Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Series Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Series: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Books: Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, & Last Sacrifice

Synopsis of Vampire Academy (as found on Goodreads):

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.


So yeah I'm kinda a late fan to this series. I CAN EXPLAIN.  (Skip a couple (a lot) paragraphs if you don't want to hear Carmen's reading problems in the past... LOL)

So let me make one thing very clear before I go into the story: I hate being wrong. I hate eating my own words. Yeah, arrogant, but there you have it, I hate admitting I'm wrong. I mean, it's not like I always claim I'm right, I'll say maybe if I'm not sure... anyways now I'm just rambling MOVING ON.

So when I discovered Vampire Academy it was went I first started reading YA which let's just face it, it was HUGE then, but then so was Twilight.

Around when Twilight hit, I started losing a lot of faith in the paranormal genre. It seemed like so much vampires and werewolves were dominating the genre, and many of which I've came across were TERRIBLE.

So I basically I just quit reading paranormal. I picked up reading chick-lit. (A decision that has forever changed my life. But more on that another time...) And I slated that all paranormal, vampire novels were bad.  I lost a lot of interest in that kind of novels.

I eventually did pick up paranormals again, not very long after, but I ended up holding out on vampire novels for almost year.
And actually werewolves too.

So yeah I had a LOT of prejudice against vampire novels. I figured the genre had been forever ruined, and I would never enjoy one again.
Then I picked up Julie Kagawa's The Immortal Rules. OH MY GOD. VAMPIRE DYSTOPIAN. Yeah so the dystopian part got me. Also, because I had a lot of respect and love for Julie Kagawa's novels.

So yeah that forever changed my views.

Sooooo I gave in and read Vampire Academy, because my friend was somewhat slapping me for not reading it on my prejudice because she had blown through the whole series in like weeks.


But oh crap, I couldn't put the book down. I was gobbling word after word after word.

And then I couldn't deny it: I really really enjoyed it.

Now the first book didn't really have a cliffhanger, so I put it down for awhile because a) I was attempting to save a last sliver of pride (I'm sorry ok) and b) my library didn't have the second book in and I was just waiting for it to show up.

Let's just go through Carmen's fangirl reactions.
Vampire Academy:


Shadow Kiss:

Blood Promise:

Spirit Bound:

Last Sacrifice:


Yeah. :D

These books just have so much UNPREDICTABLENESS THAT JUST HITS YOU TO THE CORE. (I think I just made up a word.)  I let out inhuman wails like every book. It's not normal. I don't think it's healthy.

And I think my dog can tell because EVERY TIME a fight goes down or a really tense moment.... my dog will start barking uncontrollably. Seriously, he won't stop, and eventually I'm so upset at being pulled out of the story and all those feels just start bursting and I just start yelling at him to shut up and basically start weeping on the ground and moaning and groaning and begging him to be quiet and bribing him with treats and just all around a mess.

Yeah. Welcome to my life.

Overall, I would say this is a fantastic paranormal series. The characters are all characters you love and hate at the greatest heights, and it's fun, sometimes humourous, lots of badass action, tons of paranormal, great romance and just the complete package. It's nicely written, and just ohmygod. SOME OF THE CLIFFHANGERS AND SCENES... you just. YOU CAN'T. ALL THOSE FEELS.

Go read this. Don't be me and have this ridiculous prejudice. (Well I mean, it's having that prejudice that Elizabeth got Mr. Darcy... CARMEN FOCUS) Just have fun with this series and laugh and cry and cry and cry with it. I'm super excited to read the spin off series, Bloodlines.


ADRIAN. :( Just. Well... hopefully in Bloodlines. :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Random Rant: Series that Get Cut Off

Ok, so besides on being a fangirl, I'm also a Class A ranter.
You know what pisses me off? When series get randomly cut off because sales didn't do well enough or other reasons. ESPECIALLY if that series is more well written and exciting than half the stupid crappy overhyped books out there.

And also especially if the latest book of that series ends with a cliffhanger AND THEN IS PROMPTLY CUT OFF BECAUSE THE PUBLISHERS ARE MEAN TERRIBLE PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO WATCH US SUFFER.

(No offence to publishers, I know you guys have to make a profit for a living but STILL. )

Unfortunately, I've had the greatest luck to run across a couple series like this, and to this day I AM STILL DYING TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AHHHHHH


Seriously, it makes me utterly depressed when I hear series are canceled.

Ex. 1

The Thief Errant series by Elizabeth Bunce.

I absolutely adore this series. It's exciting, mysterious and just heart racing with a beautiful medieval setting. I adore the characters, and ohmygoodness the second book's ending.


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The Faeries of Dreamdark by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor is kinda a big deal in the YA world. Her famous series Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a serious hit (Which I totally adore I SHOULD PROBABLY READ THE SECOND ONE OOPS) and everyone is kind of crying for the last book in the trilogy. But did you know, before she wrote Daughter of Smoke and Bone, SHE WROTE THIS REALLY AWESOME FAERIE SERIES?

When I first read Laini Taylor's work, I was in the seventh grade, and that was before Daughter of Smoke and Bone was out. I utterly fell in love with the world of Dreamdark, it was unique, original and utterly complex. The illustrations where beautiful, bring the characters to life. I was so excited for the third novel.


Ex.3 (See I told you, I bump into a lot of these series.)

The Legacy of Tril by Heather Brewer

Ok so this one is a weird one. This series got cut off out of the author's own decision. She wished to work with someone she had wanted to for a very long time, and the chance came and she took it. However, doing that will mean she would have to cancel this series. (Hopefully for now.) Now I very much respect the author's decision, but I just SO wish that she had chosen to to continue this series instead.


And the sad thing is... they even made the cover for the second book already.


So yeah. This rant was inspired when I found out last night that Soulbroken wasn't going to be published. Which mad me sad. Then want to rant.

I know that book reviewing/reading community has made a change in whether books get publish or not (which is how Sweet Peril got published if I'm correct) which is amazing. I just kind of wish some  these series got more recognition and just hopefully they will be picked up someday because GUYS THE CLIFFHANGERS.

*this post was not meant to insult or offend anyone, just giving my thoughts and opinions.

Carmen's series rating:
Thief Errant: 4.75/5 stars- twisty, mysterious, heart racing with a medieval setting
The Faeries of Dreamdark- 5/5 stars- unique, original, stunningly beautiful through writing and visuals
Legacy of Tril- 4.25/5 stars- fast and exciting, fun concept

Sunday, September 22, 2013

ARC Review: Inheritance by Malinda Lo

Name: Inheritance (Book #2 in the Adaptation duology)
Author: Malinda Lo
Rating: 4 stars- the final wrap up, but with less excitement

Book #1's Rating: 4.25 stars- heart racing and intriguing with an unique premise

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads):

The triangular spaceship hovered motionless in the sky above Reese Holloway’s house, as inscrutable as a black hole. It had seemed like a good idea when they were inside: to tell the truth about what happened to them at Area 51. It didn’t seem like such a good idea now.

Reese and David are not normal teens—not since they were adapted with alien DNA by the Imria, an extraterrestrial race that has been secretly visiting Earth for decades. Now everyone is trying to get to them: the government, the Imria, and a mysterious corporation that would do anything for the upper hand against the aliens.

Beyond the web of conspiracies, Reese can’t reconcile her love for David with her feelings for her ex-girlfriend Amber, an Imrian. But her choice between two worlds will play a critical role in determining the future of humanity, the Imria’s place in it, and the inheritance she and David will bring to the universe.

In this gripping sequel to Adaptation, Malinda Lo brings a thoughtful exploration of adolescence, sexuality, and “the other” to a science fiction thriller that is impossible to put down.


*I received this book through the Goodreads first reads program- much thanks to Malinda for hosting the giveaway! I was given the ARC so it may be different from the final copy.

*NOTE: This is a spoiler free review for Inheritance, but it does contain spoilers of Adaptation. 

So first of all..


Now that brain explosion aside...

Inheritance picks up IMMEDIATELY (Like literally a sentence after) after where Adaptation ended. It carries on about how Reese and David are dealing with the fact that they are now Imarian human hybrids, and how the issue is spreading worldwide and affecting everyone.

The main plot of this story is how Reese and David can no longer trust anyone- should they trust the Imarians? The government? They are facing all sides of opposition, and they no longer know who to place their faith in.

It was interesting to see how David and Reese were dealing in all these plots of deceit and betrayal, uncovering secrets and finding out the truth. It helped tie off ends and push on character development and romance.

The romance is very unique (to me anyways) in this series. It's a very torn feeling, and captures the essence of being in love with two people at the same time. I wished it ended off differently, because it didn't feel like a very clean permanent solution- it felt like it could crumble and break at any time. It's also slightly taking the easy way out. (What can I say? I like to see them suffer, I'm a terrible person that way.) Personally, it's not extremely relatable to me, but it's written and handled well in this book.

In comparison to Adaptation, this book lacked the excitement and suspense Adaptation had- because we already knew certain things and there wasn't that BIG disaster and high stakes. I'm not saying Malinda should kill off one of her characters, but it was when Mr. Chapman died in the first book that suddenly the stakes stacked higher. There was life threatening danger. In Inheritance, it was really just trying to fit into the world and solve the problem between the races while discovering who you really are.  It was slower and more in depth, a more emotion based book.

However, the last bit of the novel speeds up considerably as it comes to a close, because we all know when people are desperate, they will do anything to prevent something to happen.

Overall, a great ending to a very original and intriguing sci-fi series. Inheritance was enjoyable and cleaned up ends well- although personally I wish the way the romance ended was different.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Oldie but a Goodie- K-Drama Review: You're Beautiful

Oldie but a Goodie- reviewing past things I watched that I loved. Can include anime, Kdramas, web series, AND SO ON. :)

Name: You're Beautiful/He's Beautiful
Released: October 2009 - November 2009
Network: SBS
# of episodes: 16
Rating: 5/5 stars- the most innocent and funny thing you'll ever watch, laughing and making sad faces all the way.

Synopsis (as found on DramaWiki):

The management company of the idol group A.N.JELL insisted on adding a new singer to the group as the lead vocal, Tae Kyung's voice was hurting. However,the new member, Mi Nam, had to go to the States to repair a botched eye job just before signing the contract. His agent came up with the idea of having his twin sister, Mi Nyu,to stand in for him and pretend that she was her brother. The two of them grew up in an orphanage and Mi Nyu, who was all set to become a nun, agreed to this charade as she didn't want to spoil her brother's chance of fame which would make it easier to look for their mother.


Personally,  I think I'm a little biased when it comes to this drama. This drama is very dear to me in many ways. First- it was one of the first Korean dramas I ever watched (my second Korean drama I ever watched if I remember correctly), and it was the drama that got me hooked on watching dramas. (And hooked on the Hong Sisters' dramas. God, they are so good at writing romantic comedies. Most of the time.)

You're Beautiful is a brilliantly funny and honest drama. Sure, it might not be the most creative thing you'll ever watch, but it's enjoyable, with ridiculously funny scenarios and amazing characters who share incredible bonds. (Also, it doesn't hurt that 3 of those characters are insanely, just insanely hot guys.)

You fall in love with each character: Shin Woo, for his kindness and patience, his ever protective and watchful shadow. Jeremy, for being the happy, joyful, and blissfully loving soul. Last but not least, Tae Kyung, his snarky and mean demeanour masking a very vulnerable and actually quite caring person.

Oh and they're all really effing hot. Did I mention that? How is that fair.

Mi Nyu, who is pretending to be her brother in the drama, is so naive and kindhearted, watching her and her fiascos are absolutely HILARIOUS. You can't help but feel sorry for her, and just love and hate how clueless she can be.

The side characters support the main characters seamlessly, making you either hate the (for the right reasons) or love them, and honestly, I love some of them almost just as much as the main characters. (The manager.. OMG HE IS TOO FUNNY.)

The running themes in this drama are super cute and symbolic too. Although at times, it may feel overused, it ultimately is heartwarming and effective.

The side plots weren't as interesting, but they served their purpose of adding complexity to the main storyline. One side plot helped emphasize the plot, another showed character dimensions and growth.

Overall, You're Beautiful will forever remain quite possibly my most favourite drama ever (see I told you I'm biased), and if not your most favourite, a top favourite, with it's quirky humour, hilarious awkward scenes, and utterly loveable characters. I've watched this drama 4 times guys... and I laugh just as hard each time.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Book Review: Snow White Sorrow by Cameron Jace

Snow White Sorrow (The Grimm Diaries, #1)
Book: Snow White Sorrow (Book #1 in the Grimm Diaries)
Author: Cameron Jace
Rating: 3.75/5 stars- intriguing but...

Synopsis (as found on Goodreads): 

What if all you knew about fairy tales was wrong?
Sixteen year old Loki Blackstar is no Prince Charming. His mother is a ghost. His only friend is a red Cadillac that sings to him through the radio. He looks like an Angel but acts like jerk. No wonder he has been banned from Heaven, which is the least of his troubles. Loki needs a job to pay for school and support himself.
Still, Loki has a rare gift: He is a Dreamhunter. One of the few in the world who can hunt and kill immortal demons in their dreams so they never wake up again.
When Loki is sent to kill a sixteen-year-old vampire girl the locals call Snow White Sorrow, he is pulled into a magical but dangerous world. The locals believe the monster to be Snow White.
The real Snow White... living in the ruins of an ancient castle in a small town. She is described as horribly beautiful, terrifyingly enchanting, and wickedly lovely.
What he finds instead is a beautiful monster girl filled with rage and hurt, who has an epic untold story to tell of things such like why the Brothers Grimm altered the fairy tale, who the Evil Queen really is, where the mirror came from, and who possessed it.
Snow White has killed every person who has dared come near the castle where she once lived with the queen. Mysteriously, she lets Loki live, and whispers two words in his ears; two words that will change his life forever.


*I received a copy of this novel as a PDF from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, much thanks to Cameron Jace to for sending me a copy of Snow White Sorrow.

Snow White Sorrow presents itself as a very controversial book in a sense- by the blurb alone it has been compared to Anna Dressed in Blood, a much well loved book, and City of Bones, a VERY well loved book. And I'm not going to lie, I thought the exact same thing with many of the other reviewers. However, I have had previous experiences with Cameron Jace's books- I had read I Am Alive beforehand, which had been compared to Hunger Games. Upon reading I Am Alive, I knew immediately it was nothing like the Hunger Games. So I had somewhat expect the same for Snow White Sorrow. And I was right.

Snow White Sorrow is... a weird novel. I can't say if it's meant to be dark and haunting, or is it meant to be a paranormal with a light hearted touch. There are darker moments, and some moments that are just completely downright ridiculous.

The plot started off quite slow, only really taking off around the last, what 50 pages? It wasn't a super exciting one I would say either... just a really big bang at the end. And I mean END. However, it's a first book, so you can pass it off as a stage setter, but... just too slow in the beginning.

Also, I was confused as HECK in the beginning. So does the real world know vampires exist? Wait, no only some? But vampire hunters are out in the open? What? WAIT WHAT SQUIRRELS. WHAT. WAIT SO HE CAN TALK TO ANIMALS WHY WHAT.


The characters were the main problem with me in this novel. I couldn't connect to any of them. Fable was ridiculous. Axel was just downright annoying. I personally didn't care A LOT for Loki or Snow White, but I didn't hate them. Lucy was probably my favourite. She had a more mysterious vibe in the story so at least she provide a small amount of hidden death.

I did like the parrot though.

And at some point the puns in this story was TOO MUCH. OK, I get how the connection between the real world and the fairy tale word is completely warped up, but I don't need about 50 puns throughout the story to get the point. Maybe it was supposed to be a more light hearted touch, a splash of humour, which I guessed work in the beginning (I did laugh at a couple of them) but at some point it became TOO MUCH.

I'll say this as a redemption to the novel though- it blended fairy tales in a unique way though- with a good dash of paranormal by bringing in the vampire lore. I like how Cameron Jace imagined Snow White story- in fact that was my favourite part of the story. It was intriguing and unique, and it made complete sense to me. Dreamhunting was also an intriguing premise.

Certain plot devices weren't the MOST original thing, but some of it made sense to the story. Without it, it wouldn't really work. 

Overall, Snow White Sorrow has an interesting creative premise, but I think it wasn't executed to it's potential. Will I read Cinderella Dressed in Ashes? Perhaps.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Series Review: The Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck

Too lazy to review all the books in the series- so let's do it all at once!

Series: The Tiger Saga
Books: Tiger's Curse, Tiger's Quest, Tiger's Voyage, & Tiger's Destiny
Author: Colleen Houck
Rating: 4.75/5 stars- an epic fantasy adventure and a spellbinding romance.

*NOTE: Carmen realized after saying she was going to do this review that there's another book coming out. Oops. But she has a reason for still doing it. 

*Only the synopsis of the first book will be given to prevent SPOILERS

Synopsis of Tiger's Curse (as found on Goodreads): 

Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.


My poor heart, it feels like it's been tramped on, I've had post traumatic fangirl symptoms. I've cried and laughed along with this series and swooned and sighed, and just completely fell heads over heels in love with it. This series utterly captivated me. The beautiful fantasy settings rich with Asian culture with a magical plot and intricate romance, it's a fabulous journey of emotions and a great series for fantasy lovers (a.k.a me).

Let us go through a very unprofessional/somewhat immature rundown of the books in the series according to Carmen's inner crazy fangirl.

Tiger's Curse:

WOW. That was surprisingly good- a really great fantasy read. BUT THE ENDING. O.O

Tiger's Quest:


Tiger's Voyage:


Tiger's Destiny:

*cries in dark corner unable to deal with feels and because sad

As you can see... my inner fangirl is incapable of proper grammar and wording and is all round crazy and really bad with dealing with feels. 

The first book was good- it gave a solid base and set the characters at a place where they can begin character development- it doesn't give the best impression and in fact is quite predictable in certain places, but around the middle is when it really starts.

As the series goes on, the books become more and more improved, and the romance? MORE AND MORE AGONIZING. AHHHHHHHH

Personally to me, in terms of characters, I honestly did not care for Kesley- she has a decent voice in this series, but she had way too many self-esteem problems in my opinion, and appearently has trouble understanding her heart. -.-
So yeah... it's Ren and Kishan I love. Can you blame me? One brother is every girl's dream of a romantic boyfriend, quoting Shakespeare, writing poetry and singing the guitar and just all around breathtaking, while the other is quiet and committed, very caring, understanding, and patient, with a playful tease and is completely badass. (Well they're both badass if we're getting technical here.)
Let it be known I completely cursed Colleen Houck for making both of them too damn perfect. WHY.

Writing wise- I like the settings and the worlds that were built, a good plot, a heartwrenching romance that was a wee bit dragged out (too dragged out according to my inner fangirl because it kept killing her), but I wouldn't say Colleen's writing was the best, but nor is it the worse. I think this series is a very rich series in terms of content, but not by writing.

Now, there is supposed to be a fifth book coming called Tiger's Dream... but to those who have read Tiger's Destiny you would understand why I completely thought that was the last book. To me, everything has been wrapped up, and whatever hints that have been left it doesn't really matter to me now. I think I will consider Tiger's Dream as a really really really long extend epilogue novella, and Tiger's Destiny as the last book of the series. I probably will review Tiger's Dream when it releases. :P

Overall, a series that will remain with me for a really long time, and one that'll always remember that made me cry at 12 am alone on the couch while the rest of my family is asleep (like normal people) and utterly broke me. A series that I will always love.

Every time I read that Ren calls Kesley iadala, I just completely break down, have this stupid smile on my face and just ahhhh. NO WORDS CAN EXPRESS MY ABSOLUTE HEADS OVER TAIL SWOON BECAUSE HOW ROMANTIC THAT IS.

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