Sunday, March 30, 2014

In My Mailbox 3-30-2014

I won an ARC of The Here and Now.

I ordered Ruins from B&N, and Goddess Legacy I got at Savers.

I checked out these two.

Half Bad by Sally Green

Series: Half Life (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Paranormal/Fantasy

Subjects: witches, supernatural, magic, abilities, good vs. evil

Setting: The UK: England, Scotland and Wales

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Nathan. Sometimes also in 2nd person.

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 394 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Penguin: Viking

Summary/ product description: “Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy's struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can't read, can't write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You've been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you've got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.


My Review:  Half Bad is a bit different from all the paranormal books I have read. Usually a book would start out with the character as a teenager and usually stick to a certain POV. Well, Half Bad started in 2nd person for about 18 pages. Then the first person POV part had Nathan at age 11. It isn’t till part three of the book that he turn 16. About 150 pages into the book. The beginning felt a little middle grade-like rather than YA.

The book wasn’t bad. It was pretty interesting. I was expecting some alternate world where everyone knows witches exist, kind of like the Tantalize series where everybody know shifters exist. I was wrong. Regular people are called fains by the witches. The witches are a secret society. There are new rules about Half Code, those who are half Black/White witches or half fain. Nathan has to go to assessments so they can determine whether he’ll be a Black or White witch.

The book does have a brief bit of romance, but not enough to really matter. There’s some action. Fighting and trying to escape. The parts that were in 2nd person made me think of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. There’s a lot of broken grammar and lists and short chapters almost like poems. There’s also a lot of British slang and phrases that I’m not used to hearing as an American. I feel so sorry for Nathan. He’s dyslexic or just illiterate. He can draw really well, though. He seems depressed and neglected. He thinks he’ll be a Black witch.

The world building was pretty interesting. The Black and White witches seemed like a racism think, but it was really good vs. evil. You start to question whether White witches are actually good. Some of them are probably rotting on the inside, or wanting to kill just as much as a Black witch. All young witches has to receive 3 gift on their 17th birthday in order to get their one special ability what even it may be. I also enjoyed the setting. Most books set in the UK just stick to London, but this was the countryside. He was in Wales and Scotland also. It’s fun to imagine the misty, rainy environment there. It adds atmosphere.

I recommend this book if you like book like Harry Potter or Shatter Me. It’s not dystopian, but it kind of feels that way in certain parts. It’s mostly a just a British paranormal book filled with magic and interesting characters.

Cover Art Review: I love the cover because it’s metallic and the silhouette made of spreading blood really pops out. The title is a little hard to read because it’s orientation, but it’s a well designed cover and will appeal to not only teens, but adults as well.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cured by Bethany Wiggins

Series: Stung (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: post-apocalyptic, romance, survival, zombies

Setting: Denver, Colorado

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Jacqui (16-year-old female side character from previous book that pretended to be a 12-year-old boy)

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 311 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Summary/ product description: “Now that Fiona Tarsis and her twin brother, Jonah, are no longer beasts, they set out to find their mother, with the help of Bowen and a former neighbor, Jacqui. Heading for a safe settlement rumored to be in Wyoming, they plan to spread the cure along the way--until they are attacked by raiders. Luckily, they find a new ally in Kevin, who saves them and leads them to safety in his underground shelter. But the more they get to know Kevin, the more they suspect he has ties to the raiders. He also seems to know too many details about Jacqui and her family—details that could endanger them all. For the raiders will do anything they can to destroy the cure that would bring an end to their way of life. Bethany Wiggins’s reimagining of our world after an environmental catastrophe won’t fail to stun readers.”

My Review:  Cured is a dystopian retelling loosely based of Red-Riding Hood. Stung was a loose retelling of Sleepy Beauty. Cured as references other fairy tales and stories, but it deviates. Cured is a very unique dystopian novel, second book in the Stung series. I was a little confused going into it because I forgot whom Jacqui is, but I learned pretty early on that she was the side character girl in the previous book who is pretending to be a 12-year-old boy so raiders don’t take her away. Woman and girl are not safe in this world. There are also zombies known as Beasts who were infected by the Bee Flu Vaccination and want to kill.

Cured was a pretty fast read. It’s fast-paced and uncomplicated. Once you get into it, you won’t feel so confused. There’s survival and a hot romance. Jacqui is very independent and does a good impersonation of a pre-teen boy, but other than the necessary cross-dressing, she’s like any other teenage girl. She notices guys. Her and a character named Kevin develop a relationship. He’s able to see past the disguise somehow and think’s she’s beautiful no matter what.

Cured also has a few unexpected twists. Something about Kevin, and others about family members. There’s also something very unique about the female lead. Back when Jacqui was 14, she was very fat, possibly obese. Both her and her mom were not allowed in the walled city because of their health problem. Jacqui was able to overcome her weight through running on a treadmill. She’s lean as ever, but probably from the lack of food variety.

I love the setting in Cured. Denver, Colorado is a city I visited about ten years ago, but I remember how awesome it was. I love it when a book is set in a familiar city or area. I love the mountains and foothills. It’s such a beautiful place.

I you haven’t read Stung or Cured, I recommend them to fans of dystopian books. It has some of the elements of post-apocalyptic/zombie dystopian books you are familiar with, but they are unique enough to pick you from a reading slump. If you liked books like Under The Never Sky or Rot & Ruin, then give it a try.

Cover Art Review: Very interesting cover. Not as good as the 1st book’s cover, which has a rainbow effect on the bee’s wings. I do like the neon green beaker with the bee in it, but the bee is creepy. I think it's actually a horse fly.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Series: Dorothy Must Die (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Subjects: magic, adventure, retellings, witches, wizards, fairy tales

Setting: Present Day Kansas, and then Oz

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Amy Gumm

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 452 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!”

My Review:  Dorothy Must Die is and exciting and unique retelling. It centers around the character Amy Gumm, who’s just a normal, snarky girl from modern day Kansas. She’s teased at school for living in a trailer with her mom. Her and her trailer are swept up in a tornado and she lands in Oz. She has the same kind of beginning as Dorothy, but she’s so very different. Dorothy came back to Oz only two years after she left. You can read her story in the novella called No Place Like Oz.

Dorothy has been twisted by the magic of ruby red high heels. She’s ruling Oz like a tyrant queen. She has a lot of horrible laws and punishments and Amy finds this out shortly after she arrives. Later on Amy meets a group of Witches that call themselves the Order. They consider themselves wicked because Dorothy, who’s assisted by Glinda, considers themselves good. She by being against Dorothy, they are Wicked. The lines between Good and Wicked are blurred.
Amy learns a lot from these Witches. They want her to kills Dorothy, who’s hoarding Oz’s magic. The witches want Oz to be what it once was.

I did not know what to expect when I first heard of this book. I wasn’t expecting it to be as amazing as it turned out. My first impression was that it was going to be a retelling and that maybe it was set sometime in the past. When I started reading I was happy that the narrator was a modern girl and that her voice was so snarky and a little angry. She’s a bit of a rebel and not sweet. Amy is able to channel her anger into a powerful magic.

There’s some brief romance in this book, but it’s definitely going to build. I didn’t realize this was a series when I read it. There’s a hot warlock/wizard named Nox. He helps train Amy along with the other witches. I like a lot of the characters. Nox, as well as Gert and even Glamora. Ollie also. Ozma who was in the novella prequel, is not herself, but kind of funny.

My favorite part in the book was when Amy had to impersonate a maid, and also the training scenes with Nox. There’s a lot of action too. More than I expected. There’s references to the Wizard of Oz book and movie and there’s even characters a creature that we’d expect. There’s even fairies. The story’s full of magic and all kinds of crazy strange stuff. For some reason the book had a dystopian feel. A post-apocalyptic fantasyland ruled and ruined by Dorothy.

Dorothy Must Die lives up to the hype and will leave you dying for more. It’s not the Dorothy you know. It’s bloody, action packed and fun. I also just heard it might become a TV show on the CW!!!! If you like shows like Once Upon A Time or other retellings, you'll love this.

Cover Art Review: Minimalist vector based cover. Like the use of texture. I like the title and the hand rendered word DIE.