Friday, February 27, 2015

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Image via Goodreads

Title: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author: Amy Ewing
Release Date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Purchase link: Book Depository


"Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197."

The Jewel is a shocking and compelling new YA series from debut author, Amy Ewing.

Sold for six million diamantes, Violet is now Surrogate of the House of the Lake in the centre of the Lone City, the Jewel. Her sole purpose is to produce a healthy heir for the Duchess – a woman Violet fears and despises.

Violet is trapped in a living death, her name and body no longer her own. She fights to hold on to her own identity and sanity, uncertain of the fate of her friends, isolated and at the mercy of the Duchess.

The Handmaid's Tale meets The Other Boleyn Girl in a world where beauty and brutality collide.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's certainly different, considering that I've never read any YA books on surrogacy before. Overall, it was interesting and entertaining.

Violet Lasting is born a Surrogate. That means that she has some special gene that allows her body to carry a child for the Royalty and fix the defect genes of the child. You see, children carried by women of the Royalty always ended up with defects. Their solution? Sterilize the women and implant their embryos into the Surrogate.

Being a surrogate in the Lone City isn't all that it seems. Surrogates are sold off at an annual auction and are treated like pets by the women who bought them. They can't pick out what they wear. They can't leave the house they were bought into unless it is to accompany their mistresses to an event. They can't even tell people their names. They live a seemingly glamorous life but are without freedom. 

For the first half of the book, we see how Violet is faring as the Surrogate of the House of Lake and find out what the Duchess has in plan for Violet once she is pregnant. The second half of the book, however, focuses on the romance between Violet and Ash.

Ash is the companion *coughs* boy toy employed by the Duchess for her niece. Usually, I find the romance the most enjoyable part of my read. But this time, I just..... I just don't care about Violet's relationship with Ash. So, we all know that Ash is good-looking and... I guess that's it. I just find him boring. I really do hope there will be a more interesting love interest for Violet in the sequel.

The Jewel ended in a major cliffhanger. There are a couple of plot twists in the end. After the first one, I thought there were no more and whaddaya know, another plot twist is thrown in my face, but that did leave a hopeful note as to how I wish this story would progress. So, yeah, I had fun reading this.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Collide Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

Thank you YA Bound Book Tours for letting me take part in this book tour! You can check out the full blog tour schedule here.

Title    :  Collide (The Taking #3)
Author:  Melissa West
Release Date: February 9th, 2015
Publisher : Entangled Teen
Pages : 320

Pre-Order Links: AmazonB&NKobo


Military legacy Ari Alexander has survived alien spies, WWIV, and a changing world order. But when the new leader of Earth uses Jackson—the only boy she's ever let herself care about—to
get to her, Ari has no choice but to surrender. To free Jackson, she agrees to travel to the national bases to train others to fight. What she discovers is a land riddled with dying people. Ari has the power to heal by turning the fighters into aliens—half-breeds like her. If she succeeds, together, they have a chance at overthrowing the alien leader, Zeus. But if she fails, everyone she holds dear will be wiped away forever. Once again, everything Ari’s come to believe is thrown into question. In a world of uncertainty, loyalties are tested, lies are uncovered, and no one can be trusted. If Ari and Jackson have any hope at survival and at preserving a life for the future, they must fight the final war with their eyes wide open. 

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Collide is the final book in The Taking trilogy. So, if you have not read Gravity and Hover yet, you should go check out those books first before reading this review.

I was so excited when I received a review copy of Collide. However, as eager as I was to find out the conclusion to this trilogy, part of me didn’t want it to end. It was two years ago when I picked up Gravity in my local bookstore and since then, I've been hooked on The Taking trilogy. It was also during that time when I started to truly get into reading. For me, The Taking trilogy will always have a special place in my heart.

Collide took off right where we left off in Hover. Ari is back on Earth and war between humans and Ancients is close approaching. And it's up to Ari and Jackson to finally bring this war to an end. 

Let's talk about what I like about Collide. I like that Collide is much more action-packed than Hover, right from the very beginning. And we get to read more about Jackson and Ari. Jackson, for me, has changed a lot since book 1. Instead of the arrogant boy we were first introduced to in Gravity, he's just really sweet to Ari. Sometimes, a little too sweet for me when he wouldn't want to let Ari out of his sight for fear of losing her. Although sweet Jackson is great, I kinda miss when Jackson was arrogant. 

In Hover, we learned that Zeus could somehow toy with Ari's mind. This time, Zeus took it to the next level, blurring the lines between Ari's dreams and reality until she thought that she might have gone mad. Even I started questioning Ari's sanity at one point and I have to say that I quite enjoy that.

There was this one scene in Collide where Ari went to her parents' room to find her Mom and ended up sleeping with her Mom hugging her. That scene just warms my heart. That is probably my favourite scene in Collide, followed by the epilogue. I loved the epilogue- it was everything I wanted and more. I had fun reading Collide and I can't believe this trilogy is over.

Other books in this trilogy:
(book covers linked to Goodreads)


About the Author:

Melissa West writes young adult and new adult novels for Entangled Teen and Embrace and Penguin/InterMix. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.

Author Links:


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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Image via Goodreads

Title: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Bought
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Purchase link: Book Depository


One kiss could be the last. 

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne… it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have avoided reading this book for so long when I found out it's about gargoyles and demons. I thought that such a combination just wouldn't do it for me. And boy, was I so wrong.

Jennifer L. Armentrout has done it again. She has solidified her status as one of my favourite authors. She has convinced me that gargoyles and demons could make a great story.

I gotta admit that when I was just 50 odd pages into the book, I was still iffy about the whole story concept and was ready to shut this book as soon as I find that it's not working for me. That thankfully did not happen.

When I think of gargoyles, the characters from Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame came to mind. I couldn't imagine them as attractive beings. Well, JLA certainly changed my mind on gargoyles. The gargoyles in this story are known as Wardens and their job is to keep the demons in line and send them back to hell when they cause trouble.

The main character, Layla, is half-Warden and half-demon. She is adopted by a clan of Wardens and as she has the ability to 'tag' demons, she helps the Wardens out by tagging demons for them to hunt down at night. I really like Layla as the MC. She's constantly having an inner battle on who she is. She was taught to hate the demon side of her. However, no matter how hard she fights that side of her, she's always reminded that she's not truly part of the Wardens clan.

I feel that the characters are well-developed.  As the story progresses, Layla went through her struggles and developed as a stronger person that I just can't help but root for her. As hordes of demons start coming after her, she discovered secrets that the Wardens kept from her and learned more about her identity. I cheered when she embraced who she is born to be.

Now, let's talk about Zayne and Roth. Zayne is a Warden and totally off-limits since his father is completely set on Zayne mating with another gargoyle- Danika. Yes, they use the word 'mating'. Apparently, the number of gargoyles is running low and they need to remedy that. I see Zayne as a brotherly figure in Layla's life. Of course, what does it matter what I think about Zayne. But seriously, though he's kind and protective of Layla (well, let's just ignore the fact that he ignored Layla to hang out with Danika)- I just couldn't imagine him and Layla together as anything more.

Okay, I'd much rather just talk about Roth. I think I may have a crush on a fictional character, again. Roth is a demon and he was sent to the topside with a task which has something to do with Layla. I won't talk about the task because of spoilers in case you haven't read it. Roth is just... awesome. Cue my fangirling- he's funny and he accepts Layla as she is and even gives her time and space to embrace who she is, never pushing her to do things against her own will. He's there for Layla when she's in danger. He's great. I mean, I even grew fond of his snake- Bambi.

Plot-wise, everything progresses smoothly with some plot twists thrown in that kept me interested in the story till the end. That plot twist at the end just... I can't even... Let's just say that I need the sequel now.