The slant on YA books

Monthly Archives: August 2013

I wanted to share my book confessions, which I realize is an idea that has already been done on the 15 Day Book Blogger Challenge, but who cares? I couldn’t wait to share these! 

 At the library I always check out more books than I can read. I know this is unfair to the other patrons of the library but they are all so beautiful and want me to take them home. The library is just this glorious place full of magic.allthebooks

I can be very quick to DNF a book. I just think there are too many good books out there to waste time on books I don’t think I will like. The problem with being so quick to dismiss a books, though, is that I often don’t read books that I probably would have enjoyed if I stuck with it. For example, I once gave up on Pivot PointI’m trying it again and I can’t remember why I put it down in the first place.

I judge books by their covers. When I’m at the library I really only look at the covers and titles. A bookstore is a  completely different story because I have to go into one of those with a plan or I will just walk up to the register and say, “I’ll take it all.”

Often I’m too lazy to put my books on my shelf, so I have stacks and random books scattered around my room. It’s like a maze in there. But a maze of books is awesome, so I am not complaining.

Sometimes I can’t remember where I’ve put my book/e-reader that I JUST had in my hand. When I put them down to grab food or something I spend the next ten minutes trying to find it. This always baffles me, especially because I always remember where books on my shelves are, even though those are in no particular order.

I’m terrible about giving back books I’ve borrowed. Now, before you think I’m some awful person, you have to realize that a good friend of mine and I have been exchanging books for 5 years. We forget whose is whose. I just never give them back until she asks, which rarely happens.

I almost always look at the last sentence of a book. I do this especially when I consider buying a book or have just bought one. It is a compulsion that I cannot stop. Even though I spoil the book this way I know I will do it again.

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So, what do ya’ll think? Have I committed any crimes that are too egregious to ignore? Do you share any of these confessions with me? Let me know I’m not alone! Share your confessions with me- I promise not to judge too much.

 


Angelfall by Susan Ee

Pages: 283                     Angelfall

Publisher: Feral Dream

Source: Won in giveaway from J Reads YA!

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Review: 

Angelfall makes a lot of angel books pale in comparison. Penryn is a very vivid main charcter. There is certainly a lot of action going on in Angelfall, which made the book very hard to put down.

I really love dystopians/post-apocalyptics, but I haven’t read one recently that really stood out from the rest. Angelfall changed all of that, though. Set in Silicon Valley/San Francisco, Angelfall has a good, but not overly terrific, setting. The explanation as to why the angels attacked is a little unclear. The novel could have used a touch more explanation regarding the background of the story.

Penryn is an exciting protagonist. Her level-headedness combined with her impulsivity keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. Her love for her sister and mother is clearly evident. It only made me like her more. Raffe is very cocky but well-developed. I was rooting for those two the whole story.

Suan Ee can definitely tell a good story, but she sometimes uses odd phrases or expressions. Sometimes it would draw me out of the story, but the action always pulled me right back in. I look forward to seeing how Ee’s writing will grow over the course of the series.

When I reached the end, things took a turn for the creeeeppppyyyy. I went from shock to horror to disgust to sympathy. It was quite the whirlwind of emotions. I was very surprised by all the horrors introduced. I am so eager to see how it all plays out in World After, the next book in the series.

Angelfall delighted and shocked me. I’m very glad I had the opportunity to read it. 


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I’m very curious to see what you all think of first sentences in a book.

What kind of sentence grabs your attention?

Is it the zinger? 

JellicoeRoad

“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.”

Or the unassuming, quiet kind?

tigerlily

 “She stands on the cliffs, near the old crumbling stone house.” 

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Does the action-packed attention-grabber pique your interest? 

“Ashline Wilde lay battered on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway and watched her boyfriend emerge from the fiery car wreck, back from the dead.”

Or the rare dialogue intro?

cityobones “‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest.”

Is the blunt style your favorite? 

outoftheeasy 

     “My mother’s a prostitute.” 


What is your favorite first sentence? What kind of sentence is your favorite? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Want to check out more discussions? Head over to The Fiction Conniption!


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To find out more about Waiting on Wednesday, check out my first post here.

Crash into You by Katie McGarry

Publication: November 26, 2013               crash

Summary from Goodreads:

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

After reading and loving both Pushing the Limits and Dare You To, I am very excited for Crash into You. I am eager to read Isaiah’s perspective. I think that the street racing scenes will be so much fun to read. I have high hopes for Crash into You.


Drought by Pam Bachorz

Pages: 400                 Drought

Publisher: Egmont USA

Summary from Goodreads:

A young girl thirsts for love and freedom, but at what cost?

Ruby dreams of escaping the Congregation. Escape from slaver Darwin West and his cruel Overseers. Escape from the backbreaking work of gathering Water. Escape from living as if it is still 1812, the year they were all enslaved.

When Ruby meets Ford—an irresistible, kind, forbidden new Overseer—she longs to run away with him to the modern world where she could live a normal teenage life. Escape with Ford would be so simple.

But if Ruby leaves, her community is condemned to certain death. She, alone, possesses the secret ingredient that makes the Water so special—her blood—and it’s the one thing that the Congregation cannot live without.

Drought is the haunting story of one community’s thirst for life, and the dangerous struggle of the only girl who can grant it.

Review:

If I had to describe Drought in one word it would be warped.

This book left me with an uneasy feeling the whole time I read it. The message at the end of the novel undermines all of the events leading up to it. Also, there are some odd religious themes and undertones at work that took Drought to a weird level.

The first one to two hundred pages is about Ruby and her community harvesting water. By scraping it off plants. With spoons. One drop at a time. I am surprised that I stuck through that for so long. During this time Ruby constantly repeats herself, yet never takes much action. 

Never is there a satisfying explanation for why Ruby and her family have been captured as slaves. Any information that is given is only repeated over and over. This lack of info did not create an air of mystery but a frustrating experience.

I think that all of the characters have multiple personality disorder. Sure, being a slave for two hundred years would have some negative psychological events, but it doesn’t explain how a character is kind and caring one minute and then harsh and disapproving the next. 

Ruby and Ford have one of the unhealthiest relationships in YA fiction. Ruby is two hundred years behind the times and infatuated with her cult of a religion, and Ford sometimes acts like the crazy slave-driver who controls the community. I missed the part where this is supposed to be romantic. Ford was simply an object of temptation to Ruby.

Drought is a kind of a psychological twister, but most of the plot is very uneventful. As I said before, the ending does a disservice to the rest of the book. The conflicts Ruby faces conveniently go away, which made me upset for having invested so much effort.

At times I thought I would enjoy Drought more than I did, especially at the beginning when there seemed to be so much promise, but I just don’t think I will ever read it again.  


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Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where book bloggers share their weekly book haul.

I only have a few books to share this week, but they are some good ones!

                 BetweenDeepBlueSea   Angelfall   PivotPoint

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (Bought)

Angelfall by Susan Ee (Won in a giveaway from J Reads YA!

Pivot Point by Kasie West (Won in a giveaway from J Reads YA!)

What did you get this week?


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Super Six Sunday is a meme hosted by the ladies over at Bewitched Bookworms. On Sunday, you choose six super books that fit the theme of the week.

This week’s theme is Favorite Books of 2013 So Far…

 1.) Spark (Elemental #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Spark

Spark is a fantastic urban fantasy. The characters are flawed, but so much fun to read about. The plot never lets up and captivated my attention the whole time. The romance is incredibly sweet, too. The series follows the story of four brothers who can control the elements, which sounds cheesy but is incredibly written. I would only start this one if you have enough time to finish it all at once.

2.) Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me

If you have not jumped on this bandwagon yet, I highly recommend you do so. Mafi has such a gorgeous prose that makes the voice of the books really stand out. I love when the main characters are sort of insane and Unravel Me has that in spades. The beginning does start off slow, but the end more than makes up for it. I want the finale, Ignite Me, right now!

 3.) Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Out of The Easy

Historical novels are always hit-or-miss for me. Luckily, Out of the Easy had everything I could want. Josie, the protagonist, is so refreshing and able to take care of herself. The setting of a 1940s’ New Orleans is incredibly rich. All of the main and secondary characters are important and play a role in the story. Reading about the life and crimes of a dark New Orleans was amazing.

4.) Mind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White

Mind Games

 Remember how I said I like my characters insane? Well, Mind Games delivers on that front. Fia has been under extreme duress for most of her life and it has taken its toll on her. The psychological twists in this one made my heart race. I was always eager to find out what was coming next.

5.) Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry

Dare You To

An overall compelling contemporary, Dare You To was one of those books I finished in one sitting. Dare You To does have its share of teenage angst and cliches, but those never truly interrupted my enjoyment of the novel. I know that I will reread this one again because I am pretty invested in the characters.

6.) How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller

HowtoLeadaLifeofCrime

I did not at all expect to like this one as much as I did. The plot is very dark and intense and not for the faint of heart. The main character might just be a little crazy (have you noticed a trend?), but after what he goes through, I don’t blame him. I love books about crime and crime families, but from the villain’s perspective. In How to Lead a Life of Crime the line between good and evil is constantly blurred. This one really grew on me.

What are your favorites (so far) of 2013?


Bleeding Hearts (Drake Chronicles #4) by Alyxandra Harvey

Pages: 304                                         Bleeding Hearts

Publisher: Bloomsbury Teens

Summary from Goodreads:

As vampires from all over the world descend on the Drake farm for the Blood Moon gathering, security is ramped up. Lucy has been temporarily banned, for her own safety—and to allow Solange some time to adjust to her new existence. But their enemies realize how much Lucy means to the family, and plan to abduct her to use her for leverage against the new royal family. Instead, Lucy’s cousin Christabel is kidnapped by mistake—and Connor Drake immediately heads off in pursuit, but isn’t in time to prevent Christabel’s infection by the Hel Blar. He can’t save her human life, but he can still try to save her new vampire life, and is willing to put his own life on the line for the girl he has grown to care so much about. Can he save Christabel, the Blood Moon, and his mother’s newly forged Vampire Alliance?

Review:

A fun vampire read, Bleeding Hearts stands out from other paranormal romances.

The female characters in the Drake Chronicles always do a lot of nose punching. Lucy and her cousin Christabel are pretty sassy and five the book a light hearted feel. Even though Bleeding Hearts is about vampires and kidnapping the book always stays fairly humorous.

The pace is like a rollercoaster: Took awhile to build up momentum and then quickly began to rush towards the end. The beginning doesn’t have very much serious action going on and the end moves so fast that there is hardly any time to process what’s happening.

I wasn’t feeling the romance in this one. It doesn’t really serve a point. Sometimes Christabel and Connor were cute together, but I never felt any connection between them.

The multiple POVS is aggravating. Connor was very bland to read about. Christabel was slightly more interesting, yet got repetitive with her constant reminders that she lives and breathes historical literature. Lucy’s perspective was the most fun to read, yet it felt out of place since the story is mainly about the story of Connor and Christabel. Lucy has her own subplots going on, so sometimes I thought I was reading two different stories.

Many, many plot points are brought up and never fully addressed again, but I assume they will be answered in the next installment.

I enjoyed visiting the Drake world once again as the books are always pleasant read; however, this one isn’t my favorite of the series.


To learn more about condensed reviews visit my first condensed review post here.

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould

CrossMyHeartSet in 16th centrury Venice Cross My Heart is a historical novel full of murder and secrets.

I had never heard of this book before, so I read it with no expectations.

The writing is nice, the protagonist enjoyable, and the plot suspenseful. 

Despite its predictability and lack of character development, I liked Cross My Heart. 

While I won’t be rushing out to get the sequel anytime soon, I would recommend Cross My Heart if you want a quick historical read, especially one set in Italy.

Parts of this book greatly reminded me of Grave Mercy. Both characters deal in secrets and hail from a convent. Cross My Heart is Grave Mercy’s younger, less complex companion.

Pardon My French (A S.A.S.S. novel) by Catherine Hapka

Pardon My FrenchBefore finding this one in the library, I was completely unfamiliar with the S.A.S.S. series, but ever since I picked it up I have been seeing more and more of them.

Nicole is a very annoying main character. She constantly complains about studying in Paris. I could not at all understand her negativity. I’m a huge language lover and one of my biggest dreams is to study abroad. I wanted to shake Nicole until she realized how lucky she was. 

Paris, where the novel obviously takes place, didn’t really come alive on the page. In the beginning I thought there was potential, but the setting never amazed me.

The series seems to be geared toward younger readers, which isn’t really my kind of thing. If I come across another S.A.S.S. book I might give it a chance, especially because each one is written by a different author, but if I don’t I won’t be disappointed.


 Today I wanted to hear about what you all think of author visits. Have you never been but want to? Just don’t have time to go? Think you’ll never go because going out in public means it’s not acceptable to walk around in your pajamas? 

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Or are you like me, and go to every visit you can? (Check out my latest author visit here.)

Over the past year I have met at least 25 authors. I think going to events are fun and exciting. I absolutely love hearing the authors joke with each other and answer readers’ questions. At the end of the night I get to walk away with a personalized book (or two or three or four…) and a nice memory to look back on.

Having gone to an event or two, I figured I would share what, in my opinion, makes or breaks an author visit. 

1: Food

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Food, the number one essential item at any event.

I’m not going to lie. Whenever I see food out on the table I know that I am walking into a pretty fancy event. I love when the food is all book-themed and decorated. It is a simple touch that goes a long way.

(And when they go the extra mile to throw in candy and hot chocolate, I know I’m in for a sweet treat.)

2: Q&A Panel

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Nova Ren Suma, Tessa Gratton, Ransom Riggs, Tahereh Mafi, Rae Carson, and Aimée Carter

If authors introduce themselves and answer some questions, it usually leads to laughs and smiles. I’ve noticed a lot of the authors joke around with each other, which keeps the enthusiasm going. Most people (including myself) find it fun to be able to really participate. I think the Q&A panel is pretty standard across all author visits, but if it’s not it definitely should be because this is always my favorite part of the night.

3: Signing

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All hail Tahereh Mafi

To wrap up the evening there should be time for the authors to sign some of their books. I love when the line goes by fast, but not so fast that I don’t have time to say a quick “Hello and thank you” to the authors. I feel that signings end the event on a positive note.

So that’s what I think. I would love to hear what you all have to say! What do you think an author event needs to include?

Psst… Want to check out more book discussions? Go check out Oh, Chrys.

Psst… psst… There are only two days left in my giveaway for The Lost Sun? Why don’t you come check it out



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