Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mixed Review: Feedback

by Robison Wells

 **Spoilers for Variant**

The Short Story
Benson has escaped from Maxfield Academy, with a very injured Becky. He hopes he's found a safe place, but really it's worse than what he left. Lots of "new" familiar faces, and actual brand new characters team up with Benson to try to get away from the school once and for all. But nothing goes as planned.
A lot of suspense and intensity, but not many answers and a very confusing ending.

Come for the....
suspense. So much of the book has this great sense of urgency and intensity, and it kept me turning pages well past my bed time. In fact, I flew through the book in about a day. There's a great mystery set up, especially surrounding the technology that ties the kids in the town to the kids in the school. I was so curious how that all worked, and how exactly they were connected. And why anyone would want to do that to begin with. Some answers are hinted at, and that just created a lot more questions for me. The book is so fast paced, with so much that I wanted to know. But...

Don't Think About This Too Hard

  • I didn't feel like I got any answers! I'm still not sure who was running the school, or why, or how they had gotten away with it for so long. I didn't understand how the town kids interacted with their school counterparts. I wasn't sure where their technology, especially their medicine, came from. Really, nothing. There were no answers to anything I was curious about.
  • And then, there was that ending. A lot of new information with no explanation or context. On the second-to-last page a character says, "I'm not sure what even happened." And that's exactly how I felt.

The Big Three:
Language: a moderate amount of swearing
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: a lot of violence, including a character that is beaten to death; lots of fighting and some death

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: 2013 Reads

The Broke and The Bookish hosts Top 10 Tuesday. Come play along!

This week's topic is: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

You guys, I want to read everything coming out next year. It was so hard to narrow it down to 10. So, in order of when they come out, 10 books I'm looking forward to in 2013.

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi, out 1/8. I love these characters.

Everbound by Brodi Ashton, out 1/22. Jack!

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, out 3/19. These are Will's books, but will Jem die?

The Elite by Kiera Cass, out 4/23. The first book was so much better than I expected. Hope the series keeps it up.

Isla and the Happily Ever Afterby Stephanie Perkins, out 5/7. I would read anything she writes.

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr, out 5/7. She's the best contemporary writer you've never heard of.

Abandon by Elana Johnson, out 6/4. Great good guys. Even better bad guys.

Divergent #3 by Veronica Roth, out 9/26. What's outside the fence? My guess is corn. Lots & lots of corn.

The Raven Boys #2 by Maggie Stiefvater, out in September. I'm currently sort of obsessed with this series.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, out ? 2013. How's it all going to end?!?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sneak Peek at Perception by Lee Strauss

I don't usually do cover or excerpt posts on my blog, but I had to make an exception today and post about Perception by Lee Stauss. Mostly because it sounds amazing! This is the type of book I love, so maybe you will, too.

Here's what it's all about:

Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.

Her brother Liam is missing.

Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.

Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn.  She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her. 

Check out an excerpt of the first chapter after the jump.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Read This: The Evolution of Mara Dyer

The Evolution of Mara Dyer
by Michelle Hodkin

**Spoilers for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer** 
The Short Story
After seeing someone she shouldn't have at the end of the first book, Mara Dyer finds herself being treated for a variety of psychological disorders. Her parents put her in a treatment program by day and let her live at home at night. Only home is not exactly the safe place her parents were hoping for, and as the story goes on it's hard to tell just who it is Mara needs to be protected from.
So, so crazy and confusing and good.

Come for the....
unreliable narrator! It's probably my most favorite device in writing. I love a book that keeps me guessing about what is really going on, and Michelle Hodkin pulled it off again in the Mara Dyer sequel. After the twist at the end of the first book, I didn't expect everyone to believe Mara. But I loved that I quickly got to a point where I didn't know whether to believe her, either. And I absolutely loved second guessing myself and the characters as I read. I honestly wondered if Jude was truly around or not. I'm still not sure if the whole scene with the dead cat really happened. And Noah wasn't super forthright either. Which just made the entire book crazy fun.

And also creepy. There are flashbacks that are so bizarre, with freaky dolls and then a tiger. The new characters from Mara's treatment program add a whole new layer of weird, especially Phoebe who seems to hate Mara for no apparent reason. I also liked the reappearance of her friend Jamie from the first book. As the story went on I saw some of the twists coming. But I was definitely caught off guard by the end. And I liked the cliffhanger for this book even better than the original's.

Don't Think About This Too Hard 

  • My biggest complaint really was the language. I would say the f-word appeared between 8-10 times, possibly more. I could have done without that.

  • The Big Three:
    Language: the swearing isn't constant, but it is plentiful, in all it's varieties
    Sex and Stuff: a fair amount of kissing
    Violence: a tiger attack (for real), slit wrists, a kidnapping

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Reached Prediction Post

    Reached comes out tomorrow! Even though I didn't love Crossed, I'm very excited to see how Ally Condie will wrap the series up.

    But since we can't find out until tomorrow, time for wild and crazy predictions!
    **Spoilers for Matched and Crossed**

    • Cassia will pick: Ky. Just like she has for the last two books. :( But I also predict Xander & Indie, after reading Crossed.
    • The pilot: I used to think Cassia's grandpa was the pilot. Then I thought that Ky might become the pilot. Now I think it's more of an idea than an actual character that will show up in the last book.
    • The red tablets: I'm going to guess Cassia is not immune, because that could make for some interesting plot.
    • The Rising is: bad! Ky was so distrusting of them, that I don't expect them to be good.
    • Pacing: I expected a fast-paced story in Crossed, which was kind of silly because Matched was so much more slow and thoughtful. So I'll guess a slower, more intellectual book for Reached, to match with the rest of the series.
    • Tone: I just can't imagine a Mockingjay-style depressed fest. So I think it'll have a happy ending.
    Crazy things that will not happen, but I wouldn't mind:
    • a heroic Ky death. I just don't like his character.
    • Cassia's family will join the Rising, and her little brother will do something cool or interesting. I really like the little brother.
    • The grandpa will be regenerated. Zombies! (I really liked the grandpa, too)

    What do you think will happen in Reached?
    And, if you're one of the lucky few who've already read it, please don't post spoilers as "predictions."

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    A Question on Etiquette


     So, lately I've been wondering about blogger etiquette for attending author lectures/book signings. Mostly because I never buy the book. (I'm a freak of blogger nature, I know. Why I'm not a book buyer is a post for another time.)

    Anyway, even without making purchases, I still like to go to signings. I love to hear different authors talk about their process, or ideas, or really anything. Most authors are good story tellers, so they're very entertaining when they come speak. And I've kind of viewed their visits like those Pampered Chef/Mary Kay/candles/etc. parties that I get invited to often. It's pretty rare I buy anything at those, either. I still show up to be supportive, though, because who wants to throw one of those parties and have no one come?

    But at the same time, the whole point of those little parties, or author visits, is to get people to buy stuff. And I've been wondering lately if maybe I shouldn't go to signings if I'm not going to buy anything.

    What do you guys think? Is it bad manners to go to an author event and then not buy the book? Is it different if it's held at a library vs. a book store?

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Read This: Princess Academy Palace of Stone

    Princess Academy Palace of Stone
    by Shannon Hale

    The Short Story
    Miri is in Asland, helping Britta get ready for her wedding to the prince and attending the university. But there's a lot of talk of rebellion and she gets caught in the thick of it. Miri has to navigate between her loyalty to her home and the new opportunities and people in big city. 
    Very different from the original, but a thought-provoking and entertaining read.

    Come for the....
    grown up Miri! I loved Princess Academy, with its unexpected smartness. Miri was such an interesting, kind, and influential character. So I was very excited to see her in a new setting. I'd heard this book was far more political than the original, and since I knew to expect that I think it was easier to enjoy. For a middle grade book, it raises a lot of mature issues. I liked watching Miri struggle to decide what was right with government and equality. Her conclusions are perhaps more simplistic than they would be realistically. But I was impressed that Hale took that on.

    I also liked seeing a lot of the things that I enjoyed from the first book: the little poems at the beginning of each chapter, the use of quarry speech, Miri's friends from the original Academy. I loved the continued idea that Miri (and Britta) could be powerful by using intelligence and kindness. I like my kick-butt heroines, but it's nice to see a powerful female figure that doesn't succumb to the popular tropes.

    Don't Think About This Too Hard 

  • The writing wasn't quite as good in this one. Occasionally I felt like Miri almost fell out of character. Sometimes it seemed like she was channeling the mom from The Actor and The Housewife.
  • The love stor(ies) in this one were a little weak, but it is a middle grade book.

  • The Big Three:
    Language: not an issue
    Sex and Stuff: not an issue
    Violence: some shooting and mobs

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    My Big November Thankful Plan

    this word still makes me think of Hunger Games
    It's November. Holy moly! Wasn't it just May and I had just had a baby?

    Anyway, I always want to do something to show gratitude in November, since it's the month of (US) Thanksgiving and all. This year I want to show gratitude for the things I have by actually reading the books I already own. It's not a ton, but I have several that I've just never picked up. I guess when I don't have the three week deadline that comes with library books I get lazy about reading.

    I have some good books, too. I think I'll start with Blood Red Road, which Carrie gave me over a year ago. (for shame!)

    How do you show gratitude? Anybody else slow to read books they own?