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Summer Book Wishlist

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Well hello folks. Summer is here! How do I know? Is it due to the sun blazing through cloudless blue skies paralleled to vibrant, rich and lush green grass parks as the laughter of little kiddos splash around community pools that sparkle like diamonds? …

NO! I live in Florida which means, Hurricane Season so it is freaking stormy, raining, lightening, and thundering, simultaneously threatening to cut off our dish cable and internet every thirty minutes! *breathes into paper bag* (by now, you may know my theater background aids in these momentary dramatics)

I live in a state where Summer is all year long, so unlike the popular consensus, I hate Summer. Oh yeah, I said it. Sorry Olaf (Frozen), I can not joyfully sing along to your ignorantly blissful dreams of “Summer”. Anyway, enough bashing, back to what this is about…BOOKS! I decided to put together a Summer Book Wishlist of books that are currently available right now that I have REALLY wanted and need to get my hands on, ASAP. There are MANY more that could have been added to this list but they haven’t been published yet so I did not include them.

Interesting enough, my little Summer Wishlist holds a ton of Fantasy/Sci-fi/Adventure which are one, not my go to genres and two, not your typical Summery reads. Well, here they are! Now “Dammit Billy” (book I recently read inside joke…now I’m debating doing a Book-Talk about it: Sweet Addiction by J. Daniels – Adult RomCom), as I was saying, where is my long lost rich uncle who generously wants to give me an Amazon gift card for $500,000 so I can buy ALL THE BOOKS!!!?

On with the BOOKS!

1. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas 

First, let me just say that I am SO glad they redesigned the covers for this series. They look SO bad ass now. When you follow the link for Goodreads for book one (Throne of Glass), you’ll see the previous cover with an actual cover model. Normally, I’m weary of covers with people on the cover because they tend to be REALLY chessy. Sometimes, I am not too fond of people on the cover that were digitally drawn because those too end up normally looking really chessy. (I’m such a cover snob, I know. It’s horrible) These look great. I have heard endless praise towards this series from the beginning. I am ITCHING to get this series in my hands, immediately. Look at that cover below…I want that outfit and I want to look that freaking awesome in it!

Throne of Glass (goodreads)

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The Assassin’s Blade – the novellas (goodreads)

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Crown of Midnight (goodreads)

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Heir of Fire (goodreads)

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2. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (goodreads)

At first, this book fell into the, “Hmm…this looks interesting. Mark it to be read someday.” Then one my friends from Page to Premiere (Yaunna shoutout! *Hugs* girly – Check out her Entertainment News Website: TrulyLuminary) read it and even fan casted it. Check out this great post she did on Page to Premiere. If you’ve read it, even more so, you can appreciate it. Fan Casting: Who Should Lead the Teenage Cast of ‘Love Letters to the Dead’?

She gave me a premise of the story and raved about it. I instantly felt I connected with the main character’s (Laurel) journey of working through her grieving. Not to get into anything personal, but I am still working through a close family members death and feel this book may be very therapeutic for me.

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3. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (goodreads)

Well, I don’t have much to say about this other than it has been HIGHLY recommended…yeah…that’s all I have to say about that.

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4. For Darkness Shows the Stars series by Diana Peterfreund

So here’s a little tidbit about me…usually anything related to stars, I’m a sucker for. Books with them focused on the title or theme somehow, my eyes target them fiercely. The moment I saw the cover and the title for this series, I knew I needed to have it. I heard the girls from Epic Reads rave about the series as well so I’m very much wanting to delve into this world. I heard a book tuber mention a favorite book quote of hers was actually the title of this book. It made me ponder on it, “for darkness shows the stars”. Ah, the ‘philosophical’ discussions could go on and on. Same thing I’m going through right now after re-visiting ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ now that the movie has released. Lots of deep life thinking…

For Darkness Shows the Stars (goodreads)

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Among the Nameless Stars – prequel (goodreads)

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Across a Star-Swept Sea (goodreads)

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5. The Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout (goodreads link here)

Cue the fangirl flails and squeals…Yes, ladies and gentlemen, apparently Jennifer L. Armentrout (also known as J. Lynn for her New Adult books) is wildly known and loved. I mean, this woman means business. Within the last four years, she has written something like 20 books. How is that even possible?! Some of us have speculated that she is not human. She is either part cyborg or alien because, damn. I wish my writing was that disciplined.

The Lux series is a supernatural/paranormal young adult sci-fi? Not entirely sure yet but I have been urged that it is necessary that I read these pronto. I had yet to hop onto any of the Jennifer L. Armentrout bandwagon until I stumbled upon her New Adult series “Wait for You”. Yep. I’m a fan. Supernatural/Paranormal themed books are not my usual go to. My interest usually goes towards Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic (my favorite), Contemporary, then perhaps Sci-fi/Adventure. All must have a Romance element in them. (my personal reading requirements) Once in a while, I’ll embark on some fantasy and in this rare case, supernatural. I’ve heard Daemon is scrum-deli-ocious…so, well, yeah. Gotta check him out. 😉 From the Wait For You series, I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style. She writes young adults honestly, no cliches. Excited to finally embark on this journey.

 Obsidian, Onyx, Opal, Origin, & Opposition

Lux-Series

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6. The Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson

Another Epic Reads highly recommended series. So, I hear I am to acquaint myself with Hector because “swoon”. I have yet to read it (hence it’s on this list) but I can already tell this may be one of those under the radar series. The series is already completed which I love because then I can binge read it and not go through lack of closure episodes of withdrawal.  If people whose book tastes I trust are telling me I need to meet this new book boyfriend, well then…I’m in. I have been wanting for this series since forever!

The Girl of Fire and Throns (goodreads)

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The Crown of Embers (goodreads)

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The Bitter Kingdom(goodreads)

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So there it is. I was looking through my bookshelf and wondering which books that I currently own, I’d want to tackle next as my Summer TBR list. In that current list we have:

Summer 2014 TBR

1. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (also have heard great reviews on)

2. Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

3. Perfect Chemistry (book 1) and Rules of Attraction (book 2) by Simone Elkeles

4. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

5. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I’ve been stalling majorly on this one. Haven’t been emotionally prepared for this yet)

6. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (again with the stars…had to have it and the cover is GORGEOUS)

Also before I go. Remember me mentioning the cyborg/alien awesomeness that is Jennifer L. Armentrout? Well, to give you an idea of how much she’s written and published, check out this seriously Ha-Mazing chart I Heart Big Books created of her work for her birthday. (Both her YA – Young Adult – series and her New Adult/Adult books) 

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Her and I may be about the same age but I still say that I want to be like her when I grow up. haha Hoping to get all these stories and character voices in my head out sooner than the pace I’m doing currently. I love writing stories and creating characters. I always have, only it took me many years to put two and two together. My years and years of SIMS game obsession makes sense now. Ha! Anywho, that chart of her work is pretty impressive. Inspires me to cut the crap with the procrastination and get my ass to writing already. Geez!

What are some of your Summer Wishlist books? 

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Are We Liking the New Layout?

Hey y’all! Quick, nonsensical post here…

For those who’ve been around, question? Are we liking the new layout? Was the old one better? or Goldie Locks and the Three Bears final answer: Go find a new one?

Let me know! Does it encourage further reading or stifle it?

And to make this post look more interesting…let’s toss in an irrelevant gif!

It took two seconds on Tumblr to find the perfect one. Oh, Epic Reads gals. Always reliable in the shenanigans department. *winks*

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Divergent Week! Movie Review

Divergent Week

Divergent num1 movie nationwide

 

Amazing box office release weekend for the book to movie adaptation, ‘Divergent‘! On Saturday, just after the early release date on Thursday night and Friday’s numbers, studio released the news that ‘Insurgent‘ was green lit, making it official that next year, WE WILL HAVE A PART TWO! This makes my heart so happy. After Hunger Games, the more recent YA book to movie adaptations haven’t done well enough to secure their second book adaptations, which made me worry the same could happen with Divergent. The cast will begin filming in May the second book of Veronica Roth’s NY Times Bestselling trilogy.

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Author Amy Tintera of Reboot & Rebel

Author Amy Tintera of the Reboot series, tweeted the theater she went to go see ‘Divergent‘ at, was selling the trilogy! How cool is that? Provoking people to read is a mission I happily and whole-heartedly support.

Movie Review:

Where to start? Really? My brain has so much information, thoughts, opinions and inner squealing going on, I don’t know what to talk about first. Okay, how about overall impression? Yeah, I could start there.

For a first book of a series, being adapted on film, it was really well done! The cinematography was rich and beautiful, depicting the dark elements of Dauntless (since that was the compound we spent the most time in, in the movie). This movie, I am impressed, was excellently cast. I had my hesitations about Shailene Woodley and Theo James being casted as our FourTris <~~~ship name. Wow, not only them, everyone was spot on in their character portrayal, even if their physical traits differed from the book, the essence of who that character was, they each delivered perfectly, which is rare.

The theme and message (the spirit) of the book was very well adapted. What Divergent is in the book was brought to us on film, even with the changes. When I think about most first book film adaptations, they’re usually not the best and evolve in quality, budget, talent, etc as the franchise continues–i.e. Harry Potter, Twilight, even Hunger Games.

For me, Divergent wasn’t Catching Fire awesomeness but above The Hunger Games (First movie). This weekend, Initiates came through, bringing the weekend box office numbers to $56 Million!

“Summit Entertainment’s Divergent may not have reached the heights of Twilight or The Hunger Games, but its $56 million North American box office broke the curse that has plagued every other YA film adaptation.

Launching a new franchise for Summit and parent company Lionsgate, the dystopian sci-fi adventure benefited from good word of mouth among moviegoers, who gave it an A CinemaScore despite mostly withering reviews.”

-The Hollywood Reporter announced this morning.

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I loved the film, not feeling the two and a half hours, at all. If anything, I wanted more. What is hard, is going in as just a movie goer and not a fan of the book. I’ve been a fan of other books before their movie adaptations. I saw Catching Fire after reading it mere months prior to seeing it, but this was different and I think it’s because of what Divergent, the book, meant to me. I will get into that further in my next blog post. (Stay tuned) 

There were things I missed or wish made it into the film but for the most part, I have processed and from a production standpoint, who are not only trying to cater to book fans, but to those who haven’t read the books or even YA for that matter, i understood their approach. As it is, they calculated 50% of movie goers from this weekend were those who haven’t read the books and just wanted to attend a kick ass action film with a “hot” guy who has a “hot” back tattoo. *laughs*

What did I like?

This may get Spoilery because I will mention correlations to the book…you have been warned. 😉

1. I thought the monologue opening up the film was a really good move. It can be a hit or miss with those but so much of this story is in Tris’ head–one–and then there’s the need to help those who don’t know the books, understand the world they just walked into. Shai portrayed the voice of Beatrice well, and I mean literal voice, as if she were narrating the audio book. She captured Tris’ emotions about the world she lives in, what she knows, thinks she understands about it in her narration.

2. I loved seeing the hair cutting scene between Beatrice and her Mom as the official first scene of the movie after the title sequence. As a fan of the book, I instantly connected, taking me back to that moment–me sitting back on my bed, opening that first page, not having a clue how much this book would mean to be, become a part of me.

3. The fashion of the five Factions? Brilliant and spot on. Their outfits were just as I saw them in my head, actually, even better, details wise.

4. Soundtrack? Um, yes! Thank you for doing it right. Loved the music tracks, loved the songs–especially Ellie Goulding stuff–been OB-sessed with it for weeks now.

5. When Tris (at the time, still Beatrice) sees the Dauntless trains arrive and the Dauntless flying out of them, rolling down a hill and then running…Oh man! My heart was pumping and my eyes might have watered–hush, don’t judge me. I knew what that moment meant to Tris, and how it was igniting something within her she didn’t dare admit out loud. She barely could admit it to herself. I love that they captured that moment for us on film. We didn’t need her inner dialogue. Shailene did well giving us subtext in her acting. *golf claps* Well done Shai!

6. Fear Landscapes: Yes! Yes, indeed. So cool, even better than I ever could imagine it in my head while reading. I found the technology for those outside who were physically witnessing initiate’s fear landscape to be interesting, and I liked it very much. I pictured the room Four and Tris would be in during fear landscape viewing/testing to be different, but I liked their interpretation of it. I loved the scene where Four is confronting her after the water tank fear landscape. I loved all FourTris scenes, let’s be honest.

Jeanine divergent
courtesy of the official Divergent Twitter page

7. Jeanine. Kate Winslet, I believe brought her to life. I definitely could picture Jeanine this way. She was rigid, and very Erudite in her manner and speaking–the way she would just look at you, lingering. It will be interesting to see her now that Insurgent is happening. With everything that happens in book two, let’s see how much she is allowed to bring as she is just one of the main villains in book two.

8. Aw, I should have been clever and made #4 about Four…get it? Yeah, anyway, I wasn’t ready to talk about him yet…but let’s.

Four Divergent
courtesy of official Divergent’s Twitter page

FOUR ❤ Yes, let’s talk about him.

Let me make something clear here, I was never swooned by Theo James the actor. I was actually NOT happy when they cast him. Four was my ultimate YA boyfriend. This was not who I saw in my head and I screamed inside,

“No! You’ll ruin him! No!” *hands stretch out in horror, then whimpers to self* “Not my Four…”

Okay, it wasn’t that dramatic but for real, I wasn’t thrilled about the choice because, it’s just me but Theo James is not my type–physically (because remember people, we do not actually know these actors to say you like/crush on them, the actor. What we “crush” on is the role they protrayed, not them themselves. We don’t know them…AT. ALL.) So yeah, sure he’s a handsome man, I could acknowledge that, but I wouldn’t catch myself looking twice because we all have different taste. There’s something out there for everyone.

So here I was, not on the ‘drooling and swooning for Theo James the stage name actor train’ and waiting to see how I felt about him playing Four. During the movie promotion season, clips were being shared before the movie came out and I got more why they picked him. I started accepting him, believing he would capture the essence of Four…or at least I hoped.

At the Chicago premiere, EpicReads asked Veronica (I almost wrote Mars, um no, sorry) Roth what she wanted readers to walk out of this movie taking?

She said, “That Theo James nailed it as Four” (paraphrasing)

Oh. My. God. YES! I couldn’t believe it. He was Four! In every way, he captured Four. I wasn’t seeing Theo James, I saw Four and I fell more in love with him as a character. My heart swooned, and my eyes all of a sudden were very pleased with what I was seeing physically.

It’s funny, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personality truly defines a person’s beauty in different people’s eyes/minds. I could stand before an “Adonis” gorgeous, brooding man but if he’s arrogant, not compassionate or kind, violent, and purposefully out to put others down, he is instantly the ugliest person I have ever come across.

Okay, sorry, getting off my soap box. *smiles, dragging box away*

One of the besties came with me and she’s never read ‘Divergent’, isn’t a YA reader per say and as me, is not attracted to Theo James. She also is not one to swoon like a fangirl. Those are RARE, far and few between moments I get to experience from her so may I just say that I am so very proud that she has again….over FOUR!

She LOVED his character. She’s been swooning every since, setting a measuring stick to all mere mortal men who will never amount to fictional characters. *laughs loudly* I told her, if you loved his character in the movie…READ THE BOOK *winks* Another YA world domination win. *rubs hands together*

Okay, moving on from Four gushing.

9. Shailene Woodley, thanks for the surprise performance.

Tris Divergent still
courtesy of Divergent’s official Twitter page

I was not a fan of this casting choice at first either. I only knew of her in the ABCFamily show that I was never a fan of. I was worried about her ability to bring Tris to life. Tris is a complex character, living within a complex world plot. Let me say, I am grateful for casting directors. I’m grateful to GOOD casting directors, producers and directors who do their homework and truly care about the material enough to find those appropriate for the roles.

Well done Shai. I am impressed. She truly did capture Beatrice/Tris. Man, did she bring it with the emotions. As someone who pursued Acting, inside I waved my fist at her because of how damn good she was at bringing on the tears! The tears, man! Al? Her Mom, her brother’s distance, I mean, at every moment, this girl could water up them eyes at a drop of a clapper. (The clapperboard? The slate? Slate board…film reference, never mind!)

Omygoodness, Al…my heart. When she yells at him, again them tears, and his heart breaking with regret and then…UGH! My heart flooded and I tried holding back tears. I was reading that whole segment all over again.

Her Mom, in the end. Damn, Shailene, damn. Well, done. That’s all I’m saying.

10. I too, liked the change they incorporated during Four’s fear landscape tour with Tris. They translated something that would’ve required so much more development to explain through film, but this brought on what was necessary to tell the story to non-readers. Well done Neil and crew. Good choice.

My “Meh” Thoughts: Things I wish…

1. Will and Christina/ Will and Tris.

As someone who’s read the book, I already knew, but I don’t think the dynamic of Will and Christina and what it meant for Tris to kill him came across clearly. I was surprised a little more wasn’t clearly explained about Will and Christina being together. Yeah, there was a little flirting and eluding to something maybe developing but not really. Also, there wasn’t really any Will and Tris friendship development that gave the audience clear indication that Will was one of Tris’ friends. The reason I believe this was important is because though they did show some hardship on Tris for killing him and her struggle doing so, if they’re going into Insurgent staying true to the book, that moment haunts her till the very end. She can’t even shoot a gun after that. Then, the truth serum scene in Insurgent brings on further tension. I mean, Will dying was a BIG. DEAL. For something so big in Tris’ character arc, I thought it could have used a little more development to help viewers who haven’t read the books.

2. Now, this isn’t everyone’s opinion, but I wanted more FourTris. Man, there were so many GOOD scenes and moments between them throughout the book, I wanted more of that on screen. At a production level, I get it. The story, the plot, was Erudite’s Pinky and the Brain domination scenario which makes this an action story which has certain rules for marketing. Also, Four and Tris aren’t your typical couple. They’re not ‘gushy, lovey dovey in front of other people’ type teenagers. Taking this approach with their romance makes sense to help also portray who they are as people. So even though I missed the missing pieces of dialogue from the last two pages of the book which was exactly the last scene in the movie (Well done, again) the way they wrote their romance development for this movie, Four confessing his love might have seemed out of place. Though, Tris told him she loved him when he was under the serum to try and bring him back but it worked for that intense life or death moment.

3. The Ferris Wheel scene. It was so short! *pouts* I liked the catching the flag approach. I liked eliminating the Christina tension entirely in this scene much better. I was actually mad at Christina in the book during this time. I like this way better. I loved the climbing up the Ferris Wheel and squealed out loud when Four asked if Tris was even human.

*hugs pillow* “That was in the book!”

I was just expectant of more and was surprised when it was over.

4. Yo! Where was the Dauntless cake? *giggles*

5. Okay, so at first, I wasn’t all that thrilled about the clear change in one of Tris’ fears. Her fear of intimacy turned into a fear of sexual assault. Two VERY different things. At first, I thought their translation of ‘fear of intimacy’ was to have Four aggressively try to get intimate with her, which almost looked like an almost rape scene, until Tris kicks him, setting herself free. I shrugged thinking, okay, it was probably the easiest and quickest way to demonstrate a re-written version of that fear.

I came across a popular article that has been circulating promoting the strength of women against sexual abuse. Whoa. Okay, that’s definitely a different approach I wasn’t expecting.

It’s true, this is an important subject and if Divergent has the opportunity to be a voice for a certain issue, why not use it for good, use it for this?

Personally, I think the fear of intimacy is a deep, delicate issue most don’t even know they harbor deep within, especially women. Our society has tainted and desensitized true intimacy, which is vulnerability to be seen fully, known fully–allowing yourself to be with another person. Of course, that ideal is not going to translate clearly or easily on film, especially in an action film, so I get the switching it up and standing against another cause.

“Divergent marks the first time I have ever seen a teenage girl articulate, in no uncertain terms, that her body belongs to her. That she gets to decide who touches it, and how, and when. That her yes and her no are final, and unambiguous, and worthy of respect.”

She mentions both Tris’ desiring things to be taken slow after their first and only kiss in the movie and Four respecting that. She mentions the fear landscape, where Four aggressively pins her on the mattress but Tris fights back and says ‘no’. She talks about the scene where the guys kidnapped her, beating her, about to throw off the chasm. In the book, that scene there actually did demonstrate them feeling her up inappropriately and her fear of being sexually assaulted before being murdered then Four comes and intervened. This article, I believe, bring this message into the light for this film and gave Divergent a voice. She mentions being there once and not having the courage to fight, to say no. Bravo, if this could be a mouth piece, giving teenage girls, and women, strength to stand up against their assailants.

The ‘Divergent’ Rape Scene: Here’s Why it Matters

In the end, this change is a plus but at first, I viewed as a ‘meh’. Hence it’s in this portion of the review.

And speaking of the kidnapping scene. I wish they would have made sure to mention Peter as part of that group, helping the audience understand how great of a villain he is to Tris.

All in All:

I am so proud of this movie, of the cast, the production crew, studio *claps hands* Bravo, guys! Thank you for making such a beloved book, a successful adaptation.

Is it perfect? No, but not everything can be ‘Catching Fire’. *winks* Great job! Can not wait till Insurgent…I can wait for ‘Allegiant’…I can wait forever but we won’t rehash that wound just yet. 🙂

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GO SEE DIVERGENT, IN THEATERS NOW!

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Incarnate by Jodi Meadows – Book Talk!

Incarnate cover

Goodreads Synopsis: 

(click above link to add to your Goodreads)

NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life

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What I Generally Thought:

I had heard of Jodi Meadows and her Incarnate series earlier 2013 through EpicReads (of course-the YA news source *wink*).

When I had my book ordering splurge that included Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky series, Incarnate was included in that book splurge. The beautifully designed cover of Ana with her gorgeously crafted butterfly wings for a mask, embody the cover of this book. I was very intrigued about the concept of a NewSoul. Imagine everyone in the world has been reincarnated these last 5,000 years–keeping their memories as they pass through different lives–and suddenly, being the only one who has never been reincarnated before, a New Soul.

During my sick week (Reading Weekend! Sick Day Blues) when I finally pulled myself out of my reading slump (Winter Break Reading Slump) and delve back into the magical world of books, the second book on that list was Incarnate. I had just devoured Under the Never Sky in two days–honestly, I could have in one day probably, but I was deathly ill, so my brain wasn’t processing well–and not having Book two–Through the Ever Night–in my hands, I needed something that would help my through my Perry blues. I reached over & thought,

“Alright, Incarnate, let’s meet Sam and Ana.”

I devoured this book in almost one day (again, the sick thing). I loved Sam and Ana. Immediately, I wanted to get better and go out hunting Asunder (Book two), hug it, squeeze it and call it my “Squishy”.

I found the concept very interesting–this eighteen year old girl who had been sheltered away from the world all her life. Sheltered, but not for endearing protection, but due to her parents shame of her. Her first words were when she was five years old. No one ever spoke to her, so she never said a word.

Li took me home,and the next day I collected all the words I knew and made a sentence. Everyone else remembered a hundred lifetimes before this one. I had to know why I couldn’t.

“Who am I?” My first spoken words.

“No one,” she said. “Nosoul.”

Ana taught herself to read, to live. Hidden away all those years in Purple Rose Cottage, away from the nearest town called Heart, Ana never interacted, never felt affection or compassion from any other human being. We experience how different she is from those with the wisdom of ten, twenty lifetimes when she meets Sam.

This world of Incarnate, I found to be a different take to what I usually know about Fantasy books. Here, we have a world of Reincarnated people who live seemingly regular lives.  Few technological advancements compared to our world today and then she threw in dragons, sylphs, centaurs, trolls, etc. What made it all so interesting for me was reading the story and feeling as though Ana could have been me. Her struggles and awkward moments felt relatable. It wasn’t like being in the midst of “Game of Thrones” medieval times-like eras with dragons and centaurs (though I love those stories too). It was just refreshing to read a different take on Fantasy. (then again, I haven’t read much Fantasy yet so I am most definitely not an expert here)

Book one had left us off revealing so much about Ana, and her past. A tragedy occurred shaking the entire town of Heart, and the aftermath is where we leave off in Book one. Ana, is coming to a realization. She’s growing up and stronger than she or anyone else who doubted her, thought she could be. She wasn’t just a butterfly.

This concludes the Spoiler-free book talk. Next, Memorable Moments Tabs!

I loved this story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to a friend.

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Spoilers Time!

Tab #1 – (pg. 19) Ana wakes up from almost drowning to find a young man sleeping beside her

Enter SAM! 🙂

Here is Ana, just turned eighteen and her mother sends her off along with a broken compass. Ana gets attacked by burning sylph. Cornered, Ana jumps off a cliff into a risky river. It’s winter. She’s frozen, drowning, dying when suddenly, someones arms wrap around her waist and pull her up.

She wakes up dry, wrapped up in warm blankets.

Something solid pressed against my back. A body breathed in time with me, steady in and out, until I broke the unity by thinking about it. An arm was slung over my ribs, and a palm rested on my heart as if to make sure it continued beating, or to ensure that it didn’t fall out. Breath warmed the back of my neck, rustling hairs across my skin.

Just as I began to drowse further into my dream, a deep voice behind me said, “Hi.”

This was a great way to start things off. My attention was glued from here on. I believe I didn’t end up going to sleep till very late in the middle of the night.

Tab #2 – (pg. 65-66) Sam’s surprised gesture…Honey.

Oh my heart. Poor Ana, she was brought up terribly, and constantly was scolded for the most minuscule things like finding the honey and eating some. When Ana shared this with Sam, instantly her mind went towards wounded animal behavior, making sure to mention immediately to Sam that she was younger then, she would never take anything without permission. Inside she winced wanting to say, “Please don’t send me away”. They had been in his cabin together for two weeks due to her injuries from saving him from another sylph attack. Learning that she liked sweet things, Sam set out to the Purple Rose Cottage for more medicine and supplies. When he returned, he surprised Ana and brought her honey.

She was stunned. He drew out of the bag, “a glass jar filled with golden-amber liquid.” She did something that shocked even her. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tight.

I shook with nerves–with touching someone voluntarily, and allowing him to trap me in his embrace–and I shook with warring confusion and gratitude.

Why would he do something so nice?

I didn’t understand. If he’d been Li, he would have used my desires against me somehow, but every time I told him something about myself, he gave me something in return. Music. Honey.

 Tab #3 – (pg. 123-126) Achingly cute…the almost kiss

Slightly awkward morning. Ana’s reeling from multiple little things. Last night, Sam almost seemed to have been reaching down to kiss her forehead goodnight, but he hesitated. This morning, she made coffee. They exchanged a little snark. He sits down and she expects a reaction from him after she says something she believes was stupid. Nothing. She definitely had a girl moment here. She admits to being annoyed that he doesn’t react. He doesn’t care, he’s too calm, even when he should be mad or happy.

Sam lifted an eyebrow. “Too calm?”

“Yes!” I stalked around the kitchen, looking everywhere but at him…

…”So you don’t think you’re just impulsive?”

I halted, glared. “Impulsive?”

“You know the word, don’t you” (whoa, Sam, no you didn’t. That’s like telling a woman during a rant “Calm down.”)

“Yes.” He really thought I was stupid, didn’t he?

“It’s just,” he went on as if I hadn’t spoken, “you’re so young and sometimes I forget what you do and don’t know.”

My chest hurt…I spun and marched toward the back door. Sam lurched to his feet and caught my wrist, my waist, and even though his grip was gentle, I didn’t have the energy to wrestle away.

“See? Impulsive.” He smiled and didn’t loosen his hold.

Eep. Feels.

Then they have this conversation, exposing Sam emotionally a bit. They stood so close and in silence, Ana wanted him to kiss her, desperately. She focused on it, hoping, willing him to know what she wanted. But Sam makes a decision. She sees it in his eyes and he leans away.

“Sam?” I turned away as my vision blurred. “You think too much.”

“I know.”

Tab #4 – (pg. 213-221) Ana Incarnate.

The dragon attack shook all of Heart but especially Sam. There was something specific from his past that traumatized him. Sam had been in bed for days, not really seeing people or doing anything. Music was the only time he seemed normal. This morning, he didn’t come down. She played hoping that would lift his spirits–nothing. Next idea, she began playing something new. Something she could hear in her head. Nothing.

She went to his room and found him sitting on the floor, staring blankly at the wall, not moving, hardly breathing.

He came to, finally and held her tight. She sat across his lap, sideways, leaning against his chest. Sam shares his greatest fears with Ana here about how he always seems to die.

Eventually, he suggests to go attend to their music lessons. He wants to hear what she was playing–first time her attempting something of her own–then as they leave the room, he reclaims her hand, spins her around in a dancing stance and says he just thought of a name for her waltz.

“Ana Incarnate.”

My heart felt too big for my ribs to cage.

For all the unfair head kissing, the way we hadn’t kissed in the kitchen, and his grudging agreement to dance with me every morning–it suddenly seemed he knew me better than anyone in the world. Better than anyone ever would.

Tab #5 – (pg. 260-266) MASQUERADE! *feels*

Omylanta, this entire chapter! I was SO excited because I knew the cover concept was inspired due to this Masquerade. The concept of Ana not wanting to be a butterfly, beautifully made and revealed but gone by morning. She didn’t want to be a Nosoul–no purpose, no point in living or considered at all, if only to be gone and not reincarnated for the next life–she wanted to be more than that, worth more than that. Ironically enough, she created a butterfly for her costume for this event. Her mask was beautifully crafted into butterfly wings. The point of the event was to celebrate two souls who have always been in love, connected and have found each other time and time again, throughout each life.

Later in the night, a group of people (reminder: Many people in Heart do NOT like Ana existing–her existence means an old soul didn’t get reincarnated and never will again) surround her and start grabbing her and tossing her roughly around to different people. Right before someone else took possession of her, a new dancer stepped in and came in between her and the group.

The entire night, no one is suppose to know who anyone is. The masks need to purposely conceal identities as a representation that two souls who are meant to be together will always find each other, even if they can’t see them. Sam and Ana haven’t found each other all night. She’s caught multiple masks eyeing her throughout the night.

Omyword, this dance between them was so sensual and beautiful.

Before she could get a good look at his mask, he spun her around and pressed her back against his chest. His arm wrapped around her waist, his embrace gentle.

At this point I’m freaking out wondering, “Is it Sam? It has to be Sam! Is it Sam!?!”

His fingers brushed my cheek, down my neck. The entire masquerade stretched out before me, but my focus tunneled to the man behind me. Hands eased around my hips and held tight as we spun; my feet lifted off the ground, but even when I thought the wings might carry me into the breeze, he held me tight.

When I tilted my head back against his shoulder, warmth billowed against my throat where he kissed.

Eep!

and then…FINALLY…The first kiss.

I kissed him

Three long seconds and he only gasped and tightened his hands on my back. Then…he opened his mouth and kissed me. It wasn’t an easy, sweet kiss like I’d imagined my first would be, but frustrated and hungry.

He was in shock when she pulled his mask off. She knew it was Sam. He was surprised she knew it was him. She feared he might have not known it was her and wanted it to be someone else but he confirmed, “of course” he knew it was her.

Can I just say, I love Jodi Meadows. So many quirks she gave Ana that are just brilliant and awesome. Exhibit A, while he was talking to Ana, she’s there thinking…

And I wanted him to kiss me again. Less talking. More kissing.

Tab #6 – (pg. 280-290) “Maybe three a day…maybe ten.” The almost more than a kiss

After the masquerade, Ana and Sam were in a beautifully stupendous place. She confronted him about his on and off again actions and conflicting emotions. Either they were kissing or not kissing. She needed clarity. He seemed to give it to her. Then…they got attacked by two people they couldn’t make out.

Back in the house, nursing their injuries, Ana pretty much has a meltdown. She says there’s a thunderstorm swirling inside her. They’re sitting on the bed talking, asking questions. Finally, Ana with some boldness says,

“Sam?” I twisted around, freeing myself from his arms.

He tilted his head. “Hmm?”

“You think too much.” I took fistfuls of his shirt and kissed him, somewhat more confident now that we had a little practice, still nervous…

Here, while they kissed, Sam explores her face, and arms, with his fingertips.

A part of you wants to scream, “Sam, stop being an old man, hesitating and over thinking EVERYTHING!”

Then I started thinking and couldn’t blame Sam. Here’s a young man, who has lived five thousand years. He has all his memories and experiences. He is experienced in some other matters *clears throat* if you know what I mean. I at one point just realized…

“Oh my goodness. Ana doesn’t know what sex is? How could she. Li never even let her speak or touch anything half the time. There was no one to explain to her any aspect of intimacy like that”

Her body responds and wants Sam but technically, she doesn’t know how or what it is her body is wanting. They break for a moment and she admits that she is nervous. She doesn’t know what happens next.

Then they have this cute back and forth about him after she asks, showing her a thousand things, whenever she is ready. First, it’s one a day. Ana doesn’t want to wait a thousand days to learn it all, so why not two, or three a day. In the end, after some flirtatious back and forth, she whispers, “Maybe ten.”

So though I was feeling Ana’s frustration, I understood Sam’s hesitation to be very careful with her. He didn’t want to take advantage. This intimate act that seemed so normal, common for him, was completely foreign to Ana.

I loved how Jodi carefully approached realistically, all the things Ana would be naive about but without making Ana weak, or ignorant either. Ana is still strong and wise beyond her years.

and last…

Tab #7 – (pg. 351) Enter Papa Menehem! Whoa. 

This entire time, all we know really is that Ana’s father left Ana and Li when she was a baby. She knew nothing about him. We get hints here and there that he was off somewhere doing studies and experiments and the people of Heart did not have a good view of him–especially the people of the Council. The little Ana found–diaries, research–from her father in his lab location far off, was stolen the night of Tab #6. Here, we are at the end of the book. Ana ran to Purple Rose Cottage as Heart was being attacked by both dragons and sylph. Would Li be there? She finds her, confronts her and then, Li dies.

Ana freaks wondering if it was her, by her hand, with the laser. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t a dragon, it wasn’t a sylph…then a man steps out, over Li’s body. His features. She knew them well, even though she’s never met him before because they were hers.

“I’m Menehem,” he said. “We should talk.”

end of chapter.

Whoa, what? Papa Menehem, where the heck did you come from and where the heck have you been?

All that comes a little into the light as the book closes. Then we’re left to pick up in Book two, ASUNDER.

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And that concludes my Book Talk on Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. I loved this book. I loved Sam and Ana. I am eager and excited for the conclusion of this series which comes out in nine days! Infinite!

Stay tuned for my Book Talk on book two, Asunder!

Uncategorized

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (book review)

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Goodreads Synopsis:

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11594257-under-the-never-sky?from_search=true

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This is book one from Veronica Rossi’s trilogy. (Tri-logy meaning tres books *winks*)

I am extremely glad that I got on the Perry and Aria bandwagon late, why?

Well, because I am hooked and book three already is set to release at the end of this month so I can read the whole series like the impatience fangirl I am! (said all that in one breath)

I had this book on my TBR pile for a few months now. I had received it with three other books I ordered by mail. It was one happy day. I had a book photoshoot day. Interesting enough, one of my most popular reblogs on Tumblr have been the shot of this very book.

http://dreamymariedes.tumblr.com/post/66809522068/third-book-from-my-fall-2013-bookhaul-under-the

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So what did I think about this:

The world is a Dystopian survival story set far in the future with hints of Sci-Fi, I guess you could say. Veronica Rossi gives us two worlds. The world where the Dwellers abide in man-made Pods. The “government” I guess you could say, created these high technology Pod dwellings underground to protect people from the Aether storms. These Aether storms are high electrically charged storms that have destroyed and incinerated towns, cities. Within these Pod dwellings, science has dominated their way of living. Everything that is done, is done with a purpose. Children are carefully manufactured scientifically–no one’s an accident, no trait, look is an accident. Everyone is beautiful. Everyone has perfect teeth. No woman goes through menstruation, (theres a reason I mention this–yes, it may or may not have been brought up in the book through a certain scene. Cue: Mortification) hence the reproductive process is all scientific. They believe anything else would be animalistic, savage-like. How do they live and entertain themselves underground in these dwellings? Well, through Realms of course! Everyone in these Pods (i.e. Reverie, Bliss, etc) wear Smarteyes. They are clear almost silicone patches that go over your Left eye. Instantly, the device attaches like a leech/parasite connecting with your brain. This then gives you the opportunity to visit Realms. You can go, be, do, anything you desire just by the thought of it.

Aria is one of our main characters. The story is presented through a Dual-Perspective. Our second main character is Peregrine a.k.a. Perry.

Aria is a Dweller, or a Mole as the Outsiders snicker. She grew up in Reverie with her Mother, Lumina, who is one of the high level scientist/geneticist. She opens the story and all we know is that she is in search of information about her Mother. She had been worried. It has been five days from the start of the book and her mother has not checked in. Even with her mother being far in Bliss, busy with her medical research, they had daily scheduled visits in the Realm where Lumina and Aria would meet in a magnificent Opera theatre, and at Lumina’s request, Aria would sing an Opera piece, using her genetically beautiful Soprano range, set in place before birth by her mother. Soren, the son of Reverie’s Director of Security–Consul Hess–would be her target to get answers out of. Lies and a framing cause Aria to be thrown out and left alone at “the Death Shop” out in the Outsiders world to die. Dwellers bodies don’t last in the Outside.

Perry is what the Dwellers call the Outsiders, or Savages. All we know is that many vicious and horrifying stories have been told to all Dwellers about those who live on the Outside of the Pods, with the Aether storms–such as cannibals. The Outsider’s world resembles much of Native American living. They don’t seem to posses any advanced technologies. Perry comes from a tribe called The Tides. There, his brother, Vale is Blood Lord–the leader of the tribe. The only way another can rise is through a fight to the death. Either you die at the hand of the new Blood Lord who challenged you for the position or you surrender with a knife at your throat and pledge your life to them. Talon is Vale’s son–Perry’s nephew–whom he has a deep connection with. They are all recently mourning the death of Val’s wife, Talon’s mother, Mila. Tension between Vale and Perry carry out, leaving Talon in the middle, as Perry’s desire stirs and believes he needs to be Blood Lord. That means either his brother’s unlikely submission or death. Talon has already lost one parent, could he really be the cause of leaving him without the other?

Tragedy, Secrets, and Lies begin and thrust these two polar opposites together unexpectedly. Aria needs answers, and needs to find her mother. Perry’s nephew is kidnapped by Dwellers–Aria’s people–and he will stop at nothing to get Talon back.

The world-building is beautiful and well done. The entire time I am reading, I can see the brilliant blues that cast light and shadows across the sky and land on the Outside. At one point, Aria describes looking up and the sky appearing as Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

There are Scires and Audiles, Seers and then there’s Cinder–just a boy with a gift no one has ever seen before. On the outside they have those who they called “Marked”. Those Marked have gifts of scenting emotions which are called tempers–the Scires. Audiles have a keen sense of hearing from yards, miles away and if they touch another, they can even read their thoughts. Seer’s …umm, so I don’t remember what they can do exactly, I just know they tend to have the ability best in the day, Perry is a rare one who can see clearly in the night, like a cat.

I loved this book through and through. I pretty much devoured 80% of it in two nights…two long nights. I didn’t sleep when normal people sleep due to staying up till 3am in the morning each night. It was New Years Eve and New Years Day so it was fine.

I loved the main characters. These two characters are quickly becoming one of my favorite YA couples. I would absolutely recommend this book. Go find it, check it out! The entire series will be available by the end of this month so you can eat it up in one sitting! I agree with one reader, I think I would have really enjoyed this story being told through 1st person instead of 3rd person perspective. It took a little time for me to get used to, since lately all I’ve read is 1st person. In the end, you get used to it. Veronica Rossi at least still does a great job at describing well their thoughts and emotions in the moment.

This concludes the non-SPOILER section of this review…Further down, I will now go into certain details that will give away moments, details, plot info from the book.

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Spoilers Section:

I love Spoiler sections. This is where I get all fangirl and squeal, and scream, and jump up and down and…ok, ok…let’s get to it.

I love Perry and Aria together and I love Perry. I thoroughly enjoyed how much Aria and Perry HATED each other for pretty much the entire first half of this book. It was well done *golf claps*

“Well done, Veronica Rossi”.

I understand the tension. Here is Aria, being kicked out of Reverie, left to DIE all due to stupid Consul Hess (Soren’s–the arrogant jackweed’s father) wanting to cover up his son’s moment of CRAZY where he went ape-crazy (literally) and burned down Ag6, killing Aria’s best friend, Paisley and most of the others he force-locked within the abandoned Ag6 that night. To cover up his sons MAJOR indiscretion, he got rid of the evidence–ARIA; who unfortunately mentioned recording on her Smarteye proof of Soren’s moment of crazy. We know that she lost the Smarteye Soren RIPPED off her face, and that Perry found it and kept it. Here she is, dropped off in the Death Shop they all have heard so much horror about, left at the mercy of the Aether storms, in a medisuit–possibly her only means of surviving as long as she has out there–so she believes.

On the other side of things, we have Perry. He and Vale fought, hence Perry skulked off in a tantrum to the Dweller pod in the first place. He found an apple for Talon (Talon’s favorite and rare to find) and got himself tangled in this mess with Aria.

They, Aria’s people, kidnap Talon and tried to kill Perry. They didn’t succeed. Perry and his crazy scent gift finds Aria in the middle of nowhere, where an Aether storm is about to attack her. He football tackles her, yelling that he lost everything because of her, a Mole. She is just as feisty, yelling for him to not touch her. He’s a Savage and she is disgusted by him and his ability to probably infect her just by breathing near her.

The only reason Perry even bothers not leaving her out there to die, is because he needs her to get Talon back. She tries to escape him but isn’t successful, especially when this barbaric Savage threatens you with a large knife.

Throughout the story, enters Roar who is hilarious and awesome. He’s full of himself but in that good humored way that breaks tensions when they’re high. He’s apparently very good looking and an Audile. He loves Liv, Perry’s sister but she was given to another Blood Lord for a wife as a trade for food provisions for the Tides. I am excited to see his story unfold. I love the little elements he provides in the story–bridge between Perry and Aria at times.

Here’s some cool fanart I found: Margot from EpicReads does this Fauxtography series inspired by YA books. The berries images inspired by the scene in the book with Perry teaching Aria how she can tell safe berries from poisonous ones; those are her photos someone used to make this collage below 🙂

Margot’s The Real Fauxtographer “Under the Never Sky” shot here

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Peregrine-under-the-never-sky-30735781-578-306I loved this fan art of Perry and the storms. I think he looks perfect. Even his almost dreaded hair, the tattoos, weapons–brilliant!

Scenes I TABBED in my book as memorable: (chronological order)

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Tab #1 – The moment Aria brought into the story the title of the book. (page 124)

“Do the clouds ever clear?” she asked.

“Completely? No. Never.”

“What about the Aether? Does that ever go away?”

“Never, Mole. The Aether never leaves.”

She looked up. “A world of nevers under a never sky.”

Tab #2 – The infamous berries scene (page 167-169)

So they are NOT getting along here. She just witnessed him kill, no wait, slaughter and decapitate cannibals in the wild who manipulated Aria with kindness. After days of not getting Perry to talk and being afraid of him, here comes this one guy, charismatic, young and kindly conversing with her. Aria had gone to find berries to prove she could be useful while Perry left her in the cave to hunt. Watching him slaughter these men turned her stomach and an anger of disgust rose within towards Perry’s ability to do such a thing. Later, he offers to find food to feed her but she snapped at him saying she wanted nothing from him.

So he cleverly goes over and brings a branch of berries. He tells her that he’ll teach her to hunt for her own food then. She responds to this and he’s relieved. So he tells her that first, she needs to crush a small piece and smell it.

Here, her scent is now of violets and not of decay and death as it was in the beginning when they met…

PAUSE. TIME OUT…

Can we talk about WHY her scent is NOW violets. I didn’t TAB this part but oh, it is most definitely memorable.

“Holy Red Faced Mortification Batman!”

The end of chapter 16 (Perry’s POV chapter-page 153-154)…Oh, dear, I’m laughing replaying the entire scene in my head. Aria wakes up and he instantly breathes in her temper and panics, asking her what’s wrong.

She tells him that she is dying. She’s bleeding.

Poor Perry freaks out trying to assess the situation. Where is she bleeding? Her feet? Or did she eat the poisonous berries (this is remember, before the berries scene)?

Perry inhales and suddenly, her musky Dweller scent is almost gone.

For the first time since he’d known her, her flesh smelled like something he recognized, feminine and sweet.

He smelled violets.

He took a step back, swearing silently as it hit him. “You’re not dying…you really don’t know?”

“I don’t know anything anymore.”

Perry looked down at the ground and drew another breath, no doubt in his mind.

“Aria…it’s your first blood.”

“What The…Omylanta…WHAT?” was everything I was repeating in my head over and over. I was MORTIFIED for her. It continues now with the next chapter, 17-ARIA’s POV.

She was bleeding. Like an animal. Dwellers didn’t menstruate.

She’d been prepared for death. Death was to be expected on the outside. A normal consequence of being tossed into the Death Shop. But no matter how she looked at it, menstruating was utterly barbaric.

And this gorgeous, wild looking guy had to tell her! Oh dear God, where is the mercy!? *laughing, cringing, laughing more*

Anyway, back to the berries. Now thanks to her new found bloody circumstance, the up side? She smelled like violets now.

Next, Perry had her look at the color of the berries. Then, rub it on her skin, after that, put it on her lip. Perry’s heartbeat picks up watching her do these things. She’s oblivious, feeling determined and strong to learn something for her own independence. He starred at her lower lip even after she had placed the berry there. He couldn’t look away. Now, he told her to place it on her tongue.

Perry shot to his feet before he finished the words, nearly tripping over himself. He ran a hand over his head, feeling skitty, like he needed to laugh or run or do something. He picked up a stone and tossed it into the creek, trying to get the image of her tasting the berry out of his mind. Trying to keep from pumping her scent into his nose like wanted to.

They have then a light moment, and laugh. It’s a wonderful scene. Of course, one of my favorites. Be sure to check out the entire fauxto from Margot’s YA book Fauxto series (link above the fanart collage).

Tab #3 – (page 238-243) Aria is at Marron’s and finds out the Auds overheard that Bliss was destroyed by an Aether–where her mother is. Roar’s brilliant and snarky matchmaking plot leading Perry to go to Aria’s room to comfort her himself. Perry was hoping Roar would go since Aria and Roar get along so well and well, due to his own silent nature, they haven’t clicked yet through conversation the same. He’s been also trying to avoid her because they have no chance together, so why torture himself and go there?

I laughed out loud when Roar gave his analogy of his own moment with Liv.

“Remember that time I was trying to talk to Liv and I fell off the roof?

Later, Perry not understanding where this was going…

“Was there a point to that story?” Perry stepped out as soon as the elevator doors parted. “Are you coming?”

“Fall off your own roof, Perry,” he said as the door slid closed.

Best. Line. Ever.

So Perry goes, hesitates but enters the room to find Aria sitting on her bed, hurting. He scans the room and knows the only other place to sit is in the space beside Aria…on the bed. The eternity for him to take those four steps to her bed. He sits and notices nervously every detail that only when you’re mind is reeling, and emotions are heightened, do you notice.

They converse and have some breakthrough. My favorite is after he apologizes for not being kinder during the first part of their journey, she says she’ll forgive him on two conditions.

First–she cons him into explaining his own temper right now (in that moment). It’s very vulnerable for him and though he tries, he freaks out, clams up from being so exposed and says he just can’t do it.

“Now you have an idea how it feels. How exposed I feel around you.”

Perry laughed. “That was tricky of you…”

Then, her second condition,

“Will you stay? I think I’d sleep better if you stayed here tonight. Then we could miss them together.”

Love it!

Tab #4 – Perry finally asks to hear Aria sing (After already hearing her accidentally on one of the first nights in a cave, when she woke from her first Dream/nightmare and was singing to herself). Page 250-252

Here everything changes on the outside for Perry and Aria. Things held within, not spoken, begin to be expressed. Its so second nature for her to sing. She knows she can and never hesitates to do it. Possibly from years of her mother having her perform during their visits. Also must be after her last encounter with her mother–in person–denying her mother a moment to hear Aria sing for real, not in a Realm, which was weird and uncommon for Aria. She had a sullen teenager moment and was a complete brat, singing a ridiculous song instead. It was the last time she was able to sing for her mother. Perhaps, that kept her from wanting to ever hold back when asked to sing. Plus, she was confident because it was genetically something she knew was given to her.

She sings for Perry and he is mesmerized.

Perry closed his eyes when she was finished. “You have a voice as sweet as your scent,” he said, his words deep and quiet. “Sweet as violets.”

Her heart stopped in her chest. He thought she had a scent like violets? “Perry…do you want to know the words?”

His eyes flew open. “Yes.”

Her eyes never shifted away from his as she translated and it’s as though a force pulled their hands together. Something now changed between them. It was beautiful. My feels were so jumping in my heart!

Tab #5 The Van Gogh’s Starry Night reference that painted more clearly what I was already seeing in my head while reading this. Page 294

Tab #6 THEIR FIRST KISS *squeals* *flails arms around* *grabs Russ-teddy-and squeezes him with joy painted on my face*

pages 295-298 <~~~cause Roar comes and jokingly interrupts!

Roar had been teaching Aria to fight with a knife. That was Roar’s specialty weapon, not Perry’s. His was the bow and arrow. One day, Aria is practicing by herself and later catches Perry standing there, watching her for who knows how long. He offers to be her sparring partner today cause Roar is still sleeping. Freaking out she pretends it’s “Cool”.

After some genuine back and forth and then sprinkle on some flirting, Perry gave in like a man in heat *rolls head back laughing* He tosses his blade aside.

“I can’t concentrate. I thought I could do this.” He put his hands up in defeat. “Can’t.” Then he came closer. Aria didn’t think her heart could beat any faster, but then it did, faster with every step he took toward her, until it hammered against her chest, making her breathless when he stopped right in front of her.

“I’ve been watching you and Roar. Wanting it to be me training with you.” His shoulders came up. “I don’t want to do it now.”

“Why?” Aria’s voice was high and thin.

He smiled, a flash of shyness, before he leaned close. “There are other things I’d rather do when I’m alone with you.”

Time to step off the edge. “Then do them.”

*gasps* ARIA!

Eeeep! Feels!

Tab #7 Umm…errr…yeah…so treehouse, Aria, Perry, Divergent shirt off-Tattoo touching-makeout-scene moment (funny, they both have one…and…I dont hate it! ) and then…*clears throat* Aria and Perry bond and are joined intimately. I love the last paragraph, page 325. Nicely done VRossi! *winks*

And last but not least…

Tab #8 The Spontaneous Kiss:(page 327) The only thing I dared mark this book with. I lightly, highlighted it cause it was just too darn sweet and precious. I loved this.

In the afternoon, they stopped to eat on a rocky outcrop. Perry brushed a kiss on her cheek while she was chewing, and she learned that it was the loveliest thing to be kissed for no reason, even while chewing food. It brightened the woods, and the never sky, and everything. Aria embraced the tactic, calling it the Spontaneous Kiss…

*sighs serenely*

Well, there it is folks. If those tabs didn’t stir your curiosity to read this book, then I don’t know what will. I mean, for those who haven’t and still decided to read through all the spoilery parts.  I enjoyed this book. It was just a wonderful, beautiful, endearing story filled with brilliant imagination and dimensional characters that you can’t help but love!

I hope if you havent, you will check out this series. I am staring my mailbox down wanting the second book of the series immediately. I am glaring more at my inbox which has yet to tell me that the Amazon seller has shipped my book. *mouth curves downward* Not happy…not at all. Well, that’s what I get for being impatient and ordering something online on New Years Eve…

Really Des? Really?

Happy Reading Everyone! Till next time!

Uncategorized

Current TBR & 100 Book Goal 2014

First things first…

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE!!!

new year fireworks

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My Endless, Ever-Increasing To-Be-Read Pile!

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So 2014 is coming up (in a matter of hours where I am-East Coast United States) and watching different book-tubers 2013 review in books that they’ve read, I feel inspired. First–I laugh at my cousin who makes fun of me, constantly asking

“Don’t you own every YA book already?”

I gasp and laugh. Not. Even. Close.

2013 was the year I was thrust out of my major life reading slump and the year I fell in love with YA, choosing to embrace that love publicly–no shame.

Jane Austen and the Classic period dramas have always been loves of my life. In addition to them, it was difficult to find books throughout my growing up–adolescence years–that caught my interest. There was a season, years ago, where Nicholas Spark’s early books were one of the few I could devour in two days. I also grew up (by choice) in a religious community, so many of the books I read (between ages 16-28) were pertaining to self-help, and religious studies. I was teaching religious studies for a couple years, so even more so, those were the books I studied and delve into. In regards to “just for fun” books, I didn’t read much throughout those years. A few sneaked in here and there but not many. Since I wasn’t reading any, I actually wrote screenplays (scripts for movies) a lot. I wrote stories I wanted to read, I guess you could say. That was my outlet.

Certain changes in my life began to steer me a different direction. It was time to move on towards a new chapter in my life. Those years were good to me but my life desires were shifting. I remember YA books caught my attention before knowing what YA even was. I had never heard the term before this year. Soon, when I had heard of it, the stereotype that it was only about vampires, werewolves, love triangles and/or sexy themes flooded mine and many others impression of YA. Still to this day, these are the stereotypes people believe about YA.

I asked a group of high school seniors who came into the bookstore I worked in and asked if they read Young Adult literature. Their response was the stereotype. They didn’t know the MANY sub-genres within YA, and how one of them even, is Contemporary, which offers many beautiful and amazing coming of age stories, in various forms of storytelling. They were the cool kids reading Hemingway. (So of course, I steered them towards John Green)

I had read a couple YA books and didn’t even know they were YA. I liked them, though I didn’t have YA reading friends at the time to share my delight with. One book, my best friend and I did read together after I read it, and couldn’t stop talking about it with her.

It was “I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend” by Cora Harrison. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I am a Jane Austen fan, again, so this was just sweet, endearing, perfection.

Soon, my niece, who I adore, introduced me to Divergent by Veronica Roth. As I have written in previous blogs before, this pulled me out of my reading slump, opening the door into all things Young Adult Literature.

I researched and found communities such as Epic Reads, & YA Book-tubers. Suddenly, life had sunshine again. Something I didn’t know was missing, revived something inside me and life made sense again. Earlier this year, my Avid-Reader seal was stamped on my forehead and I wasn’t looking back. Thus began the book purchasing need and obsession.

TBR challenge 2014

This makes me excited now for 2014. I am giving myself the challenge to read 100 (one hundred) books during the year of 2014! I believe it can be done!

So there’s 54 weeks in a year. That would mean that reading one book a week would only leave me at 54 books at the end of this new year and not 100. Understanding this, I must aim to tackle at least 2 books a week (7 days). Now, I have done this before. I know it is entirely feasible. I read Divergent and Insurgent in 3 days.

It will definitely be a challenge because I foresee 2014 to be a huge shift for my life and my families lives. I know that life will pick up and become busy next year. I also intend to, and know that much of my free time will be spent on finishing my first book. There are SO many books coming out 2014 that I am itching to read, and there are also TONS of books I am catching up on since my YA love for reading was just birthed into fruition this year.

What are your 2014 TBR Reading Goals?

TBR

Here is my current TBR pile: (photoshoot)

TBR 2014

TBR 3

TBR 7

TBR 6

TBR 4

TBR 2

Arent they purrtty? This list is just “coming out of 2013-going into 2014 TBR pile”. This will clearly change very soon. Already, I have a new book on it’s way. I organized my bookshelf (finally) and put away all the books I’ve read thus far. The last six months, they’ve been either at my bedside or in different piles on my desk, with a few exceptions actually in the bookshelf. What a concept, right?

Now they’re all put nicely away (separation anxiety). From this pile, I created an immediate TBR pile by my bedside. Baby steps people, baby steps.

TBR bedside

For those interested, here is the complete list of my current TBR pile:

1. (currently reading) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

2. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (she’s adorably awesome!)

3. Legend by Marie Lu

4. Deception by C.J. Redwine (love her!)

5. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

6. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

7. (an ARC I won!) Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam

8. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

9. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

10. Reboot by Amy Tintera

11. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (book 1) by Cassandra Clare

12. The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes (book 2) by Cassandra Clare

13. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

14. The Host by Stephanie Myers

15. Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

16. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

17. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (don’t kill me EpicReads for not reading this still lol)

18. More Than This by Patrick Ness (got this ARC at bookstore I used to work at)

19. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

20. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

21. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Omygoodness! I just realized, I forgot a few more. There are also these…

TBR 8

22. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

23. Brave by Louisa Luna

24. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (technically a MG-Middle Grade read)

25. Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors (Um, it had “coffeehouse” on it…curiosity sprung)

26. The People of Sparks (book 2) by Jeanne DuPrau (didn’t know this was a series)

27. The Edge of the Sword by Rebecca Tingle (a free book for my purchases-it looked YA & so I was curious)

28. Leaving Paradise (book 1) by Simone Elkeles (I was suggested this from exchange bookstore employee)

29. Return to Paradise (book 2) by Simone Elkeles

And that wraps it up all! Hope everyone has an amazing, safe, epic, life altering New Years!!! *champagne glasses clink*

happy new yeatr

Uncategorized

Winter Break Reading Slump

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Reading Slump? Who’s with me?!?

Omylanta. What. In. The. World. Is. Wrong. With. Me? I blame the Holidays. Holidays 2013, you are to blame for my busyness, my distractions, my exhaustion, etc…Yes…holidays…I’ll blame you.

But for real, I do believe the season is what’s bringing much distraction from our beloved hobby of living, breathing need…reading.

Apparently (and thankfully) I am not the only one. Others are feeling the slump as well. Since Thanksgiving, there has been a significant HALT on all things books…except buying them of course. My TBR grows and grows but making a dent in them? Not so much. *exhales*

It’s crazy too because I am ridiculously excited to read many of those beautiful books at my bedside that are waiting to be read, and yet…nothing. Why? Well, what usually has been happening is, throughout the day, I’m running around, prepping for something, catching up on sleep on the days I can and come night time, where I can cozy up to a book…I’m exhausted. I’m beyond the point of “tired but if I pick this book up, I’ll magically be energized for the next few hours reading”. Nope. My eyes won’t have it. They. Are. Done. for the day.

I’ve had moments here and there where I can bust out thee book (yes, I meant “thee” not “the”) and catch up.

i.e. Carwash

“Really Google!? No reading selfies at all of someone inside their car during a carwash?” *groans* “I knew I should’ve taken the picture…but I was reading”.

In Line at the Store

Again…a google image fail. How are there not more pictures of people reading books randomly in places like these?

Waiting in the Drive-thru…this was the best image I could find on Google…

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You know what this means? People don’t read books!!!! We need more people, reading books…shamelessly! *chuckles to self* but for real. Moving on.

Any-hoo, I’m ready to break whatever it is that is funk-a-fying my reading habit and getting back into gear before 2014 rolls in!

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Yesterday was the first attempt. Now, it may not have been a complete success but I believe it was a step forward in the right direction. So, I found one source to the problem…Hallmark Christmas Movies. Oh, how my weakness from November till the 1st of January every year is Hallmark’s 24/7 Christmas movies. I. LOVE. THEM! I will be so sad to see them go come New Years. My television pretty much lives at that channel and no other during the Holidays, especially since all my favorite shows (on other networks) are on Winter hiatus.

I’ll get home–tired–and turn on Hallmark. My attention becomes very limited for anything else. Last night, I got home and did not turn on the television, at all. That was helpful. I was able to get productive. I had planned on reading at the end of my productive trip but it was not so. As you all know, I FINALLY GOT A NEW LAPTOP! Did I introduce you all to him?

Black Stallion

black stallion 2

Technically, he’s Black Stallion 2.0 –I had this while ordeal with the place I got the computer at. I had to return it, exchange it, issues etc. Let us not relive it.

*sings* “Isn’t he lovely? Isn’t he beautiful?”

Well now that I feel back in action, I’ve been catching up and pre-planning blogs and feeling as though I have a grip on a portion of my life again. Man, what did we do before technology was what it is now? You know, before even beepers? (Any one old enough knows what I’m talking about)

So, alas, I did not read again last night, but made steps toward the goal.

I want to get back to that place where I am feeling that kindred spirit with Belle!

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Have any of you been suffering with “Reading-Funk-Slump-itis”? The symptoms include an emptiness forming in your soul, desire to read but can’t seem to do it, mind failing to grasp anymore than a chapter every so often, lack of OTP feels and more. If you are experiencing some, or all and other symptoms pertaining to RFS-itis, please see a specialist immediately.

I suggest a book-tuber, or an Epic Reads Tea Time episode to inspire the need to escape into a certain world, and invade the lives of Main Characters, living through them vicariously.

No fine print during the making of this PSA.

End of “soundbite”

Happy Holidays and soon to be New Years to everyone!

Happy Reading!

<3, D. Marie