29 January 2013

Review: What's Left of Me - Kat Zhang

Release Date: September 27th, 2012
Hardcover: 343 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.
In theory, this novel had everything to be epic. What's Left of Me has a refreshing premise: two souls living in one body and only the strongest soul will prevail. What if the other soul doesn't go away? Like in a typical dystopian novel, the defected will be eliminated. This novel reminded me a lot of The Host by Stephenie Meyer but it was different in many ways, so don't worry!

The story itself was great, what really went wrong was the pace set by the author. Many chapter just dragged and nothing really happened, even though there were many opportunities to the story to be more exciting. Nevertheless I enjoyed reading the novel and I fought through the slower chapters and I'm happy that I didn't just give up. The plot is promising and I'm sure the next novel will be better, either way, I'll be reading it! Now if you are expecting What's Left of Me to be filled with romance, you are certain to be disappointed.

I had a hard time forming an opinion about the characters. In the beginning I felt more connected to Eva (the narrator) and Eddie was rather boring. But in the course of the novel, I got more and more annoyed with Eva. In the end, I guess I like them both but not as much as I was expecting to. Frankly, with the other characters I made no connection whatsoever. Ryan, the probable romantic interest was rather absent and dull, but let's hope that the sequel will provide us more in the characters' department.

Nonetheless, I read this novel rather quick. Even though the pace was much slower than expected, the story was promising enough to leave readers intrigued about the next page, the next chapter and the next book.

Thanks to Harper Collins UK for providing me with a copy of What's Left of Me for review!

23 January 2013

ARC Review: Broken by A.E. Rought

Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.

A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's.
The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.
I liked Broken. Don't get me wrong, I did. But the first thing that bothered me was the summary. I mean, they give almost everything away and you dive into the novel almost expecting every twist and turn (which are not that many). That really took the pleasure away of reading it. And then, the author leaves to many obvious clues, so everything was really no surprise. It feels a bit pointless now to have read the whole novel because I really knew how everything would turn out.

The story itself is nicely done if you aren't bothered by too many clues. However I wouldn't necessarily say that Broken is a remake of Frankenstein; I rather thought it was inspired by but that's it. Furthermore I thought the story to be too focused on the couple and nothing else grabbed my attention. A subplot would have been nice. Daniel's accident was the only thing that really got me curious throughout the novel: how had he died? Nevertheless I enjoyed reading this novel but mostly because of the dark Gothic aspects; the author really nailed these. Sometimes I thought I was in some kind of Halloween movie.

The characters are pretty much ok. I liked Emma as a character even though she was sometimes a bit too depressed for me. She is strong and doesn't take crap from anyone. Alex was a bit confusing. I mean, after the summary hints at Frankenstein is almost impossible for you to miss the huge clues to who Alex really is. That's the problem with a too detailed summary, it leaves little to the imagination. The romance was sweet but too intense sometimes. Not to mention Emma's mother, she was intense with a capital I.

Overall, I liked reading the novel but I wouldn't read it again. That's saying something because I almost always reread my books. The Gothic-feel to it was certainly there but the story fell short, in part because of the synopsis. For those of you who enjoy novels with more action and entertaining characters, this is surely not for you. With overdescriptive writing and a rather monotone plot, Rought's novel is not for everyone.

Thanks to Strange Chemistry for providing me with a copy of Broken for review!

15 January 2013

Review: Scarlet Woods - Brooke Passmore

Release Date: December 2012
Ebook: 480 pages

Past, future, and love all exist in the door through time.

Modern and independent seventeen year old Morgan Westbrook thought she had seen all there was to her home town of Scarlet, Georgia, but one day while walking in the woods behind her house she discovers a mysterious door masked behind the trees. After admiring the door’s timeless beauty she walks through its entrance to venture into more woods, but what she doesn’t know is that the door is a gateway through time that takes her back to the year 1863 during the days of the Civil War in Scarlet.

Without knowing that she had traveled back in time, she stumbles upon Danny Carson, an attractive young man who is appalled to see that Morgan is wearing skimpy modern clothes instead of a nineteenth century dress. Although they find each other completely different than anyone they’ve ever known, they cannot help but feel drawn to one another. After spending time in another century, she discovers that she's time traveled back to the year 1863 and that the door took her there. For months she and Danny journey back and forth through the door to experience the joys of traveling to both of their centuries. When dilemmas of unwanted marriage, slavery, and war are thrown at them, they must face the perils that time travel has delivered them in both the future and the past.

I really enjoy reading books about time traveling. Mostly it gives us the best of two worlds and that's totally the case with Scarlet Woods. The premise is a bit different than the usual time traveling novel. I really liked the twist in the beginning when Morgan doesn't realize that she went back in time and makes a fool of herself. The wonder that both characters show while going further and back in time is really enjoyable to read and of course, leaves the readers dreaming about having such an awesome opportunity.

Surely Morgan and Danny fall in love. I was kind of expecting but I wasn't expecting that they would deal so well with it. I mean, they are from two different times! But that was almost never an issue, which I liked and disliked at the same time. The other characters are a great addition to the series. I particularly enjoyed reading about Charlotte (Danny's sister) and Thomas (Danny's best friend and Charlotte's future husband). Evelyn and Ray were also suitable in the story.

Being a history fan, I was delighted to hear more about the Civil War. While reading Scarlet Woods, I was also learning about the history of the USA and it was nice to be able to compare the information. I also praise the author for handling well the situation about telling Danny the outcome of the war. It certainly would be difficult to anyone to know that you are going to lose the war which you've gotten yourself into.

Overall it was a enjoyable read. Sometimes the plot dragged a bit but other times I would read a hundred pages and wouldn't even realise it. There were some details in the story that I would have probably left it out of the story but I understand that sometimes it's impossible. Looking forward to the sequel! Great read for people who love historical fiction and romance!

Thanks to Brooke Passmore for providing me with a copy for review!

08 January 2013

ARC Review: Through The Ever Night - Veronica Rossi

Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?
Through The Ever Night is unbelievably amazing. It's no wonder that Veronica Rossi is one of my favorite writers right now. I'm shocked that a sequel could be as good as this one was. Everything, from the characters' development to the course of the story, was amazing and beautifully written.

The story sets a great pace for a second novel in a trilogy. It's not as eventful and fast paced as the first one but it doesn't drag, either. Everything that happens feels natural and suitable for the story. I'm still in awe of Rossi's beautiful and enthralling way of writing.

Aria and Perry, where to start? I really loved them in the first one but that doesn't even compare to how I feel about them now. I can't wait to know where the story will take them. One thing that I really value in a novel is when you can connect with the characters and Rossi really accomplished this so far. Aria really grows as a character; if you reread Under The Never Sky, the difference in character is palpable. Perry is no exception. And Roar and Liv, the other amazing couple of characters. It's incredible how each character has a such a unique and own personality.

I'm sure that anyone that was looking forward to Through The Ever Night's release won't be disappointed. I wouldn't even be surprised if some of you think that this one was better than its prequel. Yep, that's how good this novel was. Now we will have to wait till 2014 to see where Rossi will take our beloved characters next.

A super huge thanks to HarperTeen for providing me with a copy of this wonderful novel!

07 January 2013

ARC Review: Prophecy - Ellen Oh

Release Date: January 2nd, 2013
Hardcover: 312 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.
After reading such a summary, I believe that anyone would be completely excited. A strong heroine, a great fantasy and the promise of an amazing adventure, what else?! But unfortunately in the case of Prophecy, the promise fell short. Certainly there are many highlights but not as many as I was hoping for when I first started reading it.

The first and foremost thing that bothered me in this novel is that I didn't feel any connection to the main character. She was strong and courageous alright but the connection with her was missing. And to be frank, I didn't feel any connection to any of the characters. The romance that I thought would bloom in the course of the novel was also lacking. I didn't even get why they became friends in the first place.

The plot was actually pretty great but I think it could be a bit refined. We receive almost no information about the enemy and why they are even attacking. Who are they? What do they want? These questions remain almost unanswered. But the world building had great potential. The mythology as well. I think the author could have furthered the novel in these areas. The characters were almost a lost cause for me.

Overall I really liked the potential of Prophecy and the promise of a better sequel. The story is really interesting and captivating. If the author changed some things in the next novel, this series could be something amazing. I look forward to seeing how things will develop in the sequel, even though there were many aspects I disliked.

Huge thanks to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of Prophecy in exchange of an honest review!