Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Hardcover, 487 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads
From Goodreads:
In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.
I actually put off reading this book for a while. There was such a strong hype about it and I tried to stay away till it died down a little. Well. That never happened. All the excitement about it now is as strong as it has ever been, especially with book 2, Insurgent, coming out tomorrow. Divergent topped the NYT's Bestseller's List yet again last week. Yes, it is just. That. Good.

At first I had issues relating to Tris, after the first couple of chapters I could see where her personality and perspective were coming from. There's a resounding quality to her, inner strength. Just when you think she has nothing left in her, she finds courage that I didn't even realize she had. The choices she makes from chapter 1 exemplify this.Tris dares to go against the grain in a society of factions ran by strict rules of how life is supposed to be. This is why they fear her. Tris doesn't fit within their plan and has to realize just how "outside the box" she is. I see a path of a true leader heading her way...

The plot in this book really sets it above others. There are many books that fall within certain patterns in this aspect and I can usually guess what is going to happen next. Not this book. Divergent is more than a name in this aspect, it is the plot paths you take along with the characters. Several times I had to stop, say "Wait, what?", and read back a few lines. I honestly was not expecting several incidents. The book keeps on this roll right to the end and you will feel absolutely breathless when you put it down for the last time. Be prepared for this amazing roller coaster when you start this book, because it will keep you hanging on till the end! High potential for a "one-sitter" label.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - April 25, 2012

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: August 7th 2012 by St. Martin's Press
From Goodreads:
In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network. When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers. As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse. In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.
 The synopsis alone is absolutely intriguing to me...Altered reality. Check. Rules to be broken. Check. Telekinesis, prophetic visions, and maybe a shape shifter of some kind? Oh but yes, check. It is right up my alley. I've been fortunate enough to be granted access to it via NetGalley! Now, if I can just make it through this last week of classes....  Cheers, friends!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Hardcover, 485 pages
Published: April 24, 2012 by HarlequinTEEN
Source: ARC - NetGalley
Buy the Book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads: In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

*In the News*

On April 19, 2012, Julie Kagawa and Harlequin TEEN announced that Palomar Pictures has optioned The Immortal Rules for the big screen! Read my post with their press release!

Now, on to the regularly scheduled programing: the review!

I jumped for joy when I found out Julie Kagawa was writing a vampire story. I had a feeling that it would be written to suit my taste compared to most that been published lately. I was absolutely correct. The premise, logistics, and characters define what will be one of my top books this year. This is the way it should be done.

I connected instantly with Allie in Chapter 1. The heartache and struggles she has dealt with in her short life make her both vulnerable and strong. She's a survivor and she'll do what it takes to keep it that way. How Allie manages to still have kindness in this decaying world and through the changes she experiences is beyond me. Throughout the book, I watched her grow and strengthen her resolve to even higher standards. I believe I see the path that she is headed down. If so, the next two books are going to highlight these strengths tremendously. Zeke. He's adorable. The "boy next door" personality he carries is addictive. He goes through his own trials and tribulations alongside Allie, but he remains himself and refuses to be changed. Any reader should be able to feel the trust he exhumes from the beginning. The evil characters, there are no exclusions to only vampires, humans, or other, that Allie encounters can actually give you chills. I have only had this type of response to characters in a well-done horror flick, let alone inside my own mind reading a book. The rabids in particular are the most disturbing to me. I do not like the idea of being hunted and I kept waiting on each page for one to jump out...

The plot and pacing steadily builds as the story progresses. From the humble beginnings where we learn about Allie and the life she leads until the culminating sequence of events at the end that will leave you breathless. It did slow down for me during the time just after she becomes a vampire, but this was just because I felt I having to relearn her all over again. I don't see this as detrimental because Allie was also doing the same and I knew it had to be that way.

-Slight Spoiler-

An aspect I was not expecting was the concept of knowledge in this book. Its uses and regulations regarding it hit very close to home for me. Books and information have become my bread and butter in my career and degrees. It cuts me deeply to know that in this world its not available to all. The phrase "Knowledge is Power" is taken very seriously in it and only those with power are allowed to have it. Any others are severely punished if caught with materials that could enlighten them. Institutions for knowledge and learning are nonexistent and/or destroyed. It is a part of the core plot and it will be interesting to see how it is dealt with and, hopefully, overcome in the following books.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Movie Deal: The Immortal Rules Coming to the Big Screen!!

Congrats to Julie and Harlequin on their deal with Palomar Pictures to bring The Immortal Rules to big screen!!

Harlequin's Facebook post:

Palomar Pictures Options The Immortal Rules and Blood of Eden Series
by New York Times Bestselling Author Julie Kagawa

Los Angeles, CA; Toronto, ON – April 18, 2012 – Independent film production company Palomar Pictures today announced that it has optioned Blood of Eden, the newest series from New York Times bestselling young adult author Julie Kagawa.  The Immortal Rules, the highly anticipated first book in the Blood of Eden series, will be published by Harlequin TEEN on April 24, 2012.

The Immortal Rules is set in a future world where humanity, decimated by a deadly virus, exists merely as a food source and slave class to an elite society of vampires. When a young woman, a survivor who dreams of the day humanity will rise up against their supernatural masters, is turned into a vampire, she is forced to choose between becoming what she despises or helping those who would destroy her.

Palomar principal Joni Sighvatsson was passionate about The Immortal Rules’ film potential and quick to secure film rights for the book and the Blood of Eden series. “It’s simply a great story with an electrifying heroine for the 21st century.  It makes the series an ideal subject for a film adaptation," said Sighvatsson. "Julie’s ability to familiarize the reader with this complex world in a few pages demonstrates the cinematic qualities of her imagination and complements my own sensibilities as a film producer."

Julie Kagawa felt that Sighvatsson was the right producer to partner with because of his tremendous track record for getting his films made and his passion for her books. "Joni does not take on a project unless he really loves it," Kagawa said. "He's thoughtful and established, and I know he's going to make a great movie that respects my material."

Sighvatsson has acquired a solid reputation in the movie industry. With more than 40 feature-film credits under his belt, Sighvatsson has worked closely with a wide range of talent, both in front of and behind the camera. The trademarks of his projects are the pairing of visionary directors—such as David Lynch, Kathryn Bigelow, Nicolas Winding Refn and Julian Schnabel—with strong material. This has led to a body of work that is rich and diverse.

Natashya Wilson, senior editor for Harlequin TEEN, is thrilled that Kagawa's novels are finally coming to the big screen. "Julie writes in such a cinematic way, I have seen her books as films from day one. Her fans have been clamoring for Julie Kagawa movies for a long time and I am so pleased that they are finally going to get their wish fulfilled!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - April 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme from Jill at Breaking the Spine. To join in, share the book or books that you are currently drooling over as you await their release and report back to Breaking the Spine with the link to your post. The gorgeous badge above is brought to us by Lindsay at The Violet Hour!

This series has had me hanging on for the last year or so. Love, love the world that Maberry created. It's an awful situation, but he still finds room to weave in humanity. Heartache with a good dose of hope. Awe. Some. 

Flesh & Bone by Jonathan Maberry
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 448 pages
Expected publication: September 11th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

 From Goodreads: 
Reeling from the tragic events of Dust & Decay, Benny Imura and his friends plunge deep into the zombie-infested wastelands of the great Rot & Ruin. Benny, Nix, Lilah and Chong journey through a fierce wilderness that was once America, searching for the jet they saw in the skies months ago. If that jet exists then humanity itself must have survived…somewhere. Finding it is their best hope for having a future and a life worth living.

But the Ruin is far more dangerous than any of them can imagine. They are hunted by fierce animals escaped from zoos and circuses. They must raid zombie-infested towns for food and medical supplies. They discover the very real truth in the old saying: In the Rot & Ruin…everything wants to kill you.

And what is happening to the zombies? Swarms of them are coming from the east, devouring everything in their paths. These zoms are different. Faster, smarter, infinitely more dangerous. Has the zombie plague mutated, or is there something far more sinister behind this new invasion of the living dead?

In Flesh & Bone, Benny Imura, Nix Riley, Lou Chong and Lilah the Lost Girl are pitted against dangers greater than anything they've ever faced. To survive, each of them must rise to become the warriors Tom trained them to be.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Immortal Rules Trailers!

I have been looking forward to the trailer from Harlequin for almost as long as I have the book itself.  They did an outstanding job on The Iron Knight's trailer. Most of my friends though it was movie trailer and asked to go see it! Here's the latest from Harlequin and the previously released trailer. Look for my NetGalley review on Monday and the book comes out next Tuesday!

Review: Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry
Hardcover, 519 pages
Published: August 30, 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads: In post-apocalyptic America, 15-year-old Benny Imura and his friends set out into the great Rot & Ruin hoping to find a better future but are soon pitted against zombies, wild animals, insane murderers, and the horrors of Gameland.
Maberry does it again. Many second books suffer from "Second-Book Syndrome" and provide only filler for the storyline. Expecting that from this book, especially considering the plot, I was taken off guard by how fulfilling it was. The book could stand on its own and gives the reader an exciting ride through the Rot & Ruin. Fear and heartache are constant reminders for Benny and the reader that this world is no bed of roses.

The book picks up just shortly after Rot & Ruin's ending. Benny is mentally preparing himself for the trip out to the Rot & Ruin, but there is some understandable hesitation by other members of his little group. Events in the village hasten their decisions and departure time. This is a game-changer at the beginning of the book and later towards the end. The "decisions have consequences" theme continues form this point on the characters come to many crossroads and have to weigh their options. I do like this because it reminds me of watching Benny grow up in the first book. Now, he and his friends are faced with challenges and situations that most adults would have difficulty planning a course of action for, especially including the life or death factor.

There are periods of downtime, but it is filled with interesting character interactions that keep the reader entertained while learning more about the group. The information you learn in this downtime is vital to understanding the decisions they make and the action that follows them. The action sequences are heart-stopping and keep you on edge until you catch your breath at the end. The culminating events are two-fold in my opinion. One will leave you in tears and the other will let you see Benny and the gang at their finest. It is an evil tug-of-war between your mind and heart because there is so much to process. At the end of the book you're left with so many feelings of "What if?" With Maberry's writing we're in a guessing game of how and if they're going to overcome this life dealt to them. I guess we'll be finding out with the release of Flesh & Bone in September and the announced final and fourth book in the series, Fire & Ash!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published: March 13th 2012 by Hyperion Book CH

Source: Purchased; Signed by author (Thanks, Marla @ Starting the Next Chapter!)
Buy the Book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads: Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?
Finally. The answers to all my questions and an ending to the evil cliffhanger in Demonglass. The waiting for this book has been torturous because of that. Nevertheless, this book delivers a ride that makes it all worth it.

The book picks up right where Demonglass left off, quite literally. It felt like I had just turned the page and fell right back in line with the story. Sophie's snarkness makes you feel right at home by this time in the series. This time we get to see if Sophie makes it all worth it. The lost friends, heartache, and scars needed to stand for something. She is put to the test in loyalties, strength, and intelligence to prove it. And yes, we can't forget about our boys, dear Archer and Cal. You all know there's a decision to make...but is it one that she makes herself or is made for her? Hmm... You need to read the book to find out! Don't worry, there's lots of "foreplay" and sly exchanges between the three leading up to the culmination of that decision. We get to see the old gang in this one as well, including my favorite friend, Jenna. Also, there's an introduction of the Brannick women. These ladies, I'd probably be beat for calling them that, truly make the book for me. Being only mentioned in the previous books, I never thought they would play such an integral role in the story. I wish I could have a book only about them, that's how awesome they are!

Since it starts at the cliffhanger, you land right in the groove of the previous action. After that, it just never stops. The book leaves little breathing room between major events. It keeps hitting harder and harder until the end. I put the book down and went "whooo..." because I didn't realize I needed air. If you have the time, this is definitely a "one-sitter." You will feel like you've ran a marathon by the end, but there is this wonderful sense of contentment afterwards. There are some huge twists that you will either love or hate, but the results are worth it. I am sad that it has ended, but it was a great final book in an amazing series!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Review: New Girl by Paige Harbison

New Girl by Paige Harbison
Paperback, 302 pages
Published: January 31, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Source: ARC - NetGalley
Buy the Book: Amazon : B&N : Goodreads

From Goodreads: A contemporary young-adult retelling inspired by the classic 1938 romantic suspense bestseller Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.
They call me 'New Girl'...
Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.
Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.
Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend…but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.
And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.
The book had an intriguing synopsis, but did not live up my expectations. This is a re-telling of the book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, but I have not read it so I can't make any comparisons. Unfortunately, this was the first book in a long time that I was not able to finish. I liked the premise and characters well enough, but the plot and pacing of book killed it for me. The plot revolves around teen parties and love interests ...that's as far as it expanded to. It felt like a back and forth battle between these to incidents and it got old really quick. This may appeal to some readers, but it just wasn't a good fit for me at all.