Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: Timepiece by Myra McEntire

I devoured the second book in the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire, Timepiece. KALEB! Yes!  Sometimes sequels spin their wheels, but Timepiece rocked. Plot was forwarded, characters grew, and, most importantly, we got more Kaleb. He is a 110% attractive dude.

Timepiece (Hourglass, #2)
A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...

Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results.
  Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...(GoodReads).
  •  Originality: 4. As the back of my copy says, this is Dr. Who packaged for young adults. But why does time travel have to be so darn complicated!? This score might reflect my brain’s inability to deal with time travel pseudo-science.
  • Absurdity:  7. Time travel is absurd, no matter how you slice it. If my future self ran into my past self they would agree on this. And potentially make the world implode.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. Kaleb and Lily can paranormally mess with time, but most of these points go to the incredibly attractive Kaleb and the evolution of how he feels about Lily. Feelings and hotness –combined! When he wanted to tackle her for being so good looking WHILE READING I was done for. Not to mention it was a relief to get away from the gooey insta-love of Michael and Emerson from Hourglass.
  • Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 3. Kaleb would make HP blush. A lot. He is a bad boy (tattoos and muscles and sexy times…wait, what was I talking about?). But I applaud McEntire for so authentically capturing a different character’s voice from Emerson’s POV in book one.
I would like to take this time to apologize to the next library patron who reads this. I took it to the beach. But the need to know what happened rivaled my need for a tan. I swear I really shook the book out before I returned it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there. (GoodReads)

Partials by Dan Wells takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.

First things first. When I went to Google "partials" in order to add an image of the book cover to this post, I ended up with a lot of images of teeth. No seriously. Go ahead and try it. You will likely find this gentlemen who now has a dazzling smile thanks to these partial mandible implant/dentures:

Yay for him.

Next, I'm probably going to get hammered for this, but I was not a fan of this book. It was slooooooow and it was set in Long Isssssland (East Meadow to be exact, and since my dad was born and raised there, I am allowed to act judgy in this post). Not to mention, aside from being generally ridiculous (a camel in an abandoned mansion? Huh? How is this relevant?) this story was all about saving the human race (yawn) and there was no young adult romance! Boo!
  • Orginality: 7 - okay, I'll give credit where credit is due, the premise is orginal. So I guess you could say what it lacks in pace, it makes up for in the unique idea that there are No. More. Babies! Boo.
  • Absurdity:  7 - Dan Wells really stuck to his science fiction/dystopian angle and never wavered. You guys. I record the Kardashians on my DVR. I cannot survive on SciFi alone! That being said, if I ever lived in a society where the government told me I had to have a baby, every year starting from age 16 (yeah, I know), hmmm, I'd quit that fast!
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: -5; So it seemed like at times that Mr. Wells was setting this up to have a romantic love triangle or googly eyed love affair. But as soon as you had a glimmer of hope that there would be some innocent hand-holding, I don't know, the whole "all the babies are dying, oh man!" thing took over and put the kibosh on it.
  • Level of Harry Potterness: 3 - I can sum this up briefly (unlike the book): it was verbose to a fault. 
Okay, so now I want to know: what are your thoughts on this book?
(PS Grad Student liked this book a whole lot. See her review for another POV)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: One Part Sci-Fi, One Part Biography

Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles, #1)Today here at Young Adult Fiction and Whiskey Sours we are participating in Waiting on Wednesday. WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to read. This WoW comes in two parts that are polar opposites. Hey, we really will read anything that isn't tied down!

Part 1 is a nod to my childhood love of sci-fi. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans has been blowing up across book blogs, and I finally got around to looking into it. I then promptly realized I heard Lenore speak this spring and remembered that THIS BOOK SOUNDS AWESOME! Someone please remind me again in January when it comes out that I totally want to read it. :-)

In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning. Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost—family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian—a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life—comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind (GoodReads).

The Brontes cover.Part 2 goes out to all lovers of the wild Gothic stories of the Bronte sisters! Cheers to classic lit!

I also want to read The Brontes by Juliet Barker. The Brontes is a new edition of Barker's acclaimed 1994 family biography. Thanks to my favorite book website, NPR, for pointing the way to this book! I have always been fascinated by the Bronte sisters, and with a tagline like that, this book sounds like it will not disappoint.

"Wild genius on the moors"? YES, PLEASE.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Confessions

Happy Tuesday, book blog world! Today's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the truly awesome The Broke and the Bookish, is dedicated to Bookish Confessions. Our book habits include, but are not limited to:

1. Dog-eared reads. Sometimes I dog-ear my library books. FOR SHAME. I try to remember not to, I swear it is accidental. As a result I have bookmarks everywhere to keep the dog-earing at bay. Crazy Camper and I send each other lots of postcards. Hers usually have camping/rock climbing trip vistas. My fave are the free ones restaurants give with the bill. I make everyone at the table sign it, add a "Hello! Life is treating us well" type of comment, and send it her way. Sometimes they are worse for the wear due to pasta sauce/margaritas, but still better than dog-eared pages.

Oh wait, did we get out the e-reader to photo bomb vacation?Yes.
That is a Kindle and a thumbs up.
We thought it was HILARIOUS.  This is confession-worthy ridiculous.
2. E-book snobbery. Goosie Mama will only read a book if it can be delivered electronically. I, on the other hand, go to the library at least once a week to pick up a hard copy.

3. Anxiety reading. "I "anxiety read" when I know I have a book that's about to expire and I Have. To. Finish. It's a combo of skimming, nail biting, re-reading because I've skimmed and I forgot what happens, and, finally, just skipping to the end."- Goosie Mama

4. Looking for love. I am not above randomly skimming a book to find a romantic encounter. In fact I have even stooped as low as searching on my nook for romantic-encounter key words. OPPS. I actually put down Incarceron by Catherine Fisher when no kisses showed up. Please, can a girl get a good romantic side plot up in here?

5. Sandy reads. I take library books to the beach. THIS IS TERRIBLE TO DO TO THE NEXT READER. Getting a lap full of sand from a library book is the worst. But you need your book at the beach, and I can't seem to stop myself.

What are your bookish confessions?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Rapture by Lauren Kate

Rapture (Fallen, #4)
The sky is dark with wings . . . .
Like sand in an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past they must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again.

Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win? The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer. (GoodReads)

FRIENDS I ALMOST DIDN’T MAKE IT through Rapture by Lauren Kate. Fallen was gothic and spooky, but since then this series jumped the rails and went to Crazy-Insipid-Love town. And if you check out our Review Criteria, Fallen partially INSPIRED this blog. GULP. I felt I had a duty to finish this series, esp. since Goosie Mama took one for the team and reviewed Torment  AND Passion (click for her hilarious reviews). In lieu of the four normal categories of analysis, I am going to focus on the two most applicable: Absurdity and Level of Paranormal Romance.

Absurdity: 100+. Did you know you don’t need to breathe under water if you snorkel with an angel? True fact. And being a girl totally dependent on a guy is totally OK (WHAAAAAATT we are not even going there).

Level of Paranormal Romance: 100+. You cannot compare with book 3 Passion’s multi-incarnation love affairs, but highlights of cray-cray love include:
  • Gratuitous feather petting
  • A love triangle with the devil (that is not a euphemism)
  • This quote: “What does my soul look like to you?' 'I couldn't reduce it to words if I tried, but its beauty is unsurpassed.” 
  • And this quote: “Was their love worth the erasure of the world and all its stories?” Luce and Daniel think yes, but if you ask me, no. But maybe this floats the boats of 17 year-old girls who have not yet realized that growing out of love can be a good thing.
I have to admit that I don’t know what happens to Cam. I literally had to skim to the end to save my sanity, and I apparently missed the resolution of his story line. I am assuming he was also in love with Luce. ‘Cause that’s the type of series this is, all Bella-Swan irresistible etc. BUT for full disclosure, I found the last chapter kinda cute. I mean, it cannot make up for the crazy that was books 2-4, but it was a cute way to end the series at least!

Friday, August 24, 2012

In Which We Share a Good Laugh (and Vaca)

Just when you have spent too much time Googling The Fault in Our Stars quotes (and sharing them with your sister via gchat) and think you might start tearing up, this comes along.....Huzzah! Laughter!

One leg, millions of fangirls (hunger games,tfios,the fault in our stars,john green)


In other news, I am on VACATION. Here is evidence of this-- me, A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper (looovvvee) and Rhode Island's beautiful beaches. Crazy Camper was here last weekend, Goosie Mama is on her way AT THIS VERY MOMENT. Huzzah encore!

Hope you have a happy late-summer weekend reading/playing somewhere awesome-thank goodness it is Friday!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life. Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now. Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart? (Good Reads)

Unbreak My Heart by  proves I am old, since the first thing that comes to mind is Toni Braxton, not YA fiction. Nonetheless, this was a VERY easy beachy read. It  seems to aim at the 14-year-old set......but hey I still read and liked it fine. The highlights include an adorable little sister Olive. I hate precocious kiddos, but Olive is wise beyond her years and cutely silly. Mom and dad are super, too! Yay for happy families in YA fiction!. 
    Unbreak My Heart
  • Originality: 6. I like the idea of sailing from port to port and running into the same characters.  But in New England we don't call them boat people.... They are sailors. I grew up sailing, so I found this weird. 
  • Absurdity: 2. I 100% buy the story of Clem's bad choices and the resulting condemnation (and boys being excused). High school is hard.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 5. Cute boy helps girl struggling with who she is become happy again. James, aka Joe-Fontaine-lite, is a charming, quick-witted redhead who is nice to old ladies and kid sisters. Adorbs!
  • Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 3 for writing style. Flashbacks jogged by letters she tries to write her BFF or ex-BFF the explain the year that broke Clem's heart. As the story goes we figure out the root of Clem's self-loathing (although it is obvious from the get go). This format is nicely done.
The moral of this story: I am supremely glad that they did NOT have Facebook when I was in high school. Emo away messages via song quotes on AIM was bad enough. FB sounds truly miserable.

A cheers of our whiskey sours, as always, to Jandy Nelson and The Sky is Everywhere for creating Joe Fontaine, the leader of the dreamy YA love interests! (Goosie Mama's review and my review).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Linked by Imogen Howson aka TWIN EDITION

Happy Waiting on Wednesday, folks! A big thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting WoW, a weekly meme that showcases upcoming releases we can't wait to read.

This week's WoW here at YAF & WS is about TWINS. Since Crazy Camper and I are twins, I am always drawn to twin stories -- even, yes it is true, The Lying Game on ABC Family. (Luckily, I got out of that vortex at the end of last summer. But it was serious for a while). Linked by Imogen Howson has twins mixed with sci-fi for the win!

LinkedElissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human (GoodReads).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Fave Reads of Young Adult Fiction and Whiskey Sours

Happy Top Ten Tuesday, blog world! We love TTT (and The Broke and the Bookish for hosting it.) This week's list-mania is devoted to the Top Ten Books Read During the Lifespan of Your Blog. Now YAF & WS is still growing up, so our ultimate top ten is still in formation, but here are the books that we have spent the most time loving/discussing as a group. It is a big sign when not one of us but all of us read the same book.
  1. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. BAT BAT. BAT. I had to buy a copy to have on hand, just in case.
  2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Ditto on wanting to own a copy.
  3. Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow. I just gifted Crazy Camper this book this weekend. I love it that much!
  4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. Crazy Camper peer-pressured me into buying this one -- she literally cannot stop talking about how great Rose is.
  5. Divergent by Veronica Roth. Our debates on this have been epic, but Goosie Mama truly stands behind this read.
  6. Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Crazy Camper and I enjoyed the heck out of this cowboy story. Will it stay on the ultimate top ten forever? Who knows, but it was a lot of fun.
  7. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. It instantly feels timeless.
Check out our reviews for Texas GothicStrange AngelsThe Scorpio RacesVampire AcademyJellicoe Road and both  Goosie Mama's Review and my review of The Sky is Everywhere and my review and Goosie Mama’s review for Divergent!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk

Guy Langman can't be bothered with much. But when his friend Anoop wants Guy to join the forensics club with him in the (possibly misguided) hopes of impressing some girls, Guy thinks why not.

They certainly aren't expecting to find a real dead body on the simulated crime scene they're assigned to collect evidence from. But after some girlish, undignified screaming, the two realize it is indeed a body. Which means they have stumbled across a real, dead murder victim.

Meanwhile, Guy has been looking into the past of his father—a larger-than-life character who recently passed away. He was much older than Guy's mom, and had a whole past Guy never even knew about. Could his father's past and the dead body be linked? Does Guy want to know? He's going to need all his newfound forensics skills to find out . . .(Good Reads)

If you've ever wanted to get into the mind of 15-year-old boy ... wait, that sounds funny, but you know what I mean. Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk was pretty funny if you're okay with a casual fart joke or two in the first 50 pages (in case you are wondering, I am).

Basically, Guy is a notoriously lazy, bubble-bath loving teen who uses his aloof humor to mask his grappling with the recent death of his father. While the book is billed as a murder mystery, it's really about how Guy explores the mysterious life of his dad, Francis.

This book has some hysterical one-liners (in the form of Francis Langman-isms) and some pretty funny high-school-boy worthy humor. It was definitely a light, easy read - perfect for summer!
  • Originality: 6 - Forensics Club? Who has this at their high school? I didn't. In lieu of this, may I suggest watching re-runs of CSI or Law & Order? Dusting for fingerprints? I could do that in my sleep!
  • Absurdity: 5 - Anyone stumbling upon a dead body during a Forensics Club field trip,  assuming it was part of the exercise and then casually playing Medical Examiner until they realize that, indeed, this is a dead body ... well that pings on the Absurd meter. Okay, maybe its more coincidental absurdity, but absurd, nonetheless!
  • Paranormal Romance - 1 - I'll give it a one because I daresay that high school crushes are inherently paranormal at times (do with that what you will!), but not what we typically refer to as paranormal here at YAF and Whiskey Sours.
  • Level of Harry Potterness: 5 - I have to say, while a light read, Mr. Beck does have some pretty funny one-liners and teenage banter that makes you connect (or roll your eyes at, in many cases) the characters. It wasn't bad!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead = LOVE LOVE LOVE.  

St. Vladimir's Academy isn't just any boarding school–it's a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They've been on the run, but now they're being dragged back to St. Vladimir's–the very place where they're most in danger. Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy's ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi–the world's fiercest and most dangerous vampires–make Lissa one of them forever. (GoodReads)

So I actually dont know what the unspeakable nighttime rituals are... maybe I missed that? Nonetheless, I loved this!  I go through phases, Nook-lover, Nook-ignorer.  Currently there is no wait list to download these books from the library, so I took a chance and I am not looking back.

  • Originality: 7.  I like the good/bad vamp spin to this book, as well as the addition of kick ass-ness and magic.  And as always, nothing like a good private school setting to get teenage angst going.  
  • Absurdity: 5.  This is a book about vampires in high school who have magic powers.  Get over that absurdity, and the rest of it is pretty normal: crushes, dances, classes on how to kill vampires.   
  • Paranormal Romance: 6/10. Ok, I give most of this a 6- there is some heavy petting high school style and some great insults to girls that let vamp boys drink their blood, but then POW 10!!!  Lust Spell. The hotter older mentor wins over insta-love any day.  When I was a highschooler, man did I love my college age sailing instructors.....Dimitri is A+ in my book.  O yea and Rose? She is a bombshell and she knows it.
  • Level of Harry Potterness: 7.  Characters, actual introspection, challenges, plot twists!  I loved it.  Grad Student knows- last night I called her to ask her how her day was, and actually all I did was talk about this book and how I was having trouble downloading the next ones...oops.
And the best part? There are so many books in the series to come. Nothing better then the knowledge that you liked a book, and you can dive right into the next, and the next.  GS and GM- go get these books, then lets Google Hang out and drink wine ( it doesn't count as drinking alone if we are in person via the internet) and lets talk about these.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Are you ready? I am about to get serious about an AWESOME read, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund.

Elliot North lives in a world that once experimented with genetics, only to cause the Reduction which decimated humanity. Only the Luddites survived, outlawing technology to prevent further destruction of mankind.

Elliot is dedicated to her estate. Four years before our story opens she refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai. Elliot always puts duty before her own dreams. But the world is changing. The Innovation family and their mysterious Cloud Fleet of shipbuilders and explorers are introducing new technology “found” on their travels. Desperate to support her floundering estate Elliot rents the shipyard to the fleet...and who should arrive but the renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--Kai, who seems intent on punishing her for letting him go. 

But everyone has secrets. Elliott is a Luddite who is breeding enhanced wheat, but this transgression pales in comparison to what she discovers about the mysterious Innovations and Kai. And as the summary says: “And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.”
  • Originality: World building the best! It is a very complex world that Elliot lives in regarding the technology and Luddite culture. But this bigger world building only comes through as supporting information. No explanation paragraphs needed. But the parts you get leave you wanting more.
  • Absurdity: 2. Very low. No eye rolls at all. Elliot is awesome.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 8. Swoon swoon, swoony swoon swoon. Kai was a jerk (but we get a vision of how much the two cared through the letters better chapters so it helped me guess that he was hiding his feelings). This grade reflects a swoon based on little glances and tensed jaws but it worked! (Hey it is based on Persuasion and Austin knows her way about significant glances.) And since his return there is something new about his eyes….HMMMMM. This book makes your heart hurt and makes you want to shout tell each other how you feel!
  • Level of Harry Potter-ness: 4. This is a retelling, so it is hard to match it to the awesomeness that is J.K. Rowling OR Jane Austin. Still, I liked the format. Between chapters letters functioned as flashbacks to Kai and Elliot's youth that reveal the social dynamics ( think benevolent feudalism) and their history.
Overall: can we get another book set in this world plleeaassee and thank you!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Fragments by Dan Wells

While Goosie Mama might not agree, I am jazzed for Fragments by Dan Wells. Fragments is the sequel to Partials, which I read in a single-day binge this spring. (my review!) But February is so far away. I just finished Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and liked that, too. I need more postapocalyptic YA! Send suggestions my way.

Kira Walker has found the cure for RM, but the battle for the survival of humans and Partials is only just beginning. Kira has left East Meadow in a desperate search for clues as to who she is. That the Partials themselves hold the cure for RM in their blood cannot be a coincidence—it must be part of a larger plan, a plan that Kira knows she is a part of, a plan that could save both races. Her allies are Afa Demoux, an unhinged drifter and former employee of ParaGen, and Samm and Heron, the Partials who betrayed her and saved her life, the only ones who know her secret. But can she trust them?

Meanwhile, back on Long Island, what’s left of humanity is gearing up for war with the Partials, and Marcus knows his only hope is to delay them until Kira returns. But Kira’s journey will take her deep into the overgrown wasteland of postapocalyptic America, and they will both discover that their greatest enemy may be one they didn’t even know existed (GoodReads)

A cheers of our whiskey sour to Breaking the Spine for Hosting WoW, dedicated to upcoming releases we can't wait to read. What are you waiting on?

Top Ten Tuesday: So This is Love

Today’s TTT hosted by the Broke and the Bookish is dedicated to Book Romances That You Think Would Make It In The Real World (aka outside the book). Here at YAF & WS we are suckers for romance, but stand firm against insta-love and teenage angst. In the words of the awesome Maggie Stiefvater, who makes some of the best couples out there: “Many, many readers have written asking me wistfully about the nature of Sam and Grace's relationship, and I can assure you, that sort is absolutely real. Mutual, respectful, enduring love is completely attainable as long as you swear you won't settle for less.”  
We think these couples would make the cut.

Crazy Camper
  • Lissa and Christian from Vampire Academy. (Crazy Camper is on a BINGE- GS) Reviews coming soon.
  • Sookie and Eric (NOTE NOT BILL) from Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series. Pretty much because brainwashed Eric was the cutest thing ever. (And Sookie deserves a good guy- GS)
  • Alanna and George- The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. Remember when my college friend and I were making analogies to her new relationship and the Alanna/George/Jonathon love triangle? Well, she and he were Alanna and George, and it is working! 
Grad Student
  • Taylor Markham and Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.  This story and their romance is breathtakingly realistic.
  • Cole and Isabel from Forever the last of Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver Trilogy. If you don’t swoon over those two, particularly that last set of voicemails/call, YOUR HEART IS MISSING and you should go out and find it.
  • Cinder and Kai from Cinder by . Mutual respect is a good thing.
 …and in a better world... (SIGH)
  • Humberto and Elisa from Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Humberto’s last line. He completely believes in the girl he loves.
  • Tuck and Clara  from the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand. I love them together: “'Your hair smells like wind, did you know that?'  Yep, me and Tucker, smelling each other.” 
  • Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace from John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.  Potentially one of the most powerful book relationships ever.
TFIOS-  heart-breaking AND quotable
 Want to know more about these reads? See our reviews of Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and Jellicoe Road!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vampire Academy- You Can't Make Me Stop

Last night, I came home from work with a serious headache- I had been up super late because I watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  and was totally scared and disturbed and couldn't sleep.  Never mind that I had read all of book 3 of Vampire Academy, Shadow Kiss, while at the lake in the day before, last night I read 335 pages of book 4, Blood Promise.
I. could. not. stop.

Today I arrived at work and Googled Dimitri Belikov.  What is happening to my life? I can't believe it took me so long to give these a try.  Reviews coming soon, but here is a message

GO READ VAMPIRE ACADEMY. o yeah, and Dimitri forever.
o heeeeeey Dimitri.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: Endure by Carrie Jones

When I went to write this review I couldn't remember the book title. It had literally been only hours since I finished it. People, this is not a good sign. I have since figured out that I read Endure by Carrie Jones. So here we go!
    Zara is at the center of an impending apocalypse. True, she’s successfully rescued Nick from Valhalla, but it simply isn’t enough. Evil pixies are ravaging Bedford, and they need much more than one great warrior; they need an army. Zara isn’t sure what her role is anymore. She’s not just fighting for her friends; she’s also a pixie queen. And to align her team of pixies with the humans she loves will be one of her greatest battles yet. Especially since she can’t even reconcile her growing feelings for her pixie king . . . (Good Reads)

    • Originality: 2. The first of the Need series was at least atmospheric. Jones makes great quirky characters esp. Zara and her phobias and Isie's sweet silliness. The setting was a creepy and moody Maine fall. But 4 books later that is lost. The plot is ridiculous (see Absurdity) but also doesn't make a ton of sense. They again go to Iceland on a mission they don't understand, are again attacked, again do a day trip into the realm of a Norse god.... Pixies still terrorize Maine....This is the exact same thing that happened in the last book.
    • Absurdity: 8. Were-tiger nanas. Pixies that are blue with sharp teeth. The entire king and queen of the pixie thing, esp. the rituals. GAH.
    • Paranormal: 4. A love triangle! Color me shocked! Between a werewolf and two pixies. And both men teeter on overbearing/ bossy. Nick is practically a chauvinist and Astley's old fashioned quirks are kinda cute but remind me of Mr. Sparkles aka Rob Pattinson aka Edward Cullen ( they are one in my mind). But Astley is at least good for a bit of swoon.
    • Level of Harry Potterness: 3. The plot holes and lack of originality hold this book back. The best part are the characters. I just wish they were given something cooler to do!

    Now this was a bit painful, but is sure does make Rapture look good.....

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    Friday Library Updates: The Good and the Bad

    Good morning and cheers, internet! It is Friday. This feels excellent here in NYC, and I suspect everywhere else.
    Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2)
    WOW this cover is bad news.
    But CC has seen past it!

    The good news is Crazy Camper just finished the first Vampire Academy book by Richelle Mead. It was a big hit and she is ready to get involved with the rest of the series. She was a bit distraught when book 3 arrived electronically before book 2, but Frostbite is now in her possession. Huzzah for a good book and the weekend!

    The bad news. I am TRYING, TRYING, for the sake of science/the blog world/my own determination to see things through to read Rapture by Lauren Kate. It is not easy. I know we here at YAF & WS love to hate the Fallen series, and it in part inspired this blog's mission "to point out the crazy that is YA fiction" but Luce is getting under my skin. Gah! Wish me luck!

    To end on a happy note, on the way to Zum Schnieder's to pretend we were in Germany last weekend (go there! go there!*) and we passed my local library! I demanded this picture. Goosie Mama and I proudly present my little local library, Tompkins Square. Happy weekend and happy reading!

    *unless you are a real YA. Then I suggest the coffee shop over the beer garden.

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    Review: Virals by Kathy Reichs

    Virals, I almost didn't read you.  Books that are TV/film spin offs? No thanks... even though "Bones" from the TV show is our main characters aunt, I decided, o what the heck, and checked out this book.

    Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

    As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

    Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They areVirals.(Good Reads)

    And I liked it!  Set in Charleston SC, a magical land of delicious foods and sweet tea vodka, mixed with sci-fi elements, techy high schoolers. high school hottie jocks, and a murder mystery ( and a hint of environmentalism), Virals by Kathy Reichs has a little bit for everyone.

    • Originality: 7.  This book covers alot of ground, and especially with the SILLY and totally unnecessary connection to Bones, there are quite a few original aspects to this book, once we get past the pretty-not rich-new girl-out cast description of Tory, things really start to get interesting.
    • Absurdity: 7.  There are some scenes where these high school kids do some incredible Google searches, have access to wild databases, appear to have no curfews, and then develop super powers.  If I was 14 and suddenly my body was morphing into a Viral, I am not sure I would have just slept it off like these kids.  
    • Paranormal Romance: 1. Some mild high school crushing, but that is really it.  This is not about boys, this is about the Virals.
    • Level of Harry Potterness: 5. I liked this one!  Definitely had some plot twists, some of which I saw coming, but I dont know if that is because I am incredibly smart ( the leading theory) or because I am reading YA fiction... Either way, the suspense was enough to keep those pages turning.
    And check out the sweet webpage for the series, it is pretty awesome.  I will be reading the next ones for sure!

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Waiting On Wednesday: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

    Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Book 2 of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is the centerpiece of this WoW. YES! Excitement! Wow! 

    Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

    Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

    As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner (GoodReads).

    This. Will. Be. EpicWe have not officially reviewed Cinder here at YAF &WS but that doesn't mean we don't die for it.What are you waiting on?

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    NPR's 100 Best Ever Teen Novels

    WOW WOW WOW.  While this list is chock full of books we love here at YA & WS, including tons of Tamora Pierce, John Green, Laini Taylor, and many other books that made my childhood, there was one that made me gasp. out. loud.


    The Enchanted Forest Chronicles

    Princess Cimorene of Lindenwall decides she's had enough of being a princess, and hires herself out to cook for the dragon Kazul. This boxed set follows her adventures, and those of her son Daystar.
    This was it, the original books Grad Student and I loved.  I did'nt even remember they existed under I read "Princess Cimorene....".   Now, I would bet these are a low reading level, as we were young when we read them, but the light hearted magical books, classic and wonderful.  Did I mention GS and I had a thing for dragons?

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    Review: Darkness Before Dawn by J. A. London

    Darkness Before Dawn (Darkness Before Dawn, #1)
    In future Denver, vampires rule the country and human stay safe in the city by donating blood and working through ambassadors. Our girl Dawn has just been named ambassador at 17! So high school and vampire politics come into play. She takes over for her dead parents at the request of Valentine, the head vampire in the area. Lets just say Valentine is NOT a fan of collective bargaining.

    While dealing with her new position, Dawn is saved by a handsome stranger (SHOCKER). Guess what!? He is a vamp and Valentine's son. But her growing relationship with Victor (2nd worst love-interest name ever, right after Tobias) is caught up in the strange vampire on vampire murders in Denver. A war is coming, and Dawn is in the thick of it.

    (Before you say THIS IS ONE OF THOSE BOOKS with a ridic title and a girl in a fancy dress, let me say that our main character's name is Dawn. So Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London is a play on words! And the darkness part? Well this is a vampire story after all.)
    • Originality: 3. It might be because I just read The Immortal Rules, but I JUST saw a world where humans live in fenced-in cities and give tribute to vampires. Plus Dawn is apparently “the most special human ever” for reasons we don’t yet know. Bella Swan alert!
    • Absurdity: OH MAN. 10. As an ambassador Dawn has to get dressed up in Victorian garb to interact with Valentine. He insists. I rolled my eyes A LOT. It was hokey and sort of voyeuristic. Lets move on.
    • Level of Paranormal Romance: 7. Vampire love, unrequited because vamps are immortal and eat people. Plus this is some insta-love.
    • Level of Harry-Potterness: 4. Plot drives Darkness Before Dawn. Characters and settings are sketched in at best. This is no beautifully detailed Hogwarts, people!

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

    Stacking the Shelves: Dystopian and Historical Fiction. BAM.

    Hello and happy weekend! Hope everyone else got to do some reading poolside today. I did. It was great.  I got two great books from the library just yesterday. Code Name Varity by Elizabeth Wein and Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. So much amazing-ness to read.

    Code Name VerityI have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

    That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

    He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

    We are a sensational team. (GoodReads)

    Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

    Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

    If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers. (GoodReads)

    Thanks to Tynga's Reviews for hosting Stacking the Shelves! What are you reading this week?

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    NPR Asks: Best-Ever Teen Fiction

    Each summer NPR's summer book's series on their awesome book website hosts a poll. Last year was dedicated to the 100 top Sci-Fi Fantasy books and series of all time. This year (drumroll)........ is the top 100 Young Adult books of all time.  And now it is time to vote!

    Click here to pick from the narrowed down list of the top YA books! How fun is that? Lots of  YAF & WS favorites made the semi-finals: lots of Tamora Pierce, John Green's books, Lauren Oliver's Delirium series, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. What will your top ten be?

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Review: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

    Lennie plays second clarinet in the school orchestra and has always happily been second fiddle to her charismatic older sister, Bailey. Then Bailey dies suddenly, and Lennie is left at sea without her anchor. Overcome by emotion, Lennie soon finds herself torn between two boys: Bailey's boyfriend, Toby, and Joe, the charming and musically gifted new boy in town. While Toby can't see her without seeing Bailey and Joe sees her only for herself, each offers Lennie something she desperately needs. But ultimately, it's up to Lennie to find her own way toward what she really needs-without Bailey.

    Bat. Bat. Bat. This book is so amazing. Bat. Bat. Bat. 
    If you couldn't tell, I am basically going to spend the next couple of paragraphs gushing, so buckle up.
    • Orginality:  9 - I don't know what it was about this book - I'm sure there are many other books with similar premises - but this book just felt so ... rare. Sometimes Ms. Nelson would describe the most mundane things or feelings in a way that would make you stop, re-read, think about it and smile because it was such a unique, but obvious way to put that certain idea/thought into words. Her words literally stunned me.
    • Absurdity: 2 - There's some ridiculousness that happens in the book (Lennie, all dressed up, waiting outside of Joe Fontaine's home under a tree), but it's all so innocent and lovely, it only adds to the charm. The only part that I found truly absurd (and this has been co-signed by Grad Student) is the part where they find a bedroom in the woods. A bed with sheets in the woods.  Although it's explained as a neighbors outdoor room extension to his local B&B, which he covers up whenever it rains, I still couldn't help but think about what would happen in a flash rain shower?
    • Level of Paranormal Romance: 94783 - It's official. I die for Joe Fontaine. Grad Student and I would legit wrestle for him. He just sounds so wonderful and dreamy! Not to mention Lennie is a doll-face who sounds just as lovely and complicated as a young woman could be. These two break my heart and make it swell up all at the same time!
    • Level of Harry Potter-ness:  10 - As I was finishing up this book, I actually thought to myself that this could easily be the next great American novel. It was the first book in a long time that made me sob like a little baby in one part and smile like a crazy person (yeah, other subway patrons were nervous around me) in others.
    If Grad Student's review didn't convince you, I implore you: READ THIS BOOK!

    Sidebar: So, apparently they're making this book into a movie and there are rumors that Selena Gomez is going to play Lennie. I am devastated. I really hope this isn't true - and that's not a dig at Ms. Gomez, it's just that this book is such a masterpiece, that I think that setting it up as a Disney-like movie would do it such a disservice! (man, all of these Beliebers are going to start following this blog now!).

    Gah, should we start a letter writing campaign??! I would happily play Lennie if I could pick my Joe Fontaine ... Ryan Gosling, are you available?

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Waiting on Wednesday: Reached by Ally Condi

    Happy Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights books we can't wait to get our hands on!  The third book in the Matched trilogy by Ally Condi  is slowly making its way to us mere mortals who use the library (it is due out this November). I devoured Match in a single day, but was left considerably underwhelmed by Crossed. Come on, Reach, you can make this trilogy worthwhile!

    Reached (Matched, #3)

    Cassia faces the ultimate choices in the long-anticipated conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy.

    After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

    In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without. (Good Reads)

    PS. I am totally on Team Xander. Ky is sooooo emo! Lets keep teenage boy characters who love poetry/sketching angry images at arms length.