Book Talk: Deception by CJ Redwine

photo courtesy of: Hope for Health website



“Grande White Mocha with one pump of Cinnamon Dulce?”

*grabs coffee and thanks Barista*

Is this my first Book Talk of 2014? One moment…

*goes through archives*

Nope, just kidding. “Under the Never Sky” was my first. This is then my first “Book-Talk” which really isn’t THAT different from other book blogging posts I’ve done.

Book Talks? What’s New:

For the most part, I will post Goodreads synopsis of the books we will be chatting about and then I will get into my overall feel coming out of the book.

Then, I’ll be posting what I believe will be a frequent addition to further book-talk posts:

Memorable Moments Tabs!

I did this for the last post and I liked it. I just listed off and shared memorable moments for me in the book. For those who read it, did you like that? It was Spoiler-y so is it a good idea? Does it only include those who’ve read it?

I feel if you haven’t read it, and are curious, it may stir more interest in reading the book…but because of Spoiler’s should I label major plot point Tabs?

I want to ramble about how I felt about said books, but I also want those who stumble along to enjoy and find what they’re looking for when they chose to click on zee blog post about a book.

I’d love your insights on what you look for when you see “Book Talk (insert book name here)”. What are you interested in reading?

Now…on to the book at hand!

*sips coffee* Let’s Chat!

First, I would like to say that I LOVE C.J. Redwine. I follow her on Twitter (twitter handle: @cjredwine) and she is hilarious and a major lover of all things Benedict Cumberbatch!

And today (1-8-14) is her Birthday! YAY! Happy Birthday C.J. *sends BC gifs*


When an author is awesome as a person, it indeed makes me curious to check their brain out through a book they wrote.

defiance deception

Deception is the second book in the Defiance trilogy by C.J. Synopsis? Sure…here is it! Brought to you by-Goodreads!

Goodreads Synopsis:

Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander’s whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel (kick-butt redhead <~~~I, Des, added that *wink*… as you were), grief stricken over her father’s death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it’s up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington’s army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.

But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn’t long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive.

In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight

*end of sound bite*

Warning: Spoilers will ensue…

There is A LOT that happens both in book one and book two of this series. Holy Moly and talk about PLOT TWIST in the last few chapters of Book two! In book one, I loved the tension between Logan and Rachel. Omylanta, when she was sent to live with Logan (his “genius” without thinking idea) because Rachel needed to have a Protector over her…I LOVED those later sexual tension scenes. Logan pretending he didn’t like Rachel in that way–pfft! Right.

Book one ended with a breakthrough in their relationship where confessions of love are made. They went through hell together and apart. They left us just as Baalboden was devastated from their failed attempt to bring forth “The Cursed One”.

In the beginning of book two, I felt the pressure Logan had now as the leader of the Baalboden survivors. I do like that this story has been told through both Rachel’s and Logan’s point of view (POV). Logan, who was the outcast orphan–after the Commander *glares at Commander*–I do. not. like. that guy–killed his mother in the middle of the street for him to see. Now, here he stood, with all this new pressure to lead these frantic, confused allegiance citizens…there are like five out of the almost two hundred survivors who are actually on Logan’s side…no pressure!

Poor Rachel…throughout 95% of this book she is traumatized by many things. The Commander forced her into a covered wagon and killed, slaughtered Oliver in front of her. His blood…everywhere. She later finds out her father indeed died. Then there’s Melkin–the professional the Commander sent with Rachel to go find her father’s package. He was being threatened to bring the package and kill Rachel or else his wife, Eloise–who is pregnant–will die.

Rachel and him fought and she killed him. His blood stained her skin and haunted her dreams. This poor girl’s nightmares! She is haunted with the overwhelming scent and flood of blood as Oliver, her Father and Melkin hiss at her within those nightmares. There were two “Feels” moments in the beginning with Rachel and Logan but after that, Rachel keeps pulling away, sinking deeper into a numbing shell.

I read the first half of this book a few months ago, then put it down because I knew book three was still a ways away to be released. This whole reading series and needing to wait almost a year for the next to come out is…AGONY!

When I got sick this past week, I declared it a “Reading Weekend”, meaning I was not going to feel guilty for NOT being productive. The first book I picked up was Deception. It was time to not feel meh. about leaving something half done. I am a little rusty with all the details from the first half. After a quick review, I remember all the CRAP they went through. My goodness!

The pace did slow down a bit only because they were on a LONG journey with this HUGE crowd of survivors to guide and worry about. I felt the mundane portions of their travel. I had heart spikes when things like, the boys guarding being murdered happened *sad face*. The sorrow of burying them, the fury in both Logan’s and Rachel’s hearts–I felt it. Then it was back to the long, strenuous journey to hopefully, safety inside Lankenshire’s walls.


Holy Deceiving-Never-Trusted-Him-but-Didn’t-See-That-Coming Batman!

The last 150 0r so pages of the book really picked up suddenly. From the moment when Logan decided to blow up the bridge over the river but needed to get everyone safely across it first, and Thom…Oh Thom… *sniffles* so much was slowly being revealed.

This was a journey read, like I was literally stepping into this adventure fantasy with them and walking through the Wastelands, experiencing it all with them. I have been enjoying this series very much. A LOT of craziness and action happens in this book!

And now…


deception quote

Share them with me if you’ve read it or read along if you don’t mind spoilers and maybe need more incentive to pick this read up…

Tab #1  Rachel physically teaching Logan archery *wiggles eyebrows*

This was a great scene in the beginning of the book. We come out of book one with that wonderful kiss starting underwater and then surfacing and love confessions *girly squeal* so coming into book two, you’re hoping for some “feels” after that. They have the weight of world on them–mainly Logan and he’s stressed and over thinking EVERYTHING! His brain is an old mathematical adding machine. Rachel is all instinct. Not being able to catch a simple rabbit with a bow and arrow, Rachel mocks his taking 10 minutes, letting the rabbit escape before shooting.

She gets behind him, molding her body with his and he cant concentrate *giggles* He gets all nerdy, trying to think about the proper method for creating a battery just to give his mind anything else to think about…

“Got it,” she says, and her lips brush the side of my neck.

All thoughts of assembling batteries fly out of my head.

I spin away from the rabbit, toss the bow onto the ground, and pull Rachel against me before she can open her mouth to tell me she was right–for once, poetry was the answer instead of math.


Tab #2 Rachel trying to seduce Logan in the tent to run away from her nightmares

Poor Rachel wakes up every night screaming till she is hoarse from her nightmares but refuses to talk about them. Logan wakes her up, begging her to talk to him, let him in.

Poor boy almost didn’t stand a chance. He tries pulling away and stopping her. Finally does, and her ego is bruised. He reassures her that he most definitely wants her but not like this, not to hide or run away from something, using him as a distraction.

I almost felt embarrassed for Rachel and then wanted to yell at her.

“Get it together woman! If you do, you and Logan could enjoy each others love more! Gosh!” *storms away from Rachel after poking her with every syllable*

Then I remember what she’s going through and feel bad for her. I can’t imagine watching someone take a life you love right in front of you and then taking a life yourself.

Tab #3 Thom’s sacrifice for Logan *quiver lip*

Our next tab is alllllll the way into the last half of the book. Logan and Jodi were racing in the wagon behind the entire group he’s leading, trying to keep Carrington’s army and the Commander at bay in time to bomb the bridge, leaving them with no access to follow and attack. Logan and Jodi are on the bridge and the army is catching up. Logan has these jars of glycerin and acid. There are too many from the survivors group still lagging behind. Logan forces Jodi to take the wagon and fill it with the rest who are behind and get the HECK. OFF. THE. BRIDGE. Which means…Logan wouldn’t make it. His stupid plan was to try and jump off the bridge before the explosion, into the rocky water below and hope he can survive.

“What?! Logan! Here you are screaming at Rachel for sacrificing herself without thinking. Granted, hers have been more emotionally driven, and reckless but still…Logan? Dieing is NOT an option!”

Here comes Thom on horse, gets off, gives Logan the horse and tells him to go, he’ll blow up the bridge.

A sense of sick desperation wells up within me. “The group needs us both. Go back, Thom. Please.”

He meets my eyes, and pulls the sleeve of his tunic up to his elbow. A bouquet of purple-black bruises mottles the underside of his arm (the poison).

“I’m a walking dead man, Logan. Let me die with dignity. I want my life to count for something bigger than myself.”

“Thom,” I whisper. My throat closes, and my eyes burn.

…”Your life already counts for something bigger than yourself. I couldn’t have come this far without you. You’re a hero. Even before you blow up this bridge, you’re a hero.”

*ugly sobs* Oh Thom. Theses people used to think Logan was scum, an outcast of dirt on the street no one liked. Here now was Logan, a revered leader who was admired and respected unto death. This moment hit the “feels” a bit there.

Tab #4 Oh freaking chapter 40 *weeps into sleeve* Why? C.J. Why? (turn away if you don’t want to know who dies…)





I didn’t expect this but yes…I cried in this part. My heart clenched and my throat tightened. I felt Rachel’s pain…her best friend. The girl with the big heart who loved Rachel. Rachel who is difficult to love–she says–was loved whole-heartedly by Sylph. Since they were children, they were inseparable. The memories Rachel reminisces on as Sylph slowly is dying and OMY-freaking-LANTA, Smithson! Ugh! Poor Smithson–her husband. He’s by her side, weeping, stroking her hair. *quivering lip times ten*

I am seriously welling up tears here going over text for you guys! *takes a breath*

“Oh Sylph.” I breathe her name out and the pain rushes in. A knot in my chest sends bright shards of hurt into my veins with every heartbeat…

…”Please,” Smithson whispers, and Sylph tries to smile.

The rag can’t contain the blood. It gushes from Sylph and coats my hands…

…Her lips move, but no sound comes out. I don’t need to hear the words, though. I know Sylph would spend her dying breath telling us she loves us.

“I love you, too,” I say, and stay pressed against her.

*wails ugly sobs* Four pages of this moment and scene developing to Sylph’s last breath. Rip my freaking heart out! It was such a beautifully told moment of loss. I felt it as a reader and as Rachel. Man…that was such a tough scene. Well done, C.J. *wipes tear*






Logan…was..born…in…ROWANSMARK? And his parents aren’t his parents?! His mother, whose death he has carried with a fire and need for justice within him…wasn’t…his…mother?!

Here are these two nerdy old men talking about maps and gibberish and here comes the one from Lankenshire, Darius, just walking right up to Logan and telling him with such conviction,

“We both know you were born in Rowansmark.” Darius’  words linger in the air between us, and I frown. “You’re mistaken. Now abut Hodenswalk and Chelmingford–“

“It’s uncanny,” Darius says, leaning forward as if he wants a closer look at me. “You have Marcus’ eyes, but everything else look like Julia.”


I was completely taken off guard by this. There was NOTHING that led to someone figuring this out. Holy Guacamole. What the what? Rowansmark is THE enemy. That already, not cool. Telling Logan the woman he thought was his mother, killed by the Commander, is not his mother…whoa! THEN, he goes off revealing about the “lost McEntire boy”.

So much unravels from this, leading to Tab #7…the other PLOT TWIST! The revelation of whose been leaving those cryptic messages in Logan’s tent or stuff since the beginning.

Tab #6 Ok, I laughed out loud here…The best line that has ever come out of Quinn’s mouth. Then the truth about Quinn’s motives revealed…

This was hilarious but also felt SO out of character for Quinn. All this time, I never found him capable of pulling off wit like this but I will happily ignore that and enjoy the scene. It was hilarious.

All along, Quinn has acted crush-worthy in regards to Rachel. His over protectiveness towards her, always being there for her and THEN, helping her break through the mess in her head to the point she’s sobbing on his lap…and then Logan walks in. He asks for a word with him outside. Rachel’s too weak in her hospital bed to run after them before Logan kills Quinn. *laughing*

I turn to face him. “I don’t know how to feel about you right now.”

His brow rises, but he remains silent.

“On the one hand, I’m incredibly grateful to you for saving Rachel’s life. It almost cost you your own. I don’t know how to repay that.” I realize I’m advancing on him, and make myself stop halfway across the room. “On the other hand, I want to kill you.”

And here’s the most random thing I would’ve ever thought Quinn would say and I loved it.

“You’re welcome. And please don’t.”

I wasn’t expecting it, stopped reading and laughed.

Then they go back and forth, as Logan tries to settle this issue of Quinn being in love with Rachel.

“You love her. I get it. And because you do, you’re the perfect person to protect her. But if you think you can just…” I choke on the words. On the image of Quinn’s arms wrapped around Rachel while she snuggles against his chest. “I respect you. Don’t make me have to hurt you.”

His mouth drops open. “You think I’m in love with Rachel?”

I stare at him for a moment as the anger slowly fizzles and confusion takes its place. “Well, I did until you just said her name like that.”


They later go back and find Rachel hanging off the bed in attempts to have gone after them. *chuckling* That was good.


Ian’s the punk leaving cryptic messages of atonement. Ian’s the bastard who slaughtered I don’t how many young boy guards in cold blood. Ian is the *angry keyboard flail* sdsfoewhfewfosabfa who poisoned the marked killing the one I mentioned above that I gave options not to know in case you didn’t want to know and read it first *heaves* IAN!

He has been working with the Rowansmark trackers, he’s Marcus’ son who is seeking revenge–he calls it Atonement, pfft!–he’s…he’s…LOGAN’S BROTHER! And trying to KILL HIM!

What the WHAT!? The ending to book two escalates tremendously and I was in shock at everything that unraveled.

Why C.J.? Why August for Book three!?

And last….

Tab #8 A little “FEELS” to carry us along as we wait for the continuation unto completion. I have been personally told by C.J. through twitter that there will be MANY FEELS in Book 3 *hugs pillow & squeals into it like a thirteen year old at a OneDirection’s concert*

So they need to face some foe. Now that Ian’s evilness is revealed, it’s time to END HIM! Rachel’s still very weak and her arm is injured. Logan needs to help her put on the Dragonskin thats like this ha-mazing lightweight but strong armor. The only problem is that she is not wearing an undertunic. Awkward moment with Adam there. He “um’s” his way out of the room, leaving Logan and Rachel alone to do this.

He finds a pretty sleek undertunic and needs to undress her of the tunic to then put it on. She’s turned around away from him and he promises not to look at anything she isn’t ready for him to see. Oh the feels.

I’ll leave you curious enough to want to read it. Let’s just say, he digs him fingers into her hips and tells her, not asks her to “Walk away. Please.”


That’s all folks!

I didn’t intend for this to be so long. I’m working on different ways to put these out there. I like the Memorable Tabs but need to adjust the first half more.

Either way, the point is sharing the read! Hope you all check this one out! You should…look, Johnny Depp did (ok, no, it’s actually an edit someone created for C.J. but still)

deception johnny depp

Happy reading!

<3, D Marie




Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (book review)


Goodreads Synopsis:



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.



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.



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.













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


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)


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…


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!


Mockingjay Book Review


(Warning: There will be Spoilers)

Summed Up Impression: Sad, Shocked, Heartbreaking, Serious, Intense–all leaving me in the end = Heavyhearted.

Yes, this has taken me FOREVER to finally review and put out there. First, I must say I needed time to process this book. Then the holidays took over my life. Then I had to return and review the book, take notes, watch other book-tubers reviews (to refresh my memory on things/points I may have missed) and finally–here I am!

Here’s a funny thought I had: My feelings at the end of Mockingjay could have ended up being very different. I believe Allegiant saved my impression of the ending of this series. *chuckles* Those who read Mockingjay years ago when it first came out (2010 – 3 years before Allegiant was released) seem to have been slightly disappointed with it. Then again, it seem to be just like Allegiant‘s reactions–there were half pro-ending, half con-ending. Allegiant, to me beat out all crippling ending books by a landslide. That being so, I wasn’t mad at Suzanne Collins at the end of this series, but I was definitely heavyhearted about it.

So much to say but not sure how to say any of it…so bear with me–here goes:

From the beginning–chapter one–Katniss is visiting what is now the non-existent District 12 which was obliterated by the Capitol once the Quarter Quell Games began. Katniss takes a trip to see the remains, taking it all in alone. The end of Catching Fire, Gale tells a wounded Katniss as soon as she wakes up from unconsciousness that District 12 is gone. She goes to visit her old home, the one before becoming a Victor in the Games, and then to the Victor’s Village home where she finds a white rose, President Snow deliberately left to shake her. This symbol becomes a prominent element that haunts her till the very end. It’s so sad and impacts you reading her inner dialogue, her struggle, her mind tormented, traumatized by all the events that have taken place.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, she finds out Peeta–the boy she finally realizes she loves–has been captured by the Capitol, and Haymitch did not keep his promise. All along, keeping Katniss alive was the true mission because she is to become The Mockingjay for the District 13 Rebellion (dum, Dum, DUMMM!) This for a lack of a better term, PISSES HER OFF!

My heart was mourning Peeta’s lack just as much as Katniss’. More than half of the book and no Peeta–not really, if you count his brief TV appearances as him being around. I fell in love with Peeta in Book 2 and here we are Book 3 and there’s barely any Peeta–whoa! And don’t get me started on when he finally DOES show up…well, sure, get me started but let’s get into that in another paragraph or two from now.

Katniss finally and reluctantly accepts President Coin’s offer to be The Mockingjay–Gale’s encouraging–and her first connection with what it means to be this symbol happens in District 8–at the hospital with all the wounded who reach out for her–they’re broken, dieing–just the sight of her, give them hope. This scene touched me. Collins described the reality of war in this scene, leaving no gory detail behind. I was there with Katniss. I felt the heat, I could smell the stench, the rotting wounds, the metallic blood fogging the lack of air in that tent. It was an emotional scene. Then the freaking planes came to bomb it and I was feeling Katniss’ rage, and anger over this inhumane injustice. Here we meet the leader of District 8, Paylor, who is not afraid to face danger and kick some ass. (she ends up playing a big role in the ending)

President Snow…man, talk about a well written villain. There were parts in this book where he made my hairs stand on my arms. The way he was using Peeta. At first, you don’t fully understand what is going on with Peeta. You assume, logically they are threatening and torturing him to say the things he has said on air during his interviews with Caesar. Then…oh, THEN! Okay, let’s get into it now:

Peeta comes back!

“yay” Peeta has been rescued, Katniss is running to see him. I feel the anticipation, the need to jump into his arms, hug him, kiss him, cry with joy that he’s back…and then…HE FREAKING TRIES TO KILL KATNISS? What the hell just happened?!

I literally put the book down.

“Why? Why would Peeta do that? I don’t understand.” My heart stopped.

I mourned throughout the rest of this book at Peeta’s condition. He was brainwashed to hate Katniss and think she was a Capitol mutt. My heart broke. It broke more when they tried and tried and couldn’t fix him. The interactions between Katniss and Peeta when he was finally able to be calm in her presence–his cold, angry, sarcastic, resentful demeanor–it was so sad. I wanted to slap Katniss a few times here. Her defense mechanism was to become cold and hard in return. I was mad at how she was handling it. I knew she was hurt but it wasn’t helping. Gale was able to swoop right in and take advantage of this time.

In the end, he knew it…her heart was Peeta’s, no matter what he had become or was going through, she loved him. She tried moving on with Gale, but she couldn’t keep lying to her heart. She tried, but Gale called it.

I applaud Collins’ ARC for Gale. It was beautifully done. From the beginning, there were flickers of who he was and who he was growing to become. In Book 2, it was his moment to rise up and act upon years and years of conspiring hopes and plans. In Book 3, he rises to a certain level of authority (Which sways back and forth at times for coming to Katniss’ rescue or just taking her side on things). In the end, where Gale ended up made complete sense. It was well done.

This was a book about WAR, and every aspect of WAR, we most definitely got.

When you’re an adult reading these YA dystopian series, you forget sometimes that these are sixteen, seventeen year olds dealing with more than any teenager, or even adult should ever deal with in a lifetime. Katniss goes through SO MUCH, that for the ending, Katniss’ ARC was slow to come around…like…20 years later slow. (epilogue) Initially, it upset me but then I remembered that this was a poor seventeen year old who went through the pit beneath the deeper pit of hell and she did it for love and in the end, lost that love she sacrificed everything for. She was left in the wake of a brutal, beyond repair reality where nothing felt, or would ever be the same again. Almost as though, her difficult reality prior to volunteering for the Hunger Games was a better way to live than everything that followed that one choice.

There was a time I truly believed we would lose Peeta forever. There was no curing him. He wanted to be sacrificed, left behind, not trusting himself to go through one of his “Kill Katniss episodes”. My heart ached over this Peeta. He was broken apart and not put back together correctly. The boy of the bread, who grew into a man in Catching Fire, now stood before us, changed, altered beyond his will, with aspects of him gone.

By the time they all ventured out to get Snow on Katniss’ “fake” mission, I almost couldnt get through the rest of it. My heart was heavy and aching. So much death. One catastrophic obstacle and failure after another. When those damn mutated white lizard people who permeated of Snow’s white roses came into the scene, I was sick to my stomach for Katniss. Her torment and trauma as these things hissed her name, desiring her blood and killing ruthlessly anything and everyone in the process was disturbing. They had creep me out.


When Finnick died…it all went downhill from there for me. Poor Finnick. Finding out what they did to him all those years in the Capitol–he was a sex slave–threatening him to cooperate for his love, Anne’s sake–heartbreaking. After getting attached now to Finnick–him and Anne finally getting married, her pregnant with his baby–UGH! My heart needed a moment after Finnick died. Not Cool.

Then hell broke loose. Death everywhere. Chaos. Hopelessness.

AND THEN…After EVERYTHING this series based itself upon…PRIM…DIES…

Excuse me…I need a moment…

I mean, seriously! (moving on)

President Snow is captured, Katniss confronts him one last time, and she finds out Coin (who I never trusted) ordered the bombing where all the children and wounded were–that killed Prim.

Katniss kills Coin instead of Snow, gets put away, Snow coughs blood while laughing to death (literally, that’s how he dies) and Katniss is ostracized to the non-existent District 12 with Haymitch, while Paylor of District 8 becomes the new leader of Panem. (told ya, she had a bigger role in the end)

Yeah, that was a mouth-full.

One of the saddest chapters I have read (next to the last chapters of Four in Allegiant-UGH-stabbed in heart) are of Katniss’ PTS (Post-Traumatic-Stress disorder) as the book comes to it’s ending were heart-wrenching. She is withering away, mentally, and physically during this time. At this point of the book, I was freaking out. There wasn’t much of the book left. I was sitting in bed thinking,

“It can’t end like this! Where’s Peeta? It can NOT end like this? How in the world is she going to end this?”

I was yelling in my head,

“Come On! Not another freaking Allegiant!”

In the end, Peeta returns–mostly himself again. He comes with bushes of Primroses to plant. District 12 is being rebuilt and he stays patiently by her side. One day, Katniss describes a kiss with Peeta that felt like the one at the beach in Book 2, where she knew, she loved him. It was a kiss like no other that they had previously shared for the cameras. The last lines redeemed all the trauma for me…hmm, well, redeem is too much of a hopeful, fulfilled word…it helped ease the trauma and ache enough to accept it, is more like it.

I did love this:

What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.

So after, when he whispers, “You love me. Real or not real?”

I tell him, “Real.”

I welled up a bit just now reading those last lines. That was beautifully done. The elements, the “Talisman” symbols she incorporated in those last few sentences, bringing back things, moments of all three books was well done Collins. (i.e. The dandelion, “real or not real” game, etc.) Then the epilogue made me sad again. Twenty years later, and still, Katniss has episodes of PTS and Peeta still suffers moments of rising episodes from the brainwashing of the Capitol. It’s sweet they have children and are still together and love one another, but in the end, the book leaves you heavyhearted.

I applaud Collins for demonstrating truth and reality of war, and then added the element of teenagers being thrust into the realities of this war to give you a bigger kick in the gut. You felt it, and I assume it’s what she desired to accomplish. I am grateful to her for not pulling off a Veronica Roth (sorry VRoth, I love you and you were my favorite YA author and your first two books were my favorite all time YA books…until Allegiant) and at least, in the midst of all that sad heaviness, giving our MC a glimmer of hope to hold onto…Peeta’s renewing spirit that helps her go on.

I loved this series. I can’t believe it took me so long to get to reading it.

I continue to stand by, that for me, personally, Catching Fire is my favorite of the three. Mockingjay was intense, and difficult to process in the end, but I didn’t dislike it.

For me, Mockingjay gets a:

Four **** out of Five Stars

Well folks, there it is. I had not planned on this being so long–my apologies. Would love to know what you all thought of Mockingjay. I am extremely excited for Part 1 & 2 of the movie. Sucks to wait another year for the official finale of it all but after seeing what they did with Catching Fire (HA-MAZING), I am definitely eager to see this final installment of the series through Film!


Happy Reading all!

<3, D. Marie