Monday, May 28, 2012

When You Were Mine, by Rebecca Serle

Release date: May 1st 2012
Published by: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy… and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends…

I'm probably the only person in the entire planet that hasn't read Romeo and Juliet yet. I know the basics, but not the whole story. That said, When You Were Mine was, although an adorable book, not as intense as I thought it would be. I read Juliet Immortal a couple of months ago - yet another retelling of Romeo and Juliet -, and to be honest, I was a bit traumatized. That book wasn't bad - it was downright awful. So you can only imagine how hesitant I was to dive into this story. Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed. 

Rose's situation would be ridiculous if Rebecca Serle hadn't written it so well. After losing Rob, her best friend - and practically her boyfriend - to her beautiful cousin, Rose's heart is broken. Her emotions are all over the place, and the fact that Rob seems to be suddenly in love with Juliet doesn't help at all. Rose's family also has some history with Juliet's, and to top it all off, her best friends themselves are struggling with relationship issues. Rebecca Serle, like I mentioned earlier, has an incredible writing style, which, honestly, was the only thing that kept the plot from becoming something too dark.

The most admirable quality of this novel, however, are the characters. A stand-alone novel doesn't usually have a lot of character development, but in When You Were Mine, it blew me away. Rose, especially, changed so much throughout the story, that I barely recognized her in the end. A romantic element is also thrown into the mix, and that only enhanced Rose's beliefs and personality. I grew very fond of her.

When You Were Mine is a refreshing read, and even though I can't give it a 5-star rating - I didn't love it that much - I'd recommend this novel to everyone, even those - like me - who hasn't read Shakespeare's play yet. It was interesting, to say the least, to view things from Rosaline's point of view, to see Juliet and Romeo's romance differently. And now... I want to read the original play that much more.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Release date: January 10th 2012
Published by: Dutton Books
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

 Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Everybody talked about John Green when The Fault in Our Stars came out, and honestly, I didn't know why. I mean, was this novel really that special? However, I was curious, and that's why I bought a copy and started reading it. And now I know why people loved this book so much. The Fault in Our Stars is a book about death, about life, and a lot more than that. 

Hazel, the main character, is easily someone I could become best friends with. She was honest, simple, and snarky. The kind of protagonist that can make you love the story just because of her. Cancer crushed her childhood dreams and expectations, and you can see that as the plot unravels. And when she meets Augustus Waters... well, that's when the book really pulls you in. Their relationship is at the same time fast and slow. Their dialogues were so constant in the chapters that I grew tired of it, all the while yearning for more. I honestly don't know how John Green made me feel that way, but he did, and only an extremely talented author has such power over the reader. 

It took me almost a week to figure out how to write this review, and even now, I'm struggling with it. Not because I had mixed feelings over the book, but because I was so overwhelmed by it, that my thoughts just flew out of my head. What I really loved about this novel isn't the romance that I just described, however. It's the way it's written. John Green writes fiction books, but The Fault in Our Stars was real, somehow. These characters, Hazel, her parents, Augustus, his parents... they were so real, and the situations they went through so realistic, that this felt like a diary, not a fiction book. 

John Green exposes the truth about cancer, things that we all know, but prefer to ignore it. A 16-year-old girl isn't courageous, and she isn't fighting the cancer bravely. She's suffering, and this disease, this awful disease, is destroying her from the inside out. It's not something brave, it's something painful that she has to endure because there isn't anything she can do about it. That's exactly how John Green portraits Hazel, and it changed a part of me. This beautiful novel is a story that not only opens your eyes; it changes you, makes you see everything so differently that you wonder why the human population haven't read this book yet. 

I know, now, why my Goodreads friends loved The Fault in Our Stars. I know, now, why John Green is considered one of the best authors in the world. To him, I can only say "thank you". And to every reader out there, I can only recommend this novel. It's an unforgettable ride.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday #11

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's choice is:

House Rules (Chicagoland Vampires #7), by Chloe Neill
Publication date: February 2013, by NAL Penguin
- Add it on Goodreads

In a city full of vampires, trouble never sleeps.

At the tender age of 27, Merit became a sword-wielding vampire. Since then, she’s become the protector of her House, watched Chicago nearly burn to the ground, and seen her Master fall and rise. Now she’ll see her mettle—and her metal —tested like never before.

It started with two . . . Two rogues vanishing without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their house in peril, Merit and her Master, the centuries old Ethan Sullivan, must race to stop the disappearances. But as they untangle a web of secret alliances and ancient evils, they realize their foe is more familiar, and more powerful, than they could have ever imagined.

I can't believe I've chosen this book, but the truth is, I'm crazy about this series, and even though Biting Cold, the sixth book, hasn't been released yet, I'm eager to get my hands on House Rules. I mean, seriously, it's the seventh book. And things are getting better and better... What's not to love about that?
I didn't like the cover, though... the model is too thin and her hair is black. Not like Merit at all... and to be honest, the cover looks so common, it's like I'm reading any other urban fantasy book, and Chicagoland Vamps is so much more than that <3

What are you waiting for this week? 


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tell me something tuesday #6

Tell me something Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Cambria Hebert, in which she asks us something, and we post our answer. And the question of the week is:

If you could spend a day with a book character, who would it be and what would you do?

That's actually a very interesting question. I could spend a day with a lot of characters, but from all of them, I think I would have to choose Merit, from the Chicagoland Vampires series, by Chloe Neill. Merit is funny, smart, and snarky. Her point of view is always refreshing and I honestly couldn't choose another person but Mer. 

She was attacked by a vampire on her university and saved by Ethan Sullivan, who turned her into one of their own. Mer is appointed as Sentinel of Cadogan House, and since book one, she's been struggling with her duties and her own emotions. She's grown so much since then, especially in Hard Bitten and Drink Deep. It's rare to see such a deep character development, both in the main character, and in the love interest, and Chloe Neil managed to write about both. 

The tricky question here is the second one. What would I do with a vampire warrior who loves to eat?
I'd probably take Merit to the best restaurant in town, and after that, she could take me on a tour in Cadogan House (hopefully the Master, Ethan Sullivan, would be inside. Wouldn't it be great if I got the chance to talk to him?). I'm hoping she'd show me how to throw a few punches and sword-fighting moves, and we'd spare a little. Too much of a dream, but a girl has to try. 

So that's my answer. If I had the chance to choose another character, that would be Jace, from The Mortal Instruments. Who wouldn't want to spend a day with him? Seriously. 

What about you, what's your answer to this question? :D

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Showcase Sunday #2

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea, inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren. Its aim is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week.

  •  Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.

Taste, by Kate Evangelista
Taken at Dusk, by C.C. Hunter (Shadow Falls Camp #3)
Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis

Lover Unleashed, by J.R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood) - In Portuguese
Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare - In Portuguese

I honestly cannot wait to read all these books. I already read Clockwork Angel in English last year, but I'll re-read it soon. 
Well, what did you get this week? :D

Saturday, May 19, 2012

City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare

- The Mortal Instruments #5
Release date: May 8th 2012
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

And with that huge summary, here we are: City of Lost Souls is officially out, and after so many negative reviews, haters lashing out at Cassandra Clare for writing yet another novel, and fans swooning and dying to read the aforementioned book, I decided to read it on my own and see what I thought of it. The thing is, The Mortal Instruments is one of my favorite series, and to say I was happy when I found out City of Glass was going to have a sequel is an understatement. City of Fallen Angels was, however, a disappointing story, so my expectations weren't that high.

City of Lost Souls was a typical Cassandra Clare book. Slow beginning, a lot of character development, and an ending that blows your mind. I usually have issues with the first chapters or so, because I can't handle all the unnecessary descriptions that Cassandra adds in the dialogues. They end up being kind of boring, because just when I start paying attention to the conversation, the narration focuses on how the guy is feeling and how the light makes his t-shirt look shinier than it really is, even though I don't really care. This only happens in The Mortal Instruments series, and that's why I end up skipping some pages. However, in City of Lost Souls, I was so into the story that I actually read and paid attention to every single detail.

The character development in this book is solid. Jordan, Isabelle, and Clary, especially, surprised me a lot. It's amazing how, even after four books, there's still so much to work with. Isabelle and Clary were my favorite characters, and not because they were so badass (although they were badass... but that's not the point). Isabelle let Simon go past her emotional walls, and Clary, on the other hand, learned how to truly be a Shadowhunter. That's exactly what I was waiting to happen since book three, and I couldn't be any more glad at Cassandra Clare.

Jace, however, was... not a disappointment, exactly, but exhausting. I had to think this over and over in my head for a few days, but it's the truth. Don't get me wrong; I love Jace, and I suffered right along with him and Clary, wanted to kill Sebastian just as badly as him. But there was something missing. It's like there's nothing else to say about him, so Cassandra just recycled the first three books and threw it at Jace again. It's tiring. I can't stand his anguish and self-hatred anymore. All I wanted to do was yell "Get over it!" right at his face. It would be nice to see how Jace would behave normally, without crying or leashing out at everyone he loves because he still thinks this is the best option. Even then, though, I still loved Jace.

And so, I must say that the waiting was worth it. More than a year waiting for City of Lost Souls to come out was worth it. Solid plot, revolting villain, and a fantastic ending. Cassandra Clare disappointed me when it came to Jace, but she built an outstanding story. It's actually quite funny, you know. Just when I finished City of Lost Souls, I remembered why I became a fan of this series in the first place. This world, these adventures, ... they're not something you can forget easily. And I won't. I really won't.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #10

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's choice is:

Mirage (Haven #2), by Kristi Cook
Publication date:  June 5th 2012
- Add it on Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Violet McKenna is back for her senior year at Winterhaven, and thrilled to be with Aidan after a long summer apart. But when a violent and disturbing vision begins to haunt her, Violet suddenly feels unsure of everything: who to trust, if she is in danger, and—worst of all—whether she and Aidan are really meant to be together.

Alright, I'll just say it: This synopsis sucks. It's SO cheesy, especially this "whether she and Aidan are really meant to be together". However, I did enjoy the first boon, Haven, and I'm crazy to read this novel even with the awful summary. I love the cover, though, so I'm trying to focus on that. Either way, I can't wait for Mirage. 
What about you? What're you waiting for, this week? :D

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Insurgent, by Veronica Roth

Release date: May 1st 2012
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre: Dystopia (YA)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

It's actually quite ironic that the dystopian world - which was exactly what attracted so many readers - was what repulsed me in Divergent. Ok, wrong word. I wasn't repulsed. I just didn't understand the world created by Veronica Roth. The factions were great, and the concept was really interesting, but it wasn't realistic. Why were they created? How were they created? The atmosphere and the tension surrounding all the factions made it impossible for me to imagine decisions being made.

Fortunately, Veronica Roth provided us (some) answers to those questions. The dystopian society in which Tris lives is explained a lot more deeply, and though not all the answers are handed over to us, I can see where the story is going. Needless to say, I enjoyed Insurgent a lot more than Divergent, although a couple of things still bothered me. It's unlikely I'll ever be completely satisfied by this series. There's always something, some little detail or a character that keeps me from enjoying it fully.

The writing isn't the issue, nor is the plot. Both were excellent, especially the former. Roth has a way with words, even in the present tense, a type of narration that I hate. My problem with Insurgent was the main character herself, Tris. In Divergent, she was a thoughtful girl, objective and yet emotional with those she loved. In Insurgent, she was broken, and not in a good, deep way. Tris was a mess. Four - I refuse to call him Tobias - has to constantly remind her that she has to try to live, try not to get herself killed, try to understand that her life means something.

...And I almost killed myself everytime that happened. They're in the middle of a war, and just when Tris had to be the strong, great girl that she was back in Dauntless, she breaks. I get it. She has to be human and show emotions, especially regarding Peter, etc. But for God's sake, be realistic about it! Her breakdowns and teary moments did nothing to the book, it only added misery, (stupid decisions) and an unnecessary amount of drama in a plot that was already bursting with blood and war.

I was planning on giving Insurgent 3 stars, but aside from my dislike towards Tris, the series has developed in general, and I'm somewhat satisfied with the way things turned out in the ending. And, I admit it, Four may be one of the reasons I added an extra star to my rating. It's quite easy, though, to see that Veronica Roth has a lot of potential. Despite my personal rants about the society, she did create a fascinating story, and I look forward to the third, and last, book in the Divergent trilogy. It should be interesting!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Showcase Sunday #1

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Books, Biscuits, and Tea, inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and The Story Siren. Its aim is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week.

  •  Clicking on the titles will take you to the book's Goodreads page.

Revived, by Cat Patrick
Sweet Evil, by Wendy Higgins
Insurgent, by Veronica Roth

 Silence, by Michelle Sagara
When You Were Mine, by Rebecca Serle
Hemlock, by Katherine Peacock

City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare
The Last Princess, by Galaxy Craze
Underworld, by Meg Cabot

It's official: May is my favorite month. Just look at all the books that got out this past week. City of Lost Souls, guys. City of Lost Souls. I waited a year to read this book, and now that I have, indeed, read it, I gotta wait two years for City of Heavenly Fire. When You Were Mine sounds adorable, and I love the cover. It's simple, but it gives us a hint of what the story will be like. However, as much as I'm excited to read Underworld, I gotta say I hate this cover. I don't know, the dress just didn't look well on that model. 
What did you get this week?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #9

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's choice is:

  Once Burned, by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince #1)
Publication date: June 26th 2012 by Avon
- Add it on Goodreads

She's a mortal with dark powers...

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...

He's the Prince of Night...

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

Well, if you know me, then you're probably aware that I love Jeaniene Frost's books. Vlad is one of the most captivating characters in the Night Huntress series, and I've always been quite curious about his history. He is, after all, the most famous vampire in the world - Dracula himself. Jeaniene Frost is my favorite author, and honestly, my expectations are pretty high. I cannot wait to read Once Burned. 
What are you waiting for this week? :D

Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: Nikki Glass series, by Jenna Black

-- Dark Descendant (Released on April 26th 2011)
-- Deadly Descendant (Released on April 24th 2012)

Published by: Pocket
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
Find them on: Goodreads, Amazon

First of all, I gotta admit that writing this review will be extremely dificult. Not because I loved the books, which is not the case... but I couldn't pinpoint a negative aspect of Jenna's books. The story is solid, well written, the dialogues flow easily, just like the narrations, and they're realistic. The characters are raw at first, but as the plot progresses, they go along with it. The mythology is believable, and presented to us, readers, slowly and without infodumps.

And I'm not exaggerating. I really cannot tell you a single thing that I disliked about this series. Everything is so perfect, to the point of being irritating. That's why I'm not writing a full-lenght review. It would take weeks for me to talk about these books without being extremely positive about it, which I don't like.

Nikki Glass finds out the truth about her family in a harsh way. After entering the world of the Liberi, she's introduced to a world of gods and their descendants. Being a descendent of Arthemis herself, she can only hope to survive all of this. However, other people think diferently. The Olympians, a select group of descendants that want to use Nikki's skills to their own gain start to chase her. And you can only imagine the amount of trouble she has to go through to get them off her back.

The Nikki Glass series, though pretty small, it's a very complex and thorough novel, with realistic characters and a perfectly paced plot. I didn't love the books, mostly because I had a hard time connecting with the author's writing that, although perfect, wasn't something I was used to. Overall, I think it has a lot of potential, and I recommend it to fans of the genre. Definitely a must-read.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe, by Shelley Coriell

Release date: May 1st 2012
Published by: Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

- A copy was provided by Netgalley for review purposes

Big-hearted Chloe Camden is the queen of her universe until her best friend shreds her reputation and her school counselor axes her junior independent study project. Chloe is forced to take on a meaningful project in order to pass, and so she joins her school’s struggling radio station, where the other students don’t find her too queenly. Ostracized by her former BFs and struggling with her beloved Grams’s mental deterioration, lonely Chloe ends up hosting a call-in show that gets the station much-needed publicity and, in the end, trouble. She also befriends radio techie and loner Duncan Moore, a quiet soul with a romantic heart. On and off the air, Chloe faces her loneliness and helps others find the fun and joy in everyday life. Readers will fall in love with Chloe as she falls in love with the radio station and the misfits who call it home.

My Thoughts

Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe, picked my curiosity not only because of its cover - which, let's admit, it's unique - but because of the premise. I was looking for a light, contemporary story, and right after reading the synopsis, I knew I had found it. However, after a couple of chapter, I realized that Shelley Coriell's book is a lot more than that. 

Chloe Camden would be that girl in school who's charming and knows how to make someone laugh, even if the person is her worst enemy. She's clever, has good taste in shoes, and most of all, is loyal to those she loves. I found this particularly endearing. She's self-centered sometimes, but still cares about her friends and family. The author created a character here that felt very real. I do know some people that can make me laugh and see things in a positive way, even when my life is going downhill. Needless to say, I loved Chloe. 

With a perfect, yet very human, main character, it's easier for the plot to flow smoothly. Chloe's issues with her best friend, Brie, her grandmother, and the radio staff, were connected and each one added something new to Chloe's personality. She learned to listen, to use her compassion... The character development in this novel was palpable, and I'm not just talking about Chloe here. A simple plot and a lovely main character open a lot of doors, including the probability of exploring secondary characters more deeply. Clem, the radio admin, and Duncan, were remarkable addictions. 

It's no secret I love a love story. And with Duncan, I had some of that. It wasn't The love story, but something light and heart-warming, that felt natural to both Chloe and Duncan. I'm very satisfied with this aspect of the story. Mrs. Coriell has a lot of potential, not only when it comes to romance, but in general. Her writing is full of details, and at the same time, incredibly easy to comprehend. 

What started off as a cute and funny story ended up being a surprisingly fresh book about growing up and facing the changes life has to offer. Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe, is an excellent novel, and though it took me a couple of days to really get into it, I'd recommend it to anyone, especially teenagers. Truly bewitching.