Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fairest ( Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

  • Release Date: January 27th 2015
  • Genre: Sci-Fi/Space Drama
  • Audiobook Hours: 6 hours and 36 minutes
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
I've never DNFed an audiobook, but let me tell you Fairest came *this close*. It wasn't so much that  the book was bad it just didn't have the heart or fun I've come to expect in this series. The plot threads and world building elements are so great and that hold the series together started to unravel for me.

Fariest gives us a snapshot in the life of  Levana as her sister Channary becomes Queen . The Lunars (or at least the aristocratic ones)  are shown as cruel, jealous and vain. Levana and Channary are like the anti-Frozen sisters, with songs like "Do You Want Build A Fire and Brutally Mutilate Someone" and "Love Is An Open Door. . . With Mind Control" and last but not least "Never (Never) Let It Go."

The thing is that so far in the series we've spent very little time on the planet Luna,  giving it somewhat of a mystique. This book waves this element away and plops us right into the world of the Lunar court like it's not a big deal that we are there.We get very little world building or understanding of life on Luna. 

We know from the other books that Lunars have the Lunar gift, the ability to change their appearance with glamours and perform mind control. This gift is what causes  a lot of the fear of Lunars on Earth but on Luna everyone can do it, it's common place. Levana changes her appearance multiple times and people don't know who she is. I don't understand how  this can be commonplace. How is there no anarchy ? How does anyone know who anyone is ? It's just kind of hard to believe.

I also found the "wink wink nudge nudge" to characters and events in the series was a bit exhausting and took away from Levana's story.

On the flip side I'm glad Meyer didn't try to completely  make  Levana sympathetic, I think it's fair to say there is some ambiguity of how much of  Levana's hardships are dropped on her and how much is her own doing.

I was glad to find this audiobook was actually 5 hours 33 minutes long and the rest was the first few chapters of Winter. Oddly enough I did like how well Fairest flowed into the first chapter of Winter. It sort of informs the way  you see Levana in the opening scene, but that alone is not enough for me to recommend you to read it.

I never read novellas or prequels because I always get the sinking feeling they are published for the money. This one just didn't sit well

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Unboxing Book Riot YA Quaterly Box #02

Last week I sat down and opened up my YA Quarterly Box from Book This box featured a set of YA contemporaries with female leads as well as some fun bookish accessories. I'll reveal the items below and you can watch me unbox it here

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Audiobook Review: Fake ID by Lamar Giles

  • Release Date: January 21, 2014
  • Genre: Contemporary/Thriller/Mystery
  • Length: 7 hours 58 minutes
  • Publisher: Harper Audio

In Lamar Giles debut novel, new kid in town Nick Pearson finds himself mixed up in a murder with a side of corruption. As Nick searches for answers to a murder that could upend all his secrets he dodges bullies, crashes a party and tries to keep his parents together.  Move over Veronica Mars, Nick Pearson is on the case.

Lamar Giles writing is clever. He lays out tension, plot and conflict in front of you while still sneaking in a bit of misdirection. He has a great way of ending chapters on mini cliffhangers and you just HAVE to know what happens next.  I totally did not see the ending coming. I was like "what !?" This isn't really a spoiler but. . .literally anyone can die. Which takes the tension up to eleven

I listened to the audiobook performed by William Harper. His performance of Nick hit the snarky and clever dialogue perfectly. It's the kind of quick asides and clever lines I liked in Holly Black Curse Workers series. Harper has a great range for voices for the male characters,  but he could get awkwardly high pitched the end of sentences. His narration was solid overall but his performance didn't hit all the marks.

One thing I wanted from this book were more positive female relationships. None of the girls in this book get along with the main female character. All the "other girls" are shallow accessories to the cool boys. I grabbed Giles' second book (read: not the follow up to Fake ID) at BEA, so I'm curious to see how he writes a female protagonist

I'm so excited that there is more to this series, Giles left a lot to work with. This was one of those great ambiguous endings that left so much to be explored.

Fake ID is a solid debut with an audiobook that has a great grasp on humor but misses a few performance beats.

This book has me searching for more YA thrillers, if you have any recs leave them below.

Side Note

Here it goes. . . I think  Fake ID is such a generic title, I mean he's in WitSec so it's not like he's just pretending to be someone else. Also the WitSec angle is really played up but to me it wasn't the most interesting part of the story. I mean Nick has to solve the mystery behind an initiative called Whispertown, that would have been a more intriguing title.

Also, Nick rides a bike almost everywhere I think having a bike on the cover would have said something about the character.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Paper Towns Movie Prize Pack Giveaway (US ONLY)

As most of you reading this know, the Paper Towns movie is coming out next week and we are excited to be giving away an awesome movie themed prize pack that includes: 

$25 Visa to see the film in theaters
Paper Towns Buttons
Copy of the book (Movie Tie-In Cover)

I don’t always hipster brag about knowing about a thing before it was popular but when I do it is for John Green. In college I started watching a lot of YouTube and after falling through a few rabbit holes I came across the Vlogbrothers and subsequently John Green’s novels.

Paper Towns is one of my favorite John Green books because it takes so many weird and unexpected turns.I like how it breaks down the manic pixie dream girl trope. I know Green mentioned, in an older video, that when he wrote the screenplay he changed the ending so I can't wait to find out if the movie has the book ending or a new ending. I liked how The Fault in Our Stars was adapted and seeing as this is the same production team I'm sure Paper Towns will be just as enjoyable.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Visit all the PAPER TOWNS websites - #PaperTowns

Follow on Twitter & Instagram
Like ‘Paper Towns’ on Facebook
Visit the Official Website

*Disclosure : Giveaway and prizes sponsored by 20th Century Fox

Monday, July 6, 2015

Audiobook Review: Glory O' Brien's History of The Future by A.S. King

  • Release Date: October 14th 2014
  • Genre: Magic Realism
  • Audiobook Hours: 7 hours and 15 minutes
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio

I picked this up from my library's Overdrive because A.S. King is pretty much an auto-buy for me. Plus Jenn and Preeti at The Bookrageous Podcast gushed about this book in their interview with King.

King's books tend to be near impossible to describe, so I'll just give the premise that is in the prologue of the book. After drinking a petrified bat (stick with me here) Glory O’Brien is able to see  people’s infinities--the lives of their ancestors and their descendants. As she starts putting the pieces of these visions together she realizes  the near future isn’t looking so great...especially for women.

King strikes a great balance between the surreal and the real. I like how she gives her characters conflicts with small personal stakes and giant stakes. In this book there is Glory’s fear of committing suicide like her mother and uncertainty about her post high school life paired with visions of a coming war.

Glory is such an interesting character, watching her journey and how she deals with all the weirdness she discovers is really great. There is a lot of talk on the bookternet about how female characters are written and Glory is this well constructed character who had so many realistic nuances . One of the things King does really well is build a community around her characters so you know where they come from and what they've been through. She writes some of the most detailed portrayals of parents I've ever seen in YA.

This book has some of the basic concepts of feminism in it and I think it is the perfect way to introduce these ideas to teens without hitting them over the head with a 2x4.  I thought it was interesting that King made Glory's Dad the feminist. I think by making the Dad a feminist King changes the way people think about what  feminist looks like. The Dad isn't a straw feminist...he is a homebody who works in IT and doesn't ever leave his house. But he is someone who believes the female bodies on television are unrealistic and that women should have the same rights as men.

Because the characters in King's book have such a strong voice I think her writing works especially well in audio. The narrator of the  audiobook is Christine Lakin who is probably best known for playing Al on the 90's sitcom Step by Step ( I was always mesmerized by the roller coaster in that intro). She has this great deep, scratchy voice that works really well for doing all kinds of voices. I really liked the voice she did for Glory’s only friend Ellie who lives  in a hippie commune across the street.

A.S. King delivers another wonderfully coming of age novel with a surreal feminist edge.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross

  • Release Date: March 31st 2015  
  • Pages: 288
  • Genre: Paranormal YA
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen

I picked this book up at the Harlequin Teen signing at BEA and knew nothing about .I knew Cross vaugeley from steampunk series that starts with The Girl in the Steel Corset, but I'd never heard of this series. I think I chose this as my first post-BEA books because this is the first time in a long time I've read something with no information about it. It felt like the old days when every book I read was a new discovery.

Sister of Blood and Spirit is a paranormal YA with a bit of a horror twist.Twin sisters Wren and Lark (wink, wink) are near identical with two key differences; 1. Wren's hair is a bright red and Lark's is white and 2. Wren was born a ghost and only Lark can see her.

Yeah, this cover is very on the nose.

Everyone thinks Lark is crazy because she claims she can see her dead twin sister and it's given her a rough exterior and made her kind of a loner. And the fact that she tried to kill herself to be with her sister and spent time in a psychiatric hospital doesn't help. She is just fine with phoning it in through high school until a group of her classmates need her knowledge of all things ghostly to stop a ghost that has been hunting them.

This book reminded me a lot of The Mediator series by Meg Cabot (I can't even with how much I read these books in high school) and maybe a splash of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Ghosts have always been attracted to Lark and she has honed some ghost fighting skills that are employed quite often in this book.

I had a hard time with this book because so much is done through telling instead of showing. Lark was in a mental institution just prior to the books opening and she and her sister refer to experiences there so much I started to think this book was a sequel to something. Also the world building is almost non-existent. Wren, the dead sister, sometimes goes to the Shadow Lands but it is never explained what these look like or what happens there.

I give this book points for having some diverse characters...but I don't love the way Cross writes them. Lark's love interest says he never thought his crush (who is Lark) would like a "chubby Twinkie kid" like himself. Then he explains a Twinkie is someone who is and I quote; "yellow on the outside, white in the middle" and then continues on about how he has never been to Korea. This felt really weird to me.

The most generous reading I can give is that the author intended the Twinkie lines as sort of joke because they riff of it, but it came off as problematic to me. It was like after explicitly stating he was Korean the book had to reinforce that he was just like a white person.I hate to criticize every ethnic portrayal in YA, but there are so few I kind of have to. I wouldn't say it's a reason not to pick up this book, but it's something worth noting.

While the mythology could use some work, I found Sisters of Blood and Spirit an entertaining ghost story about how the bonds of family can overcome anything--including death.

This is the fourth book (After Fangirl and The Infinite Moment of Us and Jess' review of Reboot ) with a character named Wren. Is that a popular name now ?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...