Sunday, 30 September 2012

Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Defiance was a great read, and I devoured the book in one go. This is just the kind of book I like, with strong, easy-to-connect-with characters and a whole lot of action. The plot was intense, the characters well-developed, and I really liked the dual POV. I don't usually, but in this case it complemented the plot nicely. It also allowed me to get into the heads of both Rachel and Logan.

Rachel Adams is easily one of the best female protagonists out there. She's headstrong, brave, compassionate, loyal, and never gives up. Even though I've read a lot of books with characters like her, I never get tired of it. There's always something that sets them apart. In Rachel's case, it's her fierce loyalty. She will do anything to protect those she cares about, no matter what it takes. Her defiance seems to diminish over the course of the book, but I guess that's understandable considering what she goes through.

I loved everything about Logan. He's incredibly smart, but also an amazing fighter. Rachel calls him 'tech head' and gets a huge shock when she finds out he can fight! Logan is an orphan, and he's had a pretty rough past. He watched the Commander kill his mother before his very eyes. That would break a lot of kids, but he remained steady, and decided to lose himself in science and technology.

"I force myself to recite the Periodic Table to give myself something productive to focus on"

I found this line hilarious! While in a bad situation and in a lot of pain, Logan turns to science to help him get through it. His protectiveness over Rachel is admirable, though sometimes a bit too much. They complemented each other perfectly, with Logan's cautious and calculating nature balancing out Rachel's impulsive and headstrong character. There were delightfully awkward moments between them that made me laugh out loud while reading it. I won't give anything away, so I'd recommend reading the book to find out!

I loved Oliver's character too; he is a fun, doting grandfather to both Rachel and Logan. He is genuine and humble, and loves Rachel more than anything else in the world. The other secondary characters weren't as easy to connect with. The Commander was a cruel, dominating presence, but I felt like he was like a shadow compared to the other characters. There was no depth to him, but maybe C.J. Redwine wanted it that way.

Redwine's writing was beautiful, her descriptions so visual that I completely lost myself in Defiance until I finished it. There were no boring moments in the book; every chapter had some action or suspense. The only thing I didn't like in this book was the sexist society it was set in. Girls are assigned a 'Protector', and they can't go anywhere without them. In fact, they are punished severely when caught wandering about alone. It seems like the book is set in the 1800s, where women were just expected to cook and sew. Thank goodness Rachel is an exception to this! She doesn't bow down to anyone, and no one tells her what to do. She's one of the reasons Defiance is so captivating, so kudos to C.J. Redwine for creating such a kick-ass heroine!

All in all, I loved Defiance, it's an amazing debut novel. The plot is heartbreaking at times, but light and funny at others. It's also jam-packed with explosive fight scenes and suspense. Needless to say, I can't wait for the sequel! I really hope it will live up to the standards set by Defiance.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #1: Unchained

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Unchained by J. Lynn

Release date: 2013
Publisher: Entangled Select

Between the pissed off creatures that want demon-hunter Lily Marks dead and the fallen angel who just...wants her, Lily is about ready to trade in forever for a comfy job in a cubicle farm.

The fact that she and Julian are civil to one another is enough to have her thrown out of the Sanctuary, but she can't shake her not-so-angelic stalker or how he brings her dangerously close to ecstasy.

Her forbidden relationship with Julian provides the perfect fuel for suspicion when a traitor is discovered to be working within the Sanctuary. Lily quickly finds herself hunted by well, everyone.

Her only hope is to discover the real traitor before she loses everything--and she'll need Julian's help. That is, if Julian is really there to help her...and not destroy her.

Yeah, being a Nephilim isn't everything it's cracked up to be.

Jennifer L. Armentrout, one of my favourite new authors, is writing this under the pen name 'J. Lynn', which she uses for her adult books. This book seems really promising, because I love Jennifer's writing, and I also love books about fallen angels and Nephilim (e.g. Hush Hush)!
I've read Tempting The Best Man, which is another one of Jennifer's contemporary romance adult books, and I really liked it. I enjoy paranormal more, so I think I'm going to love this! Lily seems like a strong, no-nonsense kind of heroine, plus she's a demon hunter! Who wouldn't like that? I hope there's a specific release date soon, I can't wait to read Unchained!

Add Unchained on Goodreads here.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

I started (and finished) this book yesterday, and it blew my mind! I read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie a couple of years ago, but I don't remember much of the story. Ten is pretty similar to it, and it has an amazing plot filled with suspense, mystery and action. Oh, and romance. It's the whole package!

Ten is one of those books you cannot put down. No matter what. Even with a rock-hard willpower, you have to finish this book before going to bed or you'll stay up all night thinking about it. There are a lot of twists in this book, and it's extremely unpredictable - one of things I love most about it. It's hard to write this review without giving away any spoilers, but I'll try my best!

Meg is a great protagonist - she's kind, compassionate, brave and witty. I couldn't find any faults with her at all! Minnie, her best friend, is a different story. She's bipolar and has depression problems, but I can't help being annoyed by her. She doesn't appreciate everything Meg does for her, everything she's given up for her. T.J is a really likeable character, and I would have liked to know more about him. I loved how he acts around Meg, the fact that he's so concerned about her the whole time. Each and every character has distinctive personalities, so it's pretty much impossible to get them mixed up. Although I wish some of the characters had a little more depth to them.

McNeil's writing style drew me in, with her vivid descriptions and innovative plot threads. The way the murders were planned and executed was amazing, each one completely different from the other. It takes a while to really get into the book, but once you do, it's a roller-coaster. The setting of the book was perfect - an isolated, eerie island. The teens are cut off from all communication imaginable, and it's scary to consider being in their shoes! Ten can be creepy at times, so if you're not a fan of horror, I'd suggest not reading it at night. The climax of the book is the ultimate shocker, and I'd definitely recommend this book if you like thriller/mystery sort of books. 

I would love to see this book made into a movie. It's got all the makings of a good horror movie! Not just the gory stuff, but the actual creepiness as well. It's the kind of book you would re-read at least once a year, just because you feel like it. After reading this, I can't wait to start Possess!

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl... 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I borrowed this book yesterday from a friend (thanks Rabiah!) and I found it amazing! This is the first fairytale retelling I've read, and I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to like it. I thought it would be a classic sort of retelling, and the idea of cyborgs confused me.
I was hooked from the first chapter itself!
There's this quote that jumped out at me from the page - "With a yank of the last wire, her foot clattered to the concrete". How many times do you read something like that in a novel?

This book intrigued me right from the beginning, and it just kept getting better. Cinder is a strong protagonist, and I loved that the novel was from the perspective of Kai as well, so that I could get an insight into his mind. Kai, I felt, was slightly lacking in this book. He didn't stand out much, and it seemed like the only thing he had going for him were his looks and his royal background.
However, the plot and other well-developed characters made up for this. I loved the concept of the novel, the futuristic setting as well as the fact that it was set in New Beijing. Very few (okay, none) of the books that I've read are based in Asian countries, and I liked that Cinder followed the culture and jargon of East Asia.

I really liked Cinder's personality as a whole. She wasn't swooning over Kai like everyone else, and I liked her impulsive nature as well as her stubbornness. She's headstrong, seemingly fearless, and overall extremely kick-ass! Marissa Meyer's writing style heightened my interest in the book, and I finished it in just two sittings. Her descriptions are very visual, and I could practically see the scenes in my head as I read them. Iko is another character I loved. Even though she is an android and isn't supposed to have emotions, she felt much more real to me than several other characters like Pearl, for example. Iko is so loveable and witty and joyful, it's impossible not to like her! Pearl, on the other hand. *Sigh* I don't think there's any hope for her at all. She was a shadow of a person, and I doubt if she will even make an appearance in the sequel, Scarlet.

I loved the advanced technology present in the book - the fact that Cinder, as a cyborg, can access any information she wants from a panel in her brain, as well as her ability to control her auditory senses. The hovers, ID chips and comm links really appealed to me too. 

One thing I didn't really like about Cinder was the predictability. The climax near the end was obvious to me before I had finished even half the book, and there were other certain parts that were also quite obvious. 
But the fact that I overlooked this will tell you how much I loved this book! Even the antagonists like Adri and Queen Levana were amazing characters in their own way. I was able to sympathize with Adri at certain points, and I realize that she had her own reasons for doing whatever she did. Queen Levana was a terrifying and mysterious character, and I hope we get to know more about her in Scarlet. I can't wait to read more about Cinder and Kai's story! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes futuristic or dystopian kind of novels.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 21 September 2012

Cover Reveal: Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Okay so this is my first blog post, and I’m so excited that it involves the Lux series!! Jennifer L. Armentrout is an AMAZING author and I’m in love with her Lux and Covenant series.
Here is the cover for Opal, the third Lux novel!

And here is the official blurb...

No one is like Daemon Black.
When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.
But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.
After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.
Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

I love this cover! Daemon’s incredible eyes 
And Katy looks so peaceful with him…finally! It’s a huge change from the Onyx cover, where she looks kind of disinterested (yeah right!). 
They'll risk everything...
I cannot express how much I'm anticipating this book... December 11th, please come quickly!
If you haven’t already, add Opal on Goodreads! And if you haven’t read Obsidian and Onyx yet, READ THEM NOWWW.
Definitely worth your time!
Follow this link to an ~~~ EPIC CONTEST ~~~ Announcement. You will want to bookmark this page!

USA TODAY Bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout, lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She also writes adult romance under the name J. Lynn.

Find Jennifer on: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Blog