Kelly's Goodreads Review
The Bone Season
Kelly's Best Blogging Moment
The second half of the year has been incredibly trying for me on a person level. My mother has been terribly ill and I've struggled to find the motivation to blog. I've stepped down from my duties within the Aussie YA Bloggers & Readers group that I founded along with Brittany, which was not only a difficult decision but also to those who continue to guide the group, I felt that I had let them down and pulled away from the community instead. What brought me back to my love of not only reading but social media again was published author and dear friend Rachael Craw, who surprised me with a box full of love and munchies. I've never felt more accepted as part of our community. If you want to read more about my surprise, you can find my thank you post to Melissa Keil, Rebecca James, Ellie Marney, Gabrielle Tozer, Walker Books Australia and the lovely Rachael by clicking here.
To everyone who's left a comment, tweeted us, followed us and thrown books at us. Thank you.
Kynndra's Goodreads Review
The Demon King
The Wrath & The Dawn
Kynndra's Best Blogging Moment
Kynndra finally caved and joined Diva Booknerd in October. She's Canadian. Speak slowly.
Kelly has read 140 books this year with an average rating of 4.1 stars.
Kynndra has read 50 books with an average rating of 4.41 stars.
Kelly tried to live a healthier lifestyle. Then quit. She's much happier now.
Kynndra now has her license. Look out pedestrians.
Tahereh Mafi tweeted kisses to Kelly. She's now naming her first born after her.
We joined Facebook. Lord knows why. It's shithouse.
The author of Sleeping Giants loved Kynndra's review and sent her a gift.
Really, you need to move on from the Mockingjay ringtone. It's getting annoying.
Kelly's 2016 Booknerd Resolutions
Kynndra's 2016 Booknerd Resolutions
Kelly's 2016 Most Anticipated Reads
Kynndra's 2016 Most Anticipated Reads
Written by Natasha Carthew
Published December 1st 2015
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
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A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there's no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he's only small, he swears that he'll get revenge one day.As a young boy, Trey had seen his family slaughtered and his older brother left with a severe disability as a result of the attack. Spending his teen years determined to avenge their death, he finds himself at his final destination, a slave labor camp run by the church offering salvation to wayward teens and a second chance at life. It's at Camp Kernow where Trey has found what he believes the brutal assassin, a man of the cloth simply known as The Preacher. Driven by the Demon who invokes his blinding rage, Trey will stop at nothing until The Preacher pays for his crime even resulting in risking his own life in the process.
Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It's packed with crazies, god botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey's been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he's he not here for saving: this is where he'll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.
Trey constantly refers to the Demon when talking about his drive to avenge his parents. At first I assumed it was a metaphor used to describe his anger, I'm not sure whether it was part of Trey's journey but he seemed to believe the Demon was a physical being that possessed him that was never clarified. Another aspect of the storyline that I found difficult to connect with was the dialogue between the characters. The characters all had a very distinct British dialect and even being Australian, I couldn't follow it. Int (short for isn't it) was overused and was incredibly irritating after a few short chapters. To be honest, I wanted to take to the little bastards with a frying pan.
I loved the concept. Not being a religious person, I'm fascinated by fictional cults and religious based institutions but sadly due to the lack of world building, I just couldn't immerse myself. I felt as though I was waiting for something to happen, but it seemed to lose direction and cause.
I always write less than positive reviews with a heavy heart and although I enjoyed the rawness of the writing, this one was not for me sadly. The Light That Gets Lost is a strange journey that had the making of a truly wonderful read, but never realised. It lacked direction, much needed world building and perhaps tried to be too clever and lyrical which amounted to a disappointing read. The cover is absolutely gorgeous though.
The Final Verdict
Contains spoilers for books 1-3 of the Lux series.
Lux: Book 1.5
Written by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Published December 1st 2015 by Entangled: Teen
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I knew the moment Katy Swartz moved in next door, there was going to be trouble. Lots of it.
And trouble’s the last thing I need, since I’m not exactly from around here. My people arrived on Earth from Lux, a planet thirteen billion light years away. Plus, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that humans can’t be trusted. We scare them. We can do things they only dream about, and honestly, we make them look weak as hell. ‘Cuz they are.
But Kat is getting to me in ways no one else has, and I can't stop myself from wanting her—or wanting to use my powers to protect her. She makes me weak, and I’m the strongest of our kind, tasked with protecting us all. So this one simple girl…she can mean the end for us. Because the Luxen have an even bigger enemy—the Arum, and I need to stay on my game.Falling for Katy—a human—won't just place her in danger. It could get us all killed, and that’s one thing I’ll never let happen..
Okay so a little backstory here: I am reading the version which includes the first three novels told in the POV of Daemon. There's another version which only has the first novel that's like 300 some pages - but I fucking LOVE the Lux series so of course I'm going to read the version that is longest because yeah.. who wouldn't? I adore this world to shreds and just had to read it from my boyfriends POV (HAH JK BECAUSE HE'S WITH KAT *sobs*) but a girl can dream, right? So what I'm gonna do is break this review up into three little subsections. I also encourage you guys to get the ebook because it has all three books, the physical copy only has the first. Here we go, lovelies.
SHORT VERSION: (because this is a long ass review) I loved it, even when I hated it, I loved it.
BOOK ONE: OBSIDIANAlright, so this is the one in which Katy moves into alien territory. Also the one where Daemon (an alien) does his damndest to keep Kat out of his, and his sisters life. Unfortunately, that does not happen. When Kat is 'tagged' by some kick-ass alien power, her life is in danger. Once a human is tagged they can be used by the Arum (evil aliens who want to steal the powers of the Luxen). Daemon (who aggressively denies his feels for Kat) will do anything to keep his sister, and Kat safe. It's a battle of wills as Daemon and Katy dance around their chemistry and the bond they have formed. Meanwhile, the Arum are on the prowl - needless to say, shit happens.
Okay, I'll be honest I have adored the Lux series for a year or two now and I might be a little biased. Reading the first book from Daemon's POV was so different than reading the original which was in Kat's POV. It's been awhile, but I have to say I preferred seeing the story from Kat's eyes; however, I also adored being offered the chance to read Daemon's side of the story. It was hella corny, but it made me LAUGH SO DAMN MUCH. Daemon is an asshole, but a loveable one? I don't know. I think JLA's portrayal of a teenage boys thought process was spot on. Some parts had me blushing, others smirking. I loved every second. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You read JLA's YA novels for the fun, and snarky goodness that lies within. Also the chemistry between characters is amazing. You don't read her work for some poetic masterpiece (at least not the Lux series, I haven't read her other series).
It took me a little while to re-adjust to the Luxen world, but once I did I was entranced and fell in love with Daemon and Kat all over again. If you can ignore the fact that the book is basically all about how much Daemon likes Kat and how many times Daemon has to save Kat - then I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I certainly did. JLA is one of my all time favorite authors because she's a god at making such addicting stories and characters. SO GOOD PEOPLE. SO MUCH ASSHOLERY THAT WAS AMAZING.
"Maybe I was so good at my douchebag skills, as she called them, she had no clue how I was really starting to feel about her."
BOOK TWO: ONYXSo the second book is essentially the 'rift' between Kat and Daemon. This is where Kat, having been healed by Daemon on a molecular level mutates into basically a alien human hybrid. Whoops. So this shady kid named Blake swoops on in and says he knows what Kat is - and that he too is a mutated alihuman. Blake claims he can train Kat to hone her new alien powers. Enter Daemon, who does not trust Blake at all, but Kat wants to learn how to look after herself. Kat's decision to trust Blake instead of Daemon causes shockwaves in their relationship. But one day, Kat sees someone who should be dead which causes mayhem in the Luxen's lives. Together they must find out the truth.
I wasn't a HUGE fan of the second book. Mostly because I was annoyed at how Kat acted and how she snubbed Daemon. But it's understandable considering their past encounters where Daemon was kind of a dickweed to her. SO it is forgiven. We got there near the end which is really all that matters at this point. I just always feel that the second book always lacks something in nearly every series. This one in general got irksome because it was essentially all about Daemon's jealousy and Kat lying to herself about how she really felt.
I still loved all of Daemons good old sass and snark. Which there is never a shortage of. I couldn't get enough of it. I just wish there had been a little less of *ermahgurd Kat's body is perfect, ermahgurd Kat is hurt, emahgurd Kat lemme love you* but I really loved all the parts where he protects her and heals her. I'm a sucker for characters protecting/dying/hurting for another (sorry I'm a fictional character sadist). The feelings are so strong when that happens, I love watching How Daemon goes from a dick to lowkey falling in love with his Kitten. The ending had me is shambles, I knew what was going to happen but it hurt more seeing it come from Daemon's eyes.
“I knew right then I would burn down the whole universe for her if I had to. I would do anything to keep her safe. Kill. Heal. Die. Anything. Because she was my everything.”
BOOK THREE: OPALThe last book of Oblivion in Daemon's POV is Opal, the one in which Dawson (Daemon's believed to be dead brother) has returned. This book consists of the Luxen scooby gang coming together to figure out how to get Dawson's girlfriend Beth back from the DOD (essentially the alien control squad). This task is harder than anyone could have imagined. With Kat now in control of her powers, she too assists much to Daemon's displeasure. Their mission means they must trust the untrustable in order to succeed. Lots of tragic shit goes down, hold on kiddos.
The third book within Oblivion was my favorite. It was more exciting and had a larger view on the plot instead of constantly focusing on Kat and Daemon's banter. Which, don't get me wrong - I love their banter, but it does get hella repetitive after awhile. I think I enjoyed this one more because Kat could finally hold her own a bit more. Also, because I absolutely adore Dawson. He was so broken though, but I just adored the scenes where he would smile and kind of be that little ray of sunshine despite the year or so of torture he had to endure.
I can't express how much I love JLA's way of making a book seem as if it's merely pages and not an entire novel. I flew through this one not only because of the amazing characters but because of how many damn cliffhangers she can pull out of her hat. Seriously, Daemon and Kat could be having dinner and the next second they would be clutching each other as the other lay dying. IT HAD ME STRESSING EVEN THOUGH I KNOW THE OUTCOME ALREADY. Again, at the end there's a huge cliffhanger which had made me nose my way through the original fourth book just to refresh my mind on what happens.
I'm a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout, I think she's iconic in the YA paranormal romance department. I adored the Lux series when I read it back in 2014, and I love it now having relived it through the eyes of one (loveable) asshole of an alien named Daemon Black. I will admit that I loved it more when I first read it in its original format, but it was still extremely fun being able to go through the emotions and read more content from the Lux world. If you're a fan of this series, and are wondering if it's worth reading it - I will tell you it is. If you've never read this series before, and enjoy a fun, yet cheesy YA PNR series then start with the original series first. Also I can not wait for the Obsidian movie, which I REALLY hope happens (read more on that here).
Kynndra is currently (slowly) reading A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin and wondering what the new year will bring, hopefully good stuff.
Written by Kathleen Benner Duble
Historical, Romance, French Revolution
Published November 2015
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
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In 1789, with the starving French people on the brink of revolution, orphaned Celie Rosseau, an amazing artist and a very clever thief, runs wild with her protector, Algernon, trying to join the idealistic freedom fighters of Paris. But when she is caught stealing from none other than the king's brother and the lady from the waxworks, Celie must use her drawing talent to buy her own freedom or die for her crimes.Celie and Algernon can never be sure where their next meal is coming from, with the two teens living life on the streets. Celie is a talented artist with a photographic memory so when she's caught posing as a blind girl begging for money by the king's own brother, her savior comes in the form of Manon Tussaud, the Parisian wax artist who wants the young thief to work on her displays. Reluctantly Celie agrees but plans to escape back to the freedom of the streets and Algernon after her debt is repaid. But Algernon needs Celie and there is nothing that the young Parisian artist would deny him.
Forced to work for Madame Tussaud inside the opulent walls that surround Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Celie is shocked to find that the very people she imagined to be monsters actually treat her with kindness. But the thunder of revolution still rolls outside the gates, and Celie is torn between the cause of the poor and the safety of the rich. When the moment of truth arrives, will she turn on Madame Tussaud or betray the boy she loves?
From the hidden garrets of the starving poor to the jeweled halls of Versailles, Madame Tussaud's Apprentice is a sweeping story of danger, intrigue, and young love, set against one of the most dramatic moments in history.
Celie is no Eliza Dolittle, but a girl who now feels trapped by her debt to Madame Tussaud. She constantly worries for Algernon and his survival while she is seemingly living the high life according to her companion. I liked Celie's character, she was determined but also learnt from her mistakes and her indecisiveness only stemmed from her feelings for Algernon. He on the other hand was nothing more than a controlling presence that used guilt to keep Celie loyal. I loathed him. He isn't the villain, but I found no redeeming qualities within his character. Algernon is manipulative and only truly cared about his own interests.
At the heart of Madame Tussaud's Apprentice is the French Revolution, where the ruling monarchy was overthrown in favour of a republic. Lasting ten long and brutal years, Kathleen Benner Duble vividly describes the Revolution for the younger audience. But it does feature brutality and the execution of the royal family, beheadings and the gruesome task of creating wax models from the vigilante murders of officials and those deemed against the rebellion. Just a gentle warning for those who are sensitive to violence.
I loved Manon Tussaud. She was stern but incredibly patient and despite how abrasive Celie could be. She came to love the young orphan as her own child. I would have loved to have seen more interaction with the wax museum itself as it was such a big part of Manon's life.
'Words are weapons Celie,' Manon says, 'as are symbols. Never forget that. The power of change can come not just by force, but by speech or a peaceful marching crowd.'
Madame Tussaud's Apprentice was a fantastic read that will appeal to both young adult historical readers and those with a pendence towards the French revolution. Wonderfully written, it was a vivid tale depicting the Reign of Terror. Passionate, brutal and engaging. I loved it.
The Final Verdict
Kelly is currently craving bacon and cheese loaded fries. Actually, she can't stop thinking about them. Mmm, bacon face cheese pants.
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Cassandra Wright is a Timewalker – a teenager with a genetic mutation that allows her to manipulate the flow of time. But her inexplicable powers have made her a target for Adjusters – monstrous assassins from a parallel universe.
Saved from almost certain death, Cassie is pulled into a secret agency sworn to defend our timeline against these threats: the Bureau of Temporal Integrity, Monitoring, and Execution. Cassie’s life soon becomes entwined with Shaun Briars – a reckless Timewalker with an alluring smile and dark suspicions about the Bureau itself.
When Cassie and Shaun cross into the parallel universe, they discover a world in the grips of nuclear winter, with a new war threatening to spill over into our universe. With time running out, they must learn the true history of Timewalkers, confront the unforgivable crimes of their future selves, and defy their own fate to save two worlds.Join the Conversation: #TheBureauOfTime
I am so proud of Brett for his accomplishment in publishing The Bureau of Time! The synopsis alone has me ready to dive right on in. Fortunately we all don't have to wait for what I can only assume will be a phenomenal story with kick-ass characters!
You can find The Bureau of Time in any of the following: American, Australian, British, and Canadian stores, or your own localized store. It’ll soon be coming to iBookstore, Kobo, and other major digital reading platforms – so keep checking your local store, or #TheBureauOfTime on Twitter to stay up-to-date!
Don't forget to join the conversation with the official hashtag!
Kynndra is currently reading Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout and trying to figure out if this is what a cover reveal should look like.
Contains spoilers for Messenger of Fear. See my book one review here.
Written by Michael Grant
Paranormal, Horror, Supernatural
Published October 1st 2015
Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont
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Mara has already witnessed more evil as the Messenger’s apprentice than most people do in their lifetime, but the games continue.
The Messenger leads Mara to the funeral of a Muslim boy named Aimal, who died standing up for his people, and then to an abandoned store, where they discover Graciella, a girl battling addiction. The all knowing Messenger recognizes that they are victims of heinous crimes. Mara and Messenger will find the wicked, those who act out of selfishness and greed, and others who become violent because of prejudice and hate.
But Mara and Messenger pay a price too. For every person who is offered justice, they will wear a tattoo that symbolizes the heart of the crime. And as Mara delves deeper into her harsh reality, she is surprised to realize that part of her is drawn to the sometimes compassionate Messenger. In spite of all the terror she and Messenger inflict, Mara will discover that caring in this world is the hardest part of all.
Ending on a bittersweet note, I can't fathom what Michael Grant has in store for the finale. The Messenger of Fear series, although entertaining, also poses questions to readers such as morality, justice and paying for your crimes. How we judge others, even fictional characters, as seen through the eyes of someone else.
An emotional installment to the series, The Tattooed Heart is engaging, highly charged and sure to leave readers feeling emotionally exhausted. I enjoyed the inclusion of more diverse characters who Mara and The Messenger are seeking justice for, as I felt more invested in their plight than that of our protagonist at times. Similar to Michael Grant's Gone series, the writing is sharp, restrained and isn't bloated by lyrical prose. Looking forward to the finale and seeing the magic Michael Grant can create for our young heroine. Because bloody hell, she's going to need it.
The Final Verdict
Kelly is a part time crime fighter, a dairy connoisseur and possibly the best dancer the world has ever seen.
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Written by Ali Shaw
Romance, Magical Realism, Adult
Published January 4th 2012 (org. 2009) by Picador
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Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around the icy bog land, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts, a main lander who has visited the islands only once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.
Midas Crook is a young loner who has lived on the islands his entire life. When he meets Ida, something about her sad, defiant spirit pierces his emotional defenses. As Midas helps Ida come to terms with her affliction, she gradually unpicks the knots of his heart. Love must be paid in precious hours and, as the glass encroaches, time is slipping away fast. Will they find a way to stave off the spread of the glass?
On a wintery island far from the real world is a young girl. Her name is Ida, and she is running out of time. Every day that passes, glass slowly inches up her body. She only has so long to find a cure for the mystical disease she has contracted. However, her glass feet make getting around difficult which slows her search. Ida's story is wreathed in mystery and wonder. The search for a cure takes her back to St. Hauda's Land. When she meets a lone stranger in the woods, she is captivated.
This lone man is none other than Midas Crook. Midas has been shrouded in misery and bad luck ever since he was a child. Now in his twenties, he leads a solitary life, avoiding most contact with other people. He eats and breathes photography, it is his passion. So when he stumbles on an odd, shadowy girl with peculiarly large boots he is drawn to her like a moth to a flame. At first he only wishes to capture her unique image, until he learns about her glass feet. Midas is her only hope in finding the cure, and in a way, Ida is the only cure for Midas.
This book is weird. One of the weirdest that I have read. But I like weird. I search for weird. I found weird. I'll be honest, I chose to read this book because I wanted a standalone, and because I fell in love with the cover. It's probably one of my favorite covers, I love the beauty of it. I have issues processing how I really feel about this book because it's one that just kind of leaves you utterly bewildered. The magical realism was done is such a way that had me believing that the creatures and the glass feet could be real. That on some far and distant island there could very well be a herd of miniscule cattle with moth wings, or a rare and wondrous creature that could turn whatever she looked at white. It was spectacular to be able to feel that.
I'm used to reading YA fiction, so when I took a chance with Adult fiction I knew it would be a bit more stuffy than what I'm used to. And it was a bit stuffy. The topics the book dealt with included suicide, broken hearts, love and being lost. I could appreciate the story because I knew it wasn't some fluffy fantasy. It had fantasy/magical aspects to it, sure but it wasn't coated in sugar. I think the best way I can describe this book is that it was raw. It delves into the crooks and crannies of human nature without shame.
"It was just her and Midas in here, tucked away from the world. Here she could turn quietly into glass, with only love to distract her."
Ali Shaw writes incredibly well. His words are wondrous and awful where they need to be. I did find that some of the cussing used jarred the beauty of some scenes; however, it was easily forgiven. Sometimes the writing was very complex, and it took a lot of brain power to translate some bits (mostly because I read at night and slosh through tiredly, oops) but overall I adored every second of his writing. Especially when he would describe the winged cattle, I like those little guys.
What really bothered me about this book was the way the POV's lined up. One minute it would be the present in Midas POV, the next it would be Ida's past, then her in the present, then Midas in the present. Then it went on to a character I don't think was very relevant to the story (some odd man who was lowkey obsessed with Ida's mom). It took my out of the moment and I found myself slowly enjoying the book less and less. If the POV's would have been constructed in a better manner, I may have enjoyed it more. Plus, I didn't really fancy the characters - they were bland and unlikeable, maybe that was the point. I just didn't like them which makes any story hard for me to like at that point.
At the end of the day it felt like plot vomit, and as if I were reading the seizuring memories of multiple people. Also, the ending was extremely abrupt - there was no coaxing or coddling. Just wing, wham and bam. Some may think differently, I may just be used to my YA ways, but I was left feeling hollow and unsatisfied. That's not to say I wont read another work from this author, but The Girl with Glass Feet just wasn't a book for me and that's okay.
The fairytale feel to it was super enjoyable, and the budding romance between Midas and Ida was nice too. But in all honestly, I expected a lot more from this book when I read the synopsis. Maybe I'm just not used to adult fiction, but I found myself almost lulled to sleep while reading. I adored the creatures - that bit was delightfully weird and imaginative. The plot was intriguing and the writing was filled with purple prose. But if you're like me and are more drawn to fast paced and lively plots then this one surely wouldn't be for you. Overall I enjoyed the world of St. Hauda's Land, but not the characters who lived on land or what happened to them which didn't make for an entirely great read.
Kynndra is currently reading Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout and wadding through life like a good Canadian turtle.
Science Fiction, Romance
Published December 1st 2015
Thank you to Allen & Unwin
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A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck, now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.
Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen year old computer hacker, a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.
Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.
When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.
Gideon is not only a hacker but a notorious keyboard warrior, keeping his online identity a mystery. Sofia wants more than to bring down the LaRoux empire and neither Sofia or Gideon can trust one another, keeping their own secrets of lies and deception. As the storyline progresses, the reader is reintroduced to the characters of previous installments, Lilac, Tarver, Jubilee and Flynn. It becomes apparent that LaRoux is on the verge of world domination and the team of unlikely heroes must find a way to coincide and save humanity.
Although I enjoyed their intense attraction, I felt Sofia and Gideon were more engaging as individuals and seemed to lose their identity once the romantic aspects of their partnership were introduced. Neither felt as developed as previous characters in the series. It isn't until the latter half of Their Fractured Light where the intensity increases tenfold. LaRoux Industries and the Whispers that were introduced in These Broken Stars are being used as a weapon against those on Corinth, before introducing the technology that ensures compliance to the rest of civilisation.
Suffice to say, the finale crescendo is absolutely epic. I gasped, laughed inappropriately, swooned, and felt the gauntlet of emotions before settling on utter contentment. Like previous installments, the storyline was intricate and beautifully paced. The world building is immaculate and vividly imagined, placing the reader among the stars with our young group of heroes. Even told in dual points of view, the chapters are seamless and show what remarkable authors both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner truly are. Not many authors could create such a wildly imagined and beautiful series, that is also relatable through it's utterly charming and ragtag characters. The partnership they've formed is a forced to be reckoned with.
An epic finale to what has been not only a beautifully written, but incredibly engaging and lovingly created series. Although I would have liked to have seen deeper character development of both Sofia and Gideon, I loved it regardless. The Starbound trilogy is without a doubt, one of, if not the best young adult science fiction series to date.
The Final Verdict
Clair's world has been destroyed, again. The only remaining hope of saving her friends is for her and Q to enter the Yard, a digital world of Ant Wallace's creation. The rules there are the same as those of the real world. Water is real, fire is real, death is real. It all looks exactly the same as the world she used to know. But in the Yard there are two Clair Hills, and their very existence causes cracks that steadily widen.Getting inside is the easy part. Once there, Clair has to earn the trust of her friends, including the girl who started it all, her best friend, Libby. But they don't know what's happened to the real world, and the other Clair is headstrong, impulsive, suspicious - just like Clair herself used to be. And that makes her dangerous.As Clair struggles to find Jesse and make peace with herself, a surprising new ally emerges from the ashes of the world. Together they fight their way through the digital and political minefield in the hope of saving the world once and for all. This time Clair has to get it right or lose everything.
To save the world, Clair must first gain the trust of those around her including her friends and members of the anti technology rebel group WHOLE. Her only companion is the artificial intelligence in Q, a girl who can infiltrate The Yard network. A series of glitches has not only left Q temporarily incapacitated but Clair seeing data ghosts. With her reality distorted, the fate of the world beyond the digital realm rests upon Clair's shoulders but will she sacrifice herself so that others can live?
The Twinmaker series has been an incredibly unique world, lovingly created to keep readers on their toes and Fall is a worthy finale. But not without it's issues. Clair is back and out of favour with those around her, with most not able to trust the girl who destroyed the world. Although lost, she's determined to make a difference and leave behind a legacy so society can rebuild. The only respite lives with a virtual world simply known as The Yard, created by Wallace where he has not only manufactured a new reality, but has brought those who have passed back to life by creating Dupes, scans from a simpler time when society was naive. Friends and foes have been regenerated and most in the form of data ghosts, whispers that inundate Clair with warnings of a world lost. Not only does Clair appear to be destabilised, but those around her can no longer trust her. And with good reason.
This is where the storyline becomes far more intricate than I was able to fully comprehend. Clair has a Dupe, a copy of herself taken from scans shortly after the height of Improvement popularity and referred to as Clair One. Clair One is the more cynical, agitated and untrusting of the two. She is the version of Clair before the world was destroyed. But apart from Q and Clair's only ally in Peacekeeper Kari, her fellow characters seemed to prefer the company of Clair One, which begun to confuse me as to who the most original Clair was. Then enter Clair Three.
Three Clair's were two Clair's too many. It created confusion and seemingly slowed down what would usually be a fast paced and adventurous science fiction storyline, as readers discovered in both books one and two in the series. It felt much more masculine in nature than former series installments, which were softened by the romance between Clair and Jesse and while I did enjoy it for the most part, it did leave me frustrated and confused.
A worthy, although confusing finale to what has been an unique series driven by action and character development. Although I enjoyed it thoroughly for the most part, the confusion within the storyline left me slightly disappointed.
The final verdict
Contains spoilers for Air Awakens. See my review here.
Air Awakens: Book Two
Written by Elise Kova
Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Published November 19th 2015 by Silver Wing Press
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Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?
Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?
Vhalla Yarl is a rare sorcerer. She is the only one of her kind. She is a Windwalker. Vhalla's powers make her an asset to the Empire, so when she is charged for previous crimes - she is punished by being chained to the military. The once library apprentice knows nothing of warfare, but she is given no choice in the matter. She is to leave for war soon after her trial for the Night of Wind and Fire.
But she is not alone. Along the way she will find aid in friends she didn't know she had and from the Crown Prince himself. The trek across country is wrought with danger - enemies are not partial to the idea of the Solaris Empire having a Windwalker in their midst. They will do anything to stop Vhalla from reaching the war. She must do everything in her power to learn how to stay alive, even if it means facing the demons that plague her nightmares.
While it would be easy to sit here and gush about just Vhalla and Aldrik - I will not do that, for the book and series is far more than the romance. I want to do this book justice in reviewing it, for the Air Awakens series is self published and requires so much love from its readers. I want everyone to know about this absurd, small and beautifully tragic series. I thought I had my absolute favorite book of 2015 pegged down, but after reading both books in quick succession, I can claim without a doubt that the Air Awakens series has stolen that spot. Fire Falling in particular was astounding.
Elise Kova is a magical woman herself. I think it takes a certain extraordinary person to be able to erect such a touching and whimsical tale. Her writing is simple, yet so alluring that the pages are just that - pages. You don't find yourself looking at the page numbers as you read. If anything, I wept internally like a babe when I discovered I was nearly done with the book. You know how you try your best to savor your favorite food but end up gobbling it down? That was me with this book. I did my best to take it slow, knowing quite well it would leave me with separation anxiety when I was done with it. But, the glutton part of me just read, and read until there was nothing left.
Now I must wallow away in my self pity for 11 weeks until the release of Earth's End which comes out on February 11th, 2016. Just short of Valentine's Day (PS: My Valentine's Day wish would be if you all picked up this series, it's better than chocolates and flowers I promise). I swear it's so good that I WILL vow to re-read this miraculous series one day, and I never re-read. It's so good that if I wasn't a eighteen year old hobo I would, without hesitation, purchase the $30.00 hardcopy. But alas, I must settle for the $3.00 ebook until I have a job and money. No guys seriously, $3 is less than what you pay for a coffee okay - it's cheap as dirt and worth far more if you ask me.
This series is INTENSE. There is never a dull moment when it comes to Vhalla. She's either practising her bad ass magic, or some fiend is trying to kill her. I would be casually lounging on my bed and the next moment I'd be sitting up with a vice like grip on my poor phone as I delved through the plots twists and turns. By the end of it I felt as if I had been caught up in one of Vhalla's wind storms (which if you didn't know shred people to death basically). No joke, me right now:
The romance was so well done. It began as a slow burn that became a raging inferno. WHY DON'T MEN LIKE ALDRIK ACTUALLY EXIST?! Please note I said MAN because whoof, Aldrik is a chivalrous, snarky, broken and strange man who I need in my life. He's my ultimate book boyfriend, everyone else before he can't possibly compete. Sorry loves, but there's no way. He's every YA boyfriend balled up into one to create the ultimate man.
The characters are honesty what make the story so great. Vhalla is a strong female character - but she has her weaknesses. She can be broken. Aldrik, the Fire Lord can be broken. Nobody here is safe. They are completely HUMAN. They are fleshed out in a way that makes you feel everything that courses between them. Every pain, every rejoice of happiness is like your own. Larel and Fritz, Daniel and Craig; while they are secondary characters they have their own voices which add an extra layer to the series. I think what I love best with how Elise writes is that everything has a purpose. There are no senseless bits - you know she's lining up the dominoes, you just have to wait until one is pushed over in order for the rest to fall down.
Read this series. If you ever listen to anything I say, I implore to you that these books are well worth purchasing and reading. The first was a diamond in the rough, but Fire Falling was a earth shattering experience. I only regret not reading these sooner. Read it for the magic, the fantasy, the friendship, the romance. Read it even if you think it's not your thing. Take it from someone who used to hate fantasy, this book, in my opinion can be anyones books. It has everything a book needs in order to be brilliant and lovely. The cliffhanger is a kick in the feels, but it so worth the pain.
Kynndra is currently reading A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin and wallowing over the ending of Fire Falling because it tore her heart to shreds.
Josephine Montfort is from one of New York's oldest, most respected, and wealthiest families. Like most well off girls of the era her future looks set, after a finishing school education, she will be favourably married off to a handsome wealthy gentleman. But Jo wants a more meaningful and exciting life, she wants to be an investigative journalist like her heroine Nellie Bly.But when Jo's father dies after an alleged accident, she begins to investigate his death with the help of a young reporter, Eddie Gallagher. It quickly becomes clear he was murdered, and in their race against time to discover the culprit and his motive, Jo and Eddie find themselves not only battling dark characters of the violent and gritty streets of New York, but also their growing feelings for each other.
Jo finds herself at her family owned newspaper, and while eavesdropping on a jovial conversation between reporters, it's there that she meets Eddie. Eddie is a reporter who craves action, no longer content to report on society's elite so when Jo asks for his help in finding out who played a part in her father's murder, Eddie hesitantly agrees. Trying to keep the young heiress in line is proving to be a task far more difficult than Eddie expected, Jo isn't the shy, meek girl he had expected and isn't afraid to ask the tough questions. Whoever killed her father will stop at nothing from keeping Jo and Eddie from discovering the truth, including putting both their lives in danger.
Eddie is a knockabout larrikin. He's a reporter who wants to investigate real stories, not just the society pages he's forced to write. He's never met anyone like Jo, determined as she is beautiful and not at all like the well polished girl from the society pages. As the two follow the leads to find her father's killer, Jo and Eddie form a tense and tentative friendship. Their attraction is undeniable, but Jo is from a wealthy family who would never accept a lowly writer as her companion, especially not now she's betrothed to one of New York's most eligible bachelors. The forbidden romance was intense, seeing the bond forming between Jo and Eddie was so incredibly lovely as Eddie struggled to keep her safe. In an era where women of substance are well bred and demure, Jo refuses to conform. I adored her character as an individual and within her budding relationship with Eddie. She doesn't lose perspective or is willing to play the damsel in distress, which is often the issue I find with young adult historical fiction.
The only issue I found was that the big reveal was predictable. But then again, when it comes to mysteries, I'm suspicious of most characters. I would have loved to have seen this turn into a series. With Jo's conclusion, readers could follow her story beyond the final page and I for one would buy the shit outta that.
These Shallow Graves is nothing short of lovely. Telling the story of an oppressed girl in an era where women are treated as breakable, demure and incompetent of independent thought. Josephine's dry sarcasm and her ability to discover a world so far removed from her own was incredibly charming. An intense and slow burning romance, mystery and intrigue, These Shallow Graves is a phenomenal read from a fresh voice in young adult historical fiction.
The final Verdict
Kelly would one day like to play an extra on The Walking Dead and is currently practicing her zombie moaning.
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As 2015 winds down, as does many bloggers motivation to continue. It's been a long year, a lot of books, and a lot of post writing. Not to mention our daily lives go on around us blogging people. A lot of us (myself included) find it hard to juggle things in our real lives such as school, work, relationships, etc while also saving enough momentum to WANT to blog. I've battled this pessimistic voice that nags me here and then: Kynndra, what is the point of this? Why do you blog? Is there a reason why you use all your free time doing this? What does it even do for you? And ultimately, are you wasting your time?
Whenever that little voice comes around I have to take myself back to the start and ask myself:
What does blogging mean to me?
I began this little journey for a reason, I just have to remember it. It usually takes a little while to kick the negatives away and think about what made me fall in love with blogging but eventually I get there. I started blogging because I wanted communication with those who share the same interests as myself. I started blogging because I love books. I started book blogging because I wanted to be that little nudge that pushes someone to read something wonderful. But along the way (in my short year of being a blogger), I learned that blogging means so much more to me than I ever thought possible when I began.
While blogging has its ups and downs, for the most part I take so much joy in it. I use my free time to blog because I want to - and I really think that's the key. If you have to force yourself, then you've lost your original purpose. Without purpose there's no happiness in doing something. Relax, and take yourself back to the start when you were a fledgling blogger, you know what I'm talking about. The moment you had that exciting little spark of an idea to create your blog or to become a co-blogger. In the meantime, I took to the blogger streets to ask some of my fellow friends what blogging means to them. Here's what they had to say:
"I blog to get my voice out there. With my blog and the associated Twitter account, I've met literally hundreds of fellow writers and bloggers, many of whom are now excellent friends - and even beta readers!
I don't spend as much time blogging as I'd like to, but my posts are as much about entertaining my readers, as improving my own ability as a writer. Whenever I review a book, or write an opinion piece, I'm learning more about what I and my community likes to see in fiction, which helps my writing craft.My blog is one of the main representations of myself online, and lets me share my opinions, thoughts, and love of books with people around the world. To me, blogging is my way of connecting and sharing one of the most aspects of myself with the world, and forming those connections is the really rewarding part of blogging!"
"I blog because of the community! I think if you didn't care for the other bloggers you meet- you wouldn't last long in book blogging, as it's an incredibly time consuming yet has very little financial payout. I love connecting with other people who are passionate about the books I read- as I can't find them in real life! I love the friendships I've made and the way book blogging has changed the way I think for the better. Whether it's regarding diversity or representation or just being more critical in general."
"Blogging means a LOT to me, because it's my number one way to express my booknerdness. (Which is totally a word.) I'm immensely passionate about books but I have no one in my life to discuss them with. THE HORROR. Hello internet = endless opportunities for fangirling!! No one gives you twitchy looks for talking 100% about books! HUZZAH. Blogging means a creative outlet for me, it means bookish friends, and it also means I can raise an army of bookworms to stand behind me as I take the universe. I see no downsides."
I always gain inspiration from others when I hear their stories, and I think it always helps to remember why you started something in the first place. That's why I really wanted to make this discussion post, so that it may re-light that little spark you once had when you were a fledgling blogger, or even make it burn brighter if it has never wavered.
I love this community to bits, and I wouldn't take back my decision of blogging for the world (okay that's a lie, if I had to choose, I might just have to save the world *sigh*). I LOVE YOU ALL, EVEN IF I HAVEN'T MET YOU ♡ So what does blogging mean to my little ole' self? Blogging to me means communication, exploration - and most importantly, friendship. What began as something small has evolved over time into a passion of mine that I will never take for granted. Blogging has been a much needed escape I wish I had began earlier on, but the present in better than never.
Now that I've given you some time to sift through your thoughts I want to pass it on to you:
Why did you start blogging? Do you sometimes get the pessimistic voice telling you it's a waste of time? What have you gained from blogging? What does blogging mean to you?
Contains spoilers for The Jewel. See my review here.
Written by Amy Ewing
Dystopian, Romance, Magic
Published October 1st 2015
Thank you to Walker Books Australia
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Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised, a mysterious house in the Farm.But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.
The Lone City series may be the last of the traditional young adult series with instant love, a revolution and fighting against an oppressive regime... And I loved every moment. It's almost a guilty pleasure much in the same way readers enjoyed The Selection, and The White Rose is a fantastic installment in the series. Once again we follow the storyline of Violet on her journey as Surrogate for the Duchess of The Lake, for her Augury ability and her unusual eye colour. She's been separated from her best friend in Raven, who is being tortured for the sake of science and barely coherent. It isn't until Violet and the royal consort in Ash are caught in each others embrace, when they realise how dangerous the situation has become. To survive, they must escape and along with a disillusioned Raven, their only source of safety may be the illusive Farm.
Over the course of The White Rose, the focus moves away from the romance of book one with the storyline following the revelations of The Jewel and Violet, Ash and Raven's escape from the clutches of the royals. The instant love has been replaced with a much more comfortable companionship, as Violet's main focus is to reach the Farm and ensure Raven's safety. I really enjoyed Violet's character so much more in this installment. She didn't hesitate to take charge, putting the lives of both Raven and Ash before her own. By far my favourite character is Garnet. His character undergoes the most development and readers will feel a sense of who he is beyond the wild reputation for partying and bedding women. We see what may be the beginning of a tentative friendship or relationship between two unlikely characters which I hope is explored further.
Although I did really enjoy The White Rose, I don't think an entire book dedicated to their escape to the Farm was necessary. If not for leaving readers on tenterhooks once again and exploring the Augury abilities, this series probably could have been shortened into a duology. Nevertheless, The White Rose sets the scene for an incredible finale, engaging characters, a reliable storyline and what could be the last of the traditional young adult dystopian series.
The final verdict
Kelly is an Aussie who's love of chocolate milk is only surpassed by her love for Alice in Wonderland. She is currently on a semi hiatus.
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