Saturday, 28 July 2012

Booknut's MUST READs: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass
Sarah. J. Maas


"Nor had she missed when they zigzagged between levels, even though the building was a standard grid of hallways and stairwells. As if she'd lose her bearings that easily.

She might have been insulted if he wasn't trying so hard."

Celaena Sardothien is the kingdom's most feared assassin - renowned for her cunning, stealth and (of course) her ruthless killing of her enemies, she seems more myth than person.

Though they never expected her to be an 18 year-old girl.

Released from her imprisonment in the salt mines of Endovier, Celaena is given an ultimatum - go back to the  mines and eventually die of exhaustion and torture, or become The Crown Prince Dorian's Champion and, after four years of service, gain her much-sought-after freedom. 

But before she can be announced his Champion, she must compete against the best the kingdom has to offer - poisoners, vagabonds, lords, knights, mystery men and thieves - in a competition to see who is worthy for the title of King's Champion. Self-assured, Celaena has no doubts she can win. But at what cost, when she is fighting for the chance to kill for the man she hates more than any other?

Taken to the palace, Celaena is given a new identity as she enters court life - sizing up the competition,  training with the Crown Prince's friend and comrade Captain Westfall and becoming the envy of every court lady due to her stunning looks and her proximity to the Crown Prince. The competition begins and Celaena is in her element...until one of the competitors fails to turn up to one of the Tests.

Instead, he is found dead - torn apart as if by wild animals. And suddenly the competition takes a sinister turn as Celaena realises that the killing was no coincidence and that something dark has entered the palace - something with a thirst for killing. In a kingdom where magic has been all but eradicated, Celaena takes on the task of searching for the unknown enemy's identity and their motive...before she herself becomes the next target.

And not even an assassin is afraid of death.

Romance, adventure, mystery and fantasy combine in a story that is a cross between Maria V Snyder's Poison Study, Tamora Pierce's Alanna the Lioness and Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel. With a feisty and witty heroine and new friendships to be formed, this book is worth reading it all in one sitting (like I did :D) and will become a fast favourite.

Friday, 27 July 2012

I have a confession to make...about Confessions of an Angry Girl!

Confessions of an Angry Girl
Louise Rozett

Rating: 5

"Bad things happen whether you're scared or not, so you might as well not bother being scared. It's a waste of time.”

Rose is a straight-A, word-a-holic.
Rose has erythrophobia (n) - a fear of blushing or turning red
Her (popular, cheerleading-loving) best friend Tracy is intransigent about the fact that being popular = life's meaning/divine calling.
Rose isn't popular.

Rose Zarelli has enough on her plate, simply by being a teenager going to what people call 'high school' but what should be renamed 'the Tenth Circle of Hell' - but to top it all off, she has had the worst summer of her life. Why? Because her father died, leaving her family in a mess, earning sympathetic looks and leaving Rose to deal with more anger than she's ever felt before. 

Anger at her mum.
Anger at her brother.
Anger at Tracy.
Anger at her school.
And anger at herself.

But when Rose gets seated near Jamie - her long-standing crush, with his dark hair, brooding demeanour and ink stains on his hands from his artistic scribbles - in study hall, she begins to realise that maybe she feels more than anger. Maybe she feels loneliness, helplessness, hurt and even love. 

Rose struggles to sort out her feelings, whilst having to deal with the pressures of school, friendship and family. Everyone seems to expect something from her - they all seem to expect Rose to be someone she isn't sure she knows; that she isn't sure she is. Rose feels like the people around her are moving on and changing, but doesn't allow for the sliver of a possibility that the person who has actually changed is her.

This book is flawlessly written to deliver a raw recount of what it feels like to be in what I like to call an 'emotional rollercoaster with no restraints' - when life throws you curveballs you weren't expecting and suddenly you have more emotions than you know what to do with, pressures from every angle, tears stuck behind your eyes that you can't let out and that strong wish that everything could be the way it was.

The 'angry girl' part struck me too. Alot of the time, Rose is seen as the 'straight A' girl, her 'brother's sister', the 'dead soldier's daughter', the 'psychiatrist's daughter' - so many labels, just like many teens today get either from belonging to a certain cliche or from being associated with certain things. But sometimes, we want to break this label. 

And after her father's death, and the anger associated with it, Rose labels herself as the 'angry girl' - though not directly - and because she believes that this is what she is, she continues to feel a sense of helplessness and grief. She feels stuck. But when she sees what others - e.g. Jamie - see about her, and when she comes to terms with what has happened, she realises that labels that are self-given cause as much harm as labels that others give you.

Maybe she doesn't like being the 'dead soldier's daughter'. But being the 'angry girl' is even less appealing. 

I loved how down to earth the book was, with Rose's fiery temper and yet her quiet longing for something more. Like every human being at some point, she gets stuck and she resists change. The change in Tracy, the change in her brother, the change of her family life, the change in school, the change in her feelings - all these changes scare her, but resisting them, she realises, is futile.

Confessions of an Angry Girl is heart-warming, movie-worthy and will make you 1.) laugh at the jokes, 2.) shake your head at the antics, 3.) cry at the heartbreak and finally 4.) get angry at the injustices. And perhaps you'll drop your own labels and start channeling more positive emotions too :D

Friday, 20 July 2012

Clockwork Princess COVER RELEASE!!

Get ready to tip your top-hats!! Cassandra Clare's exhilarating Infernal Devices series is, coming 2013, to be hitting off on a high note - the gorgeous cover has been released, featuring the story's very own heroine Tessa Gray. Does she live up to your expectations and imagination? Let me know below on your thoughts about the cover and the book to come!! (Book countdown is at the very bottom of my blog's homepage (Scroll down))

Friday, 6 July 2012

In Tandem ~ Meet Joel & Cat

Joel & Cat Set the Story Straight
By Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow

Rating: 5

“I don't hate're just the most annoying person in my life.” 

Joel hates Cat.
Cat hates Joel.

And frankly, they are quite happy with things being that way. 

That is, until Cat's surprise hayfever attack and Joel's pen-ink disaster end up paving the way for a paired Extension English Assignment. 


And to make it that much worse, the task is a tandem story, which means each one of them must submit a paragraph of the story at a time. No discussions. Just working with what the other's imagination has conceived.

But that's ok, right? It's only two weeks...

Yet, in two weeks alot can happen. 

Cat - on top of the hayfever - must deal with a younger brother with a sweet tooth, her father's fake tan, her mother's emotional rollercoaster, her friend Emma's Barbie IQ and the injustice of being paired with Joel. 

Joel - on top of his obvious dislike of Cat - must put a stop to the weirdo dating his mother (who insists he is of Mexican/Spanish heritage but cannot even make decent tacos), fight off the rumours from his friend Luke the pool boy and try to make sure Cat stops killing off his main characters.

But when they find out their parents are considering dating, all fighting halts as they team up to concoct the ultimate plan to return their lives to normal. 

With funny paragraphs of nonsensical writing (about men who parachute with knives, ladies who drink Lady Grey tea and a version of Pride and Prejudice crossed with the XXX factor), sarcastic e-mails, medical research on the symptoms of appendicitis, superheroes, mangoes and elephants on the table, the tale becomes as tantalising as Anna and the French Kiss, hitting the heart and the funny bone.

And yet, the lingering question surfaces - is normal all it's cracked up to be? And could the comradeship between these two rivals become something neither had expected? 

Joel and Cat set the story straight, in this heart-warming novel about not judging the book by its cover.

Monday, 2 July 2012


Iron Fey Book #4.5 
(Between Iron Knight and the next book to come, Iron Prince)


(Synopsis from Meghan Chase is finally getting used to being the Iron Queen, ruler of the Iron Fey. Her life may be strange, but with former Winter prince Ash by her side at last, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

But when they travel to the Summer and Winter courts’ gathering for Elysium, the oracle from Meghan’s past returns with a dire prophecy: “What you carry will either unite the courts, or it will destroy them.” Now Meghan faces a devastating choice that may determine the future of all fey—and her and Ash’s unborn child… 

I think the next book is going to be:

Top 5 Addictive Reads of the Month

Number #1:
Anna and the French Kiss
By Stephanie Perkins

Rating: 5+

'I mean, really. Who sends their kid to boarding school? It's so Hogwarts. Only mine doesn't have cute boy wizards or magic candy or flying lessons.' 

This is the kind of book you re-read a million times.

I got that bubbly, slightly-teary feeling (that I associate with awesome chick-flicks) whilst reading this book. 
It had everything - humour, romance, the magic of Paris, school shenanigans, heartbreak, friendship, and a myriad of culture problems (like ordering soup instead of bread and grapes, and spelling that oui (yes) as w-e-e!)

The highlight, of course, was accompanying our quirky film-and-disinfectant-crazed female protagonist named Anna, as she struggles to sort out her muddled, tangled feelings. 

Anna's dad is kinda like a cheesy version of Nicholas Sparks - a writer of books to do with three things:
1.) Soppy romance
2.) Heartbreak and 
3.) Cancer or heart disease. 

He decides to send her away from Alabama and to the City of Love - otherwise known as  France - to the School of America in Paris (or SOAP).

Needless to say, Anna is horrified. She is terrible at languages, scared of being alone and is a clean freak on top of it all. 

But when she meet Etienne St Clair (a British-American-French masterpiece!) Anna's French-catastrohpy starts to look a whole lot brighter. 

Touring the beautiful sights, nibbling on croissants, downing many cups of coffee and sneaking into movie theatres, Anna finally feels like something is turning out right in her messed-up life. 

But it will take a lot more than a wish made on a star to help Anna hold on to what matters most. 

Can she balance her family, her friends and her confusing relationship with St Clair? And will she ever get her kiss in the most romantic city in the world?

A real treat of a book that will have you laughing hard at the cute friendship between Anna (Banana) and St Clair, crying when Anna's heart breaks and feeling full of happiness in those moments where she feels that sense of belonging in her loveable group of mix-mashed friends. 

France and Stephanie Perkin's story-writing magic will have you caught and in awe of this tantalising tale of a girl named Anna who attend the French non-magical equivalent of Hogwarts and found herself a Darcy!

Number #2:

By Gina Damico

Rating: 4.9

“What happened to YOU old partner?" Lex asked him. "Suicide I take it?"

He frowned. "Worse - business school. Can you believe it? Two years of Croak, then one day the kid decided he wants to be the next Donald Trump. So we threw him in a car, dropped him off near Woodstock and now he think he spent the past two years in a drug-addled haze at some hippie commune.” 

With witty lines, a wonderful bunch of motley characters, and of course Gina Damico's brilliant world featuring Reapers and the town of Croak, this book is a roller-coaster ride of grim-humoured fun!

Croak has everything to keep you entertained - mystery, thriller-ish elements, romance, adventure, comedy and of course, a spunky heroine who isn't afraid to punch your lights out to get what she wants!

Number #3:
By Lani Woodland

Rating: 4

“Wanna dance?" he asked

"I guess you'll do. All the cute guys are already taken," I answered with a grin.
"You wound me with your callousness," he sighed dramatically, taking me in his arms.

"I do have a black belt in demolishing overstuffed egos.”

A girl that can see ghosts.
A boy that can astral-project his soul.
And a best friend whose obsession about an eerie curse could put them all in danger.

Yara, Brent and Cherie are three teens who share two things in common: the prestigious private school they attend and the fact that they all believe in ghosts. 

Yara belief is strongest of all, mainly because she is a Waker - a person who has the gift of communicating with and seeing ghosts, a gift passed down through her family. But Yara doesn't want this gift. She doesn't want to be 'crazy' or shunned by those around her.

Hoping for a fresh start, she and her best friend Cherie come to Pendrel, school where Cherie hopes to discover more about the rumoured Pendrel Curse. Yara begs her to leave well enough alone, already having visions and ghostly sightings that don't bode well. But the lure of adventure is to tantalising to resist. 

Yara is drawn to new acquaintance Brent and eventually discovers that he has the ability to astral-project. The beginnings of a relationship start to bloom...but her new found peace doesn't last for long. 'Accidental' suicides, murders and drownings start to occur and as the body count goes up, Yara and her friends are in a race against time and the supernatural.

Can they discover the murderer's true identity? And at what cost?
I loved how the romance element didn't overpower the storyline at all - we got to discover alot about the whole Waker thing, and see her abilities and Brent's in action. When an author takes the time to create a concept it's nice to see them explain it at length and use it in the plot. Actually, it's nice to see a book like Intrinsical that keeps to the plot, and doesn't simply mention the plot here and there. 
Brent and Yara's subtle draw to one another is adorable and adds to the general emotional response of this book. 

Cherie's humour, Brent's wicked comments (he's more than just a pretty face!), Yara's determination and of course the best scene - the 'Dallin asks Yara to the dance in front of an invisible Brent' scene - all made for an spectacular paranormal YA book that I will most certainly read time and time again.

Number #4:
The Gathering
By Kelley Armstrong

Rating: 4.5

An unknown past. 
A secretive and in-the-middle-of-nowhere town, whose medicine and education standards are more advanced than any other country's. 

All of these come to together in an adventure unlike any other. 

Maya has always wondered about her connection with animals...but she soon starts to realise that it is alot deeper than she is willing to admit. 

Still dealing with the shock accidental drowning of her best friend, Maya forces herself to concentrate on building back her life, and trying to discover her origins. What she didn't plan on was also having to fight off the unwanted advances of new-boy Rafe. 

But as the days pass, sinister truths about Maya's abilities will unfold, as well as a startling revelation about the town which is supposedly the safest place on earth.

What did I love most about this book? The fact that the main character, Maya, is not a foolish idiotic teenager who believes the hot new guy when he says "all those other girls weren't the right ones but when I saw you I knew you were the one."(not a direct quote...but close!) 

I wanted to hug her when she dismissed him and his charms - here was finally, finally, a heroine who didn't fall for the 'I found the girl of my dreams in the blink of an eye Romeo-style' routine and who made her own decisions. I gladly award Maya the HAB Award (Heroine with A Backbone).

Here's the actual quote - I hope you love her as much as I do!

Rafe sat on edge of the desk. "You're right. I chase hard, but once I get to know a girl, I realise he's not right for me." He met my gaze, his eyes earnest and soulful. "I guess I haven't found the one I'm looking for."
I sputtered a laugh. "And you think I might be it. The girl you've been yearning for. Dreaming of. Your soul mate." I laughed even harder and shook my head. "Please tell me that line doesn't actually work on-"

And then she gets cut off by Sam. But the truth stands - this girl as backbone people!!

Number #5:
By Alexandra Adornetto

Rating: 4.4

“Love you,” Xavier said just before he drifted back to sleep.
“Love you more,” I said playfully.

“Not a chance,” Xavier said, fully awake now. “I’m bigger, I can contain more love.”
“I’m smaller, therefore my love particles are more compressed, which means I can fit more in.”

Xavier laughed. “That argument makes no sense. Overruled.”

“I’m just basing it on how much I miss you when you’re not around,” I countered.
“How can you possibly know how much I miss you?” he said. “Have you got some sort of built-in miss-o-meter that can give us a reading?”

“I’m a girl; of course I have a built-in miss-o-meter.” 

This is a tale...a tale of an angel who dared to embrace the most precious aspect of being a human.


Beautifully written, with so many gorgeous truths in there about life and what truly matters, Halo is a simple yet sweet story that explores what it means to be human.

And what it means to believe strongly in something and to want to fight to keep it with everything you are.

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