Friday, March 29, 2013

Short Story Review : The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black


  • Length : 29 pages 
  • Publication Date : February 10th 2010
 Info: In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. Some of these stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and many have been reprinted in many Best of” anthologies.



    Did you know Holly Black's newest novel, Coldest Girl in Coldtown started off as a short story ? It was featured in a 2010 anthology called The Poison Eaters, Coldtown comes in at just under 30 pages.

    While at the Beautiful Creatures book signing last month, Kami Garcia raved about Holly Black's short story The Coldest Girl In Coldtown and how excited she was to find out that Black was writing the novel. I decided to pick it up at the library to  learn a little bit more about Coldtown.

    Now, you know Black's Curse Workers series is one of our favorite reads at Books and Sensibility and when another authors recs something,  wehave to check it out.

    Coldtown is a character driven story about Matilda; a 16-year-old girl who was bitten by a vampire and is now going cold. Literally. In the midst of her transformation, alone and drunk on the streets, Matilda sees her chance to do one last good deed and helps the boy she loves before accepting her fate as a vampire.

    Coldtown is where she is headed. A quarantined vampire town where humans and vampire go in and never come out.

    I don't really know how to review this short story as I've never really read short fiction and this is very short fiction. The plot and setting left me wanting so much  more, I found my self missing large story arcs. Black does a great job at crafting characters in such little space. Through little actions and descriptions we get a feel for who they are and who they will be.

    It was an interesting twist on the  vampire lore. Once again Black focuses on the separation of a group of supernatural beings. However unlike the Curse  Worker's series, the supernaturals are admired and feared, instead of just feared. I also appreciated the nice mix of social media and technology references.

    There was also this odd incident where the characters name changes from Matilda to Melinda. I'm not sure if that is a typo or if it's intentional.


    Judging by the synopsis the  novel doesn't seem to focus on the same character as the short story, but I imagine that it will build on the world and setting.

    Interesting fact : Matilda states that the day she died is September, 3 2013. The novel comes out in September 2013. The story wasn't published in this anthology until 2010 and the deal wasn't announced till 2011...how did she know ?

    Read More

    My Secret Secret Secret Project (Holly Black's Tumblr)


    Pre-Order


    Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.
    One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
    The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black



    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    Waiting On Wednesday Vol. 12



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


    Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black (September 17th 2013)

    Tana lived in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.
    One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.(

    I've read the short story the novel is based on after hearing Kami Garcia talk about it at a signing. I really enjoyed Black's spin on supernatural beings in The  Curse Workers so I can't wit to see what she has in store for Vampires.





    Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris (April 23rd 2013)



    I can not stop reading Unraveling ! I'm so glad we are close to the release date. Love the covers for this book. (I'm not posting the synopsis because I haven't finished reading Unraveling)














    Roman Holiday by Ashleyn Poston ( June 19th 2013)




    When the death of his bandmate forces twenty-one-year-old rockstar Roman Montgomery to return to his real hometown to do some damage control, he runs into the last person he ever wanted to see again―his childhood sweetheart.
    Eighteen-year-old Junie Baltimore has problems of her own. Heartbroken from her first love and mourning the death of her father, Junie isn't ready to return to the small coastal town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for her mom's remarriage. When she runs into Roman with his cheshire grin and emerald eyes that still make her weak in the knees, she's determined not to swoon―or be swooned.
    But when an obsessed paparazzo hell-bent on destroying Roman slut-shames Junie on every tabloid in the country, she begins to understand why he left, and broke her heart, in the first place. Maybe it wasn't because he's ashamed of his past. Maybe it's because there is something here he wanted to protect.
    And maybe it's time someone protected him.

    We did a cover reveal for this book last week. I love books with a coastal settings and I've been to Myrtle Beach as a tourist so I can't wait to see how Poston incorporates the setting  from a "townie" POV.


    What are you waiting for ? Leave links !

    Book Review : Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

    • Release Date: June 12, 2012 
    • Genre: Fantasy/High Fantasy
    •  Pages: 358  
    • Publishers: Henry Holt and Co. (MacMillan)
    Synopsis: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

    I heard a lot about this book in the YA blogging community and was ready to jump on the bandwagon. I really like MacMillan's Fierce Reads novels, but Shadow and Bone was a lukewarm book for me. I could never get caught up in the story and it took me  w while to really sit down and finish this one.

    In the war torn  land of  Ravka, a dangerous darkness known as The Fold severs the country in half. Ravka's only light in the dark are the Grisha, those who are born with the ability to  "manipulate matter at its most fundamental elements" while living in the lap of luxury serving the king and the most powerful Grisha of all, The Darkling.

    Orphan and common foots soldier, Alina Starkov, has always turned her nose to Grisha. Maybe it's because the Grisha girls catch the eye of her best friend and fellow soldier Mal. But none of that matters when Alina discovers she is not only a Grisha, but the most powerful Grisha in Ravka and she with the Darkling may be the only hope to save their land.

    Shadow and Bone is billed as an epic fantasy, but it  felt stripped down to me. Maybe because I read this right after Melina Marchetta's Lumatare Chronicles, which is this dense fantasy YA packed with the political nuances, rich detail and brutality. 

    Bardugo created a fairly unique setting within the world of Ravka; a land based on Russian folklore and culture. While there aren't a lot of  terms, I did have to look up exactly what kvas and keftka were to get a better visual.

    At the beginning of the story, I was really into this book, but when the plot got rolling it all started to feel very familiar. I know this book is a huge fan favorite, but I got bored with it. I feel like this The Only One trope is really overused in YA; Girl thinks she is common, discovers she is not only special, but the best and struggles with the new knowledge as she takes on her role. There is a twist that shakes things up for the second half of the novel, but doesn't have a big pay off. 

    Shadow and Bone is a stand out in YA for it's illustrated cover and setting, perfect for readers who enjoy lighter YA or readers who want to try out the epic fantasy genre.




    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    The Sense List Vol. 17

    It's back ! Books and Sensibility rounds up this weeks bookish news.

    Welcome to The Sense List ! A feature on Books and Sensibility where we wrap up current YA news and events.



    Movie/TV News

    • Another YA novel has its films right snapped up pre-release. This time it's Arewn Elys Daytons' Seeker. The novel, which is being compared to Hunger Games and Games of Thrones is set to be released in 2015





    Publishing

    On The Web




    • Books are getting a little sweeter with Huffington Post and Book Expo America's  Have Your (Cup)Cake & Read it Too series. Each week a novel will receive a customized cupcake recipe. 





    Cover Reveals
    • Roman Holiday by Ashleyn Poston (June 2013)
    • No Attachments by Tiffany King (April 2013)
    • Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron ( Fall 2013)





    Coming Soon ! 

    The Sense List  will be available as an  e-newsletter. If you like what you see sign up below.





    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Cover Reveal : Roman Holiday by Ashelyn Poston + Blog Tour Sign Ups

    Cover Reveal

    Roman Holiday by Ashelyn Poston


    I am so happy to be doing this cover reveal today ! I met Ashelyn briefly at BEA last year, while resting my feet from all the standing. She wrote her blog down on a folded Post-it and afterwards I started following her writing journey on her blog, read some of her Wattpad and now here I am with the cover reveal for her debut novel, Roman HolidayI love the pop of pink and the intense eye action on the cover !


    Synopsis: When the death of his bandmate forces twenty-one-year-old rockstar Roman Montgomery to return to his real hometown to do some damage control, he runs into the last person he ever wanted to see again―his childhood sweetheart.
    Eighteen-year-old Junie Baltimore has problems of her own. Heartbroken from her first love and mourning the death of her father, Junie isn't ready to return to the small coastal town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for her mom's remarriage. When she runs into Roman with his cheshire grin and emerald eyes that still make her weak in the knees, she's determined not to swoon―or be swooned.
    But when an obsessed paparazzo hell-bent on destroying Roman slut-shames Junie on every tabloid in the country, she begins to understand why he left, and broke her heart, in the first place. Maybe it wasn't because he's ashamed of his past. Maybe it's because there is something here he wants to protect.
    And maybe it's time someone protected him.

    Want to be apart of the blog tour ?











    Kat's Bloggiesta To Do List ! Ole !



    So, this weekend is a bit busy for me with Easter dress shopping, job hunting and other things, but I still plan to do some Bloggiesta stuff !

    Here are my goals:

    - Update and organize Books and Sensibility's Goodreads.

    - Update Reviews Tab

    - Update Social Media buttons to include Tumblr and our individual Goodreads

    - Write some Top Ten Tuesdays

    - Edit and schedule anything in the draft folders

    -  Write Reviews for :
    The Archived
    Living Violet
    Between The Lines
    Miracle


    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Book Review: Altered by Jennifer Rush


    • Genre: Science Fiction
    • Pages: 323
    • Publisher: Little Brown, Books for Young Readers 
    • Release Date: January 1st 2013 
    Synopsis: Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away
    Altered isn’t a book I’d usually pick up since I’m more of a contemporary/dystopian reader, but when Jennifer Rush came to a signing near me, I went ahead and bought a copy. One of the first things Jennifer said was that she writes for the boys. And it’s pretty obvious what she means by this once you get into a book.

    In  the basement of Anna Mason and her father’s farmhouse, four boys suffering from amnesia are confined to glass cells. The boys are being held there by The Branch, the clandestine organization her father works for.

    Anna has gotten used to this life and the boys in her basement with their secrets, she even befriends them as she assists her father in the lab. But when it is time for the Branch to take boys to leave. She suddenly finds herself in the middle of an adventure bigger than she imagined.

    This is the first book I've read in the science fiction-y type YAs that seems popular this year. The novel has a very cinematic, action movie like story structure. The characters just kind of hop from place to place leaving destruction or fight scene in their wake as they search for answers. It reminded me a lot of the Paycheck (Has anyone else seen this one ?) or the Wolverine movie. 


    The boys in this novel are pretty much pick your flavor, you have the love interest Sam the alpha male and leader, Cas the comic relief, Trev the sensitive guy and Nick, the brooding mean one. Anna starts out pretty generic in the beginning, but towards the end of this novel she gets some interesting character development.

    I think this book wrapped up nicely, so I was kind of surprised that this is a series, but the next book Erased is set to come out June 2014.

    Filled with plot twists and adventure, Altered is an entertaining YA novel.







    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Top Ten Books I HAD To Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread


    Oh, this is an interesting TTT, I am so guilty of this with so many books.

    1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    Um, I pre-ordered this book in May 2011 (back when he was only signing a limited amount of copies) and two years later I still haven't read it. I guess I'm afraid I won't like it.


    2. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
    Smoke and Bone blew my mind and I got into this audiobook the day it came out and still have only listened to an hour or so.


    3. Crewel by Gennifer Albin
    I feel so bad, this is the one BEA book I never got to review. I really wanted this one and have only got a few pages into.

    4. Unwholly by Neal Shusterman
    I loved Uwind and bought this book the first chance I got, but still haven't cracked it open.

    5. Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
    I actually won this one, so I feel less guilty about it.

    6.  Everday by David Levithan (actually anything by David Levithan)
    I have like 4 of his books sitting on my shelf that I have never read. I plan to remedy this at some point.

    7.You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith
    I got this immediately after finishing The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, but haven't opened it. (I did get it signed, though !)

                                         8. Insurgent by Veronica Roth




    Do we have any of the same books ? Link your TTT below so I can see them ! 




    Monday, March 11, 2013

    Book Review : Austenland by Shannon Hale

    Women's Fiction Review



    • Release Date : May 29th, 2007
    • Publisher : Bloomsbury
    • Genre: Chicklit 
    • Page: 208
    Synopsis :Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined.  Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen . . . the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

    If you click around, you will notice that I read most of the historical fiction for this blog, so I was drawn to Austenland when the e-book went on sale.  The continuing fascination, adaptation and evocation of  Jane Austen and her works appears to be endless, and I wanted to check it out for myself. I couldn't wait to see if a modern girl in a seemingly romantic era would end up as a fairytale or a fluffy disaster.

    Austenland by Shannon Hale is a contemporary women's fiction with a slight historical twist. The light-hearted  novel  follows Jane Hayes, a 30-something Jane Austen addict who is skeptical, but hopeful to find her very own Mr. Darcy. When she inherits a vacation to a Jane Austen era immersion camp for women, she sets out to find true love and then some.
    Set to be released in 2013

     This book did not take the direction I thought it would, while Jane isn't an out right rebel to the idea of finding love in a pretend world  she's also not a cravat happy fangirl. She is fun, sensible and sarcastic. Jane keeps her grip on reality and is willing to separate fact from fiction.

    As readers we don't have to suspend of belief to enjoy the story because it doesn't expect us to believe that this experience  in "pretending to be a Regency aristocrat" is 100% immersive . 


    With a little over 200 pages, the book isn't able to develop all of the main characters, specifically the male characters  I had a hard time telling them all apart. The supporting female characters were comic reliefs and one turns out to be a big surprise !

    Not exactly a YA novel, but it's humor and romance might be just enough to make it a crossover. Hale wrote the screenplay for the film, which also led to her writing the sequel Midnight in Austenland. The film which was shot in 2011 debuted at 2013 Sundance Film Festival !  Here is to hoping for a theatrical release.






    Sunday, March 10, 2013

    If These Books Were Judged By Their Covers : Because Everything Is Better With Helvetica










    If you ever find yourself Tumbling, Pinning or just surfing the web you are probably familiar with these inspirational quote pictures:





    Note the whimsical backgrounds and domineering Helvetica/San Serif font. I can't help but to notice that this image style seems to be making its way onto YA covers. Maybe this is the new Pretty Girl In Dress ?






    Do you like this new trend ? Let me know your thoughts below.

    Monday, March 4, 2013

    Top Ten Series I'd Like To Start But Haven't Yet

    So, I  came up short on this one. I guess I'll have to check out everyone else's list to see what series I am forgetting ! 

    1. Matched
    I got the first one at BEA and I've been really meaning to read it--especially since the series is over !




    2. The Iron Fey
    I'm only maybe 4 pages in, but I won this book when I first started blogging 18 months ago and still haven't read it. I am thinking of getting the audiobook though.



    3. Juliet Immortal




    4. The Selection
    This about to be a TV show and Cass is a local author, so I really need to get to this series


    5. Just One Day






    6. Graceling

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