Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Jewel Review

Title: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author: Amy Ewing
Release Date: September 2nd 2014
Publisher: HarperTEEN
Source: ARC for Review
Rating: 4.5/5

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.


I think most, including myself, will be drawn to The Jewel because of it's gorgeous cover, this books is much more than just a gorgeous cover though. The actually story is much more dark and intriguing than the cover lets on and I loved every minute of reading The Jewel.

The Jewel was not what I was expecting at all, I didn't know that it was a dystopian when I first started it. It unlike any dystopian I have read, which is hard to do these days, they all seem to have the same plot points they must hit. I would compare The Jewel to The Hunger Games, the Eve trilogy, and The Selection  it has minor qualities that remind of certain aspects in these other dystopian worlds. There are some magical elements tied into story as well, I will only say that just to tease you.

I loved Violet as a character she is more mentally strong the physically unlike other heroines in a dystopian world. She is not the initiator the rebellion, characteristic of dystopians, but gets caught up in while trying to find a way to survive in this deadly world hidden beneath the wealth and beauty. The side characters were also amazing, they really added to the plot and my overall enjoyment of the book.

The reason this book gets a 4.5 rating and not a 5 is because her love interest, Ash, does not come in until a good portion into the novel and their was a bit of instant love. Prior to his addition into the story I had assumed her love interest would be with one, or both, of the other guys who appear close to the beginning of The Jewel.

I would definitely recommend The Jewel, it was an amazing debut that surprised me with its content. I was eagerly awaiting the next book, The Jewel had a killer cliffhanger that left me wanting more, immediately. Pick up The Jewel is you are looking for a unique dystopian that has dark and somewhat disturbing elements and a very well thought out and executed plot.

Monday, 4 August 2014

July Wrap-Up: Mini Reviews

I've decided to start something new on my blog. I plan on doing monthly wrap-up on all the books that I have read throughout the month. Since I do not have enough to say or the time to write full reviews for all the books that I read in a month I though I would share the gist of my opinions in wrap-up form.

The Books I Read in July:

I absolutely loved this book and I actually wrote a full review on Sinner Here. If you love werewolves but also want the contemporary feel definitely check this one out.

I won't say too much about Black Ice now as I plan on writing and posting a review closer to the release date. I did really enjoy Black Ice already being a big fan of Becca Fitzpatrick. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Hush Hush series but it was enjoyable and is a genre I don't read much of, murder mystery, thrillers.

Like any other book written by Richelle Mead (specially anything related to Vampire Academy) I loved, loved Silver Shadows. Sydrian fans will definitely be pleased with this one. Silver Shadows does have a killer cliff hanger so I am eagerly awaiting the final book, The Ruby Circle, releasing in 2015.

While I think this cover is horrible I must say I feel Infinite is the best book in the New Soul trilogy. I think I liked it more because the mythical creatures such as dragons, centaurs, and trolls played a larger role in this one compared to the others. I also feel that the trilogy was nicely wrapped up.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Sinner Review

Title: Sinner (Wolves of Mercy Falls 3.5)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 5/5

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

inner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?


The Wolves of Mercy Falls is one of my all time favourite series and Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favourite authors. When I heard that there would be a companion novel following the conclusion of Forever, following non other than my favourite character, Cole, I was ecstatic to say the  least. Sinner in no way disappointed, it was an absolutely amazing book, and even though it was much different in tone, setting, and plot than Grace and Sam's story, Cole and Isabel's story was an excellent (second) conclusion to the world and characters from The Wolves of Mercy Falls.

Sinner came off as more of a contemporary romance than Shiver which was a more of a paranormal romance. Werewolves really do take a step back in the plot that focuses more on Cole and Isabel's life in LA, their hot and cold relationship, Cole dealing and coping with his dark past, and the reality show that Cole gets himself into. Although the wolves were one of my favourite aspects on the books prior to Sinner I was in no  way disappointed with their absence. Werewolves are sill part of the story, just a much smaller part.

Maggie Stiefvater is one of the best writers I have ever read, she weaves such a detailed and absorbing story that is poetic in a sense. She has a very unique style of writing that makes you fall in love with her characters and their story, she also creates a deep connection between the readers and the characters through her poetic style. I always seem to have a strong love and admiration for the characters that she creates such as Cole and Sam. She forms a dark past but makes it beautiful through her transmission.

I would 1000% recommend reading Sinner, is was a  great addition to an already outstanding trilogy. It takes you through the dark minds of Cole and Isabel, as the book is narrated by both characters, and shows how they leave behind their past, overcome their differences to realize their love for one another. Sinner is more of a contemporary novel about the love story of a life time with avery little werewolf action that will I guarantee not disappoint old and new fans of The Wolves of Mercy Falls.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

On the Fence Review

Title: On the Fence
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Source: eARC for Review
Rating: 3/5

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.


After hearing many great things about Kasie West's sci-fi series and her previous contemporary novel I was excited to give her a shot. I was very intrigued by the concept of On the Fence, a tom boy who is interested in her best friend who also happens to be her neighbour and so close she considers him a fourth brother. Ultimately the plot of On the Fence is what I loved them most.

I read through On the Fence in only a matter of days (quick for a university student such as myself) because it was very addicting and drew me in. Kasie West is also a very good writer who draws you in through the power of her words. While I enjoyed the book and loved the plot I had a few minor issues:

1) I don't see how a tom boy, such as Charlie, would ever get a job a clothing store. I just doesn't seem realistic.

2) I didn't really like Charlie as a character. I like and admire her getting down and dirty being one of the boys. What I didn't enjoy was her tendency to lie and alienate herself by saying constantly that she is not a "normal" girl as is there was a definition to what a normal girl is. By the end of the book Charlie does become somewhat of a different person and I did appreciate that.

3) Charlie and Braden's relationship. For the majority of the book you could she that there was a romantic relationship forming, but it just took way to long to develop. It isn't until about 90% of the book that Charlie realizes that she is in love, and from there the last 10% try to jam in everything that should have happened between them earlier.

Overall On the Fence was an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to conptempory fans who are interested in reading a story through a tom boys perspective. I did have some issues with it, but I don't think it will be an issue for everyone. It would make  a great summer read!!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Cruel Beauty Review

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamond Hodge
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: Balzar + Bray
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.


Cruel Beauty mixes two of my favourite things into one: mythology and a retellings of classic fairytale. At first I was a bit skeptical as to how these to ideas to mix together but at the same time excited to see someone try. My final verdict is that it worked pretty well and made for a new and refreshing twist on an old fairytale.

Cruel Beauty follows the story  on Nyx who was chosen instead of her twin sister to marry the "Beast", who is actually very handsome and charming, and kills him in revenge for enslaving her world and killing her mother. For the most part the plot is much different than the original story, which is good because you don't know where the story is going to go and it's much more fast passed and action packed which is always a plus in my book.

I found Nyx to be a very unique character is YA fiction, she is full of hate. Specifically towards her sister and her father, her reasons are just in some ways so she is not an unenjoyable character as she may seem from this statement. I actually enjoyed her quite a lot and I especially loved her husband. There is a bit of a love triangle I would say, but is not your "typical" one, you will have to check out the book for yourself to find out more.

The only bad aspect for the book I can think of is that it goes heavily into detail with Greek mythology and not the myth and characters that the average person would know much about. It wasn't a problem for me because I have taken many mythology and ancient civilization classes but I can see where many may be confused and not enjoy the book as much due to this.

Overall Cruel Beauty was a refreshing addition to the fad of retellings with its added dark elements and mythology. The story is quite different than the Beauty and the Beast you may be used to but the basic plot points are still there... with a twist. I highly recommend this book to mythology, fantasy, and of course fairytale retelling lovers you won't want to miss this one.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Elusion Review

Title: Elusion
Author: Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Publisher: Katherine Teagen Books
Release Date: March 18th 2014
Source: ARC for Review
Rating: 4/5

Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

Suspense, thrills, and romance fuel this near-future story about the seductive nature of a perfect virtual world, and how far one girl will go to uncover the truth behind the illusions.


I won't lie, I was ultimately drawn to Elusion due to its gorgeous cover, just look at it it's beautiful!! But Elusion is much more than just a pretty cover though, it has a unique, and in a sense relevant, concept with amazing world building that makes it a very visual appealing novel.

What I enjoyed most about Elusion is how much it can relate with modern issues in society and creates a future that seems realistic due to these issues such as pollution and our dependency on electronics and technology. In Elusion people are forced to wear oxygen masks to breathe because of pollution and escape into the world of magical worlds of Elusion, a technological invention, to get away for the harsh and depressing truth about reality. While we don't have this kind of technology (yet) I can see the future looking a lot like this one day and I like this aspect of the novel because the majority of dystopian societies aren't all that realistic (in my opinion) and finding one that is really drew me into the story made me intrigued and drawn into the story.

In addition to being a futuristic, sic-fi, dystopian novel Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam create a plot that is very much a mystery, and of course it also has a little bit of a romance thrown into the mix as well. What I'm trying to say is this book has got it all, the mesh of so many genres and aspects works and very well and creates a complex, but easy to understand and follow. and riveting roller coaster ride of a book.

I can't wait to see what happens next to Regan and the rest of the characters from Elusion, Elusion ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger and I am eagerly awaiting more! I definitely suggest giving Elusion a try, Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam make quite the power duo.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Sea of Shadows Review

Title: Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Random House Canada
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Source: Purchased
Rating: 3.75/5

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.


I have read pretty much everyone one of Kelley Armstrong's book, YA and adult, and she is one of my favourite authors (and she's Canadian, yay!), so of course I was excited for her first book in the Age of  Legends series/trilogy and intrigued because it is a fantasy, which is must different than Kelley's typical paranormal/urban fantasy series. While I did really enjoy Sea of Shadows I have to say I much prefer Kelley's paranormal books that I have read in the past, it is only the first book in the series so maybe my opinion will change and it while match the ranks of  the Darkest Powers and  Darkness Rising trilogies. Only time will tell!

Sea of Shadows is told in third person in two points of views, twins Ashyn and Moria, both tactics are different from what I have read from Armstrong in the past. I admire her for break out of her paranormal mould, and change in form of narration I think the changes in style are part of the reason that I did not absolutely love Sea of Shadows. I do prefer to read in first person POVs, in fact all of my favourite books and written in first person.

The premise for Sea of Shadows in really unique and the world is very dark and really grabbed by attention. I will say though that the world building is quite slow and I was confused for the first third of the novel, but after, when it became clearer it was truly an amazing fantasy world. Because both twins are different, Moria is more the outgoing aggressive one, and Ashyn the quite, kind and polite one, so the change in narration was not confusing what so ever and was easy to distinguish who was telling the story at a given time.

I really enjoyed how, while being  a fantasy novel, the still was a very, very slight paranormal aspect tied in as well. I also enjoyed the side characters, which are boys and could  be possible love interests for the twins in later books, and Sea of Shadows are very minimal romance which is refreshing. It seems that the relationships will for at a more reasonable speed that in some other books.

The best parts of the novel by far for me would have to be the mythical creature that appear in the book, all of which I have never heard of, or seen in other books or movies. They were awesome! I also absolutely LOVED the ending, if definitely raising the rating I was going to give Sea of Shadows, and I cannot wait until next April to continue with the series to see what happens next.

Ultimately I think fans of Kelley Armstrong will enjoy Sea of Shadows even though it may not be her best book to date, reader will admire a change in genre and narration and fall in love with the amazing world that Kelley created in Sea of Shadows.