Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review of WHEN WE WAKE by Karen Healey

When's the last time you read a reeeallly good book? Honestly it hasn't been all that long for me because I'm a book addict and have to read a book a week or else I go into withdrawal.

But that's not the point!

The point is WHEN WE WAKE is an amazing YA read. WHEN WE WAKE is Karen Healey's third book. I haven't read GUARDIAN OF THE DEAD or THE SHATTERING, but you better believe that I will now. If you'd like to learn more about Healey, here's the link to her website.

So what's WHEN WE WAKE about? Take a look at a sneak peek at the cover and a short synopsis:


My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027–she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies–and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity–even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

***

Now that you have an idea of what WHEN WE WAKE is about, why exactly is it so great? 

Healey isn't your average YA author. She doesn't push unbelievable romance. She doesn't use unexplainable mystical elements to move the plot along. Healey's done her research. The world that she portrays in WHEN WE WAKE is one that could very easily become our reality...if we are foolish enough to let it happen. 

That means the world in WHEN WE WAKE is kind of terrifying. It's also a call to arms. I'm sure Healey means to inspire us with her story. She certainly did me. 

Not only is the world great and plausible, but you can't help loving the main character. Tegan is personable, likeable, rebellious, and smart. She's everything I love in a heroine without being over the top or unbelievable. She's not the best at everything she does, and she knows it. But when she's good at something, she's great. And in all her endeavors, she gives 100 percent. 

In truth, I didn't love the ending of the book because *Spoiler Alert* it didn't really feel like an ending. True, Tegan accomplishes something, but we never see what that accomplishment does toward changing this terrifying, sad world. We're left with the feeling that it's just not enough. 

Still, the characters, the world building, and the voice are enough to make this reader give her 4.5 out of 5 stars.

So when does WHEN WE WAKE come out? March 5th, 2013! So you don't have too long to wait...Less than a week, in fact.

***

Keep checking back for more reviews! I've got one of DC Pierson's CRAP KINGDOM coming up next Wednesday and after that it'll be 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma.

And as always, if you'd like to see a book reviewed, let me know, and I'll get my hands on it! Until next time.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

UPDATE ON THE FEBRUARY GIVEAWAY OF INVISIBILITY

I am a terrible, terrrrrible human being at this moment. I am going to have to put the INVISIBILITY giveaway on hold. Because I was in Maui for, like, a month. And therefore haven't been able to properly promote it.

So! The good news is that this book isn't due to release until May, so pushing the giveaway back won't deny any readers of this ARC.

I'm moving the giveaway to April. Yes, I know this is a long time away, but that way, we'll definitely have enough followers to make it happen (or so I'm REALLY hoping).

Enjoy the rest of February. I hope everybody had a great Valentine's Day, and I'll see you next week!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review of DUALED by Elsie Chapman

Still looking for new books from new authors in 2013? Then put DUALED by Elsie Chapman on the list. This is Chapman's first novel in an exciting dsytopian world called Kersh. You can visit Chapman's website here to learn more about DUALED (release date February 26th, 2013).

So what's DUALED about? Do I have a sample chapter lined up for you? Read on, readers, read on.


Plot Summary: You or your Alt? Only one will survive.
 
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.



I have to admit that when I first started this book, I was expecting the story to go in a COMPLETELY different direction. I like dystopian novels where the hero or heroine goes against the system. Be prepared; in this book, the main character plays into the gruesome, bloody system.  If you don't like reading about child killings, then this book isn't for you. More intense than HUNGER GAMES? In some ways, yes.

*SPOILER ALERT* Main character, West Grayer, both kills her Alt and becomes an assassin for hire. People she kills includes youngsters, like a girl wearing friendship bracelets. Does this make it hard to like Grayer? In my opinion, yes. Did I stop reading? No. I HAD to find out how far Grayer would go.

Now that I've finished the book and had a chance to mull it over, here are my thoughts: 1. Elsie Chapman did something different. And that's what all the publishers and readers are looking for. 2. She created a very unique (and very scary) world for her characters to live in. 3. She kept me turning the pages. Up until the very end, I was sure Grayer would find a way to beat the system, to start a rebellion--but hey, maybe that's the plot of book 2.

So if you're looking for something daring and different, and if you don't mind gore, then pick up a copy of DUALED. 

Have you read Chapman's first book? What are your thoughts on it? And as always, if you have an upcoming book that's not yet been published that you'd like me to review, please leave a comment. I'll do my best to track a copy down.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Interview with T. M. Goeglein--Author of COLD FURY


If you follow my Facebook page or Twitter, you probably know that today is a very exciting day. T. M. Goeglein, author of the best-selling young adult novel, COLD FURY, agreed to answer some questions that I posed to him. Ted is a great guy and a great writer! If you haven't had the opportunity to read his first novel, you should (in fact, visit his website HERE). And if you're an old fan, then enjoy this interview! 




1) You've published your first (and may I say, excellent) YA novel. How does it feel? In what ways has your life changed?

The best feeling is that the people I wrote COLD FURY for seem to like it. The YA audience is comprised of the smartest and most critical (in a good way) readers out there, so that means a lot to me.

I’ve always been a writer in one form or another – advertising, TV commercials, screenplays – so in that way, my life is somewhat the same. But now I’m creating stories that I love from the ground up, which makes all the difference in the world.

2) What inspired you to write COLD FURY? Are you secretly a mafia boss?...And would you admit it, if you were?

Second and third question first – no and yes. Or maybe yes and no. How about no and no?

My main inspiration came from living in Chicago; it’s impossible to exist here and not be aware of its venerable crime organization, the Outfit. Most people outside the city have heard of its most well known boss, Al Capone, and afterward they’ve heard very little. It interested me how deep underground the Outfit burrowed after Capone, who was a notorious publicity hound, went to jail. I found the power of its invisibility fascinating.

3) As a male, how does it feel to write from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old girl? Did you have a mantra or routine you'd follow to get into her voice?

Completely natural, and not because I’m channeling my inner sixteen-year-old girl, but because I have the life-long habit of regarding women as human beings. Sara Jane experiences fear and pain, and responds by running or fighting. She has been wronged and desires revenge. Those are universal reactions that have nothing to do with gender. Female or male, there are times when you have to kick some serious ass.

4) You use an amazing amount of research AND your own creativity in this book. How long did it take you to research the Chicago Outfit? And how long did it take you to come up with the innovative spins and twists that add an element of sci-fi/fantasy?

The research was cumulative, collected over years of being interested in the Outfit, so it was just sort of there, at my fingertips. The twists and the sci-fi element emerged while creating the plot; nothing exists in the story that doesn’t move it forward, quickly.

5) What does a typical day look like for you? How do you fit writing into your schedule?

I’m like a plumber or a street cleaner. I punch the clock at 8:00 a.m. and work until quitting time at a small, quiet office far from my wild, beautiful little kids.

6) Where can your readers go to connect with you?

Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook (Sara Jane Rispoli has her own presence in all of those places, too) and my website, tmgoeglein.com, where you can view all of the webisodes and the book trailer. Send me a tweet – I answer every single one!

7) What would you say is your favorite line in COLD FURY? (I know I have several.)

“This is not what I thought life would be like when I turned sweet sixteen.” It sort of encapsulates the whole story in one ironic statement.

8) What authors, books, or ideas influence you?

Elmore Leonard has been writing the purest, simplest crime fiction for fifty years, and J.D. Salinger had the ability to tap into a character’s consciousness so you feel what he or she felt; both authors have taught me more than I can say. I love movies of every vintage and genre, particularly those that take a simple premise and make it universal. Every person of every age should see Citizen Kane, Strangers on a Train, and The Third Man. Also, Adventure Time on Cartoon Network. Amazing.

9) What are you reading in 2013?

A lot of different stuff. The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins, a non-fiction history of Venice, and Lulu in Hollywood, a memoir by the actress Louise Brooks, to name a few. There are so many great books to read!

10) Lastly, there's a sample from COLD FURY 2 in the back of the COLD FURY hardcover...When can we expect to see the sequel hit the shelves? And where can we go for all the latest inside scoops on Sara Jane Rispoli?

The second book in the COLD FURY trilogy, FLICKER & BURN, will be published in August – check out my website for the cover reveal. And all the inside info and previews will come from Sara Jane herself, very soon, on my website and Twitter. She’s so damn tough and outspoken, I decided to let her speak for herself! 


How cool! Thanks again, Ted, for doing this interview. I can't wait for FLICKER AND BURN to come out. I've literally marked the date on my 2013 calendar. 


Do you have any questions or comments for Ted? If so, leave 'em here, and I'll make sure he sees them. I hope you enjoyed. Let me know if you have another author you're interested in hearing from next!