Friday, November 30, 2012

Review: Velveteen by Daniel Marks


Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.

Bonesaw.

Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal... and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Hardcover, 464 pages

Published October 9th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers 
 (summary grabbed from GoodReads)
 
Velveteen was another book whose marketing was deceiving.  Everything from the blurb to the first chapter implies that we are in store for Velvet’s tale of revenge against her murderer.  That’s not really the case: Velvet’s story is about much more than just revenge.  Honestly, I was wondering when I started reading how the author could hold an audience with just revenge as the main idea.  So upon discovering that Velveteen is more about Velvet’s life in purgatory, solving the mystery of the Departure (an impending revolution in purgatory) with her rag tag group of salvagers/friends, ALONG with messing up Bonesaw’s plans, I was a little annoyed.  But I kept reading, and I ended up loving this more-complex-than-I-was-expecting book.

There’s a lot to say about Velvet as a character.  Originally, I was going to call her sassy, snarky, and angry, but that would be doing her a disservice.  No, Velvet is a bitch.  Her consistency for being straight forward and confrontational is remarkable for a YA female lead.  What was especially surprising is how much her ever-repulsive attitude grew on me.  She was like a teddy bear covered in spikes: morbidly cute and cuddly, but don’t touch her or she’ll rip you to shreds.  The only criticism I have about Velvet is that her inner monologue was kind of spastic and hard to follow at times, but it also fit the character in my opinion.  Honestly, it took a little getting used to, but I ended up adapting to the all-over-ness as part of her voice.

Daniel Marks’s purgatory had me imagining a combination of the art of Beetlejuice by Tim Burton 
and MirrorMask by Jim Henson Pictures.  It was a twisted and crumbling vision of the afterlife and I loved it.  Velvet’s job in purgatory is that of a “salvager:” when a shadow quake (like an earthquake in that it shakes the world, but with black tentacles popping up everywhere that grab people and show them visions of terror) occurs, she and her team find and eliminate the source of it.  The source is usually a soul that broke out of purgatory and haunts the living.

And that’s what Velveteen ended up really centered around: Velvet’s role as the leader of her salvage team and the mystery that unfold around the recent shadow quakes.  I really liked how Daniel Marks tied her haunting into the shadow quake conspiracy… and that’s all I can say about that without any spoilers.

Final Thought: 32 out of 35 toadstools

This review is also available on GoodReads

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: A Shimmer of Angels by Lisa M. Basso


A Shimmer of Angels (Angel Sight, #1)


Sixteen-year-old Rayna sees angels, and has the medication and weekly therapy sessions to prove it. Now, in remission, Rayna starts fresh at a new school, lands a new job, and desperately tries for normalcy. She ignores signs that she may be slipping into the world she has tried so hard to climb out of. But these days, it’s more than just hallucinations that keep Rayna up at night. Students are dying, and she may be the only one who can stop it. Can she keep her job, her sanity, and her friends from dying at the hands of angels she can't admit to seeing?

Paperback, 321 pages
Expected publication: January 29th 2013 by Month9Books, LLC

(summary grabbed from GoodReads)

In writing, there's a term called the suspension of disbelief, which is if you can fuse "human interest and a semblance of truth" into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative (definition grabbed from Wikipedia).  This means you can make something fantastical seem like it could be possible as long as everything else in the story is accurate and the abnormal or paranormal elements fit into the normal.  This is the big problem with A Shimmer of Angels: my suspension of disbelief was shattered.

The angel mythos was not the issue -- as Lisa M. Basso fit that into the world without a hiccup -- the issue was the way the mental health system was portrayed.  Rayna's mental stability is a big part of the book and it is talked about a lot.  It gets mentioned every few paragraphs in the beginning.  The problems were that everything that was said about it was not based in current reality and researched poorly.  For example, we are told in the beginning that Rayna was locked up for three years in a mental clinic she refers to as the S.S. Crazy, but has been released and is going to high school.  A couple huge questions arise from just that: 1.) Why was Rayna locked up for three years? and 2.) how is she in her appropriate grade when it is implied she hasn't gone to school during those three years?  There are no answers to either of these within the book, other than Rayna was diagnosed with schizophrenia.  The answer to question 2.) would be simple: she wouldn't be in her normal grade. 

There was little to no back-story to Rayna's diagnosis or treatment, and the problem with that is the procedure for being admitted is a bit more complicated than simply, "I see things, therefore I'm crazy," go to a psychiatrist, he confirms, "Yes, you're crazy," gives stamp of approval for schizophrenia, and lock up the patient indefinitely and drug her to oblivion.  It doesn't work like that.  Actually, to be admitted, you have to be considered a danger to yourself or others, or it has to be seen as beneficial to the patient’s treatment to remove them from the normal stresses of everyday life.  Rayna may have fallen under the latter category, but definitely not the first.  In fact, a lot of the experiences Rayna describes would be accurate for a combative or suicidal patient, such as being put in restraints and watched 24/7.  But Rayna is neither of those.  Furthermore, according to her own accounts, Rayna is nothing but a model patient.

Rayna's mental state was just as important as the fact that there were angels in San Francisco.  It affected everything within the book and was potentially talked about more than the angels themselves.  Actually when I think about it, there was not a lot of background on the Angels, their hierarchy, or any of the like.  They did discuss fallen angels, and that's about it from my memory.

"But Momo, this is fiction," you may be saying.  Yes this is fiction, but good fiction is still grounded in reality, which makes it relatable to the reader.  This distance from reality made it impossible for me to get into the book.  I didn't care for what was happening, I didn't care for the characters, I didn't care about anything really.  I briefly searched on the internet the basic laws regarding minors in the state of California and found plenty of information that countered the events in A Shimmer of Angels.  That's all it took was a brief search, and I'm not even writing a novel about a schizophrenic girl -- I'm writing an angry review about a novel about a schizophrenic girl.

Final Thought: 1 out of 52 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads

Friday, November 23, 2012

Feature & Follow Friday (#7)


Feature & Follow is hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read.  Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Question of the Week: What blog are you thankful for?

A: The first blogger that popped into my head was Megan from YA Reviews by the Book Babe.  She just hosted her first ARC tour for Dust by Devon Ashley (it was also my first ARC tour to participate in) and it was a really great experience being apart of it.  We both loved the book and fan-girled in e-mail a bit, so there was quite a bit of happiness involved and I am thankful for it. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil


SHHHH!
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. House party.
White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.


It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published September 18th 2012 by Balzer + Bray 
(summary grabbed from GoodReads)


I’m a big fan of Agatha Christie, so my perceptions of this book are a little biased.  That being said, I still really enjoyed this book.  One thing I believe, if you’re going to do a retelling of another novel, is that you had better do something different to make it worth being retold, which Gretchen McNiel accomplishes.  Instead of a variety of backgrounds and professions with the characters of the original, most of the characters in this version were teenagers that were wealthy and/or popular that are gathered from the three local high schools, seemingly unrelated.  Apart from them being picked off by an unknown killer one by one, the similarities end -- but in a good way.

I found the book wildly entertaining mostly due to the differences from the original.  However, there were a few moments where I was taken aback and had a general “huh?” moment.  For example, if I was just exposed to a dead body (be it from suicide/murder/or normal circumstances like at a funeral), I don’t want to make out with anybody.  Period.  And I get it that teenagers have hormones, but I still think it was a little outside the bounds of realistic behavior.  So I found that a little odd, but I didn’t let it keep me from enjoying the book.  It was just a little distracting and I thought it could’ve done without.

Ten was insta-love free!  The main couple actually had a back story and met way before the book starts, which was different and worth noting, especially since young adult is a genre where insta-love runs rampant.  However, I didn’t particularly like either of these characters, as I found T.J. unrealistically perfect and Meg… well I can’t pinpoint what I didn’t like, I just know I wasn’t falling over myself for her.  She was amusing though, full of quips like:
“Nothing like reading over your own diary entry and realizing how pathetic it sounded.”
-Ten, pg. 115
I thought the ways the author tied in high school drama into the classic was interesting.  The story was still kept me wanting more, even though I didn’t really like the characters.  I would recommend it to open-minded fans of Agatha Christie as well as anyone who enjoys young adult mysteries.  Minor spoiler: the part I was most upset about was that not everybody died.  :P

Final Thought: 3 1/2 out of 5 toadstools
This review is also on GoodReads

Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab


"The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. "

"If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. "

"And there are no strangers in the town of Near." 


These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. 


But when an actual stranger--a boy who seems to fade like smoke--appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
 

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him. 

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know--about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy. 
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Hyperion Books CH 
(summary grabbed from GoodReads)
When I started reading The Near Witch, I thought I was getting into a scary mystery type ghost/witch story appropriate for Halloween.  Ha…well, I was surprised.  The Near Witch takes place in a imaginative and fairy-tale-like middle Earth world where witches and humans live together, though not always happily.  Witches basically are people with special abilities and are feared, but not directly persecuted.  The two witches in the town of Near prefer to isolate themselves than deal with the fear of the townspeople.  The town of Near itself is an isolated village surrounded by moor and newly shaken by the appearance of a stranger. 

Our heroine, Lexi, is one of the strongest female leads I have ever read.  She strives to be like just like her father, a brave hunter who trusted the witches in town and wanted to learn from them.  Her bravery and intuition make her a great tracker, much to the dismay of her uncle who has taken over as man-of-the-house with her father’s passing.  He wants her to be a normal girl doing normal girl things -- get married, stay in the kitchen, and have babies.  I greatly enjoyed how the author had the character deal with these expectations.

Victoria Schwab’s prose and world building created this whimsical dreamy land for the town of Near.  It added to the experience of reading the story and gave it that little extra something.  The novel had a very different feeling than any other that I’ve read.

Lexi and Cole’s relationship had very little build up.  Her initial intrigue made sense, as she’d never seen a stranger before, but their feelings escalate very shortly after meeting.  In other words… insta-love.  It didn’t seem completely out of left field and wasn’t twu wuv at first sight, but it was rather sudden.  I forgave it, as I usually do.  Ultimately, I felt that there was room for growth in the love department.

Everything aside, I feel that The Near Witch is worth reading for the prose and main character alone.  That said though, the story was pretty good, but not totally amazing.  The mystery of the book was pretty easy to figure out, honestly.  I’d recommend it for light reading for when you’re feeling mysterious…

Final Thought: 33 out of 45 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Save a Word Saturday (#2)


Welcome to Save-a-Word Saturday, a new blog hop hosted by The Feather and the Rose.
The aim is to spread love of old and unusual words by sharing them with other bloggers and thereby saving these precious, wonderful, whirling words from the dusty, lonely corners of the oldest, least visited vaults of the Word Bank.

The rules run thusly:

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog. 

2.  Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, "Dihydrogen Monoxide" is not an acceptable choice).

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add a link to your blog in the linky list below (it's down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.

This week's theme is:
Tea
And the word I have chosen is:
Palpebrate
(verb)
1. To wink

And my wondrous tea related sentences:
We sat across the room from each other, eyes locked and quietly sipping our tea while a fire roared in the fire place.  The stare down rages on with no hope of ending, until he palpebrates at me.  As if a curse were broken, I giggle into my tea cup.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (#6)

Feature & Follow is hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read.  Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Question of the Week: Books are turned into movies all the time!  Turn it around.  What movie would make a great book?

A: It's been awhile for me since I've watched an amazing movie that wasn't originally a book.

...

Okay, I sat rubbing my eyes thinking for five or so minutes, and Cloverfield from 2008 popped into my head.  At first, I was like "That's ridiculous."  But after giving it some thought, I think it could make a really cool book.  Maybe give it alternating perspectives, bouncing from the group of people trying to save that one girl and get out of the city to the military planning their nuclear attack on the monster.  It could add to the suspense, like "Omg! Are they gonna make it out before they blow up NYC? Holy amazeballs!"

Mmm...maybe I'm just crazy and a little too into survival reads right now.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Dust by Devon Ashley




4. The number of times my delicate wings have been broken and clamped behind my back.
68. The number inked upon my skin, marking me the sixty-eighth pixie to be stolen.
87. The number of days I’ve been wrongfully imprisoned.
88. The first day the faeries will regret stealing me.

Healthy. Cheery. Vivacious. All traits Rosalie has before becoming enslaved by the faeries to make an endless supply of pixie dust. Now that Rosalie has been traumatized by slave labor, extreme desolate conditions and multiple deaths, this hardened pixie is anything but. When this rebellious teenager attempts an escape, she’s isolated in cramped quarters until she learns her place. Just as she begins to let go of all that hope, she finds an unlikely friend in Jack, the faerie assigned to guard her. Interspecies dating is forbidden in the fae world, so their growing attraction is unacceptable. And even if Jack can find a way to free her, they know the prison is the only place they can truly be together.
Clean YA Fantasy.


(grabbed from GoodReads)

Disclaimer: I’m rather hungry, so I’m going to use a lot of food analogies and metaphors.   Dust was delicious.  I was taken in at first bite and it left me licking my plate clean, ravenous for more.  I need more fae on my plate…okay that came out weird, no more food talk.

From the first page, we are vividly introduced to Devon Ashley’s world of pint sized fae.  We get a sense of the true freedom Rosalie has as she flies through the forest canopy that is painted in such detail that the reader can just feel the wind rushing through her hair as Rosalie dives through the sky.  But! these feelings of weightlessness are ripped away from Rosalie and the reader; she is stolen from her home, has her wings bound and broken, and is forced to make pixie dust for faeries (who in this book are their own race along with pixies and spriggans).

Rosalie’s account of survival in the faerie’s work camp is heart-wrenching -- working long days with very little food and in miserable heat.  I found myself very emotionally involved in Rosalie’s journey; I would despair with her at her situation and cheer for her as she tried to overcome it.  I may have even audibly ‘wooted’ when she repeatedly insists on being called her name by her captors, and not the number they assign her.  Within the camp, Rosalie and the reader learn bits about her world together, and along with that, find Rosalie’s inner strength.  Watching her grow into the survivor she didn’t know she was at first was beautifully and expertly done. 

Dust is the first fae book I’ve read in a long time that was told by a fae.  Not one that didn’t know what it was yet, not a half faerie, not a human who half-wittingly stumbled into the faerie world -- no, Rosalie is a normal pixie.  Standing tall at six inches, it was pleasure to read how her small stature changed the normal forests we know into a brand new world.  For example, a berry was almost a whole meal and a raccoon, instead of just being a menace, was an actual threat.

As I awkwardly noted above, I am desperate for the sequel.  I need it.

Final Thought: 9 out of 10 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads

This was my first ARC tour ever!  Yay!  This tour was with The Book Babe’s Blog Tours.  Also, if you’re interested in the book, the Amazon link is right… here.

ARC Tour Sign Ups: Dust by Devon Ashley

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Unenchanted by Chandra Hahn


Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated, that is until she saves her crush's life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her newfound fame brings misfortune as an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her its next fairytale victim.

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and stop these deadly events, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.


Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published 2011 by Chanda Hahn 
(summary grabbed from GoodReads)

The idea for Unenchanted itself is amazing and I can honestly say I was sucked in for most of the book.  However, I almost want to steer anyone planning on reading away as the hiccups in this one were pretty bad.  In YA literature, there are many great fairy tale retellings, so I can’t recommend a book that I struggled through at points when there are so many others that I whole-heartedly enjoyed to the last word.

What I did like about Mina was that she did seem like a teenager.  Her voice actually felt like that of a young girl. Other than that, Mina was not particularly likeable.  She was your typical “normal” young adult main character, made complete with shyness and an inferiority complex.  If you’re looking for a strong heroine kicking Grimm-fairy-tale-ass and taking names, look elsewhere.  Mina was borderline whiney at times and grated on my nerves.

Most of the dialogue was atrocious.  It wasn’t that it wasn’t authentic for a teenager, it wasn’t authentic for anyone.  No one talks like that.  The only character whose dialogue sounded like a real person was Mina’s best friend, Nan.  Nan had more personality than the rest of the cast of characters combined and was incredibly likeable.  Unfortunately, Nan is not the main character.

But the most upsetting thing about Unenchanted was the amount of typos.  There were misspelled words, words missing, and other issues on top of that.  This is completely unacceptable in a published book, self published or otherwise.  If you’re going to publish a book, it should be something you poured your heart into and have gone over repeatedly.  Clearly, the author put absolutely no time into editing her book.

Nevertheless, I am still intrigued with where this is going as Unenchanted did have an interesting and original plot.  I probably will pick up the Chandra Hahn’s next book in the series.  I guess this makes it a mixed up review...at first I'm like "Don't read it!" and then "I'm gonna read the sequel."  What I mean is: Unenchanted is flawed, but the story is original and interesting.

Final Thought:  6 out of 10 taodstuls

This review is also posted on GoodReads

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Save-a-Word Saturday (#1)


Welcome to Save-a-Word Saturday, a new blog hop hosted by The Feather and the Rose.
The aim is to spread love of old and unusual words by sharing them with other bloggers and thereby saving these precious, wonderful, whirling words from the dusty, lonely corners of the oldest, least visited vaults of the Word Bank.

The rules run thusly:

1. Create a lovely blog post that links back to this one. The easiest way to do that would be to grab the code under our pretty Save-a-Word Saturday button. Just copy and paste it into the HTML part of your blog. 

2.  Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in your blog post. It really must be an old word, not just a big one. We are trying to save lovely archaisms, not ugly giants (for example, "Dihydrogen Monoxide" is not an acceptable choice).

3. Provide a definition of your word. Use your word in a sentence (or even a short paragraph) vaguely related to the theme we have chosen this week. You may also add visual or musical interpretations of your word or your sentence. In fact, add anything that moves your creative spirit.

4. Add a link to your blog in the linky list below (it's down there somewhere). Then hop to as many other blogs as you can in search of as many wonderful words as possible!

5. Use as many of the words as you can on the people in your life. Do leave us a note or add something to your own post to let us all know what wonderful old word you whipped out to befuddle your friends and relations.

This week's theme is:
Snow
And the word I have chosen is:
beot (plural beots)
  1. A boast, threat, boastful speech
    The Thyle is thus charged with challenging any beots that he feels may not be kept by the individual making them or gainsaying a claim he believes to be false or inaccurate.Theod Sumbel, 2008
  2. boastfulness
(grabbed from Wiktionary)

AND my miraculous snow related sentence is:
As I trudged through the snow, it twinkled it's beot of coldness -- threatening me with hypothermia.

Review: Flame of Surrender by Rhiannon Paille


Kaliel and Krishani weren't meant to meet or fall in love but they did. Krishani’s dreams of death lead him to a fate he’s terrified of - becoming the next Ferryman. His only refuge is Kaliel, the peculiar girl that swims with merfolk and talks to trees. Kaliel has a secret of her own. She’s the Amethyst Flame, one of nine apocalyptic weapons. The Valtanyana will destroy everything on Avristar to get to her. Kaliel has to choose: face them, hide or unleash the Flame.

How far would you go to save everything you ever loved?
eBook, 280 pages
Received from NetGalley (first published October 6th 2011)

(summary grabbed from GoodReads)
Flame of Surrender takes place in the ethereal country of Avristar: a high fantasy world of elves.  High fantasy isn’t my normal genre, and usually I find high fantasy dry, so I tend to avoid it.  Nevertheless, I still was intrigued by the blurb about Flame of Surrender on NetGalley.  I wasn’t disappointed as the story was extremely imaginative and had great prose, but I did have some hiccups while reading.

As I said before, the world is incredibly imaginative.  The problem I had, though, was that it was sometimes hard to follow.  I thought that the author could have gone into a little more introduction about the world so it would be easier for the reader to keep what-is-what straight.  This may have been more of an issue for me particularly since I don’t normally read high fantasy, which commonly incorporates vast and elaborate lands.  At the same time, however, the reader should never feel lost and more than once was I flipping back in my e-reader to check if I had missed something (but normally I hadn’t).

As with any book labeled YA, the romance is an extremely key element.  Though I thought the romance was cute, it felt rushed.  Their initial attraction was sweet, but the build up over the time spent apart seemed… unrealistic.  The intensity of their pining for each other seemed a little much for having had such a brief meeting.  I only found it slightly annoying and not enough of an issue for me to put the book down.

The only full criticism (the other criticisms were only half) I have is that the pace is way too slow.  There seemed to be a lot of lengthy build up for elements that were not important, and it felt like nothing was happening for quite a long stretch in the beginning.  When the characters do reunite and it seemed like the story would start to pick up, it still didn’t.  I found myself losing interest as it felt the plot had barely moved since beginning the book.

Overall, Flame of Surrender was well written and set in greatly creative world.  However, it was another book that I desperately wanted to love, but found myself barely liking.

Final Thought: 15 out of 30 magical toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads

Friday, November 9, 2012

Featue & Follow Friday (#5)

Feature & Follow is hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read.  Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Question of the Week:  Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, retellings or pulled-to-publish fanfic?

A: As long as the book is its own distinct work, then yes.  I think I love fairy tale retelling more than other books because they play on the fact that it is working off of something else.  I think that came out weird… what I mean is with retellings, you have those “Oic wut u did thar” moments where they incorporate the old myths and stories into another completely new story.  I love it when authors pull something from an old story and stick it into the modern world in a way that works.

With books that aren’t supposed to be a retelling and are just similar, I think as long as it’s not blaringly obvious, I don’t mind if two books are alike.  For example, I found a lot of similarities in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series.  But while reading I wasn’t put off by it -- it was more of a “Huh, I wonder if Lauren Oliver read Uglies.”

I haven’t read any pulled-to-publish fanfic that I know of, so I don’t have much of an opinion on it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Review: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce


 Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
(summary grabbed from GoodReads)

First a little backstory:

Fathomless is the third entry in Jackson Pearce's Fairytale Retellings.  What I like about this series, is that it is almost not a series.  The stories are not co-dependent on each other -- however, it would be a better experience to read them in order.  I actually read them out of order, not knowing that Sweetly was the second in the series.  What makes them a unit is that Jackson Pearce has created her own mythology that she weaves into the fairytale.  This can be somewhat jarring as most people wouldn't expect werewolves in a Hansel and Gretle retelling (which Sweetly is).  This is the reason to read them in order: Sisters Red, the first in the series and a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, introduces the mythos into a fairytale were it fits completely.  So that being said, Fathomless is a retelling of The Little Mermaid intertwined with Jackson Pearce's mythos.

Because this is the third in the series, the author wrote the book intending for the reader to know her mythos.  Therefore, it is not a spoiler to know that werewolves will be making an appearance.  I definitely found it more enjoyable to be reading and go "I wonder how she's going to do this" vs. "lolwut?  Werewolves?”

Moving on, Fathomless blows its predecessors out of the water.  It focuses on two girls: Celia and Lo.  Celia is part of a set of three, a triplet, but doesn’t really fit with her sisters.  Lo is a sea girl: a water dwelling monster part of a pack she refers to as her sisters.  The book really focuses on these ideas of sisterhood instead of centering on the romance.  Not to say there isn’t a romance, because there is (and it’s rather sweet too!). 

Fathomless does have alternating POVs, which normally drives me up the wall.  However, for the first time ever, I think the story was better because of how Jackson Pearce used this trick.  If the story had stuck to one POV, it would seriously be lacking as there was so much going on for each girl.  If it was written in third person, there wouldn’t have been the strong sense of empathy that you get from reading what the character is thinking/feeling.  Each character thought and felt things differently, which was the pivot point that took Fathomless from a good book (like Sisters Red and Sweetly) to a great book.

Mermaids were too mainstream for Lo

Therefore, Fathomless is the best in the series so far and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into Jackson Pearce’s next entry.  Eat your heart out, hipster Ariel.

Final Thought: 10 out of 10 Under-the-Sea toadstools

This review is also on GoodReads