Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Series Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Don't deny it it guys, you so knew this was coming.

Series: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Books: Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant
Previous Reviews: Divergent, Insurgent
Rating: 5/5 stars- no words can describe all my feelings.

Synopsis of Divergent (as found on Goodreads):

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.


I'm done Allegiant guys. Finished 4 hours after I got it on the release date and now I bring you my review. This is going to be clean, simple, and probably a lot of feels.

Fangirl Breakdown:



*sits on her bed glancing at the homework she needs to do then glances at her copy of Allegiant and just feel numb. And dead. And alone. And that the world will never be alright again.


I'm really actually kind of like numb guys. That kind of book coma you have after finishing a series- and then add the emotional trauma portion certain books give and you have my current feels.

Divergent was one of the first books I read when my YA addiction kicked in- I read it in the summer of the year before I started high school. This was before Divergent became a worldwide success- it was just a book that reviewers were praising to no end. After reading it- my dystopian addiction was started. I read like EVERY dystopian novel there was at the time. Divergent symbolizes as a book that started me on this path, and it's a book I will forever and ever love.

Insurgent was a lot slower. A lot of my friends couldn't get through it- even though I finished it in one sitting. :P I thought it worked well as character development, and explored a lot of themes and ideas about this series, but definitely what sold it to me was the cliffhanger. Guys, I keep flipping pages, because it COULD NOT END THERE.

The final book was hard for me. Really hard. Somehow, somewhere some instinctive part of me knew it was somehow coming around 3/4 of the book. Some lines tipped me off- certain lines that just made me feeling like this awful thing will happen...

because it has happened in other books. Certain lines in other books totally foreshadowed it subtlety. I guess my brain picked up the pattern.

I understand why it happened. It was a good solution to happen. But make no mistakes IT WAS A HARD SOLUTION. It reflected the qualities and the themes Veronica Roth wanted to represent in this series- but it was hard. I refused to believe it until the end. I'm really conflicted about it. I'm really sad. I'm really depressed. There's just so many emotions within me, swirling like a deadly vortex.

And no kidding guys... I haven't cried like that since I read The Fault in Our Stars. (no, TFIOS is not a spoiler to what happens, I'm just not a big crier. I'm a big sniffer though.)

And I don't think I'll ever really recover.

I think I'm going to add the title of Most Heartbreaking Ending Written with Allegiant. (The one holding the original title was The Fault in Our Stars)

Overall, a great dystopian series really questioning the themes of humanity and what truly makes us a "good" person, giving us great depth in this series.  Veronica Roth,  I will gladly read any more books by you, sad or not.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review: Symbol of Hope by Marisette Burgess

Name: Symbol of Hope (Book #3 in the Symbol of Hope trilogy)
Author: Marisette Burgess
Rating: 4.25/5 stars- the joy of god killing
Series Rating: 4/5 stars- original and fresh
Book #1's review
Book #2's review

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

“I love you too much, Kasey. I know I will end up paying for it.” ~Dion

Heaven, Hell, and Earth are threatened. God has asked the only living granddaughter of Pandora to help fight off the Greek deities and save his Earth. Here’s the thing, she never believed in a God and now that she knows one exists she hates him. 

Even though Kasey Reese would love to ignore her duty she is unable to escape her fate. Personal conflicts, betrayal, and love are the elements that make this situation dire for Kasey. She is about to embark on a journey with her love, an immortal saint, that guarantees no happy outcomes.

In this final book, Kasey and Dion will face mythical creatures, Greek deities, and treachery, but nothing will be as devastating as her possible end. She must reach inside herself and find qualities like courage, strength, and hope. It is her time to fulfill her destiny no matter the cost.

 * I received a e-format of this novel from the author in exchange for an HONEST review. This review is spoiler free for Symbol of Hope, but may contains spoilers for the previous novels.

WOW. So here we are. The final book in the trilogy. It didn't feel all that long ago when I first read Men of the Cave. Which, of course, I have to thank the author, Marisette for giving me a chance to review the novel and actually, reviewing the whole series.

The thing about this series I've always really enjoyed is how seamlessly the author has blended Greek Mythology and Christianity. It flows nicely and it's unique and original. It gives the series a fresh taste, reading something that's not rehashed, and is new and unknown. It also allows for debate- which side is truly the good side? The bad side? Is there even a good or bad side? The characters clearly struggle with that in the novel, and I like how that was portrayed. It gave it a bit more depth to the theme of the novel.

The plot is much more fast paced in this book than the previous others- there's a ton of action and fighting and god killing and death and sacrifices. (I think that was a lot of ands. Oops.) I enjoyed the faster moving plot,  and the new character introductions.

Romance wise, it was a little cheesy, even a little more than the other two novels. Not to say that I couldn't stand Kasey and Dion as a couple, I still enjoyed how committed and stubborn they are, just that it was just a little cheesy. Just some smiling eye rolling silly cheesy.

The ending wrapped everything up really well- almost too well. I was kind of hoping something more crazy will pop up at the end, because I felt like Kasey kind of just got it over with and it was just done. The stakes didn't rise a lot, but there were certain losses and betrayals that came along the way. I don't know, maybe it's just me being really mean to characters.

However, at the end of the day, Symbol of Hope is a great finish to the series- probably my favourite of the three. Thanks to Marisette, and I hope that this series gets some more recognition, because it really is a good series.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Anime Review: Sword Art Online


Anime: Sword Art Online
# of episodes: 25
Rating: 4.5/5 stars- gorgeous graphics, awesome fighting/action, and a romance that transcends the worlds 

Synopsis (from Wikipedia):

Set initially in the year 2022, a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online (SAO) has just been released. In the game, players control their avatars just as they would with their real bodies using the Nerve Gear, a VR Helmet that stimulates the user's five senses via their brain. However, on its first day out of the beta testing period, the players soon discover that they cannot log out. The creator of the game, Akihiko Kayaba, makes an appearance shortly after and issues them an ultimatum: if they die in the game so would their bodies in the real world, and if they wish to be freed from the game, they must reach the 100th floor of the game's world and defeat the final boss. As the players try to face their new deadly predicament, two skilled swordsmen, Kirito and Asuna, are determined to win and be free. The second part of the anime takes place in ALfheim Online (ALO), a spiritual successor to SAO developed by the company who took over the maintenance of SAO during the crisis, where it is discovered that Asuna is being held captive in the new virtual world, still unable to logout and hospitalized in the real world, and follows Kirito fighting alongside new allies in ALO to rescue her.


So I caught the flu that was going around. :( However, that means...

I have a really low concentration and focus level when I'm sick, so it's really hard for me to read. SO... I have a Kdrama/anime marathon instead. I don't need a lot of concentration for that, and I get so excited, I forget momentarily that I'm sick, then I cough and I'm back to reality.

So I blew through about 6 episodes of Sword Art Online, and BAM. I'M DONE :D

and ohmygosh, what a ride.

This anime is exciting, with tons of action packed fighting, some fun mysteries here and there, and a really adorable romance. It's a very fun concept, and it touches on the meaning between virtual and reality worlds- who are you really? It's like the Internet today. Maybe because you're on the Internet, there are certain things you would do that you wouldn't do in real life. There's a lot of little life lessons here and there.

On top of that, the graphics are GORGEOUS, enhancing the beautiful sword fights and the world so much more. I'm cheering every time Kirito swings that badass sword of his.

Kirito and Asuna are both strong intriguing characters to watch on screen- they don't back down from a fight, and THEY ARE SO CUTE ASDFGHJKL. All the other characters support the storyline really well too- it's fun to watch everyone interact between such a great setting with a good plot.

Personally, I much prefer the first half of the anime- the stakes are a lot higher in that one, and there is a little more of a psychological element to the story. The second half... yeah I was just really pissed off at the villain. (Well... I guess you could call him psycho.) BUT OH MY GOD THE ENDING ASDFGHJKL.

Overall, I'm really surprised at how much I liked this anime- I'm usually a really intense rom-com fan when it comes to anime, but wow, I really enjoyed this, and I surprised myself by cheering at certain character's death. (What... they really kind of deserved to die.) 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Book Review: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Book: Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend (Book #2 in the Confessions series)
Author: Louise Rozett
Book #1's Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Rating: 4.25/5 stars- fun, relaxing, and just plain old good classic contemporary

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

Rose Zarelli has big plans for sophomore year—everything is going to be different. This year, she’s going to be the talented singer with the killer voice, the fabulous girl with the fashionista best friend, the brainiac who refuses to let Jamie Forta jerk her around...

...but if she’s not careful, she’s also going to be the sister who misses the signals, the daughter who can only think about her own pain, the “good girl” who finds herself in mid-scandal again (because no good deed goes unpunished) and possibly worst of all...the almost-girlfriend.

When all else fails, stop looking for love and go find yourself.


Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend started out as a causal read for me. A library book I could throw in my bag without being scared of damaging it, and a book with a cover that I could read in class without people giving me looks.
(What, don't deny it, say if you brought say Origin by Jennifer Armentrout to class, there's NO WAY that your classmates WON'T give you looks.)

However, as I read on, I began enjoy the book more and more, and just completely begin to FEEL for these characters! There was so much more character depth in this novel than the previous one, the characters were so much more interesting and intricate. Just... wow.

I really fell in love with Rose's character this time- growing stronger and really trying to improve and find her place in this world. She acted how I probably would've. She was fun to go through the entire book with, you were cheering her on, urging to throw a punch or something, being sad with her, and maybe melting a little with her.

Just a little.

I feel like the plot follows a very similar structure, which is fine, because really I never had a problem with it in the first place- although I hope the next book starts exploring new themes and ideas- maybe about the new start in Rose's life, etc. I think the bullying topic has been quite exhausted.

Really, the most intriguing thing and the thing that caught with me and resonated with me the most in this novel are ALL the characters. There is no shallow passerby character. They are all there for a reason. And they ALL HAVE DEPTH. They were so realistic, weaving in and out of Rose's life like how it would actually happen in reality.

To sum it up, I would say that I would be happy to go back to this series when the third book is out and see what is up next for Rose Zarelli. It's a fun, cute, delightfully charming and a really engrossing read.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 2013

Monthly Wish List and what I've read and seen the past month.

*synopses may be spoiler-y if you have not read previous books in the series.
*Also... there's a lot wants for this month... heh.

Name: Just One Year (Book #2 in the Just One Day novels)
Author: Gayle Forman
Released Date: October 10th

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day.

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.


Name: Allegiant (Book #3 in the Divergent series)
Author: Veronica Roth
Released Date: Can't come fast enough. October 22nd.

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.


Name: Across a Star-Swept Sea (Book #2 in the For the Darkness Shows the Stars series)
Author: Diana Peterfund
Release Date: October 15th

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.

Name: Endless Knight (Book #2 in the Arcana Chronicles)
Author: Kresley Cole
Released Date: October 1st

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed. 

Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history - one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she's been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.

Side Note from Carmen: I kinda hate the cover... but who really cares I just want to know what happens next. :P

Name: The Iron Traitor (Book #2 in the The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Released Date: October 23rd

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads): 

In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. 

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again. 

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.

Name: Wild Cards (Book #1 in the Wild Cards series)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Released Date: October 1st

Synopsis(as found on Goodreads):

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?

Side Note from Carmen: SIMONE ELKELES. FREAKING AWESOMENESS RIGHT THERE. I absolutely ADORE her books. Her Perfect Chemistry series is PERFECT. (No pun intended)

Name: Hero (Book #2 in the Woodcutter Sisters Series)
Author: Alethea Kontis
Released Date: October 1st

Synopsis(as found on Goodreads):

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, "Did romance have to be part of the adventure?" As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.

Other Stuff I'm Excited for in October:
Heirs (Kdrama- Well technically THE Heirs. Whatever.)

September Obsessions:

Vampire Academy series (OH. MY. HOLY. GOODNESS. GAH. SEE MY REVIEW.)

Other Stuff:
Scones. (ohmygod, my local bakery makes the most amazing scones ahhh)
Sword Art Online (anime) (ohemgee.)

Things I Read/Saw in September That I Didn't Review:
A Midsummer Tights Dream (Book #2 in the Misadventures of Tallulah Casey)
Pushing the Limits (Book #1 in the Pushing the Limits novels)
Perks of Being a Wallflower
United We Spy (Book #6 in the Gallagher Girl series) (So beautiful...)
The Program (Book #1 in The Program series)

When it Counts (Web Series)

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