Tuesday, 24 September 2013

TTT - Best Sequels Ever

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish
Each week a new topic is given and weeks topic is:




Top Ten Best Sequels Ever


I struggled quite a bit with this one! I read a lot of first books in series, but have read a dismal number of sequels. I finally managed to come up with a decent list, but some of the books were reads from years and years ago (I read In the Hand of the Goddess when I was about 10). Hopefully there will be some titles that are familiar and some less so!


I actually read these out of order by accident when I first got them, and this was the first one I read. I got the rest of the series as soon as I could because this was so good and I still hold them in very high esteem. The Song of the Lioness books have made me who I am today.

   

I couldn't choose. These books are both leagues ahead of the first book in the series, Finnikin of the Rock, which wasn't bad itself. I'm not gonna go into detail, but READ THESE ASAP. You will not regret it.


Oh, Laini Taylor. How I love your words. I gave Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the first book in the trilogy, a really high rating despite the things I didn't really like about it because it left an overall excellent impression, but Days of Blood and Starlight gives me everything I wanted from Daughter of Smoke and Bone (except I miss Prague as Laini Taylor describes it).


I liked If I Stay, but didn't expect to love Where She Went as much as I did. I don't usually like companion books from other character's POVs, but this really worked. I came to care about Adam so much more than I ever thought possible.


Graceling was good, but Fire was excellent. I loved the characters, the world, how it tied in with Graceling without being directly related. I also really love the feminism in Kristin Cashore's books.


I don't remember all too much about this except that I loved it. All of Juliet Marillier's books (that I've read) have been great, but this is probably my favourite Sevenwaters book. Daughter of the Forest is a very close second.


Cersei POV chapters. That is all.


I get the events of these books mixed up, but I know that it's a great series. The only thing I can definitively say about Frostbite is that it's the book that introduces Adrian, which gets it an A+ from me.


Again, I read Second Helpings before reading Sloppy Firsts and I don't recall many of the events. I just know that it is definitely the one I most enjoyed reading.



It was cute. It made me smile a lot. It was just what I expected it to be. Not as lovely as Anna and the French Kiss, but San Francisco is almost as magical as Paris, right??

Monday, 23 September 2013

Review - Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Published by Macmillan Young Listeners
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Retellings
Pages: NA (Audiobook)
Rating: 4/5 stars

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.


I am so excited to get my hands on the next book in this series. I can't even handle it. There were some things that I wasn't so keen on, but on the whole it was a fantastic book. I can definitely see why it was so hyped up!

The characters in Cinder were excellent. The eponymous character is one of the best protagonists I’ve ever read, simply because she is so different and unexpected. I mean, the girl is a futuristic cyborg. There is so much room for error there, but Meyer managed to pull it off beautifully. I thought that Cinder’s struggles with her identity and finding her place in society were very well-portrayed, and her relationships with the other characters (particularly Iko and Peony) were brilliant. I love reading about friendship in YA novels, mostly because it so often gets sidelined in favour of romantic relationships. But friends are so important, and it’s something (I think) that more people can really relate to. I also loved the sense of sisterhood between Cinder and Peony, and the contrast between Cinder’s relationship with Peony and that with Pearl. There was one scene that really broke my heart; when Pearl accused Cinder of never really caring about Peony and suggested that she had in fact killed her. It was just made worse when she added that Peony was never Cinder’s sister and that Cinder must be incapable of loving her the way that she and Adri did.

I was less fond of Cinder and Prince Kai’s relationship. I liked it, but it didn’t feel as strong to me as that of the women (and android!) in the novel. I thought Prince Kai was a decent enough love interest, but I was annoyed at how long it took for him to find out Cinder’s secrets (and the fact that she didn’t just tell him in the first place…).

The plot of Cinder wasn't quite as good as I'd have liked it to be. It was an interesting take on the Cinderella story and I liked the extra things that Meyer added (cyborgs, androids, a moon colony of people with psychic powers). I found that I had a lot of issues with decisions Cinder made throughout the novel, particularly when it came to withholding information. The twist regarding Cinder and the Lunar Queen was pretty freaking obvious. I kind of felt like hitting Cinder upside the head and forcing her to put 2 and 2 together, for god’s sake!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Life Update – 5 Reasons Why I’ve Been Such a Bad Blogger Lately

I've been a pretty terrible blogger for the last few weeks. I completely forgot to post my TTT (even though I had it written!!) and didn't even bother with WOW, and I only managed one out of my goal of three reviews for the week. Don't even get me started on how little I've been reading...

So, I thought I'd share a handful of the reasons why my blogging habits have been so atrocious lately.

1. Sheer Laziness
The fact of the matter is that I just haven’t really felt motivated to do much as far as my blog goes this past week (or two). I’m behind on reviews – I’ve been writing my review of Cinder for FOUR WEEKS. That’s almost a full month, you guys!

2. School
As you may or may not know, I’m a University student. I’m taking four classes right now, all upper-level English or Women’s Studies classes. It requires a lot of reading. It requires a lot of time.

3. Work
I started a new part-time job at the end of August, after having been unemployed since January 2012. Yeah. It was a long time. I’ve been thrust into the world of the working, and I’ve been trying to juggle an average of 15 hours of work a week with my 4 classes and trying to build a social life. It’s hard. I’m exhausted.

4. Illness (+ a bad case of the blahs)
I’ve had a head cold since last Wednesday that has been driving me nuts. I’ve been absolutely miserable for a week and a half, sneezing and coughing and dragging my butt around to school and work and back when I just want to go back to bed.

I finally gave in today and decided to skip my Friday classes after both of my co-workers insisted that I do so and GET BETTER. I feel so guilty for not going, and I really enjoy these classes so I don’t want to miss anything, but I’m trying to convince myself that my health is more important. So I am spending today sitting in bed with a cup of tea and a hearty supply of NyQuil (especially because I’m currently writing on approximately four hours of sleep. Thank you for that, body-wracking cough).

5. Loneliness
I hate to admit that I care about petty things like blog traffic and comments, but I do. A lot of the time when I’m writing my reviews and participating in memes, I feel like I’m talking to myself. 90% of the traffic my blog gets is ghost-traffic. The fact of the matter is that I get lonely. I’m not good at interacting with other bloggers on Twitter (though I do try sometimes). I talk to people a bit on GoodReads, which I am more comfortable with, but even so.

I’ve also refrained from writing or posting discussion posts because I’m afraid that the only response they’ll get is the sound of chirping crickets. I’m trying to overcome my fear of rejection, but it takes time and it takes courage!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Review - The Iron King by Julie Kagawa


The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 1 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 363
Rating: 3/5 stars

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home. 
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Meghan was very frustrating. She took a long time to clue into things and was very much a damsel throughout the novel. She was rescued over and over again and it got old quickly. Yes, she was in an unfamiliar, incredibly dangerous place, but she was far too reliant on everyone around her. She was also too trusting, especially in striking bargains all over the place like there were no consequences for her actions. I also found her interactions with Oberon and Titania very frustrating. She was so in denial that she acted like a petty child.

I thought that the romance came out of nowhere. I still have no idea what that was all about. I don’t get why Ash and Meghan even like each other, aside from the fact that she thinks that he’s pretty. I don’t see the attraction. I’ve already forgotten whatever sob story Kagawa gave Ash to explain away his tendency to be an asshole, so it clearly didn’t make much of an impression on me. He was exceedingly average, especially for a character with so much potential for greatness. I mean, he’s an Unseelie prince! He could be such a BAMF.


The plot… kind of sucked. Not only is Machina the dumbest villain name I’ve come across in a very long time, the whole concept of science as the enemy of magic was very contrived. I’ve read this exact plot over and over again. I liked the beginning of the book far more than the middle and end, which isn’t a good sign, in my opinion. Things became quite disjointed, particularly with the forced integration of Ash into the quest.

I like a good rescue mission as much as the next person, and I think that if there had been a better villain I would have liked this plot a lot more. I appreciated Meghan’s dedication to finding her little brother, though I did notice that the parallels with the movie Labyrinth were a tad on the overbearing side. I also really liked the references to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of my favourite Shakespeare comedies. I’ve always been a big fan of fairy folklore, but I was really looking for something new here. I didn’t find that Kagawa added anything to the genre that I’ve never read before, and neither the characters nor the writing made up for it.


The writing is quite juvenile, even for YA. It is evident that it is Kagawa’s first book, especially compared to her later Blood of Eden series. The language is simple, which I appreciate, though I could have used a bit more imagery (a request I never thought I’d make!). I liked some of the descriptions, particularly of the bramble in the Seelie court that changes shape based upon where one wants to go. Aside from that, the writing was pretty unimpressive.


A big fat MEH. I just don’t feel strongly either way about this book. It wasn’t horrible. The worldbuilding was interesting, though it could have been more thought out. It has a lot of potential and growing room for the rest of the series. The characters were frustrating, but not so much so that I couldn’t read past it. I didn’t like Meghan, but I didn’t hate her either. It’s really hard to say whether or not I’ll end up continuing the series. I won’t say that it won’t happen, but I’m not holding my breath until I pick up the next book either.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

ARC Review - Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento


Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento

Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento
Series: Standalone
Expected Publication: Merit Press on September 18 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 272
Rating: DNF (0/5 stars)

One pint-sized girl. Ten supersized crises. And it’s high noon.

They call her “Twigs,” because she’ll never hit five feet tall. Although she was born early, and a stiff breeze could knock her over, Twigs has a mighty spirit. She needs it, as life throws a whole bucket of rotten luck at her: Dad’s an absentee drunk; Mom’s obsessed with her new deaf boyfriend (and Twigs can’t tell what they’re saying to each other). Little sister Marlee is trying to date her way through the entire high school; Twigs’ true love may be a long-distance loser after a single week away at college, and suddenly, older brother Matt is missing in Iraq. It all comes together when a couple of thugs in a drugstore aisle lash out, and Twigs must fight to save the life of the father who denied her.


I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I couldn’t bring myself to finish reading Twigs. I managed to plough through half of the book before setting it aside with a sigh of exasperation. My problems mainly stem from Twigs herself. She’s an asshole. She’s judgemental and rude and mean for no reason. She hits a guy she’s never even met with a car on purpose. She’s inconsiderate and most of her narration is complaining about something or other, though she never considers that an alternative to complaining might be getting off her ass and doing something about her crappy life.

As well as Twigs’ less than stellar personality, I thought the plot was exceptionally unexceptional. There never seemed to be anything happening. On the surface, the Matt storyline should be exciting and compelling. I, as the reader, should want to know what happened to him. But, though Twigs expressed her distress at Matt’s disappearance several times, I never got a good impression of what she actually felt. She didn’t seem to care about finding Matt, so neither did I. Though the Matt plot was the one that stood out most to me, there were far too many other sub-plots going on at once. It felt as though the book lacked a central plot and was more of a concoction of sub-plots thrown together haphazardly. They didn’t cohere or make sense – the drama between Helen and her husband, Twigs’ absentee, alcohol father and neglectful mother, her boyfriend putting distance of the physical and emotional nature between them. They all seemed very sub-jointed. It is entirely possible that this problem was resolved in the latter half of the book, but I didn’t feel any desire to find out.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

TTT - Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish
Each week a new topic is given and weeks topic is:




Top Ten Books I Would Love to See As a Movie/TV Show



First Test (Protector of the Small, #1)  Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)



1 – Everything written by Tamora Pierce (but specifically the Protector of the Small or Song of the Lioness series)
These books would translate SO WELL to film, but they would require a huge budget. BUT THEY’D BE SO SPECTACULAR AND I’VE WANTED THIS SINCE I WAS A SMALL CHILD SO I DON’T EVEN CARE.

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)

2 – The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Not only is it an awesome book, but the MC is Asian. It would be so great to see a YA movie with a WOC-star (I’m not holding my breath).

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

3 – Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Technically these have already been done, but I try to pretend that those atrocious movies never happened. If they were done to the calibre of the Harry Potter movies, they would be awesome.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)

4 – Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
I think that this would transition well to film. It wouldn’t be able to capture Laini Taylor’s incredible words, but it would still be entertaining.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

5 – The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
This book would make such a good indie film.

Teeth

6 – Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Again, it would make a really interesting indie. I can see it: quiet, dimly-lit, with cool and dull colours and a general feel of melancholy.

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

7 – Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Wouldn’t this be such an awesome movie? It would be so freaking cool. You know I’m right.

None of the Regular Rules

8 – None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing
This was such a cute book, and I think it would make just as cute a movie. Even at its worst it would probably be better than most of the romantic comedies that are being made at the moment!

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

9 – Pivot Point by Kasie West
This one could get kind of confusing, but I think following both time lines would make for a really interesting movie or TV show (I actually see this one more as a TV show for some reason).

Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1)

10 – Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
I didn’t love this book, but it was action-packed and featured two badass, yet very different, young ladies. It would make a great, unconventional cross between action movie and fairy-tale film.

Lockdown (Escape From Furnace, #1)

11 – Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
I’m tacking on an extra book here because this book would be freaking TERRIFYING as a movie. I wouldn’t want to watch it myself because I wouldn’t be able to sleep for a month afterward, but it would still make for a good movie.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Review - Identical by Ellen Hopkins



Identical

Identical by Ellen Hopkins
Series: Standalone
Published by
Genres: Young Adult, Verse
Pages: 565
Rating: 3/5

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family -- on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that's where their differences begin. 
For Kaeleigh, she's the misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites -- and she is losing. 
If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and sex.Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept -- from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is -- who?

Kayleigh and Raeanne are very difficult characters, but they are also strangely compelling. Their lives are so foreign to me that they were very hard to relate to, but I think that Hopkins did an exceptional job of creating dynamic girls who I really believed in and wanted to know more about. I definitely preferred Raeanne over Kayleigh for the most part, despite the oddity of her yearning for her father’s attention that he gave, unwanted, to Kayleigh. They were very much Hopkins characters, in the sense that I can’t imagine them created by anyone else.


The plot twist in Identical comes pretty late in the book, and I was completely unprepared for it. I had an inkling that there was something odd about the girls, but that was beyond my wildest imaginings. I knew early on that something happened in the car accident that wasn’t being told to the reader, but my guess was totally wrong.
The overall plot was actually a little slow for me. Like all of Hopkins books, it was much more focused on the inner developments and emotional states of the characters than on any set series of events.


Hopkins is the reason I like poetry. She’s the reason I gave poetry a chance. That said, I think I’m beginning to outgrow the simpleness of her writing. It may be the broad(er) variety of poetry that I’ve read now, as an English student, but I find it not to be quite as evocative as I once thought. I have no doubt in my mind that this is entirely my own experience of her work and that the actual quality of her writing has not changed. I thought it was still very engrossing – the evidence of that rests in the fact that I read the whole book in less than a day. It was decently paced; as I said, the emphasis is not on a physical journey but on a mental one.


It wasn’t dreadful, but it wasn’t exceptional either. I found it, for all the controversial and touchy subject matter, a rather mediocre read. The twist was great and it filled in a few holes that I had poked into what I’d read so far, but it just didn’t give me that satisfied feeling (or the longing for more, more, more) I want when I finish a book.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Review - Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman


Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Series: Eon #1
Published by Viking Juveline on Dec 26 2008
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 531
Rating: 4/5 stars

Swordplay, dragon magic--and a hero with a desperate secret
Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic,, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye--an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.  
But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured. 
When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.



I’ve been humming and hawing over this review for weeks and I still don’t know what to write. I was really excited to read Eon when I drew it as my next book to read (I randomly select books so that I don’t have to choose!). I’d been meaning to read it for years and hadn’t gotten around to it yet and had seen that lots of my GR friends had given it really high ratings.


I loved the setting of Eon. Fantasy books in non-traditional fantasy settings (ie. Medieval England) are like crack to me. I can’t get enough of them. That said, I haven’t read many of them. The world-building and sheer research Alison Goodman put into Eon is phenomenal. I was so impressed with the detail of her creation, from the clothing to etiquette to food. Everything felt completely appropriate.

My favourite thing about Eon: Dragoneye Reborn is it’s complete lack of romantic plot! I love a good romance as much as the next girl, but I really wish YA would lay off on them a little bit. I don’t need romance in every single book that I read. Sometimes there really are more important things to worry about than a boy. That is particularly true when you have a conspiracy against your life. It also makes me feel slightly less pathetic about my perennial single-ness. Unfortunately, I’ve read some spoilers about Eona that say that this is, sadly, not the case in book 2. As much as I liked Eon, that actually made me far less inclined to pick up Eona.

By far my favourite character was Lady Dela. From the moment she was introduced she stole every scene she was in. I really appreciated how her gender was handled in the text (Lady Dela is a MTF trans lady). I was a little disappointed in the gender relations of the culture, as everyone (even Eona herself) is very misogynistic. I would really love to see a more liberated society in fantasy – it seems like every fantasy novel I’ve read (with the exception of Jacqueline Carey’s books) takes place in very misogynistic or backwards settings.

Oh Eona. Why are you so dense?? It was painfully obvious from the first moment what the secret of the mirror dragon was (and that she would be chosen by said dragon in the first place). The only turn in the book that truly surprised me was the change in Ido at the end.

In retrospect, it wasn’t the greatest book I’ve read nor was it terrible. It was well-paced and the writing left little to be desired. The characters and plot were overall engaging and kept me reading, which is really the most important thing right? I’m not sure if I’ll be reading Eona, but I do think that it is a story that will stick in my memory for a while, or at least parts of it.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Review - The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa


The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 30 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopian
Pages: 434
Rating: 4/5 stars
In Allison Sekemoto's world, there is one rule left: Blood calls to blood  
She has done the unthinkable: died so that she might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie's birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever—and possibly end human and vampire existence. 
There's a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago—and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time.
Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.


Damn.

That was quite a book.

I’ve been meaning to sink my teeth into (haha, vampire jokes for a vampire book, aren’t I hilarious??) The Eternity Cure since it was first released, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating it since I read The Immortal Rules just over a year ago. It did not disappoint.

I’m just going to start off with a little tidbit that may inform whether or not you’ll find my review to your liking or not: I don’t like Zeke.

I’m not saying that I dislike him! I just find him a bit… tepid. He doesn’t really do anything for me. This may be partially due to his getting in the way of the badass vampiring I wanted to see Allison do in The Immortal Rules (though I suppose she wasn’t quite ready for that yet), but he just irritates me for some reason.

That said, it’s got to be a pretty good book for me to give it 4 stars when I don’t like the love interest!

Allie is one of my favourite YA protagonists. Lady gets shit done, and I appreciate that. She doesn’t take lip from anybody and she’s pretty deadly with a katana, which gets her bonus points.

If The Eternity Cure had just been the bantering adventures of Allie and Jackal, I would have been a happy camper. Er, reader. I had completely forgotten about Jackal’s role in The Immortal Rules until he was reintroduced early on, and I had to do a big “oooooh” when their relationship was recapped for me (Thanks for that, Julie Kagawa!). Jackal was bar-none my favourite thing in The Eternity Cure. I like smarmy, overconfident man-boys apparently. I think I like Jackal so much because it’s apparent to me that he isn’t to be taken seriously. He comes off as a total parody of all of the vampire clich├ęs out there (Damon from TVD, anybody?). I mean, dude wears a duster.

I was pretty enraged by the end of the book. You know what I’m talking about, but I’m not enraged the way that most people are. I’m enraged because I was really looking forward to seeing Allie break her compassionate streak, and now I know that it won’t last. I really wish the last page or so of the epilogue hadn’t been included in this book. I would have preferred that information be revealed in book 3 (though really, who didn’t see it coming? This isn’t written by GRRM).


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Not a Drop to Drink


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 


Not a Drop to Drink
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Series: Standalone
Expected Publication: September 24 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Post Apocalypse
Pages: 320

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water. 
Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.
Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.
 
But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

Why I’m Waiting
First of all, it’s a standalone dystopian/post apoc book! Those NEVER happen. So that alone excites me. I like standalones because they don’t require much commitment. If you know anything about me, I’m a total commitment-phobe. It would be one of my Sim traits (y’know, if I was a Sim). I don’t like being stuck with anything for a long duration. That’s actually why I was so tentative to start this blog – I was afraid that I’d abandon it after a few days like I do most things (I’m actually still kind of freaking out about that possibility).
ANYWAY – back to the book. It sounds like it might be similar to Ashfall by Mike Mullin and Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari, but with more general badassery. It has the potential to be really good or to really suck, so I’ve crossing my fingers and toes in hopes that it will be good.

On a side note, the author’s name reminds me of my all-time favourite Skins character, Mini McGuinness and the goddess who plays her, Freya Mavor. Sigh.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

TTT - Books I Wish Were Taught in School

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish
Each week a new topic is given and weeks topic is:




Top Ten Books I Wish Were Taught in School



The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)


1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
An obvious choice, but I’ve actually had this book show up in a couple of my women’s studies classes in the past year, and it’s definitely culturally relevant right now. It’s also a great discussion book. It’s really interesting to discuss all of the ways in which it critiques modern entertainment-culture. My class talked quite a bit about the transition from book to film and how a lot of the political statements in the book were dialled down and the love triangle was heightened for the movie.

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)


2. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
I’m mostly putting this in because it was my first brush with feminist fiction as a child and I’m still totally in love with the world-building and the characters and just everything. I will ALWAYS love this series.

I Capture the Castle


3. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
It’s a beautiful coming-of-age book that fits a lot of the criteria of books that are currently taught in schools – it was written a long time ago – yet it isn’t difficult or boring to read (IMO). On a side note, look at that gorgeous new cover!

Tuck Everlasting


4. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
I think you get some really interesting discussions going about immortality and the price of eternal youth. I know that my opinions of the book have changed a lot since I first read it when I was like 8 or 9, so it would be interesting to see what kids now think of the topics at hand.

Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses, #1)


5. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Again, I think it would promote some great discussion. I love that it’s set in a society that so closely mirrors our own and actively points out major flaws we have.

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)  Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)  Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)


6. Graceling or Fire or Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Fire is definitely my favourite of these books, but I think they would all have their own merit as teachable books. I just really want to see more fantasy on syllabi.

Holes (Holes, #1)


7. Holes by Louis Sachar

I just think it’s a cool book that a lot of kids enjoy and would like talking about.

The Importance of Being Earnest


8. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

I love this play so much. It gets funnier every time I read it. I was actually introduced to it in high school, when a friend and I were assigned a scene from it (the exchange between Cecily & Gwendolen when they first meet) for an acting class. I’ve read it twice more for two different college & university English classes.

King Lear


9. King Lear by William Shakespeare

Don’t get me wrong, I like Hamlet & Macbeth & Midsummer Night’s Dream (which I read in ninth grade because I was given the choice between it and Romeo and Juliet, which I abhor. I was the only person in my class who chose Midsummer), but King Lear has been my favourite Shakespeare play for as long as I can remember. I haven’t read his entire body of works, so this may be subject to change, but I think it’s just such a great play.

Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters

10. Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
Okay, this one kind of feels like cheating because it’s non-fiction & it doesn’t really fit into any curriculum I can think of. It’s just such a reader-friendly “guide” to feminism. Yes, it has its share of problems, but on the whole I think it’s a book that does far more good than bad. I think a lot of high school kids could use this book in their lives.