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A Million Suns (Across the Universe)
A Million Suns (Across the Universe)
by Beth Revis
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Of Clues!, 18 Feb. 2013
I always worry about second books because they tend to fall into the trap of setting up for the final installment rather than being any good themselves. "A Million Suns" is not one of these books. It had me glued to the pages for hours (when really I should have been doing something far more productive) and I just couldn't put it down until my eyelids refused to stay open any longer.

This second installments kicks off shortly after the events of the first book where Amy and Elder are trapped on Godspeed with no idea when or if they'll ever reach the new planet, Centauri Earth. We see Amy struggle the most I think within this book to come to terms with the lose of her life on Sol-Earth. She is incredibly lonely and spends most of her time staring at her cryogenically frozen parents. Elder on the other hand has bigger fish to fry. The entire ship (now free of Phydus - the mind calming drug) is beginning to rebel. After all, they didn't ask for Elder to be their leader. There was democratic vote. They want choice. Elder spends almost all of the book fighting off this rebellion and trying to prove his right to be the Eldest (despite refusing to change his name).

What's really clever is that Revis has shown what a population of people are actually capable of when free from a drug like Phydus. The human race isn't displayed in the kindest of ways but I think she perfectly portrays what a little bit of free choice can bring out in people, good or bad. The ship therefore is much less safe then it was when Eldest was the leader. Infact, we see dozens of murders, dozens of betrayals and a refusal to do the general jobs on the ship. Which means not enough food, not enough resources and a lot of angry, hungry people (which of course is brilliant fun to read about!).

I was also very impressed with the portrayal of the characters this time around. I liked Elder and Amy in the first book but nothing really grabbed me about them. However, Revis really made them come alive for me this time. Amy in particular was depicted in an interesting way. I liked that she toyed with the idea of choice and love; she doesn't seem convinced that Elder really is the one for her like so many stereotypical female leads, but instead spends quite a portion of her narrative debating about whether she only likes him because she has no other choice or no other person her age to choose from. What's even more impressive is that she actually is shown to have the guts to actually vocalise this to Elder and for that I was truly impressed with her character and had a lot more interest in reading about her and seeing how things played out. Her debate seemed such a human response which I think is sometimes lacking in YA fiction where romance is concerned.

This book becomes more of a "find the truth, spot the clues" kind of book. Amy has been left a bunch of clues by Orion (the currently frozen bad guy on the ship) telling her that she must follow the clues to find the truth. And Wow. When she finds it you'll just be blown away. Along the way both Amy and Elder discover so much about the history of the ship, the true nature of the plague, the potential to get to the new planet and the real purpose of the mission. I loved the way Beth Revis introduced all of these new ideas by using clues and that we could try and figure it out ourselves too (I admit I failed miserably).

I couldn't have asked for a better read, it really is a fantastic series full of new ideas that I think are unique amongst YA fiction. I can't wait to see what will happen in the next installments after the shocking revelations of this book. I definitely recommend this book, the only fault I could give is that some of the plot twists (although only one or two) were a little predictable but the final revelations more than make up for that! Get yourself a copy, you won't be disappointed.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 19, 2013 3:00 PM BST

Sever (Chemical Garden Trilogy)
Sever (Chemical Garden Trilogy)
by Lauren DeStefano
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, we get some answers!, 18 Feb. 2013
I've liked the way Lauren DeStefano writes throughout the entirity of her trilogy and again, wasn't disappointed with the delivery of "Sever". I have to admit though that although I found "Wither" to be a fantastically new idea with some really outrageous and brave ideas, I thought she'd lost some of her edge when it came to "Fever". Thankfully, "Sever", this final installment in the Chemical Gardens Trilogy (a title I hadn't understood until this book) is a massive step in the right direction - I loved it.

The story begins pretty much where "Fever" left off in which Rhine is searching for her brother after the cliffhanger of the second book. As you'd expect there's quite a lot of interference, and a bunch of twists and turns, when it comes to finding him because good old Vaughn has got his evil cluthes sunk right into Rhine and her sort-of family. Surprisingly we do still see quite a bit of Cecily (Rhine's youngest sister wife) and Linden (Rhine's husband) which was great because I thought that we'd only get glimpses of them now that Rhine is off looking for her brother. The introduction of a new character in the form of Reed, Vaughns brother, is lovely and refreshing. I actually liked him a whole lot more than many of the previous characters and felt the part he played was completely unexpected.

I was a bit suprised that Gabriel really only gets a bit of a cameo in this book, considering he's the love interest and all I figured he'd get a bigger part but actually he'd become quite a boring, verging on annoying (even more than Cecily was in Wither? Maybe not.) character and I can't see I especially missed his part that much so DeStefano played it well. What was brilliant was the small revisit to the Carnival to see Madame and what has become of Lilac after losing Maddie to her grandmother in the last book. Additionally, it was fantastic to see what has become of the rest of the world and the human population - I especially liked how this was tied in to the lose of a couple of American States and that the reason for this was finally explained.

BUT what we all wanted to know when reading this book was: Is there going to be some sort of miraculous cure? Has Vaughn been conducting all of these gruesome experiments for nothing? Will Gabriel and Rhine be reunited? Where did the virus even come from? And all of those questions are extremely well answered. I can happily say that after turning the final page of "Sever" I knew everything I needed to know...which isn't to say I liked all of the answers.

I think the important thing for this book was for DeStefano to tie off all those loose ends, to give us a riproarer of an ending and to leave her fans happy with the ending of the Chemical Gardens Trilogy. I think that she did just that and I can't wait to see what her next story entails. Read this book!

Breathless Reads Sampler
Breathless Reads Sampler
Price: £0.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find Yourself Something New., 17 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The best word I think I can use to describe this selection of samplers is: Useful. I'm forever picking up books in the YA genre which sound absolutely amazing and turn out to be a total flop. With a collection of segments like this we're able to have a quick look-see into the first three or four chapters of each book (there are five books altogether) and by doing so we can figure out if we like the author's style or the storyline in general.

The first of the five is "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis. Now, I'd actually already read this book (and can assure you it's absolutely fantastic) but if this had been the first time I'd picked it up I'd have been hooked by the chapters we're given because they're short, snappy and total cliffhangers. This story is told from the alternating perspectives of Elder and Amy. Essentially this is story of a young girl and her family who are being cryogenically frozen for hundreds of years so that they can be transported via spaceship to another planet which they can colonate...that is until Amy is woken up prematurely. An excellent snapshot into a story which promises to be 5/5 stars.

The second sampler is "Born Wicked" by Jessica Spotswood. I think you can guess by the title that it's going to have a witch-y focus and it does. I'd never heard of the book or the author so was excited to see what was in store but sadly just found it to be slow and heavy going with little to grab my attention. It's hard really to give a fair opinion with only three chapters (although they are fairly long chapters) but I'm actually glad I found that it wasn't for me. The whole point of these samplers in my opinion is to find out if you'd read the whole book rather than wasting your money and I found that I'd be wasting mine if I did buy this book so I'm very glad I came across this sampler and can't recommend it enough for this reason.

The third sampler is "Legend" by Marie Lu and it absolutely blew me away. Told from the alternating perspectives of June and Day we see a whole new world with corruption, adventure, unfairly segregated classes of people and a sprinkling of humour spread throughout. I've already read Legend and can't recommend it enough so if you download this sampler for even just one book, it's worth it for this one just to see if it's for you because it really is fantastic.

"Matched" by Ally Condie is the fourth sampler. This is a very dystopian story which has become ridiculously popular in the YA world and for good reason. It tells the story of Cassia, a young girl living in a city where society dictates everything - when you're born, what you eat, where you work, who you love! and even when you die. It's a romantic, gripping book which I more than recommend. If you're not sure then this sample is more than worth a read.

The final sampler is "Nightshade" by Andrea Cremer. I see this book everytime I go into my local bookshop. I pick it up, give the blurb a read and put it back down, all whilst thinking "It sounds good, but I'm not convinced". After downloading this sample I couldn't put it down and was so disappointed when I got to the end of the sample that I went straight to the bookshop and bought it! If that's not a reason to get yourself this collection of samplers then I don't know what else is.

I whole-heartedly recommend this collection to anyone who has heard of the five books contained within and, like me, just wasn't sure if you'd like them. It really doesn't matter if you've read some of them before because it's so beneficial just to get an insight into the style of writing and general storytelling. I have to admit though, I've noticed that a lot of YA books now have that "Look Inside" option where you can read a short section of the book whilst browsing on your computer/phone or whatever. I think that this option offered by Amazon is probably just as good as the sampler (and won't clutter up your Kindle if it's getting a bit full!).

Endurance: A Original (Razorland)
Endurance: A Original (Razorland)
Price: £0.78

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Became of the Enclave? (Enclave 2.5), 17 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I happened across this novella by complete accident whilst browsing for Kindle books and as a massive fan of the "Enclave" series I just had to give it a read. First things first, this short novella is intended (from what I gathered by reading) to be read after "Outpost", the second book in the series. Definitely do not read it as a prelude to "Enclave" because it's absolutely riddled with spoilers.

"Endurance" centres on Thimble (who you may remember to be the Builder from Deuce's Enclave underground) and Stone (the male breeder, again from the Enclave). Deuce does not feature at all. This is essentially a mini-love story of how Thimble and Stone finally come to realise how much they care for each other - something we saw a tiny glimpse of in "Enclave" in which their love is forbidden.

The novella takes us on a miniature adventure alongside the couple as they are forced to flee from their Enclave after a freak invasion. You know what this means right? Thimble and Stone have to battle against the Freaks living outside of the Enclave to find some kind of escape. What's especially interesting is that we see the couple abandon their roles as builder and breeder and abandon the accepted rules of the Enclave. The Enclave is so regimented and has so many ridiculous rules which prevent its people from actually living like human beings instead of workers. I liked that they seemed to realise quite quickly that when it comes down to it, there are no rules or sub-groups when it comes to survival.

I think Aguirre has written a nice novella to tide us over until the release of the third book in the series, "Horde", and it was great to see what became of the Enclave after Deuce left - especially consider that flashback-type-vision that Deuce had towards the end of "Enclave" (don't want to say too much more incase you haven't read it yet). Definitely get yourself a copy if you can, it's a great (if short) read.

Hallowed: An Unearthly Novel (Unearthly Trilogy (Quality))
Hallowed: An Unearthly Novel (Unearthly Trilogy (Quality))
by Cynthia Hand
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Visions?!, 16 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved "Unearthly", really I did, it was a much more interesting take on Angels than any other YA book I'd come across so I was hoping that "Hallowed" would continue the trend but couldn't help but worry that it would be a middle-book-syndrome flop. Luckily for all of us, "Hallowed" was not only as good a read as "Unearthly" but leaps and bounds more interesting to read (shocking since we've already been given a lot of the surprises).

I felt like throughout the book Cynthia Hand was dropping subtle hints about why she's even bothered writing this series. There are some pretty deep messages woven in about family, discovering yourself, secrets, lies and betrayals and some really sensitive topics like dealing with loss which Hand seemed to me to deal with in a delicate (not preachy) way. I loved that her message was only really there if you looked for it rather than rammed down our throats and really respected her for that. Additionally, I think she handles the subject of God and more notably heaven very well and again in a way that, if you didn't believe, I still think wouldn't rub you up the wrong way.

Following on from the events of Unearthly, Clara appears to be having a bit of an internal battle between who she loves and who she wants to be with. Although it might seem simple at first: She loves Tuckers so surely it's obvious right? But if your destiny is to be with someone different that's pretty hard to ignore and I really enjoyed reading about this and seeing how Clara dealt with the decisions she had to make. I think she's maintained the same aspects of her character that I loved about her from "Unearthly" but matured as a character - there was none of this whiney "Oh I love them both and Oh no I have to choose" business, she just got on with it for the most part.

There's a pretty major event within this book which I really can't talk about without giving anything away but, around the topic, "Hallowed" is essentially about another vision that Clara is having. You may remember the whole business of a "purpose" that Clara (and Christian through Clara) didn't fulfill in "Unearthly" and now we're seeing the knock on effects of that. But I thought that would be the end of the "purpose" since she failed it and the visions would be over. BUT Hand is far better than that and has very cleverly explained how Clara still gets her new visions.

The thing I loved most about this book was the new Angel details we find out. Angela (Clara's slightly more Angel-blooded friend) creates an "Angel Club" whereby Clara, Angela, Clara's brother and Christian all get together and sort of share angel facts they've learned and practice things like their glory. I think this was a fantastic way for us as readers to delve into the Angel world without it being too much information at once.

There's so much more I want to say but I think I'll just leave it at this: Get yourself a copy (and have a look for the "Radiant" novella intended to be read after it). You really won't be disappointed.

Radiant (Unearthly)
Radiant (Unearthly)
Price: £0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Angela's Secrets Are Revealed...Sort of., 16 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first question I had about this short novella I couldn't find the answer to ANYWHERE! At what point in the series are we actually supposed to read this book? Well you can consider this novella to be "Unearthly" book 2.5, intended to be read before "Boundless" but after "Hallowed". The reason being, there are horrendous spoilers for Hallowed within it so please do NOT read this straight after "Unearthly".

This novella isn't actually as short as I thought it would be, it's a really nice size and perfectly suits the tale it's telling - Angela's secret romance and Clare and Angela's summer following the events of "Hallowed". What I absolutely loved was the setting of the book - Italy! I couldn't have loved that more and Cynthia Hand has woven in a really nice description of Clara's surroundings with a little bit of history thrown in too.

Throughout the "Unearthly" series we've had a tiny insight into Angela really in the grand scheme of things. We know a little about her but she's always so secretive and mysterious. Remember how we always get hints dropped here and there about Angela having a mystery boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend)? Well FINALLY, that's getting cleared up. Phen is infact, said mystery guy and actually even though we find out who and what he is but to be honest, I don't feel much clearer on him! Which is exactly the reason for my four, and not five, stars. I was so excited to see how Clara is doing and finally get some answers about Angela's romance but despite discovering a bit about Phen, I still feel like the novella ended openly with an almost-cliffhanger.

I really liked that the story alternates between Clara and Angela's point of view because we don't know all that much about Angela yet (plus she's quite funny, in that cynical kind of way). But I have to admit that the more I saw of Angela the more I disliked her. She's shown to be completely infatuated, in a pointless kind of way, and to be an entirely disloyal, blabbermouth of a friend which really put me off of her.

I do recommend this new miniature installment in Clara's world, but don't expect too much light to be shed on the situation. But it's important to note that this is a novella and not everyone has an E-reader so I suppose Hand couldn't give us too much anyway so we can't complain!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2013 3:22 PM BST

Grey's Anatomy - Season 8 [DVD]
Grey's Anatomy - Season 8 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ellen Pompeo
Price: £11.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously?!, 9 Feb. 2013
I love Grey's Anatomy for so many reasons but the biggest of those is that it constantly keeps me guessing; I'm always surprised with the outcomes. The end of season 7 left us with a gazillion questions right? What would happen between Owen and Christina? What about Meredith and Derek? Is Zola really gone from their lives? Will they get back together?

Thankfully, this season answered all of my questions and then some! I couldn't have predicted the Owen and Christina situation if I tried! Totally shocking. But I'll say no more for fear of ruining anything for you. I really liked that we got to see Lexi and Mark's non-existent relationship become tense. They so obviously love each other and I spent the entire season waiting for Lexi or Mark to spill their guts.

You know who has also grown on me? Kepner. At first I found her to be incredibly annoying (and towards the end of this season she really is incredibly annoying) but for the majority I actually really liked her. She was hilarious at times. I especially like the best-friend-y relationship that Kepner and Avery seem to have going on - it reminds me a lot of Izzie and George's relationship so it was nice to have that revisited a little bit. But the funniest part of this series? Avery and Sloan have this newfound Bromance which I just love. It's nice to see two guys who appear to be genuine friends and who can be witty and play off of each other's comments - Loved it!

Overall, a must see series. The ending will make you question everything you know and love about this series, an ending and a half for sure. Make sure you get this immediately! Any downsides? Have you seen the wait until season 9? Not good.

Outpost (Razorland Trilogy)
Outpost (Razorland Trilogy)
by Ann Aguirre
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good you'll want to eat it!!, 5 Feb. 2013
I loved "Enclave" and can safely say it was one of my favourite young adult reads of 2012 (and I've read a fair few so that's saying something). I can't compliment Ann Aguirre enough because of that so it was only to be expected that I'd be anxious to see what was in store for Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan now that they've reached the seemingly perfect safe haven of "Salvation".

With such a great start it's always worrying to begin reading the second installment - don't you just find yourself crossing everything you can that it's going to be even half as good as the first book? Well don't bother. It is. Without question. No crossing required! "Outpost" starts some ways into Deuce's time in Salvation with the gang healed and trying to fit in; each living with a designated foster family. Deuce appears to have the best deal with the absolutely adorable Momma Oaks and her husband Edmund. Their story alone is wonderful to read. Tegan has taken on the role of the healers apprentice and appears to be fitting in just fine, but despite Deuce's luck the people of Salvation just don't seem to like her.

Salvation seems to be based on what I can only relate to a traditional Amish community - essentially they're happy to live a simple life, working the land and following a set of rules to maintain harmony. I really liked this. It's hard to imagine what the almost total destruction of humanity must be like and how the people must cope so this was a really thoughtful insight I felt.

BUT, don't think that that means "Outpost" is a peaceful story. Anything but. Infact, the Freaks (you know those ugly, flesh-eating things) appear to be changing. In the last book we saw that the Freaks, known as Muties by the folk of Salvation, were adapting to their environment and appeared to be THINKING. The further we read into this story, the more we learn about the Freaks and their almost human-like mentality now. I don't want to say more for fear of giving things away but the Freaks have significantly changed to not only be able to kill, skin and eat you whole (As if that wasn't enough right?!) now they appear to be able to strategise. Which makes for an incredibly gripping read!

The relationship between Deuce and her friends is given a lot more thought and depth than in the previous book. I especially liked Stalker's determination to prove to Deuce he was good enough for her even with her obvious devotion to Fade. I have to admit though, I found Fade's ever-changing mood to be a little frustrating but I loved him all the same and I understood the relevance of it. The love triangle though is absolutely delicious, look out for that!

Overall, I can't fault it. The plot definitely thickened, the relationships became even more tangled and the Freaks become a powerful villian to be reckoned with. I can't wait for the next installment and will devour it whole the moment it hits the shelves. If you read one dystopian this year, make sure it's Ann Aguirre's.

The Hunter and the Hunted
The Hunter and the Hunted
Price: £1.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clay, Elena AND Eve!, 1 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I absolutely love Kelley Armstrong's "Women of the Otherworld" series and will devour anything she writes about her delicious characters so I expected greatness from this short novella (which actually wasn't THAT short in comparison to some of the other novella I've come across). Split into two parts with two separate narratives we see some bum-on-the-edge-of-your-seat action and a touch of romance too. I feel it's important to point out to those of you who haven't read the entire series (not including "13") that you really should read the collection first to fully appreciate the characters and what the heck is going on! Particularly for the werewolves story because there are a lot of "rules" that apply to their story and their pack.

The first story, "Stalked", features Clay and Elena (everyone's favourite werewolves) on their honeymoon. What's really lovely is that it's narrated by Clay so we get a really nice look into his perspective and how he truly views Elena and their relationship. I particularly liked how Armstrong showed that even though Clay hates some of the things Elena wants to do, he does them anyway. A softer side to Clay after all! If you've read the other stories in the "Otherworld" collection then you'll be familiar with Clay and his ability to attract trouble wherever he goes. In this case, there's a pesky mutt following Elena and Clay wants to find out why WITHOUT letting on to Elena (he doesn't want to ruin their!). Add to this a growing sense of boredom between the pair on their romantic getaway and you just know there's going to be fight...even if it is just to let off some steam!

I absolutely love Clay and Elena, I find them to be incredibly witty and a totally sexy couple so I jut can't get enough of them and more than recommend this novella just for their short story. I will admit though, it isn't as steamy as their stories usually are (or compared to say, "Chaotic", another novella of hers) but I wasn't too bothered by this. Depends if you're reading for the romance or the action I suppose, but there's just enough of each in my opinion.

"Off-Duty Angel" is the second story featuring Eve Levine, the dark witch and part time angel. Her story is also interwoven with her lover Kristof who has set her on a bit of a mission. Since Eve is off-duty she's dying for some action and gratefully accepts his offer of a bit of work on the side. However, as things become a bit more dark and twisty (As they always do with Eve!) see enlists the help of her angel partner too who you may remember from previous books. Eve essentially ends up on something of a bounty-hunter mission taking her through dimensions!

I have to admit that I didn't enjoy Eve's story as much as I would have hoped. I find her to be one of the characters I least connect with, but she is funny and her relationship with Kristof is interesting to watch play out.

Overall, a really good Novella. I probably wouldn't put it up there with some of her other work or other Novellas but I did enjoy it and I plan to read it again and again!

Iron's Prophecy (The Iron Fey - prequel to The Lost Prince)
Iron's Prophecy (The Iron Fey - prequel to The Lost Prince)
Price: £1.66

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Iron Fey - Book 4.5!, 25 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
So for those of you wondering where this novella fits in with all of the others - Consider this novella to be book 4.5. It fits in just after the events of the Iron Knight (Book 4) and Ash's quest to be human. "Iron's Prophecy" is the tidying up of all the loose ends. Remember that pesky Oracle way-back-when? The one where Meghan had to make a deal with to save her brother? Well we're finally getting to find out what the result of that deal was and boy is it traumatic!

The line that stuck with me throughout the entire collection was "You will not give up, even though it will give you nothing but grief?" and at the time I hadn't the foggiest what it meant but I expected we'd find out at some point. And now it's some point. So Meghan is pregnant. And the Oracle has come, at the most inconvenient event I might add, to offer Meghan a deal. Now we all know how stupid it is to make a deal with the Fey, but the Oracle holds invaluable information which could have catastrophic effects on, not just Meghan and her court, but the entire world of Fey. The Oracle explains that Meghan's child has the potential to destroy the courts!

So, that leaves Meghan with a choice. This short novella seemed to be all about the ability to make a choice actually and I liked that little trend that followed throughout. We see the return of Ash, Puck and Grim who must join Meghan on her journey to the Oracle to find out what the bargain is that she offers.

Overall, I do recommend this book. I know novella's are short so we always feel like we're left wanting more but actually this one is longer than most and ties up all the loose ends so it rounds off Meghan's story nicely to make room for her brother, Ethan Chase's, story in the next set of books. A good adventure full of laughs, romance and choices. Give it a read :).

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