Thursday, February 28, 2013


by: C.J. Redwine

Defiance (Defiance, #1)

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

this book wasn't at all what I was expecting, but that's a really good thing. It was a lot darker than most YA books that I've read and I thought it showed a very genuine side to both grief and anger. It took me forever to finish this one, something was weird with the pacing of it that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but that was one of my very few complaints.

Brave and Kind of Scary Heroine: CHECK
Rachel Elizabeth Dare* Adams. She's both admirable and pretty dang kick-butt, but she's also a bit scary in places. I loved how both her and Logan had such obvious character flaws that got them into actual problems. Rachel was moody, stubborn and often wouldn't think things through before resorting to violence. She was also very impulsive. But what could never be said of her is that she is selfish or cowardly. The way her grief was written was so touching and so thorough. It wasn't the typical, "I am sad. I am crying. Now I am going on with my life." It was real and visceral. Redwine so perfectly showcased the shift she felt from grief and shock to full-fledged fury and a need for revenge that swallowed everything else. I loved this quote, it shows how truly the grief was captured in the writing,

"A yawning darkness within me opens wide, whispering promises to take the pain. Swallow the loss. Make it possible to draw breath without choking on the shattered pieces no one will ever fix."

 I could feel her need for revenge and often found myself shuddering when she was saying that she would stop at nothing to destroy the Commander. And for once the girl didn't feel inadequate and like the boy deserved better than her for no reason, Rachel felt like the blood on her hands and the fury inside her could never be loved. She might have been right about other people, but Logan would never leave her when she needs him most.

*Percy Jackson reference? anyone? anyone? Okay, never mind...
Intelligent and Brave Hero: CHECK
Again, Logan had obvious flaws that both got him into trouble and moved the plot along. He lost his temper and was insanely jealous over Rachel. The difference between him and Rachel is that he never let his anger get the best of him (except for that one time that it got him locked up...). He would think himself out of it so he could keep his level head. I think it was partly because he was already so used to losing everything that he didn't lose his mind as much as Rachel did when confronted with Oliver and Jared's fates. It just made him feel the need to destroy the Commander that much deeper ingrained in him. Also, can I just say that it is so typically boy that it took Logan being imprisoned and nearly losing Rachel forever for him to realize that he was in love with her. for realz.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Melkin: I never decided if I liked him or not, but I did feel very sorry for him. He was just trying to protect his wife and unborn child. And while I can't blame Rachel for what happened, because she really thought she was acting in self-defense, I also hate that it happened. Yet still Rachel hasn't learned the lesson not to act impulsively. I think I feel some major character development coming on.
Nola: Gosh, I can't wait to see more of Nola. She's pretty kick-butt. I mean, she starts ordering people around like it's nothing, because somebody has got to do it.
Willow: Talk about sass! Goodness, I loved it every time this girl opened her mouth and sass just came pouring out. I want to see more Willow.
Quinn: I REALLY love him. I knew that there had to be something deeper than that seemingly impenetrable calm to him. Then we learned what it was, it just made it more sweet that he sat by Rachel when she was grieving and when she was horrified at herself. Because he had lived through that guilt just as she had to.
Oliver: Why did he have to be taken away... he had such awesome/awkward moments and was just sweet and good at giving advice. *cries*
Jared: One thing I didn't like was that I never got to care about Jared. I mean, I was sad when you learn what happened and everything, but I only felt bad for what it meant for Rachel and Logan, not for what it meant for him.

Excellent Plot and Great Setting: CHECK
This book didn't just address the typical Dystopian problems, like a corrupt government and an overall messed up world. For me the biggest theme in this book was the delicate balance between saving loved ones and all those under the Commander's rule an yet not losing oneself in the process. Both Logan and Rachel wanted revenge, but you have to look at what it cost. Their quest for revenge cost them Oliver and Melkin and the entire city of Baalboden. Yet they still want it. It's choosing between staying under a ruler who abuses his power and kills innocent people just because he can or rebelling against his control and in the process losing possibly just as many innocent people. It's a difficult moral dilemma and not one that can be taken lightly nor is it taken lightly by Rachel or Logan. But if they were to turn back then everyone already lost would have died for nothing.

Plot Twists and Action: CHECK
There are a lot of little plot twists in this book, like a small plan gets thwarted or they get thrown a little off course. Then there were the big plot twists, like the entirety of Baalboden getting burned to the ground and many of the deaths. And there were plenty of action scenes, from fighting a whole battalion from Rowansmark or fighting the Cursed One. My biggest problem with this book was the pacing of it. It wasn't that there were long stretches where nothing was happening, because that wasn't the case. I could not figure out exactly what it was, but something was off. It took me a really long time (around 6 days) to read this book, but not because I wasn't interested in it or loving it. (But that was a VERY minor problem and could just as easily have been my fault and not the book's). I did love how not all the twists were earth-shattering, mind-blowing revelations. Sometimes subtle changes in plot do wonders for the reading experience.

Overall this was a great read that I absolutely loved. I am SO looking forward to reading the rest of this series.

Dear August 27th,
an impatient reader.


"It's probably my job to tell you life isn't fair, but I figure you already know that...So instead, I'll tell you that hope is precious, and you're right not to give it up."

"The memory burns within me, a bed of live coals I swear I'll stop walking across."

"Diplomacy is a lot easier to accomplish if you've got your foe on his knees hoping you don't lop off his head."

"Losing your head in a crisis is a good way to become the crisis."

"She lingers over the word tomorrow as if her dreams are pinned to it. Maybe they are."

"I never thought it was fair that anatomy decided what my brain was fit for."

"Nothing is going to stop me, either," she says, and I hear the warrior she's becoming coat her grief with purpose."

"Let him look into my eyes and discover the girl he thought he understood is gone and in her place stands a weapon of his own creation."

"Silent acquiescence in the face of tyranny is no better than outright agreement."

"Once I would've taken those words as a romantic, sugar-coated fairy tale and built a castle of dreams on them. Now, they're a hard-won promise forged in fire and loss by a man who means every word he says. I want to brand them into my skin as proof that I still have something left to fight for."

"He's offering me the one thing of beauty I can still claim as my own. I have to cling to it if I ever want to find my way back to the girl I used to be. And it isn't fair of me to deny him the truth just because I worry it means less coming from someone as broken as me."

"They're broken, but they aren't beaten. They want to live. Not just breathe in and out, watching one day fade into the next. They want to live."

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ella Enchanted.

Ella Enchanted
by: Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted

At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella's life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way.

If you've read my review of Fairest on this blog, you'll know that I am in love with that book. The way I found that book was through Ella Enchanted, which was my favorite book in maybe third grade. The way I found this book was through the Movie verson of it (you know, the one with Anne Hathaway). It was my absolute favorite movie for a long time and I must have watched it at least a thousand times. I then realized that it was a book and read it...and then I kind of started despising the movie because they got it ALL WRONG (my very first experience with the very important life lesson, the book is ALWAYS better). This long anecdote was just to say that I have a pretty long history with this book, and it would be a shame if my blog didn't include a review of it. So let's begin.

Intelligent and Sarcastic Heroine: CHECK
I always loved Ella. She's really funny even when her life is horrible. She finds a way to be playful and adventurous and entirely herself, despite losing her mom and having terrible step-sisters and almost losing the love of her life. I mean, she doesn't make smart decisions (like when she goes to the ball to see Char, even though its risky), but that's part of the charm of this book. Despite being a die-hard Aza fan, I might have to say that Ella is my favorite of the two. She's sassier and more sarcastic, which is just awesome to read. I also loved that she was so stubborn because of her curse, rather than being docile because of it. It added wonderful depth to her and made her seem more genuine.

Funny and Brave Hero: CHECK
and before Ijori, there was Char (which I have never officially decided how to say, sometimes I say it like 'Shar' and sometimes and say it like the beginning of 'Charles'. Which, I'll admit is a bit confusing, even to me). Either way he's a really awesome CHARacter...(see what I did there? ;) ). I will say that if I were to choose between Char and Ijori, I would pick Ijori. But Char also has his merits. He physically saves Ella from dangers, such as trolls, quite a few times. He's funny and appreciates that Ella is witty (which is adorable). I'm not afraid to say that my third-grade-self was a little in love with him, if that tells you anything. Yet he's not without faults and he shares them openly with Ella. That part has always stuck with me, because I think that if you are going to be in love with someone you have to be willing to open up about your faults. That way that person can make you aware every time you are about to make the same mistakes again and, therefore, can help you become a better version of yourself. I love that he understood that.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Mandy: A spin on the traditional Cinderella fairygod mother, because this one can't do anything to help! Well, except give good advice and NOT use magic to trick a crazy fairy. Of course, I'm kidding. I love Mandy, it just always frustrated me as a child that she refused to use magic, which I guess is the point of the story. Anyway, she did give really great advice and tried to help Ella as much as possible (and be as sassy as possible while doing it). She found a way to get Ella to the ball, which is the reason this story has a happy ending. And she was there for Ella when she needed someone after losing her mom.
Lucinda: crazy CrAzY cRaZy CRAZY lady. But I will say that I felt bad for her after her squirrel/orphan experiment.
Hattie and Olive: No sympathy. no sympathy for them (welllll, maybe a little for Olive..). But Hattie is manipulative and hateful. She's jealous of Ella and uses Ella's curse for her own benefit (and never apologizes). 
Areida: I first loved her in this book then I read Fairest and loved her even more. She is just sweet and kind and friendly. 

Original Plot and Unique Setting: CHECK
Yes. YES. yep. mmhmmm. A brilliant retelling of Cinderella. The great thing is that it takes the basics of the original story, the evil stepmother and stepsisters, the fateful ball, and glass slippers. But Gail Carson Levine added in a manipulative and negligent dad, a curse that makes everything ten times more difficult and more interesting, and new layer to the original ball. Cinderella was always one of my least favorite stories, but with great writing and a lot of skill Gail Carson Levine managed to turn into one of my favorites and into a story of depth.

Excellent Plot: CHECK
The speed  and pacing of this book is practically perfect. Things are always happening, but there is also enough time for interesting introspection about what is going on in Ella's life. And I love that the book is always leading to a very conclusive and satisfying end.


“It is helpful to know the proper way to behave, so one can decide whether or not to be proper.”
"Everyone must know I shan't marry the prince."

"I suppose I'm confessing another fault: pride. I don't want him to know that I love if my affections are not returned"

"Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally."

"Our free hands met. His felt warm and comforting and unsettling and bewildering--all at once.”

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shards and Ashes.

Shards and Ashes
By: Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Veronica Roth, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Rachel Caine, Nancy Holder, Beth Revis, Carrie Ryan

Shards and Ashes

This review is going to be different because this is a dystopian anthology containing nine different stories in nine different future worlds. As I go through this, I am going to add a short paragraph review of each story with my thoughts on it.

by: Veronica Roth
This was a great way to start off this book. In this story Veronica Roth created a hauntingly beautiful world. This story was just under forty pages long, yet it had characters I became invested with and a plot that kept me interested. I don't know much about String Theory, but to my ignorant brain the science-y part seemed to make at least a bit of sense. The premise was so interesting that I truly would love a full book dedicated to this world. And the way she described the songs made me want to hear them desperately. It also brings up an interesting question: would I choose life songs or death songs? I really don't know which I would choose, both seem beautiful and appealing. I just really appreciated this story and am once again awed by Veronica Roth's talent for writing.

rating: 5 stars


"Obligation was dangerous because it muddled the mind."

"...because the song required her to play, to find its strongest moments and bring them to the surface so that someone else could hear them."

"Everyone was both dying and living at the same time..."

by: Kelley Armstrong
I wasn't sure how I would feel about this one considering I'm not a big fan of paranormal-ish things and because I have never read a werewolf book that was actually good. But, Branded was kind of AWESOME. I loved that it didn't play around with characters being too compassionate (by that I mean that the people, even and especially the main characters, were harsh and had every reason to be). Rayne knew that some things, while unpleasant and not ideal, had to be done to keep her and Braeden alive. I also really appreciated the air of mystery that this story had. You never really saw the full motives of Rayne until the last page. Now I want to know more about their life with the branded and I'm sad that it ended where it did (despite it being super epic).

rating: 5 stars


"There were other ways to survive, if you were willing to take chances, including the chance that you wouldn't survive."

"...but to pour my heart out in such melodrama felt like a mockery of the truth."

"But, to me, love isn't mooning and moaning--it's taking action to protect the one you love. Deed, not word."

"No life is easy," I said. "It's just a different kind of hard."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone
By: Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Oh wow. If you haven't already, go and pick up this book. It is easily one of the best books I have ever read. It was so well-written and the worldbuilding was phenomenal. This is what YA fantasy should be. As a warning, I don't believe that anything I say in this review will do this book justice, but I'm going to say stuff anyway.

Smart and Brave Heroine: CHECK
Alina is kind of awesome, but also kind of not (which makes her more awesome)...if you could follow that. She went through some pretty awful things, but she never complained. She didn't always know how to deal with the things that happened and she often made huge mistakes, but that didn't make you hate her. She was brave because she had to be brave. One of my favorite parts of this book was how well Alina was written. She was a worrier, she knew that. So it didn't feel stupid for her to worry about things that would probably never happen, it just seemed like a part of her character. She was weak and clumsy for the first half of the book, but not for no reason (I mean that she wasn't written that way to make her more endearing or whatever). Another great thing about this book is that whenever Alina realized that she was alone in the world, so did the reader. I outwardly shuddered when I realized that, because I was so much inside the story that it felt real. I was actually worried for what would become of Alina and Mal and all of Ravka. And sure, Alina trusted the wrong people and wasn't necessarily strong, but she was brave enough to try to do the right thing.

Intelligent and Interesting Hero: CHECK
oh Mal. Mal is kind of stupid for the first part of the book. Or maybe he's just always been oblivious to Alina's feelings. Either way, he makes Alina's life hard by slowly drifting away from her friendship. And I didn't like Mal for the first part, but I could see myself growing to like him. Then when we saw him again I didn't just like him, I loved him. He and Alina were so easy together, they played off each others strengths decently well. He was a genuine character because he wasn't perfect and forgiving. He got angry. He got angry at himself and he got angry at Alina, but in the end he didn't let it ruin everything. In all honesty, he probably wasn't in more than a hundred pages of this book, but he made an impact on the story (and that's how you know that the character was well-written).

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
The Darkling: I cannot even explain how complex this character was. Having reached the end of this book, even I can't tell what was real and what was fake in his actions. He's motivated by nothing but power, but for a good portion of the book he seems genuinely good. I don't believe for a second that he died in the Fold, so I'm interested to see more of him in the next book. I'm not sure, but I have a feeling that his name is going to play an important role. It was so perfect that he controlled darkness and Alina controlled light. The fact that they controlled opposites made their fight scenes so cool to read and their personalities so interesting to analyze against one another.
Genya: I don't even know what I think about Genya. I can't tell if I still like her or if I think she's a coward. Her friendship with Alina was so good and believable. They contrasted in interesting ways. I thought I had begun to understand her when this quote came along,

"How was it that Genya had fallen so hard for someone so serious and so quiet and so seemingly oblivious to her gorgeousness? Or was that exactly why she had fallen for David?"

She was tired of being ogled simply for her beauty, so she fell for the one person who didn't seem to notice. But I think if David gave her the attention he gives her work, she would cease to be interested in him.
Baghra: I loved her from the start. She was funny and sassy and mean, but she was well-meaning and in the end she was the only reason that Alina got away from Os Alta. I hope she's still around and that she escaped so she can help Alina fight the Darkling. That would present an interesting conflict between her desire to stop the Darkling and her desire to protect her son.
Marie, Nadia, Sergei, and Zoya: Meeting the other Grisha and getting a look at the gossip and petty drama of it all added depth to the story. I didn't like any of them, but they made Alina's time at the Little Palace more interesting and infuriating.
The Apparat: I still don't know what to make of the Apparat. I think I trust him, and I'm wondering why he disappeared in the "After" section. I think that has some significance, but I don't know what.
Fedyor: Don't ask me why, but I really like Fedyor. I want to see more of him.
Alexei: okay...fine... just let me meet a character that I like. and then just take him away almost immediately...sure... don't worry about my sanity or anything...

Excellent Plot: CHECK
The plot of this book was quite unlike any other plot I've read. There was no indication of where it was headed or when it would get there, yet it had direction. You could feel it building up to something. A lot of time passed, but it never felt boring. Part of the intrigue of the plot was in the slow reveal of the world-building. There was not a single instance of info-dumping on the reader. What you found out, you found out slowly and for yourself. There was no time when the book stopped to say, "okay, this is what Grisha means. These are all the kinds of Grisha powers. This is exactly what they can and cannot do." You slowly put definitions to all the words that were thrown at you. But, at the same time, it never got confusing. There were no sentences that made no sense, because you could tell what purpose they had even if you didn't understand all the terms yet. That takes skill as a writer.

Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
There were some plot twists that I didn't see coming at all. Then there were some times when I felt the importance of something, but just didn't know what the importance was yet. All of these things kept me turning the pages so I could learn more and more about Ravka. There was a lot of figuring out who you could trust and who you couldn't in this book. I still don't know who to trust.

Like I said at the beginning, I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is brilliant and beautifully written and practically perfect. I've always appreciated fantasy and this book explains perfectly why that is. If you're hesitating even a little about reading this book, then I haven't done this book justice. So, I'll just say again, GO READ THIS. NOW.


"I guess it's easy to have a lot in common when you're kids."
"The horse has speed. The bear has strength. The bird has wings. No creature has all of these gifts, and so the world is held in balance.
"And there's nothing wrong with being a lizard either. Unless you were born to be a hawk."
"The thought filled me with grief, grief for the dreams we'd shared, for the love I'd felt, for the hopeful girl I would never be again."
"I try to make a habit of getting things hopelessly wrong."
"I wanted to run after him, to take back what I'd said, to beg him to stay, but I'd spent my life running after Mal. Instead, I stood in silence and let him go."
"You think I don't love my son," she said. "But I do. It is because I love him that I will not let him put himself beyond redemption."
"I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I'd catch myself walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I'd seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I'd realize that you weren't there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I've risked my life for you. I've walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I'd do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don't tell me we don't belong together."
"I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him."
"They were wrong. I wasn't nervous or frightened. I wan't anything anymore."
"The stag had been showing me my strength--not just the price of mercy but the power it bestowed."

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shatter Me

Shatter Me
By: Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I loved the premise of this one, and the writing was gorgeous.

Smart and Brave Heroine: CHECK
The thing I found most incredible about Juliette was that her curse gift made her value human life  more, rather than taking it for granted and yet it was believable. She wasn't bitter, not to say she wasn't angry, but she didn't let that make her cruel. However, she was very easily rattled (that probably came from 264 days in the dark lonely asylum and it would be impossible ridiculous to believe that she'd come out of that with all of her sanity intact). And the writing sounded more like poetry than prose in some places, which lent itself to the interesting way Juliette's thoughts traveled along after all of the traumatic events of her life. The tiniest things that Tahereh did with the styling of it made all the difference, like writing certain lists without commas or having some run-on sentences connected only by 'and's. It sounded like the sometimes incoherent workings of an actual brain.

Intelligent and Brave Hero: CHECK
I loved that Adam unlike so many YA boys had an actual and genuine reason for loving Juliette. He saw real good in her. He saw that she did so much for everyone around her and yet was paid back with nothing but hate and abuse. He saw her as someone worth loving despite everyone telling him that she was a monster. It wasn't insta-love because they had a real history despite them never having talked before they had always loved each other because of the goodness they saw.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Warner: Well, Warner earns an A+ in the creepy and disgusting villain department. He might be the creepiest villain I have ever read. He was basically a stalker with the power of an army behind him. I'm really interested to meet his dad (whom we've heard very little about, but enough to pique my interest). His obsession with having and using power is thoroughly disturbing.
Kenji: So, I hated Kenji until they got to Omega Point, then he stopped being annoying and just made me laugh. I'm excited to get to read more about him and his awesome super power.
Winston: Don't ask me why because I don't know why, but I don't actually trust or like Winston. Although he's basically the Elastigirl (sp?) of this dystopian world.
Castle: Gahhh. I really love Castle. He seems like a great leader and like he actually has a plan to change things and make the world better. He is accepting because he is different too. I really want to learn what his super power is!
James: Adorable little brother is adorable.

Excellent Plot: NOPE
I appreciated the short chapters, they fit the pacing of the story and kept things moving. My problem, however, was how many times the storyline was interrupted for Juliette and Adam to have make-out moments. I understand that it's miraculous that she can touch him without killing him and whatever, but really? About every other page the story was interrupted for them to kiss. But other than that the plot was quick and flowed easily.

Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
I thought the beginnings and the endings of every chapter were particularly well written. Most chapters ended with either a small cliff-hanger or a new piece of information that made you want to keep reading and the short chapters made it so that you didn't feel guilty saying, "just one more chapter". Also with this book I couldn't quite tell where it was heading until the end when things started coming together.


"I press my palm to the small pane of glass and feel the cold clasp my hand in a familiar embrace. We are both alone, both existing as the absence of something else."

"...but it's nearly impossible to beat gravity when no is willing to give you a hand."

"Pinks and reds filter into the room and I know it's the start of a new beginning. The start of the same end. Another day."

"I never wanted to hurt the only person who never wanted to hurt me."

" lips remain shut because there will never be words for this moment."

"To study people and places and possibilities. All I had to do was open my eyes. All I had to do was open a book -- to see the stories bleeding from page to page. To see the memories etched onto paper. I spent my life folded between the pages of books."

"In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction."

"I always wondered what it'd be like to see the world through such a beautiful lens. I wondered if your eye color meant you saw the world differently. If the world saw you differently as a result."

"Everyone says I talk a lot." He shrugged. "But what am I supposed to do when I have so much to say."

"...and I'm so desperate to say something that I say nothing..."

"We are fed lies because believing them makes us weak, vulnerable, malleable."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mark of Athena.

The Mark of Athena
By: Rick Riordan
The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus, #3)

This was both completely AMAZING and competely HEARTBREAKING. I honestly don't know what I am going to do with myself until this October when Hous of Hades comes out. I was actually crying for the last 30 pages, because I had heard what was going to happen and I didn't want it to happen.

Brave and Smart Heroes: CHECK
Percy: I didn't realize how much older he was in this series until this book. In the first series he just did heroic stuff because he had to or because it would save his friends. But now he is realizing just what it might cost him, what it already cost him. For the first time we see him just wanting a life with Annabeth without monsters or ancient evil villains. His character is developing into more of an adult. He's still his goofy and hilarious self, but he's also braver and more serious. I think a big part of him growing up was also his becoming more introspective. He thought deeply and thoroughly about his past and his future. 
Jason: I still really like him. He's actually a lot like Percy, except less of a troublemaker and not as funny. He is determined to not be like the other sons of Jupiter and Zeus (like Hercules). I'm a big fan of his relationship with Piper. She balances him in the exact ways he needs it. He does the same for her. And I love how Rick Riordan wrote the "love triangle" between Piper, Jason, and Reyna. It wasn't even a love triangle really, Jason made his choice from the beginning. He felt bad about it, but he never went back on it. I also really loved Jason and Percy's partly jealous and even partly grudging bromance with each other. It was awesome to see them fight the giants together. Of course as soon as they figure out how to work together one of them falls into the depths of tartarus.
Leo: I didn't realize how much I missed reading Leo's perspective on everything. He's just as hilarious as ever. I ultimately liked Riordan's choice to write about the Sammy/Leo confusion from Leo's point of view. And one of my favorite scenes was when Leo and Hazel got the bronze away from Narcissus (team leo).
Frank: Gosh, I love him just as much from everyone else's perspective. The great thing about these books is that even when you're reading from someone's perspective who doesn't quite understand another character's behavior, the reader always knows and understands.  Even with the littlest things like him flinching everytime there's fire around. I am also very much in favor of Frank and Leo's friendship.

Intelligent and Wise Heroines: CHECK
Annabeth: I FREAKING love reading from her point of view. As much as I loved reading her from Percy's perspective in the first series and then from Jason, Piper, and Leo's in The Lost Hero, her perspective is even more amazing. Then her solo quest was easily the coolest thing she's ever done. I have never seen her be more clever or braver. We realized just how introspective and thoughtful she is. Also, we got to see exactly how much she likes Percy (and oh boy, does she love Percy). And honestly, their reunion was one of the most adorable things I've ever read.

"I only attack my boyfriend like that," she promised."

Can I just be her? please?
Piper: I liked her in The Lost Hero, but I absolutely loved her in this book. She always tried to do the right thing. And yes, maybe she's a bit self-conscious, but she's just a really realistic character. I loved her interactions with Hercules and how she refused to give him what he didn't deserve, even when it would have been easier.
Hazel: I just love her too. I had to keep reminding myself that she's technically thirteen, because she acts so mature (I guess that's what being dead for seventy years does to you though). I'm sorry, but I am not okay with the idea of Leo and Hazel getting together. Frank loves her so much, although the Sammy thing makes it more difficult for her.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Nemesis: It was really cool to meet her after the Ethan thing in the first series. I'm interested to see if she'll become a part of the next two books, as well.
Echo: Her story was one of the myths that I've actually read and I loved seeing her. I know we probably won't, but I'd love to see her in another book. but, I know she's determined to save Narcissus, no matter how stupid and self-centered he is.
Ichthyocentaurs: Aphros. Can we see more of them! They are almost as awesome as the Party Ponies. IDEA: it'd be really funny/cool to see the ichthyocentaurs and the party ponies fighting together.
Hercules: I've not actually read any of his stories, but now I don't really want to. He's portrayed as such a jerk and pretty vindictive.
Achelous: This might be because it was from Piper's perspective, but I felt bad for him. He had deluded himself to thinking he could have saved Deianira and by extension, he tried to save Piper.
Coach Hedge: As annoying as he is, he's also pretty awesome (despite his trying to kill any person, place, or thing that he crossed paths with.) I started to appreciate him more and more in this book, but I didn't fully appreciate him until this line,

"Coach Hedge was too miserable to help. He kept pacing the deck with tears in his eyes, pulling at his goatee and slapping the side of his head, muttering, "I should have saved them! I should have blown up more stuff!"

Maybe this got to me because I was already an emotional wreck. But this made me sob even harder.

Excellent Plot: CHECK
The plots of these books just keep getting more and more intricate. Now with all seven of the called demigods together the books are getting funnier as well as darker. This book was basically impossible to put down because of all the intricate detailing and the hilarious and admirable characters. I wish this book had been a lot longer (not just so that I would never have to reach the horrible cliff-hanger..) because it was just that amazing. With each book I read of his, Rick Riordan proves again and again that he is an incredibly talented writer. The research and outlining that these books must have taken, I can't even imagine. I adored all the mentions and references he put in from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and of their original adventures together. It made Percy and Annabeth seem more real and genuine, because they had memories, both good and bad, from those times.

This isn't necessarily about the plot, but the detailing in this book was phenomenal. The way Riordan described Rome was beautiful and alluring. It made me want to go to Rome and see all of its modern and ancient aspects tied together by time. When he wrote about how much older it is and feels from America (which, by comparison, is a very new country), I wanted to go see what it felt like to be surrounded by so much history, thousands and thousands of years of history.

This also isn't about the plot, but I love how Rick Riordan pokes fun at certain things in his books, like in this book when he poked fun at the "Real books" vs. ereaders debate in ancient terms.

Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
Even beyond the plot and the action scenes this book was un-put-down-able (that's a word...right? ;) ) because of the fantastic characters. I cannot get over how much I loved the dynamic of all seven of them together. Seeing all of their individual relationships with each other as well as the overall family feeling among the group. This book was brilliantly written and horribly heart-wrenching. I don't think I'll ever get over that ending.

It'll be awful waiting until October for House of Hades and then until the next October for the final book, but I'm glad in a strange way. Because that means that this spectacular series will be stretched out for a couple more years.


"Percy still didn't look happy about it, but he took Annabeth's hand. "As long as you're my buddy, I'm good."

"True success requires sacrifice."

"You know why his bow has cobwebs?" Leo continued. "He uses it to hunt for dates, but he can't find one!"

"Boys," Annabeth interrupted, "I'm sure you both would've been wonderful at killing each other. But right now, you need some rest."

"But he had a gut feeling that there was nothing he could do to help Annabeth this time, other than simply be there."

"-maybe because being in a place so permanent made her feel more permanent."

"Many of the best traps are simple," Annabeth said. "You just have to think about it, and hope your victim doesn't."

"But she wondered why beautiful things had to be wrapped up with evil history. Or was it the other way around? Maybe the evil history made it necessary to build beautiful things, to mask the darker aspects."

"Percy stood on the dock, holding Annabeth's dagger. "You dropped this," he said, totally poker-faced. Annabeth threw her arms around him. "I love you!"

"No doubt Frank would've cursed some more-busting out the golly gees and the gosh darns-but Percy interrupted by doubling over and groaning."

"Yeah," Percy said. "I learned a long time ago: Never bet against Annabeth."

"A hero couldn't control the gods, but he should be able to control himself."

"He wasn't sure if he was mad at Annabeth, or his dream, or the entire Greek/Roman world that had endured and shaped human history for five thousand years with one goal in mind: to make Percy Jackson's life suck as much as possible."

"But Percy didn't feel powerful. The more heroic stuff he did, the more he realized how limited he was. He felt like a fraud. I'm not as great as you think I am, he wanted to warn his friends. His failures, like tonight, seemed to prove it."

"Maybe that's why he had stared to fear suffocation. It wasn't so much drowning in the earth or the sea, but the feeling that he was sinking into too many expectations, literally getting in over his head."

"When he and Annabeth started dating, his mother had drummed it into his head: It's good manners to walk your date to the door. If that was true, it had to be good manners to walk her to the start of her epic solo death quest."

"We're staying together," he promised. "You're not getting away from me. Never again."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Son of Neptune.

The Son of Neptune
By: Rick Riordan
The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2)
Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn't know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn't do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem — when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her "gift" for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn't say no. Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn't see it. He doesn't even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery — although not good enough to win camp war games.

Percy is back and everything is good... (well, as good as it can get for a demigod.)

Brave and Funny Heroes: CHECK
Percy: I AM JUST SO HAPPY TO HAVE HIM BACK. So very happy. I missed him so much in The Lost Hero. I didn't know how I was going to react to Percy in third person instead of first, but I really enjoyed it. He was just as funny and just as awesome, because Rick Riordan finds a way to make third person feel a lot like first person. I also really liked reading about Percy from Hazel and Frank's perspectives. He seemed even braver and smarter from their point of view. I can't get over how much I am glad to have him back, even though he was only gone for one book. Also, if you are going to choose a third wheel, you should choose Percy Jackson. He was shipping Hazel and Frank basically the entire quest.
Frank: Can I have my own personal Frank? Please? He is so sweet and charming and clumsy and dorky. And I kind of wanted to slap him when he kept putting himself down about being unimportant, but it was also kind of endearing. All of his lines to Hazel were the most adorable things. Like when he said,

"Thanks for breakfast. And the clothes. And...for not hating me."


"Frank balled his fists. He looked around like he was searching for anybody who might disagree with him-enemies he could hit for Hazel's sake. "She's a good person!" he yelled across the street."

Brave and Smart Heroine: CHECK
Hazel is really awesome. I am glad that Nico has a sister again to make sure he's not all alone. I'm also really happy that she got the chance to correct her mistake (by finally killing Alcyoneus). I respected her a lot more when I learned that she gave up Elysium to keep her mom out of the Fields of Punishment. I really want to see more of Hazel and Frank together as a couple, because they are just completely adorable together.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Vitellius: He's basically the Roman version of Sir Cadugeon from Harry Potter. He's annoying, hilarious, and all too ready to talk about the "good old roman days". And he's a Lar and Cadugeon is a ghost, so that works out too.
Octavian: Creepy stuffed-animal-disemboweler. Gross power-hungry jerk. I have a terrible feeling that Rick Riordan is going to explain his past and try to make him a likeable character. That would just be horrible considering I don't want to like him. Then again, maybe not. I suppose we'll have to see.
Karpoi: There is nothing quite like being attacked by a bunch of evil grain spirits.
Iris: And finally we get to meet her, after six books of sending Iris messages. I've been wanting to meet her, and she turned out much...different from what I expected her to be. From now on, ROFL will stand for Rainbow Organic Food & Lifestyle in my mind.
Ella: She's pretty adorable. I am very interested in seeing her importance played out, what prophecies she remembers and things like that. 
Amazon(s): Hilarious. Again Riordan finds a way to integrate the old stories into the modern world in the most hilarious and inventive ways. 
Hylla: If there was ever a moment when I felt like both series were planned from the very beginning it was her. She was just a name mentioned in passing in the second book, but her story makes SENSE. This plot is so intricate, it's truly just amazing.

Excellent Plot: CHECK
The Heroes of Olympus books are bigger. There are more characters and more perspectives. The quests are closer to impossible. The villains are more powerful. The stories are darker. And the plot is a lot more intricate. It seems like Riordan it taking great effort to grow with his readers and with his characters. Percy isn't a twelve year old boy anymore. He's a sixteen year old who has fought all sorts of monsters and survived "against all odds".

Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
So many monsters, both new and old, for the demigods to face. Besides all the action, one of the things keeping you reading are all of the new things you're learning about Camp Jupiter (how different it all is from Camp Half-Blood).


“Frank imitated the voice of Vitellius: 'They're wimps! Back in my day, we died all the time, and we liked it!”

"...and gave him a kiss whenever he did something stupid. She must have kissed me a lot, Percy thought."

"You seem to be clean," Terminus decided. "Do you have anything to declare?""Yes," Percy said. "I declare this is stupid."

"He warned me the greediest wishes cause the greatest sorrows."

"She gave me her-what did she call it-her direct number? So I had to say, O Fleecy, do me a solid. Show me Reyna at Camp Jupiter."

"We Amazons-we would prefer to live life to the fullest. We love, we fight, we die."

"Hate men?" said the queen. "No, no, we like men, We just like to show them who's in charge."

"I don't think so," Percy guessed. "He just said, 'I will trample you to death, silly Chinese Canadian baby man."

"Not your girlfriend?" Grandmother guessed. "Well, she should be, you dolt! Don't let her get away. You need strong women in your life, if you haven't noticed."

"You are amazing," she said. "And you make a very handsome elephant."

"Kinzie said, batting her eyes. "We have you to thank for that. If you ever need a new girlfriend...well, I think you'd look great in an iron collar and an orange jumpsuit."

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Lost Hero.

The Lost Hero
by: Rick Riordan
The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, #1)
Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about.

While this has much the same feeling as The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, it is also quite different. I really liked the new characters in this book, but I did miss Percy a lot.

Funny and Brave Heroes: CHECK
Leo: I love him. He is funny and super smart and often really hyper. As an extension of loving him, I also loved getting to know the character of Hephaestus more through him. How he did not deal with people particularly well, but he always meant well. Also, Leo's super powers (being able to identify and work any machine, being flame-proof, and being able to make fire.
Jason: First off, he is NOT Percy. But, he was himself, and I like him. I think the difference between him and Percy is that we first meet Jason when he is older and when he has already fought battles and monsters. He is not as sarcastic. He takes his job as hero and leader very seriously, probably because of his training at the Roman Camp not to show weakness. There were at least three times when he truly thought he was going to die for his friends, but he stepped up anyway and accepted his responsibility as quest leader.

Smart and Brave Heroine: CHECK
I didn't like Piper at the beginning of the book. She was sort of whiny. But, as the book went on she got stronger and more sure of herself. By the end of the book I really enjoyed reading from her perspective and I liked her as a character. This book also gave more dimension to both Aphrodite and her demigod children. I suppose it corrected the misjudgements given to them in the first five books and it kept Silena's legacy going.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Clovis: He didn't have a very big part, but I loved Clovis. He made me laugh every time he said anything.I also loved hearing about all the minor gods' children and their new cabin life. Rick Riordan is great at working in little details that add depth to the story and make a lot of sense (like the Hecate cabin leader literally taking someone's nose and Butch's rainbow tattoo).
Mellie: While reading this book, Mellie reminded me a lot of Lidewij from The Fault in our Stars. Their stories were nearly identical. They both brought teens in to see their boss under false pretenses hoping that their boss would help them. Their boss then turns out to be a total lunatic who ends up hurting the kids. Then Mellie and Lidewij gave up their job to defend the kids and send them on their journey in peace. They were both sweet and helpful in their place in the story.
Nyssa and Jake Mason (and the other Hephaestus campers): I really enjoyed learning about the Hephaestus cabin and seeing the forges. It was interesting hearing about Bunker 9 and how the Hephaestus campers made weapons and other inventions.
Cal and Zethes: Funniest characters in this book. Their dialogue both with each other and with Piper, Jason, and Leo was hilarious. It was great the way Rick worked their original story into their modern personalities.
Khione: Jerk.
Hephaestus: It was really nice to see him as a dad and not just as a god. He was awkward around Leo and didn't really know how to act, but you could tell that he cared a great deal about him. I find myself liking him more and more as going through these books. And I loved that he didn't understand sarcasm like when he said,

"Mighty understanding of you..." Hephaestus frowned, then sighed wearily. "That was sarcasm, wasn't it? Machines don't have sarcasm, usually."

Hera: She is the very last character that I would have guessed I'd grow to like, but alas I do kind of like her now... kind of. I don't trust her yet, but I do not despise her anymore. Which is good, I suppose, because it seems like she will be a big part of this series what with her role as Jason's patron. It is an interesting twist that while he is the son of Jupiter, he is almost playing the part of being Hera's son.
Aphrodite: Actually, Aphrodite might be the last character that I would have guessed I'd end up liking. But, I don't just not despise her anymore, I genuinely like her. She seems like a good mother, even if she isn't the best listener or the best at compromise.
Thalia: I really loved finally learning about Thalia's past and her mom. She is still her awesome Hunter-self, fighting monsters and being all sassy.

Unique Setting and Interesting Plot: CHECK
I heard that the Heroes of Olympus series was going to include roman gods, but I had no idea how that was going to work out until reading this. The things left unanswered in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series were adressed in this. Things such as Thalia's mother and what actually happened to Mount Othrys in the Titan War and the beginning of the new prophecy. I really want to learn more about the Roman Camp and figure out how it is all going to intersect.

Plot Twists and Action: 1/2 CHECK
There were plenty of action scenes and interesting turn of events. However, my problem with this book was the occasional repetitiveness. It seemed to me that while this book was 557 pages, it went through a lot of things over and over again. I realize that these things are vitally important to the story, but I eventually got tired of hearing the exact same details about Leo's mother and Piper's father and Jason's memory loss. It felt like they were saying the same words over and over again with no change. Also, I thought there were a lot of dreams in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series, but there were probably ten times as many dreams in this book. Although, I didn't really mind it.

"Cute, smart, and violent. Jason wished he remembered having her as a girlfriend."

"Yo, Coach Supergoat, whatever you are-I just fell down the freaking Grand Canyon! Stop asking for challenges."

"It isn't time yet, little hero. Someday, you'll have your quest. You'll find your destiny, and your hard journey will finally make sense. But first you must face many sorrows. I regret that, but heroes cannot be shaped any other way."

"Leo didn't want to hog all the terrifying life-threatening adventures."

"The girl is pretty," Zethes admitted, "and of course she cannot help being attracted to my amazingness; but sadly, I cannot romance her at this time."

"Maybe people with special gifts show up when bad things are happening because that's when they're needed most."

"He felt like a broken machine himself-like someone had removed one little part of him, and now he'd never be complete. He might move, he might talk, he might keep going and do his job. But he'd always be off balance, never calibrated exactly right."

"You see possibilities much more vividly than others. You see what could be. And it still might be-don't give up.

"But beauty is about finding the right fit, the most natural fit."

"My point is that love is the most powerful motivator in the world. It spurs mortals to greatness. Their noblest, bravest acts are done for love."

"That's it, Thalia Grace," said the goddess. "I will turn you into an aardvark, so help me-"

"You must forge your own path for it to mean anything."

"You kidding? These people make Aeolus look sane."

Monday, February 4, 2013


by: Marie Lu
Prodigy (Legend, #2)

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector. It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

This was just as good, if not better than Legend. The politics got more complicated and there were more looks as to how the government was run, not just the military.

Smart and Brave Heroine: CHECK
I liked June in Legend. She was a smart and just really awesome in the action scenes, but I wouldn't say she particularly interested me. However, I absolutely loved her in Prodigy. She made the difficult decisions and found a way to save the people she cared about. She uncovered Razor's secret on her own and fought her way out around six guards while dizzy and sick. In this book she was a more complex character. She wasn't sure where her loyalties laid and she had a lot inner conflict about who to trust. There was also the matter of protecting Day and Eden when she did decide who she trusted. Then standing up to Day when he doubted her judgements. I appreciated how she stayed firm in believing that she did the right thing, but she wasn't too proud to apologize to Day for certain comments she made. I also really loved the little details that Marie Lu put in to continue to show June's skill (like the way she was always keeping track of how many minutes passed).

Intelligent and Brave Hero: CHECK
I like Day, I really do, but sometimes he's just so frustrating. I know a lot of his conflicts have to do with not being as willing or able to trust others because of his years at the lake. However, I was so angry at him for yelling at June. After all she'd done for him he still didn't fully trust her. I also understand his motivation for yelling, but that doesn't make it right. The thing about this book is that you can disagree with a character and still like them. I can say that overall I truly enjoy reading about Day. He's reckless and careless, but that's part of what makes him such an interesting character.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Tess: I didn't mind her in Legend, but she got really frustrating in this book. I can't shake the feeling that she is keeping something really important from Day. However, the thing that bothered me the most about her behavior was her hatred of June, even though June thought of her as a friend. June was actually worried about Tess through this book, even when she was jealous of her and Day's history. June knew what Tess meant to Day and tried to protect her because of it. But, Tess knew how much June meant to Day and yet could not wait to see her gone. I know she just had a lot of pent up feelings for Day, but that does not give her permission to hurt him.
Kaede: I loved Kaede. She was pretty hardcore. I mean, she ran all the way to the Colonies to warn Day and June. Then she flew their airplane through an impenetrable wall with her pure awesomeness. Which means, of course, that I am heartbroken with how things turned out. However, I can't help thinking that Kaede knew what might happen to her and chose to risk it anyway.
Anden: He was not the character I expected him to all. He was sweet and clever and brave. And he truly cared about the Republic and its people. This is not a love triangle. Day and June are always supporting each other. But, I really don't like seeing Anden heartbroken over June. I really can't wait to read more about him in the third book.

Excellent Plot: CHECK
This series could have easily become like every other dystopian book. It could have become a book where the brave revolutionaries join up with the perfect rebel group and take down the absolutely corrupt government. But this book became more complicated and genuine than that. The Colonies are not some perfect paradise and The Republic is not a system that is completely full of corrupt people. They are both somewhere in between. And the main difference is that by the end of this book June and Day aren't fighting to take down the government, they are fighting to change it into something different, something better. I truly enjoy these books because they are full of both political problems and awesome action scenes.

Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
I loved that a lot of the plot twists in this book stemmed from relationships and who someone could and could not trust. Or from someone turning out to be on a different side than you thought for a different reason than you thought (such as Kaede, Razor, Anden, or Tess). Also the switching perspectives never failed to keep it interesting. Not only were they interesting though, they were also expertly written. They really sounded like the voices of the two different characters (and have I mentioned that I love the different color for each perspective? because I think it is pure genius).


"Because June wouldn't need my help."

"I am June Iparis, I remind myself. I'm not going to let him see the chaos I'm feeling."

"His policies did work. The Trials did make our armies stronger. Does that make what he did right, though?"

"I feel invincible, or invisible. One or the other, maybe both."

"Maybe I've been trying to escape to the wrong place and run away from the wrong things."

"...and I realize, at last, that June is right. I don't want to see the Republic collapse. I want to see it change."

"You were born to shake the Republic. June, there is no one better."

"But've always been everything that the people need. You have the chance to change things."

"Love is illogical, love has consequences-I did this to myself, and I should be able to take it. So take it, June."