Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Me on Glitch

Title: Glitch
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan imprint)

In the Community, there's no pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions and thoughts are replaced by the Link. When Zoe starts to malfunction, she starts having her own thoughts and feelings. No Link. She knows she has to report this, but the glitches gave her something else: telekinetic powers. As she struggles to stay under the radar of the Monitors and Regulators, she comes across other glitchers like Adrien and Max, two boys who make her feel different new emotions. Together, they have to find a way to break free of the Community before they're caught, or deactivated.

Dark and dangerous, Glitch is a glimpse into a future closed of from emotion and original thought, a future closed off from the outside world. The Community is in control, the Link tells you what to think, and if you appear anomalous you could be deactivated. This book felt unique, felt cold and harsh, and was full of suspense and surprises.

When a person feels no emotion, their inner monologue will sound different than it does when emotion is felt. At the beginning when Zoe is connected to the Link, her voice was concise, crisp, without any extra information. She sounded boring and without a soul, as she should. But when she was glitching, when she could feel, her true voice came out, that of a scared and confused girl trapped in a cage she can't stand to be inside anymore. There was a clear transition between the two. And her introduction to emotion was almost childlike, but that's because she knows nothing of them, nothing of hate or fear or happiness or sadness or love.

This book isn't science fiction in the traveling into space sense but more the computer chips implanted in the brain sense, and it's mixed with some paranormal elements and a controlling dystopian-style ruling body. People are tools for the Community, keeping things working as they should to continue the proper order of things. It felt a little like Elana Johnson's Possession and a little like Lauren Oliver's Delirium, but the characters and the setting were different enough that I didn't keep thinking of other books.

Living without emotion or individuality sounds impossible for someone who's felt it all their lives, but what if you never knew emotion? What if you were, essentially, a slave to a ruling body? Nothing would be wasted, everything would be in order, but at some point something would mess it all up.

(I received an e-galley to review from St. Martin's Griffin through NetGalley.)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Me on This Week's Book Week (13)

Once again, it's my randomly titled post about what happened this week and what I was thinking about. :)

During the week the concept of preferring paper books over e-books came up a few times, and one of my reasons happened when it took me days to read an e-galley but only a few hours to read a book from the library. It's the sensation of holding a book in your hand that does it for me, of physically turning pages. I will always prefer paper books over e-books. Now, I've accepted the fact that there will be more e-galleys over paper ARCs in the future, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Especially if it makes me need glasses.

Ooooo, the Olympics have started. I heard during the opening ceremony that the US coverage was kinda bad. Ouch. The Canadian coverage was good, so that was nice. Now, I watched it live (I guess) at 1pm my time Friday and Twitter was full of people talking about it, then when the east coast US "version" started, then when CTV showed it again, then when it aired on the west coast in the US. I mostly avoided Twitter then. So much of the same stuff over and over and over again. Still, it was pretty cool. Now, to look forward to watching sports I don't know how to play. ;) Do you guys care at all about the Olympics??

Ever come across a book where it seems like everyone but you ended up with an advance copy and you get a little jealous-rage faced about it? Yeah, I've got that. *sigh* But I am borrowing it from someone once it arrives so it's not so bad.
Received to review:
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)
Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant (from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth (from HarperCollins Canada)

Borrowed from the library:
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
If I Tell by Janet Gurtler
Drummer Girl by Karen Bass

Friday, July 27, 2012

Me on The Forsaken

Title: The Forsaken
Author: Lisa M. Stasse
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A., Alenna learned early to blend into the background, but she can't help but stand out when she's told she's failed a very important test, the test that says she has a predisposition to brutal violence and anti-social tendencies. So, she's sent to the place all sixteen-year-olds who fail the test are sent: The Wheel, a prison island where she can only expect to live for another two years. Desperate to escape the dirty conditions and brutal way of surviving, she and the other prisoners concoct a plan to escape, not knowing the truths about the U.N.A., as well as her own life, that she's about to discover on the journey towards survival.

The Forsaken is gritty, dangerous, and ruthless. The Wheel is lethal, it will take you if you don't have the skills or the drive or the sheer force of will to want to survive. Some might cast it aside as being the same sort of dystopian young adult novel that's flooding shelves with the same sort of government that weeds out teens with violent tendencies only to have their agenda backfire when the outcasts join together, but this book stands out.

There might also be comments about the heroine Alenna, a recognizable character in the girl with a rough past who worked hard to stay invisible and under the radar only to become a pawn in the government's twisted game, but Alenna wants to stay invisible. When she goes to the Wheel, all she wants to do is stay in the background and stay alive. She doesn't take charge, she doesn't challenge those who've been their longer with outlandish talks of escaping the island. They all want to get off the island, and Alenna is just like them. The only way she stands out is because of some secrets in her past, secrets she doesn't know about until she gets to the Wheel, and then she starts scrambling to stay alive, to survive. She is constantly challenged by those around her, friend or foe, and she's forced to learn as she hovers on the edge of just surviving or making the hard decisions.

The idea of the Wheel is nothing new as well, an isolated area where the future dregs of society are left to keep the general population safe and compliant, but the Wheel itself is different. Different zones, different climates, pockets of isolation, danger everywhere, a lack of supplies. It all starts with the U.N.A., the massive super-country that one was the US, Canada, and Mexico, and their rules. Knowing what the U.N.A. is gives the book an actual sense of place compared to other dystopian novels set further into the future like Matched or Blood Red Road, when you're not sure where on Earth it's taking place.

This book will delight fans of dystopian young adult novels with its premise similar to Article 5, Legend, and The Maze Runner. Even with the similarities, with the expected and unexpected plot twists and surprising ending, there were enough unique elements on the Wheel to keep me guessing.

(I borrowed a finished copy of this book from another book review blogger.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (88)

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

Title: Crash
Author: Lisa McMann
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse

From Goodreads:

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the vision. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode... and nine body bags in the snow.

She has no idea why this is happening to her or if she’s going crazy. It hardly matters, because the visions are everywhere--on billboards, television screens, windows--and she’s the only one who can see them.

But it’s not until the vision starts coming more frequently, and revealing more clues, that Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it's someone she knows. Someone she’s been in love with for as long as she can remember.

The cover is gorgeous. I sort of want this book just because of the amazing cover. The story sounds interesting, too, but it can be hit or miss with books about people who have visions of the future. Sometimes it'll come across as gimmicky or way too easy. Still, I've enjoyed the author's books so far. I'm looking forward to reading this one at the beginning of the year.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Me on Under the Never Sky

Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins

Exiled from her home in the enclosed dome of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the wasteland, the Death Shop, are slim. Very slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent electrical storms will. She's been taught that the air outside the domes will kill her if she breathes it in. Then she meets a wild Outsider, a savage, who becomes her only chance at staying alive. As a hunter, Perry sees this frightened Dweller girl as a risk, as sheltered and useless, but he needs her in order to find redemption. Opposites in every way, they have to accept each other in order to survive.

Under the Never Sky is a compelling blend of the dystopian, the futuristic, and the fantastical. Wandering a landscape both desolate and extremely dangerous, two people from different sides must come together to make sure not only they survive but so many others. Similar to other dystopian novels, it has elements that make it stand out on its own.

It was slow to start for me, it actually took me three tries to get into the book, but once I got past it I couldn't stop reading it. I think that my issues with the beginning came from the fact that I wanted more descriptions of the world around Aria and Perry, more setting and less of them treating each other as something to be wary of. Perhaps I wanted Moira Young's Blood Red Road or Jeyn Roberts' Dark Inside and their unique landscapes. Again, after a bit it picked up, the book got more interesting and much more complicated.

Aria and Perry. As much as I like both of them, enjoyed both of their characters, it was the classic pairing of a scared sheltered girl with secrets in her past that she doesn't know about and the rough and dangerous guy who has friend and family but is still an outcast because of abilities he can't control. I found the heightened senses aspect to be possibly the most intriguing part of the book, with the exception of side character Cinder. Side characters that do one thing to stand out amongst the others are some of the best parts of stories.

The book has an interesting premise, mixing the futuristic and technological with the desolate and the basic need for survival of clans of hunter-gatherers, the dangerous Aether storms. It is reminiscent of other novels set in an unknown future where the world is vastly different and complicated, a little like Jodi Meadows' Incarnate, but I'm curious as to where the next book will go, what else Aria and Perry will learn about the world and themselves.

(I borrowed a copy from the library.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Me on This Week's Book Week (12)

Here it is again, my differently named but still pretty much the same thing as Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga's Reviews). So busy this weekend. Baseball game, eye doctor, Shakespeare (this is happening this afternoon). Why did everyone decide to cram stuff into the weekend this week? Fail. I've got a bunch of stuff coming up but it's all spaced out. Sort of. Book camp prep, dentist, doctor, book camp, trip.

Last week was really nice, then Wednesday happened and it was so cool and cloudy out. At least the Lower Mainland is consistent in its confusing weather patterns. Then Friday happened and it rained. Then Saturday happened and I hate that "free healthcare" doesn't cover eye exams (or the dentist), but it did cover my broken ankle surgery last February (my dad said that if we lived in the US it might've cost close to $30K). If I ever do need glasses, I'm going to hate it.

You know, I was doing fine this week then had a weird semi-depressive moment Friday evening which sucked. And it bugged the crap out of me. *sigh* I'm so looking forward to volunteering again at the book camp, that week is always lots of fun.

My review schedule for the next couple of months is packed with the exception of a couple of open spots, and it's all mostly e-galleys. My preferences still lean much more towards paper books than e-books, but if this is how I'm able to read so many review copies this summer and fall, then I'm okay with it.

So, since I'm going to be gone that first week of September, I'm not going to have any posts going up until I get back and recover from any kind of jet-lag. Which sounds weird, considering our flight gets into Vancouver at 10 in the morning. On a Saturday. Weird. Also, I'm still on the lookout for any YA event-related stuff happening in New York that first week in September, so let me know if you know of any. :)
Received to review:
Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler (from Raincoast Books)
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (from St. Martin's Press through NetGalley)
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin (from Candlewick Press through NetGalley)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Me on The Goddess Legacy

Title: The Goddess Legacy
Author: Aimée Carter
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen

For millennia, we've caught only glimpses and glances of those who live high on Mount Olympus, the Greek gods and goddesses. This collection of five novellas provides insight into their past, pulling back the curtain and revealing how powerful, petty, loving, and dangerous they can be.

Writing up reviews of collections can be complicated, you have to make the decision on what to talk about, the stories as individuals or as a whole. Because the novellas were as long as they were, and because there were only five of them, I'm going to discuss all of them. In the end, all were about the same things, about love and longing, and all shaped their narrators' personalities and ambitions. There are some mild spoilers for the rest of the series.

In the first, we have Hera (Calliope), her love for Hades and her complicated relationship with Zeus. Hera is very much a feminist, she wants to stand on equal ground with Zeus, have the same power and place and purpose, but he sees her as a possession, as something to be loved and cared for and brought out for show. She wants to be loved for herself, but it's difficult when the one she wants loves her as a friend and sister and the one who loves her is egotistical and sleeps around. This story shows how bitter she becomes, how hard her heart becomes, and why she does what she does in The Goddess Test.

Second is Aphrodite (Ava). It's almost a cliché to write about how hard it is for the goddess of love to find love, but here she comes off as sympathetic (as opposed to the third novella). As much as she wants to be loved, this is also a massive personality clash between her, Ares, and Hephaestus. She wants to be loved and cared for, but it's outrageously complicated when you're the goddess of love and you can be in love with anyone. It's also complicated when your first love is the god of war, a man who isn't big on emotion and who's more at home in a battle covered in blood.

The third novella features Persephone in what is an unconventional and unromantic look at her relationship with Hades, compared to other romanticized versions. The denial she has over marrying him and living in the Underworld is massive, she fears being closed off, being closed in, and being apart from others. He may be in love with her, but it will never work. She needs to be in love with someone in a comfortable situation. Perhaps if he wasn't the god of the Underworld, it might've worked out.

Hermes (James) is featured in the fourth. I struggled to understand this story, it took me until the end and into the last to realize its point. It's about finding what was lost, finding a new way to live when the gods of ancient times are gradually replaced by newer gods and the Christian faith. It also shows the relationship between Hermes and Hades, how it became so strained, why they have their relationship they do in the series.

Last is Hades (Henry), possibly the most important story of the five, considering the first two books were both from Kate's perspective. There's so much longing in this story, so many dashed hopes and ruined dreams. In The Goddess Test it's clear that he's right at the edge, waiting for one more thing to go wrong before he steps off and falls. This is the journey towards that edge, this is everything that pushes him closer and closer.

The Goddess Legacy is glimpses of the past, explanations and understandings of why some characters are the way they are when they meet Kate in The Goddess Test. Any fan of the series will relish this collection.

(I received an e-galley of this book from Harlequin through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (87)

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

Title: The Lives We Lost
Author: Megan Crewe
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

From Goodreads:

First, the virus took Kaelyn’s friends. Then, her family. Now it’s taken away her home.

But she can't look back—the life she once had is gone forever.

A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn’s small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, they encounter a world beyond recognition. It’s not only the “friendly flu” that’s a killer—there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, when the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?

Megan Crewe's second volume in the Fallen World trilogy is an action-packed journey that explores the resilience of friendship, the ache of lost love, and Kaelyn’s enduring hope in the face of the sacrifices she must make to stay alive.

Yay for Canadian YA authors. I so enjoyed the first book in the series and I can't wait for the next one. It's all wonderfully creepy and mysterious and sad. :) So much of the first book was all about Kaelyn and her struggle to survive and keep those around her safe. I hope the second will be more of the same with a little more action and suspense. :) And I love the cover, it's big and bold and draws the eye (like the first with all of its bright yellow biohazard look).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Me on Endlessly

Title: Endlessly
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

The life Evie once had keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants her back, will drag her back by any means possible. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her realm, stealing them from the human world. Reth is still around like the handsome, manipulative ex-boyfriend that he is, attempting to lure Evie away from her watery boyfriend Lend. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one that can save them. The clock is ticking. And fate rests in Evie's hands, no matter how much she wishes it didn't.

Endlessly delivered the big conclusion that the end of Supernaturally promised but it wasn't boring. It was still exciting like past books, still full of twists and turns, still packed with all of Evie's personality, all of her spunkiness, frustration, and general bubbly teen girl angst. This series feels like a mixture of Aprilynne Pike's Wings series and Buffy the Vamprie Slayer, moments of action and despair and fear blended together with pink fun and faeries.

I was intrigued with the character development of Evie in this last book. Her purpose as an Empty One is at odds with her desire to not be an Empty One, to be a normal boring human being and to live a normal human life with Lend (who's as close to normal as can be with a human father and an elemental mother). She needs a moment of self-discovery where she can realize her purpose and come to terms with it instead of being angry at the world for having a plan for her. Sometimes Fate has a job for us, and as much as we don't want to follow along with it, we have to. Evie can be as snarky and spunky and strong as she wants, but when it comes to acknowledging herself as an Empty One and her abilities, she's a frightened little girl. Basically, Evie needs to grow up in this book, or nothing's going to come out right at the end.

There were lots of familiar faces in this book, but there was a little drop-off in how much Lend was in the book. I suppose I figured he'd be in more of the book, have some more conflicts with Reth over Evie, but it didn't really happen for me. There were still moments for he and Evie to get pulled apart, as usual. And Reth had to come back and still claim to love Evie even though it's creepy to follow her around so much. I enjoyed the return of Jack as well as the return of Vivian.

White started the series with a bang and ends it just the same. I'm sure that some fans will be sad to see it end, will want to know if Evie and Lend end up in more trouble later on, but hopefully they will be satisfied with the way things have turned out for Evie.

(I received an advance copy from HarperCollins Canada.)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Me on This Week's Book Week (11)

Like last week, hello to any new people who wander by. This is pretty much like a Stacking the Shelves (hosted by Tynga's Reviews) post, only with a different name (because I'm not good at naming things) and with some random babble about me before the books. :)

It's still summer. Shocking. ;) Some days, it's warm. Some days, it's hot. Some days, it's a bit humid. Then there's Friday where it's warm but cloudy and you're suddenly pelted with rain cause the sunroof in the car was left open. And no one at home realized it was raining until I told them an hour later when I got back home after seeing Nafiza for a book swap/borrow and some Chapters browsing. But there was that wonderful thick and rich petrichor smell when it rained. I always think of Victoria Schwab and The Near Witch when I smell the petrichor smell. It's because of a word association thing in my brain, not because petrichor is in her book. I'm weird that way. :)

I went to Denise Jaden's launch for Never Enough on Saturday. No event write-up, it was a small thing where she just signed and read a small portion and answered a few questions, and then was surrounded by friends and family. It was nice, I'd never met Denise before, although I imagine we've been at some of the same signings. Like when I was at Mindi Scott's launch for Freefall and saw a blonde woman who looked familiar and afterwards realized it was Mandy Hubbard.

I used to be able to keep a fairly good sized buffer of reviews so I wouldn't be rushing to read or write up a review, then this year started and it's been hit or miss. It's weird. Oh, well. I need to start reading the loads of e-galleys I have since that seems to be all I have in terms of review books (apart from books I own but haven't gotten around to reading yet). :)

Wow. Not a lot happened this week. Interesting.
Never Enough by Denise Jaden (bought at Denise's book signing)
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (finally, I have obtained a finished copy)

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kristin Cronn-Mills (from Flux through NetGalley)

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse (borrowed from Nafiza while she's borrowing Crewel)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Me on The Girl with Borrowed Wings

Title: The Girl with Borrowed Wings
Author: Rinsai Rossetti
Release Date: July 19, 2012
Publisher: Dial (Penguin imprint)

Controlled by her father and bound by the desert, Frenenqer's life is tedious, until a small act of rebellion blasts her world wide open. She meets not just any boy but a Free person, a shapeshifter free to live where and how he desires. He has everything she doesn't. No family, no attachments, no rules. At night he whisks her off to far-off places where each spent their childhood, but when the delicate balance of the friendship between them threatens to become something more, Frenenqer must decide what choice to make, to stay the imagined creation of her father's or break free.

The Girl with Borrowed Wings is as intriguing and complicated as its narrator. This book is the story of a girl waiting at the edge of her cage, waiting for the bars to rust away, and then she meets someone who blows the door on the other side wide open. A curious look at the world and how we view freedom, even with a narrator that at times confused me.

Frenenqer is interesting. Yes, she's controlled by her father's rules, and yes, she has nowhere to run to escape her life, but after she meets the boy (who has a name but I'm not going to say what it is) she's so quick to rebel, to head off to distant lands at night and escape her cage for a few hours. Perhaps she always had spirit, was always ready to rebel once she was given the opportunity. It took me a moment or two to realize that Frenenqer's spirit was not crushed by her father, but that she was only waiting, like an animal in a cage pretending to be tame and waiting for that split second when the cage door will open so it can run free. One thing Frenenqer does not lack is spirit.

Her relationship with the Free person is complicated. She's initially wary, but then she's almost too easy with him, too relaxed. All of her shields come down around him, possibly because he gives her what she craves: freedom from the desert.

One thing Frenenqer and the boy have in common is the lack of attachments. She has no love for her father or mother, nothing beyond the standard familial affection she's obligated to feel, and even that is barely visible. She had no friends, no one at school, apart from one girl who is more like her secretary than her friend. Her desire to find her own freedom has left her with the inability to connect with the people around her. It makes her relationship with the boy complex and complicated, makes her extremely stubborn. It confused me on how hard it was for her to connect with people on an emotional level. But it's not just her fault, her father is more like a caretaker. An inventor who imagined such a creation in his head, seeing her as not a child but an idea realized, something to form and mold and shape instead of nurture or care for.

I'm curious if the author wrote this as a critique on the world. I can see Frenenqer as the human being searching for freedom and purpose in life, having the will but none of the access, and the boy as the means of gaining that freedom, that access, while the father stands nearby as control, as limitations and social norms.

What is freedom? What is love? How do we know when we're ready for either? Even before meeting the boy, Frenenqer knows she'll have to make the choice, to listen to her father and become the invention he dreamed up before she was born, or to find her wings and fly away.

(I received an advance copy from Penguin Canada.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (86)

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

Title: The Shadow Society
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Farrar Strauss & Giroux (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

Darcy Jones doesn't remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. So she isn't surprised that she doesn't recognize Conn, the new boy at her high school, even though he seems to know her—or at least know something about her.

What does surprise her is how quickly she comes to trust Conn, and that he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn't thought possible. But his interest in her is confusing. It doesn't line up with the way he first looked at her.

As if she was his enemy.

When Conn betrays Darcy and she is arrested, she realizes that she can't rely on anything—not Conn, not herself, and not even the laws of nature. Because this world isn't the only one. Darcy belongs in an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire never happened, and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Darcy needs some answers.

And she hates that the person most able to help her get them is Conn.

It sounds pretty interesting, or interesting enough to the part of my brain that likes urban fantasy/paranormal stories. I only hope it doesn't suffer from a book summary that describes more than the first 50 to 100 pages. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Me on Spark

Title: Spark
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Waverly and Kieran are together again on the Empyrean. Now that the girls are back, the mission before them seems slightly less impossible: catch the New Horizon and get their parents back. But nothing is as it seems, not anymore. Kieran's actions have raises Seth's hackles, and quite possibly Waverly's. Seeing the change in Kieran, she finds herself more and more aligned with Seth. In one night, an explosion rocks the ship, sending them off course, and somehow, Seth is freed from jail. He becomes the most obvious suspect for the explosion, as Waverly becomes the most obvious suspect for releasing him. Tensions slowly build in this ship of frightened children and teenagers grasping to hold everything together, but soon they will reach the boiling point. Will the culprit be found? The balance of power in the Empyrean is precarious, and the clock is ticking.

Spark is just as fast-paced as Glow, just as isolating and dark and mysterious, just as dangerous, and packed with even more suspicions. This is the kind of science fiction thriller that will draw in teens as well as adults, never letting up, only giving glimpses of hope and quiet before the stakes are raised even higher than before.

The Empyrean has changed so much since the beginning of Glow. With few adults and lots of untrained children at the helm, everyone who thinks they know what's best reach out to grab hold of the rest, to be the one in charge. This series is like a tense thriller that just happens to take place in space. Speculation and double-talk, suspicions and danger, scapegoats, hiding the truth with lies, hiding lies with the truth, picking sides. And all the tension is amped up because this is all happening in a crippled spaceship in the vacuum of space, so you never know if your next breath will be your last.

Waverly comes back damaged, in more ways than one, and is left with little to sustain her beyond her hatred and fury towards the New Horizon. It seems like there's nothing left that will make her happy, not with her mother stuck on the New Horizon and Kieran becoming someone she no longer recognizes.

I still ended up with a massive sense of uneasiness after reading this book. The first left me with all kind of weird feelings (plus a massive sense of relief that I don't live on either of the ships). There are such high stakes, such brutal treatment, such a sense of confusion and loss and unknowing what will come next and not knowing who to trust. There's little to no trust in this series because you never know who to trust, not unless you read about Waverly's or Kieran's or Seth's actions for yourself. Everything else is up for grabs, and you have to hope that you will survive in the end.

(I received an advance copy to review from Raincoast Books.)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Me on This Week's Book(less) Week (10)

If you're new, welcome. This is my version of an IMM/Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews/book haul post. Saying haul sounds weird if I only ended up with 1 or 2 books, or none, so it's pretty much just me rambling about my week, what books I happened to get, and what my current list of review books is (meaning you're welcome to suggest books that I don't add to the list if I borrowed a stack from the library). :) And you're so lucky to drop by on a week where I didn't get any books. *face-palm*

Oh, summer. You're so elusive up here. Even though there were those days when it was cloudy and then rainy and the humidity shot up so it felt muggy and gross inside the house. It should not be 10 degrees cooler outside than inside at midnight.

Monday night I was cleaning up a bunch of floor clutter and cutting my address off a bunch of mailing envelopes when I dumped the extra stuff out of one and found an adorable little Crewel button that Kathy must've stuck in when she mailed me the ARC. How long ago did that arrive? 2 or 3 weeks? Geez, you'd think I'd know to check envelopes.

I mailed out some books to the 2 people I owed books to (if your names are Ashy or Grace). Check the list of books I have available to swap/trade, feel free to comment or @ me on Twitter or DM me with what you'd like and what your swap/trade list is. (I'm also willing to trade my ARC of Altered for an ARC of The Friday Society.)

I'll be at the launch for Denise Jaden's new book Never Enough on the 14th, so I could do another event write-up if people are interested. Or if anyone's in the Lower Mainland and wants to come. It is in Mission, though, which is about an hour east of me and means I get to drive on the highway.

Now, since I didn't get books this week, I have a job for you. You have to pick which book, either Hallowed or All These Things I've Done, for me to review. Just say in comments which you'd rather see. It's possible I might review both, but the one with more votes will be reviewed sooner. :)

To review: Touched, Scarlett Dedd, The Blood Keeper, Blackwood, Shift, Unspoken, Yesterday, Velveteen, Mystic City, Romeo RedeemedMeant to Be, Tune and Altered. :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Me on Never Enough

Title: Never Enough
Author: Denise Jaden
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)

Loann looks up to her sister Claire so much she wants to be just like her: pretty and popular. Loann doesn't see herself as either of those, so being just like her older sister would be perfect. But then some things happen, and soon Loann is flirting with Claire's ex-boyfriend. She wants to feel special for once in her life, but as she slowly makes her way into Claire's world she realizes that nothing is as it seems. That Claire's quest for perfection consumes her and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire withdraws, Loann struggles to understand her sister, hoping to heal their relationship before it's too late.

Never Enough is at many times moving, powerful, and emotional. So much of this book is about how we see others, how we compare ourselves to them when we find ourselves lacking, but we never know what's lurking on the inside. Also, this book is about eating disorders, seeing it second-hand, and seeing what it does not only to the sufferer but to the people around them. And, like any novel about teenagers, this book is about being a teenage outcast trying to find a spot where she can fit in with the rest.

Loann so reminds me of a younger sister. She wants to be just like her sister but the differences between them make it hard. Throughout the book she ends up with so much on her plate, so much about Claire and their parents and her friends and school, I'm surprised Loann's head never exploded.

Being a teenager is outrageously complicated, but some of what Loann misses when she complains about other people either to Marcus or to herself is that there's always a side to someone that she won't see, the things that happen when she's not looking or not around. When you learn what a person's secrets are, whether it's an eating disorder or abuse or social anxiety or learning disabilities, only then do you realize that everyone's life is also outrageously complicated.

This reminds me of books like Lauren Myracle's Shine or Jackie Morse Kessler's Hunger and Rage, books that discuss some of the most powerful and damaging situations that teens go through, how it's never easy to go through something like that, how it's you against yourself and all your insecurities, but that there is hope, that there are always people out there ready to help you.

(I read an e-galley of this title.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (85)

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

Title: Mind Games
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

From Goodreads:

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

Oh, Kiersten. I adore her books. I remember reading Paranormalcy right before I started book blogging seriously, so both this book and finishing Endlessly the other day make me feel like she's opening a new chapter. Feels a little nostalgic, sort of. ;)

And this sounds so good. I think I want YA where the stakes are massive but not comically massive while trying to be a thriller/mystery. I need to feel that the stakes are high as opposed to reading about it in a book. Does that make sense? Maybe if I say I need to feel all weird and tense and uncomfortable for a thriller to work for me (because that's how I felt when reading Amy Kathleen Ryan's YA sci-fi thriller Glow).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Me on Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

Title: Au Revior, Crazy European Chick
Author: Joe Schreiber
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Perry is a normal high school senior, busy with college prep and playing with his band, until he agrees to go to prom with the foreign exchange student his family is hosting. Then he learns that Gobi isn't as mousy as she first appeared, but instead a rather attractive and extremely lethal assassin. Soon, Perry's on a once in a lifetime journey through New York City with Gobi as she forces him to take her around to her different targets. It'll certainly be a night Perry never forgets.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick was thrilling and completely outrageous, quite possibly the most action-packed prom night ever. Everything happens so quickly in such a short book, and while questions are still left at the end in relation to Gobi and her actual motives for more than a few of her actions, we're still left with an exciting (while impossible) story.

Perry is awesome in the way that boring guys can be in books where everything blows up in your face as you're stuck on a rollercoaster ride that never uses the brakes. He's totally normal, he's got some friends, he's in a band, he's getting ready to go to Columbia like his dad wants, and the Gobi shows up with her guns, her knives, and her plastic explosives and everything is shot to hell in one night.

In a book where most of the story takes place over one night, the pacing has to be consistent and quick to keep the reader interested but not rushed. Perhaps there was a time or two when I felt rushed, Perry isn't always so forthcoming about what's happening to him or what he's thinking, but I never knew what was coming, where they would go or who Gobi was after next. All I knew was Gobi had a mission and Perry was flipping out.

It certainly is a different sort of book about prom night. This seemed a bit like a teenage guy's action-filled pedal to the metal escapism version of prom night, the stuff only teenage guy hormone-fueled dreams are made of. That being said, I would suggest this to people looking for a 'not your average prom night' story, because this is so far from average.

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