Tag Archives: 4 stars

ARC Review: Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards

  • TitlePhoenix (Black City #2)
  • AuthorElizabeth Richards
  • SourceReview Copy
  • No. of Pages368
  • PublishedJune 04, 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed.

The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.

Black City impressed me a LOT. The intriguing and unique premise about Darklings and humans mixed in with a dystopian feel to it drew me in from page one. Elizabeth Richards creatively painted a world where nothing is impossible, and the supposed ‘monsters’ are the heroes. Admittedly, Phoenix was a little harder for me to get into, especially when Ash proposed rather abruptly. I felt like he was thinking too rashly and I believe it should have taken more time and bad experiences for this to happen. However, I did take into consideration the idea of ‘Blood Mates’ and though it still didn’t convince me that this was a good decision, the idea felt better once I realized how committed Darklings were to each other (or in this case, a human and a twin-blood) when this happened.

Other than that, though, Phoenix was a very good book. The action amped up more in this sequel, and I enjoyed reading page after page of battles since this proved to be the turning point of the rebellion and showed that the plot was heating up. This time, new alliances have been formed with Elijah, the Bastet boy Natalie saved in Black City. Of course, this unlikely happening brings out a new jealousy, a very confused Natalie, and a indebted Bastet, trying to hide his feelings for a certain blonde girl.

Ash developed a lot as a character in Phoenix, and the heroic action he did by voting against Rose’s Law despite the threat of Natalie getting hurt cut deep into my heart. I valued his decision to put thousands of people and Darklings ahead of his Blood Mate since this proves that Ash does have a good head on his shoulders and is a worthy face for the rebellion. Natalie, on the other hand, grew out of her shell more, as she takes more risks and tries to help in any way she can. Now, her main focus is saving her loved ones and helping the rebellion triumph. Her acts of bravery, both for the rebellion and for Ash, shows that beneath that vulnerable side of her is a girl with fire in her soul.

Furthermore, Elizabeth does not disappoint as the twists in the plot return again in Phoenix. The hints came a little stronger this time, but when it was revealed, I was still very, very surprised. I now deem Elizabeth Richards as the Queen of Twists because every little detail she thinks of is somehow a hint to the revelation to come. Her twists also tie up very nicely with the plot, and I loved the tension in the latter half of the book that led to the characters finding out about the new plot line as well.

Overall, Phoneix is an action-packed novel filled with maniac villains, (I’m looking at you, Purian Rose!) revelations, character development, a mind-blowing plot, and pages and pages of creativity that will leave you wanting for more. Will Natalie and Ash be able to sacrifice everything they value for a fight weighed against them?

 

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

  • TitlePushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
  • AuthorKatie McGarry
  • SourceBorrowed
  • No. of Pages392
  • PublishedJuly 31, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Long were the days when I read no-brainer fluffy contemporary novels that  centered upon the seeming impossible dilemma of choosing between two guys. Now, I prefer novels which still contain romance, but have depth, mystery and something new that you learn at the end of the day. Pushing the Limits is exactly that.

Echo is the protagonist—a character that I took an immediate liking too. From her name to her personality, it was impossible not too. Her life wasn’t bad, but it was not exactly fabulous or perfect either. Echo’s parents got divorced when she was younger, which resulted to going through a lot of situations alone which usually called for a mother. What made it worse was that her father fell in love with Echo’s nanny and married her later on, which seemed to Echo that their relationship was the reason for the divorce.

But there’s a darker twist to this story, because Echo has a secret. Her arms are covered with scars—from when her mother lost it and attacked her. What’s worse is that Echo can’t remember how and why, and her family refuses to explain out of fear that her mind couldn’t handle it. This is the reason why she was sent therapy to recover her memories, and that was how she got to know Noah, who was sent to the session as well.

I have to admit that my first impression of Noah was: Jerk. I was rather irritated on how he viewed and treated Echo in the first couple of chapters without even trying to get to know her. However, one must remember that there is always another side to every story, and Noah’s is no different.

Noah was moved from foster home to foster home after his parents’ deaths. He was also forbidden to see his little brothers after he allegedly attacked one of his foster fathers. On top of that, Noah’s trying to get custody over them once he turns eighteen, but its nearly hopeless to do so when he is up against foster parents with a plan to adopt his brothers and have tons of money. I could understand why he was so bitter all of the time—I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in a situation like that.

Noah was a boy that Echo would never have associated with, and this is all just from a glimspe of his profile. He was the bad boy who did drugs and hung out with the worst influences. Beth, Noah’s best friend on the other hand, blatantly insisted that Echo was nothing but a popular girl who would shatter his heart into pieces.

Despite their differences, Echo and Noah proved to be good for each other. Reading about them helping each other overcome his or her obstacles made the story interesting and touching at the same time.

I think the most misunderstood character in this story is Echo’s father. He always tries to do the right thing, and what he thinks is going to be best for Echo. Echo’s father has made some selfish choices in the past, but he really tries hard to make up for it at the end, which made him my favorite character.

The plot was unpredictable, which of course, made the story all the more amazing! There were twists and turns everywhere; shocking revalations felt like a douse of ice-cold water. At some point I even thought that it was going to be a doomed ending, when it turned out to be the opposite. The romance slowly developed, making me feel more and more giddy as I flipped the pages.

To sum it up, Pushing the Limits is a wonderful, endearing and heartwarming read. Katie McGarry truly went beyond the limits (pun intended) of the contemporary genre, producing a one of a kind tale that surely everyone will enjoy.

 

Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera

  • TitleReboot (Reboot #1)
  • AuthorAmy Tintera
  • SourceReview Copy from Publisher
  • No. of Pages352
  • PublishedMay 07, 2013 by Harper Teen
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

Thank you for providing this review copy of Reboot, Harper International!

From the get-go, Reboot introduces an incredibly interesting premise about a breed of somehow ‘resurrected humans’ called Reboots. Reboots are faster, stronger, and ultimately more dangerous than regular humans, which is why they are being contained in a special facility or school, of sorts, to serve the humans’ bidding by being agents on the field. Their assignments vary from capturing criminals, killing humans who disobey the law, or even bringing out a virus-infected human from their community.

What makes Wren Connolly different from all the other Reboots is the fact that she ‘woke up’ after 178 minutes, longer than any other human who died and came back as a Reboot. This means Wren is less human than lower numbers; she has a lesser capability to feel and express emotion, which makes her a valuable asset to the humans. Wren trained newbie Reboots and never questioned her lifestyle. All she knew was that she was safe, fed, and even happy, a life worlds away from her former human life in the slums. But when Callum, a mere 22, comes along, Wren changes. Callum helps her see from a different perspective, he shows her the world in his eyes and unravels the hardened Reboot in Wren to reveal the person with so much humanity, willing to take risks for new opportunities and a new life of freedom for them all.

Wren, as a character, is definitely one of my favorites. She is hardened and cruel almost to the point of inhumanity, but the little slivers of vulnerability I see in her in some scenes make me question if the humans are lying about her. Despite her flawlessness as well, Wren makes mistakes and is imperfect in a way that is real and appeals to readers, seeing as she was scarred, literally, at some point in her life that made her want to start over.

Callum, on the other hand, is a complete softie. Being a 22, the lowest number in the bunch, he thinks and acts differently from other Reboots, especially Wren. However, he was intrigued by her and took a leap of faith in the fact that Wren wasn’t what everyone said she was. I loved how Callum was able to even out Wren’s personality and bring out the vulnerable side of her without taking out her tough exterior in the process. In the same way, Wren was able to influence Callum by making him stronger though still leaving his sympathetic and humane side.

Furthermore, the plot is a good one. The action was paced perfectly, and I loved the little nuances that made everything seem so real and so alive. The only problem I had was how quickly Wren started changing, despite the fact that she was perfectly content in her life as a Reboot for five years. I would have liked a bigger turning point to influence her decision though I can also see the reasons she questioned her lifestyle deep within her.

Overall, Reboot by Amy Tintera is a completely satisfying read. She introduces a new and refreshing kind of dystopian story, with the clever idea of ‘Reboots.’ With this idea, she blends in her careful and precise writing to create a live story in our minds that will leave us questioning which side is right and which side will triumph at the end of the day.

Side Note: (This quote totally made me laugh)

“Are you sure?” He asked.

“Yes. A teacher took it, I remember.”

“You look different now.”

“She was so ugly.”

“You weren’t ugly,” he said. “Look at you. You were cute. Not particularly happy, but cute.”

“She was never happy.”

“It’s freaking me out how you keep referring to yourself in the third person.”

ARC Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

  • TitleThe Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test #3)
  • AuthorAimee Carter
  • SourceReceived from Edelweiss
  • No. of Pages384
  • PublishedFebruary 26, 2013 by Harlequin Teen
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.
During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.

Let me start off my review by saying that I really liked the first two installments of the series, and was highly anticipating The Goddess Inheritance’s release since last year. It was a suitable way to end the trilogy, with Aimee Carter successfully tying all loose ends together. I had a great time diving back into the Goddess Test series, seeing that I haven’t picked up a book will Greek mythology integrated into its plot in so long. Though I had forgotten some part of the story already, the first few chapters were able to give a recap of the past events, something that I appreciate especially when there are long gaps between the releases of the books.

So now, the characters! For me, they’ve really changed and matured in their own little ways. At some point, I was extremely touched at the lengths and sacrifices–most especially from Ava–they would go through just to protect the ones they love. I have to be honest, though. I was rather annoyed with Kate almost throughout the whole novel because…well, she basically wallowed around in a puddle of her own self-pity. Kate began the whole insecure cycle of Henry-doesn’t-love me-my-child-is-going-to-die-I’m-gonna-die-the-world’s-gonna-end-and-everyone-thinks-I’m-useless-so-I’m-just-gonna-sit-in-the-corner-and-cry. Over and over again. Granted, that would have been acceptable in the first novel, maybe in the second, but the third?

It frustrated me immensely, but thankfully she was able to come to her senses at the end, which was why I still very much enjoyed Goddess Inheritance. Henry, of course, was as sweet as ever, making me feel giddy throughout the story. Sacrificing himself for Kate, his child, his sometimes ungrateful family… Who wouldn’t like him?

The one thing that I thought was just awesome was the plot. It was filled with all kinds of twists and turns that the reader couldn’t possibly imagine! They were those “WHAT THE—” and “OH MY—” moments followed by the rapid flipping of pages. It constantly had me thinking about what would happen next, or what Kronus was planning to do.

Overall, The Goddess Inheritance deserves a thumbs up! Even though it was slightly lacking in character development, the witty dialogue and the amazing plot certainly made up for it. It was also a great way to finally close the door on series, making the reader crave for more, yet giving a sense of satisfaction at the same time.

ARC Review: Taken by Erin Bowman

  • TitleTaken (Taken #1)
  • AuthorErin Bowman
  • SourceReceived from Edelweiss
  • No. of Pages352
  • PublishedApril 16, 2013 by HarperTeen
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.
They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

If you take Divergent, Under the Never Sky and The Forest of Hands and Teeth and put them together, you produce one fantastic story—which, in this case, is Taken. Of course, it has its own surprises and twists hidden up its sleeve that futher enchanced the story to create an dystopian world that kept me feverently flipping the pages until I reached the last one.

The reason why I came across Taken in the first place was because its story and plot was so different from the ones I have been reading lately, which are usually paranormal reads chocked up with romance. I’m not saying that I dislike that sort of genre, but I need to take a breather. I desperately needed a change. Something fresh. Unique. So when our request to review Taken was accepted by HarperTeen, I dove right into the story.

I would be lying if I said I enjoyed it, because I loved it! I felt that the story had gotten off to a very good start, immediately providing the reader with the most crucial information, which was the Heist. That intruiged me the most, the mysterious process wherein no boy in Claysoot lived only up to his eighteeth birthday, and no more. They just disappeared. See, that is another thing I appreciated with Taken—it got me to think. And what reader doesn’t enjoy that, right? Thus, in terms of plot, it definitely receives a thumbs up from me.

Admittedly, most books that I read are always told in a girl’s point of view. I guess it’s because I’m more comfortable reading from their perspective, and I’ve always been a sucker for protagonist-falls-in-love-with-boy type of novels too. When I began reading in Gray’s point of view though, I have to say that it was really refreshing. At the beginning, I could really feel his grief from losing his brother, how he wanted to make Blaine’s last day as perfect as possible, how he ached to be the person his borther was. Gone was the tough-guy exterior that male characters always seem to have to have. Though there were times wherein I wanted to slap him silly because of how dense he was being, Gray’s character was really well developed, bringing essence to the story.

However, my favorite character by far is Bree. She’s independent, tough, and knows exactly what she’s doing in any scenario. And Bree never complains, and will never hesitate to risk her own life for the sake of others. Because I like Bree, I suppose that it’s rather self-explanatory that I felt rather irked with Emma throughout the story. I mean, come on. It’s so obvious that Bree has feelings for Gray, yet Gray pins after Emma even after she does the worst thing that she could ever do to him.

Men.

There was insta-love from the very start, which is why I ended up giving Taken four stars rather than five. It was a bit unrealistic to me, especially how the dislike between Emma and Gray so quickly evolved to love.

At the end, I would recommend Taken to any hardcore dystopian fan out there looking for a great read. Look no more for the next Hunger Games, or wait in agony for the third book of the Divergent to come out, because I assure you, you will forget about all of those once you delve into the secret societies of Taken and embark on an adventure that will surely take your breath away.

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

  • TitleThe Selection (The Selection #1)
  • AuthorKiera Cass
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages327
  • PublishedApril 24, 2012 by HarperTeen
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
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 a palace and compete for the heart of 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.

The Selection was a refreshing read. It was a good change from the usual paranormal novel that I have my nose buried in. Though it had made use of the princess and prince sort of plot, Kiera Cass added a dystopian twist, which made the story even more captivating.

I took a liking to America Singer—partly because of her cool name, and also because of the kind of girl she was. It didn’t happen immediately, of course. I have to admit that I was rather irked at the beginning of the book, when she automatically disliked Prince Maxon because she wanted to be with Aspen; she did not even give him a chance. But gradually, you can see that America has a golden heart, and is willing to sacrifice anything for her family—even marry someone she barely knew so that they would be elevated to a higher rank in the caste system.

On to Prince Maxon. The best word to describe him is kind. He’s always patient, and fair—to everyone. Not to mention handsome. And let me tell you that I usually don’t like characters like these, especially when it comes to guys. Though I will never know why, I prefer the hot, badass type of boy with a sweet interior. (I’m extremely discriminatory that way, heh. I almost always shoot down nice fictional characters because they’re nice.) But… Maxon is an exception, and in my opinion, a perfect match for America.

The plot, I thought, was just awesome. I couldn’t believe that the author was able to think of something like this, integrating different things into one story. It reminds me of an old fairytale, The Princess and the Pea, wherein girls go through a series of tests to see who is best for the prince. But this is a much cooler version, I have to say.

At the end, I’m glad that I choose to read The Selection. The enchanting and charming tale is truly worth taking your time and reading. And I guarantee that you’d enjoy it thoroughly, just like I did.

Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

  • TitleBlood Red Road (Dust Lands #1)
  • AuthorMoira Young
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages459
  • PublishedJune 07, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

As I begun to read Blood Red Road, I have to admit that I was a bit thrown off by the language used. I was given a heads up before I got the book, but still, it didn’t prepare me for what was inside. However, as I progressed through the novel, I gradually got used to it—it even became comfortable at some point.

The main problem that I had with Blood Red Road was Saba. At the start, I could understand how she felt, and the need to go after her brother. They were siblings, after all, right? It was in the middle of the book when I began to get confused. I mean, how is it that Saba, who has lived in the desert for her whole life, the only people that she knew being her father, twin brother, sister and the occasional traveler, suddenly transform into a ninja? It didn’t really add up, how she managed to win every single fight. In my opinion, perhaps if she lost a fight or two in the cage, it would have helped with her character development, and made it easier for the reader to relate to her and her situation.

Jack was actually able to help the reader get a glimpse of Saba—the real one. His witty personality and humor spiced up the story as well. Jack showed that she wasn’t just this warrior who had a cold heart, and but a girl willing to do anything for her family. But I still want to get to know Saba a little more, her history, how she was able to gain these skills and become the expert fighter that she is today.

But maybe that will come out in Rebel Heart. I still want to read the sequel, because I find the plot very engaging, and it also has a lot of potential. Perhaps then I can decode Saba there, and learn more about her character. However at the end, I decided to give it four stars because I believe that it’s still going to be a great read for anyone looking for a good dystopian novel with a unique plot packed with action, thrill and a dash of romance.

 

Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

  • TitleSweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy #1)
  • AuthorWendy Higgins
  • SourceBorrowed
  • No. of Pages453
  • PublishedMay 01, 2012 by HarperTeen
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

 

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

  • TitleLola and the Boy Next Door
  • AuthorStephanie Perkins
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages338
  • PublishedSeptember 29, 2011 by Dutton Books
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Well, I’ve got to say that Lola and the Boy Next Door is very different from the usual genre that I read—which are paranormal and dystopian. But a good kind of different, definitely. The romance was just right, without overdoing it like some novels do, or being unrealistic.

What I really enjoyed the most from this novel is the fact that Stephanie Perkins managed to make the characters as relatable as possible. They experience the same problems we do everyday—school, boys, gay parents, and most importantly… being a teenager. By far, I really like Lola’s personality above the rest, and how she can handle herself in odd situations. Despite what happens, she isn’t afraid of who she is, and expressed that through costume—from a punk rocker to Marie Antoinette.

Cricket Bell, on the other hand, was not your average boy. He wasn’t the typical, hot popular kid at school who everyone admired. Rather, he was shy, and loved to invent things, just like his ancestor Alexander Graham Bell. His kindness caught my attention immediately, and I admired that in him through the book.

The story is told Lola’s point of view, and characters like Anna and Etinette, from the author’s other best-selling novel, Anna and the French Kiss, appear as well. In my opinion, it made the book even better! The plot was simple, yet intricate at the same time. Lola was under a lot of pressure at the beginning of the novel, when Criket moved back and she began to develop feelings for him. This was all at the same time she was dating her boyfriend Max, who by the way, is a complete douchebag. It was interesting to see how the the story developed on the way, with me silently rooting for Criket all the way.

I think my most favorite part was the very last sentence of the novel. It really made me smile at the end, because it was so sweet, but I could still understand what the character meant by such.

Though it is a bit cliché with the usual boy-likes-girl and girl-likes-boy type of plot, Lola and the Boy Next Door was a very refreshing read, and something that I throughly enjoyed.

 

Review: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

  • TitleWhat's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1)
  • AuthorKat Zhang
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages343
  • PublishedSeptember 18, 2012 by HarperCollins
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
I should not exist. But I do.

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

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

What’s Left of Me was the type of book that leaves you speechless—it certainly wasn’t what I expected.

First of all, the premise of the book is very unique. It’s not the usual overused, clichéd plot that you see in many YA novels today. (Even the best books fall victim to this!) The idea of a hybrid—two souls entwined in a single human body was extremely and deeply interesting. Kat Zhang could go many ways with this plot and if written beautifully, she could astound readers with the depth of the novel and the rawness of her characters in this new, alternate universe.

There were a lot of things I liked about this novel.

Eva was literally, an inner voice in Addie’s body. She was the recessive soul which was the soul which was supposed to ‘fade away’ over time. However, she held on to whatever remnants of control she had left and managed to stay in Addie’s body—able to think and mind-speak, but unable to walk or control their body in any way. To be honest, at the start of the novel, I couldn’t sympathize with Eva. For some reason, I preferred Addie’s voice over hers. But as the story progressed, I started seeing things in her POV, and how frustrating it was to have a body, but not having any control over it.

I especially liked how Kat described the relationship between Eva and Addie. It was realistic—they got into fights, like normal siblings, and they carried a burden together—the secret they had to keep in order to stay normal, to keep both of them alive. The two sisters experienced everything together, but the emotions each of them felt—jealousy, happiness, anger, and sadness, were truly and uniquely their own. Kat managed to make both of them connected, but separated at the same time.

I have two contradicting comments about the plot and world-building, though.

Though I liked Kat’s writing style and how she kept the book going at a slow pace, it was also tiring at the same time, because sometimes it seemed like nothing was moving on. The events sometimes seemed stuck in between chapters. However, this proved to be good in one thing—the relationship between Ryan and Eva. It was slow-paced, unlike the relationships in many YA novels nowadays. One pet peeve of mine is an ‘I love you’ after a few chapters, though if written correctly, could be bonus points for the writer.

The world-building was also quite good, though everything still seems somewhat confusing. The mysteries of the setting, I think, is still yet to be revealed in the next book, so I will be waiting patiently for that.

Hopefully, in the next installment of the Hybrid Chronicles, it will be a little more fast-paced and action-packed, but still retaining the beauty and intricacy of Kat Zhang’s writing.

What’s Left of Me was a refreshing and unique story, with raw, new characters—nothing in the novel was clichéd or overused, and the whole plot was carefully formed with the detailed and precise writing of an extremely talented debut author, Kat Zhang.