Monday, January 6, 2014

cover reveal: how to outrun a crocodile when your shoes are untied by jess keating

I love doing cover reveals, especially for friends. However, as I sit here writing this post, I'm trying to remember how Jess and I met and all that comes to me is Twitter. I never did say I had a great memory. 

When Jess asked for bloggers to help with her cover reveal, I jumped at the chance. I love the book's title: How To Outrun A Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied. It just screams that this book is going to be great and fun, doesn't it? And so does the cover. 


What would middle school be like if you lived in a zoo?
 
Ana didn't ask to be named after an anaconda. She didn't ask for zoologist parents who look like safari guides. And she definitely didn't ask for a twin brother whose life goal seems to be terrorizing her with his pet reptiles. Now, to make matters worse, her parents have decided to move the whole family INTO the zoo! All of which gives the Sneerers (the clan of carnivorous female predators in her class) more ammunition to make her life miserable-and squash any hope of class tennis stud, Zack, falling in love with her. Ana tries to channel her inner chameleon and fade into the background, but things are changing too quickly for her to keep up.

You can add it to Goodreads here

You can learn more about Jess and her debut on her website.

Monday, December 30, 2013

review: sever by lauren destefano

Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

Sever by Lauren DeStefano is the conclusion to The Chemical Garden trilogy, and one of the third books I was looking forward to. I love reading the last books in trilogies because they bring brand new answers to the table. 

But Sever was sadly a tad bit disappointing. It was a slow start, and it didn’t really pick up until around page 180. And from then, it escalates very quickly. It’s a domino effect: something happens, then another thing happens on the next page, until you get to around page 330. That’s when it starts to slow down again, with a few more exciting incidents. While Sever does give you the ending you want, it gives it to you very simply: why didn’t this happen in Fever? Or hell, even Wither? Why did it take three books for this ending? 

Other from that, it’s a book that does bring a whole new perspective to the world of Wither. I’m hoping for a short story set in the future, just to see what happens. While Sever does answer most questions, the answers bring more questions. I’m really curious to know what DeStefano thinks happens after the end of Sever!

DeStefano’s strong point are her minor characters and worldbuilding, which she does spectacularly in Sever. Cecily grows so much as a character, but sadly Cecily is one of the few characters who is a real character, instead of something on paper. (Does that even make sense?) Cecily grows from an annoying little sister to an angry girl, and she SHOULD be because of what Vaughn does to her. 

Reed is another one of those characters who seems real. Reed is so crazy and surreal that I fell in love with him as Rhine stepped in his messy house. I wish Rhine was more thought and planned out. I feel as if she could have had a lot of potential, but she just fell flat and let people push and shove her around. 

I think Sever was supposed to feel anxious and there’s a ticking bomb, since Rhine is running out of time before the virus catches up to her. I also wish we could have learned more about the virus. It’s just—what? How does it work? Maybe I’m the only one who wants to know these answers, but still: I’d want to know how it works, especially if they figure out the cure for it. 

While I’m sad that The Chemical Garden trilogy ends disappointingly, I’m happy that Rhine gets her happily ever after. I’m glad that things are turning around. I just wish I loved Sever as much as I loved Wither.

***

Sever by Lauren DeStefano was published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, a division of Simon & Schuster, on February 12, 2013. The print edition is 371 pages. I bought the kindle edition from Amazon.

Monday, December 23, 2013

review: perfect ruin by lauren destefano

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.


Before purchasing Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, I read a few paragraphs online. I think I might have read the entire first chapter, but I knew from the first page this was a book that was going to whisk me away to a city floating in the sky. A city that perhaps was corrupt and dark instead of perfect. Perhaps it was supposed to be perfect, but deep down it was ruined. 

I’m sorry, I had to. 

Morgan Stockhour, the main character, is a girl who is set on finding out what lays beneath the surface of the perfect-ness of Internment when a murder, the first in generations, rocks the floating city. She’s a girl who is always dreaming and because of that, she’s able to trust the guy who is being convicted of the murder. She doesn’t trust him, and honestly, I was scared for Morgan. What if he was the bad guy and she trusted him? It was pretty much all I could think about. 

I adored Pen, Morgan’s best friend. I adore when there’s a friendship in YA novels, and it’s a true friendship. Plus, Basil, Morgan’s betrothed is the sweetest guy ever. He’s by Morgan’s side throughout the novel, even when she’s acting crazy, along with Pen. Pen is the complete opposite of Morgan and it works. While Morgan daydreams of the ground, Pen is the girl who loves Internment a lot and doesn’t want to leave, ever. These characters make the story. 

Interment is a floating city. I love the theory of how it came to be.


The first humans were especially ungrateful. After the birth of the sun and the moon, they asked for stars. After the crops rose from the ground, they asked for beasts to fill the fields. After some time, the god of the ground, weary of their demands, thought it best to destroy them and begin again with humbler beings. So it goes that the god of the sky thought the first humans too clever to waste, and he agreed to keep them in the sky with the promise that they would never again interfere with the ground. – The History of Internment, Chapter 1

Perfect Ruin, Lauren DeStefano. Kindle edition location 7 of 4029. 


DeStefano creates an entire world rich and brimming. Perfect Ruin takes place in December and in that month, there is a Festival of Stars. I loved the idea behind this holiday and that DeStefano brings it into Perfect Ruin. It brings a sense of normalcy while not-so-normal things are happening in Internment and to Morgan.

Also, DeStefano borrows heavily from the English: words, how the characters talk. I really liked how that made Internment a little more real.

Let me tell you one thing: do not read this book unless you’re ready to wait for the sequel because DeStefano once again ends the book with a cliffhanger. I need to know what happens next, nowwww. But I’m afraid that DeStefano ends the sequel on a cliffhanger and then I’ll have to wait for the third one, and MAN ALIVE, trilogies are going to kill me. 

I highly recommend Lauren DeStefano’s Perfect Ruin to those who love science fiction/fantasy and beautiful prose. Mostly, I recommend it to readers who love a great story. Perfect Ruin is a great adventure story, full of twists and turns, characters who leap off the page, and a world that you would love to visit but not stay forever.
 
***

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano was published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, a division of Simon & Schuster, on October 1, 2013. The print edition is 356 pages long. I bought the kindle edition from Amazon.

Friday, November 15, 2013

flash friday (1): nothing will work unless you do - maya angelou

1. I'm currently reading two books, The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand and Sever by Lauren DeStefano, both which are excellent and I hope to finish one of them this weekend. but seeing as I have to finish legal homework and philosophy, probably not going to happen.

2. I realized I'm never going to graduate from college. but that's okay, I'll roll with it.

(I'll probably graduate if I stick it out. It's all those damn gen eds.)

3. I've been thinking a lot about Allegiant by Veronica Roth, and most importantly the reactions to the ending, and the post Veronica Roth wrote. but mostly I keep thinking of how someone said Roth broke the "unspoken truth" between the author and reader, and I keep coming back to it.

Is there an unspoken truth between authors and readers? I don't think so. I think the author is obligated to write the story how it comes to them and not pull the Author Card in order to have that happily ever after ending.

but there's another thing. readers, I think, will also be fickle little creatures. how many people hated Breaking Dawn's ending? it was a HEA. and then there's Mockingjay, which has two people falling in love and staying together forever, even if there were a lot of bumps along the way. I would consider that to be a HEA.

Allegiant's ending is ballsy. but it also has the happy ever after ending; there's hope for those who made it. so one major character died, and hey, maybe you don't like it. but you don't have to be depressed and give up on reading because of it. write your own ending! it's why fanfiction exists. but also, realize why Allegiant ended how it did.

there isn't a trust between authors and readers. you can't expect a story to end how you want it to, because it probably won't. all you have to hope for is it'll be a great story that you'll get lost in for a few hours.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

waiting on wednesday (50): cress by marissa meyer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Cress by Marissa Meyer
February 4th, 2014 * Feiwel & Friends

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

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

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

I loved Cinder and Scarlet, and can't wait to get my hands on Cress. I know some bloggers have ARCs and I'm a little jealous of them . . . but hey, if I read Cress after it releases that means the wait for Winter is shorter than those who read Cress a few months ago. ;) Silver lining, people. I always find it. 

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

waiting on wednesday (49): in the shadows by kiersten white, jim di bartolo

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
 
 In The Shadows by Kiersten White, Jim Di Bartolo
April 29th, 2014 by Scholastic Press

We all know how much I love Kiersten White books, and I'm super excited about this new one that's a collaboration with Jim Di Bartolo. I'm curious what it is, and especially what it is about. You can learn more about In The Shadows here

What are you waiting on?

Monday, November 4, 2013

review: fangirl by rainbow rowell

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I’m definitely a fangirl of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

How can I accurately describe the wonderful feeling Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell left me in? Or even when I listened to the sample on Audible, and realized I had to have this book? GUYS. I’m seriously not sure what to do with my life, except buy a hardcover copy of Fangirl and mark my favorite passages so when I’m having a rough day, I can flip to those easy and be insta-happy.

I was browsing through audible and listening to samples to see what I wanted to listen to when I stumbled upon Fangirl and listened to it, and knew I had to read it because right away I connected with Cath. For me, it was super scary to go to the dining room alone. The whole moving onto campus and having to figure out how to live was scary. Because Cath’s and mine fears were the same, it made it so easy to connect with her—and right away.

And you know what, I absolutely adored this college story. I adored that Cath was separated from her twin sister Wren and forced to be her own person. I adored that Reagan, Cath’s roommate, was almost the exact opposite of Cath and yet they still became the bestest of friends.

And Levi, oh Levi. You melt my heart with your charm. I swear, he has to be the most beautifully and charmingly written man of YA. He is the perfect boyfriend. I would so love to stick him in my pocket, or on my shoulder where he could whisper charming words into my ear.

The other minor, but also important characters, are so very well developed. Nick, the douchebag canoe, Professor Piper, the encouraging fiction writing professor, Cath and Wren’s Dad, who has a whole mess of problems. I loved (and hated some of these characters) while listening to Fangirl.

Wren. Aside from Cath and Levi, Wren has to be one of my favorites. And it took a while to get to know (and like) Wren. Wren makes a lot of mistakes in Fangirl, but she does come around and becomes her sister’s best friend again, which HELL YES, I loved. I grew from disliking Wren to absolutely loving her and placing her on near the top of my all-time favorite characters.

Seriously, I loved Fangirl. I loved that the narrator, Rebecca Lowman, drew me in right away. The Simon Snow experts were read by Maxwell Caulfield and I thought he did a great job, too. I wasn’t hooked on his voice, though. It might have been too low and British-y for me, but whatever, I rolled with it. His parts weren’t as long as Lowman’s, less than a minute at the end of each chapter (I *think* it was each chapter. There might have been some chapters with no Simon Snow at the end.) I liked how Rainbow Rowell wrote it, since the fanfiction and Simon Snow had a huge part with Cath’s life. We got to see a glimpse of that world, and that was a great idea.

Overall, I want everybody to read this book. You have one thing to do, and that’s buy this book and sit in your closet and don’t do anything until you have devoured every single world of Fangirl.

***
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was published by St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan, on September 10, 2013. The print edition is 433 pages. I bought the audiobook from Audible.