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Follow Friday (25)

This week's question is...

What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you like to see on the big screen, and who would you like to cast as the main character?

A book that I would love to see on the big screen would be The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Of course, nothing could ever compare to the book, but I'd love to see the action scenes, providing the emotional scenes are preserved as well. I don't know too many actors, but I'd love to cast a young Liam Aiken for Todd.

He seems like he could have both the innocence needed for a young character, but still portray the grittiness of the horrific dystopian world.

If you're new to my blog, welcome! Please drop your link in the comments so I can return the favor.

Legacy: Review

Title: Legacy
Author: Cayla Kluver
Release Date: June 2011
Published By: HarlequinTeen
Pages: 496
Goodreads Rating: 3.72 stars

Review: Seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica has one duty, to marry a suitable heir to the king, but the man her father has chosen is arrogant and intolerable. But no other men she's interested in present themselves - at least, until an intruder from their enemy kingdom is captured. Her secret meetings with Narian, however, prove to be about more than just romance as he reveals a dark legacy surrounding their births.

Now, I'm a fan of romance in general, and I don't mind the whole plot being about that if that's what the book is about, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when a romantic subplot takes over the whole book. Unfortunately, this was the case with LEGACY. Not only was there too much romance and too little about the actual legacy, I also felt the romance with Narian progressed way too fast. It was sweet to read about, but Cayla Kluver sort of skipped over the whole part where they fall in love and went straight to actual love.

I also found that overall the book couldn't really keep my attention too well. There were definitely places where I was absorbed in the story to the point where I didn't pay much attention to my surroundings, but those were few and far between, and it was hard to get into a spot where I could fall easily into the words. For much of the novel, I was somewhat bored and counting down pages - or percent, as it were, since I was on my Kindle - to the end.

I wanted to like this book, and it did have good parts. Alera, although somewhat naive and occasionally annoying, was mostly a strong character, and there were parts here and there where I had to keep turning pages. The romance was also quite well-written, but it went too fast and consumed too much of the novel. Additionally, the ending was far from my favorite. All in all, LEGACY was an okay book, but only something I would recommend to die-hard fans of romance in fantasy.

I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way affected my review.

Waiting on Wednesday (17)

This week I'm waiting on...

Dreamsleeves by Coleen Murtagh Paratore. Here's what Goodreads has to say: Aislinn is a girl with a lot of dreams, but due to family issues (caused mostly by her hard-drinking father), there's a lot standing in her way. While she should be enjoying the summer with friends, Aislinn is kept under lock and key and put in charge of her younger siblings. The average girl might give up, but not Aislinn. A person, she says, should write their dreams on their sleeve, putting them out there for the world to see, because there's a good chance that someone might come along and help you make your dream come true. What begins as a plea for help for her father to stop drinking, turns into a spark that has the whole community making their own dreamsleeves. At times heartbreaking, DREAMSLEEVES is also surprising, powerful, and luminously hopeful. Everyone will see a little of themselves in Aislinn, a girl with talent, ambition, and big dreams.

Honestly, I wanted to read this as soon as I heard the title. The cover isn't my favorite, but it does have some elements (the bubble!) that I really like. DREAMSLEEVES releases in April 2012.

Boy Books and Girl Books

Of the many classifications for books, nothing bothers me more than the idea of "boy books" and "girl books". I've walked into many a bookstore - and seen many a website - where certain books are sorted this way, and it never fails to make me want to bang my head against a wall.

I do agree that some books are somewhat more likely to appeal to a male audience, and others somewhat more likely to appeal to girls, but this may have more to do with society's expectations of gender conformation than anything else. But even if this wasn't the case, even if there are novels that just inherently appeal to one gender or the other, shelving a book according to that only brings down huge limitations.

Because guess what? There are boys who like reading some of those so-called girl books, and girls who like reading those boy books, just like how there are children who like to play with toys made for the other gender. During Christmas when I was four years old, I was much more pleased with the train set I got than the baby doll, and I know guys who, when they were little, preferred dolls to model cars.

I've seen "King Dork" classified as a boy book. For those of you who haven't read it, "King Dork" is a sardonic, hilarious, yet touching novel about a boy coming to grips both with his caricatured high school environment and his father's death. What about that could possibly appeal only or largely to boys?

Then there are novels like those by Sarah Dessen classified as girl books. These are emotional coming of age novels with, yes, romance from a girl's perspective. But so what? I've read books that include a romance from a guy's perspective, and I've liked them, and my head didn't explode.

But even more than just being inaccurate, classifying books like this is actually harmful. If I never picked up "boy books", I would have missed out on great pieces of literature like "King Dork" or "Looking for Alaska" and any number of awesome books that I got so, so much out of. There is similarly much to offer in "girl books" for anyone, including boys.

Yet there is a stigma associated to girls reading "boy books" and, much more so, to boys reading "girl books". People complain that boys don't read because there aren't enough books out there for them, and frankly, I don't know what they're talking about.

After all, I can think of many, many excellent books that could provide an enjoyable and worthy read. They're just hiding over in the girl book section.

All These Things I've Done: Review

Title: All These Things I've Done
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Release Date: September 2011
Published By: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Pages: 354
Goodreads Rating: 3.94 stars

Review: In 2083, New York is rife with poverty, but Anya Balanchine, the teenage daughter of a famous and dead crime boss, lives a fairly normal life of watching her siblings, caring for her dying grandmother, trying not to fall in love with the new assistant D. A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. At least, until her boyfriend is poisoned and the police think she's to blame. Anya finds herself thrust into the spotlight at school, in the news, and worst of all, in her mafia family.

I really enjoyed ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE, and one of the factors that contributed to this the most was the character of Anya herself. She was an unequivocally strong female lead who not only dealt with her arguably dystopian environment but supported her entire family, from her mentally challenged older brother to her frail and ill grandmother. Even as times got increasingly hard and she had to struggle with issues that would render others hopeless, she remained brave and stoic.

One aspect that surprised me about this novel was how emotional it was. Anya went through some very trying times, and her situation would have been heart-breaking whether it took place in the 2080s or the 1820s. Several times while reading this, I found myself tearing up at the events that occurred while having some serious admiration for how she was able to deal with them without descending into emo whining or black hopeless depths.

I was completely prepared to give this book five stars, right up until the last chapter. That, unfortunately, is where things sort of fell apart for me. I was hoping for a nice, satisfying ending to wrap everything up, or at least some things up, but instead the ending was quite abrupt and sudden. At first I even though that there was perhaps some sort of error and there were really more pages, but that was not the case.

Still, I loved ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE so much more than I expected to. Anya was courageous and strong right up to the very end, while remaining an honest and real character with flaws like anyone else. Many scenes were emotional and heart-rending, and even though this book took place in the future, it had a bit of an almost timeless quality. The ending did bother me a lot and detracted from my overall opinion of the book, but I would still highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good read.

I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way affected my review.

In My Mailbox (32)

I had a small but lovely week this time in terms of book load!

For Review:

 Shut Out by Kody Keplinger. I was super pumped to get this one, since I really enjoyed reading THE DUFF by the same author, not to mention that the cover is very cool. I like the intense expression on the girl's face, as well as the face paint with the tag line written in it. The summary also sounds quite interesting, and I'm looking forward to a read with Kody Keplinger's unflinching portrayal of teenage sexuality.

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon. The interesting thing about this book is that I actually read the first draft quite a while ago. I used to be an active member of inkpop, and Leigh Fallon and I read each others' works. Since I remember liking the first draft so much, I'm eager to pick up the actual polished version of it and see how it's progressed.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I haven't heard too much about this but it looks quite interesting! Typically, I'm not a big reader of fantasy, but the summary sounds intriguing so I'm definitely willing to give this a try. Once I got it, I scanned some reviews and was pleased to see that many people had positive things to say about it.

That's it for me this week! What did you get in your mailbox?

The Girl in the Steel Corset: Review

Title: The Girl in the Steel Corset
Author: Kady Cross
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: Harlequin
Pages: 473
Goodreads Rating: 3.85 stars

Review: In 1867, Finley has a secret thing, a darkness inside her that surges forth with strength far beyond what her normal self has. Only Griffin King knows what she is - one of them. He takes her in to join him, Emily, and Sam to track down a criminal mastermind, the so-called Machinist. But as the Machinist tries to tear them apart, everyone's coming under question, and even if Finley knows what side she's on, not everyone believes her.

For some reason, I have some sort of aversion to steampunk fiction. I really don't know why because the basic concept certainly intrigues me, but all my forays into the genre never ended very well. Still, I decided to give THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET a try, and I was pleasantly surprised. The plot was well-crafted to make a gripping story that effortlessly weaves several threads together, and I found myself wrapped up in the fast-paced first half of the book.

Unfortunately, from there I found both the pace and my interest waning. It wasn't so much that it got slower that made me like it less but more that I couldn't connect to the characters very well. It wasn't that any of them were particularly unlikable, but I never really cared for Finley, Griffin, or any of the others. Once the plot started dragging a bit, I had nothing to keep me interested, and I started counting down the pages (or rather, percent as I was using my Kindle) until it ended.

THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET was better than I expected, and it starts off with a fast pace and intriguing storyline. From there, the pace dropped off a bit and I didn't enjoy it as much, but I still basically liked it. Overall, this book just wasn't much for me, but I would still definitely recommend it to anyone who loves steampunk or wants to try out a book in the genre.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for review. This in no way affected my review.

Follow Friday (24)

This week's question is...

Is there a series you read over and over? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it.

Well, there isn't really a series I read over and over again, but I do read John Green's Looking for Alaska about once a year. I don't know why, but there's something incredible and beautiful and emotional about it that makes me want to pick it up every now and then. Unlike many other books, this is one of the rare few I can read again and again and still get something new out of it each time.

If you're new to my blog, welcome! Please drop your link in the comments so I can return the favor.

You Wish: Review

Title: You Wish
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Release Date: August 2010
Published By: Razorbill
Pages: 272
Goodreads Rating: 3.80 stars

Review: Kayla's sweet sixteen sucks. After all, her dad left, her grades fell, and her best friend's dating Ben, the boy she's liked since forever. So when she gets her cake, she wishes for her birthday wishes to come true because they never do. The next day, she wakes up to a bright pink pony in her backyard. Then a life time supply of gumballs. One by one, her old wishes come true, but they have to stop. Because on her fifteenth birthday? She wished she could kiss Ben.

YOU WISH is exactly the kind of perfect book to sit back and relax with. It's pure fun fluff, but in an intelligent enough way to perhaps even satisfy those who prefer books with meaningful themes. There are some good messages conveyed through this story while definitely staying far away from preaching, and although the storyline is a bit predictable, that comes with the territory of light-hearted YA contemporary.

The book is sprinkled with deliciously snarky commentary, but not only is Kayla's narration funny, some events that occur here are absolutely hilarious. This is not something you'll want to read in public if you're prone to laughter, because this is definitely something that'll have you cracking up. If I had to complain about one thing, though, I would say that the ending was rather abrupt and a little too convenient.

This novel is something you could easily read in one sitting, and though circumstances didn't allow me to do so, I found myself itching to pick YOU WISH up whenever I got a chance. I had my complaints about the ending, but other than that, this was a perfectly enjoyable read. Light, breezy, and hilarious while still with a meaningful message, this is the perfect book to just lie back and read when you need a break from a stressful day.

Waiting on Wednesday (16)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Kill Switch by Chris Lynch. Here's what Goodreads has to say: All Daniel wants to do is spend one last summer with his grandfather before his move to college and his grandfather’s dementia pulls them apart. But when his grandfather starts to let things slip about the job he used to hold—people he’s killed, countries he’s overthrown—his grandfather’s old “friends” come back to make sure he stays quiet. Was his grandfather really involved in a world of assassinations and coups, or is all this just the delusions of a crumbling mind? On the run from the police (and possibly something worse) Daniel may have to sacrifice everything to protect his grandfather from those who would do him harm.

What do you think of this book? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Top 100 YA Books

This list has been floating around, and I decided to give it a try! The books I read are in blue.

1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3, 4)
18. Christopher Paolini – Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (12)
43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket – Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak – The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld – Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld – Uglies (1, 2, 3)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

So, 57 books out 100 (counting series as one book). Less than I actually expected! How many of these have you read? If you do a blog post on it, drop the link in the comments so I can check it out.

The Knife of Never Letting Go: Review

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Release Date: May 2008
Published By: Walker
Pages: 479
Goodreads Rating: 4.12 stars

Review: In Prentisstown, everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ceasing Noise. But just a month before Todd becomes a man, he and his dog Manchee stumble upon an area of complete, pure silence. With growing horror, they learn of a terrible secret that's been kept from them their entire lives, a secret so horrible that they must now run away if they want to survive. But how do you escape when your pursuer can hear your every thought?

Every so often, a rare book comes along that invokes emotion in you beyond sympathy stirring for a character. THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO is that kind of book. I read this early in the morning, curled in bed by the window where light was just starting to pour in through the window, and I was completely enraptured by this novel. My heart actually leapt with every twist and tears rose in my eyes with each emotional scene, and the whole time, I just couldn't believe that this book was having such a profound effect on me.

One of the things, beside the incredible writing, that made this book was so fantastic was the protagonist. Todd is unlike any other middle grade or young adult character I've read about before. Although young (about 14 in our years), his maturity, courage, and pure emotional strength made him an admirable hero, and yet his flaws only showed how truly honest his depiction was. My heart ached for him, and while I was reading, I cared more about his well-being than I did about my own.

I mentioned the emotional aspects of this book, but these softer sides of the books were scattered nicely in throughout the fast-paced, almost non-stop action taking place. I'm not typically the hugest fan of action, but I found myself incapable of tearing my eyes away from the page, and I did actually get some paper cuts from turning the pages so quickly.

Regardless of whether you like YA or MG or adult fiction, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO is a book you absolutely have to pick up. It's a haunting but beautiful and hopeful story you will never forget, with both action scenes to make your heart race and emotional parts to bring tears to your eyes. Patrick Ness paints a desolate, frightening world with rich characters that make me eager to pick up the next book.

Cover Reveal: Insurgent

The blogsophere is abuzz lately with the reveal of Divergent's sequel, INSURGENT by Veronica Roth. I was thrilled to see it, especially since I've been eagerly awaiting this book ever since I read the first one, so any news about it is exciting! Without further ado, here is the lovely cover in all its glory:

I wasn't the biggest fan of Divergent's cover, but I certainly am a big fan of this one! I love that the theme was continued, but with some fantastic finishing touches that really made the cover stand out. First off, the colors are just so beautifully ominous, especially with the lonely skyline at the bottom, and I'm digging the stormy clouds.

But the tree really takes the cake. It's gorgeously rendered, with the cool swirly thing going on and all the leaves mixing together. I heard somewhere that the different colored leaves represent the different factions and that now they're all falling together to show how they're merging into one mass of people instead of divisions.

What do you think of this cover?

Follow Friday (23)

This week's question is...

What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?

The Night Circus, hands down. The author's vivid, beautiful descriptions of that tantalizing circus have me wishing that it was a real, magical place that I could visit. There are so many tents I would just love to see, and I've no doubt that I would become one of the reveurs.

If you're new to my blog, welcome! Please drop your link in the comments so I can return the favor. 

Okay for Now: Review

Title: Okay for Now
Author: Gary Schmidt
Release Date: April 2011
Published By: Houghton
Pages: 368
Goodreads Rating: 4.60 stars

Review: Doug Swieteck has more problems than just being the new kid in town. He has to struggle in his relationships with his abusive father, his war victim brother fresh from Vietnam, and of course, Lil Spicer, the spitfire daughter of his boss. He undergoes more than one transformation as he discovers new sides of himself, and a strength he never knew he had.

I didn't expect too much from OKAY FOR NOW, and only read it because I'd heard Gary Schmidt was a good writer. I'm not sure what exactly I had in mind when I picked up my Kindle and selected it, but it certainly wasn't the emotional rollercoaster this book took me on. Doug is a painfully honest young boy growing up in the late 60s who deals with a host of problems, and his authentic voice shines straight through the pages or, er, Kindle screen.

I laughed. There were funny moments and lines and scenes that had me smiling and laughing. I cried. There were wrenching parts that made my heart ache and left me tearing up in public places, each emotional moment hitting me like a punch to the gut. This is how you know when a book is powerful - when it affects you to such a point that you feel it physically.

OKAY FOR NOW may be a middle grade novel, but it brims with a maturity and agelessness that makes it appeal to any audience at all. Doug's raw voice and beauitful, honest story takes the reader on a ride that results in both laughter and tears. It takes a bit, but once you really get into this, you won't be able to put it down until the very end, and even then you'll want to continue it.

I received a free copy of this book for review. This in no way affected my review.

Waiting on Wednesday (15)

This week, I'm waiting on...

Dark Eyes by William Harlan Richter. Here's what Goodreads has to say: Wally was adopted from a Russian orphanage as a child and grew up in a wealthy New York City family. At fifteen, her obsessive need to rebel led her to life on the streets.

Now the sixteen-year-old is beautiful and hardened, and she's just stumbled across the possibility of discovering who she really is. She'll stop at nothing to find her birth mother before Klesko—her darkeyed father—finds her. Because Klesko will stop at nothing to reclaim the fortune Wally's mother stole from him long ago. Even if that means murdering his own blood. But Wally's had her own killer training, and she's hungry for justice. 

There are few YA thrillers out there, so I'm eager to pick this one up. DARK EYES releases March 2012 by Razorbill.

Do you want to read this one? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

What YA Needs More Of

I love YA, and since you're reading this blog, I assume you do as well. However, it's quite clear that YA has a lot of books with similar aspects and not so much of those with others. Here is a list of what I would like to see more in YA.

Male protagonists. I like female narration as much as the next person, but I would say that at least 80% of YA fiction that I read has a girl protagonist, and a good 5% are poorly written male protagonists. An example of a series I loved with a fantastic guy main character is The Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black.

Standalone novels. There are plenty of these in the YA contemporary genre, but these days I feel like I can't read a dystopian or fantasy without feeling obligated to pick up book two, and three, and six thousand. Following series can be great, but often the story just seems to be stretched far beyond where it needs to be.

Psychological suspense. I love psychological suspense. I love twisted characters and murders, the kinds of books that lurk in every shadow and populate your nightmares when you stay up too late reading them. There are an excellent few, but it's not a genre I see a lot of new releases written in.

Angst-free characters. I get it - life sucks, things are hard, everyone's sad. And I completely understand when a character is struggling emotionally and there are words written to this effect. What I don't like so much is when there are pages upon pages of a character's angsty moans. Let's have some strong, tough protagonists who can hold their own against the world.

What do you think about these, and what do you want more of in YA?

Red Glove: Review

Title: Red Glove
Author: Holly Black
Release Date: April 2011
Published By: Margaret K. Elderberry
Pages: 325
Goodreads Rating: 4.21 stars

Review: In the sequel to White Cat, Cassel Sharpe's adventures are far from over. When his oldest brother is murdered, Cassel's recruited by the Feds to help them figure out who the killer is, and the only clue is a photo of a woman in red gloves. Unfortunately for him, the mob is after him as well. As he struggles to stay ahead of both sides, he has no one to turn to. After all, what do you do when you can't trust anyone - even yourself?

I read White Cat some time ago and enjoyed it quite a bit, and I even remember writing a review to that effect. However, it's been a while and I forgot how much I liked this series until I picked up RED GLOVE. As soon as I read the first page, I was instantly sucked back into the dark, intense world of Cassel Sharpe, complete with heart-stopping adventure and a mystery so thick it drips out of the pages.

Speaking of which, we need some love for Cassel. He is equal parts admirable and realistic, pushing past adversity despite everything he's been through, but like any human being, he has his faults and weaknesses. This is also one of the few YA books that has a real, believable male protagonist. Holly Black captures the voice perfectly, and it's just so refreshing to have a main character that isn't a girl, as much as I love female points of view.

If you read and enjoyed White Cat, you absolutely have to pick up RED GLOVE. The beginning of the book launches right into action, but even through all the adventure and mystery, there's plenty of emotional development. Cassel remains just as awesome and admirable character as he was in the first book, and the ending, while not a huge cliffhanger, left me anxious to get my hands on the third book. Go read this series if you haven't done so already!

In My Mailbox (31)

I had a great load this time around, and I'm currently waiting on a few more books to come, so hopefully I'll get to feature those next time.

For Review

You Are My Only by Beth Kephart. This one just sounds completely creepy and awesome, and absolutely up my alley.

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison. There's murder, clues, mystery, and psychological issues. Why wouldn't I want to read this?

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski. A Sarah Dessen-esque contemporary is just the thing I'll need to take my mind off the homework overload my teachers are shoving on me.

Without Tess by Marcella Pixley. Such a simple but pretty cover with a story that sounds promisingly beautiful and emotional. Can't wait to read this one!

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien. I read and reviewed the first book in the trilogy a year or so ago, so I'm eager to pick the second one up. Plus, this cover is just gorgeous!

Saving June by Hannah Harrington. There have been some raving reviews floating around, and I love the cover (what's with all these beautiful covers I've gotten lately?)

Dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman. The colors on the cover are just so pretty, and even though my dance experience is limited to three years of ballet from ages four to seven, I love books about dancers.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr. It's Sara freaking Zarr, everyone. Do I have to say more?

Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King. Remember A. S. King? The author of Please Ignore Vera Dietz? I don't have to say any more on this one too.

Envy by Gregg Olsen. Last but not least, I received a lovely finished copy of this one. I can't even express how much I love YA psychological thrillers.

That's it for me! What did you get in your mailbox?