Archive | September, 2013

Review: KILLER OF ENEMIES by Joseph Bruchac

Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones—people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human—and there was everyone else who served them.

Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets—genetically engineered monsters—turned on them and are now loose on the world.

Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun.

As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero.

For every book that excels, there’s another that falters. For every book that realizes its own potential and soars, there’s another that limps along like a gazelle with a busted femur. Killer of Enemies has an awesome premise. It’s a post-apocalyptic retelling of an old Apache legend about a hero who kills monsters. It’s a freaking awesome premise that boasts an amalgam of hot-button elements sure to delight a discerning reader. There’s a Native American female protagonist who’s adept with guns and knives, a legend with history that remains unfamiliar to the general public, really wicked monsters, and crazy-as-a-fox totalitarian leaders. Despite these elements, Killer of Enemies fell far short of my expectations. I’m going to attempt to explain what went wrong, so be prepared for some spoilers. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (26)

Rewind and review

Blog Posts You May Have Missed

  • Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  • Top 10 Tuesday: Best Sequels EVARRR!!
  • Crockpot Romances
  • Cover Love #38
  • Review: Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange

I was so pleased with how well you guys took to the crockpot romances post. Slow-burn relationship fans unite!

Stuff I Received

  • Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone + chocolate orange candy bars (from Rebekah @ Reflections of a Bookworm)
  • Auto-approval from HarperCollins on Edelweiss! (Which means a LOT of digital ARCs in the upcoming months.)

A big thanks this week to Rebekah and HarperCollins!

Miscellaneous Happenings

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Review: DEAD ENDS by Erin Jade Lange

Dane Washington is one suspension away from expulsion. In a high school full of “haves,” being a “have not” makes Dane feel like life is hurtling toward one big dead end. Billy D. spends his high school days in Special Ed and he’s not exactly a “have” himself. The biggest thing Billy’s missing? His dad. Billy is sure the riddles his father left in an atlas are really clues to finding him again and through a bizarre turn of events, he talks Dane into joining him on the search.

A bully and a boy with Down syndrome makes for an unlikely friendship, but together, they work through the clues, leading to unmarked towns and secrets of the past. But they’re all dead ends. Until the final clue . . . and a secret Billy shouldn’t have been keeping.

I first heard about Dead Ends while researching ARCs that I knew would be at BEA. I was intrigued by the idea of a bully and a Down Syndrome kid working together, but I was also nervous. It would be far too easy for the author to fall back on cliches and stereotypes to drive home a simplistic moral about bullying. Thankfully, Ms. Lange does no such thing. Continue Reading →

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Cover Love #38

Cover Love

It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because she thought he’d understand since he died young just like her sister, May, did. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people—Janis Joplin, Amy Winhouse, Ameilia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more—although she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about what it’s like going to a new school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time, how her family splinters apart after May dies. She even writes about the abuse she suffered—while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May, and to see her as the person she was: lovely and amazing and deeply flawed.

This cover is ridiculously pretty. I love the way the colors move from the dark night sky to something peaceful and pastel. I love the font, I love the placement of the girl, and I even love the way her skin fades so that her legs look dead. And what would you like to bet that the font is raised on a physical copy? It would be so pettable.

What do you think of this cover?

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Crockpot Romances

wait for it

I don’t know remember how the conversation started, but last month, Gillian, Molli, and I were bemoaning the state of romance in YA series. You must understand, nothing makes my book-loving heart happier than a proper romance. Many of the books that I love boast lovely romances that have sailed a thousand shipping hearts, but over the last year or so, I have noticed a disturbing trend.

In YA, the protagonist and love interest meet, become friends, and fall in love within the space of a book. This is fine if the book is a standalone, because the romantic arc mirrors the plot arc – beginning, rising action, climax, resolution. It’s all nice and neat and wrapped with a bow. However, in most series, the exact same arc happens in the first book. Continue Reading →

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Top 10 Tuesday: Best Sequels EVARRRR!

Once again, this was a tough week, mainly because I always come up with crazy stringent rules that narrow down my choices. In order for a sequel to qualify for this list, it cannot merely be as good as the book before it. It must be BETTER. I’m one of those people who often get lost in the wonder and discovery of first books, so very few series get BETTER than that initial contact. Still, I was able to find several, and boy are they wonderful. Continue Reading →

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Review: STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love superhero tales? It’s true. When it comes to movies, I’m generally more interested in the alter egos than the heroes themselves, but I love superpowers in my books. I haven’t read anything by Brandon Sanderson before, but when I heard Random House would be giving out copies of Steelheart at BEA, I made sure I was in line plenty early.

Steelheart is the second book I’ve read in the last month or so that focuses on the corrupting force superpowers can have on human nature. Some sort of red something (we aren’t told what) exploded in the sky when David was eight, turning ordinary humans into superpowered egomaniacs called Epics. The most invincible of these egomaniacs, Steelheart, sets himself up as the evil ruler of David’s hometown, Newcargo. In the process, he murders David’s father, as well as a bunch of other people, thereby sending the young boy spiraling into a life dedicated solely to avenging his father’s death. David, along with a group of human rebels with a cause known as the Reckoners, must take down one of the most powerful beings the Earth has ever faced. Sounds awesome, right?  However, Steelheart didn’t play out exactly as I expected. Continue Reading →

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Rewind & Review (25)

Rewind and review

Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

  • Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab
  • Top 10 Tuesday: Books on My Fall TBR List
  • Wishlist Wednesday #36
  • Bookish Superlatives

Okay, of those four, you REALLY should check out the review, because my oh my, THAT BOOK.

Stuff I Bought

  • United We Spy by Ally Carter

Stuff I Received

  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (from Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss)
  • 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil (from Ms. McNeil)

Muchas gracias to Balzer + Bray, Edelweiss, and Gretchen McNeil for my goodies!

Books I Read

  • Time Between Us by Tamera Ireland Stone (audio)
  • Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (currently rereading)
  • Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Miscellaneous Happenings

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Wishlist Wednesday #36

Hosted by Pen to Paper

Hosted by Pen to Paper

A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

I’ll admit that I’m less than excited about the love triangle part of this book, but otherwise it hits all my interest buttons. Sword-fighting girl? Check. Said girl disguises herself successfully as a boy? Check. Armies and sorcerers? Check. Kidnappings?! Check. Seeeeeecrets? Check check check.

I’m an easy mark as a reader when female-to-male cross-dressing comes into play (I blame my love of Mulan), but I also trust Scholastic. Over the last year, I’ve paid more attention to which books come from which publishers, and I’ve jived well with Scholastic. I trust them to give me a tale I’ll enjoy.

Does this book interest you? What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

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