The slant on YA books

Monthly Archives: September 2013

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

Remember how last week I said I was going on a major book buying spree this week? Well, yesterday I bought lots of exciting new releases at the Austin Teen Book Festival (I will post about my trip soon).  Brace yourselves for all of these new goodies!

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater The Dream Thieves 

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis 

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston 

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller (I’m currently reading this one and I really love it.) 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black 

Scorched by Mari Mancusi

For Review (ARCS): 

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy (won in a scavenger hunt) 

The F- It List by Julie Halpern (I spoke with a very kind Macmillan representative, and I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this upcoming release.)

Expect reviews of those books closer to their publication date!

 

I think that is more than enough books to keep me busy for some time. What books did you get this week?

 

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Hello!

Austin Teen Book Festival 2013Today I am attending the Austin Teen Book Festival! I am so excited. Author visits are some of my favorite things to do. There are so many authors I can’t wait to meet and so many books I am looking forward to reading. 

I will be sure to take lots of pictures, and will be posting a summary of my day sometime soon.

I wish all of you could be here too! And if you did manage to make it on down (and not melt from the heat) I am excited to meet you!


I am curious. Are you the type of person to use a bookmark? Do you just memorize the page number? Or, do you dog ear the pages?

I have quite the collection of bookmarks, yet I never use any of them! They are really nice ones too, from the many author visits I’ve attended.

Bookmarks

I typically just look at the page number before closing my book. Bookmarks are such  a hassle, but then again, so is having to remember where you left off. Do any of you do this too?

How do you keep track of your place whilst reading? Do you have any super cool bookmarks? I would love to hear all about it!

Want more discussion posts? Click on my Discussions category over to the right side bar, or head on over to Oh, Chrys or The Fiction Conniption to discover new and exciting topics.

 

This week’s Waiting on Wednesday post is a little different than normal. (If you would like to learn more about the meme in general, click here.)

The book I’ve chosen is one I cannot wait to read, yet has had its publication date pushed back. Way back. I’m talking at least eight months. The author released her statement yesterday as to why this whole situation has happened.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle Hodkin

Expected Publication: June 3, 2014 The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

There is no current synopsis for the novel.

When I found out that the release date had been pushed back from late October to (around) June of next year, I was disappointed. This is one of my favorite series. I knew there must be a reason for this change, and yesterday, Michelle Hodkin released a statement about the reason why.

But in the last few years, I’ve realized that there’s a third thing that you can’t ever undo. Most people won’t have the chance to discover this third thing, but I have. You can’t undo a book.

The link to her full explanation can be found here.

I really respect her decision. I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up for your creations, be it any work of art. I know it can’t be easy telling so many fans this news, but overall, I do feel that Michelle Hodkin is looking out for the interest of her readers. Hopefully, The Retribution of Mara Dyer will be the best book of the trilogy because it was given the time to be written the way it needs to be written. 

What do you all think of this turn of events?


This will be a different version of Condensed Reviews. I am reviewing the first three books in the Lux series, with a brief review for each, and more general comments after. If you would like to see how I have done some other Condensed Reviews in the past, take a look here and here.

Obsidian

 Obsidian is a pretty solid paranormal romance. It has a lot of PNR tropes like a jerk of a love interest. Obsidian has some unique elements that kept me entertained. I don’t do aliens, but I really liked the Luxen. Also, Katy, the aforementioned protagonist, stood up for herself a lot, especially against Daemon. I rooted for her and wanted to smack him. He made such chauvinistic comments, and while he started to redeem himself, the damage was pretty much done. I like Obsidian the best out of the three I’ve read so far.

Onyx

Onyx did not quite live up to my expectations. The characters made stupid decision after stupid decision. The magic of the first novel got lost somewhere. Katy, annoyingly called Kitten by Daemon, was so boring. In the middle of the novel I hit a wall where all action just stopped. It was the same events over and over. (I am being annoyingly vague about the details on purpose, I am just trying to keep these reviews spoiler free.) The last little bit of the novel brought the action, but only happened because Katy made the stupidest decision of stupid decisions. The bad guys were pretty spelled out, yet Katy completely missed the clues. I grew to like Daemon more and Katy less.

Opal

 In continuing with the tradition, Opal wasn’t better than than the novel before it. Do not read the synopses of these books because they are spoilery! Therefore, the ending was not a surprise to me. In all honesty the ending was predictable. The villain was obvious from the beginning. Katy and crew continued to ignore obvious signs. It was in some ways more exciting than Onyx, but then it too reached a wall of boring. At times, I had no problem setting this one aside.

 

The writing is a bit clunky. Sometimes it would take me a second to understand what the sentence was trying to say. It wasn’t normally a problem, but would occasionally draw me out of the story. To illustrate my point, read the following quote: 

Harder said than done.

Does that above quote seem wrong to anyone else? Isn’t the saying “Easier said than done”? What am I missing here?

Daemon and Katy were cute together. I loved reading their scenes. While they were sweet and my favorite part of the books, they could be a little irritating. The most annoying part of their relationship is how Daemon calls Katy pet names, like Kitten. He does it just about every sentence, which induced a lot of eye-rolling on my part. There was a constant battle between the two over “I don’t want you to get hurt” vs “I can take care of myself”. This argument was so repetitive.

Katy has some unique traits. She runs a book blog, so some of her references were fun to read. I loved understanding her “insider” sayings. The only downside was that some of the references came across as forced. They seemed so unnatural or were out of place with what was going on. By the second and third book she does lose a lot of her originality.

The villains of the novel could use more characterization. We hardly learn their backstory, and they are pointed out point blank. I think that if they get a little more development in the next installment, it will really help the story overall. I have included the following quote to better illustrate my point, but be warned it is a little spoilery.

And before you think getting rid of me fixes this, you’re wrong. I have a message that will be delivered to her if anything happens to me… Yeah, I’ve thought of everything.

To sum this all up, I would recommend the Lux series to paranormal readers. If you would like to try paranormal, Obsidian wouldn’t be a bad place to start. I know this review may seem a little critical, but I have enjoyed reading them. I plan on reading the fourth soon.


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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 bought one book this week because I plan on going on a major book buying spree this week. This week I can’t wait to buy some of my Waiting on Wednesday books, All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry and Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller. The Austin Teen Book Festival is this weekend, so I plan on buying lots of books then too!

 

I bought the third book in the Lux series.

Opal

 Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 I enjoyed the first book, but the second and third just haven’t wowed me. I am still reading Opal, but am almost finished with it. The characters are just very frustrating and it feels like they keep making the same mistakes over and over.

That is my book for the week. Did you get anything exciting?


Banned Books Week is here. From September 22 – 28, readers everywhere will be celebrating their right to read. During this week, we recognize the unjustness of censorship and how it hurts more than helps.

To celebrate, I have designed some graphics for you to share to help spread the word. (Credit would be greatly appreciated.)

BBW1  BBW2

BBW3 BBW4

Here are some additional resources to learn more about Banned Books Week: 

http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/ 

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek 

What are you doing to celebrate Banned Books Week? What are some banned books you have read?


Bolddiscussions

Welcome to BOLD discussions. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Last week’s topic was First Sentences. It’s never too late to participate; whether it be an old discussion or a new one, tell me what you think!

I wanted to talk all about fonts today. I really love beautiful typography, and I feel like book covers are a great place to find inspiration. I have broken down cover fonts into a few different categories. 

The Handwritten:

tigerlilyJellicoeRoad  Whywebrokeup  TFioS  The Distance Between Us

Handwritten fonts seem to be showing up on covers more and more often. I really like the look, but I feel like it only works on certain covers, like those of the contemporary genre. If I were to see this style on a dystopian cover I would think it is out of place. (Does anyone else notice that the font of Tiger Lily is the same as one of the fonts used on Jellicoe Road?)

The Elaborate/ Designed for Book:

cryers  Siege  BetweenDeepBlueSea  graceling  legend

These eclectic covers are ones I feel really suit the book they are representing. I love when the title treatment goes along with the book because it gives the book a more unified look. I really love covers with strong typography as well.

I feel as though dystopian covers typically mimic each other and have a similar style. Does anyone else notice that? For example, many covers feature fonts so similar to The Hunger Games (of course)that it is glaringly obvious. I think movie titles are the worst copy cats though. 

Combination of Different Looks and Styles:

lola  ghostandgoth  someone  BridgeBoy

The trend here is more of a combination of cursive and print. While I think the look can work, it is very simple. One of the most basic design tips is to create contrast between fonts. I think some of these style covers could step up their game a little more. 

Simple Sans Serif:

lifenextdoor  burn  grave  Shatter

If you aren’t a font snob like me, then you may not know what sans serif type is. Sans serif fonts are the ones without any feet on the ends of the letters. This look is more modern, I guess. It is definitely a trend that I think will stay around for some time.

Traditional Serif:

The Treachery of  Beautiful Things_JKT.indd  Out of The Easy  unbecoming  jessicas guide

Serif is the complementary style to sans serif. Serif fonts have a more traditional or timeless feel in my opinion. I think that choosing a good, solid serif font for a cover can do wonders. Maybe it’s not the most eye-catching, but I think they have a certain elegance to them that I really like.

What is your favorite font look? What other categories did I miss? Be a part of the discussion and feel free to add your own opinions!

Want more discussion posts? Click on my Discussions category over to the right side bar, or head on over to Oh, Chrys or The Fiction Conniption to discover new and exciting topics. 


Sometimes I check out a book from the library, or buy it from the bookstore, and then I just don’t finish it. I have talked about how I can be quick to DNF a book here, so I figured I would share my list of books that I just can’t seem to finish.

Fury
 I purchased Fury by Elizabeth Miles quite some time ago. Tales of revenge are always the sweetest to me, but for some reason this story and I just aren’t clicking. It has all of the ingredients for a good story, but it just doesn’t deliver. I have tried reading it a few times to always end up putting it back on the shelf after only a few pages./span>

thereplacement

Dark and creepy books are usually my thing, so when I heard of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff I eagerly bought a copy. But alas, I have not finished it. The cover sucked me in but the dullness of it keeps me from wanting to read it. It’s awful because I want to know what happens next, but I can’t bring myself to keep reading. I have read two other Yovanoff books with no problem (and reviewed an anthology she was featured in over here), but her debut is not for me.

trickster's girl

Bought on a whim and forever abandoned to the back of the bookshelf. It was interesting with its Native American mythology, but after a while it lost me. There wasn’t enough action or suspense to make me want to read any further. I hardly remember any major plot points to be quite honest. Trickster’s Girl by Hilari Bell is just another dust collector in my stacks.

secret

Thankfully, my friend let me borrow The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weitgarten, so I didn’t go through the heartbreak (see what I did there?) of buying yet another book that I didn’t finish. After the protagonist writes a message to her boyfriend on her stomach with a Sharpie (or some such nonsense), I quickly shut the book and moved on. No, just no. I couldn’t support the obnoxious main character.

There are a few of my DNFs. I know I have plenty of more where they came from, but what can I say? I don’t have time to waste on books that don’t capture my interest? Which books have you DNFed recently?


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Pages: 432  ThroneofGlass

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Summary from Goodreads:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world. 

Review: 

Throne of Glass lived up to the hype. It’s an action-packed fantasy novel full of unique characters and a complex plot.

First off, Celaena is incredibly entertaining to read. Her life as an assassin has greatly influenced who she is now. She constantly proves her deadly skills and doesn’t shy away from a fight, be it a battle of wits or a sword duel. Reading such a witty and intelligent heroine kept me engaged in the story. Her mysterious past, while certainly entertaining, is never fully explored, but is sure to be a topic of interest in the future novels.

The romance worked incredibly well. Never once did it overpower the story, but it was still incredibly powerful. Celaena has two main love interests, so yes, there is a love triangle, but the marvelous way in which it is written keeps it from feeling cliched or cheesy. Truly the romance is a strong point of the book, and distinguishes Throne of Glass from a great story to a fantastic debut.

So many different elements were at work in the book. I didn’t know that faeries and sorcery would play a pivotal role in the plot. Maas keeps the suspense going and turns almost everyone into a suspect. This paranoia has a detrimental affect on the protagonist, but ultimately had me flipping pages faster and faster. I did reach a point where the action sort of slowed compared to the rest of the novel. However, when the pace picks back up it does so with a bang. * The last battle of the novel is one of the best I have ever read.

While Celaena doesn’t know who is friend or foe, the reader has a better idea of what’s going on because the book is told from multiple perspectives. The majority of the book is from Celaena’s point of view, but occasionally we are given a glimpse from a different narrator. This really does add to the dramatic irony of the book, though I do think the novel would have been just as good with out it.

Don’t be like me and wait to read this awesome book. It has most everything I could ask for in a book. Join the bandwagon if you haven’t already. I am so happy that I don’t have to wait for the sequel, Crown of Midnight, since it came out almost a month ago.

* Literally as I was reading the epic fight scene my Kindle died. Just died without any warning. It was the biggest e-reader stereotype ever.

can't read because book ran out of batteries  

Am I the last person to read Throne of Glass? What do you think of it? And if you haven’t read it yet, why not?



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