Review: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5, Fairest by Marissa Meyer

22489107Blurb from Goodreads

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Hardcover, 222 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
edition language: English
series: The Lunar Chronicles
genre: Dystopia, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

This is a story about love, a love that causes jealousy, hurt and madness. Levana craves love; from her parents who never able to show it to her, from her older sister who is cunning even in earlier age and most importantly from a man that attracts her from the first time she met him. She has love she’s willing to share yet she doesn’t have anyone to share with.

Levana as all we know is an evil antagonist in The Lunar Chronicles. So evil I want her to meet her end in a very hurtful way. But somehow, I can guess that there is a story, her reason, why she acted the way she did. I’m glad she has her own story, as I know her more well now. I think it’s a sad story, as sad as Disney’s live-action Maleficent. I feel sorry for her, but it doesn’t mean that I forgive her for all of her cruelty. What she did is beyond reason and unforgivable. But that’s the best thing about this book. It can make me sorry for her as much as hate her at the same time.

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As a bridge between book 3 and 4 (or is it a prequel of book 1?) I already knew most of the things in the story. Reading it is like putting the puzzle of who is who and what they will become in next books, one by one. I think it’s good because it means that it intertwines with a whole Lunar Chronicles books. But in a way it’s also kinda boring. There is a time when I wish I get surprise from the story, just so I feel like I get something else something different in the story. So it is good Levana is a strong character. She can make me bear a bit of boredom and turn it into engaging story.

Although there isn’t much happens here, at least not much if I compare with other characters in Lunar Chronicles’ story, I think Levana’s story is stronger than Cress’ and probably more complex than Cinder and Scarlet’s story. Now I can’t wait to read the final one, Winter.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #17
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish at least 5 series I’ve started.
– Popsugar: A book based entirely on its cover
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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.

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.

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: When by Victoria Laurie

24460603Blurb from Goodreads

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one. Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie. Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Disney Hyperion
edition language: English
genre: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.This book somehow brings out memory of my teenage life when the only thing I read is suspense-detective kind of books. I love detective stories I thought I’ll only read them for the rest of my life which is not likely happen as I grow old.

Now, reading this book with my older eyes and mind, I can say that I still love this kind of books. And I really enjoyed this story, though I also realize that there are things that feel unbelievable and far-fetched. But I can shrug it off and think that Maddie is just a teenage girl. So it’s understandable when she’s a bit naive and doesn’t take a second thought of what older people suggest her to do. When she puts her mind on something, she’ll do it. No matter what. In a way I admire her bravery. On the other hand I feel like I want to tell her to be careful. The story also contains with things that are too easy for Maddie and other characters it seems they are often be at the right/wrong place in a right/wrong time. And much for their inconvenience it seems to help/make the situation worse for them. But then again, I can still bear it as I like the characters.

For one thing, though it’s kind of predictable, there are still things that surprise me. And the pace is so good it’s so engaging I want to keep reading it. There are moments when I feel my heart beats fast as much as when I can’t help not to smile because of Maddie and her bestfriend, Stubby’s coversation or his unique personalities behind that shyness and awkward boy. And I really like their relationship. They a bit remind me of Amy and Hawkeye, a pair of teenage detectives from Can You Solve The Mystery? series I fell in love with long time ago.

And then as I reach the final page, I realize I don’t want this story to end. It has perfect ending, I really liked it but I also feel like I can read more of Maddie and other good characters in the future.

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

Review: Reclaiming The Sand #2, Chasing The Tide by A. Meredith Walters

21914535Blurb from GoodReads

Bully and Victim

Friend and Lover

Past and Future

Ellie McCallum and Flynn Hendrick’s story was as painful as it was devastating. But they were able to find within each other an unlikely yet beautiful love. Despite the obstacles that tried to keep them apart.

And together they rose out of the ashes of their tragic history.

Now years after their life changing reunion Ellie is back in Wellston, having just graduated from college and ready to start her future with the man who taught her how to love. However, returning to a town that held so much bitterness and anger was the last place she wanted to start over.

But for Flynn, who is now an art professor at the community college and firmly rooted in the place that gave them their beginning, she’d do just about anything.

Yet it’s difficult building a life when you’ve only just learned how to live.
And love, no matter how strong, doesn’t always conquer all.

Ellie and Flynn must learn how far they are willing to go to stay together. Or whether the ghosts of the past will consume them both.

Because finding a happily ever after is harder than it seems. Particularly when you’re fighting against the one thing that could destroy you.

Yourself.

Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Published December 14th 2014
edition language: English
series: Reclaiming The Sand
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
I love Flynn Hendrick and Ellie McCullom I felt like I’m not ready to say goodbye by the time I reach the last page of Reclaiming The Sand. And since then I’ve reread a few times, or just skimmed it to my favorite parts whenever I need to let me out from reading slump. And boy does it work every time. So you can tell how happy I was when I knew there will be another Flynn and Ellie’s story.

This time is mostly about Ellie’s life. I love I got to see more of her past life here, from her childhood to her college life. The author didn’t tell Ellie’s past in much description. It’s only in two or three pages in each chapters but it tells a lot about her. I think that way I can understand her better while at the same time it didn’t overlap the main story, her relationship with Flynn.

Their relationship is still hard, sometimes harder than in previous book. I really like when characters have to struggle and fight hard to get what they want, just like Flynn and Ellie who push their limit to make their relationship works. But I also felt the middle part of the story was a bit drag on and was kinda repetitive. I understand that Flynn needs consistency and routine but when I read the same thing happens I have to say that it was quite annoying and boring. So Ellie doesn’t want to be in Wellstone then her dislikes of her town effects Flynn’s mood. They yell and mad to each other and then she realizes that Flynn is all she needs. I know it means to show how hard they have to work for their relationship, with their own issues. But I think maybe their struggling can be in a different way to avoid the same thing over and over.

I still think that this is a nice story though, more than nice, to be honest. And I still love Flynn and Ellie and am still not ready to say goodbye. That’s how much I love them and their story.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #3
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish at least 5 series I’ve started.
– Popsugar: A book I can finish in a day

Review: Beneath Beautiful by Allison Rushby

18886367Blurb from Goodreads

When a handsome stranger approaches Cassie Tavington in Paris’s beautiful Père Lachaise cemetery, she has no idea who he is. It doesn’t take long to find out. A whispered name from a passerby shocks her into the realisation that it’s Cameron Callahan, high-profile modern artist, who she’s busy showing around the cemetery.

Mortified, Cassie runs, but Cameron soon tracks her down. He’s intent on having Cassie sit for him, but Cassie isn’t sure. His provocative sculptures are often in the media, which isn’t somewhere that Cassie, the daughter of a politician, should be.

But there’s no denying the attraction between the pair, and Cassie soon finds herself in a strange whirlwind of a relationship. Between Paris, London and New York, Cassie finds sitting for an artist isn’t as simple as it seems. There’s much to contend with—including Cameron’s ex-girlfriend, Plum, her own father, and her new love interest, James.

With the clock ticking down to the opening of Cameron’s new exhibition, Cassie must struggle to decide just how much of herself she can give over to Cameron and his sculpture while still remaining whole.

ebook
Published November 1st 2014
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

To be honest, as my first book from Allison Rushby, I didn’t expect much to this book. I don’t know her writing style or what she usually writes. The cover and the blurb that were intrigued me to request it on NetGalley. And when I saw that it is a New Adult book, I thought that it is like any other New Adult books I’ve read. You know with characters whose have baggage, a hero who needs to be rescued, a naive heroine and an insta-love.

I even think there is an insta-love when I reach 4% of the story, just because the main character, Cassie told me that she has an instant attraction with the hero, Cameron. And boy did she have it and lust over him for most of the time along the story. I have to admit, though, that I didn’t quite like it. Reading her having an instant attraction and lusting over Cameron was quite annoying. I think it didn’t suit with her personalities well. When she met him for the first time, she told me she always takes herself carefully to not be exposed by the media because of her father’s job. So when she decided to sit for him and willingly moved to New York only days after meeting him, it seems so careless and so-not her. At least the Cassie she told me about at the beginning of the story.

And then there are other characters that somehow intertwine Cassie and Cameron’s life it seems too coincidence. Hence I didn’t buy it. I mean it is like Alys, Plum and James suddenly in New York just because Cassie is there, though Alys was there in the first place. But still their connection is hard to believe, for me, at least.

However, the more I read the more I understand what Cassie’s trying to tell. And all of my thoughts when I started reading this book were just a glimpse of the story. And my prejudice of this book, about it being as cliche as any other new adult books was wrong. I’m glad the author can show me that I was wrong and there is more to her story, Cassie’s story, than the blurb and its label, being a new adult book, tell me.

I really liked the way it’s written. I’m not an artistic person. I mostly don’t understand the meaning of painting, moreover sculpture. But here, I get it, I understand what Cameron trying to say through his works. It left me wondering whether his works are purely the author’s idea because they are amazing.

Although at the beginning I didn’t quite like Cassie, I cannot help to not love her in the end. She grows up throughout the story and reading her character development was so relieving. I also liked other characters, especially Cassie’s older sister and her husband, Jo and Jeremy, they are really funny. All of the characters play their role well.

I think there is no better title for this book than Beneath Beautiful. It describes the story perfectly. You have to read this book, with its layers to understand it well.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars