[Review] Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Unbreakable
(The Legion #1)
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
Pages: 320 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Paranormal, Horror

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.
When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.
Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.
Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

 

 

Review

Well, I have resolved to venture into genres out of my comfort zone, including horror. I was in the mood for ghost stories and Unbreakable had been on my radar for a while, so I decided to buy it and I must admit it was creepy!!

“I feel asleep thinking about her. Wondering what it would be like to have wings if you were too scared to fly.”

Basically, Unbreakable doesn’t waste time and every chapter ends with a BANG or new revelations. In the beginning, Kennedy discovers that her mother has died of heart failure. Four weeks later, a spirit would have killed her if it hadn’t been for the twins Jared and Lucas. Kennedy finds out that her mother’s sudden death was caused by supernatural forces and that Kennedy is part of a secret group of ghost hunters called the Legion.

The highlight of this book was definitely its fast-moving and exciting plot that kept me flipping the pages. I wasn’t bored at all and I was very intrigued by this Legion thingy. Luckily, the backstories are explained very well without being overly-detailed or perplexing. In addition, some parts were also SCARY! The horror descriptions managed to send chills down to my spine – I definitely regretted reading this at night because I ended up being paranoid for a few days. However, I did feel that some of the clues are a little too convenient – I was expecting something harder and trickier.

Although I felt nothing toward the main character, I really liked reading the interactions between the Legion members. Gotta love Alara and Priest!! Well, especially Priest! There’s just something so fascinating about this genius young boy. I think I loved the side characters more than the protagonist.

As for the romance, it could have been better and less obvious. Right from the moment the possible love interests were introduced, I already knew which of them would end up with Kennedy. And I was right. Also, the love interests are very typical and cliché. Both are handsome, but one of them is cold, mysterious and has a “tragic past” while the other one is the nice-and-friendly type of guy. You can guess which one who will win the MC’s heart.

Despite its flaws, there are redeeming qualities that I couldn’t overlook. Unbreakable was an extremely gripping and chilling book – those who love paranormal thriller and horror won’t be disappointed!

[In Bullet Points] The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore

The Fall of Five
(Lorien Legacies #4)
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Penguin UK
Publication Date: August 27th, 2013
Pages: 342 (UK Paperback)
Genre: YA – Adventure, Paranormal, Science-Fiction

I thought things would change when I found the others.
We would stop running. We would fight the Mogadorians. And we would win.
But I was wrong. Even though we have come together, we barely escaped from them with our lives. And now we’re in hiding, figuring out our next move.
The six of us are powerful — but not strong enough to take on their entire army. We haven’t discovered the full extent of our Legacies. We haven’t learned to work together. Time is running out, and there’s only one thing we know for certain: we need to find Number Five before they do.
They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. I am Number Four. I was supposed to be next.
But I am still alive.

The battle is far from over.

In bullet points…

What I liked:

  • Most of the characters, like the badass and practical Six, the violent-loving and blunt Nine, the kind-hearted Marina and OMG EIGHT! Marina didn’t really stand out for me in the previous books but I grew to love her character and friendly personality. OH AND I NEED MORE EIGHT!!
  • The romance between Marina and Eight is so heartbreaking considering what happen at the end of the book :’( I NEED MORE OF THEM…
  • The climax of the book is so tense and action-packed, unlike the first 80%. I think it’s the best part of the book. There’s a surprising revelation that left me “WTF YOU KIDDING ME? NO WAY NO WAYYY?! WHERE’S BOOK 5???”
  • The writing works really well with action scenes!

What I didn’t like:

  • The dominating romance. Part of the reason why the last 20% is so badass is because nothing actually happens before. The first 80% is romance-filled and drama-filled. Some of the events I had been waiting for since the previous books happen just like THAT and I was like “that’s it? THAT’S IT?? SERIOUSLY?!” I expected more…. :/ 
  • Some of the characters like Sarah (yes, I still hate her until now) and Five. I WANNA PUNCH FIVE IN THE FACE!! And John (Number Four) is the leader-like guy in the book but he just seems too perfect and I found his character less likable. It felt like he gets the spotlight far too often from the previous books until now. However, I’d like to see his future development after witnessing THAT EVENT at the end of the book.
  • The writing felt like telling instead of showing at the non-battle parts. I think some dialogues aren’t necessary and rather useless. 

Conclusion:

Lorien Legacies series is indeed going downhill. The plot feels like a drag and I think it would have been better to make this series a trilogy instead of adding more books and ends up dragging the story. I was at the brink of giving The Fall of Five two stars due to the dominating romance but this book is saved by awesome characters (mostly) and the last 20%. Plus, in the end The Fall of Five gave me the urgency to read the next book (which will be released next year ._.) and SOOOO MANY FEELS!!!

[ARC Review] Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Hey guys!! I’m back 😉 My midterm exams are over now but I still have a few assignments I need to do by the end of the week (and some tests on Wednesday and Thursday) so probably I won’t be too active these days. Well, at least I’m not on a hiatus anymore! Next week is my midterm break so I’m really excited to tackle my TBR pile! For now, here’s a review of Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles:

***

Wild Cards
(Wild Cards #1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker BFYR
Publication Date: October 1st, 2013
Pages: 342 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Contemporary, Romance

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury UK & ANZ for the review copy! This doesn’t affect my opinions or review in any ways.

Review

Despite highly enjoying Wild Cards, I can’t overlook the fact that there were some cliches in the book that probably wouldn’t appeal to some readers out there. But on the bright side, Wild Cards has hilarious banters that had me chuckling and giggling!

“This is not happening. I hope I’m living in some kind of realistic nightmare and I’ll wake up any minute.”

Derek Fitzpatrick gets expelled from school after pulling off a prank and caught by the principal. He ends up moving to Chicago with his step-aunt and step-brother and spends his summer there. Little does he know that his step-mom has a sister who happens to be a tomboy and bossy football player. Our Derek over here is just like other bad boys out there: sarcastic and good-looking with tragic past. And EVERYONE/EVERY GIRL just falls in love with him. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the lack of originality here. His character did gradually grow on me a bit throughout the book, but I admit that I wanted to pull my hair out a few times due to his stupid actions.

But fortunately, the one that makes this book a bit different from other cliched tales out there is the “good girl” who is actually a tough football player! Yeah, that’s Ashtyn Parker! She may be a tough football player and is used to hanging out with boys but deep inside, she’s STILL a girl. She isn’t those kinds of girls who constantly want to be saved when facing difficulty. Despite the tough image she always tries to display, her innocence just irked me at times. And I was like ughhh girl, just get over it! To make matters worse, both characters seem to be magnet for their opposite gender. I mean, every boy seems to be hitting on Ashtyn cause she happens to have a nice body while the girls are all over Derek touching him whenever they can and both of them are also jealous whenever they see the other one being flirted with.

“I don’t have much, and I don’t ask for much. You’re my last hope.”

The plot was honestly a bit predictable but OMG… The romance… <3 Now, if you’re wondering why I am swooning over the romance which could be classified as “bad boy meets good tough girl” and the insta-attraction (well, not insta-love please put this in mind!) might not appeal to some readers but oh well, the chemistry CHEMISTRY PEOPLE. Simone Elkeles definitely knows how to write a sizzling romance! I didn’t like the relationship at first since I found it too awkward (duhh… Derek is Ashtyn’s step-nephew) but eventually, I was like awww they’re so good together!

Wild Cards was hilarious and highly enjoyable, I ended up rooting for the main characters to get together already! Some negative points just can’t be overlooked, so in the end, I think Wild Cards can either be a hit or miss. But it was definitely a perfect entertainment for me.

Note: Quotes are taken from eARC edition so no guarantee that they won’t be altered or removed from the finished copy.

[Movie Review] TMI: City of Bones

City of Bones

(The Mortal Instruments #1)

Premiere Date: August 21st, 2013 (USA) 
Runtime: 130 mins.
Link(s): IMDb
Lily Collins | Jamie Campbell Bower | Robert Sheehan | Kevin Zegers | Jemima West
Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures. Based on the worldwide best-selling book series.
I read TMI a while ago and to be honest, I thought the series was decent. But since my friend – whom I watch the movie with – is a huge fan of that series, we had been planning for a long time to see the movie together. And secondly, I have watched some of Lily Collins’s movies (Abduction and Mirror Mirror) and I admit that I like that actress so I don’t wanna miss this one too! Okay, so onto the review! But I shall warn you that I am no good when it comes to reviewing movies! ><

Review

Like most movie adaptations, there were some changes in the movie, but it wasn’t that train-wreck The Lightning Thief. Some scenes were cut, a few was altered and I completely understand that it was necessary considering that the book was +500 pages long. Hence, the plot moved very fast and it kept me pretty interested the whole time, although I can see that some people who haven’t read the book would probably get confused due to the lack of explanations at certain parts.

Now, onto the characters! Although Clary was shorter in the book, Lily Collins did a great job of portraying her character! I got annoyed with Clary most of the time when I read TMI, but Lily made her character slightly more likable and sympathetic in the movie. Yes, there were a few moments when I felt like punching her due to the stupidity of her character, but overall, Lily was wonderful!

I am not gonna say much about Jace since I didn’t really like his character in the books either, but Jamie was fantastic doing all those fighting scenes, especially the one near the ending 😀 And speaking of fighting, I freaking love the battle scenes!! <3 They were fast and badass and OMG IZZY WAS INCREDIBLE WITH HER WHIPS! <33

One thing that made me disappointed was how little Alec’s part in this movie (I felt like he got more in the first book?? Or was it just me??) [HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER: And I thought it was weird that Clary was able to tell that Alec was gay having only met him for a couple times.] Admittedly, I was most excited to see Kevin Zegers and Godfrey Gao – they both didn’t get many parts but I hope they will get more in City of Ashes! Btw, filming for the second movie starts in a few weeks! 😛

Oh and I just have to mention that monster in the beginning was soooo disgusting! D:

This movie isn’t the best adaptations out there, however, it’s definitely one of the better ones. Fans of the book will enjoy it, but I am not sure I will recommend it for those who dislike the books :/

[Review] Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Geek Girl

(Geek Girl #1)

Author: Holly Smale
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication Date: February 28th, 2013
Pages: 378 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Contemporary
Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.
As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.
And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

Review

Geek Girl was a really fun escape from all of my exhausting school work. It made me laugh a few times thanks to the main character’s unique and somewhat snarky voice!

Harriet is a geek and nobody likes her, except her one and only best friend, Nat. Nat has dreamed of becoming a model since she was a child but unexpectedly, it’s Harriet who got discovered by a model agent at the mall. Harriet is hesitant to accept the offer at first because she doesn’t want to hurt Nat’s feeling but eventually she agrees as she believes that modeling can change her life and make people stop hating her.

Concept-wise, it isn’t that original, honestly. Unpopular girl wants to change and be popular and eventually she gets an unbelievably hot guy who likes her. Basically, the impossible finally becomes possible. Hence, the predictability of the plot – I could guess correctly every single twist in this book.

However, it was Harriet’s unique and hilarious voice that got me interested until the last page. Although the narration was really funny and occasionally it’s more like telling than showing, it managed to have some depths at certain parts – you just can feel Harriet’s emotions. The writing makes you easier to sympathize with Harriet while staying light and fun. And Harriet likes to throw random, surprisingly true facts most of the time. I did learn some cool stuff from this book, but sometimes Harriet attempts of lightening the situation came across as showing off to me. Like, for example:

“No cat eyes? Doesn’t Yuka know it’s all about cat eyes this season?”

The other woman shrugs. “Prada have just done it so it’s officially over already.”

“You know,” I say, clearing my throat and try to look as casual as possible, “cats’ eyes have a mirror-like membrane on the back to maximise light exposure. That’s why they shine in the dark.”

The two ladies look at me. “That’s… nice.”

“And on the subject of fashion,” I add quickly, mentally trawling through the research I did last night, “did you know that in the eighteenth century it was very hip to stick on eyebrows made out of mice skin?”

They gaze at me in silence.

“Also,” I add, determined to keep going until they’re impressed, “did you know that there are buttons on coat sleeves because Napoleon ordered them to stop his soldiers wiping their noses on their jackets?”

(page 197)

Okay, enough example. Do you get what I mean? Maybe it was made that way to show Harriet’s geekiness and social-awkwardness but no, sometimes those random facts made Harriet sound like “Hey, I know everything and you don’t so please like me”. Though I must add that they did work on certain parts and managed to make me laugh lots of times.

Anyways, I assume younger teenagers would be in love with this book and resonate with Harriet well. It wasn’t mindblowing and more like a decent book overall, but if you’re looking for a break from all the heavy reads and hectic real life, this is the right book in my opinion!