Saturday, December 28, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (84)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

And now I'm back after taking a week off. Sort of. I've been rereading and spending time with family and having a birthday and seeing friends again.

I always think of doing one of those year in review posts, or one of those books I'm looking forward to in the coming year posts, but I never do it. Probably because I don't want to bore you with another list like most people seem to post around this time of year. Books I loved from 2013? The Dream Thieves, Ink, Fangirl, Scarlet, Vicious, and Asunder. Books I'm looking forward to in 2014? The next Raven Boys book, The Winner's Curse (which is sort of cheating because I've already read it), Cress (more cheating), The Inventor's Secret, Infinite, Rain, Illusive, Otherbound, Fiendish, and Isla and the Happily Ever After. :)

With the new year starting soon, I imagine I'll be getting to work on May's Canadian YA Lit Event. Any Canadian authors you'd like to see featured? Maybe some debut authors? I (currently) only know of 4: E.K. Johnston (The Story of Owen), Danielle L. Jensen (Stolen Songbird), Juliana Stone (Boys Like You), and Michelle Krys (Hexed).

I started keeping track of how many books I buy over the years. This year's number was down from last years. Possibly because I've gotten particular, or because I borrowed a lot from the library.

Do you plan out what your last read of 2013 and your first read of 2014 will be? I have. My last of 2013 will be Shadowplay by Laura Lam (because Pantomime was wonderful) and my first of 2014 will be The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer (because there's a secret clockwork part of me that loves the idea of steampunk). :)

Remember how I said reviews would be coming back on the 31st? Yeah... I meant the 3rd. ;) So come back next Friday for a review of Pantomime by Laura Lam. :)
Rise by Andrea Cremer
Snakeroot by Andrea Cremer
The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente

Borrowed from the library:
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Me on This Week's Book(less) Week (83)

This Week's Book(less) Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

No books this week! It almost wasn't a bookless week, but then the comic book store was closed for lunch when I walked past it the other day.

It's almost Christmas! I like the holiday season. Not so much with the horror stories of shopping and grabbing and shoving, but the celebration part. And you don't have to celebrate in a big group. Then comes my birthday so there's more celebrating. And no turkey, if I don't want turkey for dinner. ;)

I saw some friends last weekend for our usual Christmas get-together, friends I've had since I was 12 or 13. They know me so well, as I realized when my Secret Santa present was a Chapters gift card. ;) I wish I hung out with them more apart from lunch or dinner every few months. Like, more hanging out and talking and watching movies for hours.

Because I'm all read and reviewed up right now, I'm rereading some books I haven't read in ages. I started with The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight because I like it so much, then I realized it's been 2 years since I first read it. Time sure can pass. I'll also be rereading Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, Tessa Gratton's Blood Magic and The Blood Keeper, Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races, Leah Bobet's Above, Melissa Jensen's The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, and Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight. :)

No reviews next week because of Christmas! But I'm only taking the one week off so come back on New Year's Eve when a new review will go up. :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Me on Control

Title: Control
Author: Lydia Kang
Release Date: December 26, 2013
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin imprint)

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zelia knows she needs to protect her sister, Dylia. But before Zel has a plan, strangers appear with bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren't like any she’s ever seen before. Teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends' peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl's DNA.

Control is dangerous and deceptive, a search for the truth in our genetic makeup and a mission to save family. But it's not that easy for Zel, her world soon becomes secretive, confining. Controlling. Despite being blocked at every turn, she still looks for the truth, but what is the truth? What will she do when she discovers it?

Zel is flawed and frail, the kind of girl who would surely become the unlikely hero of this book. She's a one-track mind kind of girl, thinking only of her sister and how she can save her. She's also battling (in a sense) against the residents of her hew home, trying to crack their shells and discover their secrets because she's been kept in the dark about why Dyl was taken and who they all are. But they're all tight-lipped, especially the intelligent angry guy who constantly glares at Zel whenever they're in the same room. She won't stop, though. Finding Dylia is too important.

Now, I will say first that I don't know a lot about genetics, I never studied it, but the science all sounded rather sound, plausible by science fiction's rules. I was willing to put my faith in the author's background when it came to all the talk of genetic manipulation, willing to believe that in the future, with the right knowledge and advances in technology, a lot of what Zel discovers could be possible.

Are there mistakes or accidents? Are the gifts of the teens Zel meets genetic quirks, or aren't they? If they are mistakes, what mistakes they are, and the lengths people went through to keep them hidden from the rest of the world are astounding. But if they aren't, if they were created on purpose, if there are no such thing as accidents, who created them? Why? What isn't Zel being told?

There's a moment where Zel apologizes for being selfish in her search for Dyl and I found myself not wanting her to apologize. She wants her sister back, she wants her family back, she's willing to do what it takes to get information. I don't blame her for acting the way she does, so focused and driven. After their father's death, all she has is Dylia. She craves what's familiar to her to provide comfort and support, and only Dyl can give her that. Of course, her apologizing means she's acknowledging that she's too focused on saving Dyl, means she's aware, but I would've been happy without the apology.

One of the shining moments of the book, besides Zel and her intelligence, is the science. It provides a technical feel, a serious tone, but also a bit of plausibility. Actual science is slightly tweaked, slightly twisted, by the author. It's still science fiction right now, but there's that possibility of it one day perhaps moving past fiction into fact that gives it weight. The knowledge that this is the first in a series also gives it weight, the weight of waiting for the next book.

(I was given an advance copy of this title from another book blogger.)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (158)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Poppy (Hachette Book Group imprint)

From Goodreads:

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

You all know me, so you know I don't read a lot of contemporary or realistic fiction, but I've come to realize this year that there's a certain kind of contemporary YA that I will read. It'll be funny, sweet, not too cutesy, will often involve international travel, and will also have some real life teen angst issues (see Anna and the French Kiss, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, Drummer Girl, and The Fine Art of Truth or Dare). Also, once I reach the end I will want to know more. Like, who else wants to know what happened to Hadley and Oliver after The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight ended?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Me on The Nightmare Affair

Title: The Nightmare Affair
Author: Mindee Arnett
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen

Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder. Then Eli’s dream comes true. Now Dusty has to follow the clues, both within Eli’s dreams and out of them, to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.

The Nightmare Affair is dark, filled with secrets, spells, and hidden agendas. Dusty is the unlikeliest detective, searching the shadows for clues to a murder at her boarding school for magical teens, but she must be careful. Someone has plans rather sinister plans, and would hate for Dusty to ruin them.

Dusty is stuck in her mother's shadow, looked down on because of both her mother's less than savoury exploits and her own Nightmare abilities. Because she is feared, looked down on, avoided, shunned, her personality has its rough edges. She's very much her own person, there's little to no filter between her thoughts and her brain so she certainly has a way of cutting the tension in the room with a bit of snark. And she frequently denies that she's like her mother, when there certainly are some similarities between the two of them.

Her relationship, for lack of a better work, with Eli is intriguing. The connection between the two of them came about by circumstances neither of them had any control over. I liked that their relationship was often rocky, often filled with conflict, both between the two and between Dusty and her thoughts. They weren't forced to become friends, they weren't even told to become friends, and I liked that. It meant they had to work towards discovering the truth and stopping the killer while working through some apathy and animosity. It didn't feel easy, and it shouldn't have. If it wasn't difficult for them to search and solve the mystery, I would've been disappointed.

In a school like Arkwell, a boarding school for witches, wizards, and other magical beings, there are bound to be more than a few secrets circling the grounds. There was such a variety of paranormal creatures, plus there was the keeping them all in one place boarding school aspect, which meant there was a fair amount of teenage hormones and attitude roaming the halls. Having both sides, the dark murder mystery side and the teen angst side, brought on that hint of realism.

At times Dusty reminded me of a paranormal Nancy Drew with an extra trick or two up her sleeve. She was willing to search and get a bit dirty, willing to ask questions in order to get answers, but she had no idea what she'd stumbled into, how dangerous it would get. What kept me reading was Dusty, the self-acknowledged smartass, and the ways her curious and snarky personality got all mixed up and in all the secrets going around, the mystery behind the sudden murders. An entertaining start to a mysterious paranormal trilogy, I just hope the second book will be more of the same.

(I borrowed a copy of this title from the library.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (82)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

It's still cold. Sort of. ;) And I'm still dealing with my stolen credit card number fallout, which sucks.

So it snowed earlier in the week, but then the rain came and it all disappeared. Like usual. I'm a bit indifferent to the snow. It looks pretty, and it makes the house warm because the heat is turned up, but shoveling it and driving in it can be a huge pain.

Seeing some friends tomorrow for a Christmas get-together/gift exchange. Not sure what else we'll be doing, since it's supposed to rain off and on over the next week. I would be totally happy with seeing them, having dinner, exchanging gifts, and maybe watching a movie or two. It doesn't have to be anything fancy like walking around a park to look at Christmas lights, or wandering through a Christmas market. Since when was hanging out and catching up and watching movies not interesting?

Reviews for the coming week will feature The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (Tuesday) and Control by Lydia Kang (Friday). :)
Foretold edited by Carrie Ryan (anthology; e-book borrowed from the library)
My Date from Hell by Tellulah Darling (from the author)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Me on Transparent

Title: Transparent
Author: Natalie Whipple
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona actually is. An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona's own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years, everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults. After sixteen years, Fiona's had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona's father isn't giving up that easily. Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

Transparent is a curious mix of contemporary and paranormal, entertaining and amusing while also fast-paced and dangerous. This is Fiona's first chance at living a normal life, with high school and classmates, but she can't help but be suspicious of anything and everything. Being the invisible girl means everyone knows who you are.

Fiona's story begins in a dangerous place. She's the prize tool of her crime syndicate boss father, the infamous invisible girl who can spy and steal from anyone he wishes. But a girl will only do so much in the name of familial love. She's tired of being used by her father. He feels no love or affection towards her, he only thinks of greed, manipulation, and control. Her and her mother leaving, hiding out in a small town, raise two new problems. They run the risk of her father coming after them, forcing his will upon them even harder than before, but they also have to keep an eye on the town they end up in. Who are the new 'friends' of Fiona's? Who must she watch out for?

What is it like being invisible? Fiona wants to be recognized as a person, as a girl, as a normal girl and not as an attraction or a tool. She's still existing, living, experiencing the world and all its ups and downs. She's right there. But no one can see her face, her expressions of happiness or sadness. No one can see the real Fiona. Even in huge crowds of people, she's all alone.

When you have a world where people have unique abilities, those with criminal leanings, with manipulative or controlling personalities, are bound to want to use those abilities to their own advantage. They're the wrong kind of people to have the abilities. With the abilities, they crave power and control, and when they have it, they want more. And they will go to any lengths to have it.

What hooked me initially was the book's premise, the escape from the criminal underworld to a small town with a paranormal twist. It means double the issues for Fiona: teenage real like plus the impossible invisible girl life. These are the books I enjoy the most, the ones that weave back and forth across the line that separates real and not real, realistic and magical realism. What if, on top of high school, family, and friends, life was just that much more complicated? I'm looking forward to the sequel, I'm curious as to what else is coming after Fiona.

(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (157)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Mirk and Midnight Hour
Author: Jane Nickerson
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest. All collide at night’s darkest hour.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother. When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she's drawn to him. But Violet isn't Thomas's only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn't been out of compassion. Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves. From the author of Strands of Bronze and Gold comes a haunting love story and suspenseful thriller based on the ancient fairy tale of “Tam Lin.”

I was rather intrigued by the first book, Strands of Bronze and Gold, and there seems to be a growing trend where a series or connected novels are retellings or re-imaginings of classic literature and fairy tales (see Megan Shepherd's The Madman's Daughter, Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars, and Marissa Meyer's Cinder). I hope this trend continues with lesser known fables, legends, and fairy tales.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Me on The Lost Sun

Title: The Lost Sun
Author: Tessa Gratton
Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood--the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd's Academy. But that's hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That's not all Astrid dreams of. The daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities. When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they've been told they have to be.

The Lost Sun is a magical and dangerous journey across a land covered in sadness and loss, a coming of age taking place in a land both wholly different and very similar to our own. Soren and Astrid face a number of challenges on their search for Baldur and the reason for his disappearance, but the most important search happens inside themselves as they are forced to decide if they're willing to accept what fate has in store for them.

Soren is afraid of what fate may have in store for him. He's afraid of becoming his father, a berserker who lost control, killed innocent people, and was then gunned down in order to put a halt to his rage. After witnessing that as a child, Soren has spent years calming the fever inside of him, searching for a way to keep it buried where it will harm no one. When Astrid comes along with a proposition, Soren sees a chance to remove the part of himself he fears, the part he hates, but no one can escape the ties of fate for long.

Astrid can't, or won't, let her mother go. She believes her mother is still out there, somewhere. The journey with Soren is also a journey of discovering answers, but will they be the answers she seeks? Will they tell her what she wants to know or will she instead find something unexpected and unwanted? There's a fair amount of Astrid the reader doesn't see, her deepest thoughts and feelings, but that's because she's seen through Soren's eyes. The reader only gets Soren's opinions and assumptions of Astrid and her goals.

Soren and Astrid are kindred spirits, holding themselves back because of the past and fearing what the future may have in store for them. They think they're running from it, escaping it. They don't realize they're heading straight for it. What a curious and fickle creature fate is. Inescapable, fate is what binds each person in this book, especially Soren and Astrid.

The world-building is so spot on in this book, so creative. Norse mythology is rather underused in YA, what with Greek mythology being so popular, and I was pleased to read something new and different. What if the Norse gods existed? What an interesting concept. And because they exist, the history of the world is different, which means certain terms are different, like names, holidays, and days of the week. I imagine it must've been hard for Gratton to re-write so much history in order to create this world.

Tessa Gratton still astounds me. She's very much a storyteller, in my opinion, as well as an author. It's the telling of the tale that gets to me, the recounting of events and emotions, the revealing of what the reader needs to know slowly over the course of the story. This book has a different tone than her previous books, but I feel that's because the magic there was hidden, darker, more dangerous. Here it's not, it's very much out in the open for all to see, and it feels more immediate.

The journey is so important. It's rough, deadly, complicated. It can spin you around in all directions, make you dizzy, make you go backwards. But every journey has its end. Will the end be the one Soren and Astrid want? I'm very much looking forward to the next book and an entirely new journey.

(I own a finished copy of this book.)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Me on Underrated YA Books of 2013

It's that time of year again. :) I know this year's post is going up earlier in December than in previous years, but that's because I don't want anyone who'll be away for the holidays to miss it. Thanks to all the bloggers, reviewers, librarians, authors, and awesome readers who put in their suggestions for books published in the last year that they found to be underrated or under-appreciated.

Maybe you'll discover a book or two that you might want to add to your wish list. ;)

Inheritance by Malinda Lo
Coda by Emma Trevayne
Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow
Beautiful Decay by Sylvia Lewis
Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Cracked by Eliza Crewe
The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe
17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch
Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark
Altered by Gennifer Albin
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Antogoddess by Kendare Blake
Audacious by Gabrielle Prendergast
Absent by Katie Williams
Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock
Every Never After by Lesley Livingston
Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl by Emily Pohl-Weary
Breath by Jackie Morse Kessler
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
When We Wake by Karen Healey
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

I've giving Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz an honourable mention because it's middle grade not young adult but it's still awesome.

Ciara at Lost at Midnight Reviews17 & Gone by Nova Run Suma and Asunder by Jodi Meadows.

Ashley at Book LabyrinthWaiting for the Storm by Marie Landry, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding, The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross, When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney, How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler, The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, and Spies & Prejudice by Talia Vance.

Christa at More Than Just Magic: Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, A Fool's Errand by Maureen Fergus, Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark, Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, Pantomime by Laura Lam, Arclight by Josin L. McQuein, The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett, and The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell.

Giselle at Booknerd CanadaDangerous Girls by Abigail Haas.

James at Book Chic Club: Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, Man-Made Boy by Jon Skovron, Proxy by Alex London, and The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle.

E.K. Johnston: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund.

Rick Lipman: The Savage Blue by Zoraida Córdova, Coda by Emma Trevayne, Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood, Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton, and The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (81)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

It's December. December makes me think of time, of how slowly it moves, how days seem to pass in the blink of an eye. It hasn't snowed here yet, but it's been cold. And windy, which makes it colder and even less fun.

I know I said a review of The Lost Sun was going to go up yesterday, but instead I posted a short review of Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor. It was so adorable. :)

The post of underrated YA of 2013 goes up on Monday. Get your picks in!

Reviews going up this coming week will feature The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton (Tuesday) and Transparent by Natalie Whipple (Friday). :)
Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor (e-novella borrowed from the library)
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (e-book borrowed from the library)
Secret by Brigid Kemmerer (e-galley from Kensington Books throuhg NetGalley)
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (e-galley from First Second through NetGalley)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Me on Night of Cake & Puppets

Title: Night of Cake & Puppets
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.

Night of Cake & Puppets is a short burst of a story, a sweet and magical tumble into love. During Karou's search in Daughter of Smoke & Bone, her best friend in the whole world, the puppet-maker Zuzana, decides to take action and claim the object of her desires, violinist Mik.

Taylor's prose is just as magical, just as lyrical and expressive and moving, as her novels. Reading her words is always a joy, they fill the pieces of my soul that crave fairy tales and monsters. But there's an added sweetness here that I feel is all Zuzana (and Mik as well, not to exclude him), all first love and falling snow and secrets lying in wait in the shadows.

This only serves to whet my appetite for Dreams of Gods & Monsters, for more Karou and Akiva, but also for more stories of Zuzana and Mik. I don't think I'll get the latter, but at least I only have to wait until April 2014 for the former.

(I borrowed a copy of this e-novella from the library.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (156)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Lesh and Svetlana, two teens from St. Paul, Minnesota, are adrift in a sea of social coterie, desperate for something to change. When they crash into one another in a drunken bicycle accident at two am, they don’t yet know how close they are to finding it. For now, Svetlana is simply looking for a fifth member to legitimize the Central High School Gaming Club, and Lesh is looking to escape his being grounded for said drunkenness by entering, reluctantly, the world of online role playing games.

Lesh’s gaming life takes an interesting turn as, unable to figure out how to speak to Svetlana, he “becomes” her in-game. When real life and in-game life inevitably become entwined, Lesh and Svetlana both start to realize that the lines they draw to keep their lives in order are not so easy to maintain. Especially when you no longer understand why you drew them in the first place.

I love the idea of this book, how we hide from real life in online chat rooms and games, how real life and online life never intersect, and if they do (and they were never supposed to) it sends you into a blind panic. I'm really looking forward to this book. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Me on These Broken Stars

Title: These Broken Stars
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Release Date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever? Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

These Broken Stars is a mysterious love story, a harrowing journey of survival, truth, and discovery. It is a very curious twist of fate that tosses Lilac and Tarver together, these teens with very different backgrounds, and it is because of that twist of fate that they must rely on each other for their very survival. There are many secrets to be found on the planet they crash onto, but what will knowing those secrets do to them?

Lilac lives by the rules of her controlling father. She knows this very well, and so she keeps her distance from those 'beneath her.' It's not that she sees them as beneath her, as less than she is, but she does it for their own good. She sees herself as toxic, as a poison that will ruin someone's life, all because of her father. She's a more than meets the eye kind of girl. She has her secret interests and her dreams, her genuine wants and desires, but she keeps them hidden away under a thin veneer of snobbishness.

Tarver, by contrast, is a working class boy made good kind of war hero. He's not necessarily a typical 'war hero' kind of hero. He's strong and intelligent, his knowledge gained from fighting on the front lines keeps them alive, but he still has his concerns, he's still emotionally connected to the situation. He has an honest and genuine personality, and focuses on the mission at hand while paying attention to both his and Lilac's needs.

The small interlude moments between each chapter were interesting. It's rather obvious from the line of questioning that this person wants to know every single thing about the crash, every little insignificant detail from when Tarver first met Lilac, like they'd planned it. The answers the insistent voice gets are rather intriguing, truth but not the truth, lies but not lies.

Survival is key. Once Lilac and Tarver crash onto the planet, they are forced together and forced to rely on each other in order to survive. They are pushed to discover what it takes to survive when the world comes crashing down on you, when you're in a place that's foreign and alien to you, when everything around you is dead and ruined. When the dark secrets that place holds are the key to your survival, and you must rise up above your fear and face it head on.

I was so pleased at how different Lilac and Tarver's voices were. For a dual point of view book, there were clear differences in their tones, personalities, goals, and inner thoughts, and that doesn't always come across well. Also, I'm not surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I went into it hoping for science fiction, romance, secrets, and intrigue, a sci-fi shipwreck on a deserted 'island' with two characters tossed together and forced to rely on each other in spite of their differences. And that's what I got. And the romance happened naturally, it didn't feel forced or instant. With the next book in the trilogy featuring a different couple, I'm very curious as to where Kaufman and Spooner will go next.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada through NetGalley.)