Saturday, 27 September 2014

Review of Outlander

(Outlander #1)

By Diana Gabaldon


The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

Source: Goodreads

My Rating: A Huge 5/5 

My Thoughts:

Most television series or movies that are based on books stray a fair amount from the events in the book itself. For example, I recently read the 100 book and found it to be rather different to the television series. I find that to be both interesting and disappointing. Interesting because although there are similarities, I am still surprised at turn of events. Disappointing because the show / movie is never as good as the book. However, Outlander appears to be the exception. Although there have only been 7 episodes of the show yet, each episode is like it has been carved directly from the book. Obviously, there have to be some differences, such as the wedding ring being made from a key, but as a whole the show follows the events in the book very closely.
Even the characters in the TV show fit the story perfectly with the ruggedly handsome James Fraser, and the curly haired Claire to creepy Randall (still can’t believe Captain Jack is Frank’s ancestor and that anyone could turn out to be so hideous and evil). I’m looking forward to seeing the televised versions of various scenes from the book, such as Jamie’s fight with his sister, Jenny. But some scenes I can’t imagine being televised, like when Claire helps a horse in foal-birth(?)!
Although the book is very long, it is most entertaining and I hope the rest of the series is just as fun to read. I began to understand the Scottish way of speaking quite easily as the story progressed. First, I was guessing the words, but the more I read, the more sense it made. The book is full of adventures, often life-threatening, and I loved how Claire and Jamie were constantly saving each other. Both stubborn and proud, their arguments and insults were hilarious, especially when Claire lost her temper and used phrases that were unheard of in the 18th century. In both lives Claire’s unwomanly insults shock people, both Scots and English alike.  
Both Jamie and Claire are my favourites, and their love story is funny but sweet. Jamie is protective and caring, but his red hair matches his fiery temper. Although as he says, he rarely loses his temper, he loses it more easily with Claire as she somehow manages to get under his skin one way or another. Similarly, Claire doesn’t realise how much Jamie means to her until its time for her to go back to Frank. I felt that was the tipping point for their relationship because the ball was in Claire’s court. Prior to that there were so many obstacles in her way, preventing her from getting back to the stones that may or may not take her back to her future life with Frank. But when Jamie takes her there himself and tells her to go back, my heart broke for him. And for Claire because she was stuck between two worlds and the decision to stay in the dangerous 1700s with Jamie or to go back to the 20th century to the safety of Frank was finally hers to make. I knew what the outcome would be, but it still sweet to read.
There were so many funny quotes I highlighted whilst reading the story; most were from Jamie. His bluntness, Scottish speaking and lack of tact had me in fits. It's likely that some quotes won’t make any sense until you’ve read the book, so take my advice and get your copy now!
Favourite quotes:
No, I decided. Dropping the teapot was a perfectly normal reaction. Dropping it into Mr. Bainbridge’s lap was merely an accident of placement; I had to drop it somewhere. It was my exclaiming “Bloody fucking hell!” in a voice that topped Mr. Bainbridge’s heartcry that had made Frank glare at me across the scones.
“What are you doing here?” I asked accusingly.At the same time Jamie asked in a similarly accusatory tone, “How much do ye weigh, Sassenach?”Still a bit addled, I actually replied “Nine stone,” before thinking to ask “Why?”“Ye nearly crushed my liver,” he answered, gingerly prodding the affected area. “Not to mention scaring the living hell out of me.”
We have nothing now between us, save-respect, perhaps. And I think that respect has maybe room for secrets, but not for lies.
“Is that so, then?” Jamie exclaimed. It was his turn to buffet the other man in congratulation. No wonder men got impervious to superficial pain, I thought. It came from this habit of hammering each other incessantly.
“Oh,” I said, elaborately polite, “I’m included in this conversation, am I? I thought you were doing quite well by yourself. Pray continue.”
“You’re no verra sensible, Sassenach, but I like ye fine. Let’s go.”
“I don’t make idle threats, Sassenach,” he said, raising one brow, “and I don’t take frivolous vows. Now, can we go to bed?”
“Why, what’s the matter wi’ the poor child?” she demanded of Jamie. “Has she had an accident o’ some sort?”“No, it’s only she’s married me,” he said, “though if ye care to call it an accident, ye may.”
But my own dashing young hero was out in the forest somewhere, swilling ale with an aging poofter of noble blood and slaughtering innocent deer. It was rather unlikely, I thought, gritting my teeth, that Jamie would return in time even to gather up my ashes for ceremonial disposal, before I was scattered to the four winds.
“I prayed all the way up that hill yesterday,” he said softly. “Not for you to stay; I didna think that would be right. I prayed I’d be strong enough to send ye away.”
“And if your life is a suitable exchange for my honor, tell me why my honor is not a suitable exchange for your life?”
“Because I do love ye, for all you’re a thick-headed, slack-witted, lack-brained gomerel. And I’ll no have ye dead in the road at my feet just because you’re too stubborn to keep your mouth shut for the once in your life!”
“He said, ‘Sometimes I daresay I’ll enjoy thrashing you, depending on what you’ve done to deserve it. Mostly I won’t. But I’ll do it nonetheless. So remember it, lad. If your head thinks up mischief, your backside’s going to pay for it.’
“He’s right; the lad’s his own son, he can do as he likes. And I’m not God; only the laird, and that’s a good bit lower down. Still...” He looked down at me with a crooked half-smile.
“It’s a damn thin line between justice and brutality, Sassenach. I only hope I’ve come down on the right side of it.”
“I’m going to die,” he said weakly but precisely, “and the sooner the better. Go away and let me do it in peace.”
“Swallow this, me bonny wee dormouse, or I’ll break yer neck. And forbye ye’ll keep it down, too. I’m goin’ to hold shut yer nose and yer mouth; if ye bring it up, it comes out yer ears.”
“Well, he has everything and nothing, I suppose, in terms of faith,” I concluded. “Knew them all, believed in none.”

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review of Puppet


By Pauline C. Harris

Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.

When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.

As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.

As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

My Thoughts:

I usually find that a book that takes me a while to get into, can’t be that exciting to begin with. Puppet was very hard to get into, I found the whole marionette thing a little bit boring and hard to comprehend. I wasn’t sure if Pen was a marionette or not, which part of her was human, and which was essentially a robot? (The cover freaked me out a bit too) But thankfully things picked up and I’m now glad that I didn’t abandon this book in its early stages as it turned out to be most interesting and adventurous.
 This is a retelling of Pinocchio, and I liked that Pen constantly tried to fight for control but couldn’t seem to grasp it because there was always someone else ‘pulling the strings’ so to speak. She wants a family so bad, and doesn’t realise she has one until she almost loses it. Overall, an exciting read and I particularly enjoyed the twist of events at the end and the James-Pen romance.
Zed (:
Favourite Quotes:

I can understand Jed’s obsession with them, although I can’t really relate to it. They’re mesmerizing and sometimes beautiful, but I don’t really like them. They creep me out more than they pull me in.

Being forced to tell the truth doesn’t make me any better than a criminal with a lie detector. Choice is what matters and my choice has been taken away.

“With Dad, anything’s possible.” He shrugs. “He might be crazy but he’s also crazy smart.”

“…I believe God gives us good things in our lives. Some people call it miracles, others magic, others luck. They’re all just words, but they all seem to mean the same thing.”

“There was nothing I could do,” he eventually utters so quietly I almost don’t hear him.
“But you could have done something.”

“Forcing me to tell the truth doesn’t make me a better person!” I state. “Not at all. Choosing to lie or tell the truth is what sets someone apart and you’ve taken that away from me.”

The bullet doesn’t hit me because it was never intended to, but my heart breaks all the same.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Review of Darkness


By Elizabeth Arroyo


Seventeen-year-old Carly Lopez suffers from post-traumatic stress, though the “post” part technically doesn’t apply…not when the killer is still out there. 

As the only survivor of the killing spree that left four dead girls in its wake, Carly fails to unearth her buried memories of that day and is consumed with guilt. After a year of silence, the killer is back, and Carly will stop at nothing to catch him. 

With each new death, Carly’s reality shatters, propelling her deeper into the darkness where the dead haunt her—but where the truth lies. Her only firm grasp of reality is Hunter Jackson, whose mysterious overprotectiveness of Carly forces her to doubt the reason behind her guilt.

But Hunter has a secret.

And when Carly discovers a horrible truth, she questions her involvement in the murders. Was she directly responsible? Did she help the killer? Carly soon learns that finding answers may mean risking more than just her sanity.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.8/5

My Thoughts: 

**I was provided with a free ecopy of the Darkness via Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.**

This is such an awesome read! Everyone thinks Carly is a freak, probably because she has psychotic outbursts in class and was committed to the asylum twice since her best friend’s murder. But they have no idea how bad it really is. Carly sees shadows, hears voices and has terrible nightmares that could be mistaken for lost memories.

Worst of all is that Carly was there when her best friend Olivia was taken but she can’t remember the killer’s face. It’s like her mind refuses to remember that part, and it’s killing her because she feels responsible for the deaths since Olivia’s. And so, Carly is secretly trying to investigate these murders to find out who this killer is. The more she delves into the killings, the stranger her own behaviour gets until she finds it hard to distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t. In trying to rid herself of guilt and help other girls, will Carly lose herself?

'Darkness' is brilliantly written, and it kept me on the edge until the last page. Yes, it was confusing at times but I loved that because it helped me understand how chaotic Carly’s thoughts were. Yes, there is something abnormal about her brain, something that sets her apart from other ‘normal’ teenagers, but that doesn’t mean her opinion shouldn’t matter. What I liked most about this book was how it shows that even though Carly has a mental instability, she’s still an intelligent girl that cares about her family, falls in love and basically deserves to be loved back.

It’s horrible how her mother blames Carly whenever Carly has even a hint of a relapse and she wants to institutionalise her, like as if she can’t handle it so she prefers to shove the responsibility on to someone else. Carly knows she’s not normal but clearly it stings when her mother won’t even try to handle it. Her brother, Christian, tries to be supportive, but he’s really concerned about Carly and knows that the more she goes investigating, the greater danger she will put herself into. And dear Hunter; so adorable and protective, but he doesn’t want to get too close to Carly either. I don’t’ want to reveal too much about Hunter’s role but he certainly has his share of secrets too…

Darkness is a thrilling book and was such a delight to read that I am now looking at other books available by this brilliant author.  

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes

“Don’t bother trying to figure me out. I can’t even figure me out.”

Hunter laughed. He also had dimples. She was doomed.

“…Are you, like, in between selves at the moment? I mean, it’s totally okay, I’m used to being around weird and have nothing against weird.” She’d been around herself for seventeen years. She’d perfected weird.

“Someone has to be putting him up to it. I’m sure he wouldn’t choose me to hang with unless he lost a bet or something.”
The doorbell rang again.
“Oh, grow up, Carly. Life is not like the movies. We popular guys don’t sit around making bets to de-hymenize the unsuspecting awkward female, or have time to try to schmooze a dweeb.”

Poor guy. He’d decided to help the wrong girl. She wasn’t a survivor. She just hadn’t caught up to her death yet.

“How are you?”
“Why do people ask that when they really don’t want to hear the truth?”

“Are you crazy?”
“Yeah, what’s your point?”

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Review of A Little Something...

A Little Something Different

By Sandy Hall


The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship. 
Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 5/5 !!!

My Thoughts:

**Thank you NetGalley for a free ecopy of this fantastic book!**

Omg this book is amazing and funny and so much adorableness that even the toughest of people fall prey! 

In short, it's a YA romance story told from a number of different perspectives, which include the two main characters and their friends. But the strangest thing is that it's also told from the perspective of seemingly random people that somehow get involved in their story too, such as the Starbucks barista, the bus driver and even the squirrel and the bench from the park. It sounds crazy but once you read the story it makes sense! Like when someone sits on the 'bench' I feel like one of the characters has come alive. 

I loved the creative writing professor's character and her numerous efforts to try and get these two kids to interact and basically get together. Inga goes to extreme lengths in her class, setting out random assignments in the hope that Gabe and Lea will finally step up. Even when she's sniffling away and almost passing out with a fever, all she can think about is getting the two to fall in love!
The fact that everyone is invested in their relationship is hilarious, random people eavesdrop and it seems like the whole world knows they like each other except Gabe and Lea. First Lea thinks that Gabe is gay because he once complimented Danny's jeans, and at other times she thinks he sends her mixed signals. one minute he's friendly and the next he won't continue their conversation, but Lea doesn't know that Gabe's hearing is impaired so half the time he can't actually hear her! On the other hand, Gabe is unbelievably shy and thinks that Danny is Lea's boyfriend (even though Danny doesn't like girls).
The book was very sentimental and cute, which usually is definitely not my thing but I can't wait to read more by this author and I highly recommend you read this book too!

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

"Don’t think of it as illegal,” I say. “Think of it as helping out local business owners.”“You have a skewed perspective of the world, Maribel.”

“You should have complimented his essay and then invited him to eat with you.”“Why aren’t you always around to coach me in these moments? Why do you leave me floundering alone in the world?”“I don’t have answers for these questions.”

“Sometimes it’s better to say something stupid than nothing at all.”“That goes against my entire belief system,” he says.

 “Oh, now you can hear everything!” Lea says.“I can. I got a hearing aid,” he tells her, tipping his chip up imperiously.“Bully for you!” Lea says, throwing her hands in the air. “You known, you could have told me a hundred years ago about stuff and then I wouldn’t have been wondering all of these hundreds of years about stuff and maybe we could have been doing stuff.”“That was a lot of ‘stuff’s,” Casey whispers.

“All that stuff is right and if I was normal and not bad weird, I would have told you stuff and we could have been doing stuff,” he says.“I like how vague this is,” Casey mumbles. “Their overuse of the word ‘stuff’ is epic.”

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Review of Sennar's Mission

Sennar's Mission

(Chronicles of the Overworld #2)

By Licia Trosi


In book two of the bestselling Chronicles of the Overworld trilogy, Nihal and Sennar forge ahead on their quest

Nihal joins the most prestigious chivalric order of the Overworld: the Dragon Knights. Sent to complete her training, she finds herself up against a determined and valiant gnome, an Oarf named Ido. The encounter shakes Nihal’s certainties; suddenly, she realizes that there are those who fight for higher ideals than mere revenge. At the same time, she is forced to face her shadowy past and solve the mystery of a stone that seems to have tremendous power.

Meanwhile, Sennar is promoted to the Council of Sorcerers, which leads the resistance against the Tyrant in the lands that are still free. Sennar is sent to the Underworld, a watery realm about which very little is known, to request military aid. It is an almost hopeless mission. Together, Nihal and Sennar must try their hardest to emerge victorious.

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 4.4/5

My Thoughts:

Sennar's Mission was a lot darker than the first book in this series, which is understandable given that the Tyrant is quickly gaining control of the Free Lands. We see Sennar's mission to the underworld, where he tries to gather reinforcements for the war. On the other hand, Nihal is out on the front of the battle, fighting against the enemy with her dragon and her tutor beside her. 

We learn more about Nihal's past and her internal struggle with wanting revenge for her people, the elves, who were massacred by the Tyrant. There is no doubt that Nihal is a heroine, and a strong warrior, but I enjoyed learning how she struggles with fighting for right against fighting for revenge. There are times when the darkness of killing is about to consume her but somehow she,  or someone close to her, always pulls her out.

From the ending I can tell that the journey ahead will be difficult for Nihal, but at the same time I do hope Sennar will accompany her because the story always reads so much better when they are together!

This book was harder to get into than the first, and I think it was probably because Nihal's journey is more interesting to read than Sennar's, but once I was into it the story was addictive.

Zed (: 

Favourite Quotes:

“Running away accomplishes nothing, Laio,” Nihal said quietly. “Your problems will follow you to the edge of the earth.”

“Life is short, and you only get one. To waste it for the sake of someone else makes no sense at all. I do only the things I want to do. I want to feel joy, pain, passion, despair...everything. Because I know that when death comes to carry me off, the life I’ve lived will be the only thing I have.”

“You’ve come to a turning point in your search for the truth, Nihal. But the truth is a dreadful gift.”

“...One day this will all be over, Nihal.”
“I don’t know if I believe that anymore,” she muttered.
“But you must, Nihal. Hope is the only thing we have left.”

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Review of Magisterium: The Iron Trial

Magisterium: The Iron Trial 
(Magisterium # 1)

By Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

About :

Think you know magic?

Think again.
The Magisterium awaits. . .

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt.

Call has Been Told That his whole life he shouldnt never trust a magician. And so he Tries his best to do his worst - but fails at failing.

Now he must enter the Magisterium.

It's a place that's both sensational and sinister. And Call Realizes it has ties to his dark past and a Twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the Beginning. Call's biggest test is still to come ...

Source: Amazon

My rating: 4.5 / 5

My Thoughts:

Being a diehard fan of Cassandra Clare, I was really looking forward to her book Fair after the TMI and TID series, so imagine my surprise when I am Approved to read an advance copy of the Magisterium: The Iron Trial via Net Galley. Although Holly Black 's fandom precedes her, I have not managed to read any of her books yet but after this impressive co-written book I will definitely have to!

I Knew there was something special about Call but I thought it was That Despite Having a bad leg, he was the Makar That the Masters have Been looking for to defeat the Enemy of Death. Discovered When Aaron was to have the affinity for magic and chaos they named the Makar Had Been looking for, I Assumed That maybe the Masters Had it wrong and Call That was the second Makar. Again, I was wrong. 

I loved the humor in this book, Call Especially. He grew up Being Bullied for his bad leg and not Being Able to keep up with the other children; always Considered as a 'freak.' So, When he Tries his hardest to fail the entrance exam into the Magisterium, and still gets selected, it is rather funny. Poor Call, always in the stoplight for the most ridiculous Reasons. Then he finds Aaron and Tamara and Although he Tries to hate everyone Because his father Warned him of magic and 'mages,' he has friends for the first time ever. Call's dry humor was fun and sad to read Because it was clear That it was a front to cover his Insecurities of Being not good enough and Being a burden to others. 

I do not want to reveal any spoilers but the ending was fantastic and I am looking forward to the Fair in the series. At times I found it hard to get into the story, but once the pace picked up it Ended too soon! Definitely a series worth watching out for.

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

He'd never expected the mice to run amok under the feet of the Paraders, but mice are not very smart. Also He Had not expected to run the Onlookers from the mice, but people are not too smart Either ...

"That seems like cheating" Call objected.
"Call, people cheat to win. You can not cheat to lose."

"Being the Enemy of Death does not sound that bad," he said, Mostly to be contrary. "It's not like death is so great. I mean, who would want to be the Friend of Death?"

"No one's every stuck up for me like you guys did tonight."
"Did you say something Actually nice to us?" Tamara Asked him. "Are you feeling okay?"
"I do not know," Call said. "Might I need to lie down."

They all Yelled in excitement. Tamara Yelled Because she was happy, Aaron Yelled Because he liked it provenance When other people happy, and Call Yelled Because he was sure they provenance going to die.

Fire wants to burn, thought to Call Himself. Water wants to flow. Air wants to rise. Earth wants to bind. Chaos wants to devour. Call wants to live. 

Thoughts are free and subject to no rule.

It was not fair, he thought - Aaron Having no family and Tamara scary Having her family and now Jasper. Soon, there would be no one left for him to hate without feeling bad about it.

Aaron shook his head, disappointed. "Why do you have to be color: such a jerk?" He Asked Call.
"Because you never are," Call Told him Staunchly. "I have to be a jerk for both of us."

He'd never had a friend like her before. Never Had friends like her or Aaron. Now That he Had them, he did not know quite what to do with them.