Birthmarked- by Caragh O’Brien

A YA dystopian Trilogy

Come Fly With Us: Book Review: Birthmarked Trilogy
A YA Dystopian Trilogy

I picked this series up recently as part of my desire to visit most of those YA titles that I totally ignored at their time of publication but nonetheless achieved some measure of reader acceptance. This journey has produced quite some interesting surprises–which of course I cherished–but also at the same time I must say there has been a slew of disappointments along the way, too. The Birthmarked Trilogy unfortunately ranks among the worst in that category of disappointing reads.

I’m not really going to say a lot here because much has already been spoken about how so underwhelming this series is, and the many poor reviews on Goodreads are a case in point. Like most YA titles published in the new milennium, it features a love triangle, no a love square actually because not two but three men compete for the love of the heroin. The dystopian setting is intriguing at first but then everything just goes flat after after a number of chapters and the story never recovers from there. Books 2 and 3 were a complete waste of time, to say the least.

If you haven’t read this series then save yourself the time and just keep things that way.

A Reading Update

Over the past weeks I’ve kind of been so hooked to Lauren Oliver–love her prose and swashbuckling characters–but sadly I’m not finding this one as adorable. To be honest I’m finding the two sisters Nick and Dara, the main characters of this story, a little too plain and everydayish, and the book rehashes certain scenes we have seen in other books, teenage drinking, hooking up etc. That being said however I will continue with the book anyway since I’m so much into everything Lauren Oliver and let’s hope something big happens here and the story swings into thrilling territory. Despite all those complains though, if you’re in the mood for some good YA, please do try this author. She’ll likely not disappoint you.

Monday-What are you reading

I just thought to grab this after glimpsing news that it had been turned into a TV series, by no less than Amazon Prime, of all content providers. It’s a contest based novel with a whooping $67k take-home prize for the winner, and for teenagers with pretty much nothing to do over the summer holidays, it takes a lot of effort to resist. This premise of the novel though is somewhat mindless because despite the real grim possibility of death and injury in the games, no one is forced to participate and getting involved is purely optional.

Reading-wise I’ve only gone about fifteen percent into the story and so far there hasn’t been any real fireworks, just some character intros and a few fights, but things might indeed get hotter as I wade deeper in. Lauren’s writing remains great, and her vivid descriptions bring to life even what might have been pretty mundane scenes, and I love her greatly for it. I haven’t watched the TV adaptation however, but might one of these days get to doing it.

Monday – what are you reading?

By all means this ain’t my usual cup of tea when it comes to book choices, but I must say I’m finding this story to be quite engaging. To be truthful though I did have a look at it during my Wattpad days, but didn’t like it much and only read a few chapters then stopped. This time around I don’t hate it in the same way and I’m flipping through the pages at pretty much a fast rate. Perhaps it’s that it has been officially published–with the through editing and enhancement that goes with that–and so it has improved a lot, with regards to everything that usually makes debut novels suck. The basic plot structure though hasn’t been altered really, and it constantly repeats: fight, make love, fight again then make love–you get my point.

As far as the characters go however, I’m finding Tessa to be naive and clumsy, and even too whiny at times, while at the same time I don’t think Harden is the complete, nonredeemable jerk that he has been accused of being. And although I don’t think the two are quite made for each other, I honestly do believe there’s some room that they can understand one another at last, but we will see if that comes to pass. All in all not a bad debut at all.

Now over to you, did you check this series when it came out? And if so, what did you think?

The Ballard of Songbirds and Snakes

I finally managed to lay my hands on this one, and while I feared it might turn out to be the quick cash grab that authors and publishers try and do time and time again, I found that this installment did have some punch to it. And while it wasn’t anything like the three Hunger Games books that made Suzanne Collins famous, it actually gave us a wealth of information concerning the earliest hunger games and how they came into being in the first place. 

Coriolanus Snow is of course portrayed as a hero in this novel, and his character is laudable for most of the book except only in the very end when circumstances conspire to change him. He is eighteen and in his senior year of high school when game makers decide to recruit mentors from among his classmates, and as chance would have it, he’s paired with a feisty though small girl named Lucy Gray. The main object is of course to make sure that Lucy becomes the survivor and winner, though as this goes, at first he is more interested only in grabbing the huge benefits that come with victory but as things later progress, he actually becomes so attached with his mentee.

For the most part, the book presented itself as being largely concerned with character study, and the actual hunger games events only occupy a small portion of it: which could be disappointing to many, and I wasn’t an exception. Also the story is long too, and with little happening in terms of action, it comes off as a slooow read. All in all however, it seems quite worth it in the end. A solid three stars from me!

An Older President Snow, toward the end of the trilogy

First Lines Friday

Hello and welcome to this weekly meme that’s popular with a lot of bookworms and I am no exception. I have to confess right away though that I haven’t done this feature in a while and so it feels really great to be doing it again. Today I’m going to spotlight a YA title that made waves at the height of the dystopian era, one that started with the searingly popular Hunger Games trilogy.

Without any further ado then, here is today’s opening lines.


The most dangerous sicknesses are those that

make us believe we are well.

—Proverb 42, The Book of Shhh

It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure. Everyone else in my family has had the procedure already. My older sister, Rachel, has been disease free for nine years now. She’s been safe from love for so long, she says she can’t even remember its symptoms. I’m scheduled to have my procedure in exactly ninety-five days, on September 3. My birthday…

Can you remember which famous YA book those lines are from. It should be pretty easy…here we go.

And the answer is: Delirium, yes Delirium by Lauren Oliver

That was easy, wasn’t it? Anyway thanks for stopping by, and have yourself a great weekend.

LightLark by Alex Aster

Can't-Wait Wednesday (Book Meme based on Waiting on Wednesday) | Wishful  Endings

It’s not usual that I get intrigued when I hear an author has been making waves on TikTok, because honestly TikTok is not something I’m too interested in right now but I have to say a report on this young author Alex Aster having a teaser on there that’s already raked 1.3 million views got me seriously hooked. I mean how is it even possible that a mere book concept, where there isn’t even a cover to sell yet can have such a huge audience. Well, Alex may be a YA author with one title published to date, and may be liked by thousands of young adults out there, but still. And for her efforts she has already scored nothing less than a three-figure advance from Amulet Books, a phenomenal amount for a relatively unknown writer in these days of belt-tightening by the industry. The novel is called Lightlark and isn’t scheduled to be published until fall 2022, but hey I already can’t wait because of all the buzz.

You can check out the video here

Lightlark centers on a once-in-a-century competition between the rulers of six realms, each of who is afflicted with a wicked, fatal curse. In a bid to break their curses, the six combatants do battle with one another, knowing that one of them must die so that the others may live. In the midst of it all is one woman, Isla Crown, who must pick her way through a deadly web of intrigue if she wants to make it out of the game alive — but soon finds her victory campaign waylaid by a romantic entanglement.

Well, I can only say good luck to Alex, and let’s hope the novel comes out right to justify all the hype, and that ultimately it gets all the success that it’s built up for.

Monday-what are you reading?

In my case, this weekly feature should instead be rephrased as Monday what are you listening to as I have been consuming far more fiction via recorded file rather than the traditional text. Truly the multitasking nature of audio makes it a far more flexible medium to dig into than other types, but I digress…

Back to the discussion proper I’m currently checking out Matched by Allie Condie, which I’m finding rather likeable now that I’m getting it via audio. To confess I read the ebook version of it last year and DNFed it around the 15% mark. Then, it just sounded so flat and predictable then, but definitely not so now, so I guess it was either a mood thing or that the audio narrator has brought on some new likeability elements not present in the text.

Given that therefore, I’m certainly planning to stick with it for a little while and we will see how things go.

Here’s the Goodreads blurb.

Can’t Wait Wednesday

I’m so hyped about this book from Crystal Maldonado and just can’t wait to lay my hands on it. Only just yesterday I was able to have the audio version put on my holds list on Cloud Library and should be able to get it in less than three weeks, which is great and I can’t wait. I have heard a lot of good things about this novel and reviews on Goodreads are largely positive, and that means I should be in for a treat when I finally start digging into it.

The story centers on a sixteen year old M/C named Charlie who is not just a person of color in a predominantly white neighborhood but is also fat–if you’ll pardon my usage of the offensive term. It’s those two things that make her life tough and she has to go through a lot before she overcomes. In truth this could very well be an own-voices story, although the book isn’t being marketed as such, and those diverse stories are the in thing at the moment.

My last read in which the main character is facing body-size issues was Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade and I so much liked that book, so I’m pretty positive I will like this one as well. We will see how things go, though. Keeping fingers crossed.

The Lux Series

Definitely not the greatest of any YA series I’ve ever checked out, but I found the Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout to be quite interesting, well, for the most part anyway. It features a romance or a series of romances between humans and aliens—said aliens who, except for the occasional glow of a little light among other tiny peculiarities, look very much like humans and could easily be mistaken for some. The main heroine is Katy, a Floridan who has moved to West Virginia with her mother after the father has sadly died of cancer. Mother and daughter are looking for a fresh start after a period of mourning, and Katy gets hers in the form of a couple hot aliens who live right close to their new home. She falls hard for the alien boy Daemon who, according to Katy’s spicy descriptions, is insanely, insanely  handsome, but also moody, protective and unpredictable—in short, a cute douche-bag.

The series pretty much follows all the usual twists and turns of a teen drama, but I did find it quite readable, although I only made it up to book three and then couldn’t continue with the rest. One thing I must not forget to mention about this author though, is that she quite excels at writing steamy scenes, and she definitely knows how to show the deep chemistry between love interests. I did adore many of the side characters, too, particularly Dee and Adam.

Have you had a chance to take a look at this series, and if so how have you found it?