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Impulse by Vanessa Garden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy from: Harlequin AUS website
When Miranda Sun returns to Marin on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, this time of her own free will, she quickly learns that her worst fears have been realised. The glittering underwater city is not as she had left it, nor too is Marko, the young king who has dominated her thoughts and heart for the last twelve months since leaving Marin.
Miranda, however, has not made the journey to Marin alone, and now must contend with not only Marko’s evil brother Damir but more surprisingly her sister Lauren who has an agenda of her own. Marko’s power begins to wane and with cracks beginning to show in the domed Utopian city, and veiled danger lurking everywhere, she quickly learns that in this dazzling city full of beautiful people she can trust no-one but herself.
If Miranda wants to survive, she must decide between the hardened sensibilities in her head and the hungers of her heart. Will her decision cause more heartache or can she help to save Marko’s throne?


A copy was provided by HarlequinTEEN Australia in exchange for an honest review.

In case you haven't noticed, I heavily panned Captivate, book 1 of the Submerged Sun series. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't go near its sequel, Impulse, for obvious reasons. However, I received Impulse together with Captivate and it has such a glorious cover (I mean, come on, look at that cover!), so I thought, why not?



Wow, I mean, wow! A sequel that is thousands times better than its intermediate predecessor? Dear Vanessa Garden, I don't know what happened between Captivate and Impulse...but deyyumm gurl, you made me rethink my entire existence. JK! You made me rethink of my 'dropping the series if the first book is no good' policy.

I think what worked so well in Impulse is the political drama-llama which usually reserved for high fantasy books. In Impulse, we have a small-scale, underwater Game of Thrones. No shit. I didn't know who to trust, who I should loathe, what's their motives etc. In Captivate, I was under the impression that Marin citizen are a bunch of boring, nice people. I didn't expect to see the darker, uglier side of Marin citizen when faced with desperation of wanting to bear children. Even the main and secondary characters whom I thought as very one-dimensional in Captivate such as Sylvia, Anne, Damir, Lily and Lauren have morphed into more complex, layered characters in Impulse. Special honourary mention: Blake - I loved this guy! He's so creepy in the right way! One thing that still bothers me is whether I should hate Lauren or not. I don't know if the author wants me to hate Lauren at first then to like her once I learned her true motive or just continue to hate her because ***spoilers ahead*** her motive is still very ambiguous up until the end of the book. ***spoiler finished***

Now, another interesting bit about this book is its undefined genre. It could be a dystopia - organised underwater civilisation but it's not set in the future. It could be a fantasy - because of the mention of a mythical creature and just the general atmosphere of the book, but the creature is yet to be verified to have existed. It could be a sci-fi - hell yeah, alien technology but this bit is also still very much wishy-washy. Honestly, it could be a romance and thriller and mystery book. Unbelievable, isn't it? I saw a lot of people shelving the books from this series under 'mermaid' tag and this confuses the hell out of me. THIS IS NOT TECHNICALLY A MERMAID BOOK. Yeah, there are some mentions of mermaid but mermaid isn't the main thing here, okay.

Okay, here's the thing that made me feel so relieved; the relationship between Miranda and Marko is properly built and developed in this book. No more outlandish, insta-love declarations, no more unnecessary pseudo love triangle. Although, in Impulse, there is a part where I actually held my breath because I felt like another love triangle is coming but this time it's for a good reason. So yeah, I felt myself warming up to Miranda and Marko although towards the end I cringed a bit when Miranda wants to take things too fast.

But Impulse still had the same problem as Captivate. The last one third of the book has once again suffered from sketchy plot and it felt like it was dragged forever but ended up at the same point. But contrary to the first book where it's just plunging to the abyss of the deepest hell-hole, this time it was still bearable and readable. I think with better editing, this last part of the book could have been much better.

So yeah, Impulse - totally worth 
Me gusta! 4-stars.

View all my reviews

Captivate by Vanessa Garden
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Buy from: Harlequin Aus website

In a glittering underwater world, nothing is as it seems...For the past twelve months since her parents’ death, seventeen-year-old Miranda Sun has harboured a dark secret — a secret that has strained the close relationship she once shared with her older sister, Lauren. In an effort to repair this broken bond, Miranda’s grandparents whisk the siblings away on a secluded beach holiday. Except before Miranda gets a chance to confess her life-changing secret, she’s dragged underwater by a mysterious stranger while taking a midnight swim. Awakening days later, Miranda discovers that she’s being held captive in a glittering underwater city by an arrogant young man named Marko...the King of this underwater civilisation.Nineteen-year-old Marko intends to marry Miranda in order to keep his crown from falling into the sinister clutches of his half-brother, Damir. There’s only one problem. Miranda is desperate to return home to right things with her sister and she wants nothing to do with Marko. Trying to secure her freedom, Miranda quickly forms an alliance with Robbie — Marko’s personal guard. However, she soon discovers that even underwater, people are hiding dangerous secrets...

A copy was provided by HarlequinTEEN Australia in exchange for an honest review.

BREATHTAKING UNDERWATWER COVER!!!

Should've known better, right? To be fair, it wasn't particularly bad, but it was definitely strange and cliché.

The book reminded me a lot of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (the 'kidnapping to be made a bride for the king' part) and Renegade by J.A. Souders (the 'underwater city surrounded by dark mysteries' part). Sadly, I did not like this book as much as I liked the two aforementioned books.

Captivate doesn't waste time getting to the action. By action, I mean the kidnapping (that sounds so wrong). So, we don't get to know the dynamics of Miranda's relationship with her sister and her grandparents very well. While I appreciate the 'hit the ground rolling' opening, it was hard for me to feel Miranda's desperation to go back home because I wasn't being shown the strength of her family bond. Granted, we were told that Miranda harbours a secret she's been intending to tell her sister, Lauren and she wants to seek her forgiveness, but I think it helps if a brief details of Miranda's relationship with Lauren before their parents died was provided so that the readers can establish an emotional connection with Miranda.

Well, I was hoping for that so, so much because honestly, I did not like Lauren at all, so if only I could learn something good about her, then I could probably empathise more with Miranda and her wish to be back home. Here's Lauren's quote that irritates me so much;

Mum always used to say I had the metabolism of a racehorse-"With the stumpy body of a Shetland pony", Lauren would add with a smirk.

WHAT KIND OF OLDER SISTER TALKS TO HER YOUNGER SISTER LIKE THAT? Uh.

***spoilers ahead***And let's face it. Their parents death was IMO Lauren's fault. I'm 100% agree that she should have never leave Miranda alone on her birthday. But playing dumb for over a year, letting Miranda feels the guilt and never tries to make amend before Miranda confesses to her is just vain.

SERIOUSLY, WHAT KIND OF OLDER SISTER TREATS HER YOUNGER SISTER LIKE THAT?***spoilers finished***

Alright, enough about Lauren.

At first, I found Miranda as easy to like. She is cautious and sceptical of everyone she meets in Marin. She doesn't only say she wants to go home, she takes actions - she tries to remember Marin's layout, she plans her next moves, she gets to the good side of people who might help her escape and praise da lord, she doesn't get attracted to ANY male beings in Marin although they are well, kinda hot.

At first.

***mild spoilers ahead***

Now, please explain me what happened from Chapter Twenty and onwards? If the book was sort of 'yeah, okay, maybe' before that, after this chapter the book just takes a sharp dive into the abyss the of the deepest hell-hole. Like, seriously. The book threw me off so badly, I was even wondering if a different author had wrote this last third of the book.

Miranda suddenly loses her ability to think straight, makes bad decisions after bad decisions. AND SHE LIES. SO.MANY.FREAKING.TIMES.

Also, she suddenly gets attracted to both Marko and to some extent, Robbie. Marko is basically the kidnapper for the first two-third of the book, and honestly, I don't think he's making any significant efforts to make Miranda likes her, so yeah, when in Chapter Twenty, they are throwing the love word all around, I was like 'whaaaaaat'?. Only after that that they are beginning to really warming up to each other. Isn't that bizarre?

Anyway, they were a few things I noticed that make this book a bit ethically questionable.

1. Stockholm Syndrome is an icky subject. And I don't think the book handles this theme really well. Captivate tries to romanticise kidnapping too much and that doesn't sit very well to me. I remember reading Stolen by Lucy Christopher which kinda romanticises kidnapping as well but in the end, it still hammers down the message that kidnapping is wrong. The fact that the whole city agrees to the kidnapping, that is just disturbing, no matter how desperate you are.

2. My inner feminism raged when Miranda was kidnapped (of course) and ***spoilers ahead*** when she was forced to be brought back home. The argument was that it's dangerous for her to stay but giving her a less than one day notice before she will be brought home and denying her plea to stay when she really wants to help is just arrogant. AND HONESTLY! THEY NEVER THINK OF THE POSSIBILITY THAT PROBABLY IT'S THE MEN THAT ARE IMPOTENT?

3. When Stephanie pleads to Miranda for Phillippe's life, Miranda says that Stephanie owes her, that just pissed me off. SAVING SOMEONE'S LIFE WHEN THEY DON'T DESERVE TO DIE DOESN'T MEAN YOU OWE THAT PERSON ANYTHING. And what's up with the 'feeding to the shark' sentence. That is uncivilised for a so called self-sustaining civilisation.***spoilers finished***

4. If it's feasible for Marin to trade everything for pearls, I don't understand why it's not feasible to just offer a girl to come WILLINGLY to Marin for diplomatic or charitable reasons. If the girl doesn't like it, then let her go and offer another girl. I'm sure they can sign an agreement or something to keep the secret. There MUST be a girl who would've enjoy living underwater (someone who hates meat and sunlight and has no family for example) instead of ripping a random girl from her family. Ugh.

5. Fertility dance. I'm not sure if this is ethically questionable. It's just bizarre.

Anyway, there are a still a few unanswered mysteries and the story could be heading towards a darker path in Book 2. So since I got a copy of Impulse as well, I will be reading the sequel soon.

Two unimpressed faces

More like I'm back from the dead!
Just kidding! It's been 18 months. 
Yup. That's bad. That's really bad. But my life was spiralling out of control since mid last year and I didn't have time to look after this blog and for that I deeply apologise.

What makes me come back?

Long story short (not trying to be dramatic or anything) but reading basically saved my life. For the past two years I felt like life was moving too fast but not fast enough AND even then, I still couldn't catch up with it. So I had fallen into depression this year and it was just...horrible. But the blessing in disguise is that it allowed me to take a break and to think of what's really important in life, life is not all about achievements, you know, all that jazz. And I remembered I used to like reading so much. Well, I did read a few books within the span of last year and the first six months of this year but time and commitment has always been the issue. 

Until mid year this year, Somehow, I've read good books after good books and I slowly feel like I'm alive again (of course, reading is not the only factor that gets me out of my depression, but it has been a major contributor).

I became active on Goodreads again for a few months now but I was not sure if I'm physically capable of reviving this bookblog. I mean, a bookblog is no joke - I don't care what people say, it's actually damn hard to maintain an active bookblog.

But even with my inactivity, I received a few invitations for ARC reviews so I thought, why not? But this time I won't be super ambitious like before until the point where it actually became stressful. So yeah, at this point of time, I will probably only post reviews on this site and a occasionally memes. I will no longer post cover reveals, blog tours and regular memes. By all means, if you think Qwerty has turned into something you would no longer like to follow, feel free to unsubscribe. I won't be offended. A little sad, maybe, but it's okay. I understand.

To the new Qwerty!
I want to be more excited but this means I need to re-acquaint myself with HMTL! *gasps*


Flight by Lindsay Leggett
Publication date: April 1st 2013
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Synopsis:
The first rule of survival in the Underground: When you’re outside, keep your eyes on the skies. Ace Harpy Hunter Piper Madden is used to danger, but the death of her brother slams the brakes on her high-torque lifestyle and leaves her broken and confused.
On the run from the dictating Elder Corporation, she’s eventually found in the quiet undergound city of Ichton and asked to work for the Corp on contract to quell a new and frightening Harpy threat.
Enter the discovery of horrifying Corporation secrets, Harpy attacks, and a new friendship with the strange Asher, and Piper’s days become anything but boring.
Then, a chance encounter leaves Piper privy to a dangerous secret, ad as she and Asher team up in an effort to unravel the truth, the secrets they uncover beneath the ancient walls of the dead city will spark their world into a grand-scale war.
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17406619-flight?ac=1

Purchase:
--Amazon: http://www.amazon.ca/Flight-ebook/dp/B00BPFHLDS/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
--Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flight-lindsay-leggett/1114753059?ean=9781482639568&itm=1&usri=9781482639568


AUTHOR BIO
Nearly every writer struggles to put together information about themselves, perhaps because we’re so used to detailing the lives and ways of others. For the most part I am a writer, editor, photographer, and all-around artist living in the wilds north of Toronto, Ontario. I thrive on the juxtaposition of beauty and grit, enjoy urban crawls, indie everything, and time well-spent in the woods.

Author Links:
Website / Goodreads / Twitter

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart.
Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’ 

Actual rating 3.5 stars.

**Minor spoiler ahead**

I wish I could've like this book more or at least as much as I did with Slammed but meh, the drama llama was getting tiring or maybe I'm just a douche who despise every second book in the series because I got bored.

I probably would still read anything by Colleen Hoover. She has this amazing talent - it's like anything wrote by this woman would sound deep and meaningful. But I started to notice that her choice of themes is not something I would really like to read about and this frustrates me. A lot.

I had the same problem with Point of Retreat as I did with Hopeless: I don't understand why sex needs to be hailed as the holy grail of a relationship. Ugh, I wish I don't have to point that out. I'm worried if I don't get my point across, people will misunderstood and given my limited capacity to express my thoughts clearly, I really wish I don't have to.

But let's have a go anyway. There was so much build up leading to Will and Lake *ehem* sex in the first half of the book as if their relationship wouldn't be whole and complete without sex. Like sex is the highest point of a relationship. Sure, issues like friendship and family were emphasized as well but seriously, I think the story was better invested on something else rather than their anticipation of having sex together for the first time. Sure, the build up adds to the value of the relationship itself but I don't know...it's really hard to explain. Personally I think that the first time for a couple should of course be uh, thought carefully beforehand to make it, urmm meaningful but it shouldn't appear as if it's the goal of a relationship. The part which annoyed me the most is when Will decided to reject Lake when she was still crying. I thought this thing needs a common decision from both sides and Will totally denied her right. I know many people will disagree but anywaaaay...

Kiersten and Sherry are nice additions to the story. Caulder and Kel are charming and cute as usual. I'm glad we still get to learn more about Julia, she is such an inspiring character. I'm not sure what the author wanted to prove or show with Eddie and Gavin relationship. Again, Vaughn and Reece are like the causes of some of major events in this book but apart from being the cause, their characters didn't get fleshed out more so they ended up to be very one-dimensional.

Similar to Slammed, the storyline is indeed cliche but unlike in its predecessor where the cliche was handled in such a way that you wouldn't think it's possible for the book to be that wonderful when the same plotline has been reused over and over again in countless other books, in Point of Retreat, the cliche remains as cliche. *sigh*

Me gusta! A four-stars

View all my reviews


This is the 3rd bundle in the Grimm Diaries novella series. the first and second bundle will be 0.99 each from the 28th until the 31st.
1) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AA4JIWC
2) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AA4JIWC


Grimm Diaries  by Cameron Jace 
Prequels 11-14 
Publication date: March 28th 2013 
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale
Synopsis:
10.5) Happy Valentine’s Slay by Wee Willy Winkie The real Sandman Grimm sheds a light on what happened in Jawigi, and tells about how some of the teens in Sorrow spend their Valentine’s Day.
11) Children of Hamlin by the Devil The Devil tells the story of the Piper of Hamlin, who he really is, the historical events he witnessed, and his relationship to Ladle Rat. Most of all, why they call him the Black Death.
12) Tooth & Nail & Fairy Tale by Jack Madly Jack Madly stole a sack full of baby teeth from Bluebeard’s enchanted castle, which reminds him of when he first met the Tooth Fairy when he was a child; a memory he wishes to forget.
13) Ember in the Wind by the Little Match Girl All the Little Match Girl wants is to sell her matches so she uses the money to eat and find  shelter from the cold. But no one in the cruel city of crowded London helps her. Eventually, she learns something about who she really is, and it changes her life forever.
14) Jar of Hearts by the Queen of Sorrow The Queen of Sorrow, still trapped in the Dreamworld summons Cassandra, the fortuneteller, to ask her about the identities of Lost Seven. The problem with Cassandra is that she’s cursed that her predictions will never be believed. The Queen is still determined to believe her, but it will cost more than she can bargain for.
GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17661963-the-grimm-diaries-volume-11-14

---

AUTHOR BIO
Wonderlander, Neverlander, Unicorn-chaser, enchanter, musician, survived a coma, & totally awesome. Sometimes I tell stories. Always luv the little monsters      I write young adult paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and science fiction mostly. The Grimm Diaries series is a seven book saga that deals with retellings of fairy tales from a young adult POV - it connects most of the fairy tales together and claims to be the truth about fairy tales.      I live in San Fransisco and seriously think circles are way cooler than triangles.
Author Links:

Website: http://cameronjace.blogspot.ca/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/995289.Cameron_Jace
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camjace
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cameronjace


Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
tick
tick
tick
tick
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it's almost
time for war.
Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.
Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.
In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life 

DO NOT TRUST MY RATING.

I REPEAT, DO NOT TRUST MY RATING.

I hated Shatter Me.

After Unravel Me, I still hated Juliette and Adam.

But Kenji was amazing.

And Warner was...


Trust me, I think I might have given this book a 4-stars solely because of Kenji and Warner.

How can. A guy. A bad guy. Who doesn't even feel guilty reading a girl's diary. Be THIS HOT?

A quarter through the book, I had enough of Juliette's whines "It's my fault he's here, it's my fault he's in danger bla bla bla".
Really guys! She needs a good bitchslap to bring some sense into her mind. Adam was on his period and not helping as usual. Blegh~ At this point, all I could give was 1.5 stars.

Enter Kenji with his inspiring 'grow some balls' talk and I thought, hey, lets vote this guy as the next president.

But I was still waiting for Warner to make an appearance unimpressed.

Enter Warner and I couldn't read fast enough. Heeeeeeeee

Do you still want me to comment on the plot? Well, it was like every other dystopia in the market, this book is after all, still heavy on the romance side, so don't get your hope up. The twists were good, I guess since Juliette always makes a big deal of everything, every twist seems massively shocking when narrated from her POV.

Me gusta! 4-stars

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