Thursday, October 30, 2014

In My Mailbox 10-30-2014

I won both of these book. I tried reading Forbidden. Kind of not in the mood for any Hist Fic with Halloween a day away. Might finish it, might not.

Here are the recent books I have ordered:

I bought Waterfall by Lauren Kate at Target!

I bought this at Meijer:

I found these books at Goodwill. The Orbis one is signed.

More library books! Too many books!

On a non-book note, I bought the new Taylor Swift album!!! 

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Series: The Young Elites (bk. 1)

Genera(s): High Fantasy/Paranormal Romance/Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: magic, supernatural, abilities, superpowers, kingdoms, royalty,

Setting: A fantasy world, the island of Kenettra

POV/Tense: 1st peson POV, present tense: Adelina Amouteru, and 3rd person intermissions of other characters.

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 355 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Penguin: Putnam

Summary/ product description: “I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.”

My Review:  The Young Elite is a unique and interesting High Fantasy book set in a world reminiscent of renaissance era Venetian culture. There’s some Italian words used and lots of masks. A Madi Gras-like celebration (so maybe New Orleans-like too?). It’s been described as X-Men meets Assassin’s Creed 2 meets Game of Thrones. I love X-Men but I don’t play video games or watch HBO shows. I’d say it’s like Shatter Me meets Shadow & Bone. A blood fever has marked children and given some superpowers. It’s also a lot like Black Out by Robison Wells, or Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones. If you enjoyed any of those, then you’ll enjoy this.

Adelina is a complex character and very well thought out. She’s very flawed and interesting. She has a handicap: she only has one eye since her left eye had to be removed when she was four. Her hair is silver, flashing from gray to white depending of the lighting. Her father was horrible to her and nice to her younger sister. She’s got a lot of scars, both external and internal. She has a darkness and power within her and she discovers how to use with the help of other Young Elites.

The Dagger Society of Young Elites is a group of teens with abilities, led by the former crown prince, Enzo. His ability to control heat and fire has earned him the name Reaper and he’s feared. Any one who’s been marked by the blood fever is feared and called a malfetto. There are Young Elites with abilities like controlling the wind or animal. Adelina becomes friends with a male consort named Raffaele, who has bluish hair and 2 different colored eyes. All the characters are interesting and unique, but none as fully developed as Adelina since she is the only one we get a 1st person POV with.

There are plenty of twists. Unexpected ones and ones I suspected long before we found out. I enjoyed Adelina’s training. Her abilities aren’t what I expected, but we learned pretty early on what they were. It’s really cool how they develop over time and she can do more powerful thing that she thought. Another part I like were the stones that were used to see what emotions Adelina was aligned with. I collect gems and minerals, so I knew what they were. Some were made up and likely based off of real gems. I love Marie’s Pinterist board for The Young Elites.

Cover Art Review: I like the title with the dagger in it, but I feel like the background is missing something.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Series: Messenger of Fear (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Paranormal/Horror/Mystery

Subjects: supernatural, good vs. evil, apprentices, games, death, afterlife, fear, bullying

Setting: Carlsbad, California, and an alternate plan of existence

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Mara

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 260 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegan

Summary/ product description: “I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out…”

My Review:  I just speed through this book. Woah. Wow. I’m speechless. But one this I will say as that I so called that plot twist about Mara. Maybe you guys won’t see it coming, but I guessed it about 100 pages before we find out. I seem to be right about big plot twists all the time.

Anyways, what a cool book. It was so fast and different from Michael Grant’s other books. It’s about 200 pages less than all the other books I’ve read by him. I loved the Gone series because of its uniqueness and all the superpowers, but Messenger of Fear is written in 1st person and has a completely different tone. It has a dark kind of feeling and deals with real world issues of bullying with a side of paranormal. It’s the kind of book that a discussion group might want to read and I’d definitely recommend it to high shcoolers that need book for a reading project, but want something quick and exciting.

The whole idea of a Messenger of Fear seems unique. I think that the named Michael picked for his main character was apt since Mara is technically derived from the mythological creatures known as Nightmares, or mara. If you’ve read The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett or the Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent, then you’ve come across this creature in YA already. The Messenger of Fear is like a Reaper, angel, mara and judge all rolled into one. The Messenger was once human and Mara is his apprentice because of some deal she made. Mara has no memory of her life before she woke up in the mists. The Messenger slowly gives her back some memory.

The story unfolds by the Messenger showing Mara scenes from the life of the OCD girl named Samatha who commits suicide because of being bullied. The Messenger basically punishes bullies or those who cause death or pain and are aware of it yet don’t stop. There’s a lot more to the story. It such a short book, the plot manages to feel complete. I’m still glad that it’s a series. Can’t wait to see more of what happens.

One thing to add: I love that this book mentions the actual publisher HarperCollins and that the character was going to be published. That's so cool that Michael wrote that into the book. Only other book I know of that does that is Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. 

Cover Art Review: I love that the cover is metallic and blue. The smoke and lightning looks awesome.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 21 by Kass Morgan

Series: The Hundred (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: survival, re-colonization, space colonies, outer space

Setting: 300 years in the future, in a space colony called the Arc, and on the East Cost of what was the United States.

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, past tense. Rotating between Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass.

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 311 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Hachette: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.
It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries...or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.
In this pulse-pounding sequel to Kass Morgan's The 100, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. And the hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can -- together.

My Review:  Day 21 is the epic sequel to The 100. It’s full of action and survival and every bit as awesome as the CW TV show, though different. Many of the events that occurred in the book have not occurred on the show and can’t occur on the show. The books are exciting and fast paced where as the show drags some things out. In Day 21 the 100 just learned that there are other people on Earth still. They call them Earthborns (not Grounders). These people have been surviving underground and other surfaced decades ago. The 100 capture an Earthborn who’s a teenage girl. She claims to have not taken part in killing their friend, Asher.

Romance continues to develop between Clarke and Bellamy. I really prefer Bellamy in the book because he’s seems so much nicer, even if cocky. He’s got good, pure intentions. He just wants to protect and save Octavia and help the other by hunting for food. He’s got a bit of a temper, but he’s not manipulative like he seemed on the show. Clarke is a pretty confident character with her own issues. She’s keeping a secret from Bellamy. Wells develops a new relationship. Glass is still in the colony and dealing with the issues up there. The story also contains flashbacks. We get to see the characters’ pasts. There are also some interesting twist and secrets that we discover.

I can go on and on about the differences between the show and the books. Clarke’s mother on the show was still on the ship when she left, but in the book Clarke’s parents were “floated” already. Glass is not in the show at all. Wells is African-American on the show. Octavia is older on the show. There is no “Finn” character in the book like there is on the TV show. Compared to the changes from the Vampires books to TV show, the changes on the 100 are very minor. In my opinion, Finn and Clarke’s mom are the most plot wrecking changes. Kass Morgan has written a great dystopian series and it just had to be picked up before she even finished writing it. I love the books and it’s best to keep the storylines separate.

I recommend this series not only to those who like the TV show, or the Hunger Games, but if you liked books like: The Young World by Chris Weitz, All These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, or Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

Cover Art Review: They decided to make the cover like the TV show. The falling people look too much like people falling on 9-11. I like the landscape though.

The 100 is on Wednesday nights a 8:00PM CST (9 eastern) on the CW (WGN Channel 9 for people in the Chicagoland area)