Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Memes: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

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 Something Real by Heather Demetrios. I got this ARC from Macmillan. Here is the description of this contemporary story.
Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show's cancellation, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it's about to fall apart . . . because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™'s mom and the show's producers won't let her quit and soon the life that she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

Heather Demetrios' Something Real is the winner of the Susan P. Bloom PEN New England Discovery Award.
Beginning:
It took me four years, seven shrinks, three different hair colors, one Zen meditation retreat, and over six hundred mochas to get to this moment. 
Friday 56:
I swerve into the next strip mall and park in the middle of the half-full lot. I don't know if MetaReel has bugged my car or not, so I get out and cast a furtive glance over my shoulder, as if the police are hot on my trail for playing hooky. I glance at my phone: ten texts. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

ARC Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, Book 3
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (February 4, 2014)

Description: Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

My Thoughts: CRESS is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles. You must read CINDER and SCARLET to avoid massive confusion.

The story begins with Cress. Cress is a Lunar shell who has been placed in a satellite orbiting Earth to spy on Earth for the Lunar Queen. She is alone in the satellite and has been for seven years. She is about sixteen years old. She is also an accomplished hacker and a fan of fairy tales and opera. Her only visitor is the Thaumaturge Sybil Mara who comes to bring her supplies, take blood samples, and give her orders. She has been gathering information about Cinder as she has been commanded but she hasn't been passing it on. In fact, she has been helping Cinder hide.

Meanwhile, Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf are orbiting in Thorne's stolen ship and trying to come up with a plan to keep Emperor Kai from marrying Queen Levana. Cinder doesn't want to be a hero but it looks like the job is hers anyway. She is frightened and very out of her depth. She has just learned that she is a Lunar and the missing Princess Selene who is the rightful heir to the Lunar throne.

They attempt to free Cress from her satellite but in the effort Scarlet is captured and taken to Luna and Thorne and Cress are in the satellite when it crashes in the Sahara Desert. An injured Wolf, Cinder, Iko and a captured Lunar soldier are the only ones left on Wolf's ship. They decide to go to Africa to find Dr. Erland to get medical help for Wolf.

Cress and a now-blind Thorne have to travel through the desert to try to find help. While Thorne tries to convince Cress that he isn't the hero she has imagined, Cress is still convinced that he is the handsome hero who freed her from her tower and that they are destined to be together.

This story weaves Cress's adventures, Cinder's adventures, and even what is happening to Kai as he prepares for his wedding. We see very little of Scarlet once she gets to Luna but what we do see are examples of Lunar contempt to humans.

This story was exciting and really moved the plot along. It was filled with danger, intrigue, and romance. It is the third book in a series of four so nothing was really resolved. I can't wait to read WINTER to see how all these plot threads come together.

Favorite Quote:
Cress shifted back, happy to keep Cinder and Wolf between her and whatever awaited them in the hall.

Iko bent toward her. "That dress looks amazing on you," she said. "Cinder, doesn't she look amazing?"

Cinder sighed as the elevator came to a full stop. "Iko, after this, were going to start working on occasion appropriateness."
I got this ARC from Macmillan for review. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ARC Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (January 28, 2014)

Description: The romance of Beauty and the Beast meets the adventure of Graceling in a dazzling fantasy novel about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.


Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny.

But on her seventeenth birthday, when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is as she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband.

Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

For fans of bestselling authors Kristin Cashore and Alex Flinn, this gorgeously written debut infuses the classic fairy tale with glittering magic, a feisty heroine, and a romance sure to take your breath away.

My Thoughts: CRUEL BEAUTY was an interesting reading experience for me. I am not sure what I think about the story. There were parts of the book I found tedious and I found myself putting the book down frequently to go do something - anything - else. But there was something, beyond my commitment to Amazon Vine to read and review all the books I pick, that kept me picking up the book again.

This book bears some similarities to Beauty and the Beast. Not in the characters though. Beauty was loving, selfless and honorable while Nyx was angry, resentful, and conflicted. Beauty was raised by a loving father; Nyx's father raised her to be a tool for his vengeance for a mistake that he made. Nyx never felt that he loved her or even saw her as a real person. The Beast was the victim of a curse; Ignifex was the victim of his own bargains. 

The story takes place in a fairy tale world cut off from the real world. It is ruled by a demon called the Gentle Lord. Because of a bad bargain her father made, Nyx is required to marry the Gentle Lord which is a fate that frightens her. She has been trained to assassinate him which her father and his group believes will free their world to be part of the real world again.

When Nyx enters the castle she discovers her new husband who tells her to call him Ignifex and learns that she can be free if she guesses his name but will die if she guesses incorrectly. As they spend time together, Nyx begins to fall in love with him despite her vow to kill him. After all, he is the only one who sees all of her, both the evil and the good, and loves her anyway. But she also meets Shade who is Ignifex's shadow and who only becomes human at night. His kindness and willingness to help her to the limits of his ability makes Nyx fall in love with him too.

There were no heroes in this story. Everyone was some shade of villain. While this makes the story more realistic, it does make it harder to know who the reader should root for. Also, no one was quite who they seemed to be. Since the story is told in the first person from Nyx's point of view, we get to know her best. The only problem is that she doesn't know herself very well and she is so conflicted about what she wants to do. She is torn between her vows for vengeance and her love for Ignifex, her concern for the fate of her world and for her own happiness.

The story is complex and based on Greco-Roman mythology. Nyx needs to unravel clues and explore the castle to find out if she can keep her vow and kill Ignifex without destroying her whole world. While I resented the infodump that consumed the first two chapters of the book, it did provide necessary information about the world and the characters. I just think it could have been integrated more seamlessly into the story.

My favorite parts of the book were the conversations between Ignifex and Nyx as they were sparring and getting to know each other. They were like gold nuggets sprinkled through the story.

Readers who are fans of lush language and fantasy will enjoy this debut novel. While I didn't find it completely successful, I know I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Favorite Quote:
I still wasn't sure that I loved him. Love—the kind that was holy to Aphrodite—was not something I had ever allowed myself to think about much. If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?
I got this ARC through Amazon Vine. You can buy your copy here

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Cress by Marissa Meyer

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!

Teaser:
It always came back to love. More than freedom, more than acceptance—love. True love, like the kind they sang about in the second era. The kind that filled up a person's soul. The kind that lent itself to dramatic gestures and sacrifices. The kind the was irresistible and all-encompassing. 
This teaser comes from one of my most anticipated books of 2014—Cress by Marissa Meyer. Here is the description of the 3rd book in the Lunar Chronicles:
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Monday, January 27, 2014

State of the Stack (Jan. 27, 2014)

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 Review Pile

Here they all are grouped by month and release date. Links go to Amazon. Kindle titles are marked with an asterisk.

February
*Breaking Ties by Jo Grafford (Oct. 16, 2013)
*Shame on You by Tara Sivec (Feb. 25)
*Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette (Feb. 25)
Unforgotten by Jessica Brody (Feb. 25)
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci (Feb. 25)
*A Taste Fur Murder by Dixie Lyle (Feb. 25)

March
*Waking Up Pregnant by Mira Lyn Kelly (March 1)
*Eyes Closed Tight by Peter Leonard (March 4)
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (March 4)
Retribution by Anderson Harp (March 4)
*Blood Guard by Carter Roy (March 4)
Nil by Lynne Matson (March 4)
*Beneath the Patchwork Moon by Alison Kent (March 18)
*Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Kiam (March 18)
*The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson (March 25)
*The Revenant of Thraxton Hall by Vaughn Entwistle (March 25)

April
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira (April 1)
Sekret by Lindsay Smith (April 1)
Dangerous by Shannon Hale (April 1)
*Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong (April 8)
Plus One by Elizabeth Fama (April 8)
*House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple (April 15)
*Project Paper Doll: The Hunt by Stacey Kade (April 22)
*The Islands of Chaldea by Dianna Wynne Jones (April 22)
*The Taking by Kimberly Derting (April 29)

May
*Royally Lost by Angie Stanton (May 6)
Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (May 13)

June
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (June 3)

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.
  • The Rule of Three by Eric Walters
  • The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles
  • Alienated by Melissa Landers
  • Carousel Sun by Sharon Lee (Jan. 30)
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer (Feb. 1)
  • Something Real by Heather Demetrios (Feb. 1)
  • Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
  • Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann (Jan. 29)
  • Be Mine Forever by Marina Adair
  • Love on Mimosa Lane by Anna DeStefano
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (Jan. 29)
  • Perfect Lies by Kiersten White (Feb. 8)
  • Grandmaster by David Klass (Feb. 13)
  • Runner by Patrick Lee (Feb. 15)
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.
Next Month's Plan

It is just my goal to stay a few weeks ahead on my blog. As I am writing this, I have review books read, reviews written and posts scheduled through Feb. 13. I am currently reading the books that will be released at the end of February. 

What's the state of your stack?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stacking the YA Shelves (Jan. 26, 2014)

Tynga of  Team 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 took advantage of lots of Kindle Daily Deals this week.
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Searle
Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight

The Spring and Summer Review Books have started to arrive:
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (June 3)

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

ARC Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (February 4, 2014)

Description: Interplanetary relations have never been more exciting! The first in a funny, romantic YA sci-fi series.

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L'eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she'll have inside information about the mysterious L'eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara's blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn't sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L'eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn't seem more alien. She's certain about one thing though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn't just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life-not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

My Thoughts: Cara Sweeney has been chosen to host an alien foreign exchange student for the coming school year. She was picked out of all the class valedictorians in the United States to host one of three L'eihr young people coming to Earth. While she is grateful to the L'eihr for providing the cancer cure that saved her mother's life, and, while she is eager for the generous college scholarship that hosting will provide, she doesn't want to be the one chosen. But Cara is competitive and, if she has to host a L'eihr, she is going to be the best host ever.

Aelyx is one of three L'eihr chosen by the Elders for the exchange program. He doesn't want to go to Earth and be surrounded by primitive, violent, unintelligent humans. He and his Aegis have hatched a plan to sabotage the intended alliance and nothing is going to stop him.

Aelyx doesn't know what to make of the loud, emotional, and demonstrative family he is placed with but Cara's kindness and determination to make him comfortable begin to grow on him. Unfortunately, many of the outside world including Cara's best friend and boyfriend belong to the political group that doesn't want an alliance and wants to expel the L'eihr from Earth. Watching Cara have to deal with the harassment of other students and watching her friends turn away from her was painful to read. Watching Aelyx and Cara fall in love was sweet though.

When the hidden reasons for the alliance are finally revealed, Aelyx and Cara have to fight for their relationship and for the fates of their planets.

This was an exciting science fiction story and great romance too.

Favorite Quote:
But she had a feeling Marcus would laugh his lacrosse pads off if he could see her now, slumped in the principal's wingback guest chair, mouth agape as she tried to form a coherent response to the "awesome news" Mr. Ferguson had just tossed into her lap like a live grenade.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Memes: Alienated by Melissa Landers

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 Alienated by Melissa Landers. I got this eARC science fiction story from NetGalley for review. Here is the description of this Feb. 4 release:
Interplanetary relations have never been more exciting! The first in a funny, romantic YA sci-fi series.

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L'eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she'll have inside information about the mysterious L'eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara's blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn't sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L'eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn't seem more alien. She's certain about one thing though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn't just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life-not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.
Beginning:
Winning. Cara Sweeney had made it her business, and business was good. Honor Society president? Check. Young Leader Award? Check. State debate challenge two years running? Double check. 
Friday 56:
"I wonder which one's mine." She hoped it was the short one "talking" to the ambassador. He was the only one who smiled—the only one who looked human. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

ARC Review: The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles

The Lost Planet
Author: Rachel Searles
Publication: Feiwel & Friends (January 28, 2014)

Description: This is what the boy is told:

*He woke up on planet Trucon, inside of a fence line he shouldn't have been able to cross.
*He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
*He has no memory.
*He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
*His name is Chase Garrety.

This is what Chase Garrety knows:

*He has a message: "Guide the star."
*Time is running out.

My Thoughts: This was an action-packed science fiction story. A young boy wakes up with no memory on a planet he has never seen. How he arrived is a mystery. He is taken in by a slightly older boy named Parker and his android guardian Mina. A memory chip in his head says his name is Chase Garrety but is otherwise so damaged that nothing can be gleaned from it. Parker's guardian is Asa Kaplan - a shadowy figure who Parker has never met.

Shortly after Chase arrives, the planet is destroyed which leaves the boys fleeing for their lives. On the way to a nearby planet they rescue a young man from space. They learn that he is Maurus, an officer in the Fleet even though he is a Lyolian, who is being blamed for the destruction of the planet. Together and separately, they are on the run from the Fleet and other criminals who are trying to capture them.

The story is one long chase scene. Along with not knowing who he can trust, Chase has to deal with the fact the he has no memory of his past and he is developing strange new powers. It is Chase's lack of self-awareness that caused most of my problems with this book. I couldn't connect with him because I just didn't know enough about him. I didn't have much more luck connecting with Parker. Being raised by an android without much other contact, I expected him to be socially awkward. But I didn't expect him to be a liar, a thief, self-absorbed and tactless.

Fans of action and science fiction who don't feel a need to connect with the characters but can be carried along by the action will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
Whether his were from a real memory or an implanted one, whether he was actually Chase Garrety or a man-made replacement, he knew there was a little girl who needed his help. A little girl who held the answers to who he was, and what had happened to him. A resolution formed in his chest, hard as a diamond. He would get off this ship, and he would rescue her.
I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ARC Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publication: HarperTeen (January 28, 2014)

Description: From New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan, Uninvited is a chilling and suspenseful story about a girl whose DNA brands her as a killer, perfect for fans of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Confessions of a Murder Suspect.


Davy had everything—a terrific boyfriend, the homecoming crown, a bright future at Juilliard—but when her genetic tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, she loses it all. Uninvited from her prestigious school and avoided by her friends and family, she is placed in a special class with other "carriers" who are treated like the murderers they someday might become.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life and tells her that she alone controls her actions—not the code embedded in her DNA. But even if she can learn to trust him, can Davy trust herself?

My Thoughts: UNINVITED was the compelling readable, first person account of a girl who had it all and who lost it in the blink of an eye. Scientists have identified a gene in this near future science fiction story called the HTS (Homicidal Tendency Syndrome) gene better known as the kill gene. There is a strong correlation between those with this gene and convicted murders. 

When it is learned that Davy Hamilton has the gene, she is uninvited from her prestigious high school and uninvited from Julliard. She is a musical prodigy who plays a number of instruments, sings, and composes music. None of those matter though because she has this gene. 

Now Davy has a caseworker from the Wainwright Agency and is attending a public school where she is secluded from the other students in the bowels of the building and caged with other HTS carriers. There are six students in the group. Two of the boys are genuinely violent. The other girl is being abused by the "teacher" who is in charge of the group. The two other boys are Gil and Sean O'Rourke. Gil had a perfect ACT score, is talented at math and computers, and had been admitted to MIT until he was identified as a character. Unfortunately, he isn't physically imposing or a fighter. The other boy is Sean O'Rourke. He is physically imposing and attractive too. He is also a foster child who has committed some act of violence and has the neck tattoo that identifies him as an HTS carrier to anyone who looks at him. While he is reluctant to get involved with Davy, he is still protective of her. After a betrayal by her boyfriend and her ex-BFF, Davy is sporting the neck tattoo too. 

When the government decides to intern all the carriers in camps, Davy is offered the chance to attend a special training school. It looks like her best option for survival. Gil and Sean are selected too. At this training camp, they are learning to be obedient killers. After one particularly harrowing episode, Sean, Gil and Davy decide to try to escape even though there really isn't anywhere for them to go.

What struck me most particularly about this story was that much of the evil was done by those who were not HTS carriers. Starting with the cowardly and easily led ex-boyfriend and the spiteful and jealous ex-BFF, Davy is surrounded by people who do evil things in the name of protecting society. The whole Wainwright Agency seems filled with that sort of people. The story did make me wonder what had happened to due process and the rights of minors. I wondered where the ACLU was. I wondered who had given a private agency so much power. I also wondered about the issue of predetermination. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you will do something. A large number of the HTS carriers that we met in the story had not committed any sort of crime. 

This was a very thought-provoking story. I am eager to read the sequels to find out what happens to Davy and her friends and what happens to the United States too.

Favorite Quote:
I can't deny that I feel a bit like that in reality. That my family is doing nothing, merely standing on the sidelines as I go up in flames. They're passively watching everything happen to me. There's nothing they can do. I know this. I said as much to Mitchell when he suggested we run away. Still, I can't help feeling abandoned. 
I got this ARC through Amazon Vine. You can buy your copy here

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles

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!

Teaser:
From the corner of his eye, Chase saw her touch the ring on her finger. This time he squeezed his eyes shut as the horrid sensation rushed over him, numbing his entire body. Instinctively he jerked backward from the discomfort.
This week my teaser comes from The Lost Planet by Rachel Searles. I got this middle grade science fiction ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. Here is the description of this Jan. 28 release:
This is what the boy is told:

• He woke up on planet Trucon, inside a fence he shouldn't have been able to pass.
• He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
• He has no memory.
• He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
• His name is Chase Garrety.

This is what Chase Garrety knows:

• He has a message: "Guide the star."
• Time is running out.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Stacking the YA Shelves (Jan. 19, 2014)

Tynga of  Team 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.

Bought
Delia's Shadow by Jamie Lee Moyer - I have wanted this book for a while. I was waiting for a good used copy at Amazon Marketplace.

The Shifter by Janie Hardy - This first book in the Healing Wars series was recommended on one of the many blogs I read. This is also a used copy from Amazon Marketplace.
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - This graphic novel is the first in the series. It was also an Amazon Marketplace find. 

The Diviners by Libba Bray - During my last purge of my YA TBR shelves, my copy of The Diviners was donated to my HS Media Center mainly because it had been sitting a while, was large, and was on the shelf where I needed more room. When I saw that the Kindle copy was on sale, I decided that it was fate that I have this one. 

Review
As a science fiction fan, I couldn't pass up a chance to read Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam when I saw it at Edelweiss. This one will be released on March 18.

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel was the first of my requests from 2014 Spring Macmillan Children's Publishing Group catalog to arrive. It will be released on May 13.

What did you get this week? Leave me a link.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

ARC Review: The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

The Rule of Three
Author: Eric Walters
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (January 21, 2014)

Description: One shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe. At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problem first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until students discover that cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and a few computer-free cars like Adam’s are the only vehicles that function. Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and fear as the region becomes paralyzed. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection. And Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival, in The Rule of Three by Eric Walters.

My Thoughts: THE RULE OF THREE is action-packed, filled with heart pounding adventure, and clearly the first book in a series. It is a post-apocalyptic survival story. Adam Daley is a typical teenager with a snarky best friend and a crush on a sweet girl when the world changes. In the blink of an eye, everything with a computer goes dark. No computers, no cell phones, no cars. Luckily, Adam drives an '81 Omega which has no computers. He picks up his young twin brother and sister from their elementary school and takes his friend Todd and crush Lori home.

Adam's mom is the a police captain; his father is a commercial pilot. When everything goes dark, his father is on the ground in Chicago and has no way to communicate with the family or get home. Luckily, the Daleys have a next door neighbor named Herb who is a retired spy and who has been in situations where life has gotten very difficult before. He is a major pessimist who is very good at planning for all possibilities. He plays the role of wise old man in the story. Besides having a stockpile of food and weapons, he has had experience with civilization crumbling. He is also a very dangerous person. He says he was a paper pusher for the government but his actions make that really, really unlikely.

Adam also has an ultralight plane and the skills to fly it. When it becomes apparent that the lack of computers isn't a short term problem, Herb and Adam's mother gather some influential people from the neighborhood to try to figure out a way to survive. The also convince Lori and her parents that they aren't safe on their farm and bring them and all their belongings - animals and equipment - to the neighborhood. However, it is dangerous being an outpost of civilization in a world that is growing more and more chaotic.

The story is filled with action, battles on land and in the air, and is very exciting. There is even a little bit of romance as Adam and Lori get to know each other. The story ends with a very unresolved ending. I can't wait for more books to find out what happens to our group of survivors. I also can't wait to add this one to my media center for all my adventure lovers.

Favorite Quote:
"Civilized behavior is nothing more than a thin veneer. Once that's peeled away it can get ugly very quickly. I've seen it close up."
I got this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Memes: The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

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 The Rule of Three by Eric Walters. I got this ARC for review from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. Here is the description of this Jan. 21 release:
One shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe. At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problem first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until students discover that cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and a few computer-free cars like Adam’s are the only vehicles that function. Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and fear as the region becomes paralyzed. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection. And Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival, in The Rule of Three by Eric Walters.
Beginning:
"Can't you keyboard a little bit faster?" Todd asked.
Friday 56:
"And since I'm looking I could also be trying to find some people who could establish nighttime checkpoints at key locations in the neighborhood," Herb said. "It would give your officers reassurance to know that their families are safe while they're out on patrol. Of course, I'd only do that with your permission."