Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

I am honestly just at a loss for the epic failure of this book. The sad thing about it was how well it started. I was immediately sucked in and excited and then after I had gotten my feet wet I just kept reading and going ‘what?’ ‘huh?’ and ‘I think I might have read this before?’ And I had read it before in a book that you might be familiar with, called ‘Twilight’. I really hate comparing books to ‘Twilight’ because basically you can probably do this to a lot of young adults books from love triangles to the paranormal elements, but the more you look into ‘Carrier of the Mark’ the resemblances between the books are so very similar that you really wonder how the author got this one past the publisher.

REVIEW:

A girl named Megan moves to a new, small town, well really a new country. She doesn’t know anyone and it is like a whole other world. Being an American and living in a variety of places makes her a novelty so she is quickly sucked in by a popular group. Megan lost her mother at an early age, so her father is her sole guardian. Sometimes in the relationship you have a hard time figuring out who is in charge and making the rules.

At school Megan is instantly drawn to the absolutely mind-blowing gorgeous, yet withdrawn Adam DeRis, but everyone says don’t even try because he is a jerk and not interested in anyone at the school. Adam though is also drawn to Megan and his obvious interest surprises everyone at the school. Yet, even though he seems interested, he stays away and makes cryptic statements. Adam also has a carefree and pixie like sister named Aine who seems like she wants to befriend Bella, I mean Megan, but something is keeping Alice, I mean Aine, back. Then there is another sibling, Rian, who if looks could kill, Megan would be cold in the ground…Rosalie, I mean Rian is standoffish and makes rude statements to Megan at first, but then warms to her.

Through a freak accident because of her friends carelessness Megan almost dies, but Adam flies to the rescue and saves her through seemingly supernatural means and gets Megan thinking that something might not be human about the über-hot Adam DeRis but she’s still insta-attracted to him no matter what. Are you starting to get the picture here?

The comparisons go on and on and on (spoilers beware).

  • Adam comes to the rescue of Megan when she is accosted by horny, drunk men as she is walking alone
  • The siblings are raised by a non-related hot guardian named Fionn that could have been Carlise
  • The insta-attraction that Adam and Megan share is looked at with trepidation by his family but after only 2 weeks they can see the super-love they share and know there is no separating these two
  • There is an all-powerful ruling Order that monitors people like them and might have the power to pull them apart
  • There are evil versions of people like them and they could potentially hurt Megan
  • An evil version, who considers himself someone that tracks people, kidnaps Megan
  • Adam and the rest of the family come to the rescue at the last minute and they destroy the evil guy

The book was a rewritten Twilight, just substitute Ireland for Forks and elemental powers for vampire powers. The good thing though was Megan had some kick-ass powers herself instead of being a bumbling, self-sacrificing weakling. I also know that a lot of people think that Twilight was badly written, even though I’m not of that opinion and I didn’t think ‘Carrier of the Mark’ was even better written. Don’t waste your time with this one. There is so many more, well-written and original stories out there that you shouldn’t sully your reading-time with blatant rip-offs and novels that are just written because paranormal young adult is a hot seller.

Like this Like That Better

  1. Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) by Stephenie Meyer
  2. Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls) by Maggie Stiefvater

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‘Carrier of the Mark’ by Leigh Fallon ARC was provided by the publisher {HarperTeen} in exchange for an honest review.

Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

Review: A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:
Skeptical. I was skeptical going into this book. I think the synopsis writer didn’t do this book justice. Basically it sounded like an over blown love triangle story with an angel mythos. My copy literally said fans of ‘Hush, Hush’ and ‘Fallen’ should enjoy. I just figured this was just another love triangle YA that substitute angels for vampires, or werewolves or whatever else is the “thing” at the present moment. THUS proving that you can’t judge a book by a synopsis and never can you know if you are going to like a book before you even read it, because frankly I didn’t think I would like this book. Thank you Ms. Davies for proving me wrong. ‘A Beautiful Dark’ was a refreshingly new take on the old ideas. I didn’t have a problem with this love triangle or the angel mythology because of the character depth, formation and the interesting setting.

REVIEW:
Skye has just turned seventeen and on the night of her birthday she meets two mysterious new additions to her small town that end up getting in a fist fight, she even thinks it might be about her and then the boiler in the basement explodes and her world is never quite what it used to be. The next day at school Devin and Asher are both there and she might be mistaken but it seems they are following her, watching her, waiting for something. They hint at something, something more, about her and about her parents – and how they died.

‘A Beautiful Dark’ is a compelling addition to the young adult paranormal genre.

I was pleasantly surprised by the character development and well flushed out plot. Jocelyn Davies weaved an interesting back story and I was literally ‘vaclempt’ between the choice of Asher or Devin. The lack of free will I thought was a given though, but you never know when it comes to choices and YA books of course. I liked how Davies blurred the lines so you don’t know what is black and what is white, what is good and what is bad. You assume from the usual mythology that one side is right and one side is wrong but as the plot progresses I was suitably confused (which is a good thing). Overall I was really pleased with the novel and the unique way everything played out. I look forward to reading more in the series and from Jocelyn Davies.

Recommended:
Recommended for fans of young adult and the paranormal genre. Davies writing reminded me of authors like Bree Despain and Cassandra Clare. If you are fans of those authors you should really enjoy ‘A Beautiful Dark.’

Like this, Like That:

  1. Unearthly‘ by Cynthia Hand
  2. Angelfire‘ by Courtney Allison Moulton

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‘A Beautiful Dark’ ‘by Jocelyn Davies ARC was provided by the publisher {HarperTeen} in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:

Some fabulous dystopian novels have come out this year and ‘Legend’ is another epic addition. ‘Legend’ has everything a good dystopian needs, an overpowering government, a great divide between the wealthy and the poor and a focus on two uniquely driven but deep, well-drawn out characters. The setting was unique, the interplay between characters was excellent and the plot kept the book moving with enough anxiety that I didn’t want to put this book down! Put ‘Legend’ on your TBR list, you won’t be disappointed.

REVIEW:

The world of ‘Legend’ is based in what we know of today as The West Coast. A new country has risen up in the shadow of war, it is called the Republic. Ruled by an overlord and a heavy handed military presence, the Republic treats it’s rich like royalty and the poor like vermin.

Day and June are from two sides of the perspective. Day born poor and from a very low class family has turned to terrorist like activity after he escapes from a work camp, his actions label him as the Republic’s most wanted criminal. June, from the other side of the spectrum has been groomed for the military since she was very young. Her test scores are off the charts and she quickly advances through the military school that she was assigned to. When her brother, her only remaining family member, is killed – all the evidence points to the criminal Day. June’s first task as an officer – hunt down Day if it is the last thing she does. Yet, the closer she gets to him, the more she realizes that somethings are not always so black and white.

Fast-paced and intriguing, ‘Legend’ was compelling, emotional and thought-provoking. I couldn’t get enough of the story of both Day and June, but more so Day. His story was worth it. His character above and beyond. I’ve read a few other dystopians where the characters were helped throughout their plot by other third party characters – but I constantly had to ask myself “why?” Why are they helping this worthless character? Not so with Day, you knew why he invoked loyalty and love from the people around him. His character was well-formed and larger-than-life. On top of the characters, the action and adventure of the novel along with the mystery behind June’s brothers death made the book even more intense.

I’m slavering to get my heads on book 2, but, alas I don’t even think there is a name for it yet…

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Recommended for teens and adults alike, fans of the dystopian genre should really enjoy but this would also be a good cross-over novel for general fiction fans that want to give dystopian a try.

Like this Like That

  1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  2. Enclave by Ann Aguirre
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth

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‘Legend’ by Marie Lu ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

Review: The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:
‘The Eleventh Plague’ unfortunately was not one of the epic dystopian that was released in 2011. When compared with the titans that are ‘Divergent’, ‘Enclave’ and ‘Ashes’ this novel falls somewhere in the middle, with just a mediocre entertainment value. There are so many good novels in this genre that I felt a little put-out after reading ‘The Eleventh Plague.’ Don’t get me wrong, the premise was interesting, the writing was compelling, what threw me through a loop was the main characters. I felt like we were just following two idiotic teens making stupid choices and getting everyone around them hurt. That didn’t go over well with me. It’s one thing to see transition, it’s another to feel overwhelmed by stupid choices.

REVIEW:
The world is decimated by an event called The Collapse and twenty years later a fifteen year old boy called Stephen Quinn is trying to get by with his father. He has watched his mother and his strict grandfather die and now after a series of unfortunate events, is about to watch his father slowly die if he doesn’t get any help. He does get help, in the form of a group of people that have banded together in an area called Settler’s Landing. The survivors have gotten together and formed a community in the midst of chaos and are trying to hold on to a slice of what life used to be, by educating their children and even holding on to what was once American traditions. Stephen quickly bonds with a girl called Jenny Tan, beautiful, but Chinese which are the people that let loose the P-11 virus on America. Together it is them against the world…

This one went on my TBR because I read a rave review or two about it. I thought this would be more interesting then the rest of the crowded dystopian genre because it was more post-apocalypse than actual dystopian. I’m always a big fan of a little apocalypse action. Unfortunately it just ended up being a filler piece for me, something to pass the time. The only way I can describe it is “underwhelming”. It dragged at parts and focused so much on the internal struggle of Stephen to realize there is HOPE in life and we must be good people that it seemed almost like an after school apocalyptic special. But, all the while the boy is realizing he must fight for good – he is making these terrible choices and doing just ridiculous things that he has to run and fix and then mess up more things. Then the author would minutely focus on one plot point while all these other things were occurring that were wrapped up in a few sentences. It just fell flat for me, but was written well enough for me to finish.

My positives on the book was the background story. I thought the author had founded a good idea and would have like to see him expand on it. I also enjoyed his messages and thought he had wonderful intentions, I guess I was just looking for a little more action. This would make an excellent SyFy movie!

Recommendations
Recommended for young teens that would like a more internal focus apocalypse stories.

Like this, Like That

  1. ‘Ashes’ by Ilsa J. Bick
  2. ‘Ashfall’ by Mike Mullin

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‘The Eleventh Plague’ by Jeff Hirsch in audio book was purchased via audible.com.

Review: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Review: Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

PJ’s QUICKIE POV:
The cuddlier side of the zombies. Ok, maybe I said that wrong, more like the more spiritual side of zombies. Jonathan Maberry makes you think about the world after we’ve settled down and people have had time to think about zombies and what they are and how we should treat them. It’s definitely different. It’s very exciting and there is a ton of action, boy-hood romance and a plot line that will get you thinking instead of the usual blood and gore, shoot ’em up, zombie experience. This is one I highly recommend you experience.

REVIEW:
The family business for Benny Imura is zombie hunting. At age fifteen he has to get a job or his rations are cut. He does not want to join the family business because he can’t understand how his older brother Tom is a zombie hunter and especially why the whole town thinks he is this big, tough, cool guy – when Benny knows the truth, Tom is a coward. It is his brother Tom, he knows him best.

Job after job that doesn’t work out though ends his job search with no choice but hunting zoms with Tom. He thinks it’ll be lame, having to spend time with Tom, hunting zoms, traipsing through the rot and ruin, what he doesn’t plan on experiencing is life, a little bit of education and a new understanding of his brother.

The main basis of the Rot and Ruin is what many zombie novels skip over just briefly: Zombies were once human, they were once your loved ones. While a zombie has an endless urge to feed, their affliction is uncontrollable, they are not evil, they do not have a choice, one day they are a loving mother, the next a hungry zom. Yet, among the humans lies free will and evil tendencies and while the town huddles afraid of the walking dead, the ruthless humans thrive. It’s definitely something to check out if you want something different. Jonathan Maberry is a compelling author and I was even excited to see him on the zombie special on the History Channel. His character Benny Imura  goes though a wonderful transition and you really grow to like him. The world he created in ‘Rot & Ruin’ is quite believable and frightening, yet it shows the passion of humans to survive and also their tendency to blame and seek refuge in the normal. It was definitely the deepest zombie novel I’ve ever had the chance of reading.

Recommendations
Recommended for an older teen audience due to a bit of violence and some language. Adults will enjoy this also. Readers that enjoy coming of age stories from a male teens perspective would enjoy this even if you haven’t read zombie fiction before. Zombie fans you’ll love it.

Like this, Like That

  1. ‘Enclave’ by Ann Aguirre
  2. ‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ by Kendare Blake

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‘Rot & Ruin’ by Jonathan Maberry (Benny Imura #1) in audio book was purchased via audible.com.

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