Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (54)

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

Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced 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 Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.

But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…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 has lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

I read Persuasion in university, the one Jane Austen novel I read because I was supposed to (when I was 12 I read Emma on my own, I was a nerd back then (duh)). It was such an interesting book about how we want people to see us and how we let people influence us into maybe making some bad decisions. I'm generally wary of retellings and "inspired by's," but I can only hope this one will be as moving and wonderful as the original story. Also, it'll be interesting with the Luddites, considering how much technology is in our lives now and how much would've been suppressed in the book.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Me on Paper Towns

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Publisher: Speak (Penguin imprint)

In lieu of a traditional review, this post will be updated as I read it on November 29, 2011. I'll list the time, what page I'm on, and any interesting or weird things I come across. Hope you enjoy. :) (Note that all times are PST.)

6:00 AM: Just an auto post so it's actually up on the blog. This isn't necessarily an update as it is me planning ahead.

11:20 AM: Finally starting to read Paper Towns, which will be easier considering I finished NaNoWriMo late last night/really early this morning. :) Updates to come and will include times and page numbers (I have the paperback copy) and possible spoilers.

So, I'm reading Paper Towns because, after all the excitement over John Green's next book out in January, which sounds amazing, and after watching loads of Vlogbrothers videos, which are so smart and funny, I figured I needed to read more by him besides Will Grayson, Will Grayson (I really enjoyed it, my review is here). I find it amusing that I'm doing this because I used to have a copy of Looking for Alaska but couldn't get into it. Maybe it was too intellectual and complicated for me back then. ;)

11:31 AM: It feels like I'm reading this for my degree, which I'm not, I have one, but still. It makes the reading matter more, makes it feel more powerful and complicated than just reading for fun. Which this is.

11:58 AM: Page 31. Margo is rather unique, or she is at least in Q's eyes since they're the only ones we get to look through. I think what I'm most curious about with this book is what the journey is, what the mystery is, where Margo goes and what Q has to do to figure it out. Like Sherlock or Miss Marple or Poirot, except it's the 21st century in Florida and they're teenagers. With a minivan.

The biggest question I have right now is the one in bold red letters on the back cover of my copy: Who is the real Margo? Because all we've got in these first 30 pages is Q's romanticized perception of her and obsession with her. I'm wary of this question being answered in one of those philosophical ways that has both no answer and multiple answers.

12:26 PM: Page 68. I am so glad I never knew anyone in high school like Margo and never pissed anyone off this much. Way to write a girl getting some awesome revenge on people, John Green. ;) This book feels like a movie, like lots of other books I've read this year (see Shatter Me and The Space Between and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Daughter of Smoke & Bone). Everything is so visual, which only adds to the realism.

2:22 PM: Page 103. And here comes the different perspectives of the odd creature that is Margo Roth Spiegelman. Q still thinks she amazing, if a little eccentric, but her parents can't see her that way. To them, she's a sickness, a massive weight pulling them down because she doesn't see the world like they do (or how they'd prefer her to see it). It's all about them, what she's done to them, how she's hurt them, how they need to worry about their other kid so they don't end up with another Margo. Aren't parents supposed to love their children unconditionally and without reason or question? Apparently not.

2:35 PM: Page 109. Possibly a bit of a tangent but I started thinking. I'm curious as to how many people read this book and then started watching Vlogbrothers videos, and how many people watched the videos and then read this book. Either way, another layer is added onto the second. Like you were lucky enough to learn the inside jokes and the secrets, like we're all in a secret but not so secret club that started with two brothers vlogging for a year instead of texting or e-mailing. It's like magic, only it's real.

3:22 PM: Page 123. Oh, Walt Whitman. I don't miss studying you.

I'm also outrageously intrigued with how Margo's mind works, like she's on tangents of tangents of tangents. It's seeing the world differently but it's mind-blowing. I would demand to be her friend, but only if she came with some kind of owner's manual. ;)

3:31 PM: Page 141. "I don't know who she is anymore, or who she was, but I need to find her." It's so obvious, but it means so much more than what's on the surface. But I feel like I'm nowhere near smart enough or skilled enough to understand. Or maybe I'm not supposed to. Not now, not yet.

3:58 PM: Page 157. I'm wondering if this book is too cerebral for me. Or if I need to treat it like a Virginia Woolf novel. A professor once told me that to read the book (I think it was Jacob's Room) you had to read the book. At least John Green doesn't write like Virginia Woolf. Thank you, John Green, for not writing like Virgina Woolf.

4:21 PM: Page 198. "' The longer I do my job,' [Q's dad] said, 'the more I realize that humans lack good mirrors. It's so hard for anyone to show us how we look, and so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.'" It also applies to ourselves. As we wonder who the real Margo is, I wonder who the real me is.

Mirrors are dangerous. They show us what we want to see, but they show us what we don't want to see. They highlight our flaws, making us think they're our strengths, and they highlight our strengths as flaws (especially those magnifying ones). I wonder if this is why I don't have a mirror in the room I'm in as I live blog. Maybe I don't want to see myself. Maybe I don't need to because somehow I already know what's there.

There's a whole master's thesis right there: mirrors in literature (popular or classic) and what they both reveal and conceal. If you use this idea, let me know. ;)

4:44 PM: Page 243. Now comes the road trip. I don't like saying this, but I'm glad I got past the spots in the middle that made this book feel too smart for me. Whitman has a way of bringing you down unless you've been taught how to read it. I barely remember studying him in university.

5:08 PM: The end. I'm sort of at a loss for words.

I think, in the end, we can study the people around us forever and ever, we can learn everything about them, we can follow them across the world and to parts unknown, but we'll never know what's at the heart of them. We see what we see, what they let us see, what our eyes are capable of seeing and our ears capable of hearing and our fingers capable of touching, but it's the smallest piece of a massive puzzle. People are weird and complicated and strange and different and annoying, they're glorious and wonderful and unique and fascinating. And one big hot mess.

So, yeah. Q went on this journey to discover the real Margo, and he discovered the real Margo that only he could see, just like Ben and Radar and Lacey discovered the real Margo that they could see. There's real and there's real. I like the covers for the hardcover version of this book, the smiling yellow girl and the sad blue girl. It makes me wonder if there was one book out there with a totally different cover with the real Margo on it and they found the real Margo.

Only it wasn't the real Margo.

Maybe we're the real Margo.

Maybe I'm not at a loss for words.


5:19 PM: Thank you for this book, John Green. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (48)

In My Mailbox is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. :)

Remember that experiment I had in last week's IMM where I said "if you say I hope you enjoy Shatter Me I'll know you didn't read this post and only skimmed?" Yeah, it happened. Well, some blogger friends said it because they were being cute. Other people I don't know said it. Which bothered me. Were they just trolling for views, thinking if they commented here I'd go comment on their page? I'm sorry, but unless I know you and I know you're being funny (like Ashy and Michele and Cat), I can't take you seriously if you can't take 30 seconds to a minute to read my mindless blabber. Or at least the mindless blabber I leave in the brackets when I list books. Honestly, I don't care if you skim this blabber. It's mostly me telling you how my week went and me being neurotic.

Earlier in the week, I started thinking. I don't think I talk about books enough. I mean, reviews happen twice a week (three times this week), you get a Waiting on Wednesday post every Wednesdays and an In My Mailbox post whenever I get books, but you never get my thoughts on books and young adult literature and what's going on these days in YA lit. Do you want more of that? I'm wondering if I should post more often during the week, increase it to maybe 5 or 6 times a week as opposed to 4 times a week. Of course, I should really plan out what I would talk about.

And now here are this week's books. :)

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff (another book of 2011 that I loved so much I bought a finished copy, my review can be found here)

Requested to review from Macmillan through NetGalley:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (I'm debating on whether or not to hold this back as a book for the 2012 DAC, since (supposedly) I can access the file until mid January, but the release date is Jan 3rd. Thoughts?)

Borrowed from the library:
Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray

To review: Ultraviolet, Cinder, A Million Suns, Incarnate, Born Wicked, A Touch Morbid, Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, Unraveling Isobel, The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, and Immortal City. Are there any of the library books you'd like to see reviews of? Come back on Tuesday to see me live blog as I read John Green's Paper Towns. There will be spoilers. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Me on Legend

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenille (Penguin imprint)

What was once the western United States is now the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbours. Born into an elite family, June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the highest of military circles. Born in the slums, Day is the country's most wanted criminal, but his motives aren't as malicious as they appear. June and Day have no reason to cross paths, until June's brother is killed and Day is the prime suspect. Caught in a game of cat and mouse, Day races to save his family while June is on the hunt to avenge her brother. But then the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Marie Lu's debut is packed with suspense and action, this book is non-stop with thrills and cunning plans. We're given two characters who are both intelligent and motivated, very good at what they do, and they're thrown together in a world crumbling but still controlled by an oppressive dystopian-style government. Reading this book was like watching a great action movie. It kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting to see what twist would be thrown at me.

So much of this book is about intelligence and being strategic, about seeing all the possible outcomes, about knowing everything that's happening around you and planning around it. June and Day both think in multiple directions while most of us only think linearly. There's one goal with one way to go about achieving it, but that's not how it is for June and Day. There's always another way, another option, another gap in the wall to sneak through. They were glorious together.

This book is also about family. The lengths Day is willing to go to to keep them safe, to keep them healthy as a sickness sweeps through the slums, to keep them from suffering. The lengths June was willing to go to to learn who killed her brother. Then family becomes the people you care about, the people you trust above all else.

While I'm starting to feel a certain complacency in terms of dystopian YA, this was refreshing. Still a dystopian but with more of a military feel. It made the book harder for me, harder for the leaders to crack. And the divide between the poor and the rich was so clear. But nowhere is safe, nowhere is perfect. Society is still crumbling in on itself. It'll just take more than one bomb for it to break.

The lies of a dystopian society is what brings it down in the end. Look at Ally Condie's Matched. They decide what's best for the general public and so what they believe will keep the population happy to make sure society won't crumble. But they withhold, they secrete and sweep it under the rug, and remove the outliers to keep the majority in check.

Fast-paced, thrilling, intelligent, Legend will leave readers scrambling for more, waiting for the next pin to drop, the next heavy fall of a soldier's boot, the next gunshot.

(I received an advance copy of this book from a friend. She had an extra and offered it to me.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Me on Beautiful Chaos

Title: Beautiful Chaos
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

Ethan and Lena have returned to Gatlin, but nothing is the same. Heat waves, swarms of locusts, powerful storms. The town is being ravaged. As Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming, they learn her family has been affected, their abilities now imperfect and misfiring. As times passes, they realize something, or someone, has to be sacrificed to save Gatlin. For Ethan, the chaos is a welcome distraction from the changes he's feeling in himself. Something is haunting his dreams, and his life, and he's starting to lose pieces of his memory. Sometimes there isn't one answer or one choice, sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

This series has turned into one that I dread reading because I know that at the end, the wait for so many questions to be answered will be long and painful. If you've seen my review of Beautiful Darkness, you know I had a problem with it. This book, thankfully, was better. This was a lot of question answering but also a lot of realization. We learn what the end of Beautiful Darkness has meant to Gatlin, as well as a certain event from the end of Beautiful Creatures. Consequences. They are important, even when you want to save the person you love.

Lena's back to normal, so to speak (no distancing herself from Ethan this time, thank God). She's wary of Ethan's friendship with Olivia, but come on, when you totally shove your boyfriend away and hand out with some hot Incubus guy, you can't blame your boyfriend for not totally pining after you and staying away from all girls for the rest of time. Besides, he's just friends with Liv.

Ethan's memories are starting to going. He can't remember class work or conversations, something's haunting him in and out of his dreams. Something's wrong, broken, and he needs to figure out what it is before he's completely ripped apart.

A large part of this book has to do with the Wheel of Fate. Everything is meant to be, meant to happen. There's no turning your back on it, no running from it. Even when it hurts. Sometimes figuring it out is what hurts the most.

Die-hard fans of the series will dive into this book with open arms, heading straight back into the sweltering days and still warm nights of Gatlin, the Southern sights and smells, the kudzu creeping up over other plants. For those who weren't fans of the previous book in the series, you might want to give Beautiful Chaos another chance.

(I received a finished copy of this book from Hachette Book Group Canada to review.)

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (53)

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

Title: Croak
Author: Gina Damico
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Publisher: Graphia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint)

From Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.

He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business.

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer.

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

Oh, grim reapers. Every so often, you make an appearance in pop culture, be it movies, TV, or books, and you're often awesome. Like the show Dead Like Me. Such a good show. Why did they cancel it after 2 seasons and then trick us with that made for TV movie?? Whatever. This book sounds awesome. Lex sounds totally kick-ass, and I've been looking for a good strong butt-kicking heroine to fill my need for more Dru/Strange Angels-type books now that the series has ended. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Me on Amplified

Title: Amplified
Author: Tara Kelly
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan imprint)

When Jasmine gets kicked out by her dad, she heads straight for Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. She sort of finds an ideal room in an oceanfront house, but first she has to convince the three guys living there she's the perfect roommate and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she's got major stage fright, and the cute bassist doesn't think a girl from the rich side of the hill can hack it in their industrial rock band.

Tara Kelly's sophomore novel introduces us to a girl who has dreams, who knows what she wants her future to look like, but there's the in-between stage that she needs to navigate and figure out before she can come out on the other side. If she can come out on the other side.

Jasmine is an interesting character. She's musical and creative, she's smart, but she's screwed and lost and unsure and maybe a little clueless when it comes to the real world. Like the real real world where people work two or three jobs and live in crap apartments and eat ramen noodles and pizza and struggle every day to make a better life for themselves. Fortunately for Jasmine, she knows what she wants and she will fight for it, even with her crippling stage fright. She's fragile and shaky, she needs to find her voice (so to speak), and when she does her own piece of the world will be ready for her to take.

It was different, being shown that glimpse of someone's life right after high school but without college to look forward to after the summer months (like my life and lots of others). This does happen, some take time away from school or choose not to go to college, but the lost feeling is so much more powerful and poignant and overwhelming. I kept rooting for Jasmine, hoping she wasn't continually kicked to the curb.

As for C-Side, the characters in the band worked as a unit for me, a group that Jasmine wanted to weave herself into. Sometimes there was more Veta or Sean, depending on what was going on with Jasmine, but that's how I felt. I couldn't always see the band as individual characters. Which I'm not knocking. For me, it worked.

I was very intrigued by the music aspect (as someone who loves music and is interested by people who play music but who can't play or sing to save her life). Perhaps it was a little technical here and there, but this is an industrial rock band. I imagine that in such a band, there's a lot of equipment. I could also understand Jasmine getting swept away by the music, trying to find her own place in a band that's already established with their own quirks and habits.

Tara Kelly once again gives us a narrator both brutally honest and unwilling to back down from her dreams, even when the journey has more bumps, rocks, and pot holes than most. Life isn't perfect, but sometimes, when you face facts and face your demons, you find your ray of sunshine and crank up the music as loud as you want.

(I bought a copy of this book.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (47)

In My Mailbox is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. :)

Two of my favourite books of the year came out on Tuesday, Shatter Me and The Space Between. These would have to be my top picks for best book of the year that totally cut me open and made me bleed along with the characters. These books are why YA is amazing and is for readers of all ages. :)

*sigh* Suffered from more NaNo burnout this week. Nothing new was written. I think I needed this week, though. It was like a reboot for my brain after writing 35,000 words in 13 days (for me, that's a lot).

It snowed Thursday night. Snow doesn't put me in a good mood. Mostly because when it does snow and stick, a fair number of people don't know how to drive in it. Winter, when it involves snow and leaving the house, is my most hated season. The snow did melt away over the weekend, but I know it's just the tip of the iceberg.

Sorry for the lack of an actual picture. I'd taken one initially, but then I bought more books.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (which I've already read and reviewed so if you say in comments "I hope you enjoy it," I'll know you skimmed and didn't actually read this post. Also, I ordered the hardcover. I couldn't not get the hardcover. I adore this book that much.)
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Heist Society by Ally Carter

Received to review from Penguin Canada:
Immortal City by Scott Speer (Yes, me making this my WoW post book this past week was on purpose. I knew it was coming. And be glad I've saved you from the ARC cover.)

Also, the things in the picture below came this week. :) I hope this makes me more of a nerd. ;) And now that I have a YA Saves shirt of my own, the other one I have will be included in the next giveaway I hold. I'm thinking that giveaway might be a random mix-up of books and ARCs I have no room for. Hmmm.

To review: Incarnate, Born Wicked, A Million Suns, A Touch Morbid, On a Dark Wing, Unraveling Isobel, Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, and Immortal City. I sort of need to delay reading some of these until January so they count for the debut author challenge. Darn.

One last thing. I really wanted to read and review Juliet Immortal, but it was a library e-book and I wasn't in the mood for e-books so I've returned it and will either borrow or buy it at a later date. Since that means there's a review spot opening, I'll be live-blogging as I read Paper Towns on November 29 (next Monday).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Me on The Pledge

Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (S&S imprint)

In a futuristic and violent country, the classes are divided by the languages they speak. Looking a member of a higher class in the eye as they speak their native tongue can result in an immediate execution. Charlaina has always understood the languages of all the classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can be free is in the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the rules. There she meets Max, someone new and mysterious, someone who speaks a language she's never heard before. As emergency drills give way to a violent crisis, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger that she'd ever imagined.

An interesting story, class separation where language comes into play. It makes the elite sound more elite, more important, if you can't understand what they're saying. A unique spin on what otherwise would've been a novel similar to others I've read this past year.

The setting was both futuristic and medieval, similar to Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth in which we're given the future after a horrid disease but it somehow felt colonial, like zombies and Plymouth Rock. The Pledge is vaguely dystopian (in terms of an oppressive group controlling the population), vaguely post-apocalyptic, vaguely futuristic, but had a Middle Ages feel in terms of class structure and a vicious, oppressive Queen.

Charlie was interesting in terms of her ability to understand all languages. She breaks through all the barriers in that way, breaks the system. Of course, that gift is what draws the unwanted attention her way and makes her incredibly dangerous to the Queen. The pulls away from Charlie's point of view, the peeks into Max and other characters, was a dangerous choice by the author. Too many have tried multiple points of view and had it backfire. Here, I believe it worked. I wasn't taken away from Charlie for long enough to get bored or annoyed.

While it reminded me of other books, and made me question whether or not too many books are being classified as "dystopian" and would be better of as "futuristic," it was still a story that kept me reading, kept me interested in what would happen next. I believe I'll continue with the series, I'm intrigued as to what will happen next and what the consequences will be as to events that occurred at the end of this book.

(I read an e-galley of this book after finding it in the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab newsletter.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (52)

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

Title: Immortal City
Author: Scott Speer
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

L.A. Candy meets the mystery and romance of Fallen in this sensational debut.

Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them. He’s days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone’s obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect—everyone except for Madison Montgomery.

Maddy’s the one girl in Angel City who doesn’t breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn’t recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love.

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson’s scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi—and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels’ wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat … and this time it’s up to Maddy to save Jackson.

Finally, this book has a cover. This is the third (and hopefully last) one I've seen. The first was in Penguin's Winter 2012 catalogue and I thought it looked good. The second was the ARC cover I've seen in people's IMM posts. I thought it was a bit dodgy and the colours didn't work. This one is far better than the second (but I still sort of prefer the early not finalized cover).

Then come my reservations about this book. The first line of the summary says it all. I haven't read L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad, and I will admit that I hate most reality TV and its subculture of semi-/totally scripted shows. Also, while I did enjoy Fallen by Lauren Kate, the next two books in the series didn't necessarily work for me. Plus, this book was recently plugged on Twitter by the author's girlfriend, actress and singer Ashley Tisdale (the only think I actually like that she's done is the cartoon show Phineas & Ferb, which I watched when I tutored young kids).

That being said, there's still something about this book that makes me want to read it. It's probably both Maddy not knowing who Jackson is despite him being famous (what is fame, really?? it all depends on what you expose yourself to, look at authors and readers & review bloggers; to us, authors are famous) and the serial killer aspect. You know, it's probably just the serial killer aspect. Without it, I might've given it a pass. I really really hope this book is good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Me on The Space Between

Title: The Space Between
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

Thirty-two days ago when I first read this book, I hoped I would find the words needed to describe it adequately. With any luck, I have finally found them, or what could be considered a close approximation.

Daphne is half-demon and half-fallen angel, the daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life, for her, is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie suddenly goes missing with no clues to be found, except possibly in the memories of a broken human boy Obie tried to help. Determined to find him, Daphne leaves Pandemonium for the streets of Earth, but everything up there is colder and more terrifying, and she struggles between her demon instincts and the growing - yet unfamiliar - feelings for the broken Truman. As they search, they must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in their way. But Daphne also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

A breathtaking novel of discovery, purpose, identity, and most of all love, Brenna Yovanoff gives readers a book sure to leave them lost and broken at the end, grasping at the edge, clawing with broken fingernails, trying to stay afloat, all in the amazing way novels can. I've been left broken and bleeding, begging for more, for one more glimpse into this heartbreaking world, forgetting that it's the one I currently live in. This book is so incredibly visual, the city of steel and chrome so clear in my mind, the characters full of hope and fear and blood rushing through their veins.

I don't know what I expected from Daphne, but what I found I love. All she cares about is finding Obie, finding the one person that makes life bearable. She doesn't understand Earth, she only knows what she knows and goes about finding her information without deceit or guile. So honest, so basic, so clear and so unexpected. And Truman. He's broken, tired, searching for the end because the world has become pointless to him, but then Daphne finds him, Daphne needs him, and it's up to him whether or not he wants to make that journey away from the edge.

My heart instantly latched onto Truman, to his desperation and defeat, to his loneliness. The world will hurt you, it will beat you down, it will cut deep and make you bleed until your arm tingles and goes numb, but it does get better.

What is in the space between the dark and the light, the good and the evil, the black and the white? This is what's in that space, living, thriving, surviving. This is what's there when the lines are blurred and you can't tell which is which. This book is dark, conjuring up a part of the world often kept locked away behind hidden doors, the darkness, the side of danger and sin and death and terrible choices, but you can't keep it locked away forever. It all applies to being a teenager, to their learning about the world and their eventual mistakes (because there will be a lot of them), including the dangerous decisions they make about alcohol and drugs, about street fights, about cutting and suicide/attempted suicide.

The Space Between stole my breath, leaving me shattered, picking up the pieces of myself. Gorgeous prose, gorgeous storytelling, absolutely heart-wrenching and utterly perfect. If you are not moved after reading this book, if you have not read between the lines to discover what it means to be human and what it means to love, go back and read it again. Please.

(I received an advance copy to review from Penguin Canada.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (46)

In My Mailbox is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. :)

Hi. :) Yeah, so, I'm way ahead for NaNoWriMo, but then I caught the burnout (which wasn't surprising). On Tuesday I stopped writing early because I was tired and didn't want to spend the whole night writing, so instead I rearranged my bookcase and forgot that some of my books are signed. Oops. ;) Then I took Friday off to read. And my ankle is fine. I saw our family doctor and he said I probably stepped wrong and aggravated the scar tissue. I'm not surprised, considering it stopped hurting after 18 hours.

I also brought up something that other people agreed with, that when you make that first e-mail to a publisher about requesting review copies you're always super nervous. I sent off e-mails twice this week and was on pins and needles every time I got a new e-mail. It's weird, because they want bloggers and they want the publicity, and you want the books, but if you sound grabby then there's no way they'll enjoy sending you books. I love it when they send me books. They're awesome for sending me books, because I'm a shy, over-excitable book nerd. ;)

I've started my list for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, which will probably be the only challenge I do next year. So many books to read.

Let me know if you'd be interested in me putting up a post that would essentially be me live-blogging while reading a book. I'd probably totally spoil it, telling you what parts I liked and what parts were weird and so on, so if you have any book suggestions, feel free to put them in the comments. :) Considering it's been out for two years, I'm thinking of live-blogging as I read Paper Towns.

Amplified by Tara Kelly
Paper Towns by John Green (I stuck this into last week's post since I got it last Sunday, it's here again in case you missed it and started wondering where I'd gotten it.)
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

Borrowed from Caitlin/or just from Caitlin:
A Touch Morbid by Leah Clifford (I don't remember if she said I could keep it or not.)

Received from HarperCollins Canada to review:
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (it's so pretty)

Borrowed from the library: (no picture, darn those e-books)
Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay (e-book)

To review: Juliet Immortal, Beautiful Chaos, Born Wicked, A Million Suns, Unraveling Isobel, Incarnate, Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, A Touch Morbid, and The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. Maybe Paper Towns if I don't live-blog it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Me on 2012 Debut Author Challenge

Well, I've decided to participate in the Debut Authors Challenge for 2012. Yay me. :) More info can be found over at The Story Siren's 2012 Debut Author Challenge Info post. Mad props to Kristi for putting this on for the 4th year.

The rules say at least 12 books; this is more than 12. I expect I'll be adding as the year goes on. I'd love to read them all, but if I read at least 12 of them I'll be happy. :) All of these books can be found on Goodreads. I've also added the release date (or a good estimate, I apologize if any are wrong, I'll update when I can) and the publisher (instead of the imprint). Plus I've added some covers to make it look interesting. ;)

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (January 31; HarperCollins) READ
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (February 7; Penguin) READ
Crewel by Gennifer Albin (October 18; Macmillan) READ
Immortal City by Scott Speer (April 3; Penguin) READ
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock (May 8; HarperCollins) READ
Velveteen by Daniel Marks (October 9; Random House) READ
False Memory by Dan Krokos (August 14; Disney-Hyperion)
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand (August 28; S&S)
Croak by Gina Damico (March 30; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) READ
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (January 3; HarperCollins)
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (January 3; HarperCollins) READ
Above by Leah Bobet (April 1; Scholastic) READ
Article 5 by Kristin Simmons (January 31; Tor) READ
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth (May 3; Macmillan) READ
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen (February 28; Macmillan) READ
The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova (May 1; Sourcebooks) READ
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (June 5; Macmillan) READ
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer (April 24; Kensington)
The Selection by Kiera Cass (April 24; HarperCollins)
Defiance by C.J. Redwine (Fall; HarperCollins)
Glitch by Heather Anastasiu (August 7; Macmillan) READ
Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear (August 8; Flux) READ
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (September 19; HarperCollins)
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti (March 6; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) READ
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (October 9; Disney-Hyperion)
Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini (September 4; S&S)
Skylark by Megan Spooner (Fall; Carolrhoda Lab)
Venom by Fiona Paul (October 30; Penguin)
Black City by Elizabeth Richards (Fall; Penguin) READ
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (June 19; Bloomsbury)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (April; Harlequin)
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth (November 20; HarperCollins) READ
Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale (February 14; Random House CA) READ
Way to Go by Tom Ryan (April 1; Orca Book Publishers)
Starters by Lissa Price (March 13; Random House) READ
The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti (July 19; Penguin) READ

Wow. That's a lot of books, and it's nowhere near the amount of actual YA debuts for 2012. I hope I can read all of these, one way or another. ;) I hope I can keep from reading the ones I have until January so they count.

(Also, if you happen know which authors are Canadian, besides Kathleen Peacock and Leah Bobet, that'd be awesome. I need to read more YA written by Canadians.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Me on Shatter Me

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen (HC imprint)

Powerful, overwhelming, and heart-breaking, Shatter Me introduces us to a girl broken and isolated, a girl hanging on the precipice by the tips of her fingers, a girl who might be more than someone who can kill with a single touch. In a surprising and original novel from debut author Tahereh Mafi, we come face to face with someone finally given the chance to take control of her life, to decide if she is cursed or gifted, monster or human, weapon or warrior.

The idea of this book is so unique. Dystopian, cruel, bleak, and brutal like only The Hunger Games could be, mixed with a character with powers reminiscent of X-Men's Rogue. It's a combination I haven't yet come across but willingly devoured. It's fresh and new, combining the sorrow and desperation of one and the thrilling action of the other.

Reading this book, it took almost nothing for my heart to shatter, for it to reach out towards Juliette in an attempt to comfort her, only to have it tumble to a cement floor and break into a million pieces. Locked away like a monster, like a demon, like a murderer, her strength fades away. She can't touch anyone or she'll kill them, she can't be comforted or consoled, can't be hugged or stroked or soothed. And so my heart broke and quietly wept as I read her story.

Juliette is broken, silent, ruined, trapped. Shattered. Isolated for 264 days because of an accident, out of fear, out of hatred, out of a lack of understanding who she truly is. A truly tortured soul, trapped and bound in a body poisonous to others. There is no love in her life, no family, no friends, nothing to live for. But what if she wasn't alone? What if there was something, or someone, for her to live for?

The line that got to me the most was a single line of Juliette's from the beginning of Chapter 2. "I am a raindrop." Raindrops, to Juliette, are cast aside, cast out into the world to burst open when they fall, to shatter and break when they hit the ground. Abandoned, left alone, locked away, Juliette is all alone, broken on the ground from when her parents tossed her away.

Her crossed out words show the reader the truth she tries so hard to hide are interspersed throughout the novel, like she doesn't want to face the truth because it might hurt an edit to her thoughts.

So sudden is the appearance of Cellmate, or Adam, as we come to know him. Out of nowhere he appears, thrown into Juliette's cell, almost scaring the life out of her. Who is he? What is he? Why is he there? But his face, his blue eyes, they bring back some of Juliette's forgotten memories. Adam fills the void in Juliette's life as someone to, possibly, live for. Maybe survive for. Maybe care for.

But this is still a dystopian book with a society broken and hungry for absolute control. The world is crumbling, cracking at the foundations. I could almost feel it weighing down on me as I read. Society is broken, the buildings are broken, Juliette is broken. Is anything not broken? Will anything survive?

There is evil for Juliette to face, and there must be evil, there must be a force for Juliette and Adam to push against, to bother and annoy, to attempt to destroy. Unfortunately for her, this evil is obsessive, possessive, controlling, sadistic, calculating, and psychotic. It is the evil's hope that Juliette become a weapon, become a symbol for The Reestablishment, become the sign that will stop the rebels in their tracks.

Juliette struggles to find the strength to continue, both internal and external. What are we capable of? What if we had no limits? What if we reached our true potential? What would the world become? If Juliette finds her strength, regains the strength to live and fight for her freedom, will anything stop her? Freedom was ripped from her fingers, taken away after a single touch, and left her to fold in on herself, to curl up in a ball and wait for the day someone will kill her.

Touch is death to Juliette. It is power and sensation, but she's come to fear it. She fears the labels put on her of monster, of murderer, of cursed. What does is mean to have the ability to take life with a single touch? It means isolation, separation from others for the good of society. It means curled up in a ball, with a broken pen and a small notebook, wondering when birds will fly again.

As much as this book is about finding the strength inside yourself, it's also about finding freedom. The search for freedom, the battle for it, is never-ending. This book is Juliette rediscovering herself, discovering what she is capable of, how strong and powerful she is. Discovering what she is willing to do to be free, even if that means killing someone for the chance to touch freedom again.

Everything is connected. What is power? Does strength lead to greater power? Can it help you reach your potential? Does strength choose us or must we choose to be strong? Will absolute power set us free, or will it corrupt absolutely? Is it possible for love to pull us out of the dark, bottomless pit of despair? Can we love again after being left broken and shattered on the concrete floor?

Shatter Me is oddly poetic and lyrical, a voice so original it wrapped itself around me, begging me to keep reading it late into the night. I struggle to remember the last book that, at the end of each chapter, made me feel like an addict waiting for my next fix. This book overwhelmed my mind, my heart, my soul. It reminded me why I love reading books in general, not just young adult literature. Tahereh Mafi has crafted characters so compelling, has created an evil so wonderfully creepy and evil, and has introduced readers to a romance so sweet and passionate and all-encompassing and honest.

I shudder to think at what awaits us in the rest of this trilogy, and if my heart will have the strength to survive it.

(I received an advance copy of this book to review from HarperCollins Canada.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (51)

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

Title: Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books

From Goodreads:

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

This just sounds awesome. I always enjoyed Poe's "Masque of the Red Death," even though it was far too short to be totally amazing in my opinion. There are gaps in that story. This story is a post-apocalyptic (virus) retelling of Poe's story set in the late 1800's. It sounds outrageous and dangerous and dark and lush and so interesting. Can I beg HarperCollins Canada for this now? Please?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Me on A Long, Long Sleep

Title: A Long, Long Sleep
Author: Anna Sheehan
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Rose has been asleep for a long time, almost sixty-two years, before being woken by a kiss. Locked away in a stasis tube in a forgotten basement, Rose slept straight through the Dark Times, a period of time where millions died and the world changed far beyond her recognition. Now, her parents are gone, her boyfriend is gone, and Rose is now the heir to an interplanetary empire. Desperate to put the past behind her, she's inexplicably drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, but when a deadly danger puts her new future in danger, Rose has to face the ghosts of her past. Or be left without any future at all.

Such an intriguing bland of science fiction and a fairy tale retelling, but it makes so much sense. Asleep for hundreds of years, the world is new and strange. Where has this book been? And it's so sad and troubled and emotional. Rose is so lost, so so lost. I wanted to reach into the screen (I read the e-book version) and hug her for years and years, to tell her everything would be better.

Of course, it didn't help that someone was trying to kill her.

And how could she not be drawn to Bren, the boy who found her and kissed her awake when he thought she was dead?

The future Rose wakes to, like the future in Beth Revis' Across the Universe and Katie Kacvinsky's Awaken, scares me. Reading about them in books is fine, but the realism, the fear and confusion in the character's mind, the differences, they all have a way of making me appreciate the time and place I live in. The stark cleanliness of proposed futures, the lack of face to face communication, the record-keeping and tracking. It makes me appreciate the warm and soft world I currently live in, a world full of colour. I imagine Rose's future to be filled with white walls and no dirt.

Anna Sheehan's debut novel is sure to satisfy readers searching for more YA science fiction novels. In this book they will find a sympathetic narrator coming to terms with both a strange and alien future as well as the ghosts of her past, the truth she couldn't admit was the truth, a truth with cruel implications. At the end of the book, my heart still went out to Rose, hoping she would find a place of her own, hoping she would finally be happy again.

(I borrowed an e-book copy of this book from the library.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Me on Live-Blogging a Book

On the weekend I started thinking. I've got a lot of books to read, some I want to/need to review (either because a publisher sent it or because I've felt it hasn't gotten a lot of publicity), and some I'll just read for fun (not that review books aren't fun).

But sometimes writing a review is hard because all you really want to say is "OMG *flail* this book was awesome!!" This isn't a review. This is me freaking out on Twitter after reading Shatter Me (I don't think I actually said OMG, but I'm sure I tweet-flailed). My actual review goes live Friday just after midnight PST. :)

I posed a question to Twitter on Sunday (right before I did a #1k1hr (write 1000 words in 60 minutes) with @adikirilova) as to whether or not people would be interested in a live-blog of me reading a book as opposed to me writing a review. I immediately got two people saying yes.

I haven't live-blogged before, but I've seen some people's finished posts that came as a result of live-blogging. It's an interesting concept and I think I'd like to try it. Of course, it's totally possible that me live-blogging reading a book will spoil it when I question some parts.

You guys, you reading this, have two questions you need to answer in comments.

#1: What book do you want me to live-blog??

#2: Do you want me to totally spoil it as I live-blog my reactions to characters and plot twists??

Now, there are some rules. I'm not going to live-blog me reading ARCs or e-galleys that haven't come out yet. It's not really fair, and if I do spoil them I'll feel like a jerk. I have 7 books in my to-read pile that have been officially released, so I could live-blog one of those (those books are There is No Dog, Fateful, Beautiful Chaos, Dark Mirror, Abandon, Undercurrent, and Paper Towns). There is also the option of me live-blogging a book I've read but haven't reviewed, but I feel like most of it would be me going, "I remember this part, it was weird," or, "I thought this was important but it's not."

Comment away on your book suggestions (maybe one I could pick up at the library) and in a week I'll go through and pick a book to live-blog. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (45)

In My Mailbox is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. :)

It's that time of year, my friends, when the leaves change colour and thousands of people flock to the NaNoWriMo website to attempt to write 50,000 words in the month of November. I think this is my 5th year doing it. Out of those previous 4 years, I've only finished twice, my first year and last year. I kind of feel like a jerk, too, cause my book from last year is about 10 to 20k words away from being finished. I really want to finish it, too. It's creepy. This year, I'm working on a contemporary YA book idea and I've got it plotted out in terms of scenes instead of chapters. That's just how it happened. Every book is different.

In terms of reviews and the blog, nothing will change. Books will be read, reviews will be posted. I just have to squeeze in a few hours of writing every day. :) Wish me luck. I want to finish the whole first draft this month. If I don't, what happened last year is liable to happen again.

Also, yeah, I got one book this week. I really wanted to go to Jeyn Roberts' book launch fun party signing on Thursday, but I've had some sudden and sharp pain in my formerly broken ankle. I'd rather take it easy and see what my doc has to say on Monday than risk it. Since Jeyn lives in Vancouver, I imagine I'll have another chance to meet her. And I want to get her book because I read the e-galley and was really creeped out. ;) I also wanted to go see Tara Kelly at one of her Seattle signings. Stupid gas prices.

If you have one or two of Tara's Amplified guitar picks (it's swag her agent sent her, I think) and are willing to mail them to me (I'm sure you can just envelope them), then you could be the proud owner of the YA Saves shirt I got from Maureen Johnson. :)

Borrowed from the library:
Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn

To review: Fateful, Beautiful ChaosLegend, Shattered Souls, On a Dark Wing, Unraveling Isobel, A Million Suns, Born Wicked, Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, and The Fine Art of Truth or Dare. Anything else you guys want me to review? I read So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti this past week, it was pretty good.

EDIT: I had to go out on Sunday for some things, like books, and so I bought the only John Green book they had (that was obvious on the shelves, I'm kind of shy & neurotic & don't want to bother people so I didn't ask if they had any other books in the back). :)

People, I'll see you on Monday (when a review goes up). ;)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Me on Reckoning

Title: Reckoning
Author: Lili St. Crow
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

There will be spoilers for the other four books in the series. If you haven't read this series and you plan to, start with the first book, Strange Angels.

Dru's escaped with her life, but she's not out of the woods yet. On the run in a stolen car with Graves riding shotgun and the Broken wulf Ash curled up in the backseat, Dru heads for somewhere she knows will keep them safe, somewhere where she can plan their next move. But the Order wants her back, and Dru has to roll with the punches once again, facing possible betrayal from the one person she trusts more than anyone else.

At the end of Defiance, we left Dru realizing that she bloomed, became a full-fledged svetocha, extremely rare and extremely toxic to male vampires, but she was freaking out over saving Graves. This book is Dru after her blooming and her getting used to the new abilities and her new appearance. And Dru is still learning how to deal with the feelings she has for both Graves and Christophe. It's never easy with those two guys.

Reckoning was exactly what I wanted in terms of plot movement. It was still fast-paced, there was lots of action, lots of opportunity for Dru to do what she does best: kicking butt and taking names. It had what I wanted. I wanted Dru totally freaking out and trying to cope, I wanted Dru caught in the middle again, I wanted Dru fighting to survive with every single breath left in her body. I wanted Dru to realize that blooming was good, that change was good, that things weren't going to go back to the way they had been before Graves was kidnapped, before she met Anna, before she saved Ash, before she met Christophe, before Graves found her. Even before her father died.

Because this is the final book in this series about Dru, the story had to come to an end, but which story? Will it be the end of Dru's search to avenge her parents' deaths? Will it be the end of the new life Dru has come to know? Will Dru finally make a choice between Graves and Christophe? I could always feel the end coming, hoping to delay it as much as I could. Commenting on the ending would involve spoilers and ruin the book for those who haven't read it. It's an ending, it's the ending we get, it's the ending that fills us with continued speculation and hopes and dreams that the author might cave and give us a sixth book (even though I don't see that happening). Still, there's nothing wrong with dreaming, right?

This series has taken hold over a part of me for the last two years when I first read Strange Angels. Now, with Reckoning over and the last page turned, I will look back on the good times, reflect on the bad, and keep a constant vigil for another book or series set in this fascinating and dangerous world Dru is a part of.

(I purchased this book for both my own enjoyment and for review purposes. And the picture above corresponds with the cover of my copy of the book. I like how they revamped the creepy face on the left. Much better than the previous cover. That face looked almost cheesy. This one is honestly spooky.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (50)

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

Title: Fated
Author: Sarah Alderson
Release Date: January 5, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books

From Goodreads:

What happens when you discover you aren't who you thought you were? And that the person you love is the person who will betray you? If your fate is already determined, can you fight it?

When Evie Tremain discovers that she’s the last in a long line of Demon slayers and that she’s being hunted by an elite band of assassins –Shapeshifters, Vampires and Mixen demons amongst them – she knows she can’t run. They’ll find her wherever she goes. Instead she must learn to stand and fight.

But when the half-human, half-Shadow Warrior Lucas Gray is sent to spy on Evie and then ordered to kill her before she can fulfill a dangerous prophecy, their fates become inextricably linked. The war that has raged for one thousand years between humans and demons is about to reach a devastating and inevitable conclusion. Either one or both of them will die before this war ends.

If your life becomes bound to another's, what will it take to sever it?

I can't seem to explain why I want to read this book so much. Maybe I want another Dru from Strange Angels, now that the series is over. It any case, this book does sound really interesting. And the cover is very striking. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Me on Crossed

Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin imprint)

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces to find Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he had escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake. Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future, a rebellion, a betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of the Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Crossed was everything I expected, made me feel all the emotions I wanted to feel.

When Matched first came out last November, I read it and loved it, oddly relishing the sad and emotional way I felt after I turned the last page. But I didn't review it. I couldn't. I had no words that could adequately express how I felt after reading it. It made me think about how we look at the world, how we are sorted, and how I would feel if somehow my life because that compartmentalized, that controlled, that closed off from spontaneous events and utterly pointless things like flowers and books and chocolate that only serve to make people happy.

With this book, I have somehow found the words I couldn't a year ago. This book, like Matched, is one I can't talk about in terms of plot and character, even though I enjoyed them. I can only think of this book in terms of the message it gives you as you read it.

In a dystopian society, there will always be a rebellion, an uprising, a group fighting to free the majority of society from the controlling hands of its leaders. There will also be those caught in the middle, somehow wrapped up in a rising, who must decide whether or not they'll continue to be a part of the society. Look at Awaken or Delirium or Nightshade (this last one isn't dystopian but it has a similar situation). Every main character in those books learned some truth about the society they lived in, learned some horrors, and with their new-found understanding made a very difficult choice. In Crossed, we have Cassia, somehow involved with her rose-coloured glasses stripped away from her eyes, and we have Ky, always just on the edge without an actual purpose just looking for an escape, a place where he doesn't have to lie about what he is.

I think the reason Ally Condie's series, like other dystopian novels written for a young adult audience, is because the tough decision of following blindly without question or opening your eyes to discover the truth so you can make your own decisions about the world is what teenagers deal with all the time. Do they want the kind of life their parents have? Will they discover they really want to be an artist or woodworker or a guitarist instead of an accountant or a chemist or a doctor?

I don't know what I would do if I were Cassia or Ky, if I would go back to the Society and be taken care of or go off and join the Rising. I'm having a hard enough time figuring out what I'm supposed to do with my own life, but I'm eager to read the next book next year to discover what Cassia and Ky, and yes, Xander, have decided to do with theirs.

Thought-provoking, honest, and surprisingly believable, Ally Condie's Crossed continues Cassia's journey into the truth behind the Society and gives us new insight into Ky, the guy who finally makes Cassia think outside the box. This is their journey away from the Society, away from work camps and battles against the Enemy, their journey towards the Rising. Their journey to find themselves and each other.

(I received an advance copy of this book from Penguin Canada for the purpose of reviewing it.)