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janusvielle

The Blair Book Project

Hello! I'm Janus. I am a 3D Graphics Artist by profession, and a proud Book Addict - i mean Enthusiast, and Blogger. I'm very much into Young Adult and Fantasy genre but I open myself to reading other genres from time to time. I run a blog launched as The Blair Book Project on Blogger, where I post entries such as my book reviews and other book related articles. I obviously got the name of this blog for the movie "The Blair Witch Project," why the name you may ask? I have no idea! I just thought it had a good ring to it. Ha! Ha! I post reviews twice a week and I regularly participate in book memes and features that readers and blogger all over the globe share their book interests (i.e. In My Malibox, Top Ten Tuesdays, etc). I have 230 GFC Followers. My blog has over 37,000 pageviews history and have roughly 200 page views per day. I have written over 267 reviews since my span of blogging. I am also an avid Instagram user, with over 350 followers, where I post pictures mostly of books I'm currently reading, books I got for review, galleys, purchased from bookstores, etc. (Statistics as of March 2013). My book reviews are not exactly "reviews" in a sense because I simply just type down what I feel about the book. What I write is solely my opinion and should not be taken as a definite basis of how the book is to be judged entirely. We all have different likes and dislikes so please do understand that although I'm very optimistic about the books I read, there will be negative comments towards those that I don't find suiting for my taste. BLOG URL: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/ GOODREADS ACCOUNT: http://goodreads.com/janusvielle AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/AFAGLA0UYBOMH?ie=UTF8&ref_=ya_56 INSTAGRAM: @janusvielle

Currently reading

Uncommon Criminals
Ally Carter
Dance of Shadows
Yelena Black
Ink
Amanda Sun
SPOILER ALERT!
Alpha Goddess - Amalie Howard

“Don't let someone else decide who you are. You decide. You are free to make that choice no matter where you've come from. Blood does not define you.” 

No. Just no.

There are too many things I found cringe worthy and dislikable about Alpha Goddess.

Sera doesn’t strike me as an ideal protagonist. She’s whiny, insecure and well, just downright annoying. It’s not that I haven’t encountered character like this but hers was too intolerable. At first I thought she was just indifferent, in a way that teenagers are trying to find their place in this world and all that blatant coming of age stuff. When she found out she was a goddess, and that people in her life have been hiding it from her, instead of trying to learn about who she is, she goes off somewhere to “get away from her parents.” Typical.

What triggered my disappointment in her was not even this factor. I think that would have been a bearable action. What really pissed me off was the idea that once she found out about her ‘true form’ and that her mother made her “ugly” to hide her apparently “overly gorgeous goddess looks” the first thing she thinks of is that the look her mother gave her was the reason she didn’t fit in in school. No! I beg to differ. The reason she didn’t fit in is not because of how she looks, it was because those kids were bullies. They were mean and they thrived over seeing her curl up in a ball and feel miserable about herself. And her mother agreeing to her thoughts made me want to strangle her! I’m not a parent (yet) but I know how wrong that is to say!

Speaking of Sera’s mother, don’t even get me started on how twisted she perceives things. When she and Sera discovered the disturbing dreams her daughter was having, dreams that were connected to Sera’s goddess-self, the first thing her mother focused on was arguing with Sera about Kyle, Sera’s best friend. Really? I know you have issues with the guy being around your daughter, but really? Where are your priorities, woman?

Another thing that pissed me off was Sera’s mom telling her that she should have come to her about the awful stuff that was going on. Bullsh*t! You knew that your daughter was confused and stressed over something she can’t comprehend but you chose to keep your knowledge of it a secret at the very last second, when you had every opportunity to help her by telling her the truth. But what did you do? You grounded her instead. This isn’t a teen rebellion for you to do such a sh*tty move!

I am not sold either on the love triangle built over Sera, Kyle and Dev’s relationship. Not only did she lead two guys on, she also didn’t bother choosing between them in the end. And she’s proud to say that “a girl has to have options?” I know that was meant to be a joke but it doesn’t change the fact that she really is keeping both guys for keeps. While I’m all for independent ladies not leaning to man for support, and choosing to fly solo instead, this was ridiculous!

The one thing that intrigued me was Sera and Kyle’s adventure through the depths of hell, travelling from portal to portal in the hopes of escaping, and making it back to earth. The battle between good and evil would have been an epic action scene, but I was too focused on counting how many times Sera would tell the villains that “You can’t do this” or “You won’t succeed” to enjoy much of it. Why don’t you just shut up and beat the crap out of them? Argh!

I picked up Alpha Goddess in the hopes of finding diversity in the YA world. The Hindu mythology was what I thought to be the highlight of this book. Since I don’t know much of it, I was hoping this was going to be something I’m going to enjoy learning about. It pains me to say this but, while I find the Hindu gods and goddesses story unique and inspiring, the book’s entirety just did not work for me. 

*Thank you, Sky Pony Press and NetGalley for granting my request to view Alpha Goddess.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/07/alpha-goddess-by-amalie-howard-arc.html
Grimm Fairy Tales: Oz - Joe Brusha

Have I ever mentioned how much I love retellings? If you’ve read some of my blog entries about other books I’ve read, I may have mentioned it a few times... okay maybe more than a few. And you may be already annoyed. Sorry. Let’s move on...

While I may not be much of an Oz fan, I didn’t pass up the chance to read Grimm Fairy Tales: Oz. I’ve read a few Grimm Fairy Tales since this one, and I really liked most of them. So it is with deep regret that I felt differently for Oz. I still love the art and creativity that went to every aspect to create this story, not to mention a fascinating darker version of the classic, but this just didn’t do it for me.

Oz had an interesting set of characters much like the original, there’s Dorothy, Toto, Glinda the Good Witch, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow, and most of all, who could forget, the Wicked Witch. They are all looking stunning, albeit little scantily clothed females, appearing all gallant and significant, some even have pasts too dark to revisit, and I was just dying to know more about each one. Alas, it was a disappointment. The flashbacks were rather shallow and didn’t dig deep enough to trigger an empathizing bone in my body – I’m a bleeding heart, so I should have been one of the easiest people to appease on that department.

I’m no prude but earlier on, I mentioned that the female characters were scantily clothed. Let me divulge on that a bit. I work in the art industry as a 3D artist, and part of being in this industry is looking at pictures of naked bodies, artistically studying the human body to get the right contours, curves, shape – you get the idea. Also, looking at the artworks of other artists, video game characters, and the like, there would not be a day that passes by where I wouldn’t see pictures females wearing less than appropriate clothing, and I wouldn’t even bat an eyelash. However with the characters in this book, I couldn’t stifle a cringe. It was too much and rather ridiculous to look at. At least with the other stories, like Robin Hood, her clothes had function to it even if it were sexy. Dorothy’s were simply trashy. If she was outfitted in clothing with more sense to it, I wouldn’t mind at all.

The main plot of Oz didn’t fare any better either. While the concept of going off to “find the wizard” was still there, it didn’t appear as adventurous as I was hoping. Oz did not come short on action scenes though, but that too wasn’t enough to invigorate my needs and wants as a reader.

*Thank you, Zenescope and Netgalley for granting my request to view Grimm Fairy Tales: Oz.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/06/grimm-fairy-tales-oz-by-joe-brusha-arc.html
Rebel - Amy Tintera
“I sort of liked the sound of bones breaking. It was like home.”

Wren is back and even more badass than ever!

I adored Wren’s character in Reboot. The once shell with only a smidge of humanity was an interesting aspect I eagerly read through. I revered watching her slowly grasp back on human emotions after finding herself falling for a low-numbered reboot named Callum. Watching her grow and develop into someone with more empathy, and still remain as a tough and unwavering heroine was exhilarating.

One of the best things I liked about Reboot was the fast pace and smooth storytelling Amy Tintera provided her readers. I expected nonetheless for Rebel. Well, that is before I reached the reboot “sanctuary” chapter, I have to admit I was kind of starting to doubt that thought. When I did finally reach Micah’s territory, things quickly picked up from there. Only then was I assured that Amy Tintera would definitely be delivering one epic story.

If you loved Wren’s fighting energy as I did, wait till you see Callum! My goodness! I didn’t expect him to be just as badass as Wren. Although he remains his non-killing morals, and he may be a bit of a goody-two shoes, I love that he has learned to fight back and defend what he believes is right.

I was already sold on Wren and Callum’s characters, not to mention the cuteness of their love story, but there were a lot of interesting new characters introduced in this book. Readers get to meet a set of noteworthy characters, humans and reboots, in Wren and Callum’s lives, past and present.

Only while reading Rebel did I discover that this was a duology. I may have expected a third book when I started Reboot so I winced over that idea at first, but Amy Tintera was able to write two books with solid stories. The first book covered a well in depth world building and characterization combined with gripping action scenes and a blooming romance, and the second book was not far off. Both books were closely connected and provided a steady and balanced story execution that I think readers would appreciate. Rebel was a praise-worthy finale that brought closure and a happy ending. Plus, it’s not often I encounter duologies, and a good one at that.

*Thank you, HarperCollins and Edelweiss for granting my request to view Rebel.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog:
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com
Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/06/rebel-by-amy-tintera-arc-review.html
Scorched - Mari Mancusi
"I guess it's just a place - filled with empty promises and broken dreams."

It was conflicting. Really. I would say that Mari Mancusi’s Scorched showed such promise behind the Terminator-meets-Eragon plot twist, but the execution just didn’t come together. Almost everything was a cliché.

Trinity, our protagonist, was the “unbeliever” who turns into the master of a very powerful dragon. And to help her out on this quest is not one, but two, good looking guys. To make it a lot more interesting – they are twins. Imagine that. Yes sarcasm intended.

I would have been okay with that, if only she didn’t pine over BOTH of them! She instantly falls for one, then falls for the other too. And to make it even more interesting (once again) they both fall in love with her. Seriously? How convenient? Insta-love really does not work that much anymore.

Another factor I believed that made this disappointing was the pacing. At first, it was intriguing and then a booming action-escape scene… then it was suddenly boring. It took a while to get to anything interesting once they got to the Dracken HQ.

I really do think that this would have been an amazing story. This had all the elements to make it something big. Story-wise it would have been an incredibly action packed and “blow your mind” possible twists. Villain-wise – the Dracken Head did show evil plots, and that one was about one of the few things that worked out well for me. It’s just sad that I couldn’t say the same thing for the protagonists. I mean, the twins were an interesting factor, but the way they executed their characters along with Trinity’s was uninteresting and lacked spark. Romance would have been okay, I love a good romance in any story, but this was just boring and hard to believe. I’m honestly hoping this would turn out better with the next books to come.

*Thank you, Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for allowing me to view Scorched.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog:
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com
Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/06/scorched-by-mari-mancusi-arc-review.html
My Not So Super Sweet Life (Entangled Teen) - Rachel  Harris

“I’m a type A girl. I prefer things color-coded, organized and within my control. Unfortunately, sometimes life sucks, and it rarely goes according to plan.”

I’ve always looked at Rachel Harris’ My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century as a light read. The contemporary time travel was interesting but there never was much to think about it other than watching the characters develop and learn some valuable life lessons.

I guess that is why I find My Not Super Sweet Life (what’s with the long titles by the way?) quite surprising since it brought about a factor in Cat and Lucas’ relationship that I never considered in the first and second books from the series. I mean I know Cat had issues, but I never thought things were just as complicated on Lucas’ side. I also thought that, after Cat went time travelling, she was content with the case she has with her biological mother. So I really didn’t think it was necessary to build a story that is this book. I couldn’t be more wrong.

I can’t help but feel that Cat reminds me of a part of myself once in a while. That line (quoted above) just stung a bit since just a few weeks ago, I’ve been my worst obsessive-compulsive self. That’s kind of a long story but it involved a wedding [mine], last minute arrangements, and some not-so-helpful people, which brought about, well… bridezilla. Not a pretty picture. So, when Cat was having her meltdowns, even though I cringe over the way she acts, I can’t help but empathize.

It’s a really sweet story. Although no time travelling occurred for our protagonists, which I must say I am missing, readers still get to see another issue in Cat’s life unfold and yet again bring about another growth to her character.

While I love Cat and Lucas and I’m happy with how things went on for them, I am much rather interested in another character that was introduced in this book. And judging by that epilogue, I believe we have a male protagonist for the next book… there is a next book, right?

*Thank you, Entangled Teen and Netgalley for allowing me to view My Not So Super Sweet Life.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog:
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-not-so-super-sweet-life-by-rachel.html
SPOILER ALERT!
The Break-Up Artist - Philip Siegel

“Once people get into relationships, friends and rational thought get tossed aside.”

Being an avid reader, there would come a time that all your favorite genres won’t do it for you. At this point, it means you need a break from the norm. I was in a bad case of this when I stumbled upon The Break-Up Artist. I was so blatantly in a reading slump! With the kind of light, easy story that The Break-Up Artist offered, thank goodness it got me out of it.

I had a sense of déjà vu during the beginning of the book. It reminded me so much of Lindsay Lohan’s movie Mean Girls. I watched it with a few of my cousins back in high school because, well… you guessed it: we were bored and had nothing better to do. While it may not have been a stirring story, it was entertaining at the most.

Anyway, The Break-Up Artist has a relatively similar story. Only this time Becca’s revenge plot, although focuses on a particular then-friend, works on more than just one couple to break up.

At first I thought Becca was just another single girl bitter over the fact that she’s not part of the “couple crowd.” A crowd to which this high school world deems as the “popular group.” Sounds pretty petty to work on a story, yes? That’s what I thought so too… until I reached deeper into it that I realized her agenda may have been wrong but her job did have its perks. And it would’ve gone better if she didn’t get her love advices and ideas from the wrong person.

Becca’s character isn’t one you would consider a lovable protagonist. You might even come to a point that you’d dislike her. But one thing I found admirable about her is that she had a well laid out character development, putting into perspective how short this book was.

This is a story of friendship, family and love situated in a way that brought about a sweet realization for our main character than she needed to go through a downfall for the betterment of herself.

And guess what? [SPOILER ALERT] she doesn’t get the guy… in a good way.

*Thank you, HarperTeen and NetGalley for allowing me to view The Break-Up Artist.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog:
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-break-up-artist-by-philip-siegel.html
The Hunt - Stacey Kade

“I tried to warn you... You aren’t meant for life outside.” 

The Rules, the first book from the Project Paper Doll series, was more of a paranormal romance story. While The Hunt continues on to where the first book left off, it also opens readers to the sci-fi element that this story has not tackled on before. And wow! Was it an intense sequel? Although I can’t say it surpassed its predecessor.

Although Ariane and Zane’s relationship started off as a high school plot for revenge, it became clear that these two were definitely meant to be together. I love them both for being so dedicated to each other. But there comes a time in every couple’s lives that they have to face issues, and Ariane and Zane are no exception. Truthfully, they’d be the ones first in line given the current state they are in. Oftentimes, I encountered them both voicing out a lot of insecurity over their differences. It was a little disappointing to see them fall hard over the circumstances they faced here in book two. 

The Hunt seemed to overcompensate with the narratives of the protagonists’ thoughts and feelings. But even with that much descriptive view, this book didn’t feel as lengthy and dragging as I thought it would be. It remained a constant page-turner. I can’t say it was a thought provoking book though, in spite of all the scientific theories and experimentations being tossed around, not to mention the new characters introduced herewith in, it didn’t give me the urge to take things in consideration on a deeper level. 

Well, that all changed on the final chapter. Man that blows! I need book three! 

*Thank you, Disney-Hyperion and NetGalley for allowing me to view The Hunt.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-hunt-by-stacey-kade-arc-review.html
SPOILER ALERT!
The Forever Song - Julie Kagawa

“I promised someone I’d keep fighting, and I intend to do that, for however long it takes. No one gets to decide what kind of monster I am but me.”

Can you believe this is book three of The Blood of Eden series? It seems like only yesterday I was reading the first book, The Immortal Rules, when in fact it was two years ago. Not that this has anything to do with the book but – Damn! That makes me feel old! 

Let’s get right to the review, shall we?

How does William Congreve’s famous quote from The Mourning Bride go again? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Okay that is the paraphrased one, and technically Allie wasn’t exactly deceived and rejected in love or anything but she did just lose the love of her life, reasonably enough for her to be angry and dangerous to come across. So it was no surprise to find her yearning to get rid of the pain and emptiness she feels within her, err... un-beating heart. Yet in spite of all that, Allie remains the ever strong and resilient self that she was from the start of this series.

In my review of The Immortal Rules, I mentioned that I saw Kanin as a father-figure to Allie. He certainly did seem to be one in this book. As grown up as Allie and Jackal are, their arguments seemed to be like middle grade siblings quarrelling over a toy or the last slice of pizza. Kanin was the parent whose ears have been bleeding out over the shouting and barraging words spewed between them. They seemed like a typical family on a road trip to who-knows-where, only they are in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is almost extinct and well, they’re vampires and they are on a hunt for a psycho vampire out to purge the earth of all its existing inhabitants. Yeah, not typical after all but my point is, the scenarios were both annoying and cute at the same time. 

I never thought I’d find myself adoring the raider king even more. He reminded me of Puck from Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series when I first met him, but over the course of his journey with Allie, I’ve come to see Jackal in a more distinct way. He is ruthless and an embodying anti-hero but that doesn’t take away the fact that he still has a sense of humanity within him, albeit a smidge and as much as he tries to deny it.

[...And this is where the spoilers come in. Skip this part if you must.]To be honest, I’m completely torn over Zeke’s fate. Before the final chapter of The Eternity Cure, I was kind of open to see a tragic ending. So I have mixed feeling over finding Zeke un-dead! I can’t exactly say he’s alive, so you get the picture. And then we get hit with Sarren’s impressive, even though it is sick, surprise! And again, I find myself confused whether I want a “love conquers all” scenario or a morbidly tragic romance in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I love Allie and Zeke, Julie’s Blood of Eden world has all the elements to create such a heartbreaking yet justifiable scene. Sure, some readers who loved The Iron Fey series and its ending might go up and start an angry mob if she swings the other way for this series, but I really wouldn’t mind a not-so-happy ending. Although I still do have to admit that I dig how this series ended too. I’m just saying it would have been possible and plausible. 

The Forever Song seems to be the goriest of all Julie Kagawa’s books that I have read so far. Some scenes in the book, I imagine, would probably make me heave and throw up considering how grotesque and unappealing they were described, if shown visually. This was incredibly action packed and was gloriously written. Alas, we have come to the end. Even with the uncertainty of how things will unfold after the events of Allie’s story, I was able to find closure with this finale. Still, I wouldn’t say no to another book from this world.

*Thank you, Harlequin Teen, and NetGalley for allowing me to view The Forever Song.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Her Dark Curiosity - Megan Shepherd

“Call it sentimentality. Call it curiosity. Just don’t call it madness.”

Her Dark Curiosity is the first book that failed to meet my expectations this 2014. Never, in my years of reading books that I encountered characters making stupid decisions, have I ever face-palmed myself so much (physically and mentally) than I ever did while reading Her Dark Curiosity. 

When The Madman’s Daughter debuted in 2013, I wasn’t keen on reading it. But when I was urged to pick it up, it was perplexingly good. The grotesque and sinister plot combined with Megan Shepherd’s enthralling writing style made for an incredibly interesting story, even though those visuals would’ve made me feel queasy under normal circumstances. So imagine my disappointment over reading Her Dark Curiosity and finding Juliet wallowing, making senseless and inconsistent decisions, and just going about freakishly aggravating! 

WARNING: Spoilers are coming up!

The ending of The Madman’s Daughter was upsetting that even I still haven’t gotten over Montgomery’s decision until now. Finding Juliet in a state of grief over his absence, I said, “Go on, and grieve, girl.” But I really didn’t need to see that ALL THE TIME! It was like every page I turn I’d get a whine here and a whine there. It just didn’t end! Even after he got back... This just boarded over ridiculous!

I’ve mentioned over my review of The Madman’s Daughter that I didn’t really appreciate the love triangle between Juliet, Edward and Montgomery, and this book just happens to solidify that statement. Juliet was infuriating! I would have accepted it if she truly had fallen for Edward and that maybe this was her way of moving on after what Montgomery did, but no. This was her way of covering up her loneliness, throwing herself at Edward, leading him on a chase that he has no chance of winning her heart over, and blatantly making the BIGGEST mistake of her life. What makes it a lot more terrible is that it happened right after a fresh kill! Idiot, I tell you! 

Oh, and don’t get me started on her opinions about science. She has been voicing out how evil her father was for creating Edward, blah, blah, blah (I can’t remember the words she said that infuriated me but it was excruciating to read) and more whining going on. I don’t know if she is simply naive or just utterly stupid that even Lucy, her socialite best friend who knows nothing about the kind of morbid science these practitioners are conducting has to point out something she couldn’t realize herself; something that seemed completely obvious in my opinion. 

To make it even worse, with how Her Dark Curiosity ended, it is a given she’s bound to do another idiotic thing in book 3. 

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/03/her-dark-curiosity-by-megan-shepherd.html
Stolen Songbird - Danielle L. Jensen

“They aren’t ugly… More like beautiful things that have had the misfortune of being broken.”

Such a gorgeously done romance!

Stolen Songbird kind of reminds me of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. Both having high-spirited protagonists forced to marry these wicked yet drool-worthy young men that although you despise, you also kind of can’t help but root for. Oh, come on! Don’t give me that look; I’m not the only one with a “drawn to bad boys” complex. Admit it!

Anyway, although Cruel Beauty tends to be a lot faster when it comes to pacing, and Stolen Songbird has given readers a more tedious lengthy story flow, I felt I liked the latter better. Stolen Songbird was able to give me a better view on the magical aspect of the story. As long as the chapters may have been, it was also informative, something I felt that I didn’t get enough of from Cruel Beauty. The pacing may have been slow but it was very well written that I hardly noticed how many pages I’ve already gone through.

I adored Cecile and Tristan. They were equally interesting in terms of being an individual character and as a couple. Oh, how I gushed over the development of their love story. I was delighted to see a romance that didn’t start off with a “love at first sight” innuendo.

I am yet again, a little lost with the other characters in this book, which is always my problem with books that have a number of characters. Some have names that are quite a mouthful. And they are all seemed to be a little crazy, but I like them that way. They add in an interesting mix to the story.

The mystery of the trolls and their history has yet to unfold but the lot of stories and speculations over what really happened is a riveting part that I couldn’t stop pondering over.

The trek through Stolen Songbird may have been long and descriptive, but trust me when I say the wait on how things unravel in the end was worthwhile.

*Thank you, Strange Chemistry, Angry Robot Ltd. and NetGalley for allowing me to view Stolen Songbird.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog:
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/03/stolen-songbird-by-danielle-l-jensen.html
Knight Assassin - Rima Jean

“It was all very simple. Her loyalties were with those who saw beyond their personal prejudices, who rose above self-righteousness and intolerance.”

I was mostly interested in Knight Assassin after reading on Netgalley that it was a “thrilling Grave Mercy meets Throne of Glass adventure...” I loved both when I read them and loved the second books belonging to their respective series, Dark Triumph and Crown of Midnight, even more. To be honest, I was apprehensive at first over reading that statement. Either it was a marketing strategy to get readers to give this book a shot; which mostly turns out to be just deceiving, or worse, a rip off of those. It wasn’t, thank goodness! I was being judgemental, I’m sorry. It’s not uncommon to be sceptical over such statements; some tend to oversell the books that readers having high expectations and being left disappointed in the end. Fortunately, Knight Assassin was able to live up to that. It has all the elements I’ve come to love from Grave Mercy and Throne of Glass: a kick-ass heroine with an empathizing past, a well thought-of storyline, an intriguing setting, action-packed fight scenes – all that awesomeness.

I wasn’t familiar with the events of the Crusades-era, other than snippets I snagged while trying out the Assassin’s Creed video games. Yes, I haven’t played the full games at all, I’m a horrible gamer. For the record, working in game design and animation doesn’t give you much playing time; unless you’re a game tester or critic but other than that, you wish! Anyway, being unacquainted with the historical events that Knight Assassin was based on did not hinder me from understanding and being drawn to Zayn’s story.

I didn’t notice the religious aspects involved in this book at first, and I’m glad I didn’t since I tend to stay away from books with such a sensitive topic. I have nothing against religion; nor am I saying that I’m an atheist (I’m a Roman Catholic, if you’re wondering). I just believe that a person’s relationship with God is solely his/her own business. I always believe that the more important thing to consider is not which religious group you belong to, but rather how it reflects the way you live your life. But enough about that, what I’m trying to point out here is that Zayn is a Muslim. And yet even with that, this book does not insinuate any religious beliefs but simply takes into perspective the rift between Christianity and Islam during the Crusades-era. So why did I point out Zayn’s religion? Simple – diversity. It’s not even her religion I’m trying to accentuate, but her ethnicity. It’s not often, in YA books (at least the ones I’ve read), that we find ourselves reading about a protagonist from a different culture. So, hooray for diversity!

You know when people say that you become more empathic when you read books? Well, I’m a lot worse, I guess. I’ve always been a “bleeding heart” before I became addicted – er, make that a lot more passionate – over reading books, so you could say I have a soft spot for Zayn. It broke my heart to see her violated by that scoundrel, Guy. Although, I have to admit that at some point she had her annoying moments, I can’t blame her for it either. Her outbursts and lack of emotional control make her more real. Also, I’m glad to see a character said to be an assassin that actually does her job. You know how some books portray an assassin protagonist but they don’t really kill anyone, and with all the goodness in their hearts blah-blah? I’m not morbid but Zayn’s disparity from them is one of the things I like about her. You should see how she takes her revenge. *snickers* No, I am not morbid. Okay, maybe a little.

I like to be well informed as best as I can. So as much as I enjoyed reading Knight Assassin, I noticed a few things that felt a bit iffy. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD) Let me voice out a few: (1) why did Zayn’s mother hide her father’s identity? Her father didn’t seem to be the dangerous kind, and if she’s trying to keep Zayn’s gift a secret, I don’t think knowing her father would have changed that (2) what is the history behind Zayn’s powers? Other than the story about Zayn’s mother, the jinn and magic elements in the story didn’t seem as essential as the summary let it out to be. The story could still be just as good even without the magic stuff. (3) The events that followed with Saladin seemed a little off. He was told to be a powerful man and yet it didn’t take Zayn that much to waltz into his territory and earn his trust, I’d be more suspicious and cautious if I were in his place. Just saying; (4) What happened to the threat on Earic’s life? He went back to the Templar’s, right? Where were the other assassins? If their reputation was as wicked as they ought to be, shouldn’t they have caused a bit more trouble for him? 

Still, even with the questions I’m left with, I can’t deny that this has been a remarkable read. Offering diversity, a clear writing style and braving to show something new to the table – I greatly commend that, not to mention the attitude that Rima Jean has shown towards negative reviews about this book. This year, I have taken the habit of checking out author’s blogs before or during reading their books. I don’t know how that started or why I do it but I guess with all the drama of author-reviewer conflicts circulating from time to time on the blogosphere, I wanted to get to know the authors a lot more. I’m glad to see Rima being optimistic over the reviews and ratings being given to Knight Assassin. With that kind of outlook and the fact that my experience with Knight Assassin has been pleasurable, I would really like to see what else she could offer to the YA world. 

*Thank you, Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to view Knight Assassin.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/03/knight-assassin-by-rima-jean-arc-review.html
The Shadow Prince  - Bree Despain

“I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how or if we’ll get through this. But for the first time in my life, my destiny is in my own hands.”

When I read the synopsis, I was drawn to the reimagining of the mythological story of Hades and Persephone, and yet I was sceptical about reading The Shadow Prince. I’ve read Bree Despain’s The Dark Divine, I knew it was a part of a series and reading that first book, I knew I wouldn’t be reading the next ones. I just didn’t like it. It wasn’t my kind of story – but The Shadow Prince is! Mythology and retellings? That’s hard to say no to. Well, color me surprised. This turned out pretty good! 

I can’t say that Daphne upheld stunning characteristics other than her advanced musical talent. She didn’t strike me to be an epic protagonist, but well enough to keep me interested. Haden, on the other hand, was awesome! Never mind that he turned out a bit stoic and emo (sometimes), I realized his ignorance over women and all things human once I got to the part where he revealed that there were no females being born in the Underrealm. Well, no wonder you were clueless boy. What I was awed most about Haden was his abilities. Wouldn’t it be cool to learn anything and everything just by watching how they are done once and get to do it like you’ve been working on the skill for years? 

In spite of the instant romance between our protagonists, Haden and Daphne, there was a sense of development in their relationship. There were transitions of time that showed that these two had spent time that got them to know each other better before they delved into their feelings. 

Into the Dark is series that promises a fascinating twist on mythology, and a witty catch on perceiving the connection between mythical gods and religion. I love the approach that Ms. Despain had created with the idea of “selling your soul to the devil.” That was clever – very clever, indeed. I began to see this author’s writing in a different aspect. And I’m pleased to say I enjoyed it. 

*Thank you, Egmont and Netgalley for the copy of The Shadow Prince.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-shadow-prince-by-bree-despain-arc.html
Shinobi (A Katana Novel) - Cole Gibsen

“A person’s true self isn’t something that can be seen, but rather how the world around them is affected by their presence.”

 

In my review of Senshi, book two of Cole Gibsen’s Katana trilogy, I mentioned that the ending was bittersweet and it was one of the things I found interesting about Rileigh’s story. Ah, but then I come across Shinobi, the third and last instalment, and - *POOF* went that heartbreaking moment. I thought Rileigh or Q would need to use their powers to alter Kim’s memories to bring them back or something. But it came back all on its own. Watching Rileigh having her lonesome moments felt short-lived. It was kind of a letdown… or so I thought.

 

I didn’t read the summary beforehand, so when I started leafing through Shinobi, I didn’t know there was some other adventure in store for Rileigh and Kim. That plot twist was a rather genius move!

 

The flashback stories from Japan during the past lives of the characters was the reason I was drawn to the Katana Trilogy. I love how those flashbacks were slowly pieced together. Now getting a hold of Sumi’s (formerly Chiyo) past life, I felt completely indulged. It was an interesting perspective. I really felt sorry for what Chiyo has experienced, and yet despite all that, it didn’t justify any of her actions at present. It only proves she hasn’t grown up at all even after a lifetime. This would have been her chance to start anew.

 

It was a little disappointing to see that aside from Rileigh, Kim, Quentin and Sumi, the rest of the characters were rather useless. Even in the previous books, they didn’t leave that much of an impression and the only help they provided was during patrols and hanging out with the main characters. Other than building a thoughtful bond of friendship, I would think this story would have gone on even without them.

 

Although I can’t truly say that things all went well for Rileigh; for a moment, there was a sense of failure that the characters have felt. But even though Rileigh didn’t get exactly what she wanted, she at least got a good consolation for her part. Overall, I think it was a pretty cool ending.  

 

*Thank you, Flux and NetGalley for the copy of Shinobi.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/02/shinobi-by-cole-gibsen-arc-review.html
Killer Frost  - Jennifer Estep

“Self-sacrifice is a very powerful thing, especially if you do it of your own free will.”

After reading Killer Frost, there are a few things I feel like I’m seeing with fresh new eyes about the previous books. I realized I haven’t been as open-minded as I thought I was about Jennifer Estep’s writing style. I’ve been constantly complaining over how she keeps repeating facts from the previous books that I already read about over and over again every time I read one book and then the other. What I didn’t realize is if I looked at this book without the reminders of what happened previously, I wouldn’t understand what was going on at all. Also, since I’ve experienced reading books from other authors who don’t provide even a smidge of flashbacks or backstories, it was a struggle to remember what happened beforehand. So yeah, I appreciate the efforts Ms. Estep has done. Even if you haven’t read the other books from this series, reading Killer Frost alone would not make you feel lost.

I also realized I’ve been judging this series in an I’m-way-to-old-for-these-kinds-of-books sort of approach. I felt too superior about them that I didn’t look at them as light, quick reads that would tear me away from my grungy, dark novels. I should have appreciated the break from the norm.

In spite of all my grievances, I now just realized how emotionally attached I have become with Gwen and the other characters. I felt sad that this would be the last time I’ll ever get to read about them. But I’m also happy to find this kind of resolution provided for them, it is about time Gwen gets a break from the Reapers.

I may have voiced out the flaws I see and all, but I have to admit that time and time again, Mythos Academy books never fail to get me hooked. And well, Killer Frost surely gave the Mythos Academy series one epic ending; lots of action and excitement – a finale worth the wait.

*Thank you, Kensington Books and NetGalley for the copy of Killer Frost.

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog:
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/02/killer-frost-by-jennifer-estep-arc.html
SPOILER ALERT!
Allegiant  - Veronica Roth

“I fell in love with him. But I don’t just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other, I choose him over and over again... and he chooses me.”

That sweet little piece from Allegiant is probably the only thing I found to my liking when I read this book. I’ve been procrastinating about writing a review for this because I thought maybe I’d change my mind about how I feel. Meh! It only made me more disappointed than I already was.

I have been tense throughout reading this. Aside from the constant angry comments and text messages I’ve been receiving from Maria @ Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac (we were buddy reading), there was this gut feeling that all of this was going to end bad.

I like Tris here, she’s the brave girl I once saw in Divergent and not the annoying b*tch she has become in Insurgent. I love the moments with Tobias; his sweetness and selflessness, and all the gushy moments with Tris. Too bad I couldn’t find it in me to savour them. He suddenly turns into someone I don’t even recognize. He used to be a consistent character during the previous books and then I see him with so much negativity. This is not the Four I used to know. Is this a plot to make Tris a more endearing character that would make her sacrifice a lot more dramatic and justified? It didn’t work, just so you know. 

It took me quite a while to absorb everything. At first, I felt so detached from the story. I don’t know if maybe I’m looking at Allegiant with fresh eyes or lost ones. I had issues with almost every decision the characters made. I should mention, by the way, that I really had problems with the amount of characters in this book – it’s a struggle to keep up. 

In the end, to be honest, I just felt cheated. I read Divergent with such optimism, and when I finished Insurgent, even though I didn’t find it as grand as Divergent, I felt there was something rather deep going on with this trilogy. Allegiant just made me realize that reading Insurgent was a complete waste of time. It felt pointless. And Allegiant itself was shallow and overrated. 

It was a truly tragic ending. It was sad and heartbreaking. I expected to be pissed but I’m not as angry as I thought I would be. But it did leave me questioning; was it a necessary kind of sacrifice to make? Tris has proven herself enough as a selfless brave heroine, her fate just turned out to be a travesty other than being an embodiment of virtue and morality. Mostly it felt strained. 

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/02/allegiant-by-veronica-roth-review.html
Into the Still Blue - Veronica Rossi

“What brought you out here Aria?” he asked. 
She looked up, right into his eyes. “I needed to find you.” 
“I know,” he said. “The second I left you, I felt the same way.” 


There are only a few couples that can make me swoon so much, even with just the tiniest details, as Perry and Aria. I’ve read Brooke’s novella beforehand and it got me really excited to read about Perry and Aria once again. And I must say I am so glad they did not fail me. Err… with regards to their relationship, that is.

I have no qualms over this lovely couple’s connection. The kind of love they have for each other is so gushy and sweet and all things colorful (I know it sounds like I’m describing Sugarland with lots of rainbows all around, but it is how it is). I love the moments that Perry and Aria had, even the times where my dear, sweet Perry was in pain. 

What I do feel a little disappointed with, as my reading buddy, Maria @ Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac has brought up in her review, is the anti-climactic events that befell our villains. I mean, come on! Perry had suffered so much in this book, not to mention all the heartaches he felt in the other books. And yet villains get sudden, almost-instant death? Hey! They put our heroes through hell and all, dammit! Seriously, Ms. Rossi, which side are you on anyway?

Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky trilogy has the kind of world-building that would garner uncertainty in the mind of any reader. No matter how much of a veteran reader you think you’ve already become, this world was overwhelming, and not exactly an easy environment you can get settled into. This is probably a kind of breaking point for this series. I’m glad I stuck through with first book because not only did I adore it in the end, I came to love book two even more, and now I got to witness a sweet ending for my two favorite characters. I can’t say that I absolutely loved this book, but I can’t argue that this finale had given me closure. 

For more of my reviews, please visit my blog: 
The Blair Book Project @ www.theblairbookproject.blogspot.com

Source: http://theblairbookproject.blogspot.com/2014/02/into-still-blue-by-veronica-rossi-arc.html