Review: The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Synopsis:wpid-13642704.jpg

“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor
Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion…and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat’s heart. 

Actual Review:

The Mad Scientist’s daughter is Cat.

She is selfish, she is passive, she is spineless, she is the kind of heroine I hate.

But she is the kind of heroine that I care about, because she is a lot like me. A lot like us.

Her character mirrors each one of us who made decisions based on what they think they should do, and not based on what they wanted to do.  God knows I’m not the only one.

Her character mirrors each one of us who are in limbo. Numb, unfeeling, and just plain stuck.

I rooted for her, mourned with her, at times wanted to throttle her because of her selfishness,  her choices, but at the very end I wanted to hug her. Because she finally managed to grow as a person, and redeem herself. (And maybe finally managed to give Finn the happy ending he deserved. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows , but it was bittersweet.)

It was kind of funny really, that as one was growing number and transforming into an ice queen each day, the other was growing even more sentient and human. Finn is someone you’ll manage to care about and fall in love with, trust me.

This was a very emotional read for me, not because I cried beause of one or maybe two moments in the book, but because I was carrying around this doomed and depressing feeling all throughout the novel that only left me as I reached the final pages.

Read this. You won’t regret it.

Verdict:

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Review: Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn

Synopsis:17565070

Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none.

When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of.

But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

This is a Young Adult title

When will this be published? March 4, 2014

Actual Review:

Before I start with everything, I would like to thank Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for providing me a digital copy of this book.

I’ve been a huge fan of Nyrae Dawn ever since I’ve been introduced to her books. I loved every single one of them and it looks like this one is no exception.

So, let’s talk about Brynn. She is not someone I like. She wallows and loves self-pity parties. She is frustrating. There were some moments when I just wanted to pull my hair out in frustration, to just grab Brynn and yell, “What on earth are you doing! They are trying to help! Ugh.” And she was definitely annoying before.

But she is someone I think I can understand.

Not everyone is strong, and not everyone is fast to pick themselves up when they fall down. What’s important, in my opinion is the fact that one does manage get up.

I loved the fact that the sap was not overdone, and the romance was, in my opinion not all consuming. Christian was adorable, and I may have thought that his hair falling down his face looking “all so cute” did not deserve 10 or more mentions, but still. And once again, there was character development by the end. *sigh* That last little fact made me happy.

This one was honest, depressing, frustrating, hopeful… And yes, totally recommended.

Verdict:

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Review: Don’t Make Me Beautiful by Elle Casey

Synopsis:17981514

A ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL. No one knew a woman lived there or that she even existed. A monster, living in darkness…

At twenty-two, Nicole doesn’t even look human anymore. The beast made sure of that. So she hides. A monster, consigned to a life of fear and solitude. This is all she deserves, she is quite sure of that.

And then one day out of the blue, the autographed baseball caught by Brian Jensen at the latest Marlins game enters her prison and manages to turn her world completely upside down.

Temptation comes in the form of pity at first, and then perhaps something more. Does she dare to believe the things she’s told, that this is not the life she was meant to live? That being a monster is not her forever-fate? And will she be willing to risk everything, to reach out and accept the helping hands around her and share her deepest, darkest secrets? She knows only too well that hands can hurt. Finding out whether they can also heal is a risky proposition, especially when the beast is still out there. Looking for her.

**This story was inspired by true events. If you liked the movie “Sleeping With the Enemy”, then you might like this story too. CONTENT WARNING: Violence, foul language, and adult situations. Not meant for younger readers.**

Actual Review:

The very first time I’ve read the synopsis, I thought that it was the beginning of a very fulfilling relationship between me and this book.

But I guess it was just not meant to be.

It started out promising enough; suspenseful, dark, but hopeful. I mean, look at this passage! It seriously makes you want to continue reading!

“The clock might as well keep on ticking, because there is no escape from this mess.  This mess is her life until the day she takes her last breath and is placed in the spot next to Kitten in the backyard.  He already has the hole dug”

It started going downhill though, a little bit halfway through. Everything fell into place too perfectly. Heck, even the love interest was too perfect, saying and doing all of the right things.

I cared for Nicole and it’s not that I didn’t want an HEA, and I am not exactly a fan of too much angst, but it felt plastic – too much color, too bright and too fake.

I like the idea of the book and I do admire the author for choosing the subject. Domestic violence is no joke. I am actually feeling kind of bad for not liking it enough. The way it was done though, just fell flat for me.

This is not a bad story, it’s far from it. It just needed better execution.

Verdict:

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Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Synopsis: https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1371652590l/15839984.jpg

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Actual Review:

“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”
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The very fact that I actually revealed my closet otaku side by expressing my love for this book by using a CCS gif perfectly expresses how much I felt for this book.

Yes guys, I ADORED THIS ONE, and I honestly do not know if my review will be able to express how wonderful this book was. Well, here goes nothing.

As you guys may or may not have noticed, this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a bit of Greek mythology thrown in the mix. It’s an unusual combination, I know. I mean, it shouldn’t really work, but weirdly enough (and to my delight) it did.

And once again, the very aspect that made all of this work were the protagonists and supporting characters; complex, likeable, and cannot be classified as ultimately good or ultimately evil (as it should really be). Nyx has got to be one of my favorite heroines of all time. Strong-willed, damaged, imperfect, and likeable. And Ignifex? Oh my goodness, where should I start? Evil? Indeed he is. But, entirely? Well, read first and decide later on. Just be careful not to end up falling in love with him as well. I did, and I do not like to share. IGNIFEX IS MINE (and Nyx’s) ONLY. Just kidding.

The writing style was also something that appealed to my taste. It had that lyrical and magical aspect to it that reminded me of Keturah and Lord Death. It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

This was a dark, sensuous and spellbinding book. The second I glanced at the first pages, I just couldn’t look away anymore. I initially intended to simply read a small part of it since I had an exam to prepare for at that time but four hours later I looked up, and realized that I finished the book already. I’m a naturally fast reader  (finishing two books in one day if I had enough focus and if the books are magnificent) but 4 hours is still an unnervingly short period of time for me.

Some said that this was confusing, and others said that they couldn’t understand the ending, but I think that if you pay close enough attention, you can and you will appreciate it very very much.

Go ahead and read. You have my blessing. What are you still doing staring at this page? GO AND READ THIS NOW!

Verdict:

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Review: Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

Synopsis:9741685

On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince’s men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.

Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.

Actual Review:

“People trust their eyes above all else – but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there”

People have been saying that this is a retelling of Cinderella’s story. I personally think that was a bit of a stretch, and that this was better than the tale we know and love. I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, so I pretty much enjoyed the world that the author created. This was set in a fictional world that is similar to feudal Japan, and I loved it.

In my opinion, the best aspect of this book was its heroine, Suzume. I’ve always been a sucker for ruthless, imperfect characters. If you don’t like them, I don’t think that this book is for you. If you want your characters to be happy, optimistic, or something, you will not see it in this book.This one, ladies and gents, is about a young girl consumed by anger. She wants to avenge her father and her cousin, she is mad at her mother for choosing her dad’s friend, and she was just…. hurt. She self-harms to help numb the pain she experiences inside. She develops into a much better person during the course of the book, meeting various people that she will love, and I cannot help but feel happy for her.

Then the other thing that I also liked about this book is the search for her “identity”. In this novel, she acts as several different people to the point that she does not know who she truly is anymore.

Besides the things that I loved, I also thought that there were some that could use a bit of an improvement. Some scenes in the book could be removed, since it does not exactly contribute to the story. If you ignore those and simply proceed, you wouldn’t even think that you missed anything. Otieno and Suzume’s love story was also a bit of an insta-love. And you guys know that I’m not exactly a fan of insta-love. Although, their relationship was developed throughout the book, so I guess it’s okay.

Overall, I think that the book may not be perfect, but I loved it all the same.

Verdict:

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Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Synopsis:16113606

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Actual Review:

“Beauty is wherever you find it, and Beast is there when you need to defend it.”

Beautiful and riveting. This retelling brought something new to the table and added more flavor to the story of Beauty and the Beast. The synopsis honestly doesn’t give it much justice. It made the story sound simpler than it was.

The premise somewhat reminded me of Under the Never Sky, with domes protecting people from the dry and barren world outside. I loved it immensely, although there were some things that could’ve been done better.

Isra’s blindness for example, was felt only in a few parts of the book in my opinion. It felt that she wasn’t an accurate portrayal of a blind person. This was in the 1st person narration as well.

I also wanted a bit more elaboration about the world inside the dome, because even though the story mostly happened inside the city of Yuan, I had a clearer image of the world outside in my mind. I understand though that it’s because of the fact that Isra was confined to a tower in the palace and was also blind so I guess there was no helping it.

Even so, I still ended up loving this. The romance was well-done and I cared immensely for the main characters. (No insta-love here folks!) The style of writing was also wonderful, one of the best I’ve seen. I honestly am surprised that so few know of this book.

Verdict:

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Review: World After by Susan Ee (Penryn & the End of Days #2)

Synopsis:12983100

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Actual Review:

Ultimate gushing and fangirling (with ovaries exploding) will commence in 3….2…..

Oh.My.Gosh.

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Before I started reading, I was actually feeling a tad bit nervous. I mean, I’ve been waiting for two years for this baby and Angelfall was such an awesome book filled with a lot of action, horrific scenes that made me shout “Oh my goodness this is so awesome.” while I was having goosebumps. A few seconds before I decided to click open (I have this in ebook format) I was having an inner monologue along the lines of “Oh my goodness, this is it. What if Angelfall was simply a one trick pony? Could I actually live with that? What if I end up getting disappointed with this book? Could this actually match up to the first book in terms of it’s awesomeness? Oh my goodness shut up and open it already!”

The minute I opened it and started reading, it dawned on me that I shouldn’t have doubted Ms. Susan Ee.

This book was just as awesome as the first one, and yes guys. TOTALLY WORTH THE WAIT. It’s fast paced, exciting, and deliciously horrific with funny moments in just the right places.

Penryn is just as awesome as she was before and this book proved that she doesn’t need Raffe to make this novel successful and although I was saddened by the fact that he was not with her in the first half of the novel (probably due to me hardcore shipping Penryn and Raffe since book one) it gave us a chance to further understand Penryn’s mom, Paige and the dynamics of their family.

I couldn’t help adoring the mom. She has shown countless times here in this book that she loves her daughters and expresses it in her own little way such as tying a writhing monster on a roof and drawing a heart on its stomach with the words Penryn and Paige with a lipstick. It was touching in a twisted kind of way.

Pooky Bear is also worth mentioning as well. Do you remember Raffe’s sentient sword in Angelfall? Yup, that’s Pooky Bear. She showed us a glimpse of the Raffe we have seen for only a few lines in the last book. The vulnerable Raffe.

And of course, how could I forget mentioning the ADORABLE  AND HILARIOUS MOMENTS when Paige And Raffe are together? The attraction’s definitely there and I absolutely love the fact that their interactions weren’t filled with angst and cheese.

“If I hadn’t already flown with him, I’d be scared. I’m above the water with nothing but his arms between me and an icy plunge. But his arms are wrapped tightly around me and his chest is warm. I lean my head against his muscular shoulder and close my eyes.

He rubs his cheek against my hair.

I know that soon I’ll have to think about Paige, Mom, and Clara. My priorities will be all about survival and getting my family together and keeping them safe from monsters and people alike.

But for now, for just for this moment, I let myself be a seventeen-year-old girl in a strong guy’s arms. I even let some of the what-ifs seep in, the kind of possibilities that might have blossomed between us in the World Before.

Just for a little while.

Before I carefully fold my dreams away into the vault in my head.”

World After is a wonderful sequel and I am absolutely not exaggerating when I say that I fell deeper in love with the series after reading this. It’s a book you definitely shouldn’t miss. Easily one of my favorite books of the year.

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Verdict:

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