What's Left Of Me By Kat Zhang

Sunday, 17 March 2013

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1 
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Source: Bought
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Synopsis: I should not exist. But I do. Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren't they settling? Why isn't one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn't . . . For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

First Line: Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls' ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath.

I love dystopian books, my only problem with them normally is that the originality that used to make them so special is slowly evaporating. We are now getting titles advertised as 'the next Hunger Games' but do we really want that. The thing that made the Hunger Games so popular was the fact it was so unique, I for one had read nothing like it. This is why I was a little skeptical of What's Left Of Me to begin with. Luckily, this book was about as original as they come. The book is set in a universe very much like ours but with one small difference, when a baby is born they have two souls instead of one. As they grow up the more dominant soul takes over and the other one just fades away. Eva and Addie are different though, Eva was thought to have faded away years ago but she didn't. Addie and Eva are hybrids, feared by the rest of the world, no one can know about them otherwise the consequences will be monumental...

I am ashamed to say that before reading this book I was afraid the characters might be bland and too similar, I mean with sharing a body and all. This was most definitely not the case. Eva was quick thinking and intense. Addie was more artistic and fiercely protective. Both sister's had an unbreakable bond which I envied but at the same time they were like normal sisters. They argued and ignored each other but there was an undeniable connection between them which accurately reflects most sibling relationships. I enjoyed reading about the other characters just as much. Hally, although annoying at first, turned out to be a great addition to the book. And Ryan, he was just perfect; sweet, kind, funny... I could go on forever.

The thing that drew me right into the book was the flawless, elegant writing style. There is nothing I love more than writing that is so beautiful that it flows effortlessly. Even the first sentence is rich in gorgeous metaphors. The story building was amazing and the book has me craving for the next one. I would recommend this book to both dystopia and non dystopia lovers alike because I promise you, you have never read a book like this one. I am hoping the next book lives up to the bar that this one has raised. It will be difficult but anyone who can write a masterpiece such as this one can do it.

My Favorite Quote:

“I was caged in our body and caged in his arms and, somehow, the former was the real prison.”

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Bitter Blood By Rachel Caine

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Bitter Blood (The Morganville Vampires, #13)Series: Morganville Vampires #13
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: October 24th 2012
Source: Bought
Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Synopsis: For years, the human and vampire residents of Morganville, Texas, have managed to co-exist in peace. But now that the threat to the vampires has been defeated, the human residents are learning that the gravest danger they face is the enemy within… Thanks to the eradication of the parasitic creatures known as the draug, the vampires of Morganville have been freed of their usual constraints. With the vampires indulging their every whim, the town’s human population is determined to hold on to their lives by taking up arms. But college student Claire Danvers isn't about to take sides, considering she has ties to both the humans and the vampires. To make matters worse, a television show comes to Morganville looking for ghosts, just as vampire and human politics collide. Now, Claire and her friends have to figure out how to keep the peace without ending up on the nightly news… or worse.

First Line: Claire Danvers was in a rare bad mood, and nearly getting arrested didn't improve it.

Every time I read one of the Morganville books I profess that it's my favorite so far (with the exception of Bite Club, which I didn't like much) and this time I think it might actually be true. Though I say that every time as well so who knows. One thing is certain though, I love this series and I will be so upset when it ends in two books time. Originally it was supposed end two books ago so maybe I still have hope. Anyway this book follows on straight from the last. The Draug are finally gone and the vampires are once again top of the food chain but this time the rules are changing in their favor. The hunting licences which Amelie had got rid of are back so vampires are allowed to kill one human that they choose with no consequences but if they go over that limit the then the consequences are... well literally non existent. The humans are in more danger than ever. To add insult to injury a ghost hunting show arrive to look for paranormal creatures and it is imperative that they don't find anything otherwise they'll get much more than they bargained for...

I love all the characters in this series and have done in every book, they just get better and better. You can tell the author is good when they make you feel for even the evil characters. Claire manages to fight vampires, keep peace and look after her friends all while going to university and for that I love her. Shane is amazing as ever; he's funny, kind and loving, what more could you want? Eve whom I have always liked is just as badass as she always is but she has a vulnerability about her which makes it so easy to relate. Michael is a very real character who has a protective aura about him which I admire though he seems to have very bad luck. Last but not least is Myrnin who (anyone who read my reviews for previous Morganville books will already know this) is my absolute favorite. He is crazy, charming and intriguing. This time around we actually got chapters from his point of view which all tore my heart out. On the plus side we had appearences from Bob the spider and the vampire bunny slippers!

As always I love Caine's writing style and the multiple point of views she uses have grown on me slightly though I don't fully love them. Her story building is phenomenal and I am sucked into every book that Miss Caine writes right away. I always want to savor them but the pace is so fast that it's impossible. I always recommend this series to anyone and everyone and I'm looking forward to her next books, as well as praying she keeps extending the series. It will never get old!

My Favorite Quotes:
I lifted one foot from the brackish water, and the bunny slippers were soaked and drooped pathetically. Even the fangs seemed robbed of any charm. 
"Don't worry," I told it. "Someone will pay for your suffering. Heavily. With screaming." 
I felt I should repeat it for the other slipper, in case there should be any bad feelings between the two. One should never create tension between ones's footwear. ~ Myrnin

“Stop being so..." 
"Charming?Attractive?Irresistible? 
"I'm going with arrogant.” 

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Stacking The Shelves (9)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

STSmall_thumb[2]Stacking the Shelves is hosted over at Tynga's Reviews. I went kinda mad on Amazon the other day and, although I still haven't got my hands on Clockwork Princess, I did get a few that I have been eagerly awaiting!

All covers link to Goodreads.

Bought:

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)

At the risk of many disproving looks that I thankfully cannot see, I confess that I bought Graceling purely based on the cover without any idea of what it was about. Can you blame me? She looks like some kind of ninja assassin which is, of course, immensely badass!

The Evolution Of Mara Dyer, on the other hand was bought because the previous book was absolutely amazing. So amazing in fact that I couldn't wait long enough for the price of it to go down and I bought it at (gasp!) full price which is a rarity for me.

Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)Prodigy (Legend, #2)

Hereafter is another book which I didn't bother to read the blurb of. I'd heard good things and apparently at the time I thought that was a good enough reason to buy it. Although I doubt my reasoning for getting it, I was incredibly glad when I found out it was a ghost book. YA doesn't have enough of those and if it's anything like Anna Dressed In Blood I will love it.

Prodigy I bought for obvious reasons. Though it just occurred to me they wont be obvious to you since I haven't got around to posting the review of Legend as of yet. To be clearer, I bought Prodigy because Legend was breathtaking and I needed the next one.

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)Until I Die (Revenants, #2)

My reason for buying The Indigo Spell WILL be obvious this time if you have ever read anything on this blog. Third in the Bloodlines series it has been eagerly awaited by me and not just because I need my Ivashkov fix. If the Indigo Spell is half as good as The Golden Lily then I will be ecstatic!

Until I Die is the sequel to Die For Me which I actually have reviewed. As Die For Me managed to break most YA stereotypes out there I hope for similar things from this one.

Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

After loving Paranormalacy and not loving Supernaturally I was really torn whether I should buy Endlessly. In the end I decided, in respect to the impressive first book, I would give this one the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully it will not be in vain.

Unravel Me was a must buy from the moment it came out and actually one of the only books I've bought within a month of it's release date - they are just so expensive! I couldn't help myself. Shatter Me was outstanding so I am desperately praying my expectations do not fall short in this one.

Library:

Emma

After giving up Anna Karenina as my March classic because of irritating font in the book (yes that is a good enough reason for not reading it) I picked Emma up from the library instead. I have already read it and was presently surprised and, frankly, astounded that Pride and Prejudice is generally considered Austen's best work. No, Emma is the best by far.

What books have you got for me to be jealous of? If anyone says Clockwork Princess I may cry!

Email me at: confessionsofabookaholic@LIVE.CO.UK

Classic Of January: To Kill A Mockingbird By Harper Lee

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

To Kill a MockingbirdSeries: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Classic Literature 
Release Date: 1960
Source: Borrowed From The Library
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 2/5 Stars
Synopsis: "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—, a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.


First Line: When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

I don't often read classic books so I challenged myself to read one a month for this year and this was the one I was most eager to read. To Kill A Mockingbird is told from the point of view of Scout who is six years old at the start of the novel. It's very difficult to describe what To Kill A Mockingbird is about because there are so many aspects to it. There is the mystery of Boo Radley, Scout's fathers court case and the prejudice of the neighborhood.

I enjoyed reading from the perspective of Scout, my only problem was I thought she was a he for quite a while and thought her brother was just calling her a girl as an insult. When I realized my mistake I felt very stupid. From the moment I realized she was a girl I began to like her character a lot more, she still wanted to play with her brother and wear overalls but she's disapproved of by the ladies of the neighborhood that believe she should act more ladylike and wear dresses. I liked that rebellion. My favorite character by far was Atticus, he was the perfect parental figure, we need more Atticus's in contemporary YA lit.

The book has quite a modern feel to it which is unusual considering the fact it was written over 50 years ago. Lee's writing pulls you into the 1930s and gives you an accurate portrayal of what it was actually like. This book is one of my favorite classics and it has put my challenge up to a good start. I would recommend this book to anyone whether they normally like classics or not because as I said before, it doesn't have the feel of a classic book.

My Favorite Quotes:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

“Atticus said to Jem one day, "I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. "Your father’s right," she said. "Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

Email me at: confessionsofabookaholic@LIVE.CO.UK

Looking For Alaska By John Green

Monday, 4 March 2013

Looking for AlaskaSeries: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Release Date: January 1st 2005
Source: Bought
Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 2/5 Stars
Synopsis: Miles has a quirky interest in famous people's last words, especially Fran├žois Rabelais's final statement, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parents to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip―commonly known as the Colonel—who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore. The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. 

First Line: The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going- away party.

This was the first John Green book I ever read and it will not be the last. I have heard great things about the legendary John Green so I went into this book with the highest expectations. Exceptionally, this book exceeded them. Looking for Alaska was completely different than what I thought it was going to be like,. Actually, I didn't have much clue what it was about, only that it was amazing and that it was. Looking for Alaska follows Miles who convinces his parents to let him attend his Dad's old boarding school in search of 'a Great Perhaps'. Once there he finds himself with an unlikely group of friends including the self destructive, bold and beautiful Alaska. But as time progresses Miles is led to new conclusions about the value of his beloved 'Great Perhaps'.

I heard from someone that the point of John Green's characters were not necessarily to be liked but to be truthful and I think that is an amazing approach to character building because to like a character you have to be able to relate to them. I both loved and hated all of the characters in Looking For Alaska. I loved them because they were so real and I think I hated them for the same reason. It's not often you come across characters that you can relate to so completely and when you do the effect they have on you is momentousness. Miles is just like any teenage boy you'd meet. He's awkward, kind and smart and although I don't hate characters who are described as witty, chiseled by angels and romantic (at all) this was a refreshing change. I also loved Alaska, she has such a convincing personality that it isn't difficult to think of at least one person you know like her. The Colonel was also a great secondary character in the book, he was totally loyal and surprisingly smart which made me like him even more.

One thing that's individual about John Green's books is that the characters always have something about them that separates them from the crowd. In Mile's case it was last words, one of the best parts of the book was reading all of the last words he's collected, I loved the idea. Looking For Alaska is about as realistic as books come and I would recommend it to absolutely anyone. This book put me through so many different emotions, I went from laughing one second to nearly crying in the next. It has very mature themes for a YA book which has caused much controversy so when I say anyone I mean older young adults. John Green is a genius and I will be reading every one of his books, he has officially been put on my automatic buy list.

My Favorite Quotes:

“When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

“Sometimes I don't get you,' I said. 
She didn't even glance at me. She just smiled toward the television and said, 'You never get me. That's the whole point.”

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The YA Handbook (Part Two)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Read part one of The YA Handbook!

Rule Six: Make a love triangle including two guys who used to be friends but broke the bromance in mysterious circumstances:
As Seen In: Soul Screamers, The Iron Fey, Matched, Fallen, Vampire Diaries...
How about we dump Elena and try third
 time lucky?
A love triangle just isn't enough for some authors, no they have to put history between the two guys
who're in love with the girl. Whether they are hated brothers, ex best friends or even the metaphorical depiction's of Good and Evil they have to have HISTORY.
Why do they do it? How else can the author slowly reveal why the two guys fell out? Ironically it's usually because they fell in love with the same girl a few years before (or hundred years if they're vampires). Imagine how thin the books would be without all the back stories?
This one was recommended by Elisa at Lost Inside the Covers.

Rule Seven: Give the heroine red hair:
As Seen In: The Mortal Instruments, Gemma Doyle Trilogy, Forgotten, Entangled, Imaginary Girls... 
Redder, Redder, Perfect
Brunettes are so last century, we have all of the classic heroines with brown hair; Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet etc. So authors, wanting to stand out from the crowd have decided to go with the less common red hair. Unfortunately for them loads of authors have had this idea so red heads are way more common in fiction than even in real life.
Why do they do it? Nowadays hair colors are associated with personalities. Blondes are considered stupid and ditsy - no offence blondes and brunettes, plain and boring - no offense brunettes. Red heads on the other hand are thought of as feisty and tough which is what authors strive for.

Rule Eight: Give the main character an name with an unusual spelling:
As Seen In: Shatter Me, The Chemical Gardens, The Iron Fey, Matched... 
Even the most uncommon names are becoming more common in YA lit. One way to set your character aside from the rest is to have an inventive name but some authors have found a way around that. Inventive spellings! Juliet becomes Juliette, Megan becomes Meghan, Kai becomes Ky.
Why do they do it? It could be that they want  to use a traditional name without it being boring, or maybe they just prefer the names written that way. Either way, the names will be either genius or irritating and its a thin line between.

Rule Nine: Make the main character constantly compare them self to their beautiful, confident best friend:
You think she's cuter than me
don't you? DON'T YOU???
As Seen In: Twenty Boy Summer, Gemma Doyle, Soul Screamers, Delirium...
No one likes a cocky heroine but at the same time no one likes an attention seeking one who constantly notes her plain or ugly appearance. It's even worse when they go on about their friends beauty with barely concealed bitterness and jealousy. This kind of heroine is the type that spends ten pages at a time wondering why the love interest likes them and not the friend. It's just plain annoying.
Why do they do it? They are probably trying to make the heroine seem retiring and humble and avoiding the whole too confident, 'I know I'm gorgeous' personality - sadly Charlaine Harris didn't get that memo.

Rule Ten: Start the series with the character going to school then nearly never attend again with no consequences: 
Who wouldn't want to go here?
As Seen In: Twilight, Morganville, Legend, Hush Hush, The Iron Fey, Nightshade...
When you are going to write a book about a teenage character the audience is going to presume they're at school. Some books can get away with the characters never going to school but others start the series with them at school and slowly fade it out. For all we know they may just graduate without mentioning it but that's unlikely.
Why do they do it? The problem with school is it restricts the adventures they go on to holidays and weekends and that's just not good enough. The characters need to be free to save the world any time they want and school doesn't fit into that. The school boards don't seem to care so who are we to argue?

The Immortal Rules By Julie Kagawa

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)Series: Blood Of Eden #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopia
Release Date: April 24th 2012
Source: Bought
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars
Cover Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Synopsis: To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters. Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for again. Enter Julie Kagawa's dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.


First Sentence: They hung the Unregistereds in the old warehouse district; it was a public execution, so everyone went to see.

Based on Kagawa's other series, I expected this to be quite light. I realized just how wrong that presumption was the moment I saw the cover. No, all trace of Faeies are gone replaced by bloodthirsty vampires nothing like the ones in Twilight. Was that a good thing? Yes! I loved the original idea that really shouldn't be so original. Who on Earth actually decided to transform those grizzly creatures that used to plague children's nightmares into civilized creatures that have fully functioning emotions and fall in love with humans? Whoever it was a whole generation of Twi-hards owe you their lives. Anyway, the book takes place in a dystopian universe where Vampires rule and humans are never safe. Allison Sekemoto and her group have to steal to survive and one day Allison is attacked by a rabid and given the choice to live on as a vampire or to die. She chooses to become the one thing she hates most in the world.

I wasn't expecting much of a heroine from Kagawa after I had to endure the obnoxious Meghan Chase from The Iron Fey but I was surprised. Allison was about as badass as they come and although some of her decisions annoyed me she was still a good heroine. I loved Kanin, her vampire mentor but we didn't see nearly enough of him. I'm looking forward to more of him in book two, possibly as a love interest. But then there's Zeke who I wasn't that keen on but he was bearable and also seems like a likely love interest. I do hope a love triangle doesn't emerge.

Kagawa's story building was exceptional and remarkably well written. The book was a compelling and unique take on the overused vampire genre. Her characters don't fall flat and although not as witty as in previous books, they seem more lifelike. I am looking forward to the next book, The Eternity Cure. I would recommend this book to those looking for something other than the typical 'vampire boy meets human girl' story line.

Favorite Quote:
“Words define us,' Mom continued, as I struggled to make my clumsy marks look like her elegant script. 'We must protect our knowledge and pass it on whenever we can. If we are ever to become a society again, we must teach others how to remain human.”

Email me at: confessionsofabookaholic@LIVE.CO.UK
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