Sunday, September 29, 2013

YA Fandom Frenzy Event

Today was the YA Fandom Frenzy event at the Hotel Arista in Naperville. We did author speed dating, then a lightning round of question for the authors. Then we had lunch, which was pizza. After that there was this funny storytelling thing where the next person continues the story. After that, we played a game. We got into groups, which included authors too. My group had Michael Grant and Alex London in it. They had us guessing books, authors and other stuff. Then we got to get our books signed and there was a candy bar.

Meeting Demitria Lunetta, author of In The After

Author of Perk of Being a Wallflower, during speed dating

The lightning round of questions

Photo op!

The tables

Alex London, author of Proxy.

I bought Inhuman, and got the ARC for free!

Some autographs are below: 



Saturday, September 28, 2013

In My Mail Box 9-28-2013

1. Books I ordered from B& A Radiant Sky I am very excited for.

2. Unbreakable by Kami Garcia, bought at Meijer.

3. Library books!!!!

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Series: The Mortality Doctrine (bk. 1)
Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi
Subjects: virtual reality, video games, games, technology, futuristic,
Age/Grade Level: Teen/12 & up
Length: 323 pgs.
HC/PB: Hardcover
List Price: $18.99
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Summary/ product description: “An all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.
Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?
But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.
The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.”

My Review: This book was kind of mind blowing. It started out just fun and interesting and turned into a crazy thrill ride. The book is set in a world of virtual reality called VirtNet, and mainly in a game called LifeBlood. Michael, Sarah and Bryson are all gamers and hackers. They’re selected by VNS to find Kaine. Their search takes them deeper into the game than they’ve ever been before.
The characters didn’t seem completely developed because we didn’t get any background on their pasts, but that doesn’t matter because we didn’t get background in Maze Runner either. We did get their personality and a lot of humorous dialogue and banter. This book reminded me so much of Insignia by S.J. Kincaid, which has a similar trio of characters and virtual reality. Michael is the main character, and Sarah is kind of his love interest, but really they’re just friend because they never met in real life. Bryson is the funny friend who always does something ridiculous.
The world building was good. I loved the way virtual reality was used in this book. There’s just so much you can do with it. Anything goes really. It’s like magic, but it’s really technology and coding. You can enter different games and worlds, even fantasy one. It’s just so awesome, and so life like. It’s like the Matrix. It has just as much action. There’s a lot more adventure, though. I kind of made me think of the Percy Jackson series in a way. Instead of mythology, it’s virtual reality. Instead of a labyrinth, it’s the Path.
That ending! I so saw it coming (kind of). I KNEW IT!!! (I am amazing at guessing plot twists. There’s always a little foreshadowing by the author that gives it away.) It made me think of this movie, but I can’t remember what it was called. I have no idea how the next book, Rule of Thoughts will go, but I wish I had a copy now just to find out. I recommend this book to gamers, Matrix fans, and people who liked Insignia by S.J. Kincaid. Or if you just love sci-fi. It’s a really fast and fun read. Hope you all enjoy it.
Cover Art Review: Awesome cover. Love that it’s metallic and love the cool, crazy buildings that look like something out of Inception. I like that it all reflects, even the guy and the title.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Series: The Last Survivors/Life As We Knew It series (bk. 4)
Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi
Subjects: survival, natural disasters, post-apocalyptic, social classes, family, societies, Tennessee
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 288 pgs.
HC/PB: Hardcover
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: HMH: Harcourt
Summary/ product description: “The eagerly awaited addition to the series begun with the New York Times best-seller Life As We Knew It, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and the world changes forever.
It's been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?”

My Review: This book takes place about 3 years after the events of This World We Live In, and 4 after Life As We Knew It and The Dead And The Gone. It’s told from the 3rd person perspective of Jon, Miranda’s younger brother. There are a lot of events we missed out on in-between the 3rd book and this book. I think I would of preferred the 4th book to be set right after the 3rd book, and maybe this could have been book 5. I’m a bit disappointed.
This book is very different from the other three because the characters are all in Sexton, Tennessee living in or near an enclave. Clavers and Grubs. Jon’s a Claver because he has Julie pass (Alex’s sister, she died in book 3). Grubs are laborers. Clavers are kind of jerks to the grub. It seems kind of extreme that grub would be treated so poorly after only less that four years since the enclaves were set up. Can society really change so fast? I guess in order to survive they do what they have to, but why treat White Pines like it’s the wrong side of the tracks? It just seems to soon for these social classes to develop. Or maybe it’s just a Tennessee town folk thing.
I don’t like that this book is from John perspective. Living in Sexton has spoiled him and turned him to a bit of a jerk. He goes to the high school, and plays soccer. He doesn’t work hard or fight for survival like he did in Life As We Knew It. I miss Miranda’s perspective/diary. In this book she’s apparently married to Alex and pregnant. I know that didn’t happen in book 3, and I still hate that this is years later.
Despite all of that, this book wasn’t boring. The writing is good and descriptive. It all flows well. The world building is okay. It’s not as thrilling or scary as the 1st two books were. There aren’t any more natural disasters. The sun is still blocked out by ash, but thing have settled down. There’s a lot more focus on how society is surviving and getting along. There’s still sickness, and it’s kind of like they reverted back to the 1800s. But, they do have air purification systems in Claver homes, and they build greenhouses and have food. The world is far from perfect, but people are living.
There was a little bit of romance between Jon and a girl named Sarah, but not much. The book didn’t become truly exciting or thrilling until part three of the book. That’s when Jon leaves Sexton, but that’s all I’ll tell you. I really made up for the slowness of the first half. So, Life As We Knew It fans, hang in there!
I recommend this book and series if you liked Ashfall by Mike Mullin. Yellowstone did blow up because of the moon in this book series, so there were a lot of similar events. Also, if you liked The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, or any other dystopian book, really. I loved Life As We Knew It, so start with that book. I read it before I ever heard of the dystopian genera (I just called it post apocalyptic), back when it first came out. It’s a good book with great characters. The 2nd book has a different set of character, and the 3rd book merges both sets of characters. This book took those characters further into the future, and continued their story. There’s no doubt in my mind that there will be a 5th book.
Cover Art Review: I love the colors on this cover. There’s a moon on it like all the other books, and it’s embossed. The photo of the town looks kind of like an old black and white photograph. The resolution on it doesn’t look so great. But the cover overall is great.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Darkest Path by Jeff Hirsch

Release Date: September 24, 2013
Series: Standalone
Genera: Dystopia Sci-fi/Action Adventure
Subjects: military, war, dogs, survival
Age/Grade Level: Ages 12 and up/Teen
Length: 320 pgs.
HC/PB: Hardcover
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Summary/ product description: “USA TODAY bestselling author Jeff Hirsch once again creates a futuristic world with stunning, dramatic realism.
A civil war rages between the Glorious Path--a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier--and what's left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path's dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path's deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal's loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.”

My Review: This is probably my least favorite of the books written by this author. I did like the dog, but he didn’t play a big enough role later on in the story. This biggest issue with this book, that made it hard to read is that the text was set in a san serif typeface. Not a good thing for a book. I skimmed too much.
I did like the setting, and the fact that Cal traveled through Arizona, and other western states and all the way to the East coast. I love adventure, but most of this book fell flat. I didn’t really care much for the characters. I really wish that James chose to go with Cal. I wish Cal met Nat sooner. It was all very slow. The Eleventh Plague was a lot faster that this book. I also didn’t like the idea of a military religion. I was creative, and kind of like a cult, but didn’t work well. I feel like this was more of a 2nd civil war kind of book. The Glorious Path states were mostly in the south.
There was a lot of survival stuff, which I love, but nearly as descriptive as I like. I did think that Bear sounded cute. A small, tough dog he was. I really wanted to like this book since I won an ARC of it, but I mostly found myself skimming, hoping for something interesting to happen. I recommend this book to boys 12 and up. I think this is more of a boy book.
Cover Art Review: This cover reminds me of the 11th Plague’s cover. It is very dystopian looking. I love the back cover more, though. The dog and the destroyed car a awesome. The helicopter and burning house look cool too. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

In My Mailbox 9-21-2013

These are some recent books I got/bought. I rarely win ARCs, or get books in my mailbox.

1. The only ARC I got in the mail this week was The Darkest Path.

2. The Kill Order and After Daybreak I bought at Half Price Books

3. I found an autographed and personalized copy of Panic at Goodwill. I doubt I'll read it, but I don't know anyone named Hannah to give it to. I also got Pure (not shown) which also has a blue butterfly on it, and it's not really YA.

4. All Our Yesterdays, from Walmart for under $11. The Chaos of Stars I ordered from B&N.

5. Angelfall, which I read already, from Kmart. I saw it a bit cheaper at Meijer the next day. Antigoddess from Anderson's.

6. The feather shaped book mark, and autograph in Antigoddess.

7. Books from Meijers. Coldest was actually on sale for $11.

8. Library books!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: September 24, 2013
Series: Reckoners (bk. 1)
Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi
Subjects: super powers, abilities, supervillains, Chicago, Illinois
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 384 pgs.
HC/PB: Hardcover
List Price: $19.99
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Summary/ product description: “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.”

My Review: I loved this book. I was so sure I was going to be disappointed and bored just because the pages are so big with not very big type. Thank goodness this book was awesome. Probably the best all male POV I’ve read this year. The narration reminded me a lot of Percy Jackson, Daniel X or Ethan Wate of Beautiful Creatures. Humorous inner dialogue. Funny on going thoughts about bad metaphors. And David is a master of really funny bad metaphors.
I loved the setting. I’m from Chicagoland, so I love it when a book is set in my city. I can picture it so well. In this book the Chi town I know is very different. They call in Newcago. (Why not just New Chicago?) All the buildings have been turned to solid steel. All the glass, the roads, and even part of Lake Michigan because of Steelheart’s power. And also, the sky is always dark because of Nightweilder’s power. So I’m picturing Chicago as all silver gray and black. Stark and depressing at the same time. But there’s lanterns and electricity still.
This book may be set only about 15 years in the future, after Epics first appeared, but the city and world we know is so very different. And there were unfamiliar slag term. One was “Calamity.” It’s what they call the red star thing that appeared in the sky before Epics started appearing. There’s a slang word “slontze.” It’s made up and sounds like another word. It is not a real slang word used in Chicago. It does sound like a word that could’ve been used in an old gangster movie, though.
The Epics are people with superpowers. Pretty much all of them are selfish bad guys. There are no superheros. There’s only the Reckoner to fight back. And the Reckoner don’t have superpowers. They have technology, guns and their brains and wits. They only want to kill all the epics they can easily get by their weakness. They’re the good guys, but they are not superheros. They have some cool devices, like the tensors: gloves that can make holes in walls, turning steel into dust. It was awesome.
They are great characters though. Prof, Cody, Abraham, Megan and Nina are very well developed. I could picture them perfectly. Cody had the funniest personality. He’s a southern guy who talks about Scottish stuff a lot. It was very entertaining. Some of the best bantering dialogue I’ve ever read. David was confused by his humor sometimes, mostly because he never learned much about Scotland or other cultures.
The plot was amazing and fun. I read like a movie or TV show. Going out on missions, getting into bad situations. It felt like a cross between a 20s gangster movie, Xmen, and a dystopian dictatorship. I loved David’s bad metaphors and his “improvising.” He was a good actor atleast. Also, there was a little romance between Megan and David, but not nearly enough. They bantered about whether a rifle or handgun was better. They flirted a little. David thought he was in love, but knew it was probably just a crush. I was really mad at the end of part 3 of the book. WHY?!!! And then in part 4 near the end of the book I got a real surprise. There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t see coming. (Except the thing about Prof). The climax was crazy and well written. And the ending was great.
I loved this book. I recommend it to people who read superhero comic. If you’re a fan of Xmen, you like this. Also, if you liked YA books by James Patterson, like Daniel X or Witch & Wizard. If you like the superhero books by Michael Carroll. Also, the humor reminded me of Insignia by S.J. Kincaid. If you love/live in Chicagoland, I recommend this. Divergent fans! READ THIS! Everyone who loves YA Sci-fi or Dystopian, please read this. The book is made of awesome. It takes AWESOMENESS to EPIC proportions! I am just fan girling about this. I NEED BOOK 2, Fightfight! Now, or I’ll use my very epical powers to get it myself.  
Cover Art Review: I love this cover. It’s metallic and the title is embossed. It looks like ripped metal and makes me think of Man of Steel or Smallville. It says sci-fi superhuman book. It’s very relevant since pretty much all of Chicago was turned to steel because of Steelheart. I really wish the city was on the cover. It needs to be there. The cover looks almost like an adult book because the way the author’s name is so big at the top.