Monday, April 22, 2013

Free Books!

SPECIAL NOTICE: 

I have too many books! Shelves and shelves full. So many that I'm having to shove them in an already packed closet...

My solution is this: If you join my blog, and if you comment on the book review with the book you want in it, YOU GET THE BOOK! FOR FREE!  

You email me your address, and I'll ship the book to you. As easy as that. I do request that after you receive a book, you wait 3 months before requesting another. Sometimes I get multiple copies of the same book, so just because you haven't claimed the first, there might be another!

Help me clear out some shelving and closet space! :) 



*Valid only in the United States and only for books reviewed PRIOR to publication. Other conditions may apply. But don't let that stop you! Start getting free books today!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review of THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey

I'm not even going to waste time on this review with a (supposedly) witty introduction.

I finished THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey. Visit Yancey's website here. And it was FABULOUS. Spectacular. Thrilling. Wild. Awesome. Supermegawonderificlyterrif. On Goodreads, I gave it 5 out of 5 stars and wished the scale went higher.

I haven't read a young adult sci-fi novel that was this good since Garth Nix's SHADE'S CHILDREN and Orson Scott Card's ENDER'S GAME. And those are classic.

But without any further ado, let me show you the cover and book trailer and give you the synopsis.



Synopsis:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Book Trailer:


***

Now that you know the gist of the story, let me tell you my thoughts.

THE 5TH WAVE is Putnam's answer to THE HUNGER GAMES, or at  least that's what I've been reading. Yancey got a fat advance for this book, and Putnam's launching a HUGE marketing campaign for this title, so you know they think it's going to be big.

I didn't go into the read with high hopes. I'd read another book of Yancey's, THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST, and I couldn't finish it because I got bored. But I was hooked on THE 5TH WAVE on the first page.

The way the book's written reminds me of T.M. Goeglein's book COLD FURY, which is told in a sort of diary form. However, Yancey switches POVs and even gives us insight into the enemy's head. The storyline reminds me of Stephanie Meyer's THE HOST, which I was reading concurrently, since I plan on seeing the movie this weekend.

You know the concept: Aliens aren't green monsters. They're like bodysnatchers, but they're more than that. They're not all bad, and that's what makes them so scary. I almost feel like Yancey looked at THE HOST and thought, I could do that so much better.

And he did (though I enjoyed THE HOST, too).

THE 5TH WAVE has a depressing, hopeless opening. The odds humanity will survive are 10000000000000 to 1. But I liked the main character, so I kept reading. I wish I could explain the rest of the plot to you, but YOU JUST HAVE TO READ IT. Why?

Because Yancey reams your mind.

You think you know where the story's going, but oops, no, you don't. You won't have a clue...

The only flaw I found in the 480 page epic is that sometimes Yancey's protagonist doesn't sound like a teenage girl. But hey, he's never been a teenager girl, and writing as the opposite sex can be a challenge. But don't let that stop you from enjoying the story. It didn't stop me.

The pub date for THE 5TH WAVE will go on sale May 7th, 2013. But don't wait that long! Pre-order a copy now! I guarentee this one's going to sell like hot cakes.

See you next week! I'll be reviewing THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED by Page Morgan. And as always, if you'd like to see a book reviewed, leave a comment below, and I'll get on it!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review of NATURAL BORN ANGEL by Scott Speer

Hi, readers! The weather is warming up in my part of the country, and I've been reading out on the deck.

And what have I been reading?

Last week I promised a review of the highly anticipated second book in the Immortal City series by Scott Speer, NATURAL BORN ANGEL. Visit Scott's website here.

While I wasn't a big fan of the book and found myself speed reading to get through it by the end, I know everyone's taste varies. I'll give my views on the book, but first, the synopsis and a sneak peek at the cover.





Synopsis:

Life turned upside down for Maddy Montgomery when she found out she was half-Angel and was catapulted into the scene of flashbulbs, paparazzi, and the fervent adulation that comes with being in the celebrity Angel world. She's trying to juggle her ordinary life—high school, family, friends—with the intense demands of being in the public eye as heartthrob Angel Jackson Godspeed's girlfriend.

And now Maddy must face the most difficult choice of her life. She's been offered the chance to become a Guardian. This means entering into dangerous and high stakes training, with no guarantee that she can succeed. But more than that, it would mean leaving her mortal life behind—forever—and allying with the Angels at a time when their relationship with humans is heading for war. . .


***

Now that you know what the book's about, here's why I didn't like it. 

I'm a writer and an editor primarily, a writer and editor who loves reading. Normally I'm pretty good at turning off my harsh inner critic when I'm reading others work for pleasure, but with this book I couldn't. Speer switches viewpoint continually without scene or chapter breaks. He tells the story rather than shows it. His characters feel wooden and underdeveloped and their motives and personalities seem as fluid as rushing water, so there's no sense of who they really are. The main character had no motivation or connection to the climatic events--Speer needed a completely separate viewpoint to carry that plot (which read more like an afterthought). And there was no climax!

No climax!

How can there be a book published by a reputable publisher in the 21st century where the book has no climax?

Just as the story started to get a little deeper, to gain a little conflict that went deeper than the superficial level, it ended! Speer really shortchanges readers, and for some reason, he's getting away with it.

The main character and her boytoys have no chance to spread their wings (literally) and actually do more than just talk, talk, talk.

So now you know why I disliked the book. Do I recommend it to others? Definitely not. You can skip this book as there are so many truly fabulous books coming out this year. 


For Speer's sake, I will say he does know the ends and outs of the "good life," the life of millionaires in sunny California. If you're more interested in pop culture, beauty contests, and petty teen problems than in real depth, then this book might be a fun read. But personally, even if that was what I looked for in a book, I still wouldn't be able to get past the fact that the book has no climax. 

NATURAL BORN ANGEL is all melodrama with no real tension or conflict. I regret to say I gave it 1 star out of 5 on Goodreads. And being a fellow author, I really hated to do that. 

But next week, look forward to a review of THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey. This book is Putnam's new HUNGER GAMES (or that's what pre-pub press is saying), so I can't wait to read it and get some feedback out there to everybody. 

See you next time! Enjoy this beautiful spring.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review of WHITE LINES by Jennifer Banash

Reading WHITE LINES helped me to blur my own set of lines in young adult book reviewing world. WHITE LINES by Jennifer Banash isn't a fantasy novel. It's the exact opposite. Banash takes a hard look at one teenager's reality in the 1980s. Learn more about Jennifer Banash and her book here.

Normally, this isn't the kind of book that I would pick up without knowing anything about it, but after I read the back cover, I couldn't wait to read it.

So what's WHITE LINES about? Are you curious what the cover looks like? Then read on, readers, read on.


Summary:

 A gritty, atmospheric coming of age tale set in 1980s New York City.

Seventeen-year-old Cat is living every teenager’s dream: she has her own apartment on the Lower East Side and at night she’s club kid royalty, guarding the velvet rope at some of the hottest clubs in the city. The night with its crazy, frenetic, high-inducing energy—the pulsing beat of the music, the radiant, joyful people and those seductive white lines that can ease all pain—is when Cat truly lives. But her daytime, when real life occurs, is more nightmare than dream. Having spent years suffering her mother’s emotional and physical abuse, and abandoned by her father, Cat is terrified and alone—unable to connect to anyone or anything. But when someone comes along who makes her want to truly live, she’ll need to summon the courage to confront her demons and take control of a life already spinning dangerously out of control.

Both poignant and raw, White Lines is a gripping tale and the reader won’t want to look away.


****
  
Now you know what cover to look for in the bookstore and a little bit about what the book's about. But should you buy it?

I say YES! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. 

Banash's writing style is clean--almost perfect. I never once tripped over a sentence or thought a page could have been shortened to a paragraph.

She writes in first person and not only is her first person viewpoint a convincing teenager's voice, but she's fun, likable, and even though she's going through a lot of tough stuff, she doesn't sit and wring her hands for 100 pages.

There's romance with a great guy, but not so much it overwhelms the story or becomes obsessive or unbelievable. The character has unique friends--some that you like, some that you don't like so much. But everyone has a sympathetic side. Sometimes you wonder who exactly is right and what path the main character should choose in the end.

The book deals with many gritty issues--child abuse, neglect, loss, death, drugs, sex, inappropriate relationships, and so much more. But it does so in a tactful, respectful way. This is a book that not only kids will like but so will parents, educators, and adult readers.

At a couple of points, I held my breath and almost cried. I smiled. I laughed. I rode the roller coaster ride with the main character and enjoyed every minute of it.

So get a copy! At any cost!

WHITE LINES will go on sale on April 4th of this year. And guess what? That's tomorrow!

Once you've read this great book, let me know your thoughts. And as always, if there's another book you'd like reviewed, leave a comment below. I'd be happy to add it to the list.

What's coming up next? NATURAL BORN ANGEL by Scott Speer.

I'll see you next week.