Sunday, 22 September 2013

Review: The Chaos of Stars

The Chaos of Stars
By Kiersten White


Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all.

Source: Goodreads
My rating: 4.25/5

My Thoughts:

I'm glad to say that this book has lived up to the hype. Very quick to get into and fairly easy to follow. It was a little weird at first, trying to relate to the daughter of two Egyptian Gods, but Isadora has an interesting way of talking that you can't help but enjoy her company. Isadora's parents are immortal and so she always assumed she was going to live forever too. Imagine her surprise when she realises that she is just another mortal, and she has been decorating her own tomb! She can't forgive her parents for not caring enough that they would make her immortal too, so she goes to live with her mortal brother for a short while. Her rebellious nature, especially the cutting off her hair, doing things deliberately just because her mother would disprove, was definitely something I could relate to!

Isadora has a very man-hating relationship and won't get involved with anyone purely on the basis that nothing lasts forever. Her self-resolve begins to dissolve when she meets Ry...and their friendship changes her perspective in a number of ways. I want to know what this weird connection is between the greeks and the egyption gods....there appears to be a lot else going on!

My family always believes dreams are another way of the universe sending messages or signs, which is similar to what Isadora's family thinks. I really liked the concept, especially how her nightmares shaped the darkness that was actually coming into her life.

This is definitely one of my recommended reads, and I look forward to the sequel.

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

"Did you pray?" she asks.
"For the last time," I say, narrowing my kohl-lined black eyes at her, "I refuse to pray to my own parents. It's ridiculous."

"Don't be so dramatic, Isadora. You can help me with the baby! It'll be good practice for when you have your own in a few years!"
Oh, death, anything but that. There are enough statues of nursing miniature pharaohs everywhere I turn that I vowed long ago never to have kids of my own.

I roll my eyes. "No. It's a joke. Sometimes people tell them to each other."
"Dreams are not a joking matter, Isadora."
"Absolutely. Your brain firing off random images while you sleep is dead serious."
"As long as we are agreed."

"Umm, I've barely even ridden in cars. I don't exactly know how to drive them."
"We can work on that. In the meantime, Deena has a bike she's not using."
"Thanks." I don't know how to ride a bike, either, but that has less potential for killing innocent bystanders.

He waits for a few seconds. "You aren't going to ask me what I'm writing, are you?"
I shrug. "Nope."
"I like that. I like your hair, too. The green is a nice contrast."
"Wanted something different."
"I declare it a success."
I roll my eyes. "My life is complete."

I can't help but notice him, and-oh, idiot gods, I am definitely attracted to him. This is how it starts. This is how I set myself up for pain and tragedy and endings where I want eternities.
I refuse. I refuse it all. I will never attach myself to someone else. I can end everything before it starts and be free and alone and perfectly happy.

"So, I'm not strange anymore?" he asks.
"You're riding in my car, which must mean I'm not a stranger anymore."
"Actually, the more I'm around you, the stranger you get."

"You started a bit late this morning," my mother says.
I whisper Thoth's name, tracing it without looking up at her. My stomach twists guiltily. I slept in five minutes past dawn. "I'm sorry."
"We must always have order in this house. Everything has a time and a purpose. If we maintain order..."
"We never leave chaos an opening to creep in," I finish, and look up at her.

"For the love of these idiot gods, anything but that."

"This song. 'Oh, hey, it's okay that I slept with you and left the next morning without a word, because someday someone will love you.' Seriously?"
He laughs. "I dunno, it has a nice message: we'll all find love eventually."
"That's not the message at all! That's the excuse! He's saying it's okay he used her because someday someone will actually love her, unlike him. Dude deserves to be castrated if you ask me."

Love isn't magic. Just like my family, just like my place in the universe, it's something that I can't keep, can't make last.
I would rather lose Ry before I ever have him.

"Stop it!" I gasp.
"That thing you're doing! With your eyes!"
"Um, opening them? Or blinking? Should I not blink?"
"Just-make them less blue or something."
He laughs, oblivious to my drowning desert. "It's pitch-black out here. You can't see what colour they are."
"But I still know, and they know I know. So just-point them somewhere else."

"...And then I found you, and I didn't fall in love with you."
What the crap? I raise and eyebrow at him, and he grins.
"I didn't fall in love with you. I walked into love with you, with my eyes wide open, choosing to take every step along the way. I do believe in fate and destiny, but I also believe we are only fated to do the things that we'd choose anyway. And I'd choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I'd find you and I'd choose you."

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Review of Gallagher Girls #5

Out of Sight, Out of Time
(Gallagher Girls #5)

By Ally Carter

The last thing Cammie Morgan remembers is leaving the Gallagher Academy to protect her friends and family from the Circle of Cavan-an ancient terrorist organization that has been hunting her for over a year. But when Cammie wakes up in an alpine convent and discovers that months have passed, she must face the fact that her memory is now a black hole. The only traces left of Cammie's summer vacation are the bruises on her body and the dirt under her nails, and all she wants is to go home.

Once she returns to school, however, Cammie realizes that even the Gallagher Academy now holds more questions than answers. Cammie, her friends, and mysterious spy-guy Zach must face their most difficult challenge yet as they travel to the other side of the world, hoping to piece together the clues that Cammie left behind. It's a race against time. The Circle is hot on their trail and willing stop at nothing to prevent Cammie from remembering what she did last summer.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:
This is by far, my favourite in the Gallagher Girls series. It's a lot more sinister, confusing and thrilling than the previous books. Gone are the days when the most important thing for Cammie Morgan was hiding her spy-life from her boyfriend Josh!

The last book ended with Cam realising that she needs to leave the academy and separate herself from all her loved ones to keep them safe as the Circle was after her and anyone protecting her would get hurt in the process. In this book we realise that Cam wakes up in a nunnery in the Alps and has lost memory of everything that happened for the last three months. And that's what the story focusses around; trying to find out where Cammie went, why and whether the Circle found her or not.

We see a lot more of Zach but he's more of the back-up crew than the hero who saves her. Preston Winters makes a re-appearance, as does Agent Townsend. I laughed over his and Abby's arguments the most, in fact I think that was the only humour in this book. Their clashing personalities and competitive natures lightened the atmosphere. So even though there wasn't as much light-heartedness in this book, it was still a excellent read!

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

"Stop looking at me like that," I told them when it finally became too much.
"Like how?" Liz asked.
"Like you didn't think you'd ever see me again," I said.
"Cam we-" Liz started, but Bex cut her off.
"You don't get it, do you?" Her voice was more hiss than whisper. "Until forty-eight hours ago, we didn't."

So I just looked down at my hands and admitted, "No one seems happy I'm back."
"You are back, Cam." Macey went into the bathroom and started to close the door. "Which means for the first time since you left, it's okay for us to be mad at you for leaving."

You might think in these situations the advantage lies with the grown man with the high-powered rifle, and not with the two teenagers in training.
Well, that, of course, depends upon the girls.

I hated that girl, hated her as much as I hated the Circle. Distrusted her more than I distrusted Zach's mom. Enemies are nothing compared to traitors, after all. It's the people you hold closest who have the most power to make you bleed. And that girl...she was as close as anyone could possibly be.

"Maybe they never had her at all. Maybe they sent her back for some reason," the trustee said, running through the options.
"Cammie is no double agent. She wasn't turned," Abby snapped, but the trustee talked on.
"The truth is, we don't know anything. Your daughter ran away, Rachel," the younger trustee said. "I think I speak for everyone when I say we're very interested to know exactly who came back."

"Cammie," Zach said, "are you sure it's your handwriting?"
For a second, the question seemed strange. Zach had been my sorta-boyfriend for a long time, and yet he didn't know what my handwriting looked like. I guess we weren't exactly love-notes-in-the-locker people. We were too busy being terrorists-want-to-kidnap-us people. It's easy to see how one would get in the way of the other.

"I killed a man," I said.
"Yes, you did."
"He was going to stab Bex, so...I killed him."
"And how does that make you feel?"
It was an excellent question-one the Gallagher Academy had never really taught me how to answer. I was tired and confused, guilty and relieved. But most of all, I felt nothing. And nothing, as it turns out, is one of the scariest feelings of all.

I'd been sleeping. I realised that I'd been sleeping and I hadn't dreamed.
"Zach," I said as I lay there. "Where did you go? When you were looking for me?"
I shifted in his arms, looked into his eyes.
"Crazy." His voice was a whisper against my skin. "I went crazy."

Neither of us spoke again for a long time. It was a sound I was used to. When you grow up in a house full of spies, you grow accustomed to silence. Life is classified. There is always so much that goes unsaid.

"You know," I whispered, "some girls might think it's creepy having a boy watch them sleep."
He smirked and pointed to himself. "Spy."

"Oh." I nodded. "Right. So you're a trained Peeping Tom."
"Product of the best peeping academies in the country"
"Well, now I feel much better."

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Review of Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily
By Jodi Lynn Anderson


Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Source: Goodreads

My Rating: 5/5 !!!

My Thoughts:

Tiger Lily played havoc with my emotions. It is very difficult for a book to bring me to tears but this afternoon I felt like I was going to burst into tears on the train from work! The story is told from Tinkerbell's perspective, which is interesting to see because from the animated Peter Pan movie all I ever understood was that Peter and Wendy fall in love, Hook tries to kill them and Tink gets jealous. To be fair, Tink is a jealous fairy but there is a whole other story there... and it's not all about Wendy!
Tiger Lily's character was truly heartbreaking, how she's an outcast for her village, mocked because of her independence and 'boyish' behaviour, betrothed to a cruel villager and how she tries not to fall in love but can't seem to pull herself away from Peter even though she has accepted her fate. Tik Tok is Tiger Lily's adopted father/mother and his Jodi Anderson!
Zed (:
Favourite Quotes:
Let me tell you something straight off. This is a love story, but not like any you've heard of. The boy and the girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't win. In some places, there is something ultimately good about endings. In Neverland, that is not the case.
"I'm not a stranger to your love of lost causes, dear one. But you have to be careful who you meet," he said, stoking a pipe thoughtfully. "You can't unmeet them."
"I'm not myself," she offered, guilty. She softened around Tik Tok, and when she did she was, for those rare moments, girlish.
He smiled. "You can never say that. You're just a piece of yourself right now that you don't like."
From above, the world looks orderly. That is one of the primary benefits of having wings. Being high shapes everything below into peaceful patterns. And even though you know there is chaos below, messiness everywhere, it is reassuring to sometimes think that it all eventually sorts itself out into something that looks elegant.
"Peter I shouldn't keep coming to see you. I'm supposed to..."
Peter shook his head hard, annoyed. "If you have reasons for not coming back, I don't want to know them. I just want you to come back anyway. Ignorance, see?"
"I miss you already," he said.
Tiger Lily wanted to say it back. But she held on to the words greedily, too caught in the habit of keeping herself a secret. And Peter-half sadly, half expectantly-let her go.
"I could never leave," Pine Sap said.
"Why?" she asked.
Pine Sap shrugged, and gestured in the direction of the village. "Because I think people must be the same everywhere. Only these people are my bones."
If there was a true moment that Tiger Lily fell so in love with Peter she could never turn back, it was that night, when he shivered and walked and told her he was warm, and told her he loved her so much. She was fierce, to be sure, but she had a girl's heart, after all. As she walked home that night, she was shaking from the largeness of it. I didn't know why she seemed so sad and happy at the same time. It was like falling from somewhere high up and breaking in half, and only one person having the secret to the puzzle of putting her back together.
Tiger Lily would go to hover at his door, planning to tell him, and then hesitate, unsure how to do so without telling him too many other things. So she waited, and tried to think of what to say. And she wondered when she had become the kind of person who wasn't brave enough to say the truth to him.
I tried to get in their way, but of course they dismissed me. Slightly said I was having "lady's hysterics." One of the twins mentioned something he'd heard about women going crazy twelve times a year.
He turned and met her eyes. "Yes, I'm going."
"But you loved me?" she said simply.
He stared at her for a long time. He looked much older, more serious. "I'm sorry about Tik Tok." There was no twinkle in his eyes. "Maybe I just love some of you. Maybe not enough." Tiger Lily blinked at him, and she didn't understand how anyone could only love a part. Her greedy heart didn't work that way. She turned to go.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Review of Tolomay's World #2

Tolomay's World and The Mountain of Tegi (Tolomay's World #2)
By M.E. Lorde


In this second book of a set of seven, Tolomay Ramey has travelled the world to get where she is… or more precisely, she travelled through time to get to the renewed Earth, fifteen hundred years in the future of our world. Her goal? To lead and keep safe all candidates coming to the replenished Earth.

A brilliant, giving soul ‘as stubborn as gravity’, Tolomay was the first to survive passage into the clean world, where humanity begins anew.

After three years alone, more have arrived. Now that she has fallen in love with Kenter, the arrogant first male to come, how will Tolomay react to Sandra, the female from the pods who lives and breathes for Kenter’s affections?

What happens when others show up with destructive intentions? Will she have the strength to deal with the more than uncomfortable so-called family situation she’s presented with? Can she adapt to a way of thinking she thought died over a thousand years ago? More importantly, does she want to?

None of those concerns or the ones of her own blond hair and blue eyes will compare to the great horror she uncovers at the Mountain of TEGI.

What will she do when her peace of life and those around her are suddenly threatened? Will the war Tarron spoke of come to pass?

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.75/5

My Thoughts:

The story continues from when two females and a male successfully make it through the swim and reach the 'clean world.' Upon seeing Kenter the girl, Sandra, unexpectedly kisses him in her delight. Tolomay watches and feels hurt and betrayed by the open show of affection since she had given her heart to Kenter, and runs away from the house as soon as she can.

Kenter hurries after her but by this time Tolomay has been kidnapped by people who have the same blond hair and blue eyes that she has. Even stranger is that one keeps calling himself Tolomay's brother. She is taken by her kidnappers through an elevator deep into a mountain, home to hundreds of people who have all been told that the 'clean world' is in fact toxic. This underground realm is led by a cruel, heartless King, who happens to be Tolomay's father and he intends his daughter to lead his people in the upcoming war.

I absolutely loved this book and finished reading in just over a day. This book was so different from the first, because here we see that Tolomay has an actual family, and they plan to keep her with them. We get to read about all their bizarre customs and Tolomay's difficulty in trying to win their trust so she can escape. We also discover that Tarron is not her real father, not that this changes how Tolomay feels about him as he did bring her up. I liked how Tolomay's kind and bright nature changed her brother's views about their life, and brought light to them too. The characters all felt so real especially the evil Father (King) because although it is hard to imagine how someone could treat their people with such cruelty, Lorde made it very believable.

The ending was fantastic; I can't wait to read the next book and find out if they manage to find Tarron, and who manages to escape! I do hope David doesn't get left behind, and I want to see how Kenter reacts to Eric..... :S

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

I could not see him, not now. My back settled against a surviving piece of wall near the logs he had stacked just this morn. Not a tear escaped. I refused them their glory. The only thing present of me in this place was the breathing of the air in my lungs and the death of my heart.

"Do you think it I brought her here for the pleasure of your tortures? No brains live in your rotting skull..." (Tolomay's Father to David)

"We have spoken of this before. You are my son, yes, but you know this in that you are not nearly the favourite of my children and are in fact the least, now including, and most especially, your sister."

Throughout the rest of dinner, eyes fell upon Eric and me. I was glad to share the burden and he knew my need to. I found the heart of a friend in this place without a soul.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Review of Talented

Talented (Talented #1)
By Sophie Davis

When Talia Lyons was just a child, her parents were murdered before her eyes. Offered a choice between accepting their fate and exacting revenge, Talia trains to become one of the country’s deadliest assassins in order to kill the man responsible for their deaths: Ian Crane. Luckily, Talia was born with a gift- the ability to read and influence the minds of others. At sixteen, Talia is poised to graduate from the McDonough School for the Talented, where she learned to control her abilities. Now there is only one obstacle standing between her and the retribution she craves... Talia herself.

Her greatest asset may also be her undoing; while a formidable weapon in the field, Talia’s talents prevent her from both shutting off the mental connection she shares with her questionable boyfriend and blocking out the thoughts of a beguiling fellow recruit. But Talia can’t afford to have the feelings and distractions of a normal teenage girl, when her life is far from normal.

She must regain the single-minded determination that has brought her this far, or it may cost Talia her life when she finally faces Crane. And even after being molded in to a weapon of war, she’ll still have to find the strength it takes to pull the trigger.

If James Bond and Sookie Stackhouse had a love child with a yearning for vengeance, her story would be TALENTED: an adventure about powerful teenagers who aren’t afraid to embrace their fears and fight for what they believe in.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:

I was hooked to this book from the first few chapters. Talented is about a group of teenagers who have certain skills or 'talents' that make them the perfect spies for the Agency. Some can morph into animals, visualise the future, mind-read or hack seemingly unbreakable codes. Natalia has the ability to read and manipulate minds, and is one of the most powerful manipulators her school has seen. Tali joined the school for talents to enhance her abilities so she can ultimately track down and kill Ian Crane; the man who ordered the deaths of her parents.

Talent has an unusual story, but what I liked most was the secrets that were slowly uncovered through the book, Tali's struggles on her missions as a Hunter, and the dramas of her love life! Ever since she was a child Tali has only had one real friend and confidante; Donavon. They speak mostly with their minds and Tali feels comfortable knowing that the one person who knows all her secrets and whose secrets she knows is her boyfriend too. She thinks she has the perfect love, until she discovers that he's having an affair with someone else. Tali thought she knew everything about him but soon realises that no one is as they seem.

An excellent read and I'm looking forward to finding more about Tali's adventures; particularly around Donovan and his father's hidden agendas.

*I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review* 

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

The night sky looked as if it were falling, one star at a time. It took several seconds for my mind to process what my eyes were seeing; stars weren't falling out of the night sky, but bombs were. Swallowing over the lump in my throat, I forced the unpleasantness clawing its way to my mouth back down. The people who panic in a crisis are the people who die, I reminded myself.

What do I believe? Some days, I feel as though I am cursed; cursed with an affliction that cannot be healed; cursed to explore the mundane minds of those surrounding me; cursed to know what people honestly think about me; cursed to be burdened with other people's darkest secrets. Other days, I believe that I won the genetic lottery because, after all, who wants to be ordinary?

I loved having a real friend in Donavon, and Mac and Gretchen were going out of their way to make me feel like part of the family, but they weren't my family. They would never be my family. I forced myself to repeat the name of the man who I'd learned ordered the death of my family, over and over; Ian Crane. Then, I would promise myself that one day, I would return the favour.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Quote-tastic #6

Here is my sixth addition to the weekly meme being hosted by Anna at Herding Cats & Burning Soup.

If you want to join me, please click on the link above. Leave me a link in your comment and I will check out your quotes (:

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.”  

“Life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it.”
“I'm not a bit changed--not really. I'm only just pruned down and branched out. The real ME--back here--is just the same.”  

(L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)

I'm afraid I have cheated again by adding 3 quotes rather than one...but in my defence the quotes were very short :P