Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sense List Vol. 9


  • A  mix between the Close up faces of Hunger Games and title-missing of HP7 , the movie posters for Breaking Dawn have been released.  

  • Perks of Being a Wallflower starring Emma Watson has a new release date, September 14. 2012 , start those countdowns. 

  • Can't wait till 2013 for the sequel to Shatter Me? Mark your calendars for the e-book novella Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi  set to be released in October 2012.







May Cover Reveals     Daughter of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Asunder By Jodi Medaows
Dearly Beloved by Lia Habel
Fuse by Julianna Baggot
The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron 

Days of Blood and Starlight
Asunder
Dearly, Beloved
Fuse
The Dark Unwinding



Book Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

“I was horribly bookish, to the point of coming right out and saying it, which I knew was not socially acceptable. I particularly loved the adjective bookish, which I found other people used about as often as ramrod or chum or teetotaler.” ― David LevithanDash & Lily's Book of Dares


Synopsis: “I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

. . . Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Dash and Lily are two very different New York City teenagers whose lives become entangled by a red Moleskine notebook. Together they search for the meaning of family, love and the power of words. Dash and Lily is a quirky, fun contemporary that I think would be perfect for  Christmas time.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is the sophomore contemporary romance from the writing duo best known for Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. I've never read any of Rachel Cohn, but from the two Levithan novels I've read this is exactly what I expect. A great novel with an interesting premise and a few laughs along the way. 

The novel is written from two different perspectives. Dash is the snarly, bookish boy who believes he  wants nothing more than to be alone during the holidays. Lily is a shrilly girl, who wants nothing more to have her family together for the perfect classical Christmas. Through the novel they learn to grow from what they think they want and experience a whole new side of the holidays.

Cohn and Levithan capture the theme of teenaged insecurities very well in the novel. The characters go through wondering if they are good enough and how they live up to others. The novel discusses  how we really are and how idealized ourselves and others to be.

This novel is the perfect "Christmas in New York City" story taking us from F.A.O Schwartz ,The Strand Bookstore, the Dyker Heights light festival and more.

I have to say, I'm not a big fan of the title, because they aren't doing dares.The audiobook was very good, both actors were solid and brought the authors words to life. However, it was kind of weird hearing the different actors interpretations of the other character.  The female made Lily more spazzy while she was more confident when done by the male voice.


 Cohn and Levithan are an amazing writers and their narratives work well together. There writing style is flawless. I think a lot of authors can tell good stories, but really good writing is hard to come by. I really liked this passage, which I had to cut short because it's mildly spoilery: 

"In a field, I am the absence of field. In a crowd, I am the absence of crowd. In a dream, I am the absence of dream. But I don't want to live as an absence. I move to keep things whole. Because sometimes I feel drunk on positivity. Sometimes I feel amazement at the tangle of words and lives, and I want to be a part of that tangle..."


There are just so many great lines in this book.  Dash and Lily are full and completely realized characters with flaws and perfections. They are surrounded by a great cast of characters and plot that move the story along in a dynamic and fun way. This is a truly enjoyable novel.

I will say this book got really quirky and random towards the end. The whole time the novel was mildly believable, but towards the end it felt like it was kind of leaving all realism. I did  love how this book ended. I thought it was perfect and of course I like a novel that bookends the beginning and end in some way.

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares is a fast paced feel good novel about the things we anticipate in life and the things that surprise us.








Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Review : The Goddess Test



Synopsis :It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.


Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.


Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.

With her mother's impending death Kate has lost all hope. Until an unfortunate chain of events leads Kate to Henry, the resident of the mysterious Eden Manor and Hades himself.


How amazing does this plot sound ?

I've always been fascinated by the idea of  YA  novels based in or around mythology, unfortunately The Goddess Test left me extremely disappointed.

Kate Winters agrees to spend the winter with Henry (Hades) in his manor, in exchange for more time with her mother. Therefore the majority of the novel takes place inside the mansion walls. At first I would think such an insular environment wouldn't work but It was done pretty well Illuminate so I digressed.

However I found the setting to be claustrophobic and it did little to alleviate the characters who felt like little more than words on paper. Henry (Hades) is your very average brooding male protagonist his characterization was like a checklist of how brooding male protagonist are supposed to act. Secretive ? Check. Hot and Cold attitude ? Check Hot/Beautiful ? Check.  I struggled to find anything original about him.


Maybe it's because this novel is called The Goddess Test that you would think some actual testing would be happening but the plot is so subtle that it is almost non-existent. I'm pretty sure all Kate actually does is wear pretty dresses and ask questions.

As a reader we don't actual get to experience things, it's more like we are told everything and the few times we are actually let in to the action it  involves dropping an Aesop Anvil which lead to another frustration.


Initially, I liked Kate and her passion for her mother but as the novel progressed she started to lose me. Henry and everyone is constantly telling Kate that he life is in danger, yet she gets mad when Henry tells her not to wear/eat a mysterious Christmas present ?


Apart from Kate's mission to passing the test, We literally know nothing about Kate. I get that she has been busy her caring for her sick mother, but she has no ambitions or hobbies or anything that we know of.

 I felt like this book was filled with a lot of political correctness. The novel  watered down Greek mythology to explain away things like kidnapping, incest, jealousy and rage. What I found most bothersome was the subtle  slut-shaming . Over and Over again it seemed like female characters were punished for (as the book puts it) having lustful thoughts or trying to defend themselves.

In a little under 300 pages the plot and characters didn't have room to develop. The exposition of the story goes by so quickly that when tragic events take place it's hard to care, because the readers don't really know the characters.

In the end I just didn't care about the characters and the story didn't come off the page.The book just  frustrated me. It had a few plot twist but they came off as annoying instead of shocking. The characters felt paper thin and in the end I wasn't really sure what I had read. The books wraps up nice enough that it could very well stand alone and stand alone on my shelf it will.





*Thanks to Susan from Wastepaper Prose for this copy !









Wednesday, May 16, 2012

25 Authors Published Under 25 Giveaway Winners

We had such a great response to our 25 authors Published Under 25 that we decided to pick two winners.

The winners are :

Sara S. and Brandi K.




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Congratulations  You have your choice of the following books. 

Books & Sensibility's 25under25 book montage

Shatter Me
Divergent
My Heart Be Damned
This Can't Be Happening at MacDonald Hall!
Eragon
The Duff
The Outsiders
The Goddess Test
The Vicious Deep
Throne of Glass
Break
What's Left of Me
The Farfield Curse
The Near Witch
Marked
Cracked Up to Be
All These Lives
Legacy
New Girl
Here Lies Bridget


Books & Sensibility's favorite books »

Book Review : Royal Street By Suzanne Johnson



Synopsis: As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. . .Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters. . . Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover. . .DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo
The premise of Royal Street is what initially drew me to this novel, I was excited by the idea of an urban fantasy based on a contemporary tragic event.
.
In  New Orleans ( circa 2005 ) 25 year-old DJ (Drusilla Jaco) is a junior wizard sentinel who trades in wands and physical magic for good old fashion herbs, mojo bags and potions. DJ may be old school but that doesn't mean she is only cut out for menial jobs.


When Hurrican Katrina strikes, DJ makes it out but comes back to find the city she calls home has been  ravaged. Even worse, the closely guarded boundaries between the paranormal Beyond and New Orleans have been broken. Soon everything DJ has ever known begans to change.


In the midst of the chaos the Senior Sentinel, DJ's mentor, disappears. She begins a search mission while dealing with; a new gun-happy partner, supernatural beings, the They Fight Crime  trope then throw in  some historical undead and this novel is a fun ride.


Right off the bat I noticed that Hurricane Katrina is not the central plot of the novel, but  instead the hurricane's aftermath is what becomes the main obstacle in the story. New Orleans with its history of dark magic and vodoo make  the city the  perfect background for this novel. 


I was fascinated by the world Johnson created, in which the preternatural are held in a Beyond or"Old New Orleans" . Johnson has an excellent grasp of paranormal elements making this a seamless urban fantasy.


At  some points the novel  borders on World of Snark, which considering the situation seemed a bit off. I had a hard time finding a middle ground between the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and the going ons in the novel. I've never been one for gratuitous quips and quirks, but the tone evens out towards the end of the novel.


Additionally, this novel is deeply structured in local nuances concerning New Orleans geography. This is crucial to understand, when discussing what  damage Hurricane Katrina caused and where. I felt some of the locality went over my head, but this would be fun insider information for a local reading. 


I'm really interested to see how D.J will develop throughout the series and how the relationships between the characters will develop. Yep, this novel features a little love triangle.


While this is not a  YA I think with the humor, big personalities and urban fantasy elements this novel will find itself at home with fans of Cassandra Clare's  City of Bones. Cliff Nielsen also does the cover for this one.


You can read the first three chapter with annotations and insights from the author at TOR.com


The second novel in the series River Road will be released in hardcover in November 2012.





* Thanks to TOR books and Cassandra Ammerman for this finished copy !










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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Books and Sensibility is BEA Bound !



It was a last minute choice, but Jess and I are headed to BEA in NYC ! What business does an 8-month old book blog have at one of the biggest North American Publishing events? None, but we are going anyway.

We are going to BEA to:
  • Learn more about book blogging, 
  • Meet our favorite book bloggers
  • Make connections in  the publishing world 
  • Find out what books we will all be reading next year.

Where to find Kat & Jess at BEA


Monday
BEA Blogger Convention

Tuesday
BEA Young Adult Editors' Buzz
The Apocalypsies: Meet the Authors of 2012's Must-Reads!
Teen Author Carnival (free public event so if you are in NYC stop by)

Wednesday 
The Children's Book and Author Breakfast (Round tables with breakfast)


We've also been working on our first set of business cards ! What do you think ?



P.S Business cards are still 50% off at Zazzle. We purchased 120 for ~13.90



Monday, May 14, 2012

25 Authors Published Under 25 Part 5 : The Serial Offenders (finale !)


Welcome to a week long feature on Book and Sensibility where we countdown 25 authors published under 25. We hope this feature serves as an inspiration to young writers and to those who are young at heart ! 
  1. Part 1 : The Teenaged Dream
  2. Part 2 : The 2012 Debuts
  3. Part 3 : The 2011 Debuts
  4. Part 4 : Genre Savvy
  5. Part 5 : Serial Offenders

Publishing a book before 25 is quite an accomplishment, but our last five authors have published more than one book (some more than three) before hitting their quarter life crisis.

20. Jackson Pearce, 25
This year Pearce has been making news with her newest novel, Purity. However, Pearce published her first novel, As You Wish,at age 25 in 2009 with HarperTeen. The next year she published Sisters Red the first book in her Fairytale Retellings series.

21. Kristin Cast, 21
With fantasy author P.C. Cast as a mother it's no surprise Kristin Cast caught the writing bug. Since 2007 Cast and her mother have published 9 books in the House of Night series. Kristin Cast has also been published  in YA romance anthologies.


22. Hannah Moskowitz, 18
This University of Maryland student published her first novel Break in 2009 at age 18. In the past 3 years Moskowitz has been busy ! She has published 5 more books including her 2012 novel Gone, Gone, Gone.


23. Cayla Kluver, 15
At age 15 Kluver's mother started a publishing company just to publish Kluver's novel, Legacy. After being featured on AmazonEncore the novel was re-edited and released by HarlequinTeen in 2011. The sequel Allegiance was released in Febuarary 2012 the final book is set to hit shelves in 2013.


24. Paige Harbison, 21
Like Cast and Kluver Paige Haribson got her started because of her mother, Romance/Chick-lit author Beth Harbison. Paige's debut novel Here Lies Bridget was published in 2010. Her 2012 novel New Girl was released in 2012.

25. Courtney Summers, 23
Canadian author Courtney Summers first novel, Cracked Up To Be, tells the story  of a popular high school cheerleader's fall from grace. First published by St. Martins Press in 2008, Summers has since published five books since including her latest book, This is Not a Test,  which hits shelves June 2012. Followed by All The Rage in 2013.


Thank you all so much for joining us as we counted down 25 Authors Published Under 25. We hope this post has served as a sense of inspiration and maybe even a little FYI.



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