Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu

Title: BREADCRUMBS
Author: Anne Ursu
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (A HarperCollins Children's imprint)
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Number of Pages: 313
Source of Book: ARC requested from publisher

Goodreads Summary:
Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbs is a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

*************************
BREADCRUMBS is a beautifully told tale of friendship, faith, hope, and magic. It's starts off in the real-world as we get to know more about Hazel's friendship with her neighbor Jack. And then something happens, and Jack changes, and then disappears. The second part of the book takes place in the woods as Hazel steps into a fantasy world that she didn't know was there. Overall the style was really unique in the way the narrator seemed to speak directly to the reader with asides at times, so I felt more involved and a part of the story. There are chapters interjected that tell what's happening in the fantasy world and the stories are interwoven seamlessly.

Hazel believes in magic and fantasy. She also believes in her friendship with Jack because he's pretty much her only friend in her new school, so when he changes toward her and that ends, she doesn't know what to do. But when she finds out that Jack has disappeared into the woods, she knows she needs to save him. She has so much faith in her friendship with Jack that she is willing to do whatever she can to save her friend. The fantasy elements of classic tales that occur in each successive chapter in the woods are engaging and meaningful.

This story is about belonging and believing and doing what's right even when no one believes in you.  It's about trusting your instincts and staying true to who you are. It's about starting a journey and learning from the outcomes. One of the most significant lines to me was a moment of understanding for Hazel, "This is what happens on journeys-the things you find aren't necessarily the things you had gone looking for." It's all of those things wrapped up in beautiful prose and a masterful way of telling this fantasy story. This fantasy story is like a breath of fresh air wrapped in a warm blanket. This one comes out next week and will be a wonderful addition to a middle grades collection. It releases in one month, so get your pre-orders in now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox - New Books This Week (33)

In My Mailbox is a posting idea run by Kristi at The Story Siren (read all about it here: In My Mailbox) for bloggers to share the books they've gotten that week to help publicize as many titles as possible. It's a little preview on what book reviews to anticipate along with a way to build excitement about new titles coming out. All titles link to goodreads so you can add books to your "to-read" list.


Bought



THE POWER OF SIX by Pittacus Lore
Sequel to I AM NUMBER FOUR which my students devoured so I had to get this one.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox-New Books This Week (32)

In My Mailbox is a posting idea run by Kristi at The Story Siren (read all about it here: In My Mailbox) for bloggers to share the books they've gotten that week to help publicize as many titles as possible. It's a little preview on what book reviews to anticipate along with a way to build excitement about new titles coming out. All titles link to goodreads so you can add books to your "to-read" list.

Won


THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab 
Won from Buried in Books' Ash to Nash Giveaway
Heard a lot of good things about this one, so I'm looking forward to reading it.




 
For Review (for Book Divas)



AMEN, L.A. by Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld






PAISLEY HANOVER ACTS OUT by Cameron Tuttle







Bought


CHAIN REACTION by Simone Elkeles 
The third book in the Fuentes Brothers stories came out this week. I enjoyed the first two (as did many of my students), PERFECT CHEMISTRY and RULES OF ATTRACTION, so I defintely want to read the third book.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight

Title: WILDEFIRE
Author: Karsten Knight
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Number of Pages: 400
Source of Book: Bought the hardcover on the release date
Author's Website: www.karstenknight.com

Goodreads Summary:

Every flame begins with a spark. 

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

*************************
I'm a little torn on this book, so this review will be a little different. I'm not sure if this was a situation of high expectations not being met, but I didn't love it - I liked it though. This book definitely reads like a contemporary at the start, and then leads into some paranormal elements and adds in mythology from different cultures which makes it interesting and fresh. I felt like it read a little long because some parts seemed to have inconsequential details that didn't need to be there in my mind, but in other parts I wanted more details. I definitely read it quickly because I kept turning pages wanting to know where it was going.

My Positives: 
- The beginning really hooked me. The scene develops in a way that I wasn't expecting and I really wanted to keep reading.
- There is a unique mythology element taken from various cultures.
- Ashline is a sarcastic, whip-tongued main character who is doing all she can to protect herself.
- Good pacing of the reader getting information as needed to keep tension building.
- Each chapter was really long, but it represented one day in the week of these events occurring. Then there were a few interludes that captured my attention and led to a surprising reveal toward the end.
- The villain was created in such a way that I really did hate her, as I should have.
- I liked the group of friends (the other gods/goddesses) so much and how they all watched out for each other.
- I also liked the headmistress character and wanted to cheer for her a little bit.
- Unexpected ending, not exactly a cliffhanger, but more of a didn't see that coming at all, now holy cow where are we going next.

My Negatives:
- I didn't totally connect with Ashline as much as I wanted to.
- Parts were left unexplained and left open for the sequel, but where is it going?
- For some reason I was aware throughout the book that it was a guy author writing a teen girl character, so it didn't feel totally authentic to me.
- Some parts I noticed the 3rd person point-of-view (which is a pet peeve of mine).
- There was an element of weird creepy-crawly creatures which always bugs me when it comes out of nowhere. I'm sure there's more of a reason, but I didn't totally get it.
- Some of the emotions seemed to develop too fast for me. I liked the romantic subplots, but I didn't get the depth of the feelings developing.
- When I'm pulled out of the world of the story and notice the writing (instances of coarse language), that, to me, is not quite true to life. It's there to be there, not because it feels totally natural I guess.

So, basically, I'll read the next book in the series because I'm intrigued by the overall premise and want the explanations for the shocker ending and want to know what happens to Ashline next and hope I'll connect with her more. But, I didn't love the execution, so I'm hoping that will improve with the second book in the series, EMBERS & ECHOES coming in 2012, and the third book,  AFTERGLOW coming in 2013.

Monday, August 15, 2011

100 Follower GIVEAWAY - ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre

I happened to pop into the overview of my blog in Blogger in Draft this weekend, and noticed that I had gotten close to 100 followers. I mentioned on Twitter that if I got to 100 before my one year blogoversary giveaway ended, I'd do a giveaway for a copy of Enclave, and sure enough, it happened, so here's the giveaway:

To celebrate 100 followers, I'm having a giveaway of a hardcover copy of Ann Aguirre's ENCLAVE!
I became aware of this title in the spring when I was doing my Dystopian Book Club unit. Ann offered copies to teachers on twitter, and after I responded and told her I had a blog, she sent me more than one. I gave some to teacher friends, and then saved one to host a giveaway here, and what better occasion?

Summary:
WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.
(from Goodreads)

To enter, FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW:
Rules: 
* Teachers get an extra entry!!! (see note below the cover picture)
- Must be a GFC follower (don't normally require it, but since it's a follower giveaway...) *OK, so since blogger is being wonky and my follower gadget in the sidebar is not working, I've taken away the requirement; however, if you do want to follow, you can click on the Follow link on the top navigation bar of the page. Thanks for being understanding :)
- Must be at least 13-years-old
- Extra entries available (not required, but appreciated!)
- US addresses only
- Giveaway ends Sunday, August 21st at 11:59pm

This contest is now CLOSED. Thank you for entering!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blogoversary Custom Blog Design Giveaway WINNER!

Thank you to all who entered my One Year Blogoversary giveaway (and those who visited even if you didn't want to enter)!!! It was more fun than I even thought it would be!

With 71 people filling out the entry form and 213 total entries, the winner is:

MOONLIGHT GLEAM
CONGRATULATIONS Lucy!
 (Winner has been emailed/notified and has 72 hours to respond. If I don't hear from her, I'll draw a new winner.)
Thanks again to all who entered and helped publicize this giveaway (including Lori!). 
Lori is awesome, so even if you didn't win, I encourage you to visit her design website and get in touch with her to get your blog design done.

In My Mailbox - New Books This Week (31)

In My Mailbox is a posting idea run by Kristi at The Story Siren (read all about it here: In My Mailbox) for bloggers to share the books they've gotten that week to help publicize as many titles as possible. It's a little preview on what book reviews to anticipate along with a way to build excitement about new titles coming out. All titles link to goodreads so you can add books to your "to-read" list.

For Review:



HADES by Alexandra Adornetto
ARC - book releases August 30th - Sequel to HALO (which I haven't read yet but have wanted to)
Thanks to Feiwel and Friends (a Macmillian Children's imprint)!




Thanks to Walden Pond Press for these awesome lower middle-grades books!


BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu
ARC - Book releases on September 27th  
I've been hearing lots of positive praise for this one from well-respected educators, so I'm excited to read it!





THE BILLIONAIRE'S CURSE (The Archer Legacy: Book One) by Richard Newsome
Sounds like a fun middle grades mystery series.





THE EMERALD CASKET (The Archer Legacy: Book Two) by Richard Newsome





GUYS READ: THRILLER by Jon Scieszka
ARC - Book releases on September 20th.
This series are great compilations of ten short stories told in various formats from favorite young reader authors.






If you haven't heard of Walden Pond Press yet, they're an awesome new source for middle grades books - you should check them out! "Walden Pond Press is a collaboration between HarperCollins and Walden Media, the studio responsible for such films as THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, and HOLES. We are publishing the next generation of middle-grade classics—fast-paced, funny, engaging, compulsively readable stories, by well-established authors and new, exciting talent." (Description from: WaldenPondPress.blogspot.com)

Friday, August 12, 2011

ABANDON by Meg Cabot

Title: ABANDON
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Point
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Number of Pages: 304
Source of Book: Traded for ARC from another blogger
Author's Website: www.megcabot.com

Goodreads Summary:

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

*************************
I have mixed thoughts about this book - I really liked some parts and felt let down at other parts. Most of the first half of the book, I was confused about what was actually going on (of course, I was probably supposed to be). It reads like a contemporary, which I like in a mythological retelling, and is a straight-forward, easy-to-read writing style; however, it uses flashbacks to help the reader get all of the background. It starts in the present and is told in Pierce's voice and references events that we don't know anything about. Then it will flashback to what happened before so we get more of the story, but never the whole entire thing it seemed. In the last part of the book there is a big reveal conversation where everything is explained. I don't know if it's because there's been a lot of the Hades/Persephone stories I've read lately or I just picked up on lots of clues, but it wasn't very shocking to me - I kind of had it all figured out. But, there are unique pieces to it that are a twist on the classic story that intrigued me and felt fresh.

I was definitely into the book the entire time and I read it in one day because of a combination of it being written in a quick to read way and the building of the suspense and me wanting to know what was going to happen. I liked Pierce and her attitude toward things and her way of trying to get back from the depths she had been to. Her attitude was great as she stood up for herself and what she wanted. A few examples of Pierce's attitude/outlook that exemplify why I liked her (from the ARC): "It's only in fairy tales that princesses can afford to wait for the handsome prince to save them. In real life, they have to bust out of their own coffins and do the saving themselves." and "Of course he'd seen right through me. My sarcasm was just a defense mechanism to hide how truly unnerved I was at my...reaction..." See, my kind of sarcastic, do what you need girl character. I really like the character of John too - to me he's the most intriguing character in the book because he's hard to figure out, but we see glimpses of deeper turmoil from him. I also felt that some of the secondary characters were there, but not really developed very much, and I wanted to know more about them.  I know there has to be a sequel, I just wish I had gotten a little bit more explanation in this one. Overall, it's an enjoyable read albeit a little predictable, and I'll definitely read the sequel, UNDERWORLD, but I was left a little bit wanting in this one. So, if it's in your to-be-read pile, wait until the sequel and then you'll be able to read them one right after the other and maybe not feel quite as cut off in the middle like I did.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Trailer: THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

One of my most anticipated books for the fall is Maggie Stiefvater's new standalone novel (which she calls the most her book she's written!) THE SCORPIO RACES. The story sounds awesome and I have no doubt her beautifully lyrical writing style will be unmatched yet again. You can link to the trailer Maggie herself created for her newest book here.

And, if you want to pre-order a signed, doodled in copy of THE SCORPIO RACES, you can do so here: http://www.fountainbookstore.com/autograph-maggie

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Are you ready to Go BZRK with author Michael Grant?

Where Is Davis Morgenstein?

I've been authorized by The Shadow Gang to tell you about this unique experience coming your way with "the future of storytelling."

The missing son of a U.N. diplomat... the reemergence of a strange organization... a pair of society twins caught in the middle... this is just the beginning of "Go BZRK," a new transmedia experience from author Michael Grant (of the GONE series). The book, BZRK, won't be out for a few months, but until then, you can join the experience online. 

This winter, Michael has a new series coming out that was conceived not only as a book, but also as a “transmedia” experience.  This may not be a familiar term to all YA fans, but essentially a transmedia story is an interactive narrative told through the written word, video, puzzles, and more. But most importantly, it encourages fans to become part of the action.  

If you're ready to take the plunge in an interactive story like you've never experienced before, visit societytwins.com and register with nexushumanus.com to take your first steps in a strange and compelling universe. I have to say, I've been reading the blog and Sophie and Sylvie are pretty entertaining so far. And Nexus? Creepy!

Filled with videos, puzzles, community collaboration, and more, "Go BZRK" puts YOU, the player, right in the middle of the action as you join Nexus Humanus and unravel a mystery that may hold the key to the fate of all mankind (and maybe find out what happened to Davis as well?).

I have no idea where this will all be going, but I'm intrigued and I'm sure some of my students will be too.

A Q&A with author Michael Grant:

What is “Go BZRK”? Is this a book or some kind of interactive story?
Both. The book comes out this winter, but the interactive part starts now.  One leads up to the other, but they're part of a complete package.

Why “transmedia”?
There are different approaches to transmedia.  Most people take a single story and reproduce it on various platforms.  My philosophy has been to make each element - ARG, app, web, book - a thing unto itself, each revealing some aspect of the world of BZRK.  I've been fascinated with this is as a new way to tell stories.  The book remains central, but now I can reach beyond the book and create a much more complete world.  I can tell stories that enhance the book, and stories that parallel the book, and stories that are offshoots of backstory.  I guess the answer to "why" is "because it's fun."

Is this the future of publishing?
I began a few years ago reaching out to publishers and saying we collectively needed to understand that the old models were dead or dying.  I want publishing to survive, and of course I'd like my own career to thrive.  So Egmont Publishing and my partners and I certainly hope this is a part of the future of publishing. 

How long is this running? Is this part of a larger picture?
We'll be running this in several chunks between now and the book release this winter. Because these things have a hard start/stop point, August is a ramp-up phase. There'll be a lot of content coming out, but the experience really gets underway at the end of the month… just in time to distract the kids from their schoolwork.

What if someone wants to follow the story but doesn’t want to participate?
You don't have to do anything.  You can do one thing and not another.  But the deeper you plunge the wetter you get.  I think every part of this is fun, I think people will enjoy the ARG, the app, the site and the books. 

App? You've mentioned that a couple times now.

Just wait and see.

What can you tell us about the story? What is “BZRK”?

It's a battle for the soul and freedom of the human race carried out simultaneously in the world we know, and in a world that you're not going to expect. It's a world where if you make a false move, you're going to lose your mind.

Insanity… is this something you have a personal familiarity with?
The line between writer and crazy person is very thin.  Both go around holding long, involved conversations with people who aren't there.

What’s this other world thing all about?
Do you really want spoilers? I'll tell you this. We'll be going "down in the meat." It's going to be vast, bloody, and beautiful.

Wait… isn’t this supposed to be for kids?

Adults like to flatter themselves that kids won't get, won't understand, won't be able to handle, more intense, more complex stories. That's nonsense.  It's the adults who are easy to creep out or scare.  Say the word "biopsy" in a room full of adults. Or "audit."  See?  Easy to scare.  Kids are a tougher audience because kids think they're immortal.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

ONE YEAR BLOGOVERSARY Custom Blog Design GIVEAWAY

It's my One Year Blog Anniversary (& you get the present)!!!
In anticipation of the start of last school year and wanting to have a central place to put my thoughts about books to share with my students to get them more motivated to read, I started this blog on August 10, 2010. Little did I realize how much I would enjoy doing this, and the connections I would make with authors, publishers, teachers, and other bloggers through this process.
I've had so much fun, and one of my favorite parts of doing this book blog over the past year was getting my custom design from fellow book blogger @loriimagination of Use Your Imagination Designs. See my post here to read my thoughts after launching the new look.
Lori was awesome to work with and gave me a blog personality to match what I wanted and fit me so well. So...to celebrate my first year of blogging and one of my favorite parts, I'm hosting a giveaway for a free custom blog design for one lucky winner!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:
One person will win a custom blogger blog design package from Lori at Use Your Imagination Designs:
Including: Custom header, custom background, link bar, signature, blog button with code, custom rating system for reviews, custom colors to match new design and installation.
(If you win, you're welcome to communicate with Lori to upgrade at your own cost.) 

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED!!! Oh, and if you have any thoughts about my blog design, I'd love to hear them in the comments so I can pass them on to Lori.

In My Mailbox - New Books This Week (30)

In My Mailbox is a posting idea run by Kristi at The Story Siren (read all about it here: In My Mailbox) for bloggers to share the books they've gotten that week to help publicize as many titles as possible. It's a little preview on what book reviews to anticipate along with a way to build excitement about new titles coming out. All titles link to goodreads so you can add books to your "to-read" list.


Won


SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce
One I've been wanting to read for awhile, so I was glad to win a signed paperback from @WellReadWife of Young Adult Smash

Thursday, August 4, 2011

SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

Title: SHATTER ME
Author: Tahereh
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 352
Source of Book: Borrowed ARC from Tara @ fictionfolio.com
Author's Website: http://stiryourtea.blogspot.com/

Goodreads Summary:
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

*************************
Juliette is alone - and can't be touched. She is deadly - and lonely and neglected. All she wants is to feel human again and know that she has a choice in what she does and how she's treated, but with her abilities, it's not meant to be. Once people realize what she can do, they're going to try to use here. They're going to try to sway her to their side. They're going to try to make her do what they want. Juliette's journey through this book leads to a growing strength and conviction as she figures out what she really wants and who she wants to be. Along the way she discovers a strength she never knew she had - in more ways than one.

Tahereh's writing is really, really unique. It's a little bit reminiscent of a Laurie Halse Anderson style with a not completely linear writing quality-there are poetic parts to it and repeated lines and an interestingly effective use of the strikeout tool that I've never seen before amazing incredible entrancing. It took me a little while to get used to it, but once I did, I was hooked. Oddly, I noticed the use of the word "shatter" quite a bit throughout, and I'm not sure if it's because I knew the title so it stuck out to me more, or if it was a bit overused, but overall, a slight quirk in an otherwise extraordinary story.

The first part of the book is really about Juliette and her solitary confinement, but then a boy shows up. Adam was unexpected. Adam turns out to be different than he seems; although, he does have his secrets. I loved Adam though - he is the kind of sweet boy character who has always been out for good that I like to read about in YA books. He's probably one of my favorite boy characters I've read (he's kind of in the vein of a Peeta-type of love interest) recently. There are some definite scenes of romance in this book-nothing too graphic, but definitely there.

Once you get to a certain point, it's a can't-put-it-down read and the action kicks in. Up until then, it's a more subtle kind of book. It's a dystopian, but you don't really get the world building until the last part of the book; it's much more character driven up until then. It doesn't really all come together for the reader to understand what's actually happening until the last part of the book - and by then you care so much about the characters that your heart is breaking for them. But, we get Kenji then - and oh how I loved Kenji and the comic relief he provides when it's most needed. I hope we get more of him in book two!

There is an overall feeling of a slow exposition and then a lot of the action happening in the later half of the book. By the end, I was left with a Hunger Games-ish feel. In the last quarter of the book - all of a sudden the game was changing with much bigger stakes and I was even more intrigued by what was going to happen. I very much feel like the ending was left open for a series and can't wait to find out what's going to happen next now that Juliette knows what she does. I do think this will be a much talked about book come November!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White

Title: SUPERNATURALLY (PARANORMALCY #2)
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Number of Pages: 336
Source of Book: Bought hardcover
Author's Website: http://kierstenwrites.blogspot.com

Goodreads Summary:

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees. 

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself. 

So much for normal.

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I just love Kiersten White's writing - it's so fun and light-hearted and entertaining and did I mention fun! Her writing is very approachable and not intimidating at all. For me, it falls into an easy read category the way that it's written, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a depth of content that is still enjoyable to read as you follow along with Evie's journey. If you've read Kiersten's blog at all (and you should be!) you've come to know her personality a little - and that totally comes through in her writing as well.

Evie is such a great character - she struggles with wanting to be normal, and finding a place to call home, and figuring out how to be the person she wants to be while trying to keep everyone happy. In book two, she's trying to balance her regular life and her IPCA live, her love for Lend and her relationships with other boys, her friendships with paranormals and normals, her anger at the faeries and her understanding of them, her feelings of wanting to be someone special and wanting to be normal, her realization of where she came from and what that makes her. I do love Evie's fashion sense and love of pink, but I don't envy her difficulties in trying to figure out how to find balance in her life and be happy - while always feeling like she has to keep secrets, oh, and constantly being afraid that paranormals are conspiring against her. She has a strong sense of right and wrong that comes through again in this book, and it's a piece of what makes her so relateable and what makes me want to root for her. Oh, and there's some romance - and it feels very real as there are struggles with her relationship with Lend and trying to find the balance that will make it work.

There is a good story arc in this book with new characters and old favorites. And there are definite hints to something bigger going on that do not get resolved at the end of this book, so I think I have an idea of what the third book is going to address. If you liked PARANORMALCY, you definitely won't be disappointed in this second book of Evie's adventures as she tries to find her version of "normal" and figure out how to find the balance between her paranormal and normal sides of life. I'll definitely be looking forward to book 3, ENDLESSLY, in 2012!


 
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