Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 43

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books.

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.
Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

She’s been warned.
Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes , the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.

She’ll be betrayed.
Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be hell to pay. (from GoodReads)

I absolutely loved the first novel in this series, Angelfire, and I can't wait to get my hands on Wings of the Wicked. Expected publication is in 2012, so I could either be waiting six months to a year and a half to get this book. Let's hope it's six months!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As de facto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending. (from GoodReads)

Forbidden is an excellent read, tragic and hopelessly romantic, but will, unfortunately, not be loved by everyone. I can see this book, in the future, being on a banned books list. And that is because it features incest. Despite the tough subject matter, Forbidden is tastefully written and a real page-turner as you hope for a happy ending that you know won't come.

I know a lot of people will be wary about reading Forbidden and I would say to let go of your judgments and pre-conceived notions and just read. Enjoy the story. If you are able to respectively encounter something that you are uncomfortable with and that you don't agree with, you are more mature than ninety percent of the world. And what I like about Forbidden is that the author isn't trying to convince you that incest is good or bad, she is just telling a tragic love story.

Fortunately for the readers, the characters in Forbidden were extremely fleshed out and developed. This is important because the audience needs to see some sort of catalyst for Lochan and Maya's relationship. It's not enough that they find each other attractive. We have to see what could make two siblings turn to each other for love and comfort in a realistic manner. And we got that. Lochan and Maya are the oldest siblings out of five children and since their mother is always absent, they are the surrogate parents. Feeling like they are taking care of their own children and not their siblings combined with Lochan's severe social phobia sets the backdrop for their relationship. It's only natural that two young adults who have no one else would look to each other to fill that void.

Even though this is a brother and sister in love, you honestly can't help rooting for them to find happiness. And it is obviously that they are only happy with each other. Though I would never go this route, I could understand how Lochan and Maya fell in love, which definitely helped me to sympathize with their plight. The ending is very Romeo-and-Juliet-esque but remains hopeful even in the face of tragedy.

I know that Forbidden is nowhere near everyone's cup of tea, but I would say to give it a chance. I thought it was a wonderful story of love, loss, and the consequences of our actions. And if it makes you uncomfortable, well, isn't that what all good literature is supposed to do?

Rating: 10 out of 10!
Release Date: today!
FTC: Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab

2011/Simon Pulse/464 pages.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisises of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness. (from GoodReads)

Along with Gone With the Wind, my grandmother also suggested that I read Anna Karenina, which was a book she loved when she was younger. Since I really enjoyed Gone With the Wind, I thought I would give Anna Karenina a try. Though this book was just as long as Gone With the Wind, Anna Karenina was not quite as good.

I always feel bad if I don't completely love classic literature. I mean, there's a reason that this book is famous, right? But I have to remember that, like with books today, I'm not going to love every book that is considered a classic. I did like Anna Karenina. But it was just so slow and long that it made it a chore to read.

The book follows a lot of different characters and gives stories all from their points of view. Luckily for the reader, all the characters are inter-related and so their stories coincide. This made it easier to follow everything that was going on. Despite the fact that the book follows about seven or eight different people, only two are considered to be protagonists: Anna Karenina and Levin. Anna Karenina is, obviously, the adulturous wife who cannot seem to find happiness no matter what she does and Levin is a wealthy farmer who searches for the meaning of life and really wants a family. These two characters only come into contact once or twice but Levin's wife is Anna's brother's sister-in-law, so they are kind of related.

It's hard to explain the plot with so many different things happening, but at the core Anna Karenina is about Anna's illicit relationship with Count Vronsky. It was interesting to read about adultery in 19th century Russia, where somewhat of a double standard occurs (it's okay for a husband to cheat but not a wife). With this being a classic and all, there's a lot of symbolism and imagery, which I had to look on SparkNotes to really understand.

If you decide to read Anna Karenina, be warned that it is a huge undertaking. It's long and slow but still an interesting novel if you like books about history, relationships and Russia.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

1873/Penguin Classics/817 pages.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 42

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books.

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.

Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.

Everyone except Jenna Fox. (from GoodReads)

I absolutely loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox and I am so excited for the sequel! I can't really remember what happened in the first novel (I'll need my memory refreshed) but I know that it was a great book. The Fox Inheritance will be released on August 30, 2011.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

First there are nightmares: Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories: When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie's power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt: Ellie has power that no one can match and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember. (from book jacket)

Is it okay to say that I LOVED Angelfire? This is the first book that I've read in a long time that really hooked me and I was able to speed through in less than a day (but that might be because this is the first book I've read from the 21st century in awhile). Regardless, I enjoyed all aspects of Angelfire and highly recommend it to all readers.

There is only one complaint I have with Angelfire and it's the beginning, which is a tad too rushed. The book is over 400 pages so there's not much time for background exposition but the reader is quite literally thrown into Ellie's world. We learn about Ellie's nightmares and her parents fighting (two semi-important subplots) in the span of a few pages and then all the real stuff begins. We are supposed to believe that Ellie has had these nightmares for years and has gotten therapy for it but since it is told rather than shown, it falls flat.

Quite honestly, though, if that is my only issue with a book, I think we are golden. I loved everything about Angelfire. I liked all the characters, including Ellie, Will, and even Ellie's cast of friends. The fantasy stuff was really cool with all the angels and demons (it felt like an episode of Supernatural). The action was amazing, the romance was sizzling and believable. There was a cliffhanger so I cannot wait to delve into the sequel. Really, you must read this book.

I don't want to gush on and on about Angelfire (though I could) so I thought I would address one specific point that I liked and that is always a sticking point for readers: the romance. Will is Ellie's romantic interest in Angelfire but he is also her guardian and has sworn to protect her for centuries. Ellie dies and gets reincarnated but Will is immortal, so he has literally been saving Ellie and helping her kill reapers for hundreds of years. He would do anything for Ellie and is endlessly devoted to her (really, it almost seems like a problem). Normally I would be mad that the characters fall in love so quickly, but I excused Angelfire because technically Ellie and Will have been working together for centuries (though Ellie doesn't remember anything). I just thought their relationship was really well-written, and can't wait to see how it is further developed.

This is already long enough, but I thought that Angelfire was a great read. Intense, romantic, thrilling, action-packed and funny are all adjectives that describe this novel and I am so glad I picked this up at the library.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2011/Katherine Tegen Books/453 pages.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte's only novel, is one of the pinnacles of 19th-century English literature. It's the story of Heathcliff, an orphan who falls in love with a girl above his class, loses her, and devotes the rest of his life to wreaking revenge on her family. (from GoodReads)

Wuthering Heights is an interesting novel. I liked it as much as you can like a book where you hate all the characters and nothing really happy happens. It's kind of the way you felt while reading A Series of Unfortunate Events: everything is depressing but you still like the book.

Wuthering Heights is supposed to center on Heathcliff and Catherine and their love, and I say "supposed" because Catherine dies half-way through the novel. I like how the summary says that Heathcliff focuses his life on making Catherine's family miserable, because that's pretty much his life mission. He is just a nasty, grumpy, mean-spirited person, but you want to keep reading and see if there's anything redeeming about him. And the only redeeming thing I could find was his love for Cathy, even though it was a passionate, angry, and tempestuous love.

Another interesting thing about the novel is that the whole story is told second-hand. The narrator is a character named Mr. Lockwood who decides to rent a house from Heathcliff. Mr. Lockwood hears the story of Heathcliff and Catherine and their families from an old maid Ellen Dean. Ellen, fortunately, is present for most of the events involving the cast of characters and she acts almost as an omniscent presence because she knows everything.

Wuthering Heights reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre, because they are both gothic novels, so that made me like it even more. And hey, the authors were sisters! What a coincidence! Really, though, I did like Wuthering Heights even if it wasn't always pleasant to read. The love between Heathcliff and Catherine was more of an example of what you don't want, however, there is a somewhat happy ending for Catherine's daughter.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from a friend.

1847/Barnes & Noble Classic/290 pages.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 41

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.(from GoodReads)

I love The Mortal Instruments series and I now love the Infernal Devices series and I can't wait to read the sequel to Clockwork Angel. Clockwork Prince will be released on December 6, 2011, so I have a long long time :(

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley

Expelled from thirteen boarding schools in the past five years, seventeen-year-old Jane Fontaine Ventouras is returning to her Southern roots, and the small town of Bienville, Alabama, where ladies always wear pearls, nothing says hospitality like sweet tea and pimento cheese sandwiches, and competing in the annual Magnolia Maid Pageant is every girl's dream.

But Jane is what you might call an anti-belle - more sarcasm and cynicism than sugar and spice. You can be sure that the last thing on her mind is joining the Magnolia Maid brigade and parading around town in an enormous dress and frilly bonnet. So when she finds herself up to her ears in ruffles and etiquette lessons, she's got one mission: escape.

What's a girl to do? Will Jane survive Bienville boot camp intact or will they - gasp! - make a Southern belle out of her yet? (from back cover)

I thought that Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt was a cute and fun read, perfect for those lazy summer days. While the novel lacked some development, I still enjoyed reading about Jane and the other Magnolia Maids' journey.

I always think that the debutante season is a good time to set a book - there's always a lot of interesting things you can do with that concept. In Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt, Jane has no desire to be a Magnolia Maid; she only does it to please her grandmother. Not only does she not want to be a belle, but Jane isn't quite Maid material: she's rude, loud, opinionated and has a tattoo. So when she gets chosen to represent her town along with four other girls, Jane is extremely surprised. I was confused in the beginning because I thought the whole book was going to be about a debutante pageant. Instead, it's about what happens after the five Maids are chosen and what they do as goodwill ambassadors of their town. It took me a while to catch on to that so I wish that the Magnolia Maid pageant was better described.

I liked Jane as a character and that she was still likable even though she's saracastic and cynical (not the most fun traits). But what I liked the most was that each of the five Maids, Jane, Ashley, Zara, Mallory, and Brandi Lyn, all learned something about themselves throughout Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt. They all changed for the better and even the bully Ashley learned from her mistakes and was a nicer person by the end of the book.

There's a subplot with a character named Luke, who Jane was best friends with before she was shipped off to multiple boarding schools. He receives a lot of page time in Jane's thoughts, but nearly enough in the actual story. He's supposed to be this sort of potential love interest and I thought the subplot with him was resolved too quickly. I would have liked to see more of him, especially since Jane and him have such history.

I enjoyed Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt. I would read this at work and everyone would make fun of me because the title (one friend kept saying how "never sit down in a hoopskirt" was the best advice he ever got) so you might not want to read this in public. Though this novel wasn't perfect, it had some cute characters, a nice ending, and character development.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
FTC: received from publisher.
Release Date: June 14, 2011

2011/Egmont USA/296 pages.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Since the age of fourteen, Emerson Cole has seen strange things - dead things - swooning Southern Belles, soldiers, and other eerie apparitions of the past. She's tried everything to get rid of the visions: medication, counseling, asylums. Nothing's worked.

So when Emerson's well-meaning brother calls in yet another consultant from a mysterious organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to give it one last try.

Michael Weaver is no ordinary consultant. He's barely older than she is, he listens like no one she's ever met before, and he doesn't make her feel the least bit crazy. As Emerson ventures deeper into the world of Hourglass, she begins to learn the truth about her past, her future - and her very life.

A seductive time-slip novel that merges the very best of the paranormal and science fiction genres, Myra McEntire's Hourglass is a stunning debut from an author to watch. (from back cover)

I haven't read a lot of paranormal lately, so Hourglass was a good choice to get back into the groove. I liked the concept and plot of Hourglass, though there were some things that should have been more developed.

The plot and concept make Hourglass for me. Emerson is a teenager who sees ghosts (at least that's what she thinks they are). But when Michael from Hourglass comes to help her, he explains what she is really seeing (I'll let you figure that out when you read the book). I liked that all the characters had some kind of power, which were all really interesting. I enjoyed that time travel was a big part of the plot because I haven't read a lot about time travel, so Hourglass gets points for creativity.

As for characters, I pretty much liked all of them. Emerson seemed like a normal teenager, except for her crazy power. She was an agreeable and likable character, not really annoying. Michael, the love interest, had that silent, brooding thing going on. Background characters who were also fun to read about like Kaleb (Michael's friend), Emerson's brother Thomas, and Emerson's friend Lily round out the ensemble.

As for things I disliked in Hourglass, I wished the time travel aspect had been more developed. It was too easy for the characters to travel to the past, that it seemed almost like a deus ex machina. The fact that the characters were able to quickly discover a way to time travel and not disrupt the space-time continuum was unrealisitic. The other thing that annoyed me was that all the outside characters, like Emerson's brother and sister-in-law, believe in time travel and supernatural powers without much convincing. That just didn't seem natural to me and was used to quickly move the plot along.

Overall, I enjoyed Hourglass and thought its concept was original. Even though there were some things I didn't like, I hope that the author will furthur develop the plot and characters in the sequel.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: received from publisher.
Release Date: June 14, 2011

2011/Egmont/397 pages.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald

Reeling from the aftershocks of what will heretofore be known as "The Hot Tub Incident," American party girl Tasha jumps at the chance to spend a semester abroad at tweedy Oxford University - banking on the fact that the tabloid stories about her won't have made their way across the Pond. But is wading Uggs-deep in feminist theory really so much better than living down the stares and snickers stateside?

Meanwhile, studious control freak Emily disappoints her snooty British family by throwing herself into film classes - not to mention bikinis and beer pong - at UC Santa Barbara. Her English accent gets her plenty of male attention, but not all of it welcome - especially the frustrating confrontations with a fellow classmate.

Twenty-four year old debut novelist Abby McDonald has crafted a funny, fast-paced, and poignant look at survival, sisterhood, and the surprising ways we discover our true selves. (from book jacket)

I thought that Sophomore Switch was so cute! It was a fun book with a great message, which makes for a wonderful combination.

This is the first book I've read with characters in college in a long time (or ever, I can't really remember). I liked that Tasha and Emily were my age, and I will be a sophomore in college soon so I can really relate to the school aspect of Sophomore Switch. I also enjoyed the fact that the book switches point-of-view between Tasha and Emily so we see both girls out of their element in new countries. Though sometimes the girls bordered on stereotypical of their respective cultures (Tasha is a party girl from California and Emily is intellectual and upper-class from England), I liked that they were able to change by the end of the book.

A theme of Sophomore Switch is the role of feminism in our daily lives and what it means to be an feminist. There are two schools of thought that are apparent in the novel: girls should be comfortable with their sexuality and act free-spirited or girls should not objectify themselves in any way. It's obvious which philosophy goes with which university, and I was interested to see in how Tasha and Emily reconciled their own views with the beliefs of their new location. I was annoyed that the militant feminists of Oxford were so unbending in their views and treated Tasha horribly after they learned about the "Hot Tub Incident." Luckily, Tasha was able to stand up for herself and come away from the experience a better person.

Emily was also a dynamic character, in that she shed some of her crazy control issues and was able to sit back in relax (though, it did help that she was in California). Emily was one of those people that studies ten hours a day and doesn't have any fun. Even though Emily was a political science major I liked that she was able to see the importance of her film classes, which she wrote off as frivolous in the beginning of the book.

All in all, I think girls of any age will enjoy Sophomore Switch. It was a cute and fun book that explores what it means to be a feminist.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2009/Candlewick Press/297 pages.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 40

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about new books.

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages. (from GoodReads)

I think this book sounds really similar to Across the Universe by Beth Revis but in a good way because I enjoyed the premise of Across the Universe. Glow will be released on September 27, 2011.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mercy by Jodi Picoult

The police chief of a small Massachusetts town, Cameron MacDonald, makes the toughest arrest of his life when his own cousin Jamie comes to him and confesses outright that he has killed his terminally ill wife out of mercy.

Now, a heated murder trial plunges the town into upheaval and drives a wedge into a contented marriage: Cameron, aiding the prosecution in its case against Jamie, is suddenly at odds with his devoted wife, Allie, seduced by the idea of a man so in love with his wife that he'd grant all her wishes, even her wish to end her life. And when an inexplicable attraction leads to a shocking betrayal, Allie faces the hardest questions of the heart: when does love cross the line of moral obligation? And what does it mean to truly love one another?

Praised for her "personal, detail-rich style" (Glamour), Jodi Picoult infuses this page-turning novel with heart, warmth, and startling candor, taking readers on an
unforgettable journey. (from back cover)

If you've read any of my reviews of Jodi Picoult's novels, you'll already know that I am a huge fan of hers and think her books are wonderful. It almost feels superfluous to continue to gush about her books, since I always like the same things about them. In that vein, I'll try to keep this review short and sweet, because it should be obvious what my opinion is.

I really enjoyed Mercy. I love that Jodi Picoult is not afraid to tackle tough issues, and Mercy is no exception. In this book, a man kills his terminally ill wife to end her suffering, and questions on the morality of euthanasia are brought to the surface. This is a very controversial topic, but as always, Jodi Picoult executes the story flawlessly, with style and compassion. Infidelity is also a theme in Mercy, and I thought that this too was written with care.

Mercy is one of Jodi Picoult's first books, and I could definitely tell. While still wonderful, it just wasn't as good as some of her newer books. The story wasn't as detailed, the book was a little shorter, the writing not as good. Even though Mercy was not on the same level, I think it's a testament to Jodi Picoult's skill as a writer that she has improved over the years.

Overall, I loved Mercy and know that I will love all of Jodi Picoult's book. She takes on tough subjects but writes about them beautifully and her books make you think. And I think that is so important.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

1997/Washington Square Press/400 pages.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction. (from GoodReads)

Wow. Blood Red Road really surprised me, but in a really good way. It was not what I was expecting at all, because the summary I read was a little misleading (which I think was different than the one I posted). But I didn't mind because I still loved this novel so much.

Blood Red Road is set in the future, but it's not quite a dystopian since there is no controlling or overbearing goverment. It's more of an apocalyptic anarchy, and while there is a King, he doesn't have as much power and control that is found in normal dystopians. And it's set in the desert, so it reads like a Western movie.

The one thing that might turn people off from Blood Red Road is the writing. Moira Young wrote this in first person point-of-view, using a non-conventional dialect. Essentially, the book is written using bad grammar. I didn't like it at first, but after about 20 pages I didn't even notice it. And I actually started to like it because it fit so well with the book.

The plot was extremely fast-paced, with things happening very quickly. Saba's twin Lugh gets kidnapped and not soon after Saba is out looking for him. She gets side-tracked when she is captured and forced to cage fight, which was a very interesting sub-plot . Saba becomes a worthy heroine because of her strength, resilience, and clever planning. It becomes apparent that she would do anything for her brother, especially when she teams up with annoying and arrogant (and soon to be romantic interest) Jack.

Literally, there was never a dull moment in Blood Red Road. And I am very excited to learn that this book is part of a trilogy/series, so I can't wait to read more about Saba. The book ends on a semi-cliffhanger, but it wasn't so bad that you are dying to know what happens next. If you get the chance to read this book, please don't be intimidated by the writing style. You will be glad you kept reading because Blood Red Road was very enjoyable and very well-written.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
Release Date: June 7, 2011
FTC: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

2011/Margaret K. McElderry/ 512 pages.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - 39

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking The Spine for bloggers and readers to get excited about upcoming books.

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight—at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family. (from Goodreads)

As a dystopian, this one makes the list easily, but the concept sounds really interesting. I haven't read much about the upper-class in a future world so this should be good! Look for All These Things I've Done in stores on September 27, 2011.