Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin

First, thanks to Netgalley and Random House Children's for allowing me to read an egalley of this.  I wasn't quite sure at first, but I went ahead and requested it on the off chance it would be really good.  And you know what?  It was hilarious!  This book made me actually laugh out loud in public places, on my lunch break at work, as well as while I was sitting in a Wendy's restaurant eating my dinner!  And before I give my review, I have to share what has to be one of the funniest conversations I've ever read in any book:

"I thought you were done being online." (Paolo)
"Yeah, but screw that.  I'm gonna die.  I just wanna check Facebook real quick." (Denton)

Seriously, I'm going to die, but I have to check Facebook first.  It still makes me laugh to read it.

So, the main character is Denton Little, as the title might give away.  And in this book, they have figured out a way to predict everyone's deathdate, the day they will die with a blood test/DNA test and some kind of risk assessment?  Yeah, it was a little too vague and unrealistic sounding to me, but that's okay, the story totally makes up for it! (It's probably just the former science teacher in me having problems with that, no one else probably will.)  So anyway, Denton's death date is just about to fall, and it's going to happen on the day of prom.  So our story takes place a day or two before and up to the day.  If you knew when you were going to die, what would you do?  Well, Denton has always wanted to just live a normal life.  We begin with him waking up on the day of his funeral, they now have those a day before the deathdate so you can see what everyone has to say about you, as well as giving your own goodbye speech.  The night before he'd gotten really drunk, so he doesn't remember exactly what happened, but he woke up in his best friend Paolo's sister Veronica's bed.  And he seems to have memories of her saying she was only doing this because she felt sorry for him.  And something about maybe breaking up with his girlfriend Taryn.  But when he talks to Taryn, it seems that she'd just said she didn't want to have sex with him in that condition (drunkenness).  But in his drunkenness, he did have his first time, with Veronica. 

And lots of weird things happen.  His girlfriend's ex-boyfriend Phil seems to be hanging around a lot more.  Phil even goes to the extreme of suggesting that Taryn is just waiting till Denton dies to get back with him.  When Taryn and Denton go to their "spot" to finally get the deed over with, a cop pulls up and tells them they need to move along. The cop actually is Phil's grandpa, and besides that there is something creepy and weird about him.  The day of his funeral Denton also notices a weird bruising spot on his leg, that has these red dots that move around.  He figures maybe this is what will cause his death. Because even though he knows that he will die the next day, he's not sick or anything, so he doesn't know just how it will happen.  On the actual deathdate they have something called a Sitting.  Everyone sits around the house with the soon to be deceased and they just kind of hang out waiting for them to die.  I guess they'd decided on laws about not having those people on planes and such, so that other people wouldn't be in plane accidents or whatever. Because you could still go into a coma or be permanently paralyzed even if it wasn't your death date. 

There's a weird spam email that keeps popping up, his mom's gynecologist shows up and wants to talk to him even though his stepmom won't let him.  He finds pictures of himself and his dad in his best friend Paolo's mom's file cabinet.  So there are some weird things going on, for awhile he thinks that maybe Paolo's mom might be his real mom, even though he was told his real mom died in child birth.  Which would make Veronica his sister. The parts where he thinks that are some of the funniest conversations in the book as well.  I won't give anything away, but I will say that Denton lives pretty much every moment till the very last moment of his deathdate. 

There is mystery, romance, family stuff, and really great comedy in this book. I loved it so much!  I keep thinking about different parts of it and laughing in my head, or out loud at times!  I want to talk about it with other people so bad, but not sure if some of them will even read it, as they aren't big readers.  Aaah!  I don't know if I can say enough how much I love this book.  And I will have any books by this author on my top TBR list, read right away list, because no matter the topic, I'm guessing his characters will always have the best conversations and dialogue.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cover Characteristic - Hair





The Cover Characteristic meme is hosted at  Sugar and SnarkHere are the guidelines for how it works if you want to join in:


Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in the  Linky (so we can visit).
You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!
 


I always try to pick ones that are from books I've already read.  For this topic it was a little easier because there are lots of covers where there is hair.  But I tried to pick ones that I liked the cover besides liking the hair on it.  Here they are in no particular order.

5.




I  not only love how cool the cover is, I really love the hair style.  I wish I had that kind of curly hair, no matter how much of a pain it might be to deal with.

4.



This is one of my favorite series, and this is my favorite cover of all of them.  I love the red in Clary's hair and how it goes with her red dress.

3.



The hair isn't necessarily anything spectacular on this cover, but I love the cover, and the hair is involved with the coolness of it.

2.



I love how the ends of the hair become strands of DNA on this cover.  Goes along well with the theme/plot of the book.

1.



This is the original cover to this book, before they went and changed all the covers to a different style.  I love the purplish pink cotton candy looking hair on this one.

Do you have any favorite covers where hair is part of what stands out?  What do you think of my choices?  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: Forbidden by Kimberly Griffiths Little

I have to thank Dena at Batch of Books Tours and the author, Kimberly Griffiths Little for allowing me to read a copy of this as part of a tour/promotion.  I had heard of it last year, maybe it was one I'd hoped to get at BEA?  Not sure.  I have to say I'm so glad I signed up for this because I loved the book!  The only bad thing?  The fact that it wasn't a standalone like I'd thought, and now I have to wait until book two comes out, which may not be until January 2016!!! 

The book is set in ancient times, in the desert of Mesopotamia.  The main character is Jayden, who is getting ready to dance the dance that will make her officially a woman in her tribe.  And not only that, later in the year she is going to marry her betrothed, Horeb.  Horeb is the son of her dad's best friend, who is considered her uncle.  And her uncle is the leader of their tribe.  So marrying Horeb will make Jayden a princess, and she will live a life of riches once she is married.  At one time Horeb was a friend, but now he has changed.  Lately he only makes her feel uneasy, and she soon grows to dislike him greatly.  The morning after her dance to become a woman is the day the tribe is packing up and heading to their summer camp.  Her mother goes into labor however, but most of the tribe is already gone.  So even as Jayden goes running for help, it all ends tragically.  Her mother finally has a son, who doesn't make it, and a daughter.  But her mother also doesn't make it.  And now Jayden, her father, and her older sister Leila must leave and try to catch up with the rest of their tribe.  And they  have no idea how they will get milk for the baby sister.  When a nursing mother agrees to take the baby, even after the mother and her family part ways, Jayden vows to get her sister Samrhil back as soon as she can. 

Jayden helps her father to bury her mother, and then as her father finished packing their belongings to move on, she does a dance for her mother.  She is startled by a feeling of being watched and looks to see a stranger.  She is worried, but the stranger comes over and promises that he means no harm, even giving her his weapon to lead him back to camp with.  There they find out he has been injured and they help him out and bring him along to keep him healing. This stranger, Kadesh, says he is from a land far to the south, where they have frankincense, a very rare and valuable item.  Along the way Leila will confess how she wants only to go join the temple of Ashtaroth, who along with the god Ba'al is worshiped in Babylon and other cities.  Leila lost her betrothed in a war, and he had been Horeb's older brother.  Jayden will become friends with Kadesh, and even feel like if only she could break her betrothal, he would be the one she was meant to be with. 

They will deal with tribes that give them a raw deal, taking many of their few camels, for using the wells along the way.  They will finally make it to their summer camp, but not without almost starving and becoming very dehydrated. Once they reach the camp, Jayden finds Horeb's actions and manners even more horrible, now that she has been around Kadesh.  She will wish for more as Horeb's sister has her wedding to a man she loves.  But to let anyone know how she feels about Kadesh would shame her family and tribe.  She must try to keep her sister from running off to the temple where they worship stone idols and do things that are shunned by her family and tribe. 

I think the characters are very realistic.  It's not possible for people to criticize Jayden for not just going with who she loves. That was the way things were in that time.  There is lots of heartache and lost throughout the story.  There is true love, and loss of that love.  The ending was a definitely cliffhanger.  And I'm okay because that means there is more to read, even if I am going to hate waiting!!  I love the time period, I love how the author even gives some historical information at the end.  About the Queen of Sheba, belly dancing, etc.  I'm wondering, will we see the tower of Babylon in the story? I may be way off in the time period of Babylon though.  I'm going to do some research now.  I'm thinking back to the bible stories that I remember from being a kid and am interested to see what happens next and how the author will tie in the history/bible stories with the love between Jayden and Kadesh!  I may be way off in the time period of Babylon though.  I'm going to do some research now.

Love, love, love this book!  Highly recommend it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

YA Spring Fling Giveaway Blitz



From March 20th to April 3rd, over 70 authors come together to give away hundreds of books. The YA Spring Fling is an opportunity for readers to find new books, new authors and take part in something very special. Here is a sneak peek of some of the books involved in the giveaway.

All are featured in the YA Spring Fling giveaway. Click here to win free books!


Strikers by Ann Christy

One hundred and twelve years after the fall, the Republic of Texas is built on two foundations: total freedom and total responsibility. A law broken means a strike against the lawbreaker. Five strikes means execution. The only hope for the law breaker is to escape Texas—to go Striker—before justice comes for them. Now, it's Karas and friends who must Strike or die.


Bristles by Donna Callea

Humiliated, subjugated and dubbed Bristles by her stepmother, Bryssa yearns to be free. But fleeing the dystopian city-state of Erba to seek her late mother’s magical homeland means leaving behind the boy who loves her, bristles and all.  And returning means putting everything she's gained at risk.


Outage by Ellisa Barr

After a terrorist attack destroys the U.S.'s power and communication grids, 15-year-old Dee must learn to survive despite disease, lawlessness, and the end of the world as she knows it.  Written for all fans who love apocalypse stories, Outage mixes useful survival tips with an action-packed story.


Meritropolis by Joel Ohman

In Meritropolis everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die. After a young boy is killed because of a low Score, his brother plots to take down the System.


The Breeders by Katie French

Sixteen-year-old Riley Meemick is one of the world's last free girls. When Riley was born, her mother escaped the Breeders, the group of doctors using cruel experiments to bolster the dwindling human race. Now they're hunting Riley. 


Helia’s Shadow by KC Neal

When the aliens arrived, they were hailed as the saviors of a dying Earth and dwindling human race. But the aliens didn't come to help. Now, one human girl's ingenious invention and one alien boy's awakened heart are humanity's last hope.


Daynight by Megan Thomason

Meet The Second Chance Institute: Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. Optioned for film; award-winning, bestseller. "Sure to win over YA readers looking for a dangerous, dystopian adventure story."--Kirkus Reviews


Contributor, Infiltrator and Instigator by Nicole Ciacchella

When 17-year-old Dara learns she's been chosen for an elite apprenticeship, she's thrilled at the chance to prove herself. Until she realizes a horrible truth: once you've outlived your usefulness as a Contributor, you're discarded.


The Blemished: Complete Boxed Set by Sarah Dalton

A beautiful world comes at a price...

The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion.


Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer

Abby is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple, unaware that bacteria from a passing comet will soon kill off older teens and adults. She must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her--adolescence.


Outside by Shalini Boland

A post-apocalyptic romance thriller.

The world of the future is divided by Perimeters: high-security gated communities where life goes on as normal. If you’re inside you’re lucky, if you’re outside life expectancy takes a nose dive.


The City Center by Simone Pond

Book one kicks off Ava’s journey as she fights for independence from her nemesis, Chief Morray, the tyrannical leader of multiple city centers that breed and control human life.


The Plantation Series: Books 1-3 by Stella Samiotou Fitzsimmons

In a world come to an end, one girl and one ragtag group of teen slaves find each other in the dark woods. They plan to make a stand.


The Engine Driver by Tracy Marchini

Sixteen-year-old Brig has never been allowed to hear a sad song in her entire life.

Like everyone else in her community, the personal Playlist Treatment Plan that plays in her head is designed to control her emotions - from when she's happy or sad, to when she falls in love. But for Brig, who suffers from depression, a song in a minor key will never be played.

When her friend, Annaby, is chosen to go to Musician’s School and is given a Permit to Carry a musical instrument, Brig knows that she has just this one chance to hear a sad song, a love song – or a song that matches what her depression feels like, instead of what her feelings should be.


The Torturer’s Daughter by Zoe Cannon

Becca has never questioned what she's learned in Citizenship class: dissidents want to tear the country apart, and people like her mother are the only thing keeping them at bay. Until her mother executes Becca's best friend's parents as dissidents, and Becca learns a secret that changes everything....


Qualify: The Atlantis Grail, Book One by Vera Nazarian

In 2047 an asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars to offer humanity help. But they can only save a tiny percent of Earth’s teen population. To be chosen, you must Qualify, or you die. Sixteen-year-old Gwen Lark is a klutzy nerd but determined to Qualify and rescue her entire family by competing in the brutal Games of the Atlantis Grail -- against impossible global competition—including sexy Logan Sangre. A high-octane dystopian SF teen adventure.





Q & A with the organiser – Sarah Dalton

How can readers enter the YA Spring Fling giveaway?

Head over to my website Sarahdaltonbooks.com and find the page for the YA Spring Fling (handy hint, it’s HERE). Once you’re there you can browse through the books on offer, or check out more information about the participating authors.

You should see plenty of links prompting you to enter the giveaway. Simply fill out the Google document telling us which books you’d like to win, the format you prefer, and whether you would also like to win paperbacks and swag. It’s that simple. Pick the books you want and sign off.

How will I know I’ve won?

There are so many books on offer that I’d be surprised if you didn’t win something! So you will be hearing from us. J

After April 3rd, I will collate all the entries and pass them on to the participating authors. They will then choose the winners at random and Email the winners to let them know the good news.

Will my Email or personal details be used outside the giveaway?

Absolutely not. We’re all against spam and promise not to use your Email for anything other than contacting you as a winner. If you joined up to the YA Spring Fling mailing list you will receive one Email telling you the giveaway is open, and another warning you it is about to close. That’s it!

Is the giveaway open internationally?

Yes! But there are some paperbacks on offer that are region specific. Not all of our authors are sending paperbacks and swag internationally, purely because it costs us so much money and we ain’t made of it. ;)

We will ask for your country of residence in the Google document. That’s so we can work out the winners for region specific paperbacks more easily. Everything else is open internationally.

I have a question, who can I contact?

Me! Send me a message on Facebook. My Email might be clogged by answering author queries, so Facebook might be the easiest method.

Who can I tell about the giveaway? And what can I do to help spread the word?

You can tell everyone and anyone who might like YA books. If you’d like to spread the word it would be awesome if you could follow or like some of the authors and share their posts about the giveaway. You can find a full list of the participating authors and their social media links here.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! MAY YOU WIN MANY BOOKS!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

This is an ARC that I was lucky enough to pick up last summer at BEA.  I could have sworn I'd met the author, but it's not autographed and I don't have a picture with her.  :-(  I finally got back around to it in order to work on my TBR Pile Challenge.  It was definitely an interesting read.  I knew there would be some kind of big reveal at the end, but I didn't figure out what the twist was going to be, and I feel like it was a really good one.  Don't worry, I won't give it away!

The main character is Jam Gallahue.  Jam has just been sent to a special school called The Wooden Barn.  This is a boarding school for teens with emotional problems.  Jam is there because she lost her British foreign exchange student boyfriend.  Now, we don't know till the very end how she lost him.  So you'll speculate until the very end.  Jam is one of only a few students selected to be in a special honors English class.  In this class they are given journals to write in as the study an author, and this semester the author is Sylvia Plath.  The title of this book, Belzhar, is pronounced basically like the name of Plath's book, The Bell Jar.  But what Belzhar is in the book is kind of a different dimension, one where Jam and her friends in the class get to go and things are like they were before whatever their big traumatic event was.  In Jam's world, her boyfriend Reeve is there, and they get to spend every time together.  One girl who is now paralyzed gets to run and walk, and use her legs again.  Another person in the class gets to go back and spend time with her brother before he disappeared.  While they are in this other dimension, they write five pages in their journal.  They have figured out that by the end of the class, they will have written on every page in their journal.  And when they reach the final time? Well now they must come to terms with this big event, and they must decide how they will go on to live their lives. Will they continue to let whatever happened to them define the rest of their lives, will they choose to try to keep the wonderful times in this world, or will they move on and give themselves another chance?

I love when we learn about all the other students' past experiences, and I love the ways their final journal entry affects them.  And the way they choose, some are very emotional, and again, I have to say wow at the twist in what really happened with Jam's boyfriend. 

A good read, pick it up if it sparks your interest!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme Reveal


As I've mentioned recently, I will once again be participating in the April A to Z Blogging Challenge.  I wasn't sure what I would do for a theme this year, but I finally decided, and here, without further ado, is my theme:  (drum roll please)







Reviews of books I read before blogging!  I will give very quick reviews of books that I read and loved before I began blogging.  I am going to do probably two quick reviews for most letters, although a few of the letters I may only have one book to share.  So that's it, my theme.  Hope you'll stop by and enjoy them next month!

Review and Book Tour: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

I have to say thanks to Edelweiss and Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read an e-galley of this book.  I was definitely intrigued by the synopsis, and then when I read the story, I definitely enjoyed it and was glad to have the chance.  Also thanks to Fantastic Flying Book Club Tours for allowing me to be a part of this tour.  You can check out the rest of the schedule for the tour HERE.

The book is told from four different viewpoints, all high school students in Seattle.  And all of them are dealing with normal teen issues like graduating from high school, as well as now an asteroid that is hurtling towards Earth and possibly ending their futures.  I know that a lot of times changes in characters can be confusing when you're reading a book. But I feel like the author did a great job, each chapter had the name of who it was, just in case, and each person has a different enough voice that you could tell who it was very quickly just by reading. 

First is Peter.  Peter is the "man on campus" in that he is a star athlete, on the student council, dating the hottest girl in school, and just very popular.  But one day he is in the dark room at school, and he sees a girl, and he kisses her.  There's just something about her, so different from what he's used to, and he can't seem to help himself.  That girl is Eliza.

When Peter kisses Eliza, it doesn't go unnoticed as another girl, who is friends with Peter's girlfriend just happens to burst into the dark room in the middle of their kiss.  Thanks to that, Eliza gets a horrible reputation from the rumors that those girls then spread about her.  So she kind of gives in and becomes what the rumors say.  But her life isn't great outside of school either.  Her mother left her and her father, and her father has cancer and has to go to the hospital.

The third character we hear from is Andy.  Andy is your total slacker/trouble maker.  He is a skateboarder, and also has a not so great home life.  His dad is gone, and his mother married a rich man that they now live with.  The house they live in has one of those "mother-in-law" apartments, which he calls a ma-in-law, (which I love that nickname!), and he gets to live in that.  It also becomes a party hangout for his friends.  Where no one checks in on them.  He doesn't get much attention from his mom or stepdad.  He also has an issue with his best friend Bobo for not coming through on a pact they'd make. And he's not really a ladies man, so he will end up with a goal of finally hooking up with a girl before the asteroid, Ardor, hits.  And he settles on Eliza.

The last character is Anita.  She comes from a family that wants her to go to Princeton, and expects her to be academically superior in all ways.  Yet Anita has always felt drawn to singing.  Unfortunately her father is very rigid and won't allow it.  When her grades aren't as good as they need to be, and she only gets provisional acceptance into Princeton, she begins to wonder if she is going to be able to live with the life her father wants for her.  And with the asteroid coming, they all are really looking at their choices and futures, or lack of futures, to decide what is right for them.

As it becomes more clear that the asteroid is headed for Earth, things begin to spiral out of control in the world outside of their own lives, martial law comes, school changes, public places start closing, causing looting, and arson, as well as places catching on fire just because of all the other things going on.  These four will be thrown together more and more, into a word I learned from this book, a karass, which is a group of people linked together in a cosmically significant manner.  Andy came up with this term from when they read Vonnegut in school.  Together they must figure out how to come to terms with this future and what their feelings for themselves, each other, their families, and the world around them are.

I like that what is happening in the world seems realistic to me.  It's not mega-crazy rioting, but it is rioting.  I like that there were words used in the book that may not be easily known by all teens, but were words that they might be learning in high school.  Like karass, or gulag.  I liked how realistic the characters were. They weren't perfect, they had the real types of reactions to how others treated them, and that was perfect.  I like that the asteroid was there, but not the whole story, although the science teacher in me would have loved more about that.  I will definitely put this book on the list for books to order for the high school library where I work. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Post #20 and Stacking the Shelves March 22nd, 2015





The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news ~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme.   I haven't done a Sunday Post in a while, but I was pretty good this past week and so don't have a lot to share for Stacking the Shelves, so I thought I'd share some upcoming events, as well as celebrate the amount of reading I got done this past week during my spring break.


Last week on the blog:
 Now that is three reviews for the week, but I actually finished 4 books, I'll just be reviewing the 4th one, We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach, tomorrow as part of a blog tour.  I only ended up doing the Cover Characteristic post because one of my goals for this year was to try to post every day on my blog.  And so I had to do something!  My other goal was to stay with at least 2 reviews a week, and I did that for sure with 3 this past week.

This week on the blog:
  • A to Z Blogging Challenge Theme Reveal
  • We All Looked Up Review and Official Book Playist
  • Review:  Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
  • Review:   Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
  • YA Spring Fling Giveaway Blitz??
  • Maybe Cover Characteristic 
Getting ready for the A to Z Blogging Challenge in April, I'll be revealing the theme for my posts on Monday.  My review for We All Looked Up is also scheduled for Monday as I'm part of a tour and didn't really choose at the time.  I also have written on my calendar for the YA Spring Fling Giveaway Blitz and I'm not sure exactly what I'm supposed to be doing for that yet.  So that'll be a surprise for me too!  I finished Belzhar Saturday night, so it will need to be reviewed Tuesday probably.  And I just started Forbidden this morning, so it will be a review later this week.  The theme for the cover characteristic meme this week is hair, so I may or may not mess with it.  





Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  It is a way for us to share the new books we have collected.   I was pretty good this week in that I only got one physical book, and only 3 e-galleys.




I found another magazine that I felt I had to have, even though I have yet to have time to pick up the two I got last week.


I found this on our bargain table last week, a hardcover for $5.98, cheaper than even buying the mass market paperback, especially with my 30% employee discount.

E-galleys:





  I was so excited when I finally got approved for Daughter of Deep Silence, I love Carrie Ryan's zombie series.  I also am looking forward to reading the sequel to Feuds, and the last one just looks and sounds really good.  With Torn, I got to thinking about all the times I didn't get ARCs of sequels or other books in series that I'd read the first book.  So I think I might go search through Edelweiss and maybe Netgalley for the sequels to see if I can still find them.  At least books that I read the first one in the past year.  

What did you add to your bookshelves this past week?