Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [4]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (release date November 8, 2011)
Not so very long ago, Eragon Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.

Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chances.

The Rider and his dragon have come further than anyone dared to hope. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaesia? And if so, at what cost?

This is the much-anticipated, astonishing conclusion to the worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle.
"Much anticipated" doesn't even BEGIN to describe it. I don't think I have EVER been more excited over a new release! I'm like "screaming-so-loud-it-bothers-the-neighbors" excited! I have been waiting so long for a release date for Inheritance! I just pre-ordered a copy. And I have never pre-ordered anything before. November 8 can't come soon enough!
[insert high-pitched fangirl squeal here]

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: A Northern Light

Title: A Northern Light
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Release Date: April 1, 2003
Publisher: Harcourt
Cover Designer: Vaughn Andrews
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Historical fiction
Summary: It's 1906, and sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder. Against a backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this astonishing novel weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and wholly original.

My Review:

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect of A Northern Light. I rarely read historical fiction set in the States. I borrowed this from the library only because Donnelly’s other novel, Revolution, is receiving a lot of critical acclaim. However, I was not disappointed in the least.

Mattie was a strong heroine. She had to deal with raising her sisters after her mother died and her brother left. Yet she still dreamed of going to college in New York City and becoming a writer. Because women often didn’t receive higher learning in 1906, you could say that there was a feminist undertone. But not in an in-your-face kind of way. All the side characters had depth and were likeable as well.

I praise Donnelly for not sugarcoating any of the issues presented, such as racism and marital infidelity. Everything about this book was raw and honest. I don’t think I’ve ever used the work “raw” to describe writing before, but in this case it’s the best word I can use. This was not at all a “light” or “fun” read.

My only criticism is that there were too many plot lines going on at once. Donnelly could have taken out the murder and still have had a good story about a young woman with aspirations but who is tied to her family by a promise. In fact, I had to drag myself through the chapters in which Mattie read over Grace’s letters, because I longed to be back in Mattie’s story.

Overall this was a very good book. I was happy with the outcome and the ending was satisfying.
I’d recommend A Northern Light to anyone who likes YA historical fiction.

Needless to say, I’ll be sure to check out Revolution soon to get more of this wonderful author.

Teaser Tuesday [5]

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
-Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

So here's my teaser:
"If I worked for Miss Wilcox one day a week throughout the summer, I'd have sixteen dollars or so by the time September came. Enough for a train ticket and then some."

Monday, March 28, 2011

My thoughts on this "incident"

So, there's this "incident" that's been circulating the blogosphere for the past few days now.

What happened was, Al over at BigAl's Books and Pals posted a review of The Greek Seaman by self-published author Jacqueline Howett on Wednesday. It was a negative review, and it stated that there were several editing mistakes throughout the book.
As you can see in the image on the left, the author posted a comment saying that the copy Al reviewed was un-formatted and that the criticism against the typos and grammar errors was unfair, and that he should remove the review. She then proceeded to post positive reviews from Amazon.
Al did review the new copy, and said so, but Howett insisted that "My writing is just fine!" and kept on arguing. She even dropped the F-bomb in one comment.
The debate went on, but currently the comments are closed and the review is still up.

Honestly, I think that Howett was behaving unprofessionally and immaturely. Every writer gets criticized at one time or another! And Howett should have just accepted the criticism instead of defending herself. If you can't take criticism, you shouldn't be writing.

Look at Rebecca Black, for example. Her music video "Friday" gets almost nothing but mockery and hate. But does she go around the Internet ranting about how she can sing just fine? No! She turns the other cheek and accepts it all. Not only that, but she's donating all the money she earned from her video to the relief effort in Japan.

One thing I find ironic is that despite Howett's ranting, you can see prominent grammar mistakes in Howett's comments, which makes it believable that her book is just as poorly edited.

So, my overall thoughts are that Howett should learn to control her attitude if she wants to have a successful career. I'm sure plenty of readers have already been turned off by her behavior and will shy away from her books. This may be harsh, but she deserves it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: Matched

Title: Matched (Matched, #1)
Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Publisher: Dutton
Cover Designer: Theresa M. Evangelista
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Sci-fi
Summary: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate...until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My Review:

First of all, isn't the cover lovely? It's also symbolic, because at one part in the book, Cassia says,
"I feel like I'm trapped in glass, and I want to break free."
But I'm sorry to say that this book was nowhere near as beautiful as its cover. Okay, that's a little harsh. But it wasn't.

If the cover doesn't make you want to read this, then the premise definitely should. It sounds like an interesting plot, doesn't it? It helped that sci-fi is one of my favorite genres. So I put myself on the library waiting list for this book as soon as it was released.

Anyways, Cassia was a good, well-rounded character. Though at times she was a little selfish, that just goes to show she has flaws and isn't perfect. And another plus: character development! Well, at least in Cassia's case. Throughout the book you can see how she develops from a follower of the Society to a rebel.
I expected Ky to be one of those "I'm-super-hot-and-I-have-a-secret-and-that's-about-it" kind of characters (think Damien from Evermore), but Ky was actually a very good character. I expected the romance between him and Cassia to be some pathetic "love at first sight" crap, but they actually get to know each other and their relationship had buildup, which I appreciated.
However, Xander was a stereotypical boy-next-door. He didn't have much depth.
Em and Piper were extremely flat and predictable. It felt like the author just threw them in because Cassia needed friends.

The writing was good, some of the descriptions were very pretty. However, because of the first-person point of view, the descriptions sounded out-of-place rather than poetic. I mean, nobody talks like that in their inner monologue. So I would have liked this book better if it had been told in third-person point of view rather than first person.

Also, Condie is terrible with explanations! You never really find out how the Society came to be, or how things generally work. I really hope that we'll get more explanations in the next book.

But that's not even my biggest criticism: Matched was way too similar to The Giver.
The Society was just The Community under another name. And the Matching system, the uniforms, the job system, pills that control emotions, not choosing the amount of children you want to have, all that and more was in The Giver first! And since The Giver is one of my all-time favorites, I will defend it to the ends of the earth.

So my conclusion is that Matched was a good book. It was a great book! But not worth all the hype.

Book Blogger Hop [3]

Book Blogger Hop

This Week's Question: If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?

My Answer:
Harry Potter! Harry Potter! Definitely Harry Potter. Who on earth wouldn't want to attend Hogwarts and be a wizard?

Although when I was about 9, I wished I was part of The Babysitter's Club. I really wanted to be Kristi and Mary Anne's friend and live on their street. I also wanted to mouth off Janine for no reason I can remember.

Follow (my book blog) Friday [5]

This Week's Question: Give is five book-related silly facts about you.

My Answer:
1. I really really really want a Nook Color, even though I probably would never use it.
2. I didn't like sci-fi until I read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea when I was 10. And after The Hunger Games, sci-fi became one of my favorite genres!
3. I love buying books (though I rarely buy them new). Even if I don't read them, I love buying books!
4. The only audiobook I ever liked was the audiobook version of White Cat.
5. Joy Preble (author of Dreaming Anastasia) lives in my hometown, so I always feel a bit of pride whenever someone mentions her as an author.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In My Mailbox [4]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

This week, I didn't buy any new books, although I brought in a horde from the library. Also, I was cleaning my desk on Monday and I found a signed teaser from Holly Black's Red Glove! Sadly, I couldn't enjoy it much since I haven't read White Cat yet.

Anyways, on to the library horde.

First one is The Mermaid's Mirror. Is it completely evil that I only became interested in reading it after the author died? I feel terrible.

Next one is Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. I LOVE the cover! Not only how it looks, but how it feels.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir I've been wanting to read for a LONG time. Once again, the cover is beautiful!

Lastly, A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee is historical fiction. Another one that I've wanted to read for a long time and finally checked out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [3]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (release date December 6, 2011)
16-year-old orphan Tessa Gray, whose quiet life is thrown into turmoil when her older brother Nathaniel suddenly vanishes, leaving her alone. Her search for him leads her into Victorian-era London’s dangerous supernatural underworld, where warlocks throw masked balls for half-demon Downworlders. When Tessa discovers that she herself is a Downworlder, she must come to trust her natural enemies, the demon-killing Shadowhunters, if she ever wants to learn to control her powers and find her brother.

Torn between the beautiful Will, a Shadowhunter who isn’t what he seems, and the devoted Jem, whose own deadly secret is slowly destroying him, Tessa must draw on all her strength to save her brother and keep herself alive in this deadly new world.
I'm REALLY excited for this one, because I LOVED Clockwork Angel. I'd say I liked it better than the Mortal Instruments, but it isn't fair to compare one book to an entire series, so I'll wait for the whole series to be out before I start comparing.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday [4]

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
-Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

So here's my teaser:
"I lingered at the library work site too long and I'm almost late for class. Xander waits for me near the main doors of Second School."

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Fire Study

Title: Fire Study (Study, #3)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: March 1, 2008
Publisher: MIRA
Cover Designer: N/A
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy
Summary: When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. As the Council debates Yelena's fate, she receives a disturbing message: a plot is rising against her homeland, led by a murderous sorcerer she has defeated before. Honor sets Yelena on a path that will test the limits of her skills, and the hope of reuniting with her beloved spurs her onward. Her journey is fraught with allies, enemies, lovers and would-be assassins, each of questionable loyalty. Yelena will have but one chance to prove herself—and save the land she holds dear.

My Review:

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Fire Study, the final installment of the Study trilogy, was better than Magic Study, but still not as good as Poison Study.

First of all, I like that Valek was more of an important character here than in Magic Study. Valek is awesome. All the other characters are great too, and not even the insignificant characters are flat or boring. And over the course of three books, you get to see the characters developing and maturing while still staying the same people. Character development is rare in YA books nowadays, so I'm happy whenever I find it.

One of the things I liked the most about this last book is that we finally learn about the Commander's "mutation"! I finished Magic Study feeling very confused about him, and thought that the author would decide to keep the truth about the "mutation" a mystery. So I was very thankful that we were given an explanation!

I also loved the suspense. I had to pull a caffeine-fueled all-nighter for this book because I HAD to know what would happen next! And my efforts were not in vain. The twist at the end was unpredictable and completely original! I found the concept of putting souls inside glass fascinating.

My only criticism is that it would have been nice to learn more about the Fire Warper, half the book long I was confused as to who he even was! 

But other than that, Fire Study was a great ending to a great series! I'll be looking forward to reading Opal's story (the Glass series).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Blogger Hop [2]

Book Blogger Hop

This Week's Question: Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?

My Answer:

I used to read multiple books at once (as many as 4 or 5). But I've stopped, because it takes longer to read books that way, at least for me. It took me over six months to read Jane Eyre because I kept putting it aside for other books. So now I try to read only one book at a time.

Follow (my book blog) Friday [4]

This Week's Question: How did you come up with the name of your blog?

My Answer:
I didn't really put much effort into my title. When I created this blog, I typed in the first thing I could think of for the title. And I had just watched Despicable Me, so the first thing I thought of was "Unicorns, I love them!" Originally my blog was called ""Unicorns, I Love Them!" A Book Blog" but I removed the last part because it made the title too long.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

In My Mailbox [3]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

This week, I got four books. One that I own, and three from the library.

This one, Imaginary Enemy, I got from my book club. I've never heard of it before, but I love the Goth dinosaur on the cover.

And these are the library ones.
Across the Universe should be interesting, because it's rare to see space age sci-fi in modern YA literature. Though what I find odd is that the blurbs on the cover are from paranormal romance authors. If you're going to write a sci-fi, wouldn't you want the blurbs to be from other sci-fi authors?

Inside Out, another sci-fi, is one I've been wanting to read for a long time. I love Maria V. Snyder's Study series (I'm currently reading Fire Study) so I have high hopes for this.

Last one, If I Stay, is realistic fiction, I think.

Review: Waiting for Odysseus

Title: Waiting for Odysseus
Author: Clemence McLaren
Release Date: March 1, 2000
Publisher: Atheneum
Cover Designer: Michael Nelson
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Mythology
Summary: Odysseus. His epic tale has been told countless times, but rarely is it heard through the voices of the women who loved and served him. Penelope, Circe, Athena, Eurycleia: Theirs are the silent voices, the voices of longing, waiting, strength. They are the women who moved him and motivated him. And now they shed new light on his age-old journey.

My Review:

This was a good book. The writing was catchy and easy to follow, so it will only take you a couple hours or so to read this (the only reason I took days was because I was distracted by a nonfiction book, Yes Man). It was interesting to see Odysseus' story told from all different points of view. To me, the most interesting part of the book was the portion told from the goddess Athena's point of view.

This book wasn't completely mythologically accurate, but at least the author said she changed some things in the afterword. Esther M. Friesner, for example, completely botches up Greek myths in her books Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize (but she is still a very good writer). And believe it or not, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is also pretty mythologically inaccurate. So the point is, don't base your knowledge of Greek myths on YA fiction.

My only criticism of this book is that McLaren kind of brushed over the actual Trojan War. I think it would have been really interesting to read about and was disappointed that the author skipped it. But, that could have to do with the fact that this is based on The Odyssey rather than The Iliad.

Overall, this was a great book, and if you liked it I recommend Aphrodite's Blessings and Inside the Walls of Troy, also by this author.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [2]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong (release date April 12, 2011)
Strange things are happening in Maya's tiny Vancouver Island town. First, her friend Serena, the captain of the swim team, drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. Then, one year later, mountain lions are spotted rather frequently around Maya's home—and her reactions to them are somewhat...unexpected. Her best friend, Daniel, has also been experiencing unexplainable premonitions about certain people and situations.

It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret, and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy—her paw-print birthmark.
I LOVED the Darkest Powers series. To me, the Darkest Powers series is the queen of YA paranormal romance. So I've been waiting for the release of this book ever since it was announced! I hope Chloe and her friends make a few appearances....(probably not gonna happen though).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: Seeing for the First Time

Title: Seeing for the First Time (What You See is What You Get, #1)
Author: Nicole Zoltack
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Publisher: Echelon Press
Cover Designer: Karen L. Syed
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal
Summary: For the last ten years, Ana has spent summers with her Gram. With nothing to do, and Gram always in her garden talking to things that aren't there, Ana is bored out of her mind. But one day, Ana sees strange colors floating around Gram as she works in her garden. Gram says they're fairies. She can "See" them, and Ana's a Seer, too. Determined to learn where she fits in, Ana's summer gets a lot more exciting as she sets off to find out what she can "see." Only problem is, she's not sure what to do when she finally discovers the truth. And she's not sure she'll live to tell anyone.

My Review:

First of all, I really like the cover! Some people might think that it's something simple you could put together on Microsoft Paint (and they wouldn't be entirely wrong). But I really like the fairy art and the font of the words.

Anyways, on to the actual story. The concept of lots of magical creatures instead of just one was really interesting. And despite the length of this story, the characters were well-rounded and not flat or predictable at all. The pace was a bit too fast, but then again, this story was only 17 pages long! There were also a few typos, but most stories published on Smashwords do, so it isn't a big deal.

Although this is just my personal opinion, I would like this better as a whole book than a series of short stories.

But overall, I liked this story and am looking forward to the next episode of What You See is What You Get.

Teaser Tuesday [3]

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
-Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

So here's my teaser:
"Odysseus missed this final marvel, however. I had granted him a sleep so deep and so delicious that he didn't even stir when the ship beached in his favorite harbor on seagirt Ithaca."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review: Beast

Title: Beast
Author: Donna Jo Napoli
Release Date: November 1, 2000
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Cover Designer: Russell Gordon
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fairy tales
Summary: Orasmyn is the prince of Persia and heir to the throne. His religion fills his heart and his mind, and he strives for the knowledge and leadership his father demonstrates. But on the day of the Feast of Sacrifices, Orasmyn makes a foolish choice that results in a fairy's wretched punishment: He is turned into a beast, a curse to be undone only by the love of a woman. Thus begins Orasmyn's journey through the exotic Middle East and sensuous France as he struggles to learn the way of the beast, while preserving the mind of the man. This is the story of his search, not only for a woman courageous enough to love him, but also for his own redemption.

My Review:
One of my friends once said that Donna Jo Napoli has her “good” books and her “weird” books. I can’t compare since this is the only book I’ve read by her, but it’s definitely one of the weird ones.

First of all, this retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” was well-written and well-researched (though apparently she did more research on lions than on history). The fact that the Beast was a Prince of Persia was a unique twist. It was also unique in the fact that the Beast was completely animal instead of an animal/man hybrid. In most reviews of this book, people said that the focus on Orasmyn’s religious practices was unnecessary, but I thought it was very interesting, and was one of the very few things I liked about this book.

Yes, very few. Napoli described Orasmyn's leonine bodily functions in too much detail. There was one scene that I won’t name since this is a spoiler-free review, but at that part I just thought “Did I really need to read about that?” It was too graphic for any book, YA or not.

I didn’t like the pace either. It was very slow (nearly slow to the point of being dull) until Belle comes in, and then the last 50 pages of the book are pretty rushed. The book literally ends at the exact moment Orasmyn turns back into a man. I would have liked it better if we could have seen Orasmyn and Belle’s relationship develop a little more, instead of just reading about Orasmyn as a lion.

Also, I think that since there was a glossary of Farsi and Arabic words in the back of the book, it was unnecessary for the meanings to be given in the text.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Blogger Hop [1]

Book Blogger Hop

This Week's Question: If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?

My Answer:
Wow…$80? That’s a dream come true. Here’s what I’d buy:

(note: all the prices are from Borders)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (HarperTeen Edition) - $8.99
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (Hardcover) - $16.99
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hardcover) - $17.99
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Hardcover) - $17.99
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer (Paperback) – $7.99
Beastly by Alex Flinn (Paperback, original edition) – $8.99

Well, that’s only $78.94, but at least I didn’t go over!

Giveaway from Beth Revis!

Visit Beth Revis to enter.

Follow (my book blog) Friday [3]

This Week's Question: Who are You the Boy/Girl, instead of You the Blogger?

My Answer:
I'm Emily the girl. I haven’t cut my hair since I was 2. I have two younger siblings, and I have a rabbit and three cats (who all get along with each other). I'm half Polish, half American, and I’ve lived all over Europe. I've collected stickers since I was 8, and I have a huge collection. Except I can't use them, because my 11-year-old self thought it would be brilliant to stick them into blank pages of a photo album. Now they are hopelessly stuck.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

In My Mailbox [2]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

This week, I have acquired three new books!

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First one on the left is The Wish List by Eoin Colfer, which I bought at the little bookstore my library has in its lobby. I’ll admit that all the reviews I’ve read say it’s really weird, but that doesn’t make it bad. And besides, how can you pass up a mint-condition $.65 book?

Second is Beast by Donna Jo Napoli, which I’m currently reading (hence, the tassel bookmark) for my book club. I’m not sure what to think of it so far. It’s a bit too graphic…

Third is Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce, also from the library bookstore. I have never read any of Pierce’s other books, but I’ve heard that she’s a good author. You can tell by the cover illustration that this is an 80’s or early 90’s edition. There's even a mail order form on the last page!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [1]

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Wither by Lauren DeStephano (release date March 22, 2011)
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
I've heard this book has been compared to A Handmaid's Tale, and I love sci-fi of any sort, so I'm looking forward to Wither. Only 13 more days!*

*I guess I should add a week or so to that, because I doubt that I'll get Wither on the day it's released.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teaser Tuesday [2]

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
-Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

So here's my teaser:
"The slab of rock is exactly where I remembered it. The book lies there innocently, as though it's trivial, frozen into the dirt under the rock."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Between Mom and Jo

Title: Between Mom and Jo
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Release Date: May 10, 2006
Publisher: Little, Brown
Cover Designer: Alison Impey
Age Audience: YA
Genre: LGBT
Summary: Nicholas Nathaniel Thomas Tyler has a three-legged dog named Lucky 2, some pet fish, and two moms who think he's the greatest kid ever. And he happens to think he has the greatest moms ever, but everything changes when his birth mom and her wife, Jo, start to have marital problems. Suddenly, Nick is in the middle, and instead of having two moms to turn to for advice, he has no one. This coming-of-age novel powerfully portrays the universal pain of a family breakup.

My Review:

Between Mom and Jo is the story of a boy named Nick and his two moms, Erin and Jo. The book starts when Nick is three, and we get to see Nick grow up thinking that having two moms is completely normal. In fact, his parent’s sexuality isn’t even the main focus of the book. Though their family faces many hardships (including alcoholism and cancer) Erin and Jo promise Nick that the three of them will always be together.

But one day, when Nick is fourteen, Erin starts an affair with another woman. This causes Nick’s parents to separate and Jo moves out.

Now, I cried on and off for the rest of the book after this. I cried more than I did during Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. There are only two books that have made me cry more.

Peters is an amazing writer. Nick is such an honest character, and you feel his pain as he struggles with his grief and the fact that he may never see Jo again. So really, anyone can relate to this book, because Nick faced all the hardships any kid with divorced parents would face.

Also, this book is the perfect proof of why the government should legalize same-sex marriage! Because Jo had no legal or biological attachment to Nick, they couldn't arrange visitation rights or anything. Erin just said to Nick, "You can't see Jo!" and it happened! When Jo was just as much of a parent to Nick as Erin, if not more so! That's why this is a much better gay rights book than, say, Keeping You a Secret (but don't misunderstand, I very much liked Keeping You a Secret too). This is the kind of book that cures homophobia.

This is now my second favorite LGBT book, it's right up there next to Annie On My Mind. I usually don't recommend LGBT books to other people, but this is a touching and beautiful book that anyone and everyone should read.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Review: Doomed Queen Anne

Title: Doomed Queen Anne (Young Royals)
Author: Carolyn Meyer
Release Date: October 1, 2002
Publisher: Harcourt
Cover Designer: Vaughn Andrews
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Historical fiction
Summary: Though born without great beauty, wealth, or title, Anne Boleyn blossomed into a captivating woman. She used her wiles to win the heart of England's most powerful man, King Henry VIII, and persuade him to defy everyone--including his own wife--to make her his new queen. But Anne's ambition was her downfall. This is the true story of the girl everyone loved to hate.

My Review:
I may have said this before, but Carolyn Meyer really researches her novels well! Sometimes it's hard to believe they're still fiction. All the events that take place in this book are historically accurate, so it's okay to base your knowledge of history on the events in this book.

One of the things I liked the most about this book is that while Meyer
doesn't sugarcoat the wrong things Anne did, she still portrays her as a human being with feelings. Meyer doesn't try to justify her hunger for power, yet she makes Anne seem like a person we can all sympathize with and relate to. If you've read this, I bet that there was at least one point in the book where you were rooting for Anne as queen, despite all the wrong things she did.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Tudors, and even those who aren't. Believe me, after you read one of the Young Royals books, you can't be not interested.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Follow (my book blog) Friday [2]

This Week's Question:
What embarrassing thing have you done on cold medicine?

My Answer:
Well, I don't get sick very often, and when I do I don't take anything stronger than children's cough syrup. So I this week, I have nothing interesting to say.

Review: Golden

Title: Golden (Once Upon A Time)
Author: Cameron Dokey
Release Date: February 28, 2006
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Cover Designer: Mahlon F. Craft
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fairy tales
Summary: Before Rapunzel's birth, her mother made a deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future. After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue, who was cursed by a wizard and needs Rapunzel's help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely "two nights and the day that falls between" to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed forever.

My Review:

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Golden was an interesting retelling of the classic tale "Rapunzel." Much better than Beauty Sleep, the other Cameron Dokey book in the Once Upon A Time series that I have read.

If you're wondering how she got her name (in this book, anyways), Rapunzel's mother had cravings for a certain parsley called "rapunzel" when she was pregnant. So she asked her husband to ask the neighbor Melisande for some from her garden. But the husband was afraid to ask because Melisande was a sorceress, so he began stealing the parsley regularly. One day, Melisande catches him, and as a punishment makes a deal with Rapunzel's mother: if she can't love her baby just how she is, the sorceress will take her. When Rapunzel is born bald as an egg, her beautiful but shallow mother cannot love her, and gives the baby to Melisande, who names her Rapunzel after the parsley. By the way, the sorceress is good and loves Rapunzel as if she were her own child.

And yes, you read correctly. Rapunzel is BALD. And she remains bald throughout the whole book. Then again, you could say that both Rapunzel and Rue were Rapunzel, if you really think about it. Because Rue had beautiful long hair and was locked in a tower, and later on she takes Rapunzel's name. It's mind-boggling to think about, and I'm impressed that Dokey could come up with something so original and amazing.

I liked how Dokey came up with an explanation for love at first sight. I hate it when it happens in most books, but in fairy tales I find it acceptable. After all, it's a fairy tale! I also liked how the prince was clumsy and not very prince-like. I nearly laughed out loud when he tripped on the gopher hole and hit his head on a tree.

The only flaw of this book is the first-person point of view was a little stiff; this book would have been better if told from third-person point of view. That aside, I think I can honestly say that this is my second favorite book in the Once Upon A Time series, with my favorite being The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In My Mailbox [1]

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we share books that we've received.

(Since you can do IMM on any day you want, from now on I'll be posting IMM every Thursday or Sunday.)

So, I didn't buy many books this week. However, on Monday I was at the Half-Price Books in Humble, and I found a hardcover edition of Inkheart for only $3! Which of course, I had to buy. Inkheart was a really good book, although in my opinion, the movie was better.

My main source of books is the public library. I usually go to the library 3-4 times a month because I participate in a book club and volunteer group there. Today I went there for the volunteer group meeting, and afterward I managed to borrow some books.

(I apologize if you can't see the picture well, I couldn't figure out how to turn off the flash on my camera)

The top book on the left is The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. It's a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and from what I've heard, it's supposed to be amazing. Since I love Alice in Wonderland, I'll be looking forward to reading it.

The second is Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters. It's about a boy whose parents are getting a divorce, except the unique thing is that his parents are both women. I've read another one of Peter's books, Keeping You A Secret, and I really liked it.

The third is Doomed Queen Anne by Carolyn Meyer, which is a fictional account of Anne Boleyn. Carolyn Meyer is a very good writer, what I especially admire about her books is that they are historically accurate.

The fourth book is The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. I first heard of this book about a year ago, and I thought it was realistic fiction. But today at the library, I noticed that it was in the sci-fi section, so I checked it out. I'm not sure what it's about, other than the protagonist wakes up from a comma with no idea who she is.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday [1]

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
-Be careful not to include spoilers! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
-Share the title and author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

So here's my teaser:
"That was the moment the cat intervened. Bounding up the spiral staircase to pounce upon the ribbon at the end of Rue's hair."
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Review: Devoted

Title: Devoted
Author: Shirlene Obuobi
Release Date: April 13, 2009
Publisher: IUniverse
Cover Designer: Shirlene Obuobi
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Sci-fi
Summary: After waking from a frightful nightmare, sixteen-year-old Abigail Lingston is alarmed to find that she is no longer herself. Her mind is now inhabited by a terrifying entity. Soon after causing a tragic accident, Abigail falls through the Tear into a new dimension, Fosha. At first glance, Fosha seems a perfect haven. But shadowy manifestations of emotion called Reefers terrorize citizens with feelings that should have died long ago. When discovered to be the Heiress, Abigail must quickly orient herself to the ways of Fosha and learn all she can if she is to successfully defeat the Reefers and make Fosha safe again.

My Review:
I was going to give this ★★, but I'm being generous because Obuobi was only 15 when she started this book.

The premise of this book sounds interesting, doesn't it? It's a unique idea, the Reefers. I'm surprised that this book is so little-known, but that could have to do with the fact that it was self-published.

The writing was good, very descriptive and lively. However, the weak point of the writing was that it was often over-dramatic when attempting to be lyrical. Also, the twists and turns of the plot were never a surprise because of the constantly changing points of view. We never get to feel Abigail's shock when she discovers things, because we already knew about it from a different character pages ago.

Another flaw of this book was that Fosha was too similar to Earth. Fosha is a completely different dimension, so you'd expect it to be more unique. But in one scene, Silver makes a reference to the Easter Bunny. How could he have known about the Easter Bunny? Is there an Easter Bunny in Fosha? What's with that? Also, it would have been nice to get an explanation of how they managed to fit giant wings inside the Foshan's backs that pop in and out at will. That part never made sense to me. There were many other plot holes that I'd go crazy trying to figure out how it made sense.

Also, whoever edited this book did a terrible job. There were more than just the simple punctuation and capitalization errors often present in published books. There were actual spelling errors. There were many, but I think the worst one is in the part where Abigail is washing her plate and she pours "pink liquid soup" on the sponge.

The ending of this book was a crossover between a cliffhanger and just plain confusing. Obuobi said there will be a sequel, but seeing that Devoted was published in 2009, I don't think there will be one anytime soon.