Monday, 11 March 2013

Alice In Zombieland- Gena Showalter

"Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real.
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies."- Amazon Summary

My rating:

 7/10 stars

Alice in Zombieland. Huh. (*trying to smother my laughter*) Its a pretty ridiculous title. It took me a few months, and 12 or so filler books until I could finally take this novel seriously enough to buy it. I'm glad I did. The comical title is completely made up for by the gorgeous cover and enthralling story. It is a lovely cover picture, don't you think? Well, at least until you zoom in on the girl and notice that she looks more like a 27 year old than a teenager. Presentation issues aside, the concept was unique, the characters likable enough, and the plotline engaging. 
 So, this isn't your average girl-meets-boy-fights-zombies story. Nuh-uh, for these zombies don't eat flesh- they feed on spirit. Ali bell, the protagonist and narrator, has to team up with a group of badass zombie hunters, and learn to fight using her spirit form. Yeah, that's right, she actually has to detach from her physical body in order to slay the zombies. Pretty cool.
 Ali was a nice lead character, and I enjoyed reading from her perspective. She was outgoing and witty; I wasn't bored. Although, she did have a little of that "oh, I don't think I'm pretty at all" syndrome. It makes little sense to me why she is complaining, for the first thing we learn of her is her beautiful blond hair, wide blue eyes, and long legs. Does she really sound that ugly to you?
 I had mixed emotions about Cole. The summary mentions that he is "the baddest of the bad boys", but I feel compelled to disagree. For starters, his danger level is that of a bunny rabbit in comparison to some of the other bad-asses I have read in YA fiction. Plus, about half way through the book, he stops being all bad and mysterious, and melts in to a gooey, marshmallow-smore kinda boyfriend. This isn't meaning to say that I didn't like him, its just that the summary is misleading. 
 I think my favorite character interactions in this book were between Kat and Frosty. Kat, Ali's best friend, was bubbly and likable; the typical 'BFF'. Frosty is Kat's ex boyfriend. Long story short, their relationship is complicated. One second they hate each other, the next, they are having a rather steamy make-out session. I found them quite amusing.  Nearing the end of the book, we receive some heartbreaking news about Kat… what's gonna happen when Frosty finds out! If you are reading this and wondering "what in the world is she on about?",  then you just have to read the book and find out…
 I've seen some pretty mean reviews of this novel on amazon and goodreads, criticizing it for not being anything like Alice in Wonderland… I personally don't think that their judgements are justified. Apart from the  title, the summary did not say anything to suggest  it was a remake of Alice in Wonderland! It just mirrors several familiar aspects of it. Oh, and there's the fact that the main character's name is Alice.
 All in all, I very much enjoyed reading it, and recommend that all of you sitting at home and aimlessly scrolling through Amazon should click the 'Buy Now' button on this book!
 Until next time,
- Daisy

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

 "In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed."- Amazon Summary

8/10 stars

It was inevitable. I just can't write a YA book review blog without including 'The Hunger Games'. I'm fairly certain that everyone who reads this review has already heard of the series, read the books, seen the movie, or had some annoying teenager spoil the ending when you overhear them on the train. Well, either this, or you live under a rock.
Set in the futuristic dystopia of North America, Katniss literally has to kill off the other children to survive the annual 'Hunger Games'. One of my favorite aspects of this series is the amicable cast of unique characters, each with their own interesting quirks and spunky characteristics. Katniss, the female protagonist and narrator, is pretty darn badass. She has been hardened by years of loss and suffering, and as she must provide the food for her mother and younger sister, Prim, she has become a skilled huntress. Katniss was a likable heroine; strong-willed, courageous, and intelligent. I enjoyed watching her overcome her mental and emotional obstacles, and eventually bring her guard down around the people she comes to love.
   Peeta and Gale. Where do I start? Not one, but two gorgeous, protective, loyal, sexy boys. I think its my birthday. Normally I have one very clear opinion on which guy I prefer in a love triangle, however in this series, the lines were blurred. Peeta is so sweet, I can't even explain. He is affectionate and loving, and never leaves Katniss's side. Kinda like a puppy. Gale is more rugged than Peeta, and closer fits the "Dangerous and intrepid badass" profile that we know and love in YA fiction. In the end though, as much as I love Gale, I ended up choosing Peeta as 'the one' for Katniss. I think my decision was influenced by ultimate lack of Katniss/Gale moments versus the abundance of Katniss/Peeta fluffy scenes. We barely even see Gale in the first book!  FYI, I feel like the casting for Peeta and Gale should have been switched in the movie. Liam Hemsworth (playing Gale), who is generally considered the sexier, better actor by the fandom, was cast as the fatally under-appreciated love interest, as opposed to the male protagonist. I just don't understand.
    This series has a wonderful group of supporting characters, such as Rue (she ripped my heart out!), Finnick (my love), and Cinna (Awesome. 'Nuff said.). Okay,  am I the only one who found Haymitch sexy? Yeah, yeah, I know he's an old drunk in the movie, but I found him kind of hot in the book. He had that whole 'seductive-and-mysterious-flirt-with-a-hard-past-who-drowns-his-sorrows-in-alcohol'  thing going for him. Plus, when I read the books, I didn't realize he was actually 40 years old... Lets just say that I will never skim the character descriptions again. There were some interesting tributes to read about, like the cunning fox-face (I never did find out her name, did I?) and the dangerous Cato. (Fun fact: My Latin teacher used to teach Alexander Ludwig (the guy who plays Cato.. hot!) in elementary school!)
 Was I the only one who found this book really left-wing? I felt like the whole novel was a warning about corrupt, greedy politicians taking advantage of the underprivileged in society. The 'capitol' could be a metaphor for capitalism, and the whole fact that Panem is supposed to be a futuristic North America could be the author telling us that this is what she thinks will happen to us... That said, my musings could just be a product of my chocolate button overdose.
 Well, to conclude my review, I really loved this novel, and I strongly suggest reading it before you watch the movie. Press the little blue 'Join this site!' button on the right sidebar to follow my site, and keep up to date will all my latest reviews! I will love you forever. Comments and book recommendations are always appreciated!
Until next time,
- Daisy

P.S. If you can't find the 'comment'option at the bottom, then my website is being stupid again. To comment, you scroll to the top of the review, and above the title, you should see some writing saying: "undefined undefined undefined". Directly above that, you will see an underlined number. Click on that to comment! Sorry if you have to go through this annoying process. :)

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Immortal Rules- Julie Kagawa

"In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for."- Amazon Summary

 9/10 stars!

I know what you're thinking. "Oh no, not another vampire novel!" . But I assure you, this one is of a far higher class than the others. Let me first make clear: This is not your typical "Pretty but weirdly insecure girl meets mysterious sparkly-boy" novel. It is set in a futuristic dystopia, where people living on the fringe, like Allie, are in constant danger of barbarous gangs, bloodthirsty vampires, demented 'mole-men', savage 'rabids', and the most prevalent threat of all, starvation.
 Before you dig in to this book, I have to warn you: Its pretty brutal. This isn't a novel for little girls, if you haven't gathered it already from the cover. (Which is reeeaaaally creepy, don't you think?) There are some graphic descriptions of humans being, quite literally, ripped apart, and there are a few very gory scenes. If you have a weak stomach, this is probably not for you. Although, if you think you can handle it, it will be worth every cringe!
 Okay, so the lead character is Allison Sekemoto, or, 'Allie', as she is most commonly referred to. She is callous, cruel, vicious, and super-duper badass. Allie is unlike any heroine I have seen before, but I loved her! She never whined about her relationship issues, nor did she complain about her physical attractiveness. In Allie's mind, there is but one driving force: Survival. She does not waste her time sniveling on about materialistic desires, which I appreciated; If I was in a life-or-death situation, I probably wouldn't be worrying about my hair, either! Well, when she starts building relationships with other characters (*cough* ZEKE *cough*) , she begins to grasp new concepts such as friendship and love. Yeah, looking back, it seems pretty cheesy, but the author applies it subtly, so it doesn't seem so bad at the time.
 So: Zeke. He. Was. Awesome. These days, most male protagonists in YA fiction are dark and mysterious, however Zeke is anything but. I mean, seriously, he would make a Nobel Peace Prize-winner seem like a douchebag! Zeke is kind, loyal, funny, and a great love interest! Him and Allie are like day and night, but, opposites attract, I guess!
 I really can't write this review without mentioning Kanin. As the vampire who turned Allie, he played quite a significant role in the first half of the book. As much as I ADORE the whole Allison/Zeke relationship, I was kind of hoping for something to... happen... between her and Kanin. Kanin remained cold and distant throughout his appearances in the novel, save for several cute moments when we glimpsed at his softer, protective sides. I am looking forward to seeing more of him in the next installment of the series.
 In conclusion, this is a fabulous novel, a worthy addition to my list of favorite books, and a stunning extension to Julie Kagawa's ever-growing collection of  truly brilliant stories.
 Let me know what you think in the comments, and I am always welcoming new followers!
- Daisy H

P.S. If you loved "The Immortal Rules" and "The Iron Fey series", check out Julie Kagawa's own blog by clicking here!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Grave Mercy- Robin LaFevers

"Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. 
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?"- Summary by

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)

 9 1/2 out of 10 stars!

Wow. No words. This was officially my first experience with a historical fiction novel, which usually aren't my style, however this one really blew me away. I would be lying if i said I wasn't slightly put-off by the unappealing cover, nor did I enjoy the book trailer, but they really didn't do this novel justice. I seriously wasn't expecting to like this book, but I was hooked by page 5. This is probably the highest rated book that I have reviewed thus far.
 Now, lets first establish that this novel is set in the Middle Ages. It took me a while to adjust to the eccentric archaic language (which I grew to love!), and the characters' outdated way of life. This book features monarchies, dukes, duchesses, fancy ball dresses, courteous manners and all that jazz! It makes me want to hop on a time machine and zip back to the medieval ages (but not staying for long because I REALLY don't want to end up coming home with the plague...).
 So, who are the main characters? Ismae, the female protagonist, was a breath of fresh air for me. The choices she made and the thoughts she had were REAL. Her feelings were genuine, and her relationships with other characters were not forced. Her dangerous and boisterous persona was a rare feat in those days, and her imperfections only made me like her more.
 Don't even get me started on Gavriel Duval. He is the poster of awesome. He has just the right amount of mysterious and charming, while at the same time is emotional and kind to Ismae. His bravery is admirable, and he captivates everyone around him with his deadly swagger. Gavriel + Ismae forever! Oh wow, I'm ranting, aren't I?
 This novel has a steady cast of background characters, each with distinct and amicable personalities. None of the characters can be simply classified as  "a good guy" or "a bad guy" per se, as they seem to be playing leap-frog in and out of the dark side. Ugh, so many mind games!
 The character development is fan-freaking-tastic, and I admit to sobbing throughout the last chapter of the book. Like, non-stop. The way the author writes about death, even for minor characters, makes you want to rip your heart out. Bring tissues.
 So, in conclusion, I severely recommend this novel, even if historical fiction isn't your usual pick. You will not be disappointed.
You are welcome to share your opinion in the comments!
- Daisy H