Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blogging Hiatus: Party of One



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Hey reader friends!
Life has been crazy lately and I've decided it's time for me to take a little break, 
from blogging, not life:)
So for the rest of this month and probably into next, I'm on an official blogging hiatus. 
Now that not to say that there will be no new content on the blog. Marlene will still be contributing and I do have a few posts scheduled ahead including a giveaway of my friend Dahlia Adler's YA debut BEHIND THE SCENES on April 28 and the cover reveal of my friend Carrie Mesrobian's (SEX & VIOLENCE
sophomore release PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY on May 1. 
I may also write a review or two during this time 
but posting in general will be a little more sporadic then usual. 
You all know I love blogging but right now my balance 
is out of whack so I need some time to regroup and recharge:)

I'll still be checking in via Twitter and Goodreads so look for me there 
and of course I'll be reading, reading as always! 

Have a great Easter and enjoy your Spring! 
The weather is sunny and gorgeous here in NW Florida and I'm going to go soak it up! 



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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookish Things I Want to Own

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by
The Broke and the Bookish

At first glance, this week's topic may be a tall order for some of us. At least, this felt true for me. I mean, what more could I possibly want other than a new and spacious bookshelf? I'm a simple girl. I just need my books and a nice piece of furniture to store them into. This sort of thinking led me on a search. I browsed the 'net for ALL the bookish things I'm missing in my life, just to prove to myself that I didn't care for them. And then, something extraordinary happened. I discovered I'm a lot more interested in bookish stuff and things than I allow myself to believe. Though I initially thought this week's topic would be a tough one, it turned out to be one of the funnest challenges I've completed for Top Ten Tuesday (so far). So, without further ado, here are the top ten bookish things I WANT to own!


A bookshelf equipped with a ladder.

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(I blame Belle for this need.) ;)


A cozy reading nook for the room with the awesome bookshelf.

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A cute decorative pillow to clutch while I read.

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A Kindle Fire HD for ALL my e-book needs.

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(Currently reading e-books on my laptop. It would be a nice and fancy upgrade.)


A classic leather bound bookish cover for my Kindle.

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A similar bookish cover for my laptop.

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Catching Fire on DvD. 

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(I'll probably wait for a sale.) :P


A super cool Hunger Games inspired phone case.

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(It's time I let the inner HG fangirl in me OUT.)


An awesome tote bag where I can lug ALL the books in.

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(I can't believe I don't own one either.)


And because I’m discovering more books to fangirl over, 
I know I’ll need these:

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(Yes, Fangirl being one of them.) :D


I'll be sure to let you know if I purchase any of the items listed. Or if you know, I design my future home with the bookshelf and nook you see above, you'll know about it too. I can easily see the adorable earrings being my first purchase though. 
Well, that's it for me, lovelies.

What would you like to own?

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cover Reveal: Make It Count by Megan Erickson




Hola readers!

Today I have the pleasure of revealing the cover for Megan Erickson's New Adult novel Make It Count!

Ready to see it?






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Cute shoes! I want them....


A little info about the book:

Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend, Alec…who just so happens to be her brand new math tutor. Who knew nerd was so hot?

Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends—both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It’s safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm’s reach. But Alec is always stepping just a little too close.

Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She’s adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He’d never stab his best friend in the back…

But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To make it count, Alec must learn messy human emotions can’t be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it.







And I have an excerpt for you as well:

Chapter One:

Kat gathered her books and stuffed them into her plaid Burberry messenger bag, then headed toward the front doors, smoothie from the library snack shop in hand. Head bent, fiddling with the clasp of her bag, she stumbled into a wall of human on the pavement outside.
“Oh, I’m sorry—” Her voice dropped out when she realized the solid flesh belonged to Alec, Max’s best friend.
She’d only met him once or twice before he’d moved in with Max this semester and every time, he cocked his eyebrow with a half frown like he knew something she didn’t. Which he actually did, since he had brainy superpowers. Smarter than a speeding Einstein. Able to leap over C-minus students like her in a single bound.
She didn’t trust people that smart. And she didn’t trust a guy who didn’t ogle her ass or leer at her boobs like every other member of the straight male species on the planet.
Right now, that raised-eyebrow frown pinned her where she stood. His pale green eyes behind thick black frames roamed over her shoulder to the library and then back to her. With his pin-stripe button-down, dark jeans with Converse shoes and hair styled in a short, messy pompadour, he looked like a nerdy Elvis.
His frown morphed into a smile when he spotted the smoothie in her hand, and she definitely didn’t notice his full lips. “You know, you don’t have to venture into the forbidden zone just to get a smoothie.”
Oooh. The jerk. She glanced around surreptitiously, then leaned in and spoke in a low voice. “Just play it cool. Don’t let it slip someone like me snuck in the library.” She gripped his forearm and whispered. “Password today is rosebud.”
His face blanked and he looked at her like he’d never seen her before. Kat debated whether or not that was an improvement over his other look.
But then those intelligent eyes narrowed and a smirk curled his lips. “I know. We nerds get an e-mail every morning.”
See? He always needed the last word. She propped a hand on her hip and leaned in. “Well, sounds like you have a mole. Might want to look into that.”
He opened his mouth but she cut him off. “Just looking out for you guys. Anyway, see ya around!”
Before he could shoot back a snarky comeback, Kat skirted around him and bounded down the stairs. She chalked that up as Kat 1, Alec 0.




Sounds great, right?

I'm looking forward to this one, how about you? 
Be sure to add it to your Goodreads TBR:






MEGAN ERICKSON grew up in a family that averages 5’3” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.
She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.













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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Waiting on... Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by 


This week I'm waiting for:


by Sarah Fine
August 5th, 2014
Margaret K. McElderry Books
320 pages

There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it.


As if the badass title AND cover weren't enough, we've got a synopsis that SCREAMS AWESOMENESS! 
This novel is a retelling of Phantom of the Opera  which features a ghost and a slaughterhouse to make it its own story!




If you follow Jen from the Starry-Eyed Revue, you might have stumbled across her early review of Fine's upcoming novel, told in GIFs. It's fun and full of flails! Trust me, it's the perfect teaser. Thanks to her, I can hardly wait for this release! This is an auto-buy for me, my friends. I can't wait to tell you more about it come August! 

Hang in there with me because...




So tell me, what are you waiting on this week?
I'd LOVE to know!


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
by Marissa Meyer
Feiwel & Friends
February 4th, 2014
550 pages
Source: the lovely Lauren let me burrow her advanced reading copy! Thanks for sharing, lady! I owe ya. :)

Synopsis:

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had 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 of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.



My Take On It

So, it’s been a little over a month since I read Cress, and I still, for the life of me, can’t fully express what this series or what THIS BOOK has done to me. In three words, I will cleverly summarize what this reading experience was like: it was asdfghjkl;’! I’m sorry, did I say three words? I meant none.

Oh, but how I continue to flail over the characters, their relationships, and their current circumstances as if they existed. I continue to theorize over the unknown direction of the final installment and the possible solutions ahead. But most of all, I continue to believe in Meyer’s talent and imagination, and without reservation, I know she’ll exceed my expectations, making my predictions and daydreams inconsequential–which is exactly what an epic series conclusion should embody. A series conclusion should capture intimate moments and emotion in an uncalculated manner, and so far, Meyer’s sequels have been given similar treatment. I continue to be amazed by Meyer’s work.

While the possibilities are endless, I won’t spoil the fun by outlining what my predictions are. Instead, I’ll vaguely tell you what I look forward to in the final installment while simultaneously giving you the scoop on Cress:


  • I’m eagerly anticipating the addition of Winter. As the fourth leading heroine of this series, she has an important role coming up. There’s a glimpse of Winter in Cress, and there’s just enough to tease you (in the most exciting and unexpected way possible) for what’s to come. All of Meyer’s heroines differ in personality and outward appearance, but Winter will certainly make the story a lot more complex and entertaining. Seriously.


  • I’m ready for an insane amount of swoon-worthy moments. I’m waiting for a pair of explosive romantic reunions, and for others to define the relationship! Next to skillfully penning complex and relatable characters, Meyer is also an expert at creating romantic tension and build-up. While every heroine is seemingly paired-up, outside forces continues to keep them separated from their match. So, naturally, I’m longing for everyone’s union and happily ever after. Let’s make it happen!


  • On the opposite end of romance, war between Earth and Luna brews in Cress–which leads to an eruption in plights and battles. I’m mentally preparing myself for the total outbreak of war in Winter. It’s going to be exhilarating, bloody, and a little deceiving. After all, we have two powerful Lunars with the ability to manipulate thoughts and emotions of those around them, and they’re going head to head. It’s going to be intense!


  • Which leads me to my next point, will the conclusion end happily, or could Meyer take us where no fairy tale has gone and kill off beloved characters? Could evil finally conquer good? It’s certainly a possibility but not one I’m hoping for. Though I don’t mind if the door is open for a spin off series, I’m ready for the takedown of Queen Levana. Off with her head!


  • So exactly how big will the final installment be? At 550 pages, Cress is a mammoth to get through, and somehow, I needed more. With just one more installment in the series, I’m conflicted between wanting to know how all of this will wrap up and not wanting to let go quite yet. When you’re in this unique position, I believe it speaks highly of the story you’re so immersed in, and I couldn't be happier with the result.  


Meyer keeps elevating the stakes by introducing new characters, converging their stories, and taking the plot to new heights. I continue to admire Meyer for her craftiness and creativity, but most of all, I admire her for the lovable characters she has given the world to cherish. The Lunar Chronicles has become a fast favorite, and I simply cannot stop dancing with excitement over what has happened and what has yet to occur.

Cress is a worthy sequel, and although I didn't go in depth with each character, their romance, or explain further plot points, just know, this is a book that adds more to the overall story arc. It’s thrilling, humorous, passionate, and fun. It’s what Thorne would call, “true value.” I see it, Thorne. I see it.


Because I'm in my own world, and I'm happy!


Find Marissa Meyer here: website / goodreads / twitter / facebook

Read more reviews of Cress:
Love at First Page
The Midnight Garden (Dress the Part: Cress)
Writer of Wrongs



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Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods & Monsters
(Smoke & Bone, #3)
by Laini Taylor
April 8, 2014
Little, Brown & Company
528 pages
Source: An ARC was provided courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.
Thank you, Little, Brown!

Synopsis

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter? (Goodreads Summary.)





*This is an ARC review. *

**WARNING! 
This is a review for the third book in a series, it is spoiler free but 
there will be spoilers for the previous two books in the series. 
You have been warned**




My Take On It

It's been a tumultuous year for readers of some of YA's favorite series, hasn't it? Readers have encountered  heroes and heroines dying,  favorite love interests getting the shaft over another and open endings with no real resolution, among others. I know that I am not the only one who goes into the final books of some of these series with just as much trepidation in my heart as excitement. And so it was with Laini Taylor's Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the final chapter in her stunning Smoke & Bone trilogy. 

First off I want to give a giant thanks to Little, Brown for allowing me access to this book before publication. I know there were a limited numbers of ARCS for bloggers so thank you so much for selecting me to be one of the chosen few. 

So, how to write a proper review for Dreams of Gods & Monsters without spoiling? Tricky, tricky. I had a lot of feeling and emotions while reading--and let me tell you--they run the gamut. I had highs and I had lows. There are things I very much liked about this book--and there were some things that didn't sit as well with me. But overall, if I had to describe Dreams of Gods & Monsters in two words they would be: ambitious and unexpected. 

So, here is what you can expect to find in Dreams of Gods & Monsters


  • A continuation of the main story arc regarding the Chimera and the Seraphs.
  • Continued use of the multiple POV narration
  • Returning faces such as Akiva and Karou (OBVIOUSLY) Mik, Zuzanna, Ziri, Liraz, Isa, Jael, Razgut, and the Stelians we met in Days of Blood & Starlight
  • New faces: More of the Stelians, a human named Eliza and some of the people in her world, some new seraphs including Eldyon, new Chimera, Stormhunters, and a human named Esther
  • More of the Stelian storyline
  • Battles and skirmishes
  • Lies and betrayals
  • Swoony moments
  • Tearful and joyful moments
  • More insight into Akiva's "gifts"
  • Angels returning to Earth
  • More on the history of the Seraph race
  • And for this reader at least--the question of will there be more stories written featuring this world?

Now on to the technicals: Dreams of Gods & Monsters kicks off in an interesting way. Remember the epilogue in Days of Blood and Starlight, when Akiva and Karou make eye contact across the Kirin caves where the remaining Chimera and Misbegotten have gathered? Well, Dreams of Gods & Monsters actually backtracks and begins not there but slightly before--when Akiva and Karou are forming strategy on just HOW to get the two groups of people, long enemies, to agree to come together and fight a common foe, Jael who has crossed through the portal to earth causing everyone in that world to think the apocalypse has come. 

Actually, I have to backtrack even more. Dreams of Gods & Monsters actually starts with the narration of one of the new faces: Eliza, a PhD candidate living in Washington DC. Our first glimpse of Jael's return and the reaction it causes on earth is seen through Eliza's eyes. 

Now I rather liked how the book begun--but I also listened to the audiobook of Days of Blood & Starlight immediately prior to starting Dreams for recap purposes. And if it's been awhile since you were immersed in this world and story (like I was prior to the audiobook re-read) you might want to consider re-reading or re-acquainting yourself with that second book before you start. You don't have to of course, but it certainly made it easier on me as I read Dreams. I'm not sure I would have remembered all the finer points and details of Days--and in a book like this ALL the details, great or small, matter. 

As with Days, Dreams jumps between narratives so that the first part of the book has readers following Eliza on Earth--who is somewhat of a mystery from the start- and then jumps to Eretz and Akiva and Karou's narrations. All in all there are at least 13 different voices that narrate in Dreams--give or take a few. Guys, that's a lot. But I really never was confused about WHO was narrating while reading. However, with so many perspectives it did make me feel a little scattered as I read.

There are many of the same themes in Dreams as in the other books in this series with vengeance and redemption being the largest. Akiva and Liraz's lust for vengeance against Jael and his role in the death of Hazael. Karou's  need for vengeance for the loss of Brimstone. But there is redemption too. The Serpahs and Chimeras forgiveness of each other. A smaller yet no less powerful tale of redemption between Liraz and one of the Chimera. Redemption for Ziri and all that he sacrificed when assuming the role (and body) of Thiago.  So, many of the smaller stories and plot threads do indeed come full circle in Dreams of Gods and Monsters and I loved that. 

But the scope of this book, as well as the pacing, is something that I have to mention too. When I said this book is ambitious, I mean it. There is SO much going on in Dreams. Karou/Madrigal's and Akiva's longtime hope to reunite the people of Eretz, which has always been the main focus of this series, is just one part of this book. As early as a third of the way in to Dreams--I began to understand how much broader in scope this book was turning out to be. To be honest I feel that there is really too much in this book--I'm thankful for the continuation of the main story arc but Taylor adds some additional plot threads that, while interesting, didn't feel right for this book. Not only does it feel like some of these things would have been better explored earlier in the series, if they are to be explored at all, it also feels like they detracted from the main conflict at hand. 

As far as pacing--it's off. The first part of the book moves slowly as plans and strategies are made to bring Jael back to Eretz minus the weapons he hopes to acquire and wage war with. The second part of the book chronicles the result of these plans. But wait--there's more. Because just when I thought that would be it--Taylor hits readers with a whole other storyline involving the Stelians and their Queen (this is no spoiler, the above summary says as much) and it's that line that takes the book to it's conclusion. 

Remember the second word I used above to describe this book is unexpected.  Here's the thing, I'm not opposed to this Stelian storyline that Dreams devolves into during the final chapters. It's an interesting story and I think it has serious potential to be developed into something awesome. But the fact that it was put into play so late in the game--it literally is unveiled in the last 15% of the book--is troubling to me. As I said, it's a interesting inclusion--and something I would love to read more about--say in a companion book or series. But if that is not what Taylor has planned than I think that introducing this into the final pages of the last book of a trilogy may not have been the best move. Just my opinion, folks. 

I guess you could say that after reading I still have a lot of questions. Many of my questions were answered in this final book. But there were so many more questions brought up--most brought up at the very end of the book--that leave me wondering if this is really the last book that Taylor plans to write featuring this world and these characters. Although I have seen NOTHING online to indicate that Taylor plans to write more, I  just can't help but feel as if we readers have only reached the very tip of the iceberg in this story. If there is to be more I welcome it, it will ease my mind about where things are left lying at the end of Dreams. But if there is not to be more--well--let's just say that I hope there will be and leave  it at that. 

I don't want you to think that I didn't enjoy this book though. The amazing world and characters that Taylor has crafted in this series takes my breath away. I'm a huge fan of secondary characters and in Dreams, they rivaled the main characters in my affection. Ziri: you have my heart always. Liraz: you take the prize for best growth and development of a character I've read this year. Mik and Zuzanna--your ability to add humor to this brutal and emotionally draining story is to be commended. And Jael, you horrible, vile man, you take the prize as one of the most despicable villains around. 

I also have to give Taylor major props for creating such an inspiring and relevant story. The parallels between our world and that of Eretz are obvious and I love that Taylor created such a gorgeous tale of two lovers fighting to change the fate of their world through love and compassion instead of war and death. That is such a simple yet striking message and one that Taylor conveys to the reader in the most beautiful, lyrical, and magical way. 

It's hard to say much more without divulging too much about this book--I had chance to discuss it in great detail with my friend Lauren, and it's definitely a book that invites discussion--A LOT OF IT. I am so curious to see how others readers will react and I'm doubly curious to see if many of my burning, unanswered question about whether this is truly the end of the road for this world and characters (that sounds dire doesn't it? It's not meant to!) or if Taylor has secret plans to write more one day. One thing is for sure: I haven't read very many books that have swept me up with their world building and blown my mind with their beautiful prose, memorable characters, and swoony romance as Taylor's Smoke and Bone series has. So it's a certainty that I would read more and will read more of her work in the future. 



Find author Laini Taylor here: website / goodreads / twitter  

Read more reviews of Dreams of Gods & Monsters:
The Bookish Manicurist
Reading Teen
Looking for the Panacea
Once Upon a Bookcase


I Have an Awesome Giveaway for One of You:)





Hey readers!

Today I've got a chance for one of YOU to win finished paperback's of Marie Lu's Legend, Prodigy and as a special bonus, my ARC of the third and final book in the series, Champion!
That's right--Penguin Books and I are giving away the ENTIRE Legend series to ONE lucky winner!



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Legend 

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Prodigy 

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. 

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Legend, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action. 


Champion

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?
 

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position. 

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything. 

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.



Been wanting to read this series? Now's your chance!

To enter just fill out the Rafflecopter below.
This giveaway is for US entrants only.
All my standard rules and policies apply
you can find them HERE.

Good luck!




a Rafflecopter giveaway






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