Review: Taking #3, Collide by Melissa West

16032329Blurb from Goodreads

Military legacy Ari Alexander has survived alien spies, WWIV, and a changing world order. But when the new leader of Earth uses Jackson—the only boy she’s ever let herself care about—to get to her, Ari has no choice but to surrender.

To free Jackson, she agrees to travel to the national bases to train others to fight. What she discovers is a land riddled with dying people. Ari has the power to heal by turning the fighters into aliens—half-breeds like her. If she succeeds, together, they have a chance at overthrowing the alien leader, Zeus. But if she fails, everyone she holds dear will be wiped away forever.

Once again, everything Ari’s come to believe is thrown into question. In a world of uncertainty, loyalties are tested, lies are uncovered, and no one can be trusted. If Ari and Jackson have any hope at survival and at preserving a life for the future, they must fight the final war with their eyes wide open.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published February 9th 2015 by Entangled: Teen
edition language: English
series: Taking
genre: Dystopia, Sci-fi, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

When book 2, Hover, didn’t live my expectation, I don’t except anything to the final one. But that’s when the best thing for the series happens. This book is the best among the three. I think it’s perfect as the last book.

Ari doesn’t lose focus anymore here, instead she’s so determine and clear of what she wants and what she has to do. She’s more badass which I liked, by the way because she doesn’t waste her talent into some wishy-washy thoughts like in book 2. Her romance with Jackson is also spots on. And it doesn’t shadow the action. But then again, it’s one of things I like from the series. There is romance but never shadow the story of the human versus the alien.

I couldn’t agree more with the tagline of the book, The War is Imminent. You’ll find more action and tension here, more than in book 1. It’s like Ari and other characters are always in the run and danger as the war approaches. But my favorite thing is Zeus’s mind game. It’s so good I keep wandering which one is real and which one is not. When I read it, I think I know when Ari dreams but then I’m not so sure anymore. I liked the feeling when I read it. It’s confusing but in a good way, if you know what I mean.

But if I have to point out one thing I’m not quite satisfy, is Ari’s POV makes some scenes aren’t not clear enough for me. Her POV limited few things I really want to know more. It’s just my preference, though. This book is still the best of the series.

Note: Is it just me or do you feel like there is a potential of sequel or spin-off of the series?

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #15
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
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Review: Everything Has Changed by Mia Kayla

24356312Blurb from Goodreads

Imagine finding the love of your life at the age of six.

Bliss Carrington did.

Bliss has known Jimmy Brason since first grade. He took on the role of the big brother Bliss never had, breaking Bliss out of her shy shell, encouraging her to have fun in high school, and pushing her to live her life to the fullest. They have always been friends—until one day, Bliss wanted more. Now seeing women everywhere swooning over Jimmy, head quarterback of the New York Cougars, is enough to drive her to madness.

Jimmy has been in love with Bliss forever, but she doesn’t know and she can never find out. In all the craziness of his fast track to fame and money, Bliss is the one person who has kept him sane. He firmly believes that history repeats itself and with his tainted past, he’s afraid that he’s fated to hurt her if he allows himself to follow his heart.

Bliss has watched Jimmy grow from a boy into a man, and it’s not fair that someone else will get to keep him when she knows in her heart that he only belongs to her.

When they tiptoe on the edge of love, can their friendship remain intact with both of them ignoring the rumblings that’s threatening to explode?

Everything Has Changed is a story of love, loss, and longing for the one you grew up loving.

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published February 16th 2015 by MAM Books LLC
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

This is another case where the book has perfect formula but somehow I just missed it and think that it isn’t the one for me, while it has things I usually like.

So Bliss and Jimmy is best friend for forever. But somewhere along the way, Bliss feels something different. She falls in love with Jimmy while he is a I-don’t-do-relationship kind of guy. As a famous quarterback, of course there are women around her that makes Bliss feel even more insecure of herself.

From the beginning I can sense that this one is an angsty story. I don’t mind angst, I even like it. It’s my guilty pleasure. So I really like first couple chapters. I think it captures Bliss feeling for Jimmy well. I feel bad for her when it seems he doesn’t see her more than a BFF. And I understand her insecurity. At the same time, I know that Jimmy’s feeling is mutual but for some reason he doesn’t want her to know it. This causes problems between them. And it goes on and on and on in more than half of the book.

The thing is I can bear and understand their conflict as it can make the drama to the story, and yes the angst that I like. But if it happens more than I can count and it’s like they are running in circle, it’s frustrating me! Even Bliss feels it too. She tells me herself. There is nothing much in 70% of the story aside that they talking the same things over and over. Reading it is just exhausting.

I also don’t like the way Bliss keeps telling the same things over and over. Not just in the way she describes her feeling, it also when she describes something. She sounds like a song in repeat to me. Jimmy isn’t much better either. He keeps hurting Bliss while he says that he cares for her. If he cares for her, he won’t hurt her all the time and makes her the only one who fights for their love. At this moment, I didn’t know which one I most dislike. Bliss who cannot move on and letting him hurt her for countless time or Jimmy who hurt her in most of the story and doesn’t have a backbone to pursuit their love?

My excitement to Bliss and Jimmy story soon replace with boredom. And when they finally tell each other feeling, I lost my interest and just want to finish it as soon as I can so that I can move on to another book.

Result: 2 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #14
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.

Review: Rebel Wing #2, Storm Fall by Tracy Banghart

23556036Blurb from Goodreads

In the action-packed sequel to Rebel Wing, Aris battles for life and love . . . and not everyone will survive.

Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history.

Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war.

Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her . .

Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published December 16th 2014 by Alloy Entertainment – Powered by Amazon
edition language: English
series: Rebel Wing
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I think this sequel is much better than Rebel Wing. In Rebel Wing, half of it was boring, but here there isn’t any single dull moment I can find. It’s so engaging I read it in one sitting. It’s fast-paced from the beginning to the end.

I have to admit that the idea that Aris has to struggle (again) in the military made me doubt the story. Although I have a high hope to this book, I also think that it can be repetitive as Aris has to do the similar things as in book 1, though for different case. She’s indeed struggle for her position again, but the author write it well to avoid the similar things happen twice. And for that I’m so happy. It’s so good reading her struggling and determination throughout the story, as well as her hide and seek relationship with Major Vadim.

However I still don’t like reading Ward Neko and Ward Vadim relationship. In fact I couldn’t care less of their romance. For me, as leaders, especially Ward Neko, they don’t bring much contribution to the war their dominions have to face. I see him as a weak character. Maybe he’s meant to be that way, but his regret over his past love doesn’t give any good to his dominion. And reading it is so annoying. I rather read about Dysis relationship, or even Pallas story. So I think it is good they don’t take much in the story.

This book is still action-packed. Not just from Aris’ flying ability, but also from the nightmare that she has to face. It’s like the tension is all over her and she doesn’t have anything to avoid it.

On a side note, I think this book still has unclear things, just like in book 1. 1) I’m wondering where Theo goes? He’s the one who recognize Aris flying talent but he still doesn’t show up in the story. It’s like the author forgets him. 2) The invisible wingjet. It is invisible not only from the outside, but also from the inside of the jet, as in the pilot cannot see its nose and all. Does it make sense? I mean if it is the case, doesn’t it dangerous for the pilots for not being able to see their own jet? I know there are these kinds of military jet in our world, stealth jet, if I’m not wrong that can invisible from the radar and all. But I don’t think it’s truly invisible as in there is nothing that can see it, including its pilots. 3) Similar case with Theo, where does Aero Contas go? He’s an ass and is being station to another stationpoint, but I thought, well I assumed, to be honest, from his talk to Aris that he will appear again in the story. But until the last page, he doesn’t show up anymore.

All in all I really liked this sequel. I’m enjoying it more than book 1 and is as good as I expected. It still has things I dislike, though. But it doesn’t mean that I won’t read book 3, in fact I cannot wait to get my hand on it!

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #13
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.

Rebel Wing #1, Shattered Veil by Tracy Banghart

20951188Blurb from GoodReads

When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?

War has invaded Atalanta’s quiet villages and lush woodlands, igniting whispered worries in its glittering capitol. Far from the front lines, 18-year-old Aris Haan, a talented wingjet flyer, has little cause for concern. Until her beloved Calix is thrust into the fray, and a stranger makes her an impossible offer: the chance to join a secret army of women embedded within the all-male military.

Aris’s choice to follow Calix to war will do more than put her in physical danger; it will make her question everything she believes about herself. When she and her enigmatic commander uncover a deadly conspiracy, her expert flying may be the only hope for her dominion’s survival…and her own.

It’s Mulan meets Battlestar Galactica, with a heroine who is strong enough to save a nation…but only if she’s willing to sacrifice everything, even the one promise she swore she’d never break.

Kindle Edition, 372 pages
Published February 24th 2014
edition language: English
series: Rebel Wing
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I think this is a good book and I enjoyed reading it, mostly in second part.

The first part was a struggle for me. Despite the war that is looming in Aris’ world, the story is a bit boring. Although I admire her eagerness to be with her loved one, Calix, I’m also annoyed with her. She’s joining the military to be close to him, so she should know the consequences. But in all her training time she’s whiney and is so innocent, if not a bit silly and careless. I know it is needed for her character development, as we can guess she’ll soon realize her role and reasons in the military is bigger than her initial reason, but still I felt like I want to tell her to stop complaining. In a way, it makes the story feels slow. And then, there is another story between the leaders of the dominion, it isn’t as interesting as Aris story and I felt it kind of dragged on.

Another thing is there isn’t much description about most of the important things, well at least important for me.

When I read the blurb I thought that this is a dystopian story. I felt like it is a dystopian but I didn’t get clear worldbuilding and the time setting of the story. If it’s a dystopian I need to know what happened before Aris’ time takes place. My friend said this might set in an alternate universe as we felt places in the story remind us of places in our world. But there isn’t much any description either. So it’s pretty hard for me to picture Aris’ world.

As the most important thing in Aris disguise, the Diatous Veil, didn’t describe much either. Aris has to have it to manipulate human eyes to think that she’s a man. The book says that it has something to do with electrode. I don’t think it’s enough for my brain to believe it. I need more explanation about it, how about the chemistry and other technical things that connects to the electrode?

There are so many questions about it in my mind as so does with the reason of the war. I hope I’ll get the answers in next books.

Fortunately, second part is much better as the pace takes turn. Aris is more likeable. She begins to understand her role in the military. Her struggle to keep hiding her identity is also interesting. In order to keep her “mask” I think it’s impossible for her to avoid touching her friends in the military, but I also can’t wait to know when and how her disguise reveals.

I also like the way Aris and Calix relationship grows. It’s bittersweet but it’s understandable. It surely adds the drama in their relationship and become an important thing in Aris’ life. And it’s action-packed. I really enjoyed reading how Aris loves flying. I can see that she indeed loves to fly.

Can’t wait to read book 2! Thank goodness I’ve already had it so I don’t have to wait for long to read it.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #11
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.

Review: Ever Darkening by Janeal Falor

23403993Blurb from GoodReads

Perfection. Goodness. Elimination of evil. It’s what seventeen-year-old Kaylyn has trained her entire life to achieve. But no one is prepared for the consequences of her actually defeating all evil people on the planet. Finally successful in her mission, Kaylyn faces an unfamiliar world, full of good people doing good things, in which she no longer has purpose.

When the skies grow dark, and a stranger from another village pleads for her help, her instincts roar to life. It turns out their perfect world isn’t exactly what it seems. Kaylyn’s new quest, harder than any she’s been on before, will rip apart her friendships, her life, and her soul more than any evil man ever managed to.

Kindle Edition, 171 pages
Published January 22nd 2015
edition language: English
genre: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I’m conflicted now. I liked things in this book as much as disliked other things in the story.

I liked the writing, obviously. It flows smoothly and so clear I can picture the worldbuilding and everything in the story easily. And not to mention that it has perfect pace. There is a room for slow thing as well as things that made my heart beat fast.

I also liked the unknown feeling that I got from Kaylyn, the heroine in this story. She made me wondering what really happen to her world exactly. It’s pretty predictable, to be honest and is quite easy to guess what happened and will happen into her world (and my guessed were right, if you want to know), but it didn’t mean that I stop wondering while I read her story. I always love the feeling when I’m wondering and questioning the story. It means I pay attention to it and it glues me to keep reading it.

However me questioning things could lead into something else that bring me to other things that I didn’t quite like. From the beginning I’ve already known that destroying the evil forever is not as good as it sounds because everything needs balance. So how come Showna, the leader of Kaylyn’s band of fighter (I cannot point out my finger to Kaylyn since she’s still young and doesn’t have much experience as Showna) didn’t think about it or at least questioning it to Aster and Astra, Kaylyn’s community leaders? I can ignore it, though. It’s not a big deal compare to the grand scheme of the story and is kind of understandable for them to follow all the rule and what they asked since it’s in their blood to be good person.

But it also leads me questioning that even a good person cannot be a whole good person forever. Everything needs balance, remember? At this point it seems conflicted with the plot. The good characters are described so good they don’t have any single evil thought while the story tells me that good cannot exist without evil. If the good characters are so good and they need bad characters to exist, isn’t it unfair for bad characters when they actually are good characters but are provoked to do evil things just so the balance keeps back in track? And I also didn’t buy that the good cannot be swing into evil side. If they can provoke their friend, why cannot their friends do the same thing to them?

So you see, I liked this story, I really do. I think it has good idea and I liked the ending, though it’s as I predicted. But I also didn’t quite agree with that good and evil thing. I guess it means that this book is more than an okay book as I enjoyed reading it.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #10
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
– Popsugar: A book with a love triangle

Review: Maybe by Amber L. Johnson

22057891Blurb from GoodReads

Letting go is hard. Admitting you need each other is harder.

Emily Portman loves her job. A writer for Breakout! Magazine, she shadows and showcases up-and-coming bands. When her next assignment takes her to Austin, Texas, she can’t wait to add the city to her map of places she’s visited. Places she’s left without looking back. Her plan is to keep moving on, and the last thing she needs is a man holding her back. She’s not going down that road again.

Tyler Macy is stuck in a rut. Despite his exceptional talent as a musician, he has chosen to take a back seat with his music and let others grab the limelight. Wounded and mistrustful, he doesn’t appreciate his friends’ efforts to bring him back to center stage. Emily comes onto the scene and sees his full potential, but he fights to stay in the shadows, shutting her out before she can add to the scars another woman gave him.

For Tyler to find his music again, he needs to accept the help that Emily and their friends offer. When he discovers that his muse lies underneath Emily’s skin, it is still not enough to keep her from walking away. Neither will admit what they really want until it is too late.

Emily is once again thrown in Tyler’s path when she is assigned to join them on tour. Despite the pain in his past, Tyler sees that she is worth it, even if she’s stolen both his heart and peace of mind. In order for them to be together, they both must discover whether the music and their passion are enough to overcome the obstacles that separate them.

Maybe finding love is worth the risk.

Kindle Edition, 249 pages
Expected publication: February 12th 2015 by The Writer’s Coffee Shop
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

After Puddle Jumping I have high expectation on this book. That’s why I was so eager to read it and cannot help myself not to request it on NetGalley. I know those two books are different in so many ways, so I shouldn’t compare it but they come from the same author I thought at least I can enjoy it.

Now I can say that I really shouldn’t have any expectation as in the end it didn’t live my expectation and I didn’t quite enjoy it. The story is so cliche, predictable and formulaic I don’t even find any single thing that never told before, mostly in NA stories. I don’t mind cliche and formulaic stories but usually it also has something that can attract me to say that I like it. Not in this case, unfortunately.

I usually like the hate-love relationship but here, I didn’t think so. Emily hates Tyler in the beginning but it soon, like sooner than a blink of an eye, changes to attraction (or should I say lust?) I kind of forget that she hates him in the first place. Emily being a journalist and Tyler a musician should have a conflict of interest. You know when she has to dig deep the skeleton in Tyler’s life and his band while at the same time she’s in a relationship with him. I think it should conflict her feeling but she doesn’t conflicted enough for me. And Tyler doesn’t like when people call him with his first name, Tyler, but why did he introduce himself as Tyler when he met Emily for the first time. I didn’t buy it.

I liked that the story is fast pace but in most of the time it too fast I have a hard time believe in Tyler and Emily relationship. With all of bad past relationship they had, I think at least they need time for their new one. But here it feels like they jump straight to it while they can, though mostly it’s just about sex. Well at least that was what I feel.

All in all, this one is a letdown compare to my first Amber L. Johnson book. But I’m sure it won’t be my last one, because to be honest her other books look as appealing as her two books I’ve read. I just have to read them to know the result, right?

Result: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #9
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
– Popsugar: A book by a female author

Review: The Last Kings of Sark by Rosa Rankin-Gee

18404267Blurb from Goodreads

My name is Jude. And because of Law, Hey and the Obscure, they thought I was a boy.’

Jude is twenty-one when she flies in a private plane to Sark, a tiny carless Channel Island, the last place in Europe to abolish feudalism. She has been hired for the summer to give tuition to a rich local boy called Pip. But when she arrives, the family is unsettling – Pip is awkward, over-literal, and adamant he doesn’t need a tutor, and upstairs, his enigmatic mother Esmé casts a shadow over the house.

Enter Sofi: the family’s holiday cook, a magnetic, mercurial Polish girl with appalling kitchen hygiene, who sings to herself and sleeps naked. When the father of the family goes away on business, Pip’s science lessons are replaced by midday rosé and scallop-smuggling, and summer begins. Soon something surprising starts to touch the three together.

But those strange, golden weeks cannot last forever. Later, in Paris, Normandy and London, they find themselves looking for the moment that changed everything.

Compelling, dark and funny, The Last Kings of Sark is tale of complicated love, only children and missed opportunities, from an extraordinary new writer.

Kindle Edition, 289 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by St. Martin’s Press (first published November 7th 2013)
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Adult
My Thoughts
DNF at chapter 12 (30%)

ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

The blurb intrigued me to read this book, that’s why I requested it from NetGalley in the first place. Somehow I was kind of wish that I’ll get Jane Eyre-esque story, a beautiful-romantic with mystery kind of story.

Sark island interesting enough with its mysterious vibe. I think the author did a good job describing it. However it was hard for me to connect to the story and the characters. I really tried but up to the end of chapter 12 I still couldn’t care less with both of them. Jude, the main character and narrator of this story described most of everything but I got so little thing about her. Her co-worker, Sofi is an interesting character but I feel like she talked too much and her character overshadows Jude. It made me think why didn’t give her own POV, instead of Jude since I got her story more than Jude. She came to Sark to tutor a boy, Pip, he is supposed to be an interesting character too, but he feels flat to me. It was like he was there just so Jude has someone to tutor while she even rarely tutors him. Esme, Pip’s French mom, she’s the one I thought could make the story more mysterious, but the way Jude describes her make her isn’t mysterious enough for me to know what her story is. And Eddy, Pip’s dad, he disappears a lot from the story I didn’t get much about him.

And there is also something off with the way Jude tells her story. Maybe it’s just me being a reader with English isn’t my first language, maybe it’s because I’m still learning it so I don’t know much about it. But one thing for sure was I have problem reading her story. She likes using ‘later’. It’s kinda kill the element of surprise for me. I think I already know who or what will happen long before it happen or he/she enters the story since she tells me one step forward. Hence when a character enters the story and/or some things finally happened, it didn’t interest me anymore. I also quite difficult to differentiate when and where she talks about something. I feel like she talks about one thing and then in the same paragraph it turns to other thing. I think the flow doesn’t go smoothly.

All in all, I think this book has potential but I just couldn’t connect to it and there weren’t much happened till 30% of the story. To be honest, I tried a few times to pick this book up again and again in a span of 8 months. I feel bad I couldn’t finish it, maybe it just isn’t my cup of tea and it will work differently for other readers.

Result: since I did not finish it, I didn’t give it any star
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #6
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.
– Popsugar: A book written by an author with your same initial