Finding “Lost Voices” in Pictures

“Lost Voices” by Sarah Porter is a wonderful book. I haven’t written about this series because I read it some time ago. But it is worth mentioning how sweet of a read it was. First off: Mermaids. I absolutely love when mermaids are in stories. This trilogy has a new take on how mermaids become mermaids, how they live, and the magic they possess. The main character, Luce, is such a strong, smart heroine. The last book, when we see mermaids colliding with our world, was wonderful to read about.

A beautiful book, thus, deserves some beautiful pictures. You can now find them on the Beautiful Books page. (Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Here’s one of the many pictures from the “Lost Voices” photo shoot:
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Book Photo Shoots Going Up

As of now, three books have had their very own photo shoots. The edited photographs of “Under the Never Sky,” written by Veronica Rossi, have been posted on the Beautiful Books page. (Check it out! You can click on each individual photo to enlarge.) Tomorrow, another book’s photos will be posted, so keep an eye on the page. I will post again to let you know when they’re up!

Here is just one of the amazing pictures posted:
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A Word About “Chantress Alchemy”

About a week ago, I said I would let you know how Amy Butler Greenfield’s second book in Screenshot 2016-01-16 13.31.40.pngthe Chantress series was. Definitely much better–thank goodness!– but still not enough Nat. All of the little bits of Nat were precious. There’s always something that takes Nat out of the picture. Either he’s not there or he can’t be with Lucy because prying eyes are around. And Nat killed me in the end. I wanted to shake him and yell at him for being ridiculous.

The plot reminded me of a murder mystery dinner. It was pretty cool. I liked all of the suspicion and paranoia and whodunnit aspects. And, of course, plot twist.

Spoiler coming in the next sentence! In the first book, Lucy practices so much with her singing, so it just sucks that in the second book we don’t see her taking control of her magic and becoming more powerful. Well, the huge wave that she sung to help herself was great. That was power! Knock down a wall? Sure, let me sing the water over. Very cool. So, now that Lucy’s magic is back to normal, I look forward to her harnessing her powers and being amazing in the last book (which just came out).

I’m still not completely enamored with the series though, but definite improvement: 3.8 out of 5 stars.

“Chantress” Shows Promise

Thanks to Pulseit.com I was able to read Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield online for free Screenshot 2016-01-16 13.28.48(legally). I’m not too crazy about this book, but I do want to continue reading to see what comes next. This first book felt a bit too slow and didn’t have enough action or romance for me. I can see that developing more for the second book in the series, which is what makes me want to go on with the series.

The magical aspect is interesting. It involves a girl, Lucy, who has the magic to cast spells using songs. It’s more complicated than it sounds and all the trials and errors of the magic may have contributed to the slowness of this book.

Nat is definitely a promising character. I wish there had been more of him. Once he begins to open up, the relationship between Nat and Lucy gets much more interesting. Since it’s set in the 1600s, it makes sense that the characters are cautious, but I need more!

I do have to say that I love Lucy’s perseverance and she’s not stupid. She doesn’t blindly trust people and she knows what’s at stake with her magic. The best part about Lucy is that she wants to protect herself. She doesn’t want someone doing that for; Lucy is very independent.

I’m starting the second book now, Chantress Alchemy, so I’ll let you know if my expectations are met.

For this book, I’d have to give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Veronica Rossi Is Champ

Veronica Rossi (not to be confused with Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series) wrote the Under the Never Sky trilogy. It was like “Feed” by M.T. Anderson collides with “Eve” by Anna Carey. Advanced civilization bumps into the wild. Future technology gets a reality check and meets the harsh outside world.

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Disclaimer: This post is going to be a little all over the place because I finished this series a few books ago. That’s like a decade in book time.

I think of this book as biting into a taco. (Oh, and a fish taco because the Tiders are known for their fishing!) These characters are set up into their nice taco shells all happy and oblivious and the minute I bite in their worlds are crumbling. Completely shattered. Mess everywhere. It’s a whole physical and emotional ordeal. Aria gets blisters and a dead mother; Peregrine gets beat up and a kidnapped nephew. Well, there’s more to it than just that, what with Aria getting exiled and poisoned, and Peregrine killing his brother and finding out his sister died a tragic death. These two don’t really have the best of luck.

This series was the epitome of: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Hey, you’re traveling with a naive Dweller-girl who hates your guts, why don’t I stick in some cannibals to give you trouble? Oh, wait, you killed the leader cannibal? Better have the cannibals come after you. Well, at least you can hide out in a fortress that contains technology to find your nephew. Hmm…that’s awkward. Your nephew doesn’t want to leave and his father is in on his kidnapping.

Poor characters. I feel so bad for them, but it makes their story that much more fun to read. By the way, Veronica, why do you have to make Roar so sad?! I never took a liking to Liv, but Roar is awesome–his name is Roar for goodness’ sake!–and then he isn’t the same happy-go-lucky Roar because you broke his heart. I do love Roar. (Reminds me a little bit of Kenji from “Shatter Me,” and I LOVE Kenji.) Speaking of screwing people over: Cinder. So unfair.

Too much sadness. Shifting over to good things. How cool is the heightened senses ability of the Outsiders? Seers, Scires, Auds. Perry is a Scire, and that’s my favorite because his descriptions are the best, especially when he senses tempers. The best moment when he used his Scire ability, and the best part of the first book in general for me:

She stood, moving slow and defeated. “I’m dying. I’m bleeding.”
Perry’s gaze traveled down her body.
“It’s not my feet.”
“Did you eat any of those berries?”
“No. She held out her hand. “You might as well have this. Maybe it’ll still help you find the boy you’re looking for.”
Perry closed his eyes and inhaled. Her scent had changed. The rancy Dweller musk was almost gone. Her skin breathed a new scent into the air, faint but unmistakable. 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.”

That’s just great. It feels so much more realistic mentioning that she gets her period. Back in the Realms, those don’t exist, so naturally she had no clue what was going on. I’m sure if no one had educated me about the topic, I would’ve thought I was dying, too. If you’re a young girl/woman with periods, they aren’t just going to stop, even if the world is falling apart around you.
And one last mention about this: “‘The cloths are clean. Boiled.’ A fleeting smile crossed his lips, though his eyes remained downcast. ‘They’re for… whatever you want to do with them.” Like using them for your period? YES! I mean, seriously, she can’t just walk around trailing blood everywhere.

A word about words. Practically everyone has a cool name. Main characters are Exhibit A: Aria and Peregrine. Exhibit B: Talon, Roar, Vale, Marron, Jupiter, Soren, Bane, Echo, Paisley, Cinder, Lumina. Need I go on? I love when anyone says Mole/Dweller and Savage/Outsider, and I already mentioned Senses. Rendering is the cutest new term I learned in the series.

The last book was filled with so much adventure and action. By far my favorite in the series. Aria can fight back and she has a Sense and Perry is completely smitten. (Plus whenever Soren speaks it’s great.) And the AHHH I-want-to-rip-my-hair-out moment at the end. Finally something is going right as Perry, Roar, and Soren planned to kill Sable. Roar is being a great distraction and Perry nocks his arrow take Sable out. But no, that would be too easy. Aria has to get in the way! Go ahead, make everyone’s lives more difficult, Veronica. And you made me think Perry died! But you did redeem yourself with bringing Soren’s smart-aleck remark into the picture. Yes, Soren, you saved him. That made me smile.

Even though this book toyed with characters’ lives and was a very messy taco (like this post), it was delicious. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes dystopian YA!

Holy Golden Leaves

SPOILER ALERT! I repeat: SPOILER ALERT! This post will ruin everything if you haven’t read “Snow Like Ashes” yet. If you have already read the book, how on earth did you keep this to yourself?! You know exactly what I’m talking about– or rather who I’m talking about. The end of Chapter 26. I’m still in shock. Goosebumps on my arms. I’m a plant covered in snow, waiting for “Ice Like Fire” to thaw me out of this shock.

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Meira isn’t a random orphan! Mather isn’t Hannah’s son? So, it’s actually Queen Meira of Winter. How could Sir and Alysson possibly pretend that Mather isn’t their son? Who are these people? Sara Raasch, what have you done to me? So brilliant. So sly. I did not see that coming. And more so, that locket is completely useless. It isn’t the conduit. (Which also means all those years of tracking it down were wasted. I’m just glad that the kingdom’s heir has to come of age to use the magic or else ALL those YEARS the Winter slaves were held captive could have been avoided.) Meira is the conduit! Well, definitely knew there was something special about her, just not that.

Moving on. Was Herod going to rape her in front of Theron? I mean I know Herod kept saying he wanted to kill her, but I definitely felt a rape-y vibe coming from him. But Meira is a survivor. Love that she never ceases to fight back. And props (again) to Sara for the pin in the eye. So simple, yet so disgusting. That’s only the icing on the cake. After the Meira vs. Herod showdown, which is gloriously gory, the real battle begins. So much action! Winterians, Autumnians, and Cordellans all banding together against Spring, well Angra specifically, in a mess of chakrams, knives, swords, and fists. Woo!

The calm after the storm: “People in the light, not just words in the dark.” Sums it up pretty nicely, don’t you agree? I mean, these aren’t just words on paper, these are words strung up to form well-rounded characters, people. People on pages I care about.

Even the acknowledgements made me smile. I used to disregard that section, but now I always make sure to glance over it. Fans are mentioned, too, don’t forget! Fellow readers, we are “better than any conduit.” We are the magic that brings this book to life each time we decide to read it. We breathe life into the pages. So, now it’s our turn to thank you, Sara, for helping us unlock the magic.