Saturday, November 30, 2013

Stuffed Animal Saturday [7]

Stuffed Animal Saturday is a meme that we post here at We Live and Breathe Books every two weeks to showcase the book we're currently reading with one of our favorite stuffed animals and discuss our stuffed animal's opinion (well, it's really our opinion, but that's besides the point). We hope you enjoy our quirky feature as much as we enjoy writing it!

My trusty spoon and I are reading Path Unchosen, an eArc we received as part of the author's tour. You can find out more about Path Unchosen here and here.

So Far: I've had to force-feed Fork E. McSpork (my spoon's name; the 'E' stands for Eugene but don't tell him I said that) around half of this book. It's not to say that the book is bad, Spoon is just one of those existentialist, stuck up type of readers and doesn't appreciate a good fantasy novel for what it is. He's so full of himself I guess you could call him stuffed.

But anyway. There's a lot to love here, a deep narrator, a weird alternate world, and a paranormal zombie fiction piece that reads as though everything in it were absolutely normal. And I love that. I hate when authors over-aggrandize the authenticity of a piece by ruminating over the differences between their universe and the real world. That makes me happy. Our narrator isn't terribly relatable, but there are other characters who are and they make this story come alive with biting humor, biting statements, and also biting zombies. Zombies are cool. Also ghosts, apparently.

A Sneak Peek: 
A gentle light amidst the darkness.Was that my purpose. Could I shine a light into the blackness or would it devour me? The whispering settled to soothing background music, and excitement welled in my chest.
"Choose one," Purah said. "You will call a spirit tonight."
. . .
I didn't want to disappoint him. "It won't hurt her?"
. . .
 The ground beneath the gravestone trembled, and the top of a skull broke through the surface.
Tension is so sweet, man.

- Marlon

Are you and your stuffed animal reading anything interesting? 
Let us know in your own Stuffed Animal Saturday!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Review: Moirai - Ruth Silver

Ruth Silver
Series: Aberrant, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Mediocre
On Goodreads

Last week, I came to you with a review of Aberrant by Ruth Silver. Since then, I've read the sequel, Moirai, and can say that, while it was slightly better than Aberrant, it still fell short in quite a few places.

Even though some time has passed between the events of Aberrant and Moirai, it feels less like a sequel, and more like a continuation of the first one. If the 100 or so pages of each book had been fused together with an "A Few Months Later" caption before the events of Moirai, the reader would not have found it strange. Usually, you can't do that with books, but with these two it could have been highly possible. Usually books in a series, while continuing the overarching plot, have their own main plot that goes on too. While Moirai certainly had its own subplots, they weren't the strongest.

I definitely liked Olivia better in this book than in the previous one. Ruth Silver did a pretty good job developing her a little more as a character so she didn't seem so one dimensional. She also fleshed out Joshua and some of the secondary characters, which was one of two main reasons this was better than Aberrant. The other reason is that the plot was just more interesting. The first book's job was to set up everything that would happen in this book. While it didn't do the most terrific job, it still got done, and so Moirai was heavier on the action, and relied less on description of the setting and their lifestyle. And, above all, it was a hell of a lot more interesting. The story itself, especially the parts where we learn more about Olivia and exactly what makes her special (can't give away any spoilers) actually had me wanting to find out how it ends (which is with a cliffhanger leading into the next book). So yay for developing your plots more, you go Ruth Silver.

However, the more interesting story could not save Moirai from the dreaded three star rating (I know I also rated Aberrant three stars, but that was on the low end (more like 2.8) and this is on the high end (like 3.2) so there's that). The most off-putting thing was the writing style. I feel like Ruth Silver could be such a good storyteller and author but she just isn't there yet. I can see the potential for her to write great things -- these novels are not those pieces. The dialogue seemed very choppy and fake, and the internal monologue from Olivia seemed to "tell" too much and not "show" enough. The words didn't seem to flow and everything just felt very forced and unnatural. It just fell flat. The end of the book creates a cliffhanger to be addressed in the book that follows, but that wasn't done as well as it could have been and didn't leave me shocked or upset or feeling anything that I was supposed to feel as a reader. I just read it and thought "okay cool whatever." The concept was good but the delivery was not.

Overall, while Moirai wasn't the best book, it definitely improved from it's predecessor. Hopefully the next book will be better, although I don't see myself putting time aside to read it anytime soon. Usually I need to know how something ends, but I will probably forget about this cliffhanger in a few days and might never get around to knowing what happens to certain people. This book series is okay for a few days of lazy reading but it's nothing substantial I would recommend to anyone. While I won't be jumping through hoops to read more, I will definitely look out for Ruth Silver's name in the future, as she has unhoned writing skills that might develop into something awesome.

See you all next week!

- Noor

What's your favorite dystopian novel or series?
Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: Palace of Spies - Sarah Zettel

Palace of Spies
Sarah Zettel
Series: Palace of Spies, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Glorious
On Goodreads

Hello, everyone! It has been such a long time since I’ve written a review that I barely even know where to begin! I received Palace of Spies from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group on Netgalley. I was really intrigued by the description and the cover is just so pretty! Sadly, I had to wait a long time to read this one, but now that I’ve finally gotten a chance to read it, I have to say that it was worth the wait.

Palace of Spies is an invigorating tale of a girl, Peggy Fitzroy, who is kicked out of home and has to figure out what to do from there. Prior to getting kicked out, Peggy encountered a mysterious man by the name of Tinderflint, who claimed to know her deceased mother. Having nowhere else to go, Peggy goes to Tinderflint. Little does she know that going to this man will lead to taking up the name of Lady Francesca and journeying to the palace, officially as a maid to Princess Caroline, but also as a spy. While Peggy is under the guise of Lady Francesca, she finds that Francesca may not have been as upfront about what she was doing there as everyone thought. Peggy sets out to figure out what Francesca was up to, which leads her into even more dangerous territory than she ever thought.

I absolutely love Peggy. Truly. I often find that even in characters I really like, there are times when I’m annoyed with them or think they’re stupid. This did not happen for me with Peggy. From the very start of this book you can tell just how great Peggy is. She is the perfect mix of sassy, independent, strong, and curious. She’s brave, but in a smart way rather than a ridiculous and dangerous way. The way she interacts with others shows how well she can handle herself in different situations. She adjusts her behavior depending on whom she is with and what will help the most. Sarah Zettel did a beautiful job making sure that even with these changes in character, Peggy’s actions were still consistent with who she is and believable given her past.

Besides Peggy, there are also several great supporting characters – namely Mrs. Abbott and Matthew.

The way Peggy’s perspective on Mrs. Abbott changes throughout the story was truly wonderful. As a reader, I fully understood why Peggy felt the way she did about Abbott and was able to understand why these opinions changed – the opinions changed to me too! While I first felt Abbott was a mean, old lady, I really began to empathize with her later on. Abbott had a lot of depth and I appreciated the way it was implicitly portrayed and allowed the reader to gather her own understanding.

Oh, Matthew. He is so great. I really loved the relationship building between Matthew and Peggy throughout the story. Matthew is someone Peggy knows she can trust when everyone in the palace seems to have some sort of ulterior motive. Without Matthew helping her along, Peggy would probably never figure out the mystery of Lady Francesca.

Then there are the awful characters – not awful in the sense that they are poorly written, but just that I don’t like them.

Robert. Just… ew. He acts all sweet and nice to Peggy, but it’s clear from the beginning that he is a sneak. If you read this book (you really should), you’ll see what I mean – Sarah Zettel does a great job to balance Robert’s deceptive side with his sweet side while keeping him mysterious enough, making his actions both shocking and believable.

Then there’s the truly awful Sophy Howe. She is a meanie pants – the meaniest meanie pants that ever was. As soon as Peggy first encounters Sophy Howe, it’s clear how dreadful she is. She seems to have distaste for Francesca, the girl who Peggy is acting as, although Peggy cannot determine why. The less than pleasant disposition of Sophy is one of the biggest mysteries Peggy has to solve while disguised as Lady Francesca, along with how to handle such a vile human being.

Besides the characters, there are also beautiful descriptions of the clothing. I know many people may find the descriptions superfluous, but as a costume design major, it makes me so happy. I could totally visualize all the prettiness of Peggy’s dresses. So pretty. I also found the book well researched, in the sense that Sarah Zettel did a good job researching the time period in order to make the characters act in a period appropriate way. She also did a great job explaining those things in a way people unfamiliar with the period could understand. For example, one might not know what a mantua is off the top of her head, but not to worry – it is explained!

Overall, Palace of Spies is a fantastic book filled with mystery, romance, spies, pretty dresses, and more! The pacing was perfect and I could hardly put it down. I haven’t read any other works by Sarah Zettel, but with how much I enjoyed Palace of Spies, I’m interested in reading more of her work. I definitely recommend Palace of Spies to everyone. I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait for the next book in the series! (Please write another book. I’m begging you.)

- Kiersten

Would you pretend to be someone else if you had nowhere to go?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Review: Broken - Elizabeth Pulford & Angus Gomes

Elizabeth Pulford, Illustrated by Angus Gomes
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: -2 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: ?????????? SO CONFUSING ???????
On Goodreads

WHAT EVEN HAPPENED IN THIS BOOK??? I literally gave it a negative 2 for a rating. It was that bad. Do not, by any means, even if it is by accident, come within a ten foot proximity of this book. It'll drive you nuts.

The idea is rather unoriginal: Zara (our protagonist) gets into a motorcycle accident and is in a coma. The whole book is about how she travels across various planes and dimensions in order to find her brother Jem and find out stuff about herself and basically the book is about a girl dreaming when she's in a coma. Doesn't seem too bad right? Wrong.

These two authors try to make the book interesting by switching tenses every which way and point of views (Is she flashbacking? Is she in a comic book? Is she in a coma? Is she at her own vigil? Why is the font in italics at random places? THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW). This annoying, frantic switching of tenses and POVs makes the book extraordinarily difficult to follow. I almost gave up on reading this novel, and I hate giving up on a book, so that should speak volumes. I had to force myself to finish it, even though I'm not 100% sure what even went on throughout the book.

The book was so confusing already, but then Puford and Gomes chose to add in random comic book pictures - the concept seemed cool, but it really only added to the disjointed nature of the story. The changing of tenses and idea of the comic book adventures seems interesting, but it fell so short that I could not be impressed. These authors try to bring up complex ideas about death and identity to the reader through this uh unique telling of the story, but they only really manage to confuse the eff out of you.

0/10 would not recommend ever. Sorry not sorry :/

- Amrutha

What are your nearly DNF books? Why?
Let me know in the comments!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Day of the Doctor

Day of the Doctor
Steven Moffat
Series: Doctor Who, #Uhm . . .
Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Overwhelmingly Compelling

Okay so this isn't particularly a book review, but come on, think about the amazing writing that had to go into the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special! My brain can't help but ruminate over everything that happened, so on this wonderful occasion (while tumblr is melting down and twitter has fallen), I'll be reviewing the Day of the Doctor.

Okay first of all, let's not bag on Moffat. Why, you may ask? This Anniversary was hyped up to extremes, to the point where expectations spanned the imagination of every viewer. There were countless lies to mislead the audience (which Moffat and everyone involved should be arrested for) but the hype was too intense . . . nothing could ever live up to it. Moffat did his absolute best and in contrast to Series 7-2, where there was individual, particular focuses (which Moffat as a show-runner fails at miserably), the 50th had overarching themes (which Moffat as a writer is absolutely splendid at; Cracks in the Universe and Silence speak for themselves), which made it seem like it was more than it was. Choices and identity and teamwork were themes that were prevalent throughout the 50th, along with nothing being at all what it is (sand is statues, statues are zygons, paintings are war instrument, Time Lock isn't Time Lock), and using this Moffat was able to make three reluctant Doctors work together to 'win' the Time War . . . that dark age between the Classic and New Who that has only been discussed in passing.

People believe Moffat retconned RTD's era by making the Time War bunk, but in recall that John Hurt says "I have to live with that," meaning that the Doctor's feelings up until that point have been perfectly realistic, he really believed he was so monstrous as to make that choice and had 400 years of regret and forget to finally say no. In addition, we can throw off the haters who think that because 8.5, 10, and 11 were the only doctors with a primary role that Moffat is writing off the classics. Really? Did you forget all the references to the classics? Dear Rassilon, it starts with the first episode's title screen and pan shot (Dr. Foreman!) and Zygons! And . . . never mind. Watch the Five(ish) Doctors reboot by Peter Davidson and Behind the Lens narrated by Colin Baker and tell me the classics were written off. John Hurt seemed to represent all the previous Doctors at once, because he hadn't yet made the choice that forsakes the name of Doctor.

Alright, thematic construction and ideals aside, holy shit this was written so well. The Zygon sub plot was admittedly confusing at first but when the three doctors were in the cell and they figured out how to open it by using all three screwdrivers (thanks to Bad Wolf/Rose Tyler/The Moment), it started to come together as the Doctors started making decisions together rather than 10/11 having a pissing contest and 8.5 remarking on their collective madness. The subplot hasn't got definitive ends, and that put me off until I realized neither does the main plot. Ugh everything is so perfect, how does that parallel do that. Ugh. Ugh.

Look at these mofos.

And I just cannot with the witty remarks and the feelings! But I won't be that much of a fanboy. I must be professional. BUT SERIOUSLY UGH DID YOU SEE TEN AND ELEVEN WHEN JOHN HURT MENTIONED BAD WOLF GIRL? DID YOU FEEL THEIR FEELS?

Right, anyway, my favorite part about this special is all the little things you can't possibly pick up on a first viewing. For instance, the sciency girl says that she got Four's scarf from "The Curator," who happens to be played by Tom Baker (notice also that Peter Capaldi's chracter in the Fires of Pompeii was a curator). What exactly Tom Baker's incarnation is. The fact that Meta-Crisis Doctor will always live with the regret. Also, each of the doctors after episode regenerate. Ten remarks in the End of Time that he'd just come from Queen Elizabeth, we actually see 8.5 regenerating, and Eleven's off to Trenzelore.

And omigosh everything just came together so brilliantly, right at the end, "You could say I've been doing this all my life," really absolutely killed me because every doctor was there. EVEN CAPALDI. Those eyebrows, man. Those eyebrows.

Yes. Those. Tell me you are not a Peter Capaldi convert now. Tell me you don't want the Doctor to call a dalek a 'fuckwad'.


How did you feel about the 50th?
Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: Aberrant - Ruth Silver


Ruth Silver
Series: Aberrant, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Choppy
On Goodreads

Hello, everyone! What's this? It feels like Saturday. I am not usually a Saturday poster, so this review might smell a little funny but I promise it's nothing bad, just a delayed review because of my crazy schedule. Anyway, I read Aberrant as part of a book tour, and the review for the sequel, Moirai, will be up next week, so make sure to check that out as well!

This book had been on my to-read shelf on Goodreads for quite a while, because judging from the description, it sounded pretty interesting. I tried really hard to like this book, but I feel like it fell flat from what it could have been. While there were definitely parts of the book I enjoyed, it pained me to see so much wasted potential in Ruth Silver's writing. If she would have taken more time to polish the book up and make it longer, instead of rushing everything, or if she had even just fleshed out characters a bit more, this would have been an enjoyable read.

Sadly, I found it feeling very mechanical as I was reading it. Instead of showing the way this dystopian society was set up, the narrator, 18 year old Olivia Parker, just tells us everything page by page. Every few paragraphs there is a chunk of text explaining government procedures and how things work. There is way too much telling and not enough showing. It would have been much better if she had integrated these explanations in ways that advanced the plot of explored the characters, but they seemed to just have been tossed in there to show what kind of society Olivia lived in.
"Everyone in our stature received the same goods, and it was considered fair and right. No one questioned such authority. No one had need or reason to. The government seemed to know what was best for the people. I'm not sure I always agreed by their means, but people in our city had homes and food. No one starved if they followed the rules. It was meant to be fair."
There are so many parts of the book like this, just mentioning the ways of the government, thrown into the text like that.

Another issue I had with the book is that the characters weren't really developed that well and the plot moved extremely fast. One page Olivia is getting married. The next she is arrested. The next she is part of a rebel alliance. It was all fast-paced, and while I usually appreciate that, I thought it hindered the development of the characters. I know that Joshua is kind and Olivia has a good heart but not much else. Also, the fact that the plot moved very fast just made certain things illogical. For example, Silver writes:
"I knew I should be happy, but all I could feel was nauseated. I swallowed the bile rising in my throat. I felt as though I'd been tossed on a ship in the middle of a hurricane, swaying violently from side-to-side. On one side is Governor Craynor and the other is the husband I'm forced to marry."
 We don't get an explanation as to why she doesn't like the idea of the marriage ceremony. She has grown up in a secluded, government-run area, where people don't know what elevators are, or what kissing is, or many things considered normal in society today. They have been so programmed to feel the government's way of life is the best one. So why does Olivia get nauseous about the marriage ceremony? There isn't anything written about how she's always questioning authority or how she feels like she's different. She was, her whole life, someone who thought the way of life was ideal, and then all of a sudden she's having doubts. If the story was fleshed out more, details like this would make more sense.

While there were apparent flaws, there were also parts of the book I really did like. I liked how she kept the plot interesting enough to make me want to keep reading. Even though she didn't do the best job in telling the story -- it felt more like a sequence of events than a novel -- I found myself wanting to know why she was arrested and who her father was and what exactly the government was up to. I just wanted to find out what exactly was going on and why Olivia was in the center of it. I thought the plot, although it did need work in quite a few areas, was generally very original.

I also really appreciated Ruth Silver's writing itself. Even though the book itself isn't one of my favorites, I could see throughout the story that Silver is very good at articulating words and creating thoughts. Her writing skills themselves are very honed, but she needs to combine them with better story telling skills to write a better novel.

Overall, this novel felt like a first draft rather than a final copy. It's not awful and I can see how it might be good in the future, but as of now, it falls short. Nevertheless. I intend to start Moirai as soon as possible, and I sincerely hope Aberrant set up what was needed for the next book, so it can focus on plot rather than how the system works.

- Noor

How much say should the government have in the lives of its citizens?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cover Cosmetics: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

As I'm writing this, I just got back from the premiere of Catching Fire. This movie was seriously incredible. Of course, they had to cut things from the book, but I think they made good choices about what to keep and how to incorporate things they cut in a different way. Also, the costumes and makeup are so stunning. As a costume design major and makeup enthusiast, I was absolutely in heaven looking at all the costumes and makeup. A+mazing job, Trish Summerville. I want to be you when I grow up.

Anyway, I thought I'd share the makeup I did for the premiere! This one isn't inspired very much by the book cover - I was inspired mostly by Katniss as "The Girl on Fire" from the first movie and just fire in general.

The cover:

The makeup:

Anyway, I highly recommend going to see Catching Fire! I was fangirling so hard the entire time. They kept so many of the best lines and moments. They might seem random and insignificant to those who haven't read the books, but I think they definitely kept the fandom in mind when choosing what to include. I just loved it!

Happy Hunger Games! May the odds be ever in your favor.

- Kiersten

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cover Cosmetics: Angelfall - Susan Ee

Hello and welcome to this week's Cover Cosmetics! Cover Cosmetics is a meme that we host here at We Live and Breathe Books in which I take inspiration from a book cover to do a makeup look. This week, to commemorate the release of World After by Susan Ee, I'm doing a look inspired by the cover of the first book in the Penryn & the End of Days series, Angelfall. I really loved Angelfall (reviewed by Marlon here), and I can't wait to read World After!

The cover:

The makeup:

I knew the cover of Angelfall was pretty but I didn't realize how pretty it was until I looked closer for doing this makeup look. The cover is composed of a beautiful mix of gold, bronze, steel blue, and darker blue, which I wanted to incorporate into my makeup. The colors don't show up as well as I had hoped in the photo, but the makeup shifts from a gold-ish/copper-ish to brown on the lid and from a steel blue to dark blue in the crease.

- Kiersten

What did you think of this week's look?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The End of the Semester

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

To be honest, I can't even think about books that I'm anticipating. There have been so many great releases this semester that I've been dying to read, including:

Allegiant (Divergent, #3) - Veronica Roth
The Bitter Kingdom - Rae Carson
Champion (Legend, #3) - Marie Lu
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) - Sarah J. Maas
Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, #2) - Sarah Fine
Untold (The Lynburn Legacy, #2) - Sarah Rees Brennan
World After (Penryn and the End of Days, #2) - Susan Ee

Unfortunately, my workload has been CRAZY! With all the plays I've had to read for class, along with other work, I haven't been able to fit in a lot of time to read books I've been awaiting for months. Until winter break, I'm pretty much swamped with projects, papers, and finals - bleh! As a result, this Wednesday I'm waiting on the end of the semester. Once the semester ends, I'll finally be able to dive into some more reading and spend some time relaxing. I seriously can't wait.

- Kiersten

What are YOU waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: Silent Harmony - Michael Scott

Silent Harmony
Michael Scott
Series: Fairmont Riding Academy, #1
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: B (above average, but not amazing)
On Goodreads

HELLO FRIENDS! I know it has been a while since I have posted (boo, college apps), but I have finally gotten around to reviewing Silent Harmony, by Michael Scott.

When I first picked up this book, I expected a book about horses, envisioning the story where Felicity (an American girl doll) rides her first horse, Penny. (If you haven't read the American girl doll series, drop this book and go run to them, and rejoice in their amazingness).

Erm. Anyways. This book wound up being much more about the dynamics of snobby rich kids than about horses, but that was okay. The narrator, Vivienne, is insightful and poignant, and she was the reason I liked the book so much. Because she is a scholarship kid and has to leave her family, we get to see a sad, personal side of her that really reinforced how strong and determined she is. Also, angsty teens and rich kid drama - although it is not the most original plot ever, it definitely kept my interest.

However, there were a few things about the book that I wasn't a huge fan of. First of all, there is a random murder (lol wut) of the school vet within the first few chapters. This might have been alright if it hadn't been thrown in there casually, as though adding a small plot twist. Because of this and awkward tense changes between scenes, the writing lacked some flow in the beginning of the book. Otherwise, the writing was well put together, other than a few chapters narrated not by Vivienne, but the boys at the academy. These chapters are the most awkward, just because the boys sound nothing like what they do in Vivienne's chapters. This might have been to show a different side of them and their characters, but it wasn't written well enough to pull that off.

Another concern was that there was a lot of horse riding terminology used, and I had to look all of that stuff up: a YA book should be a little bit more accessible and easy to understand, in my opinion. The interesting part of the story was Vivienne's ehm *special talents* but that was confusing as well.

Overall, the book was decent, and it was an interesting read. Barring some plot holes and awkward writing, Michael Scott did a fabulous job with this Liz Harrison (from The Clique series) meets Ally Carter (Gallagher Girl series (only the prep school part)) meets Anna Sewell (Black Beauty).

- Amrutha

If you could talk to horses, what would you ask them?  
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Claire de Lune - Christine Johnson

Claire de Lune
Christine Johnson
Series: Claire de Lune, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Poor
On Goodreads

Am I just angry because of schoolwork or am I just picking up shitty books to read? Like Need, which I wrote about last week, this book has a bit of potential, and I won't deny that, but it is overwhelmingly ruined by a terrible plot, only one decent character, a premise that seems as if this author wrote it for no other reason but to have a female werewolf . . . and the list goes on.

Seriously this book could be fine but why does she hammer in the point that Claire is a female werewolf in a pack of female werewolves. I get that it's a new concept to some people, all of them used to Lautner or more admirable male wolves but come one! Subtlety does work wonders, and speaks more about the power of the contrast than making the contrast evident. The werewolf mythology itself is kind of vague and all we really know is that they're good . . . but not why or where they stem from or what they're really doing. What Johnson does well here is that she does not wait forever to introduce werewolves. Claire wolfs out in like chapter one. And there are no vampires! AND humans know werewolves exist. The greatest bit about this book is that while it is about werewolves and paranormal romance, it feels FRESH (at least, in the beginning).


A note on language: I am rather divided because there is strong flow but weak diction. Example "none of them have the chance to make a sound . . . except when their necks snap", which is from the killer wolf view, which I like that she includes but at time it feels choppy. An important scene will just be followed by gore and blood and while I like that, it stops making sense after a while.

Claire, our one partially redeemable character (all the others are two dimensional for the most part so I won't consider them) is pretty alright. She has that struggle of trying to fit in, and most teens can relate to that. She thinks she's a monster . . . and well, she is. She's a strong heroine but honestly she doesn't seem very special. She urges her normalcy so much and unlike Percy Jackson or Clarissa Fray, for examples, she doesn't own up to herself. She spends way too much of the novel fighting with her mother or kissing Matt, the gorgeous love interest who seemingly has no other purpose. Sure, the showdown at the end reveals a bit of dynamic in her character, but I felt as though I had to wait too long to care. Maybe if the connection was augmented? In all, she felt relateable enough that I could like some things about her, the biggest being her relationship with her best friend, which was really the only source of much light in the novel considering half the witty banter and exposition takes place between the them.

Plotwise I am not amused by this novel. Everything is so convenient, like Claire's love interest happening to be in an Protection Agency. The book follows a repeated series of lying, dying, and about zero exposition in which Claire's position is reiterated. This girl really wants to be normal. It's not enough to knock this novel down to two stars but if a little more thought had been placed on the repetitive nature that precedes the climax, I think it could have been more than three stars. The worst part is that the big reveal is so lame. Spoiler: the big connection Claire makes is about the sunflowers in a picture, to the sunflowers in her house. Uhm, what. Really? You couldn't expose the killer in some more intriguing way? Why something so acute and out of the blue?

The progression of this book is as follows: image

Most of the book resides over the precipice of the stairs. A little too much mystery and plot twistery for my taste, enough so that it becomes stagnant. There needs to be a little bit of foreshadowing. And then it kind of tumbles into an ending that is just too nice. Like, nothing too terrible happens and no wrenching realizations take their toll and there isn't a cliff in sight to be hung on. In all, I wouldn't be opposed to a sequal, but I because I do like the originality that Johnson displays in her ideas, I would just like a little more on the delivery stage.

- Marlon

Do you suspect anyone around you of being a werewolf serial killer? If so, give me your reasons!
Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Branded - Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

A few months ago, I reviewed this wonderful book called Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki (here). Today, I'm extremely excited to bring you the entire first chapter of this glorious novel as part of the Branded Book Blitz hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! Branded is such an intense and emotional book, and I think everyone should check it out. - Kiersten

Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Series: Sinners, #1
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Page Count: 252 pages
On Goodreads


Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

Purchase Links:

The First Chapter of Branded:

     I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams. The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough. My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back. Death and I glare at each other through my tears. I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here. I’m ready to go. On the count of three. I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now. A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand waiting with the rope hanging around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls. Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head. Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home. It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me. My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name. On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder. Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder. “Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners. Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying. Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now. My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest. Gotta keep going. “Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me. I resist the urge to glance back, running into what I assume is an alley. I’m far from our high-rise in High Society as I plunge into a poorer section of the city where the streets all look the same and the darkness prevents me from recognizing anything. I’m lost. My first instinct is to leap into a dumpster, but I retain enough sense to stay still. I crouch and peek around it, watching them dash by. The abhorrent smell leaves me vomiting until nothing remains in my stomach. Desperation overtakes me, as I know my retching was anything but silent. My last few seconds tick away before they find me. Everyone knows about their special means of tracking sinners.      I push myself to my feet and look left, right, and left again. Their batons click against their black leather belts, and their boots stomp the cement on both sides of me. I shrink into myself. Their heavy steps mock my fear, growing closer and closer until I know I’m trapped. Never did I imagine they’d come for me. Never did I imagine all those nights I heard them dragging someone else away that I’d join them.
     “You’re a sinner,” they say. “Time to leave.”
     I stand defiant. I refuse to bend or break before them, even as I shiver with fear. “There’s no reason to make this difficult. The more you cooperate, the smoother this will be for everyone,” a guard says. I cringe into the blackness along the wall. I’m innocent, but they won’t believe me or care.

     The next instant, my face slams into the pavement as one guard plants a knee in my back and another handcuffs me. A warm liquid trails into my mouth. Blood. Their fingers grip my arms like steel traps as they peel me off the cement. The tops of my shoes scrape along the ground as I’m dragged behind them until they discard me into the back of a black vehicle. The doors slam in unison with one guard stationed on each side of me, my shoulders digging into their arms. Swallowing hard, I stare ahead to avoid their eyes. My dignity is all I have left. The handcuffs dig into my wrists, so I clasp them together hard behind me and press my back into the seat, unwilling to admit how much it hurts. Did they need so many guards to capture me? I’m not carrying any weapons, nor do I own any. I don’t even know self-defense. High Society frowns on activities like that. The driver jerks the vehicle around and I try to keep my bearings, but it’s dark and the scenery changes too fast. Hours pass, and the air grows warmer, more humid the farther we drive. The landscape mutates from city to rolling hills. They don’t bother blindfolding me because they escort all the sinners to the same place—the Hole. Twenty- foot cement walls encase the chaos within. There’s no way out and no way in unless they transport you. They say the Hole is a prison with no rules. We learned about it last year in twelfth grade. To the outside, I’m filth now. I’ll never be allowed to return to the life I knew. No one ever does. “All sinners go through a transformation,” one of the guards says to me. His smirk infuriates me. “I’m sure you’ve heard all kinds of stories.” I don’t respond. I don’t want to think about the things I’ve been told. “You won’t last too long, though. Young girls like you get eaten alive.” He pulls a strand of my hair up to his face. Get your hands off me, you pig. I want to lash out, but resist. The punishment for disobeying authority is severe, and I’m not positioned to defy him. They’re the Guards of the Commander. They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They keep the order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole. Few have seen the commander. His identity stays under lock and key. His own paranoia and desire to stay pure drove him to live this way. He controls our depraved society and believes sinners make the human race unforgivable. His power is a crushing fist, rendering all beneath him helpless. So much so, even family members turn on each other when an accusation surfaces. Just an accusation. No trial, no evidence, nothing but an accusation. I lose myself in thoughts of my father.
     “Never show fear, Lexi,” my father said to me before he was taken. “They’ll use it against you.” His compassionate eyes filled with warning as he commanded me to be strong. That was many years ago, but I remember it clearly. My father. My rock. The one person in my life who provided unconditional love. “Get out,” the guard says while pulling me to my feet. The vehicle stops, and I’m jerked back to reality. The doors slide open and the two guards lift me up and out into the night. A windowless cement building looms in front of us, looking barren in the darkness. The coolness of the air sends a shiver up my spine. This is really happening. I’ve been labeled a sinner. My lip starts to quiver, but I bite it before anyone sees. They shove me in line, and I realize I’m not alone. Women and men stand with faces frozen white with fear. A guard grabs my finger, pricks it, and dabs my blood on a tiny microchip. I follow the man in front of me into the next room where we’re lined up facing the wall. Glancing right, I see one of the men crying. “Spread your legs,” one of the guards says.
     They remove my outer layers and their hands roam up and down my body. What do they think I can possibly be hiding? I press my head into the wall, trying to block out what they’re doing to me. “MOVE!” a guard commands. So I shuffle across the room, trying to cover up.
     Five of us sit in the holding room. One by one, they pull people into the next room, forcing the rest of us to wonder what torture we’ll endure. An agonizing amount of time passes. I lean my head back and try to imagine a place far away. The door opens. “Lexi Hamilton.” A guard escorts me out of the room, and I don’t have time to look back. As soon as the door closes, they pick me up and place me on a table. It’s cold and my skin sticks to it slightly, like wet fingers on an ice cube. Then they exit in procession, and I lie on the table with a doctor standing over me. His hands are busy as he speaks.
     “Don’t move. This will only take a few minutes. It’s time for you to be branded.” A wet cloth that smells like rubbing alcohol is used to clean my skin. Then he places a metal collar around my neck. Click. Click. Click. The collar locks into place, and I struggle to breathe. The doctor loosens it some as I focus on the painted black words above me.

The Seven Deadly Sins:

Lust ⎯ Blue
Gluttony ⎯ Orange
Greed ⎯ Yellow
Sloth ⎯ Black
Wrath ⎯ Red
Envy ⎯ Green
Pride ⎯ Purple

     “Memorize it. Might keep you alive longer if you know who to stay away from.” He opens my mouth, placing a bit inside. “Bite this.” Within seconds, the collar heats from hot to scorching. The smell of flesh sizzling makes my head spin. I bite down so hard a tooth cracks. “GRRRRRRRRR,” escapes from deep within my chest. Just when I’m about to pass out, the temperature drops, and the doctor loosens the collar. He removes it and sits me up. Excruciating pain rips through me, and I’m on the verge of a mental and physical breakdown. Focus. Don’t pass out. Stainless steel counters and boring white walls press in on me. A guard laughs at me from an observation room above and yells, “Blue. It’s a great color for a pretty young thing like yourself.” His eyes dance with suggestion. The others meander around like it’s business as usual. I finally find my voice and turn to the doctor.
     “Are you going to give me clothes?” A burning pain spreads like fire up from my neck to my jaw, making me wince. He points to a set of folded grey scrubs on a chair. I cover myself as much as I can and scurry sideways. Grabbing my clothes and pulling the shirt over my head, I try to avoid the raw meat around my throat. I quickly knot the cord of my pants around my waist and slide my feet into the hospital-issue slippers as the doctor observes. He hands me a bag labeled with my name. “Nothing is allowed through the door but what we’ve given you,” he says. I hide my right hand behind me, hoping no one notices. A guard scans my body and opens his hand. “Give it to me,” he says. “Don’t make me rip off your finger.” He crouches down and I turn to stone. I don’t know what to do, so I beg. “My father gave this to me. Please, let me keep it.” I smash my eyes shut and think of the moment my father handed the golden ring to me. “It was my mother’s ring,” he’d said. “She’s the strongest woman I ever knew.” With tears in his eyes, he reached for my hand and said, “Lexi, you’re exactly like her.
     She’d want you to wear this. No matter how this world changes, you can survive.” I turned the gold band over in my palm and read the engraving.
     “You’re going to take the one thing that matters the most to me?” I say, glaring into the guard’s emotionless eyes. “Isn’t it enough taking my life, dignity, and respect?” A hard blow falls upon my back. As I fall, my hands shoot out to stop me from smashing into the wall in front of me. The guard bends down and grabs my chin with his meaty fist. “Look at me,” he commands.
     I look up and he smiles with arrogance. “What the hell?” He staggers a step backward. “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with your eyes?” “Nothing,” I respond, confused. “What color are they?” “Turquoise.” I glower at him. “Interesting,” he says, regaining his composure. “Now those’ll get you in trouble.” Reality slaps me across the face. I have my father’s eyes. They can't take them from me. I twist the ring off my finger and drop it in his hand. “Take the damn ring,” I say. I walk to the door. He swipes a card and the massive door slides open to the outside. “You have to wear your hair back at all times, so everyone knows what you are.” He hands me a tie, so I pull my frizzy hair away from my face and secure it into a ponytail. My neck burns and itches as my hand traces the scabs that have already begun to form. Squinting ahead in the darkness, I almost run into a guard standing on the sidewalk. “Watch where you’re going,” he says, shoving me backward. His stiff figure stands tall and I cringe at the sharpness of his voice.
      “Cole, this is your new assignment, Lexi Hamilton. See to it she feels welcome in her new home.” The guard departs with a salute. “Let’s move,” Cole says.
     I take two steps and collapse, my knees giving out. The unforgiving pavement reopens the scrapes from earlier and I struggle to stand. A powerful arm snatches me up, and I see his face for the first time.

About the Authors:

Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.

Author Links:


2 grand prize winners with photo and notebook of Matt with signed paperback (INT)
5 ecopies of Branded with promo pic of Matt (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz hosted by:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cover Cosmetics: Frozen - Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

Hello and welcome to my second post of my new feature, which I've decided to call "Cover Cosmetics"! It seemed an appropriate name, with the inspiration being book covers and the content being cosmetics. This week, I decided to do a book I reviewed not too long ago (here). The book was sitting on the shelf in front of me and I was really inspired by the beautiful blues and pops of gold. Without further ado, here's my makeup look for the cover of Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston!

The cover:

The makeup:

For this look I wanted the majority of the eye to be covered in the blue gradient from the cover, but I also wanted that pop of gold. Luckily I had those frilly eyelashes hanging around! Unfortunately, these lashes are rather fragile and all the glitter started falling off, which saddened me greatly. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the look!

- Kiersten

What do you think of the new name?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Need - Carrie Jones

Need (Need, #1)
Carrie Jones
Series: Need, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 2.25 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Poor
On Goodreads

Nearly DNF.
Why? Extreme amounts of tackiness and a startling capacity for being Twilight-esque in construction. Ignore everything the bookjacket leads you to believe, there is absolutely no mystery or suspense or compelling elements to be found, this novel is a wasteland made up of overused YA nonsense and I only finished it for pride purposes.

Let us reluctantly begin with characters.

Zara? Tacky, immature, basically Bella with more angst and less of a penchant for meaninglessly pretty language.
Everybody has fears, right? 
I'm into that. I collect fears like other people collect stamps, which makes me sound like more of a freak than I actually am. But I'm into it. The fears thing. Phobias.
Excuse me? This is page one. Am I expected to read past this? Off the bat, we immediately see that Zara is just a misunderstood kind of girl, a little bit on the fringe of society, if you catch my drift. I don't care if it's overused, you can at least make it interesting. But no, Zara has to qualify her freakishness? She's so absolutely nervous in these lines, there's so much hesitation and it keeps going. She is an exceptionally annoying narrator. Or maybe our author thinks we are idiotic enough to have to be told something three times in the same line. Why? It's the introduction, where we pay the most attention. Instead all I have in my head is a great bit ball of this:

I hope this is just a fluke for Carrie Jones because there's potential here. I almost actually liked some of the non-useless characters. Like Nick, who would be fine if there was anything wrong about him in Zara's POV. He's literally just perfect (athletic, gorgeous, etc). Would it kill him to just be damaged slightly, to have some mysterious elements that are dark and slightly off-putting. Make me want to like this character, I shouldn't have to say "I would like this guy if he wasn't x and y".

The plot?
Okay I haven't the faintest clue what happens in this novel because I kept trying to read past the stupid language. Zara kind of just runs around doing things and being a complete idiot and she has emotions and I never ever begin to feel for her.

Let's have a little more:
I feel all wiggly.
Fascinating use of language. Absolutely did not make me cry of laughter.
I back up and open the silverware drawer, pulling out the biggest knife I can find, the one you cut big vegetables with. It has a large sharp silver blade and a black heavy handle.
Incredible descriptive prowess. 10/10 would not spit up bile.

I actually don't know how this was published, or at least how it made it past the editor stage.

It almost feels like a bad fanfiction of itself. If you value your sanity do not read this it's not healthy for your head, which you will want to bang on several objects continually.

Is basically what I got out of this.

- Marlon

What are your phobias?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Review: Evermore - Alyson Noel


Alyson Noel
Series: The Immortals, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural 
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Juvenile
On Goodreads

Hello there, lovelies. Remember when college didn't take up all my time? Me neither. This whole college thing has made me required to delve into the library of books I have previously read and do not have with me in order to review something for you. This particular book, I read around sophomore year, so forgive me if I don't remember every single detail.

Anyway, my general feel of this whole book is: no. I was searching through my Goodreads list of books I've already rated and as I scrolled past, the purple and red cover caught my eye (those are my two favorite colors, after all). I didn't remember the book right away and I wondered why. Once I read the description, it all flooded back and I realized my brain had been trying to block it out of my mind for the past few years.

The first thing I remember about this book is how stupid I thought the protagonists name was. Who names their kid Ever? Her sister, Riley, had a perfectly normal name, so why couldn't she? I figured I'd give it a shot though. It seemed interesting enough. Her family had died in a car accident and ever since then, she had been able to see people's "auras" and hear their thoughts and see their lives if she touched them. I definitely think she should only have had the aura-viewing power, instead of tacking on two more (which, if I can remember, didn't serve that well as plot devices) because that would have made it a lot more interesting.

Anyway, Ever meets this guy, Damen, who is apparently immortal and is 600 years old with the body of a high schooler, and fall sin love with Ever. So it's basically Twilight. Although, it's a bit more redeeming than Twilight, because at least Damen didn't just randomly meet this girl and fall in love with her. Apparently, he had met different reincarnations of Ever before, and they fell in love every time, and she died every time, so he basically spent his time waiting for the next reincarnation to show up. Okay, I said it's a little better. Not very much.

I think the one decent part of this book was her little sister, Riley. She had died in the car accident but came back to Ever as a ghost, and constantly talked to her. Riley was younger, I think around 12, but she was very sassy and amusing in general. She stuck around Ever because she never truly crossed over to death, the place where the rest of her family was. Eventually, she let go of Ever and crossed the bridge (there was a literal bridge, because symbolism or something) and didn't come back as a ghost anymore.

So beyond the falling in love with an immortal and discovering her strange powers thing, I don't particularly recall the plot, if there even was one beyond the love story. I know Damen took her to this strange place on a different plane of existence, that was supposed to be between life and death, and I remember a certain character who is out to get Ever and wants Damen to herself. I suppose that is where the conflict of this book comes from.

Another thing I remember is that it was quite poorly written and you can't tell if it's meant for younger readers but she tried to sound smart by using "florid" writing (I use this term very loosely) or if she just doesn't know how to make sentences flow.

I remember reading this book just for the sake of finishing it, and I never bothered reading anything else in the series, so I don't really know what happened after this book, nor do I care to. Overall, I wouldn't recommend reading this, you're much better off not wasting your time.

- Noor

Would you ever want immortality? 
Let us know in the comments!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cover Cosmetics: The House of Hades - Rick Riordan

Hello, all! Since going to college I've begun to post a lot less here, which is really sad to me. Unfortunately, I just can't read fast enough to write reviews with all the plays I need to read and work I need to do. (For example, I started reading The House of Hades the day it was released and I have yet to finish it. Sad life.) So, I've been thinking about something I could do to still have regular posts on the blog and then it came to me: I can do makeup inspired by book covers! Makeup is actually one of my favorite hobbies, and, since I do my makeup every day, it wouldn't take much time to do a post such as this. Basically, what I'm saying is welcome to my first Bookish Makeup post! (The name is a work in progress. None of us here at We Live and Breathe Books could come up with a clever title. If you have any suggestions for a new name, please comment!) Since we just wrapped up our The House of Hades live-blogging, I decided that it would be appropriate as inspiration for my first post!

The cover:

The makeup:

I really liked the reds and oranges on the cover, but I also wanted to incorporate the dark purples into the look as well. I really like the way this turned out and I can't wait to do the next one!

- Kiersten

What do you think of this new feature? Any name ideas?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Cress - Marissa Meyer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on Cress by Marissa Meyer.

Marissa Meyer
Series:  Lunar Chronicles #3
Release Date: February 4th, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Waited on by: Noor
On Goodreads

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

So, I reviewed the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder, on this blog and I own the second book, Scarlet, and have intended to read it for a while, but school is trying to prevent that (and succeeding). Anyway, I thought the first book in this series was SO well done for a fractured fairy tale type book. The synopsis of this one looks particularly interesting, especially since she's combining fairy tales and keeping characters from the first two books. Also, it is based off the story of Rapunzel, which has always been one of my favorite stories (and not just because of Tangled. It may be my favorite Disney Princess movie, but I have always loved the story of Rapunzel, even as a small child). And I found out that cress is a type of plant from the same family as the rapunzel  plant and I think that is just so extremely clever. Marissa Meyer definitely didn't disappoint me with her first book and with the new and interesting take she has on these classic fairy tales, and I am super excited for this book to come out (by which point, I will hopefully have squeezed in enough time to read the second installment). 

- Noor

What are YOU waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Live Blogging The House of Hades 71-End

Alright people, let's kill the lights on this. Unfortunately, Amrutha will not be giving her post of chapters 61-70 (she's lame), but please enjoy my discussion of the end of The House of Hades!


So Damasen makes his entrance and by this point shit is going down. Hard. This is what we've been waiting for! Percabeth has been going through so much pain and treachery and self-deprecation and finally there's a tiny speck of hope!
Bob and Damasen are absolutely awesome. Not Leo Valdez level awesome, but maybe just a few nuts and bolts below Leo Valdez level awesome. Bob makes the sacrifice and holds the button while our heroes get the Hades out of Tartarus.
And, of course, away from Tartarus (that dude is one scary monster, a culmination of every evil thing we've faced so far packed into one suit of pure unbridled vileness. I particularly like the fact that he's still laughably egotistic, a human trait stretched and exaggerated in every villain. I think Riordan's trying to tell us something).

Bob delivers some amazing philosophical bits, questioning the very mechanics that Grecian mythology and Rick Riordan have set up. Fate? Damasen and Bob spit on that. "Who knows what will be?" Bob says on 527, mirroring the plight of our heroes who have faced the jaws of their fates and fought through anyway. Very Odysseus-like.

Percabeth go through dampening realizations, terrible and dark and very final. In the muck of it, Percy swears to kill Gaia and Annabeth reflects on her dreams . . . very potent while in the Doors of Death.


These chapters are absolutely brilliant. Hazel is busy breaking down in the depths of despair. But Leo is is too damn awesome to have that, and consoles her with kangaroo-related humor, because you can always count on Leo Valdez. Anyway, there's finally closure between the Leo/Hazel thing but who cares about that anyway because Calypseo is my new favorite ship and nothing is coming in between that. Leo's changed after being voted off the island, he has become more considerate, more watchful. He's matured. Ugh <3.

Okay so, Hazel leads us down deeper and we find the Doors, guarded by Clytius the giant and Pasiphae the bitch - I mean witch. She's very reminiscent of Circe and doesn't take shit from males, which is a character trait that is surprisingly abundant in these books considering the mythology behind them.

And then drops the big catch: someone's got to press the button on our side to open the Doors, and Clytius knows Percabeth's coming up . . . so these monsters have to be defeated stat or else Gaia is going to use our heroes as sacrifices.

But it's alright, because we've got Hazel, who has apparently mastered illusions enough to beat the arrogant Pasiphae. Leo's helpless here in Pasiphae's new Labryinth but let's not talk about that. Hazel is really badass here, working her way through with only a fundamental understanding of the Mist. I actually nodded my head in amazement at her clever thoughts, it was very Annabeth though I must apologize for comparing characters often . . .

But then, Clytius. Big bad wolf. Of course, Leo's sexy ability to throw a screwdriver opens the doors.
But still Clytius. Some crazy things happen, some untrustworthyness is revealed, some fire gets played with and Hazel does very awesome fighting that makes me love the way Riordan describes action. It's so raw.

And then the rest of our crew come and smite Clytius like the douchenozzle he is and it's such a good scene. Every painful moment has only delayed this one, where everyone works together to get Percabeth the hell out of there.

"That's my peeps!" says Leo on 562. What a guy. Our peeps teleport out and meet Reyna.
Our lovely, LOVELY ending arrives with:


Even Riordan's resolution is full of beautiful things. Reyna tells her story, things happen, exposition that I won't spoil for you, Nico leaves, unfortunately, and our heroes sail off.

Gods this book was magnificent. I don't know how to summarize my love for it. It was incredibly well constructed, it was incredibly well written, it was incredibly baffling, and ugh wow just amazing. Simply amazing.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Stuffed Animal Saturday [6]

Stuffed Animal Saturday is a meme that we post here at We Live and Breathe Books every two weeks to showcase the book we're currently reading with one of our favorite stuffed animals and discuss our stuffed animal's opinion (well, it's really our opinion, but that's besides the point). We hope you enjoy our quirky feature as much as we enjoy writing it!

Hello, kind readers! Today I'm here with Gwen, my Harajuku Hugs panda, and we're reading Palace of Spies by Sarah Zettel! We got this book as an eARC on Netgalley because it looked really cool! We've been wanting to read this for a while and decided that after The House of Hades this would be a good change!

So Far: Gwen hasn't actually read very much of this book yet (Silly, Gwen!). She actually just started it so I could consult her for this post! She's been pretty busy helping me with my assisting costume design on a show and all my other miscellaneous homework, so I suppose it's excusable. Panda's have to sleep, know what I mean?

A Sneak Peek:
     I must begin with a frank confession. I became Lady Francesca Wallingham only after I met the man calling himself Tinderflint. This was after my betrothal, but before my uncle threw me into the street and barred the door.
     Before these events, I was simply Margaret Preston Fitzroy, known mostly as Peggy, and I began that morning as I did most others - at breakfast with Cousin Olivia, reading the newspapers we had bribed the housemaid to smuggle out of Uncle's book room.
     "Is there any agony this morning?" asked my cousin as she spread her napkin over her flowered muslin skirt.
     I scanned the tidy columns of type in front of me. Uncle Pierpont favored the Morning Gazetteer for its tables of shipping information, but there were other advertisements there as well. These were the "agony columns," cries from the heart that some people thought best to print directly in the paper, where the object of their desire, and everybody else, would be sure to get a look at them.
Gwen isn't really sure what she thinks about this book quite yet. There doesn't seem to be much action going yet, but Gwen knows there is a lot more to go and she's going to be patient. There are going to be spies and it takes place in London, 1716, so it should definitely be interesting.

- Kiersten

Are you and your stuffed animal reading anything interesting? 
Let us know in your own Stuffed Animal Saturday!