Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey Review

"How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate."

Do you know what I did after finishing this? I giggled hysterically. Can you believe that? Giggled. And there was barely anything worth laughing about in The Infinite Sea. I think this is a clear sign that I'm insane. Insane, I repeat. I mean, this book is really serious, and I'm just laughing with no reason. Cuckoo. Definitely.

Alright, here we go. The Infinite Sea is actually much more bearable than The Fifth Wave. Honestly, the POVs just drive me crazy. Rick Yancey never tells the readers who is who, and sometimes you just have to take a wild shot at the character's list. 

And I really needed a crazy recap of The Fifth Wave. I don't joke on that. I was so lost until the second part of the book. That was about when I finally started remembering things (The Perilous Sea took a lot of energy). Remember how long The Fifth Wave was? Ugh, I totally needed that recap, but I managed to pull it up in the end.

The writing is a bit boring. It is irritatingly dry, and it could use a bit of polishing, but I'll ignore that because of Evan Walker. Well, I'm not going to ignore it. Evan Walker, no matter how great he is, can't erase errors.

Cassie is a bit more tough now. She isn't that sweet girl in the beginning, but she is still strong. She still has the best of her. And she is slightly weird, but I can totally overlook that. But I'm super annoyed by all these characters and their POVs. Evan Walker. He isn't so bad, actually. He is actually kind of awesome. Ringer. She is amazing. She is weak in the beginning. Well, not that weak, but she does end up being stronger in the end. And there are a few other POVs, of course. Poundcake's history is revealed, and I won't say anymore.

Wow. That is a quite interesting mashup of characters.

The ending ends quite nicely. I'm not going to say anything, but I really liked how Mr. Yancey ended the entire thing.

But it is a year before the sequel is released. Am I just killing myself over sequels? Unfortunately, according to my to-reads list, I am.

Overall, I think I should had read The Infinite Sea when the third book is out. That way, I won't be so annoyed and irritated. The ending and characters are good though.

Rating: Three out of Five

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas Review

"After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future."

Oh, my goodness. The ending of The Perilous Sea is epic. I love it. I'm going to say that it is a little contest between Titus and the Bane (the main villain of the story), but it is not just little. It is epic and awesome. My favorite part is Titus considering to send elephant feces to the Bane. Best part ever. And his arrogance is awesome. Never have I ever loved a character more for their sassiness. Well, other than Regina Mills, of course. I'll consider Dean Winchester, too. And some other characters, too. I love sass, don't you? 

Alright, let's get moving.

The Perilous Sea starts of weird enough in the beginning, but I love it. (I love it!) It is a bit confusing at first, because I sort of forgotten some parts of the plot and story of The Burning Sky, but I do manage to jump those old brain cells. Yes, I do remember the entire story around the fifth chapter of The Perilous Sea.

Let me explain "weird." Part of The Perilous Sea is told from the past, but that is very irritating, though I do see a need for the author to tell the story like that. Still, it is annoying. And for that awfulness, I'm going to dock points.

However, I will give points for Titus' sassiness and awesome remarks. I just love him. I think the last time I'd seen the guy (a book character) like him was Raphael in Angelfall. Oh. I read Angelfall last month. That wasn't very long ago. Darn. It felt like half a year ago. It is funny how fast and slow time goes by. It just depends on perspective.

Told from two POVs, The Perilous Sea is awesome. I really enjoyed it despite the terrible start we had together. Great job, Sherry Thomas. Even though this is the middle child of the possible trilogy, it rarely failed or stopped in its path.

Titus is awesome. I think I told you that too many times. Thomas does go into a bit of relationship dive, but it wasn't too bad. It just says a lot about Titus and Iolanthe. 

Iolanthe, too! She is good, but she isn't as good as Titus and his sassiness. Even his romantic words and his pokes at his old words (though he certainly doesn't remember it) is hilarious and entertaining. For that, I consider The Perilous Sea worth it. Worth reading even though there is a sequel coming out sometimes next year.

A sequel. I have to wait another year.

Let me sob in a corner, will you?

Rating: Four out of Five

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Ugly Princess: The Legend of the Winnowwood by Henderson Smith Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

""In the tradition of The Princess Bride (with somewhat less whimsy) and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Smith's debut is a fairy tale in a new world.... The twists along this charming road make for an enchanting journey." -- Kirkus Reviews -- The Ugly Princess is an unusual fairytale that centers on an ugly, brave princess who teaches us the true meaning of beauty. Princess Olive is not like most princesses. She is the last generation of Winnowwood, an enchanted people with magical powers, dominion over nature, and the ability to communicate with animals. They are a people as ugly as they are extraordinary, and Olive is one of their ugliest. Her face is covered in bumps and warts, and her own father despises her for her ugly appearance. Olive has lived most of her life confined to the castle, away from the public eye. But when war breaks out between her kingdom and its neighbor and her father is captured, Olive courageously steps up to help him despite his cruelty. In transit, she is kidnapped by a band of highwaymen led by the mysterious Black Bart, and then kidnapped again by an even greater enemy force determined to overtake the entire mainland surrounding her father's kingdom. Will anyone come to rescue Olive? Does she have within herself what it takes to break free and save her people? A story that teaches us that there is more to a person than meets the eye, The Ugly Princess encourages young women to look within themselves to find beauty and power, and to open their eyes to their own magic. This coming-of-age must-read is based on the multi-award-winning screenplay of the same name."

The Ugly Princess is not really ugly. It is actually a bit humorous in some points, but this book is mostly for the Middle Grade readers. The older readers would probably see the holes and little annoyances in character, but the young ones would probably be delighted by all those warts and ugliness. And of course, they would probably like the prince in the end. Or the ugly princess.

Princess Olive isn't that easy to connect with. Honestly, I was never called ugly (unless you count those mean boys back in elementary, who are just trying to look cool in front of their friends). I'm pretty sure none of my pimples lasted longer than two months, and the warts on my face are nonexistent. Besides, she has that magical power that didn't really made any sense. I don't understand how it works, other than what Princess Olive said (it comes from within). I'm sure that helping others feel good (after all, I have been a recipient of it), but Princess Olive is just so unselfish. Until you realize about the legend.

The facts in this book is that the more you use magic, the more uglier you get. The legend says that if you find someone (true love) who sees who you are within, then your ugliness will be taken away. So perhaps deep, deep, deep inside of Princess Olive, I think there is a part of her that believes that legend is truth, and that she takes much comfort in that fact.

And a lot of the characters are archetypes or a mixture of them. I could name some of them like arrogant father/ignorant father, spoiled/bratty sister, and beautiful but also weak mother. How about idiots?

Okay, I'll stop talking about the characters.

The Ugly Princess (and its very long subtitle) is very entertaining. The plot isn't always clear, and there are some parts where I get lost even though The Ugly Princess is really fun. However, I don't really think it is the plot's fault. It is the writing.

The writing, unfortunately, falls short sometimes. There are some annoying dry spots and bumps in the road. Sometimes, there are these really quick parts that seem to go by so fast! And I wasn't even speedreading, darn it.

Overall, The Ugly Princess is a better fit among the younger readers. Honestly, I think I'm criticizing this book too much. Oh, and it is clean romance. Actually, romance is just... Light.

Rating: Three out of Five (Two Point Five)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka Review

"Avie Reveare has the normal life of a privileged teen growing up in L.A., at least as normal as any girl’s life is these days. After a synthetic hormone in beef killed fifty million American women ten years ago, only young girls, old women, men, and boys are left to pick up the pieces. The death threat is past, but fathers still fear for their daughters’ safety, and the Paternalist Movement, begun to "protect" young women, is taking over the choices they make.Like all her friends, Avie still mourns the loss of her mother, but she’s also dreaming about college and love and what she’ll make of her life. When her dad "contracts" her to marry a rich, older man to raise money to save his struggling company, her life suddenly narrows to two choices: Be trapped in a marriage with a controlling politician, or run. Her lifelong friend, student revolutionary Yates, urges her to run to freedom across the border to Canada. As their friendship turns to passion, the decision to leave becomes harder and harder. Running away is incredibly dangerous, and it’s possible Avie will never see Yates again. But staying could mean death.From Catherine Linka comes this romantic, thought-provoking, and frighteningly real story, A Girl Called Fearless, about fighting for the most important things in life—freedom and love."

A Girl Called Fearless. That book sounds amazing, doesn't it? It has a kicking title, and it has a wonderful cover. I really like it. Very pretty. Nice contrast. You can easily tell which type of readers they are targeting.

Catherine Linka does a great job of evoking reader's emotion. Honestly, I was so upset at the book that I nearly strangle its invisible neck. The book does bring up issues on feminism and other such topics like politics and anti-government. Well, not exactly anti-government. We can just say that this book is a perfect example of what happens when the government gets things wrong. Eh... Near perfect. It is not exactly perfect. Besides, there is a more peaceful way of ending these issues in the book. Uniting all the girls together and marching to Washington D.C.

But let's pretend those options don't exist. Let's pretend those options don't exist to the point that these people, these characters, need to turn to violence. That is what A Girl Called Fearless does.

Basically, this book turns United States into a similar place to what some countries in the Middle Eastern are like. Oh, yeah. Girls can't drive. Girls stay home. Girls don't have education. Honestly, I pretty much figured out that I'm a feminist and that I really hate staying at home and not having an education. And I figured out that I can spend ten pages just ranting on the inequality and unfairness of the government in this book (which degrades woman to the point where they are just like cattle and property). It is as if the Woman's Rights Movement took a huge step backwards.

Yeah, I'm spending way too much time ranting on anti-feminism. Where was I? Oh, yes. The book.

Honestly, when it comes to Avie Reveare, I just want to bang her head and shout, "Kill them all!" But I like her, actually. She isn't a strong character at first, but she grows very well. I don't approve very much on her love interests, but... That is a much different situation, which is not as severe as the anti-feminism movement.

Overall, A Girl Called Fearless is a great book. You might hate a lot of the characters (because they are all against girl power), but it is entertaining. For certain.

And there is probably going to be a lot of debate. Especially among the girls.

Rating: Four out of Five

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ruination by Amanda Thome Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"What if everything came down to a single test? If your life was defined at seventeen, could you handle it? Could you accept your fate leaving the ones you love, or would you risk it all and stay? 

One test stands between Vanessa and Central. One chance to make the leap across the walls to a better life. At seventeen, Central considers Vanessa an adult. Her labor role, marriage, and housing divisions will be dictated by her performance on the leap. 

Dedication and unfaltering friendship has bonded Vanessa to Garrett as they fight for their chance to leap into Central. But what happens when love overtakes reason? When defiance in the name of love creates an unintentional fracture in their nation. 

Without warning Vanessa is at the mercy of the nation that’s supposed to protect her. Exiled and abandoned she must fight but she find’s she’s not alone. With her heart divided she seeks her revenge, but will her stand be enough? 

Ruination is the next YA dystopian trilogy that will hook you from the start! If you liked Veronica Roth's Divergent series or Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series then be prepared to get addicted to Ruination."

Sigh. This is another The Hunger Games/Divergent wannabe.  

Okay, this review is going to be a bit shorter than I thought it would be. So it will be precise, and to the point. I hope.

Ruination started off weird enough. The POVs weren't clearly labeled, and I was confused by the number of narrators. I believe there to be two at first, but as the book goes on, I believe there to be three (Garrett, Tyler, and Vanessa). It is very terrible of Amanda Thome (or any other persons involved with this design) to not tell me who is speaking/narrating. I really hated that part. I always had to guess the difference, and sometimes I can tell, but Vanessa and Garrett sound very similar to each other. I can always tell Tyler's POV, because his POV always sounds so creepy. Like Agent Grant Ward talking to Skye about new beginnings creepy. 

Then there is the plot. It is so slow. The action doesn't start until around the halfway point of the book, and the exposition is terrible long. It is more like Divergent at first (and then Hunger Games). Actually, it is utterly like Divergent. That is the truth, and it is heavily cliche and irritating to my eyes. At least, Divergent wasn't as slow as this book. Even speedreading could not make Ruination go faster.

Garrett is weird. That is all I'm going about on him. He is kind of like Peeta and all about that star-crossed lovers thing. Eh... Nothing I haven't seen before.

Tyler... Didn't I mention to you about Agent Grant Ward/Creepy Hydra Agent? Hmm... Maybe I need to mention it a few more times. 

And Vanessa. There is something so dull about these characters. The only one who is perhaps remotely decent is Garrett. And that is the truth.

Overall, Ruination is a terrible book. It is... Well, go look at the first paragraph. I don't want to repeat myself again.

Rating: Two out of Five

Thursday, September 25, 2014

In the River Darkness by Marlene Röder Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Mia arrives at a small town by the river, carrying a secret. Her new neighbors, the Stonebrooks, immediately draw her interest. Soon, she meets brothers Alex and Jay. Mia is attracted to Alex, the older handsome brother. They begin dating, but Mia remains guarded, hiding behind an invisible barrier. She also befriends Jay, the gentle dreamer, who spends most of his time at the river, with his mysterious friend, Alina. As the three teens spend more and more time together, strange things start to happen."

Okay, this review is going to be much shorter than usual. That means there won't be any usual little monologues and other things. It is going to be quick and to the point. I think. 

In the River Darkness is terrible at foreshadowing. I could already guess it from the very beginning. However, there was something I didn't know/something I guessed very wrong. In the beginning (the first chapter/prologue), there is a character drowning in the river. I totally guessed wrong on that, and was utterly misleaded throughout the entire book (on that part). On the other hand, I remained quite spot on for the most part. Anyway, foreshadowing was too obvious and the suspense wasn't really killing me.

But it wasn't boring. 

In the River Darkness is told from three characters, Jay, Mia, and Alex. Alex and Mia are the couple of this book while Jay is the little brother of Alex and quite the dreamer. Let me cut the chase, alright? Jay is the weird guy who always hangs around the river and talk about his imaginary friend even though he is about sixteen or fifteen. Alex has mommy issues. Mia, who always wear black, has issues with her ex-boyfriend who shagged her and then left her. Plus, she seems to also possess a dark side. Oops, was that spoilers? Oh, well. Now you know these characters. 

The ending isn't that bad actually. That is all I'm going to say. Oh, no. Not all. It is not a "Happily Ever After," but it will do. 


Oh, yes. Overall, In the River Darkness isn't a bad book. It is actually better than average but the characters can improve (like Jay or Mia, because they are people/characters who I can't connect with; and even Alex seems creepy at times). But it does an excellent job of entertaining me for two hours or more. And it certainly wasn't boring, and the writing is decent, and the plot is easy enough to follow.

Rating: Three out of Five

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shadow Wave by Robert Muchamore Review

"After a tsunami causes massive devastation to a tropical island, its governor sends in the bulldozers to knock down villages, replacing them with luxury hotels.

Guarding the corrupt governor’s family isn’t James Adams’ idea of the perfect mission, especially as it’s going to be his last as a CHERUB agent. And then retired colleague Kyle Blueman comes up with an unofficial and highly dangerous plan of his own.

James must choose between loyalty to CHERUB, and loyalty to his oldest friend."

I don't like the ending of James Adam's long adventure. I really wanted him to die. I'm not kidding. I kind of don't like him, because of his cheating ways and dim-witted mind. All he can think about is his ding dong. I know, for one, that Kerry should had dumped him faster than ever, but oh well. I'm finally done with this series. Thank goodness.  

Shadow Wave is nothing like James Bond or Alex Rider. This is the last one, and it is perhaps the weirdest of them all. Think of it as propaganda. Or somewhere close to it. Or think of it as Leverage and things like that (Burn Notice, and some episodes of White Collar totally count). I'm sure there are more examples. Helping the little people who are overrunned by the rich and powerful. These MI5 agents can help bring them "leverage." 

As I said before, James Adam does not die. However, he does lie to his girlfriend (whose name I am not telling you for spoiler purposes) about his latest plans/schemes. And surprisingly (for once), it does not involve the skirt of some random woman/girl. To this, I have to say that I am impressed by James' will in resisting those "manly urges." (Mulan, if you didn't know). And I'm not talking about "fixing things, cook outdoors" or those other things.

(I think it is rather obvious that I'm referencing a lot of things. Please ignore them if you can. If you don't want to or you want to test your memory, go right ahead and guess where these things, these quotes come from). 

Shadow Wave is shorter than the previous books of the same series. Honestly, it is an odd ending, and it proves little other than the fact that James is loyal to his friends (which is obvious from the very beginning) and that Zara (the chairwoman of CHERUB) isn't as strict as the previous chairman/chairwoman (like Dr. Mac). 

Okay, I'm going to say that I am disappointed in the ending. I wish that James Adam died in the end. At least, Kerry and Bethany would be happy. I think Lauren would be happy to have double her inheritance. I think.

Finally, I just want to say that Robert Muchamore has a bunch of weird last names. Onion. Choke. There are a few others, but I'm wondering if that is his inside joke or something like that. I doubt anyone wants to be called "Lauren Choke." Or "James Choke." Can you imagine James Bond introducing himself as "Broccoli. James Broccoli"? Laugh all you like.

Overall, Shadow Wave is okay.

Rating: Three out of Five 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Brigands M.C. by Robert Muchamore Review

"Every CHERUB agent comes from somewhere. Dante Scott still has nightmares about the death of his family, brutally murdered by a biker gang. Dante is given the chance to become a member of CHERUB, a trained professional with one essential advantage: adults never suspect that children are spying on them."

Why is James always sleeping around with anything that moves? Oh, wait. Because he is practically little James Bond. And now he is even worse.

Okay, I'm going to move on. I shall stop cursing this man... rake. 

Brigands M.C. goes back into the past. This time it employs flashbacks, and other little plot devices to tell the story of a CHERUB agent by the name of Dante Scott. Dante Scott was young when his entire family, well not entirely (if I recall correctly, his young sister named Holly survived the ordeal), was killed by a man who loves Adolf Hitler. And I did you not. That guy really likes him. He has a bunch of history books and relics all about Hitler and the Third Reich. It seemed to me that Muchamore is trying to bring Hitler back from the past. 

Does he do a good job of it? Eh... Hitler, like all other dictators and leaders, are complicated figures. Depending on whose perspective, all leaders seems to be having layers and layers of characteristics. And Hitler is no such exception. His doctor once declared him a sociopath. People of today deems him to be a violent, nasty, evil, vile, and insane man. I'm sure his wife, Eva, has other ideas. Okay... I have to stop now. Basically, I'm going to go with this. The man who distinctively reminds me of Hitler is somewhat loved by his family, greatly feared by his people, and hated by nearly all persons of enough wit and intelligence. So I think Muchamore did an okay job of it. Very okay job of it.

And I will stop debating about this Hitler wannabe, because this is going too far.

James Bond... I mean James Adam is still sleeping around. And it seems like he may or may not be trying to get back to a certain someone. But I'm not going to say who. Until James matures, I'm never rooting for him. I will, however, root for Hitler Wannabe as long as he manages to kill James. Unfortunately, no. James Adam never learns his little lessons. 

I need more Lauren. She is awesome, and I like her much better than James. Unlike James, Lauren can be thought of as the good kid. With a few bad spots here and there. But she is really good. Unfortunately, James never liked his sister in the beginning. 

James needs anger issue management. I forgot about that.

Overall, Brigands M.C. can be skipped over unless you don't want to miss Dante Scott's history. Dante Scott isn't a particularly a big character in the CHERUB series, but you can read it. It isn't necessary. Even if you don't read it, I bet you can understand the next book in the series.

Rating: Three out of Five

Monday, September 22, 2014

An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"A New Beginning

A youthful indiscretion has cost Lizzie Poole more than just her honor. After five years living in exile, she’s finally returning home, but she’s still living a secret life. Her best friend, Ria’s dying wish was for Lizzie to assume her identity, return to London, and make amends that Ria herself would never live to make. Bearing a striking resemblance to her friend, and harboring more secrets than ever before, Lizzie embarks on a journey that tempts her reckless heart once again . . .

A committed clergyman, Geoffrey Somerville’s world is upended when he suddenly inherits the title of Lord Somerville. Now he’s invited to every ball and sought after by the matchmaking mothers of London society. Yet the only woman to capture his heart is the one he cannot have: his brother’s young widow, Ria. Duty demands he deny his feelings, but his heart longs for the mysterious beauty. With both their futures at stake, will Lizzie be able to keep up her façade? Or will she find the strength to share her secret and put her faith in true love?"

An Heiress At Heart is sort of that kind of book that doesn't have a lot of chemistry between its two leading characters, Lizzie and Geoffrey. I'm not kidding. It is like Bones and Booth. Or Castle and Beckett. Without the chemistry. Without the chemistry. Can't you imagine how boring and annoying that would be? Bones is like in its tenth season while Castle is in its fifth or sixth (I don't watch Castle very much). It would be like all ugh... Why the hell is it still on? That is the same feeling I get when I read An Heiress At Heart, especially close to the middle part. Some parts, I'm just like, do I really have to read this. 

There are a few bright spots though. It is just unfortunate that the chemistry/romance department is quite lacking in strength. 

The plot. That part remains strong and consistent throughout the entire book. Lizzie's problems practically take center stage while Geoffrey moans on about his little problems like a whiny child. "I don't want to take my titles." Whatever. I don't care. And I have no heart to listen to whiny/bratty kids, who may or may not once had been a "committed clergyman." I can tell you that he thinks about that quite a bit.

I'm also going to mention some Christian parts of the book, but it isn't really focused. I mean, there are a few prayers here and there, but the whole thing (if there is a Christian subtext) remains mysterious. And subtle. I didn't notice anything too big.

And I kind of liked that. Mysterious as ever.

What irked me greatly was the lack of explanation. Yes, I know Lizzie probably came from a bad background, but I do want to know about her from right on. Because things are so annoying and I pretty much was frustrated by the slow approach of answers. Some comes, yes. But the secondary characters were the ones who had to move it along. What happened to the main characters?

Oh, flirting. I forgot.

And what else? Eh... I'm so tired right now. I can't think straight. Um... An Heiress At Heart. Oh, yes. I remember now.

The ending was totally cheesy. It was like Cinderella. The difference was that the midnight bongs of the great bell never rang. That was pretty much it.

Rating: Three out of Five

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The General by Robert Muchamore Review

"Riots, robbery & the biggest ever training exercise.

The world's largest urban warfare training compound stands in the desert near Las Vegas. Forty British commandos are being hunted by an entire American batallion.

But their commander has an ace up his sleeve: he plans to smuggle in ten CHERUB agents and fight the best war game ever."

Hahaha. Okay, The General is probably the most humorous and serious ones of them all. This time, James Adam and company are up against American soldiers. I'm not kidding. American soldiers. Like fully grown soldiers. With paintballs. And paint grenades. It is still amusing, though. James almost got what he deserves, but unfortunately, he didn't.

Okay, I'm going to say it. His balls were almost blown off by paint grenades. Well, technically, it wouldn't be blown off but it would hurt a lot. And I think he totally deserves it. Right in the balls. He is an idjit. 

(I got to stop watching Supernatural). 

(Note to self: Supernatural is very awesome and Deanmon is amazing).

Okay, James Adam is his usual James Bond. Young James Bond. Like all swagger and trying to bang anything that moves. Or hit on anything that moves. Either way can do. All they need is to give him a gun (Bond's gun, of course), a suit (black or gray will do), a car (with a lot of gadgets, but a van would work too), and two women on his arms. There you have 007. He has everything but the accessories. This is why I like Lauren better. She never tried hitting on a girl. 

Lauren Adam, on the other hand, has a better heart and a good cool head. I like her so much better than James. At least, she has more common sense than him. And what she did with the reporters is really amusing.

Not going to tell, though. Spoilers.

Overall, The General killed it. Especially at the end of the book. And I mean the book, not the person (oh, yeah, it is a person). I think the best parts are a few quotes ("I'm a Ukraine, not a Russian") and some great ending words. Dialogue. Loved it. Just loved it. Quotes and dialogue. They are so wonderful in this book. 

And I definitely can't wait to read the next book.

Rating: Four of Five

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tried and True by Mary Connealy Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister—and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It’s a risk—they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as “boys”—but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?"

Wow. Tried & True is the weirdest (I'm being very polite here, so if you are the author, please avoid this review because it is only going to deflate your self-confidence) book I'd ever read. In a way, you have Mulan plus two sisters plus a dead brother plus the wild west (at least, that is what it seems) plus Christian values plus a jealous woman plus cliches plus some other things. But mostly, I want to point out the cliche. Or a lot of them. Pretty much, I was eye-rolling at the first chapter. And the second. So unless you were drunk or high (on sugar, of course), Tried & True is probably not a good experience for you. And definitely not a good experience for me.

The land agent's POV (Aaron Masterson) sounds horribly romanticized. I'm not even kidding. He probably has 1) a hair fetish or 2) a very severe case of having wrong characteristics. I, for one, know that men do not pay attention to the smallest pieces of hair. Or talk endlessly about how beautiful a woman is. More likely, he would be talking about what a good cook she is and not about her hair (unless he has the weirdest hair fetish ever). 

Should I also mention that the author's husband's name is also Aaron? Kind of creepy... And it is a total weird thing, because... Should I assume that the author based Aaron Masterson on her husband? (It is very likely). 

Kylie is a better written character than Aaron. Aaron's POV just makes me gag. Men are definitely not Prince Charmings who are selfless... Okay, you know what. I'm going to stop here. I'm obviously going to rant on and take this out on all you guys. Totally unfair of me. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. (I'm holding back pretty well, actually). Kylie Wilde is probably an inside joke for the author. Wild, Wilde. Homophones. Anyway, I think Kylie is more understandable (compared to Aaron) and a bit more tougher than an usual lady. Of course, she pretends to be a man, so... 


Overall, if I had a choice, I would not read Tried & True. It is just a bit too much for me. The romance is a bit overrated. The story is kind of eh... It is a hot mess. I wish the author did a bit more background (world-building). Half of the things didn't make any sense, and some of things made me convinced that Kylie was insane. 

Rating: One out of Five

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"What does it mean to do wrong, when no one punishes you? A smart and unflinching look at friendship, the nature of entitlement, and growing up in the heartland.

Paige Sheridan has the perfect life. She's pretty, rich, and popular, and her spot on the homecoming court is practically guaranteed. But when a night of partying ends in an it-could-have-been-so-much worse crash, everything changes. Her best friends start ignoring her, her boyfriend grows cold and distant, and her once-adoring younger sister now views her with contempt. The only bright spot is her creative writing class, led by a charismatic new teacher who encourages students to be true to themselves. But who is Paige, if not the homecoming princess everyone expects her to be? In this arresting and witty debut, a girl who was once high-school royalty must face a truth that money and status can't fix, and choose between living the privileged life of a princess, or owning up to her mistakes and giving up everything she once held dear."

The Princesses of Iowa reminds me of Dead Poets Society. Except that Mr. Keats is Mr. Tremont, who is possibly gay (rainbows) and very handsome. Like Mr. Keats (RIP Robin Williams), he teaches students about life. He teaches them to express their feelings through words and little journals. He teaches them to ignore the rules and go pass them to get the deepest and rawest piece of work, of that voice in the head. I seriously cried on that part. It was pretty good. Like "O Captain! My Captain" part from Dead Poets Society. 

Paige Sheridan is a bit whiny (okay, I'm being very nice to her), totally a princess (though not of real title, of course), and snobbish. However, her layers of character are exposed as the plot progresses, and she does change (yes, she is a dynamic character; thank you very much, English class). It is around the three fourths point when she starts changing for the better. She is a total idiot (who isn't?) and she ends up fixing her mistakes and finding where she belongs.

The Princesses of Iowa touches very close to home. It reminds us that life isn't fair. It tells us to draw that passion and anger and emotion to write out your feelings (no, this doesn't sound "gay") and imagine a better world (thank you, John Lennon). (My subconscious just happens to feel so talkative today). And it makes me feel like I fail as a writer. Definitely not as a reviewer. Just as a student of English class. No emotion at all. Okay... This is getting a bit awkward.

Ethan is the love interest, and he is awesome. No other words for him. And I'm not even going to be talking about him, because I really like him as a character.

Jake, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated, and he is very dark. He has peer pressure coming from his friends, pressure from his parents, and even pressure... Oh, crap. I can't talk about that. That is crossing the line of spoiler. Anyway, I find him far more interesting than Ethan, but Jake is a huge bag of little Richards. 

Overall, The Princesses of Iowa belongs to the genre of contemporary, friendship, romance, love, DIEDD (drunk driving and its consequences; this is a reference to the book, by the way), and of course, YA. 

This book is recommended to anyone above the age of fourteen. There are some parts in here that are so vivid. 

Vivid. I'm so done today. Have a good day, everyone. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Catherine by April Lindner Review

"A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you’ve never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery."

Catherine is a mystery. It mixes a few genres all together. Contemporary. Love. Romance. Tragedy. Death. A few others, but those are only a few genres it could fall under. And I will tell you that I never read Wuthering Heights. I never even looked at the plot. Someone told me it was about vampires, and I didn't believe that person. And I highly doubt it is about vampires. To that person: please be a bit more informative and truthful (because I don't like being played with). 

Okay, let's start with Catherine. And I'm not talking about the book as a whole. I'm talking about Catherine, the character, the mother of Chelsea. And the book. Oh, yes. I'm complicated. Catherine, as a book, is a mother-daughter book. Catherine speaks from the past. The other, Chelsea, speaks from the present. It is sort of like a twisted version of Romeo and Juliet. You know what is going to happen in the end, but you don't want it to happen. You just want a happy ending for these characters... And it is kind of sad and beautiful in the end. He joins her in death. Or she joins him in death. Beautiful.

Chelsea, like I said before, speaks from the present. She is the one trying to solve her little Nancy Drew mystery. She is trying to solve the mystery of Catherine's disappearance. And that is where it gets really interesting. When you dig into the past, you find surprising pieces of history. And then you start questioning the people you thought you known. Oh, wait. Chelsea never knew her mother. Well, I guess learn new things you didn't know about...

(I facepalm myself, because that portion was really weird). 

Overall, Catherine is a good book, but I wish the author left a bit more red herrings. We know it most likely isn't Hence, which leaves Chelsea's father and Catherine's brother as the two main suspects. Oh, we can always add some random stranger, but let's face it. It is a bit obvious that this story is going to hit very close to home.

The synopsis is a bit misleading. I wouldn't call the romance forbidden. Chelsea's love interest is a bit forbidden, but she isn't restricted like Catherine. Catherine, on the other hand, isn't the modern day Juliet, but her brother seems to be very disapproving of her actions with Hence. So, in conclusion, the synopsis is a bit misleading.

The story starts off right away with Chelsea finding about the truth. I admit that the beginning is hazy and foggy. At first, I was like, why should I care about some lost and possibly dead mother? Eh... Whatever. When we get to Catherine's POV, that is when things get interesting. Yeah. Beginning. Quick. Confusing. Better make sure your seat belts are tight.

Rating: Three out of Five

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Enchantress by James Maxwell Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Ella and her brother, Miro, are orphans, their parents killed long ago in the ongoing struggle against the mad Emperor.
From the day Ella witnesses an enchanter using his talents to save Miro from drowning, she knows what she wants to be. But the elite Academy of Enchanters expects tuition fees and knowledge. Determined, Ella sells flowers and studies every book she can. Meanwhile, Miro dreams of becoming one of the world's finest swordsmen, wielding his nation’s powerful enchanted weapons in defense of his homeland.
A dark force rises in the east, conquering all in its path, and Miro leaves for the front. When the void Miro left is filled by Killian, a charming stranger from another land, Ella finds herself in love. But Killian has a secret, and Ella’s actions will determine the fate of her brother, her homeland, and the world.
The first book in the epic Evermen Saga."

After a couple emails sent because I was sent the wrong book (same title, but wrong things within the cover), I was finally sent the right book. Honestly, Enchantress is better than Enchantress. Heh. Now that makes things a bit more complicated, eh? Alright, let's break it down. The case of mistaken identity is irritating at least, but the book, Enchantress, is worth it.

Oh, wait. Which Enchantress? 

This Enchantress. Written by James Maxwell. Not the other one written by Constance O'Banyon (which I had to look up because I forget authors' names way too easily). Enchantress does indeed involve enchantresses. Ella is one, obviously. Miro, her brother, is not. I'm going to say upfront that Enchantress is better than I thought. I'm going to tell you that it is really long (about four or five hundred pages) and super thick.

But the story gets interesting. Maxwell starts adding in a bunch of concepts (such as technology, magic, and other things which may or may not include aliens/gods). For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to say that it is complicated. But Maxwell does a great job of balancing all these crazy facts. I never got lost. Not even once. And yes, I do remain addicted to Enchantress to the very end. It is utterly fascinating. 

Ella is the more interactive of the two siblings. As an enchantress (and perhaps the girl in the cover), she is willful and determined. I actually like her a lot. She doesn't whine. She doesn't complain. She is smart, but a bit too smart for her own good (and other people's own good). She is a bit naive, but she has a very steep learning curve. Reminds you of anyone, eh? Perhaps Dr. Brennan from Bones, the tv show. "Very steep learning curve."

Okay, I'll stop making references.

Miro, on the other hand, is less active. He is a bit too passive for my liking, and he is like a toddler (way too naive and kind). 

Killian is the love interest for Ella. He may be a very questionable character (like Once Upon A Time's favorite pirate), but he shares great chemistry with the main character (eww... Not with Miro. That is gross). 

Overall, Enchantress is worth reading (unless you don't have much time). I say it will take about four hours to finish it, three if you hurry. It is totally not recommended for immature people who would most definitely not understand adult problems. Well, I wouldn't call them adult problems, but thievery and chemistry totally runs pretty close. To at least older teenagers, who have raging hormones. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Sleepwalker by Robert Muchamore Review

"345 people are dead...

An airliner has exploded over the Atlantic leaving 345 people dead. Crash investigators suspect terrorism, but they're getting nowhere.

A distressed twelve year old calls a police hotline and blames his father for the explosion. It could be a breakthrough, but there's no hard evidence and the boy has a history of violence and emotional problems."

Ooo... A plane crash. Now doesn't that sound like recent events? A bunch of plane crashes. Malaysia? Yeah, it is still way too soon. It may had happened months and months ago, but you can't help but be reminded of all those terrible deaths. And that number in the synopsis... It just sounds so similar to both flights. 

Anyway, The Sleepwalker surprisingly doesn't refer to anything but a character. Its relevance is pretty much close to nothing. Honestly, I have no idea why Robert Muchamore named it The Sleepwalker. Aren't there better names than that? Like maybe The Con Artist or The Possibly New Recruit for CHERUB. Honestly, there are much better names than The Sleepwalker. The title is just boring. And weird. Awkward. Irrelevant.

Great. I'm now a talking parrot. 

The plot isn't that bad actually. Lauren takes control of the plot (for like most of it, I guess), and she shows great potential as a character and a spy. She is already a wonderful CHERUB, and she would probably be the best of them all. Yes, she is pretty much that legendary. I like her better than James Adam, who still can't keep his wandering eyes off of some random girl's rack. And I'm not kidding about that.

The villain is interesting, too. He is a possible murderer along with the titles of a businessmen and possible killer of all those 345 passengers (including poor Dr. Mac's grandchildren and wife). Despite all those sad moments, Muchamore managed to keep it upbeat. Dr. Mac's grandchild managed to make part of the tragedy amusing yet also sorrowful. Very nice work.

Overall, The Sleepwalker is a great book. Because of Lauren's awesomeness (but not because of James' arrogance), you should probably read this book. After reading the first book, of course. It is great for fans of Alex Rider, and it is similarly written like Alex Rider and some other spy books I'd long forgotten. 

I should also note that the writing is getting a bit more... Cussy? More cuss words. I don't think "cussy" is even a word, is it?

Last wish: James Adam, would you please stop trying to undress every girl who walks by? Oh, I mean, mentally undress. As a girl, I do not nor ever wish to hear whatever you are thinking in your fifteen year old mind.

Rating: Four out of Five

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mad Dogs by Robert Muchamore Review

"The British underworld is controlled by gangs. When two of them start a turf war, violence explodes onto the streets.

The police need information fast and James Adam has the contacts to infiltrate the most dangerous gang of all."

James Adam goes back to a previous case. Keith Moore may still be in jail, but his son is still crazy and stupid. Yeah, Junior Moore is the way in to a new gang called Mad Dogs. It is one of the five major gangs controlling the area Keith Moore once controlled. I'm going to say that it is quite fascinating to see the effects James Adam caused by breaking in and working for the CHERUBS/MI5. He made a lot of changes. Some of them good. Some of them bad. But it is certainly progress in the war on gangs. 

The new guys, Keith's former business partner, is controlling the Mad Dogs. I'm going to tell you that for once, I wish the bad guys know about the CHERUBS. Alex Rider certainly got caught a few times, and he manages to use his wits to get out of his troubles. Why can't James Adam? In my opinion, James Adam has been trained longer, (sees more women/girls than Alex Rider,) and went on many more missions than Mr. Rider. Why can't he be caught? It would make the book very interesting for once.

James Adam still has his wandering eyes. I have pretty much nothing else to say about him. Other than the fact that he is a few more steps closer to being Mr. James Bond. Someone seriously needs to give him a reality check. He is so arrogant. And conceited. 

And Mr. Muchamore (the author) dropped some very interesting references to pop culture. I guess that is worth a mention, huh?

Lauren is far more interesting. It is such a pity that she is pretty much a secondary character (second class citizen). But Lauren is certainly a toughie. Especially for a twelve year old girl. 

Mad Dogs is a somewhat okay book. It is actually better if you don't ignore it, because it explores the effects and consequences of James Adam's actions in a previous book (which means you can't skip that one either). But it is good. In plot, it is good. In conflict, it could had done a bit better, but it does explore the sides of secondary characters a bit more. Especially Gabrielle's boyfriend whose name, I believe, is Michael. I can't remember names very well. After a while, it all starts getting blurry and the letters merge together. Especially if they are of the same letter in the beginning. 

Okay, I'll stop talking now.

Rating: Three out of Five

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Fall by Robert Muchamore Review

"When an MI5 mission goes disastrously wrong, James Adams needs all of his skills to get out of Russia alive.

Meanwhile, his sister Lauren is on her first solo mission trying to uncover a brutal human trafficking operation.

And when James does get home, he finds that his nightmare is just beginning."

Hmm... The Fall isn't where it gets particularly interesting. Human trafficking? Eh... It is more disturbing than exciting. Especially when it gets to those most disturbing parts, of course. That is when it gets weird...

The conflict isn't too interesting. James' problem is more of an assassination mystery than espionage while Lauren is more like espionage. She is covertly trying to dig information out of a suspected girl who was involved with a human trafficking operation. And then there are a few subplots like Kerry's relationship and Dana's flirtation with James. 

I swear, James Adams is becoming closer to James Bond with each book I read. He is already getting a lot of attention from girls. Seriously. He is arrogant. Smart. Conceited. Brilliant. And utterly fails when trying to keep a relationship without cheating with the closest girl he sees. This guy is as bad as James Bond. How many girls has he slept with? Eh... Not yet. He is still a virgin, but he might as well not be one. The guy is a rake. An immoral pleasure seeker. Sorry, I had been watching way too many reruns of Jeopardy! 

Lauren, on the other hand, is the better sibling of the two. She, for one, actually has some self-control. Besides, she has much more common sense than James and doesn't sleep around with a bunch of guys. Then again, she is only twelve years old, so... That might be a fluke, but it is highly unlikely that Lauren would go roguish. She is nothing like James. In fact, she is a much better version, not to mention more mature, of a CHERUB agent. There are a lot of layers in her while James is just... Bond, James Bond.

And cue the music.

Overall, The Fall slows down the series. It isn't as fast, but it goes deep down into CHERUB and MI5's organization. Plus, it also reveals more of Muchamore's fictional world. And I'm deeply disappointed that there were some references to real life fake spies. Oh, does that sound complicated? Maybe I should had said this: subtle references.

Last word: The Fall could had been better, but it proved to be very interesting and relaxing compared to the rest of the series. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas Review

"Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. 

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?"

Heir of Fire took awhile for me to finish. It was long, and I was really busy with things. It is a good thing I was ahead in my reviews, but I started slipping a few days ago. I manage to keep a good slope, but I think I might slip again. 

Anyway, Heir of Fire isn't as good as the previous book in my opinion. Sure, Celaena (crazy name with a very difficult spelling and an unimaginable pronunciation) may had grown in character depth, but I'm still confused about some parts of the book. This, I know for sure: Heir of Fire is definitely better than the first book, which I can't name because I somehow forgot its title. Along with the second book's title. 

I'll break it down.

Celaena's ending speech of the book (which is a huge character change from the beginning of Heir of Fire) is remotely similar to the one at the end of the second book. More or less, Celaena ends up stronger and more hopeful to the battle/war ahead. Was that spoilers? Eh... I think not. Most books end up in a somewhat hopeful way. Even the Mark of Athena did that. (Remember Percy and Annabeth about not letting each other go? That was the hopeful part). And I should totally focus more on Celaena, the character and not the ending.

Celaena Sardothien, the character, is bratty. Well, she is most certainly bratty, but I suspect there is a softer side in her. Or a monster. Either way, she uses a mask to hide what is really underneath, and Heir of Fire did a great job of exploring what was underneath all those layers of a bratty, spoiled, rich assassin. And it was amazing.

However, there were some bad parts of the book like the ending. (What? Ending was totally like a repeat, a filler ending reused from previous book. There are some differences, of course). Heir of Fire was told from one, two, three, four, five, six characters. One was Celaena. Two was her former prince, Dorian. Three was Chaol. Four was Rowan. Five was Manon. Six was Celaena's cousin. Oh, and there was a seventh but also minor chapter for another character. Honestly, I'm quite surprised there were so many, but there were a lot of plots going on at the same time. You got Dorian's father. Then Mae (or was it Mab?). Our assassin heroine has a few up her sleeves, and even Dorian's brand new lover seems a bit suspicious. 

But I do have to congratulate Ms. Maas for managing to keep it all straight. And yes, it was easy for me to follow along. It was easy but annoying. I couldn't understand why Manon was important other than as the King's weapon. Then there was Rowan. Do I really need a front row seat into his mind? But Choal is a welcome change.

Overall, Heir of Fire could had been better (and cut down), but it wasn't that bad. 

Rating: Three out of Five