Thursday, May 08, 2014

Review: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Book Description:

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by HarperTeen

Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.

Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn were marked at birth to become the Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood, beginning with their sixteenth birthday. Trained in fighting and in the secret rites of the spirits, they lead an annual trip into the Forest of the Dead. There, the veil between the living world and the beyond is thinnest, and the girls pay respect to the spirits who have passed.

But this year, their trip goes dreadfully wrong.

With all the heart-stopping romance and action that have made her a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and set in an unforgettably rich and dangerous world, this first epic book in the Age of Legends trilogy will appeal to Kelley Armstrong's legions of fans around the world and win her many new ones.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Harper Collins International (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Sea of Shadows is my first Kelley Armstrong book. At page one, I admit that I was hooked. The amazing author had my heart in her hands. It was love at page one.

As a fantasy enthusiast, I am naturally drawn to magic, mysterious spots, tales of olden creatures and unparalleled legends. The story world of Sea of Shadows had all the right elements: heart-wrenching tragedy, horrifying twists and turns, solid adventure, relationship development and of course, budding romance. Just when I thought I knew what was happening, Armstrong made a twist in the plot and I found myself flipping the pages faster. One of the things I loved about this novel was the constant action. There was not a dull moment. 

The twins. Moria, the Keeper, and Ashyn, the Seeker, were both easy to love. They balanced and complimented each other. It was like a yin and yang relationship. Ashyn was sweet, considerate, and gentle while Moria was a fierce warrior, fearless, daring, practical and not quick to trust. I loved Moria to bits as I could see pieces of myself in her character (of course, not the warrior bit.) The narration of the twins was like seeing two sides of a coin. Their differing perspectives allowed me to understand their situation and their world better. 

Budding romance. There were sparks and sometimes, even flashes of fireworks between the twins and their love interests. I was more drawn to the Moria-Gavin attraction. Gavin was a guard in Edgewood, a warrior by blood. He reminded me of a certain fairy boy from The Iron Fey series. Gavin was cold, all-business and hardly smiles at all. He was practical, strategic and passionate about debate. He parried not only with his sword but also with his words. Though i would not say that he was merely cruel. It just so happened that Gavin was not accustomed to socializing and he did not have much practice. What I really liked about him was that throughout the story, I got to see his softer side. He was protective, thoughtful in his own way and honorable. His interaction with Moria was sparked with banter, moments of understanding and bursts of hesitation. The physical attraction between them was palpable. 

The plot was thoroughly enjoyable and unpredictable. This, along with the terrific world building captivated me. One of the twists and turns came at the very end. I ended Sea of Shadows with a shredded heart when the revelation took place. I have become so emotionally attached to the characters that it was difficult for me to see them go through such tough times.

Sea of Shadows is a perfectly balanced blend of light humor, scandal and tragedy, fierce action, sparks of magic and a solid adventure. This book had me sitting at the edge of my seat with its bursts of violence, unpredictability, so-near-yet-so-far-feels with the relationship development between love interests and constant sense of urgency and suspense. I highly recommend this to readers of fantasy and enthusiasts of adventure reads and mythology. 

Rating:


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Talon + The Vault of Dreamers + The Memory Keepers


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.

Hi guys! For Waiting on Wednesday, I have three picks = triple goodness! :)

Book Description:

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Why I Chose This: To those of you who have read some reviews on my blog in the past, you would know that I'm a big fan of Julie Kagawa! Seriously, her books are classified under to-buy-asap for me. I am very interested in fiction related dragons. I am really looking forward to this!

Book Description:

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: September 16, 2014

From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own.

The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

Why I Chose This: You, guys! I really, really, really loved Caragh's first series. Her writing is really good and I'm just so excited for this new series. Don't let the cover fool you!

Book Description:

Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 4, 2014

"No one can take your memories from you... can they?"

Seven is a thief with a difference - he steals downloadable memories from banks and memoriums to sell onto London's black market, trading secrets and hidden pasts for a chance at a future of his own. He makes sure he keeps some special stuff back to 'surf' himself though - it's the only real form of entertainment he can afford. But one night, as Seven is breaking into a private memorium in a wealthy part of London, he is caught in the act by one of its residents; Alba, the teenage daughter of London's most famous criminal prosecutor. Instead of giving him away, Alba promises to keep Seven's secret - as long as he allows her to go memory-surfing herself. In doing so, they discover a hidden memory about Seven's past, revealing a shocking secret about Seven's childhood, the government and a mysterious experiment known as The Memory Keepers...

Now Seven and Alba will have to race against time to unlock the maze of The Memory Keepers - but can they keep themselves out of harm's way before the London Guard - and Alba's father - catches up with them?

Why I Chose This: I'm always intrigued with books that involve memory, its capacity and strength, as well as memory loss and control. So when I stumbled upon this book on Goodreads, I knew that I just have to read this. I have Natasha Ngan's The Elites. I'm hoping that this would be my next best read.

If you happen to drop by, kindly leave your Waiting on Wednesday links below so I could visit you, too!


Sunday, May 04, 2014

Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Book Description via Amazon:

ARC
Published April 15th 2014

Lucy lives on the twenty-fourth floor. Owen lives in the basement. It's fitting, then, that they meet in the middle -- stuck between two floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, Lucy and Owen spend the night wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is back, so is reality. Lucy soon moves abroad with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and to San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland, Lucy and Owen stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and phone calls. But can they -- despite the odds -- find a way to reunite?

Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. Sometimes, it can be a person

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Pinoy Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

The Geography of You and Me was one of my most anticipated reads for 2014. I have been a big fan of Jennifer Smith since the days of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. I started the book eagerly, letting myself sink into Lucy's world.

The story world of The Geography of You and Me was a place where even the simplest of all things could become beautiful. It was literally a world spanning from one continent to another, from one coast to another. One of the amazing things that I encountered was that both of the main characters, Lucy and Owen, were travelers, never grounded on one spot for too long a time.

Lucy lived in New York. She was exceptionally good in being "barely there" in the big, bad city. I was able to connect with Lucy, though I wouldn't say that she came as close as Jennifer Smith's other heroines. The novel was like an exploration of foreign lands and future homes, with the ever-changing home, city, country, culture and society. Our girl was obliged to keep on adjusting to the environment - to the new home, to the new school, to the new neighborhood and to the new timezone. For me, it seemed that she was searching for her real home, the place where her heart belonged.

Owen's life was another story altogether. His was tragic and sad, punctuated with moments of loss, pinpricks of hope and distance from Lucy. To be honest, Owen's character was someone I would have liked to know in real life. He was an abyss, so deep, filled with so much secrets and a past in various shades of emotions. Most of all, he thought differently, out of the box. At such a young age, a part of him seemed like an old soul, silent and mature, in his own way. I liked him as a character. He always drew me in with his thoughts and experiences.

When it came down to the writing, Smith did not disappoint. The writing was beautiful as ever and superfluous. I would like to think of the story as a world map, the major events were colorful pins stuck to the corresponding places where the scenes took place. Amidst the pins and the lines tracking down Lucy and Owen's travels within America and across the globe, there were photos and postcards. With this said, The Geography of You and Me, for me, was a complete narration of the main characters' journey - physical, emotional and holistic at that. I struggled a bit with the slow pace of the book. I was very much used to Smith's fast paced books and was surprised with this new novel's pace. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like were quick reads for me.

Overall, The Geography of You and Me was a beautifully written contemporary, splashed with life's colors and emotions, ups and downs, and driven by the search of home and love. People who enjoy books that involve traveling would like this book. As a deep, in-the-moment fiction, this book would appeal to teen and even adult readers. The themes of finding one's place, searching for 'home,' and taking chances were explored. 



Rating:


4 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!