The slant on YA books

Monthly Archives: October 2013

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

I have three books to share this week and they all have some lovely covers. Just click on the images to be directed to the Goodreads page.

thevowPerfectRuinthemoonandmore

 The Vow by Jessica Martinez was surprisingly fantastic. Despite it’s fluffy looking cover, the book has surprising depth and a really strong friendship.

I just bought Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano because it is on sale for e-readers. There are some fantastic e-book sales going on now over at Epic Reads, but most of them end today. 

I have set The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen aside for now because I haven’t connected with any of the characters even after one hundred pages. 

What books did you get this week? Have you read any of the ones I got this week?

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Premeditated by Josin L. McQuien 

Pages: 336 Premeditated

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary from Goodreads: 

A week ago, Dinah’s cousin Claire cut her wrists.

Five days ago, Dinah found Claire’s diary and discovered why.

Three days ago, Dinah stopped crying and came up with a plan.

Two days ago, she ditched her piercings and bleached the black dye from her hair.

Yesterday, knee socks and uniform plaid became a predator’s camouflage.

Today, she’ll find the boy who broke Claire.

By tomorrow, he’ll wish he were dead.

Review: Premeditated was one of my most anticipated reads of 2013. Last year, when I read the synopsis for the first time, I couldn’t wait to have this book in my hands. Unfortunately, I think all of my high expectations led to disappointment.

The beginning started off strong. Dinah broke out of the gate with a strong personality that I instantly liked. Her anger rose off the page as did her loyalty.

It was almost painful to read about all of the malicious acts Dinah and her friends commit, though I didn’t have any sympathy for the villain. The whole revenge plot is cleverly thought out and devilish, which was exactly what I wanted. On that front, Premeditated went above and beyond what I had hoped for.

Dinah isn’t alone in kicking butt and taking names. The secondary characters in Premeditated steal the spot light on more than one occasion. Brucy had me laughing hysterically nearly every time he spoke. Dinah’s father was also a favorite of mine. I loved these secondary characters sometimes more than I did the main characters.

What kept me from really loving Premeditated is just a bit spoiler-y. Guessing the major plot twist of the novel is incredibly easy and something I spotted a mile away. Yes, it added tension to the plot, but for me it made me cringe and want to slap some sense into the characters more than once. I can’t tell if McQuien wanted readers to guess the truth or not. Either way, this made the book lose some of its appeal.

It seems that the curse of revenge books has struck again. I am always eager to read them and am always sadly let down. The writing, the characters and the suspense are all there, but the predictability coupled with my unreasonable high expectations made Premeditated a bit of a lackluster read. 


Everyone has different bookish habits, and I love getting to know everyone’s quirks, which is why I can’t stop asking these “How do you read” style of questions. Earlier I asked if you use bookmarks and take off dust jackets, but today I have a different question in mind.photo-12

Today I was thinking about people who read more than one book at a time. I normally never do that, but I realized that I am currently in the middle of at least four different books. 

I don’t like being in the middle of several books at a time because I feel like I can’t focus on any of them. But, I recently started two books and it felt like a chore to keep reading them, so I put them aside and started a new one. And then I was bored with that one, so I moved on to another.

So, are you the type to read more than one book at a time? Or are you strictly a one book reader? I love reading each and every response, so be sure to let me know!

 


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

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge 

Expected Publication: January 28, 2014 CruelBeauty 

Summary:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart. 

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Do I expect there to be some cliches in this book? Yes. Do I really mind? No. I enjoy the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast, so I am always up for novel retellings. Plus, the cover is just interesting enough to have caught my eye.

Does Cruel Beauty sound like a book you might enjoy? What other books are you eagerly awaiting the release of? 


Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Pages: 320  drop 

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 

Summary from Goodreads: 

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water. 

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

Review: 

Layered with emotion, Not a Drop to Drink is full of stunning writing and heartfelt characters.

Each word in this story felt deliberate and added to the story. The world building is simple but present. With every action or dialogue the setting and mood are revealed, creating a brutal backdrop for this somber story.

Lynn’s portrayal as a strong yet desperate heroine is so honest. Never once is the reader shielded from some hard truths about the her, but it only works to endear her more. There is only a small cast of main characters, and each completes the story in some way.

The novel moves at its own pace. It’s a bit slower than readers looking for lots of action typical in a post-apocalyptic might like. Nothing happens too fast or too slow, but rather a nice blending of the two.

One thing I especially liked about Not a Drop to Drink is that though there is a small romance, it is nowhere near the most important relationship of the novel. Each character connects to one another in a vital way, and I think writing these connections is McGinnis’ strong point.

Oh, the ending! By that point, most of Lynn’s walls had come down, making each emotion she felt bolder. McGinnis’ didn’t take any shortcuts when crafting that conclusion. The last few lines are still stuck in my head. 

Not a Drop to Drink doesn’t pull any punches, making it one of my new favorite post-apocalyptics.  


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

Again, it was a slow week, but I have still have so many books waiting for me to read. 

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All the Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

One of my Waiting on Wednesday picks, All the Truth That's In Me is a book I couldn't wait to read. I bought and read it in one day. My review won't be up for a while, but I don't even know what I will write for it because it is so good and I don't think I could do it justice.

 

What books did you get this week? Any you can't wait to read? Have you or do you plan on reading All the Truth That's In Me? (If not, you really should consider it.)

I have something that I need to get off my chest.

I haven’t read the Harry Potter series. And I don’t plan on doing so in the future.

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 Now I am sure some of you may be a bit shocked by this news. To clarify: I have read the first three books. I just don’t really remember reading those three. It’s all one big blur. I don’t think I could tell you a single thing that happened.

I hadn’t felt the pressing need to read the series, but after having several people recommend it, I decided to give it a chance. I’m not sure why I stopped reading it, but I set the third book aside one day and have never picked it up since.

I am ready to face your judgment! Does this confession bother you more than any I have admitted in the past? Are you a big fan of the series? Or, are you like me and haven’t read the series?


I had so much fun finding out whether or not you are a bookmark kind of person, I couldn’t resist asking you some more “how do you read” type questions.

This time, I want to know if you take the dust jackets off of books.

Dust JacketsA dust jacket is the paper “shell” that surrounds hard cover books and has the cover design on it.

I used to be a dust jacket remover, but I love the feel of them, and they don’t bother me one bit. I leave them on my books and hardly ever take them off.

I know there are others out there who have to take the dust jacket off the book when they are reading. I can understand this, but I am too worried that I will lose/damage my dust jacket if I take them off.

Bottom line: Do you leave dust jackets on while reading or do you take them off? Do you just read paperbacks, thus making this a nonissue? Please share your opinions!

If you haven’t already stopped by and discussed your bookmark use, feel free to do so here.


More Than Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker #2) by Kelly Oram

Pages: 342 perf5.250x8.000.indd

Publisher: Bluefields

Source: ARC received from author in exchange for my honest review 

Summary from Goodreads:

 Jamie Baker, the only girl in the world with superpowers, has now accepted who she is and learned to control her power. Not to mention she has the best boyfriend on the planet. Life is finally looking good. But the day she witnesses an accident and decides not to save the guy out of fear of being exposed, she realizes that simply being Jamie Baker isn’t enough.
After seeing Jamie so wrecked with guilt, the ever-helpful Ryan Miller decides it’s time to make all of his fantasies about turning his girlfriend into an honest-to-goodness superhero become a reality. 

Of course, coming up with a decent Super Name and fending off all of Ryan’s attempts to get her into spandex aren’t the only problems Jamie faces. The more her alter ego starts to make headlines, the harder it becomes for Jamie to hide her extracurricular activities from her best friend, the government, radical scientists, and the mysterious new guy who is determined to steal her from her boyfriend. 

 

Review: In some ways More Than Jamie Baker was a big improvement on Being Jamie Baker. The writing was a bit more sophisticated and the characters certainly more mature. But, in other aspects it didn’t meet my expectations.

One conflict of Being Jamie Baker played a huge role in MTJB. I was glad because I felt it wasn’t given the attention it needed in the first installment. While it made me happy that it was finally being discussed, it also angered me because it wasn’t handled maturely and at times Jamie was quite insensitive about it.

Jamie grew as a person, but Ryan did not. Ryan is unfortunately an example of a Mary Sue; he really has no faults. Mike, a character from book one, has some of the most characterization. Reading about these characters in college was a big improvement than when they were in high school.

Again, the villain wasn’t very well disguised. Jamie would realize a vital bit of info and then just disregard and forget about it because it didn’t go along with what she already believed.

I don’t sympathize with Jamie because she made the same mistakes as she had in the previous novel. The villain did redeem him/herself (leaving it ambiguous for spoilers) at then end of the book by being pretty despicable. A massive cliff-hanger ends the novel, but I’m just not sure that I am invested enough in the characters to read the third novel.

The comic book feel is still ever-present and the dialogue would make me smile. However, how some issues were handled didn’t sit well with me, and in the end the book just fell flat.


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

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Expected Publication: January 7, 2014

Summary from Goodreads: NoOneElse 

Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield. 

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

Doesn’t that cover have you in stitches? I think that cover is so funny, and it makes me feel like this book will be full of witty, dry humor. Reading about murders in small towns just seems like an excellent winter read, doesn’t it?

What do you think of this cover? What books are you waiting to read? 

 

 



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