Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

To get over the devastation of thinking I had, but actually had not found the perfect pair of straight leg corduroys for fall (Lands End Canvas, I had such high hopes for us!), I figured I'd blog my review for Delirium by Lauren Oliver - because, like Lena, we are both living a loveless existance (yes, I am being that dramatic because the pants I ordered didn't work out - I know, at the very least, Grad Student and Crazy Camper are able to relate).

So, synopsis time:

They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

I think I got this book confused with Partials for a hot second and didn't remember how much I really loved it. Then, I started reading Pandemonium (I'm 75% of the way through - no spoilers!!), and I realized that I am LOVING this series.

Yes, there are some moments of melo-dramatic writing, where I think Ms. Oliver tries to make Lena's plight seem a little more noble than the plot allows, but ultimately, I really, really liked this book! 
  • Originality: 8 - I think the premise of eliminating love to save mankind from heartache is fairly original in the YAF scene and I think Ms. Oliver's execution of the story is great!
  • Absurdity: 7 - I'm marking this high on the absurdity scale because I don't know if it's love that's causing all of society's issues (in the book ...) or really, really crappy polictics
  • Level of Romance: 6 - I'll give it up, I really liked Alex (and Lena!) and their love is super googly eyed ... well as much as it can be for fear of being spotted and "cured" - aka lobotomized
  • Level of Harry Potterness: 7 - Ms. Oliver keeps the story moving and the characters are all very strongly developed. A surprisingly solid YAF read!
And because I can't help myself and these never get old - may I present the YouTube book trailer:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Monsters Edition

Happy Saturday! Today we are back at Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tygna's Reviews to help book blogger share whats new on their bookshelves. This week I have TWO new books, both free, and both about monsters. First, Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama is a brand-new library book. I am the first to get it- huzzah! It is a supposed to be a dark, scary mermaid story, with some historical fiction and colonial Williamsburg thrown in for good measure. I haven't had much experience with mermaid books, but here we go!

               Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1)Monstrous Beauty

The second book is Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs. The monsters here are Greek in variety. I got this read free from Barnes and Noble for my Nook. I didn't know B&N did that, but it is cool with me! What have you added to your shelves this week?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Redwoodian by Alysia Gray Painter

Redwoodian: Wilfair Book 2
Redwoodian, (by Alysia Gray Painter) in short:
A late-blooming nineteen-year-old visits her family's mountain lodge with her cute, motel-running neighbors. A strange building follows them, there's some romantic bickering and a cozy camp-out, and the hotel heiress takes a stand on a life-changing issue.

Redwoodian, in long:
Hotel heiress Fair Finley must steal a motel and its pool from Monty and Gomery Overbove, her handsome, friendly neighbors. But places are changing places with other places and the world is going weird, and only the cousins' moms can help. Fair, the guys, and her best friend Sutton leave LA and make for the Sierra Nevada mountains in order to find the ladies. Their journey is not easy.

Problem one? A large, underground building is hot on the group's tail. Problems two and three? Fair's favorite movie star shows up in the mountains, as does her longtime rival, and neither will stay out of her snooded hair. Then there's the curious inky taste in air at The Redwoodian. Ick.

But the biggest issue of all? Fair's desire to toss the kindly cousins out of their motel home continues to falter. Fail, really. Kaput.

If the young hotelier doesn't steal the little motel and its pool then Thurs Mathers, the crisp-shirted tycoon of front-page fame, will snatch her hotel and fast. Meaning she can't get any closer to the cousins, and Gomery in particular. Because getting involved with someone you're trying to finish off? Bad idea. Especially when the person you're trying to finish off isn't exactly stopping you. Especially when he's kind of helping. (Good Reads)

Originality: 10. AGP has painted a zany world unlike any other. Redwoodian refines and highlights this world.  And the character’s interactions feel earnest, funny, and very real, which helped me accept the magical realism aspect.
Absurdity: 10. Did you read about the buildings switching places!? And Fair runs crazy themed hotels. And the air tastes weird and people are missing and ghosts are misbehaving. But AGP brings the absurdity on purpose and I found it delightful.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 7. This book packs the swoon, which is pretty epic considering kisses have not yet even been exchanged. The Overbove cousins are undeniably dreamy--forearms have never been more attractive. By page 200 I was literally talking to my book, rooting for romance.  (PS if you count the “intimate” relations between the Overbove’s van and the mystery underground building as romance, this score skyrockets to a 18.)
Level of Harry Potter-ness: 7. This book charmed me. The quirkiness of Wilfair the first book in the series (see my review here) has been tempered and fine-tuned. Everyone is still wacky, but it is pure fun. I cannot wait to find out what happens next. There is so much more to learn about the emerging magical pattern.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Okay, kids, brace yourselves. I'm officially going to start campaigning to re-name this blog Whiskey Sours & A Book - Any Book Really - By John Green.

Holy majoly. I am so in love with John Green.

I had no idea Looking for Alaska was trending up the charts when it was delivered to my e-reader (yes, I know that actually typing that last statement makes me some sort of YAF hipster. Don't forget your black-rimmed RayBans, friends). In fact, I only decided to read it because the NYPL still does not have The Fault in Our Stars in the Kindle version. I know - ridiculous.

So I downloaded LfA and it was SO. FREAKIN'. GOOD. Is John Green a magician with words or what? Ugh, this book was so wonderful.

Synopsis: Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.
  • Originality: 1 Million - John Green can take the most ordinary circumstances and people and make them so unbelievingly intoxicating you cannot be parted from the story for more than 3 hours at a time
  • Absurdity: 8 - I'm giving the book an 8 due largely in part to the final scene(s), because it's just awesome. Absurdly awesome.
  • Level of Romance: 6 - I don't think that this was particularly romantic as the lead character was a 17-year-old boy with raging hormones, but I also don't think it was ever intended to be
  • Level of Harry Potter-ness: 1 Million and 5 - spot on. If I can't be reading J.K. Rowling, I want to be reading John Green. Master-o-prose, my friends!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff

The Flame In The Mist
Are those MICE!? Not ok.
Set in an imagined past, this dark fantasy-adventure is for fans of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. Features  Jemma, a fiery-headed heroine held captive in Agromond Castle, yet destined to save mist-shrouded Anglavia.
Fiery-headed Jemma Agromond is not who she thinks she is, and when the secrets and lies behind her life at mist-shrouded Agromond Castle begin to unravel, she finds herself in a chilling race for her life. Ghosts and misfits, a stone and crystals, a mysterious book, an ancient prophecy—all these reveal the truth about Jemma's past and a destiny far greater and more dangerous than she could have imagined in her wildest fantasies. With her telepathic golden rats, Noodle and Pie, and her trusted friend, Digby, Jemma navigates increasingly dark forces, as helpers both seen and unseen, gather. But in the end, it is her own powers that she must bring to light, for only she has the key to defeating the evil ones and fulfilling the prophecy that will bring back the sun and restore peace in Anglavia.

This Waiting on Wednesday I am waiting on The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff, out in 2013. You had me at The Golden Compass! Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine for being wonderful and hosting Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly feature spotlighting books we cannot wait to read.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: To Be Continued Series

Top Ten series we have not finished. Sometime we don't finish a series because our TBR lists are crazy-long, and sometimes it is because we don't believe in self-harm. I usually have a very strong OCD-ish urge to finish series, but I am trying to talk some sense into myself! Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting Top Ten Tuesday!

Goosie Mama and Grad Student:
1. Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent. I am procrastinating. There is no good reason. Tod! Love!
2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (SORRY CRAZY CAMPER I SWEAR I WILL).

Grad Student:
3. Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine. I liked the first book well enough but I am overwhelmed by how big the series is (is it 8 or 9 books) there is too much other stuff I want to read to commit here.
4. The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I felt this series took a turn towards "Snooze Town" halfway through book two. BUT since the trailer for Beautiful Creatures is made of awesome, I might give it another try.

Crazy Camper
5. "Because it is awful" re: Fallen series by Lauren Kate.
6. Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin- "they are so long, I have commitment issues."
7. True Blood series, aka Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris. "I think I liked Sookie best before the vampire war and New Orleans escapades." 
8. Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.  (see previous mention to commitment issues) THEY ARE SO LONG. SO COMPLICATED. SO MANY.  Now these are amazing fantasy tomes, with crazy named characters and plots and worlds and 100% pure fantasy.  But in grad school, other then Twilight, these were the only fiction books I read.  And I needed a break. And then I forgot who was who.

Goosie Mama
9.  I'm going to do a throw back and admit I've never finished the Twilight series (babies with teeth? No)
10. Vampire Journal series by Morgan Rice is another one I actually liked the first book and then just couldn't handle that the lead character fell in love with a vampire within 1.5 pages (about 3 hours in literary-time). I have paranormal love standards people, and I require at least a 24 hour time period to establish true love. Dammit.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: Matched by Allie Condie

So the entire internet has already read this, but in case you too have been living under a rock ( or in my case, on the side of rock... haha get it? rock climbing joke)  I finally got my hands on Matched by Ally Condie.

BECAUSE I believe Good Reads is offering a bit of a spoiler here, I made it really tiny- If you are that 1 person who hasn't read this yet- skip over the tiny part! I wish I could have!

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

I crushed this book.  And here is why:

  1. Originality - 8- Looking aside any similarities to Brave New World and The Giver (especially The Giver), the Society was a nice change of pace- all organized, yet deceptive.  Like onions and Shrek, it has layers that Cassia began to peel away.   I especially liked the idea of the 100 poems and works of art and songs, very unique.  Though Grad Student was annoyed by the names of the characters for trying too hard, eh, didnt bother me.
  2. Absurdity -6, ok, beyond the Society, I thought that Cassia was a bit absurd herself.  Lots of emoting going on here, which induced some serious eye rolls from me.
  3. Level of Paranormal Romance  Futuristic- 7- Romance abounds, in glances and maybe touches which is o-so-YA.  But Xander, SWOON.  Allie Condie really made you believe in the romance, which considering it started with a connection, really came into its own.
  4. Level of Harry Potter-ness - 8.  I must admit, the best part of this for me was the power of the words of the poem.  I loved how they changed everything, and how the ability to read and know words that others didn't changed Cassia's life.  Sure there was quite a bit left unexplained about what was going on in Society, and that bit at the end where they say it was all part of the plan- FOR SERIOUS? Terrible plot twist, Grad Student and I discussed it.
I do see what all the fuss was about- now GS says it is not worth it to read book two, and that alot of nothing  happens and I should skip to book 3-- anyone have an opinion on that? Should I take GS's recap and go for book 3 or is book 2 worth it!?  Cause I obvi have to know what happens in the end.....

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Thanks, Free Shelf at the Gym!

Happy Saturday and happy Stacking the Shelves. It is BEAUT-I-FUL in NYC this weekend, and I hope you are all treated to as lovely a fall weekend. Watch out Pumpkin Latte, my book and I are coming for you!

Last week I went to the gym and a book in the "free" pile caught me eye. "THAT looks like something I would read" (aka it looks like it is for teens).  I was right. So I snagged Devoured by Amanda Marrone for free. But this story gets better. I got home and realized the book was signed. How fun is that? We often feature books that are "old" here at YAF and WS, and this goes to show there is fun karma for loving all books regardless of when they were published! :-)

Megan’s twin sister Remy died in an accident nine years ago, and she’s been haunting her ever since. Knowing how crazy that sounds, Megan keeps this secret to herself and tries to lead a normal life. But when she takes a summer job at Land of Enchantment to keep an eye on her new boyfriend and his lovesick best friend, Samantha, she meets fellow employee Luke who can see Remy, too. Things get even twistier because Megan’s new friend Ari is sporting a massive crush on Luke, who seems to be developing a massive crush on Megan…making for a love triangle that’s positively possessed.  Megan wants to keep her distance from Luke, but when Remy’s visions get crazy violent; she knows she needs his help. Because someone’s definitely in danger...the only question is who? (GoodReads)

A cheers of our whiskey sours to Tygna's Review's for hosting Stacking the Shelves. What books are new to your shelves this week?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

WHY ARE THESE covers so terrible?
They look like they were made in some
teen's basement rec room as fan art.
Welcome to rich-vampire-teens-go-skiing-ville, otherwise known as Frostbite by Richelle Mead.

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...  It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. 

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…(GoodReads)
  • Originality: 6. I think the vampire politics seem pretty "new" in this series. The feeding politics, for example, are well done and districtive.
  • Absurdity: 10. POSH RESORT= Cheesy. This reminds me of Blue Bloods WHICH I DON’T LIKE. A combo of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous opulence and vampires is not my thing.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 5. Ok, I have to admit, Dimitri is attractive. But really I feel I should be scoring "level of paranormal sluttiness"-- who are these people!?!
  • Level of Harry Potter-ness: 1. You know how some books “show” and some writers can only “tell”? So much of the plot is “told” to us, the reader is never left to figure anything out. See: the preface to book two. CRINGE. I have already guessed the plot of book 3. And My mom, also having been “encouraged” by Crazy Camper to read these, has confirmed that I am on the money. Thanks, graduate school education, for teaching me to be such an effective critical reader.
CRAZY CAMPER (and the rest of the book blog world) DO NOT HATE ME FOR YUCKING YOUR YUM. I am going to continue to read these books. Because they moved CC to Google Dimitri and took over your life for a week. I have faith in your YA fiction choices.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Procrastination and Paranormal YA Movie Trailers

WHOA! Excitement here. The trailer for the movie version of Beautiful Creatures by   has appeared on the world wide web. I liked this first book, but have lost track of the series. I might seriously get back involved due to the awesomeness of this southern Gothic trailer. Admit it, it is awesome.

The big question is, who is this boy? I mean, we know Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, and Jeremy Irons but who is the smoosh face with the cute southern drawl? Also, bonus points for incorporating the book cover into the trailer, movie-making people.

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)In case you are thinking "What the what?" here is the deal for Beautiful Creatures: "Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything." (GoodReads).

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is AMAZING. I read it this summer since the movie is due out, and I am so happy I did.

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, andThe Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.GoodReads

We follow Charlie through the difficulties of making friends the dark side of relationships (and sometimes funny as experimentation with drugs) and I rooted him the entire time as he learned about who he is and who he wants to be.
  • Originality: 7. This is a classic coming of age YA (but extra points for all the classic YA Charlie reads and thinks about. How meta!) Having a narrator who was unraveling was new for me and felt very original.
  • Absurdity: negative 10.This book tackles serious issues like abuse drugs sexuality and mental health with aplomb. A book that can be serious and striking while also bring a fun read. This is a major accomplishment. Can we also give out a Best Teacher Award? Having watched close friends through their first yr of teaching I totally bought the idealistic hopes/ change the world attitude of Bill. It resonated as lovely and a bit bittersweet. 
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 5. let's call this friend-mance . Charlie so needs good friends and then turns out to be an excellent one thoughtful and earnest. And don't get me started on how much he loves his family and how he can so easily say it. Precious to the tenth degree! Only thing is I am not totally convinced on the stuff about Charlie being a doormat friend . You can be a great person without being a alpha personality! I didn't want him to change who he is.
  • Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 8.Charlie narrates his freshman year of high school through a series of sparse, moving letters to an unknown reader. All we know is that Charlie has something to say, and he trusts the reader to understand (me! he trusts me!) I love the connection the reader has (or at least I felt) with Charlie. The distinctive voice feels authentic. I believed this was a teenage boy on the brink of unraveling. 
Wow wow wow wow! If you have not read this already, go get it. Today, if possible. Then we can all see the movie, which is also getting great reviews.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Edge of Nowhere by Elizabeth George

This week's Waiting on Wednesday is The Edge of Nowhere, by Elizabeth George, Book 1 of the new Saratoga Woods series.
The Edge of Nowhere (Saratoga Woods, #1)
Whidbey Island may be only a ferry ride from Seattle, but it's a world apart. When Becca King arrives there, she doesn't suspect the island will become her home for the next four years. Put at risk by her ability to hear "whispers"--the thoughts of others--Becca is on the run from her stepfather, whose criminal activities she has discovered. Stranded and alone, Becca is soon befriended by Derric, a Ugandon orphan adopted by a local family; Seth, a kindhearted musician and high school dropout; Debbie, a recovering alcoholic who takes her in; and Diana, with whom Becca shares a mysterious psychic connection.

This compelling coming-of-age story, the first of an ongoing sequence of books set on Whidbey Island, has elements of mystery, the paranormal, and romance. Elizabeth George, bestselling author of the Inspector Lynley crime novels, brings her elegant style, intricate plotting, incisive characterization, and top-notch storytelling to her first book for teens. -Goodreads

"Elements of mystery, the paranormal, and romance" = SOLD!  This book came out on Sept 4th- but I will be waiting on it from my library for longer... What are you waiting on? As always, a cheers of our Whiskey Sours to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting Waiting on Wednesday!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper

A Brief History of Montmaray (The Montmaray Journals, #1)Big news! A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper is made of charm! Go read it now! Exclamation points for all sentences to show enthusiasm!

“There’s a fine line between gossip and history, when one is talking about kings.” Sophie Fitzosborne lives in a crumbling castle in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray with her eccentric and impoverished royal family. When she receives a journal for her sixteenth birthday, Sophie decides to chronicle day-to-day life on the island. But this is 1936, and the news that trickles in from the mainland reveals a world on the brink of war. The politics of Europe seem far away from their remote island—until two German officers land a boat on Montmaray. And then suddenly politics become very personal indeed. A Brief History of Montmaray is a heart-stopping tale of loyalty, love, and loss, and of fighting to hold on to home when the world is exploding all around you (GoodReads).

  • Originality: 7. This is my first alternate history. As a grad student studying history, I love the idea of this fictional tiny country interacting on the stage of real global politics. And I never read about royalty, but I was fascinated. extra points for royalty.
  • Absurdity: 7; or not at all. This book is absurd on purpose. Spartacus the Rooster is a bad example for the chickens, encouraging them to misbehave. potential hauntings, and the crumbling castle were explained in such a funny way.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance. 2. No paranormals and no romance, unless you count getting over your childhood crush (who might be, in the narrator’s words, “Oscar Wilde-ing” with her brother). Funny yet again! As for the 2 points, they reflect the narrator’s hilarious play-by-play of her attempts to be a witty flirt. Which is a big failure.
  • Level of Harry-Potter-ness: 6. The writing is distinctive as a teenager’s journal, but believable and oh so appealing. Are all 1930s princesses this charming? Will they be my girlfriends?An added plus, the action at the end was 100% thrilling.
LOVE LOVE LOVE. This is a charming read.  The characters, the setting, everything is quirky to a point of perfection.  This reminded me of a cross between Chime by Franny Billingsley (my review here) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
SIDE NOTE: Why do I love books set on islands off Europe threatened by Nazis in the 1930s? Who even knew this could be a genre?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: Strong Lady Leads Edition

Happy Saturday! This week we are back with Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews. After a couple of weekends of traveling and adventures in Cape Cod and the like, we are happy to be home, sitting in the sun, and reading on this lovely fall weekend!

Grad Student here--I just got my hands on Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Fantasy and teenage girl assassins! This book has had great reviews so far, so I can't wait to read it. And for review, we just received a copy of The Hands of Tarot by S.M. Blooding. It sounds awesome, and we are jazzed to get involved. because we like strong female leads. See the blurb below to learn more about Blooding's tale.

What is new on your shelves?The Hands of TarotThrone of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

She killed his father. She imprisoned and beat him. And now she thinks he’s her trophy. Synn El’Asim will do almost anything to prove her wrong. But he’s only proving her right. Queen Nix awakened his Mark of power and inducted him into the House of Wands. She knew what she was doing. The son of the two most powerful Families standing against her is the ultimate prize. What she didn’t take into consideration was that maybe he was too strong for her. Maybe. But the Families aren’t. They’ve been weakened and it’ll take a lot more than one young man with a powerful Mark to take on the Hands of Tarot.(GoodReads).

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore (2x)

Grad Student Reviewed Graceling by Kristin Cashore earlier this year (see review here). Recently I gave it a go as well. Let me tell you- I LOVED IT!  Couldn't put it down.  One addition to GS's review:
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: I disagree with GS- I was totally into the connection and love between certain book members... WIN.
Love this book. Go read it, and then get ready for the sequel, Fire.

Here is the cover of the French edition of Graceling- let me tell you, 13 year old Crazy Camper would have run through library aisles to get this book.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

(Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.(GoodReads).

I really loved this book - so I'm bestowing the honor of my very first All Seven Review (I think, frankly, I'm late for dinner reservations, otherwise I would fact check this assertion!)!

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison was complex, dark, interesting, and surprising. About mid-way through, as the reader is following Lo into stripclub in order to track down Sapphire's killer, I remember thinking to myself, hmmm this may not truly be young adult fiction, but the seediness really lends to the charm of this book. Plus, if you can get over the setting, this a pretty PG book!
  • Originality - 7: I loved that this book follows an OCD teenager, but didn't make that the central point of the story. Yes, it becomes a crucial "character" in certain parts, but the story wasn't focused on the disorder as some sort of hindrance. 
  • Absurdity - 7: You know, if I think back to myself at age 17, there's is not a chance in H-E-double-hockey-stick I would have gone roaming around abandoned houses, talking to somewhat sketchy homeless street artists or frolicking into a strip club in an attempt to solve a murder - in which I may unwittingly be inserting myself as another victim - BUT to each headstrong teenager her own I guess!
  • Level of Paranormal Romance - 7: Lo and Flynt have an undeniable connection and even though half of the time I was screaming in my head for her to RUN, I have to admit, there were some pretty swoon-worthy moments!
  • Level of Harry Potterness - 7: Kate Ellison did a fantastic job of capturing her characters in a relatable way. I was totally engrossed in this book and the writing was one of the main reasons why!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Let the Sky Fall (Let the Sky Fall, #1)A broken past and a divided future can’t stop the electric connection of two teens in this “charged and romantic” lush novel. Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them (GoodReads).

Reasons I am "Waiting on" Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger:

1. The cover is pretty.
2. I liked the movie Twister. This is about tornadoes, and so it makes me think about a movie I liked.
3. I am into the new Carrie Underwood song 'Blown Away'. It is perfect for this book.
4. Forbidden romance.
5. I loved Ariel, the air elemental in the Théâtre Illuminata series by Lisa Mantchev. I find it hard to scoff at paranormal things created by Shakespeare!

A cheers of our whiskey sours to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly event that highlights books we cannot wait to read. Let the Sky Fall comes out in March 2013.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Make You Think

Today's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is "Top Ten Books That Make You Think (About The World, People, Life, etc.). In the words of Grad Student "you might not think we are challenged to think deeply about the world since we read a lot of YA, but thankfully we are omnivorous readers! Cue the heady intellectualism!"

1. As is no surprise to our readers, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars tops this list, because some infinities are bigger than others.

 2. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard.  One of Crazy Camper’s favorite books and one that changed how she felt about the wild: “An exhilarating meditation on nature and its seasons -- a personal narrative highlighting one year's exploration on foot in the author's own neighborhood in Tinker Creek, Virginia. “ (Good Reads).

Is this where we live, I thought, in this place at this moment, with the air so light and wild?
3. Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold. Again this book opened Crazy Camper’s eyes to the world of conservation and preservation, and may be one of the main forces for why she choose to study environmental policy. Remember Grad Student's Pilgrimage? If no part else, read "Thinking Like a Mountain."

4. Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut: “Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.” (GoodReads). When was the last time you read a book about getting unstuck in time? Mind bending to say the least.

5. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, for its devastating look at the impacts of war, hiding behind Katniss’s coming-of-age story.

6.  Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand - see Goosie Mama’s review. She was moved and inspired by this history of WWII Japanese POW camps.

 I would obvi want the cake, too, lady!
7. Food Rules by Michael Pollan. A common-sense healthy-eating manual in bullet form. And funny! And illustrated! GS gave a copy of this to CC.
#4. If You’re Not Hungry Enough to Eat an Apple, Then You’re Probably Not Hungry
This little thought experiment is a good way to assess whether your desire to eat is really based on hunger or something else. If the idea of eating an apple doesn’t appeal to you, then chances are you’re reaching for food out of habit, boredom, or sadness. The urge will pass. But if you find the idea does appeal, then go ahead: have an apple.

8. Bringing it back again to some classic high school English- The Gift of the Magi, by O'Henry.  It is a short story about love and what you do for the person you love.  If you havent read it, you should, right now.  

9. Goosie Mama nominates  The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Goosie Mama's ReviewGrad Student's Review)- and as she says, this book "beautifully walks the line between grief, teenage emotion and gorgeous eyelashes."

And one book that I think was supposed to make us think, but that in reality Crazy Camper just hated:

10.  Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. UG. that pickle dish? the sled ride? I still have no idea what that all meant. Sorry Edith.  If you dont know it, Liam Nielson starred in the 1993 version with Cat from Winterfell, which this YouYube video is loosely based on...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone. Well, sort of. Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. "Almost."

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit. As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift (GoodReads).

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready was at the top of my summer TBR list. The good: Scottish accents. Yum. The bad: I am not a band groupie. I get awkward around live music. Why is the bass always so loud? Anyways...on to the official review criteria....
  • Originality: cool world building and the Shift every creates a neat kid v. adult gap. Also I want to know more about the government conspiracies and agents following Aura and generally creeping on kids to work for them. What caused the shift? What does the government want? What will be Aura and Zach’s role in all this?
  • Absurdity: 9, for YA love-triangle un-believability. OUCH this is bad news bears. Ghost-seer and ghost. Not to mention the romance is not convincing with Logan. He is kind of a jerk. And then the dreaded love triangle, in which we are given zero reasons why Zachary would be so head over heels over Aura. GEEZ I feel like Zach and Jacob Black would totally get along.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 6. “Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart” I die! But on the plus side, these teens actually talk about sex and don’t just make eyes and share fairy powers. So that is slightly redeeming.
  • Level of Harry-Potterness: 4. The story never seemed to gain momentum toward a definitive plot climax. I was interested but never dying to find out what happened next. 
So from my review you might think I disliked this book. Not true! The mystery of the Shift is well done and makes me want to know more. Bring on Shift!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: Endlessly by Kiersten White

Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)

Endlessly by Kiersten White is the last of the Paranormalcy trilogy. Here is the deal:

Evie's paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate. The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie's hands. So much for normal (GoodReads).

Evie girl, I LIKE you. When you promised to stop judging people in Crocs I snorted-laughed. When the gross, dirty, ugly unicorn made you want to sing about rainbows and happiness because of its magical powers, I giggled. I just wish you had something more exciting to do in this book

  • Originality: 4. The whole secret-paranormal agency is neat. It reminds me of the Men in Black agency. The parts sneaking around IPCA were the best parts of the book for me.
  • Absurdity: 5. Standard paranormal potpourri, but at least there is a mythology to organize it. Oh, and our cute female lead is the MOST IMPORTANT PERSON EVER but she has to figure out why and how to save her world. Sound familiar?
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 2. Romance takes a backseat to world-saving and evil-fairy-fighting. But Lend is still lack-luster, and I still don't buy the whole Reth thing. So ya. I was not caught up in any YA love here.
  • Level of Harry Potter-ness: 3. I was never drawn into this story, and had to power through because I need to get Endlessly back to the library. That is not a ringing endorsement for the story line, BUT White sure is funny. I still laughed out loud at Evie’s silliness, so points for that!

In Memoriam: Goosie Mama's First Kindle

It's been a trying week on the UWS ...

My strong, resilient Kindle Touch (less than a year old!), which has survived the wrath of my hungry cat (teeth marks to prove it), several beach outings and a lifetime on the NYC metropolitan transit system (let's get real, it probably has some sort of venereal disease) succumbed to a life lived fast and hard this past Monday by deciding it no longer wanted to do anything but display the Kindle screen of death:

It was a devastating blow, worsened only by the fact that the 4th Sookie Stackhouse novel was promptly made available on Tuesday from the NYPL - you can't download it without connecting your Kindle to your computer!!! Seriously, there were 9 people on the waitlist and it took the better part of August to get this book and NOW it arrives?!

Anyway, I digress.

The silver lining through all of this is that Amazon doesn't mess around and Goosie Mama's Second Kindle (aka GMSK) should arrive on Friday ... Free. Of. Charge. Why, you ask? According to Joseph B. from Amazon customer service, "Kindles are just supposed to work."

So fingers crossed the eHold on Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris extends to Friday around 5:00pm when I tear open the packaging on GMSK and sync the crap out of it. Until that time, I've composed this brief poem to GMFK, so that we can all pay our respects to the wondering piece of technology (and dear, dear friend) that she was:

So light and so thin,
A tech masterpiece I loved
now in eReader heaven
Watching me read YAF from above!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Are you sick of fairies and/or angels? (I assume a book mixing the two is only a matter of time) Need something good to read? Look no further than Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.


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).

This book is gripping. I NEEDED to know what happened. I also found the world-building subtle and fascinating--there is so much more I want to know both about Reverie and the outside communities (which absolutely reminded me of Graceling’s world. Anybody?)
    Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)
  • Originality: 4. Sci-Fi dystopian where outside ‘civilization’ you get magic and subsistence living. A nice mix of genres that works here. The Smarteye (think computer-as-monocle) pod-people wear to connect to virtual reality is creepy but very cool technology.
  • Absurdity: 5. Mostly because that blurb is so melodramatic. SHEESH. Oh and Aria is “special” and has some magic she didn’t know about. Because, you know, it is impossible for a YA heroine to be fully aware of her potential at the start of a series.
  • Level of Paranormal Romance: 7. YUM. Perry is seriously attractive. AND there is actual action WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE. Not feather petting (sorry, I am still getting over having read Rapture. What a fool I am!). Get ready to swoon.
  • Level of Harry Potter-ness: 5. Rossi’s descriptions of emotions as scents are particularly evocative, so a couple of points for literary niceties.  And then the rest for magic-wielding! Harry Potter would be proud, even though there are no wands. 

Waiting on Wednesday: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)I cannot wait until January to read the sequel to Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi Through the Ever Night.  There is no pretending that this book isn't all about romance. I don't care. Bring on the swoon, even if that shirt on the cover is circumspect and at a very awkward angle re: Perry's hips.

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever nightIn this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable (GoodReads).

Cheers to Jill at Breaking the Spine for hosting Waiting on Wednesday, a way to spotlight upcoming releases we can't wait to read. What are you "waiting on"?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall Must-Reads

A warm Whiskey Sours welcome (back) to Top Ten Tuesday! Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish,Top Ten Tuesday is a list-mania meme. This week we are happy to participate and share the books we can't wait to read for the fall. Lets grab those sweaters and pumpkin lattes and get reading! These are all already out, but so what if we are not hip! What are you looking forward to reading?

Goosie Mama:
1 and 2: The Fault in Our Stars and  Looking for Alaska by John Green (DFTBA!) Do we actually even need to explain these two?
3. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. A baseball story that got great buzz.
4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer- so she can be up to speed for Scarlet!

Grad Student:
5. The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta. I hear it is awesome. I am hoping for Jelicoe-Road-level greatness.
6. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. A retelling of Peter Pan:
"Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . ."
and Crazy Camper continues to love Vampire Academy:
7 and 8: Bloodlines and The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
The Piper's SonTiger LilyThe Art of Fielding