My Pages

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Site Announcements, Updates, Etc

Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass


Monday, February 28, 2011

Noteworthy Passages: Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: February 1st, 2011
Pages: 441
Series: 1st in Trilogy
Age Level: 14+
Source:
Gift from author.

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

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


Noteworthy Passages

Hana; pg. 23
"You can't be really happy unless you're unhappy sometimes. You know that, right?"

Lena; pg. 192
My stomach gets that hollowed out feeling. It's amazing how words can do that, just shred your insides apart. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me--such bullshit.

Alex; pg. 228
"I hated it here. I hated it here so much you can't even imagine. All the buildings and the people looking so dazedand the smells and the closeness of everything and the rules--rules everywhere you turned, rules and walls, rules and walls. I wasn't used to it. I felt like I was in a cage. We are in a cage: a bordered cage."

~~~~~~~~~~

I had so many favorite quotes listed to choose from so I decided on the variety pack: one from Lena, one from Alex, and one from Hana. Delirium was definitely a noteworthy read. To find out more on my thoughts, check out my Review.

And as always, thanks for stopping by.









PLEASE NOTE: This is a feature hosted here at my blog in which I present you with selected passages or quotes that I deem Noteworthy from a book I've just reviewed. My hopes are of course, that these passages will make you want to pick the book up and read it. This feature was started and created by me in January in hopes of making my blog more unique. That being said, I would like to kindly request that you do not use this feature as it was intended to be for my blog only and is not a meme. If you see some one else using it, please know it is without my permission. Thank you.

Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale Giveaway!!!

Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale by Ramona Wray
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pub. Date: February 1st, 2011
Pages: 254

Synopsis via Goodreads
Like most girls at Rosemound High School, seventeen-year-old Lily Crane is acutely aware of Ryder Kingscott. Hands down the cutest guy in school, Ryder is cool, mysterious, and utterly untouchable…especially for Lily. For when she touches someone, Lily instantly learns all about their lives. And while such a skill might seem nifty, in truth it is wrecking Lily’s life. So she is shocked when Ryder asks her out — and even more shocked to discover he has a rival. Lucian Bell is the gorgeous new kid who can’t take his eyes off of Lily. Being pursued by two hotties should make a girl happy, but Lily is skeptical. The boys act as if they’ve met before, hating each other with a passion that could only be rooted in a dark, dangerous past. A past full of terrible secrets. The kind of secrets that could get a girl killed.

~~~~~~~~~~

Contest Details
Thanks to Ramona, one lucky winner will receive a copy of Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale.

Rules
~Fill out the form to enter.
~Open to US only.
~Ends 11:59PM EST on March 6th.
~Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email or another winner will be chosen.

Extra entries
You can earn +2 entries by tweeting this contest. Please include @thebookpixie

Fill Out This Form to Enter!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guest Post: Ramona Wray on Romanian Myths

A Guest Post by Ramona Wray
On Romanian Myths

Hi guys, I'm Ramona Wray, author of 'Hex, A Witch and Angel Tale' and, as I'm a Romanian native, I've stopped by today to tell you a little bit about my country's creepy myths.

Contrary to the popular opinion, vampires aren't very popular with Romanians. Yes, we do have a big ol' castle in Transylvania, but Count Dracula doesn't hover above it at night, attired in a black cape and looking to sink his fangs into some tasty morsel. I should know, I spent my twentieth birthday there and had a party going all night right outside the walls. Not a single vampire in sight!

Much more widespread is the myth of the 'moroi'. Now, a 'moroi' isn't quite the creature described by Richelle Mead in her 'Vampire Academy' series. The 'moroi' (or 'strigoi', the words are synonyms), are in fact dead people who aren't quite dead. That is to say, after they've died, these creatures dig themselves out of their graves at night and come to cause harm in their former households. Sometimes, it's only material damage - like breaking things - other times, it's worse. They feed on the life force of the person they loved most at the time they died; as a result, that person becomes sicker and sicker, and eventually dies. They say one can tell who will become a 'moroi' from the moment that person is born (something about the shape of the hair on his/her head at the moment he/she comes into the world). There are many eye witness accounts of people swearing they've crossed paths with dead people at night, and of whole families claiming to be terrorized by dead relatives. Solution? Simple: dig out the corpse (which will apparently be rosy-cheeked and lying down the wrong way in the coffin) and put a stake through its heart, then set it on fire. And, believe it or not, in remote villages, people still do that.

Next, there are the 'iele' (plural), no other than the well-known faeries. They're supposed to be groups of gorgeous girls who gather in the woods at night when there's a full moon and dance. If the random traveler (or, camper) happens to come upon these girls, and worse, let himself be cajoled into dancing with them ... that's it. He's dead. He'll dance the night away and eventually die of exhaustion. Solution: avoid the woods at night. Or, better still, say 'no' if a group of semi-naked girls invite you to dance with them under the moonlight.

Similarly, we have the 'stihii' (also plural), who are young girls who've died unmarried. They rise from their graves at night, lure the occasional by-passer into the cemetery, and also dance with him until the poor fellow's heart gives out from exhaustion. Solution: avoid walking by cemeteries at night.

Last, but not least, I have to mention the witches. In my country, the vast majority of people believe in (and fear) witches ('vrajitoare'). Gypsies are generally thought to form the majority of this fascinating slice of the population, but there are many exceptions. A witch is someone who can do just about anything - tell fortunes, cast spells and hexes, bring people together or break them apart, cause or eliminate illnesses, etc. In the absence of really gross warts growing on their faces and since they don't fly around on broomsticks, the 'vrajitoare' are not easily recognizable. Still, the solution to avoid becoming entangled in some witch-caused mayhem, is provided, ever so eloquently, by Justin Timberlake, as he warns, 'What goes around, comes around.' My interpretation is this : don't do to others what you wouldn't like others to do to you. Witches rarely pick on the good, God-fearing folk.

Hope you enjoyed my short guide on how to survive the night in Romania without being 'devoured' by one of our supernatural creatures :) I'd like to end with this: my country boasts one of the richest collection of supernatural myths and legends in the world. From the sandy beaches of the Black Sea to the very peaks of the Carpathian Mountains, it is a place filled with great stories and very skilled storytellers. I was raised by one such pair, my grandparents, and it's to them that I owe my love of writing fantasy. To them - and to my wonderful, mind-blowing, mesmerizing country - my infinite gratitude ...

~~~~~~~~~

Okay was that not just a totally awesome guest post? I remember when I first read it, I thought, "I can't wait to share this with my blog followers!" I hope you all enjoyed reading it and learning about the myths of Romania just as much as I did.

And don't forget to check out Ramona's book, Hex, a Witch and Angel Tale. Keep an eye out cause I'll be posting a giveaway for it tomorrow.


Thanks for stopping by and remember, your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (76) Vlog!

In My Mailbox
IMM is a weekly meme hosted and created by Kristie at
The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

From St. Martins Griffin
~ARC Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams (1 for review, 1 for giveaway.)

For Review from Tommy
~Signed! Lost on Spirit River by Tommy Batchelor

For Review from Henry Holt
~ARC Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Bookmooch
~Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede

Won at vvb32 Reads
~Signed! Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

Surprise Book from R.A.K. Participant
~A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

Surprise Gift from Nikki (THANK YOU!)
~Signed! Matched by Ally Condie


Noteworthy Passages: Mind Gap

Mind Gap by Marina Cohen
Publisher: Dundurn
Pub. Date: February 7th, 2011
Pages: 176
Age Level: 13+
Source:
From publisher.


Synopsis via Goodreads
14 year-old Jake MacRae's life is spinning out of control. What he doesn't realize is that the decisions he is making are not only effecting his life, but the lives of those close to him. One night, Jake gets a text inviting him to a flash party on a midnight subway. As he steps of the platform he is boarding his worst nightmare and what's worse--he can't get off.


Noteworthy Passages

Jake; pg. 22
Another decision. Why couldn't life be simple? No problems. No decisions. Jake suddenly wished he was a wild animal. A wolf. A lone wolf sitting pretty at the top of the food chain, with nothing and no one to worry about. Except maybe his next meal. Or the odd hunter. Or a possible run-in with an angry bear. And then there was the deterioration of his natural habitat...
Okay, so life sucks even for wolves, he thought.

Jake; pg. 130
The light caught the corner of her eye, and any comfort Jake had found there was blown away by what he saw.

~~~~~~~~~

Hope those passages were enought to wet your appetite. For more on my thoughts on Mind Gap, check out my Review.

Thanks for stopping by. :D








PLEASE NOTE: This is a feature hosted here at my blog in which I present you with selected passages or quotes that I deem Noteworthy from a book I've just reviewed. My hopes are of course, that these passages will make you want to pick the book up and read it. This feature was started and created by me in January in hopes of making my blog more unique. That being said, I would like to kindly request that you do not use this feature as it was intended to be for my blog only and is not a meme. If you see some one else using it, please know it is without my permission. Thank you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Delirium

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: February 1st, 2011
Pages: 441
Series: 1st in Trilogy
Age Level: 14+
Source:
Gift from author.

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

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


Review
Brilliant, raw, and utterly beautiful, Oliver has created a breathtaking dystopian masterpiece with her newest YA novel, Delirium, which has officially left me diseased by amor deliria nervosa. In other words, yeah, I loved it.

I can't seem to recall ever having connected with a character as completely as I did with Lena. Despite living in a dystopian society, there is so much about this remarkable heroine that I think many teen girls out there will be able to resonate with. Lena has spent her whole life longing for the day when she will be cured. Then she meets Alex and he helps to open her eyes to all the lies surrounding her. I loved watching Lena grow in strength, bravery, and wisdom throughout the book and how it wasn't a sudden development but gradual, detailed, and realistic. Her emotions were so genuine and relatable, something that only brought me even closer to her as a character. As for Alex, he was everything I could have possibly hoped for and more. He was very wise for his age, not to mention the fact that he was a charming, rebel with a cause. It is so refreshing to see a male romantic interest who stands for something, something worth standing for. Sadly, for all of you, I cloned Alex and replaced him with his clone, Alex 2. As for where I'm keeping the original Alex creation, that's for me to know and for all of you to not find out. Oliver did a great job crafting her supporting characters as well. Lena's aunt and her sister, Rachel, really gave me a look at how changed people were after the procedure and how empty and passionless they were. One of my favorites was Gracie, Lena's younger cousin; she didn't say much but she was so sweet, adorable, and more intelligent than people wanted to give her credit for. My other favorite was Hana, Lena's loyal and outspoken best friend, who kinda surprised me in the end.


We live in a world where the word 'love' is tossed about so freely and, sometimes, even meaninglessly, just a word to fill the empty spaces. In Delirium, Oliver presents us with a world where at eighteen years old, you are stripped of the ability to love anyone or anything because love is no longer viewed as something to be treasured, but instead, a disease to be cured. At the beginning of each chapter is an excerpt from a book about amor deliria nervosa, re-writes of old poems to fit regulators purposes, forbidden quotes, and more, all of which further immersed me into the story and gave me insight into the society in which Lena lives. Delirium begins at a casual pace, allowing for excellent development both plot and character wise, and gradually picks up as the climax and ending draw nearer. There was plenty of suspense, just the right amount of romance, and some action as well, all of which kept me quickly turning the pages. There was never a dull moment. I also admired how Delirium was not just about love in the romantic sense, but involved love for family and friends as well.

Oliver's writing style is fluid, gorgeously and thoroughly detailed, and poetic, even. It was like floating gently down a river, on my back, with my eyes wide open. Her use of imagery was expertly done; there were times when I could almost smell the ocean and feel the heat and saltiness of the air on my skin. Another thing, I don't know that I've ever come across writing as deeply infused with such raw and vivid emotion as what I found in Delirium.

The way Oliver ended Delirium was intense, jaw-dropping, and ever so slightly aggravating because now I'll have to wait until next year to know if.......Furthermore, I thought the last two to three paragraphs were very powerful and the perfect thing to leave me with while I sit curled up in the fetal position, in a corner, rocking back and forth, waiting for Pandemonium to release.

Now, I have reserved this final paragraph for letting loose the fan girl, rabid creature that she is. How do I love thee, Delirium? Let me count the ways. I love your awesomeness and your amazingness. Your awesamazingness! I love how you've given me another book to favorite and cherish forever and two more to almost die waiting for, Pandemonium and Requiem. Seriously people, being infected with amor deliria nervosa isn't nearly as scary as it sounds. So if you haven't read Delirium yet, buy it NOW and get diseased with love! Trust me, you won't wanna be cured. Muahahahaha.


Grade
Characters: A+
Writing: A
Plot: A
Ending: A-
1st in Trilogy: A
Enjoyment/Likability: A
Recommendable: A+

Overall: A

Cover: B+

Read as part of Dystopian February.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Mind Gap

Mind Gap by Marina Cohen
Publisher: Dundurn
Pub. Date: February 7th, 2011
Pages: 176
Age Level: 13+
Source:
From publisher.


Synopsis via Goodreads
14 year-old Jake MacRae's life is spinning out of control. What he doesn't realize is that the decisions he is making are not only effecting his life, but the lives of those close to him. One night, Jake gets a text inviting him to a flash party on a midnight subway. As he steps of the platform he is boarding his worst nightmare and what's worse--he can't get off.


Review
Often, while reading Mind Gap, I envisioned Marina sitting down with her kids and reading them this book whenever she suspected them of planning something naughty. Mind you, though, it's not at all preachy, but instead cautionary and chilling. It really makes you think about the various paths your decisions can lead to.

Jake was a very dynamic and believable protagonist. While at times I really enjoyed his character, found him witty and funny, at other times I wanted to smack him upside the head for being so bullheaded. He was appropriately flawed and while not exactly a lovable character, not really meant to be, I found that I could still like Jake and I really wanted things to turn out alright for him. I also thought that he developed very well throughout the story, especially considering the brief length. Due to the nature of the plot, I only got glimpses here and there of the various supporting characters, but I found that they all played their own significant role in the novel as well as possessing individual, distinct personalities.

Mind Gap was quick, yet evenly paced and full of suspense. Cohen did a good job of fitting everything in to such a short length without the story ever feeling cluttered or rushed. When I went to start this I was expecting the story to be a bit on the horror side and while the scare factor wasn't quite as high as I'd originally hoped, I felt it all worked out right in the end. I thought the plot itself was very gripping as well as unique and refreshing.

Cohen's writing was very well done and did an excellent job instilling a sense of urgency throughout the entire book. Like in Ghost Ride, I thought the third person narrative was the most ideal choice to write this book in. I found an unbiased perspective to be important and necessary with Mind Gap.

The ending was pretty darn awesome. It was at this point that the scare factor really came through. There was also a bit of a twist at the end and I thought Cohen did a great job pulling everything together.

For what is still an undetermined reason, I had a problem with feeling slightly disconnected throughout part of Mind Gap. All I know is that reason had something to do with me; maybe because I'd read a really long book prior to this one or because I was working on my own. Most importantly, none of this was the book's fault and I still ended up thinking that it was a compelling and thrilling read and was able to grab hold of a connection part way through. I do recommend this, especially to fans of Cohen's previous YA, Ghost Ride. I'll be sure to be reading Mind Gap again later on down the road.

Grade
Characters: B+
Writing: B
Plot: B
Ending: A-
Enjoyment/Likability: C+
Recommendable: B

Overall: B

Cover: B+

In Memory of L.K. Madigan


My heart is absolutely breaking into bits right now. After staying up all night, into the morning, to finish Delirium, I collapsed in bed to catch some sleep. I didn't wake up until about two hours ago and I was scrolling through my blogger dashboard when I saw. Tears started pouring down my face when I saw a blog post saying that Lisa, L.K. Madigan, has passed away. I wish there could have been another way for me to have found out. No one expects to wake up and come across a blog post saying that an author they've come to love has died.

When Lisa announced on her blog in January that she had been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, my heart went out to her, though I'd never actually spoken to her before. I bought, read, and greatly enjoyed both her books, The Mermaid's Mirror and Flash Burnout, which inspired me to get back out with my camera for the first time in several months. As a way to show more support, I held a huge contest for those out there who bought one or both of her books. I prayed every night that Lisa would get better, that God would heal her. I would ask Cindy Pon how she was doing and had just been planning to ask again if there was any news on how Lisa was before I found out not too long ago. All of this has just made it more painful. I've never talked to Lisa but from reading her books and everything else, I started to feel closer to her, like I knew her. I wish so much that I could have gotten the chance to.

I'm not even going to pretend that I have the right or perfect words to say at this time because even as I write this, I can't help but crying. Lisa was such a talented author who I'm sure had many more wonderful stories left to bless the world with before her life was cut short. My heart and prayers go out to her family and friends. I can't even imagine how hard this must be for all of them right now.

Lisa will continue to live on through those that loved her, through her books, and through her readers, me included. I have no intention of ever letting the literary world forget her part in it or the contribution she made to it through her wonderful books.

Lisa shall never be forgotten!



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Noteworthy Passages: A Touch Mortal

A Touch Mortal (ARC) by Leah Clifford
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pub. Date: February 22nd, 2011
Pages: 432
Age Level: 15+
Source:
For review from publisher.

Disclaimer: Please note that this is an ARC and passages and quotes below are subject to change in the final copy.

Synopsis via Goodreads
Eden didn't expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.

Yeah.

So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.

And that's only the beginning of the end.

Noteworthy Passages

Gabe and Kristen; pg. 37-38
"I know how much you hate doing things out of the kindness of your heart...." He trailed off, waiting.
"It's not that I don't like to. It's just there's not much kindness in there. I save it for special occasions."

Luke; pg. 164
"Just because I don't know how to work a toy, doesn't mean I don't want it in my toy box. She's shiny."

Eden; pg. 391-392
The louder she was, the crazier she seemed to the few passersby. She must have looked more wrecked than she felt if New Yorkers were avoiding her.

~~~~~~~~~~~

One thing I didn't think to mention in my review was how Clifford did a wonderful job of giving excellent lines to a variety of her characters, where in some books, only the protagonist gets the best lines. This was something else that I really liked about A Touch Mortal. For more on my thoughts, check out my Review.

As always, thanks for stopping by and comments are appreciated!








PLEASE NOTE: This is a feature hosted here at my blog in which I present you with selected passages or quotes that I deem Noteworthy from a book I've just reviewed. My hopes are of course, that these passages will make you want to pick the book up and read it. This feature was started and created by me in January in hopes of making my blog more unique. That being said, I would like to kindly request that you do not use this feature as it was intended to be for my blog only and is not a meme. If you see some one else using it, please know it is without my permission. Thank you.

Happy Release Day & Review: A Touch Mortal

A Touch Mortal (ARC) by Leah Clifford
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pub. Date: February 22nd, 2011
Pages: 432
Age Level: 15+
Source:
For review from publisher.


Synopsis via Goodreads
Eden didn't expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.

Yeah.

So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.

And that's only the beginning of the end.

Review
I feel I should start this review by informing you all of something. Most of you don't know this but I have a pathological fear of books over 400 pages. Don't give me that look! As strange as it sounds, long books, particularly those over 400 pages, intimidate me. I always worry I'll end up spending too much time on them and I usually do. So I was surprised when I picked up A Touch Mortal and finished it in three days, a very short length of time for me to spend on a book, especially one of this length. Not only that, but all of sudden, those 400+ page books don't seem so scary anymore.

Eden is a bad-ass, lovable heroine filled with sass and spunk. Considering the book begins with her contemplating suicide, I think it is fair to say that she starts out on the weaker side but then grows stronger throughout the book. I was so relieved to see how Eden reacted when she found out what Az and Gabe had done. She wasn't all la-dee-da, all is forgiven because I'm so desperately in love with you. Despite still having feelings for him, girlfriend was pissed, and I couldn't blame her one bit. All in all, Eden proved to be a very realistic and well-developed protagonist. There was a slew of other cool characters as well. I guess I'll start with the guys, cause I know that's what you ladies wanna hear about. Gabe was someone I could easily see myself having as a best friend. I really liked his character and, I gotta say, this one surprised me. Az and Adam are the two romantic interests, both potentially lovable in their own right but neither one really had me swooning. Az is totally charming but also on the selfish side. Adam is sweet but a bit overprotective. However, I liked that Clifford flawed these two guys, because honestly, I'm tired of all that perfect, too-good-to-be-true nonsense; their imperfections made them more believable. Then we have Kristen, who, quite frankly, is a bitch with some serious attitude, not to mention she's a bit wacko. However, I actually really loved her character, especially when her and Eden were around each other. Listening to the two of them go at it could be quite amusing. Now I want to discuss Luke. Luke is a massive, blazing ball of pure smoldering evil. The dude is seriously wicked and I can't even begin to express how glad I am to see a villain who actually emanates the evil he's meant too. Not sure what the deal is with some of these pansies I've been coming across lately. Among some of the other great supporting characters are Libby, James, and Jarrod.

A Touch Mortal is one seriously dark and twisted ride of a book, not to mention highly imaginative. Clifford's concept behind what happens to those who commit suicide was highly inventive and slightly edgy, as was the overall world she created. The beginning easily grabbed hold of my attention and the story pulled me in deeper and deeper the further I went, building suspense at just the right speed. There were a couple of things I had figured out but there were still some excellent curve balls thrown in. The only flaw I found was that some of the plot details involving the Siders, Touch, etc could be a bit confusing, causing me to do a bit of a double take and re-read some parts.

Clifford has a witty, well paced writing style. I thought the third person narrative actually worked well for this book, something that isn't a common opinion of mine. Also, I loved the shifting points of view and how Clifford only switched when it would benefit the plot versus alternating them predictably every other chapter. There was quite a bit of swearing and, for the most part, it didn't bother me. However, and this is just a personal preference, I really don't like seeing g** damn in a book. Thankfully I only saw it a couple of times.

So, about the ending. Here's the thing. Shortly after starting the book, I went to check to see how many chapters there were. While flipping through the last pages to see what number the last chapter was, the worst thing that could happen, happened. I didn't mean to but I saw the last page of the final chapter. I tried to look away quickly and wanted to claw my eyes out but I could not un-see what I saw. Now, fast-forward to me reaching the end after reading everything else. Of course, I wasn't surprised because I'd done gone and ruined it for my self but I can honestly say I would have been shocked had I not...you know. The ending really was awesome. Also, I liked how the ending left me craving more and was a cliffhanger but not a major, I'm-bloody-and-blindfolded-tied-to-a-chair-will-someone-save-me-or-won't-they cliffhanger.

All in all, A Touch Mortal is a refreshing and thrilling paranormal read that helped to conquer my fear of 400+ paged books. Leah Clifford is a very talented writer and I'm anxiously awaiting the sequel to this impressive debut. I highly recommend this one and know it'll be one I'll re-read in the future.

Grade:
Characters: B
Writing: B
Plot: B+
Ending: A-
Enjoyment/Likability: B+
Recommendable: A-

Overall: B+

Cover: B+


Monday, February 21, 2011

Author Interview: Susanne Dunlap

Hey everybody! Today I'd like to introduce you all to the lovely Susanne Dunlap, who's newest YA historical fiction novel, In the Shadow of the Lamp, will be releasing in April. I really loveed In the Shadow of the Lamp and enjoyed getting to know Susanne better.

~~~~~~~~~~

TBP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

SD: I've had a varied and interesting life. I worked in advertising, I went back to school and got advanced degrees in music history, and always wanted to teach at college level. I think it was my fascination with history that led me suddenly to realize that I could make history come to life by weaving it into stories.

My first two novels were for adults, and then my agent suggested I give young adult a try, since my novels had a lot of those characteristics anyway. I haven’t looked back. I love writing stories with teen protagonists, strong young women with challenges to face. Maybe that’s partly because I have two grown-up daughters and two wonderful little granddaughters, who I can't wait to be able to read my books!


TBP Describe your newest YA novel, In the Shadow of the Lamp, in nine words.

SD: Parlormaid looks for future and romance in the Crimea.

TBP: Briefly tell us about your other two YA novels, Anastasia's Secret and The Musician's Daughter.

SD: The Musician’s Daughter was my first YA, and it drew on my love of music. It takes place in Vienna in the late 18th century, while Haydn was music master for Esterhazy, and is a sort of murder mystery with political overtones.

Anastasia’s Secret is the story of the youngest Romanov grand duchess, who was a teenager during the World War I and the Russian Revolution. I wanted to explore what it must have been like to come of age in that terrible time, and to give her a realistic voice.

TBP: Are you currently working on any future YA novels?

SD: I’m in the process of revising a novel that will come out in April, 2012, called The Académie, about three famous young ladies who all attended the same French boarding school in 1799—when Napoleon was about to become First Consul of France.

TBP: In the Shadow of the Lamp shows the reader a glimpse into the life of Florence Nightingale. What inspired you to research and write about this historically famous woman?

SD: Oddly enough, it was an idea from my editor. We were talking at lunch one day, and she said she’d always been fascinated with Florence Nightingale. I thought about it after that—I love a challenge. A YA novel about Florence Nightingale during the most exciting time of her life, in the Crimea, would be difficult because Florence was 35 at the time. But while I was thinking, this English, East-End voice kept popping into my head, and Molly created herself.

TBP: If you could go back in time to speak to any historical figure and write a true, un-cut, all revealed biography of what their life was really like, who would it be and why?

SD: That’s another tough question. There are so many historical figures I admire. I think it would have to be Francesca Caccini, who was a woman composer at the Medici court in Florence in the early 17th century. She was the first woman ever to compose an opera, and from what I know of her life, I think it must have been very exciting.

TBP: Judging from your Bio, you are very passionate about music and, it seems, quite the pianist. What changed, causing you to rarely play anymore?

SD: Ah, the piano. I thought I would be a concert pianist, once upon a time! But it’s a very tough world, and I had terrible performance anxiety. Then I turned to studying music academically, and between that and raising my children their wasn’t time enough to practice the four to six hours a day necessary. I’ll play again, but I don’t actually have a piano in my Brooklyn apartment.

TBP: Who, would you say, is one of your favorite musicians of both past and present and why?

SD: I adore Handel’s music. I could listen to it forever. And he was a fascinating character too. No one knows for sure whether he was gay or not, and he was a successful businessman/impresario. He basically invented the English oratorio. And I love that period in history, too. The 18th century was great, coming before Victorian morality kind of set women back several centuries.

TBP: Who is another YA author that you think you might like to co-write a book with and why?

SD: I would co-write a book with Laurie Halse Anderson, because I love her writing, and she’s also interested in history. I think her ability to have an edgy teen voice would be an advantage.

TBP: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

SD: Only to thank you for inviting me here, and providing such a wonderful venue for getting the word out about IN THE SHADOW OF THE LAMP! We writers are so grateful to bloggers and their followers.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope all of you enjoyed the interview and a big thanks to Susanne for letting me pick her brain interview her.

In the Shadow of the Lamp was an amazing novel and I look forward to reading more of Dunlap's work soon. You can find out more about what I thought:

My Review
My Noteworthy Passages

And if you just know you are going to love this book like I did, go ahead and pre-order it or enter my giveaway for a signed ARC.

Thanks, you all, for stopping by.



Saturday, February 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (75)

In My Mailbox
IMM is a weekly meme hosted and created by Kristie at
The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

For Review from Sourcebooks
~Haunted by Joy Preble

For Review from Dundurn
~Mind Gap by Marina Cohen

Won from Bookworm Readers
~Signed! Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

Won from Peeking Between the Pages
~ARC Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Gift from R.K. Charron
~Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Gift from Candace (via R.A.K.)
~It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder

Gift from Amber (via R.A.K.)
~Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry there is no vlog this week. I haven't been feeling great the past couple days and just didn't really have the energy to do a vlog.

So, I got some awesome books this week. For those of you wondering what R.A.K. is, it stands for Random Acts of Kindness and is a monthly event hosted at Book Soulmates. What you do is sign up with your wish list and you can randomly send people books off their wish list as a surprise and also get some surprises in the mail yourself. A huge thanks to Candace and Amber for the books they gave me and to Book Soulmates for hosting this awesomeness. Also a big thanks to Rob for the copy of Across the Universe! Can't wait to read it!

Hope you all got some great books in the mail this week too!




Friday, February 18, 2011

Win a SIGNED ARC of In the Shadow of the Lamp!!!

In the Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pub. Date: April 12th, 2011
Pages: 304
Age Level: 13+


Synopsis via Goodreads
It's 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher. Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she's falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm? A love story to savor, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes imagining of the woman who became known as "the lady with the lamp."

~~~~~~~~~~~

Contest Details
Thanks to the lovely author, Susanne Dunlap, I've got a very awesome giveaway for you all.

One Winner Will Receive:
(1) Signed ARC of In the Shadow of the Lamp by Suzanne Dunlap.

Rules:
~Comments are appreciated but wil not count as entries. You must FILL OUT THE FORM!
~Because Suzanne is awesome, this contest is open INTERNATIONALLY!
~Contest will end February 25th at 11:59PM EST.
~Winner will be announced and contacted on February 26th and will have 48hrs to reply to my email with their mailing address or another winner will be chosen.

Extra Entries:
You can receive +2 into the contest by tweeting this giveaway. Please include @thebookpixie and @Susanne_Dunlap

To find out what I thought of this book:
~Read My Review
~Read My Noteworthy Passages

FILL OUT THIS FORM TO ENTER


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Noteworthy Passages: In the Shadow of the Lamp

In the Shadow of the Lamp (ARC) by Susanne Dunlap
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pub. Date: April 12th, 2011
Pages: 304
Age Level: 13+
Source: Bookmooched


Disclaimer: Please note that this is an ARC and passages and quotes below are subject to change in the final copy.

Synopsis via Goodreads
It's 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher. Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she's falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm? A love story to savor, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes imagining of the woman who became known as "the lady with the lamp."

Noteworthy Passages

Molly; pg. 88-89
At last we climbed out of the caiques onto a dock that bustled with people shouting in a language that sounded like gibberish. That struck me as terribly funny so I was already disposed to laugh when I started trying to walk on dry land. With every step I took, it felt like the ground was in the wrong place and I couldn't judge the distance. I looked around to see if it was just me and beheld one of the funniest sights I ever set eyes upon. All thirty-eight nurses and sisters were staggering like drunks, trying to look important and serious as we trudged up the hill to the town.

Molly; pg. 105
As my eyes became accustomed to the half light, I could make out shapes writhing on the floor. "Shapes" was all I could think to call them. Human bodies so mixed together and covered with blood and gore it seemed I was looking at a single creature.

Molly; pg. 201
Every now and then a puff of white smoke would come from above Sebastopol, followed by a distant boom. Like fireworks during the day, but instead they were guns. I saw up close what they did to soldiers, and it wasn't glorious or pretty. I wanted someone to commandeer that sightseeing ship for a few hundred sick and wounded, then see how thrilling the fine ladies thought it all was!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I absolutely loved In the Shadow of the Lamp and hope you all liked the passages I picked and will decide to read this one. For more on what I thought of this amazing novel, check out my Review.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by. :D

Don't wait til April 12th to buy this and risk forgetting. Pre-order it now!








PLEASE NOTE: This is a feature hosted here at my blog in which I present you with selected passages or quotes that I deem Noteworthy from a book I've just reviewed. My hopes are of course, that these passages will make you want to pick the book up and read it. This feature was started and created by me in January in hopes of making my blog more unique. That being said, I would like to kindly request that you do not use this feature as it was intended to be for my blog only and is not a meme. If you see some one else using it, please know it is without my permission. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review: In the Shadow of the Lamp

In the Shadow of the Lamp (ARC) by Susanne Dunlap
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pub. Date: April 12th, 2011
Pages: 304
Age Level: 13+
Source: Bookmooched


Synopsis via Goodreads
It's 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher. Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she's falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm? A love story to savor, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes imagining of the woman who became known as "the lady with the lamp."

Review
Beautiful and sometimes brutal, heart-warming and often heart-breaking, In the Shadow of the Lamp is a vividly painted work of historical fiction, deeply infused with raw emotion.

Molly was a subtly strong, determined, and endearing heroine that I found my self able to care for very easily. I connected with her instantly and thought she was very realistic and genuine. Her shame over being cast out, despite the reason not being of her own accord, and her urge to make something of herself made her very relatable, bridging the time gap between now and then. Some things just never change, human emotions being one of them. Another aspect of her character that I thought was impeccably done was her acknowledged confusion over her feelings for Will and Dr. Maclean; who was it she loved and was what she felt even love at all? Only seventeen, never having been in love before, I was glad to see her doubt and uncertainty as it made her more believable versus proclaiming her undying love for either or both of them. It wasn't difficult to see why she was torn between the two as well. Will, her devoted friend, risked practically everything for her, helping her whenever she needed it, and, eventually, enlisting in the army so he could be closer to her. He was sweet, caring, loyal, and he made Molly feel safe. Then there is Dr. Maclean who's charming, swoon-worthy, but also off-limits, both knowing they could be sent away and stripped of there positions should they become involved. Like Molly, I found myself deeply caring for each of these men, not wanting to see either one hurt.


Now, I would like discuss the character of Florence Nightingale, or Miss Nightingale, as referred to in the story. Miss Nightingale was a very empowered woman who knew what she wanted, how she wanted it done, and how to achieve both. She's young, but stern, a woman who means business and who's directions should not be taken lightly; a leader in a world where women were only permitted to be followers. Though not always the most open minded, Miss Nightingale was not without compassion and understanding, which shined through at the most opportune times. All of these things pulled together to form a complex and expert imagining of the historically renowned woman who paved the way for modern nursing techniques. A couple of other well-crafted supporting characters I feel I can't go without mentioning are Emma, Molly's troublesome friend, and Mrs. Drake, the often outspoken nurse who was like a grandmother to Molly.

In the Shadow of the Lamp was the perfect, harmonious entwinement and balance of historical fact and fiction. It is impossible for us to know what all could have happened during these times and it is the author's roll to provide us with various scenarios and captivating possibilities. Dunlap did just that very thing with her heroine, Molly, giving us a glimpse of what Florence Nightingale was really like through the eyes of a servant girl turned nurse. Dunlap's research was evident and while she did take some liberties, something I felt was necessary, she stuck very close to the facts concerning the actual people and events. Another thing I loved about In the Shadow of the Lamp was that while there was some romance, Dunlap did not try to romanticize Molly's job or the actuality of war and it's many horrors. The plot wasn't overly heavy though and there was just the right amount of action, adventure, and romance weaved in, making this book utterly compelling.

I absolutely loved Dunlap's writing style; her lyrical prose was keenly wrought with emotion and expertly depicted the scene and situations laid before me. Her attention to detail was thorough and she more than knew how to to grab and pull at my heartstrings. The pacing was spot-on and the first-person, past tense narrative the most appropriate choice, in my opinion. The dialogue was also something that was impressively done, matching each characters' station in life, be it servant or upper class.

The ending, for lack of a better word, and I no I keep using it, was pleasantly bittersweet. Do you ever read a book and think, "A happy ending would really ruin this."? This is one of those books and while I believe Molly to have been content and, overall, happy at the very end, it wasn't without having to face pain, heartbreak, and death first. Sometimes, when we find it too difficult to make a decision, fate makes it for us and not always to the most wished for outcome; I feel Dunlap did an excellent job portraying this. This may sound a bit crazy but considering the time period and war setting of this book, I was going to be very disappointed if at least one person didn't die. This is not because I wanted certain people to die but because I felt it wouldn't have been staying true to the story if no one did. Needless to say, Dunlap did not disappoint in this area, in fact, she exceeded my expectations.

In the Shadow of the Lamp is a rich, engrossing, and poignant addition to the historical-fiction genre and easily my favorite of all the ones I've read thus far. Everything was so brilliantly executed and seamlessly pulled together. I find I am now left with a new found appreciation and admiration for Florence Nightingale, the woman famously known as 'the lady with the lamp'. If you are a fan of historical fiction, do not hesitate to pre-order this marvelous story as I very highly recommend it. This is one I can see myself reading time and time again and I can't wait to delve into more of Susanne Dunlap's stories.

Grade
Characters: A-
Writing: A
Plot: A-
Ending: B+
Enjoyment/Likability: A-
Recommendable: A

Overall: A-

Cover: A+
(Love, love, love it!)

Don't wait til April 12th to buy this and risk forgetting. Pre-order it now!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mind Gap & $20 Gap Giftcard Giveaway!

Mind Gap by Marina Cohen
Publisher: Dundurn
Pub. Date: February 7th, 2010
Pages: 176

Synopsis via Goodreads
14 year-old Jake MacRae's life is spinning out of control. What he doesn't realize is that the decisions he is making are not only effecting his life, but the lives of those close to him. One night, Jake gets a text inviting him to a flash party on a midnight subway. As he steps of the platform he is boarding his worst nightmare and what's worse--he can't get off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Contest Details
Thanks to the lovely Marina Cohen, I have a fabulous giveaway for you all! One that I'll be co-hosting with Melissa at YA Book Shelf, with me hosting the US only version and Melissa, the Canada only version. If you are Canadian and would like to enter this giveaway, you can HERE.

One winner will receive:
(1) Mind Gap by Marina Cohen
(1) $20 online giftcard to Gap

Rules:
~Comments are appreciated but you must FILL OUT THE FORM to enter.
~Contest is open to the US only! (Canadians continue reading below.)
~Contest will end on March 1st at 11:59PM EST.
~Winner will have 48hrs to reply to my email or another winner will be chosen.

Extra Entries:
+2 For tweeting. (Include @marinacohen and @thebookpixie please.)


FILL OUT THIS FORM TO ENTER


Monday, February 14, 2011

Author Interview: Penny Blubaugh

Hello everyone! Today I'd like to introduce you all to Penny Blubaugh, author of the wonderful upcoming YA novel, Blood and Flowers, which releases March 1st.

~~~~~~~~~~

TBP: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

PB: I’m an author of YA fantasy and a young adult librarian (that’s the day job!) I was born in Chicago, raised in Colorado, was a flight instructor in Texas and now I’m back in Chicago doing the librarian/writer thing. I have a BA in Communications from the University of Colorado, Boulder, a library degree (MLS) from Dominican University in River Forest, IL, and an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT. One of the more interesting things about me isn’t really about me at all. My brother and sister-in-law live in Brittany, France where they run a lovely little bed and breakfast. I keep trying to get my French past the Je voudrais point.

TBP: Describe your newest YA novel, Blood and Flowers, in nine words. (Can be stand alone words or a full sentence.)

PB: Puppets. Bound books. Mexican-Welsh cooking. Family. Friendship. Faeries.

TBP: Tell us some about your previous YA novel, Serendipity Market.

PB: When the world falls apart (as it so often does!) Mama Inez and her big dog Toby gather storytellers. They come to the Serendipity Market at the end of the world and, by sharing their experiences and humanity they set the world back on its proper track. All the stories are fairy tale retellings from alternate perspectives.

TBP: According to your Bio, you've held a variety of different jobs. Which would you say was your least favorite and why?

PB: It’d have to be a tie between working in a department store across from a perfume counter and grocery store clerk. The perfume gave me headaches every day, and I’d cry before going in to work my cash register shift at the grocery store. But I pack one great grocery bag!

TBP: Who is another YA author that you would like to write a book with and why?

PB: Ron Koertge. He’s funny and off-beat. I love the way he uses language. And whatever we came up with together would be very strange in the best possible way.

TBP: Blood and Flowers is quite the theatricial story. What would you say is your favorite play of all time?

PB: For, “Oh my God – would you take this deal?”: Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.

For sheer atmosphere: Winterset by Maxwell Anderson

For wordplay: The Lady’s Not For Burning by Christopher Fry

And because there should always be some Shakespeare: Midsummer Night’s Dream


TBP: In Blood and Flowers, Floss lists a plethora of famous people that she says are really faeries, not humans. I found this part extremely amusing and wonder what inspired you to write this portion and mention some of the people you did.

PB: You know the people that just do so much in such an extraordinary fashion, for so long, with such flair? Shakespeare. The Beatles. Cheap Trick. Neil Gaiman. Abraham Lincoln. Think of your favorites. Don’t they shine just a little bit brighter than everyone else? Maybe that’s a fae shine hanging over them.

TBP: What are a couple of your favorite fairytales?

PB: Mr. Fox and Tam Lin.

TBP: If you could transform into any mythical being or creature, what would it be and why?

PB: I’d probably be Peter Pan. There’s something so world-weary about him under that boy exterior. It’s heartbreaking and dazzling at the same time. If it was a creature – a shape-shifting black dog because . . .well, how cool!

TBP: Anything else you'd like to add before you go?

PB: Thanks for the opportunity to do this. I’m so pleased you enjoyed Blood and Flowers.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope you all enjoyed the interview and a huge thanks to Penny for allowing me to interview her. Blood and Flowers was a lovely book and you can find out more on my thoughts about it by reading my Review and Noteworthy Passages posts.

As always, thanks for stopping by. Comments are love, love, loved! :P


Saturday, February 12, 2011

In My Mailbox (74)

In My Mailbox
IMM is a weekly meme hosted and created by Kristie at
The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Won from Frugal, Green and Book Nerding Mom of a Shaken Baby Survivor
~The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick

Won from Denise Jaden
~ARC Dangerous Neighbors by Beth Kephart
~Losing Faith swag

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay so I think it's quite obvious why I did not do a vlog this week. lol. Still, glad to have gotten these two in the mail and hope you all got same great books as well. :D





Noteworthy Passages: The Water Wars

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub. Date: January 1st, 2011
Pages: 240
Age Level: 12+
Source: For review from publisher.


Synopsis via Goodreads
Welcome to a future where water is more precious than gold or oil-and worth killing for

Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget.


Noteworthy Passages

Vera; pg. 134-135
Nothing prepared me for the scene that greeted us when we stepped from the carrier. If someone had told me we were on the moon, I wouldn't have doubted it. The land was pocked and cratered, with holes as large as entire canyons. Though the sun was shining, it was through a dusty haze, weak and distant. Giant machines, which at first I thought were buildings, perched besides mountains of rock and sand. A bone-rattling wind blew, and it carried a stench that was indescribable and yet horribly familiar: a metallic smell, like sticking your head into a venti-unit, or being buried alive. It was the smell of sickness, disease, and death.
Most striking, however, were the children: thousands of them scrambling over the piles of dirt and shimmying down into crevices between rocks. Deep in the canyon bottom, they scurried from drill hole to drill hole, emerging into the gloom like colonies of insects.

Vera; pg. 149
From the sky, the Earth looked like a flattened soy cake. The blues, greens, and whites familiar from the school screens were missing, as if they had always been a lie. At fifteen hundred meters I could see dried rivers like the spidery, cracked fingers of a dead man. The only thing of color was a brilliant red sun, burning low in the west.

~~~~~~~~~~

I really enjoyed Stracher's writing style and thought the two passages above were excellent examples of his excellent use of imagery. I could have included more but this book was really short so I just stuck to two. If you'd like to find out more on my thoughts of The Water Wars, then check out my Review.

Thanks for stopping by!








PLEASE NOTE: This is a feature hosted here at my blog in which I present you with selected passages or quotes that I deem Noteworthy from a book I've just reviewed. My hopes are of course, that these passages will make you want to pick the book up and read it. This feature was started and created by me in January in hopes of making my blog more unique. That being said, I would like to kindly request that you do not use this feature as it was intended to be for my blog only and is not a meme. If you see some one else using it, please know it is without my permission. Thank you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review: The Water Wars

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pub. Date: January 1st, 2011
Pages: 240
Age Level: 12+
Source: For review from publisher.


Synopsis via Goodreads
Welcome to a future where water is more precious than gold or oil-and worth killing for

Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget.


Review
Thought-provoking and filled with terrifying foresight into a world that could soon be ours, The Water Wars is an action-packed and compelling addition to the dystopian genre.

Vera was a very strong and brave heroine, though maybe a bit impulsive. Her curiosity and caring heart often got her into trouble but I really liked her character and couldn't help but hope she persevered. Her relationship with her brother, Will, was something I really appreciated and found refreshing. The two of them were so close and always there for each other. Will, alone, proved to be a great supporting character as well. Now, here is where things go a little South. I'd like to talk about Kai for a moment. It isn't that I didn't like him, because I did, but I often felt that throughout Vera and Will's whole journey to rescue him, it seemed they were putting themselves in too much danger for someone they barely knew. Here's the thing though, Vera and Will have known Kai for what I'm guessing was at least a couple of months before he goes missing. However, because the author flash forwards during the early part of the book, I felt like I barely got to know Kai. I really wish Stracher had taken more time to develop the connection between the characters versus speeding through their time together before Kai goes missing. All that being said, Stracher did create some very wonderful supporting characters, both good and bad. For example, I was surprised by the depth and development found in Ulysses, a character I loved. Then there was Nasri who turned out to be a lot nastier than I'd have thought at first. Sula didn't come on board til later on but I really enjoyed her kick-ass character as well.

The Waters Wars had a fascinating plot line as well as a very important message on what could become of the world as we know it if we aren't more careful. The setting was bleak; sickness, corruption, thirst, and skeletal building remains littered the landscape and made this the perfect scene in which for Stracher to set his story. There was suspense, action and adventure lurking around every corner, keeping me thoroughly engaged and quickly turning the pages. However, I did feel that the story was too fast-paced. It seemed that Vera and Will were continuously being captured just to escape or be rescued. I would have liked to have seen them spend more time in each location that they were in, giving me, the reader, a better sense of what all was taking place in the various places suffering the aftermath of The Great Panic. Also, I found some details, or occasional lack there of, to be a bit confusing and thought Stracher could have elaborated on said things a bit more. So yes, the plot of the story did have some flaws, in my opinion, but I definitely feel that the beneficial aspects far outweighed the not so good ones.

Stracher's writing style was foreboding and filled with rich and vivid details of the world he had created. Everything was so keenly depicted that I could often find myself feeling the same sense of urgency and thirst for water as the characters. The writing was easily my favorite aspect of this book and I relished every moment of it.

The ending was good but I guess that I was expecting something a little more mind-blowing and a little less happy. Don't get me wrong, the ending wasn't really happy or anything but with this being a dystopian, I guess I just wanted something a bit different than what I got. Not sure if there will be a sequel but the ending seems left open just enough that there could be one and I would, indeed, love to read more about the characters and world that Stracher has so impressively created.

In the end, I did have a couple of qualms with this story, all of which could have easily been resolved by extending the length of the book, allowing more room for sufficient development. However, The Water Wars still ended up being a thrilling, meaningful read that continuously kept firm hold of my attention and I truly believe that the dystopian genre will benefit from having it. I would recommend this book, especially to fans of the genre, and look forward to reading it again in the future. Hoping to possibly see more YA from Stracher in the future.

Grade
Characters: C+
Writing: B+
Plot: B-
Ending: C+
Enjoyment/Likability: B
Recommendable: B

Overall: B-

Cover: A


Read as part of Dystopian February at Presenting Lenore

About Me

My Photo
Georgia, United States
Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

My Partner in Crime...er...I mean reading. :P

My Partner in Crime...er...I mean reading. :P
Meet Rudy everyone!