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Friday, August 30, 2013

[REVIEW] Z by Michael Thomas Ford


Author: Michael Thomas Ford
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi
Published: January 25th 2011 by HarperCollins
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The First Rule of Torching: Cleanse with fire.

Josh is by far the best zombie Torcher around—at least, he is in his virtual-reality zombie-hunting game. Josh has quickly risen through the player ranks, relying on the skill, cunning, and agility of a real Torcher.

The Second Rule of Torching: Save all humans.

But luckily for Josh, zombies exist only in the virtual world. The real zombie war is now more than fifteen years in the past, and the battle to defeat the deadly epidemic that devastated his family—and millions of others—is the stuff of history lessons.

The Third Rule of Torching: You can't bring them back.

Charlie is the top-ranked player in the game. Since all the players are shrouded in anonymity, Josh never expects Charlie to be a girl—and he never expects the offer she makes him: to join the underground gaming league that takes the virtual-reality game off the screen and into the streets. Josh is thrilled. But the more involved he gets, the more he realizes that not everything is what it seems. Real blood is spilling, members of the team are disappearing, and the zombies in the game are acting strange. And then there's the matter of a mysterious drug called Z. . . .

Exciting and a real page-turner. I was immediately hooked from the beginning. No shit. I really liked Z because it’s different from the other zombie books I’ve read before. There’s the usual gore, suspense, action and humor, but it also offers a new perspective about the zombies. Here, they’re actively hunted and killed by humans but the fact that the zombies ARE also humans is emphasized. As opposed to the common belief that zombies are reanimated corpses, in Z they are actually living humans infected with a virus. It’s a very interesting notion and makes a good argument whether the characters are really killing people or they’re just disposing ‘meatbags’, depending on their perspective.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

[ARC REVIEW] Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

Somebody Up There Hates You

Author: Hollis Seamon
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Expected publication: September 3rd 2013 by Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Publisher through Netgalley
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Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months: if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Somebody Up There Hates You.

SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we—that’s me and Sylvie—are the only people under 30 in the whole place, sweartogod. But I’m not dead yet. I still need to keep things interesting. Sylvie, too. I mean, we’re kids, hospice-hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl’s got big plans.

Only Sylvie’s father is so nuclear-blasted by what’s happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. That’s one scary man, and he’s not real fond of me. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall, me on one side, her on the other. It’s crazy.

In the middle of all of this, really, there’s just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our way, by our own rules, in whatever time we’ve got. We will pack in some living before we go, trust me.

*I received a free e-ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Who said a cancer book should only be sad and depressing? Definitely not Hollis Seamon. SOMEBODY UP THERE HATES YOU was more than that.

It is always a tragedy when someone so young suffers from something cruel like cancer. Richard Casey might be dying but he sure as hell isn’t going down without a fight.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

[REVIEW] Quicksilver by Stephanie Spinner


Author: Stephanie Spinner
Genre: YA Fantasy, Mythology
Published: December 18th 2007 by Laurel Leaf
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Hermes—also known as Mercury, Wayfinder, and Prince of Thieves—has many talents. Wearing his famed winged sandals, he does the bidding of his father Zeus, leads the dead down to Hades, and practices his favorite arts of trickery and theft. He also sees the future, travels invisibly, loves jokes, and abhors violence. And he’s an entertaining and ideal narrator on a fast-paced journey through ancient Greek mythology—from Medusa’s cave to Trojan War battlefields to the mysterious Underworld.
Stephanie Spinner brings the famous messenger—and the best-known gods and mortals of mythology—to life with high action and spare, powerful prose.

QUICKSILVER is a collection of some of the popular Greek legends that we are so familiar with, but given with a fresh attack because they’re told from the point of view of Hermes, God of Travelers and Mischief. I liked this book because in other stories, Hermes was often in the sidelines – the spotlight being taken by more popular gods and goddesses – but in QUICKSILVER, I didn’t only get to know him better; I was inside his head. I appreciated him more as I discovered that although he likes to play pranks, he’s peace-loving (a trait not often shared by the other Olympians) and enjoys the affection of his father Zeus and brother Apollo. That’s actually my favorite aspect in the book – his relationship towards his family. It shows a different side of Hermes. That he seeks Zeus’ approval and appreciation shows that among the twelve Olympians, he’s the most ‘human’ in feelings. He also suffers from guilt and shame because of the not-so-good things he had to do before. And that sets him apart from his family. He chose not to get involved in a war even though it caused him to drift apart from his father and siblings. He’s also obedient and loyal. No wonder he’s the messenger of gods.

Stephanie Spinner did a great job in giving voice to an often-overlooked and under-appreciated Greek deity. I really enjoyed reading QUICKSILVER. It wasn’t hilariously funny, but it’s quirky and clever and shows Hermes in his best and worst.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

[REVIEW] Impossible by Komal Kant


Author: Komal Kant
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction
Series: Book 1, With Me series
Published: October 24th 2012 by Createspace
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Ashton Summers is on her way to becoming the most popular girl in school and nothing—or no one—is going to stand in her way. Especially not Luca Byron, her freak neighbor, with his tattoos, loud music, and distracting green eyes.

Luca Byron has three goals in life: get through high school with a low profile, make sure his garage band becomes something more than a hobby, and try to forget about his insufferable ex-best friend, Ashton, who he can’t get out of his mind.

The last thing Ashton and Luca want to do is rekindle their friendship, but when Ashton takes a tumble down the social ladder, Luca—with his new makeover—is the only one who can help her rise up again by pretending to be her boyfriend. At first, being together is unbearable and annoying, but things start to change as Ashton and Luca discover the real reasons they drifted apart seven years ago.

Now, keeping their hands off each other seems impossible.

It was okay. I did not hate it, but I did not particularly like it either. IMPOSSIBLE wasn’t anything spectacular, nor was it downright horrible. Just okay.

The main characters were kind of a cliché for me. Popular pretty girl meets hot emo guy. Ashton was really unlikeable. She came off as this shallow high school cheerleader who thinks everyone outside of her circle is beneath her. Luca wasn’t much better. He’s as judgmental as Ashton and thinks all the popular kids are bad. There were also the usual jocks and cheerleaders. Character-wise, this book was full of stereotypes.

Monday, August 12, 2013

[REVIEW] Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

Dead Witch Walking

Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Series: Book 1, The Hollows
Published: April 29th 2008 by Harper Voyager
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The underground population of witches, vampires, werewolves - creatures of dreams and nightmares - has lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But after a genetically engineered virus wipes out a large part of humanity, many of the "Inderlanders" reveal themselves, changing everything.

Rachel Morgan, witch and bounty hunter with the Inderland Runner Services, is one of the best at apprehending supernatural lawbreakers throughout Cincinnati, but when it comes to following the rules, she falls desperately short. Determined to buck the system, she quits and takes off on the run with an I.S. contract on her head and is reluctantly forced to team up with Ivy, Inderland's best runner...and a living vampire. But this witch is way out of her league, and to clear her name, Rachel must evade shape-changing assassins, outwit a powerful businessman/crime lord, and survive a vicious underground fight-to-the-death...not to mention her own roommate.

An exciting first book in a series! DEAD WITCH WALKING has just the right elements of a good paranormal book. I was actually surprised to enjoy this, since I’m not into paranormal and urban fantasy that much. Vamps, weres, fairies, pixies, witches, and demons – I didn’t realize I missed these creatures until I read this book.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

{PROMO BLITZ} Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe

Over the Rainbow

By Brian Rowe 
YA Fantasy
Date Published: August 6th 2013

16-year-old Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.

When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion , a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world's population has mysteriously disappeared. But that's only the beginning...

All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.

The end was coming, faster and faster, as the plane plummeted. I peered into the carrier to see a little white terrier staring back at me.

When I closed my eyes for the final time I felt two ice-cold tears roll down my cheeks.

“Mira… I love you… I love you… I—”

The plane collided against the Earth, and I launched forward, struck my head against the cargo door, and blacked out.

Brian Rowe is a writing fiend, book devotee, film fanatic, and constant dreamer. He's written nine novels, dozens of short stories, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of film articles and essays. His fiction has appeared in Dreamspinner Press, Mobius Magazine, and Wilde Oats Literary Journal. He is one half of the YA book blog Story Carnivores, where he reviews the latest in books and film. He is currently pursuing his MA in English at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is hard at work on his first New Adult novel, which will be released in November 2013.

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[REVIEW] Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went

Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: YA Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Series: sequel to If I Stay
Published: April 5th 2011 by Dutton Juvenile
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It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

WHERE SHE WENT is different from IF I STAY in a way that reading it didn’t feel like a punch in the gut. It was more like a steady dull ache in my chest that lingered all throughout the book. It wasn’t a sudden head-on collision with grief the way the first book had been. It was a methodical pain – constant and always present. Every page reeked of sadness that’s almost unbearable. There’s just so much regret, guilt, anger and loneliness in this book. Honestly, I almost put it down after skimming the first few pages and discovered that Adam and Mia weren’t together anymore. And boy, am I ever glad that I picked it up again and braved it to the end. 

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