Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Goodbye

Well, I've been working on this post for quite some time now. It's been something I've been contemplating doing for quite some time now:


I've decided to quit blogging. 


This decision has been a long time in the making and there are many reasons for it, but the biggest one is that I simply don't have the time to do it anymore. I've been waiting for the right time to quit, a time when I'm all caught up in my reviews, and now is that time. 

I'm going to leave my blog up for now and I'm going to continue to use my Twitter actively, but the reviews stop here. 


Thank you for all your support,
Anna Tee

Monday, October 29, 2012

Echoes and Embers by Karsten Knight


Embers and Echoes (Wildefire, #2)Title: Echoes and Embers 
Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Release: August 28, 2012
Pages: 480
THANKS TO SIMON AND SCHUSTER CANADA FOR THE REVIEW COPY.
Series: Wildefire #2
Synopsis:

Fan the flames: A teen goddess fires up her search for love and family in this sequel to Wildefire.Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love—because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess—and she doesn’t get burned.

     This sequel to the edgy and action-packed Wildefire continues a fiery drama on an immortal scale.

Review:
I was lucky enough to receive Wildefire for review last year, and I absolutely loved it. Ever since then I've been dying to read the sequel and thanks to the amazing Simon and Schuster Canada, I got a copy for review a short while ago. As soon as I got it, I read it right away, loving every minute of it. After loving the first book so much, I knew there was a great chance that the book might not live up to the legacy of the first, but luckily, it very much surpassed it.

Ashline was just as kick butt as she was in the first book, but this time she had almost an entirely new cast of characters, away from her school and many of the original characters. I thought that with the loss of the old characters that it would take a long time to get into this book with all of the new introductions that would have to be done, but they were flown into the plot well, taking no more time than necessary. My favorite new character was Wes, he was entertaining and well developed, with an interesting history with Ash. The other new characters were just as great and well developed, enhancing the already fantastic cast of characters the series has. The story picks up right where the last book left off, giving relief after the killer cliffhanger of book one. Karsten truly has mastered storytelling, doing so in an intelligent and funny way.

I give Embers and Echoes a 5/5 for being a great sequel that's left me wanting the next book now. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the first book and that wants a great book with a strong female protagonist. I cannot wait for the next book in the series, it should be an amazing conclusion to the series.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Die for Me (Revenants, #1)
Title: Die for Me 
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: Harper Teen 
Release: May 10, 2011
Pages: 344
Series: Revenants #1
Synopsis:
In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

Review:
This one has been tempting me since I first saw it's cover a while back. I hadn't heard too much about it review-wise, but I decided to dive in regardless. Unfortunately, I probably should have read more reviews before going into this book, the heads up would have been nice. I really felt that the quality didn't stand up to what I would have hoped it would be. The story was bland and predictable without many twists or exciting events. The story wasn't bad, but it was fairly boring in ways that could have been fixed fairly easily. Vincent was rather boring and a tad bit creepy, he was just not developed at all. Kate was a stereotypical protagonist, making few mistakes and finding her Romeo before the halfway point in the book. The relationship between Kate and Vincent was too much of an instant love for my taste. Their relationship was too 'magical' for me, they were just too perfect for each other for never having met before this book. The secondary characters were even less developed than the main characters and the villain wasn't anything to be afraid of.

The writing was a big reason why I couldn't bring myself to enjoy this book more. It was very cookie cutter and lacking of any specific style to it, it wasn't highly descriptive or eye catching in any way. Because of that, the characters seemed to not be as developed as they should have been. I hate making comparisons in my reviews, but this book is really comparable to Twilight in the sense that it is very simplistic. I'd only recommend this book to someone who's looking for a very fluffy book containing a paranormal element. I give Die for Me by Amy Plum a 2/5. I don't think I'll be continuing this series unless I can find it at the library at some point.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event held by Jill over at Breaking The Spine! It's all about those books you just can't wait for and are counting down the days till they come out.  

This week I chose:
Unremembered (Unremembered, #1)The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna


The Lost GirlTitle: The Lost Girl 
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release: August 28, 2012
Pages: 423
THANKS TO HARPERCOLLINS CANADA FOR THE REVIEW COPY.
Series: Unknown
Synopsis:

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.

From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be—until she found the strength to decide for herself.

Review:
I first saw this book when I was browsing the Harper Collins Catalogs, looking for new books to add to my ever growing collection. The cover is simply gorgeous and the summary set it apart from anything else I had heard of in a long time. I went in with very high hopes for the book and they were met with an amazingly deep book, something I wasn't expecting.

The characters in this book were extremely well crafted, they were deep with tons of background stories and well thought through. Eva's character was amazing. She gave me a ton to think about throughout the course of the entire book. Her life wasn't her own, her existence was dependent on Amarra, she could end her or completely change her life with a simple decision. When her life does get altered in a matter of days, Eva takes it in stride, not throwing a massive tantrum but still remaining appropriately upset about her life being turned upside down. Ray was interesting and well developed, really great with Eva and was able to make decisions for himself and not just to appease others. The rest of the characters were just as well developed, which was a very impressive feat considering just how many characters there were in the book. The story was also well developed, it went by with speed but it didn't feel too hasty. The writing was some of the best I've read in ages, it was highly descriptive with a great narrative voice.

I give The Lost Girl a 5/5 for being a thought provoking book that I simply adored. I'd recommend this book to teens looking for a paranormal read with a resoundingly deep message behind it. I know I'll be reading whatever else Sangu writes next.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to show what your book haul for the week looks like!

For Review:
Asunder (Newsoul, #2)Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)

Asunder by Jodi Meadows
Mind Games by Kiersten White


Bought:
The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #1)

The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event held by Jill over at Breaking The Spine! It's all about those books you just can't wait for and are counting down the days till they come out.  

This week I chose:
The Program (The Program, #1)Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. 

With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in.

And The Program is coming for them.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rift by Andrea Cremer


Rift (Nightshade Prequel, #1)Title: Rift 
Author: Andrea Cremer
Publisher: Philomel 
Release: August 7, 2012
Pages: 431
THANKS TO PENGUIN CANADA FOR THE REVIEW COPY.
Series: Nightshade Prequel #1
Synopsis:

Chronicling the rise of the Keepers, this is the stunning prequel to Andrea Cremer's internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy!

Sixteen-year-old Ember Morrow is promised to a group called Conatus after one of their healers saves her mother's life. Once she arrives, Ember finds joy in wielding swords, learning magic, and fighting the encroaching darkness loose in the world. She also finds herself falling in love with her mentor, the dashing, brooding, and powerful Barrow Hess. When the knights realize Eira, one of their leaders, is dabbling in dark magic, Ember and Barrow must choose whether to follow Eira into the nether realm or to pledge their lives to destroying her and her kind.

With action, adventure, magic, and tantalizing sensuality, this book is as fast-paced and breathtaking as the Nightshade novels.

Review:
When I heard there was a prequel to the Nightshade series coming out. I jumped at the opportunity to read it in advance. I haven't read the Nightshade series yet, but I thought the prequel would be a perfect place to start. I went in with very high expectations because of all the hype around the Nightshade series and I am happy to say that I really did end up falling for this book.

The characters were all crafted excellently, though in the beginning their relationships were a tad bit confusing. Ember was great, she was strong and didn't depend on men and she wasn't totally dependent on her family. She wasn't afraid to made the decision she knew she wanted instead of what someone else wanted. She did gradually fall for Barrow, the love interest of the book. In future books, I hope that Barrrow will be built upon character-wise, he felt fairly underdeveloped for such a main character. The secondary characters weren't all that developed, I hope to see more of them in the next book. The writing was truly stellar, I've never read anything by Andrea before, but I want to read the other Nightshade books right away. She clearly has a lot of experience in writing, she plotted it brilliantly and kept me wanting to find out what was in store for the characters.

A strong protagonist, a ton of action and luscious romance, what more can you ask for? I give Rift a 4/5 for being a great start to the Nightshade prequel series. I'd recommend it to fans of the Nightshade series and to anyone who wants to start in on the series, but doesn't know where to start or who want a great paranormal series.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to show what your book haul for the week looks like!

Bought:
SpeechlessThe Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus, #3)The Iron Legends (The Iron Fey, #1.5, 3.5, 4.5)Silence (Hush, Hush, #3)

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
The Iron Legends by Julie Kagawa
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick


For Review:
UndeadThe Dark Unwinding Magisterium Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)

Undead by Kirsty Mckay
Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event held by Jill over at Breaking The Spine! It's all about those books you just can't wait for and are counting down the days till they come out.  

This week I chose:

Crash (Visions, #1)If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first of four books from the New York Timesbestselling author of the Wake trilogy.Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.



What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.



The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more shesees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.



In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy (Late) Canadian Thanksgiving

Hello, fellow Canadians! I know I'm a day late, but I hope you all had a great Turkey Day! I'd also like to give you guys a quick general update. Lately I've been super busy with academics and applying for schools, so I haven't had as much time to read and review. I think I may have reached the end of the applying though, so now I'll be able to come back and get some reviews together. 

Thank you for your patience,
Anna

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews to show what your book haul for the week looks like!

For Review:
Fuse (Pure, #2)The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
Fuse by Julianna Baggott

Bought:
Along for the RideThe Truth About ForeverDefiance (Defiance, #1)Audrey, Wait!
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Defiance by CJ Redwine

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event held by Jill over at Breaking The Spine! It's all about those books you just can't wait for and are counting down the days till they come out.  

This week I chose:
The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of theShiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We Sinners by Hanna Pylvainen


We Sinners: A NovelTitle: We Sinners 
Author: Hanna Pylvainen
Publisher: MTV Books 
Release: August 21, 2012
Pages: 208
THANKS TO HENRY HOLT FOR THE REVIEW COPY.
Series: None
Synopsis:

This stunning debut novel—drawn from the author's own life experience—tells the moving story of a family of eleven in the American Midwest, bound together and torn apart by their faith 

The Rovaniemis and their nine children belong to a deeply traditional church (no drinking, no dancing, no TV) in modern-day Michigan. A normal family in many ways, the Rovaniemis struggle with sibling rivalry, parental expectations, and forming their own unique identities in such a large family. But when two of the children venture from the faith, the family fragments and a haunting question emerges: Do we believe for ourselves, or for each other? Each chapter is told from the distinctive point of view of a different Rovaniemi, drawing a nuanced, kaleidoscopic portrait of this unconventional family. The children who reject the church learn that freedom comes at the almost unbearable price of their close family ties, and those who stay struggle daily with the challenges of resisting the temptations of modern culture. With precision and potent detail, We Sinners follows each character on their journey of doubt, self-knowledge, acceptance, and, ultimately, survival.

Review:
When I got the offer to receive this book for review, I was hesitant at first. I don't often read adult books, even with that aside, the topic matter of this book is also not what I normally read. With all of that in mind, I was fairly cautious going into it, but I was thoroughly surprised by how much I enjoyed We Sinners. The book was highly captivating and interesting, locking my interest from the first page with a beautiful story and a very talented author.

The orange of the cover is very bright and unique in the universe of covers. The only imagery on the cover is the eleven silhouettes of all the members of the Rovaniemi family, placed behind the text for a subtle effect with a significance that can only be understood by those who have read the book, to everyone else, it just looks like a jumble of silhouettes. The font for the title is the main focus of the cover, it runs over top of the shapes of the Rovaniemis and draws the eye to it right away. I really like the cover, it's nothing too flashy, but it still connects to the story within.

The main cast of the novel was the Rovaniemi family of eleven. They were a very traditionally religious family: no television, dancing or drinking. They attended church on a regular basis without ever missing a single day, most of their socialization was with families who were also in the church and it was expected that the nine children of the family would remain with the church for their entire life. Needless to say, there were several of the children who were questioning their faith both in school and after they finished. These struggles were very, very interesting to read about and they made up the majority of the book. There was only one character that I didn't enjoy as much as the rest: Brita. She didn't consider other lifestyles and was fairly judgmental towards her siblings that made decisions that differed from hers. The rest of the characters were well developed and believable and much more enjoyable to read about. 

There were an abundance of points of view utilized in the telling of the story. In each of the eleven chapters a different point of view was used (except for the one or two characters that were repeated). Having so many points of view was a bit confusing to start with, but I was able to fall into the rhythm of the book fairly quickly after the first few chapters. Each point of view showed a different outlook on the religion, some of the characters knew they wanted out of the church, some were wavering, and some  were going to stay no matter what. The best part of the book was that the author didn't show a strong opinion for quitting or staying with the church, she showed justified reasons for both options and left it up to the reader to decide their feelings on the matter.

The plot takes place over a long period of time, following the children through school and into adulthood. This large spread of time allowed for the change in perspectives that the characters underwent to be featured as they matured. I give We Sinners a 4/5. I'd recommend it to mature teens and adults because it is mature subjects covered in the story. If you're looking for a book that covers religious issues from a unique set of perspectives that is delivered with grace and courage.



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