Archive for the ‘ Fiction ’ Category

Waiting on Wednesday: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers can highlight upcoming books they’re excited to read. My choice for this week is:

 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins

Why I’m Waiting

I really enjoyed Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series and I’m excited to see what she comes up with next.   I like the ambiguity around this title.  Most people seem to assume that this is going to be a dystopian Hunger Games-esque, but Oliver’s claim that this is her return to standalone realism makes me think otherwise.  I want to know what Panic is, whether it’s dystopian sci fi or teenage games.

Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park Review at Quintessentially BookishRelease Date: February 26th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 328

From the book jacket:

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book – he thinks he’s made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor… never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Overall Thoughts:

I see why this book received so much praise.  It’s sweet and real and heartbreaking.  I wanted to read it again immediately after finishing it. This book certainly includes painful things, but it does so in a way that isn’t overwrought.  It’s simultaneously dark and hopeful and very real. People often complain that YA books are too dark, without really understanding how important it is for those books to portray the difficult lives and circumstances.

Characters:

I just love these two characters.  I want to give Eleanor a hug and be the mother that she desperately needs.  She really just breaks my heart.  Park is wonderful.  He’s the kind of boyfriend I would wish for every teenage girl.  Rowell does such a great of portraying two characters that are lost in that way that is so universal to so many teenagers, but still unique to each one.

Setting:

The setting, particularly Eleanor’s house, is very important to the story.  The way she describes each location really emphasizes the way the characters feel when there.  Eleanor’s house feels suffocating and almost scary, but the bus seat feels safe.  It’s a great accompaniment to the action and conversations.

Writing Style:

Rowell writes from the perspective of both characters and does so beautifully.  She often alternates between each of them within one scene, so we are able to see simultaneously what they are both feeling in a particular moment. The language she uses is very poetic, but still believable as a teenage voice.  It was really difficult for me to pick a favorite line because there are so many that were so wonderfully written.

Extras:

Mixtapes.  I do so miss mixtapes.

Favorite Line:

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Read This If You Like:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I wrote this several weeks ago and apparently forgot to publish it. So, here you go!

 

 

Storybound Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: October 22nd 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Divergent (#3)
Pages: 531

The Secret Eater

From the book jacket:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Plot:

This final book explores the reality of the revelation from the end of Insurgent. Tris, Four, and their friends learn why the factions were formed, the purpose of their city, and what lies beyond the fence – as well as what part they play in all of it.

Overall Thoughts:

Though this was a controversial ending to the series, I loved it.  Roth makes some very tough choices that certain types of readers might not fully appreciate, but those choices remain true to the characters and plot in a way that a more upbeat ending would not.  Even with the popularity of dystopian fiction and darker novels, there’s often a push for YA writers to end their series with a happily ever after – the characters fall in love, the bad guy is beaten, everyone lives – but this isn’t always an appropriate way to end the story.  I appreciate Roth’s commitment to ending her story in a way that respectful to her characters and the reader, rather than caving to the pressure to tie everything up in a nice little bow.

Characters:

We learn more about Tris and Four in this book than we did in the previous two combined.  Tris explores her past, her mother’s past, and how they have shaped who she is. Four flounders a bit as he tries to come to terms with what he fears about himself.  It’s interesting to see his side of the story, rather than solely that of what Tris believes about him.  We learn much more about what motivates him.

Setting:

Talking about the setting is difficult without revealing too much about the plot.  It plays a big part in this final book, to the point that it’s almost a character on its own.

Writing Style:

Unlike the previous two books, Allegiant is written in alternating viewpoints between Tris and Four.  While I think it helped round out the story in a way that just hearing Tris’s side would not have done, I wish there had been more distinction between the two characters.  The voice Roth used for each was so similar that I often had difficulty remembering which character was narrating.  I would have liked to see each of them have a more clear voice that was all their own instead of being so very much Roth’s voice.

Extras:

A much more clear back story than we usually get in dystopian novels, while still being vague enough that the details don’t muddle the story.

Favorite Line:

 “Sometimes, all it takes to save people from a terrible fate is one person willing to do something about it. Even if that ‘something’ is a fake bathroom break.”

Read This If You Like:

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Matched by Ally Condie

 

Book Review: The Secret Eater by Ros Jackson

The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: July 15th 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 80

The Secret Eater

From the book jacket:

Kenssie is a demon who feeds from secrets. Lately pickings have been slim, and she has grown so weak that her shield of invisibility is slipping. As the servant of a demon who eats embarrassment she already feels like she’s the laughing stock of the demonic world. But the scorn of someone who thinks that Hawaiian shirts are the height of cool is the least of her worries.

A powerful fear demon is dead set on making her his slave, a position that carries seriously short life expectancy.

She has no friends.

No powers.

No clue.

Her only hope of escaping a life of terror lies in stealing a grimoire she’s never seen from the clutches of a vindictive group of master demons.

Plot:

I really can’t add anything; the book description explains almost the entire plot.

Overall Thoughts:

I was really into this book up until it very abruptly ended.  It’s a novella, so of course it will be short, but there was potential for so much more story.  There are a couple of story lines that really weren’t resolved or used fully; we don’t even really find out what is happening to Kenssie.  That’s really my only complaint with this book – that I wanted more.  I wish the author had considered writing a full length novel.  Short of that, I would have liked an ending that felt more final.  As it is, it felt a bit incomplete.  I kept looking for another chapter or even another page to wrap things up.

Aside from that, it was a good story.  The idea of demons (and really neat, quirky demons at that) that feed on human emotions and secrets is a nice change from the usual paranormal fiction out there.  I also appreciated that it wasn’t yet another romance; there was an actual story involving a female character that didn’t center on catching a boyfriend. It’s such a fun read I finished it all on my lunch break.

Characters:

Kenssie is hilarious. She actually kind of reminds me of a Meg Cabot heroine (which is very high praise from me).  She’s a great combination of naive, snarky, and mischievous.  I was rooting for her immediately, even when I knew she was doing something that would get her into trouble.

The secondary characters were all super interesting, but sadly not as developed as I would like.  I wanted to know more about each of them and of their history and the world of the demons.  Again, this just goes back to me wishing this was more than a novella.

Setting:

It’s set in modern day London, though the setting isn’t as important to most of the story as other aspects.  When there is need for it, the setting is described in more detail, but for the most part the setting wasn’t very noticeable.

Writing Style:

Jackson isn’t an incredibly descriptive writer, but she is great at dialogue and inner thoughts.  Kenssie has a very clear voice and the book reads like she is telling the reader the story.

Extras:

Demons that actually look and act demonic.

Favorite Line:

Are you intellectually subnormal? Tick yes if someone had to explain those words to you

Read This If You Like:

The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

Devilish by Maureen Johnson

The Trylle Triology by Amanda Hocking

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Ros Jackson online: Goodreads // Amazon // Website

Book Review: The Lightness of Dust by M. L. Weaver.

Lightness of Dust Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: October 15 2012
Publisher: Luna Risen, LLC
Series: The Meronymy (#1)
Pages: 151

Lightness of Dust

From the book jacket:

In ancient Anatolia, a young healer fights to reunite with her true love despite her father’s desire to profit from her gift.

In Depression-era Seattle, the caretaker of the Persephone Music Hall finds inspiration for his art in the arms of a beautiful foreign violinist.

A university professor in modern-day California struggles to keep his lab and his marriage from the clutches of his enthusiastic new grad student.

A mysterious thread draws these lives together across the span of history and summons one of them toward an unspeakable fate. Follow the thread as mortal cares scatter with The Lightness of Dust

Plot:

Kere is a teen girl living in ancient Anatolia. Her betrothed has left on a ship to gain his fortune and she is stuck with a greedy father who wants to use her gift of healing to his advantage by giving her to the priests, therefore preventing her from marrying.   During the Depression, Sam does maintenance at the Persephone Music Hall, but art is his passion.  He’s incredibly talented, but poor, so he is shocked when Lily, the star violinist, falls in love with him.  Jake is a modern day professor who’s once great marriage is failing due to his new job and his new assistant.  All three stories are wildly different, but they all have one hidden secret in common.

Overall Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book.  I finished the entire book is less than a day because I was so curious to find out how everything was connected.  I had really intended to review it much sooner than this, but with my new job I just never had the chance.  The three stories intertwine in such a way that each is dependent on the others while still remaining complete in it’s own.  I read through it quickly, because I was so curious to learn how they all fit together while being so different.  Despite each story taking place in wildly different times and settings, they all felt authentic, both in language and characterization.

Characters:

Each story has one particular main character.  The first one we meet is Kere, a young girl with a strange gift in a very ancient land.  I immediately sympathized with Kere.  Her story is a difficult one and she’s a very likeable character, even when she is making mistakes.  I spent most of the book worried for her, though.  She faces many challenges and dangers, romantically, religiously, and personally.

The focus of the second story is Sam.  It focuses on his love story (both with a woman and with art), but we still see glimpses of him through the years, well into his old age.  Sam is so interesting I almost wish there was a book entirely about him.  Though his story appears to end with this book, I’m hoping he’ll show up again later in the series.

The third story focuses on Jake Morgan, a professor, and his relationship with his wife and his grad assistant.  It took me awhile to warm up to Jake.  He’s a jerk to his wife, a jerk to his assistant, and he doesn’t realize what huge mistakes these are until it’s too late.  His story is the least complete, however, which gives him opportunity to grow in future books.

Setting:

Weaver is great at subtle descriptions.  He gives such a clear picture of each setting for each story, but he manages to do it without resorting to large blocks of descriptive text.  Instead he weaves the description into the action so that they compliment each other.  The reader is able to really see the Persephone or the seaside of Anatolia.

Writing Style:

Weaver manages a consistent style throughout the book, while still giving each character his or her own voice.  Kere sounds just as much like a confused teen girl as Jake does a modern man.  His writing can also be flowery, such as when the Goddesses appear or stark when Jake has an internal debate.  He’s a chameleon when writing, but it’s still obvious that one writer is constructing the story.  It’s a great trick for the structure of the books.

Extras:

The appearances by the Goddesses are really intriguing.  I really hope the rest of the series reveals their story more.

Favorite Line:

Rage cooled with time.  Love faded, or was strangled, or became a memory that stretched icy hands through time and kept him awake in the hours when the moon would otherwise cradle the sleeping in it’s night.  Grief, though…grief lived on, pulsing madly through veins and gouging numb hollows in chests with a sad rage all it’s own.

Read This If You Like:

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The Many Lives of Avery Snow by Christy Sloat

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find M. L. Weaver online: Goodreads // Amazon // Website