Best of Saturday (6)



Best of Saturday is a feature on The Sirenic Codex about highlighting YA blog posts. It's a way to showcase the best of the blogger community. You can read more about the rules, and the idea behind this feature here.

Remember, post other people's awesome posts. The second linky is the one to use for awesome links, the first is if you wrote a feature post about their post.

Mari's BoS

Another great post by a very good blogger. This one brings up the ever present issue of sexual inequality. Whether it's in fiction or real life, it's still here no matter the era and progress.

Your Turn

What really awesome posts have you encountered this week?




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Review: The Color of Rain

Author: Cori McCarthy
Date of Publication: May 14 2013
Pages: 352
Source: Review copy- thank you!

If there is one thing that seventeen-year-old Rain knows and knows well, it is survival. Caring for her little brother, Walker, who is "Touched," and losing the rest of her family to the same disease, Rain has long had to fend for herself on the bleak, dangerous streets of Earth City. When she looks to the stars, Rain sees escape and the only possible cure for Walker. And when a darkly handsome and mysterious captain named Johnny offers her passage to the Edge, Rain immediately boards his spaceship. Her only price: her "willingness."

The Void cloaks many secrets, and Rain quickly discovers that Johnny's ship serves as host for an underground slave trade for the Touched . . . and a prostitution ring for Johnny's girls. With hair as red as the bracelet that indicates her status on the ship, the feeling of being a marked target is not helpful in Rain's quest to escape. Even worse, Rain is unsure if she will be able to pay the costs of love, family, hope, and self-preservation.



Review:

I'm a little blown away right now. I'm shocked and trying to grasp what I just read. This book shattered my expectations. I don't even know where to start.

I'll start with the abstract; The Color of Rain is incredibly dark and intense. It's on the mature scale of YA and it is horrifying and a little heart breaking.  It explores prostitution, something I have never ever read about, and it is so much grittier than I expected. The author didn't try to disgust her readers; she also didn't try to overdose on the darkness. There were some details but I think Cori McCarthy deserves some applause for handling this issue so delicately.

Rain White lives in Earth City, a dismal environment, with just her brother Walker after a strange illness has taken away everyone else in her family, directly and indirectly. Those that are Touched are collected and removed from the general population and Rain is trying her best to save her Touched brother, Walker, from harm. She's heard of a place where Walker can be cured, and after she makes a deal with the Captain of an airship, who is interested in her partially because of her red hair, she has a way of getting there. Needless to say she is way in over her head.

Rain is someone I could like right away. She is fiercely protective of her brother and is willing to do whatever, and I mean whatever, it takes to help him. She's also fiery and passionate. Often, she'll say the wrong thing or challenge the wrong person. What impresses me about Rain is that as broken as she was, she never succumbed to being a victim. It's easy to let go and give up everything. It's harder to continue to feel and care. Rain earned a lot of respect from me for her determination, resourcefulness, and perseverance.

It's hard to describe The Color of Rain without spoiling people so I'll just brush over the rest of the characters. Lo is heartbreaking. She could have given up at any point but her loyalty to Rain is inspiring. Johnny is a fucking bastard and I hate that psychopath. So, obviously McCarthy did a good job at creating a villain. What's most impressive is that I didn't think Johnny would be that bad early on but as the story progressed I hated him more and more. That's fantastic characterization. Ben's character fits his role perfectly. He was entirely believable and well crafted too.

No doubt about it though; this story is about Rain and she ran the show.

Morality was huge issue in The Color of Rain. Do the ends justify the means? How far is too far? And if you've gone too far, how do you go back? Beyond prostitution, there was torture, death, slavery... This book really was dark. It wasn't overwhelming. Well, not often. You see, there was a true storyline that was enthralling in its own right.

Rain's journey takes her all throughout the galaxy and uncovers many disgusting secrets and lies. Although this book is sci-fi, I think pretty much anyone can read it because, with the exception of the beginning, nothing is too hard to follow. And after the beginning it's very easy to catch on. I think the strongest part of this book is the characterization and growth of rain.

I've written a pretty glowing review so far so I feel the need to mention a few things I would have liked to see. First, more of an emotional connection. I would not have minded if this book was longer and some parts slowed down because I feel like maybe the story would have benefited from seeing even more of Rain. It would be an even darker story and obviously incredibly hard to write but at some points I felt like the author maybe held back emotionally. In terms of plot she went for it but this could be a devastating book to read and Cori McCarthy didn't want to do that to her readers. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing because this is probably on the verge of not being accepted, if it hasn't crossed the line already, by those misinformed people that think YA should be censored. I also would have liked to get to know the other girls a little more. I don't like when the MC is hated by everyone else that is similar to her. It's a little bit of a pet peeve.

To be honest, I think this story is fine the way it is. It toes a line and as dark as it is, it also tells a really good story. I'm not soon going too forget The Color of Rain and I think the best praise I can give it is calling it a 5 star book. It's a unique read that I'll probably have to read again to absorb. It makes me think and question and that is one of the best qualities a book can have. 5 hearts,


-P.E.


6 comments:

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Zombies: Not My Thing




I've debated back and forth in my mind whether this actually merits a post. I mean, I'm not writing a review, or a spotlight. There isn't much of a link to books, except a very tenuous link to one series of books by Lia Habel. However, I can't get this out of my head so maybe writing it will help me finish Dearly Beloved.

Zombies creep me out.



Well, duh, you say. They have rotten flesh. They're dead bodies. They want to eat your braaaiinns.

Yeah and that's gross. I can't understand any romantic involvement with a zombie without shivering. It feels icky to me.

Now you mention vampires. Aren't they icky too? Like, they SUCK YOUR BLOOD. They have fangs. You like vampires. Actually, you love them. Damon Salvatore anybody?



Mmm. Damon is yummy. This complicates the issue because it makes no sense that in my mind, vampires are okay and zombies aren't. My mind is kind of a weird place, and this doesn't make much logical sense. I can have crushes on book vampires because there's something so alluring about them. When I think of a zombie, it grosses me out.

This tends to be an enormous issue, especially when I'm reading a book like Dearly Beloved where zombies are meant to be loved. I can't do it. Every time Nora is with Bram, it doesn't feel right. If I was in the book, I would totally hide from the zombies.

I feel awful about it. Why can't I just accept zombies? They're dead people too, like vampires whom I seem to have no problem with. To give a little bit of context, in Lia Habel's series, the zombies aren't all evil. They can turn you with a bite and have some sort of animal instinct that doesn't always end up consuming them. There are intelligent zombies out there who love and think and deserve a chance at an existence. I acknowledge that.

I'm having a lot of trouble reading Dearly Beloved because of the zombies and how conflicted I feel about them. Even if they're sentient beings, I don't know if I would want them in society. Habel's world does have vaccines, but let's just say it's not fool proof. The zombies want rights in government. They want to live alongside everyone else in society, and I feel like the right answer is to welcome them with open arms.

That decision doesn't seem true to me though. If there truly were zombies, they'd be capable of eradicating humanity. They'd overrun us. They would constantly desire to eat our flesh. Even if they are smart and good, how do you separate the conniving, evil ones that are only pretending from everyone else? Especially when they have heightened senses and capabilities. You can't. Just one evil zombie can have some disastrous consequences. This is my dilemma. Society isn't safe with zombies. They have a disease and I pity them, but they should have died. Their life puts people at risk

I was imagining myself in the story and I can't see myself ever letting someone I care about like my sister get close to a zombie. I wouldn't want to take the risk and associate with them, which is all sorts of awful. And then you'd say, what if a family member I care about, like my sister, was a zombie. Would I shut the door on her?

I don't know. I don't actually want to imagine this and hopefully it will never happen so I'll never be in a position to see my choice. It's just that zombies are a risk. I can't see myself welcoming them with open arms. It's awful, but it would probably be easier to kill every one of them than integrate them into society.

If they were to be part of society, I'd want them to be regulated. All their names and locations should be known. They should have weekly or monthly testing, psychological and physical, to see if they could hurt people. I would feel bad about it, but I, under no circumstances can accept putting my family or society at risk by welcoming zombies openly.

The bad thing is, the above paragraph is TOTALLY the starter of some creepy dystopia. The government would know a lot more than they should. That's scary, but I don't see any other solution. No one pities sociopaths even if it's said not having empathy could be a mental thing.

That's why I can't accept zombies, at least not right away. I don't see a harmonious future with them. What am I missing, zombie lovers? And have you ever read a book that you couldn't connect with because of the setting or premise?

*Also, I realize I'm taking a fictional premise created for reader's entertainment way too seriously. Whatever, that's just me.

-P.E.


23 comments:

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Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Date of Publication: April 2, 2013
Pages: 416
Source:Library

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?



Review:
I hate to be the downer, especially with such an anticipated book, but what can I do; I'm disappointed.

I had my first taste of Jennifer E. Smith's writing in her debut novel, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, which I enjoyed and it earned a few more brownie points as John Green enjoyed and recommended it too. (DFTBA!) As a result, I had expectations for this book. Nothing too extravagant, just a genuine belief that Smith would come though.

One of the criticisms for her debut was the short length but with This is What Happy Looks Like, I felt the biggest problem was the length. It was too long. The plot, story and characters were not round or developed enough to last 400 pages. After the first 100 pages the story hit a snag and it was a downward spiral from there. There was no real momentum driving the plot forward, there was one storyline and it took 400 pages to complete it.

First the plot. It is simple; girl meets boy, boy is a superstar and girl has a past. It sounds great for a fun, no thought required read, but sometimes even those need a little bit of thought or else they feel bland; uninteresting. That's what happened with this one. I think Smith tried to use the cliche, as she did with her debut and really spin a story that doesn't feel like it. But it felt cliche, it felt unrealistic and that's a problem with contemporary. I expect a little bit of realism even if it's fiction and a lot of wishful thinking.

As for the characters, loved Graham and Ellie for the first 100 pages and then they didn't grow enough for me to continue to like them. Graham was too perfect to a fault. He was too "not into the scene", too "complete nice guy" which ended up reducing the amount of depth one saw in his personality. As for Ellie, I didn't find her interesting at all and I don't know what more to say. I didn't connect with her, I didn't care what happened to her.

Overall, it really is a cute concept and story but in my opinion it's good if you're looking for something with no real thought. It's light, fun, summery. I wish there was more depth and more plot but it is what it is and many have enjoyed it. The question is, is this one for you? It wasn't for me.

-MARI

 

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Cover Wars: The Winner's Curse vs. Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times

Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

After a tough battle Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times managed to pull its victory over the very romantic cover of These Broken Stars. Therefore, it proceeds to face this week's challenger, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski.


Both covers are quite different but very elegant at the same time. They both have the historic feel with Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times featuring Gothic architecture and a clock tower whereas The Winner's Curse rocks a beautiful model in an even more beautiful dress. I also love the little detail where the model is holding onto the 'R'. They are two different but undeniably gorgeous covers. Now it's up to you guys to decide which one moves on.

Wish to vote for your favourite? The poll can be found below and also on the side bar. You have a week to vote and comment on your favourite cover.

Let the Cover Wars begin!


Which cover should win Cover Wars?
  
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Standalones Reading List

Recently I've been a little lost when it comes to choosing my next read. With all the books being a part of series I've been really wary of what I'm picking up especially because I don't have time to start any more series. So I compiled a list of standalone books that I've read and enjoyed and also a list that I would like to read. It's the best of both worlds: recommend and receive recommendations!

I Recommend:

Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Paranormal
This one had me confused for a good 75% of the book but again that's probably just me. Even after saying that, it is probably one of the most interesting books I've read. It was beautifully written and described and, although slow at parts, everything came together masterfully in the end. A real treat of a read.

Epic Fail - Claire LaZebnik
Genre: Contemporary, Classic Retelling
This one is more on the lighter side with it being a Pride and Prejudice modernized retelling. It's a real treat of a read; a great sunny afternoon happy read. I also recommend this one to those looking for an introduction to Pride and Prejudice, I read this before I read the real works and I'm grateful as it allowed me more insight into the series in a way that I can relate to and understand easily.

Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys
Genre: Historical Fiction
I usually don't pick up stories that are based around the holocaust but this one really intrigued me and for good reason. It's a great story that highlights events that took place in the Baltic under Hitler and Stalin's reign therefore reminding us of a forgotten people while making us fall in love with some new and dynamic characters. It makes you cry, it makes you laugh, but most of all it makes you take a step back and be thankful for all that you have in life. It also makes you look back in history and understand that we are the future and we should learn from the decisions of those before us.

You Against Me - Jenny Downham
Genre: Contemporary
This one is another heart-wrenching tale of family loyalty, love and honour. Reading the synopsis gave me chills, because of the situation the characters are placed in. Anything could have gone wrong, the romance could have gone horribly weary, blowing the whole plot and story out in the water but Downham managed to crack some amazing characters and give them life. They were confused, honourable and loving but also righteous. It made me questions what I would do if I were placed in there situations and I still don't know.

Faithful - Claudia Gray
Genre: Paranormal Romance
I will never be able to write a proper critical review of this one because of its setting; the Titanic. Ever since I can remember, I've been a history nerd. I find old things fascinating and old stories even more. Titanic has been among my all time favourite historic things so when I heard there was going to be a book set on it, you can probably predict my reaction. I ended up really enjoying the book though it didn't blow me away, it did have me involved and interested and the author's decision to make it a standalone increased my enjoyment even more. It was fun, thrilling with all the werewolf action plus 20th century chivalry and the ghosts of Rose and Jack in the background.

On the TBR





 I've been meaning to read each and everyone of these for a while now. They are all very well received novels and their authors are also well loved.

In conclusion:

How do you feel about the never ending series in YA. I used to not mind it but recently, it's started to bug me. I remember the day when I could pick up a book become engrossed in it and finish it with a feeling of satisfaction. Now a days I'm finishing a book and then moaning for 3 days afterwards because the sequel will be out in a year's time.

How Do You Feel About Standalones? Any Recommendations?


-MARI

6 comments:

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The Weekly Progress: FINALLY!!! Edition

Hello there everybody! It's P.E. here and FINALLY I get to write another TWP post. If you don't know by now, The Weekly Progress is a wrap up post that happens every Sunday to look at the week that was.

I've been away every Saturday/early Sunday and I haven't been able to write this post. Which is a shame, since it's probably one of my favourite features because I get to ramble on about books & everything that interests me. Anyway, let's get to the book talk.

Books Read


It wasn't the best week book-wise. I never managed to finish Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel. Of the books I finished, one gets one star, one gets 2 stars, and the other gets 5 stars.Which book is rated what? Stay tuned for reviews! (or check out my Goodreads or Twitter). 

Currently Reading 


I very recently started it and it has promise. I'm hoping the characters develop and the story starts to feel more real because at this point it seems a little predictable. The premise of five kids being kidnapped by The Vindico (an evil league of villains) in the hopes of being made into evil villains is awesome. 

The Week That Was: Movies

I went to the movies twice last week, which is a big deal for me because this means I've gone to the movies more this summer (3x) than I've gone the entire year. I'm not a movie person. So, I ended up watching The Sea of Monsters and The City of Bones. 

The Sea of Monsters movie didn't start out bad; I just felt like it was missing a lot. I read the books years ago and I couldn't remember the differences. So, after the movie, I totally went out and ordered the box set which I received three days later. Now I'm reading a chapter of Percy Jackson every day to my little sister. She's seven and unable to read the books on her own, so every half page or so I have to ask her questions and recap to make sure she understands. It's extremely frustrating, but I'm also noticing so many little details that I otherwise would have skipped over. I also think that this will help her as a reader, so by the end of the book she'll be able to understand larger sections on her own. 

The City of Bones has been getting a lot of attention, both negative and positive, and I thought it was fine. I liked Clary and Simon was adorable, which is weird since I didn't like him in the books. My only issue was Jace. The actor playing him wasn't my image of Jace and I kind of wasn't into him as a love interest. It was a decent movie overall. 

TSC Recap

This week wasn't the best week for me, content wise. You won't notice it now because it takes roughly two weeks for a post to be published after it's been written, but Mari did a lot of the work. I'm trying to get my creative juices flowing again. That being said, it wasn't a bad blogging week. 

It started off with two reviews by me. One for Seizure, which I liked, and Boy Nobody, which I really liked.

There was also a new Cover Wars battle, this time featuring Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times (which is really fun to type) and These Broken Stars. It's a pretty cool battle because depending on the day of the week, a different cover has been leading. Flights and Chimes seems to be leading now, but by the time Tuesday rolls around a lot could have changed. 

Mari chose Champion by Marie Lu as her Waiting on Wednesday pick. I totally approve because I love that series and Prodigy has a killer ending. 

Next, there's The Cost of Awesomeness, which is probably one of the posts I've worked on the hardest to write.

The week is wrapped up with Mari posting a trailer to Vicious as well as the weekly Best of Saturday post, featuring the best of what's out there in the YA blogosphere. 

Music

There are two songs that are pretty popular but new to me that I adore. 

This first song has been playing in my head all week. I've listened to it countless times, and I love it so much. I love the vocals, I love the mood, I love the harmony. It's the best song for the end of summer, and this upbeat remix is amazing. Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey remix by Cedric Gervais.




The second song is one that has a lower, base type melody at some point that is absolutely perfect. Also, the vocals are super catchy. Starlight (Could You Be Mine) by Don Diablo & Matt Nash.




Both songs are a little bit odd, and I adore them. I'd love to hear of what you think too!

Have a great week everyone!

-P.E.

6 comments:

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Best of Saturday (5)



Best of Saturday is a feature on The Sirenic Codex about highlighting YA blog posts. It's a way to showcase the best of the blogger community.  Remember, post other people's awesome posts. The point of BoS is to share the blogger love!


Mari's BoS

This one is a nicely written and explained discussion about the topic of predictability in books. I've experienced it, you have also probably experienced it. Here Nara @ Looking for Panacea talks about it and recommends some books she feels aren't predictable!

Modifications

We've been doing BoS for about a month now with varying degrees of success (as in, not many people seem to be participating). I've decided to simplify the meme a little bit. We'll be removing the first linky, the one where you can write a post about why you enjoyed a post, and leaving the second one around. That means all you need to do now is link a post you like. 

What awesome posts have you encountered this week?






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Book Trailer - Vicious

 

Vicious - Victoria Schwab

Release Date: September 24, 2013
(Goodreads)



Trailer



Victoria Schwab has been on my reading list ever since her debut book, The Near Witch, came out and was praised all over the place. Sadly, I haven't read either of her two published works but I mean to, someday soon. I stumbled on this book a while ago and thought it was interesting but the trailer has completely renewed my excitement. I really like that she is tackling the superhero theme. I've never read anything of this sort and I can't wait to check it out. The trailer has just the right dose of information, intrigue, mysterious music and hints towards a fun read! I'm excited :)


What Do You Think?

-MARI

4 comments:

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The Cost of Awesomeness




I went on a bit of a mini vacation this week and the one thing I made sure to do before leaving was to download some books onto my Kobo. I went to Toronto by bus and it's a five to six hour bus ride so I needed to keep myself occupied or else I'd go insane.

Being the absolutely broke student that I am, I usually check out books from the library's e-catalogue and that day, I struck gold. Oh my gosh I got a bunch of super awesome books, headlined by a book I've been dying to read for the longest time, Quintana of Charyn. You know, the finale in that incredible series I rave about to whomever listens, by that author who's writing I enjoy so much that I wrote a whole post about it.


I was in heaven. I did a happy dance and hugged my little Kobo and I couldn't wait to get on that bus. And on the bus, I was in the best mood. I had Doritos (regular nacho and Inferno), Hershey's Dark Chocolate, a blueberry muffin from a rest stop, and some water. Those are all among my favourite foods, but the only time I desired any single one of them was when I forced myself to take a break from reading.

I was so emotionally invested to this book, this freakin' amazing book, that sometimes I had to stop or I'd cry on the bus (even at happy scenes!) or laugh too hard, or I'd read something so chilling I'd need something real and substantial to remind me that, even though I felt so many emotions while reading, incomprehensibly this wasn't real. The emotions felt real, and I had to control them.


I finished reading Quintana of Charyn on the way back home. Another drive, this time in a car. I didn't have much left to read, but I was fully engrossed in Quintana of Charyn while I had it. That ending was spectacular. I was in the middle seat of a car getting punched by my sister because that's what we do when we see yellow cars and my mom and aunt were gossiping away in Farsi with my uncle making the occasional comment here and there, and this was a fantastic reading experience despite the noise or being cramped with no room to put my feet. This was awesome. I was reading an awesome book.

Finding an awesome book is like a reader's Christmas. The special ones are rare and they are works of art; stuff I worship as a blogger and a reader. Reading the book is incredible, and the ending is always the best part. It's what comes after that reminds me that like everything in life, there is a give and take.

After I read this book, I closed it and realized there were four more hours to go on the car ride back home. I first closed the book and thought about it. The ending was satisfying and you know the feeling you get when you encounter something great? One of those totally inspired moments like, DAMN, people are amazing for being able to create something like this. After savouring the ending, I immediately started the review because I want all of you people to realize how amazing Quintana of Charyn is. (Stay tuned over the next few weeks.)

Writing a review is cathartic, especially after reading an emotionally demanding book. It helps you sort out your thoughts and sometimes you realize there is no possible way you can write a review that will serve the book justice, but you try anyway because you're a blogger and this book deserves a great review. It took me an hour and a half to write the review because I had to stop and think about how to frame it. Not too gushy (I probably failed), not too long.



After finishing the review, that's when I felt awful. It's done. The story is over. This amazing story that has given me such joy for countless hours is over and it feels awful. I opened my Kobo. I had downloaded seven books from the library and they were all titles with lots of acclaim and hype. I chose one and I flicked to the first page. I spent what felt like a long time staring at the page, unable to absorb any word until I realized that I couldn't read another book.

You see, great books don't come around very often and enjoying them is one of life's best pleasures. The after though, after reading the book and writing the review, is hard. You don't want to forget this book. You feel like while the next book may possibly be good, it's not the culmination of one of your favourite fantastical trilogies by one of the best YA authors out there. I always wonder, will I ever find a book I'll enjoy as much as this great one? Sometimes it's a long time in between these books and reading them is like seeing colours in a black and white world.

Every single first "after book" I've ever read has disappointed me. Sometimes I wonder if it's because I'm comparing the two. If so, it's not fair. My heart is probably still with the first book. Days after reading Quintana of Charyn, I couldn't read anything else. Nothing could compare. I was a bit in withdrawal.

This isn't something that is known only to books. It's the same after watching your favourite sports team get eliminated in the playoffs. It hurts. It's over. I personally have to step back afterwards, usually missing much of the rest of the playoffs, before it's bearable to watch the sport again.

So upon reflection, this isn't something new to me. I do it all the time, because with all things great, there is a cost. I can't read a great book and then go on to read another book. I need a few days to calm my mind and organize my thoughts. It especially sucks when you have to do that stuck inside a car for four hours with a seven year old. It's the cost of awesomeness, and it's worth it.

-P.E.

10 comments:

What do you think?

WoW - Champion




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


Champion

Marie Lu
  November 5, 2013 




He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.




First of all, I absolutely LOVE this cover! It looks simple but there is so much going on and it's gorgeous. Secondly, ahhh the ending of Prodigy! I've been in love with this series ever since Legend. It is just the right blend of action, adventure, dystopia and romance. It's like a great action movie in a book. Can't wait to get this book.

What Are You Waiting On?

-MARI

12 comments:

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Cover Wars: Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times vs These Broken Stars

Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

These Broken Stars managed a very curious win over Cruel Beauty, by winning the poll yet losing the comments. At some point, I realized there was something very wrong with the poll and since this is the second week in a row the blogger poll has malfunctioned, I'm using a new one this week.

That being said, I compared the comments to the poll and These Broken Stars still gets the victory. People enjoyed the romance, the colours, the thin font, and the gorgeous dress. That means These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagon Spooner moves on to face this week's cover, Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne.


First off, I discovered Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times through The Midnight Garden's exclusive cover reveal and giveaway, so be sure to check that out. I think both covers are stunning. They're both dark and mysterious. They both have titles that stand out. These Broken Stars is more dramatic and Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times has some more detail. I love them both and I'm extremely curious to see which one you prefer. 

So let's just get to it! The poll is at the bottom, but can also be found on the sidebar to the right. You get a week to vote and comment on what cover you prefer. 

Let the Cover Wars begin!


Which cover should win Cover Wars?
 
 
  
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Review: Boy Nobody

Author: Allen Zadoff
Date of Publication: June 11 2013
Pages: 337
Source: Library

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends, and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die-of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target. 

But when he's assigned to the mayor of New York City, things change. The daughter is unlike anyone he has encountered before; the mayor reminds him of his father. And when memories and questions surface, his handlers at The Program are watching. Because somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and parents; a young man who wants out. And who just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's mission.


Review:

Boy Nobody impressed me. It is a very distinctive read in terms of style and originality. There is a fabulous premise, an engrossing plot, and an intriguing mystery. I've always loved action and spy books, so called "books for boys", and Boy Nobody was exactly what I hoped it would be.

One thing I just want to quickly mention is that the presentation was awesome. Good cover, and I loved the text style at the beginning of every chapter. These tiny details are so important in establishing a mood and I appreciated how 'clean' the layout was.

Boy Nobody starts with a bang. There is no slow buildup. We meet our protagonist in the middle of an assignment. He works for a group ominously known as The Program that train individuals to be soldiers that completes missions. These soldiers are cold, unfeeling and lethal. They can creep in and creep out of your life without you noticing their entry or exit. They are assassins working with The Program.

The premise obviously fascinated me and I think it was done very well. There's a lot the reader doesn't know in Boy Nobody, but neither does the main character. I'm not giving him a name because I don't know what to call him and I don't want to spoil anything. As the story progressed, more information was slowly revealed and it was a little agonizing because I wanted to know more immediately but I realized that it's a delicate process. There were also some twists and turns that I wasn't expecting. I picked this book up thinking it may or may not interest me, and I'm happy to say that I couldn't stop myself from devouring this book.

One of my favourite little details in Boy Nobody was the use of technology. When reading spy novels, it's always cool to see what technology they use and Boy Nobody didn't disappoint. He's supposed to fit in so everything was inconspicuous but it was so creative that I loved it. From pens that can kill or comatize to a vast repertoire of secret iPhone apps. I absolutely loved seeing hidden uses for things like the weather app.

It's hard to explain how I feel about the main character. Boy Nobody is likable and mechanic. He has a past that is confusing and I rooted for him the whole time. It's hard to know who he is because he's been built up to be almost nothing more than a machine. Still, I enjoyed reading in his perspective, especially the little details he would notice when he entered a room. He would adapt and constantly search for the right answer in conversations. There was also some depth in terms of morality that I found interesting.

Sam Goldberg is another prominent character and she is complex and just a brilliant character. She is very strong and opinionated. She is respected by the people around her and there's something about this girl that makes you want to know more. She's different. She takes action and genuinely cares about the world around her. She has a sad background but from the moment Boy Nobody met her I knew there was something more to her.

Tl;dr? This book is an awesome mix of action and mystery. It's almost impossible to put down and I can't wait to read the sequel. 4 hearts.


-P.E.


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Review: Seizure

Author: Kathy Reichs
Date of Publication: October 18th 2011
Pages: 496
Source: Library
Series: Virals #2, Book 1: Virals

Ever since Tory Brennan and her friends rescued Cooper, a kidnapped wolf pup with a rare strain of canine parvovirus, they've turned from regular kids into a crime-solving pack. But now the very place that brought them together - the Loggerhead Island Research Institute - is out of funding and will have to shut down. That is, unless the Virals can figure out a way to save it.

So when Tory learns of an old Charleston legend about a famous she-pirate, Anne Bonney, whose fortune was never found, she can't believe her luck - buried treasure is exactly what she needs to save the Institute on Loggerhead! Trouble is, she and her friends aren't the only ones looking for it. And this time, the Virals' special powers may not be enough to dig them out of trouble . . .

Review:

Virals was a really fun sci-fi novel and so I was super excited for Seizure. Seizure wasn't what I expected at all. The story became more like National Treasure than a sci-fi book, and frankly I enjoyed it.

Seizure is an action packed, thrilling read that is not very realistic at all. To save Loggerhead island and to keep the Virals together, a great deal of money is needed. When Tory and the rest of the Virals hear of the lost fortune of female pirate Anne Bonny, they decide that the treasure is the solution to all their problems. They can't be separated; they're still learning about their new abilities and it's a secret they can't share with anyone.

Doesn't that sound fun? It was. There were many action scenes, many mysteries, and even a few deaths. The book itself was complete with its own story line that wrapped up quite nicely. Seizure is a book very easy to get into because the plot is fast-paced and constantly moving. It doesn't demand too much from the reader and it's frankly, pure entertainment. I could imagine everything happening like a movie in my head.

That being said, there were a few issues. This book needs to be looked at as something fun and exciting. It will probably disappoint you if you go into it with a critical eye.

The first issue is a pretty common one when it comes to treasure hunting books. Anne Bonny's treasure is one that has drawn many people over the years, so how does a group of kids find it? I understand they had special senses so that obviously helped. But in terms of solving the clues and riddles... it was a little bit stretched. See, at some points Tory would stop everyone because she had an idea coming. Something would just click for her and she would guess something correctly and they would move on to the next stage of the hunt. Except some of the connections she made came a little bit out of nowhere and as a reader, I was a little blown away at how they found the treasure. It obviously wasn't easy but the Virals made an awful lot of correct guesses. However, you can't complain about this too much because that's the story and it's a lot of fun.

The other thing that threw me off a little was the ease with which Tory and the group could sneak out of their homes. They were grounded for most of the time but that never stopped them from leaving to attend numerous late night excursions. They weren't caught once until near the end and that's completely ridiculous. I could understand maybe if Tory's dad is a little lax in security but the parents of all the other kids too? If it was that easy to get out of the house at night, well then I'd be... um, I'd rather not write anything too incriminating on the internet. It just shocked me, especially because they're fourteen years old. They even stole a car a few times and got away with that too. We'll ignore all the other crimes for now because I don't want to spoil the fun.

Remember, this is fun. I know I'm being negative and complaining a little too much, but this book is a lot of fun. The characters are all genuinely likable with their own personalities. They feel like a real group of friends and I enjoyed reading about their interactions and how they could push each other's buttons. Hi in particular was one of my favourites. He's constantly joking and I loved it. Tory had the ability to convince all the guys to do whatever she wanted them to do (and this includes some crazy stuff I would never, ever, agree to) and it was funny seeing the group respond when Tory had some crazy idea they knew wouldn't end well. She was their fearless leader.

There wasn't too much real depth in terms of personality. Seizure wasn't character driven, it was definitely plot driven, and that worked for it. The book was pretty long but it was a lot of fun to read, so a great way to spend a few hours as long as you don't need anything too deep. If you're looking for fun, Seizure is the book for you. I liked it a lot.


-P.E.


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Best of Saturday (4)



Best of Saturday is a feature on The Sirenic Codex about highlighting YA blog posts. It's a way to showcase the best of the blogger community. You can read more about the rules, and the idea behind this feature here.

Remember, post other people's awesome posts. The second linky is the one to use for awesome links, the first is if you wrote a feature post about their post.

Mari's BoS

I liked most of you have encountered made up cuss words in my time read YA and while some of them are funny or understandable, others are just outrageous!This is a great post that shares some cuss words that Kelley @ Another Novel Read came up  on. Personally, the only one that bugged me and I can remember til this day is from The House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast, it was: "bull poopie" ....

Why?!

Your Turn

What really awesome posts have you encountered this week?










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Movie News - Vampire Academy Trailer +Extra

This is a pretty exciting time for all us Vampire Academy fans as the release date of the movie gets closer and all the fun things like trailers are being released. Today is one of those days (Wednesday), in which the very first VA: Blood Sisters trailer has been released. Therefore, it is the perfect time to talk about VA and why it's awesome. If you haven't read this series then this post is directed at you, READ IT! If you have read the series then let's talk about what we love most about this series and its epicness. It's an all around VA love-fest, join in!


4 Reasons Why VA is the BEST!

  1. Rose Hathaway is the most tenacious, kick ass, hilarious and exciting female character I've ever read. She is wild and free; there is no time to waste when around Rose.
  2. Dimitri Belikov!!! *Faint-swoon* He is dashing, chivalrous, and troubled .What more can we ask for? But seriously, Dimitri was one of my first book crushes. Both my parents are teachers so I grew up thinking that all teachers should be treated as your parents (with respect). As you can probably see, it takes a lot to make me accept a student-teacher relationship but I didn't even notice the dilemma. Surly, a sign of Mead's awesome writing and Dimitri's godliness!
  3. Strigoi-Moroi-Guardian situation. I love that she strayed from the traditional "evil vampires" or the twilight "sparkly vampires" and made something more understandable. Loved the idea of guardians protecting vampires and a Moroi court. Very interesting and understandable. If there were a superhuman race like vampires, then why would they be living in the dark hunting for their next meal when they can be benefiting from all the opportunities presented by the humans.
  4. Guardians! At one point in all of our lives, we have probably thought about being one of those cool action heroes that help people. I know I have. In another life I would love to be a police officer or security personnel or even better FBI Profiler (yes, Criminal Minds). In all those fantasies we think of strong, thick-skinned people who are not afraid to put their lives at risk for the sake of others. Here, we see that they are normal people with opinions and beliefs that we can understand and no they aren't vampires!

 Cast Analysis


Dimitri Belikov - Danila Kozlovsky
I think he is perfect! I remember when the rights for the movie were first bought and it seemed like everyone in the world wanted Ben Barnes to be Dimitri. I'm sorry for those who were disappointed but I'm really glad they went with Danila. He is Russian, well built, the perfect age and it seems that he has great chemistry with Zoey! Also chocolate brown eyes :)

Rating: 10



Rose Hathaway - Zoey Deutch
I wasn't so sure about her as she looked really skinny and dainty in the Beautiful Creatures movie, quite the opposite of how I imagined Rose. Still, her facial features are very Rose-like with the "desert princess" idea.

Rating: 8

Lissa Dragomir - Lucy Fry
I am not a Lissa fan. I don't like the girl but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate her. Lucy is definitely, blond, beautiful with a model-like body. I don't have much to complain about except for her eye colour. The Dragomir green was mentioned a lot just like Harry Potter's green eyes. I'm hoping there will be contacts but you never know.

Rating: 8 

Conclusion: 26/30

Just from their looks and the little that I've heard about them they are a hit! I'm very happy with the actors looks but the acting will be their defining moment.

Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters Trailer



Thoughts:

Action-packed. It looks like they went with the Gossip Girl style, high school for vampires. It kind of reminds me of True Blood, with all the angst and bloodsucking, but I haven't seen a lot of that show so I can't really relate them well. I love the little flashes showing Dimitri and Rose's training. The training scenes were my favourite while reading the books and that's what I'll be looking forward to in the movie. All in all, I think Daniel Waters knows what he is doing and I'm not going to go ahead and form a complete opinion on the movie until after I see more of it. For now, I'm going to stick with "It's going to be a fun watch" and I don't think I'm bringing my brother to the movies with me (Rose and Dimitri bedroom scene looks quite intense!)

What Do You Think? Like/ Dislike?

-MARI


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