Lola And The Boy Next Door

Title: Lola And The Boy Next Door

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Source: Borrowed from Library

Rating: 3/5

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door

Review:

I was really really happy to see Anna and Etienne St.Clair back from Anna and the French Kiss. I mean, they’re literally the world’s greatest couple (of course, with the exception of Will/Tessa from TID) but the point is, they’re so good together, I kind of doubt how the pairing of the new main characters would work out.

But, thankfully, with Stephenie Perkins’ amazing writing skills, I’m now in love with Cricket. Okay, his name isn’t entirely flattering. I bet you’re imagining a guy with a flat nose and perhaps pointing ears or elongated legs (that was my first impression when I saw his name) but he’s definitely way much better than that. He’s mature, more of the silent time. Kind of the opposite of St.Clair but I do like his character.

But I’m going to gush about Lola’s fathers. Yes, you read that correctly. She has two fathers who are these two adorable guys in love with each other. They’re completely real and fantastic and are always there for their daughter.

Lola’s pretty weird. She definitely isn’t your average next-door girl. For one, she has quirky fashion sense and tends to dress over-dramatically but I like that creative side of her.

It’s definitely a light-hearted book that will leave you hanging for more.

Cinder

Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Source: Bought from local bookstore

Rating: 4/5

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Review:

The first thought when I bought the book was: Ok, not another cliche Cinderella story but I was pretty pleasantly surprised. This book, a mix of sci-fi, YA and romance, makes me want to re-read over and over again. Cinder’s really likeable and loyal to her friends and country. Despite the fact that she’s a cyborg which lends an interesting twist to the story, she’s pretty like any other ordinary girl.

I love all the side characters as well. For some reason, Ari doesn’t strike me as the evil step-mother in most of the Cinderella books. For one, she deeply cares about her daughters actually. For two, I believe she still has some deep-felt emotions for Cinder but maybe that’s just my imagination.

As for the main villain, Levana, I like how unique she was, using glamour to manipulate her victims. She actually seems like the real “step-mother” in this story though she’s in actual fact, Cinder’s aunt (spoilers!).

And okay, here comes the moment of true. I hated Prince Kai. The romance didn’t really work out from me. I don’t get that sense of resoluteness and inner strength that should come from a potential king. Again, he just reminds me of Maxon from The Selection. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve become more jaded about princes in general. Yes, Kai would make a cute and fun-loving boyfriend but he doesn’t strike a very impressionable image as compared to Cinder.

Oh! One more thing I particularly like is that it’s set in China, New Beijing. Hmm…the problem is, I was kind of excited because being a Chinese, I was expecting some eastern stuff popping out but there wasn’t anything to set the “mood” or “aura” of the city. I mean, it seems odd for the author to pinpoint the location as Beijing when the story could have taken place literally anywhere.

But to sum up, I’m looking forward to the next book 🙂

The Selection

Title: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Source: Bought from local bookstore

Rating: 2/5

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Review:

I’m sorry to all the lovers of this book. After listening to all the raving reviews, I’m sorely disappointed. Yes, I’m a girl who enjoys chick-lit and all the cliche stuff but I do have my limits- especially when it comes to a professionally published book. Even if it’s cliche, it has to be done tastefully.

The entire plot is supposed to be dystopian romance. However, I do think it’s over-cliched. It seems to be the normal type of writing and plot I find on fanfiction sites. It’s predictable and the dystopian elements of the story weren’t well elaborated. There was only a brief mention of the caste system at the start and randomly inserted infiltrations by the rebellions that seemed to have no purpose. It was too light-hearted for my liking and it just seemed to be taken out from The Bachelor’s show.

The first impession I got of Maxon was that he’s a wimp. Maybe that was the intended impression but he seemed so soft and easily impressionable- not really the ideal type of male lead I root for. Or maybe he’s just not my cup of tea so I will leave it that.

As a whole, I’m not very happy with the book and I do regret buying it. This critique might be a little harsh but I did expect more depth in the book.

Legend

Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Source: Borrowed from Library

Rating: 5/5

 What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the  Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year old June is a prodigy being  groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the  slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his  motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds,  June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother,  Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate  game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two  uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister  lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Review:

You might have noticed that I gave this book a 5/5 as a review. The truth is, I loved it in every ardent sense. I’m the type of person who can’t read a book after putting it down for a long time. During some unfortunate circumstances, I misplaced the book and didn’t read it for 2 weeks. When I chanced upon it while rummaging through my bookshelf, I picked it up again and managed to easily immerse into the story despite not remembering what it was about.

Presented from 2 different points of views (both June and Day), the story was rather refreshing. I will admit that I was quite hesistant to read the story because it seemed all military which isn’t my favourite topic but thankfully, the politices/descriptions of the dystopian world were pretty in depth yet interesting at the same time.

Both the main and side characters were pretty well developed. Both June and Day were not without their flaws and I particularly like Day’s brother, John, who sacrificed himself for the sake of Day. (Spoilers!) I perhaps sympathesize the most with Thomas, the “villain” of the story (another spoiler!) because he believed himself to be working for the greater good despite his flawed views. This book is certainly a must read!

Vampire Games

Title: Vampire Games

Author: J.R. Rain

Source: Bought from Amazon

Rating: 4/5

Six years ago federal agent Samantha Moon was the perfect wife and mother, your typical soccer mom with the minivan and suburban home. Then the unthinkable happens, an attack that changes her life forever. And forever is a very long
time for a vampire.

Now in VAMPIRE GAMES, Samantha Moon is hired to look into the suspicious death of a popular fighter—and quickly discovers there’s far  more to the story than meets the eye. Now, as she uncovers clues into the boxer’s past, she will come face-to-face with something unexpected…and something only whispered about. And as the case takes an unexpected turn, Samantha Moon must confront the growing supernatural powers of those closest to  her—and a betrayal that will rock her world.

Review:

After the last Vampire Games book, I was slightly hesitant to buy the book but I’m glad I did. There’s a marked improvement from last book where JR Rain left off.

The plot have gotten more interesting and progressed much further. Samantha’s children finally know her secret and surprises her with their maturity while Fang seems to have given up on her and ran off with another vampire for a rendezvous. I will admit, I was perhaps most heartbroken when Kingsley cheated on Samantha (spoilers!) but it was probably expected. There must be a reason why he’s still single despite being 80 years old. Still…..I would have expected more commitment from him since he claims that he loves Samantha.

The ending’s unexpected and the crime story was pretty interesting as well. This new book has certain renewed my interest in series 🙂

Grave Mercy

Title: Grave Mercy

Author: Robin LaFEVERs

Source: Bought from local bookstore

Rating: 4/5

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Review:

I know, I know. I have a thing for female protagonists in long, flowing dresses but this book truly lives up to his hype.

The plot is indeed refreshing and unlike many YA books you find overflowing on the shelves nowadays. The starting was straightforward yet intriguing and I immediately read on to find out what happened.

I love how the author fleshed out all her supporting characters- the Duchess, the Beast and the abbess. I practically teared at the end when some characters ( I won’t reveal who! ) died. Ismae’s pretty kick-ass. In fact, the book strongly resembles Graceling which is one of my favorites as well. I love the tension, the dilemma and her worries as the book progresses. She’s strong and intuitive but not without her faults- the perfect blend of combinations in a strong female character.

However, I did find the story quite long-winded in the middle because of all the politics and stuff but in the end, I still managed to make sense of the overall situation so it wasn’t that bad.

I’m looking forward to the next book!

Insurgent

 

Title: Insurgent

Author: Veronica Roth

Source: Bought from Amazon

Rating: 3/5

 One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest   surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows.

Review:

To be completely honest, with all the hype and hurrah about this series, I would expect something fabulous and almost perfect. I agree that this series is pretty fantastic. There’s a reason why I continue reading but I just don’t get a sense of Tris. Unlike stories like the Hunger Games whereby I feel strongly for the main female character, I just don’t empathize with Tris at all. I mean, the first part is mainly how she is torn by the fact that she killed Will. Okay, I get that. But the fact is, she spends so much time throwing herself into the path of danger and then she’s only able to understand how important living is until she’s facing death at the Erudite’s head-quarters. Also, the relationship between Tris and Four just fell flat. It wasn’t sensational at all. Somehow, it just reminded me of an atypical.common boy-girl relationships you find nowadays in many books and this doesn’t reflect how special their bond is.

On the other hand, I especially love certain parts of the book. Like for example, when Peter (hurrah! I love him) saves Tris. Turns out he did have some sort of twisted conscience after all. However, the characters were slightly too predictable. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I kind of predicted Caleb would betray Tris right from the start. Somehow, I’ve just started rooting for all the “bad” characters in this story- Jeanine and the aforementioned Peter. They’re much more interesting then the “goody” characters like Tris and Susan etc.

All in all, I felt that Divergent was definitely better than Insurgent. But compared to numerous other dystopian series, Insurgent fares pretty well after all.