Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

Date Read: April 27 2013
Release Date: April 23rd 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Genre: Dystopian
My rating: 

“Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.
America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.”


I really wanted this to be better than The Selection. As I was reading I was trying to look for things that would make me give it more stars. I WANTED to give this more stars. But sadly, The Elite fell short of hitting the mark. Whereas I read The Selection in one hit and found issues with it, I still generally enjoyed it. Unfortunately, with The Elite there were so many times I was so frustrated I just wanted to put this down and stop.

America frustrated and annoyed me like never before. She was pathetic, constantly just diving into things without considering the consequences and as much as I tried to like her compassion, there are times and places for it – her displays were not the right times. Call me callous but when someone is about to receive a public whipping, a 17-year-old princess candidate running out kicking and screaming is not going to receive any results. If anything, it would only get her in trouble and deem her inappropriate to handle such situations. If she was actually the princess then sure go ahead as she would have the right, or if she was just a normal plebeian the consequences wouldn’t be dire. Again I draw comparison to The Hunger Games. When Katniss did something like that, it never annoyed me, but America? I wanted to knock some sense into her. A combination of their different situations and personalities can be attributed to my reactions to the two. Whereas Katniss came off as strong, America just seems weak to me. She was too naive, not fit for the princess role. I liked that she tried to tackle the bigger picture but she did so in a way that brought about negative results more than anything. Overall I thought she was just stupid.

“The thought sent me into a deeper hysteria. I screamed and kicked at the guards, but all that accomplished was the loss of one of my shoes.”

The way she’s stringing along both boys was extremely unfair and pissed the hell out of me. She can’t make up her bloody mind and yet she can’t let them go either. See one boy with another girl? Claws come out/cry like a baby. Seriously? Grow up. The boy isn’t even dating you woman! The only decent character in this whole thing is Maxon. If America had some grey matter in that pretty head of hers she would have chosen him ages ago and be done with. God woman, just admit your feelings for him and be done with it. Aspen already broke your heart once and it's already evident he can't accept a sweet gesture from a girl. But no, she can’t stop going back and forth between them.

“My feelings about Maxon. Maxon’s feelings about me. Whatever was going on between Aspen and me.”

“For weeks American, you’ve asked me for more time, and I gave it to you without question because I had faith in you. Please, I need you to have a little faith in me too.”

I also thought The Elite would finally take a more serious path in regards to the genre it's been placed in. Maybe some more political juice as well. But again it was all too light and fluffy, shrouded amongst the frilly dresses of girls who had no idea of the extent of the war outside the lovely palace. Cass is always just skimming the surface of issues. There’s a real lack of depth to everything that’s happening. I can sometimes see the post-apocalyptic elements trying to get through, but it’s not enough, they’re not being explored or dwelled upon. If this is all meant to be a build up to an epic finale in The One, there's not going to be much of a show down in the final book as there hasn't been enough seriousness in these first two.

“Over and over, by any means they could find, the warning covered the walls. Beyond that, the level of destruction was elevated yet again. I’d never seen what the rebels managed to do to the first floor, only to the hallways near my room.”

I still want to know how this ends though so I guess I’ll be braving The One.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where, each week, a Top Ten list is posted based on a particular topic.

This week's: Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

(All the books this week are in the contemporary or contemporary/new adult genre)

Click on the image to be taken to the Goodreads synopsis of each respective book.

The Fault in Our Stars The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - I think this one's a given
Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)
Hopeless (Hopeless #1) by Colleen Hoover - Gah the way this one just came together was so depressing (beautifully written)
Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2) Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry - Drug abuse, physical abuse, homosexuality... Absolutely love the way McGarry writes
Looking for AlibrandiLooking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta - Racism was just one of the many tough/depressing themes of this amazing read
EasyEasy by Tammara Webber - A really, really amazing take on rape, its consequences, and what happens if it's not reported
If I StayIf I Stay (If I Stay #1) by Gayle Forman - Absolutely heart-wrenching, to live or to die when you have practically nothing left?
Saving JuneSaving June by Hannah Harrington - Halfway through this one but it deals with the aftermath of suicide
Drowning InstinctDrowning Instinct by Isla J. Bick - I'm cheating here as I haven't read it but I KNOW this is hella depressing; I'm too scared to start it, I know I need a really good book to read after I finish this to get me out of the sadness I'll feel at the ending.
FlawedFlawed by Kate Avelynn - Abuse. Lots of it. In practically every form
Between the LivesBetween the Lives by Jessica Shirvington - This book omg. ALL THE FEELS. Essentially it's about choosing life.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #13

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and every week bloggers post about books they’ve added to their bookshelves! This includes books bought through a physical store, online store, eBooks, books borrowed from the library/a friend and gifts.

I didn't get a particularly large haul this week but I'm really happy with it. I got my FIRST ever physical review copies AND unsolicited copies this week! I've never requested physical review copies from a publisher before, I'd only ever used NetGalley, so it's a big step for me. I figured since I've been blogging for about 4 months now I should take that leap.



Suddenly Royal


Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X, #1)
  • Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead (Adult Dystopian) - YES SO EXCITED FOR THIS

Thanks to Penguin Books Australia for this NetGalley <3


I think Simon & Schuster just sent me all the Abbi Glines books they had released haha! Funnily enough Breathe (Sea Breeze #1) isn't out in Australia until September while 2-4 will be released in June. They're currently doing a campaign for books 2-4 actually with the new covers. I'm still undecided on them as they sort of remind me of erotic novels.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for these books <3

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cover Reveal: Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout

It's a JLA cover reveal today! I've been so excited for this one because it's sort of related to the Lux series which I adore.

Prepare yourselves. It's quite intimate and sexy :D


Um... WOAH that is so steamy! I don't think I've featured such a cover on my blog before LOL!

"He’s arrogant, domineering, and… To. Die. For.

Hunter is a ruthless killer. And the Department of Defense has him firmly in their grasp, which usually doesn’t chafe too badly because he gets to kill bad guys. Most of the time he enjoys his job. That is, until he’s saddled with something he’s never had to do before: protect a human from his mortal enemy.

Serena Cross didn’t believe her best friend when she claimed to have seen the son of a powerful senator turn into something…unnatural. Who would? But then she witnesses her friend’s murder at the hands of what can only be an alien, thrusting her into a world that will kill to protect their secret.

Hunter stirs Serena’s temper and her lust despite their differences. Soon he’s doing the unthinkable—breaking the rules he’s lived by, going against the government to keep Serena safe. But are the aliens and the government the biggest threats to Serena’s life…or is it Hunter?"


OBSESSION will be released on the 31st May 2013 by Entangled Covet Publishing!

Add OBSESSION to Goodreads:

About Jennifer L. Armentrout

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell, Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #1

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where, each week, a Top Ten list is posted based on a particular topic.

So I've decided to hop on the Top Ten Tuesday bandwagon :D

This week's Top Ten:

Top Ten Books When You Need Something Light & Fun~

In no particular order:
  1. Losing It (Losing It #1) by Cora Carmack (Contemporary/New Adult) - despite being NA, this is a real feel good book that I enjoyed. Garrick gives me ALL the warm fuzzy feelings!
  2. Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins (Contemporary) - Etienne St. Clair "French name, English accent, American school", need I say more?
  3. The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) by Jenny Han (Contemporary) - a great summer read
  4. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1) by Rachel Harris (Historical/Fantasy) - travelling back in time to Renaissance Florence, this was fun, cute and a really nice historical read
  5. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Contemporary) - this is like YA high on pot. The prose is extremely poetic and the whole book was just plain trippy (in a good way)
  6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood #1) by Ann Brashares (Contemporary) - one of my favourite series of all time such an amazing story about friendship
  7. Catching Jordan (Hundred Oaks #1) by Miranda Kenneally (Contemporary) - sporty and light
  8. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (Contemporary) - cute summer read
  9. Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) by Anna Banks (Paranormal) - not THE lightest book but it had some really funny moments and overall it was fun and I liked Banks' take on mermaids
  10. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (Fairy tales/childrens) - a little young but I love this nonetheless!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: INK (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun

Firstly, thanks to Harlequin UK for this NetGalley <3

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)

Date Read: April 9 – April 13 2013
Release Date: June 25th 2013 in US/July 5th 2013 in UK
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
My rating: 

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.
A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.
And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.”


“The notebook exploded with pages as it trailed down, the papers catching in the air and filling the room like rain. They twirled and twisted as they came down, white edges framing thick lines of black ink and charcoal.”

Ink is one of my most anticipated releases for 2013. Ever since I saw the cover and read the synopsis last year I was eagerly awaiting its release, and when I was approved for the eGalley I was so excited! The concept is so original and the idea of Japanese mythology, art and cherry blossoms really had me hooked as I’m quite interested in Japanese culture. Sadly, Ink wasn’t as good as I was hoping it to be. I was so looking forward to it. I really wanted to love it. I really wanted to give it 4 or even 5 hearts/stars. But alas I just couldn’t. Ink was still an overall enjoying read (hence 3 hearts) and I’ll definitely be buying the physical copy.

My biggest issue was with the female protagonist, Katie Greene. She was one of the most annoying main characters I have ever read. I like a character who questions thing, but Katie was borderline stalking! She just wouldn’t stop following Tomohiro around, even when it nearly got her killed. And in such situations she was utterly useless, all she would do was scream and cower in fear. Also, holy crap the amount of times this girl cries. I really wanted to slap Katie and tell her to grow up – she’s 16 not 5 for Pete’s sake! I don’t want to use the word cry baby but I think she came close to it. As female MCs go, Katie was one of the most infuriating ever. I understood that she was really sad and lonely about moving to Japan, especially with the reasons behind it – but I also thought she was a bit ungrateful to her aunt Diane who was doing everything in her power to make her feel welcome. Katie spent a lot of time moping and not enough appreciating what was around her!

“It was too awful. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I stood to leave.”

Secondary characters wise, I thought they were very reminiscent of those in J-dramas. There’s the hyperactive best friend who’s all kawaii and then there’s the two love interests. Both of which are insanely good looking and of course one of them starts off as a friend and it’s obvious he likes her but she doesn’t see him that way even though he’s kind to her and rescues her more often than not. Can I just say I really like Jun?

I generally liked Tomohiro. He’s the troubled teen who is extremely talented but because of some dark secret in his past he’s distanced himself from others and stopped doing what he loves. I could sort of understand his moodiness and brooding nature with the burden he had and I generally liked his protectiveness of Katie. It was really cute and I think Sun actually captured the Japanese teenage culture really well with the way the characters acted around their crushes. I could really see the difference in Tomo-kun’s demeanour as opposed to someone of Western culture when he tried to express his feelings.

“Ore sa… Kimi no koto ga…” (I, you know… About you, I…)

I really couldn’t handle the insta-love in Ink. The speed at which Katie’s feelings developed for Tomohiro (I think this is partly attributed to her stalker-like nature) was unbelievable and their relationship from there was just happening too fast. It was cute and sweet at times but I thought the romance should have been slowed down a bit. Insta-love is what really ruins the reading experience for me and I have to say that in this case, a lot of my hopes of the story died when I realised that Katie was falling for Tomohiro way too quickly. There was also a near co-dependence in the way the two couldn’t stay away from each other – more so Katie (again… stalker-ish nature).

“I knew that I couldn’t live without him, even when he was infuriating.”

“… and then the softness of his lips pressed against mine and the world caught fire, everything light and flame and burning.”

The pace was a bit unsettling at times with the way Katie just rushed into things and believed everything instantly. I mean, if I started seeing my sketches moving, I would 1) think I’m hella tired 2) think I’ve been staring at the paper too long 3) have let my imagination run wild 4) have gone nuts. And yet Katie, despite questioning her sanity once, instantly thinks it’s Tomohiro that’s doing it. This left me really sceptical because nobody in their right mind should be jumping to the conclusion that moving sketches are the result of others… so of course I thought Katie wasn’t really in her right mind – JOKES. Maybe. I could see Sun trying to take a step back sometimes and have Katie question herself, but it wasn’t enough with the way the story was progressing.

There were actually some really good things about Ink, I like to get the bad out of the way first and then concentrate on the good!

The plot itself was extremely original and I did really enjoy reading about an entirely different world and culture. Sun described Japan so vibrantly I want to go back there again. Her incorporation of Japanese mythology was also really nicely done. I liked her take on the story of the gods and the way this was weaved into the present.

And the world building, woah! Such gorgeous descriptions, everything was really picturesque and I could feel the oriental touch through her writing. The use of kendo, mentions of food and especially cherry blossoms, really made me feel like I was in Japan. Sun’s use of Japanese further enhanced this and I loved it – she never overused words, and when she used phrases it was never telling, but rather, showing what they meant which I really thought was an achievement!

“The entire park was bathed in pink, thousands of petals floating on the breeze as if it were raining sakura… Cherry blossoms littered the gravel paths, the bright green grass and the sluggish moats that pulled the petals from the park.”

I think I should also have a special mention to the formatting of the book. I’ve seen pictures of the physical copy and it’s gorgeous! Heck even my eARC was so pretty! There are elegant sketches throughout, chapter headings have intricate ink drop patterns, page corners have adorable little sketches and cherry blossom petals add a refreshing touch throughout the book.

Despite some setbacks, Ink is a commendable debut by Amanda Sun. A unique story that blends modern Japan with myths of their Gods, amidst a brilliantly built world filled with delectable foods and falling cherry blossoms.

行ってらっしゃい” itterasshai (Go and return safely)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Stacking the Shelves #12

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and every week bloggers post about books they’ve added to their bookshelves! This includes books bought through a physical store, online store, eBooks, books borrowed from the library/a friend and gifts.

For the week ending 5th April 2013 I got:

This Girl (Slammed, #3)

This Girl (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover (Contemporary/New Adult) - this was AMAZING. A perfect ending to a perfect series. I couldn't wait for it to be on NetGalley so I bought it as soon as Colleen tweeted the release and finished it in 4h! The actual ending was gorgeous <3 I cried quite a bit in this. 5/5 - well not enough stars :P