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.

description

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

Review: Crush #1, Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola

22606645Blurb from Goodreads

Brinley Dawson doesn’t drink, she studies—and despite the accusations of her alcoholic mother, she’s still a virgin. But if Brinley’s life is so put together, why is she freaking out to be going to college with the gorgeous, green-eyed jerk she kissed on a stupid dare in high school? Ryder Briggs can have any girl he wants . . . and the rumors say that he does. So why, after publicly embarrassing Brinley four years ago, is he suddenly acting like he’s interested?

Ryder never forgot Brinley. In fact, those perfect seven minutes permanently raised the bar for what a kiss could be. The truth is, Ryder doesn’t dare get too close to anyone. He knows how that worked out for his parents. But when his roommate takes a shot at Brinley, Ryder can’t contain his jealousy. Now he must do the hardest thing he’s ever done: forget about sex and convince Brinley his feelings are real.

Brinley isn’t sure whether she believes Ryder, but for the first time, her body isn’t playing by the rules. Then she discovers that she’s an unwilling part of a cruel game, humiliating her all over again—and Ryder might be to blame. Has Brinley’s little crush turned into a huge mistake . . . or has she found the one guy worth trusting with her heart?

Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published October 21st 2014 by Flirt/Random House
edition language: English
series: Crush
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
There is time when I feel like I have to stop reading New Adult contemporary romance. I don’t remember when the last time I got 4 stars reading. But silly me, I keep thinking that I might find a good one if I keep trying. I got this book from a recommendation after my not-so-good NA contemporary romance, and it is still not-so-good for me.

It has everything I usually read and is so predictable I was questioning the main character, Brinley, for not guessing it. I don’t know whether she’s that clueless or just ignorant or is truly naive. Let’s say she’s a naive-clueless nineteen years old, but what happened with her in the past should be a lesson for her. So it seems she didn’t get her lesson well. It’s so frustrating knowing that your main character falling to the same hole again, even when at the end of the day, it isn’t quite the same hole. But still I want her to get her lesson.

Reading her personality is not-so-good either. She says that she’s shy but she doesn’t seem that shy. I don’t find her shy enough as a shy person. She slut-shaming her roommate while she doesn’t know her at all. She also says that what Ryder did to her 4 years ago made her angry and caused her as an outsider at their school. But the first time she meet him again, she’s weak and all from his gorgeousness. I feel like I want to shout to her and demand her answer of where her anger and hate go? I think four years as an outsider in school is quite a long time to hold grunge, but suddenly it goes nowhere in the first sight at their second meeting. I don’t buy it.

And Ryder, is just typical I’m-not-good-for-you-so-stay-away-from-me-but-I-can’t-stay-away-so-I-keep-knocking-on-your-door kind of guy. His hot and cold attitude is so annoying I want to smack his head and tell him to make up his mind.

All in all, it looks like I’m still searching my perfect NA contemporary romance. And this one is far from it. So the question is, like Adele says, should I give up or should I keep chasing pavement?

Result: 2 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #15
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Read books I never thought I’ll read

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: Taking #2, Hover by Melissa West

16032322Blurb from Goodreads

On Earth, seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander was taught to never peek, but if she hopes to survive life on her new planet, Loge, her eyes must never shut. Because Zeus will do anything to save the Ancients from their dying planet, and he has a plan.

Thousands of humans crossed over to Loge after a poisonous neurotoxin released into Earth’s atmosphere, nearly killing them. They sought refuge in hopes of finding a new life, but what they became were slaves, built to wage war against their home planet. That is, unless Ari and Jackson can stop them. But on Loge, nothing is as it seems…and no one can be trusted.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Entangled Teen
edition language: English
series: Taking
genre: Dystopia, Sci-fi, Young Adult, Romance
My Thoughts
Although book 1 of Taking series is only a 3 stars for me, I think it has interesting idea and I like the way Ms. West wrote it. And compare to some of dystopian YA books I’ve read, it is a better one. So I have a high hope to its sequels.

This time, Ari’s story takes place in Jackson’s planet. As a place that is so far away from the earth, I need a vivid worldbuilding, or at least enough description about the place so that I believe that the characters are in other planet, outside the earth. Just like book 1, the writing is still good, the description of the worldbuilding is also so clear I can picture it in my mind easily. But I feel like there is no difference with the earth. Everything seems similar to the earth. I don’t get the feeling that it is a place that is so far away from the earth that you need a wormhole to send messages.

I also feel there is not much happen in most of the story. Thus it feels slower than book 1. I know what Ari has to do here is not an easy task. But she’s being with the enemy, I feel she loses focus of what she has to do. In a way she spends her time training as a RES, Republic Employee Spy, since she’s a half-human, half-ancient now but I don’t see she does much training as other RES do. In another hand, she has to kill Zeus. I don’t see much of her plan or effort to do it either. All of her attempts are mostly caught in the act kind of thing, without so much planning as she wants to. And her I-have-to-kill Zeus speech at the end of many chapter sound like a broken record for me.

But don’t worried I still have things I like. The writing is still good. Despite the slow-paced, it is an engaging story. I also like the way Ari chooses not to be in a relationship with Jackson immediately. She needs time which is understandable and it makes the story not all about herself. She places her people and her task above her relationship with him. So book 3, here I come!

Result: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #12
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish at least 5 series I’ve started
– Popsugar: A book you own but have never read

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: Otherworld Assassin #1, Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter

13310549Blurb from GoodReads

THE SWEETEST TEMPTATION…

Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner’s daughter, is tasked with Solo’s care and feeding. The monster inside him yearns to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems—she’s his.

THE ULTIMATE PRICE…

Vika endures the captives’ taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can’t free them. Only, Solo is different—he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be used against him…and he’ll be put to a killer test.

ebook, 353 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by Pocket Books (first published December 20th 2012)
edition language: English
series: Otherworld Assassin
genre: Paranormal, Romance, Adult

My Thoughts

As my first Gena Showalter book, I’m quite surprise that this book wasn’t as I expect before. And I mean it in a not-so-good way, to be honest. Most of her books have high rating here and my friends recommended me her books since forever. They mostly said the stories are awesome. Unfortunately I don’t think this book is that awesome, it has an interesting idea, but it didn’t wow me.

It’s quite hard for me to connect both with the story and the characters, though I liked Solo and Vika enough to keep reading it. I also liked the minor, but have big role, characters, Dr. E and X. They play the evil and the good side of Solo really well.

The pace is pretty slow I have to force myself to finish it, though at the same time I also want to know more about the two of them. Problem is there is not much detail in most of the things in the story, including the worldbuilding. I can describe easily the otherworld building but the Earth building, the one the human live is unclear to me. I get the impression that it happens in the future, but it doesn’t describe well either. It feels lack of something.

Before I read this book, I thought Gena Showalter books are in the same category with J.R. Ward books, stories with alpha male hero and lots of steamy graphic sex scenes. It has alpha male hero (sort of) but it also lack of graphic sex scenes, moreover if I have to compare to J.R Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

In a way I liked that the romance, well the sex scenes, doesn’t overshadow the story. There is much to tell here than the romance. But in other way I feel like the author hold back something. I mean there are graphic description about abuse and other horrible things but why doesn’t with the romance scenes? It doesn’t mean that every sex scenes has to be graphic, not like that, it’s just unusual is all.

As many reviews stated, this book is not her best book, I think I’ll give her other books a try. I still don’t know which one I’ll read, though.

Result: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Reading Challenge:

– GoodReads: Book #8
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Read books that are already in my shelves for more than 2 years.
– Popsugar: A book with nonhuman characters