Monday, February 3, 2014

Review: Alienated (Alienated # 1) by Melissa Landers

Title: Alienated (Alienated # 1)
Author: Melissa Landers
Published: February 4th 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

My Rating: 3 stars
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.
Ever since reading JLA's Lux Series, when I hear aliens in YA novels my brain automatically equates it to hot guys. Lol! So I was actually pretty excited to start this one, plus quite a lot of positive reviews this book is getting, so that definitely added to the anticipation. And so I dove into it and I...liked it. Not loved, which was what I was hoping to happen. It did deliver most of my expectations and did put on a number of smiles is my face and gave off swoony and giddy feeling but in the end, it's just that. I liked it but I just didn't really lose myself into it. 

Cara, our heroine, was an easy character to like. She was smart and an over achiever but determined and extremely loyal. I liked that although she was reluctant about the scholarship and the arrangements she took responsibility of it and with great open mindedness. Her efforts on being a host and a friend to Aelyx were adorable and genuine. Aelyx on the other, while I like his initial mysterious and aloof personality, sometimes it borders to boring, (almost Edward Cullen-y, if you know what I mean). So I took great pleasure whenever this playful and sexy side of him slips in. It was fun and entertaining reading through the dynamic and development between the two especially how different they are. 

Now, as for the plot and world building, I have to say that the story did provide quite a lot of interesting and intriguing ideas especially about the world of L’eihr. I was curious with it and was really looking forward exploring more of them. However I was a little disappointed to realize early on the story that the setting for the first book will mostly revolve around in our world. While the whole book was actually and easy read I would have love to see more complex and complicated situations that would make the story a whole lot more exciting and thrilling. 

Nonetheless, Landers was still able to provide enough ideas and factors to keep me entertained all throughout. And she does know how to write a funny but totally sexy and drool worthy scenes. Heh. 

This book will probably work much better to those who are looking for a fun, light and entertaining read but wouldn't want to venture out of the world of paranormal or sci-fi books and jump over the realistic/contemporary ones. A good little break to all those too complicated and problematic ones. Ha!

Thanks to Disney Hyperion for providing a copy of this book.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Title: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: February 5th 2013
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
My rating: 4.5 stars
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Stars! Remind me again why I just read this now? I was both annoyed and relieved that I got on to this one pretty late. Annoyed that I didn't realized how much fun I was actually missing until I started this one (but it's better late than never, right?) and relieved because I wouldn't be waiting that long before the next book comes! So that totally saves me a year of crucial wait. Because, seriously, this series is just so freaking amazing!

I was afraid I'd have a hard time getting invested on the new characters for this sequel. I was a big fan of Kai and Cinder and thought that I'd be too preoccupied with their pairing to really appreciate Scarlet's and Wolf's. So it was actually quite surprising with how easily and fast I fell for Wolf this new couple. With Scarlet's fierce and determined character and Wolf's enigmatic but surprisingly adorable child-like innocence, it made their pairing so much more interesting. 

As for the plot, it was totally a win. Although this book doesn't really contain that much action and battle it was still fascinating going through with the discoveries and revelations and see the connections between the characters and what had happened in the past. The re-imagining of the tale of Red Riding Hood and it being applied to this world was fantastic. I don't know how Meyers do that but that kind of creativity is just bloody genius. 

We get to see a lot of perspective in this book too, majority from Cinder, Scarlet, Kai and Wolf, a couple of Thorne's and a small portion at the end from Levana! Too many point of views usually annoys me but I think, here, it kinda helps seeing better angle in the story and understanding and connecting with our characters.  

I had a lot of fun with some of the secondary characters too, like Iko! She's just so cute and she's like you're girl best friend who teases you with your crush and swoons over sweet things when in fact she's just a cyborg, or no, actually she's just a character chip and here she was the ship! But her voice really sounds genuine and real. And another one is Thorne! I don't know if I'd be annoyed with him or be actually amazed with his weird antics. But he's quite an interesting and unique character. I shared some laughs with some of his action, and stars, he even flirts with a ship! Haha!

Anyway, to close this review, if you haven't started this series you better start thinking now. You're totally missing out here! Where else can you find a fairy tale inspired sci-fi story with talks of war and aliens and totally out of this world ideas but still with a touch of, although light, sweet and cute romance? All of that is in here so you better pick this one, asap! Haha! 

I highly recommend this.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Author: Gayle Forman
Published: January 8th 2013; October 10th 2013
Publisher: Dutton Children's 

Soooo...after two years of waiting (I added this in my GR shelf on 2011! Didn't realize it was that long!), I was finally able to read another stunning novel from Gayle Forman. And as ever, she did not disappoint and again, didn't fail to make me cry. 

Whatever I'm going to say on this review, I know have already been said by many others, but I'm still going to say them anyway. Gayle's writing is definitely one of the most commendable one I'd ever read. It flows with so much knowledge, experience and understanding. Reading her stories, it seeps you in. You feel and cry and learn and grow together with her characters. It makes you feel exactly what it should be felt. So in the end, you actually felt this quiet kind of fulfillment. 

What I really like with Willem and Lulu's story was how natural it actually felt. How they met and clicked and understand each other, for the one day that they traveled together, the development felt gradual and slow. It was so genuine that you forgot they just literally met. Pulling off a 24-hour romantic development like this is not an easy feat, I've read some that totally felt forced and unrealistic. So it was amazing how Forman presented this story. 

Although the romance plays a very big part on this story it was the self-discovery that I appreciated most. The things they learned about themselves upon meeting each other and meeting a lot of different people as well; the mistakes and then the learning and understanding. I was touched and moved by Willem and his mom's relationship; with how Allison finally stood up and chose and made decisions for herself; I love how they soon associate they're one day meeting, though ended in quite a bad way, to something that opened up possibilities and things they hadn't realize they want for their selves.

The traveling part is something I enjoyed as well! My inner wander-lustful self totally rejoiced with all the places they went to. And I'm sure to try out some macarons when (not if) I go to Paris! Haha! 

The only thing that I think I can fault in this duology is that I want more! Haha. I thought the second book will pick up where the first book left off but while the first book was about them meeting and most about Allison the second one is clearly about Willem and how he handled and realized things after that day in Paris. It was a great ride getting on to his perspective but of course, I wouldn't mind getting more sweet scenes between the two especially after a year!

Overall, this is one such amazing story of love and self-discovery. Gayle Forman really did a brilliant job on this one. I highly recommend this.


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