth brother, Braden.

But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chi-chi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and bedazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pick-up game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

 

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW:

Having loved Kasie West’s previous contemporary book, “The Distance Between Us”, I expected nothing but an aww-inducing romance and a sweet and likeable protagonist. And boy, did I get it! Starting this book, I was a little wary because I couldn’t exactly relate to Charlie as I’m pretty much the complete opposite of her. Where she goes on 5 mile runs everyday, I prefer to IMAGINE myself exercising while eating potato chips, watching re-runs of Project Runway.

Charlie is a fire-cracker. She is so much fun to read about, mostly because she is the opposite of me. It was so fun to be in her head, and yes she can be slightly insensitive and hard-headed but she’s a character that grows and develops and learns more about herself. Having been raised without a mother, Charlie has many doubts and insecurities about appearances and the way she interacts with people, which made me appreciate where Charlie was coming from. I especially loved Charlie’s relationship with her family–a house of four boys! It was so fun to read about, especially since all off them had distinct personalities. The romance was especially sweet, and even though there was a love triangle–a half-hearted one at that, it was a really sweet tale of first love and being comfortable with who you are and what you want.

Now, although I did really enjoy this book for the most part, I couldn’t give it 5 stars, mostly because I thought some of the characters were stereotypical and there were more tropes than I would’ve liked. Although I really appreciated the steady unravelling of what really happened with her mother throughout the novel, which provided a much needed deeper backstory, this story was not so memorable for me. However, it is definitely the perfect kind of book for a day to the beach or just a perfect Summer cutesy love story in general!

BOOK REVIEW: Hallowed (#2) by Cynthia Hand

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Star Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Even better than the first! Team Christian! 
Published on/by: 26th December 2012 by HarperTeen (First published on 17th January 2012)
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 403 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW (MINOR SPOILERS FROM BOOK 1):

This book did NOT suffer from second book syndrome, and in fact, it was even BETTER than the first! This book challenged everything I knew and felt about the first. There are plenty of twists and curveballs and the pacing was just so easy and it pained me to put it down to do my Philosophy homework. Snooze.

One of the greatest things about this series (so far) is the mother daughter dynamic and it was such a great thing to see their relationship develop and overcome some pretty shocking and saddening revelations. I also really enjoyed the expansion of this whole Angel ordeal and the introduction of the Congregation as well as new angel-blood characters (a particular newbie character was INCREDIBLY shocking)! I really enjoyed these new developments and the growth of Clara’s character as she learnt more about herself and her abilities.

Sure, there were some pretty frustrating parts, especially scenes with her brother. I thought Jeffrey was incredibly petulant and I just wanted to slap some good sense into him as it was particularly frustrating to be guessing what his deal was. However, when Clara confronted him and everything made sense again, my anger shifted from Jeffrey to Clara. Boy, this was a roller coaster.

As for the romance, I have decided to take the side of Christian Porter. I like Tucker, don’t get me wrong, but there’s just something about someone who can understand exactly what you are and what you’re going through, right? I feel Clara’s frustration in that she wants to fight the future and she doesn’t want to have to follow what is laid out for her…but I’m just hoping she’ll get over it because, unf, Christian Porter.

Yeah, I just unf-ed.

Anyway, I truly enjoyed this book even more than the first but it’s still not quite a 5 star book for me. I’ve never been one to be particular about my rating but I’m trying to do this thing now where I’ll be awarding 5 stars to books that a) challenged me, b) moved me, c) made me think about it for a long period of time after completion or d) all of the above. It was well-written, yes. It had great angel mythology and a sweet romance, check and check. But I just wasn’t that attached to the entire world and the characters, prompting me to give it less than 5 stars.

I totally recommend this sequel if you have read the first book (which you should totally do!)

BOOK REVIEW: Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira

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Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Short Reaction: Yikes, mixed feelings.
Published on/by: April 1st 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Format: eBook
Page Count: 336 pages
Blurb provided by Goodreads: It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

 

NON-SPOILERY REVIEW:

I read this book alongside a book-lover friend, Emily (you can follow her on Instagram! http://instagram.com/book.addiction) from June 2nd to June 5th as part of a (hopefully) monthly read-along! To be honest, I didn’t go into this book with high expectations, especially seeing less than stellar reviews from my Goodreads friends. I was prepared for it though, and set my expectations really low…so you can expect my surprise to find that I kind of liked this book. Kind of. I say ‘kind of’, because I realised that I found more things to dislike in this book even though the book wasn’t bad! For starters, the pacing was very easy to get into and it’s a book that you can finish in one sitting. Another thing I liked about this book was the ‘mystery’. We are told that her sister, May, died but we are not informed of the circumstance and was pleased by how it unfolded. The last thing I liked about this book was the cover. Yup, that about sums it up.

The biggest problem I had with this book was how passive and devastatingly annoying the main character, Laurel, was. I was okay with her for the first few letters…but soon I wanted to reach into the book and clock her a few times. She had no personality whatsoever–well, if you count pretending to be someone she’s not…then, that’s Laurel for you. After all the things she learned about her sister, she still wanted to be her, wearing her clothes and her make up and listening to the same music her sister loved. She had no identity whatsoever, and she pretty much ate up every single little thing her sister fed her. She was annoyingly naive and I had hoped for an amazing character development, seeing as the character begged for it, but I was let down. Another character I truly disliked was May herself. She is the very definition of a manic pixie dream girl and in my honest opinion, why Laurel thought she was such a great sister is beyond me. Other than that, I also had a problem with the tone of the book. I mean, who was I kidding? Dear Kurt Cobain was the first line in the book.

Liking the main character, or empathising with her at the very least is incredibly important to me in order to enjoy a book. And although I pretty much disliked the two main characters of this book, I enjoyed the book as a whole. The story was eventful and interesting, there was no lull in the pacing and the supporting characters like Hannah and Natalie were very intriguing. Laurel failed as a protagonist, for me, which pretty much plummeted the ratings.

 

SPOILERY DISCUSSION:

This is just going to be word vomit from here on out. May was a crappy sister, end of discussion. She repeatedly used Laurel to go see her senior citizen of a boyfriend and she left her thirteen year old sister with his FRIEND whom she barely knew? Are you freaking kidding me? May was selfish and unhinged, clearly. I get that she was hurting over her parent’s divorce but she needed to get a grip. Do not bring your little sister along to your little rendezvous and leave her with a twenty something year old guy to take care of her. Because more often than not, they’re creeps. Creeps who molest your younger sister and steal her innocence. She was so caught up in her hurt that she didn’t really care about Laurel, not really, because if she did she wouldn’t have freaking brought Laurel over. Incredibly selfish, if you ask me.

However, Laurel also infuriated me. She said nothing. This is what I meant by Laurel being incredibly passive. She was entirely clueless and all she thought about was how much she loved May and how much she didn’t want to let go of May and how much she wanted to be in May’s world, that she didn’t even protest or didn’t even tell May about what was happening. She just went with it. And when she decided to tell May? May was shocked for like three seconds before Laurel changed the subject and May decided to pretend to be a fairy again. And to make things worse, history repeats herself when Laurel gets molested again by Blake’s roommate. She didn’t protest, again. It wasn’t clear at all what brought her to be silent and passive in this moment, which infuriated me. Did she feel like she deserved it or something? When I reached the end of the book and learned of the circumstance of May’s death, I saw the parallels. I think that was what Dellaira intended, right? But still, that particular scene was kind of glazed over.

And then another time at the party where guys gave her a pill and told her it was a caffeine pill. Laurel’s stupidity is inexplainable (but of course, not as horrendous as the boy’s actions). I have no words, seriously. NO. WORDS. She took the pill. And then someone else sexually assaulted her again. The part where her boyfriend, Sky, broke up with her? My favourite part of the book. It could’ve been a good pushing point for her to re-evaluate what she was doing with her life because Sky really hit the nail on Laurel’s crazy obsession with trying to be her sister, but she continued down this wannabe manic pixie dream girl path.

I wish I liked this book more, I really do. Sigh.

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?! 🙂

Anticipatin’ & Waitin’: May 2014 Releases!

Hi, everyone!

Well, it’s that time again… The books I’m so looking forward to that are going to be released in the month of May! This time I’m right on track, having written this before May. I’m trying to keep this habit so that I don’t procrastinate…like for this month’s post. Oops! Yesterday marked the start of my small school break, which means I have three weeks of books, books, TV shows, books, movies, books and friends to hang out with! Yay! So there really is no excuse to not update the blog. Without further adieu, here are my most anticipated releases of May 2014! (You will be surprised, as I am, that there are only two contemporaries, heh!)

1. SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson (May 6th, 2014)


Since You've Been Gone

Blurb provided by Goodreads: The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

Morgan Matson is one of my favourite authors. She writes such beautiful stories that are not your typical contemporaries. I’ve read two books of hers, ‘Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour’ and ‘Second Chance Summer’ respectively and they are just fabulous. Both features two teenage girls with amazing character development. ‘Second Chance Summer’ in particular, brought me to tears.

I’m so very excited for her third book to come out! Not only is this a total cover LOVE, but the premise is so intriguing! Disappearing best friend? Bucket list? This sounds like the PERFECT summer read and I can’t wait to get my hands on it so I can just devour it during Summertime!

2. WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart (May 13th, 2014)

We Were Liars

Blurb provided by Goodreads: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I don’t know a whole lot about this book, if anything at all, but I’m already interested. All the early reviews I’ve read promised greatness and a plot twist like no other, as well as the reassurance that going into this blind is the best way to go. I mean, just read the blurb! It’s so incredibly vague, but it does the trick into making you ultra suspicious and curious! This book, I feel, can be classified as a psychological thriller and I don’t read much of that, especially in YA but I’m so looking forward to it! Agh, suspense!

3. OF NEPTUNE by Anna Banks (May 13th, 2014)

Of Neptune

Blurb provided by Goodreads: Emma and Galen’s kingdom and their love is threatened by long-lost Syrena in the brilliant conclusion to Anna Banks bestselling trilogy.

Emma, half human and half Syrena, and her Syrena love, Galen, need time together alone. Away from the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton. Emma’s grandfather, the Poseidon king, suggests the two visit a small town called Neptune.

Neptune is home to both Syrena and Half-Breeds alike. But Emma and Galen didn’t sign up to be peacemakers between the ocean and the land-dwelling, freshwater Syrena. They didn’t bargain for meeting a charming Half-Breed named Reed, who can barely disguise his feelings for Emma. And they especially didn’t expect to find themselves in the middle of a power struggle that threatens not only their love but their ocean kingdoms.

This book is the third and final in the ‘Syrena Legacy’ series, following ‘Of Poisedon’ (Book 1) and ‘Of Triton’ (Book 2). I read the first two and I really, really enjoyed it! They are super quick to get through and the pacing of the books are remarkable. It’s a very light mermaid series that covers family, romance, and political problems under the sea! How fun, right!? Honestly, the main reason I’m looking forward to this last instalment is because I just want to get this series over and done with. Book 2 ended with a very clean and respectable solution, so you can imagine mine and everyone else’s confusion when it was announced Book 3 was in the works. I mean, say whaaaaa?! I don’t really get it, honestly. I found no strings loose, and if there were, it was fine so minor and inconsequential! Oh well, still going to pick this up anyway, because the covers are to DIE for.

4. CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Care (May 27th, 2014)

City of Heavenly Fire

Blurb provided by Goodreads: ΕRCHOMAI, SEBASTIAN HAD SAID. 

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

Do I even need to elaborate? Do I even need to include this on the list? Like, this is EVERYONE’S anticipatin’ & waitin’! This book is the end to the epic saga that consumed my life back in 2011. This book will tell us who will die. THIS BOOK, you guys. THIS BOOK, and it’s FINALLY over. I sound relieved, don’t I? Well, it’s because I am. As much of a fan I am of the Shadowhunter world, the suspense is just killing me. Finishing ‘City of Glass’, the 3rd book in this 6 book series, was a milestone for me. However, the world was so rich and intoxicating, that I kinda knew Clare wouldn’t deviate from it. The world had lots more potential and BOOM! Three more trilogies were spawned, two of which have yet to be released into the world. Before I gush/whine anymore, I have to disclose that I haven’t read ‘City of Lost Souls’ yet. I know, I know…what the hell?! But I have a plausible reason over here. I finished the first four books in November 2011. CoLS came out 6-7 months later. CoHF was scheduled TWO YEARS LATER (this year). Can you imagine the exasperation? I knew I couldn’t read CoLS, especially after knowing I’d have to wait two years because I knew I wouldn’t remember anything. I don’t particularly like rereading my fantasy books, so this was a huge factor for me. But now that we are merely weeks away, I am salivating.

I. WANT. THAT. BOOK. (After I read CoLS, of course, and remind myself of the events in CoFA).

 

So these are the books I’m looking forward to in the month of May! *happy dance* What are you most looking forward to, stranger?

xoxo