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Top Ten Tuesday; Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

Thursday, January 31, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish, and, by golly, when I found out about it, I decided to join in on the fun! Every Tuesday, a new topic comes out for bloggers to post a list about. This week, it's the Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever.

Well, to start off with, I'm usually frustrated with quite a lot of characters in books. In every book, you will find me ranting at one particular character. When you see me not ranting at all.... Well, it's simply not possible. I find something frustrating about every character in every book I have read. So, it will be quite hard to pick the top ten most frustrating characters ever, for me, but I tried, anyway.

  1. Bella Swan- I like Twilight, yes, but I just don't like Bella's character one bit. She is so needy, and not the example of women who have worked for years to get freedom.
  2. Piper- From the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan, I felt Piper just kept talking and talking and had no real use in the story. She dissed out Percy a lot, which I could not stand because I love Percy, I've followed his story through 5 books before I met her!
  3. Angel- Max's little baby in the Maximum Ride novels by James Patterson. I hated how manipulative she was revealed to be in the end. I was frustrated with how much my perception of her had to change. I liked her cute and nice. I'm stubborn, so what?
  4. Mrs Bennett- In Pride and Prejudice, she is exactly the kind of mum I would hate to have... She's overbearing, and she frustrated me with how eager she was to get her daughters married. I'm happy I got a better mum in real life. I sympathised with everyone who had to associate with her.
  5. Ned Land- His persistence and negativity in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea got to me eventually. It frustrated me that he couldn't understand how wonderous the Nautilus was, and how it showcased so many cool discoveries!
  6. Etienne St. Clair- Anna and the French Kiss was so hard to read with this guy in it!!! WHY MUST YOU BE SO AMAZING, HOT AND COOL, ST CLAIR???? He was so amazing, I love him, full stop. Nothing more needs to be said.
  7. Mason Ashford- I felt so many different kinds of frustration with Mason in the Vampire Academy series. First, I was annoyed that he was so in love with Rose, I thought it was pathetic. I kinda compared him to a lost puppy. Then, when he went off to Spokane in 'Frostbite' I started cursing him. The curses went along like this; 'No, Mason, DON'T GO TO SPOKANE!!!! YOU STUPID BOY!!! WHY????????' Then when he died, I got so mad that he had died. Even though he was reckless and annoying, he had formed a place in my heart. Curse Richelle Mead, for making her characters so memorable!
  8. Caleb- He doesn't play too big a frustrating part in Divergent or Insurgent, really... But, the end of Insurgent, well, he was a shocker. He gave meaning to the phrase' faction before family', and hit it straight home to me. I was so frustrated because I thought he would be the one person who would be loyal to Tris, all along
  9. Erin Arbitor- I got so frustrated with her in Sneak. She was so discriminative and mistrustful of the Markless, when yet, she was friends with other Markless too! She just seemed like a huge hypocrite, and that really annoyed me.
  10. Henry- In the Goddess Test series, I felt he was weak and confusing. At first, he seemed not to love Kate at all, and was quite cold to her. Then he decides he loves her. Mixed signals, people! Then, he wanted to do anything to protect her, even not fight in the war against Cronus. I felt he should have put aside his feelings for the greater good.
Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

Pale by Chris Wooding

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

What would you feel like to  come back to life, after you've died? That's what this book, Pale, by Chris Wooding is about. It tells the tale of Jed, who has recently died and come back to life using the Lazarus Serum. It was a really interesting idea for me to read, with Wooding's take on the living dead.

'The Lazarus Serum can bring you back from the dead - but when you come back you've changed - you're a Pale, an outcast. It's the last thing Jed wants, but an accident changes everything and Jed's forced to discover the true cost of living forever.'

This story can be rather controversial, with the idea of someone coming back to life. I feel that Wooding has done a good job of not delving too much into the controversial issues, such as religion, only mentioning them in passing.

Wooding as clearly thought out all the problems that a person would face if they had come back to life. Religious people would discriminate them, believing it is wrong for a person to live beyond their time. Their different looks would provoke others to bully them. They are considered dead, so most or all of their possessions are usually taken away from them.

I sympathised with the main character, Jed. Wooding writes about Jed's feelings in a clear, unflinching way. This way of writing appeals to our human nature, and makes us sympathise strongly with Jed and his transition into his new status in life.

This book was short, far too short for my liking. This is just my personal opinion though. I would've liked to see Jed face a few more problems and for him to mature out a bit longer. The conclusion was quite unrealistic, as I felt that Jed could not have matured that quickly (the span of a week) to make his hard decison in turning Sadie to a Pale or leaving her to fully die.

I rate this book a definite 4.5 stars out of 5. I only wish it had been more elaborate, but it is aimed to be for low-reading level readers. But in the end, this all really didn't count, as I really loved how well thought out this book was!

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

(I got a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Settings I'd Like to See More of

Thursday, January 24, 2013 Geraldine Lee 4 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish, and, by golly, when I found out about it, I decided to join in on the fun! Every Tuesday, a new topic comes out for bloggers to post a list about. This week, it's the Top Ten Settings I'd Like to See More Of (or at all).

Well, I'm not really fussy about settings; in fact, I never bother thinking about it unless it;s relevant to the story. So, this will be the Top Five Settings I'd Like To See More Of (or at all) instead.
  1. Underwater- This is being fulfilled a bit, I guess. I've seen a few books come out recently to do with mermaids, etc., but I want to read a book where the wildlife of the seas are more involved in the story.
  2. Libraries- My gosh, seriously? I swear, hardly any of the books I read have a library featured in them. I would love to have a library as a setting place when nobody is studying, like the library is used as a place for people to hang and chill.
  3. Malaysia- I would love for more books to be set in Malaysia, because usually all the books I have read are set in America or Australia, France, Britain or some fantasy world (because I like reading fantasy, got a problem with that?). 
  4. Holiday island- A tropical holiday island sounds so cool, exciting and adventurous! There would be caves for treasure-hunting, bonfires at night and Just think of the adventures that could be had on such an island...
  5. Palaces and Castles- Well, there are quite a few books out with palaces and castles as a setting already, but I still haven;t gotten enough of it!! There's just so much intrigue in castles! There's the conspiracy to kill the king, the haunting ghosts... You get the picture. 
So what are your top ten settings you'd like to see more of in books? Comment below!

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

Red Carpet Burns; a biography by Georgia Cassimatis

Monday, January 21, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

What if "The One"...Isn't?
After meeting the gorgeous and charismatic Simon, Georgia Cassimatis swaps her fabulous life in Sydney for Los Angeles, risking it all for a chance at love. Georgia soon finds out, however, that Simon is not the man he seemed to be, and she has left her entire world behind for a loveless marriage with a man who is intent on making her miserable.
LA is a tough town —especially for a girl with no friends, no money and no job — but Georgia finds her way through the liars, fakes and cheats to become a successful celebrity journalist and soon realises she’s fallen in love again — this time with her new home town…LA.
 
When I read the introduction to this autobiography, Red Carpet Burns by Georgia Cassimatis, I thought it was fiction. However, halfway through the book, I realised it was a biography and a work of truth because the main character of the story and the author shared the same name. I found this book rather easy to read, because it wasn't factually written (i.e. in a boring manner with long words), but it was written in a very engaging manner.

There were very few things that irked me about this book. When I finished it, I felt like it had no purpose; what was it trying to get through? Other biographies, such as Mao's Last Dancer, have a purpose, Mao's Last Dancer's being the tale of how a young boy left China. At first, I thought that Red Carpet Burns was about love and trying to find it, but then when I finished the book, I found it was not so. Another thing that irked me a bit was that I didn't know the timeframe of the events. I didn't know if Georgia left Australia in 1967, 1999 or 2008.

I enjoyed reading Cassimatis's story; although she was naive, it gave me hope that there was always something better out there in the horizon, no matter how tough life got. Her tale was refreshing and I liked the engaging, personal style of writing Cassimatis uses. It makes me feel as if I was the one going through all her emotions, the pains and the highs.

In the end, this book has garnered a 3.5 stars out of 5 rating from me. There was very few things I could critique it on. It was a nice book to read for me. A definite change from the books I normally read.

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

(I got a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

Celtic Run by Sean Vogel

Friday, January 18, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

'Jake, a 14-year-old gadget whiz, didn't plan on a summer full of treasure, thieves, and danger. He just got lucky.
While in Ireland on a class trip, Jake stumbles upon the first clue to a treasure missing from the Spanish Armada. Jake sees the riches as his chance to buy back the family sailboat and restore a piece of the life he enjoyed before his father was critically injured in an accident. Desperate to find the treasure, Jake teams up with Zach, his nemesis and class bully, and two girls in a clue-hunting chase across the Dingle Peninsula. Dodging would-be thieves, exchanging wisecracks with Zach, and concocting ingenious devices to get them out of scrapes, Jake leads the team as they connect piece after piece to the more than 400-year-old mystery. Jake, a 14-year-old gadget whiz, didn't plan on a summer full of treasure, thieves, and danger. He just got lucky.'


Treasure? Clues to find the treasure? Say no more, I'm hooked!

The riddles that lead the four kids to find the treasure were quite difficult, and required them to look at it in an abstract way. These riddles added a new element of mystery into the book, one that I really liked.

I really didn't like Zach and Jake's relationship. I felt it was fake and would never happen in real life. Their incessant bantering got on my nerves a lot in this book. And Julie, who was supposed to be his best friend, never once berated Zach for being so mean to her best friend.

The depth of the characters was very deep, all with the exception of Julie. Zach was a charatcer with lots of depth, while Julie seemed stereotyped, and only in the book as a romantic interest for Jake. Julie seemed to also be like the damsel in distress, relying on Jake when she and Zach broke up. Although we saw Zach as mean and rude in the first few pages, by the end, we finally know why he's like that way. Maggie is a girl who loves dancing but gave it up to help her parents. Jake is a boy who has his own problems with a father who's critically injured. They all had their own problems and were not stereotyped like Julie was.

I loved how Mr. and Mrs. O'Connell, along with their daughter Maggie, were used to portray the ideal family life Jake would love to have. I think it makes Jake realise that a sailboat wasn't necessary for his father and him to reconnect again.

All in all, this book was still a solid read, so I rate it a 3 stars out of 5 stars. It may not suit my tastes, as I like reading books with more complexity, but it will certainly satisfy its targeted audience, which are middle-grade students.

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

(I got a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

Top Ten Tuesday; Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm looking forward to

Friday, January 18, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments



Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish, and, by golly, when I found out about it, I decided to join in on the fun! Every Tuesday, a new topic comes out for bloggers to post a list about. This week, it's the Top Ten 2013 Debuts I'm looking forward to.

I have a couple of books on this list, mainly due to my endless book-blog surfing. Here's the list of ten books! All of them are pretty much YA though, since I love YA novels!
  1. Poison by Bridget Zinn- Eek, this book sounds so good! I like anything fantasy, really, and brewing potions, mixed with assasination attempts on the future ruler? Music to my ears! This sounds like an action-packed book!
  2. The Culling by Steven Dos Santos- Being recruited for training competitions? Me likey. The stakes are raised even higher when the consequences are devastating, like having to chose which family member of yours to be brutally killed if you die. I predict lots of tension and action in this book!
  3. Taken by Erin Bowman - Ooh, mysterious! Boys being taken on their 18th birthday... What a mystery to be read!
  4. Dualed by Elsie Chapman- It sounds like the Hunger Games! People fight against their lookalikes (called Alternates) to survive!
  5. ACID by Emma Pass- Being accused of murdering your parents? Having a police force come after you? Gimme, gimme! So full of action and Jenna Strong really sounds tough!
  6. Ink by Amanda Sun- I've just come out of reading Anna and the French Kiss; of course I'm in for another story about a girl moving to another country! Plus, the cover looks really cool too...
  7. The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke- Genetically altered kids? As soon as I read the phrase 'genetically altered', I decided I wanted to read this book.
  8. Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black- This book sounds so dark... Dancing seems like a dark art in this book. It seems like there are going to be some intense horror scenes in this book, from the summary I read!
  9. Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield- Magic, revolution and action... All things I want in a book! Plus, the idea of 'singing magic' sounds very mysterious...
  10. The Summer I Became a Nerd- by Leah Rae Miller- This sounds like a book I can relate to a bit. Thinking all about how people hide under a shell they create... It will make for some very good pondering!


Well, I think by this list, the truth is out; I love YA dystopian and fantasy novels! My guilty pleasures... Well, if I ever get my hands on these books, a block of chocolate and a quiet house, my life will be heaven.

Keep reading and loing books,

Geraldine

The Demon Lover; the first of the Fairwick Chronicles written by Juliet Dark

Monday, January 14, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

I picked up the Demon Lover, written by Carol Goodman under the pseudonym of Juliet Dark, interested in a town full of magical beings, being a lover of paranormal beings. The introduction shied me away from reading the book, but in the end my love for the paranormal and the fantastic cover pushed me into reading it.

'I gasped, or tried to. My mouth opened, but I couldn’t draw breath. His lips, pearly wet, parted and he blew into my mouth. My lungs expanded beneath his weight. When I exhaled he sucked my breath in and his weight turned from cold marble into warm living flesh.
Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.
 But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.'


This book took a while to get into. I wasn't all too interested in reading about the circumstances in which Callie moved to Fairwick. I only really started tuning into the book after reading all of Callie's self-affirmations that her realtionship with Paul was good and once she found out that Fairwick was a magical community.Then, in the middle part of the book, I felt like there was no plot, mainly because the incubus had been banished already. It dwindled on down to having to read about Callie's complicated life, what with her students having trouble to her own problems with Paul. The end was a bit better, with a few surprises in store for me.

Phoenix was a character in the story, yet hardly ever mentioned after she left Fairwick. It was like she was a character written about only for a specific purpose, and once she had completed that purpose, she was not mentioned ever again, except in passing. I found this irritating, as I had grown attached to Phoenix and wanted to find out more about what happened to her.
The ending was definitely not what I expected it to be. I only found out who the true villian was in the end and things never came to a close... I thought this book would tie off really nicely, and a new adventure would begin in 'The Water Witch' (the second book of the Fairwick Chronicles), but it was not so... Although there were some unexpected parts of this novel, there were also bits that were blindingly obvious.

There were some parts of the novel that I felt were meant to be a mystery, but really weren't. For example, I had an inkling that Liam was not who he said he was, long before he was outed. Plus, the way he was outed... The author, Dark, dropped such large hints that were really obvious only when she wanted to out Liam for who he really was soon. I felt that Dark could have instead dropped subtle
hints throughout the time Callie had known Liam to create a better effect.

This story is most definitely an adult book. When reading the introduction, I most definitely did read the part about Callie having graphic dreams, but I ignored it, because I believed that these dreams would not be described in any graphic detail. What a mistake. The book is littered with descriptions of Callie's sex life, which really annoyed me, as I felt it was unnecessary.

Callie, quite often felt like a whiny, petulant, ignorant child that only complained about her troubles, and gave little thought to others. When she did think of others, I felt like it was too unbelievable, because I had read so much of her complaints already. I guess the only way for me to describe her is to call her two-dimensional. However, I did like a few characters, such as Soheila and Phoenix. Soheila was the one character that felt truly mysterious, while Phoenix was the most realistic character in the book, with the mistakes that she had made.

I'd rate this book 3 stars out of 5 stars. It was OK overall, really, good at most parts, but boring, too graphic or stereotypical in others. This being said, it's also not a book I would read a second time. I would, however, read the sequel, as I'm interested to know how Callie's life in Fairwick further plays out.

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

(This book has been provided to me by Netgalley in return for an honest review)

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Friday, January 11, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Reviewer's Note:

Oh my Gosh. I just found out a movie may be made out of this book!!!!!! *extreme fangirling* I just Googled it up as part of my research on books when I review them (yes, I'm a nerdy person, do you have a problem with that?) and this IMDb page came up! If you just viewed this page, you'd know it's currently categorised as 'in development' right now in IMDb... Okay, back to the review. I just get so excited when a book I've read is being turned into a movie!

Review:

What if one day, you found a red book, filled with challenges for things to do? Would you pick this book up and accept those challenges? Or would you put it down, refusing all the possible adventures that may follow? Reading this introduction below, I felt compelled to follow Dash and Lily's adventures with their red book. Have a look at it:

' "I've left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don't, put the book back on the shelf, please."
Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? '

Doesn't that introduction just sound positively mysterious? I picked up this novel because I was curious about how a little red book could spark up anything, like helping build a friendship that possibly could delve into a romance.

I found the plot of this book very enticing. I mean, wouldn;t it be interesting if you met someone through a little red book that you planted in a bookstore? It would leave me pacing around the room, dying of curiousity about what would happen next. Would anyone pick up my red book? What if a joke was being played on me, and after I completed those challenges, someone would jump out and yell, 'Gotcha!'? What if my mystery correspondent stole my book? The mystery in this book was just perfect.

I kind of dozed off once every few moments when reading this book. I'm not quite sure, maybe it was the tone of the novel? It seemed very monotone at times for me. Plus, there was a lot of irrelevant information in the book for me. In one part of the novel, Lily talks about how a walk on a street is enjoyable. I saw no point in this particular sentence. Maybe it was to give readers a glimpse of how Lily thought, but I found it completely irrelevant and boring. Instead of elaborating the story and having fanciful, but unnecessary descriptions (Haha, 'fanciful', a reference to this book. Read it to understand), why couldn't the authors just skip on right to the next part without describing Lily's walk?

Then there were the characters that made me want to pull out my hair. There was Sofia, with her relationship with Dash. Thatt was one confusing relationship. It confused me. Really it did. What was its point in this story, which I might add, was named after Dash and Lily? I don't mind secondary characters, I have nothing against them, but only when they have a purpose in the story, i.e. Boomer. Sofia seemed to just be there for Dash to cuddle with whenever he wanted to.Dash's extreme cynicsm got on my nerves sometimes. Dash's extreme cynicsm got on my nerves! Why did he have to be such a cynic about everything to do with Christmas?

As I've mentioned before, in a previous post, I don't like books with multiple POV's, because they confuse me. This book was OK, in the sense that I only got confused once or twice. One memorable time was at the start of the book. I'm the kind of reader that doesn't pay too much attention to the little details. So I missed out on the ginormous heading at the top of the first chapter stating 'Dash'. So I proceded on to read the book, thinking I was reading from a teenage girl's perspective. I only really realised that Dash was a boy when one of Lily's questions asked if he was a guy. Hooray for me.
What the Book of Dares looks like
This book made me crack open a dictionary (well, not a physical one, one on my Kindle device) to discover what some words meant. That wasn't a bad thing; in fact, I assume it was intentional. I learnt what words like 'persnickety' meant (I'm not going to tell you the definition of it, go crack open your own dictionary!). It was very educational indeed.

In conclusion, I'd rate this book a 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. Overall, it had a very nice plot, but I just didn't like how I occasionally dozed off because the authors rambled on a bit and how there wre secondary characters that seemed too transparent (i.e. Sofia). Nevertheless, despite these flaws, this is definitely a nice Christmas read, one to read by a hot fireplace. Although Christmas for last year is already over, who cares? If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, grab this book and read it while it's still snowing. Or if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, grab this book in preparation for the cold winter approaching soon!

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

(I got a copy of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)

A Heartwarming Tale; In Search of Goliathus Hercules by Jennifer Angus

Monday, January 07, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

'In Search of Goliathus Hercules' is a heartwarming tale by Jennifer Angus about a boy who endeavors to find a rare bug (Goliathus Hercules) and find his missing father. I found this book to be really quite interesting and engaging. Read the introduction for a bit of an idea on how I got so sucked into this book.

'The fantastic story of Henri Bell, a near-orphan who in 1890 is sent to live with his ancient great-aunt and her extensive button collection. One rainy afternoon, Henri strikes up a conversation with a friendly fly on the windowsill and discovers he possesses the astounding ability to speak with insects.
Thus commences an epic journey for Henri as he manages a flea circus, commands an army of beetles, and ultimately sets out to British Malaya to find the mythical giant insect known as Goliathus hercules. Along the way he makes friends both insect and human, and undergoes a strange transformation of his own.
'

I think part of the reason why this book was so engaging was the very vivid descriptions the author detailed. Angus didn't overdo the description, thankfully, as I get bored with extraneous information, but rather described the places and characters in as much detail needed for me to get a good picture of what was happening in the novel. Reading this book, I could definitely imagine I was in 1890 British Malaya with Henri and his friends, with the amount of depth Angus has put into description.

While reading this novel, I kept predicting what characters would do, what would happen to them and whether or not they were to be trusted. All my predictions turned out wrong. For example, I predicted that Maestro Antonio, the ringmaster of the flea circus, would be a cruel and vindictive man, willing to use Henri's ability to speak with insects to improve his sales at the circus. I turned out to be wrong. This novel is full of uncertainties, and there is never a guarantee that something will turn out the way you predict it will be.
I really loved the ending. Angus could not have found a better way to end this novel than the way that she has so marvellously done so already. The last few words give the sense of finality that I feel is needed to conclude any novel. I felt like I had lost a friend when I finished reading this book, which I think is the feeling you should get when you finish reading a very good story,
Albert, Whitman & Company, the publishing company that publishes this book has marketed it as 'Children's Fiction'. Although this book is definitely suitable for children to read, it should not be limited to children only. This is a novel that people of all ages should read!

An example of Angus's artwork
This book was beautiful, touching and a pleasure to read. I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, as I found very little problems with it. Jennifer Angus has done very well in her debut novel. She writes beautifully and her artworks of bugs, arranged in patterns to create visually stimulating pieces, are just magnificent. I recommend that everyone, and I mean everyone, go out and get this book when it gets released on March 1st 2013.

Keep reading and loving books!

Geraldine

(I got an ARC of this novel for free in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley)

Falling Kingdoms; a fantasy novel to read by Morgan Rhodes

Friday, January 04, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Before I read Falling Kindgoms, I expected a book with many characters and many lands, all of them confusing me. This was largely due to the introduction, where I gathered that this story would be told from multiple perspectives.

'In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword...
The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?'


I have read books with multiple POV's before and they just didn't work out for me. There was just so much background to remember about characters.However this book was so definitely different. 'Falling Kingdoms' was quite the engaging tale for me, and I found myself able to keep up with the story and not have to flip back to recap on what had happened the previous POV to understand what was currently happening.

Part of what enchanted me so much with this novel was the heartfelt scenes in it. The one scene where Jonas has to comfort a boy dying had me almost bawling my eyes out. Rhodes's writing is just so heartfelt, the way that she describes each scene and what happens next. She takes us on a journey and doesn't tell us what happens; rather she shows us what happens and leaves us to make our own conclusions. For example, she wrote 'The boy smiled, but then the expression faded away and his eyes glazed over.' Everyone who reads that sentence knows the boy has passed on. However, instead of bluntly saying that he died, Rhodes gives this minor character depth and makes us feel sad that he has passed on.

The characters were annoying at times for me, as I couldn't sympathise with them. Their personalities were just not the types for me to sympathise with. Cleo seemed to be too headstrong, too willing to break the rules. She acts, then thinks about the consequences later. Being a person who thinks things out before I follow any action, Cleo was hard for me to sympathise with. I had the same problem with Jonas. He didn't think about what the consequences of his actions. Lucia seemed too willing to follow her father's orders and unable to think for herself. Towards the end of the novel, she also seemed quite selfish, using magic in the war for her father's benefit, just to get the war over and done with so that she could go home soon. Out of all the characters, I sympathised with Magnus most because he was loyal, but not to the point where he just blindlessly followed orders without thinking for himself. Despite my inability to sympathise with most of these characters, I was happy that Rhodes kept all these characters in persona. I didn't have to suffer through having a character act differently to their personality.

One thing that irritated me about this novel was that magic was referred to as 'elementia'. It sounded too fake and unorginal for me. It also didn't flow well with the rest of the story, in my opinion.

I would rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was one of the most heartfelt books I'd read and I will be anticipating the sequel, 'Rebel Spring' with much enthusiasm. Seriosuly, people, get this book. Once you start reading this book, you definitely will not be able to rest until you have finished all of it.

Keep reading and loving books,

Geraldine

(I got a copy of this novel on Netgalley in return for an honest review)

Model Spy- mixing beauty with brains

Wednesday, January 02, 2013 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Model Spy, by Shannon Greenland, is a wonderful start to the Specialist series. Based on my experiences reading a few spy novels (such as the CHERUB novels by Robert Muchamore), they were all about action and beating the bad guys by using their physical skills. Being a person who doesn't do well in sport, I never liked how these spies could be so athletic. Then, when I read the introduction to this book, I felt that there was finally a spy book that had a heroine who didn't need to be athletic to be a spy and beat the baddies. Have a look at it:

'Teen genius Kelly James is in a lot of hot water. A whiz with computers, she agreed to help her college rA, David, uncover some top-secret information. After all, she doesn’t have many friends and David has always been nice to her. it doesn’t hurt that he’s supercute and irresistible, too. All she has to do is hack into the government’s main computer system. but a few hours later, her whole life changes. she is caught and taken in for questioning, only this isn’t your run-of-the-mill arrest. rather than serve a juvenile detention sentence, she accepts the option to change her name and enlist in a secret government spy agency that trains teen agents to go undercover. As if that wasn’t overwhelming enough, she discovers that David works for this agency as well! And before she even begins to understand what is going on, she’s sent on her first mission as an undercover model. And who better to partner with than David himself!'

What I liked about in this novel, as I like in all novels, is that the protagonist has gone through some growth. Not only physically, through the physical training Kelly has to endure, but also in her personality. Kelly starts off as a college student with a love and a brain for computers. She also is an orphan that has been shipped off to many homes and has lost all faith that she'll ever stay in one place for a long period of time, the reason why she never unpacks her luggage. She ends the book with friends, confidence in herself and her luggage finally unpacked.

However, one thing I didn't get was why Kelly decided become a spy in a secret spy agency. Was it because of the intrigue? Did she think she'd have a better life at the spy agency? Greenland never explained Kelly's motives in agreeing to be a spy.

Additionally, the number of names I had to learn confused me. There weren't many characters; rather there were many names for the few characters introduced, For example, the man in charge of the spy agency, TL, was first known as Mr. Thomas Liba. It took me a while to get used to Greenland calling him TL. The same went for Kelly and her teammates Kelly had many names, from plain Kelly James to her model name Jade January to her code name, GiGi.

Although Kelly did have to undergo some physical training for her spy work, she didn't become some ninja master that defeated her enemies with her karate skills (that would be Molly's line of work). The physical training was used to supplement her work instead, in defending herself.

This book was effortless for me to read, having no complicated plot for me to have to study. There weren't any high-tech weapons that I had to familiarize myself with, thankfully too. The computer speech GiGi thought about when nervous was another innovative part of the book. Instead of saying 'Kelly thought of computer speech, needing something to focus on', Greenland, showed us what Kelly was thinking about, then explained why Kelly she thought about it.

Model Spy has me rating it a 4 out of 5 stars. I would gladly recommend it to anyone. If anyone is looking for me, I'll be reading this book's sequel, thirsting for more of Kelly's spy adventures.

Keep reading and loving books!

Geraldine

(I got an ARC of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review)