Saturday, October 27, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan

Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Release date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Knopf
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Pages: 336
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
Going into Every Day I had both high expectations and low expectations. How does that happen, you ask? I'll tell you! I was absolutely and completely in love with the description of the book. I couldn't get over the idea of someone stuck in a new body every day, but with the continuance of loving the same girl through them all. I don't know how you could not love that! BUT, my only other experience with David Levithan is Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, which I absolutely hated. Yep. So you can see why I was of two minds. Every Day took the route of my high expectations, though it didn't follow what I expected in the least.

I'm going to have a hard time explaining how I feel in this paragraph, I think. Someone might dislike me for saying this, but hey, this is my blog and I'm allowed to state my opinion. I didn't like that A didn't associate with a gender. This is the biggest thing I disliked. Honestly. YES, I understand the point, that we aren't necessarily defined by our genders (or shouldn't be), since love certainly doesn't. But I felt like it was hard to get a grasp on A without this, this could be because A needed more defining characteristics other than being nice and switching bodies every day. Or it could be because I'm a terrible person. Either one will work for me.

Otherwise, other than the ending that made me sad, I found this to be an utterly fascinating book. The idea is unbelievably awesome and I was always curious to see who A woke up as each morning. I wanted to know how A was going to reach Rhiannon and how they could possibly make such an impossible situation work. I liked seeing repercussions of A's interference in the host's lives, even though A tries to not leave a mark. (I am having the hardest time writing sentences without him/her and he/she. Gosh darn you David Levithan!) And while the ending was not what I'd wish, it made sense and it really would have ruined the book if I got my way. :) Though I don't think I'd complain.

I'm not afraid to admit reading Every Day genuinely made me uncomfortable at times, in more ways than one. This is not a sensation I'm used to, but isn't one I'm averse to. I like to expand my horizons. The kind of books David Levithan writes are not generally my kind of thing, so it's a bit of a stretch for me. It takes consideration and a truly engaging story for me to enjoy their kind. Luckily, Every Day hit the mark.

Risk a paper cut? Even if contemporaries aren't your thing, I'm glad I read Every Day and I think you will be too.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hexes and Haunts: A Halloween Review by Nancy Fulda

Title: Hexes and Haunts: A Halloween Collection
Author: Nancy Fulda
Release date: October 2011
Format: Ebook
Source: Provided by author for review
Pages: 47
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Smashwords | Audible
Award-winning author Nancy Fulda presents five stories of ghosts, witches, vanishing chocolate, and haunted pumpkins. Two of them are humorous. Two are thought-provoking. And one of them might just keep you up at night. In "Hexes and Tooth Decay", a grumpy rock fairy crosses paths with an impolite witch, and trouble ensues. Two brothers release an ancient curse in "The Scream". "Ghost Chimes" tells the story of an orphan, her mother, and a most unusual type of haunting. Felipe sets out to catch a candy thief in "The Half-Life of Chocolate", and in "Like Rain From Silver Skies" a teenage girl is obsessed with the mysterious red letters that appear on a wall near her home.
Every year around Halloween, I like to read something for the season. This year, I just happened to get a request from Nancy Fulda to review her short story collection, Hexes and Haunts, so I was excited. This was absolutely the most perfect thing! There is a fantastic mix of lighthearted and heavier stories that made reading quick and very enjoyable.

With five stories, I originally expected it to be longer, but the whole collection numbers less than 50 pages, making it a quick, one sitting read that I deeply enjoyed. My favorite story was definitely "The Scream" and I think it could easily be expanded into a full length novel, one that I'd definitely read. Nancy's writing is very, very good, descriptive and full. Each story conveyed a palpable and, at times, very chilling feel that I loved.

All in all, I had a great time reading this Halloween collection, and I think you will too! So click away and get your own copy of it, it'll put you in the mood for the spookiest night of the year!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Title: Monstrous Beauty
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Release date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Pages: 304
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.
I am finding it hard to hold a firm opinion on Monstrous Beauty. I think I liked it? I know I loved the writing and the setting and the dark feel of it. I guess this means I liked it. But I also was not excited reading about Hester like I was Syrenka. I couldn't feel a whole ton of love for Hester's best friend (whose name escapes me, clearly not the best sign.)

On the bright side, there are just too many amazingly delicious things in this book. Like I said, the writing, setting, and feel were perfect and beautiful. But so were a good number of the characters, especially Syrenka (and OOH that mermaid queen. She was AWESOME.) She has such an innocence and willingness to love but finds her very nature keeps getting in the way of her happiness. This doesn't stop her from fighting for what she wants, harder than most characters I've read about, making her memorable and lovely in a way unlike any other. I think I'd read this book simply for Syrenka.

Luckily, we don't have to! I know this sounds terrible and morbid, but there are some awesome deaths in this book, not to mention some of the creepiest locations and characters, all of which I love. (Come to think of it, this would be a great book to read around Halloween...) What makes these grotesque--and I mean grotesque--things bearable is how they're presented to the reader. They're not thrown into the story to make it seem sensational or for shock value. Most of them are there to show how truly horrific the circumstances of Syrenka's, and other character's, lives became. They're also presented in such darn pretty language you almost don't recognize how terrible they are. This is a talent I applaud.

So... Um... Apparently I liked this more than I thought. Nothing like writing a review to learn how you felt about a book! While I'm a fan, this is not a book for the younger readers of YA. There's a great deal of violence that I wouldn't recommend it to a young crowd. But older readers of YA should find this book fascinating and very appealing.

Risk a paper cut? If you're looking for a step up (and away) from the normal paranormal books, this is just for you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Release date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 402
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.
I absolutely ADORE Persuasion by Jane Austen. I love the story of Anne Eliot and Captain Wentworth with all of my heart. I might just love it more than Pride & Prejudice (don't hate me!) So when I heard of For Darkness Shows the Stars and learned that it is a retelling of Persuasion, I was sold immediately. Pride & Prejudice gets the retelling treatment a lot, but Austen's other works get looked over pretty often, despite how amazing they are. Not only did I enjoy the romance of Eliot and Kai, I loved the whole new world (Cue Aladdin!) created by Peterfreund to surround her classic characters in.

A large part of my love of this stemmed straight from Persuasion. The relationship between our two characters is not the normal one shown in literature, their past is more intense and passionate. I thought that that intensity was retained here with the childhood friendship and later deeper relationship of Eliot and Kai. All in all the general feel of the original was retained, which I found to be a great success, all while creating a fantastic place to see familiar characters react to.

As I've noted, I loved the world Peterfreund created. It was probably the highlight of the book for me, since the relationship and its progress were things that were familiar. I enjoyed learning about humans destroying themselves and building themselves back up and the repercussions of that. The world is one fully-formed that I'd certainly love to explore more of.

I'm not going to talk for eons on this one, since it really sells itself. If you love the story of Persuasion, you should read this. If you love young adult romances or science fiction, you should read this. This story took my heart.

Risk a paper cut? The Luddites and Posts agree. This one is a winner! :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cover Reveal: Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta (US Edition)

I am over the moon today. You know why? I get to help unveil the US cover for the final book in Melina Marchetta's Lumatere Chronicles, Quintana of Charyn. I am so unbelievably in love with this series and can't believe it's already coming to an end, but I'm so excited to find out what happens to all of our favorite characters.

So I'm not going to talk anymore, since I know you just want to see the cover. :) Here it is!

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
Release date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick

The climactic conclusion of Printz Award winner Melina Marchetta’s epic fantasy trilogy!

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi and his companions travel through Charyn searching for Quintana and building an army that will secure her unborn child’s right to rule. While in the valley between two kingdoms, Quintana of Charyn and Isaboe of Lumatere come face-to-face in a showdown that will result in heartbreak for one and power for the other. The complex tangle of bloodlines, politics, and love introduced in Finnikin of the Rock and Froi of the Exiles coalesce into an engrossing climax in this final volume.
So, what do you think? Do you love it? I know I do. :) How do you think it compares to the Australian cover? And how excited are you for the book itself?? Please let me know in the comments, I'd love to discuss!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Comment Contest!

So I'm going to 'fess up. I like comments. I don't get enough of them. :) I've seen this on other blogs, and I just love the idea. I'm going to hold a comment contest! If it's successful, I could easily make it an ongoing thing.

To enter, all you have to do is comment (a meaningful comment, please!) on any post in the month of October. There's no form to fill out, extra entries by tweeting, none of that. You can earn as many entries as you'd like, simply by commenting on as many posts as you'd like! All I ask is that the comment is a little more than "Great review!" and your name and that you leave me some way to contact you, be it a link to your blog, your email address, Twitter handle, ANYTHING. As long as I can find you, I will take it as an entry.

So for the prize, I'm going to keep it very open-ended. You can win your choice of book (up to $15 USD) from The Book Depository (or Amazon or Barnes & Noble if you're in the US and want it from there). That means this is INTERNATIONAL. This will end 11:59 P.M. October 31 CST. I will announce a winner on November 1st!

I believe that is it. There are little to no rules, and you can have whatever book you want! :) So get to commenting! And if you leave me a link, I'll visit you back! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #1
Release date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Format: Egalley
Pages: 485
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of "them." The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked--and given the ultimate choice. Die...or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend--a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what--and who--is worth dying for.
So I pretty much worship at Julie Kagawa's feet. It's a fact I'm just completely unashamed about. Needless to say, I was beyond pumped about The Immortal Rules. I loved what she did with the fey and was hoping she'd work the same kind of magic with vampires, especially since I'm pretty fatigued with them at this point. Boy did she not disappoint!! I don't have the same love for this book as I do for the Iron Fey books, but I love it more than a lot of other things. (So that's good, I guess...)

One of the thing I disliked about Julie Kagawa's former protagonist, Megan, was that she was rather whiny and wimpy in the first two books. Our new protagonist, Allie, nips that worry in the bud almost immediately. She is hardcore and takes no nonsense. After she becomes a vampire, she wields a katana, for goodness sake! I liked her general willingness to own up to the fact that she wants to keep living, she's a fighter through and through and will not lie down and die, even if it means becoming what she hates most. Sure, a martyr is nice, but someone who just will not give up is refreshing. Having Allie become what she abhors lets us explore our own lines and wonder if we'd do the same thing.

It pretty much goes without saying that Julie Kagawa can write a swoon-worthy love interest. She does not slack in this series. Zeke is different from what I expected, but so sweet and a perfect complement to Allie. She's all aggression and passion, whereas he's sweet and sensible.

I was so happy to see a new twist on vampires, as well. I've seen humans treated as "blood cattle" in other interpretations but not in a YA book for sure. They're also just not very nice people, even Allie, who tries as hard as she can to not become a monster, finds herself giving into the nature of a vampire. Awesome.

As a whole, I really enjoyed The Immortal Rules. I didn't love it like I love Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, but it was a solid introduction and has the potential to become just as good.

Risk a paper cut? With all those vampires lurking around, it's definitely a big chance you'd be taking, but one that is ultimately completely worth it. Just make them let you finish reading first!