UNMARKED by Kami Garcia–Cephalopod Coffeehouse October 2014

Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

I’ve read a bunch of great books this month, but I’m featuring a new YA paranormal romance.adventure because, hey! It’s Halloween! UNMARKED is the second book in this series about spirit-hunting teens who are trying to protect Earth from the demon Andras. In book one, UNBREAKABLE, they were right on the cusp of killing Andras–when, unfortunately, they set it free. Yeah. And he’s been wreaking havoc and killing people for the last several weeks.

Unmarked (The Legion, #2)About the book:
He is here… and he could be anyone.

Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengeance spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us–a demon she accidentally set free.

Now Kennedy and the other Legion members–Alara, Priest, Lukas, and Jared–have to hunt him down. As they learn more about the history of the Legion and the Illuminati, Kennedy realizes that the greatest mystery of all does not belong to any secret order, but to her own family. With the clock ticking and the life of someone she loves hanging in the balance, Kennedy has to ask the question she fears most: what is it about her past that has left her Unmarked?

My Review:

Okay, so, where UNBREAKABLE left off, the MC, Kennedy had been injured in her escape from the scene when Andras came through to the earthly plane. She and four other teens–Jared, Lukas, Alara and Priest–had banded together because each believed the other part of a mystical Legion of the Black Dove sect. Jared and Lukas are twin brothers who sought the other members out based on documents their father had left behind. Turns out, assembling those documents had actually led Andras to each Legion member, and killed them, which is how Jared and Lukas lost their father and uncle, and Alara lost her grandma, and Priest lost his grandfather, and Kennedy lost her mother–all in one single night. The listing of their names…and it’s Jared’s biggest secret shame–he wrote the list.

Kennedy, for her part is despondent. She thought she’d become a Legion member when she exorcised her first ghost, but that didn’t happen–unlike all the other Legion members, Kennedy didn’t receive her Mark, an insignia handed down to the next Chosen in a family. Unmarked, she recognizes her folly–she was never meant to join them, and she feels utterly alone now that her mother is dead. Her father disappeared years ago, and her aunt has just dumped her into a reform school.

Haunted by news reports of atrocities no one can explain and gruesome nightmares, both courtesy of Andras, Kennedy recognizes that each day a girl who closely resembles her goes missing. Is Andras hunting her? It seems so, which is why she runs the second Jared and the rest of the Legion turn up at her school. Safety in numbers even if she isn’t one of them.

But their news, of her missing, distant aunt, gets her back on board. The hunt is on for the fifth Legion member, and now it’s about fixing the mess she made. Of course, this ghost/demon story is fraught with death and destruction. Kennedy’s poised to lose the only people she can trust, and gain some very unsettling allies when the Illuminati come to call.

Andras is on the prowl, and it’s clear he wants to possess Kennedy. She’s got some skills in the demon wrangling arena, thanks to her training in UNBREAKABLE, but Andras is too powerful for her. Plus, nobody told her he could jump from person to person like a vengeful louse. No, possession seems a breath away, when Andras targets the one person left whom Kennedy loves in this world.

The revelation of Jared’s mistake sends shock waves through the Legion, just as they need to gather closer–to save one of their own, but Kennedy is determined to fix all her mistakes, and she’s got the brains to get the job done right.

Well, I assume so. Because it looks like the final resolution is gonna happen NEXT BOOK. Stay tuned, peeps!

As far the book goes, it was an interesting read. It gets a bit explain-y, trying to link all the moving parts together. Turns out Kennedy’s mom wasn’t such a great gal, and her dad left for (albeit crappy) reasons connected to Legion and the Illuminati–organizations which have for centuries been diametrically opposed as this book purports. It felt a bit deus ex machina when the Illuminati swept in to clean up the Andras mess, but there was still lots of time in the story. Time to go on and explain. In the end, we’re left with a demon in chains, another on the loose, with Legion members splitting and Illuminati men hunting. Oh, and a reconnection of the parental-kind in the offing. It fell a bit flat for me. I supposed I should have felt tense, but all throughout I knew this story wouldn’t end here, so the urgency wasn’t as strong as I would have liked.

It’s still a good read. And safe for kids because, instead of kissing and sex, there’s killing and horror. It is a perfect Halloween read, however. And, I’m sure I’ll get book 3 when it comes out.

Interested? You can find UNMARKED at Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and probably lots of booksellers and libraries. It came out last month. I obtained my copy via NetGalley. This is my honest review.

Thanks for popping in, and don’t forget to catch up with my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers on this blog hop.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

1. The Armchair Squid 2. mainewords
3. V’s Reads 4. Berriesandmore
5. Cherdo on the Flipside 6. WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME
7. Life Before the Hereafter 8. StrangePegs — The Woggle-Bug Book
9. StrangePegs — In Short Supply 10. Huntress aka CD Coffelt
11. My Creatively Random Life 12. Words Incorporated
13. StrangePegs — Lovely Death

Checking Out All The DANGEROUS CREATURES–A Review

I’m a bit late to the lovefest for Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl–I’ve read some of their separate works, but not the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES series they co-wrote. One day I hope to go back and read forward, but, for now, I’m cool with starting their new DANGEROUS CREATURES spin-off.

If you haven’t read the previous collaborations, well, it’s a YA paranormal adventure/romance. All sorts magical supernatural creatures converge in (mainly) rural Georgia. There’s Leah, she’s a Caster–pretty much a witch. Her cousin, Ridley, is a Siren. In these stories there are two sides to magic, Light and Dark. Leah is Light. Ridley was claimed by the Dark side at age sixteen–which caused her parents to  shut her out, literally, from the family.

Since then, Ridley has struggled with her self-esteem. Oh, she’s got tons of bravado, and her body thrums with the Power of Persuasion, but it’s hard to accept if she’s truly loved by anyone–including her “boyfriend” Link, or if it’s simply her powers that draw him near.

And that’s where this spinoff begins.

Dangerous Creatures (Dangerous Creatures, #1)About the Book:

Some loves are cursed…others are dangerous.

Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she’s a bad girl. She’s Dark. She’s a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she’s around. Lucky for her, Wesley “Link” Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley.

When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn’t hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

My Review:

Ridley, Leah, Link and the Gatlin Gang of partial mortals have finished high school and prepare to leave their small-town world behind. Ridley and Link head north to NYC so Link can find himself a band and get busy getting famous. Ridley, well, she’s in a bit of hot water with a wager-gone-wrong. She has to provide a drummer for a Caster band in New York, or face the wrath of nightclub owner and Dark Caster Lennox Gates.

They arrive in NYC and meet up with the remnants of Devil’s Hangmen, Sampson, Necro and Floyd. And, to Ridley’s great chagrin, Link fits into the band too well. Floyd, who happens to be an adorable Illusionist, is not shy about sharing her attraction to Link…expect the usual salty exchanges and claw sharpening.

Bringing Link, a partial Incubus, to Lennox’s Dark Caster club gets Ridley all tweaked out. She knows the danger he faces among full-blooded supernaturals and fears for his safety. It also doesn’t help that Lennox is happy to insinuate himself between herself and her Shrinky Dink. (Yeah, these kids have a lotta ‘pet names’ for each other. I ain’t going into Link’s food-based song lyrics, but they help ground the story firmly in the YA category…)

Seems Lennox has a problem, a powerful adversary that is demanding to be avenged, and Lennox must collect the two people who ticked off his tormenter: Ridley and Link. He will, of course, except that he knows Ridley’s fate. Part of his gift is Sight, and he has seen how Sirens are treated in Caster society. His mother was one, after all. Meanwhile, Lennox is drawn to Ridley–and hopes he can save her from his tormentor’s captivity if only she’d drop Link. After all, that dude is a Dead Man Walking in the Caster realm.

The story is fast-paced with the usual juvenile misunderstandings and new adult wanderings for a life long-dreamed-for, but little-planned. I must say, I enjoyed Ridley. She is completely self-aware of her shallowness, insofar as she finds herself totally unlovable and isolates herself to protect her heart. She loves Link, but she can’t bring herself to acknowledge this and risk further vulnerability. Link, on the other hand, is ecstatic over his new band–and their success–he’s sure Ridley is just being mean when she tells him his adoring audience was being Charmed. Still, he loves her. He just can’t deal with her fears–she’s sure they are in great danger–and her manipulations–she totally lied about how he got hooked up with the band. Lennox is wealthy and sophisticated and everything Link is not, but will he win Ridley away in time to save her? Also, Link’s execution is all but planned–and from the last Caster either Ridley or Link could have suspected. In fact, Lennox risks his own life in order to tip them off.

While the book has a resolution, the story is clearly unfinished. Without question Lennox will be made to pay for his (well-meant) treachery and Link and Ridley can’t seem to get far enough out of the line of fire to prevent attack. I enjoyed the ride, and am sure that fans of earlier books will laud the “Link and Ridley” story for which they clamored. Considering all the romantic tension and simmering desire, the book is wholly innocent with only a few kisses to propel the love stories…so it’s safe for all YA readers.

Having not read the BEAUTIFUL CREATURES books, I was still able to get into this spinoff series. All the main players are quickly introduced and all backstory details highlighted without bogging down the book.

Interested? You can find DANGEROUS CREATURES on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and probably retail outlets like Target and Walmart among other booksellers and libraries. I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for review.

Dangerous Dream by Kami GarciaThere is a (short) linker story DANGEROUS DREAM available which describes Ridley’s brief escape from Gatlin that brought her to the infamous card game in Lennox’s club–the club which cost Ridley some of her powers and locked her into providing Devil’s Hangmen with a new drummer–after she Charmed their current drummer out of his gift. Yeah. Well, the recap was a nice transition piece for me, as I had not read the previous BEAUTIFUL CREATURES novels. My review is here.

You can find DANGEROUS DREAM on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Kami GarciaAbout the Authors:
Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal & international bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Novels (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos & Beautiful Redemption). Beautiful Creatures has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages. The Beautiful Creatures movie released in theaters in February 2013.

Kami is also the author of Unbreakable, the first book her paranormal solo series, THE LEGION. See my review here.

Margaret StohlMargaret Stohl is the author of ICONS, the first book in the Icons Series.


After working with Activision (now Activision/Blizzard) and Westwood Studios (now EA), Margaret became a co-founder of 7 Studios with her husband, Lewis Peterson. She has previously been nominated for “Most Innovative Game Design” at the Game Developers Conference.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!


Cephalopod Coffeehouse October 2013–UNBREAKABLE by Kami Garcia

Hi there!  I’m back with another pre-Halloween SPOOKTACULAR read–this time, sharing a fave from the month with the Armchair Squid and a gang of book bloggers. This month I’ve read probably twenty-five books…some I liked, others, meh…

This month’s feature is a new release. I got the ARC at the ALA 2013 annual meeting, and it’s been on the store shelves for a few weeks. It’s a perfect October read. Why?

GHOSTS. Oh, and demons.

Oh! And murder most fowl! Er, I meant murder most foul. Ahem. Blasted homophones.

Unbreakable (The Legion, #1)UNBREAKABLE is the first book in The Legion series by Kami Garcia–best-selling co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

Here’s what happens:

Kennedy Waters is 16, an artist with eidetic memory and a perfect GPA, and destined for fabulous things. She and her mom share a lovely home in the Georgetown area of DC. Her dad left years ago, but Kennedy’s survived that sorrow. Until her mom ends up dead.

Heart failure? In a healthy 30-something, non-smoking woman?

Hey, doc. Cracker Jack called. They want your diploma back. *V throws hands in the air and walks off*

Well, as you may imagine, I didn’t buy the whole ‘heart failure’ diagnosis. And neither did Lukas and Jared Lockhart. Good thing, because that life-sucking ghost that did Mrs. Waters what for? It came back to finish the job on Kennedy.  This time they were there to save her.

See, the Lockhart twins are part of a secret society, The Legion, who are heaven-bent to rid the world of Andras, a demon unleashed by their ancestors right about the time the ink dried on the Declaration of Independence. Along with Priest–a 15 y/o weapons whiz and Alara a 17 y/o voodoo priestess, these teens make up a modern-day Ghostbusters-cum-Exorcist crew. And Kennedy is their missing piece.

Except, she has no idea what she’s doing. The others had been trained for Andras-hunting since before they could ride bikes, but Kennedy’s mom didn’t want her mixed up in this supernatural quest. Before she knows it, Kennedy’s bungling calls Andras to their Batcave and they have to flee the weapons and medicinals in a tire-burning escape. And don’t even get me started on her mishap at the mansion!

See, Andras controls ghosts. He can’t take his own form until he’s regained enough power–and he gets that power from evil deeds done on his behalf. So he’s got ghosts practically killing Kennedy and the Legion–all to protect the one weapon that might destroy him–the Opthalmic Shift.

In the meantime of hunting all the pieces to this ocular deathpiece, Kennedy wants desperately to belong to something–anything–as rootless as she is in the world. It doesn’t hurt that broody Jared Lockhart is delicious and unattainable. Well, sort of unattainable. He’s in deep like for Kennedy, but he’s got a Big Secret that only Kennedy doesn’t know…and it’s a doozy.

Still, the Legion toils onward, putting bad ghosts down and releasing beneficent spirits to their eternal peace. It’s a thrill ride that ends in a prison with a posse of murderous ghosts on their tail. At the last Kennedy is FINALLY a heroine–assembling the Shift just in time for the cliffhanger ending and a catastrophic miscalculation on the Legion’s part. Because the Shift isn’t a weapon after all.

And the whole goddamned world is screwed.

Bring on Book 2!

Hope you enjoyed this look at a great new paranormal YA adventure, quasi-romance. It was a fun read and is cool for upper-middle grade readers and onward.

Feel free to check out the rest of the Coffeehouse readers on their literary journeys by clicking the linky-links below: (fingers crossed that this works…)

Let me know if you check out UNBREAKABLE and what you think of it.

And, as always:  keep reading, my friends.