Monday, January 31, 2011

The Snow Queen

Aleksia is the Snow Queen and a fairy godmother. Her job is to nudge (or bludgeon depending on how stubborn someone is) the inhabitants in her area so their respective fairy tale paths will end in happiness and prosperity instead of carnage and possibly death. The Tradition is an amorphous power that emanates throughout the land that influences people in a path that is seen time and time again in folk and fairy tales. Aleksia must work with this power to ensure happy fairy tale endings. She lives in an ice palace far from everyone and feels very lonely. She has never been involved in any sort of adventure before and longs for more human contact. One day, Aleksia hears rumors of a witch impersonating her and destroying whole villages with her magic. In order to save her own reputation and the lives of her imposter's victims, she must embark on an adventure of her own. Unlike the people she observes, she has no idea where the Tradition will lead her.

This is the fourth book in the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series and I still can't wait to see more. I love this world where fairy tale characters are a part of everyday life. In many traditional fairy tales, women just sit, wait for a handsome prince to come rescue them, and look pretty. There are very few tales where a female character be active and try to solve her own problem. This world features a plethora of strong, driven women who aren't afraid to go on adventures of their own. It's a theme that goes through all of the books in one way or another and I really like this feminist updating of fairy tales. In this book, not only does Aleksia fight to overthrow her imposter, but a young woman named Kaari goes on a quest to rescue her love from the imposter snow queen. Mercedes Lackey is making fairy tales relevant to our time by making changes to them, just as the Brothers Grimm did in their time.

Even though I really like Aleksia and the world she inhabits, this is still my least favorite of this series. The pacing feels really strange. There would be long drawn out and unnecessary scenes of Aleksia hunting as an animal or inessential drama in the Sammi village. The major problem of the novel isn't even addressed until the last 20 pages. It felt incredibly rushed and tacked on. The same goes for Aleksia's romance. There was really no chemistry or tension or even remote interest between the two characters until the very last page of the book. There just seemed to be no reason for it to be there at all. Editing errors were present throughout the narrative. The most glaringly obvious ones were conflicting descriptions of characters. There was also one chapter that literally ended midsentence. I had never seen anything like it and I wondered how something like this could escape an editor. I contacted the book publisher and they sent me a hardcover version which did include the missing page. The paperback seems to be the only version with this problem.

Overall, the plot and numerous editing problems really disappointed me, but the characters and the universe were still interesting as with the previous books in the series. I hope the next in the series, The Sleeping Beauty, will be a decided improvement over this one.

My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Slice of Cherry

Kit and Fancy Cordelle aren't like other girls their age. They are the only offspring of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, who is currently on death row. Ostracized by their classmates and neighbors, Kit and Fancy don't let this ruin their fun as they spend most of their time together committing horrific acts of violence. Kit fully embraces her dark side, but Fancy is more reluctant because she doesn't want to end up like her father. When she is guided to a way where evidence won't be a problem by one of her ancestors, Fancy and her sister are free to indulge in whatever dark fantasies they choose. Instead of going around killing people randomly, they put the word out that they want to kill people who deserve it and they get quite a few offers. Things seem to be going wonderfully until Kit falls in love with Gabriel Turner. She now wants to spend all her time with him and continually rejects Fancy. Fancy wants everything to stay the same and resists any sort of change vehemently, especially when Gabriel's brother, Ilan, starts to show interest in her. Can she get Kit to see the error of her ways or will she just have to be used to being alone?

I was first introduced to Dia Reeves' work with Bleeding Violet and I unexpectedly loved it. I've been wanting to read Slice of Cherry since I heard about it and I devoured it in about a day. I would rank it just a little below its predecessor. I absolutely love the town Portero and its odd, quirky inhabitants. They see strange things every day, from monsters to dismembered people in the street. Needless to say, it takes a lot to shock a Porterene. Dia Reeves creates a world unlike any other I have ever seen. The mixture of horror and fantasy is both seamless and utterly harmonious. There are real life horrors, like serial killers and sociopaths, juxtaposed with fantastical ones and they blend very well together. The horrific actions of the sisters don't really seem out of place in a world where people on a regular basis get lost behind magic doors or eaten and tortured by monsters. When word gets out about their twisted good deeds, their neighbors actually start treating them as heroes rather than ostracizing them as they had before. Each chapter is followed by an entry from Fancy's dream diary, which inevitably contains something more twisted and dark than happens in reality. This adds an extra layer of psychological horror and gives the reader a peek into Fancy's psyche.

Although there are two main characters, Fancy is the most prominently featured one. At the beginning of the novel, I had trouble differentiating between the two sisters because they were so much alike. As the novel goes on, Kit starts to create her own identity, with her own hobbies and activities, and embraces her journey to adulthood. This angers Fancy and she tries as hard as she can to create a stasis around her, including wearing her outgrown, childish clothes to resist her growth into a woman. I related to both Fancy and Kit at different points in the novel. I find it a great feat of writing that Dia Reeves can make two such unapologetic murderers into relatable, sympathetic characters. Fancy's frustrations and her relationship with her sister remind me of the horror film Ginger Snaps, where Ginger is developing into a woman and Brigitte tries to stop her sister's seemingly horrific change into an unrecognizable monster. Fancy feels a void inside of herself, which she tries to fill with murder and mayhem, but she still feels empty and despondent. The emptiness stems from her resisting the flow of time, life, and love and the loss of her sister.

Slice of Cherry is a wonderful novel chock full of dark and twisted goodness. Be warned that there is graphic violence and torture throughout. If you are sickened easily or have a weak constitution, this book is definitely not for you. For all of you others that revel in such madness, enjoy.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

Thursday, January 20, 2011


"Seventy years ago, science perfected the art of children."* Through genetic engineering, the new generation of children was practically impervious to disease. This new development caused people to stop naturally having children since these genetically modified ones were sure to be protected from disease. The first generation was the perfect picture of health. The next generation and all the others in the future had a limited lifespan (25 for men, 20 for women) because of a strange, incurable virus. Rhine's parents were trying to find a cure in their lab when they were killed. Civilization had broken down: girls were being picked up off the street; orphans were dying of exposure and starvation; and Rhine and her twin brother were struggling to survive alone. Rhine went to donate bone marrow for some much needed money, but it was a ruse. She was captured by Gatherers and sold to a rich man, Linden Ashby, as one of his three new wives. The mansion they live in was beautiful, but just a gilded cage to escape for Rhine. She had to play along for a while to gain the trust of her ersatz husband and gain enough freedom to successfully escape. It's essential to keep under the radar of Linden's father, who is very creepy and won't hesitate to neutralize any problem. Can Rhine escape and lead the life she wants?

Dystopian novels have always had a way of catching my attention and not letting go until I finish the book. Wither was no different. I didn't really know what to expect because I didn't know much about the book except that the cover is beautiful. In this case, the inside matched the outside. I loved how the story just immersed the reader in the world and took the time for explanations and flashbacks in small doses throughout the novel. I also felt like the concept was both believable and chilling. I couldn't imagine growing up thinking that I would die at 20. I could definitely see the breakdown of society in the face of such a devastating virus that afflicts most of the population. There were two factions in this new society: those that want to find a cure and those that think mankind is doomed. The latter group tend to bomb laboratories to prevent the cure of the disease. I would have liked to see what was happening internationally and outside of the immediate community, but Rhine was very isolated both . I think there might be the possibility for an expanded view of the world in the next book.

Rhine was an easy character to like. Her narrative was flowing and All she wants is a normal life, but she was captured and forced against her will to marry a guy with two other girls. With such a short lifespan, the teenagers of this era had to grow up very fast. I like that Lauren DeStefano didn't shy away from uncomfortable topics that come up. I was surprised that such a mature topic would be featured so prominently in a teen book, but I commend her for it. The dynamic between the three wives is compelling and at first, there was competition and jealousy. As they grew closer together, they became friends. Rhine had to put her personal feelings about Linden aside and pretend to be the perfect wife. Her choice was between a rich, but sheltered, life with a man she doesn't love or go into the unknown and run away far from where she grew up to possibly achieve happiness before she dies.

I really liked Wither. The only problem I had with it was that the ending seemed to easy and convenient. I will definitely be reading the second book. I would recommend this book to fans of other speculative and dystopic fiction.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

***Wither will be released 3/22 and you can pre-order it here.***

* from page 8 of the ARC edition of Wither

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Great Genre Reader Questionnaire

I stole this from Gail Carriger's blog. I invite other genre readers to fill this out too!

  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror? All of them! They are my three great literary loves. What's not to like in them? Plus they frequently cross over.
  • Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback or eBook? Hardback, all the way. They are nice, durable, and last so much longer than paperbacks. I like eBooks, but since they aren't all out in the open, sometimes I just forget about them.
  • Heinlein or Asimov? Asimov. Robots over mechs.
  • Hitchhiker or Discworld? Discworld! They are a billion more books to explore, along with different series. The world is so much more involved, but I still like Douglas Adams.
  • Bookmark or Dogear? Bookmark. I like to keep my books in pristine condition.
  • Magazine: Asimov's Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction? I haven't read either.
  • Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or random? Well, I'm forced to organize randomly now because of lack of space, but I would love to organize my book by author.
  • Keep, Throw Away, or Sell? If I like it, I keep it. If I didn't like it, I give it away to friends or my sister's library.
  • Short story or novel? I prefer novels because short stories tend to come in anthologies and I feel pressured to read all of them at once.
  • Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Lemony Snicket.
  • Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? When tired.
  • Buy or Borrow? Usually buy.
  • Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation, or Browse? A combination of all three
  • Lewis or Tolkien? Tolkien. Lewis is a little preachy for me.
  • Hard SF or Space Opera? Space opera.
  • Collection or Anthology? Anthology.
  • Hugo or Nebula? either one
  • Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Tidy ending.
  • Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading? all of the above
  • Standalone or Series? I like both, but series can disappoint over time and standalones are good or bad in the moment,
  • Urban fantasy or high fantasy? Urban fantasy. High fantasy tends to bore me, with the exception of The Lord of the Rings series.
  • Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Evolution's Darling by Scott Westerfeld
  • Top 3 favorite genre books read within the last few years? Butcher Bird by Richard Kadrey, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan
  • Top 5 favorite genre books of all time? The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, Feed by Mira Grant, Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Fortune's Fool by Merecedes Lackey, Old Man's War by John Scalzi
  • Top 5 favorite genre series? The 500 Kingdoms series by Merecedes Lackey, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, The Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris, The Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mockingjay: The Final Book of the Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen is recovering from her escape from the latest Hunger Games, which required the winners of the previous Games to participate. The rebels came in and rescued her and Finnick Odair from the breached dome, leaving the other tributes in the clutches of President Snow. President Coin of District 13 wants Katniss to become the face of the revolution. She has already gained fame from the Games and the tour following it. This could be instrumental in the downfall of the Capitol and President Snow. After negotiating freedom for the captured tributes and the privilege of killing Snow herself, Katniss reluctantly agrees. She doesn't realize until later that being such a symbol costs her more than she bargained for. She has to decide how much of herself and her loved ones she is willing to sacrifice for this cause. As time goes on, a beaten and defeated Peeta is paraded in the media as Katniss becomes a stronger driving force for the rebels. How long can Katniss focus on her goal when Peeta is obviously suffering? Will she survive long enough to see the rebellion to the end?

I was disappointed to read Catching Fire so soon after it came out because I had to wait so long to read the last book. I finally got to read it recently and I was very pleased with it. It had its flaws along the way, but overall it was a satisfying and realistic end to the trilogy. The thing that is prominently featured in this book is war. In the other books, there were the actual games, which were like a tiny microcosm version of a war, in the first book and in the second book it was all about media exposure and how to appear in the public. The third book is a combination of the first two. The actual war shown in the novel is much more bleak and realistic than the carefully controlled atmosphere of the Games. It's a necessary evil in this book because you can't hope to change anything major in that society without it. The power of the media figures strongly as well as in previous books. Her position as a symbol for the rebellion helps other rebels and has a strong effect on the public at large. It also shows that her position hasn't really changed all that much from the beginning. She's still a pawn for someone to move around and use for their advantage. Katniss has to decide whether or not it's worth it to be under the control of the rebels or under that of the capitol. This is a realistic view that any governing power is going to have its problems and corruption because it's run by humans.

The characters we have to come to know are very much changed in this book. They have all been forced to grow up at a young age and when someone witnesses such awful things, they can't help but be changed. If they had stayed the same, I would call it bad writing because it would just be unrealistic. Katniss is still the kick-ass heroine, but she is injured and scarred, physically and mentally. She is weakened and does act uncharacteristically while hiding in closets and running scared. I think the "uncharacteristic" behavior is a symptom of war and happens to real soldiers, as seen with things like PTSD. Her hero journey comes at a price. When she's finished with the war, assuming she survives, how is she going to move on with her life? She has to pick up the shattered pieces of herself and find a way to move on. This is one of the most realistic aspects of the book and many don't like it, but I think it makes the book go from good to excellent. Although it's still on Katniss' mind, the love triangle between Gale, Katniss, and Peeta is pushed to the background and rightfully so. With so many people's lives on the line, why would one girl's romantic antics take precedence?

The one aspect of the novel that I didn't like was that a certain character was thrown under the proverbial bus, making Katniss' romantic choice very easy. Other than that, the book was excellent. The realistic and depressing angle the book goes in shatters any hope of any idyllic happy ending Katniss might have had. It makes reading the novel exciting because you never know what's going to happen. I've read a great many reviews where the writer complains about how depressing, horrible, and disturbing this book is. Just because it's a YA novel doesn't mean that it has to be all rainbows and glitter all the time. Deal with it or don't read it. So, if you liked the previous Hunger Games books and aren't afraid of a little bleakness, I would encourage you to read this. If not, you can go read something with rainbows, unicorns, and possibly some glittery vampires.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Huckleberry Finn: New and Improved?

Apparently, Mark Twain's classic, Huckleberry Finn, is considered too offensive by some and needs to be edited to take out the racial slurs that are used extensively to sugar coat and sanitize for everyone's benefit. I understand that there are some that think that this will make the novel easier for some to read, and therefore be more accessible, but I think it dumbs down the message.

The book is the product of the time it was written: just after the Civil War when there was rampant racism, lynchings, and segregation. Even though the language used is offensive and racist, the intent of the book is to refute racism, not promote it. The larger message of the story is that Huck didn't just judge Jim by the racist stereotypes that were typical of the time, but saw him as a regular person. To edit this text is to gloss over something horrible that did happen in the United States' past and act like it didn't exist because it makes people uncomfortable. I think if readers can't see past a few offensive words to see the greater meaning of this classic work of literature, then they aren't ready to read it. Plus, this isn't a children's book, as it is marketed as sometimes.

I know that there are many other editions that have the work in its entirety; and it's in the public domain so technically anyone could do anything to it if they so chose. However, I think that people need to stand up for the integrity of the literature. I personally won't be buying this edited edition and I hope this won't be a financially successful endeavor for that publisher.

What do you guys think? Is it just a more modern updating of the text or do you consider it censorship?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Once Upon a Book Signing

This is a new meme from Once Upon a Twilight and I thought it would be fun. I've been to a lot of book signings and most of them happened before I even had a blog. This is my opportunity to share one really memorable one. I'm picking Neil Gaiman's book signing on his tour for The Graveyard Book.

The event was at an auditorium in a middle school in Santa Monica and set up by Barnes and Noble. My boyfriend and I showed up really early and were only the second people in line to go in. We waited for about an hour and were finally greeted by the strains of Camille Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre and a mock-Vincent Price announcer to introduce Mr. Gaiman. He was incredibly witty and made me laugh a lot. Everyone filled out one question to ask and he chose a few to answer in front of the audience. My particular day isn't posted on the website, but an audience member caught one question on tape where he is compared to a swallow.

Afterwards, Neil Gaiman told us about the poem he made for Tori Amos when she was pregnant called the Blueberry Girl. He recited it to us and I taped it with my camera. Sorry in advance for the shakiness.

After that, he read an excerpt from the Graveyard Book. At each stop on his book tour, he read one chapter, except for mine and the one afterwards because Chapter 7 is very long. All of his readings are available on his website, so you can listen to the book for free and with an awesome reader. Neil Gaiman is an incredible speaker and author. I didn't even realize how long he spoke, but according to the video it's over an hour. When we left, I had sworn I had seen a film because the descriptions were so vivid. I was lucky enough to be in the group that had a half chapter read that ends on a cliffhanger. If you don't listen to the whole thing, just fast forward to the end and you can hear the funny sound everyone made at the conclusion of the reading. It was a mixture of agony, amusement, and delight.

Then, we were shown a sneak peak and a trailer for his upcoming movie, Coraline. If you haven't seen this movie yet, you should. It's directed by Henry Selick, the man who directed my favorite movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

After everything was over, my boyfriend snuck me backstage. I knew we weren't supposed to be there, but there was a line of people waiting to talk to him. I tried to look nonchalant and like I belonged there. When it was finally our turn, I handed him my sister's copy of Good Omens (previously signed by Terry Pratchett) and asked if he would sign it because my librarian sister couldn't make it. He was very nice and let us stay there even though he could have easily told us to leave. He personalized my copy of the Graveyard Book and gave me a hug. It was probably the most awesome author even I've ever been to.

How about you guys? Have you been to a super awesome author event that you'd like to share? If you make your own post, please link it back here so I can see it. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Nora has been through a lot. People have tried to kill her and her boyfriend Patch went from fallen angel to her personal guardian angel. One would think that after almost being killed things can only get better, but this proves to be false. Patch is becoming more distant from her and Nora doesn't know why. He seems to be getting closer to her ultimate enemy Marcie Millar, but the reason is unclear. On top of all of this, visions of her father's murder plague Nora's sleep. She delves into the mystery by herself because Patch pretty much abandons her. Things get complicated further when Scott, Nora's childhood neighbor, returns and Nora's mom wants to play matchmaker. There's something creepy and menacing about Scott and he may be mixed up in they mystery surrounded her father's murder. Can Nora sort out who she can trust before it's too late?

I wasn't a huge fan of Hush, Hush, but I thought it had some potential and decided to give the second one a chance. It was worse than the first one. The pacing is on par with the first, which isn't good. The plot just meanders around, almost nonsensically, until the big reveal at the end with not much leading up to it. I was hoping this would improve.

Unlike the first novel, I actually found Nora unlikeable. She was annoying, whiny, and just grating. The way she deals with Patch's distancing is completely childish, immature, and flat out vindictive. Instead of asking direct questions and having a semi-mature conversation, she goes off in a huff, tries dating another guy, and just makes things worse. When Patch explains the distance, her reaction is even worse. I spent most of the novel rolling my eyes at her. The entire first book was about if Patch was a good guy or a bad guy and if he was a homicidal maniac or not. I thought the plot would at least be a little different, but she goes through the same doubts and thought processes as before, except this time slutty Marcie Millar is thrown into the mix. Nora's behavior in general seemed much more emotionally erratic and out of character. I get that teenage girls are emotional, but this is a little extreme. And even though it was briefly mentioned in the first book that Nora played the cello and liked baroque music, the only appearance of said instrument happened when Nora hid something in the case. Why bother even mentioning it?

The supporting characters aren't really much better. Vee is unfortunately still in this book. She manages to get Nora into more trouble with her stupid schemes. Nora seriously needs to get some new friends. She's just a two dimensional character to provide a foil for Nora. All she cares about is food and having "fun," which usually translates into getting Nora into some sort of trouble. Patch was a little bit better than the first book. The big problem was that so much of the book could have been skipped if he had just told Nora the truth. Other than that he was the typical tough guy/ bad boy that broods in a corner, kind of like a less awesome version of Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The sequel to Hush, Hush was largely a disappointment. Many problems from the first novel recurred unnecessarily and Nora became an annoying shrew. If you really liked the first one, you might like this one. I'm still planning to read the third book just to see what happens, but I will be getting it from the library.

My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

YA Series Challenge

I'm joining my second challenge of the new year. I personally have a lot of YA series to read, so this challenge is the kick in my pants to get started. It's hosted by Stalking the Bookshelves and I Eat Words, so head over to one of their blogs if you would like to join in! I've decided to try the 6th level which requires me to read 23-30 books. I may as well aim high! Here is a list of series I would like to finish or start:


Hush, Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

The Demon series by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

To read:

Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
* Blood Promise
* Spirit Bound
* Last Sacrifice

Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine
* Glass Houses
* The Dead Girls' Dance

Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent
* My Soul to Take

Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater
* Linger
* Forever

Study Series by Maria Snyder
* Poison Study

John Cleaver series by Dan Wells
* Mr. Monster
* I Don't Want to Kill You

The Pixie series by Carrie Jones
* Entice

House of Night by P.C. Cast
* Marked

The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan
* The Dark and Hollow Places

The Demon series by Sarah Rees Brennan
* The Demon's Covenant
* The Demon's Surrender

The Evernight series by Claudia Gray
* Hourglass

The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld
* Leviathan
* Behemoth
* Goliath

The Last Vampire series by Christopher Pike
* The Last Vampire

The Devouring Series by Simon Holt
* Fearscape

The Night World series by L.J. Smith
* Night World Vol. 3
* Strange Fate
The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith
* The Return: Nightfall

So if I read all of these books, I'll be done with the challenge. Hopefully I can do it! *cheers for myself* I'll be linking my reviews here as I read each book. Is there any series that you guys like that I should read or that you are going to read yourself?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Wishlist: YA Fantasy

Here are some awesome books that I really, really can't wait for! Some are already out and some are upcoming releases.

1) Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Summary from Amazon:

"Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't."

I know I've already read and reviewed this book, but I would really love to have a finished copy. Mainly because the cover is more awesome than the ARC cover that I have; I'd like to see if anything changed from the ARC to the finished copy; and I want to monetarily support authors that I enjoy so they will be able to continue writing.

2) Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
Summary from Amazon:

"Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities…."

A while ago, I read Bleeding Violet and I absolutely loved it. It was a very dark book for being YA and I was incredibly impressed. Slice of Cherry isn't a direct sequel, but it takes place in the same twisted town of Portero, Texas. This time, homicidal sisters Fancy and Kit are the main characters seeking to find a world where they can kill and not get caught. Doesn't that sound awesome? They kind of remind me of Ginger and Brigitte from Ginger Snaps, which is one of my favorite movies.

3) Red Glove by Holly Black
Very, very short summary from Amazon.

"The cons get twistier and the stakes get higher in Red Glove, the sequel to White Cat."

One of my favorite books of last year was White Cat by Holly Black. She created this unique world that is fantastical, but gritty and realistic. It was easily one of the best fantasy books I've read in general. I seriously can't wait for this book, even if I am underwhelmed by the cover. It's set to come out in April.

4) Boyfriend from Hell by E. Van Lowe

Summary from E's blog.

"...Boyfriend From Hell, is about a boyfriend from hell--literally. It's a YA paranormal like Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, but I've cut back on the comedy a bit in this one. It's the story of Megan Barnett, the fifteen year-old daughter of a 39 year-old single mom, Suze. When Suze decides it's time she had a man in her life, Megan is not happy. With good reason:

'First off, if anyone in my family should be dating, it should be me. I'm primo dating age here. How's it going to look if my mother has a boyfriend and I don't?' So Megan and Suze both set out to meet boyfriends. That's when all hell breaks loose."

E. Van Lowe posted about his upcoming book on his blog just a few days ago. I read Never Slow Dance with a Zombie and I really loved it. This one sounds intriguing, plus E will be bringing his readers along the journey to publication with this novel, including a contest to choose the cover art. I'm so excited! Follow E's blog for upcoming developments on his book. It's set to come out September 2011.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Deliria amor nervosa, also known as love, used to be revered by mankind and embraced. It was something to be proud of, something to attain. Now, deliria is eradicated from citizens as soon as safely possible: shortly after the eighteenth birthday. This devastating disease can be harmful both if you have it and if you don't. Anything that can promote this disease is removed and considered harmful. Lena can't wait until her procedure in just over three months. Her mother was incurable and chose to kill herself after her husband died instead of enduring the procedure again and again to rid herself of the love she feels. Lena feels she is always under scrutiny because of her mother's choices and wants to be just like everyone else. Everyone her age undergoes an evaluation to match you with a partner to get married and have children. On the day of her evaluation, Invalids, people who want to live with love, release cows into the building and she catches a glimpse of an attractive boy who laughs at the situation. He is cured, so it's safe to be around him, but Lena starts to change as she spends time with him. Is she falling in love so close to her procedure? Is she turning out just like her mother? Does she even care anymore?

The restrictive, dystopian world that Lauren Olver creates in Delirium just draws me in. I love dystopian fiction in general and I felt that it was influenced by some of my favorite works as Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, and the films Gattaca and Equilibrium. There were elements from all of these and more and I think it would be a good introduction for teens to dystopian fiction because it focuses more on the romance between the two teens. The concept is really what interested me in the first place. Love viewed as a disease flies in the face of pretty much everything I believe in. I do wish that there was more of a history attached to it. For something so drastic to happen, there had to be a reason, like nuclear war. I would also liked to have seen how the rest of the world is faring since the US closed its borders and if any other country has prescribed to their type of thinking. Maybe we will learn more about it in the next books in the trilogy, but I'm satisfied to wait for now.

One of the most intriguing things to me was the excerpts of the various bits of propaganda that appeared above each chapter header. Their condemnation of everything love related extended to all literature that was allowed to the citizens. The Bible and their fairy tales were infused and slanted with propaganda to brainwash the citizens from youth. Other familiar works of literature are made to mean completely different than we've experienced. For example, Romeo and Juliet is still mandatory reading in high school, but it's presented as a cautionary tale of the dangers of love. The Telltale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe is now a didactic work about the consequences of civil disobedience. Every society does this type of thing, admittedly more subtly, to one extent or another. Even the Brothers Grimm changed the fairy tales they compiled to suit their Protestant and bourgeoisie sensibilities. I found this to be the thing that drew me in the most because I see it happening every day. On a side note, I really hate the name of the Book if Shhh, that is referenced many times as a big source of propaganda. I think it's ridiculous.

I liked and related to Lena. She wasn't the most kickass heroine ever, but she was no delicate flower either. Her transformation from robotic automaton to love-addled rebel was believable, partly because her mother expressed her love for her children from a very young age. I think Lena really didn't ever feel comfortable in the restrictive society and the change back to how she felt when she was younger wasn't a huge stretch of the imagination. At the beginning, she was very sheltered and actually kind of boring, but once she embraced the deliria, her personality and inner fire really shined through.

I really enjoyed reading Delirium. There were a few parts in the novel that felt like there were holes and maybe a little less believable that her family wouldn't notice that she was doing forbidden things when the evidence was pretty obvious. However, the writing was excellent and the proved to be merely minor annoyances within a stellar story. The ending of the novel was powerful and I can't wait to read the next in the series.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins