Sunday, March 31, 2013

State of the Stack (March 31, 2013)

This is my monthly State of the Stack post. It is my way to keep track of my review books and to hopefully reduce the stack that I have waiting for me. I take a look at my review commitments on the last Monday of each month. Please feel free to join in and let me know the state of your stack.

Here is my Review Books Spreadsheet. Yellow highlighted books are ones past their publication date that I still haven't read and reviewed. I use pink highlights for reviews due in even numbered months so that I can see at a glance how many I have for each month. Ideally, this keeps me from over-committing to review books.  


My Physical Review Pile

I put these in order by publication date this month.
Still Waiting 
The Spanish Revenge by Allan Topol
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel (Blog Tour on April 23)

April Releases
Taken by Erin Bowman
Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright
Soldier Dog by Sam Angus
Furious by Jill Wolfson
The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick
Behind the Lies by Robin Perini
An Affair of Deceit by Jamie Michele
One + One = Blue by M. J. Auch

May Releases
Monument 14: Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne
Of Triton by Anna Banks

June Releases
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox
Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner

July Releases
Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

August Releases
Dark Waters by Toni Anderson
My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie


My Kindle Review Pile

Here are the books on my Kindle or computer that are waiting for review. I have listed them in the order that they will be (or were) published.
Sharp by Alex Hughes (April 2 publication but April 18 Blog Tour date)
The Rules by Stacey Kade (April 23)
manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen (April 23)
Bare It All by Lori Foster (April 30 publication but May 13 Blog Tour date)
Battleship by Dorothy Ours (April 30)
Headed for Trouble by Suzanne Brockmann (April 30)
Sketchy by Olivia Samms (April 30)
The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (April 30)
Cuts Through Bone by Alaric Hunt (May 14)
The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston (May 14)
The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross (May 21)
The Last Girl by Jane Casey (May 21)
The Caretaker by A. X. Ahmad (May 21)
Dare You To by Katie McGarry (May 28)
Aberration by Lisa Regan (June 6)
When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears by Kersten Hamilton (August 6)
Charmed Vengeance by Suzanne Lazear (August 8)
The Deepest Night by Shana Abé (August 13)

I Read This Month

These are listed in the order I read them. Links go to my reviews for all that have been posted already. Otherwise, the date the review is scheduled for is listed.
  1. Unremembered by Jessica Brody
  2. The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  3. Finn Finnegan by Darby Karchut
  4. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
  5. Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron
  6. Poison by Bridget Zinn
  7. The Best Man by Kristan Higgins
  8. Hysteria by Megan Miranda
  9. Six Years by Harlan Coben
  10. Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson
  11. Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman
  12. Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
  13. Buried: A Bone Secrets Novel by Kendra Elliot
  14. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
  15. Three Sisters by Susan Mallery
  16. Pivot Point by Kasie West
  17. Always on My Mind by Bella Andre (April 4)
  18. 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
  19. Crossfire: The Darkride Chronicles by Laura Bradley Rede (April 4)
  20. The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig (April 6)
  21. The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abé (April 6)
  22. Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka (April 10)
I Added These Books

These are listed in the order I received them. Links go to Amazon. Date received and date published are listed in parentheses.
  1. Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (Amazon Vine; 2/28; March 12)
  2. Behind the Lies by Robin Perini (Amazon Vine; 2/28; April 23)
  3. Aberration by Lisa Regan (Author; 2/28; June 6)
  4. Always on My Mind by Bella Andre (Publicist; 3/2; March 5)
  5. The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross (NetGalley; 3/3; May 21)
  6. Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (Macmillan; 3/5; July 2)
  7. Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel (Blog Tour; 3/5; April 23 post date)
  8. An Affair of Deceit by Jamie Michele (Amazon Vine; 3/8; April 30)
  9. Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright (Amazon Vine; 3/8; April 16)
  10. Charmed Vengeance by Suzanne Lazear (NetGalley; 3/17; August 8)
  11. The Deepest Night by Shana Abe (NetGalley; 3/18; August 13)
  12. Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka (Publicist; 3/18; March 26)
  13. Cuts Through Bone by Alaric Hunt (Minotaur Books; 3/22; May 14)
  14. When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears (Author; 3/22; August 6)
  15. Dare You To by Katie McGarry (NetGalley; 3/25; May 28)
  16. Taken by Erin Bowman (Amazon Vine; 3/27; April 16)
  17. Dark Waters by Toni Anderson (Amazon Vine; 3/27; August 6)
  18. The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick (LibraryThing; 3/27; April 23)
  19. Sharp: A Mindspace Investigations Novel by Alex Hughes (Blog tour; 3/27; April 2)
On the Calendar for the Next Couple Weeks


Sharp by Alex Hughes
Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright
 The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick
Taken by Erin Bowman
Soldier Dog by Sam Angus 
Furious by Jill Wolfson

How are you doing with your review stack?

Stacking the YA Shelves (March 31, 2013)

Tynga of Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

I added eight books to my TBR mountain this week. Most of them were ebooks which saves space on my crowded TBR shelves.

Review Books:
When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears by Kersten Hamilton came due to an author request. Kersten emailed me and asked if I would be willing to read this one as I had read and reviewed the first two books in this trilogy. I agreed because I want to know how the story ends. I received a link to NetGalley but was sort of disappointed to find that I could only get an Adobe Digital Editions version of the book. It won't be released until August 6 so I'll probably have to download this one a couple more times when it comes close to expiring.

I also got Dare You To by Katie McGarry from NetGalley this week. I loved Pushing the Limits and can't wait to read this one. It will be released on May 28.

Taken by Erin Bowman was an Amazon Vine pick. I have heard good things about this debut author's dystopia and I wanted to read it for myself. This book will be released on April 16.

Kindle Daily Deals:
Crossing by Andrew Fukuda sounded like an interesting mystery. I was also interested because the main character is not typical. 

I hadn't heard of Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker before I saw it as a daily deal. I liked the blurb even though I don't read very many contemporary love stories or read the authors this author is supposed to write like.
The Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker has been on my wishlist for a while. I couldn't pass it up when it showed up as a daily deal. I like fairy tales and stories based on fairy tales. 

See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles is a book I had heard of and been curious about. I got this one because I am trying to read more contemporary fiction. 

Bought:
When I saw that the last book in Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series was coming out soon, I checked my shelves and realized that I was one book behind. I bought Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent so that I could get caught up. 

What did you get this week?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

ARC Review: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

17 & Gone
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publication: Dutton Juvenile (March 21, 2013)

Description: Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And . . . is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

My Thoughts: 17 & Gone surprised me. I went into it thinking it was one kind of book and it turned into something unexpected. The language is lush, the descriptions vivid, and the pacing is slow.

It might have started when Lauren sees the Missing poster for Abby Sinclair. It might have started years earlier when her babysitter disappeared. Now, Lauren is obsessed with the number of girls who go missing at age 17. Since she is 17, she is worried that she will be one of those missing girls. 

Lauren sees visions of the girls—many girls—and visions of a burning, smoke filled house. She doesn't know what the girls want from her beyond wanting someone to know their story. But Abby is never in the house. 

Lauren's search to find out what happened to Abby causes her relationships with everyone—her Mom, her boyfriend Jamie, her best friend Deena—to be ruined as she spends more and more time in her head with these visions and in her search for Abby.

The plot twist toward the end of the book came as a real surprise to me. I can't tell you what it is with revealing a real spoiler. But looking back, I should have seen more clues than I did. I had an uneasy feeling as I read this book even as I got involved in Lauren's life and quest. 

Readers are in for a surprise when they read this one. 

Favorite Quote:
Once you tuck one secret inside yourself, digging out a little pocket to hold it, you'll find the pocket can be stretched to fit another. And another, and another...until you've got yourself a whole collection.
I got this ARC through the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Memes: 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week I am spotlighting 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma. I got an ARC of this mystery through the Amazon Vine program. Here is the description:
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And . . . is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.
Beginning:
Girls go missing every day. They slip out of bedroom windows and into strange cars. They leave good-bye notes or don't get a chance to tell anyone. 
Friday 56:
I watched him move away from my hand, shrink back and retreat. It felt like witnessing something die between us, a stop-animation visual of of a rotting and shriveling thing turning to particles of gray dust, then the wind lifting that dust up until there was nothing. I knew I should care.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

ARC Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Publication: HarperTeen (February 12, 2013)

Description: Knowing the outcome doesn't always make a choice easier. . . .


Addison Coleman's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It's the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie's parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the "Norms," or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it's not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback's girlfriend. When Addie's father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she's unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she's willing to live through . . . and who she can't live without.

My Thoughts: Addie Coleman has a psychic power. She is a Searcher. When she looks at the future she can see two paths and see the consequences of following each one. When her parents tell her that they are getting a divorce and that she has to choose between staying in the Compound among others with paranormal powers and her mother or go out into the normal world with her father. This story follows her two paths.

The book in written in alternate chapters. In one chapter we see what would happen if she stayed with her mother. In the next chapter we see what would happen if she goes with her father. Both paths have interesting boys. The para path has Duke Rivers—football hero and all around hottie. The norm path has Trevor who is also a hottie and a secret artist and an injured football player. Both paths have Addie's best friend Laila. 

The story centers around a couple mysteries. Who is killing girls in the Compound? Who is injuring football players in the norm world? I was reading frantically toward the last half as the two threads of the story were overlapping more and more and the tension kept building up. I loved Addie's voice in this story. She was a wonderful nerd who got a lot of guidance about how to behave from the books she read. She had a very dry sense of humor and very literal mind. I liked her ideas of the things a child of divorce should do. Her idea of teenage rebellion was funny. Those humorous bits helped set off some of the much more frightening bits of the story. 

I think readers will be swept along as Addie explores her two futures and will agonize with her about what choice to make when there is no choice without heartbreaking loss. I recommend this one to science fiction fans. 

Favorite Quote:
"Hey, I'm still in my-parents-just-got-a-divorce mode. Remember? This is the time when I'm allowed to question all relationships, wonder if true love exists at all anymore, and swear to a life of celibacy."
I got this ARC from Amazon Vine. You can buy your copy here.
-

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Pivot Point by Kasey West

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teaser comes from the ARC of Pivot Point by Kasie West. I got this ARC from Amazon Vine and recently got it back from a friend who wanted to read it. You can see her review here. Her enthusiasm for the book made me want to read it too. It was released on February 12. Here is the description:
Knowing the outcome doesn't always make a choice easier. . . .

Addison Coleman's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It's the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie's parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the "Norms," or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it's not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback's girlfriend. When Addie's father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she's unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she's willing to live through . . . and who she can't live without.
Teaser:
"Heads up," a loud voice called from my right. I looked up just in time to see a football smack me right between the eyes.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stacking the YA Shelves (March 24, 2013)


Tynga of Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

This week I added three ebooks to my TBR mountain.

Review Books
Charmed Vengeance by Suzanne Lazear is the sequel to Innocent Darkness which I read and reviewed last summer. It will be released on August 8. The first one was an interesting combination of fantasy about fairies and steampunk. 

The Deepest Night by Shana Abe is the sequel to The Sweetest Dark which is nearing the top of my review stack. This one will be released on August 13. These two books are bringing her Drakon world to the young adult reader. 

Bought
The first book in the Septimus Heap series: Magyk by Angie Sage was a Kindle Daily Deal this week. I have seen the series around and have some young fans in my media center. I thought I would put it on my Kindle for "someday" reading. 

This were the books I got. What did you get this week?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

ARC Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me
Author: Emily Murdoch
Publication: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (March 26, 2013)

Description: There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.


My Thoughts: What an amazing, heart-tugging story! Carey and her little sister Janessa have lived deep in a state forest with their meth and alcohol addicted mother. Carey has been living there for nine years struggling to survive and keep her little sister safe and fed. Their mother has become more and more unreliable, leaving them for long periods of time, and beating and burning them when she is there. 

When the story begins, Carey and Janessa have been on their own for two months. Then, out of the woods, comes a social worker and Carey's father. It seems their mother had sent a message saying she couldn't take care of the kids and giving vague directions about where to find them. 

Carey and Janessa have to adjust to a whole world they don't know anything about. Carey's father takes them home where he introduces them to his wife Melissa and his stepdaughter Delaney. Carey had been told over and over again by her mother that she had taken her from her father because he beat them both. She is very distrustful of him and worried for Janessa. Janessa had gone selectively mute after a traumatic incident a year before while the girls were still in the forest. 

Watching Carey cope with her new world—including her first experience with attending school—and seeing her strength and growth made this an excellent story of courage and survival. I loved watching her slowly begin to trust her new family. I loved her relationship with her little sister. She was much more like Janessa's mother than her real mother ever was.

There is even some romance in the book. Ryan Shipley helps her out on her first day of high school when Delaney abandons her to crowd. He tries to get close to Carey but she doesn't know anything about boys. Her ideas of the opposite sex were formed by the men her mother sold her to. It takes time for she and Ryan to get on the same page. Ryan knew her before the kidnapping but Carey didn't remember him at first. 

Fans of contemporary fiction on the gritty side will really enjoy this story.

Favorite Quote:
Home. Four letters heavier than twenty thousand elephants. It's like he's saying a word bursting with a bunch of other words not yet ready for saying. His expression shifts, reminding me of the twists of colored glass in Nessa's garage-sale kaleidoscope.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Memes: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch


Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week I am spotlighting a book I got from NetGalley for review. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch sounded like an amazing survival story. Here is the description:
There are some things you can’t leave behind…


A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
Beginning:
Mama says no matter how poor folks are, whether you're a have, a have-not, or break your mama's back on the cracks in between, the world gives away the best stuff on the cheap. Like the way the white-hot mornin' light dances in diamonds across the surface of our creek. Or the creek itself, babblin' music all day long like Nessa when she was a baby.
 Friday 56:
I sit back in a huff, watching the cars zoom by, quite numerous now, as are the flecks of light thumbtacking the land in the distance. My emotions swirl like leaves caught in the breath of a dust devil, and the only thing I can seem to hold on to is the anger.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

ARC Review: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila 2.0
Author: Debra Driza
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books (March 12, 2013)

Description: Mila was living with her mother in a small Minnesota town when she discovered she was also living a lie. 

She was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was never supposed to remember the past.

Now she has no choice but to run--from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much, and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. 

Evading her enemies won't help Mila escape the cruel reality of what she is and cope with everything she has had to leave behind. However, what she's becoming is beyond anyone's imagination, including her own, and that just might save her life. 

A compulsively readable sci-fi thriller, Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza's bold debut and the first book in an action-filled, Bourne Identity-style trilogy.


My Thoughts: MILA 2.0 was an exciting and entertaining science fiction story. The story begins with Mila moving with her mother to a horse farm in Clearwater, MN after the death of her father. Mila is trying to fit in. She has been befriended by Kaylee but, when Hunter comes to the school, Kaylee shows her true self as a jealous rival for Hunter's attention. In fact, she tries to kill Mila by driving recklessly after forcing her into the back of her pickup truck so that she can monopolize Hunter's attention in the cab. Mila is thrown from the truck and cuts a gash in her arm which reveals something other than flesh and bone. Mila goes to her mother for an explanation which rocks everything she thought she knew about herself.

Mila's mother is actually the scientist who helped create her. She has stolen her from the lab and evil General Holland who created her to be a war machine and is eager to terminate her because she is too human. They go on the run but are captured by General Holland's troops and returned to the lab. Mila and the woman she thinks of as her mother are separated and Mila is forced to go through a bunch of testing to save both her life and her mother's. Mila is called Mila 2.0 and General Holland has created a Mila 3.0 who is more to his liking without all those human emotions. 

Mila does her best and is even befriended by one of the young scientists. Lukas comes to recognize how human she is and wants to help her. However like Mila, he is being coerced into General Holland's service because of threats to someone he loves. He does manage to engineer Mila and her mother's escape though both he and Mila's mother are gravely injured.

I liked this story. I liked Mila's discomfort with the thought that she was not human and her reluctance to embrace her android strengths. I also liked her devotion to her mother. I thought that she was one of the most human characters in the story. She far surpassed General Holland's humanity. He did make an excellent villain though. He was crazy and obsessed with carrying out his secret scientific mission. He was blind to anyone's opinion except his own and willfully blind to the truth of Mila's humanity. 

I look forward to reading the next books in this trilogy to find out Mila's fate. Science fiction fans will enjoy this one. 

Favorite Quote:
My fingers squeezed the wheel, so tightly that I felt the metal underneath the padding start to yield. No matter what, I wouldn't let anyone change me. I wouldn't let them strip away whatever tiny parts of me were human. 

...a fighting machine...

Assuming I had any humanity to lose.
Have you seen the trailer?

I received this ARC through the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review: The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

The Fox Inheritance
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (August 30, 2011)

Description: Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.

Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.

Everyone except Jenna Fox.

My Thoughts: This sequel to THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX takes place 260 after the events of that story and are told form Locke's point of view. He and Kara have been removed from the black boxes where they spent those years and given strong, healthy new bodies. Locke is wondering when the doctor who did the procedures—Dr. Gatsbro—will let them leave his isolated estate.

He learns that Jenna is still alive. He also learns that the doctor who rebuilt their bodies is planning to sell his procedure to the highest bidder even though the procedure is still illegal. He and Kara decide to escape from the estate and make their way to where Jenna is. Locke has come through those isolated years sane; Kara has not. She blames Jenna for their long period of isolation and is determined to have revenge on her. 

The story is a journey story. Locke experiences both the physical journey of traveling across the country and the emotional journey of adjusting to a world that is completely strange to him and in which everyone he loved—except Jenna and Kara—are gone. He makes friends along the way with a CabBot named Dot and with one of the humans who was one of his caretakers—Miesha. 

When he gets to Jenna, he finds that neither of them are the people they were but the friendship is still there for the two of them. Locke is looking a for reason to live since he no longer has his parents' expectations as a guide. He wants to have a purpose. He also wants to change the world to make it a better place for people like him whose existence is illegal, for Bots, for the NonPacts who are the fringe people in this new world. He admires Jenna for the work she has done in this regard but doesn't want to have to spend 90 years at is as Jenna did. 

The story gives a reader a lot to think about as they contemplate what makes a human. The story also made me think about the nature of friendship and love. I liked watching Locke grow and I really liked connecting with Jenna again. 

Favorite Quote:
She's wrong. I have a fabricated body. I am in a world that is completely different from the one I was born into. What I think is all I have left. My mind is the only thing that makes me different from a fancy toaster. What we think does matter—it's all we truly have. But I know the conversation is over. 
I bought this book. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week my teaser comes from Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza. I received my ARC through the Amazon Vine program. The book was released on March 12. I chose it for two reasons: 1) it is science fiction and 2) it is set in Minnesota. It is also Debra Driza's debut novel. Here is the description:
Mila was living with her mother in a small Minnesota town when she discovered she was also living a lie. 

She was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was never supposed to remember the past.

Now she has no choice but to run--from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much, and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. 

Evading her enemies won't help Mila escape the cruel reality of what she is and cope with everything she has had to leave behind. However, what she's becoming is beyond anyone's imagination, including her own, and that just might save her life. 

A compulsively readable sci-fi thriller, Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza's bold debut and the first book in an action-filled, Bourne Identity-style trilogy.
Teaser:
All three of us stared at my arm. And stared. And stared. It was like none of us could believe what we were seeing. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions: Blog Design (March 18, 2013)




Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that posts the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, where book bloggers "confess" and vent about blogging/bookish topics. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions. It is hosted by Karen at For What It's Worth and Pam from Midnyte ReaderOne of the hosts will give us a question to respond to and a linky for sharing our responses and developing community.

This week's question is: What is important in design for the blogs you follow? What features/elements do you appreciate? What are big turn off's?

I follow a huge number of blogs through Google Reader. Blog design isn't very important to me because I don't actually visit the blogs unless I am planning to comment. I am also not a very visual person. My own blog designs probably haven't changed for more than a year. 

I like clear fonts and contrasting colors. Red letters on black backgrounds in an ornate font really turn me off. I don't like a lot of distracting sidebar junk. I also don't like to play hide and seek. If it isn't easy to see how to follow a blog or how to comment on a post, I won't bother. Blogs that use Captcha for comments are sometimes annoying. I am good at Captcha but will only give it two tries. If I haven't figured it out by then, I just don't comment and move on to a blog where commenting is easier. 

My biggest pet peeve though has to be blogs that play music when a person visits. I stay at those the absolute minimum amount of time I need to do whatever it is I came to the blog to do. It is especially annoying when I can't find the music player and TURN IT OFF. 

What design elements matter to you?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Stacking the YA Shelves (March 17, 2013)

Tynga of Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

This was a light week for me. I just got three books.
I took advantage of two Daily Deals from Amazon for my Kindle. I got Touch of Death by Kelly Hashway and The Tree Shepherd's Daughter by Gillian Summers. 
I read the eARC of Poison by Bridget Zinn and thought it was very good. I decided to buy a finished copy and donate it to my HS Media Center for my students to enjoy.

While you are here, why don't you click this link and enter to win a copy of Hysteria by Megan Miranda? Sorry but this one is open to US residents only.

What did you get this week?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

ARC Review: Fox Forever by Mary E. Pearson

Fox Forever
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication:  Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (March 19, 2013)

Description: Locke Jenkins has some catching up to do. After spending 260 years as a disembodied mind in a little black box, he has a perfect new body. But before he can move on with his unexpected new life, he’ll have to return the Favor he accepted from the shadowy resistance group known as the Network.


Locke must infiltrate the home of a government official by gaining the trust of his daughter, seventeen-year-old Raine, and he soon finds himself pulled deep into the world of the resistance—and into Raine’s life.

Mary E. Pearson brings the story she began in The Adoration of Jenna Fox and continued in The Fox Inheritance to a breathtaking conclusion as Locke discovers that being truly human requires much more than flesh and blood.

My Thoughts: In FOX FOREVER Locke has to return a Favor. In this future there was a civil war. The country was not divided but the people were, choosing one of two different governments. Some people didn't choose. Now, five generations later, the descendants of those who didn't choose are a disenfranchised minority without access to education, jobs, and public transportation. An underground developed to help those disenfranchised. They are the ones who helped Locke find his way to Jenna who had been a long time supporter.

Now there is a chance for the the country to be reunited and the underground wants to be part of the new government. However, they need a leader and money. That is where Locke comes in. For his Favor, all he has to do is "charm" the daughter of the leader of the security forces who might have captured the Resistance leader who knows the code to access some missing money—80 billion duros. Karden is the Resistance leader who needs to be freed. He is also the husband of Locke's friend Miesha who believed her husband and daughter were killed in a fire by security forces. 

Meeting Raine Branson throws a kink in the Resistance's plans for Locke. Locke falls for her and falls even harder when he learns who she really is. He still needs to find out where her father has Karden hidden but Raine is no longer potential "collateral damage." 

This story was a combination of heart-pounding adventure and philosophy. Locke struggles to understand his place in this new world. He questions his own humanity. The ending made me cry and then made be breathe a satisfied sigh. The Chronicles of Jenna Fox: The Adoration of Jenna Fox, The Fox Inheritance, and Fox Forever make up a wonderful trilogy that goes beyond science fiction and dystopias to encourage readers to think the big thoughts for themselves. 

I heartily recommend the series to all thoughtful readers. 

Favorite Quote:
Slowly, I pull my lips away from hers.

Jenna.

But the reality isn't the same as the dream. It's different now. She's not the same girl I knew. I hear her words again...None of us are what we once were. How is it that she knew this all along, but I didn't? I do love her, but not the way I thought I did. Not the way I had always imagined. Our live race past me. All the times before. All the times with Kara when we were three. We held hands. We crossed a line. We made one another braver. All the things that Jenna meant to me at a certain time in my life.
I received this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. You can buy your copy here