Monday, May 19, 2014

Some 2014 YA Releases on My TBR Pile

So I am super excited to get stuck into some new releases this month! Expect a stream of reviews from me on the blog. It seems rereading an old fave (namely harry Potter) has kicked me back into a reading mood.

What exactly have I got lined up to read?

1. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

This one looks like a refreshing contemp about a girl who writes letters to dead celebrities in order to cope with events going on her life. I expect tears and sadness, but am looking forward to it!

2. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

*claps hands* The final book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series! YAY!

3. Cress by Marissa Meyer

I first have to read Scarlet. And I will, as I hear good things about the rest of this series! If you haven't discovered Cinder yet, I highly recommend it.

4. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

I haven't read anything by Jenny Han before, but I really like the idea of this. Imagine if all your crushes found out about your feelings all at the same time?

5. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I picked this contemp for the cover alone. And I am really missing reading something along the lines of  Sarah Dessen juicy.

6. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

This book has a Prom Queen Paladin in it. Enough said.

7. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Completely taking the YA blogging world by storm, this is a look at what happened in Oz after the events of The Wizard of Oz.

8. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

The cover is completely gorgeous and I adore anything futuristic.

9. The Taking by Kimberly Derting

What if the life you are living is not your own? Man, Kimberly Derting can tell a good story. Really looking forward to this.

10. Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

A historical YA following the fictional story of Adolf Hitler's niece. I imagine this will be 2014's Rose Under Fire. It is great that new books are being published on these topics, giving new generations an opportunity to learn about the past.

11. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

A psychological thriller following London's "Perfect Killer" and the rules and choices she makes.

So... what new releases are you guys excited about getting stuck into?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Trailer: The Three by Sarah Lotz

Just in case your interest was piqued by my review, here is the UK book trailer!

Review: The Three by Sarah Lotz

Title: The Three
Author: Sarah Lotz
Publisher: Little Brown (US), Hoddler amd Stoughton (UK)
Release Date: 20 May 2014

Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he's right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn't appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage.

Dubbed 'The Three' by the international press, the children all exhibit disturbing behavioural problems, presumably caused by the horror they lived through and the unrelenting press attention. This attention becomes more than just intrusive when a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children's behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival...
 I was fortunate enough to obtain an ARC of The Three, the latest from South African author, Sarah Lotz (the other half of SL Grey and Lily Herne). I have been in a terrible reading slump of late and this bears mentioning as I picked up The Three late Saturday afternoon and finished it in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Oh, I do love a creepy, well-constructed horror story. The Three kicks off with the world being rocked by four simultaneous plane crashes. Upon hearing of the survival of three children, conspiracy theories start popping up ranging from the coming of the apocalypse to an alien invasion. It does not help that the children start acting a little... bizarre!

Told in the form of a collection of first-hand accounts of the events following the plane crashes, The Three took some getting used to initially. But, luckily it does focus on select central characters in the story. I enjoyed this style, as it kept me guessing and wondering how much I could believe that particular account.

There is a great subtlety to the horror in The Three. I found it was more implied and the unknown aspects that the reader is left to piece together adds to it. It would make a brilliant film, I think. 

I did enjoy how well-researched this novel is in terms of culture and superstition. There was a nice local touch of course and the religious and and traditional aspects were completely plausible. Nothing felt like it had been fabricated from thin air, which is the mark of a good storyteller.

The Three is an amazing page-turner with enough plausibility that readers who steer clear from traditional horror fiction will still enjoy it.

I am really looking forward to seeing how it is going to do internationally, as Sarah Lotz has the makings of a female, South African Stephen King.

The Three is published on the 20th May 2014 in the US and 22nd May 2014 in the UK.

(This review was based on an uncorrected advanced reader's copy of the novel provided by the publisher.)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review: Twinmaker by Sean Williams

Title: Twinmaker
Author: Sean Williams
Publisher: Electric Monkey (2013)

Clair is pretty sure the offer in the ‘Improvement' meme is just another viral spam, though Libby is determined to give it a try.

But what starts as Libby's dream turns into Clair's nightmare when her friend vanishes.

In her search for answers, Clair seeks out Jesse - a boy whose alternative lifestyle might help to uncover the truth.

What they don't anticipate is intervention from the mysterious contact known only as Q, and being caught up in a conspiracy that will change everything.

Ok, I have to admit I DNFed this one. That does not mean Twinmaker was bad. I have read and finished much worse novels than this one.

What I look for in my YA fiction are great, relateable characters who  drive the story with their narration. I did not have this Twinmaker and so a book with an amazing concept fell completely flat. Clair is weak and I felt that she was driven by the events of the story, not the other way around. She did not make choices, rather choices were made for her. I don't want the main character to simply be a vessel of the plot. Without that, I knew next to nothing about Clair other than she has a highly inappropriate crush on her bestie's boyfriend.

There is all action, action, action. It gets boring with very little substance. I felt like the plot was rushing around me and was grabbing at wisps of it here and there.

As I mentioned, the concept behind this was great. The technology and the world created were completely plausible. I even enjoyed Q, who was not even physically present for the portion of the novel I managed to get through.

70% done and no more. I have so much to read, I just lost interest and was staring wistfully at my TBR pile.