The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1)

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the girl in the steel corset

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one… except the “thing” inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch…

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin’s investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on even if it seems no one believes her.


 

Rating: 3.5/5

This book is going to be kind of hard to review, because my feelings about it are so mixed. In the first half of the book, I was completely captivated by it, and I loved every page. In the second half, the facepalming started, and I… Well, it just wasn’t quite as pleasant as the first half. Therefore, I’ll just talk about the good points and bad points separately in this review.

Good points:

  1. Once I started reading the book, I knew that I’d love Finley. She has so much fire in her (well, the darker and more reckless side of her anyway), and I really like that in my female heroines. She completely kicks ass.
  2. The “superpowers” are so cool! Even though they’re not superpowers so much as a kind of evolution, I still think that they’re really interesting. The explanation for their presence was also given (and it wasn’t some haphazardly put together one), which I really appreciated. I would really like to be able to throw someone across the room.
  3. None of the love interests were douche-y. In YA books, there’s a tendency for the authors to create one super nice love interest and one asshat love interest. In this case, both of them were really sweet. There was no such thing as “I really like you so I’ll be a total dick to you”. Yes, Jack Dandy was still a bad boy, but he was a decent human being towards Finley. I might like asshats, but after reading so many books with guys like that, I really need a break. The romance in this book provided that break.
  4. The romance wasn’t overwhelming. There are certain books where the romance takes up like 50% of the book, which frustrates me, because I hate romance novels. I’d much rather read a book in the perspective of a psychotic murderer who enjoys describing the innards of his/her victims than read a romance novel.

excited dance

The good points are pretty darn solid, y’all. But then there are the bad points that just undo some of the good impression that I have of the book. And we shall go into them now.

Bad points:

  1. It’s love interests, which means that there’s more than one love interest. Have I mentioned that I hate love triangles? Furthermore, Jack Dandy was mainly just there as a love interest! He had barely anything to do with the plot, for goodness sake.
  2. The plot is not only extremely predictable, but also very slow. I knew who the Machinist was once that mannequin showed up on Jack’s doorstep. I also knew what he planned to do with the mannequin once it was reported stolen. THERE WAS NO SUSPENSE ANYWHERE. Furthermore, they take FOREVER to figure out what I knew instantly. Predictability can be forgiven, but making your characters exceptionally slow when they’re not supposed to be cannot be forgiven.
  3. Sam. TSTL. Enough said.

banging head against wall (This GIF is selected for the sole purpose of Sam.)

Overall, the writing was decent, although more showing was needed, instead of telling.
There was a little bit of humour present, which made reading the book easier. Griffin’s character fell a little flat for me, especially because a significant amount of his thoughts involved Finley == Considering the exceptionally slow pace of the plot (they seriously took forever), I wanted to give the book 2.5-3 stars. However, I appreciate the strong female characters in the forms of Finley and Emily, and so decided to raise the rating up to 3.5 stars. Sort of recommended.

If the city of London was a body, Whitechapel would be the groin; a great unwashed area that only showed itself under the cover of darkness, and only for the most salacious of entertainments.

Just Some Crazy Thoughts

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Hi guys. It’s 2am here in Singapore, but here I am, because my brain is driving me crazy. I’m hoping that writing might help me feel less crazy, which is why I’m typing out this post. This was actually the original intent of my blog – for me to somehow release all the tension in me by writing a bunch of really depressing posts. Oh well, I guess that it’s just as well that I’ve started writing book reviews. But I digress.

I’m an adrenaline addict. And I’m addicted to a specific kind of adrenaline – the kind caused by self-harm. So I guess that means that I’m indirectly addicted to self-harm. When I was at an exceptionally low point at my life, I used it as a coping mechanism, but now I can’t seem to stop. Every time I’m upset, every time I’m angry, every time I’m frustrated, I just feel the need to take the blade to my skin. If I may say so, I think that I’ve been doing exceptionally well so far. I’ve only relapsed twice ever since I recovered (which was nearly two years ago). But today, the urge is especially strong, and I’m scared that I’m not going to be able to resist it. Which I guess is why I’m talking about it now.

I rarely ever talk about my depression. When I was at my worst, my classmates would probably have seen it, but I’ve never said anything to most of them out loud. I never even told my best friend (outright, anyway). As for the few that I told, some of them were my close friends (they knew the cause), but they drifted from me during that period. Some of them I told because my depression could affect our group project. Besides those few close friends, the only other people who knew were my parents, form teacher and family doctor. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell anyone else. Especially after those close friends left, I felt that if I told any other people, I would lose them too. So I decided to keep everything to myself. And all the sadness, rage and pain buried me alive.

At the start, the self-harm was just to cope with a little loneliness. Initially, it was manageable. Those close friends were still there. I could still cope. But when they left, it was like a dam had broken, and all the loneliness and pain came rushing out,  drowning me in a wave of misery. I couldn’t take it. I desperately needed something to help me float, and that something happened to be self-harm. It was my life raft, so I clutched onto it for dear life, not realising that it was on fire. After floating along for a little while, just glad to not be drowning, I realised that I was also on fire. And I was burning. Badly. I needed to put it out quickly. But the only way to stop being on fire was to get into the water, and I couldn’t do that. Not again. Between the fire and flood, what was I supposed to choose?

I very nearly chose to crush myself against a fallen tree. It felt like the simplest way out. Compared to being burnt to death on the raft or being drowned in the river, it seemed like the least painful way out of an impossible situation.

I have no idea as to how I managed to survive. Whether it was sheer willpower or plain cowardice, I have absolutely no clue. Sometimes I wish I had gone, but then I say to myself, “You’ve already made it this far. It’s not like you’re back there again. Your situation is much better now.” And I guess I’m right. I am in a much better place now. I won’t be revisiting that charred life raft. Not today.

Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club #1)

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am i normal yet

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?


 

Rating: 5/5

First of all, I would like to thank Ms. Bourne for writing such a wonderful book. Most YA books don’t make you hurt from the inside out. But I’m glad that this one did. It seemed like it cried out for me, and all the other people like me, who used to/are still being tortured daily by their own heads.

This book covered the two topics that I’m most passionate about: feminism and mental illness. I would say that I’m not really a true blue feminist (yet), but more like a fledgling feminist (is there even such a thing?). It’s hard to undo some of the social conditioning e.g. that rape has something to do with clothing and etc. The extract below shows one of the many double standards that exist in the world, and this is one of the feminist issues that I’ve completely gotten my head around to.

“I just can’t believe he said that,” she said, taking the chocolate and popping it into her mouth. “I don’t want to be tied down. I hate that. That they think girls are just obsessed with having relationships. What do they want us to do? Shag them but not expect anything in return?”

“Er, yeah, basically,” Lottie answered.

“No, that’s not right either,” I said. “They call those girls sluts.”

They nodded in agreement.

“So we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t, basically?”

I can completely empathise with the problems surrounding mental illness, though. It’s like the book said exactly what I think in my head most of the time.

Because now people use the phrase OCD to describe minor personality quirks. “Oooh, I like my pens in a line, I’m so OCD.”

NO YOU’RE FUCKING NOT.

“Oh my God, I was so nervous about that presentation, I literally had a panic attack.”

NO YOU FUCKING DIDN’T.

“I’m so hormonal today. I just feel totally bipolar.”

SHUT UP, YOU IGNORANT BUMFACE.

……

People actually die of bipolar, you know? They jump in front of trains and tip down bottles of paracetamol and leave letters behind to their devastated families because their bullying brains just won’t let them be for five minutes and they can’t bear to live with that any more.

People also die of cancer.

You don’t hear people going around saying: “Oh my God, my headache is so, like, tumoury today.”

HAHAHA the last part is kinda funny. But when I hear people use the word “depressed”, my face gets all frowny and scrunched up, kind of like this:

scruched up face

Being sad because you didn’t do well ≠ depressed. Moping after a breakup ≠ depressed. Okay, I admit, sometimes those things lead to depression (a failed relationship caused my depression). HOWEVER, in order to actually be considered depressed, your sadness would have to negatively affect your life for an extended period of time (two weeks at least, if I’m not wrong). Binge eating ice cream for two days because you just broke up with someone doesn’t make you depressed.

I really like Evie. She feels so real, and she feels like someone I know (with OCD and GAD). Her OCD and GAD did not consume her, did not become her everything, did not become everything this book was about, and I appreciate it. However, there are times where even I found her frustrating. Her absolute refusal to tell ANYBODY about her thoughts, for instance. I understand why she doesn’t want to tell her friends. But a professional? Why not? If I think that I might relapse, I’d just tell a professional and talk it out, so I’ll be sure that I DON’T relapse. And I’m a pretty stubborn person with a lot of pride. Every time I ask for help, it’s like a chunk of my soul is being taken out. Her denying that she has a problem is not going to make the problem go away. In fact, in the case of mental illnesses, it makes it worse. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d much rather take my medicines and talk to someone now rather than wreck myself and end up in a hospital later. But maybe that’s just me being way too logical about the problem.

I could go on and on about how amazing this book was, but that’ll take forever. It was everything that I expected and more. The friendships, the romance, the heartbreak – it all felt like it could have happened to anyone in this world. This book is beyond precious, and we really need more YA books like this. Recommended to everyone, especially those who’d like to know more about mental illnesses.

Mental illnesses grab you by the leg, screaming, and chow you down whole. They make you selfish. They make you irrational. They make you self-absorbed. They make you needy. They make you cancel plans last minute. They make you not very fun to spend time with. They make you exhausting to be near.

The Circle (Engelsfor #1)

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the circle

On a night after the apparent suicide of high school student Elias Malmgren, a blood-red moon fills the night sky. Minoo wakes up outside her house, still in her pajamas, and is drawn by an invisible force to an abandoned theme park on the outskirts of town. Soon five of her classmates–Vanessa, Linnea, Anna-Karin, Rebecka and Ida–arrive, compelled the same force. A mystical being takes over Ida’s body and tells them they are fated to fight an ancient evil that is hunting them. The park is a safe haven; the school, a place of danger. The six are wildly different and definitely not friends…but they are the Chosen Ones.

As the weeks pass, each girl discovers she has a unique magical ability. They begin exploring their powers, but they are not all firmly committed to their mission–to discover the truth about Elias’s death. Then a horrible tragedy strikes within the circle. Newly determined to fight the evil forces, they begin to learn magic from The Book of Patterns, an ancient work with a will of its own that reveals different things to different witches.

In this gripping first installment of the Engelsfors Trilogy, a parallel world emerges in which teenage dreams, insanely annoying parents, bullying, revenge, and love collide with flirtation, dangerous forces, and ancient magic. An international sensation with rights sold in 24 countries, The Circle is razor-sharp and remarkable from start to finish.


 

Rating: 4/5

Whenever I hear that a book has been translated from another language, I get really excited. Because I have this strange expectation: any book that has been translated must be really good. Maybe it actually isn’t all that weird, as you would expect that only good books that many people love (like the Hercule Poirot series) would be translated, right? But it turns out that Twilight has apparently been translated into 37 other languages too ._. Oh well, maybe my expectations are unrealistic after all.

However, I’m really glad to say that this book didn’t let me down. I expected to be thoroughly enraptured and captivated by this book, and that is exactly what it did. My face was probably like this the entire time I was reading.

engrossed reading

This (close to 600 pages long) book is mainly about those six girls slowly developing magical powers and learning to work together. Along the way, we get to see them grow and develop as teenage girls too. Some of them have bullying issues, some have eating disorders, some have messed up families. You get to see how so many different types of people with different lives interact and bond with each other, and I appreciate that very much.

My favourite character is probably Vanessa. She doesn’t have a nice, ‘proper’ family like Minoo’s. She’s not popular like Ida and Rebecka. She’s not as impulsive as Linnéa. She’s not desperate for love and admiration like Anna-Karin. She hangs out with drug dealers. She parties hard. She is loyal to her friends. She loves her brother. I could go on and on about her, but I feel like she’s the one I can connect to the most, and that’s why I love her so much.

Even though there are many good things to say about this book, there are certain things that annoyed me to no end. The superficial judgment for example:

Felicia’s eyes search for something to comment on. They land on Vanessa, who’s standing by the salad bar. ‘What the hell is she wearing?’ Felicia snorts.

Julia and Ida start giggling hysterically. Vanessa is dressed in a pink shirt and a skirt so short it’s essentially a belt.

‘I don’t know what she’s doing here,’ says Ida, staring at her almost covetously. ‘I mean, what’s the point of her being at school now? It’s not as if she’s going to do any more with her life than squeeze out a few kids.’

are you serious

I know she’s supposed to be the queen of nastiness and all, but she does that. A LOT. To the point where I really wanted to reach into the book and punch her in the face. A girl’s dressing does NOT tell you ANYTHING about her character, and you cannot judge someone SOLELY based on the way they dress.

The other thing that irritated me beyond belief was Minoo’s pining for Max. I get the whole pining thing, I really do. But her pining was on a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I have pined over many guys, but I definitely haven’t intentionally gone to find out where they live! Some of the dialogue that occurred between Max and her were also unbelievably CRINGE-WORTHY. Here’s an example right now:

‘What do you want to know?’ Max asks softly. ‘If I meant what I said? Because I do. I love you, Minoo. I’ve loved you since the first day I set eyes on you.’

‘I love you, too,’ she says, and it feels so natural. ‘But I know now that it’s not possible. What I have to know is… can you bear to wait for me?’

EEEEEBLURGGGGGGGG. THAT’S SO CRINGE-Y. She can’t love him, she barely knows him!!! She only knows him from school, and he never really talked to her in school! HE’S ALSO REALLY OLD. Oh goodness me. It’s really just. I can’t, guys, I can’t.

Overall, the plot is really exciting, the characters feel real, and there’s just enough action. Minoo and Max’s ‘romance’ is wayyyyy cringe-y, the superficial judgment is annoying, so one star deducted for those. Recommended for anyone loving anything magical and witchy!

Beware the Wild (Beware the Wild #1)

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beware the wild.jpg

It’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp—the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance—and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.


 

Rating:  3.5/5

My favourite reviewer read this book and liked it, so I read it based on her recommendation. It was, surprisingly, below expectations. I liked the setting of the book, and it did creep me out at certain points, but I expected something much, much darker and scarier. I was definitely not scared enough.

As the synopsis of the book said, Sterling’s brother, Phineas, ran into the swamp one day and a girl, Lenora May, came out in his place. No one remembered Phineas afterwards, except for Sterling. She was desperate to save him, but when nobody else remembered, she couldn’t do anything. Until Heath told her that he believed her. They started forming a connection and blah, blah, blah, and then they save Phineas! Yay! It is basically EXACTLY as the synopsis says.

It is extremely difficult to bore me. When I’m bored, it’s usually because the book is really, really long. But this book was short and still managed to do so. I was really bored in the middle of the book because there was so much ANGST going on. The plot was also really quite draggy in the first 60% of the book and the romance was boring. It was all really BORINGGGGGGGGGGGGG. The author attempted a twist in the book, but I saw it coming from 100000000 miles away :/

bored face

Sterling was kind of a brat, and I couldn’t really see much of her personality besides her love for her brother. Heath felt kind of one-dimensional, so I couldn’t really empathise with him. My favourite character was actually Lenora May, because she wasn’t completely filled with anger, and because she was also quite sweet.

The last 30-40% of the book was pretty decent as it had more action scenes (and also less angst), which managed to (kind of) redeem some of the bad parts. Overall, plot was completely predictable, way too much angst in the first part, romance was boring, but the ending was decent. Wouldn’t recommend it too much, but if you don’t mind the lack of action scenes, it’s a decent book.

With howls and groans and pleading, dear,

The swamp will call you near,

Beware the songs it sings to you,

Beware the things you hear.

All the Truth That’s in Me

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all the truth that's in me

Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family.

Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas.

But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever.

This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.


 

Rating: 5/5
It takes a lot for a book to render me almost completely speechless. If I remember correctly, I’ve never been speechless about a book in my life. I’ve praised, ranted and cried over books. But I’ve never been left incapable of words before. That was how hard this book hit me.

This story is written in the second person’s narrative, with “you” being Lucas, the love of Judith’s life. Being a diary of sorts, it jumps occasionally between the past and the present. With the second person narrative and the time changes, I would usually get befuddled, but in this case, they somehow work.

I really cannot express my feelings for the book in words. When I read the synopsis, I thought that I’d be reading something entirely different. Exactly what, I cannot say. Just not this dark tale which left me depressed the rest of the night.

I have to say, this book is not typically something that I would read. I only read it because of the great reviews that it had. And I’m not disappointed, at all. Throughout the book, I felt Judith’s hope, her despair, her joy, and I went on that emotional journey with her. It’s a really rare thing when the author manages to capture her audience so deeply, that they actually feel like they become part of the story.

In hours, all I know will be consumed.

All that have mocked me, ignored me, spat upon me since my return. They were once my neighbours and friends, even if I am no longer theirs.

Even they are worth a sacrifice.

The story is set in the past, maybe in about the mid-1800s? (That’s what my friend thinks, anyway.) Then, one’s maidenhood was still considered to be of the utmost importance, even if the lady had been forced against her will. A lady who was not deemed to be ‘pure’ would be the lowest of the low, and she would be ridiculed and cast aside. If you are unable to read about the social stigma and all the accompanying actions of the people, I would suggest that you avoid this book, because it hits you really hard, right smack in the face.

I was drawn into the book within the first 10 pages, and I couldn’t stop reading. I loved the brother-sister relationship of Darrel and Judith. The love story didn’t bother me, although I usually dislike romances that take up a huge part of the plot. Recommended to all.

“Get your learning while you canh.”

Darrel paused to shift his weight off his crutch for a few seconds’ rest.

“I will,” he said, charging forward again. “For as long as I have to. But you don’t have to keep going for my sake. If Lucas will keep driving me, you don’t need to go.”

“I wantt to learn,” I reminded him.

He gave me a sly look, his freckled imp’s face smiling like it once did more often.

“Don’t see why it matters so much now,” he said, poking me with his crutch. “What does a housewife need with reading?”

And he took off hop-stepping before I could wallop him.

 

Out for Blood (Drake Chronicles #3)

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out for blood

Hunter Wild is the youngest in a long line of elite vampire hunters, a legacy that is both a blessing and a curse at the secret Helios-Ra Academy, where she excels at just about everything. Thanks to her friendship with Kieran Black, Hunter receives a special invitation to attend the coronation of Helena Drake, and for the first time, she sees the difference between vampires that must be hunted and vampires that can become friends-or even more. When students at the academy fall victim to a mysterious illness, Hunter suspects they are under attack from within. She will need someone she can trust to help her save the future of Helios-Ra . . . help that shockingly comes in the form of Quinn Drake, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire. Who said senior year would be easy?


 

Rating: 5/5

happy dancepuking rainbows

Most accurate portrayals of me during/after reading this book.

I’m so glad to say that so far, this series hasn’t disappointed me. The plot twists might have been way too predictable, but the plot itself is decent, and the characters are amazing.

In this third installment of the series, we don’t focus on the vampires as much as we do on the vampire hunters, the Helios-Ra. Students in the Helios-Ra academy are falling sick, but there is more to the illness than meets the eye. Hunter decides to get to the bottom of it, but to do so, she needs the help of the gorgeous, flirtatious Quinn Drake. Through their interactions, their relationship develops from friendship into something more.

Let’s talk about the romance first, shall we?

pikachu heart eyes

EEEEKK. GUYS, THEY’RE TOO CUTE. I’ve always had a thing for bad boys like Quinn, so it’s no surprise that I really, really, REALLY like him. He’s also not the obnoxious “I’ll treat you badly so that you’ll go away because I bring danger to you blah blah blah” type, and so I like him even more. Hunter is a kickass hunter (hehehe that pun) who doesn’t need Quinn to be her knight in shining armour because she can take care of herself. She knows that she shouldn’t be falling for him so hard, but she can’t help it. What I like about this romance is that they don’t try to deny their attraction, like so many other books in other series. He doesn’t go, “Oh it’s too dangerous to be around me so I’m gonna ignore you and be mean to you/blow hot and cold towards you” (Ok, fine, he did that once but he got over it soon enough), and she doesn’t go, “BOOHOOHOO I’m a hunter and you’re a vampire so we can never be together but I’m so attracted to you *swoons*”. The only time Quinn was hiding from Hunter (and he was literally hiding in his room), she kicked down his door, then he got over it. In my opinion, that basically makes them a perfect match. CERTAIN OTHER AUTHORS, PLEASE TAKE NOTE THAT THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE ROMANCE NOT ANNOYING.

The sibling relations in this book are so cute, I have honestly no words to describe them. I know that I mentioned the sibling relations in my reviews of the 1st and 2nd book, but I just can’t get enough of it. And since I can’t describe them, I’ll just quote some of the paragraphs from the book.

First, we have Solange and Quinn.

“Sol, all that’s normal. Lucy smelled good before I turned and now she smells even better. But I haven’t tried to eat her face and neither will you.”

“She’s not safe in this house.”

“Safer than out there,” I argued, even though I agreed with her. “Look, you used to eat hamburgers.”

She blinked, confused. “So?”

“So, did you ever walk through one of the farms at a field party and suddenly try to eat a cow?”

“Um, no.” Her chuckle was watery but it was better than nothing. “And, ew.”

“Exactly. You can crave blood and not eat your best friend.”

“You make it sound so normal. And I’m totally telling Lucy you compared her to a cow.”

Then, there’s Sebastian and Quinn.

“Quinn.” Sebastian raised his eyebrows. “You walked right by that girl. What’s wrong?”

“I did?” I looked over my shoulder. A vampire with short brown hair and beauty mark at the side of her mouth winked at me. I winked back. Then I turned back to Sebastian, horrified. “I didn’t even see her.”

“You’re off your game.”

“Shh, keep it down, will you?” I straightened my shirt. “I have a reputation. I’m going back. She’s cute.”

“Forget it. She flirts with everyone.”

“So?” I grinned.

“Just come on. Mom and Dad are in the back room. And we can’t handle any more disgruntled exes.”

We really need to see more of Sebastian. Marcus and Duncan, too.

Finally, there’s Kieran (sister being Hunter) and Quinn (sister being Solange).

Yup. I was totally, completely, and irrevocably into this girl.

A thump on the door had us both jumping.

“Hey, get off my sister,” Kieran barked from the other side.

“Get lost, Black,” I called out. “And she’s not your sister.”

“May as well be.”

“Well, you stop kissing Solange and I’ll stop kissing Hunter.”

Why are they all so cute. They are literally the definition of #siblinggoals.

Overall, the plot is decent, the romance is really cute, and #siblinggoals. It more than makes up for the completely predictable plot twist, occasional grammatical error and some really cheesy clichés. Recommended for everyone who just wants to have a fun time reading.

“I feel like I’m in the witness protection program,” Lucy whispered. “You guys need suits and dark glasses.”

“I’m not wearing a suit even for you, sweetheart,” I whispered back.

“You’re no fun.”

As the silence stretched uncomfortably, she started to hum the theme song to Mission: Impossible under her breath.

Solange smothered a startled laugh. “Are you nuts?”

“Your brothers need to meditate. They’re all stressed out and their chi is bunching up. That can’t be comfortable.”

“I don’t even know what that means,” Nicholas hissed at her. “But there’s this whole stealth thing we’re going for. You’re not helping.”

Lucy grinned at Solange. “He’s so cute when he tries to be all Alpha male.”

“This is serious, Lucy.”

“She reached and pulled a piece of his hair. “I know that. But we’re barely off the driveway.”

“If you don’t stop talking I will hide all of your chocolate,” Nicholas promised.

Hallowed (Unearthly #2)

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hallowed

For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn’t prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

In this compelling sequel to Unearthly, Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.


 

Rating: 2.5/5

Well. That was unexpectedly unpleasant. It wasn’t bad by any standards, I just really, really, REALLY hate love triangles. I hate them with my heart, body, and soul. I find them ridiculous and pointless, so the love triangle being more or less the MAIN THEME annoyed me to no end. By the end of the book, I was just like:

banging head against wallfrustratedsomeone shoot meangry must resist

The frustration is real.

Furthermore, the whole book was basically a giant pity party for dear old Clara. Lovely, just lovely. I would give y’all a little rundown of the plot, but I’m sure it’s safe to say that it goes like this (it’s all from Clara’s POV):

CHRISTIAN CHRISTIAN CHRISTIAN

HMPH MY MOM IS KEEPING SECRETS FROM ME AGAIN

TUCKER TUCKER TUCKER

BOOHOOHOO WOE IS ME

CHRISTIAN TUCKER CHRISTIAN TUCKER

WAHHHHHHHH I’M THE CENTRE OF THE EFFING UNIVERSE

CHRISTIAN CHRISTIAN TUCKER TUCKER CHRISTIAN TUCKER

(When I start colour coding stuff, it means that I’m getting really pissed off.)

urghare you serious

Gods, it’s like some horror story unfolding right in front of my eyes.

Let me just quote something for the book that just. Urgh. Just read it, please.

Before I moved here, I never got the whole love-triangle thing. You know, in movies or romance novels or whatnot, where there’s one chick that all the guys are drooling over, even though you can’t see anything particularly special about her. But oh, no, they both must have her. And she’s like, oh dear, however will I choose? William is so sensitive, he understands me, he swept me off my feet, oh misery, blubber, blubber, but how can I go on living without Rafe and his devil-may-care ways and his dark and only-a-little-abusive love? Upchuck. So unrealistic, I always thought.

Joke’s on me, I guess.

So, she knows that it’s a joke. A big, fat, torturous joke. But it doesn’t stop. No, it does not. It drags on until the book is almost done. I just. I cannot.

Anyway, now that my rant about the love triangle is done (who am I kidding I could never finish ranting), I will talk about the characters. Or try my best to talk about them, because dear Clara is the centre of the damn galaxy and other characters are just her accessories.

I think that I’ve made my feelings very clear on Clara. I thoroughly dislike her in this book, and not just because of the love triangle and its ‘end’. I find her extremely self-centred and selfish. Everything is about her. It’s almost never about anyone else. Granted, there were certain times where she thought about other people’s feelings, but they were not enough to make up for her general lack of consideration.

Tucker was pretty much just Clara’s arm candy. I didn’t see his personality much because he was smooching with Clara half the time. I wish I’d seen more of him. I really, really like him. (Yes, I’m on Team Tucker.) I have never really felt anything for Christian. He’s way too perfect, and he’s also a freaking special snowflake. It irritates me. He was also just there to play the part of the other love interest. Barely a lick of personality shown. Wendy was basically non-existent, and Angela was mostly there to give us information.

Despite the many flaws in the characters and the presence of the stupid, utterly ridiculous, irritating-as-eff  love triangle, the writing was not bad, and the plot flowed pretty well. I know slightly more about the world than I did in the previous book (thanks to Angela), so I guess it doesn’t deserve a one star rating? This book also features Clara’s dad (who I like), so I guess that makes it slightly better. I’ll read the next book just so I can get this trilogy over and done with. Recommended to people with high tolerance for self-pity and love triangles.

“No, I want to meet this Tucker kid.”

“Dad. He’s not a kid.”

“Don’t you want me to meet him?” he asks with the hint of a smile. “Are you afraid I’ll scare him off?”

Yes.

“No,” I say. “But don’t try to scare him off, okay? He’s been pretty cool with all the crazy stuff so far. I don’t want to push it.”

“Got it. No threatening his life if he doesn’t treat my daughter right.”

Dangerous Deceptions (Palace of Spies #2)

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dangerous deceptions

As a lady in waiting in King George’s London court, Peggy has survived a forced betrothal, royal scandals, and an attempt or two on her life. And now she has a new problem: her horrible fiancé has returned to claim her! To save her neck, or at least her hand in marriage, Peggy joins forces with her cousin Olivia and her sweetheart, Matthew. But if she doesn’t play her cards right, her career as courtier and spy might come to an end at the bottom of the river Thames . . .


 

Rating: 3.5/5

This book suffered from the extremely common “Middle Book Syndrome” that we see in most trilogies. It wasn’t bad by any standards, but it was awfully dull at some points. There weren’t as many funny moments when compared to the previous book in the trilogy, and the story tended to drag in the middle section. That being said, I still did enjoy this book, which is why I’m giving it a relatively high rating.

In this book, Peggy Fitzroy continues her spying duties, but as herself. She needs to work to uncover all the traitors in the palace. If that isn’t hard enough, she also has to deal with not only her uncle, but also her douchey, asshat fiancé and his family. Throughout the book, we get to see how all the people mentioned above were involved in conspiracies of various kinds, and how Peggy managed to expose them. Needless to say, at the end of it all, she probably felt like this:

exhausted.gif

I really missed Peggy’s sharp tongue in this book. There were, of course, certain moments where her wit/straightforwardness shone through, but she was usually either too worried/angry/occupied/confused to be witty/sarcastic. It was this trait of hers that charmed me and made me like her a lot more in the first book, so to find it mostly lacking in the sequel is a huge disappointment. However, there were still certain paragraphs that I found highly amusing, and I will show you an example of one such paragraph below.

I believe I can safely say that what followed was as graceless a moment of heaving, scrabbling, puffing, coughing, wriggling, and frantic, muffled cursing as any known in the history of sneak-thievery. This magnificent living display of the manifold reasons why one should never attempt to burgle a home in skirts culminated in my falling to the floor of the book room in a great, silken heap.

Peggy’s cousin, Olivia, played a much bigger role in this book than the previous one, and I still don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. On one hand, it’s always delightful to see a friendly female character that’s intelligent. On the other hand, I feel like she’s an additional burden for Peggy because she is way too reckless for her own good. Therefore, I can’t really decide as to how exactly I feel about her.

I think that the greatest surprise to me in these two books is how much I actually like Princess Caroline. I thought that she’d at least be aloof and haughty, if not completely stuck up. That was obviously a huge mistake. Princess Caroline is really intelligent, and she is also really personable. Even I would be content in serving her (and goodness knows how I don’t like being told what to do). She also happens to really like and trust Peggy (even though Peggy might end up screwing up badly), and that makes me like her even more. Thank you, Ms. Zettel, for not making the princess an annoying dumbs***.

All in all, this book was pretty decent. The good points were that we got to know more about Olivia and the Princess, Peggy managed to figure out the conspiracies, and Matthew and Peggy were way too cute. The not-so-good points were that the “suspense” was a bit too long, which caused the book to become a tad dry, and that there was supposed to be a “twist”, but I saw it coming. Recommended.

What was the point of a spy master if he could not supply his spies with important information? Here my great, scheming, mysterious patron could only tell me that Sebastian was a conniving no-good from a family of conniving no-goods who associated themselves with other conniving no-goods from a county well populated by members of that species.

 

Blood Feud (Drake Chronicles #2)

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blood feud

It’s been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix barely survived the French Revolution. Now she’s made her way back to the living and she must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who left her for dead the day she turned into a vampire. That’s if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, a vampire whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks.
The clans are gathering for Helena’s royal coronation as the next vampire queen, and new alliances are beginning to form now that the old rifts of Lady Natasha’s reign have started to heal. But with a new common enemy, Leander Montmarte—a vicious leader who hopes to force Solange to marry him and usurp the power of the throne for himself—the clans must stand together to preserve the peace he threatens to destroy.
This second adventure in the Drake Chronicles—told from both Logan’s and Isabeau’s perspectives—has all the same butt-kicking action, heart-pounding romances and snarky humor that readers loved in Hearts at Stake, as well as exciting new revelations about the vampire dynasties to keep readers coming back for more.


 

Rating: 5/5 :DDDDDDD

pedo face

Ok, review done, BYEEEEEEE.

I’m kidding. (Please don’t go.)

Seriously, this book is so hilarious and awesome that that’s the only face I could make after finishing it.

In the sequel to “Hearts At Stake”, we follow the Drake family as they prepare for the coronation of Helena – and the work and attempted assassinations and other crap that go along with that. Instead of looking at things through Lucy’s and Nicholas’ eyes, this time, we explore their world through the narratives of Logan and Isabeau.

I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading this book. It was funny, it was sweet, and it was crazy. This book is exactly what I need right now. You can’t tell me that you don’t laugh/go “AWW HELL YEAH” when you read these kind of things.

Lucy snorted. “Snow White and the Seven Buttheads. You could give Disney a run for their money.”

Nicholas poked her in the ribs. “I am not a singing dwarf!”

“What the hell is that?” I asked.

“It’s a dog,” she replied matter-of-factly.

“Isabeau, that’s not a dog, that’s a moose.”

“Finally, a bit of luck. Rat bastard,” I hissed down at Montmartre. “Mangy dog of a scurvy goat.”

“That doesn’t even make sense,” Isabeau murmured.

“Feels good though. Try it.”

She narrowed her eyes at the top of Montmartre’s perfectly groomed hair. “Balding donkey’s ass.”

“Nice.”

“Sniveling flea-bitten rabid monkey droppings.”

“Clearly, you’re a natural.”

“The hell you will,” Logan yelled, finally swinging into the clearing. His brothers followed suit, like deranged monkeys. I barely had time to whistle the dogs into an attack.

Every single one of the Drake brothers was insane.

HAHAHAHA. I’m actually partially regretting my decision to read this book in public because my body was shaking with suppressed laughter half the time and anyone looking at me might be wondering why the eff I was laughing so hard at a book. (I’m sure I’m not the only one who laughs at stuff in public… Right?)

The Drake brothers have the best sense of humour ever, and Lucy just gets me with her personality EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. SHE APPEARS. That girl is my spirit animal.

As far as main characters go, Logan and Isabeau are pretty good. They don’t make ridiculously stupid decisions. They aren’t embroiled in some stupid love triangle. Their feelings for each other slowly develop. They can see reason (except when it involves Solange, then all the big brother instincts kick in). I liked that we got to know Isabeau more through her past, but I feel like the past sometimes disrupted the exciting moment in the present. There would be times where one chapter ended on a really exciting note in the present, then the next chapter talked about Isabeau’s past, and so the excitement died when I continued with the present. That was the only thing that actually bothered me in this book, but it wasn’t a huge annoyance, so I didn’t remove any stars for it.

Overall, this book was fan-freaking-ta-bulous. The family dynamics was amazing (I want an older brother NOW), the humour left me giggling like an idiot, and we got to know more about the vampire world (i.e. the Hounds). Recommended for anyone who wants a fun read.

“Liam Drake, I can look after myself.”

“Helena Drake, I love you, take the extra guard.”

They glowered at each other. I knew Dad would win. Mom was vicious when cornered, but Dad had a way about him, like a snake hypnotising his supper. His glower softened. “Please, love.”

pikachu heart eyes

URGH EVEN THE DRAKE PARENTS ARE CUTE.

 

P.S. Sorry that I haven’t written a book review in forever. I read two Agatha Christie books in that break period, but I decided not to review them because most people would have already done so.