Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater - Raven Cycle #3

* Warning: Spoilers for The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue
By Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle #3
Hardcover: 391 pages
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
5 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |
| Official Site | Twitter | Tumblr |
Related Reviews: | The Raven Boys | The Dream Thieves |
Categories: Supernatural, Ghosts, Treasure Hunt, ESP

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

I had so many expectations for this book, that I practically set it up for failure in my mind. And then I read it. Failure? Are you kidding?! It was truly perfect in every way that I wanted it to be. This series has such an Otherness to it that is impossible to explain. Is it YA? Meh. The relationships between the characters are so real, so beautiful and perfect, which is rare in YA books. I didn't think that I could love these characters any more than I did.. but I was definitely wrong. I'm going to say it now, because after reading the third book, I know without a doubt: This is my favorite series EVER. Ever. The characters are so complex and layered, so real and flawed, and I am in love with every single one of them. Even Ronan, the asshole, has my heart. Stiefvater's ability to completely immerse the reader into her worlds is wonderful and disappointing at the same time. Disappointing, only because when you awake from the world, you know that you cannot physically visit it. It's an overwhelming sadness that I haven't felt before from a story. I want to visit her mythical Cabeswater, trek through the forest where the trees speak Latin, search for the mystical King sleeping on the ley line of Virginia. Sigh. I have always held a special place in my heart for history, and more so for archaeology. From the age of 7, I wanted to be an archaeologist; to quest for ancient treasure hidden throughout our vast world. The only thing holding me back from that dream was the fact that the field itself is beyond competitive. You can only be a true archaeologist if your love for doing it is greater than your need for companionship. Sadly, I cannot see myself alone in a desert/jungle/forest, wherever, truly alone for months on end. Your life spent in a tent, in the middle of nowhere.. archaeologists are basically glorified hobos! Enough rambling.. let's get back to the review, shall we..?

In this third book, we get to see the relationship between Blue and Gansey develop a bit more. They are little things, hands touch for a moment, late night phone calls, but they are so important. The heartbreak and sadness between the two of them is overwhelming.

"She had thought it was such a simple thing to avoid kissing someone when she'd been with Adam. Her body had never known what to do. Now it knew. Her mouth didn't care that it was cursed. She turned to Gansey. "Blue," he warned, but his voice was chaotic. This close, his throat was scented with mint and wool sweater and vinyl car seat, and Gansey. Just Gansey. She said, "I just want to pretend. I want to pretend that I could." He breathed out. What was a kiss without a kiss?"

The fact that Gansey is going to die is crushing. I tried to stop myself from falling in love with him, but it was a failed mission. I knew from the moment I started reading The Raven Boys that this broken boy was going to die eventually, dammit! As the case is with Blue, I couldn't protect my heart from loving his doomed ass! Either Blue will kill him with a kiss, Adam will kill him with his anger, or he will get stung by bees. Either way, his life will likely be over by the end of the fourth book, and I hate it! And of course, we still have this...

Noah's character is heartbreaking as well. I feel so much for him, and I have no idea how Stiefvater can possibly fix him. Noah was the first sacrifice to wake Cabeswater, and now his spirit is trapped on the ley line. He was able to befriend the Raven boys and Blue, but the fact that he doesn't have a body hinders his chances at true companionship. I thought, maybe, that would be the favor that they asked of the King, but with Gansey's looming death.. I just don't know! And it's driving me insane! Adam's character is able to grow exponentially in this book. He begins to realize that, just because he is friends with Gansey, it doesn't make him beholden to him. As the economic gaps between Gansey and Adam begin to diminish, the ones between Blue and her Raven Boys grows. Her Ivy League bound boys will be heading to posh schools in their futures, while Blue will be destined to a school that she can afford. I focus on this aspect because, as a college student in a low income bracket, I fully understand the difficulties between a great education, and the ability to afford that great education. Sadly, the privileged will almost always be able to afford that education that the less privileged cannot. This point struck home to me, and I appreciate Stiefvater's analysis of this problem. Just another reason why the realism in this novel, the entire series is perfection!

Through her characters, they all lead back to Gansey. At the heart of this series, the heart of this quest, lies Gansey. But what struck me as insane is the fact that the reader really doesn't know much about him. Which leads me to my theory that Gansey is Glendower. Through this third book, I am still convinced that it will play out that way in the end. The psychics' visions speak of Gansey disappearing into Cabeswater, and they cannot see his actual death. Ronan is the greywaren, the one that can pull things from his dreams. Adam is Cabeswater's eyes and ears, the true sacrifice. Noah is already dead. What is Blue? Where does she fit into the whole quest? I was hoping for a few more hints from Stiefvater about her character. I can't really say much without giving away huge spoilers, but we did get a little. I just don't know how the information we get about Blue fits into the rest of the quest! Sigh.

And now, we have a basic picture of the quest itself.

"Now she saw what Maura had seen: three sleepers- light, dark, and in between."

Don't wake the third sleeper. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Who is the third sleeper and where does he fit into the quest itself?! This book left me with more questions that I had at the beginning. I'm confident that I've overlooked a dozen hints that Stiefvater added, which makes me want to reread this book immediately. I am so lost as to how she will wrap everything up in a neat little package with one book left. Ugh!

To wrap up this extensive, insane review: please read this series! It is truly incredible, heartbreaking, funny, mysterious.. all of the feels imaginable combined into a delicious series! You will not be disappointed at all. My fangirling review is over. The end. (:

"Around them, Cabeswater hummed and muttered with life. Birds that didn't exist outside the forest flapped overhead. Somewhere close by, water ran over rocks. The trees were grand and old, furred with moss and lichen. Perhaps it was because she knew the forest was sentient, but Blue thought it looked wise. If she let her mind wander far enough, she could almost feel the sensation of the forest listening to her. It was hard to explain; it was sort of like the feeling of someone hovering a hand just over your skin, not quite touching."

""I want you to whistle or hum or sing, Ronan, and keep track of time," Gansey said. "You have got to be shitting me," Ronan replied. "Me." Gansey peered down the tunnel. "I know you know a lot of songs all the way through, and can do them the same speed and length every time. Because you had to memorize all of those tunes for the Irish music competitions." Blue and Adam exchanged a delighted look. The only thing more pleasing than seeing Ronan singled out was seeing him singled out and forced to repeatedly sing an Irish jig. "Piss up a rope," Ronan said."

"She nearly fell into the hole. No wonder Gansey hadn't seen it. There was a rock ledge and then, just- nothing. "Gansey?" "I'm here." Gansey's voice was closer than she expected. Quieter than she expected too. "I just- I believe I'm having a panic attack." "You're having a panic attack? New rule: Everyone should give four tugs before suddenly disappearing. Have you broken anything?" A long pause. "No." Something about the tone of the single syllable conveyed, all at once, that he had not been kidding about his fear. Blue wasn't sure that reassurance was her strong point, especially when she was the one who wanted it, but she tried. "It'll be okay. We're anchored up here. All you need to do is climb out. You're not going to fall." "It's not that." His voice was a sliver. "There is something on my skin and it is reminding me of..." He trailed off. "Water," Blue suggested. "Or mud. It's everywhere. Say something again so I can point the flashlight at you." There was nothing but the sound of his breathing, jagged and afraid. She swept the flashlight beam again. "Or mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are everywhere," she said, voice bright. Gansey whispered, "Hornets." Her heart contracted. In the wash of adrenaline, she talked herself down: Yes, hornets could kill Gansey with just a sting, but no, there were not hornets in this cave. And today was not the day that Gansey was going to die, because she had seen his spirit on the day he died, and that spirit had been wearing an Aglionby sweater splattered with rain. Her flashlight beam finally found him. He hung limply in his harness, head tilted down, hands over his ears. Her flashlight beam traced his heaving shoulders. They were splattered with mud and grime, but there were no insects on them. She could breathe again. "Look at me," she ordered. "There are no hornets." "I know," he muttered. "That's why I said I think I'm having a panic attack. I know there are no hornets." What he wasn't saying, but what they both knew, was that Cabeswater was a careful listener. Which meant he needed to stop thinking about hornets."

Related Reviews
| The Raven Boys | The Dream Thieves |

Connect with Maggie Stiefvater
| Official Site | Twitter | Tumblr |

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater - Raven Cycle #2

*Warning: contains spoilers for The Raven Boys, Book 1 in The Raven Cycle Series*

The Dream Thieves
By Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle #2
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
5 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |
| Official Site | Twitter | Tumblr |
Related Reviews: | The Raven Boys | Blue Lily, Lily Blue |
Categories: Supernatural, Ghosts, Treasure Hunt, ESP


Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

This installment of The Raven Cycle focuses more on Ronan's character. The last line in The Raven Boys states that Ronan pulled his pet Raven from his dreams. The reader also gets to see the relationship between Gansey and Blue develop. I am beyond respectful of Miss Maggie for throwing the concept of insta-love out the door. She basically knows that he is her true love, yet she doesn't let that rule her feelings. The whole concept of love at first sight is disheartening and ridiculously unrealistic. It sets young women up for disappointment in their own lives, and I just despise the whole idea. So thank you Miss Maggie Stiefvater for the realistic relationship. Blue is able to witness Gansey's growth as a character and as a young man. His obsession and desperation to find Glendower is changing him; from the confident, privileged boy into an almost broken man. His guilt for escaping his own death is beginning to wear on him, and the reader gets to learn the full back story of what his life was like before he came back to Virginia. The voice that he heard while he was dying told him that on the ley line, another boy is dying so that Gansey can live, for Glendower. The longer that Gansey remains in Henrietta, the stronger his obsession becomes, and the more he detests his old life. Congress, old Virginia money, and shmoozing powerful government men seems pointless to him now. I just love Gansey's character, honestly. He is complex, sexy, broken, and intelligent as hell. The perfect combination!

We get to learn a lot more about all of the boys, as well as Blue's character. I found myself falling in love with all of them again. I wasn't a huge fan of Miss Stiefvater's previous novels; The Shiver Series always felt like it was lacking something. But she nailed this one perfectly! I love the world that she creates; I'm a huge history nerd and the research done about the Welsh King, the ley lines, and Virginia in general was superb. I am so caught up in this story, and I have no idea how she is going to pull it all off in the end. I know that the author claimed,

Sigh. Why Maggie, why? He really doesn't have to die; in fact, I have this theory that he's going to end up being Glendower. So, I mean, he can't really die, right?! Ronan is the Greywaren, Adam is the sacrifice, Noah is the reason Gansey is alive, Gansey is probably Glendower; where the hell does Blue fit into this? I've been paying close attention to all of the small hints that the author drops, but I still can't figure out who Blue is. I keep thinking it has something to do with the name that Gansey calls her: Jane, but I haven't put it all together yet, dammit! The only other book that made me question everything like this is The Da Vinci Code, and I didn't have to wait for the sequel to find out the answers. It's driving me insane! If any of you wonderful readers out there have any insight, I would love to fangirl speak about this with anyone who loves these books as much as I do! To wrap up this fangirl review, read these books.. seriously! They are phenomenal.

"And then there is the third kind of secret, the most hidden kind. A secret no one knows about. Perhaps it was known once, but was taken to the grave. Or maybe it is a useless mystery, arcane and lonely, unfound because no one ever looked for it. Sometimes, some rare times, a secret stays undiscovered because it is something too big for the mind to hold. It is too strange, too vast, too terrifying to contemplate." -Ronan

"In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.”

"“I am being perfectly fucking civil.”" -Ronan

"The Gray Man stood in the doorway behind Maura, his gray suitcase in one hand and a gray jacket slung over the other. He set them both down and straightened. There was that heavy silence that sometimes happens when a hit man enters the room."

Related Reviews
| The Raven Boys | Blue Lily, Lily Blue |

Connect with Maggie Stiefvater
| Official Site | Twitter | Tumblr |

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites
By Marie Lu
The Young Elites #1
Hardcover: 355 pages
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
4 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |
| Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |
Related Reviews: | Legend | Prodigy | Champion |
Categories: Dystopian, Psychic Powers, Young Adult

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

I have come to expect certain things from dystopian novels. Among these, an over aggressive government, an outcast group among the population, and some sort of war waged between these two groups. The Young Elites does not fail to provide each of these three scenerios. The story is told from a dual point of view. On one hand, there is Adelina. On the other is Enzo. One thing that I would never expect, though, is a story told from the villain's point of view. And that is exactly what Adelina is. She is the x-factor, the creature that everyone wants on their side, yet is fearful of, for good reason. Her powers are untapped and unpredictable, wild and powerful. The feelings that she has for Enzo caused them to rage more out of control than ever before. Yet she does not want to be without him. These feelings are new and different. Is she in love with him? Possibly. I appreciated that Miss Lu did not jump into the whole, insta-love thing. It took time for feelings to develop between Enzo and Adelina. She is a broken girl. Abuse is an every day occurrence in her young life, with a father that hated her, a sister that pushed her away, and an entire town that was terrified of the markings of her curse. And she acted like a broken girl. Her wariness never fully went away, even when it seemed that the Young Elites had accepted her as one of their own. She still knew in her heart that she could trust no one fully.

Adelina is a calculating character. I never fully liked her, but I respected her power and intelligence. I was not able to connect with her in a way that made me like her though, sadly. It is tough to read an entire book with a character that the reader doesn't like, but somehow, it made the story more interesting. I never knew what to expect from her. It seemed one minute, she was able to trust the Young Elites, the next moment, she was ready to reveal their identity and location. Her mind changed at the drop of a hat, and her decisions were not thought out well. She reacted on feelings and instinct alone, which portrayed her character as very rash. I wasn't a huge fan, Miss Lu! Enzo's character is also cold and calculating. The only bit of feelings that he expresses, he regrets. Although his princely position as leader of the Young Elites, as well as The crown prince puts him in a vulnerable situation, his character is strong and powerful. He controls his power over fire extremely well, and he knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to a fight. His character is sexy and dangerous, my favorite kind! And then there is Taren. He is a total jackass, seriously. His character is focused on power, power, and did I mention, power? It is the only thing that concerns him. That, and his ability to gain more of it, which is his reasoning for doing everything.

The world building is done very well. Descriptions are detailed to the point where I can picture the world in my head. The setting is sometime in the late 16th, early 17th century, as far as I can tell. A plague swept through the lands while Adelina was a child, leaving behind either dead children or malfettos in its wake. Malfettos are children that are marked by the fever, either by oddly colored hair, eyes, or even scars on their bodies. Some of these children have strange powers. Powers that can control wind, fire, animals, and even minds. These ones with power are called The Young Elites, and they often use their abilities to stand up to government control. If the Queen had her way, all malfettos would be executed in the town square. If the Young Elites had their way, the King and Queen would be executed in the town square. It is a violent world, full of unnecessary death and war. Yet I found myself ultimately hoping for the death of the monarchs, and a cleansing of this world of the power and control they have over the less fortunate.

I truly did enjoy this story of violence and struggle, and I am looking forward to the next in the series! The ending was awful, with a cliff-hanger that makes me want to scream at Miss Lu! I am pretty sure I know exactly what will happen with Enzo, but not being completely positive drives me crazy. I can't believe it was ended the way that it was, dammit! I am growing more and more fond of the entire dystopian genre, although it is rather predictable. I feel that the reason behind it is basically: our world right now seems to be falling apart. A dystopian-like situation in the next fifty years is not a far fetched idea anymore. Especially the ones stemmed from ultimate government control. Hey, I'm not a conspiracy theorist at all, but is the idea really that impossible? I feel that is why this genre was so unsettling for me to read at first. Just something to think about (:

"“Be true to yourself. But that's something everyone says and no one means. No one wants you to be yourself. They want you to be the version of yourself that they like.”" -Adelina

"What if I do become one of them? What more do I have to lose? I'm no safer on my own than if I remain with them. But if I want to survive, I need to stay and prove myself. And in order to do that, I not only need to learn how to control my energy- I also need to make some allies. Some friends. Setting out alone hasn't exactly worked well for me. I shiver when I remember the reaction I had to the nightstone, how whatever Raffaele did had forced a darkness from within me and brought it to the surface. What if that's who I am?" -Adelina

"The only way to clamp down on my energy is to erase my emotions, and so I fold them each away, one by one. My sorrow turns to anger, then to ice-cold fury. My soul curls in one itself in defense. I am gone. I am truly gone. I am not sorry.” -Adelina

"“Don't forget one weapon just because of another," he says. A flicker of approval flashes in his eyes. "Or you'll find yourself skewered in no time." "Then maybe you should know which weapons are real.”" -Adelina & Enzo

Related Reviews
| Legend | Prodigy | Champion |

Connect with Marie Lu
| Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys
By Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle #1
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
5 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |
| Official Site | Twitter | Tumblr |
Related Reviews: | The Dream Thieves | Blue Lily, Lily Blue |
Categories: Supernatural, Ghosts, Treasure Hunt, ESP


“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

This series has been on my TBR pile for quite a while now, and I can't be happier that I finally got around to reading it! I loved it, everything about it! I am always a huge fan of treasure hunts, and The Raven Boys is full of wonderful treasure hunting. The boys are searching for a long dead king by the name of Glendower that they believe is still alive. Hidden on a powerful ley line, they feel that he is still alive somewhere underground, waiting for one worthy to wake him from his eternal sleep. If the king is is found, the one that wakes him is able to ask a favor of him. All of the characters have a different favor to ask. I feel that as the books continue, the favor will begin to merge into one that they all agree on.

Blue has seen Gansey, the leader of this misfit group of treasure hunters, on the Corpse Road. Which means that he will be dead within a year's time. Gansey is the first spirit that Blue has ever seen. Her family is full of powerful psychic women, but Blue has never had many powers. The only thing she feels that she is able to do is increase other's powers around her. She is a battery, meant to recharge and amplify others psychic powers. But when she able to see Gansey's spirit on the Corpse Road, there are only two possibilities behind the vision. Either she is the one who kills him, or he is her true love. But Gansey is just another Aglionby boy, rich and privileged, spoiled and stuck up. Or is he? Not to mention the fact that for all of her life, every psychic that meets Blue has told her that she will kill her true love by kissing him. There is no possible way that she could ever fall in love with Gansey, this rich, broken boy on a quest. But sometimes, even knowing the outcome, there is nothing one can do to stop the inevitable.

I love the story line, the characters, the world, the supernatural aspect.. all of it! I connected with each and every one of the characters in this story. Blue is my favorite, and I see a lot of myself in her. Eccentric tendencies and all! The way that she dresses, the fact that she doesn't give a shit what other people think.. I instantly connected with her character. Gansey is another of my favorite characters.. yes, he is rich, privileged, maybe a little spoiled; but he is also a broken man. From his almost death, to his vision of the ley line and Glendower, he is on a never ending quest to find his King and free him from his sleep. Adam's character is a little less likable. He is not like the other boys, rich and spoiled. He is a scholarship student living in a trailer park. His self loathing and embarrassment of himself got a little old after a while. He constantly thought that he wasn't good enough to be around the Aglionby boys, and that he had nothing to offer them. I found myself hoping that Blue and him would not get together, regardless of how perfect for each other that they were. I wanted to throat punch him most of the time! Ronan's character is complex, and I can't really describe him all that well. He is angry and dark, and the reader eventually finds out exactly why he is this way. I found myself drawn to him and his sarcasm, regardless of the powerful anger that he expressed. He is also a tortured, broken man; trying to understand himself and his world that never seems to make sense. And Noah. Well, he is a bit more interesting than we first thought. I can't give any spoilers, but just know that his character is revealed in a really crazy way that leaves the reading thinking, 'what the hell?' I have to give the characters 5 out of 5 stars, because I fell in love with each of them in their own way.

The world building is wonderful. I absolutely adore the story of supernatural, psychic abilities in this misfit group of teenagers. The treasure hunting aspect added a whole new dimension that I instantly was drawn to. Cabeswater, an enchanted forest that the group discovers on the ley line, is magical and exciting. A place of great power and mystery. Their sleepy Virginia town is not so boring anymore! I cannot express enough how much I loved this book, just read it! I am officially recommending it to everyone, everywhere, read it! I am more than looking forward to reviewing The Dream Thieves for all of you, as I have already finished reading it! As soon as I get some time this weekend, look out for that review, as well as for Blue Lily, Lily Blue!

"“I guess I make things that need energy stronger. I'm like a walking battery." "You're the table everyone wants at Starbucks," Gansey mused as he began to walk again. Blue blinked. "What?" Over his shoulder, Gansey said, "Next to the wall plug.”" -Gansey & Blue

"“How do you feel about helicopters?" There was a long pause. "How do you mean? Ethically?" "As a mode of transportation." "Faster than camels, but less sustainable.”" -Blue & Adam

"“When she opened her eyes, she was both in her body and watching it, nowhere near the cavity of the tree. The Blue that was before her stood inches from a boy in an Aglionby sweater. There was a slight stoop to his posture, and his shoulders were spattered darkly with rain. It was his fingers that Blue felt on her face. He touched her cheek with the backs of his fingers. Tears coursed down the other Blue's face. Though some strange magic, Blue could feel them on her face as well. She could feel, too, sick, rising misery she'd felt in the churchyard, the grief that felt bigger than her. The other Blue's tears seemed endless. One drop slid after another, each following an identical path down her cheeks. The boy in the Aglionby sweater leaned his forehead against Blue's. She felt the pressure of his skin against hers, and suddenly she could smell mint. It'll be okay. Gansey told the other Blue. She could tell that he was afraid. It'll be okay. Impossibly, Blue realized that this other Blue was crying because she loved Gansey. And that the reason Gansey touched her like that, his fingers so careful with her, was because he knew that her kiss could kill him. She could feel how badly the other Blue wanted to kiss him, even as she dreaded it. Though she couldn't understand why, her real, present day memories in the tree cavity were clouded with other false memories of their lips nearly touching, a life this other Blue had already lived. Okay, I'm ready- Gansey's voice caught, just a little. Blue, kiss me.”" -Blue's vision

"“Fate," Blue replied, glowering at her mother, "is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast.”" -Blue & her mother

Related Reviews
| The Dream Thieves | Blue Lily, Lily Blue |

Connect with Maggie Stiefvater
| Official Site | Twitter | Tumblr |

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Into the Fae by Quinn Loftis - Gypsy Healers #1

*Before the review, I want to apologize for my lack of posts this week! Balancing work and school is getting a bit ridiculous. I have an insane Lit professor that assigned us three papers, one due each week for the next few weeks. We are expected to read Dante's The Divine Comedy, one part each week; write a 8-9 page paper and prepare a 5-7 minute speech on each installment. The first week, obviously is on Inferno, week two is Purgatorio, and finally Paradisio. Please be patient with me while I read these books and write these ridiculous papers! Muah!*

Into the Fae
By Quinn Loftis
The Gypsy Healers #1
Ebook: 295 pages
Publication Date: June 6, 2014
Publisher: Smashwords (Self-published)
4.5 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords |
| Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |
Related Reviews: Forever Fae; War of the Fae Series
Categories: Fantasy, Faeries, Werewolves


With peace finally descending on the Romanian Grey Wolves, longtime fae ambassador to the wolves, Perizada, has been given a new mission by the Great Luna. But Peri’s desire for revenge against her sister, Lorelle, burns in her heart. Further complicating matters, the great white wolf, Lucian Lupei, has been returned to the pack after centuries trapped in the Dark Forest, and it appears he is destined to be with Peri. Can she put aside her thoughts of vengeance long enough to accept Lucian’s love and complete her mission?

So, apparently this book is the beginning of a spin-off series. The first series is called The Grey Wolves and it includes six books. I didn't realize that before I read this one, but it can definitely be read as a stand-alone. I followed the story perfectly without having read the previous ones; although six new books just found their way onto my TBR shelf! Into the Fae was wonderful, I fell in love with each and every one of the characters. Perizada, a high Fae and member of the council is the protagonist. She is sarcastic, impatient, and says exactly what she is thinking; my favorite attributes in a female character! I connected with her almost instantly, and her smart mouth made me laugh several times throughout this book. She was chosen by the deity, The Great Luna, to be the go-between for the werewolves and the fae, as the fae are the most powerful of the supernatural beings. The fae are basically the police of the supernatural world. Over time, the werewolves vulnerabilities as a species, their tendencies toward violence began to weaken the packs. Thus, they were given a gift from this deity- Gypsy Healers. These are humans with an affinity for healing magic- one is given to each of the large packs in the world. They help to heal the wolves in their pack, as well as each healer is the true mate to one wolf. All wolves need to find their true mates; if they fail to do so, the darkness that is the wolf inside of the man takes over, causing insanity and madness.

Lucian is a wonderfully written male character! A sexy alpha Canis Lupis that is Peri's true mate. Although Peri does not want to accept that she is destined to be with this wolf, he never gives up on her. When the Dark Forest was sealed years ago because of dark magic, he was trapped there as well. For years, he wandered this forest alone, with no way out. Due to Lorelle, Peri's sister trying to kill her, the forest was unsealed and Lucian was freed. This is a wonderful story, filled with mysticism, magic, and sexy supernatural creatures! The world building is phenomenal, hands down! It begins in Romania, at the werewolf castle, and continues through the U.S. and finally into the Faerie world itself. I loved the way that Miss Loftis described the worlds that she took the story to; I could picture it in my mind and that is so imperative to a great book. The characters were well written, and I fully connected with all of them! The plot line is perfectly paced and it felt like each page was more exciting than the last. There were no crazy plot twists though, sadly. I love a good story that gives the reader a few 'wtf moments,' but I still loved everything about this one! If there were some weird, twisted craziness at the end, it would have been a 5 star rating for sure!

I can see Quinn Loftis becoming one of my new favorite authors. Her writing is perfect, from the way that she describes the characters to her fast paced plot lines and the humor that she injects into a suspenseful scene! I honestly cannot wait to read The Grey Wolves Series as well as the next book in this series, Wolf of Stone. This self-published author has a long, hopeful career writing and I hope that more people check out her work! Great story Miss Loftis!

"As my good friend Jen would say, let's do this. Okay, she would say him, but we're going to go with this in an effort to keep things rated PG." -Perizada

""Sally isn't going to like this." Peri cocked her hip out to the side as she crossed her arms in front of her. "Why? Do you have to sacrifice a puppy?" Rachel's furrowed brow deepened. "Well, no," she said quickly. "Castrate an elephant?" "No." "Hold Jen's baby on a cliff overlooking the animal kingdom and sing Circle of Life?" Rachel let out an exasperated breath. "Are you done?" Peri shrugged. "After the things I just said, I'm betting it doesn't seem so bad now." "We both have to give up one of our ovaries," Rachel blurted out. "I stand corrected. Sally is going to hate that and all my ideas were way better," Peri conceded. Suddenly, Rachel started laughing. "I was joking, Perizada; we don't have to give up any ovaries." -Perizada & Rachel

""Mother of Pearl, she's making up her own words to the tunes of pop songs," Sally groaned. "Is that a bad thing?" Anna asked. "Let's just say when Peri starts trying to be creative with today's popular culture, it's a 'she's gotta plan that's probably going to get us killed' thing." Stella scrunched up her face. "Good to know." "I'm pretty sure there is nothing good about that piece of information," Anna pointed out. "True. However, it might make things a little less tense if we go to our deaths with a catchy jingle stuck in our heads courtesy of our completely 'not' psycho fairy." -Sally, Anna, & Stella (The Gypsy Healers)

Related Reviews
| Forever Fae | War of the Fae Series |

Connect with Quinn Loftis
| Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood
By Kendare Blake
Anna #1
Hardcover: 316 pages
Publication Date: October 17, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
4.0 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |
     | Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |

Categories: YA, Paranormal, Ghosts


Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

Yet she spares Cas's life..

With all of the hype surrounding this book, I wasn't really expecting all that much. I've found that I don't enjoy most of these over-hyped books circling the YA genre these days, but Anna Dressed in Blood was a wonderful read! My blogger cohorts have been recommending this book left and right, and I finally got around to reading it! I've read so many reviews of this book, I felt like I already knew the characters before I read the first page; most of these reviews stated that the book was terrifying. I have to admit, I don't scare easily. In fact, I think the last time a book or movie scared me, I was 7 years old watching Freddy Krueger. But this book was pretty creepy, I must say. It didn't scare me, but at 2am alone in my house, I found myself looking behind me while walking to the kitchen in the dark.

The characters were well written, and I enjoyed reading the point of view from a male character which is rare in YA books. Cas was a little over the top with his brooding, but I suppose if put into his life, I would feel the same way. I liked the fact that he never really felt like part of the living world. Although I'm not sure how well I accept the fact that he falls in love with a creepy, blood covered, murdering ghost; but hey, who am I to judge? Anna's character is fairly insane. She has been endowed with a hefty curse that forces her to murder every person she comes in contact with, she is somehow able to spare Cas's life when he enters her home. Cas and Anna are both fascinated with each other, and their relationship develops throughout the story. The other characters are also well written and described. I found myself enjoying the mysticism, the witchcraft, and the crazy rituals that were performed. Although I find myself laughing when authors use the term, Wicca to describe some ancient mystical practice. Do your research folks! Wicca was founded less than 60 years ago, and has absolutely no roots in ancient paganism! That is one of my biggest pet peeves while reading; authors that do not fully research what they are writing about, dammit!

The world building in this book is well done; I fully enjoyed the descriptions of ghosts and what they can do. It was a completely new view on spirits and their abilities. I loved the fact that ghosts had the power to kill people, to rip their limbs from their bodies or tear them in two. Ok, so maybe I'm a bit morbid, but it was definitely a new, refreshing idea. Cas's ability to kill them was sexy as hell, regardless of his broody, grumpy personality. A 17 year old guy with an athame that travels the world slaughtering ghosts and saving the innocent; I'm in Miss Blake! All in all, I really found myself enjoying this read, with the exception of the poor research about witchcraft and mysticism. I would recommend this to all the paranormal junkies out there! It was refreshing and original!

"“But hey, at least we’ll have this strange story to tell, love and death and blood and daddy-issues. And holy crap, I’m a psychiatrist’s wet dream.”" -Cas

“I’ve seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth, the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light. The things that your eyes see plainly and can’t forget are worse than huddled black figures left to the imagination. Imagination has a poor memory; it slinks away and goes blurry. Eyes remember for much longer.” -Cas

"Over the course of my life I've been to lots of places. Shadowed places where things have gone wrong. Sinister places where things still are. I always hate the sunlit towns, full of newly built developments with double-car garages in shades of pale eggshell, surrounded by green lawns and dotted with laughing children. Those towns aren't any less haunted than the others. They're just better liars.” -Cas

"By the time I had gotten off the phone, I knew that I was going after Anna. My gut told me that she wasn't just a story. And besides, I wanted to see her, dressed in blood.”

Connect with Kendare Blake
| Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson

The Kiss of Deception
By Mary Pearson
The Remnant Chronicles #1
Ebook: 492 pages
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
3.8 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |
      | Official Site | Twitter | Blog |
Related Reviews: Snow Like Ashes
Categories: Magic, YA, New Release


A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.
She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.
She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.
She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

It took me a while to gather my thoughts after I finished this one, and I still haven't fully sorted everything out in my head yet. So, Lia is a princess, the First Daughter of a fantasy world/country/town type-place called Morrighan. (Which was honestly what made me want to read this book. A sweet little magical world named after me, yes please!) In this world, all of the eldest born daughters have the gift. The gift never fully is described, but from what I can piece together, it is basically a form of esp. They know without knowing, hear without hearing, understand without explanation. Lia's mother, the Queen, had visions of the future; but Lia's gift has never been all that strong, or has it?

I'm going to be honest here, this book confused the hell out of me. It is written in three separate points of view; Lia's, Kaden's and Rafe's. Lia has been promised to the Prince of a neighboring country, Dalbreck. For years, Dalbreck and Morrighan have had a tenuous relationship at best, but this marriage will seal their alliance formally. Until Lia runs off, on the day of her wedding. Her best friend, Pauline leaves with her, and they set off on a journey to Pauline's hometown of Terravin. Terravin is a sleepy, sea-side town full of locals who don't ask questions. A young princess and her best friend won't raise many red flags, especially working as maids at a tavern-hotel type place. Which is exactly what the girls do upon arrival. Pauline knows the owner of the tavern, Berdi from her childhood there, and the girls are immediately taken in and put to work. Everything is going exactly as Lia planned, until two young strangers appear at the inn. Lia is instantly attracted to both of them, these handsome, mysterious travelers. Little does she know that one is the Prince that she rejected, and one is an assassin sent to slit her throat. As the days go by, Lia finds her thoughts on these two men, especially Rafe. The author did an amazing job at confusing me with Rafe and Kaden; I was not expecting the twist in the plot line at all. I don't want to give away spoilers so I'll leave it at that!

The world building was done well, I'll give it a 4 out of 5. It seems that the story is set in the late 1600's; everyone travels by horseback, material possessions are mostly traded for, people actually work, psychically for what they have. It is a much simpler world than our modern insanity! I fell in love with it completely; the simplicity of a time when people didn't march like ants to work a 9-5 job. There was no rushing to get somewhere that is hated in the first place, no traffic; people were happier, and their lives had more meaning in my opinion!

The characters, as I mentioned are all very confusing to me. I did manage to connect with Lia after her escape from her own wedding. Her sheer determination and strength of mind was enough for me to feel for her. I did truly like her character all the way through; her strength was shocking- having been raised in a palace as a princess, I thought she would act as if the world owed her something. Her demeanor was the complete opposite, and I was pleasantly surprised. She didn't whine when things didn't go her way, and she was physically stronger than I could ever be in her situation. Both Rafe and Kaden's characters baffled me. I know that relationships in this time period were different than today, but they both were obviously in love with her, yet never let on like that was the case. I know that duty held them back, but come on. They traveled all that way, just to see her, yet basically ignored her most of the time. It confused me, and I hate being confused!

The plot line was at times, very slow and drawn out. The author spent a lot of time establishing Lia's everyday life; working at the bar and her day to day routine. I understand that she wanted to nail down Lia's life after her escape, but it did get boring at times. I found myself putting this book down, only to force myself to pick it back up again. Other than being confused and bored at times, I did enjoy this book, and I will definitely be looking forward to the second one! The Heart of Betrayal, book 2 in the Remnant Chronicles is set to release July 7, 2015 in the U.S.!

""But I don't have the gift of the First Daughter. I'm not a Siarrah. Dalbreck will soon discover I'm not the asset they suppose me to be. This wedding is a sham." "The gift may come in time," she answered weakly. I didn't argue this point. It was known that most First Daughters came into their gift of womanhood, and I had been a woman for four years now. I'd shown no signs of any gift. My mother clung to false hopes. I turned away, looking out the window again. "Even if it doesn't come," my mother continued, "the wedding is no sham. This union is about far more than just one asset. The honor and privilege of a First Daughter in a royal bloodline is a gift in itself. It carries history and tradition with it. That's all that matters."
-Lia & the Queen

"My only consolation as I looked up at the blinking stars was that the prince of Dalbreck was probably still awake too, furiously jostling home on a rutted road, his old bones aching with pain in a cold, uncomfortable carriage- with no young bride to warm him." -Lia thinking of the Prince she left behind

""You're still angry. It's only been a few days. Give it a few more." "I'm not angry. Amused maybe. Curious." Sven snatched the reins of my horse from me, causing him to skitter. "You're angry because she thought of it before you did." Sometimes I hated Sven. For a battle-scarred curd, he was too perceptive. I grabbed the reins back. "Only amused. And curious," I promised him. "You already said that." "So I did."" -The Prince & Sven

"Princess Arabella, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan, working in a tavern. And she seemed to be enjoying it. Immensely. Maybe that's what bothered me most of all. While I was on the road, wondering if she was the quarry of bandits or bears, she was playing barmaid. She was trouble, that was clear, and the day she fled our wedding, I had dodged a poisonous arrow. She did me a favor. I could almost laugh at father's suggestion of taking a mistress after the wedding. This girl could make the whole royal court and half the king's army regret such a decision." -The Prince after meeting Lia for the first time

"When the arrows were drawn and aimed, for a moment, I had prayed a soldier would shoot. It wasn't pain I feared, but no longer feeling it- no longer feeling anything." -Lia


Reviews related to The Kiss of Deception
Snow Like Ashes

Connect with Mary Pearson
| Official Site | Twitter | Blog |

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Favorites Weekly Meme - 11/7

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted by the beautiful Miss Natalie over at The Book Lover's Life. This is my first time posting this meme! My choice for this week's favorite is.. drum roll please!

The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. Yes, all seven of the main books are included! Maybe I'm cheating just a bit, but hey, I'm new at this! There is no way I can only pick one single book out of this incredible series to like more than the others. They are all phenomenal, hands down!

Atticus O'Sullivan is the very last Druid alive, over 2000 years old with a laundry list of enemies that just happen to be Gods or Goddesses. Regardless of their insane power, Atticus proves himself able to outwit these enemies at every turn! From the Tuatha de Danann to the Greek and Roman gods, even Jesus makes an appearance in these books. I love how all of the pantheons are well researched and represented, not just one. The reader gets to experience life on the run with Atticus, as he masters the art of pissing off random Gods on a daily basis. I found myself reading these books with a cheesy grin on my face most of the time, and I laughed out loud more times than I can remember. They were hilarious to say the least. Along with the drama, adventure, and fighting- Mr. Hearne is adept at throwing in sarcastic humor all throughout the series! I experienced every emotion possible along with Atticus, and I connected with his character immediately. He also has an Irish Wolfhound that is his companion at all times. His name is Oberon and the Druid taught the dog how to mind speak with him. The dog is ridiculously funny, and weirdly enough, I think he was my favorite character. A dog as a favorite character is really odd, but you folks will totally get it when you read them! The world building is pretty standard, as it is set in modern times. The story takes place in a number of different locations around the globe, but begins in the deserts of the southwest United States. After almost 2100 years, Atticus has settled down and started his own occult bookstore. He is able to draw power from the Earth itself, and wields a magickal sword. He looks just like your every day 20-something Irish guy with sexy Celtic tattoos covering his body. With the help of some powerful friends, Atticus is able to survive the wrath of every pantheon known to man. The only thing missing throughout this series is romance. For the first three and a half books, there is none. Zero! For it to still be one of my favorite series without the romance, that is saying a lot! I recommend this book to everyone, everywhere! Just read it. It is well researched, well written, adventurous and exciting, dramatic and heart stopping; not to mention funny as hell!

A few of my favorite quotes from the series

"“Wooo!’ he said, slamming his shot glass down and coughing a bit. ‘That’s good stuff.’ I agreed heartily. ‘Shall we do another one?’ I asked. ‘Oh no,’ Jesus said quietly, his eyes growing round. ‘This is one of those situations where I have to stop and ask myself, what would I do?”" ― Kevin Hearne, Hammered

"“I have been around long enough to discount most superstitions for what they are: I was around when many of them began to take root, after all. But one superstition to which I happen to subscribe is that bad juju comes in threes. The saying in my time was, "Storm clouds are thrice cursed," but I can't talk like that and expect people to believe I'm a twenty-one year-old American. I have to say things like, "Shit happens, man.”" ― Kevin Hearne, Hounded

"“My neighbor raised a shaking index finger to point at the saguaro. "That moving cactus...and the big bug...and you, you spooky bastard. What are you? I stuffed my hands in my pockets and grinned winningly at him. "Why, I'm the Antichrist, of course.”" ― Kevin Hearne, Hexed

"“Now go and stake some vamps. Especially the sparkly emo ones.”" ― Kevin Hearne, Hammered

Iron Druid Chronicles Reading List (Goodreads Link)
| Book 1: Hounded | Book 2: Hexed | Book 3: Hammered | Book 4: Tricked |
| Book 5: Trapped | Book 6: Hunted | Book 7: Shattered |

Related Reviews
Iron Druid Chronicles Review

Connect with Kevin Hearne
| Goodreads | Twitter | Official Site | Facebook | Google+ |

Purchase Links
| Amazon | Barnes & Noble | |

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

In the After Light by Alexandra Bracken - The Darkest Minds #3

In the After Light
By Alexandra Bracken
The Darkest Minds #3
Hardcover: 535 pages
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯
3 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |
    | Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |
Related Reviews: The Darkest Minds; Never Fade
Categories: Dystopian, YA, New Release


Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds.

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

I have one word to describe this book; meh. It was just meh for me, and I was more than a bit disappointed. I'm not sure why exactly I never reconnected to the characters. They just felt shallow and.. I suppose obnoxious is a good word to describe them. I found Ruby, especially, really irritating in this book. She internally over analyzed every freaking thing, and had the whole 'I hate myself' mentality going the entire way through the story, and it got old really fast. I have a hard time enjoying that kind of character, and Ruby was no exception. It seemed she wouldn't accept Liam's love, and then she would, and then she wouldn't; over and over again. She changed her mind at the drop of a hat, and her actions and thoughts were so inconsistent, I didn't know how she really felt from chapter to chapter. It was so frustrating at times. Liam's character was different as well; he had a more jaded personality, like an edge to him that wasn't portrayed before. Don't get me wrong, I did like his character. It just seemed like years had passed and they had all changed, instead of a few weeks since Never Fade. We also find out some crazy things about Cole that I was not expecting at all. All in all, I was pretty disappointed with the overall characters in this last book.

The plot line was about the same as the last two books; run from people trying to kill them, release kids from camps. It was just a continuation of Never Fade. It was full of action and dramatic scenes, and we get to meet a lot more Psi kids throughout. The world building has mostly become established in the first two books in the series, and not much changes from the apocalyptic scenes described in them. Children are still either dead, or locked up in the camps to control their abilities. The only ones that aren't have to run for their lives, stay hidden from adults, and scavenge for everything that they have on a consistent basis. President Gray is still running the country, forcing citizens to believe that their children are safe and being treated for their 'illnesses.' It is a really sad world, yet something that I could envision happening. It is not so far fetched that the impossibility of something like this happening is scarce. We finally find out where IAAN comes from and who is responsible for it. There is talk of a cure, but I don't want to give away any spoilers.

I was so disappointed with the ending to this series. I can't say enough how much I love puzzles, and unsolved ones drive me insane! It seems that we will have to live with this unsolved puzzle, because this was the last in the series. There are so many unanswered questions that I am baffled why Miss Bracken left off this way. What happened to the Reds? What will happen to the children? Ugh! If you have read it, you know exactly what questions I mean. The ending left a lot to be desired, and I hope that one day, Miss Bracken will answer the questions that I'm sure a lot of us are asking right now.

As for the romance, it was iffy at best. Liam and Ruby are constantly fighting, lying to each other, or feeling guilty about something they did. It's actually quite tiresome, and I was bored within the first hundred pages. Ruby couldn't make up her mind, and her moods and thoughts changed instantly. One minute, she was completely in love with Liam; the next, she would agree with Cole that Liam should leave the compound. I really just wanted to throw my Nook against the wall more than once. I can't stand a whiny ass protagonist, and Ruby filled that role completely. I don't remember the first two books being like this, and I wish I knew what changed that made me despise this book so much.

I hope I don't disappoint anyone, especially the fans of The Darkest Minds series, but this book was awful. The only reason that I finished it was my love of puzzles and my natural inane curiosity. I was hoping that the book titles together meant something- The Darkest Minds Never Fade in the After Light, but if it did, the meaning was never explained. All in all, I think I just expected so much more than Miss Bracken provided. I am disappointed, and just.. meh!

"It rained the day they brought us to Thurmond. And it rained the day I walked out.” -Ruby

"“Black is the color that is no color at all. Black is the color of a child's still, empty bedroom. The heaviest hour of night-the one that traps you in your bunk, suffocating in another nightmare. It is a uniform stretched over the broad shoulders of an angry young man. Black is the mud, the lidless eye watching your every breath, the low vibrations of the fence that stretches up to tear at the sky. It is a road. A forgotten night sky broken up by faded stars. It is the barrel of a new gun, leveled at your heart. The color of Chubs's hair, Liam's bruises, Zu's eyes. Black is a promise of tomorrow, bled dry from lies and hate. Betrayal. I see it in the face of a broken compass, feel it in the numbing grip of grief. I run, but it is my shadow. Chasing, devouring, polluting. It is the button that should never have been pushed, the door that shouldn't have opened, the dried blood that couldn't be washed away. It is the charred remains of buildings. The car hidden in the forest, waiting. It is the smoke. It is the fire. The spark. Black is the color of memory. It is our color. The only one they'll use to tell our story.”

"“Are you sure this isn't a nightmare?" he asked quietly. "And that we won't just wake up?" I stared ahead at the road, the way the dust blowing in from the desert covered it with a faint golden sheen even as gray clouds began to gather over us. "yes," i said after some time. Because dreamers always wake up and leave their monsters behind.” - Ruby & Liam

Related Reviews
The Darkest Minds; Never Fade

Connect with Alexandra Bracken
| Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole - Arcana Chronicles 2

       *Warning: contains spoilers for Poison Princess, the first book in the Arcana Chronicles.

Endless Knight
By Kresley Cole
Arcana Chronicles #2
Hardcover: 369 pages
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rated: ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
4 out of 5 Stars
| Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |
    | Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |
Related Reviews: Poison Princess - Arcana Chronicles #1
Categories: Dystopian, YA, 5 Stars


Shocking secrets
Evie has fully come into her powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She now knows that the teens who've been reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle. It's kill or be killed, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

Unexpected allies
With threats lurking around every corner, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance. Together they must fight not only other Arcana, but also Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals.

Gut-wrenching treachery
When Evie meets Death, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she's drawn to the dangerous Endless Knight as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a history, one that Evie can't remember--but Death can't forget...

Dammit all to hell. Miss Cole just had to throw a love triangle into this up 'til now, perfect series. Gah! I knew it was too good to be true. This series had to include something completely frustrating at some point. I was just hoping that it wouldn't be this. Sigh.

Endless Knight picks up right where Poison Princess ends. With Evie murdering Arthur- the Alchemist Card- while Selena, Finn, Matthew, and Jack look on. Jack sees Evie in all her 'red-witch glory.' But Arthur is only one enemy not standing in Evie's way of reaching her grandmother in North Carolina. Like most things in her life, the quest will not be easy. Along the way, it seems everything stands in her way; bagmen, cannibals, evil slavers, not to mention the many Arcana that are vying for her head.

No longer afraid of her powers, her understanding of the game increases exponentially. But there is a growing fear inside of her since her first kill; can she still be Evie when the blood lust is so alluring? Can she keep Jackson in her life, even though he acts like what she is repulses him?

Gone is the fumbling girl, in her place is an Evie that is strong, powerful, and intelligent. I began to admire her character more and more throughout this book. Forced to play a game that she never wanted any part in, she tries to make her own rules. Convince other Arcana to ally with her, take out Death, and stop the game for good. Too bad her previous lives as The Empress have not given her any credibility to her character. The dreams that she experienced before the Flash were of HER in her previous lives, an evil, blood thirsty witch with the ability to kill at will.

We learn so much more about the characters in this second book; Jack, oh Jack. I still am deeply in love with his character, and so much more is learned about him. He is still mysterious, full of danger and a pent-up rage that never seems to fully go away. Which only made me frustrated when Death came into the story. Dammit Miss Cole. How could you do this to us? We are faithful readers, and this is what we get in return? A messy love triangle, albeit sexy as hell, but still. Death's character is beyond frustrating, yet he has every excuse to be that way. We learn later on through the story what Evie and Death's back story is, and damn, it's a messy, emotional one. I don't know who I want to see Evie with. Both men tried to covet her for their own selfish reasons, and I am so upset with Jack and his part in Evie's misery. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but dammit, I want to rant about the turn this story took! Anyone who would like to read the spoilers, I'm going to hide them

So yes, after sifting through my feelings in my spoiler-filled rant, I am going with Jackson. Yes, he lied to her about certain things, but he never tried to hurt her- physically or emotionally. Death had no qualms about hurting her, terrorizing her, and threatening her. He showed no mercy or pain when she was hurting, so how much can he truly care for her?

All in all, this book did not live up to Poison Princess, and I was beyond disappointed with the whole love triangle situation. It was a great story, and I found myself unable to put it down though. The planet is in ruins, humans are thrown back to their basic natural instincts- kill or be killed, survival in its most basic form. Matthew is still a raving lunatic, only speaking in riddles when he even speaks at all. Selena has grown on me, as her attempts at seducing Jack are not so blatant anymore. Finn is so much fun! I really do love his character; he is charming, funny, and California surfer sexy! And Lark- the Strength Card- Mistress of Fauna; she controls animals. We meet her part-way through this book. I found myself loving her, and hating her, and then loving her again. I never truly did figure out which side of the fence that she was on until almost the very end, but I found myself liking her character regardless.

At this point, all of the cards have been revealed save for six. And there was mention of a card that would remain dormant until their first kill, it would then be activated as a member of the Arcana. I am hoping beyond all hope that it is Jack! I am almost positive that he is Arcana, and if so, him and Evie HAVE to end up together, dammit! Especially if his card ends up being The Emperor, one of the still hidden cards at this point!

To wrap up this ridiculously long review/rant, this book is an absolute must read, as is the entire series. Miss Cole is a masterful story teller, with a multitude of fresh, original ideas! I really did love this book, and if it wasn't for the love triangle, I would have given this one another 5 star review!

""What do you mean by game?" Finn asked. "Strip poker's a game. Quarters is a game. Games are fun." As though the words were dragged from her, Selena said, "Every few centuries, a contest begins, pitting twenty-two kids against each other in a life-or-death conflict. We're called Arcana, and we have special powers, the same in each game." Finn held up his hand. "Whoa, you said before that you didn't know why we had powers." "I lied," she said without an ounce of shame. "The last one standing gets to live until the next contest, as an immortal. Our histories were recorded- on Tarot cards." I glanced over at Jackson to see how he was taking all these revelations. His eyes were narrowed, the wheels turning. Yes, Cajun, we all hid secrets from you, me most of all. Yes, we're not totally, well, human. And oui, you're stuck in a cellar with the freaks. Selena continued, "Some families keep logs of the players and battles, detailed chronicles. My family did. Evie's as well. Her grandmother's a wise woman of the Tarot, a Tarasova. Yet for some reason, Evie says she's forgotten everything about the game." Selena pointed to my hand. "Now Evie's entered the game for real. She made a kill." -Finn, Selena, Evie, Jack & Matthew revealing the truth, finally.

""Matthew, you haven't told him I'm safe! Do it now!" "-Won't lie.-" Another worry to put on the heap of them. But for now, all I could think about was Jack. Voice gone raw, he asked Matthew, "Is that bastard... is he hurting her?" "Tell him I'm fine, just passing time until the storms end! Tell him I'll meet up with you in a couple of weeks. Please, please don't make him suffer like this." Jack looked like he would go insane if this went on for much longer. Which put an even more pressing clock on my mission to win over Death. "Matthew, please, I'm begging you to help Jack." "-He's tempted to beat your location out of me. But you asked him to keep me safe.-" "I thought you couldn't read Dee-vee-oh well." "-Doesn't take a Fool to foresee this! Jack Deveaux talks with his fists.-" "You sound almost admiring." "-Jack is... unexpected...-" Unexpected? That was something for a psychic to say. Even I didn't know what Jack would do if his back was against the wall. And it was. Which meant mine was too. "-Work on the Reaper, Empress.-" "The man hates me. I can rarely even get into the same vicinity." A couple of days ago, I'd hit my limit with everything- being a captive, missing Jack and Matthew, even Finn and Selena. And I'd been fed up with this place. It might have all kinds of luxuries, but no one laughed here, no one conversed or joked. It was like a giant tomb. Fitting." -Evie mind-speaking with Matthew

Dead of Winter - Book 3 in the Arcana Chronicles Release Date: January 6, 2015

Related Reviews
Poison Princess - Arcana Chronicles #1

Connect with Kresley Cole
| Official Site | Twitter | Facebook |