November 26, 2015

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer 
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2 
Source: Paperback copy
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: February 7th 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
This is not the fairytale you remember.
But it’s one you won’t forget.
Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .
You see, I had a plan. I didn't just wait to read Scarlet until now. I had a very meticulous, well-thought out plan that I'm kind of hating right now because it made me delay reading this book. Anyways, the plan was: as Cinder already promised this would become a favorite series, I would just... wait. Until it was over. To binge read. That was the plan.

DID I MENTION THAT I NOW HATE THAT PLAN??

This book... just... asdfghjkl is the best adjective. The feels, man. The feels. Much in the fashion of Cinder, Scarlet doesn't beat around the bush of introducing us to the next duo in the series we're going to adore. Thy name is Scarlolf.

Err, I mean-- Scarlet and Wolf. (BTW, I don't really like their ship name. Can't we have ship names like OUAT for this series? Like Scarlet Wolf sounds way cooler lol)

Scarlet Benoit is looking for her grandma. Remember way when, as Nainsi booted up again mid-sentence and relayed information about the possibility of an ex-military pilot from the EF hiding the Lunar Princess? That's the one. Yeah, I had to rack my brain to remember to. Way to go Meyer.

So, Scarlet was delightful. She's a firecracker, but she's not stupid. She's kind of a hot-head but she's got the brains to make it a deadly combination. And she's really not afraid to shot you. All the girl wants is her grandma, her farm, and peace. Why can't anyone give that to her?!

Now Wolf....

What I Expected

What I got
....
....
....
....
I'M TAKING HIM AND NEVER GIVING HIM BACK! Seriously, what is this adorableness!? I wasn't expecting it! But I highly approve! Wolf is such a sweetheart! Yes, sometimes he shows some of that first gif but mostly he's just a precious cinnamon roll and I love him so dearly and asdfghjkjhgfd

And together??? The shipping is real guys. It's like, Cinder and Kai? Cuties. Wolf and Scarlet?
only with less rage and more heart-eyes
Seriously. Ruining me here Meyer!

Not only with Wolf, but with Cadet Captain Thorne too! Like, I didn't expect him to be in this book. I didn't expect half the novel to be about Cinder and him at all and I loved it. And him. Again, exception versus reality and reality is so much better! He is such a goofball! He made me laugh, and I kind of think Cinder really needs someone like him around *heart eyes*

ALL the males in this world ruin me. Take Kai for example - I was so afraid that he was going to go the bitter "she played me" route, and while he entertains the thoughts (because how can you not) he is not that at all. He still cares for Cinder, still can't think she's anything less than what she showed herself to be. He is listening to his heart and I HEART IT.

Is this a review? Is this a lovefest. I don't even know but I don't even care!

Speaking of things that ruin me negatively - Adri and Levana. I hate them both.

Like, I didn't hate Adri in Cinder (I really, really pitted her existence), but now I'm genuinely hoping Winter has a scene where Cinder becomes empress and Adri tries to mooch of it by saying she's always cared for Cinder and Kai steps up and be all like "remember that time you tried to send her to her death, accused her of all sort of things and said you wanted nothing to do with this aberration? yeah, fun times. GOODBYE BIYOTCH".

As for Levana... she is horrifying. And the scene from her pov? nope nope nope nope nope nope nope. Like, I don't want to read Fairest because that sounds so disturbing but now I kinda feel like I have to??

(BTW - is that wolf soldier gonna have more important meaning later on? I feel like he will)

Also - this book moves from the cutest thing ever to the gloom and doom in like three seconds flat. Be prepared to not be prepared for it coming at all.

FAN LUNAR CHRONICLES FACTS!
Levana in Hebrew means Moon. She is literally Queen Moon.
Ze'ev in Hebrew means Wolf. So Wolf's name is... Wolf. lol.

Nitzan

November 19, 2015

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1 
Source: Kindle copy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date:  April 2011
Age Genre: Young Adult
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

I wrote and re-wrote this review about three times. Maybe more. It took me about a month to finally post it at all, and I wasn't sure I was ever going to get there. For once, it's not because I don't have what to say. It's because I have too much and I just don't know how to put it down in writing or what to focus on and it's driving me nuts.

It's been such a long, long time since I've read such a solid and well balanced contemporary YA fantasy. And, to be honest, I really wasn't expecting this to be this good; this well rounded; to have all the elements I'm looking for in a story.

Frankly, I don't have that good a record with Angel stories.

Not this one. First of all, the whole concept here is refreshing and well thought out. It's obvious the author knew exactly what she was going for and not only that - knew what she wanted to develop it into. We don't learn everything in this book. Far from it. We're given enough so we understand everything that's happening, while making it clear a lot of vital information is still missing from this puzzle and will be unraveled in the future. I love that.

I loved Clara, the main character. Geez, when was the last time I read of a YA heroine who is level headed, logical, rational and real. Who fights for what she wants and for her life. Who is willing to listen. Who doesn't give up. Who is actively working on her life and not just... waiting for something to happen? Especially when the whole plot actually revolves around waiting for a certain even to happen?

This was so precious to me. I was 100% behind Clara and with her.

And then, the romance? My god. I was so afraid of the romance because the synopsis seems to tease Insta love and I am happy to inform the synopsis is lying! No insta love for this book, thank god. Just a case of insta attraction which is a-okay with me. Instead, we've got delicious, slow burn built up between two people who I think are meant to be together and asdfghjkl so many feels.

Is there a love triangle? Kinda. We do have two boys.

The first is Christian, the guy who Clara uprooted her whole family for. He's sweet, nice, kind of removed... but I didn't feel much towards him. He's, to me, not appealing. There isn't too much to him, and even when he was nice to Clara it never felt like he was really invested in her.

The second? Love of my life, light of my soul, what else could a girl want when she's got the sweet and layered rancher Tucker Avery in her life (romantically wise, anyways)? He starts off as the guy who teases and makes fun of Clara, in a rather fun manner. Then he grows to be more, showing her around the place and being sweet af and just... I can't with this guy.

Don't need to tell you which team shirt I'm gonna buy, is there?

Then we've got the surrounding relationships in the book which were all wonderful. The siblings in this novel love each other. They are also a pain in each other's butts, but when they need each other they are there for them. It's so realistic and heartwarming and I loved it.

Then we have the parental relationship between Clara and her Mom which was a big part of the story. I loved their relationship, even as we watched it begin to fracture underneath the weight of secrets and lies and destiny. But their love was never in question. 

And everyone in this story are such good friends to one another. Good, real, healthy friendships. You've no idea how much I miss those in literature sometimes. 

I highly recommend this novel to everyone who love YA and fantasy, and I will most definitely read the sequels! 

Nitzan

November 12, 2015

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #1
Source: Kindle Version
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: June 1st 2015
Age Genre: Young Adult
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.
This is easily my least favorite book by McGarry.

I'm a huge fan of this author - read all her books, and loved them all. She's got that rare ability to just suck me in until suddenly it's 4a.m. and the book is finished. And she does it even when the book is a huge, intimidating hardcover. Just like that

So I'm not saying this lightly - Nowhere but Here was, to me, severely lacking.  Did I still finish it in more or less one sitting? Yes. Did I get any of the feeels? Nope. 

Because this is such a loved author, I'm going to go on a rant here for a sec. Again, it doesn't mean I didn't like the book. It was just not on par with McGarry's other works for me. I still loved Oz (after I got over how judgmental he was to Emily at first). I still liked Emily. I loved the family dynamics between the club members, even if I didn't like much else revolving the club. But. BUT. 

Nowhere but Here sins in one of my biggest story peeves - the entirety of it is built on a truth no one is willing to share. Everyone but our mc, Emily, knows it. But no one will just own to it and tell it straight. Instead, they play this game of hide-and-seek with the truth. Everything, and I do mean everything, including the disastrous results, could have been avoided if even one person decided to share the whole truth with her. 

Gah. The book tried very hard to convince me everybody had excellent reasons for keeping num. I didn't buy it for a sec. 

Combined with this is the character of Olivia. Also known as The Catalyst. I. Didn't. Like. Her. I hate people who are so blatant about the fact they think they know what's best for others, who basically dismiss their entire plans for life as wrong. And combine that with riddle-giving and vague info dumping and you get a major no-no from me.

Speaking of things I didn't buy? The whole surroundings and environment. The setting for this novel was so over-the-top that it was all a little ridiculous to me. Not to mention this first book is supposed to make me fall in love with this club. Instead, I loved the people, hated every time "proper" club activities came up. I was downright disgusted by it. Pouring drinks on your kids as celebration? Walls of bras and underwear gloriously displayed? Dens smelly and sticky from god-knows-what? Yes, very captivating.

Not.  

Even the secret was way over-the-top and the whole climax? It was so flat to me. They didn't even feel like real characters. Not only was I not excited, nervous or anxious, I was exasperated. It feels like McGarry was trying too hard to go at dangerous and edgy and whatnot while not really understanding the whole scene at all.  

Final point of aggravation? The relationship. McGarry is usually so good with making the feels real and with having me 100% believe the love. I didn't here. It was like, oh, yes, they're finally talking and becoming fri--WHAM WE'RE IN LOVE. 

Like, seriously. 

Nitzan

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