Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (26)

Clarity - Kim Harrington
*March 1st, 2011 Scholastic Point

When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Paranormal murder mystery, ooh! There's not a lot of that in YA these days, so it'll be interesting to see how Kim Harrington has executed this.

*WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Mockingbirds Review

The Mockingbirds - Daisy Whitney
*November 2nd, 2010 Little, Brown

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

In The Mockingbirds, Daisy Whitney uses a very intriguing medium to draw attention to a tragic - but nonetheless very real - issue: date rape. With interesting context, literary references and kids-next-door characters, Whitney explores this issue in a thought-provoking manner.

Having just started university this year, there was a fair amount of time spent on the issue of date rape during Frosh Week - there was a play on it (the performer was amazing! She chose to write & perform said play due to her own experience with date rape) and information session. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is altogether too real these days. It's mentioned in the back of The Mockingbirds that Whitney herself experienced it during her frosh year of college.

As such, it's great to see [Whitney] getting the message out there and raising awareness about this. This is one of those issues that doesn't always have a clear right/wrong side to it, so it's admirable that Whitney chose to have Alex, the main character, involved in a slightly more ambiguous situation.

The Mockingbirds also draws reference to Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and several Shakespearean works. It's always great to see YA books paying homage to other literary pieces. And I must say, the concept of the Mockingbirds (the group) is certainly a very intriguing and well laid out one!

Alex's journey through The Mockingbirds - and that of those who become involved in it - is definitely one that starts out very unfortunately, but towards the end, there's a note of hope, a concept of "light at the end of the tunnel", if you will. As such, The Mockingbirds is a very important book, dealing with an important issue.

Daisy Whitney's The Mockingbirds was ranked 7th on Lucid Conspiracy's Top 10 YA Reads of 2010 list lately. Definitely one worth checking out!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In My Mailbox [46]

For Review:
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
XVI by Julia Karr
(Thanks Penguin!)

Won From Contests:
Grave Witch by Kalayna Price (Thanks Brooke!)
A Shore Thing by Snooki (Thanks S&S!)

A Like Mandarin postcard (autographed) (Thanks Kirsten!)

This is basically a culmination of stuff received at my residence mailing address since ~mid-December. Back to the grind now though :( However, be sure to keep an eye out these days - many reviews to come! :)

*In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (25)

So Shelly - Ty Roth
*February 8th, 2011 Delacorte
Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.

After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.
Literary references! Keats! Shelly! There's something very haunting about the premise, and it sounds like it might have Romantic elements, so it'll definitely be interesting to see how this plays out.

Furthermore, how awesome is the mood in the cover image? Love the font on "shelly" as well.

What're you waiting on this Wednesday?

*WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

Human .4 - Mike A. Lancaster
*March 8th, 2011 EgmontUSA

Humanity, like computers, can be upgraded. And old versions disappear. . . .

At some unspecified point in the future, when technology is as advanced as possible and we are a race of super beings, some old audio tapes are discovered. On the tapes is the story of fourteen-year-old Kyle Straker.

Hypnotized, Kyle missed the upgrade of humanity to 1.0. He isn't compatible with our new technology. And through the recording, he narrates what the upgrades really mean. And it's absolutely terrifying.

Sci-fi futuristic and technological apocalypse in the style of War of the Worlds, I am Legend and The X-Files.

The premise of this sounds great - the concept of humanity mixed with technology, futuristic and apocalyptic... Mmmm.

Very curious about the title as well. Plus, what a great cover!

What're you waiting on this Wednesday?

*WoW is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Launching Across The Universe

(Image by Jeremy)

So you may remember my excitement last Wednesday when I WoWed Beth's Revis' Across The Universe. Well, today brings us the day of the launch, woohoo!

In celebration of that, let's have some awesome Across the Universe-themed goodies :)

Let's start off with an interview with the awesome author Beth Revis:

How much fun is that interactive video? I love how the interview feels very personal and professional - definitely amps up the excitement for Across The Universe. So of course the next logical step would be to check out the book trailer:

How haunting is that narration? I think Lauren Ambrose did a beautiful job with the voice and emotion behind the words. Check out the official Across the Universe website and explore the Godspeed - I think it's especially cool how there's a produce greenhouse & everything is grown there - self-sustaining!

Still not hooked yet? Then check out io9 to read the first 111 pages of Across the Universe (they'll be available from 11:11am to 11:11pm EST today)!

Across the Universe's web presence:

Beth Revis' web presence:

Penguin's web presence:

See you across the universe! :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox [45]

So technically this wasn't in my mailbox, nor is it a book, but I figured it was still worth sharing:

I was at Chapters.Indigo today and ended up getting a Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay t-shirt! (It's actually just one shirt -the front view is shown on the left and the back view is shown on the right.) I hadn't realized there was so much THG merchandise out already - board games, magnets, stickers, keychains, shirts, you name it!

I'm pretty excited to start wearing it; it'll definitely be cool to see if anyone else recognizes the meaning behind it and mention it.

To find some of my previous posts on: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.

What was in your mailbox this week?

*In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The DUFF Review

The DUFF - Kody Keplinger
*September 7th, 2010 Little Brown/Poppy

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

With The DUFF, young author Kody Keplinger has crafted a raw, gritty and real read. If the fact that The DUFF recently made 3rd place in my Top 10 YA Reads of 2010 List is any indication, it's basically a read that's definitely worth checking out!

The leading lady, Bianca, is a very strong-minded and rather badass female character. She's brash and tells it how it is. It's always great to see strong female leads who have a mind of their own and aren't afraid to express their opinions. Like mentioned earlier, as far as contemporary novels go, The DUFF is fairly gritty and real - and as such it does contain some explicit language and scenes. (In my opinion, it's well within acceptable range, doesn't even strike controversial territory, but it is something to be aware of.)

Wesley is also a very interesting character. It was definitely impressive to see his issues, because that added an extra facet of depth and realism to his character, which in turn upped the credibility. And hey, he does kind of appeal to the whole rebellious-bad-boy-fantasy aspect of teen [female] readers.

With great witty banter, it's definitely visualize-able how The DUFF could be turned into an amusing romantic comedy movie (movie rights have already been sold). There were a few slight issues here and there with credibility - specific snippets of dialogue or parts of scenes - didn't ring quite as true as they might've. There was one thing - that's just not how the school handles that in real life. At times the "morals" of the story did seem to be pounded in a little more directly than necessary.

All in all, Keplinger has created a super-fun and enjoyable contemporary story with The DUFF.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (23)

Across the Universe - Beth Revis
*January 11th, 2010 Razorbill
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone--one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship--tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
Doesn't the premise of this sound ah-mazing? I read the first chapter here a few months ago, and was instantly intrigued! The first bit actually reminded me a bit of KA Applegate's Remnants series, so definitely interested to see where this goes.

Futuristic science fiction that takes place in deep space? Sign me up! (When I was little, like around 10, 11~ish, I wanted to be an astronomer.) Best part yet? It releases in less than a week now!

What're you waiting on this Wednesday?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rot & Ruin Review

Rot & Ruin - Jonathan Maberry
*October 5th, 2010 Simon & Schuster

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Zombies and the "zombie-apocalypse" have been pretty hot trends lately (and not just in YA books). Jonathan Maberry's Rot & Ruin is actually the first zombie-themed piece of entertainment that I've perused in a long while.

And what a piece of zombie-apocalypse it is!

I know I've been reading a lot of dystopia, a lot of post-apocalyptic stuff lately - most of which veers towards the science fiction side. Rot & Ruin creates a post-zombie-apocalyptic world that's both intriguing and immersing. It's a hard read to put down.

It's a little on the long side, at well over 400 pages, and I feel like the beginning could've been sped up so much more. Sure, it was backstory and all, but the writing could've been tightened and a bit more explanation could've been provided instead (rather than expecting readers to simply accept everything at face value). This in turn led to a few credibility issues, but for the most part it was fairly minor.

The characters are interesting and believable - because they each have character flaws. Definitely great to see that there aren't any Mary Sues/Gary Stus in Rot & Ruin. It's also cool to note that the main character, Benny Imura, is half Japanese (his brother Tom is fully Japanese). Although race isn't an issue that's explored in a major way here, the fact that it's referenced that the town is multicultural was very real to see.

At times it did feel like the "morals" of the story were being pounded in a little too hard and a little more show instead of tell could've been used. The action sequences were great, and the climax actually had action (yes!). Rot & Ruin tends to cater to the post-apocalyptic/zombie YA fan-base in general - it could be an enjoyable read for both guys and gals.

With action-packed adventure and interesting characters, Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry is an exciting and thought-provoking post-apocalyptic zombie read.

*I've also just found out tonight that there will indeed be a follow-up, titled Dust & Decay (gosh, what a great title).

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Here's to 2011; let's make it the best one yet! :)

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