31 October 2012

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors, the Colonies.  

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy.  Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest circles. 

Born into the slums of the Republic's Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect.  Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. 

But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

When Legend first popped up on my radar, I was turned away by the amateur-style cover.  I was intrigued, however, when the hype drove me to read a sample of it.  I was impressed by how there was an immediate sense of character and that allowed the also-immediate conflict to take effect.  Paired with Marie Lu's effortless writing style and propelled by a both heart-wrenching and thought-provoking plot, I never wanted the story to end.

Legend tells the story of two awesome main characters.  June, with her Holmesian-like logic but warm heart; and Day, the guy we girls would all like to run into on the streets.  I was pleased (and impressed) with how June, the government's prodigy, didn't come off as a cold-hearted anti-hero.  She had a heart -- a big heart -- that wasn't impervious to breaks.  The criminal Day reminded me a lot of Han from Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series, only Day doesn't have silver cuffs branded to his wrists. Mentally, I connected them because they're passionate, flirty, and street smart, and they always take care of their families.

The world of Legend was magnificently displayed.  Lu doesn't fall into the trap of having to explain how everything worlds.  By letting the world affect (or not affect) her characters in certain ways, she lets the world build seamlessly.  It's this showing and not telling that is so effective in creating the swaths of color into the world around the characters.  Sometimes it has a fantasy-like feel to it, and sometimes it feels more sci-fi or dystopian, giving it a well-rounded atmosphere.

What I was most impressed with from Legend was the way Lu built the story.  I understood what was at stake, I knew the risks, and I felt each obstacle resonate within the characters.  It was a story that built stakes like kindling for a fire -- they pushed the characters; they didn't come at a conveniently inconvenient time.  At every turn, I would mutter, "What are they going to do now?" or "How are they going to get out of that?"  The plot was tightly compacted: nothing was wasted, but there are threads to be continued in other books.

So while there were predictable places, it was the moments that took me by surprise that defined my liking for Legend.  With it's fantasy/sci-fi like world and lovable characters, Legend should be a book to get on your shelf.  I'm glad it's on mine.


I will hunt you down. I will scour the streets of Los Angeles for you. Search every street in the Republic if I have to. I will trick you and deceive you, lie, cheat and steal to find you, tempt you out of your hiding place, and chase you until you have nowhere else to run. I make you this promise: your life is mine. (p. 45)

“I don't know if anyone's ever told you this", he begins. He doesn't blush, and his eyes don't dart away. Instead I find myself starring into a pair of oceans - one perfect, the other blemished by that tiny ripple. "You're very attractive."

I've been complimented on my appearance before. But never in his tone of voice. Of all the things he's said, I don't know why this catches me off guard. But it startles me so much that without thinking I blurt out, "I could say the same about you." I pause. "In case you didn't know."

A slow grin spreads across his face. "Oh, trust me. I know.” (p. 137)

Book Info
  • pages - hardcover, 305
  • published - November 2011
  • publisher - Putnam Juvenile
  • genre - sci-fi
  • received via - Half-Price Books :)
  • rating - 5/5
  • series - Legend
    • Legend
    • Prodigy
    • Untitled #3

30 October 2012

Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

My first experience with Jackson Pearce's work came many, many years ago with her novel, As You Wish.  As a know-it-all fourteen-year-old, I wasn't that impressed and I never finished it.  It was too short and too kiddy for the likes of me.  Now, after having read Sisters RedSweetly, and now Fathomless, I'm intensely curious about that first book I picked up.  I have had my mind blown -- yet again -- by Jackson Pearce's amazingly creative talent for capturing a breathtaking story within three hundred pages.

Like SweetlyFathomless kept me up way past my bedtime.  I couldn't let go of Celia and Lo's story, or the world of ocean girls and power triplets.  In retrospect, I'm amazed at how much atmosphere was packed in with the plot and character development.  Almost as if those aspects were fused together, and not separate things.  Short books don't generally appeal to me because they're like a single inch of a foot long idea: they don't reach their full potential.  Jackson Pearce defies this idea.  She establishes atmosphere, character and plot very compactly -- not "quickly," as if she rushes it, but "compactly."  She doesn't waste words.

My sisters love this place.

It smells like sand and cigarettes and cotton candy, like sunscreen and salt.  The scent builds up all summer, and now, at the height of tourist season, it's so thick that I think I could wave an empty bottle around and it would fill with liquid perfume.

She also doesn't fall back on the typical, well-worn templates that lazy writers use.  Jackson Pearce got deep into the characters' minds and strung out every flaw and imperfection that made them human, or inhuman, as the case may be.  I loved the psychological battles that raged between Celia and Lo, as well as Celia and her sisters.  Celia and Lo each had their own motivations -- Lo fought with being human, Celia fought with her power; Celia was one of a triplet, but the odd one out -- and their internal battles inherently affected their relationship.  Those aspects drew me in the most.  They mimicked the same kind of undercurrents that run underneath everyday conversations and interactions.  So even though Celia can read someone's past and Lo is a creature of the deep, the relationships they had with their family and friends bore the same complications and intricacies of real-life situations.

I liked how the romance both did and did not take center stage.  The romance between Celia and Jude was sweet and well-developed without being the main purpose of the story.  The romance, however, was practically the driving force of the plot.  Had there been no Jude, the ending would've fallen apart.  I liked this duality because it's not something I've seen often, and Jackson Pearce pulled it off extremely well by focusing attention on the ups and downs of the plot.

I loved how Jackson Pearce went in and owned this story.  I was pulled in from page one and I couldn't stop thinking about the story until I finally finished it.  I think this story would fit anyone's interests, whether you like contemporary fiction or paranormal romances, even if you don't like mermaid stories (because it's just enough of a mermaid story to appeal to those who loved The Little Mermaid and just unique enough to suit those who didn't.)


When it rains, it's beautiful under the water.  It's like the sky and the ocean and the clouds are all connected as we lie on the deck of the Glasgow and stare up at the waves that rock far above us.  They look dangerous even in a small rainstorm like this.  They look beautiful.  They remind us that the ocean isn't something we've tamed, just because we're a part of it. (p. 106)

My name is Lo.  I have dozens of sisters.  I live underwater.  My feet bleed when I walk on land, but I know beauty under the waves better than any human.  I used to be a girl, but now I am this. (p. 264)

Book Info
  • pages - hardcover, 304 
  • published - September 2012
  • publisher - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - Barnes & Noble
  • rating - 5/5
  • series - Fairytale Retellings
    • Sisters Red
    • Sweetly
    • Fathomless

23 October 2012

Cover Reveal: Shadow of the Mark

ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?! I have seen many beautiful covers in my life, but I can't compare this bad boy to anything else. In about thirty seconds (pretend you're watching TV and listening to my soothing voice) you will see the cover of your dreams. *magical fingers*

I, my friends, am going to present the cover of Carrier of the Mark's sequel, Shadow of the Mark. It's momma was beautiful, but wait 'till you this this baby. Ready? Set... GO!

AND THE LORD SAID, "LET THERE BE LIGHT!" WOOOOOOOHOOOO! I don't think anyone is excited as I am on this cover reveal. Leigh has been my friend for a few years now when we first met on Inkpop.com. AND! AND! Get this: for those of you who haven't read Carrier of the Mark, the main character's name is Megan.

Ha. I win. I get the hot Irish boy, ladies. ;) Now, for the synopsis for Shadow of the Mark.

Life for Megan Rosenberg just got a lot more complicated.

While she evoked the air element, and her feelings for Adam intensified, a web of lies, deceit, and betrayal was spun around her. With the Order tightening its hold, and the reinstatement of the Mark Knights, Megan has more questions than answers as the Marked Ones grow in strength.

New people arouse suspicion, the DeRises start behaving strangely, and Megan begins to unravel a destiny shrouded in mystery. It’s a destiny the Order has struggled to hide, and a destiny someone from the past… far in the past, has already laid claim to.

Alliances will be made, and friends will be lost, as the Order’s dark secrets are revealed by the very thing they sought to destroy.

13 October 2012

Review: Path of Needles

Title & Author~ Path of Needles by Hannah Kollef

Publishing Type~ Self-published on October 12th, 2012
Reason for Reading~ Received in e-book format for review.   
Where to Purchase It~ Amazon ♦ 
Summary~ When 17-year-old Kat Finnegan is warned in a Brooklyn alleyway that her father is going to disappear, she shrugs and walks away. The next morning her father is gone--leaving behind a booby-trapped apartment and a mystery that has slept for a thousand years.

To get him back, Kat and her twin brother Roger will have to unravel the secrets behind the Rose Queen--the fairy queen who ripped apart reality and stitched it back together, transforming the Fey into the memories known as fairy tales. They will also have to come to grips with their emerging powers and discover why they are known to the magical world as "The Truth" and "The Lie."

Hunted by demons and treacherous Fey, Kat and Roger follow the Queen's trail from Manhattan to Newark. But neither the Queen nor her curse is what they expected, and more is at stake than their father's life--and theirs.

Path of Needles is the explosive first book in the Paths series: urban fantasies littered with deadly fairy tales, tangled romance, and heartbreaking betrayals.

On Characters~ Path of Needles was full of strong, well-developed characters. Take our MC, for example, Miss Kat Finnegan. She is relentless to help people--she's sarcastic, too, which many people these days can relate to (*cough* me *cough*). Jim and Roger were both equally important, too. These three characters are the type you won't forget about.

On Writing Style~ Kollef's writing style is overly descriptive. If anything, it's filled with more dialogue than description. Even if there a lot of talking between characters, she doesn't avoid painting portraits with words on things like the setting, the magical world Kat is sucked into, and more. Her words are beautiful. (It's like those creepy things from Harry Potter #3, the ones who suck up your fear--what are their names again?--only Kollef sucks away your breath because her fluid writing is astunding. Actually, that was a really bad example. And it doesn't help I can't think of those creepy things names. *headdesk*)

On Fantasy Element~ Like I said in my introduction, I'm not a super big fantasy fan because fantastical worlds never make sense to me. Either the author doesn't include enough information, or there is too much info in a few short pages. (GET YOUR WORD VOMIT AWAY FROM ME, BEAST!!) Kollef, I think, was in the not-enough section, but to be honest... I'm not certain of it because I couldn't fully wrap my head around this world Kat's brought into. I had to go back and reread. But maybe that's because I'm stupid. Heck, you'll probably understand it better than me. Don't let me dissuade you from reading it.

On Everything Else~ The ending was just asdfghjkl; THERE ARE NO WORDS FOR THE MADNESS. I AM IN LOVE AND HEARTBROKEN. (*sings* When you're dreaming with a broken heart...) *cue Regina George* I just can't... whatever. (You Mean Girls lovers will understand the previous sentence.)

All in All~ Kollef created a beautiful book. Although I didn't full comprehend the fantasy world, I still adored it. You! People of earth! Go read it! I gave you the Amazon link, didn't I? *wags finger* Yes, I did. Now, go read. It's very cheap. (The price, I mean.)

4/5 stars.

11 October 2012

Feature + Follow Friday (10/12/12)

Hey y'all!  Amelia and Gianne here for Feature and Follow Friday!  

Q: What book do you think would make a great Halloween movie? Please explain in graphic detail of goriness…


 For me, instantly the first book that comes to mind would probably Gretchen McNeil's books (Ten, Possess) or Malinda Lo's Adaptation (which is really weird and ominous-like and just WHOAzers!) :D How about you? ^^


Firstly, I am such a scaredy cat. I don't do suspense, or gore, or horror. I don't do things that go bump in the night, that have previously been dead, or walk around decapitated. So my list of Halloween stories, let alone books that could be turned into movies, is highly limited. The first thing that pops to mind is The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. Not so much for the gore or horror, but because it's just so creepy. It was practically hair-raising. (Though I do admit that I read this two years ago so I may, or may not, be a little bit less of a scaredy cat now, but that point is entirely debatable.)

Review: Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

In a desert world of sandstorms and sand-wolves, a teen girl must defy the gods to save her tribe in this mystical, atmospheric tale from the author of Drink, Slay, Love. Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

09 October 2012

Hey y'all... Amelia here!

Hey y'all!  (Yeesssss, I do say "y'all" -- quite frequently, actually.  And if you're a country-phobe, don't do something nice to me because I will call you "darlin".)  

My name is Amelia and I'm co-blogging here with Gianne! :)

Quick Bio
I'm eighteen-years-old (so technically an adult, but don't hold me to that) and I recently graduated high school.  I'm taking a year off before heading to college, using this newly granted spare time to work on my book.  Yes, I am a writer.  Yes, I get distracted easily by shiny objects.  Be nice to me or I'll put you in my book, and kill you.

A Bit Longer Bio
I run my own blog, The Authoress: Book Reviews & More, but when Gianne put up a post saying she was looking for a co-blogger, my interest was piqued.  I've always thought co-blogging would be a super cool thing to do and, since I already knew Gianne was awesome, I applied.  Luckily, she must've thought I was pretty awesome too! :) 

In addition to being a huge reader and writer, I also do graphic design.  Focusing mostly on bloggers, I offer free graphics at my site The Graphic Files.  (That's how I met Gianne!)  Besides that, I dabble at playing the piano, reading about psychology, reorganizing my bookshelves, watching Golden Girls, Sherlock, Numb3rs, The Mentalist, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles, and ultimately trying not to demolish the little shred of a social life I have left.

I'm a bit random -- my mind tends to function like a pachinko machine.  Paradoxically, I'm also incredibly organized.  I like to always have a task, and when I decide to do something, I do it -- I don't second guess often.  I love iCal and lists -- my god, I adore lists.  I wouldn't function without my Sharpie pen and butterfly-decorated pad of paper.

What I'll Be Doing Here
Gianne is swamped with AP classes -- all the power in the world to her.  I took one AP class my junior year of high school... Never again.  My one experience with the world of higher academics has given me a great sympathetic capacity for those still in the trenches.  So whatever Gianne wants me to do here, I shall do. :) Sometimes memes, sometimes reviews, sometimes giveaways, maybe a blog tip post here and there.  Keep a look out!  

Waiting on Wednesday: The Mixed Edition

Hosted at Breaking the Spine and original picture credits go to ハツ子

Hey y'all!  So why is this week's WoW mixed?  Mostly because Gianne is dying for a book about a circus and the only thing that comes to my mind to compliment that is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which came out forever and a day ago.  So this week will be mixed.

What Gianne is waiting for...

Pantomime by Laura Lam

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

It sounds absolutely enchanting and captivating! THAT, and I've had a thing lately for books with a whimsical feel about it, especially books with circuses!

What Amelia is waiting for...

Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.

Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.

Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.

Excited is SUCH an understatement here!  With the way Beautiful Chaos ended, I'm practically foaming at the mouth for this to release!

what are you waiting for this week?