30 December 2013

2013 Wrap Up

2013 has been a pretty great year for me reading wise. I've read a lot of amazing books (some not so amazing); discovered some new authors (that I now love) and learned how to work Edelweiss properly. Other than reading, 2013 has been pretty great for my personal life too. I decided to quit university because I wasn't enjoying it; I got a job working as a Library Assistant (which is awesome!) and there was a lot of other stuff that happened that I'm just too lazy to list.

I've also saw some pretty amazing movies this year. There were so many book to movie adaptations out this year and if I had to pick my two favourites they'd have to be Catching Fire and The Host. Those were the two that I felt stuck the closest to the book and even when they didn't, I still loved them. Man of Steel is definitely my favourite non-book related movie (I'm not counting comic books here). I'm a massive Superman fan and always have been, so I knew this was going to be my favourite movie. There's still so many movies that were released this year that I haven't seen yet, but I'll get around to them next year.

2013 has also been a pretty great year for TV. Some fantastic new shows started this year that I'm completely in love with. Orphan Black and Bates Motel are the two main new ones that I can't get enough of. I was always dying to know what was going to happen next in both of these because you could never tell! Vampire Diaries has been my favourite show that I discovered this year though. It's been on for a couple of years, but I've always avoided it up until March when I should have been studying for Uni. I spent almost 2 weeks working my way through the show and getting caught up in Season 4 and now I'm wondering why I didn't start it before. Oh, and I'm definitely Team Delena. Right from the start <3.

The best book I read this year would definitely have to be These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner. I didn't expect this book to be as good as it was, but it completely blew my mind! I've even bought myself a physical copy of the book because it was just that good! The worst book I read has to be The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler. This book was so bad that I didn't even finish it. I gave up 24% of the way in because it was just completely ridiculous and the main character was extremely stupid.

I set myself 4 reading challenges this year and I only completed two of them. I completed my Goodreads Challenge to read 200 books this year (209/200) and I also completed the Dystopia Reading Challenge (36/24). Technically I did complete the Out-do Yourself Challenge, but I haven't linked up any reviews since June so I'm counting it as a fail. And I definitely failed the Paranormal Reading Challenge. I think I gave up in August because I just wasn't in the mood to read about mermaids. Oh well. I've set myself some challenges for 2014 which you can check out here if you want.

So overall, 2013 was definitely a brilliant year. I'm really looking forward to 2014 and hopefully it will be even better than 2013!

29 December 2013

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Series: No
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: October 3rd 2013
Source: Bought

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.

Tiger Lily was another one of those books that I was unsure of whether I was going to enjoy it when I first started reading it. At first, I wasn't really enjoying it and I didn't see what all the fuss was about, but that quickly changed. I couldn't even pinpoint when I fell in love with this story because it happened so quickly. One minute I was considering giving up and the next I was so invested in the story. 

Tiger Lily is such a unique story. It's narrated by Tinker Bell who is a fairy that observes everything that happens in this book. Fairies are mute in this story so Tinker Bell isn't really an active participant in most of the story, but she's always there. The fact that Tink was unable to interfere or help any of the characters in this book really broke my heart. Tink cares deeply for the characters in this book and it was horrible having to see her not be able to help. Tink never knew if her presence was noticed by Tiger Lily or Peter, but she cares for both of these characters and loves them deeply. She had a special bond with both of them, but her bond with Tiger Lily was my favourite. Her bond with Peter broke me.

Tiger Lily was an interesting character. She was kind of an outcast in her tribe and people were slightly scared of her. Tiger Lily is so different from all of the other girls in her tribe. She's not interested in sewing or boys. She'd rather be out hunting and fighting which makes her even more of an outcast. But I admired Tiger Lily. She stayed true to herself throughout the book and I loved her for that. 

Peter Pan was intriguing and mysterious in this book. He was nothing like the Disney version of Peter, but this Peter is definitely my favourite. He's just a young boy who saved young boys from the pirates and they created their own family. Peter and The Lost Boys were my favourite part of this book. I always found myself anxiously awaiting Tiger Lily's next visit to them because I just loved how they treated her as an equal and she got to be herself with them. 

Tiger Lily and Peter's relationship almost killed me. As soon as they started meeting I wanted them together so bad. Peter and Tiger Lily just had this amazing bond that showed they were perfect for each other and I loved the moments they had together. But, of course, Tiger Lily and Peter never stood a chance together because of Wendy. I always liked Wendy in the original Peter Pan story, but I hated her in Tiger Lily. She comes along in her fancy ship with her pretty face and pretty dresses and sweeps Peter off his feet. Not only is this hard for Tiger Lily, it's also hard for Tink. Tink also loves Peter but she was willing to ignore her feelings for him for Tiger Lily. But seeing Wendy with Peter makes Tink angry so she tries everything she can to get rid of Wendy and I actually found myself cheering her on. I always hated the way she acted in the original story, but I cheering her on and hoping she'd do something even more awful to Wendy and get rid of her for good. So Tink/Peter/Tiger Lily made me cry so many times. Mostly it was Tink that had me in tears. Since she was narrating the story it was her emotions and thoughts I was reading and seeing her heartache over Peter and her heart breaking for Tiger Lily made me lose it. 

There were also a few inter-twining story lines that played important parts in the book. The whole story line with Phillip and the English coming into the tribe was a very important part of the book. At first, I really liked Phillip, but then he started spouting religious shit and confusing the people in the tribe. They became determined to make themselves better so that God would like them. This led them to outcast Tik Tok because he dressed like a woman. That whole story line was heartbreaking and the way it all ended had me bawling my eyes out. I'm even tearing up again just writing this. Captain Hook, Smee and his pirates were also in this book which I really enjoyed. I've always liked Hook and his pirates so I'm glad they were part of the story line. Hook was determined to get rid of Peter (like he always is). I really enjoyed the parts with Hook in them and he wasn't as awful in this re-telling as he usually is, but he's still a pirate.

I cried the most at the ending. That letter just tipped me over the edge. I was already slightly teary because of what had happened before and because my heart was still broken for Tiger Lily and Tink. But the letter was the tipping point and I just sobbed. 

Overall, this is one of the most beautiful books I've read this year and definitely one of my favourite re-tellings. I'm so glad I listened to all of the amazing reviews for this book and decided to pick it up. It's now going to be a book that I recommend to everyone because it was unbelievable and I think that everyone should read this beautiful story.

27 December 2013

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Series: No
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: October 10th 2013
Source: Bought

All her life, Elise Dembowski has been an outsider. Starting a new school, she dreams of fitting in at last – but when her best attempts at popularity fail, she almost gives up. Then she stumbles upon a secret warehouse party. There, at night, Elise can be a different person, making real friends, falling in love for the first time, and finding her true passion – DJ’ing.

But when her real and secret lives collide, she has to make a decision once and for all: just who is the real Elise?

An irresistible novel about hope, heartbreak and the power of music to bring people together.

This Song Will Save Your Life was one of those books that I kept looking at but I wasn't sure whether I wanted to read it or not. But, when Jess from JessHeartsBooks recommended it to me I knew I just had to grab myself a copy. I'm so glad I did because I ended up absolutely loving this book.

This Song Will Save Your Life follows our main character Elise who is an outsider. Elise has always dreamed of fitting in and being popular and decides to reinvent herself for her new school. But Elise's attempts to fit in fail and she gives up. She contemplates suicide and then ends up being kept out of school for a while with her parents constantly watching over her. When Elise is taking one of her secret midnight walks she stumbles upon a secret warehouse party. Elise makes real friends for the first time in her life and finds something that she's passionate about - DJ'ing. Elise starts to spend every Thursday night at the party and hurts her relationship with her father because she finally feels like she fits in. But soon, Elise's real and secret lives collide and she has to decide what she wants.

Elise was a fantastic main character, but I will say that there were times when I didn't like her. All Elise has ever wanted is to fit in and I really felt for her. No matter what she did she never managed to fit in and that really tugged at my heart. She's such a vulnerable and lonely character, but she's such an amazing person too. But, there were times when I thought she was being selfish, shallow and attention seeking. Elise acknowledged that herself though which is why it didn't bother me too much because she realised throughout the book that she was acting like that and set out to change it. But Elise grew and grew throughout the book. She became stronger, felt like she had a purpose and had something she was passionate about. By the end, I was extremely proud of Elise.

Elise's romantic relationship in this book definitely wasn't perfect. First of all, the guy she was with was older than her and he basically took advantage of her vulnerability. Elise let him because she didn't know any different. She was young, naive and thought that Char cared for her. Second of all, he messed her around. Most of the time I just wanted to punch Char and tell Elise to get rid of him, but her relationship with Char was extremely important for her character development. I loved how Leila had a love interested who was extremely flawed instead of completely perfect. It was a nice change.

I adored seeing Elise start to make friends. Poppy and Vicky were brilliant. They were older than Elise, but I just loved them - especially Vicky. Right from the start they seemed to love Elise and they even remembered who she was the second time Elise went to the warehouse party. Seeing Elise actually fitting in made me so happy and made me want to cry. I was so glad that Elise had found her place in the world. Elise's main passion was DJ'ing and she was brilliant at it. Seriously, she didn't even have a lot of practice and she was doing a great job! I loved seeing her doing something that made her happy. Elise's passion for DJ'ing led her to lie to her parents and led to a big fight between her and her dad. Elise was so focused of fitting in that she went to extreme lengths to 'help' her sister and it was horrible to see her like that. I understood why she did it, but that doesn't mean I liked it. Elise had a lot of issues to work through and it was amazing seeing her coming out a different person at the end.

The ending left me in tears because I was so happy. There were also a few other times that almost had me in tears throughout the book because I was either upset for Elise or something horrible happened. I can honestly say I was completely in awe of this book. 

Overall, this is definitely one of my favourite books of the year. This Song Will Save Your Life is definitely one of those books that I'd recommend to everyone because it was realistic, beautifully written and had a very important message.

26 December 2013

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Series: The Archived #1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: January 22nd 2013
Source: Bought

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

Ok, so I'm going to put my hands up and say that when I first started reading this I really didn't think I was going to enjoy it. The first few chapters weren't very interesting and I could feel myself getting slightly bored. But then I was suddenly completely hooked! I honestly don't know what changed my mind about this book so quickly, but I'm so glad that I started to enjoy it because this was such a fantastic book!

The Archived follows our main character Mackenzie Bishop who is a Keeper. A Keeper is someone who works for the Archive - which is a place where Histories are stored. Histories are a record of a persons life that is stores within their bodies. Sometimes a History wakes up and escapes. The History becomes agitated and violent and it's a Keepers job to return the History. Mac became a Keeper when Da died and she's the youngest keeper they've ever had (she started at 12). Mac has to lie to her family about where she goes because they're not allowed to find out about the Archive. Mac's family is dealing with the loss of her brother Ben and they've been constantly moving ever since his death. Mac and her family move into an old hotel and Mac is the head Keeper of the hotel. She soon discovers that there's something major going on in the Archive. Someone is deliberately waking and altering Histories and Mac is also trying to discover what happened to the girl who was killed in her new home. Mac must try to figure out what's going on or it could be the end for the Archive.

I absolutely adored Mac. She was putting on a brave face for her mother and her father but she still isn't over Ben's death. Her mother and her father may be trying to forget it, but Mac can't. Mac is actually a lot stronger than she comes across. She manages to pretend to be alright (which requires a lot of strength) and her determination to uncover what the hell is going on required a lot of strength as well because she put herself in a lot of danger by investigating the Histories and the hotel. Being a Keeper requires brains and bravery, and Mac has both of them. Seeing the different ways she deals with different Histories was intriguing and she knew how to approach each age group (minus the older ones because they were extremely violent and required a lot of physical force to take them down). I just really liked Mac.

Wesley Aires was a very welcome addition to this book. He was mysterious, charming and just absolutely hilarious. He just gave off the friendly, easy going vibe and I instantly loved him. I knew he was going to be good for Mac and I was right. Every time he appeared in the book I found myself smiling. He just made everything easy and lighthearted. I really loved learning about Wes and finding out about him. He was just such an intriguing and charming character. I love Wes.

The romance in this book was sweet and weird. The sweet part is about Wes and Mac. I thought they were so adorable together and Wes clearly cares a lot for Mac. Mac is still working through her own issues so she doesn't know how she feels about Wes. But, I just thought they were so perfect together and I need them to get together! The weird part is about Owen and Mac. I was wary of Owen right from the start because he was an escaped History but he wasn't on Mac's list. That instantly made me suspicious, but he seemed like such a nice and genuine guy. Mac and Owen's relationship was a weird one. Owen is technically dead and Mac isn't... so yeah, it was weird. 

I can honestly say that I never saw any of those twists at the end coming. I was completely in shock and ended up powering through the last quarter of the book super fast because I was so desperate to see what was going to happen! My jaw actually dropped more than once at the end of this book. It was such a fast paced, thrilling, action packed ending and I loved every second of it. There was a part at the end that almost had me in tears because it was so unexpected and shocking. This book provoked so many emotions in me at the end.

Overall, despite not being that interested in it to begin with, I ended up loving this book. The exciting, mysterious and thrilling story line completely hooked me in and I ended up flying through this book. The fast paced, action packed ending definitely made up for the sightly boring beginning. The Archived is a book I definitely recommend to everyone. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, I definitely recommend that you do.

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar
Series: The Art of Wishing #1
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 21st 2013
Source: Bought

Margo McKenna has a plan of attack for everything, from landing the lead in her high school musical to dealing with her increasingly absent parents. But when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the opportunity to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Especially since Oliver--not blue-skinned, not bottle-dwelling, but a genie nonetheless--can see more than what she's willing to show him. With one peek into her mind, he can see the wishes that even Margo herself doesn't know she wants.

But Oliver comes with more than just mind-reading abilities, a flair for magic, and the prettiest eyes Margo's ever seen. Someone from his past is hunting him--someone bent on killing him, along with all the other genies in the world, for the sake of honor. And as Margo soon discovers, it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

The Art of Wishing was one of my most anticipated 2013 releases and I'm pleased to say that it was just as adorable and amazing and I was expecting it to be. 

It follows out main character Margo who is a serial planner. She likes to make sure that she's planned everything in advance and then when one of her plans doesn't go the way she thought it would, she's stunned. Margo was sure she would get the lead in the play and then it went to someone who can't even sing, Margo isn't happy. But then, she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and it turns out that Oliver (the cute new guy at school) is in fact, a genie! Oliver can grant Margo three wishes but he has to get her to hurry because someone is hunting him down and trying to kill him.

Margo is one of those characters who likes everything to follow her plans. She's a serial planner. That was one of the things I really loved about Margo because I'm a serial planner as well. Nothing ever turns out the way I want it to though, but I still continue to plan. Margo's family life isn't perfect, no matter how much it seems like it is. Her mother and her father split up when Margo was young and it was just her and her mother. Her mother treated her like an adult and she grew really close to her mother. Now, her mother and father have gotten back together and have gone back to treating her like a child. Margo is harboring a lot of hate for her mother and her father because of that. She hates the fact her father has come back and everything has changed. She's a really strong character though and she learns to stand up for herself throughout the book. I really loved Margo.

I was definitely intrigued by Oliver right from the start. I mean, he's a hot genie. Who wouldn't be intrigued? My feelings towards Oliver were constantly changing throughout the book. One minute I could be completely in love with him and then the next I wanted to punch him. That was because there was lot we discovered about Oliver throughout the book and learning about his past and what being a genie required. Oliver's feelings for Margo are genuine though and she seems to be the only one questioning it. Oliver is just such a sweetheart <3

The romance in this book was just adorable. Sure, you could say that Oliver and Margo's relationship was insta-love, but it never felt like that to me. Their relationship just felt so natural and you could tell they were meant for each other. Every time they were together my heart melted and I had my fingers crossed the whole way through the book for them.

The story line of this one was just as cute as I was expecting it to be with a bit of suspense and mystery surrounding Oliver. This is actually the first book I've read with Genie's in it and I loved Ribar's take on them. Instead of a lamp, Oliver had a ring which he was tied to. It was an interesting concept. The master could use the ring to call their genie and no one could take the ring from them unless they'd used all their 3 wishes or gave it away. I really enjoyed learning about Oliver throughout the book. It takes him a while to open up about everything, but when he did I really felt for him. I also really enjoyed seeing what Margo was going to wish for. She had so many ideas but it was interesting seeing what she would actually use her wishes on and whether they would be selfish or not. The main thing about this book that interested me was the fact that someone was out to get Oliver. We don't know much about it to start with, he just drops hints and tells Margo to hurry up and make her wishes so he can run. But of course, Margo doesn't so this person shows up in town and starts harassing Margo to give up the ring. Things get pretty sinister and the lengths the person went to to get the ring were unbelievable. It was crazy!

The ending was crazy and now I'm super excited for the second book! I can't wait to see how Margo deals with what happened in book 2 and see how she adjusts to everything. Plus, I want more Oliver.

Overall, I absolutely adored this book. It was cute and sweet, but it also had a really intriguing and mysterious story line that I loved unravelling throughout the book. It's one that I definitely recommend.

23 December 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #4
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: November 19th 2013
Source: Library

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her...

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Ok, so The Fiery Heart is now my favourite Bloodlines novel so far. I never thought anything could top the awesomness of The Indigo Spell, but The Fiery Heart did.

Sydney made her decision in The Indigo Spell that she was going to rebel against the Alchemists by having her tattoo deactivated but she was going to remain an Alchemist to spy on them. Sydney finally gave into her feeling for Adrian (hooray!) only to have her sister Zoe show up as an Alchemist in training and she's going to be working with Sydney. 

God, Sydney had a lot on her plate in this book didn't she? Not only was she trying to hide the fact that she with with Adrian and that she'd deactivated her tattoo from Zoe, she was also trying to replicate the substance used to break Alchemist tattoos. Also, Sydney was still trying to harness her magic and learn to defend herself. Her sister wasn't making this easy on her. I actually really admired Sydney's strength in this one. If I were her, I probably would have punched Zoe because she's such a whiny little bitch. She was always trying to get one over on Sydney and always threw her under the bus whenever the opportunity arose. But Sydney was even more awesome in this one that she was in the previous books and I just love her.

We got to her from Adrian in The Fiery Heart! I can't even begin to explain how happy I was when I saw Adrian's name above one of the chapters. I've been dying to hear from Adrian's POV for ages, and I'm so glad I finally got to! Hearing from Adrian just made me love him even more. I loved getting an insight into what Spirit actually does to him and I just honestly loved getting to see how Adrian thinks. He's such a considerate and sweet character and I adore him even more now.

My Sydrian feels went into overdrive in this one because THEY WERE A COUPLE! Every single moment they spent together had me smiling because THEY'RE JUST TOO PERFECT TOGETHER. I need more Sydrian.

Of course nothing ever goes smoothly in a Richelle Mead book. There's always trouble around the corner when a couple finally get together and this one was no different. Zoe was the main obstacle in Sydney and Adrian's way - which is why I was hoping she would die. I just really really hated Zoe (especially at the end). There were a few more secrets uncovered in this one and I could feel that everything was building up towards a massive ending. The ending killed me. I'm not even joking. My heart just... broke. And I cried. A lot. I kind of saw it coming because of the whole phone thing, but that didn't mean I was prepared for it. I didn't expect it to be as horrible and emotional as it was! And now I need Silver Shadows badly because I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

Overall, this is definitely my favourite in the Bloodlines series so far. There's still two books to go so no doubt my favourite will change again. I'm just completely in love with this series and I'm going to have to buy them all so I can re-read them and torture myself until Silver Shadows comes out in July.

21 December 2013

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #3
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Source: Library

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she struggles to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she finally tracks down the elusive, enigmatic Marcus Finch – a former Alchemist who the organisation denies exists, and who lives in shadows, on the run. With Marcus's help, Sydney realises that the group she's been loyal to her whole life has been hiding the truth from her. Is it possible that her golden lily tattoo might have more power over her than she thinks?

As she struggles to come to terms with what that might mean, Sydney is compelled to use her growing magical powers to track down an evil magic user who is targeting powerful young witches. Using magic goes against everything she always thought she believed, but she realises that her only hope is to embrace her special blood – or else she might be next.

Forging her own way is harder than Sydney ever dreamed. Maybe by turning off her brain – and following her heart – she'll be able to finally figure out where she belongs.

The Indigo Spell has definitely been my favourite Bloodlines book so far. I just felt like the whole story line was a million times better than the previous two (even though I loved them) because everything was finally coming to a head and Sydney would have to make her choice.

Sydney is just getting stronger and stronger as this series goes on. She's uncovered a lot of secrets about the Alchemists and she's realised that she wants out. She doesn't want them controlling her, plus, she actually wants to be friends with the Moroi/Dhampires. She genuinely likes them. I just adore Sydney. I think she's one of the most awesome characters ever. Plus, she's a complete badass when she's using magic. I'm enjoying seeing her development throughout the series because she's a completely different person now and she's changed for the better.

Every time I talk about Adrian I probably just repeat myself because I just love him so much that I just like gushing about him. He's so adorable and sweet, hilarious, sarcastic and very protective of Sydney. Adrian had me smiling and laughing most of the way through this book and that's why he's one of my favourite characters ever. He's just amazing.

We finally got some Sydrian action in this one and it left me squealing. I couldn't help it, I just love these two so much and they just have to be together because they're perfect. They've got such a strong bond and the chemistry between them is undeniable (even though Sydney tries her hardest to deny it).

Sydney has realised that the Alchemists are keeping things from her and she's determined to get to the bottom of why they're keeping secrets. Sydney uncovers some things about Marcus Finch (a former Alchemist) and whenever Sydney asks about him she's told he doesn't exist. Sydney manages to track down Marcus and finds out that Marcus managed to break his Alchemist tattoo and has been hiding from them for years. Marcus lets Sydney in on a few of the Alchemists secrets and Sydney realises that she'll do anything to break their control over her. If that wasn't enough to be dealing with, there was also a Witch that was hunting down young, powerful witches and draining their magic. Miss Telliweger believes that Sydney is in danger so she makes her a charm and sends her off to find other witches and give them charms to protect them. 

The end of the last chapter kind of just made me go 'Oh, shit.' I knew that it wasn't going to be good for Sydney because she's rebelling against the Alchemists (and also because of what happened at the museum!). I should have know that nothing is ever happy in a Richelle Mead book. Something always comes along and destroys the happiness. 

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I ended up diving straight into The Fiery Heart after this one because I was desperate to see how Sydney was going to handle everything and plus, I was looking forward to seeing a certain couple actually being a couple! 

20 December 2013

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #2
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: June 12th 2012
Source: Library

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

Sydney would love to go to college, but instead, she’s been sent into hiding at a posh boarding school in Palm Springs, California–tasked with protecting Moroi princess Jill Dragomir from assassins who want to throw the Moroi court into civil war. Formerly in disgrace, Sydney is now praised for her loyalty and obedience, and held up as the model of an exemplary Alchemist.

But the closer she grows to Jill, Eddie, and especially Adrian, the more she finds herself questioning her age–old Alchemist beliefs, her idea of family, and the sense of what it means to truly belong. Her world becomes even more complicated when magical experiments show Sydney may hold the key to prevent becoming Strigoi—the fiercest vampires, the ones who don’t die. But it’s her fear of being just that—special, magical, powerful—that scares her more than anything. Equally daunting is her new romance with Brayden, a cute, brainy guy who seems to be her match in every way. Yet, as perfect as he seems, Sydney finds herself being drawn to someone else—someone forbidden to her.

When a shocking secret threatens to tear the vampire world apart, Sydney’s loyalties are suddenly tested more than ever before. She wonders how she's supposed to strike a balance between the principles and dogmas she's been taught, and what her instincts are now telling her.

Should she trust the Alchemists—or her heart?

After the very last sentence of Bloodlines I was even more excited to start The Golden Lily! Dimitri and Sonya have arrived in Palm Springs and they are determined to find a way to protect Moroi and Dhampies from being turned into Strigoi after the revelations that Strigoi who have been saved by Spirit can't become a Strigoi again. Sydney has started questioning the Alchemists and their beliefs as she gets closed and closer to Jill, Eddie and Adrian. 

Sydney is quickly becoming one of my favourite female characters. She's super smart, can fix cars, is a total badass and she's just completely awesome. Sydney is kind of socially awkward and doesn't realise when people are trying to ask her out. Trey sets Sydney up with his friend Brayden (because apparently he's a male version of Sydney when really he's just a bore) and they go on dates to windmills and museums (how fun!). Sydney knows she doesn't have feelings for Brayden because she's started developing feelings for someone else and she knows it's forbidden. 

Adrian was even more adorable in this one. He's still trying to get over Rose, but it's clear how much he likes Sydney. He buys a car he can't drive and asks her to teach him; he goes to self-defense classes with her (where there's some serious chemistry between them!) and he's always looking out for her. Adrian is still coming to terms with his bond with Jill but he's started to sort his life out. He joined college and even tried to get himself a job (which was hilarious). Adrian has some really hilarious and sarcastic lines that always had me laughing my head off. I just love Adrian so much.

I can't even tell you guys how much I wanted Adrian and Sydney to get together! They're just so perfect! I actually may love them more than Rose and Dimitri... I can't help it! Adrian is clearly attracted to Sydney but Sydney is refusing to give into her feelings since she's an alchemist and alchemists can't get with Vampires. I kind of wanted to cry most of they way through this book because I just wanted them to get together!

Yet again, there was a lot going on in this book. It turned out that there was a secret group working to rid the world of Strigoi (or all vampires really, they aren't picky). Dimitri and Sonya are determined to find a way to prevent Strigoi from turning other vampires. Sydney had a boyfriend and was trying to juggle him, Adrian and the other vampires (which didn't work out so well). 

There was a hell of a lot of action at the end of this book which I completely loved. I really enjoyed finding out about this secret group (even if they were a bunch of assholes who couldn't tell a Strigoi from a Moroi). And then later on my Sydrian feels went into overdrive and then I was dying to get stuck into The Indigo Spell!

Overall, I adored this one as much as the first book. I am kind of enjoying these a lot more than Vampire Academy because I kind of like the characters more. It's nice to be able to learn about Eddie, Jill, Adrian and Sydney while also having some of the Vampire Academy characters make an appearance.

19 December 2013

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: August 25th 2011
Source: Library

Sydney protects vampire secrets - and human lives

Sydney belongs to a secret group who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the world of humans and vampires.

But when Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, she fears she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. What unfolds is far worse. The sister of Moroi queen Lissa Dragomir is in mortal danger, and goes into hiding. Now Sydney must act as her protector.

The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one...

As soon as I finished reading the Vampire Academy series I was extremely eager to start on the Bloodlines series so I ordered them all in from my library. I was hoping to read them all last month, but I never had the time to get around to them since I had so many other books to read. So I waited until this month so that I could marathon the first 4 books. I'm definitely glad I waited because everytime I finished a book I move straight on to the next one because I had to know what was going to happen next.

Bloodlines followed Sydney Sage (alchemist) who is sent to California to protect Jill because there was an attempt on her life. Eddie accompanies Jill to protect her and Adrian just tags along. All 4 of them have to pretend to be siblings to blend in and protect Jill. While Sydney is protecting Jill she discovers that there is something else going on in Palm Springs and she's determined to get to the bottom of it.

So my main reason for wanting to start this series so badly was Sydney. Although she wasn't in Vampire Academy that much, she was in it enough to interest me. Sydney is an alchemist. The alchemists are a secret group who work to protect humans from finding out that there are vampires in the world, which means they also help vampires (no matter how much they hate them/are scared of them). Sydney is just such an amazing female character. She's not supposed to like Vampires but after he adventures with Rose she's realised that they aren't as bad as she thought. Sydney is an extremely smart and reliable character. She always does her best to help everyone and that's one the things I really love about her. She's such a hilarious character because she's so naive. Sydney is all wrapped up in her own little world and I just love her.

And then there's Adrian. I never in a million years thought I would love Adrian more than Dimitri & Christian, but I do! Adrian is just one of the sweetest guys ever. He's absolutely hilarious and had me laughing my head off when he was messing around with Keith. Adrian has his own problems going on which are revealed throughout the book and he's still trying to get over Rose. Adrian is just so adorable and I love him to bits.

There was a hell of a lot going on in this book. Sydney was rooming with Jill at school and was doing her best to protect and look out for her, but Jill had her own problems going on that Sydney didn't know about. Adrian was the only one who could help her and that led to me piecing some things together. I also liked that we eventually got to find out what happened at the Palace when Jill was attacked. Everything was being kept under wraps for quite a while because there were things Sydney didn't know, so I enjoyed uncovering them. There were people at school who were getting tattoo's to enhance their abilities and Sydney started to think there was something off about them, so she decided to investigate. And, as if that wasn't enough to be dealing with, there were also girls being killed and they were being classes as Strigoi attacks even though their throats were slit. So yeah, Sydney had a lot on her plate in this book but she handle it all.

The ending was fantastic and revealed a lot of things I never expected (minus the Keith revelation, because I expected that one). There was action, Sydney being badass and a fantastic last sentence that left me squealing and jumping up and down. 

Overall, I actually think I enjoyed Bloodlines a lot more than Vampire Academy. I just couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next so as soon as I finished this one I dove straight into The Golden Lily. If you're a fan of the Vampire Academy series and you haven't started reading Bloodlines yet, I definitely, definitely recommend that you do!

16 December 2013

World After by Susan Ee

World After by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #2
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: November 19th 2013
Source: Bought

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world. 

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

I've been so super excited for this book ever since I finished Angelfall in August. I've been dying to find out what was going to happen next in Penryn and Raffe's story and World After didn't disappoint. Right from the get go I was completely pulled into this book. I was thrown back into this dark and dangerous world and I loved every single second of it. 

Penryn is definitely one of my top ten favourite female characters. She's determined, strong, focused, caring and extremely smart. The thing I love the most about her though is no matter how crazy and screwed up her family is, she'll do everything and anything she possibly can to protect them. Penryn hasn't had an easy family life because of her mother, but her sister and her mother are the most important people in Penryn's life and she never ever forgets about them. She's always willing to risk her life for them and I really respect her for that. Her strength in this one is admirable. Penryn goes through a hell of a lot in this one and not once did she ever give up. She always fights till the very end.

Raffe was absent for most of this book (which made me sad), but he was still a part of it. Penryn was getting flashes in Raffe's mind from his sword. She was reliving moments that her and Raffe had together and they kind of just made me flail and squeal because I adore them together. Raffe was even more sexy, dangerous, dark and protective in this one and I loved it! 

The storyline of this one was just as action packed as Angelfall. Penryn and her family were taking in by a rebel group and they turn against Paige. It was horrible seeing the way they were treating Paige, it actually made me feel sick. She's was just an innocent child who was experimented upon. It's not her fault how she turned out, but no one else ever saw her as a person - they saw her as a monster. So Paige, Penryn and her mother all flee which leads to Penryn having to hunt down her sister again. There were a lot of twists and shocking revelations revealed that I'm not going to go into detail about, but I did like that we got to find out what happened to Paige after she was taken in Angelfall. It was heartbreaking seeing the way she was treated though. 

The ending was action packed and left me squealing with delight because of Raffe and Penryn (I love them so much). After the way it ended I'm really looking forward to the third book, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll come out soon because I just HAVE to know what's going to happen next.

Overall, World After was just as amazing as Angelfall. I adored everything about this book and this is a series that I recommend to everyone. Seriously, everyone should read it.

13 December 2013

A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers

A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers
Series: A Little Too Far #2
Publisher: William Morrow Impulse
Publication Date: November 12th 2013
Source: Publisher [Edelweiss]

Twenty-two year old Hilary McIntyre would like nothing more than to forget her past. As a teenager abandoned to the system, she faced some pretty dark times. But now that’s all behind her. Hilary has her life on track, and there’s no way she’ll head back down that road again.

Until Alessandro Moretti—the one person who can make her remember—shows up on her doorstep. He’s even more devastatingly gorgeous than before, and he’s much too close for comfort. Worse, he sees right through the walls she’s built over these last eight years, right into her heart and the secrets she’s guarding.

As Hilary finds herself falling back into love with the man who, as a boy both saved and destroyed her, she must decide. Past or future? Truth or lies?

I was in kind of a slump after finishing The Woken Gods and I couldn't really focus on reading anything, so I decided to pick up A Little Too Much since New Adult books usually help get me out of my slump - and it worked again.

Although I didn't like A Little Too Much as much as A Little Too Far, I still really enjoyed it.

A Little Too Much focuses on Alessandro - who was in A Little Too Far - and Hilary. I was really excited for this one because I adored Alessandro in the previous book and I was looking forward to finding out more about him and his past. I was also really looking forward to finding out about Hilary since she was part of Alessando's past.

Alessandro was just as sweet and swoon-worthy in this book as he was in the previous one. He was slightly more closed off and reserved because he was facing things from his past that he regretted, but he was still amazing. I really enjoyed discovering more about Alessandro and his past, and what led him to joining the Church to become a priest.

Hilary was an interesting character too. She had a horrible childhood and she just wants to forget about it, but having Alessandro back in her life is bringing back memories she'd repressed. I felt so bad for Hilary because of what happened to her and her upbringing really screwed her up. She was a really likeable character.

The storyline was interesting and I really liked seeing Alessandro and Hilary discovering New York. I also really loved seeing their friendship develop again and they definitely had some serious chemistry. I did guess Hilary's secret though, I thought it was pretty obvious. I even guessed it before I started reading the book! But it was still interesting seeing how the reveal went and seeing what happened after that.

A Little Too Much isn't my favourite NA novel, but I still really enjoyed it. It was a quick, enjoyable read and I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves New Adult.

12 December 2013

The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond

The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond
Series: No
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: September 3rd 2013
Source: Publisher [Netgalley]

The more things change…

Ten years ago, the gods of ancient mythology awoke all around the world.

The more things stay the same…

This morning, seventeen-year-old Kyra Locke was late for school. But that’s not out of the ordinary in a transformed Washington, D.C., dominated by the embassies of divine pantheons and watched over by the mysterious Society of the Sun that governs mankind’s relations with the gods. What is unusual is Kyra’s encounter with two trickster gods on her way home, one offering a threat, and the other a warning.

Kyra escapes with the aid of young operatives from the Society, who inform her that her scholarly father has disappeared from its headquarters at the Library of Congress and taken a dangerous Egyptian relic with him. The Society needs the item back, and they aren’t interested in Kyra’s protests that she knows nothing about it. Now Kyra must depend on her wits and the help of everyone from a paranoid ex-boyfriend to scary Sumerian gods to operatives whose allegiance is first and always to the Society. She has no choice if she’s going to clear her father’s name and recover the missing relic before the impending summer solstice.

What’s at stake? Just the end of the world as Kyra knows it.

The Woken Gods was actually a big disappointment for me. I started off really enjoying it and I was intrigued to find out more about Kyra, but as the book went on I started to lose interest. It just seemed to go on forever and I started to get really bored. At about 75% I started skim reading because I just wanted to know how it was going to end and I didn't care about the rest of it.

Kyra was an alright main character, but she was nothing special. She was just the usual curious teenage girl who realised that she had a big part to play in saving the world and got distracted everytime a hot guy was near her. I just couldn't connect with Kyra at all.

The whole idea of this book was what attracted me to this book in the first place. I was interested to see what a world where Gods and humans worked together (sort of) was like. At first, I found it interesting and I was excited to learn more about it. But, as the book went on, I just started to get really bored and couldn't be bothered reading it anymore. It actually felt like I was reading this book forever. I honestly didn't care about Kyra or what happened to her dad, I didn't care about her mother, her friends or the Gods by the end. I just wanted to know whether they would be able to save the world or not.

To be honest, the ending was kind of anti-climatic for me. I guessed exactly how it was going to play out so I was kind of disappointed with the ending.

Overall, this was an OK book. I enjoyed the first half, but the second half dragged for me and I just lost interest. I know there are a lot of people who enjoyed this book, but sadly I wasn't one of them.

9 December 2013

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Defy by Sara B. Larson
Series: Defy #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: January 7th 2014
Source: Publisher [Netgalley]

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Defy is one of those books that I've been so freaking excited for ever since I heard about it. So when The Reading Nook Reviews let me know that it was available to 'Read Now' on Netgalley, I started jumping up and down and rushed over to grab myself a copy.

Defy definitely lived up to my expectations. There was a kick ass heroine, two hot guys, magic, secrets and a lot of fighting. 

Alexa is one of the most kick ass heroines I've ever read about. She's forced to disguise herself as a boy so that she wouldn't be sent to the Breeding House. She managed to become part of Prince Damian's guard because she was such an awesome fighter! Seriously, I adored seeing Alexa fight because she was fanatstic! She was a much better fighter than all of the other members of the Prince's Guard, which just made her even more amazing. I really admired Alexa. She did what she had to do to protect herself and I respected her for that. She hates that she has to hide who she is, but she has to do it to keep herself safe. Alexa is willing to fight for what she believes is right and she's always willing to make sacrifices even if they hurt her.

So there was a definite love triangle in this book. The two guys were completely different and as usual, I had my favourite.
Prince Damian was my favourite in this one. He acts cocky and stuck up, but really he's just trying to protect himself. Damian has had some pretty horrible things happen to him when he was young and he puts up a front to protect himself. He doesn't know if there's anyone he can trust so he keeps himself to himself and doesn't let anyone in. That is, until Alexa. Damian starts to realise that Alexa is someone he can trust. Damian does kind of deceive Alexa and hide his deepest secret from her, but that's because he's always been told never to let anyone find it out because it could lead to his death. I wasn't too bothered about Damian lying to Alexa because it was what he had to do to protect himself.
Rylan was a member of the Prince's Guard. He's a really sweet and caring character, but I just didn't like him as much as Damian. Rylan has always known about Alexa being a girl because of a slip up that her and her brother made and he's been pining after her for years. He's always cared about her and now that her secret is out, he can finally act upon it. To me, it kind of felt like Rylan was trying to force Alexa into liking him instead of giving her a choice. He was always trying to warn her off of Damian and it started to annoy me. He's a nice enough guy, but definitely not my favourite.

I absolutely adored the storyline of this book. Seeing how far Alexa had to go to hide the fact that she was a girl was interesting. The world in this story was interesting as well, but the way the King ran it was horrific. He had a breeding house where girls/woman were sent to have kids and it made me sick. I completely understood why Alexa did what she did to avoid it. I loved uncovering Damian's secrets and finding out what he was hiding from Alexa. There was a lot of fighting, magic and action and I loved every minute of it.

The ending was really good and also slightly heartbreaking, but I have faith that the next book will be just as amazing as this one.

Overall, this was a really great fantasy novel. It had everything I adore about fantasy novels: an intriguing world, magic and lots of fighting. This is a book that I definitely recommend to everyone!

8 December 2013

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine

Fall of Night by Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires #14
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Publication Date: May 2nd 2013
Source: Library

Claire never thought she’d leave Morganville, but when she gets accepted into the graduate program at MIT, she can’t pass up the opportunity. Saying good-bye to her friends is bittersweet, especially since things are still raw and unsettled between Claire and her boyfriend, Shane.

Her new life at MIT is scary and exciting, but Morganville is never really far from Claire’s mind. Enrolled in a special advanced study program with Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native, Claire is able to work on her machine, which is designed to cancel the mental abilities of vampires.

But when she begins testing her machine on live subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever make...

Morganville has been one of my favourite series for years and this one didn't let me down. In fact, it's been the best one I've read in ages! It was full of surprises, shocks and a new setting which kept it interesting. 

Claire going to MIT is something that was definitely going to happen eventually during this series because she's super smart and amazing, so I loved that we got to follow her there. Claire is one my favourite female characters from a book. She's such a badass character and she really shows it in this one. Claire created a device that can be used again Vampires to protect humans and she's been sent to MIT to work with Irene Anderson on it. Claire has such amazing ideas and she's just such an amazing character. I love her.

Shane was just adorable as usual. Shane is dealing with the aftermath of how he acted in the previous book and he and Claire are taking some time apart. But Shane loves Claire so much that he follows her to MIT so that he can be near her and stop himself from worrying, but he doesn't let her know that he's there. So, yeah I did find that slightly creepy and I wanted to tell Shane to go home because Claire can take care of herself, but Shane being there actually turned out to be a good thing. Shane is beating himself up because of how he acted and he's willing to do anything to show Claire how sorry he is.

Michael and Eve were both brilliant again in this book. Eve is just so awesome and Michael is just swoon-worthy and amazing. I love them both as well!

The storyline of this one was packed full of action and twists. There were so many times I was left with my mouth hanging open because I just couldn't believe what had happened! Rachel Caine never fails to make this series interesting and she always manages to leave me wanting more. The ending on this one made me so freaking excited for Daylighters (but I'm still sad because it's the last book). Fingers crossed I'll get my hands on it soon!

Overall, this has been my favourite book of this series for quite a while. If you haven't started the Morganville series yet, then what are you waiting for? It's been my favourite Vampire series for years and I definitely recommend it.

6 December 2013

Awaken by Meg Cabot

Awaken by Meg Cabot
Series: Abandon #1
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: September 26th 2013
Source: Library

Death has her in his clutches. She doesn’t want him to let go.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves.

But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.

If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.

I read Abandon and Underworld last year and I was super excited for this one when I'd finished those two. But, by the time this one came out, I'd completely forgotten what had happened in the first two and I just couldn't be bothered re-reading them. I just dove straight into this one hoping that there would be some re-capping. There was a little, but I still don't remember much of what happened in the first two.

I actually didn't enjoy Awaken as much as I remember enjoying the first two (although I may have been very lenient about the star rating I gave them since I read them before I started blogging), but it wasn't awful. 

Pierce came across as a strong character (most of the time) in this book. All of the power was on her shoulders and she managed to handle everything and also make some changes. The only times she didn't appear strong were when she was moping over John. She was so focused on him and it was like her whole life revolved around him and she would do absolutely anything for him. It started to get pretty annoying.

John wasn't as swoony as I remember him being. He was broody and mysterious, but I'd completely lost my attraction for him. Maybe it was because he always wanted Pierce to stay behind while he went off to fight and it started to really bug me. He didn't realise how strong and independent Pierce was and it annoyed me.

Pierce and John's relationship was... strange. There's no other word for it. He's the ruler of the underworld (basically) and she's a human. They were both so reliant on each other (Pierce especially) and I just didn't enjoy their relationship in this one.

The storyline was interesting, but there were parts of it that I found completely ridiculous. Some parts felt like they were just thrown in to make the book longer, and I honestly didn't care about most of it. I was just interested in seeing how everything worked out in the end. The ending was good and was definitely a great ending to the series, but like I said, I just didn't enjoy this one as much as the first two.

Overall, I'd still recommend reading this book. If it's been a while since you read Abandon and Underworld, I'd definitely recommend re-reading them before starting on this one. 

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Series: No
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: December 31st 2013
Source: Publisher [Edelweiss]

Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.

One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

The Promise of Amazing was just as sweet and adorable as I expected it to be. It was full of really cute moments and was just what I wanted.

The story followed our two main characters: Wren and Grayson. Wren is a good girl and she's just an average student. Wren's usual behaviour isn't getting her very far this year in school and she wants to gain more confidence and actually participate in class, but she doesn't know how to change. Grayson was the star of his school. He was top of his class and the best player on the lacrosse team. But he was expelled for writing other people's papers. Grayson is trying to pull himself back together, but he doesn't know how. Wren and Grayson's paths cross when Wren saves Grayson from choking. They realise the both have a connection and this book follows their journey to becoming new people and falling in love.

Wren was a character that I really felt for. Her parents were controlling and always relied on her to be their perfect daughter that doesn't get into trouble. They basically want their children to follow a plan and if they don't, there's basically a massive meltdown. Wren is struggling to find out who she really is and when she realises that her average performance won't be enough to get her into Harvard, she decides it's time to change. Wren started to come out of her shell during the book and she started to figure out who she really was. She'd been so focused on fitting into the mold her parents made, but she wanted to experiment and discover herself. By the end of the book, I really loved Wren.

I had mixed feelings about Grayson. He was a sweet character, but the things he'd done in the past were hard to ignore. Grayson is trying to move on from his past, but his old friends aren't ready to let him go without a fight. Grayson realised what he did was wrong and he's trying to make himself a better person. His parents divorce and his mother re-marriage were both hard on him and he's still struggling with it. Grayson does start to change throughout the book, but he allows himself to be dragged back into 'the plan' with his old friends which jeopardizes his new image and his relationship with Wren. I just wish Grayson would have had the strength to say no and tell his friends where to shove it. I really wish he hadn't allowed himself to be dragged back into that mess.

The relationship between Wren and Grayson was sweet, but it was extremely rushed. Grayson basically looked her up and turned up outside Wren's school the day after she saved his life and told her his life story. It was odd, but there was a definitely connection between these two characters. I loved seeing the way they both changed after they became involved in each others lives.

Finding out about Grayson's past was shocking. I thought he was just involved in writing other people's school papers for them, but there was also the 'Amsterdam project' - or whatever it was. Finding out about what Grayson and his friends did was shocking. I certainly never expected Grayson to be involved in something like that and I hated that he allowed himself to be pulled into it again by Luke (who was a complete ass and I wanted to punch him). But it did add something extra to the story that led to a big showdown near the end.

The ending was really sweet and it left me feeling all happy inside. Wren and Grayson's story wasn't a straight-forward love story, but it was interesting and cute.

Overall, I really did enjoy this contemporary. I loved that it wasn't just about Wren and Grayson's relationship, but there were family issues and Grayson's past thrown in to keep it interesting. This is definitely a book I recommend to anyone who loves contemporary.