29 Jun 2012

Cover Reveal: Requiem

The final book in the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver, Requiem, is due out in March of 2013.
The cover for Requiem has been revealed. Let's stare at it and admire its beauty for a moment, shall we?

I must say I'm a little disappointed. It looks gorgeous, but in my opinion it's far too similar to the cover of Pandemonium.
Let's take a look at the difference in colour scheme between Delirium and Pandemonium:

These two are pretty different with Delirium featuring cool colour tones and Pandemonium featuring warm colour tones. But then Requiem also features warm colour tones, which makes it look far too similar to Requiem.

It should not matter, but it does bother me slightly. At a closer look, there are obvious differences in the detail, such as the flowers. But I don't know... A flower and a few shades of difference in colour don't really do it for me. When I looked at the Requiem cover for the first time, I felt like I was already very familiar with it.

Still, it is gorgeous, and I am super excited to find out what happens in the final book! Pandemonium was my very first review here on this blog, so I cannot wait to get my hands on Requiem. March could not come sooner! (Especially since I would LOVE to skip the cold winter weather, haha).

What are your thoughts on the Requiem cover? Love it? Or do you have reservations like I do?
And I'm curious: do covers matter? How much of an influence do covers have on you when you're checking out a new book/series to read?
I'll admit, if a cover looks too juvenile or too generic, I might not feel any inclination to read the synopsis. Bad, I know. But sometimes visuals really help. That's what the cover is there for, right? To capture our attention.
Leave your thoughts in the comments :)

27 Jun 2012

Cover Reveal: Iron's Prophecy

I was a little late to the party when it came to reading Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. I picked up the books soon after the fourth in the series, Iron Knight, was released, but I quickly fell in love with them and they now remain one of my favourite fantasy series. When I found out that Julie Kagawa was writing a series featuring Meghan Chase's younger brother Ethan, I was (and still am) ecstatic. The first book in that series comes out later this year, around the same time that book 4.5 in the Iron Fey series is released, Iron's Prophecy:

And that up there is the beautiful cover for the novella, which I'm sure will satisfy a lot of Iron Fey fans. The plot blurb that was also released, which you can read here on Goodreads, is the final novella revolving around Meghan Chase's life, and will give us a glimpse into her life as the Iron Queen. There is even  mention in the blurb about Meghan carrying her and Ash's son, which is super exciting!

Looking at the previous Iron Fey covers, I've noticed that Iron's Prophecy is a slightly different style. It's a lot darker in colour compared to the other books. The following are the two other Iron Fey novellas' covers:

The cover for Iron's Prophecy reflects the style of the cover for the first book in Ethan Chase's series:

At least in my eyes, anyways. Perhaps because it's the final novella of Meghan Chase's time? Or maybe it's just random and I'm looking for deeper meaning in a book cover than was intended. Oh, no, what have my English teachers done to me? Haha.

So what are your thoughts?
What do you think of the Iron's Prophecy cover? Excited to read it? Have you read all of the novellas and if so, do you think they add to the story, or that the series would be fine if they didn't exist?

Personally, they're more than just fluff stories to me. In fact, they aren't fluff at all. In the full-length novels there are hints as to what happened in the novellas, and I found it enlightening to read the novellas. It definitely adds something.

Also, how excited are you for Ethan's series? I'm a little excited.................. *bounces around ecstatically*

26 Jun 2012

Review: Infinity

Title: Infinity
Series:  Chronicles of Nick
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Goodreads Link: Goodreads Description
Rating: 4/5

(Note: This review contains minor spoilers.)
Firstly may I just point out how much I like the 'f' on the cover? Okay, cool. Moving on.

I really enjoyed this book. It's the first 'zombie' book I've read, and it wasn't what I expected. Then again, I don't really know what I expected. There is a lot going on in this book, and I was left very confused as to who could be trusted and who was and was not aware of all of the supernatural going on. But I'm pretty sure that was the point, considering we were left with a very confused Nick.

I do not have too much to say about this book. In this case, it's a good thing. I thought the writing was good; it felt juvenile at times, but if that botheres you, you have to keep in mind that it's written from the main character's point of view, and he is a fourteen year old male. The voice throughout the book was perfect. And when it switched points of view to someone who was not our fourteen year old Nick, the voice was readably more mature, so Sherrilyn Kenyon did a great job on that.

One thing I noticed was the mention of Dark Hunters. I guess I'm a bit slow realizing this, but Sherrilyn Kenyon wrote a series about Dark Hunters. Chronicles of Nick is a series that is loosely connected to her Dark Hunters series, I'm assuming. I definitely want to read that series to see where this all 'began', for lack of a much better term.

There were a lot of characters introduced, and so many were male that I kept forgetting who was who. I'm just generally not good with names right away, so it was not until I reached halfway through the book that I was finally able to say 'okay, this character is Nick's bully' or 'okay, this character is a random football player'.

I really enjoyed Nick's character. He was a very believeable character, but he was also very interesting. I liked how even towards the end of the book he was in denial about most things. There aren't a lot of people who will just sit back and accept that the world as they knew it was actually full of supernatural beings. He called bull on a lot of characters who tried to tell him of this, which kept things very real. There are too many books out there nowadays where a main character will be introduced to some strange concept, and they will accept it within the first half of the book. The book is finished and Nick is still a skeptic. Although if I were Nick I would have just accepted it all by the time he met Simi. I mean, really, how could you not tell simply by the way that she spoke and acted that she is pretty out there.

And I just love his mother. She's an amazing person who brought her son up right. I think her whole story is just really tragic, too, and she's a secondary character I've come to love. Oh please don't let her die. I mean just think of what it would do to Nick.

The one reservation I had with this book is how no major or secondary characters died. Not that I wanted any to, but with everything that was going on, I find it crazy that no one was killed. Everyone miraculously escaped, with only Nick and that guy who got a chunk taken out of his arm having the most serious injuries. I guess this isn't really a complaint, though. I mean, the major chunk of the plot happened in one night and most of the supernatural stuff was happening around Nick, and all of the explanations the characters had for surviving made sense. Maybe I'm just too used to seeing and expecting deaths in books. Plus there are three (four?) more books to go in this series. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
And what even happened to the principal? I mean, I'm assuming he died, but that was not very clear to me. Then again, Nick could probably care less, and so perhaps that is why.

There are so many questions I have that I'm sure will be answered in the next books (and one I know is since I have already started on the second in this series, Invincible), plus I feel like anything else I have to say about the book is a huge spoiler, so I'm going to cut this review short. Basically, if you're into the supernatural and don't mind a book from a fourteen year old's perspective, give this one a try. It's pretty fast paced and I was never bored.

23 Jun 2012

Review: Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

(Note: The above cover is not from the original first edition, but the cover on the copy I purchased and now own)
Title: Uglies, Pretties, Specials
Series:  Uglies series
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Goodreads Link: Goodreads Description
Rating: 3.5/5

(Note: This review may contain spoilers. If you want nothing spoiled, please skip to the bottom for my spoiler-free summary of the review)
 So Westerfeld's Uglies series was one highly recommended to me. Naturally, I had to read it asap. The premise of the plot is what pulled me in: a society where at the age of sixteen you can get surgery to look 'pretty' just like everyone else. My first thought was 'Oh my goodness, that is just horrible! No one should be made to feel ugly, but this society is making everyone feel ugly until they turn sixteen'. Imagine living almost a quarter of your life thinking you were ugly and there was no way to improve your looks except with surgery at age sixteen. That in itself fascinated me, and I wanted to know exactly how Scott Westerfeld's story would play out.

 To be honest, I'm still a little confused as to the point of it all, because I was expecting Tally, the protagonist, to realise that looks aren't everything. After reading Uglies I figured that she would in the end, but the books took the story on a completely different track. And honestly, I'm not sure if I even enjoyed them after reading Uglies. Sure, the society was interesting to read about and Scott Westerfeld described it amazingly. It was very interesting learning about all of the technology and how the Rusties (basically, us) were killing the earth with all of our expansion -- a point, by the way, that I'm glad he brought up and dealt with, since (***major spoiler alert. Scroll away now***)  in the end, Tally and David went around protecting the wild from possibly city expansion. But let's not be too spoilery now.

I enjoyed the first book most in this series. In the beginning, it was interesting seeing how much Tally wanted to become a Pretty. I'm really glad she was not a character who already rejected the whole idea and was not rebellious from the get go, because this way we get to see the way this society had corrupted people's minds. When we met Shay I instantly loved her. She was fun and I thought she would be the one to make Tally see the light (that looks aren't everything). Of course Tally is unsure right away, but keeps her friend's secret -- that is until the government comes after her hoping she will lead them to Shay and The Smoke. Then Tally takes the deal (betray her friend and lead Dr. Cable to The Smoke), since all she wanted was to become a Pretty. As I expected, Tally got used to the idea of living out in the wilds, and even found a love interest who began to show her that being 'ugly' wasn't a bad thing. It's the person inside of you that matters. Finally, I thought. Let's get this story on a roll. But of course, things went wrong, and I won't go into detail, but things get very interesting. I really like David (Tally's love interest) because of all that he teaches Tally. He is probably the most refreshing character in these books, and the only one I actually can stand. That's not to say that I hated everyone else, though.

A bomb gets dropped on us by David's mother which reveals the true reason this post-apocalyptic series contains a dystopian society. Again, spoiler ahead. Readers, beware. It turns out, when sixteen year olds get their Pretty operation, their brains are also modified with lesions that control their mind. People aren't under complete mind-control, but they do lose a part of themselves and basically become all the same, all with the same 'bubbly' personality. The new pretties, for example, spend their days and nights partying and sleeping with no adult supervision. And they don't really need it since their minds have been configured to work the way the government wants them to. This is what really got the inner plot going, and I thought Hey, cool. So finally I get the plot of this series. Tally and David and Shay will most likely work together to bring down Special Circumstances and remove the lesions from everyone's brains and teach everyone that looks aren't everything. I was partly right.

But then Tally gets captured. And then she gets turned into a pretty. And then she's against the Smoke. And then we see what her life is like as a Pretty. Honestly, after Uglies I was not a huge fan of what was going on, so I'll keep this bit short. I felt a lot of what happened in Pretties was dull. And when at the end Tally gets captured again and we start off Specials with her pretty much in the same place as we started Pretties (with her separated from David and the Smoke on the side of Special Circumstances), I got really annoyed. The plot took us in a complete circle, and still hadn't begun to explain how Tally was able to get past the lesions on her brain. She was able to bring herself out of her 'Pretty' mind, but we never learned how that was possible. Why was Tally able to do that and no one else? That was an end left untied that really bothered me.
Another thing that bothered me about this series is that in the end, Tally still thought looks were important and was still revolted by David's 'ugly' that she couldn't be with him in a relationship anymore. The only thing that had changed about Tally was she became more stuck up and arrogant. I was really disappointed that in the end she didn't realise that it's a person's personality that mattered. I thought these books would have that as its moral, but I was very wrong. Disappointing.

Also in the end I could not stand Shay. Or Tally. If I had not been determined to finish this series and hoped they would change, I might not even have stuck it out. It really kills a book for me if I dislike most of the characters. But the world Westerfeld created is what kept me reading.

*No major spoilers whatsoever at this point of the review. If you scrolled down from the warning at the start of the review, hi! This part of the review is safe to read, I promise.*

So for me, I could not really get past how Tally still thought 'pretty/special' people were better than the 'uglies'. However, I read the entire series and it was an okay read. It was full of a lot of action and adventure (at least in the second half of most books), and the society that Westerfeld built is certainly interesting to read about. What with all of the technology already being created nowadays to improve one's appearance, I think this society is completely plausible. I could see this happening. I just wish there was a moral to the story Westerfeld tells, or at least one to appeal to teenagers and young adults. It would improve my overall opinion of the books, that's for sure.

I will not be reviewing Extras, because I did not enjoy it at all. Why? I'll give my simple answer: I saw absolutely no point to the story told in Extras. It could have been a series on its own, perhaps, relating to the world created in the Uglies series. But you could honestly read Uglies, Pretties, and Specials and never read Extras and you won't miss anything.

I know that a lot of people loved this series, and I wish I enjoyed it as much. Tell me, if you liked it more than I did, what was it that you enjoyed?
If you didn't really enjoy it, share your thoughts! I'd love to discuss this series with you.
Share your thoughts in the comments :)

22 Jun 2012

Cover Reveal: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

I fell in love with Shatter Me after reading towards the end of 2011. I won't get too much into it, as I still need to do a Shatter Me review post (after I re-read, however). So I was super excited to see the cover for the second book in the series, Unravel Me.

Look at this beauty (or rather, these beauties, as the new Shatter Me cover was also revealed not long ago)!
Edit: Cover of Destroy Me, book 1.5 in the series, has been added below after being revealed on 6.22.12

I cannot get over how beautiful these covers are. Seriously, I cannot stop staring.
My favourite part of the new covers is how they link together. Shatter Me's cover shows branches for the eye's lashes, except for the one corner of the eye which is turning icy. This brings us to Unravel Me's cover, which has icy lashes, but the corner of the eye this time is watery. I'm wondering if the third book will follow this pattern, and if the lashes there will be water? We have a long wait to find out!

Until then, we get to see the cover for Shatter Me book 1.5, Destroy Me, which Tahereh Mafi will be revealing later today (June 22nd, 2012). I, for one, am super excited about that! I want to get to know our antagonist of Shatter Me. He certainly has be intrigued. And goodreads says the e-book contains 150 pages of Warner goodness, so I could not be more stoked!

So what do you guys thing?
Do you like the Unravel Me cover? Which cover do you prefer? The old Shatter Me cover? Or do you like the new design?

And if you haven't read Shatter Me yet, what are you doing? Get on over to the bookstore and pick yourself up a copy! I can't say for sure when I'll have a review up, but by the time Destroy Me is out, I promise you I shall! For now, click here to be taken to the goodreads.com description of Shatter Me.

*goes back to staring at these beautiful covers*

10 Jun 2012

Thoughts: The Mortal Instruments

TMI Thoughts & Informal Review

Note: So I've decided to do this very informal review of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series (from City of Bones to City of Lost Souls). There are some minor spoilers below. But here is a quick summary: I love this series. Definitely hooked. I suggest you read them if you haven't already and enjoy supernatural/fantasy books. Also read the prequel series Infernal Devices. It is also amazing. Possible more. I rate this series and overall 4.5/5)

City of Bones had me hooked right from the get-go. I had read the first chapter somewhere (I think either in the back of a book I once read, or perhaps online somewhere as a preview), and ever since had been wanting to pick up the books. When I finally did back in March (I'm late to the party, I know, but at least I got here in time to wait for CoLS), reading that first chapter again was like meeting up with an acquaintance I had met once, but was regretfully unable to spend more time with. My first impression of the characters went basically like this (I had to tame down what my actual first impressions were, because... they weren't all that appropriate. I apologise for the inappropriate words to come. I tried my best, I swear I did.):

  • Clary, cool, you're the main character and can see things your bff couldn't. Interesting. I want interesting stuff to happen to me. But oh my goodness, you have guts. But curiosity killed the cat, remember.
  • Simon, I love you. You are sarcastic and hilarious. Be MY best friend. Please.
  • Jace you asshat, conceited sexy beast. Don't ever change.
  • Alec, you are probably cool, but who peed in your cereal this morning?
  • Isabelle, you are a bitch. Come down off your high horse.
  • Magnus, okay. You're a little odd. But you have magic. That's cool. I want magic powers and to be immortal.

And that is pretty much how I saw each of the main characters to begin with. They go through some amazing character development throughout the series. Of course, we see more of Clary of Jace, but their relationship changes QUITE drastically. For those of you who have not read the books, there WILL be slight spoilers later on, so you should take caution from hereon in.

I found the whole 'are Jace and Clary actually siblings or no?' thing to be interesting. I had heard things about the books and this plot beforehand, however, so finding out that in the end they weren't was not actually a surprise. However, I loved the trip Cassandra Clare took us on, toying with our minds. That was fun.
Jace soon became irritating with his whole 'my father is evil and might have made me out of demons so I must be evil too' thing. At first Jace brooding over it made sense, but after he found out he wasn't actually part demon, I didn't understand why he kept pushing people away. It just got repetitive, and I lost all interest in Jace and Clary. The supporting characters, however, really kept my interest in the plot and what was happening with them. I definitely like the supporting characters more than I do Jace and Clary, but that's just personal opinion, of course. And I do like Jace and Clary; I'm just glad there are other characters because at times it is easy to become bored of those twoand their angst.

I liked how we got to see what was happening from the different third person perspectives of most of the characters. It filled in a lot of blanks, and to be quite honest, if it had just been all from Clary's point of view, I would have punched a hole in the wall. Or broken my hand trying, anyways.

The different directions that the plots form each book took us was interesting. I like how we slowly found out how the Mortal Instruments came into play, and how we got a history lesson of the Shadowhunters throughout the first three books, either from plot or from Clary teaching herself about them through books from the library. A character betrayal in the first book was one I have to say I did not see coming, and those are my favourite kind of plot twists. It was kind of convenient, I thought, how Jocelyn became comatose. Parents always seem to get in the way, though, so having Jocelyn out of the picture for that reason made sense. She is one of my least favourite characters anyways, but I won't get into that. Although once Clary found out about the Shadowhunters, I wish she had just confessed everything. It would have made things go a lot more smoothly. Of course, then we wouldn't have much plot, would we? Her over-protectiveness of Clary in the later books made me want to smack her. I understood it, of course, since she is Clary's mother. However, when Jocelyn took it to the point where she told Clary to her face that she didn't have hope in her relationship with Jace, that signed the deal of my dislike for her. I really hope we see less of her in the final Mortal Instruments book. She's pretty much useless now that we don't need information about Valentine.

I need to talk about Sebastian/Jonathon for a moment. I love him as a villain, a lot more than I liked Valentine as a villain. I never really got where Valentine came from, but Sebastian I found I was able to feel for at moments. Of course, he turns out to be completely and 100% downright awful and I'm looking forward to his death (because that is pretty much inevitable), but man. A+

I liked seeing the fun-loving, arrogant side of Jace that was first introduced to us in City of Bones when Jace was under the influence of Sebastian. Seeing Jace like that in City of Lost Souls reminded me of how much I liked Jace at the beginning. I have no idea what he will be like in City of Heavenly Fire. I can see it going either way. Either he gets over everything, or he becomes even more whiny. Let's hope it's not the latter. I know Jace has been through a lot now, but I really miss the old Jace. He's not fun anymore. I honestly don't know how Clary puts up with him. I would have given up on him a long time ago, haha.

TMI Character impressions as of now:

  • Isabelle, I love you. You are amazing and strong, but also vulnerable because of your parents' relationship. I hope Simon is good for you <3 I wish I were you. I'd love to have a sister or best friend like you. Favourite female character of this series. By far <3 So much respect.
  • Simon, you and your sis are so sweet together. I hope we get to see more of her, but also, I love you. You are sarcastic and awesome. Be MY best friend.
  • Jace, I hope you stop being so mopey now. Except I doubt that will happen considering... Too bad. I miss your superiority complex.
  • Alec, I understand your intentions but oh man :/ I love you. But that was wrong. Hopefully you'll grow up a little and things will be okay.
  • Clary, I don't know how you have put up with Jace through all of this. I bow to you.
  • Magnus, I love you so much. You have some growing up to do too. You may be old (in the you were born centuries ago sense), but you still have some learning to do. Learn to open up to those who love you and all will be okay <3

Predictions for Heavenly Fire (caution: spoilery) 

  • Someone I love will die. Aka one of the characters I've posted about above. But it won't be Clary or Jace. I just don't see either of them being killed off.
  • Malec will repair (more of a hope than a prediction)
  • Sizzy
  • We will find out something about Tessa? Since Clockwork Princess will be out, it won't spoil anything. 
  • Ditto finding out about Brother Jeremiah.
  • We'll see a little more of characters that will appear in the sequel series aka Emma.
  • Clace will live mostly happily every after. Meaning Jace will be cleared of his heavenly fire duh.
  • Someone I love will die :'( I know I already said that. I'm just so terrified. 

I'm curious. What are your CoHF predictions?
What do you want to happen?
What don't you want to happen?

Anyways, sorry for the word vomit, but I had to get those feelings out. I have a lot more I could write, but I think I'll leave it at that. However, if anyone would like to discuss this series thusfar a bit more, the comments are open! I'd love to hear your thoughts, even if and especially if they are different from mine! (Not to argue; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Just to compare notes)