Monday, October 29, 2012

ARC Review: Dust by Devon Ashley

So, this is my very first ARC tour, hosted Megan, AKA The Book Babe.
ARC Tour Sign Ups: Dust by Devon Ashley
First, what I found interesting and different about Dust was the main character, Rosalie. The cover art is gorgeous, but pretty deceiving. Rosalie is a pixie, but not like the pixies in Carrie Jones' Need series. She's more of the Tinkerbell variety I guess, because she is six inches tall. Oh, and she has salmon pink skin. That threw me for a loop at first. But once I got my mental pictures adjusted, I was fine.
Rosalie is kind of hippy pixie, all into Nature and being laid back and free spirited. The world of the pixies is beauitfully described and creative. Once she's captured by fairies as a pixie dust making slave, the pace of the book picks up.

I especially liked the last half of the book after Jack, Rosalie's jailer, is introduced. It goes without saying if you read any of my reviews that a budding romance is a key plot element for me. :)

Things I didn't really enjoy: I felt the book needed better editing. Some readers aren't bothered by this, but I caught several typos and mistakes. There were also a lot of repeated words, such as when dialogue tags were reused repeteadly (characters "huff" a lot). I can't help it. I just notice when words are reused in books.

I would say overall I liked the book, but didn't love it. It is a clean YA fantasy, without bad language, sexual content, or any type of drinking or drug use. However, the faeries who capture Rosalie are quite brutal in their treatment of her and the other pixies.

"Dust"is the beginnig of a series (Of Dust and Darkness), and ends with a setup for the next in the book. I hope in coming books, Rosalie will find a way to wreak a little havoc on her captors and free the other pixies. There's a lot more of her story left to tell!



"Dust" can be purchased on Amazon .
Devon Ashley's blog is right here.



***Don't Forget to Stop by MY GIVEAWAY! :)***

sarah

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: The Shadow Society byMarie Rutkoski



Release date: October 16, 2012

Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.
As if she were his enemy.
When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .



I chose this book from my library for two  reasons:
1) The opening line of the Prologue: "Knowing what I know now, I'd say my foster mother had her reasons for throwing a kitchen knife at me."
 I mean, come on! How could I not want to know what that was all about?
AND
2) The girl's boots on the cover. I have serious boot envy.

 When I started "The Shadow Society," I was worried it was going to be a rehash of a LOT of Young Adult novels I've read over the past few years.
 There were some pretty standard tropes happening:
We have a girl, Darcy Jones, who feels like she doesn't really belong anywhere.
Cue the arrival of a mysterious new guy at school, Connor  McCrea, who apparently either likes or loathes our heroine. It's surprising how many books for teens have this, "I am attracted to this guy who either likes me back or quite possibly wants to kill me" dynamic going on.
Despite this, she is irresistibly drawn to him. Of course.
They're paired together for a class project.
Wait, haven't I read this book before? I didn't have high hopes.

 And then Rutkoski hit me with the poetry. Specifically, T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." Conn and Darcy work together on an English assignment centering based on this poem.
Y'all, I have a deep and abiding love for Prufrock. There was no way I was going to give up on the book after that sad little man showed up.
I'm really glad I didn't, because after a slow start, the book really started to grow on me. The characters started to grow on me. Darcy is a pretty angsty girl, and hard to warm up to at first. But she is also fiercely loyal to her friends, passionate about her art, and determined to find out about her past and figure out exactly who she is.
Conn turns out to be a more complicated character than we first believe, too. As Darcy's best friend Lily puts it, "You two sound like a pair of misfit toys who are going to end up breaking each other."
The secondary characters had some of the best lines, especially Jims, who serves up the comic relief. And every now and then, there would be a funny sentence that made me smile. Like this one by Darcy's friend Raphael, talking about Conn: "And, speaking of putting on acts, how's Mr. I Wear A Cologne and It's Called Mysterious?"

There are some things that did nag at me a bit. The way the Great Chicago Fire caused the dimensional rift between our world and the reality in which Conn and the Shades live is never really explained.
 Another thing that didn't exactly ring true for me was the outcome of the big climatic scene. It was a little Breaking Dawn-ish, since the climax was pretty anticlimactic. However, I do appreciate what Rutkoski was doing, giving us characters who solved problems with words and not violence.
 And since I only read books without strong language and sexual content, I also appreciate that this was a "clean" read.
If you go into the book ready to push past the slow start and not expecting a lot of wham-bang action Shade vs. human action (there's not any), I think you'll enjoy this book. It's a well-written novel with a vividly described setting and characters discovering who they are, where they came from, what they want, and what matters most in their lives.
There was a lot to enjoy, and despite my initial misgivings, I found myself thinking about the book for days after I finished it. For  me, that's always the sign of a worthwhile read.


 **Dear lovely readers, please don't forget to enter MY NEW BLOG DESIGN/100 FOLLOWERS GIVEAWAY!!!***


sarah

Friday, October 26, 2012

NEW BLOG DESIGN/100 FOLLOWERS GIVEAWAY!!!


 People, I am SO ridiculously excited about my new blog design by the fabulous Lucille at Poppies Blooming. Excited to the point that I am beginning to wonder about my own mental stability...fellow book bloggers, I think y'all will understand this.

 AND!!!!!
 100 Followers!!


That means it's GIVEAWAY TIME!




 

 Summary: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. 

 Here's the deal: I didn't want to read this when it came out. I was of the opinion that cyborgs and I wouldn't get along. I just couldn't imagine relating to a cyborg heroine. I think I had something like The Terminator in mind.
So wrong! Cinder is smart, resourceful, determined, tough with just enough vulnerability and I LOVED her. I rooted for her throughout the book and I can't wait for the sequel.

*People, this has nothing to do with anything about the Giveaway, but I have to tell y'all:
 Marissa Meyer retweeted this Giveaway and THEN tweeted me @sarahsyablog...and I died of joy overload. That is all*
 

How to enter? Fill out the Rafflecopter below! a Rafflecopter giveaway



 Giveaway runs until November 13. 
**US Entrants Only...I'm sorry, my international peeps. I'll figure out something to do that includes y'all soon, I promise! **

sarah

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #3




Q: What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.


A: I'm not so much irritated by this as kind of bemused, I guess.  I've read some books so good that I've overlooked it...but I've noticed a lot of YA characters lately have an immediate "electric" attraction to one another. 
Right off the top of my head, I can't think of which books in particular have this, but I know several I've come across have that whole, "their hands/lips/whatever touched and she/he felt (something to do with electricity, sparks, a jolt, or similar.)"
Sometimes, this happens the very first time the two characters meet. An accidental meeting of the hands and we've got *bam!* an electric sensation. So instead of Insta Love it's like Insta Zap, maybe? :)
***Look! 100 Followers AND a Snazzy new blog design: Giveaway Time!! Click to find out how to enter!
 


sarah

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #3: The Madness Underneath (Shades of London 2) by Maureen Johnson



Summary:
After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.
In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated THE NAME OF THE STAR, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

I just finished "The Name of the Star" (here's the review ) And I really enjoyed it. It didn't end on a cliffhanger, which was nice for a change. But Johnson did set up a new book on the last pages.
So a little Googling turned up the next in the series and it comes out Feb. 26, 2013

The Madness Underneath: Book 2 (The Shades of London)
Amazon has this cover, and I'm not sure if the top one is UK and this one is US or what??
 A little research would clear this up, but I've got a toddler taking a nap and I really, really need to be doing laundry right now. But the lure of book blogging, it is irresistible!
 I'm not totally crazy about either cover really, but both are better than the cover of The Name of the Star, in my opinion.

Also: I want that lipstick the girl on the top cover is wearing.

Click Here to See my SNAZZY NEW BLOG/100 FOLLOWERS GIVEAWAY!! :)



sarah

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johson



 I've been going into the library and grabbing a few books without reading the back cover or checking out reviews beforehand. This  pick was another example of me judging a book by it's cover and having a completely wrong idea of what it was about....and being delightfully surprised by my wrongness.

I thought it was set in Victorian London. It's not.
And I thought it would be kind of serious and gloomy.  Nope.

The Name of the Star full of humor, quirky but not outrageous characters, an interesting murder mystery, and best of all: a boarding school.

Y'all, give me a British boarding school and I am such a happy camper. It's probably some of my residual Harry Potter obsession that I will never, ever get over completely.
Not that I would want to, obviously.
By the way: I want this shirt!

if you get this reference, comment and we will be automatic bff's
Anywhoot, Maureen Johnson pretty much hooked me on page one with this quote:

In my town, Benouville, Louisiana (pronounced locally as Ben-ah-VEEL; population 1,700), hurricane preparations generally include buying more beer, and ice to keep that beer cold when the power goes out. We do have a neighbor with a two-man rowboat lashed on top of the porch roof, all ready to go if the water rises--but that's Billy Mack, and he started his own religion in the garage, so he's got a lot more going on that just an extreme concern for personal safety.

(Maybe it's because I live in a tiny town in the rural Deep South, but that paragraph just delighted me to no end. The Southern way to say that is: y'all, that tickled me to death!)

I was instantly a fan of Rory, the protagonist. She's smart, but in a realistic way. Her inner commentary sounds like an intelligent, funny, witty sixteen-year-old and not an adult trying to sound like a witty teen. There's a difference.

Rory describes her new world at school with interesting but not overwhelming detail. Her friends were likable, and I thought they were pretty three-dimensional characters. Although Jerome is kind of flat for me, but really, he's not that big of a player in the plot once it gets rolling.

I can't resist...Here's another great quote:

I looked at the stained-glass image of the lamb in the window above me, but that only reminded me that lambs are famous for being led to slaughter, or sometimes hanging out with lions in ill-advised relationships.

Oh, Maureen Johnson...can we hang out somtime??

I also love how the paranormal aspect of the plot takes a long time to show up. You don't know for quite a while that anything supernatural is going on. It's just Rory and her attempts to fit in at boarding school, then a murder mystery, then BAM! creepy stuff!
For me, this is a bonus. I like when the paranormal shows up later, once you've been lulled into thinking you know what's going on, then you find out there's way more happening than you thought. That's one thing I enjoyed about Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. (Which, by the way, would make an excellent Halloween read.)

Content: One thing I wasn't crazy about was the drinking in the book, which is an accepted part of Rory's life at school. At least no one got down and out drunk, just tipsy, but still I wanted to note that in the review.
There was not much profanity and nothing beyond a few kisses. It's unusual to come across a YA book that doesn't feature a heavy-handed romantic subplot. Sure, Rory and Jerome are a couple but they don't think they're soulmates destined for eternity together. They're a couple of kids who like and spending time with each other...and kissing each other. Personally, I'm pulling for her to end up with Stephen in future books in the series.

As for the Jack the Ripper aspect: eeeekkkkk!! I do NOT read scary stuff, but I was hooked on this book and couldn't put it down. It wasn't too terribly scary, although the peril did kick up several notches in the last hundred pages or so.

I'm on a roll with my Random Library Trolling. Check back soon for a review of The Shadow Society, another book I picked up knowing nothing about it beforehand and ended up liking quite a bit.

*****CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG DESIGN/100 FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY!*****


sarah

Friday, October 19, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #2


Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read


Q: When you step out of your USUAL genre what do you like to read? Best books in that genre?

My genre of choice is YA (as you can probably tell from my witty and immensely clever blog title, right?). Specifically, I like paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian YA. Not so much a fan of historical or contemporary though.
When I'm not reading YA, I usually read Christian nonfiction. Oh, and anything by Terry Pratchett. His Discworld series is my go-to when I need to laugh and need books where everything will turn out alright.

***Hey, y'all...I've got a Giveaway planned for when I hit 100 Followers. So if you would like to Follow me, please do! **
sarah

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #2: "Clockwork Princess" by Cassandra Clare


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. It features each blogger’s most anticipated books.


Summary from Amazon:

Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close. If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it? The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose. Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment. Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.
Release Date: March 19, 2013




Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)



I haven't written reviews for the first two books in The Infernal Devices series (Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince) yet. I read Clockwork Prince when we were in Ukraine, before I started blogging again. But anyone who knows me has probably heard me talk about this series, harass them to read this series, speculate about the outcome of this series, and generally fan girl all over the place about it.

I'm anxiously awaiting Clockwork Princess, but at the same time, I kind of dread it. Why?
 Because Cassandra Clare has made me adore two characters who are in love with the same girl. Normally, I am NOT a love triangle fan. In fact, the vast majority of the time, they make me angry.

Super angry.

But both Jem Carstairs and Will Herondale are so well- written and human and heartbreaking, I just want them both to be happy. And I like Tessa as a heroine in this series.  I want to know what her origin story is at long last. What IS she, anyway?   What's the deal with her angel necklace? There are so many unanswered questions.
But I am predicting Dickensian levels of tragedy in this book.
This can not end well, people. I do hope I'm wrong though!



sarah

Monday, October 15, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday(but on Monday!)



Sorry I'm late to this party!
Here's the weekly Feature and Follow Friday Question:

Q: What book do you think would make a great Halloween movie? Please explain in graphic detail of goriness...

There's no WAY I could watch a movie of "Angelfall" by Susan Ee. I can read some pretty freaky stuff, but even mildly scary movies mess my stuff up! After reading this post-Apocalyptic dytopian novel, I was so horrified I had to make someone else read it just so I could have someone else to be traumatized with! I want to know what happens, because Penryn and Raffe both have really compellng stories, but I'm kind of scared to read the next one when it comes out. :)



sarah

Review: PARTIALS by Dan Wells





Sarah's Summary: Will probably check out the sequel from the library, but wouldn't buy it. 


Summary (from Amazon):
The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.
Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.



I read and reviewed Variant and Feedback by Robison Wells recently, and I liked them. When I realized that author Dan Wells was Robison Wells' brother, I decided why not keep it all in the family and make Partials my next read? (Plus it was on sale for $2.99 for Kindle...)

It turns out there are some similarities between their books.
First, they like for you to get to know humans characters and then they will turn out to NOT be human...or at least sort of not human. Can't elaborate without spoiling things.

Second, they're both big fans of the BIG SURPRISING REVEAL...(And since I used the surprised cat pic on the Variant review, I feel it only fair and fitting I give this book a shocked kitty, too....)


Not as surprised as Variant cat, because Partials didn't gobsmack me like Variant did...

And I liked Partials, but I don't think I liked it as much as Variant. There's wasn't nearly as much action. And if you're expecting romance (since that's kind of a prereq in YA books theses days...not that I'm complaining!!)...keep moving, nothing to see here!

 Kira is trying to figure out how to cure RM, the disease that has killed over 99.9% of humanity and continues to kill every new baby that's born. There's quite a bit of sciencey stuff going on, what with her research being described, and technical talk about virus mutation and blah blah blah. Y'all, I am not good with science! That's not the book's fault. It's written very clearly and not hard to follow, really. I just have a brain that is hardwired to start playing theme songs from old TV shows or thinking about hair products when anything related to science or math starts happening in my vicinity.

I was expecting more action and fighting with the Partials, but there's not a whole lot of that, really. And there's quite a bit of walking, scouting, running away, etc. I found myself skimming. There was a lot of discussing strategy and military tractics and that just does not compute with my right-brained self.

One highlight for me was the humor. There was a surprising amount of comic relief and witty banter for a book about the impending demise of the world's entire population.

I had a hardtime connectingwith the characters as a whole. But I liked Marcus quite a bit. I think it was his snarky sense of humor and his sweetness, how he loved Kira even though they're so different. When he would try to convince Kira to stop putting her life at risk to save humanity and just be happy with him for what time they had together--which is supposed to be the wrong attitude to take, obviously, since if people don't find a way to successfully repopulate the Earth, it's goodbye mankind-- I found myself kinda sorta agreeing with him.
This could be in part because with his michievous joking personality and the description of him as tall, and lanky, with shaggy brown hair,  I could NOT prevent myself from picturing him as a younger Jim Halpert from "The Office."



And I do dearly love season 1-3 Jim Halpert.

I'm a little less warm and fuzzy toward Samm (yes, there are two M's), the Partial who plays a big part in Kira's quest to cure RM. I'm kind of interested in his character, but we learn so little about him there's just not much to go on. I wish I had been more invested in the characters. When people would die, I didn't feel much of anything. I'm not sure why.
 It could be I've had too much dystopia lately. I think I need to switch subgenres for a little while, just for a change.

The sequel, FRAGMENTS, comes out Feb 26, 2013. I'll pick it up at the library, because I'm interested enough to want to see what happens next, but not enough to buy it for myself.


sarah

ENTWINED Winner Is...



Jessica at Peace, Love, Books!!!

Congratulations!

*The winner has been emailed, and if she  doesn't respond in 48 hours, another will be selected*

And thank you SO much to everyone who entered and followed! Y'all are the best.
 I'm planning to do another Giveaway when I hit 100 followers, and thanks to everyone who followed during the Happily Ever After Hop, I'm over halfway there. :)

Have a great day and read a great book!

sarah

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happily Ever After Giveaway Hop: Win "Entwined" by Heather Dixon



I am so excited to be participating in my first ever Blog Hop!!

I'm giving away a paperback copy of "Enshadowed" by Heather Dixon. I listened to this on Audible.com and it was a charming, but also at times suspenseful, and clean retelling of a fairy tale I didn't know much about, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Here's a summary:

 Either she's wearing a Bump-It or Azalea has mad teasing skills. Either way: Respect from this Southern girl! Love big hair!
From Amazon:
"Come and mend your broken hearts here.
Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late. "

THE RULES

1. FOLLOW  my blog (on the right sidebar, click "Join this Blog" and go from there!)

2. LEAVE A COMMENT
to let me know you did it (old followers...y'all comment and say Hi and you'll be entered too!), and if you want to tell me your favorite fairy tale retelling,  well that would be just fabulous as well!
3. BONUS ENTRY: If you post a link to my Entwined giveaway on your blog, Twitter, or FB, and leave a comment with the link, you will get another entry. (But you've got to really do it, and come back and leave the link for me to see...no cheater, cheater, Pumpkin eaters!! :)

(And just so y'all know: Once I figure out the whole Rafflecopter thing, I'll start doing those. But I'm in the process of switching internet providers and I've got limited access...I know y'all wanted to know that. And in case you're wondering, I'm scared of chickens, I love Dr. Pepper, and I tend to overshare....You're welcome!)

CONTEST RULES:
Open to US residents only. Contest runs Oct. 9-14. Once I draw the winner's name,  I'll email to let you know.  The winner has 48 hours to reply or a second name will be drawn.

There are TONS of book bloggers participating in this hop (because everyone needs a little Happily Ever After, right??)
For a complete list, you can visit the hop hosts at
I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

AND

Murphy's Library


SO--FOLLOW and COMMENT (and then share, link, and comment for bonus entries!)
Y'all have a great day!! Read a good book!!


sarah

Monday, October 8, 2012

FEEDBACK by Robison Wells


Feedback jkt des3.indd


I finished “Feeback” by Robison Wells last night, and even after a good night’s sleep (well, as good as I can get with a two year old in the house), I still don’t know what to think.
I enjoyed how the cliffhanger ending of “Variant” was the immediate jumping off point of “Feedback.” You pick up instantly with the action at the same moment where the first book ended.
More stuff I liked: I think Wells deserves credit for exploring some pretty thought-provoking subjects in such an action heavy book. In the middle of all the running, fighting, hiding, plotting, and planning, I found myself thinking about how power corrupts, how people can turn on each other instead of their true enemy so easily, and what price is too high to pay for freedom? Is there a price too high, and who gets to determine that price? Is it OK for one person to try and liberate another from a system they’re fine living in? (Wow, this just got really deep…Here, have a meme!!)


I Have No Idea What I'm Doing
(This is me trying to operate figure out Blogger...)




The book doesn’t have the mind blowing plot twists of Variant, but I can honestly say of all the theorizing the students and I did about who/what was behind Maxfield, I totally didn’t guess the truth.
That big reveal—the forces running the Academy—is where I’m really hung up with this review. I ended the book thinking, “Man, I wonder what’s going to happen now.” Benson accomplished his goal and rescued the kids from Maxfield, but there is clearly going to be major, worldwide fallout from his discoveries. When I went to the author’s website, he said this series was a two book deal: Variant and Feedback only. There’s not a book three.
I am going to do my level best NOT to spoil the book, so prepare for vagueness and confusing remarks!!! (You know, the usual stuff I write!)
So, I suppose we are meant to be content knowing the kids (well, those who survived anyway) succeed in their mission, but they have nowhere to go, no families to return to, and the secret behind Maxfield is sure to have catostrophic consequences. I have no clue what the motivation for the plan behind creating the androids was, if the creators were trying to take over the planet or what. The one Benson encounters says they’re merely “here to observe” but that seems a little unlikely considering the lengths they’ve gone to in creating their androids and training them to blend in with society.
I don’t mean to sound like I didn’t enjoy Feedback. I really did. I was just thrown by the ending and how I expected at least one more book.
Is there another book? Did I read bad info on this??
One more thing: Wells has got the coolest author website! He has a chapter-by-chapter behind the scenes look at Variant (book one in this series) including inspirations for different characters, scenes, plot points, and themes he wanted to portray. I also enjoy how he has a character encyclopedia with each character’s picture. He casts his books like a movie. So if you’re wondering what a certain person in the books looks like, you can find out.
(Seriously, this is a pretty great author website!)
I wantedd to point that out since I complained a wee bit about not knowing what Benson looked like in my Variant review.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for the Beginning of the Happily Ever After Blog Hop!! I'll be giving away a copy of Entwined by Heather Dixon...
Such a good fairy-tale retelling with a happy ending!!

sarah

CROSSED Winner Is...


With my very scientific method of writing everyone's name on slips of paper and drawing them out of a coffee mug..

BLUEROSES was the name I drew! I will be emailing you for a mailing address.
If the winner doesn't respond in 48 hours, I will draw another name.

And thank you to all those who are following! Stop back by tomorrow. I'm really excited to be hosting my first ever BLOG HOP!! The theme is Happily Ever After, and I'll be giving away a copy of ENTWINED by Heather Dixon!!! The hop runs from October 9-14, so be sure to come on during that time for info on our how to win.

Also: a cool new redesign of the blog is in the works. I think it's going to be really beautiful, and I'm super excited to see how it turns out.


sarah

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Very Informal Giveaway: "Crossed" by Ally Condie



So it occurred to me yesterday that Oct. 6 is my one year Blogoversary...

(But not really, since I blogged for three months and then took off for nine months, and just started back last week...)

I wanted to do something to mark this momentous occasion, and since I am nothing if not last-minute, ill-prepared, and generally slapdash in ALL I undertake...

HERE'S A VERY INFORMAL GIVEAWAY!

I have a harcopy gently used (read by me, and that's it) edition of "Crossed" by Ally Condie.

Want it? The rules are simple:
 Go to my sidebar, FOLLOW this blog, and then leave a comment saying you did it.

That's it.

If you're already a follower, you are still eligible...just leave a comment saying you're already a follower.

Contests run through October 8, 2012
(Sorry it's such a short one, but I'm going to be participating in a blog hop giveaway after that...stay tuned for details on that!)
sarah

"Variant" by Robison Wells


Summary from Amazon:
August 28, 2012
Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence, where video cameras monitor his every move—and where breaking the rules equals death.
All Benson wants is to find a way out. But when he stumbles upon the real secret the school has been hiding, he realizes that escape may be impossible.
*********************************
Most of the time, my recipe for a good book involves some type of fantasy, maybe a quest or journey, and *le sigh* some romance.


But there's another little niche of YA that is all up in my wheelhouse. Namely: evil boarding schools. Give me kids living at a school/trying to escape a school that's not what it seems...I am there, buddy! And also: plot twists. No matter how outlandish, I love  when a twist sneaks up and slaps you upside the head and you are all "WHAT??!!"
O-M-G
like this right here...
So I decided to give Variant by Robison Wells a try, mainly because it was a clean book and there was a recommendation for it on Audible for me and I vaguely remembered reading that it had some twisty plotty goodness to offer. (Note: I listen to lots of audiobooks while hauling the kids to and from various practices, games, school things, therapies, etc. This explains why I get so much "reading" done. It's actually listening.)
Anyway...

People, I dug this book. A lot.

It starts out as a typical "what is going on in this school, oh my we can't leave, whatever shall be do?" thing. And then it gets more and more twisted and I did NOT predict what was coming. Not at all. I wasn't sure who the good guys were, who the bad guys were, why anybody was doing the things they were doing, and then the END. Sweet fancy Moses, I think my jaw actually dropped open when I heard the last line.
 There are some flaws in the book. There's a distinct lack of characterization, especially among the secondary characters. Heck, I don't think we're ever even told what Benson, the main character, looks like. And too much time was spent detailing paintball strategies. So much so, I thought for sure it was somehow crucial to the storyline. It really wasn't. However, I stuck with the book and I'm glad I did. You can bet I started searching for the sequel, "Feedback", immediately.
sarah

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Waiting On"Wednesday #1: Reached by Ally Condie

"Waiting on" Wednesday #1




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine. It features each blogger’s most anticipated books.


This is my first Waiting On Wednesday and I am so excited for Reached, by Ally Condie!

It comes out November 13




"Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the "New York Times" bestselling Matched Trilogy
After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising--and each other--Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.
In this gripping conclusion to the #1 "New York Times" bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without."
This is the final book of the series and I am wondering how it will end. We learned so much more about Cassia's world in the last book, and some pretty surprising things about Xander and Ky. And if you're unsure about dystopian settings, this is a good one to ease into that subgenre with because it's been a very clean series without the violence and bloodshed a lot of dystopias have. 

And I, for one, really want to know if a particular poem will be featured this book. I had somehow missed 'Poem in October' by Dylan Thomas until Ky gave Cassia a piece of it for her birthday in the first book. I fell in love. (You don't have to be a poetry buff to like these books though...but if you are, you may swoon a little bit.)
Both "Matched" (book 1) and "Crossed" (book 2) had a couple of poems that figured prominently.

And y'all, I know a decent blogger would link to her reviews of those books she just mentioned but I'm STINK at this and also: Macs confuse me. I'm using my mom's Mac while she visits with Sassy Pants (my little girl's very appropriate nickname) and it's like a hotel bed: shaped like what I have at home, but totally unfamiliar in every other way and uncomfortable!

EDIT: People, look...I have links!
My review of MATCHED by Ally Condie
and My review of CROSSED by Ally Condie





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