Tuesday, April 24, 2012

READING: Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso

Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso

Publication date: May 8th, 2012
Published by: Flux Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 4/5
“Would you rather be dead and know it, or alive and not know it?” Scilla Davis is haunted by a horrible accident that she was involved in last summer—a drunken, reckless joyride that ended in tragedy. With a big trial looming, life seems empty, unreal, and utterly hopeless. It’s especially painful watching her best friend, Willow, slowly destroy herself with pills and booze. Yet Scilla can’t seem to wrest Willow—or herself—from a path of self-destruction. But there might be a possible escape from this nightmare. As a dangerous new drug called Ferocity sweeps the nation, an FBI agent asks Scilla to turn narc and help locate the Ferocity kingpin. In exchange, she could avoid conviction for her role in the accident. All she has to do is deceive and betray people she’s known all her life . . .
I noticed a lot of people had a problem with this book. Again, no idea why. It puzlles me, really. First Pieces Of Us, which for me is a masterpiece, next Ferocity Summer. Maybe it's the absence of a vamp or a wolf, or a really hot guy girls can fawn over and tweet million abbreviations about. Maybe it's the huge dose of reality these books have that scare people. Even though I liked Popular better, no one can deny that Ferocity Summer is an exceptionally written book. Everything by Alissa Grosso will be an automatic "must-read" from now on, she's just an amazing writer. 

I kinda struggled with Scill's character, though, the book's main character. In a way, she was like Sherman, the guy she was writing a history paper about. His place in history, says Grosso, isn't entirely clear. He is regarded by most as a hero but there are also some who think he went too far. That's Scilla. I won't blame her mother's parenting for Scilla's actions. There is so much parents can do, after all. What Scilla did was all her. Even when she was doing something wrong she knew it, she admitted it to herself, but she didn't stop. That's nobody else's fault but hers. Is she responsible for Willow's demise, though? I don't think so. There were 4 people in the accident and even though everyone had completely changed after, Willow couldn't handle it, neither the accident itself nor the change, and she drowned in her guilt (which she confesses in the end) and her sorrow. She was the weakest out of the 4 for sure. Truth is, Scilla didn't try her best to help her. Not that Willow would have listened to her. Regardless, Scilla was selfish. We see clearly that she doesn't care for any human being, be that her ex boyfriend, whom she hooks up with only for necessity, her wanna-be friend Bill, even her best friend Willow. I think she was so terrified of being lonely, that she surrounded herself with people who she disliked, like she did with Christian. She did care on some level about Willow I guess but not enough to take action. That's why what happened to WIllow in the end was not a shock for her. I think in some perverted way she felt free, liberated, no longer having anyone to hold her down. The way I see, it Scilla was completely lost: she had no sexual identity, no views of a future of any kind, no compassion, no personality, nothing. The ending was kinda hopeful and realistic at the same time. Scilla won't change over night, neither does she expects to. Neither does she wants to, I think.

Clearly if you haven't read the book and read this review you'll probably be going "Uh?", but it was impossible to express my views on it without referring to certain events. I know a lot of people may not like Ferocity Summer because it's not your typical YA (thank god for that!) but it will certainly appeal to more open minded people, and those are the ones this book, and other books like it, are written for, I guess. 


 "-Maybe it's time to take the soul glasses off.
  -Maybe I just need a new prescription." 

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (51)


::Thanks to the Story Siren for hosting IMM::





The Black Swan(Fairy Tales #2) by Mercedes Lackey


Elfland(Aethereal Tales #1) by Freda Warrington





RAK

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Gilt(The Royal Circle #1) by Katherine Longshore


What did you get in your mailbox?


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Friday, April 20, 2012

Independent Book Blogger Awards-VOTE ME :)

Hi!
If you have a GoodReads account, which is practically mandatory for every reader out there, click on the VOTE icon right here:


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Vote for this blog for the Independent Book Blogger Awards!
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...and also on the top left corner of, and vote for A Story Untold (my blog, yay!) for the Independent Book Blogger Awards.
Voting closes Monday, April 23 at 11:59pm ET.

Thank you all in advance :)

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

READING: Last Breath by Rachel Caine

Last Breath by Rachel Caine

Publication date: November 1st, 2012
Published by: NAL
Genre: YA Paranormal, Vampires
Rating: 4/5
With her boss preoccupied researching the Founder Houses in Morganville, student Claire Danvers is left to her own devices when she learns that three vampires have vanished without a trace. She soon discovers that the last person seen with one of the missing vampires is someone new to town-a mysterious individual named Magnus. After an uneasy encounter with Morganville's latest resident, Claire is certain Magnus isn't merely human. But is he a vampire-or something else entirely?

After 3 somewhat disappointing books, in Last Breath, we catch a glimpse of Caine's brilliance. It was enough to remind me why I love the Morganville series.

At this point in the series and if you're reading this review you know the characters, the story, the writing and hopefully, what happens in the previous 11 books. LB takes up where Bite Club left off, Claire saying no to MIT and Eve and Michael getting married. Here we see them planning their engagement party and having some trouble from both the human and the vamp front. Something about the two species and a stupid reason why they should never mix. Um, excuse me, the whole town knew Eve and Michael were together, it's the engagement part that got you to point the finger and start the accusations? Really? Just chill, Morganville residents. Just chill.

Anyway, best part comes after, when a simple word, "Run", is enough to scare the hell out of everyone. And when Amelie is scared, you just know it must be something really bad. You don't know what it is until somewhere in the middle when you meet it for the first time and it hits you hard. It's one of those moments when it's late at night and you lie in bed reading. Absolute silence. Suddenly, out of nowhere, something so shocking happens, something you never, ever saw coming, that you sit up in the speed of light crying "Whoa!". It's when your ability to speak is lost and you can only utter exclamations. There is a glorious moment exactly like that in Last Breath. Don't wanna say anything else because it's kinda huge and I don't want to ruin the book for you. Hold on tight, it will blow your minds.
Oh, and one last thing. Myrnin, I love you. Really, you're awesome. The way you handled every situation in LB from start to finish, was simply amazing. Nothing but love for you, mister! (why am I speaking to a fictional character in the 2nd person? o_0)

So why the 4/5? Apart from demanding even more from Caine because she can write awesomely, I know she can (ahem Feast Of Fools ahem), I didn't quite care for the ending. I thought there would be a huge change happening in this book that would turn the story in its head. I thought the baddie was bad enough to accomplish that. Sadly, it didn't happen. Despite the fact that I was terrified of those creatures and I was made to believe they were practically invincible, turns out they can be beaten in a single chapter. Not easily, but it was doable, after all. It was pretty anticlimactic after making these things a huge deal in the rest of the book.

That being said, Last Breath was a nice change of pace from the 3 previous, in my opinion, mediocre books, with scenes so good and powerful that really fill me with hope for what's to come!

Black Dawn (The Morganville Vampires #12) coming out May 1st, 2012. 
Oh wow, only 12 days to go!! Awesome Aussie bloggers, you can request it on NetGalley :)
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Friday, April 13, 2012

READING: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Publication date: April 24th, 2012
Published by: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dystopian, Romance
Rating: 4/5
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

You can tell by reading it that The Selection is going to be the next big thing, the new sensation. Especially after the TV show airs. Yes, there's already a TV show. Way before the book's publication date. So of course I was curious to read The Selection and see what the fuss is all about, why it's become so popular all of a sudden.

First off, we're talking about the birth of a new genre. Imagine "The Hunger Games meets Cinderella". Cass combined the girlie-girl , innocent chick lit with the freakish dystopian. In theory, these two seem impossible to coexist in one book. What does swooning romances and frilly dresses have to do with the harshness and rawness that characterises dystopian books? Well, in a totally weird way, it worked. Probably because the dystopian element was put on the back burner. In other words, it was there but in reality, it didn't exist. We learn about the old world and the new (through a history/geography lesson in school), about the populace being divided in casts and that the ruling elite consists of a king a queen and a prince. News reports are on about some war something or other, but no one pays attention. Rebels are attacking the palace but no one, and by no one I mean the reader, knows what exactly they rebel against. The romance/chick lit aspect prevails 100% in The Selection, with a dystopian undercurrent to spice things up. I'd rather it was one thing, either YA romance or dystopian but both genres in one were, if not interesting, different.

The reason I liked The Selection is because I think America was a genuinely good person. I like my heroines either good or bad. Not grey area in morality, please, America was kind hearted, and she stayed that way till the end of the book. She never misled Max and her feelings never changed for Aspen. Not that I would mind if they'd changed, but since they didn't, I was glad to see America keeping true to herself and her emotions till the end. In addition, even though she was participating in a cutthroat competition, she did her best to help her fellow competitors to go as far in the "Selection" as possible. She never tried to get ahead or concoct evil plans that would get the other girls sent home. It was her honor and refreshing naivete which eventually kept this book alive for me. 

The Selection will undoubtedly be a huge hit and will definitely steal the hearts of every young girl out there. As for me, if I'm being honest, I never thought I'd like The Selection. However, it was a very welcomed surprise that I ended up enjoying it so much and I can't wait for book 2 and of course the TV show!

As for all the drama, I certainly not condone any asshole-ish behavior, be it from an author, an editor, a publisher, a blogger, a priest, a superhero. If you are a jerk, I want nothing to do with you on a personal level. The end.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

READING: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Publication date: March 13th, 2012
Published by: Hyperion Books CH
Genre: YA Paranormal, Witches
Rating: 3,5/5
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

I'm not gonna lie. While reading Spell Bound I thought to myself that it will probably be the best of all 3. Quick paced, a lot of action scenes, great overall. It was when I read the last sentence however that I realised that despite it hiding behind a mask of awesomeness, the series was not worthy of such ending, after all.

Why this happened? Well, for one thing I am a sucker for exposition. And this book had plenty. Especially the scenes with the Brannicks kinda reminded me Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer and Calla's hanging out with the Searchers. So, I am all for that. Also, when you read a book filled with so many new things and situations, you kinda get lost in the moment and don't pay attention to details which at the time, seem minor.
What I felt in the end of Spell Bound was that the book was somehow incomplete. It would be perfect for part 1, if the end was a two - parter, or let's say an introductory book to a possible spin off *ahem* but it wasn't. It was the end of a series that lasted 3 years and all the important stuff that happen, were being compeltely brushed off by Hawkins.
For example:

*Sophie comes back and her father and Archer's fate is unknown. She is the first to crack a joke. In general, they were cracking so many jokes, even in dire circumstances, that it came across a bit childish. Also, she (Sophie) had no qualms about falling into Cal's arms the same night. Hm.
*Sophie found out about her heritage. Not that big of a deal to Sophie. *shrug*
*A character's death(although I am sure you all know who dies by now). Oh. Too Bad. *5 seconds later* "OK let's live happily ever after. Nuisance taken care of." Uh?
*Torin-very interesting new character, someone who I believe everyone wanted to find out more about. We didn't, though. I thought he had a role to play, like may be a double agent, pretend to help them but instead be a spy for Lara, or maybe he truly wanted to help them, anything! He was introduced, he said one or two clever quips and then poof. Same goes for Finley and Izzy. I know there is a spin off in the making (kinda obvious) but please, don't screw the end of this series because of that. Got some serious Last Sacrifice vibes, for which I did not care for at all!
*Lara-not a big baddie after all. Her sister did all the work, not Sophie.
…and last but not least
*Cal-why create him at all if your purpose, as it turned out, was not a love triangle? Why make him Sophie's fiance(!)and have her ignore him and pretty much anticipating to get rid of him in the next book? Doesn't make any sense to me. Major fail in character development there.

In the end, what I made of Spell Bound, is that it is just a big prologue for the inevitable spin off. Why else introduce so many new characters when the book is 327 pages and you know there is no way in hell you can develop them all. I never thought the Hex Hall series was the best thing that happened to my life, but I enjoyed it very much and all I wanted was a satisfactory ending. It wasn't abysmal, but it wasn't what I expected, especially from Hawkins.
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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

READING: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Publication date: April 24th, 2012
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal, Dystopian, Vampires
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Somehow, I never pictured Julie Kagawa as a writer interested in writing vampire books. Every YA author just has too write about them once in her/his career, I guess. If you ask me to describe The Immortal Rules, I will say it's quite a long, basically dystopian/survival, book, with some vamps and zombies. That pretty much sums it up for me.

Allie is the female protagonist. She is human and has survived after the Red Lung disease killed the better part of the population 60 years ago. She is not a vamp slave (Registered) which means she is kind of an outlaw. Vamps rule everyone and everything, and there are also the Rabids who are vamps gone bad during experiments for the Red Lung cure. Think of them as flesh eating zombies, they are pretty much one and the same. 
Allie is a fighter. Strong willed and determined to survive no matter what. In the beginning she kinda frightened me, to be honest. She came across a little meaner than I would have liked. Later on however, without ever losing her hard as rock veneer, she stopped being so intense and relaxed, just a tiny little bit. I guess because of what happened to her (couldn't let it take her over completely) or because she met a boy she liked (Zeke) and he was so nice to her. Their relationship was the most well built element in The Immortal Rules. Romantic yes, but thankfully not a lot. Mostly it was this magnificent co-dependency these two had, and I mean that in the best possible way. Like if they left each other, everything would be lost, there would be no hope. At least that what it seemed to me, that's what it made me feel. Zeek was amazing. Even though he and his team appear at the 2nd half of the book, he changed its course completely. The way he struggled with Allie's nature and how later on he paid for it (his relationship with Jeb was also amazingly built) really broke my heart *snif* I rooted for Zeek and his mission, however absurd.

Story-wise, The Immortal Rules had its ups and downs, its on and off moments. At first it was quite difficult for me to get into it, there was a flood of information within the first 20 pages or so and I had to ease my way into the dystopian world, which made it automatically a slow read for me. Then Allie meets Kanin and everything is put into motion and you're flipping through the pages. Kanin by the way, kinda love you buddy. Hope to see more of you in book 2 cause I didn't quite have the chance to drool over you much.
After some stuff with Kanin and another dude go down (no spoilers), book loses its well earned momentum and it's slow once again. After 50 pages Allie meets Zeke's team and you get the awesome back in full blast. From then on (apart from the ending) it reminded me so much of The Walking Dead, I was practically giddy with excitement to read what will happen next. Later on though Allie gets separated from the group and the book loses its momentum again. So it kinda had its really great highs and its lows. That what happens to big ass books *snip snip* "Less is more" really applies here.

Apparently influenced by The Walking Dead and The Vampire Diaries, Julie Kagawa's first attempt at a vamp saga is not bad at all. I would have liked a more consistent story, but that's just me. In the end, a chapter closed for Allie (did it really?) and she goes back to face her demons (literally). So the second book writes itself, basically, in the sense that Kagawa has tons of material to work with and the way I see it, that's always good.

The egalley I got from NetGalley has a treat for Julie's fans in the end, I am not sure if the print galley has it. It is chapter 1 of the Iron Fey spin-off, The Lost Prince. Yes, the one with Ethan. Who, I am glad to announce, is not a little boy anymore, far from it. Can I have that book now, please? Thanks! Chapter 1 was pretty amazing *sigh*
Mark your calendars, guys. The Lost Prince: coming out November, 2012.


This book has been given to me by NetGalley free of charge
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