Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Memes: Nil by Lynne Matson

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 Nil by Lynne Matson. I got this ARC from Macmillan. This is her debut novel which will be released on March 4. Here is the description:
On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that she has to find a way to beat the clock, and quickly, in this thrilling debut novel by Lynne Matson.
Beginning:
Heat.

Inexplicable, consuming heat—choking like smoke, burning like fire.

That was my last memory before the invisible flames spiked into icy nothingness, along with the crazy thought that if I survived this bewildering bonfire, my dad would freak when I was late returning his new car.
Friday 56: 
Thad disappeared inside a small rock hut near the edge of the camp. A minute passed, then Thad popped his head back out. "Are you coming?" He looked amused. "I don't bite."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

ARC Review: The Blood Guard by Carter Roy

The Blood Guard
Author: Carter Roy
Series: The Blood Guard series (Book 1)
Publication: Two Lions (March 4, 2014)

Description: When thirteen-year-old Ronan Truelove’s seemingly ordinary mom snatches him from school, then sets off on a high speed car chase, Ronan is shocked. His quiet, nerdy dad has been kidnapped? And the kidnappers are after him, too?

His mom, he quickly learns, is anything but ordinary. In fact, she’s a member of an ancient order of knights, the Blood Guard, a sword-wielding secret society sworn to protect the Pure—thirty-six noble souls whose safety is crucial if the world as we know it is to survive.

Now all those after-school activities—gymnastics, judo, survival training—she made him take, make sense. For suddenly Ronan is swept up in a sometimes funny, sometimes scary, but always thrilling adventure—dashing from one danger to the next, using his wits to escape the Bend Sinister, a posse of evil doers with strange powers. Falling in with two unlikely companions, Greta, a scrappy, strong-willed girl he’s never much liked and Jack, a devil-may-care teenage pickpocket, Ronan is left with only his wits and his mom’s last words of advice: Trust no one.

That’s a lot for an ordinary kid to deal with. But then again, maybe Ronan’s not ordinary at all.

My Thoughts: THE BLOOD GUARD was an interesting and engaging middle grade fantasy that begins a new trilogy. Ronan Truelove finds his world shaken up when his mother picks him up from school one day and then takes off on a high speed chase. She soon sends Ronan to meet with someone who will take care of him in Washington DC before going off to engage the enemy. 

Ronan finds himself immersed in the world of a Blood Guard which protects Pures from the Bend Sinister whose goal is to eliminate all the Pures and bring about a new world order. He learns that his mother is a member of that Blood Guard and that all the weird lessons and after-school activities that she has enrolled him in are part of his advanced training to possibly join the Blood Guard himself.

First of all, Ronan has to elude Ms. Hand and her evil minions and find his way to Washington. He does manage to catch a train where he meets Jack Dawkins and Greta Susterman. Jack is also a member of the Blood Guard and is a unique and entertaining character. He provides a lot of the humor in the story with his irreverent attitude. He is more or less immortal but also a pickpocket and smart-mouthed fellow. Greta is a former schoolmate of Ronan's. She is also smart-mouthed and, in her own words, a little boastful. She is also excellent at picking locks which comes in very handy.

The story is filled with action and derring do and all sorts of humor. They have lots of adventures as they try to elude the bad guys, find Ronan's missing parents and find Greta's missing father too. Beyond that, they have to find a way to stop the Bend Sinister from using their new invention to steal the souls of the Pure. If the Bend Sinister can trap the souls, the souls can't reincarnate after death and maintain the balance of the 36 Pures who keep life on Earth safe.

Ronan was a great main character. He was smart and creative and brave. I really liked Greta too. I can't wait to read more of their adventures as they try to defeat the Bend Sinister in books two and three of this trilogy.

Favorite Quote:
Call me Ronan.

It's my middle name. My first is Evelyn and my last name is Truelove, which is kind of a spectacular bummer on all fronts, because I'm a guy.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: The Blood Guard by Carter Roy

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:
I wasn't the one who burned down our house.
This week my teaser comes from The Blood Guard by Carter Roy. I got this middle grade eARC from Two Lions via NetGalley. Here is the description of this March 4 release:
When thirteen-year-old Ronan Truelove’s seemingly ordinary mom snatches him from school, then sets off on a high speed car chase, Ronan is shocked. His quiet, nerdy dad has been kidnapped? And the kidnappers are after him, too?

His mom, he quickly learns, is anything but ordinary. In fact, she’s a member of an ancient order of knights, the Blood Guard, a sword-wielding secret society sworn to protect the Pure—thirty-six noble souls whose safety is crucial if the world as we know it is to survive.

Now all those after-school activities—gymnastics, judo, survival training—she made him take, make sense. For suddenly Ronan is swept up in a sometimes funny, sometimes scary, but always thrilling adventure—dashing from one danger to the next, using his wits to escape the Bend Sinister, a posse of evil doers with strange powers. Falling in with two unlikely companions, Greta, a scrappy, strong-willed girl he’s never much liked and Jack, a devil-may-care teenage pickpocket, Ronan is left with only his wits and his mom’s last words of advice: Trust no one.

That’s a lot for an ordinary kid to deal with. But then again, maybe Ronan’s not ordinary at all.

Monday, February 24, 2014

State of the Stack (Feb. 24, 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 in order of their release dates.

March
Retribution by Anderson Harp - February release by March for the Blog Tour
Dangerous by Shannon Hale (March 4)
Beneath the Patchwork Moon by Alison Kent (March 4)
Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam (March 18)
Dash of Peril by Lori Foster (March 25)
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 Lindsey Smith (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 Diana Wynne Jones (April 22)
The Taking by Kimberly Derting (April 29)

May
Monument 14: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne (May 6)
Royally Lost by Angie Stanton (May 6)
Caged Warrior by Alan Lawrence Sitomer (May 13)
Mila 2.0: Renegade by Debra Driza (May 13)
We Were Liars by e. lockhart (May 13)
Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel (May 13)
Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer by William Fourth (May 19)
I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acompora (May 20)
Blur by Steven James (May 27)

June
Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel (June 3)
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu (June 3)
Hexed by Michelle Krys (June 10)
The Things by Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor (June 24)

July
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson (July 1)
On the Fence by Kasie West (July 1)
Wild by Alex Mallory
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

September
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper (Sept. 23)

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. Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
  2. Shame on You by Tara Sivec
  3. Avalon by Mindee Arnett
  4. Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage by Bob Pflugfelder
  5. To Make a Match by Liana LeFey
  6. Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard
  7. Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette
  8. A Taste Fur Murder by Dixie Lyle
  9. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody
  10. Waking Up Pregnant by Mira Lyn Kelly (Feb. 27)
  11. The Blood Guard by Carter Roy (Feb. 27)
  12. Thrown for a Curve by Sugar Jamison (March 1)
  13. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (March 5)
  14. Eyes Closed Tight by Peter Leonard (March 6)
  15. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski (March 6)
  16. Gideon's Spear by Darby Karchut (March 8)
  17. Breaking Ties by Jo Grafford (March 8)
Other Review Books Reviews Posted in February
  1. Runner by Patrick Lee
  2. Something Real by Heather Demetrios
  3. Avalon by Mindee Arnett
  4. Perfect Lies by Kiersten White
  5. Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
  6. Grandmaster by David Klass
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. Blur by Steven James (May 27)
  2. Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage by Bob Pflugfelder (Feb. 4)
  3. Avalon by Mindee Arnett (Jan. 21)
  4. Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard (Feb. 20)
  5. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (March 11)
  6. Thrown for a Curve by Sugar Jamison (Feb. 25)
  7. To Make a Match by Liana LeFey (Aug. 13, 2013)
  8. I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora (May 20)
  9. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (May 13)
  10. Dash of Peril by Lori Foster (March 25)
  11. Monument 14: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne (May 6)
  12. Orion Poe and the Lost Explorer by William Fourth (May 19)
  13. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (July 15)
  14. Wild by Alex Mallory (July 8)
  15. The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson (July 1)
  16. On the Fence by Kasie West (July 1)
  17. Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel (June 3)
  18. The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor (June 24)
  19. Mila 2.0: Renegade by Debra Driza (May 13)
  20. Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper (Sept. 23)
  21. Retribution by Anderson Harp (Feb. 25)
  22. Gideon's Spear by Darby Karchut (Feb. 4)
  23. Red Devil 4 by Eric C. Leuthardt (Feb. 4)
  24. Hexed by Michelle Krys (June 10)
  25. Caged Warrior by Alan Sitomer (May 13)
Next Month's Plan

I have a full calendar for book reviews in March on Inside of a Dog. Right now I still have a couple of openings on my March calendar on this blog. However, I am waiting for my latest Amazon Vine picks to arrive which will surely finish up those spaces. I am managing to stay about two weeks ahead on my reading and reviewing despite the need to fit in extra review books because I have no self-control.

This past month added more to the stack than I managed to remove from the stack. However, the new books are spread out as far as September. 

What is the state of your stack?


Sunday, February 23, 2014

State of the YA Stack (Feb. 23, 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 added a few books to my stack this week primarily because I can't avoid those Kindle Daily Deals.
The Lost Heir (The Gryphon Chronicles Book 1) by E. G. Foley was on sale along with Jake & the Giant (The Gryphon Chronicles Book 2) this week. I couldn't resist!
The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett was another impulse buy. I recently read Avalon by her. Then I saw an article where she was quoted. Then I saw that her book was featured in a read-alike article. I bought the hardcover both because it was less expensive than the Kindle book and because I can donate it to my HS Media Center after I finish it.

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn got added to my stack after a friend received some promo materials about her new book. When checking Amazon to find out why her name sounded so familiar, I saw that this first book in a series was free. I had to add it.
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller was anothe Kindle Daily Deal. It sounds amazing. 

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

ARC Review: Unforgotten by Jessica Brody

Unforgotten
Author: Jessica Brody
Series: Unremembered (Book 2)
Publication: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (February 25, 2014)

Description: Some memories are better left forgotten

After a daring escape from the Diotech scientists who created her, Seraphina and Zen believe they are finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await them at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend Sera. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, Unforgotten is the riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy, and delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.

My Thoughts: UNFORGOTTEN was a fast-paced, intriguing middle book in a trilogy. Sera and Zen are on the run from the evil Diotech corporation which wants to recapture her. After all, they are the ones who created her and made her beautiful, fast, smart and able to travel through time. They have escaped to England in the year 1609. And, while Zen fits in, Sera is still learning what it means to be a human with freedom and choices. However, their idyllic respite is soon threatened when the wife of the man who took them in and gave them jobs accuses Sera of witchcraft and Zen falls ill.

Sera is rescued from being burned at the stake and taken to the future - 2032, in fact. Her rescuer is also a created being like her and a programmed agent of Diotech. His name is Kaelen. Sera feels an immediate connection to him despite his connection to Diotech. His task is to help her recover some memories buried in her mind by Maxxer, a scientist who defected from Diotech and who holds secrets that Diotech wants. In 2032, Sera also connects with her foster-brother Cody who is now a scientist doing research for Diotech.

Sera is determined to follow the clues to Maxxer in order to get the cure for Zen who is dying because he was given the time travel gene. But it kills humans!

The story was action-packed as Sera searches for a way to save Zen. It also gives Sera a chance to explore what she wants in life as she tries to free herself from Diotech and live a life that lets her make choices. Right now she is stuck between two opposing forces that both want to use her to further their own agendas.

Fans of UNREMEMBERED won't want to miss this story. I can't wait for the final book in the trilogy to find out what happens next for Sera, Kaelen and Zen.

Favorite Quote:
But most of all, I need to find out everything he knows about Zen's illness. And his cure.

And as soon as I do, I'll be as far away from Kaelen and Diotech as possible.

It occurs to me that I've just discovered our first similarity: it appears I can't be trusted either.
I got this ARC from Macmillan. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Memes: Unforgotten by Jessica Brody

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 Unforgotten by Jessica Brody. I got an ARC of this Feb. 25 release from Macmillan. It is the sequel to Unremembered and the middle book in a trilogy. Here is the description from Amazon:
Some memories are better left forgotten

After a daring escape from the Diotech scientists who created her, Seraphina and Zen believe they are finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await them at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend Sera. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, Unforgotten is the riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy, and delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.
Beginning:
The fire is hot and relentless, rising up from a thicket of smoldering ash. Lashing at my feet. Filling my eyes with smoky tears of defeat.
Friday 56:
I curve around the edge of the tattoo and continue up the other side, peeling my skin away in one long, gruesome strip.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

ARC Review: Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette

Burn Bright
Author: Bethany Frenette
Series: Dark Star
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (February 25, 2014)

Description: Audrey Whitticomb saved her entire city.

Well, kind of. The superhero Morning Star (who just happens to be Audrey's mom) might have played a small part, and her sidekick, Leon-Audrey's sort-of boyfriend, who is gorgeous and frustrating-maybe helped, too.

But after two peaceful months, there is a vicious new threat in Minneapolis. Her name is Susannah, and she's a Harrower, a demon hell-bent on destroying people like Morning Star, Leon, and Audrey-the Kin. Like others before her, she seeks the Remnant, a Kin girl who has the power to unleash the inhabitants of the Beneath. But to what end?

Audrey already has a ton on her plate: dealing with her best friend Tink's boy drama, helping her other best friend Gideon figure out his nightmares, and exploring the highs and lows of "dating" Leon. But when she develops a powerful new ability, Audrey seizes on the chance to fight, despite her mother's protests and Leon's pleas.

As Audrey gets closer to figuring out Susannah's motives and tracking down the Remnant, she'll uncover more than she bargained for. The terrible truth is staring Audrey in the face. But knowing the truth and accepting it are very different things.

My Thoughts: BURN BRIGHT was an excellent sequel to DARK STAR. Audrey's mother is a superhero who fights demons. Audrey has a gift for Knowing which is a kind of intuition but she would like to be a Guardian like her sort of boyfriend Leon and fight demons too. Leon is her Guardian and he is fated to protect her for life. This causes some conflicts for Audrey because she doesn't know if Leon likes her for herself and just because he is her Guardian. Also, Audrey doesn't want Leon to risk his life to save hers. She wants to protect him too.

Things are not quiet and settled in the Twin Cities. A new demon has come to town to try to find the Remnant - a girl who has the ability to open the barrier separating our world from the Beneath which would free the Harrowers to take over Earth. The Guardians and other Kin are determined to keep the barrier up. Susannah is the demon's name and Audrey manages to have quite a few encounters with her.

Audrey also has to deal with issues her friends are having. Tink is having boyfriend troubles but that pales before her biggest problem. Despite her desire to have nothing to do with the Kin, she has been called to be a Guardian. She has had no training in fighting and doesn't want any. She hates the idea of being a Guardian. This causes a little momentary jealousy for Audrey since she would do anything to be chosen as a Guardian.

Audrey's other friend Gideon is also having problems. He has been having nightmares since he was kidnapped by the Harrowers in the previous book. Since he was found abandoned as an infant and adopted, he wonders if he could be Kin. Audrey reads her cards for him a few times in this book and keeps getting inconclusive results. What she finally learns is extremely upsetting for her and she has to decide what to do with her new knowledge.

The story was exciting and fast-paced. Audrey is a very grounded character who is fun to get to know. I can't wait to read FIRE FALL this September to see what happens next.

Favorite Quote:
Leon was willing to die for me. It was the sort of thing that sounded romantic in theory; the type of wild, passionate declaration you hear in movies. But this wasn't a vow. It wasn't a promise. It was fact. Cold, hard, inescapable. And it didn't feel romantic. It felt terrifying.
I got this eARC from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette

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:
But, really, if I wanted to avoid demons, it probably would've been a good idea to steer clear of the Drought and Deluge, the club downtown that happened to be owned by one.
This week my teaser comes from Burn Bright by Bethany Frenette. I got this eARC from Disney Hyperion via NetGalley. I have read the first book in the series - Dark Star. Here is the description of this Feb. 25 release:
Audrey Whitticomb saved her entire city.

Well, kind of. The superhero Morning Star (who just happens to be Audrey's mom) might have played a small part, and her sidekick, Leon-Audrey's sort-of boyfriend, who is gorgeous and frustrating-maybe helped, too.

But after two peaceful months, there is a vicious new threat in Minneapolis. Her name is Susannah, and she's a Harrower, a demon hell-bent on destroying people like Morning Star, Leon, and Audrey-the Kin. Like others before her, she seeks the Remnant, a Kin girl who has the power to unleash the inhabitants of the Beneath. But to what end?

Audrey already has a ton on her plate: dealing with her best friend Tink's boy drama, helping her other best friend Gideon figure out his nightmares, and exploring the highs and lows of "dating" Leon. But when she develops a powerful new ability, Audrey seizes on the chance to fight, despite her mother's protests and Leon's pleas.

As Audrey gets closer to figuring out Susannah's motives and tracking down the Remnant, she'll uncover more than she bargained for. The terrible truth is staring Audrey in the face. But knowing the truth and accepting it are very different things.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Stacking the YA Shelves (Feb. 16, 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 had a massive week this week. I couldn't resist a number of Kindle Daily Deals and I visited Edelweiss and NetGalley to check out auto-approved books.

Here is what I bought for my Kindle:
The Archived by Victoria Schwab was a Daily Deal. I had the book in print on my TBR mountain but donated it to my HS Media Center. I find that I prefer to read on my Kindle these days and my students will have a new book too.

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta joins Finnikin of the Rock on my Kindle. I am waiting to get deals on the whole series before I begin reading.
I got both Stork and Flock by Wendy Delsol. I know I am missing the middle book in this series but it wasn't on sale! I had previously had a print copy of Stork but it went to my HS Media Center in one of my TBR mountain purges. I have to purge a few times a year because I have limited shelf space. Since I work at the HS Media Center, I figure if I ever get a chance to read something I purged, it will still be there for me to check out.
Lastly, I "purchased" Mindspeak by Heather Sunseri and Every Little Piece by Kate Ashton. Both were and still are free.

Here are the ones I added to my review stack:
Mila 2.0: Renegade by Debra Driza (Edelweiss, May 13)
The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor (Edelweiss, June 24)
Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel (Edelweiss, June 3)
On the Fence by Kasie West (Edelweiss, July 1)
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Edelweiss, July1)
Wild by Alex Mallory (Edelweiss, July 8)
The still coverless Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper (Edelweiss, Sept. 23)

Gideon's Spear by Darby Karchut - Darby felt bad that I had not received a review copy of this book. So she sent me an autographed finished copy. I should get to it early in March. It was released on Feb. 4.
Hexed by Michelle Krys (NetGalley, June 10)
Caged Warrior by Alan Lawrence Sitomer (NetGalley, May 13)

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

ARC Review: Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Tin Star
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (February 25, 2014)

Description: On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist's leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula's desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

My Thoughts: TIN STAR was a slow-paced, introspective science fiction story about a young girl who is abandoned and left for dead on an alien space station, the Yertina Feray. The story is told in the first person as Tula tries to reconcile herself to her new life and survive. She is fourteen when she is abandoned. She has no money, no contacts, and is the only human on the station. Her first contact is Tournour who is the law on the station. He seems indifferent to her survival but keeps a distant watchful eye on her. Her closest relationship is with Heckleck who teaches her to trade both in goods and favors and who becomes her friend and mentor.

Things are going along as best they can until the galaxy is overtaken by the Imperium and three more stranded humans find themselves on the Yertina Feray. They bring back possibilities to Tula but she doesn't know if she can trust any of them. Tula has been living on the thought of revenge against Brother Blue, who is the one who abandoned her. He was supposed to be setting up human colonies on distant planets. Tula comes to believe that was only part of his agenda. In the time that Tula has been on the station, Brother Blue has moved from a fringe player to someone with a key role in Earth's place in the Imperium.

Tula was an interesting character who managed to adjust to a very difficult situation. She credits her human adaptability for her survival. But a lot of her survival comes from the skills she learned from Heckleck and the discreet help that Tournour provides.

Readers who aren't looking for action in their science fiction are the best audience for this one.

Favorite Quote:
A few hours of sobbing passed, and then there was silence. I wonder if Els had gotten bored with getting no response or if the boys had managed to calm her or if it was something else. Adaptability. Even I had grown accustomed to my lot in life once it had changed. That was a gift. It was what made the Human species strong. It was what made me strong. 
I got this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. You can buy your copy here.