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June 14, 2014

"Surrender" by Lee Nichols

[Click the cover for Goodreads]

Title: Surrender (Haunting Emma #3)
Author: Lee Nichols
Publication: 2011, Bloomsbury
Summary: After a devastating battle at headquarters in New York, the ghostkeeping world is in shambles. When Emma and Bennett return home, they are determined to defeat the wraithmaster, Neos, forever. But it's not going to be easy. Bennett's parents kick him out when they realize he is still using drugs to enhance his powers. Emma is convinced her aunt has come back from the dead...read more

Review: As the final installment of the charming paranormal trilogy Haunting Emma, "Surrender" delivers an adequate amount of intensity but overall, I felt that it didn't quite hit home. Instead of a motor propelling the plot through from head to tail, "Surrender" adapted the style of rest until the last quarter of the book.

Although definitely not a powerful page-turner like the first two books, "Surrender" still brings back our wonderfully delightful and beloved characters, perhaps even at the top of their forms during the ending action scenes. This book was more of Emma and her friends preparing for this last, crucial fight, and also of them having a bit of a break from it all, with Christmas in the air. Although it wasn't as exciting for me as a reader, I felt like they deserved the break. 

The final battle, however, greatly contrasts the previous sections of the book and is an epic whirlwind as "Surrender" inched to the climax. Without fail, the finale itself adds beautiful finishing touches to the trilogy and all is peacefully resolved. 

Somewhat a disappointing book as a whole, especially the plot and the lack of constant drive, but nonetheless it will secure your love for the heart-warming and courageous characters in this boldly entertaining series. I did not enjoy "Surrender" alone as much as I did the first two books, but it definitely didn't reduce any of my admiration for the characters and the trilogy as a whole. 

Rating: ✰✰✰ 3 Final Hoots

Final Notes: I was a bit sad after finishing this one since it just didn't feel like it had the original punch to it. It was still overall a decent read and you should definitely still read the end for this trilogy if you've read the first two books. This trilogy itself, nevertheless, will be remembered by me as a reader for being one of the most awesome ghostbusting-in-style reads in YA.

I'll really miss Emma and her friends and even now, I don't really want this to be the end.

Thanks for reading!
Vivian

May 22, 2014

"Poison Princess" by Kresley Cole

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13450339-poison-princess
[Click the cover for Goodreads!]

Title: Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1)
Author: Kresley Cole
Publication: 2012, Simon & Schuster
Summary: She could save the world—or destroy it. Sixteen-year-old Evangeline "Evie" Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux. ...read more 

Review: There is a mature kind of eery darkness that oozes out of Poison Princess that many YA paranormal romances attempt, but do not quite grasp. This YA debut of adult fiction author Kresley Cole most certainly had a twist in flavour to it compared to other YA paranormal reads, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Cole's writing is elegant and well-rounded, yet it effectively portrayed disturbing imagery in Poison Princess. (Yes, a bit of a gruesome details warning) I did not feel that Cole was holding back anything for this YA debut when she could have toned some details down, and I appreciated the sincerity in that.

The book has an alternating first person POV narration, which usually irritates me, but Poison Princess's alternations are between two narrators on two timeline tracks, and the switching points are very far apart. It is artfully orchestrated, feels natural, and by the end, I felt that the technique had framed and displayed the entire storyline incredibly well.

The ideas and plot are all very strong and creative, and although there were some rare slow moments along the way, I was kept overall intrigued and impressed by Cole's vivid diction. In terms of characters, Poison Princess will be entirely a subjective case and that it will depend on you as a reader, whether you like the types of characters that appear in this debut.

I thought all the characters were decently developed, and more and more depth was built in throughout the story. I also personally grew to like the main characters well enough, though not overwhelmingly so. Even for the minor characters, each are unique and fleshed out in their own way. However, Evie may not be your cup-of-tea heroine, nor will you for sure like Jackson as the leading man. (I did like Jackson's slight possessiveness because it was manly and NOT Christian-Grey-psychotic, but see, that's personal taste)

Poison Princess pleasantly surprised me with its depth of delicious darkness and beautiful execution when I sat down expecting another typical YA paranormal. Although I would only direct this book to older audiences (17+), I think this was a very strong YA debut for Kresley Cole and I look forward to reading more from this series.


Rating: ✰✰✰✰ 4 Poisonous Hoots

Thanks for reading!
Vivian 

P.S.  You guys know when you find old money in  an old jacket/jean pocket? That feeling? Well, I just found a bunch of reviews that I had written during my hiatus, for the few books that I did read! So happy that I still have old reviews to debut for you guys, haha! Thanks for dropping by!

May 3, 2014

⚘ Return. Or maybe resurrection? ⚘

I am coming back!! ❤ ...


Or is this more accurately a "resurrection"? I am most certainly not the same girl and neither will this blog be the same in the future. I'm so sorry for leaving this blog and everyone for so long, but all this while, I've never forgotten my little blog and this wonderful community that I have slipped out of temporarily. A sincere apology to all my book blog friends for vanishing for so long. I've really missed you guys a lot :(

Note: I'm really sorry for having to close off access. There was an insane amount of spam coming in and so I hid my blog to throw the spambots off my trail for a while. And then the whole multiple Google+ accounts thing confused me and I couldn't log back in to reopen my blog. Thankfully, everything is sorted out now :)

Sorry everyone :(
Things will not be the same as before; perhaps that's why "resurrection" is more accurate than "return". Nevertheless, despite any new changes, I hope that any readers passing through will still find something to their liking.

This post will most likely fall under the eyes of ghosts but I truly hope this new reborn version of my blog will be a place of happy literary explorations. That is the same idea that I started this blog with, and the sincerity of it is what I'd like to preserve. ♡

Yours truly,
Vivian

March 14, 2013

"Unearthly" by Cynthia Hand


[Clickey the cover for Goodreads!]

Title: Unearthly (Unearthly#1)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publication: 2009, Simon Pulse
Summary: In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . 
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.....read more

Review: Compelling, realistic, and romantic is Ms. Hand's new take on the angelic world of YA paranormal. The term "unearthly" plays a uniting theme throughout the book, stringing together a resonating perspective of the characters. This books excels in transporting readers into the idea of Cynthia Hand's "angel-bloods" who have life-changing purposes that plague them through visions and dreams. In addition, there are dark touches of sorrow and antagonistic elements to this first book that effectively draws the story into newer depths. Thus, I am happy to say that the typical "fluff" of a YA angel book is absent from "Unearthly". 

The world of "Unearthly" itself is a real-life setting to contrast the paranormal aspect, resulting in a more believable balance which was great. Ms. Hand does use the locations of her story to the advantage of the plot, however, and there are plenty of vivid descriptions of the surroundings. It was like sight-seeing at times, so I found it really enjoyable!

"Unearthly"'s leading lady is a strikingly ordinary yet at the same time, outstanding, girl. Clara is a "Quartarius" angel-blood, meaning she possesses one-quarter of angel blood in her veins. She is resolved and brave, especially when faced with the love and the dangers that being an angel-blood brings. We also meet two extremely charming boys, Christian and Tucker, who are both very near-stereotypical but definitely more than so. They are at opposite ends of the boy-spectrum, yet fear not, because the triangle is not instant nor very apparent in this first installment. Adorable relationships blossom and thrive in "Unearthly" and Clara delivers her feelings through the author's diction full on. 

This book covers quite a broad time range, allowing breathing room for the fast pace that all equated down to an incredibly captivating and addicting read! With its intricately brought to life world, lovable characters, and powerful plot and drive, this angel read makes for a prominent new addition to the YA paranormal shelf. 


Rating: ✰✰✰✰ 4 Angelic Hoots

Final Notes: This was a great, very down-to-earth, angel read. For those of you who stray away from angel books due to the overt fluff, this would be a pick for you! I have already read book number two, and I can say that the trilogy does get even better, so it's not too late to dive in if you haven't read it yet! ^_~

Team Tucker, woot!

Thanks for reading!
Vivian

February 10, 2013

❈ Happy Lunar New Year! ❈

Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! 
Hope you all have a lucky, healthy, and prosperous 
Year of the Snake!

Sorry for disappearing for so long!!! Right after I post this, I'm going to go back and return all your lovely comments. So I have been getting reading done, but it's all been for school... But! Good news: White Pine 2013 has started again!

For those of you who haven't heard of it, White Pine is the high school level reading program in Ontario ^_^ Each year, 10 selections by Canadian authors are featured and once a student has read 5 out of the 10 books, he/she is eligible to vote for a favourite book that might win the White Pine award.

You can find this year's selection list here and I'll be doing my best to read them all and get back to you guys with reviews so stay tuned!

I'll be letting go of some reviews that have been sitting in my drafts folder for way too long. Once those are up, I'll be working on the following!

To-be-written reviews:
✐ Divergent by Veronica Roth
✐ Insurgent by Veronica Roth
✐ Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Thanks for dropping by and wishing you all again a fantastic Chinese New Year!
❤Vivian

P.S. I have been getting a LOT of terrible spam from this mysterious "Anonymous" person, so I have turned on word verification as well as comment moderation for the time being. Sorry for the inconvenience!