Friday, March 29, 2013

Missing digits

Well I just wanted to issue an apology for the lack of reviews/posts as of late.  Some of you who follow me on twitter may know that my husband lost a good chunk of his finger over the March Break.  Yes you read that correctly, he lost his finger!  It's been fairly challenging around here with his recovery but things are looking positive now.  On top of that I have been going through some fertility things which means lots of doctor's appointments to figure out what's going on with my uterus.  Fun times!  Anyhow, I am hoping to post a few things over the weekend and thank you for all your patience.

In the meantime, since Google Reader is disappearing I'm hoping you will Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, March 22, 2013

ARC Review: Wasteland by Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: March 26th, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Pages: 352 pgs
ISBN: 9780062118516
Source: ARC provided by publisher for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

My Review: 

I literally put this book down after reading it and said hmmm.  I just wasn't quite sure what I thought of the whole thing.  There were times in this dystopian novel where I was really into and I wanted to know what was going on and there were other times where I found myself thinking that I didn't really care about certain things.  I hate that!  I was pretty excited for this novel as I love reading about dystopian societies.  The book was marketed as a book where everyone dies at the age of 19 and they have children at 17.  While this is mentioned throughout the novel I found that the novel really focuses on the division between the citizens of Prin and the genetically altered people who are referred to as variants and mutants.  The division between the two groups is based in fear but the main character, Esther doesn't understand why her people are afraid of the variants.  Her best friend is a variant and she honestly sees no reason to treat these people differently. 
Everyone is really trying to live off of what little they have and in the end sometimes they do some less than savory things to get ahead.  Without giving too much away, the political system in Prin has become corrupted by the leader Levi.  Levi is a master manipulator with all the inhabitants of Prin and even by the end of the novel I wasn't exactly sure what his end goal was. 
One thing that really bugged me about this novel is that some of the elements of the book that are highlighted in the summary seemed to just be blips in the story.  One example of this is the fact that the variants are hermaphroditic.  This was mentioned once in the book and then not really mentioned much after this.  I was confused as to why this was a necessary plot point.  The book could have been done without this and I think that this was put in the summary because it's a bit sensationalized and they think it will draw in readers. 
Anyhow, overall the story line was just okay for me but I did really like Esther as a character. She was stubborn and didn't like to take any advice from anyone.  She stood by what she believed in even if it wasn't the popular opinion.  I think I admire that because I oftentimes worry too much about what others think of me so I find it noble to do what you want without worrying about others.  Anyhow, this review is a little all over the place but overall it was just okay for me.  I think the summary sells the book as something a little different than what you actually get.  That's not to say that the novel is bad because it's not.  It is an entertaining story but it just raises a few questions for me.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ARC Review: Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison

Publisher: Egmont USA
Publishing Date: February 12th, 2013
Genre: YA, Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 336 pgs
ISBN: 9781606842645
Source: Received from Netgalley for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
They say first love never dies...

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.

My Review:

This book is about Olivia, a teen whose mom has some mental health issues.  After finding out her mom killed her best friend/love, Olivia goes colour blind and begins seeing her dead best friend/love Lucas. 
I got this book from Netgalley for review and it took me a while to find the time to read this one.  When I first saw it I was really excited for it but for some reason the book just wasn't calling my name. 
Even as I read it I found that I couldn't get quite into the book.  I really really wanted to because I love a good ghost story.  I think there were just a couple things that bugged me.  To begin with, the whole colour blind thing seemed a little far fetched.  I can see where Ellison was going with it- Olivia wasn't really living until she figured everything out and let go of the past and came to terms with her mother's mental illness.  That being said, I think that the novel could have taken place without that element of the story. 
I do like the whole mystery to the novel but I have to admit that after reading countless adult mystery novels, I kind of figured out the ending way before it happened.  I think that this may have been a case of reading a YA book that was a little too YA for me.  Again, as you can see from my blog, I love reading YA and most times I think it's done in a way that all ages can read it.  This just wasn't the case, for me, this time around.  I think that in the future I will stick to adult mystery novels. 
I did quite enjoy Ellison's writing style and I think that many will enjoy this novel.  There are ghosts, and a crazed murderer, what more could you ask for? 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WoW: Pretty Girl- 13

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Summary from Goodreads:
Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she's returned home…only to find that it's three years later and she's sixteen-or at least that's what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn't know.

But there are people who do-people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren't locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her "alters." As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley's alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing-and ultimately empowering-page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.


A book reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case? Yes, please.  This one comes out March 19th, 2013. 

Happy Reading!  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Discussion Post: Genres, Genres, Everywhere

My husband and I were on our way home tonight from seeing Warm Bodies and we got into a discussion on what genre the movie was.  (P.S. Great movie- go check it out.) I told him that it could be classified as horror, dystopian and a bit of romance.  He informed me that it was obviously a science fiction story but it was marketed towards a different group of watchers (or reader- because we all know that it was a book before it was a movie) and that is the reason why they classify it was a zombie romance story.  His argument was that the zombies got to be that way due to some scientific change in their body.  My argument was that while that may be the case this wasn't the main focus of the story.  The main focus was how the society had changed so drastically and also the relationship between R and Julie. 

That really got me thinking about genres and how we classify what we read into these categories.   It also got me thinking- do publishers market books as a particular genre based on who will most likely buy the books?

One example that really sticks out is the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis.  In my mind these books have a strong science fiction element to them.  They are in space, they talk about being cryogenically frozen and they are on a voyage to a new planet.  Now the books do have a bit of romance in them between Elder and Amy but I would argue that the main plot of the book is geared towards the space travel and planet exploration.  Now, when Across the Universe and A Million Suns were first published they had some beautiful covers.

While I love, love, LOVE these covers I would say the main focus of the covers are romantic, especially for the first cover.  This was great because it drew in a large group of woman and teen girls to read these books.  Now I know this going to sound like over generalizing, and I don’t want to come off as sexist but in my opinion science fiction is a genre that attracts more male readers than female readers.  That is not to say that girls/women don’t read science fiction because I know that is not true considering that I am one of those said women.   I do think though that the covers on these novels brought in some readers who otherwise may not picked these books up.  Cue cover change:

Recently the publishers have changed the covers for this series and while I couldn’t be any more annoyed by these covers I can see why they did so from a marketing perspective.  The new covers have a very sci-fi feel to them and I am fairly certain that this will draw in more male readers.  Keep in mind this is the exact same novel with the same story and while one cover markets towards a more romance genre the other markets towards a more sci-fi genre. 

Sidebar: While this discussion post is not about cover changes, can I just say that I am more than a little irritated by publishers who change their covers mid-way through a series.  Please finish the series off with matching covers and go with a cover change once I have collected all the matching covers and they look beautiful on my shelf.  End Rant.

How much of our reading habits are engrained in what genre the book is marketed as?  I know that while I try to be open to everything when it comes to reading, I tend not to read as many fantasy novels as I do other genres.  I have read some fantasy in the past and I have quite enjoyed some of them (Graceling series by Kristin Cashore, Stormlord series by Glenda Larke) but it is not a genre that I gravitate towards.  I wonder if some of these novels were marketed in a different way would I be more apt to pick them up at the book store?  My gut tells me that the answer is yes. 

My question for you is how important is genre when you are picking out a book?  Also, how do you pick which genre a book falls under when it can so obviously be put into more than category? 

I’d love to hear what you think on the topic so please leave a comment down below. 

Happy Reading!