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Tag Archives: author: stohl

iconsIcons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Source: Won in a giveway by the publisher. Promise this didn’t sway my opinion!
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside — safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid.

She’s different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy.

Within the Icon’s reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions — which they’ve always thought to be their greatest weaknesses — may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts — in order to save the future.– Goodreads

Review: Solid 2.5 stars.
I liked this book? It’s hard to explain. I started it, put it down, picked it up three weeks later and didn’t give two shits about what I previously read and continued on. I then went on to finish and was like “oh. okay. next?!” Which is sad d9e3038cb37011e2b68522000a1fb1ee_7because I love Stohl. I love the series that she wrote with Kami Garcia and I had such hopes for this novel and I was extremely disappointed. I was so glad when I found out that I had won a copy of this novel once the shock wore off. Mostly because my parents were all “DID YOU ORDER ANOTHER BOOK!?” and I was all “NO! I SWEAR THIS TIME NO!” It was such a pleasant surprise, and it was the old cover which I love!

And then I started to read it at a quick speed devouring it until it got to this weird slow lull and I had no interest in reading it. This also has to do with the fact that I saw The Host mid-reading this. Now they are nothing alike minus the fact that they both have to with aliens, but that was enough to force my mind to take a break. When it dawned on me that the published date was coming near and that I should probably finish it I decided to.

So finished it I did and it was okay. Stohl built it up so there was a lot of tension and plot occurring but in the middle (where I stopped) there is a good 100 pages where nothing happens. Nothing. There is a bit of a love triangle (of course there is, it’s YA). And even with the aliens throughout the novel, this novel felt more dystopian-like than alien-like. This book is the story of Dol and her best friend Ro as they find themselves held prisoner by the Embassy. At the Embassy is where one of the ‘twist’ occur. They find other Icon children. This is where I originally put the book down because it seems like Stohl had problems getting out of this twist. Her world building is strong, but it is hard to appreciate when you as the reader are wading through a lot of muck trying to get to the good story.

Because this is told from Dol’s POV one is suppose to be sympathetic for her but instead she made me roll my eyes a lot, including during the love triangle part in which I was like “JUST GET OVER IT” which continued to add to the part where I was just so bored. I could feel parts in which I was skimming because I just wanted the book to be over. I went into this book with expectations and sadly they were not met.

Top Ten Tuesday is a new thing we are trying at yAdultReview, because, well why not? Plus, we know Ashley loves her some lists, and Tina just likes Ashley being happy, so ta-da!  For our blog generally Ashley will be number 1-5, and Tina will be 6-10.

In the words of The Broke and the Bookish who host the feature:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists.

  • Roarke. I can picture the face Tina will make when she reads that I listed the lead guy from the in Death series. But his fierce love of Eve (the woman who becomes his wife) and his willing to protect her no matter what makes it so easy to love him. Of course he gives Eve a hard time a lot, which also makes it easy to love him.
  • Calvin Morrisey. When I was younger, I read massive amounts of romance paperbacks. Then I found out about Jennifer Cruise and inhaled all of her books at once. Not that I still don’t read massive amounts of romance novels, because I do. Cal, although he has his faults. He loves Min with all of his11988046 life and the two of them play such a game of cat and mouse that by the end you just want to smish them together. Yes. Smish.
  • Trevor. From my review here, I made it quite clear I was team Trevor. There was a strong point in the novel that my heart turned and my love for Trevor only grew. While he is a sensitive soul he also has his moments of snark and slowly worked his way into my heart.
  • Vane Weston. It is not remotely a secret for anyone that I love and adore Shannon Messenger’s Let the Sky Fall But Vane? Oh Vane is my YA dream boy. He’s snarky, he takes no shit, and he tries his hardest. Plus he loves and adores his parents, which is pretty awesome.
  • James Compton. When you first meet James Compton you don’t love him. Hate comes to mind, but slowly he becomes more human and with him becoming more human he becomes someone that not only does Maisie fall in love with, but the reader, too. Plus he has a bit of snark. What can I say, I love snarky boys.
  • Ethan Wate. I’ve loved Ethan since the very first chapter in the very first book of the Caster Chronicles. He is who all other male narrators are compared to, and usually found wanting. I don’t think it has so much to do with looks, but I love a boy who reads, first of all. And a boy who doesn’t believe everything he’s told (I specifically remember his mocking of being taught about the War of Northern Aggression). I also really loved how he stuck by Lena, how he described her powers, and how just devoted to her he was. He was my first male narrator. You never forget your first!
  • Peeta Mellark. The Boy with the Bread. Steadfast, worthy, charismatic, horribly brainwashed and tortured. I loved Peeta from the beginning (even if I didn’t love him with Katniss right away), because he was never the showy bad boy, or the pretty one. He was just Peeta, the baker’s son with a good heart, the one who saved Katniss and Prim’s lives once. That he’d loved Katniss since she was a little girl only makes it better, really. And the movie has only made me love him more, because while I had my doubts at first, Josh Hutcherson is perfect for the role and is really good at looking vulnerable. I just want to hug him!
  • Christian Prescott. I started the Unearthly series a Tucker fangirl, but Hallowed made me change my mind hallowed(plus I’m not exactly into the whole cowboy/rodeo thing). I don’t know any other Christian fans, but I really loved the connection he had with Clara, and how he knew when not to say anything and just be there. People don’t like him for what he did in the cemetery with Clara, but honestly, that was the turning point for me. He knew what she needed. He was there for her.
  • Cricket Bell. I have a weird relationship with Stephanie Perkins’ novels. I’ll be the first to tell you that I really should not read contemporary romance; it only makes me rage. I raged during Anna and the French Kiss, and I raged even harder during Lola and the Boy Next Door. Just thinking about it makes me mad, remembering Lola and all her stupid moves. Cricket saved the book. He was so sweet and quiet, and he saved the day over and over. He does have an unfortunate name, yes, but when he tells Lola she looked incredible? I swooned. I maintain that he deserves better than what he got. *ducks*
  • Adrian Ivashkov. I’ll just come right out and say it: I prefer Adrian to Dimitri. Dimitri always seemed like such a cardboard cutout. When I read the Vampire Academy series, it was for Rose, not Dimitri, though I admit I liked their romance. For awhile. Until Blood Promise. Which ruined everything. I haven’t read Last Sacrifice, but I started Bloodlines, because I care more about what happens to Adrian and Sydney than Dimitri and Rose. Adrian is a classic sarcastic bad boy who’s hurting on the inside, but he doesn’t seem like a cliche to me. His circumstances make him more interesting than that.
  • Honorable Mention from Tina: Cas Lowood. Cas, who kept himself friends-less, who fell in love with a ghost, who crossed the Atlantic Ocean to help her, who in the end had to let her go. Watching his evolution in Anna Dressed in Blood from outsider to close friend, and watching his love grow over the course of the novel, was so lovely. And what happened at the end of Girl of Nightmares was heartbreaking, but Cas pulled through and was mature enough to do what had to be done. And besides, Kendare Blake basically endorsed my crush on Twitter the other day.

Top Ten Tuesday is a new thing we are trying at yAdultReview, because, well why not? Plus, we know Ashley loves her some lists, and Tina just likes Ashley being happy, so ta-da!  For our blog generally Ashley will be number 1-5, and Tina will be 6-10.

In the words of The Broke and the Bookish who host the feature:

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

This week’s topic is perfect for me, Ashley. I own hundreds of books that I had to own, but at the same time I have yet to read. Book buying is an addiction that I openly have. Remind me to tell you about Amazon and midnight shopping; two of my friends have issues believing it.

  1. The Caster Chronicles Series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I own the whole series, but I just don’t have redeptiontime to read them. Mostly because Tina warned me that they are angsty in parts and we all know I have angst issues, so I waited until the series finished to read them. The series has now ended and I have yet to read them. Mostly because my TBR list continues to grow. I know, I know, such a problem to have. (Note from Tina: I had a minor meltdown when I read this. Ethan Wate, Ashley. Eeeeethan Waaaaaaate.)
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Everyone I know loves and adores this book and to be fair, I’m sure I will too. But I did my undergrad thesis on France and World War II, and this book came out around the time of said thesis. The thought of reading more literature on World War II during that time period depressed me. Since this book has such a heavy theme and topic, I needed to take a break between school and The Book Thief. Sadly, that break has turned into almost four years. Whoops.
  3. The Hush Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick. I read the first one mighty quickly and assumed I would breeze through the rest of the book series when they came out. Sadly, I own them all and they just all sit on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I heard so-so things about the second book from one of my friends and I just didn’t have a need to read them. Yet again, I had to have them.
  4. The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch.  I have heard nothing but good things about this series. The whole series has glowing reviews, and I own the first book, but have yet to get to them.
  5. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. I bought this book forever ago because once again, everyone I know loves and adores the book. But I just haven’t had time to pick it up and start it. Which is sad for me, and the book.
  6. Huntress by Malindo Lo. I love Malindo Lo, and I loved her first novel, Ash. Lo writes LGBT fiction, and she’s fabulous at it, and she also manages to incorporate people of color. She’s said before that her worlds don’t contain homophobia or racism, so there’s no freaking out over same-sex couples or mixed race marriages, and it’s true. It feels like a world I want to live in. I bought Huntress the moment it came out… but I just haven’t ever picked it up. I really need to. It’s on my list for 2013.
  7. Witchlanders by Lena Coakley. Does anyone remember when Simon and Schuster did GalleyGrab? It’s defunct now, but Witchlanders is one of the books I started reading, but the galley expired before I could finish it. Then I had to wait forever for it to come out, and my library never got it (my library is terrible), so I bought it on Amazon. And now it just sits6527740 on my shelf, glaring at me. It hasn’t gotten much attention, but that’s all right, because I remember loving and hating the main character, Ryder. A male narrator in a standalone fantasy novel? I really need to get on with the reading.
  8. Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead. Oh, Vampire Academy. How I loathe you. Admittedly, I loved the first three books. They are still some of my favorites, but by the time I got to Spirit Bound… I don’t know, I felt like Rose was not the same character I wanted to follow. In fact, I hated her, especially her treatment of Adrian, who I’ve always liked more than Dimitri. I felt like her character was assassinated, and I had no desire to see how her story ended. Don’t even get me started on Blood Promise. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever read this one. I’ve started reading Bloodlines instead.
  9. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. I love fantasy. I believe my bio here says it’s my first love, and that is still true. And I actually did read maybe 50 pages of this one. But it is. So. BORING. I can’t get into it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not really a fan of Sanderson’s politics, or if I’m just unable to read books with so much description and so little dialogue, but I cannot force myself to pick this one back up.
  10. Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind. I loved Wizard’s First Rule and the show it inspired, Legend of the Seeker. I was super psyched when I found out the second book started where the first one left off, so I immediately ordered it… and discovered it’s NINE HUNDRED PAGES LONG. That is not an exaggeration. It is literally 900+ pages long. That is two long books in one. Plus? It’s all written in 10-point font. I just… it’s the most daunting thing I have ever encountered as a reader, and I am A READER. I’ll get around to it. Someday. Maybe.

brBeautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles #4) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate always dreamed of leaving the stifling Southern town of Gatlin. But he never dreamt that finding love with Lena Duchannes would drive him away. Lena is a Caster girl whose supernatural powers unveiled a secretive and cursed side of Gatlin, so powerful it forced him to make a terrible sacrifice.

Now Ethan must find a way to return to Lena – and Gatlin – as she vows to do whatever it takes to get him back. Even if it means trusting old enemies or risking their loved ones’ lives. Can Ethan and Lena rewrite their fate and their spellbinding love story in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series?


Okay. Ethan Wate. You know my love for him. You know I compare all other male narrators to him. You know how much the ending to Beautiful Chaos crushed me. Within ten seconds of opening this book, I was crying. So much has happened, and Ethan is really, truly (SPOILER) dead. Lena is alone. It breaks my heart, and not in the good, I-love-angst kind of way, but in a heart-rending, ugly crying, snot sobbing kind of way. I want Lena and Ethan together forever. And I want forever to start RIGHT NOW. And yet, despite all those feelings, I also found myself laughing. This one brings the old funny back to the series, and I was really happy to see it, especially given our narrator’s circumstances. Ethan wakes up in the Otherworld, not quite Earth, not quite Heaven. His first immediate thought is to find Lena, and Lena is still looking for him too. She doesn’t believe Ethan is really gone, though she’s having some trouble convincing Link. I was really glad to see Lena and Link together without Ridley. I wanted them to bring Ethan back together.

A theme in all these novels has been words–words have power and meaning, words can hurt you, words can raise you up. This one is no different. Ethan’s very life hangs in the balance over a few words. When Lena’s section comes, I nearly cried through the whole thing. Lena feels things differently than Ethan, and I can tell the differences in the writing. Her words, her poetry, are constant, even if she refuses to write. And despite all the sadness, I loved seeing Lena outside of Ethan. I even liked seeing angry, jerky Lena in Beautiful Darkness. Ethan was our narrator for three books, and now we get an extended peek inside Lena’s head. I loved it, and I loved seeing her interactions with Link, Liv, and John. I think I’m just as much in love with Lena as I am with Ethan now.

Two things now. First, it is really hard to review this one a) without spoiling the first three novels, b) without spoiling this novel, and c) because, well, not a ton happens. Sure, there are moments of action, and Link really shines in this one, but it’s mostly Lena and Ethan doing research. Second, I love this series and its characters (all of them, there is not one I don’t like), so my objectivity is very low. This book did what I wanted it to do in that we go to hear more Lena from her own perspective and it wraps things up. There are, however, a few things left open for the reader to interpret themselves, and that’s okay with me.

Ashley and I went to Las Vegas last month and met Kami Garcia (among others), and she was so psyched about the Beautiful Creatures movie, so don’t forget about that if you’re a fan of this series! Read this one for its closure, but prepare for some heartbreak throughout.

bcBeautiful Chaos (The Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn’t by Lena – and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and most days he’s too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.

Good Lord, that summary is not lying.  This book was tough to read.  Ethan is slowly losing his mind, Lena and the other Casters’ powers are unpredictable and malfunctioning, Ridley is on a mission to take down Savannah Snow and causing general mayhem, and Link is…well, he’s still Link.  Linkubus to be exact.  Ridley and Link continue to be on and off, and Lena and Ethan are doing fine, aside from Lena turning into Rogue from X-Men.  Amma has gone dark for longer than ever, and Link and Ethan see her do something that goes against everything they know about her.  John  Breed is missing, and everyone, including Abraham, is looking for him.

Reading this book is painful, because ya’ll know my love for and devotion to Ethan Wate.  And he hurts in this book.  He’s having those living dreams again, only Lena isn’t in these.  He fights a monster who looks like himself, and he can’t figure out what it wants.  Lena’s powers have amplified to the point that she can cause flash floods in one minute and a forest fire the next.  Ethan can barely touch Lena, let alone kiss her.  He does it anyway, of course, but they both know what’s happening.  He’s losing his memories, things that happened in his life, and he doesn’t know why.  Lena digs into her past, and it’s painful for her to see Serafine as she was before she went truly dark.  Ridley seems to be able to Cast, though she’s Mortal now, and she’s using these unusual powers to raise holy hell on Savannah Snow.  I don’t really like Ridley, so her pain just annoys me.  I don’t like Savannah Snow either, so you know, whatever.

Bad things start to happen, and Ethan starts hearing another song–Eighteen Moons.  His father decides to name his book, Eighteen Moons.  The song is everywhere, but Lena isn’t sure it’s about her.  Abraham pays Ethan a visit in the night and then wreaks havoc on Gatlin.  Some people you know in this series are seriously hurt, and it sucks.  The last book in this series made me cry, but this one had me crying from the very beginning.  I even started to sympathize with freaking Serafine.  And you know what?  That is awesome.  It takes a really good writer to shuck the trappings of evil villains tropes and to turn those villains into real people who have been hurt, wronged, twisted, or abused.  They give Serafine a reason for being the way she is, a legitimate reason that makes me hurt for her even if I don’t believe that the ends justify her means.

It’s really hard to be vague about the plot, because a lot happens.  Ethan’s dreams take up a large portion of the beginning of the book, and a lot of the rest of it is spent showing Ethan falling apart.  This book is dark, as dark as Serafine, and it’s a tough read.  These characters hurt throughout the entire book, but I love them and I love this series, and I was not disappointed by Beautiful Chaos.  In fact, I liked this one more than Beautiful Darkness.  I like books that feel real, with destruction and chaos and death of characters you love, because that’s life.  People die, relationships end, but the Wheel keeps turning.  Maybe that’s why I like dystopias so much.  That genre isn’t afraid to kill every character in the book.

I don’t know how to end this, really, because the book is so heart-wrenching and I can’t really find anything witty to say about it.  This book will break your heart.  Prepare yourselves and dive in.

darknessBeautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date: October 10, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.


I want to start off by saying that Ethan and Lena from Beautiful Creatures, book one of the Caster Chronicles, are one of my all-time favorite couples in YA.  Lena is strong and independent and she is often the one saving Ethan rather than being a damsel in distress.  Ethan is kind, generous, and smart to boot.  He doesn’t try to control Lena (something even Lena has a hard time doing) and he accepts her as she is.

If only Lena could accept herself as well as Ethan.  As we know from the last book, Lena’s sixteenth birthday has come and gone, and Lena has yet to be Claimed.  Instead, Lena’s mother, Serafine, kills Ethan and Lena is forced to use The Book of Moons to revive him.  Everything has its price, however, and Lena’s beloved uncle, Macon Ravenwood, is killed as payment for Ethan’s life. This has understandably sent Lena’s already chaotic life into a tailspin.


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