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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Book Review: With All My Soul - Rachel Vincent

Published March 26th 2013 by Harlequin Teen

Goodreads Description
What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has....

Wow. I don't even know where to begin. The fact that this is the last book in the series makes me even more worried about getting this review right. Not to mention trying to keep it spoiler free. Well, here goes nothing:

After the shocking events that happened in the end of Before I Wake (Soul Screamers #6), we were filled with endless questions about the fate regarding our favourite characters, and as well as the big one: "How do you defeat something that can't be killed?"

With All My Soul answers most, if not all, of these questions. However, it is also the most heart-breaking one of the series. So you've been warned.

Kaylee and her friends have been through many tough battles. But the war isn't over for them. Not when there are many hellions out there wanting to take possession of your soul. After the loss of numerous lives, Kaylee has had enough; it is time to make the hellions pay for everything that they've done. Although hellions of the Netherworld are immortal, they do have a single weakness: the emotions for what they themselves represent. By the end, we've met:
  • Avari, the hellion of greed
  • Invidia, the hellion of envy
  • Belphegore, the hellion of vanity
  • And a new character, Ira, the hellion of wrath, who was just as intriguing
So, the master plan involves making the demons suffer from their symbols. Which is a lot easier said than done. And Kaylee and her friends risk everything in this last fight. Their homes, their friends, their families and their lives. 

Like with all of her books, Rachel did a fantastic job with her writing. It was smooth, action-packed and full of emotion. Her characters were plausible in terms of their actions and emotions and you couldn't help but feel the same if you were in their place. Each one of them has come a really long way and it makes me proud as a reader and a fan of this series to see how much they've grown since the first time that we met them. Even the characters I thought I hated, I became attached to them by the very end, which I definitely didn't see coming.

First off, I'd like to start with Nash. Out of all of the characters, I think he is the one who has suffered the most. Especially when his life began spiraling downwards after his addiction with frost. But here, the Nash that I loved, broke through once again, determined to protect those he loves. His unwavering courage and loyalty helped redeem him in my eyes. It was heart-wrenching when Nash found out the truth to his life, but it was beautiful at the same time. He saw things in a different light and because of it, he was more determined than ever to keep on living and making the best out of it.

I've always admired Kaylee for her passion, love and courage. And it didn't change here. She is someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep everyone she loves safe. And that aspect of her gets taken to the extreme in this book. By the end of it, she realizes that there's a way to win this battle. However, the consequences are mind-shattering. But even then, she knows it must be done and doesn't hesitate to do it, if it meant saving everyone. I didn't agree with all of her decisions in With All My Soul, but I have to say that she is braver than any other heroine that I've ever read.

And finally, my favourite character: Tod. When we first met him in My Soul to Take, he was a cheeky, kind of arrogant character who was too good looking for his own good. I never thought I would have loved him so much, but I do. Despite being a reaper, he was full of light. And he was so strong. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Whenever there were times that Kaylee felt that things were impossible, he was her anchor; Tod kept her spirit going. He loved her more than anyone else and the readers can feel that more than anything. In a heartbeat, he would sacrifice his life as many times as it would take, as long as the people that he loved could keep on living. His love is so beautiful that it was painful. My heart ached for him in Chapter 21, which was beyond anything I would have imagined. If Tod could die again, it would have killed him to let Kaylee go the way he did. But at the same time, he knew that it was what she wanted, so despite what he felt, he couldn't stop her.

I really enjoyed this book, though I have to admit that If I Die (Soul Screamers #5) is still my favourite of the series. But I shed a few tears by the end of the series because of the events that took place here. In all, I say that With All My Soul is a heart-wrenching, beautiful and perfect conclusion to the Soul Screamers series, a series that I was so fortune to have gotten the chance to read.

Source: Owned
My rating: 4 and a half coffee cups (Loved it)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Hello Summer!

Listening to: Heaven's Gonna Wait - Hedley
Feeling: Tired but happy
Like the title says, summer is finally here. Maybe not in season, but that's how I feel since I finally finished my last final exam for the semester this morning. It didn't go as well as I would have liked, but I really do hope that it turns out okay. I celebrated with my friend, LL, by going to watching The Place Beyond the Pines starring Ryan Gosling. Truthfully, I haven't seen anything with him since his days from Breaker High (the TV series), so it's like watching him with an image of his 17-year old self and suddenly WHAM. He's 33(?). It was an okay movie. I definitely liked the first third a lot better than the other two thirds of the movie.

Anyway, since it's now my break and I'm only taking one online course next semester, here are my plans for the next few months!:

Things that need to be done as soon as I can:
  • Clean my room
  • Vacuum the house
  • Start packing for my VACATION
  • Write my book review for With All My Soul
  • Send that email to the physio guy
  • Make a summer playlist
  • Post ad to sell my textbooks
  • Buy e-textbook
Things that I want to do eventually:
  • Watch Detective Conan episodes from 48 (Hattori Heiji!!) to 150
  • Read Omens and write a review
  • Work? Volunteer? <-Hopefully
  • Hang out with high school friends
  • Hang out with uni friends
  • Watch Inception 
  • Watch Shutter Island
  • Watch Atonement
  • Watch Perks of a Wallflower
  • Write the prologue, chapters 1,2,3,4 & 5 of my fanfic Amnesia
  • Finish chapters 2 & 4 on "The Conspiracy" fanfic that I'm co-authoring with Eletha Landon
  • Write book reviews on at least two books that I read this summer
  • BBQ with uni friends
  • Night market with uni friends
  • Finish BBT season 2
  • Finish Supernatural season 1
  • Find another organization to volunteer with
  • Watch TMI #1 sometime after it comes out
And more that I can't think of at the moment.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Classes for Spring 2013 are done!

Listening to: Apollo's Triumph - Audiomachine
Feeling: Like I gotta study
Finally, after a long 13 weeks, I'm glad to say that the last day of the semester is officially over. What is left are finals! Luckily, my exam schedule this time around seems pretty fair with a few days in between exams, so I'm quite happy about that. In less than two weeks, it will all be over and I'll be free for a few months. Just gotta get over these exams first.

On the bright side, this package definitely made my day better, especially since it's by one of my favourite authors. So I'll share this and get back to work.

(Side note: I noticed that this is my 100th post! Yay!)

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Book Review: Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas

Published August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children's

Goodreads Description
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I remember hearing a lot of hype over this book when it first came out last year. After skimming the hundredth book review about how amazing this book was, I decided to put it onto my to be read pile. I didn't get a chance to read it until last week, but I have to say that I definitely agreed on how good this book was!

From the summary, Throne of Glass reminded me a little of Hunger Games with the whole need-to-kill-your-enemies-or-be-killed-tournament. But there was a lot more going on than just the tournament:

Celaena Sardothien is the region's most famous and talented assassin. Taken in at the age of eight by the king of assassins, Celaena has committed many heavy crimes and when she was finally caught, she was taken to the salt mines of Endovier. She spent a year slaving away in prison, barely surviving each day when she was finally taken out and offered a chance at freedom from the crown prince.

The catch? Become his champion in a tournament to find the best assassin in the region. Celaena hates the idea of being a tool to anyone, but she realizes that this is her only chance at freedom, so she accepts the conditions that should she come out as the victor, she'd have to serve the king for an additional four years before being a free woman.

Disguised as another lady in prince Dorian's court, Celaena spends her days training and practicing with the captain of the guard, Chaol Westfall. However, as the tournament progresses, strange deaths occur after one another, all including the participants of the tournament and Celaena is forced to solve the mystery.

I have to admit, the part that drew me in wasn't quite the tournament itself, but rather the parts where she has to train with Chaol. Sad but true. There's just something so alluring and sexy about battle commanders... like Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy and damn, he is drop dead gorgeous.

Unlike Dorian's flirty, womanizing and gentlemanly ways, Chaol is almost his opposite with his stoic, loyalty and sense of duty. He is constantly aware that Celaena is a criminal who could kill him and the prince if he let down his guard. However, as he spends his days with her, he sees more of her gentler side and is reluctantly drawn to her. I really loved Chaol's character. He is just so dynamic. One moment, he'll be dragging Celaena away in shackles and chains with a cold and uncaring face, the next, he'll be blushing and tripping over his feet. I enjoyed reading about his conflicting thoughts about seeing Celaena as a criminal. He doesn't want to care for her, but he cannot help it

Dorian is the prince of Adarlan. With such a role, he is responsible for his people and is forced to entertain the nobles at the court. However, he hates court life, especially now that he's at the age where he could marry. Polite and warm hearted, Dorian is loved by his people. Wanting to prove his independence, Dorian is the one who offers Celaena the chance at freedom if she wins the tournament. Like Chaol, Dorian had very little intention of interacting with her more than needed, but over time, he sees that she is very different from the rest of the noble women. She is able to make him forget about his title, and make him laugh like no other noble can. And so, like Chaol, Dorian falls for her a little more throughout the story. However, unlike his childhood friend, Dorian is less subtle with his attempts to woo her.

Romance aside, I enjoyed reading about the mysteries surrounding the tournament, especially when the participants are being taken off one by one. And how none of the deaths were natural. At first, I didn't think that there would be supernatural aspects with this type of story, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was and it made up endless possibilities as to how Celaena would solve this mystery.

The writing was very smooth and easy to follow. When I first picked up the book, I was interested in the summary, but I didn't think that I would love it so much. Other than times I was forced to put the book down, I didn't want to because it was so suspenseful and I wanted to see if Chaol was able to convey his feelings. The ending wasn't much of a surprise because I kind of knew how it would end, but even then, there were some aspects that weren't predicted and I can't wait to see where Sarah J. Maas will take us with the next book in the series, Crown of Midnight, now that the stakes are even higher.

Source: Borrowed
Rating: 5 coffee cups (Loved it and couldn't put it down)