Friday, 31 August 2012

Feature Friday!!!

Feature Friday is a new weakly meme hosted here at xo'reads, where I will feature a great book & post two of my favorite (and spoiler free) pages/excerpts, to inspire you to pick it up & discover why I have deemed it feature worthy (& amazing)!

This Weeks Book: A Great & Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

Chapter **

"Why does everyone want to own me?" Pippa mumbles. She's got her head in her hands. "Why do they all want to control my life- how I look, whom I see, what I do or don't do? why cant they just let me alone?"
"Because you're beautiful," Ann answers, watching the fire lick her palm. "People always think they can own beautiful things."
“Shall I tell you a story? A new and terrible one? A ghost story?”
The voice, a faint echo in the great cave, belongs to Felicity. She turns around on the rock, faces us, wraps her arms across bent knees, hugging them close. “Are you ready? Shall I begin? Once upon a time there were four girls. One was pretty. One was clever. On charming, and one…” She glances at me. “One was mysterious. But they were all damaged, you see. Something not right about the lot of them. Bad blood. Big dreams. Oh, I left that part out. Sorry, that should have come before. They were all dreamers, these girls.”
“Felicity…,” I start, because it’s her and not the story that’s beginning to frighten me.
“You wanted a story, and I’m going to give you one.”
Lightning shoots across the cave walls, bathing half her face in light, the other in shadows. “One by one, night after night, the girls came together. And they sinned. Do you know what that sin was? No one? Pippa? Ann?”
“Felicity.” Pippa sounds anxious. “Let’s go back and have a nice cup of tea. It’s too cold out here.”
Felicity’s voice expands, fills the space around us, a bell tolling. “Their sin was that they believed. Believed that they could be different. Special. They believed that they could change what they were—damaged, unloved. Cast-off things. They would be alive, adored, needed. Necessary. But it wasn’t true. This is a ghost story, remember? A tragedy.”
The lightning’s back, a big one, two, three of light that lets me see Felicity’s face, slick with tears, nose running. “They were misled. Betrayed by their own stupid hopes. Things couldn’t be different for them, because they weren’t special after all. So life took them, led them, and they went along, you see? They faded before their own eyes, till they were nothing more than living ghosts, haunting each other with what could be. What can’t be.” Felicity’s voices goes feathery thin. “There now. Isn’t that the scariest story you’ve ever heard?”
The rain beats down relentlessly, mixing with the strangles sounds of Felicity’s sobbing. Ann has stopped torturing her hands. Now she stares through the flame at cave walls that show her history, promise nothing. Pippa twirls her engagement ring round her finger till I fear she’ll break it off.
Maybe it’s the steady downpour driving me mad. Maybe it’s the thought of lovely Pippa, married off to a man she doesn’t love, who doesn’t love her, only wants to acquire her. Maybe it’s imagining Ann squelching her voice to work for pompous aristocrats and their hateful children. Or Felicity trying to hold back her tears. Maybe it’s that every word she’s said is true.
Whatever the reason, I’m thinking now of a way out, of bringing the magic back from the realms. I’m thinking of those mothers today in their ornate dresses and their vacant lives. And I’m thinking of my mother’s warning that I’m not ready to use my full powers yet.
Oh, but I am, Mother. I am.
Outside, there’s a fresh wave of thunder rumbling a warning, a prayer. All around me in the semidarkness are the symbols etched into rock with the sweat and blood of women who’ve gone before us. Their whispers urge me on in a single word.
I can see the glint off Pippa’s unwanted ring. Hear the labored struggle of Ann’s mouth-breathing. Feel the desperation meeting the silence with its unasked wish. There’s got to be something better than this.
My voice rises to the unseen top of the cave, a bird taking flight.
“There is a way to change things…”

Chapter **

When I join the others again, Felicity is staring at the new grave, crying in the rain. "She's really gone, isn't she?"
"Yes" I say, surprised at how sure I sound.
"What happened to me on the other side, with that thing?"
"I dont know"
we look down at the mourners, blotches of black in a sea of gray rain. Felicity can't bring herself to look at me. "Sometimes I see things, I think. Out of the cornor of my eye, taunting me, and then it's gone. and dreams. such horrible dreams. what id something terrible happened to me, Gemma? What if I am damaged?"
The rain is a cool kiss on my sleeve as I link my arm through hers. "we're all damaged somehow."

Want to read more? Check out the Gemma Doyle Trilogy: A Great & Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels & The Sweet Far Thing


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Review: Girl Of Nightmares

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.

                                                    4 Smokin' Kisses

“She crossed over death to call me. I crossed through Hell to find her.”

I like Cas. I really do. He's one of the few main guys who's perspective I truly enjoy reading from. He's Rash, Loving, stupid, messed up & a guy. I love being in his head & feeling what he feels; Blake does such a great job of creating a believable male character, that kicks dead-butt & is a softy for his dead girlfriend.

Girl Of Nightmares Mainly revolves around Cas being haunted by dreams & illusions of Anna being tortured in hell with the Obeahman & is determined to get her back no matter what the price.

As usual, Blake is able to draw you in from the first chapter. The events are exciting, Caramel & Thomas still possess the great personality we love- the only thing missing is Anna, which we dont get too much of till the end.
I really liked GON, but I think I liked ADIB a little more. ADIB was fresh & raw, and watching Cas' feelings for Anna develop was amazing. GON was great, but the constant haunting feelings he got from Anna being in Hell didn't have the same affect as falling in love with her did.

The action/plot is kind of dull until they head out for the Order, but it's still interesting enough to read on and not be bored. Thomas was still interesting, and I loved the way he had Cas' back, even when he lost Caramel. He was the only understanding one about Cas' feelings for Anna & why he had to bring her back. It was slightly annoying the way everyone kept telling him "leave her, leave her" LIKE NO. Therefore, I loved Thomas for doing the exact opposite.
Caramel was on my nerves quite a bit, but came through like the good friend that she when it all came down to it. She wouldn't abandon Cas nor Thomas, even when she had initially been a Queen B & left their group. The ghost buster 3 continued their mission together 'till the end.
We get introduced to a new character that plays a major role, Jestine, and I quite like her. She's a fiesty girl that at first appears untrustworthy, but proves to be loyal to Cas in the end. She kind of reminds me of myself.... no wonder I like her ;)
I love Anna even though we didn't get to see much of her, which is partially why I liked ADIB better, but the parts that she did appear, I couldn't help but admire her for her bravery. She took a double death & an eternity of torture & pain for Cas & his friends. Cas x Anna is honestly one of the best YA couples.

I really got into the novel near the end, I loved the way Jestine came through for Cas, even when I had my doubts and thought that She would Kill him in Hell. Cas & Anna's reuinion almost made me cry & the end result was borderline crying. If I wasn't shocked, those tears would have defenitly spilled. I wish that the ending turned out different, but I get why Blake finished it this way, also enabling her to finish the series here and not continue with sequels. the ADIB series is great with just 2 books, I think anymore would never be able to live up to the expectations. I was mainly upset with the fact that Cas & Anna's encounter/reuinion with one another was so brief. I feel like it should have been longer than a couple of chapters long but ... meh. I appreciate Blakes content-ness [ new word? ] with the 2 book series, and doesn't just drag on her books for the money & publicity like alot of other authors do. The series is crisp & fresh, and stays that way without dulling it out with any more books.

I am sad that Cas & Anna's story had to come to an end, but it was a bittersweet ending that tied up the already tragic series perfectly.

Can't wait to see what Blake comes up with next!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

In My Mailbox

Hey guys!

August has been a great month! Other than the fact that I haven't had the chance to do as much reading [[unfortunatly]], I did get some GREAT books in my mailbox that I just Cannot wait to get started on. Once my busy schedual [*sigh*] clears up, Ill be able to get back to my usual 3 reviews a week !!!
And now for my mailbox..........

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)Onyx (Lux, #2)             


The Dusk Gate chronicles is part of a blog tour i'm doing, so I'm really excited to read those. Thanks to the publishers for sending them!

What's been in your mailbox this month?

P.S. I will be getting the chance to meet Margaret Stohl, Veronica Roth, Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong on Sept 13th for a book signing! stay tuned for a giveaway of a signed copy of one of their books!!! ;)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Showcase Saturday

Hey Guys! So I know that I've been absent for a little while, so I've decided to come back with a couple new things... The first being something called Showcase Saturday.

Showcase Saturday is a way for me to show you guys the new hot YA books, the books I'm currently reading & the books I am excited to be reading soon !

A couple Hot books being released soon that I just CAN'T wait to read:

Release Date: August 28                    August 28

Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions, #1)The Iron Legends (The Iron Fey, #1.5, 3.5, 4.5)

November 13                                    October 30

Lovely, Dark and DeepRebel Heart (Dust Lands, #2)

A Couple I just cannot wait to read:

Circle of Silence (WiHi, #2)     Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1)

This is Not a Test What She Left Behind

The Complete PoemsBeauty Queens

This Week I'm reading:

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)   Jane Eyre

The Villa Triste    The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)

Let me know what you guys think about these titles!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Review: The Sweet Far Thing

The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3)IT HAS BEEN A YEAR OF CHANGE since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father a
laudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds.

The Order - the mysterious group her mother was once part of - is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence's burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.

                                                  5 Smokin' Kisses


"Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity"

I cannot tell you how amazing The Sweet Far Thing is. As I neared the ending, I got sick with antecipation and I literly couldn't hold in my frustration. It was quite unfortunate that I had guests over when I threw my little fit.... ehm, Mother wasn't too pleased.

The perfect Victorian Novel with a touch of Magic, Romance, Trust, Betrayel, Friendships & Enemies. Every word was gold. I couldn't hold in my excitement while reading.

This novel begins near the end of the school year, where Gemma & Felicity will be make their debuts, and Ann will leave to her cousins to become a governess. everything in the realms is chaotic, as Gemma has sealed all the magic within herself, and it is now up to her to uphold all of her promises to share the magic with the people of the realms. However, the girls are growing greedy & the people of the realms are growing impatient... and the powers of the winterlands are growing.
Gemma discovers that ones you trusted may very well betray you, and those you thought your enemies, can very well be your saviors in your time of need.

“I'm like everyone else in this stupid, bloody, amazing world. I'm flawed. Impossibly so. But hopeful. I'm still me.” 

Gemma fights her feelings of lonliness & betrayel, as she feels that she is only being used for her magic. The three girls' friendship is put to the ultimate test, as they must trust in eachother to fight the powers that threaten them.

“Power changes everything till it is difficult to say who are the heroes and who the villians.” 

Bray builds each one of her characters to perfection, until we know every single desire & every single dark corner.

Gemma fights the strong powers within her, and her sense of belonging with her friends, the people of the realms, kartik, circe, ms McCleethy, the rakshana and everyone else that wants a piece of her magic- and not to forget her duty as a young english girl. There are many times when she feels betrayel and I pity her, because she feels as if her magic is the only thing keeping her closest friends Felicity & Ann tied to her. When she gets betrayed by them, although it's mostly Felicity who will not believe her because she is so blinded by Pip, and Ann merely follows, I feel her pain & it's something that most young females her age can relate to. Although the girls play with magic and enjoy it, most of the time it felt as if they weight of the world was on Gemma's shoulders. Even though the girls would help her everytime she had a theory, she was usually the one falling to her powers, going insane & having to carry the burden with her- while the girls would get mad if she wouldn't take them to the realms to have fun. By the end of the novel Gemma undergoes a Huge change in her personality. It first begins when she starts to feel alone and talk to Circe. She begins to feel more sure of herself. Afterwards she unfolds her life and realizes the worth of the world she lives in, and the people around her - and it makes her a new girl. I adored the person she became at the end, her personality was strong and sure. It wasn't full of doubt as it previously was ever since AGATB.

“I am a jumble of passions, misgivings, and wants. It seems that I am always in a state of wishing and rarely in a state of contentment.” 

Tons of things are discovered about Felicity. She would still have to be my favorite character in the book. even though she becomes quite snobby at times, and betrays Gemma for the magic & Pip, she would come around when Gemma needed her the most... eventually. She left Gemma for her own magic & Pip many times throughout, claiming that Gemma was Jealous that Pip had magic, despite what Gemma told her about Pips evil side & ventures into the Winterlands. That was one of her least favorite characteristics, but one that we all fall to today:
We believe what we want to believe, no matter what others say or show us. Although her personality is strong & determined, which is the thing I love about her, we also see her greatest fears & her greatest secrets. We find out that the relationship between her & Pip is more than a friendship, & the reason she wouldn't leave her as Gemma suggested tons of times, her rashness resulting in trouble & deaths near the end, Is that Felicity was truly in love with Pip, and she wanted a way for them to be together. She is one of the toughest characters in this novel, and a true rolemodel for females. I absoloutly adored her relationship with Pip ! I'm not a Gemma x Kartik fan, I'm not too sure why though... i've never been a fan of the couple. But I love love love love Pip x Fee . I think they're just so cute... plus Fee is my fave character! Felicity's strength is something that I wish that I could have. She's strong not only in the physical sense, but also mentally, as near the end she let's go of the person she loves the most & does the right thing. She is loyal and proud, mean yet affectionate. Her personality is amazing, 99% of the quotes/ scenes I love from the novel are her's. The way she can make people do whatever she wants, be cruel, yet care and crumble at the same time. The way her weakness showed to be equal to her strength at the end... ugh I just absoloutly adore her, that is all I can say.
I'm not into girls, but I'll make an exception... Fee, Just come marry me. I think we'd make a lovely couple.

It’s one lump of sugar in your tea whether you like it or not and you’d best smile even if you’re dying deep inside. We’re like pretty horses, and just as on horses, they mean to put blinders on us so we can’t look left or right but only straight ahead where they would lead. Please, please, please, Gemma, let’s not die inside before we have to.

"Pippa opens her hand. Felicity’s face shows her torment—her affection and her pride locked in fierce battle. She stares at the berries for a long moment, neither accepting nor declining them, and I come to realize that the silence is her answer. She will not trade one trap for another.”

"I lie down beside her. She takes my fingers in her moist palm. She holds and I do not break away, and that is something after all. We lie there, tethered to each other by the fragile promise of our fingers while the night grows bolder"

I disliked Ann most of the times, as I have for most of the series, however I felt pity for her tons of times. She's still the pushover that she was in AGATB & RA, even though she has seen magic & evil like none of the other girls at spence. I greatly dislike her personality, as she has a habit of taking whatever the other girls throw at her & swallowing it, not fighting back or defending herself. She doesn't believe in herself or her abilities, and it costs her dearly at times. She also had a habit of being a follower & never coming up with her own conclusions. everytime the girls would have an aargument, she would easily side with Felicity & hardly speak, leaving Gemma in the all alone.
“I shan't ever understand your willingness to lie down and die," Felicity barks. "If you won't at least try to fight, I have no sympathy for you.”

Although Ann makes stupid and cowerdly discisions, she redeems herself in the end and follows her path, no longer bending to the whim of others.

“War." Gorgon spits the word. "That is what they call it to give the illusion of honor and law. It is chaos. Madness and blood and the hunger to win. It has always been thus and shall always be so.” 

I loved Gorgon, something about her stuck with me. Her fiercness & kindness. I was so proud of her when she came through for Gemma at the end. Kartik was a sweet heart as usual. Although Gemma was disappointed in him for his disicions, he made mistakes, but it was always to protect her, although she wasn't to fond of it. The relationship between Gemma & Kartik Grew imensly near the ending, and it was probably one of the BEST Novel relationships out there, as it took Time, Chemistry, Danger & Understanding for their love to fully blossem. Ther romance was written perfectly & any reader is able to see how & why their love flourished, an art every other YA author should take up.

I began disliking Pip in this, although I knew how betrayed she felt & how one stupid desicison ruined her life. But the way she controlled Felicity, which in turn controlled Ann, thus dragging them apart from Gemma, made me hate her all the more. She became power hungry which lead to her ultimate demise, although I pittied her & Felicity at the end.

The  novel has a STRONG Feminist voice by the end, which I abosloutly loved. I could kiss bray. Everything she said was perfect, and made me love Gemma x10000000 more.

"Why should we girls not had the same privileges as men? Why do we police ourselves so stringently- whittling each other down  with cutting remarks or holding ourselves back from greatness with a harness woven of fear and shame and longing? If we do not deem ourselves worthy first, how shall we ever ask for more?
I have seen what a handful of girls can do, Mrs.Nightwing. They can hold back an army if necessary, so please dont tell me it isn't possible."

The plot was amazing, I couldn't get over it! yes, the book could have been shorter & many many chapters in the beggening were unnecessary, however they were not boring & added to the feel of the novel. It gave us a chance to see into each character: To see the way Gemma feels about Kartik & her family, the way Ann deals with the struggles of her life of a governess & her desire to sing on stage, the way Felicity deals with her love for Pip & the struggles of being sponsered & presented to the queen, in order to be free and Inherit her funds. it all plays a part in building their character, and although not utterly important, the length to the novel adds an atmosphere that allows the reader to slowly inch into the action, rather than jump in and be overwhelmed. I felt as if I was truly witnissing what happened to the girls, not just reading it. Bray is able to use her amazing writting skills to keep you intranced by whatever she writes. Her writting style is seriously a gift. she could be writting about drying paint and it would be interesting.

Overall, the plot is phenomenal. The characters face various struggles & each character is broken down until we know them fully & it's as if we are truly with them & participating in the events taking place. This story will be one I will not soon forget. Definitly one of my favorites. Cannot wait to read more books by Libba Bray !

“Reminds us that greatness lies even in the smallest of moments, in the humblest of hearts, and we shall, each of us, be called to greatness. Whether we shall rise to meet it or let it slip away is the challenge put before us all.” 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Review: Rebel Angels

Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2)Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .
The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.
But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

                                              5 Smokin' Kisses


Christmas! what a jolly time of the year ! ..... Unless You're Gemma, Felicity or Ann. Then it is not all too jolly, I'm afraid.

Rebel Angels was SO good!!! I loved it more than AGATB! We learn so much about each individual Character & the plot is non-stop action packed, with unexpected twists & turns with every page! I read every single golden page in one day ! even though i was tired, I kept at it till 3:30 am . wow. the ending was amazing. Rebel angels was a ride that I wish other books could take me on. pure genious.

The novel mainly revolves around our 3 girls who are now without pip. Christmas is around the corner, and the girls are expected to go home to london & attend balls in a lady-like manner. However, it isn't all peach & roses for Gemma, Felicity & Ann. Other than loosing Pip, the girls must face the questions revolving around the new teacher whom is replacing Ms Moore, Ms McCleethy, and her interest in Gemma, as well as her connection to the order. Gemma is expected to seal the magic of the realms, in which she set free accidently when she smashed the ruins in order to save her mother & destroy Circe's beast. She must figure out whom to trust from Kartik, To Pippa, Ms Moore to Ms McCleethy, Nell to the Girl Spirits... it's all desicions; ones Gemma must learn to make alone.

The girl's face new challanges & face their worst fears- including letting go. Love & trust is tested, Betrayel & redemption is tasted. Their Friendship is put on a tight rope, where they must believe in each others abilities to survive & seal the magic, for they cannot take being stripped of the magic that they love so much.

Here we discover the secrets behind each Character, espcially Felicity. They face their fears, the fall & they get back up, their trust in one another is put to the test. It was strange to see our evil, strong girl Felicity break down & have her past confessed. It is revelead that Felicity isn't the cold hearted bitch we thought her to be. Other than bringing Ann home for christmas and lying to everyone about Ann's background, Felicity also protects the girl she hates, little polly. Felicity is displayed to hate Polly, and at one point charms her doll with magic. Gemma is skeptical... what is Felicity doing? she wouldn't hurt a little girl... would she? But then during dinner, Felicity who seems upset at the little girl gaining so much attention from her father, offers to take Polly to bed. Felicity tells polly to lock the door of her room every night, in order to keep her father out. it is then revelead that Felicity was indeed sexually abused by her Father countless times, and wishes to save polly from the same fate that she had. It was quite touching, and shows that people & their intentions aren't always what we make them to be.

I still dislike Ann, even more so than AGATB. She is a push over & a follower, & everything she does seems to get on my nerves. If it wasn't for Gemma, she would still be bullied non-stop , all alone... yet she doesn't appreciate it & disappoints Gemma numerous times.

Gemma becomes powerful & finds the means to trust herself. although she tends to be swayed by the opinion of those around her, she find's her voice and makes her own desicions. she faces her fear in the end, and goes face to face with circe.. her mothers friend , & her sworn enemy.

The bond between our 3 girls grows stronger, as they learn to trust one another with their lives. They learn that they cannot hold on to everything & everyone they love forever, and not everything is as it seems to be.
The novel definitly surprises you a TON by the end. it was definitly not as predictable as i had expected. Nell, Ms Moore, Mc McCleethy, Kartik, the creatures of the realms... it all surprises you. that i promise.

I truly loved this novel. it was oh so good. my next mission is to tackle The Sweet Far thing which is a monster of 800 pages. Mwahahah I have a feeling it shall be good.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an impressive first book in what should prove to be a fascinating trilogy.

                                                    4 Smokin' Kisses


God, I love victorian novels!! I'm pretty sure I was born in the wrong era. No matter how much I love my Iphone & My laptop, I think I'll always prefere the victorian era over the one I live in now. Something about it that makes me love it so much... even thought I'm a total feminist, and everytime the comment about girls "studying to become good wives" and "musn't outshine her husband" came up in the novel, my brain would have a hissy fit. Feminist meets Victorian.... Mwahahahaha, I shall bring a new order ;)

So this Novel was excellent! I absoloutly adored the plot & the characters & all the sucker punches this novel delivered!
This novel will take you on a ride in the past, with enough history, girl-spice, mystery & magic to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

A Great & Terrible Beauty revolves around Gemma Doyle and the discovery of her mothers past & her own destiny. After her mothers death in india, Gemma is sent to Spence School for Young Girls in England where she discovers the secret of The Order and her mothers connection to it long ago. 
Gemma faces obsticles of friendship, love & trust- but also faces the harships of discovering her place in The Order , Making the right desicions, & holding a world of magic, known as the realms, on her shoulders. This is a tale of self discovery& trust in ones self... a story I will not soon forget!
The characters were lovely. I really enjoyed reading from Gemma's perspective, she's a fiesty young female that doesn't always agree with her mother (been there, done that), is hot headed, likes revenge & is a little too curious for her own good. She has the power to see visions that come true & also enter the realms.. which makes her rather wanted. She discovers secrets & makes unlikely friendships. Although Gemma gets a little dab of romance, I loved the fact that this novel revolved around the plot, character relationships, power etc. instead of having the romance being the driving fuel. It Proves that Bray is an excellent author that can keep you on the edge of your seat without sexual scenes, which most YA authors feel is a nessesity.
I also loved Felicity. Althought i'm not usually fond of queen Highschool Bitches, Felicity reminds me a little of myself & a little of the person I wish that I could be. Like me in outgoing & does whatever pleases her, not the people around her & what I wish I could be with her bluntness, charm & character. although she went a little insane near the ending, and I am not too fond of going butt-naked in a forest with my friends, She is definitly a strong female charcater, that does feminists justice. 
I disliked Ann. I usually pity/like the characters in books that are picked on, and usually underestimated.. but Ann was not one of them. She was a follower & betrayed Gemma over & over again for the sake of popularity. She easily forgot Gemma's kindness, and followed Felicity & Pippa although the basically bullied her the whole time. ugh, can't stand people like that.
Pippi was an interesting character. Although i slightly disliked her for being such a felicity follower, she redeems herself in the end. I pitied her most of the times & admired her disicion at the end.
Kartik... well, i dont really have an opinion of him. He only makes a couple of appereances, but all we know is that he's a hot gypsy, and there will hopefully be more of him to come !

The plot was great, loved loved loved it! Mixed my two favorite things: Victorian Times + Magic= My ultimate book.
The only complaint I have is that the author sometimes abruptly cuts of scenes and skips to a later time or will do something that doesnt completely make sense (gemma in the realm near the end) or a scene will begin happening and it wont be explained thorougly, so you'll kinda be reading and then think "whaaaat... why did that happen?" I re-read a bunch of passages and still didnt get some stuff. If those were fixed, it would have been a for sure 5 stars!

Oh well, looking forward to the next novel. Hopefully there wont be the same issue !