Archive | October, 2012


20 Oct

So, I suck. I know I totally flubbed this week’s new releases and next week’s probably won’t happen, either. I’ve been working way too much leading up to my much needed VACATION to do more than write the book review I just published. And, yeah, since I’ll be on vacation all next week, I probably won’t be doing a new releases update for October 23, either. So, sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Sorry!

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

20 Oct

Well, the rains have finally rolled into Vancouver, and with that my urge to go out and be social and soak up sunshine has died a miserable death. Now all I want to do is snuggle under blankets and read books to the constant pitter-patter of rainy little feet on my roof. Yesterday I indulged that desire to nest and hide away from the world and finished my first ever Melissa Marr book, A Carnival of Souls. I have to admit that I think I was partially drawn to this book because it’s about daimons, which is one letter away from being the same word as daemons, the external souls found in His Dark Materials, a.k.a. the best books ever. Silly, I know.

The man – WITCH – who’d summoned Selah was nothing like what she’d expected.

Seventeen-year-old Mallory has been trained in self-defense and combat from an early age. Her father, a powerful witch named Adam, wants her to be prepared for the day when she finally comes up against a daimon, fierce otherworldly creatures that she has been taught to fear and hate for her entire life. However, Adam hasn’t been entirely truthful with Mallory: she is a daimon herself, the stolen daughter of Marchiosas, ruler of The City. The City, a labyrinthine lair of decadence and violence in the caste-stratified daimon world, is also home to the Carnival of Souls. Each generation the Carnival of Souls hosts a series of death matches in which any daimon can enter for the chance to improve his or her lot in life. Ruling-caste Aya wants to rule the city and escape her role as a glorified breeder. The assassin cur Kaleb wants to transcend his violent, degrading hand-to-mouth way of living. The fates of these three young daimons become more and more entwined as it becomes evident that they are each instrumental in each other’s deliverance.

This book has a hella promising premise. The hedonistic Carnival made me think of Mardi Gras on fairy dust. For all the sexy smoke and mirrors, though, Marr’s world just doesn’t deliver. That shimmering facade of a well-executed and imagined daimon world was just that – a facade. I never understood more about it than I did from the opening chapters. For one, I never truly understood what a daimon was. They seemed to be almost werewolf like shapeshifters who change when threatened or fighting, but, I don’t know? I never grasped the full difference between the castes, either. I get that ruling-caste people are on top, scabs on the bottom, and curs in the middle, but why did curs have packs and nobody else? If Kaleb was a cur with a soul-deep need to build a pack, how was he a scab to begin with? Are ALL daimons curs, just spread through the different castes? Is there anything else beyond the city other than the vaguely described “Untamed Lands”? So many questions! None of them answered!

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October 9 2012 New Releases

9 Oct

Welp, nothing too exciting this week. Mystic City looks like it could be tight but I’m not dying to get my hands on a copy. I’ve taken your lovely advice and only included books that I am at least somewhat interested in reading, and listed them in order of excitement; from now on the things I am most looking forward to will be listed first. The farther down you go the cooler my enthusiasm becomes. If anything else pops up that I overlooked I will update as necessary. Happy reading!

Title: Mystic City
Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Science Fiction (I think??)
Blurb: Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.
Excitement Factor: Yes, please!

Title: All You Never Wanted
Author: Adele Griffin
Publisher: Knop Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary Realism
Blurb: Alex has it all—brains, beauty, popularity, and a dangerously hot boyfriend. Her little sister Thea wants it all, and she’s stepped up her game to get it. Even if it means spinning the truth to win the attention she deserves. Even if it means uncovering a shocking secret her older sister never wanted to share. Even if it means crying wolf.
Told in the alternating voices of Alex and Thea, Adele Griffin’s mesmerizing new novel is the story of a sibling rivalry on speed.
Excitement Factor: This isn’t my normal cup of tea, but it’s getting a lot of starred reviews so…maybe.

Title: Velveteen
Author: Daniel Marks
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Paranormal
Blurb: At sixteen, Velveteen Monroe was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in the City of the Dead. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven either. Grey, ashen and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do there. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind. Bonesaw.Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment he deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days. But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting could actually crack the foundation of her new world, not to mention jeopardize her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker. Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Excitement factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else on my bookshelf.


Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

7 Oct

Well, it’s been a whopper of a week, folks. Between sicksies and worksies and all around busy..sies, I haven’t had much time to write. I almost considered just NOT reviewing John Corey Whaley’s wonderful Where Things Come Back because it has a shiny medals on its cover so probably doesn’t need my promotion, but what the hey. It’s such a treat I thought I should probably go ahead and share.

I was seventeen years old when I saw my first dead body.

Cullen Witter is a snarky, intelligent teenage boy longing to escape the black hole that is his sleepy hometown of Lily, Arkansas. His world, both in micro and macro, unravels with a series of dramatic events during the summer before his senior year in high school. It starts with his cousin dying of an overdose, continues with Lily getting obsessed with the supposed reappearance of the extinct Lazarus woodpecker, and then things come completely undone when his beloved, sensitive fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, inexplicably disappears without a trace. Meanwhile, Benton Sage, a failed missionary trying to re-create his life after returning from a failed mission to Africa in utter disillusionment inadvertently infects his college room mate, Cabot Searcy, with an obsessive religious fanaticism, starting a chain of events that slowly draws these two disparate narratives together like ill-fated magnets.

I’ll start by saying that this is one of those books that makes me feel insecure about my own writing. Not only did this book win the Printz, which is prestigious enough, but it also won William C. Morris YA Debut Award. So, not only is this book really well-written and stupid full of literary merit, it’s also John Corey Whaley’s first book ever. Seriously? Just get out of here. I will say, however, that there were certain other Printz contenders that I loved more (ahem Scorpio Races ahem), but that’s more personal taste than anything else.

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3 Oct

So, I spent a ridiculous amount of hours pouring over publisher websites to try to get as many different new releases in my weekly update this week and it took me FOREVER. I have a very limited time frame in which I can work on this blog (I still have another review to write! Amidst working seven days a week and job applications and writing my own novel and having a life and ack! Not enough time! I need a clone!), and so I started thinking: maybe my weekly update will only include the books I am at least marginally interested in reading? There are SO many books coming out each week, and while I wanted my updates to be as thorough as possible, I just don’t think I have the time. So, I thought that if I apply my own filter and tell you what I’m interested in, maybe that will suffice. What say you, dear readers? More new releases or new releases a la my interests and discernment?

October 2 New Releases

3 Oct

Title: Poison Princess
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: paranormal romance
Blurb: Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux. With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him? As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….
Excitement Factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else on my bookshelf.

Title: Live Through This
Author: Mindi Scott
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: contemporary realism
Blurb: If Coley Sterling’s best friend would stop hating her, if her dance-team captains would lighten up, if her friends would stop asking her about Reece, the geeky sax player she’s crushing on—then her life would be perfect. Right? After all, Coley’s stepdad is a successful attorney who gives Coley and her siblings everything, and her mother will stop at nothing to keep them all happy and safe—including having escaped ten years ago from the abuse of Coley’s real father. But Coley is keeping a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully crafted faÇade. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and a decade’s worth of Coley’s lies are on the verge of unraveling—along with the life she thought she knew.
Excitement factor: Nope.

Title: Forget Me Not
Author: Carolee Dean
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: fantasy, novels in verse
Blurb: Ally is devastated when a scandalous photo of her is texted around school. With her reputation in shambles and her life essentially over, she hides out in a back hallway, trying to figure out where everything went wrong. Elijah has spent time in that hallway too. He landed there after taking a whole bottle of sleeping pills. Now he can see ghosts, and he knows what Ally has yet to suspect—that she’s already half dead, and one choice away from never coming back. Elijah has loved Ally for years and would do anything to save her from the in-between place. But if she’s going to live, Ally must face her inner demons and find the will to save herself.
Excitement Factor: Nope (I can’t do the novels in verse thing. Just can’t.)

Title: Feedback
Author: Robison Wells
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: science fiction, thriller
Blurb: Benson Fisher escaped from Maxfield Academy’s deadly rules and brutal gangs. The worst was over. Or so he thought. But now he’s trapped on the other side of the wall, in a different kind of prison. A town filled with familiar faces. People from Maxfield who Benson had seen die. Friends he was afraid he had killed. They are all pawns in the school’s twisted experiment, held captive and controlled by an unseen force. And while Benson struggles to figure out who, if anyone, can be trusted, he discovers that Maxfield Academy’s plans are darker than anything he imagined—and they may be impossible to stop.
Excitement Factor: Nope.

Title: Through to You
Author: Emily Hainsworth
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Fantasy
Blurb: Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.
Excitement Factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else on my bookshelf.

Title: Breathe
Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Science Fiction
Blurb: The world is dead. The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen–rich air. Alina
has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful. Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her. Be wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl. And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?
Excitement Factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else on my bookshelf.

Title: One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story
Author: T. Glen Coughlin
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: sports fiction
Blurb: It’s senior year and the last season for Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor on the Molly Pitcher High School varsity wrestling team. And they all want the same thing: to win. But Diggy’s got to compete with his older brother’s legacy, and now he’s in danger of losing his spot to the newcomer, Trevor. Not to mention he’s got girl problems. Jimmy’s got the cops on his tail and a girlfriend who looks down on him. Then Diggy does the unthinkable—he betrays a teammate. Can the team forgive him? And can he forgive himself? With the pressure building and loyalties splintering, Diggy, Jimmy, and Trevor have got one shot to make weight and get onto the mat. Because pinning your opponent is about more than just winning.
Excitement Factor: Nope.

Title: Endangered
Author: Eliot Schrefer
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Adventure
Blurb: The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good. When one girl has to follow her mother to her sancuary for bonobos, she’s not thrilled to be there. It’s her mother’s passion, and she’d rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.
Excitement Factor: Yes, please!

Title: Magisterium
Author: Jeff Hirsch
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Fantasy
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn’t for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn’s mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father’s work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run—with only one place to go.
Excitement factor: Yes, please!

Title: A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel
Author: Madeleine L’Engle, adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre: Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Blurb: The world already knows Meg and Charles Wallace Murry, Calvin O’Keefe, and the three Mrs–Who, Whatsit, and Which–the memorable and wonderful characters who fight off a dark force and save our universe in the Newbery award-winning classic A Wrinkle in Time. But in 50 years of publication, the book has never been illustrated.  Now, Hope Larson takes the classic story to a new level with her vividly imagined interpretations of tessering and favorite characters like the Happy Medium and Aunt Beast.
Excitement Factor: OMG.

Title: Eve & Adam
Author: Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Science Fiction
Blurb: In the beginning, there was an apple – And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker’s head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother’s research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal. Just when Eve thinks she will die – not from her injuries, but from boredom—her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy. Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect . . . won’t he?
Excitement Factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else on my bookshelf.

Title: Passenger
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Science Fiction
Blurb: Best friends Jack and Conner can’t stay away from Marbury. It’s partly because of their obsession with this alternate world and the unresolved war that still wages there. But it’s also because forces in Marbury—including the darkest of the dark, who were not revealed in The Marbury Lens—are beckoning the boys back in order to save their friends . . . and themselves.The boys try to destroy the lens that transports them to Marbury. But that dark world is not so easily reckoned with. Reality and fantasy, good and evil—Andrew Smith’s masterpiece closes the loop that began with The Marbury Lens. But is it really closed? Can it ever be?
Excitement Factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else on my bookshelf.

Title: Son
Author: Lois Lowry
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Blurb: They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive?  She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice. Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges.
Excitement Factor: Yes, please!

Title: The Last Dragonslayer
Author: Jasper Fforde
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Blurb: In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.
Excitement Factor: Yes, please!

Title: The Suburban Strange
Author: Nathan Kotecki
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Genre: Paranormal
Blurb: Shy Celia Balaustine is new to Suburban High, but a mysterious group of sophomores called the Rosary has befriended her. Friends aside, Celia soon discovers something is not quite right at Suburban. Girls at the school begin having near-fatal accidents on the eve of their sixteenth birthdays. Who is causing the accidents, and why? As Celia’s own birthday approaches, she is inexorably drawn into an underground conflict between good and evil—the Kind and the Unkind—that bubbles beneath Suburban High. Plentiful references to music and art—along with the intriguing underworld mythology—make this supernatural series debut a page-turner.
Excitement Factor: Maybe, if I’ve got nothing else on my bookshelf.