[Goodreads | Amazon]
Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters, #1)
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publication Date: 3/6/12
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”
Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.
Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.
A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…
[Goodreads | Amazon]
Illuminate (Gilded Wings, #1)
Author: Aimee Agresti
Publication Date: 3/6/12
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.
As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?
Paranormal YA is so hot right now, especially books about angels or fallen angels. (Two of our recent favorites have been Angelfall and Unearthly/Hallowed!) We know how many people are in love with this genre so it is exciting for us to announce that we're giving away ARCs of two exciting, upcoming paranormal YA books. A little book love to belatedly celebrate Valentine's Day...
Giveaway is open until 12/20 at 12am EST (otherwise known as midnight on 12/19) Two winners will be picked, one for each book. Rafflecopter will pick two winners and the first to respond will get first book choice. OPEN INTERNATIONALLY. Good luck and happy reading!
Author: Cath Crowley
Publication Date: 2/14/12
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Blurb(GR): Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.
I can’t imagine a better young adult romance to read on Valentine’s Day. In fact, my advice to all of my fellow book nerds out there is to just toss out those chalky conversation hearts, forget about the rest of humanity, and hole up with this book today. If you have a significant other, tell him or her to skip the flowers and buy you this instead. If you’re alone then all the better – more time to read. Who needs a date on Valentine’s Day anyway? Or rather, who needs a date with a person? Books always smell nice, they’re patient, undemanding, and they can say all the right things. This book is a terrific date.
This is the book that I wish today’s teens would read. I wrote that last April about the Australian edition and it still stands. While many young adult romances seem to be propagandizing the all-consuming, identity swallowing, love at first glance kind of romance, this book goes so much deeper. It acknowledges the instant attraction, the lust, the electricity, and then it moves on. It moves past the romantic ideals to celebrate the more complex truth.
This story is told in alternating chapters by Lucy, Ed, and “Poet,” as they celebrate the end of year twelve through the hours of one very long night. Lucy dreams of finding“Shadow” – a graffiti artist who she’s convinced (based on his work) is the one she’s been waiting for. She has a teenager’s assumptions of what love and romance will be like, but she lets her assumptions eclipse any possibility of real romance.
“We’ll meet and click and sit up all night and everything will tip out of me and into him and the other way around and while we’re tipping the night will fade and the world will get pink and in that pinkness he’ll kiss me. We’ll keep taking bits of each other till we get to our center, then we’ll do it and it won’t feel scary or strange.”
Lucy is a bit like a literary fangirl – she bases all of her assumptions about love and romance on her favorite books and when asked to come up with a list of guys who she would “do it” with (by Jazz), she names all fictional characters. It’s very satisfying to see her journey to the realization that love is very different from what she assumes, and so much better.
“Real is better. The truth is better. It makes you feel stupid, but it’s better.”
This book has a few elements that I’ve seen in other YA novels, but here they are accomplished with so much more heart and authenticity. I loved Lucy’s parents in the Australian edition and although their presence is scaled back quite a bit in this U.S. edition, they are still a wonderful example of three dimensional, quirky, loving, human parents. Lucy is very worried throughout the book because her father has moved from their home to the shed out back, which doesn't conform to her view of how love should be:
"You should feel it like a horse tumbling through you. You shouldn’t be able to sleep knowing that the person you love is lying in the shed.”
Even though Lucy has doubts about her parents’ relationship, their love is visible in these pages. It’s such a rare treat to find a complex, realistic adult romance hidden within a young adult story. Lucy’s parents argue and struggle financially and have problems, and their relationship isn’t perfect. And yet it works for them, which is the only thing that matters.
Cath Crowley also does such a wonderful job with Leo and Ed– two boys who manage to be sensitive and artistic without seeming whiny or pretentious. They feel like real boys, complete with awkwardness, bad decision-making, and insecurities. They never feel (as many young adult love interests do) like shallow illustrations of the author’s own wish-fulfillment.
One thing that I noticed a lot more this time is that this book is not only about Lucy’s awakening to reality; it’s about Ed’s. Lucy’s view of Shadow is a rosy-hued fantasy, but Ed’s view of himself is a dark and painful place. Even as Lucy is blinding herself to the possibility of real romance, she’s helping Ed – to see himself in a new way, as someone amazing.
This book is excellent proof that a light read can also contain serious topics like death, poverty, parental abandonment, and divorce. It's a sweet, hilarious, romantic book that won't make you choke on saccharine sweetness.
A Few Notes About the Differences Between the U.S. and Australian Editions:
I started looking through the U.S. edition yesterday, thinking that there wouldn't be too many differences - maybe a few less u's, maybe the word "Maccas" would be changed to McDonald's. Nothing major.
Boy was I wrong. I hesitate to say that this book is completely different, but...this book is completely different. Nearly every single page has some alteration. There are the simple changes that one would expect, like “real estate agent” becomes “landlady,” “abseil” becomes “rappel,” and the Peppermint Freddoes become Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. In the Australian edition, Jazz loves chess. In the U.S. edition, she loves Scrabble. Lucy no longer "can't get no" anything. Barry's diner is now called Feast cafe.
And then there are large-scale rewordings, additions, and deletions.
I was in over my head and I needed help. So I decided to call in an expert. Enter the lovely Maggie - ie, one of Graffiti Moon's biggest fans and the only person on Goodreads who can make me want to read a contemporary romance. Not only did she provide me with a few hilarious screen shots to get me through this trial, she read through my scattered notes and gave me hers to supplement them (and had a good laugh at my zany note taking I might add...).
So what exactly are the major differences? The largest addition is a new chapter by Poet, featuring a poem called Dance Floor, which is written like a conversation between Jazz and Leo.
The U.S. edition also expands on quite a few things: Ed’s Mum has a bigger role, as do Al the glass artist, Bert the paint store owner, and there are several new scenes with Jazz that replace ones with Lucy’s parents. There’s more information about Leo’s home life and Ed’s relationship with Beth (Ed and Beth's ending has also been changed). There’s a gorgeous new passage where Lucy draws her memory bottles for Ed in charcoal next to one of Shadow’s paintings.
Some passages are completely rewritten. I spent probably too much time trying to figure out why. For example, check out the differences between these two frequently quoted passages:
"Every time he looked at me I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. In Art class I’d watch him lean back and listen and I was nothing but zing and tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I had nothing in common with a sheddy like him, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution."
"Most times when I looked over he wasn’t drawing. He was leaning back in his chair and staring at me. And every time he stared I felt like I’d touched my tongue to the tip of a battery. I was nothing but tingle. After a while the tingle turned to electricity, and when he asked me out my whole body amped to a level where technically I should have been dead. I was pretty sure we had nothing in common, but a girl doesn’t think straight when she’s that close to electrocution."
Do Australians feel zing and we don't? What is zing anyway? Can I have it shipped here for free from fishpondworld?
In general I was disappointed that the U.S. edition seemed to be striving for more of an adult presence in Ed and Leo’s lives, and that Lucy’s parents were scaled down. It felt a bit...sanitized, which I didn't like. However, I think that Ed's insecurities and inner emotions come across much more clearly in the U.S. edition. It's hard to say which one I like more. If you're a fan of this book and you've read the Australian edition, it's definitely worth getting the U.S. edition as well.
Perfect Musical Pairing
Tegan and Sara - Call it Off
Twins Tegan and Sara Quin can so effortlessly capture raw longing with their bare, harmonizing voices. This song is such an emotional ode to missed chances and I think that it’s the perfect complement to Graffiti Moon.
When Flannery asked me to write a guest post for The Year of the Classics, I was thrilled. As a teenager I read classics almost exclusively (nerd alert). Ironically, now that I’m thirty I spend most of my time reading books that were written for young adults. Of course that’s obviously not a big deal because thirty is still young. That’s what I like to tell myself anyway. I often wonder what our generation’s classics will be – will they be the obscure critical darlings, or the massively popular best sellers?
Sometimes when I think about the latest dystopian/post-apocalyptic trend, it makes me afraid for the future of this world – like the trend itself is a symptom of our collective acknowledgment that the world will be ending soon. But then I comfort myself by remembering that we’ve been imagining different versions of this world's demise for centuries. See, the classics aren’t just timeless works of art; they’re useful too. For false but comforting piece of mind!
In honor of the Partials giveaway today, I thought I’d go back and revisit some of my favorite classics in dystopian/post-apocalyptic science fiction. In any genre, it’s interesting to go back to where it all started. (For a very comprehensive, not to mention stunning view of science fiction in general – check out this map). But in this genre it’s particularly interesting, because we’re now living in the time that many of these books tried to envision. Some of their predictions seem silly now, but some have proven disconcertingly accurate.
1984 by George Orwell
First published in 1949
This should be an absolute staple for any dystopian fan. Orwell’s vision of the future is utterly frightening, all the more so because it’s a plausible one. In an intensely rigid “utopian” society where surveillance and mind-control are widespread, Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth, revising news and media from the past to fit current propaganda, even as he dreams of breaking free. Orwell’s vivid descriptions have proven to be, in many ways, prophetic.
“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
First published in 1932
Aldous Huxley imagined a no less controlling, but very different future than that of George Orwell. In the society of Brave New World, humanity is mass-produced and conditioned to perform different tasks, resulting in a highly compartmentalized society. The elite “alphas” live deceptively free lives – being consumers, having sex (but never relationships), and drugging themselves happy. When outcast alpha Bernard Marx goes on vacation to visit the “savages,” a group of people living in a more collective way, he encounters John, the son of a lost alpha. Bernard brings him back into society, but John can’t adapt.
“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real
danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Originally published in 1950
Another chilling prediction of the future – especially frightening for all of us book nerds. Imagine a society in which all literature is banned and must be burned. Television watching is a major part of everyday life and too much thinking is discouraged. Sound a bit too familiar? Guy Montag is a fireman – only in this society firemen don’t put out fires. They start them. Guy loves his job: hunting down and burning illegal books and the homes of those who keep them. But a chance encounter with a young girl sparks Guy’s thoughts, and soon he becomes dangerously curious.
“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once
in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
By Philip K. Dick
Originally published in 1968
Philip K. Dick is, in my opinion, the master of the plot-twist. I always feel excited and a bit nervous when I start one of his stories: I never know what’s going to come next. In this classic novella, much of the Earth’s organic life has become extinct after mass nuclear war and is now considered precious. The majority of humanity has fled from Earth to live more comfortably on other planets. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter who tracks down and exterminates androids who are passing as human. This is a very thought-provoking work about empathy and what it means to be human and alive.
“Empathy, he once had decided, must be limited to herbivores or
anyhow omnivores who could depart from a meat diet. Because, ultimately, the empathic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim, between the successful and the defeated.”
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Originally published in 1992
“But wait…” I hear you say. “This book was published after 1980 and the author is in fact still alive.” Well, these authors aren’t the only ones who can make predictions. For my last trick I thought I’d predict a classic of the future. Dun dun dun! In this novel, Neal Stephenson describes a world in which everything has been privatized: governments, jails, chop-shops, and even the mafia. The Earth is so overcrowded that people live in tiny storage units – if they’re lucky. But thankfully there’s the metaverse: a virtual world where people go to escape the real one. It already sounds familiar! And did I mention that this novel is incredibly funny?
“Most countries are static, all they need to do is keep having babies. But America's like this big old clanking smoking machine that just lumbers across the landscape scooping up and eating everything in sight.”
And now that you've read through my first post here, I will reward you by handing out fabulous prizes! Many congratulations to Rachel H., the winner of Partials by Dan Wells!
I had so much fun writing this guest post that I've decided to move in here. Lucky for me, Flannery and Tatiana seem okay with it. They haven't thrown my stuff out on the curb yet anyway....
I am so happy to be a new member of the Readventurers. Being a third wheel has never felt this good!
Black Heart (Curse Workers, #3)
Author: Holly Black
Publication Date: 4/3/12
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Book
Blurb (GR): Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.
But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.
The picture I've posted at the top of this review is not how the cover of the upcoming Black Heart is going to look, but I'm very fond of the old covers and feel sentimental at the moment and sad that I won't hold the book with that image on the jacket. I understand publishers' desires to attract a wider audience by repackaging these books but, boy, do I feel nothing for the new ones (except annoyance). In fact, I don't think I know anyone who actually likes the new covers. After witnessing SO many of
the series I follow revamped and having slight heart palpitations at seeing unmatched books in the same series on my shelves, I'm inclined to propose for publishers to start offering alternative book covers in cases like this. So that in a chase for the new readers they don't upset the readers they already have. Maybe having double-sided covers is a way to go? But I digress.
If you haven't read White Cat and Red Glove yet and are still contemplating if you should start another series that might take a nosedive half-way through, let me assure you, Curse Workers remains fairly consistent. Just don't read book synopses and spoilers or the rest of this review and enjoy the ride.
As a trilogy conclusion, Black Heart is satisfying, albeit a little weaker in terms of plotting than its predecessors. Hence, 3.5 stars instead of 4.
Cassel's journey to find his place in a world, where his value as a transformation worker is unprecedented, continues, and it seems he just can't catch a break. Everyone (Feds, mafia, his family) wants to use him one way or another, through threats, blackmail or shiny promises. But what is the right thing for him to do? Who to join? And what to take a stand against?
I keep repeating myself talking about these books, how much I like the cons and how entertaining it is to watch Cassel outsmart his much more powerful enemies. And although there is a certain slackness about a couple of story lines in this finale (for instance, the subplot about Cassel's classmate needing help in a blackmail scheme required a little more development) Black Heart is still sufficiently mysterious and twisty. And the conclusion to Cassel's and Lila's story is both tied up and open-ended, just the way I like my endings to be.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I stand by this series from the beginning to the end. Holly Black created a unique world with unique magic and the characters I'd love to meet again.
And the last thing. I can't finish reviewing this series without mentioning Jesse Eeisenberg who narrated the audio versions of the novels. For me, he was a major factor in getting me wildly attached to Cassel Sharpe. He added a layer of nerdy vulnerability and puppy charm to Cassel's character. What can I say? I have a bit of a thing for Jesse.
If you are, chances are you are already very familiar with
How about reading something a little less popular, but equally awesome?
Like some paranormal with your dystopia? Try this fantastic self-published wonder - Angelfall by Susan Ee. This novel is set in a world destroyed by vengeful angels.
Prefer desert landscapes, girl cage fighting and giant worm? Why not try Moira Young's Blood Red Road?
Feel like something a little more literary and gritty?
Check out Paolo Bacigalupi's Printz and National Book Award winning Ship Breaker. Bacigalupi's characters endure their tough lives in a world of exhausted natural resources, genetic engineering, poverty and rampant global warming.
How about a story about teen characters whose existence is in danger because they are deemed undesirable by their parents and society and sentenced to death by unwinding.
Ready for more?
Win an ARC of the upcoming dystopia Partials by Dan Wells
Blurb (GR): The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them--connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.
Dan Wells, acclaimed author of "I Am Not a Serial Killer," takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question--one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.
Welcome to Tatiana, my new co-blogger and her first review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
I've been on Goodreads for a few years now and I've made some wonderful friends during that time, some with whom I converse daily and share inside jokes, international mail, and long, long conversations about books. There are people on the social media site whose opinions I trust and who I look to for insights as to why I might or might not enjoy a book. Sometimes they disagree with me and sometimes they capture the essence of a book in cases where I couldn't figure out what to say. Everybody has something to say and very rarely do we agree on all counts. Since I joined the site, I've enjoyed Tatiana's reviews. She always takes the time to discuss what worked (and what didn't work) for her about a book and I've devoured tens of books based on her recommendations. The two of us have very different reviewing styles and sometimes a different opinion on books but I honestly think that can only be a positive from a blogging standpoint. We hope to do monthly tandem book reviews (reading the same book but posting two separate reviews) and she's already posted several reviews to our archives for titles I'd previously reviewed and some new ones as well. (I've marked every review with the first initial of its author) I look forward to the dynamics of our new blogging partnership and I hope two opinions are better than one. To me, that is already the case--Tatiana has given me wonderful suggestions on how to improve the organization of the blog! I hope you all will enjoy her reviews as much as I do. So, without further ado, I'll let her get to it!
Thank you, Flannery!
I've been toying with the idea of blogging for a while. Probably everyone who spends as much time as I do talking about books, researching books and writing about books, is. After consuming so much information about books, it's only natural to want to share this knowledge with others. I adore Goodreads and it's my favorite place to be on the net, but it has some limitations, which I feel a blog platform could compensate for. So yes, blogging interested me, but I was skittish to undertake it on my own. I have neither computer savvy nor courage to start such a project by myself. This is why I'm so happy to have Flannery as my partner in crime. She's been my close Goodreads friend for a long time now. Although we don't always agree, we share not only the love of literature, but eclectic reading tastes as well. We both dabble in almost any genre you can think of. I'm absolutely sure we'll make a great blogging team and I look forward to all the fun times this joint project is bound to bring and, of course, to getting to know you better, our followers and friends.
And now, my first official review for The Readventurer.
Bitterblue (Seven Kingdoms, #3)
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: 5/1/12
Blurb (GR): Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past. Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.
It's with a heavy heart that I'm giving Bitterblue only 2 stars. This book was one of the most anticipated reads of the year for me and will go down my personal history as one of the most massive disappointments. It has to be acknowledged, though, that most of the reviews of Bitterblue so far have been very positive and contained words like "genius" and "masterpiece" in them. My opinion appears to be out of norm.
After recently rereading both of Kristin Cashore's earlier books, I feel that with each new one she moves away from the simplicity of her debut Graceling (and what I personally like to read) and in a direction that I can't follow. I enjoyed the action/romance/magic mixture of Graceling and mostly liked Fire, even though some of it was boring and over-complicated (I'm talking about the ball conspiracy scene), but Bitterblue is a completely different beast, a story that is confusing and indulgently long.
I've always felt after finishing Graceling that Bitterblue's story had to be told. She carries such a dreadful legacy - a deranged, mind-manipulating father, a country damaged by the 35-year long abuse by Leck's twisted magic, Bitterblue's own childhood traumas. All of this is in the novel.
Bitterblue is 18 now, a rightful queen of Monsea, running her kingdom efficiently enough with the help of her advisers who urge her to forget the horrors of the past and look ahead. But then she starts noticing that there is something really wrong going on around her. People act irrationally, they lie about the smallest things, they make no sense. She ventures outside the walls of her castle, to meet regular people and to find out the real state of things in her country. Bitterblue comes across an even bigger amount of odd behaviors and crimes. She does her best to untangle the web of lies, puzzles and madness...
The truths Bitterblue uncovers are powerful, and they have to be explored. But I feel like Cashore arrives at those truths by a route that is too complicated, convoluted and scattered. Too many side plots, too much talk of ciphers and codes, too many characters coming and going, too many illogical occurrences that instead of making the story more intricate, end up making it too busy and messy.
I am definitely a fan of twisty, complicated plots. Bitterblue has that, it strives to be something akin to Megan Whalen Turner's and Melina Marchetta's fantasy novels (these three authors appear to draw inspiration from each other's works). But whereas I was consumed by Turner's and Marchetta's mysteries, trying to spot what was wrong and who was lying and why and guessing the connections among the characters, reading Bitterblue was mostly a confusing and irritating experience. Events and characters in this novel are completely insane. They make no sense, they defy logic, they stand out to any person as odd. Most of the book I spent repeating Bitterblue's own thoughts: What is going on? And why is everyone acting so crazy? As a mystery, Bitterblue did not work for me at all. Untangling a mystery in which no one even makes an effort to pretend to act normally is too much of a challenge for me.
There are things I did like in Bitterblue. The prologue, containing a scene of Leck mind-raping Bitterblue and her mother is, in my opinion, the best piece of Cashore's writing, horrifying and affecting. We also meet quite a few characters from the author's prior novels. Many, I am sure, will be happy to see Po and Katsa again (although they seem to be a lot more... animated than they were in Graceling). And the last hundred pages, where some secrets are uncovered and things start coming together, are much more pleasurable to read. But even keeping the positives in mind, I can't say I enjoyed reading Bitterblue. It was a challenge, it was a struggle.
I am waiting for more readers to review the novel to see if there are people out there who share my assessment of it or my reaction to Bitterblue is just a result of a severe case of reader/book incompatibility.
I'm always excited to find out about new things whether it is a television show, board game, book, website, beer, recipe, ANYTHING. The downside of this (or perhaps just my personality) is that I get extremely excited to tell other people about these things. I will tell you all about this Discovery Channel special I watched about building a transatlantic tunnel, make you watch Summer Heights High, dance like Dawn Weiner from Welcome to the Dollhouse, and show you about 40 YouTube videos that I watch all the time. So, without further adieu, here are some completely unsolicited recommendations for books based on liking other things.
If you are into shows like Battlestar Galactica and Firefly, you should try the Grimspace series by Ann Aguirre and The Native Star series by M.K. Hobson.
Click and buy it. So innovative.
If you are into British humor and tons and tons of puns and literary jokes, you should try the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. (I also absolutely recommend his work, Shades of Grey!)
If you like the feeling of laying on your back in water in direct sunlight, you should read Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar.
If you like the movie Heathers, you should read Fury by Shirley Marr.
If you like the worldbuilding in shows like Merlin and want to feel immersed in a world, you should try Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, any books by Tamora Pierce, or anything by Brandon Sanderson.
If you like YA and science fiction exploration stories, you should read Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman and the Touchstone series by Andrea Höst .
If you like books about rehab and are looking for great LGBT YA lit, you should try Suicide Notes.
If you like being dropped down in the middle of a community and following large casts of characters, you should read any of Maeve Binchy's books. (I recommend Tara Road, Circle of Friends, Light A Penny Candle, Firefly Summer, and Minding Frankie)
If you want to read some great short stories (for free! online!), you should try Harrison Bergeron, The End of the Party, Ponies, All Summer in a Day, and 2BRO2B.
If you like MMORPGs, you should read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
If you like zombies and politics (there are some of us out there!), you should read the Newsflesh books by Mira Grant.
If you like Nora Roberts books but wish they were a little sexier, you might try Susan Elizabeth Phillips. (try Kiss An Angel)
I love this book.
If you liked Buffy during the college years, you should read the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill.
If you like Doctor Who, you might like Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko and Replay by Ken Grimwood.
If you are an teen/adult who liked the tone of The Hunger Games, you should read Stephen King's The Running Man and The Long Walk.
If you still think Penny from Inspector Gadget deserved to be recognized as the brains behind the operation, you might like What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn.
If you liked The Thirteenth Tale, you should try The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell.
That's it for now. If you have any random "If you like this, try that" suggestions, comment away!
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