3/25/2015

Red Queen Review

Title: Red Queen
Author:Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 2015
Synopsis:
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
Red Queen is a fantasy dystopian that will have you hooked from the start. You're drawn to Mare as a character, and her struggle and her love for her family and you're rewarded with an epic story about a world that has a few more secrets than those living in it realize are there.

We first meet Mare Barrow weeks before she's supposed to be conscripted into the Red Army, where her chances of survival are pretty slim. The Red Army is so titled because it is an army of Reds, people with red blood and no "other worldly" talents. The gifted are the Silvers, each family has a unique talent, i.e. control fire or water or make plant life grow, and their blood is silver. The Silvers are also the ruling class and comprise the governance of the Kingdom.

The start of Red Queen really introduces you to the world.  You get to see it through Mare's eyes and have the same understanding and distrust that she has; you get to see what it's like to be a Red. I loved how Aveyard really takes her time to open the world up in a natural way before jumping into all the crazy. As a reader, you get to see the rebellion and the subversive side of the Reds and get to know the players before the fighting begins. It's not how many stories do it. So many times you're thrown into the middle of the upheaval and you're learning the players and the rebellion while you're in the middle of the fighting. And I liked that you get a little bit more with each choice Mare makes, and that I wasn't thrown into the deep end and had to read my way out.

 While Mare is dealing with the prospects of going to war and the changing family dynamics, she meets a hansom stranger who gets her a job working in the Silver Palace that will get her out of her conscription. This one chance meeting changes Mare's life forever, and she finds out that she has a talent of her own. This throws everything people thought they knew about their world upside down and could change things forever.

Now things could have gone all bats out of hell at this point with battles every chapter and things exploding all over. But I admire Aveyard's restraint to let the story grow and let let things happen how I would think they would have in a Court situation.  I loved seeing the politics (it's VERY approachable) and how people were moving and positioning themselves to keep their secrets or to try and expose other's. It was fun watching the game of chess play out until we get to the point that we get our battle and then the game is still going. You're never quite sure what's going to happen next, and as a reader, that's everything!

There was one bit about 3/4 of the way through that kind of threw me pace wise and the writing got a little choppy for me (I did an advanced reader copy and forgot to mark the page to go back to look at the finished version, so this may have changed), but it did smooth out before the end.  That was really my only issue with the book. I'm excited to see where the story goes from here and to see what's next for Mare and her fellow Reds.

Overall Rating:
Really a 3.5


3/24/2015

YA Ebook Deals

There are some AWESOME ebook deals on YA books right now!

Here are a few of our suggestions to load your ereader:


 
Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton $2.99
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige $1.99
Prophecy by Ellen Oh $1.99


Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy $1.99
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell $4.99

Cinder by Marissa Meyer $2.99
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell $4.99
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout $3.99

Want more? 


We have linked to NOOK, but check your favorite ebook retailer, many of these deals may be available through other sellers. All prices listed above are for a limited time and subject to change. These were the prices as of this post going live.

Lying Out Loud Review

Title: Lying Out Loud
Author: Kody Keplinger
Release: April 2015 by Scholastic
Synopsis:
Kody Keplinger returns to the world of The DUFF in this brand-new companion novel!

Sonny Ardmore is an excellent liar. She lies about her dad being in prison. She lies about her mom kicking her out. And she lies about sneaking into her best friend's house every night because she has nowhere else to go.

Amy Rush might be the only person Sonny shares everything with -- secrets, clothes, even a nemesis named Ryder Cross.

Ryder's the new kid at Hamilton High and everything Sonny and Amy can't stand -- a prep-school snob. But Ryder has a weakness: Amy. So when Ryder emails Amy asking her out, the friends see it as a prank opportunity not to be missed.

But without meaning to, Sonny ends up talking to Ryder all night online. And to her horror, she realizes that she might actually like him. Only there's one small catch: he thinks he's been talking to Amy. So Sonny comes up with an elaborate scheme to help Ryder realize that she's the girl he's really wanted all along. Can Sonny lie her way to the truth, or will all her lies end up costing her both Ryder and Amy?
Lying Out Loud is the companion to one of my favorite books, The Duff - it's based around Sonny and Amy's friendship. Amy is Wesley's little sister, so we get to see a bit of Bianca and Wesley as well as other couples from Kody's previous books. 

Sonny is the "wrong side of the tracks kid" that became best friends with Amy Rush when they were little and have been attached at the hip every since. Sonny and Amy have a relationship more like sisters than BFF's they do everything together - so when Sonny was on Amy's laptop and accidentally started chatting with Ryder the boy "they loathe", it was truly an accident, she did not mean to "catfish" him. But during their little chat Sonny started to change how she felt about Ryder, he was different in chat than he was at school.  But, there is one problem...Ryder thinks Amy is the perfect girl for him. Sonny tells Amy what happened and asks her to help her change Ryder's mind. Amy agrees, but then Sonny takes it WAY to far and puts her lifelong friendship in danger.

I enjoyed the story, but I missed the strong independent girl that I am use to, in Kody's writing. Amy had those characteristics, but she is more of a side character; at the beginning of LOL, Sonny had it - but then she lost it as soon as she started crushing on Ryder. That is aggravating, yet it is exactly what happens to a lot of girls when they start dating. I loved that, although the story revolved around Sonny and Ryder, the main focus was on Sonny and Amy's friendship. 





3/19/2015

Insurgent Movie Review

The Divergent Series: Insurgent hits theaters tonight (get your tickets HERE) and more widely tomorrow. I got to see the movie on Monday at the premiere in NYC (premiere post coming soon) and wanted to share my thoughts on the movie with you.

I really enjoyed the movie! We got to see it in 3D, SO AMAZING, it really made the world rich and full and it all just felt natural. It doesn't have things popping out at you or anything like that, the 3D just makes it feel like you're in the world, experiencing it with the characters.

If you're a fan of the books, I'm sure you've figured out that they've made some changes to stream line the story and plot, because there's a TON going on in the book, and yeah, 5 hour movies don't really work. I liked how they put the ideas together and made it something that's approachable to people who haven't read the books and it's still familiar to those who have. I am sad that a couple of my favorite scenes weren't included, but I think the movie really captures the tone of the book and really gets the important things across.

Miles Teller and Theo James really stole the movie for me. Miles has some great lines and the way he embodies the snarky smart ass that is Peter is perfect. He has one scene where it's just him and the smirk on his face is perfect. And Theo, OMG this movie makes me even more excited for Allegiant part 2. The way he shows Four's total love and devotion to Tris is amazing. Theo just plays Four perfectly, it's awesome to watch on screen.

I really hope you all go see it this weekend and remember that it's an adaptation, all of your favorite lines and scenes aren't going to make it in, and sometimes the movie is better for that. Watch the movie and look for the characters you love and enjoy watching them come to life.


3/17/2015

Under A Painted Sky Blog Tour: Review

Title: Under A Painted Sky
Author: Stacey Lee
Release: March 2015 by Putnam
Synopsis:
A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
I was a bit intimidated by Under A Painted Sky. Historical fiction isn't a genre I usually read, and I wondered if I would be able to connect with the storyteller, Samantha.  But, ever since hearing about and of course playing Oregon Trail I have been enthralled with the history surrounding people migrating. Even though I was intimidated, I really wanted to read Under A Painted Sky.

Within the first few pages I was able to connect with Samantha, a girl rebelling against her fathers choices. Samantha is originally from New York, but her father has moved them to the St. Louis Area. Samantha hates it, her "chinaman" heritage is viewed as an outcast and families around her still own slaves. Samantha is like every teenage girl I know, she is stubborn and hardheaded - but, when the times get tough she is a fighter.  That is what I loved about her, when everything was falling apart, she could have given up, but she didn't she fought back.

When the accident happens and she can either die or runaway, there is only one option. Runway. Samantha meets Annamae(a slave girl) at the worst possible time, which throws them into an alliance. They hit the road together disguised as boys (Sammy & Andy) - they had to cut hair and bind down a few things but it works. Along the trip, they learn a lot about each other and form an unlikely friendship. They also unintentionally join a gang of cowboys or maybe the cowboys joined them, which offered a lot of laughter during the long trip.

Under A Painted sky is a well written debut about a  breathtakingly beautiful friendship formed from sorrow, guilt and laughter.
Overall 3.5




3/15/2015

Under A Painted Sky Blog Tour Giveaway.

Grand Prize Giveaway for Under A Painted Sky Blog Tour. If you follow the tour stops, each stop has a secret word that will allow you to get extra entries for the giveaway! 

A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

Out March 17th 2015

Under A Painted Sky Goodreads/Amazon/B&N
Starlit Wrapped bracelet
Product:Wrap bracelet, retailed $98.00
Construction Material:Gold-plated alloy, leather, resin, enamel and crystal
Color:Silver, turquoise, pink, opal and gold
Features:
  • Nickel free
  • Lead free
  • Handmade
  • Adjustable strap adds up to 2"
Dimensions:
  • Pendant: 1" H x 2" W
  • Overall: 19" Band + 2"
Cleaning and Care:Avoid all oils and chemicals such as lotions, hairspray, makeup and perfumes. To clean, wipe with a soft, clean, dry cloth.
Assembly:No Assembly Required: ships fully assembled
Follow the tour stops at
Bookemoji 3/15
The Writer  Diaries/Twinning For Books 3/16
Page Turners 3/17
Insane About Books 3/18
Leireads 3/19
MundieMoms 3/20

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3/13/2015

Marissa Meyer's WINTER Cover Reveal + Excerpt


We were so excited when Fierce Reads tweeted the cover of WINTER, but they also included a link to USA Today's exclusive excerpt. Here's a brief synopsis of the story:
Winter, the stepdaughter of the evil Queen Levana who runs the moon colony of Luna, is at the heart of a tweaked version of the Snow White legend in the finale of Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series. It goes on sale Nov. 10 from Macmillan.
Marissa promises an action-packed and complex story. I'm speaking for all of us here at PTB, we can hardly wait to read this final (sniff!) installment. For more of USA Today's exclusive cover reveal, click here.