Review: Prelude and Fugue by Laura Haley-McNeil

Name of book: Prelude and Fugue
Author: Laura Haley-McNeil
Publication: May 11th 2012 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Won from a giveaway!

The Prelude-Olivia St. Claire wanted to be good at something. What better way than to start studying piano again? And what better teacher than former concert pianist Liam Wallace? She found him attractive, beyond attractive, but her heart was safe. He was married and he showed no interest in her. If he wouldn’t love her, she would make sure he loved the way she played.

The Fugue-But her heart couldn’t be controlled. She now had the opportunity to perform with him. And that’s when everything fell apart. When she heard the music, she couldn’t control what she might say or do. She wanted to be good at something. And when that happened, she lost more than her heart. She lost a chance to capture something that meant more to her than anything she’d ever dreamed.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     I have never said this, but I am a HUGE fan of music. I listen to anything musical, and I play the piano. I love playing the piano. So, I was really excited to read this one. The author knew how to play the chords of this novel!
     Olivia, is a pretty, forty-something woman, who is living with her parents. Her past, unsuccessful relationships had led her to lose her belief in love. So, she decides to embark on her college dream; continue learing the piano. But when she meets her piano teacher, Liam, she is captivated. Liam is sweet, kind, handsome, and .... married.
     Between playing scales and practicing compositions, Olivia's feelings for Liam grow. But is it a one-sided feeling? Olivia's life is in a state of turmoil, and nothing can prepare her for what is to come. Will she ever tell Liam how she feels? What will happen to Olivia's love of piano and hate of performing? Find out more when you read this heart-wrenching tale, Prelude and Fugue, a tale that says it's never too late to embark on your dream...
     I liked this book. There were a couple of good things, and a few bad ones. First, I really liked the references to music made in the novel. When Olivia has her music lessons, she learns the piano more and more. So, I loved watching her do that. Second, I liked the authors' writing. She is expressing exactly what Olivia feels, it was very nice to be in her head.
     The first thing that irked me, is the quick-pace, I felt as if someone was rushing me through some queue, and I didn't like that. I wanted the book to explore the characters' feelings more, and I wanted it to slow down a bit. Second, I didn't really like Olivia. I know that she is forty-something, but I feel like the author should have changed that. She doesn't really act like a forty-year-old woman, more like in her late twenties. But this was pass-able and I didn't mind it that much.
     This book was a nice diversion from my other reads, although it was too typically contemporary,  it was a very quick read, I finished it in one setting. If you want a nice break from serious stuff, or a light romantic read, or a quick-paced book, then Prelude and Fugue has the right pace and a far-fetched plot! ( a very nice one, at that)

ARC Five-Star Review: The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Name of book: The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Publication: January 29th 2013 by Angry Robot
Genre: Adult Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist.

There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn.

He 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 to tutor Cat.

When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     I have been tracking Cassandra Rose Clarke's writing ever since I have read her "The Assassin's Curse", which I absolutely adored. I love the complexity of her characters and her superb world-building. This book didn't disappoint.
     Cat, is a little girl when her father brings Finn home. When she first sees him, she thinks he is a ghost. But as years pass by, she realizes that Finn is one-of-a-kind robot, a complex mix of machines that is supposed to be her tutor. And as she grows up, she can't help her growing attraction to him.
     But robots don't feel, they are programmed, and Cat goes on with her life. But forgetting Finn is something Cat's mind was never programmed to do. What is the story behind Finn? Who created him? Will Cat's life be whatever she hoped for. The Mad Scientist's Daughter will leave you enchanted, heartbroken, and perfectly happy.
     Cassandra Rose Clarke never disappoints. As I was reading her second book, I realized some things. First, her "The Assassin's Curse" had a lot of world-building but this one, was more of a character-driven story. Second, she tends to write complex, slow-developing romances. But she makes them truly believable. Third, just like her romance aspect, Cassandra makes up characters that you feel for, feel with, and fall in love with. Complex and multi-layered, her characters are strangely realistic, even in such a not-so-ordinary world!
     I absolutely adored this novel. it made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me think about the true meaning of love. True love, not something cutout of cardboard and taped together with lies. This is recommended to anyone who enjoys a very powerful, realistic, character-driven story!

Review: The Rising by Temple Mathews

Name of book: The Rising (The New Kid #2)
Author: Temple Mathews
Publication: 2012 by Teen Libris (first published 2010)
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by the kind publisher..

Will Hunter’s had a rough few months. He just survived the battle of his life. He learned the devil was his father. And his newly demonic best friend Rudy is trapped under glass until Will can find a way to bring him back from the dark side. All Will wants is to lay low for a while with Natalie, the girl he loves, and focus on saving his friend.

But Will never seems to get what he wants.

In Seattle, Will encounters a dangerous new breed of female demon, faster and more deadly than anything he’s ever faced, and a mysterious, striking girl who arrives just in time to save his life. Natalie doesn’t trust her, but Will is drawn to her in a way he doesn’t fully understand. Is she a powerful new ally? Or will her secrets destroy him and everything he cares about?

As the devil’s minions work to reassemble their leader’s body piece by piece, Will must once again become the New Kid to prevent the Dark Lord from rising—this time for good.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     I fell in love with this series immediately after I read the first book. I loved the uniqueness and the author's style. I couldn't wait to start reading this, but because of my HUGE TBR list, it took me a long time. I am disappointed that I didn't read it sooner.
Warning. minor spoilers if you have not read The New Kid, the first book in the series (my review here).
     Will, has fought of demons, demonteens, and the Devil himself. But winning a battle does not mean that you'll win the war. And as Will finds out, the devil's body has been cut into pieces by the explosion, and his slaves are trying to collect them. But Will has to get there first, or darkness will engulf the world?
     Will loves Natalie, but he can't let her get hurt. So, he slips further away, while she is left confused and hurt. Going into a new high school, Will is attracted to a mysterious girl like he has never been before. Who is she? Will Will find the body of the Dark Lord? Will he and Natalie grow back into an item? Find out more when you read The Rising, a heart-stopping, action-packed thrill ride.
     I love this novel. I think that I have grown tired of the same stories done over and over again. This novel is a unique one, I love the author's writing style. In the first book, I thought it was a little middle-gradey , but in this one, it fit the pace and the story perfectly. Pacing is something Temple Mathews is a pro at. He knows the exact same pace that the story should be written in, when and were.
     I am in love with Will. His pride, his confidence, his protectiveness, and his unconditional love. He is a boy that I wish the best of the best for. Natalie definitely suits him with her shy attitude and vulnerability. This book left with a CLIFFHANGER (shouty capitals to ensure you!), I CANNOT wait to start the third book in this breathtaking series. Recommended to you, fantasy lover, and you, paranormal fan, and you, too, romance geek!

Review: Lunatic Revenge by Sharon Sala

Name of book: Lunatic Revenge (Lunatic Life Series #3)
Author: Sharon Sala
Publication: October 5th 2012 by Bell Bridge Books
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by kind publisher...

Do Tara and Flynn stand a ghost of a chance?

The bad guys are after a hidden fortune that belongs to Flynn O’Mara’s dying father—they think Tara can use her psychic powers to find it for them. She’ll need plenty of help from her spirit friends if she and Flynn are going to get out of this trouble alive. 

“Look out!” Tara screamed, as the sports car spun toward them. 
The car hit them twice—first on the driver’s side fender, then as Flynn’s car started to spin, again on the back bumper.
“Hold on!” Flynn yelled, as their car flipped once, then went airborne, over the guard rail, and into Boomer Lake.
Tara came to as the car was sinking nose first into the water and quickly unbuckled her seat belt. If they were going to survive, they would have to get themselves out.
“Flynn! Unbuckle your seatbelt. I’m going to roll down the windows so we can swim out.”
Then she saw Flynn, unconscious and slumped over the steering wheel. Frantically, she unbuckled his belt and tried to pull him toward her, but the steering wheel was too tight against his chest. 
“I can’t breathe,” he groaned. “Help me, Tara, help me.”
Tara began screaming at Flynn, begging him to move as the water rushed up to their chests—then their necks. She was holding Flynn’s face out of the water, pushing him as far up as she could until their heads were touching the roof of the car. She couldn’t believe this was happening. It was just like her dream. They were going to die. Where was her backup when she needed them? 
“Millicent! Henry! Uncle Pat! Someone! Anyone! Help! Help!”
Seconds later, the water was over their heads.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     I have had this book for a while, but I had to read the first two in the series, so it took me sometime to get to it, and I am SO glad I did!
Minor spoilers if you have not read My Lunatic Life and Lunatic Detective (see my reviews of first and second)
     Tara Luna is done being a psychic for a lifetime. She has fought off crazy stalker, found a missing girl, and found a dead body. But it seems like the universe is definitely not on her side. Flynn is slipping further away, and Tara can't help but have a bad feeling about it. What's more? Everyone wants a piece of her. Tara is tired, famished, and ready to give up.
     What is Flynn hiding? What will jump on Tara's road this time? Will she be able to keep her life intact? Find out more when you read this absolutely heart-wrenching, realistic account (kinda!) of how hard a teenage life can be in Lunatic Revenge.
     I absolutely love this series. I liked the first book, really liked the second, and I LOVE the third one. Sharon Sala's writing keeps improving and improving until, I am pretty sure, it will be perfect at the fourth book. I have grown used to Tara's powers, and they are really useful to her, at times. But still, I love Tara's bravery and her will, I wish she was my friend to comfort. Flynn, oh Flynn, is such a sweet, sensitive guy. I adore him. Sharon Sala's characters are superb. And her pacing is flawless.
     It's pretty strange. When you hate a book, you can write a 2000-word essay about its bad side. But when you love when, you are left speechless "wierd facial expression". I just want to tell you that this series is definitely worth your time!

Review: Ethos (Equinox #2) by Desiree Finkbeiner

Name of book: Ethos (Equinox #2)
Author: Desiree Finkbeiner
Publication: October 21st 2012 by Hydra Publications
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Provided by author...

Death separated them... but the will of the Universe gave them a second chance to be together. Brianna and Kalen embark on a difficult mission to save their civilizations from the evil designs of Ellette and her minions. The laws of Ethos that forbid their relationship are challenged by their undying devotion to one another. Can they change the law or will the fight destroy their love? 

Lives are lost as they're caught up in a conspiracy that goes deeper than they ever imagined. Untold secrets are exposed sending Kalen and Brianna down a path from which they discover a hidden past, and an unknown future. When prophecies fall short of predicting the outcome, where can they turn for answers?

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     I wasn't that excited to read the second book in the series, since I didn't like the first book. The idea of this series is very unique and refreshing, so I decided to give this one a try. And I am NOT disappointed after reading this, at all.
Minor spoilers if you have not read the first book in the series, Morning Star (read my review here.)
     Bree and Kalen have been through so many ups and downs. It should finally be the time for them to relax and drawn in their love in Ethos. But the universe has different plans. The council is not very keen on letting them be joined together, since they have proof that Kalen is not suitable to be the "morning star"s mate. At the same time, Ellette is getting more power from her minions -the banished Ethorians- and she is ready to conquer the Earth.
     As Bree and friends begin to save the Earth, they meet new friends, new enemies, until it's impossible to tell the difference. Will Kallen and Bree ever be able to be together? Will they save the Earth before it's too late? Will they be able to end Ellette's rule, once and for all. Find out more when you read this imaginative, thought-provoking tale.
     I have to admit that this book was WAY better than the first book. The writer's style has improved and it is very enjoyable. I love her world-building of Ethos, although we don't get to see so much of Ethos in this book, unfortunately. I love the twist that this book took, it was definitely not what I expected. One thing that irks me with this series, and I think will always do, is: Bree. I just don't connect with her. I feel nothing for her, at all. I don't really care what happens to her. But because the characters care about her so much, I can't help but wish that she will make out of the mess alright, poor Kalen! I adore him.
     I cannot wait to see what Desiree has in store for us in the third book. Definitely much more kick-ass and action scenes. This book is a hell of a ride. Full of unexpected twists, heartbreaking betrayals, and ever-lasting true love. You should start reading this series, now.

Review: The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Name of book: The Best of Me
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publication: October 11th 2011 by Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Romantic Fiction
Source: Borrowed from a friend

THE BEST OF ME is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they've taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     If you have been following my blog for a while, you would know that I am a HUGE fan of Nicholas Sparks. Before I started this blog, I had read "A Walk to Remember" and "A Bend In The Road", so I don't have reviews for them. I have also read "At First Sight", which you can find my review here. I love his books, the way the make me feel is exceptional, and this book was no exception. 
    Teenagers, Dawson and Amanda fell in love in the summer of 1984. But they were different. Way different. Amanda was a Collier, one of the royal families in town and expectations rose high for her.. Dawson was a Cole, a family famous for its criminal record, people expected him to be behind bards and have an empty future. They found comfort in each other and they were able to escape the cruel world. But at the end of the senior years, circumstances tear them apart.
     Now, twenty-five years later, they go back home to their mutual friend's funeral. When they meet again, they can't deny the spark that is still there. None of them has lived the life they imagined. Dawson should have died a couple of times, but fate always brings him back. Amanda is stuck in a marriage with an alcoholic. Will this weekend change their  lives? Find out the power of love in this striking new novel, by the ever talented author, Nicholas Sparks..
     I loved this book. It was a great love story, just like Nicholas's author books.. He is a very talented author. I love the way he makes me cry in all his books. There was something bugging me in this novel, I don't think I can pinpoint it. Maybe it was the "ghost" aspect of Dawson's life. You don't know what I am talking about, but once you read the novel, you will.
     This is a very enjoyable, romantic read. That left me crying. I will definitely read any books Nicholas Sparks writes. Recommended to fans of romance!

ARC Review: What We Saw At Night by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Name of book: What We Saw At Night (What We Saw At Night #1)
Author: Jacquelyn Mitchard
Publication: January 8th 2013 by Soho Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Like the yearning, doomed young clones in Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, three teenagers with XP (a life-threatening allergy to sunlight) are a species unto themselves. As seen through the eyes of 16-year-old Allie Kim, they roam the silent streets, looking for adventure, while others sleep. When Allie's best friend introduces the trio to Parkour, the stunt-sport of running and climbing off forest cliffs and tall buildings (risky in daylight and potentially deadly by darkness), they feel truly alive, equal to the "daytimers."
On a random summer night, while scaling a building like any other, the three happen to peer into an empty apartment and glimpse an older man with what looks like a dead girl. A game of cat-and-mouse ensues that escalates through the underground world of hospital confinement, off-the-grid sports, and forbidden love. Allie, who can never see the light of day, discovers she's the lone key to stopping a human monster.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     This time, I am going to do this review a little differently. I won't give you a summery of the book like I always do. No, I will just tell you the good and the bad (if there is.). I am doing this because I am afraid to spoil the GREATNESS of this novel. Yape, it was that good...
     Allie, Rob, and Juliet are the best of friends. What brings them together is their XP; allergy to sunlight. I have to say that this idea is very creative. Since I didn't even know that this allergy existed. One day, Juliet starts teaching them Parkour, a type of sport that includes leaping off roofs and balconies. This idea is very creative, too. I didn't know about this kind of sport. It requires a very great momentum, confidence, and fitness. I loved watching Allie and Rob learn it. 
     But while practising their new sport, they witness something. Something they shouldn't have seen. Something that might or might not be murder. They are not sure. Right here, the mystery part of the novel starts. I loved this. At first, we don't know who the villain is. But little by little, we get more clues as Allie digs more into the "incident". At the same time, Juliet is getting more detached from them. . There is an air of mystery around Juliet which I was very curious about. I loved the growing relationship between Allie and Rob.
     This story gripped me from the very first pages. I thought it would be some kind of middle grade novel. I was wrong. The very first thing that I should say, is that I abso-freaking-lutely ADORED the characters. I have never felt more connected, or more in rhythm, with characters this much. They were absolutely phenomenal. They were individuals, not stereotypes. I loved Allie, even though she knew nothing about living in daylight, she was so easy to connect to. She went by her heart AND her mind, a great combination. I have never loved a main character this much.
     There is also Rob, who was absolutely adorable. Oh, and about the incident. They see something really terrible, and Allie sees it twice! But no one believes her, not even her friends, so she is frustrated. I loved how this part of the story unfolded. Every time I THOUGHT they would catch the "doer" was, Ms.Jacqulyn threw in another twist and I was caught off guard again. It gave me chills!
     If you leave me be, I can talk about this book for a week! (which would be very boring, because all I would do would be gushing and raving about it "wink") I never knew it would be so good!  This book is one of the BEST books I have ever read. I have not doubt. I cannot wait to read the second book, What We Lost In The Dark and meet Allie again. Please, guys, please. Go read this book. I promise you will not regret it.

P.S. Jacquelyn Mitchard has an AMAZING writing style, so I couldn't help but grab a few quotes:

"Juliet kept smiling. “Everybody dies,” she said, turning her face so it was out of the light. “But not everybody really lives.”"

"But now that it was happening . . . everything fit like finely chiseled wood, smooth and soft and funny, tasting like the wasabi we’d had with dinner."

"Short strands of questions and suppositions snapped and rolled like a cheap Mardi Gras bead string in my mind."

"At the base of my mind was the solemn unspoken thought: tonight was our only tomorrow, and we would bet the limit on every hand."

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Name of book: Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication: May 1st 2012 by HarperTeen
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Borrowed from a friend

One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

"New York Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

-- My Rating --

-- My Thoughts --

     When I read Divergent, I liked it. But not as much as everyone else who was raving about it. I kinda like this series, and since my friend had both books, I decided to borrow this one. And I will just say: Veronica Roth, please hurry up writing the final book!
Minor spoilers if you haven't read the first book in the series, Divergent (See my review here)
     Beatrice "Tris" has escaped the horrible stimulation control of the Erudite, only because she is Divergent. But it is not over. And the Erudite have even ore horrible plans this time. If that wasn't enough, her relationship with Tobias "Four" is being reduced to only: heated arguments.
     As Tris tries to find out the plans of the Erudite, the conflict between the factions increases dramatically. The Candor are confused, the Dauntless and the Amity are divided, and The Abnegation are lost. There are also the faction-less, who seem to be much more organized than everyone thought they were.
     Secrets are revealed and lives are lost. Will Beatrice stay true to herself or will she lose her inner battle? What are the faction leaders' hiding? Will the factions every grow back into one unit? Find out much ore when you read this action-packed, though-provoking book about what it means; to be human.
     I LOVED this book. Divergent was a nice dystopian novel. It was action-packed but I felt like Tris was cold-blooded and I didn't feel for her. In this book, I LOVED the action. There was always some fight scene or some intriguing twist. I loved it. Although, I love Tris's bravery, I still don't like her at times.
     This book was such a wonderful sequel. And the end was SUCH a cliff-hanger. I CANNOT wait for the second book. It is just impossible to wait one year! If you want an enjoyable, exhilarating novel, then Insurgent is definitely the one!