Monday, 23 June 2014

Hexed (The Witch Hunter, #1) by Michelle Krys

Description from Goodreads:

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

I recently read Half Bad by Sally Green and I was pleasantly surprised that for the first time in a really long time, I actually enjoyed a book about witches. Harry Potter series definitely has set an eternal sky-high bar for anything witch related. So, as I had just read a good witch book, I decided that maybe I should try another one - just to test the ice. I came across with Hexed and it had gotten plenty of good reviews and had a rating of 4.02 on Goodreads at that time, so I decided to give it a try. It ended up being what I had expected it to be - a relatively light read with teenager drama and  good looking guys.

There is this one thing that I can't tolerate: high school drama. And we got plenty of it in Hexed. I could immediately sense this mean-girl setting, which definitely made me less excited for the book. Indigo and her best friend Bianca have gotten into a cold war as Indigo has managed to catch herself the captain of the football team. Bianca of course can't stand this fact, and despite being Indigo's oldest friend, she tries to make her life miserable. I think I could have endured this without any struggle if it wasn't for the fact that Indigo herself wasn't the kindest person around. She pushed around and used her nerdy neighbour Paige who does everything Indigo says in the hopes of being her friend. NOO. I didn't like this at all. I just wanted to punch some sense into Indigo as all she could think about if her denim miniskirt looked good with her suede boots. Luckily though, she does experience some character development and I didn't hate her as much in the end as I did for the first 50%. 

To be honest, I'm in a hate-love relationship with majority of the characters who are in this book. The mysterious Bishop who comes around to ease as well as complicate Indigo's life was almost as infuriating as she was. He kept making these sexist remarks and suggestions which made (and luckily Indigo too) furious. However, the readers eventually learn something about Bishop which made at least me like him better. In the end, I actually found myself smiling to his remarks, and I think he was pretty good for Indigo, unlike Devon - Indigo's football captain boyfriend (yuck). I'm definitely rooting for Bishop and Indigo now, but I still can't completely forget his aggravating behaviour. However, now that I know that there is a reason behind it, I feel like it makes it a little bit less worse. And I suppose Bishop was kind of cute and sweet as well, even though the bad boy with tattoos and longish hair type isn't exactly my first choice. 

Most likely, the reason for the fact that I didn't really get into the story before I had already  read 50% was because of the reasons above. There was just too much high school drama and too little magic stuff. The action and interesting revelations however in the half way were able to save the story from utter disaster to which it was first headed. I wish the story was more concentrated on the new knowledge of magic and practising it, rather than Bianca-Indigo, one-oh-one, drama. Thanks to this, the story felt a little superficial and the time devoted to the drama could have been used more wisely - maybe on the establishment of Indigo's relationships and her feelings about the witchery. Nevertheless, even though the story in general didn't really bring anything original to YA genre, I found myself entertained by the story. It definitely had its funny and deep moments too, and I can see why some many had enjoyed reading the book. I just might be a bit too old for this type of books - not for YA genre but the unnecessary teenager drama. 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Sunday Post (#8)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead." 

 What I read this week 

❄ Nihal of the Land of the Wind (Chronicles of Overworld #1) by Licia Troisi
❄ Deeper We Fall (Deeper We Fall #1) by Chelsea M. Cameron

✿ Reviews ✿

❄ Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki 

✿ Memes ✿

 Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Will be in My Beach Bag This Summer

✿ Around the blogosphere and elsewhere ✿

 Watch Out For These Upcoming YA Novels
❄ Is It Cheaper to Buy Books Online?
 Which YA Heroine Archetype Are You?
(I was the Mystery Girl such e.g. Cinder from Lunar Chronicles)

✿ What else I've been up to this week ✿

1. First Summer Job Week. I'm sorry that I didn't post that much this week, but I have been just so exhausted after work that I've just slouched on the sofa and tried to catch up with my reading, but it feels so hopeless. I just ate and slept and worked the whole week. I'm sure it will get better though as I get used to working full-time.

2. Get-away Weekend. Like I already mentioned, my week was pretty consuming work-wise. So,  I decided to do a small get away and de-stress myself completely. I went to this family summer cottage with some family and I ended up having wonderful time. Good food, hilarious company, and some homemade peach wine were spot on!

3. Watercolour painting. I mentioned some weeks ago how I wanted to try out using watercolours, and now my equipment finally arrived in the mail! It has been pretty fun trying out different things, but I have to say it is rather challenging at certain areas as well - I feel like things to learn will never ends which is of course a good thing!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (#16): Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday this week is about 

 Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer 

1. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
2. Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins.
3. The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder.
4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
5. Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones.
6. How They Met and Other Stories by David Levithan.
7. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales.
8. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.
9. Heist Society (Heist Society #1) by Ally Carter
10. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

I made this list while thinking of white sand beach, upbeat happy indie rock music, and maybe having a cool drink, and somehow all the books that came to my mind were contemporary books (except for The Howl's Moving Castle). So, I suppose that is the magic word today! A contemporary, romance book definitely is a good choice when heading to the beach - something light and easy to read. 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Description from Goodreads:

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home. 

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain. 

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. 

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. 
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

It had been a really long time since I had read a dystopian novel, so when I came across with Branded on NetGalley, I immediately requested it. I can't say that I had heard before about a novel in which there was a society which had created a new law system which dictates by branding the law breakers with neck tattoos so everyone could see what you had done (even though the dictator element is rather unoriginal). However, as intriguing as the description is, sadly I have to say that the book wasn't 100% to my tasting.

The concept in the book is just really intriguing, even if a bit used. A young woman is wrongly accused and convicted of adultery and receives a blue brand of it on her neck while shipped to the Hole where all the other Sinners live and work - not really an ideal place for physically and mentally vulnerable girl, especially when everyone thinks that she has committed a lust crime. The story in itself kept me captivated the whole time and I think that the twists and relationship buildings were intriguing, even though the authors could have worked more on the world building which was rather superficial. 

I was pleasantly surprised with the relationship establishment between Lexi and Cole. I was expecting insta-love, but there was none! And there even weren't that many typical smouldering looks exchanged in the beginning which made their relationship so much more believable and interesting to follow. After all, they were meant to be on the opposite sides. Cole was pretty dreamy from time to time with all his protectiveness and lopsided grins, but I didn't find him to be that original to be honest. Lexi on the other hand got all my respect for showing that even though she had feelings for Cole, he didn't end up being her whole world (even if Cole wanted so).

However, my main problem with the book was the writing. I mean, I consider myself as a pretty forgiving when I read debut novels, but I do have to set the line somewhere. The storytelling in itself wasn't really that bad, but the dialogues between the characters, especially towards the end, were just unsatisfactory. The conversing between Lexi and Cole was filled with cliches and was awkward at times - it was just too pretentious, but ironically it hadn't any impact on me. The conversations just made me cringe as they were so over the top and epic. Is it too much to ask if the chats were a bit more down to earth from time to time?

I'm actually a pretty bummed out that I didn't like Branded more. I read the first 50% in one sit as the story was really captivating, but eventually the less-than-mediocre writing caught up and made my progression with the book so much more difficult. I enjoyed the story, but I didn't appreciate the pro. I think quite many probably will enjoy the book though as the romance was pretty intense and a lot happens in this first book of Sinner's series. I, however, just couldn't get over the pretentious language which really made me like the book less. Actual rating 2.5.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sunday Post (#7)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead." 

 What I read this week 

❄ The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Lesley Walton
❄ The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima 
❄ Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

✿ Reviews ✿

Looking For Alaska by John Green 
❄ Vicious (Vicious #1) by Victoria Schwab 
❄ The Three  by Sarah Lotz 

✿ Memes ✿

 Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm dying to read
 Waiting on Wednesday 
❄ Stacking the Shelves
Monthly Wrap Up

✿ Around the blogosphere and elsewhere ✿

 New Releases On June
❄ The First Official Poster for 'If I Stay'
❄ Want to link up your neglected reviews and give aways?
❄ Old vs. New Releases

✿ What else I've been up to this week ✿

1. SUMMER HOLIDAY!! (sort of). So I've have been enjoying my summer holiday for almost 2 weeks now - ahh, the bliss. No uni assignments, no studying until late into the night. The break definitely was welcomed after 2 months of constant reading for the finals. However, my summer job starts on Monday so my summer holiday won't be that long after all. But I don't mind having the job as it seems really interesting and of course I do need the money.

3. An appointment with an optic. The last time I went to see an optician was almost 3 years so ago so I thought it would about time to go and check my eye sight. Apparently, it hadn't got any worse even though my new glasses will have some adjustments. I'm pretty stoked about getting new glasses as I still have my first pair ever (which I don't even use that often anymore because I don't like them that much). 

4. A family tree. One of my cousins send me a this really extensive family tree from my mom's side. It was pretty cool (and sad) to learn some family history, like how my grand-grand-grandfather was from a pretty rich family, but when his parents died, the town hijacked the house and their lands. In other words, he and his siblings had to start from a completely clean slate and apparently the rest of my grand-grand-grandfather's life was pretty miserable.