Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review : Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova

  • Release Date: May 1st 2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Genre: Mermaid/Urban Fantasy
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Synopsis: For Tristan Hart, everything changes with one crashing wave. He was gone for three days. Sucked out to sea in a tidal wave and spit back ashore at Coney Island with no memory of what happened. Now his dreams are haunted by a terrifying silver mermaid with razor-sharp teeth. His best friend Layla is convinced something is wrong. But how can he explain he can sense emotion like never before? How can he explain he's heir to a kingdom he never knew existed? That he's suddenly a pawn in a battle as ancient as the gods. Something happened to him in those three days. He was claimed by the sea...and now it wants him back.
I have to admit when I saw mermaids making a splash (l know, I know ) on the YA book circuit, I was doubtful. I just always kind of felt like Hans Christian Anderson and Disney had already told the best mermaid story there is; young mermaid falls in love with a human and sacrifices everything. 
But, I've been proven wrong as many YA authors put their bold, new and modern twists on the mermaid genre.

Debut author, Zoraida Cordova brings out her spin on the tale with The Vicious Deep, the story of Tristan Hart, a 16-year-old Coney Island lifeguard who discovers he is a merman. But Tristan isn’t just any merman--he is the heir to the Sea King, and to rightfully claim his throne Tristan will have to win the championship for the trident, an epic quest for the pieces of the trident against other merman.

Tristan is popular at school and with his friends, which is an unexpected change from the more common outcast, loner YA protagonist. His
first person narrative is filled with snark and a little bit arrogance as he discovers what his past.

Most of the novel relies on the hi-jinks of when sea life and human life combine. And there are more than just mermaids in the novel. As the novel goes along we are introduced to more paranormal elements.

With a  title  like Vicious Deep, a bold cover and jacket copy that says “Don’t let it pull you under” and “He was claimed by the sea and now it wants him back” I expected more of an intense epic journey, but this was really more of a comedy.

The Vicious Deep is a a light read and I’m interested to see what Cordova will do with the sequel, Savage Blue


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book Review: Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia

  • Release Date: August 7th 2012
  • Page Number: 256
  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster for Young Readers
Synopsis: Lemon grew up with Stella, a single mom who wasn’t exactly maternal. Stella always had a drink in her hand and a new boyfriend every few months, and when things got out of hand, she would whisk Lemon off to a new town for a fresh beginning. Now, just as they are moving yet again, Lemon discovers that she is pregnant from a reckless encounter—with a guy Stella had been flirting with.On the verge of revisiting her mother’s mistakes, Lemon struggles to cope with the idea of herself as a young unmarried mother, as well as the fact that she’s never met her own father. Determined to have at least one big adventure before she has the baby, Lemon sets off on a cross-country road trip, intending not only to meet her father, but to figure out who she wants to be.

Kristen-Paige Madonia just happens to be a Virginia author and I was fortunate enough to meet her at Fountain Bookstore in August. While there, Madonia discussed was how she did not write this book to be a YA, she just wrote a novel with a teenage protagonist and it was decided it would sell best as a YA. I love this idea, because by not being written as a YA, Fingerprints of You  avoids a lot of the tropes and cliches associated with the genre.

17-year-old Lemon's whole life has been her and her mother, Stella, against the world. Living in suitcases and moving every few years, Lemon describes her mother as a

"...restless woman who yanked us from town to town, an impulsive mother bound by bitterness, a woman boarded in  by secrets and regrets."

When Lemon discovers she is pregnant, by a man forgotten in another state, she decides to take a journey of her own. With her friend, Emmy she travels west to San Francisco to find her father and possibly roots of her own.

The style of this book reminded me a lot of the dirty realism movement in the 80's. I only think of this because I had to read a lot of it my last year of college. Dirty realism is defined in a 1983 edition of the  literary magazine Granta as fiction about " the belly-side of contemporary life – a deserted husband, an unwed mother, a car thief, a pickpocket, a drug addict – but they write about it with a disturbing detachment, at times verging on comedy. Understated, ironic, sometimes savage, but insistently compassionate... "

I think this sums up the books best parts very well. Lemon and Stella are both flawed in their own way, but the love each other fiercely. Stella is a little flighty in the book, she drinks a lot, falls in love to easily, but she never lets that compromise  Lemon's life too much.

Madonia is an excellent writer, her word choice is well crafted through the story. Lemon's voice is so honest and compelling. I loved how while Emmy and Lemon are on their 4 day Greyhound ride from West Virginia to California, she alludes that a boy on the bus is reading Looking for Alaska by John Green. This is probably one of the first times I've seen a YA novel mentioned in another novel.

However, Lemons' detachment from her baby was a little weird. I mean, she is only a month or two pregnant, but she is so nonchalant about it. She doesn't seem to care about going to the doctor or doing what she needs to do. The pregnancy seems more like an inconvenience than an actual issues in the book.

I think this book is a great journey and coming of age  about letting go of all the blame and fault that consumes life.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover Reveal : Crimson Hunt by Victoria H. Smith

Cover Reveal
The Crimson Hunt by Victoria H. Smith

  •  Release Date: November 12, 2012
  •  Genre: New Adult/ Science Fiction

Synopsis: College junior Ariel Richmond is working on year three of Project Normalcy.
Her house reeks of keggers past and her bestie is just a slight bit vulgar. But the thing is—they both aid in making life refreshingly uneventful.
So much for hard-earned mediocrity when Luca Grinaldi appears on the scene.
Luca’s sudden presence on campus is hard to ignore. Those bright eyes act like a beacon to unsuspecting females, and with features like his, he’s got to be moonlighting for GQ. Luca hopelessly captivates Ariel with his confidence and charisma, but the mysteries surrounding him make him nearly untouchable. And just when Ariel grows close enough to unlock his secrets, a tragic event sends her life in a downward spiral.
That steady life is no longer an option and allies quickly become scarce. The mysterious Luca seems to be the only one willing to help her—but with that trust comes the burden of his secrets. He has a dark mission of otherworldly proportions, and is willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes to see it completed.
Gone are the days of simply maintaining normalcy, and if Ariel isn’t cautious with her trust, so soon may be her future


Victoria H. Smith has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She puts it to good use writing romance all day. She resides in the Midwest with her Macbook on her lap and a cornfield to her right. She often draws inspiration for her stories from her own life experiences, and the twenty-something characters she writes give her an earful about it.

In her free time, she enjoys extreme couponing, blogging, reading, and sending off a few tweets on Twitter when she can. She writes new adult fiction romance in the sub-genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, and contemporary, but really, anywhere her pen takes her she goes. 

Victoria H. Smith Links: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fangs, Fur and Fey Giveaway Hop !

Fangs, Fur and Fey. Oh my !

Jess just reviewed the audiobook of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White  and loved it, so for this hop I am giving away one book in the series ! It has everything, Fangs, Fur and Fey !
Sidenote: Sometime Rafflecopter acts up in Firefox. Use Internet Explorer or Google Chrome instead. 

Prize #1
One book in the Paranormalcy series

Hop on !

Book Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

  • Release Date: October 1st 2012
  • Pages: 245
  • Genre: Contemporary
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Synopsis: Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.
Now Parker wants a new life.
So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?
But how far is too far before she loses herself completely.
Parker Shelton was always a good Christian girl.With good Christian friends and a clean reputation. That is until her mother comes out as a lesbian and runs away with the church's secretary. Like the tagline says, one strike-- to her facade of a perfect life that is-- and she's out. Parker looses her grip on who she is, to become the person she believes everyone needs her to be.

Stealing Parker is the follow up to Kenneally's Catching Jordan. Like Catching Jordan this novel is sports themed however Stealing Parker  is less about the sport and more about the characters.

Parker is your average self-conscious snarky teenager. She is so concerned with what everyone thinks and things never seem to turn out the way they should for her. She loses weight, stops playing softball and starts making out with more boys just to confirm to everyone she is not a lesbian like her mom.

One of the characters that stood out to me was Brian Hoffman, the 23-year-old baseball coach she starts a secret relationship with while she is managing the baseball  team. He was supposed to be a baseball player, but he wasn't a good enough  in college. He has a Master's degree, but is back at home living with his parents because he can't afford to move out. I think this speaks so much to what is going on with a lot of 20 somethings. When you learn all the high school dreams you had don't always come true. I mean he is a jerk a lot of the time, but I think that comes from the frustration with where he ended up. This tension plays up especially well with him risking losing his job to see Parker.

For a book about gay people and religion, I will say this book doesn't delve to deep into the issue. I think Kenneally handles it well, but it's not raw or uncensored. Most of what happens with Parker's church clashing with her mom's decision to leave is told to us, not shown.  In fact, the Church in this novel is less about the religion and more about the institution of religion. In Parker's mind church means:

"... dressing up on Sunday mornings and forgoing french toast at the kitchen table for stale powdered donuts. It means listening to Brother John saying "your body is a temple" and "true love waits." *

The only thing that really bothers me about this book personally are all the pop culture references  I mean, I liked some of them, like how Parker's friends Corndog and Drew like to go to a diner and pretend like they are on Seinfeld and talk about nothing. However more contemporary  references to things like Mila Kunis, Far East Movement  always take me out of books for some reason.

Stealing Parker is a modern, heartfelt follow up to Catching Jordan about learning to love again.

Side Note : Miranda Kenneally has received a three book deal with Sourcebooks Fire. Next up is a novel entitled Racing Savannah. A secondary character from Stealing Parker will feature in the novel.

* All quotes are from ARCs and may not reflect the finished copy. ARC received from BEA for review. Thanks to the publicist at Sourcbooks for findng a copy !


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