Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Discussions: Race and Racism in YA

I'm not going to dig into this one too much. not because I don't think it's a worthy topic but because as a reader, I don't tend to notice race too much in YA. I tend to picture that everyone looks like me in what I read and I am a typical white female. This is no way means that I think everyone should look like me in books, this is just me being honest and honestly, when I read I picture myself.

Now, this topic idea is stemming from all the racist remarks that the African American cast of The Hunger Games is getting. I was reading several articles about it on E! News and was completely disgusted by what people have been Tweeting.

One person wrote "why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie". Another tweeted "why did the producer make all the good characters black".

There was another example given too: "call me racist but when i found out rue was black her death wasn't as sad #ihatemyself."

Of course, you know by know that these Tweets were directed at the young actress who played Rue as well as Thresh and Cinna. May I be the first here to say WHAT THE HELL? I've said it before and I'll say it again until I'm blue in the face, THE INTERNET DOES NOT FORGET. Just because you can hide behind anonymity doesn't give you the right to treat people rudely. I mean, you are talking about a 13 year old girl and not judging the merit of her acting talents but making states based solely on the color of her skin.

So here's where the book part comes in. I have to admit that when I read The Hunger Games, I didn't picture Rue and Thresh as African American. I pictured them as either Chinese or Indian. Call me crazy all you want. I'm not here to argue about their race, I'm just here to tell you what I thought. Cinna was a 24 year old white man in my head. But when the movie casting news came out and I saw who they cast in the roles, it didn't bother me. I thought they did an awesome job selecting the right people for the right roles, even if they aren't how I pictured them when I read the books. These feelings were justified when I went and saw the movie.

Rue doesn't have a lot of screen time but little Amandla Stenberg makes every second count with an honest and believable portrayal of Rue. I too didn't feel as sad when Rue died but it is because Katniss and Rue didn't get enough screen time together to make her death have as much of an impact as it was in the book.

Lenny Kravitz Sizzled as Cinna. He brought the quiet yet powerful demeanor that I imagined in the book and I felt his connection to Katniss immediately. He and Jennifer Lawrence has such good chemistry, I really thought that Cinna could be added to the love triangle thing.

Seriously though, to complain about the choices of characters based solely on the color of their skin is complete bullshit and I am shocked that that trash is still around. I love reading articles and novels that highlight different cultures and races. I think that the YA community is changing this with each new story at a time and I'm glad for it.

What do you guys think about this? Do you know any good books that highlight different races or cultures? Sound off in the comments!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Swoon Thursday (12): Forgiven by Jana Oliver

The ladies over at YA Bound created a sexy meme where you share what made you tingle in your current read. If you want to join in, here is what you do:From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering. Shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound, link up at YA Bound, or grab the adorable button above and share it on your blog!

My swoon comes from one of my favorite couples in YA literature. Beck and Riley are just begging to get together through out The Demon Trappers novels so I was so happy to finally see some action between these two! Check it out!

His hand shook where it touched her cheek. He's nervous. She was too. Trying to let him know it was all right, Riley put her hand over his. Closing her own eyes, she waited for their lips to touch.
--Pg. 245 of "Forgiven" by Jana Oliver

I finished this book and I have to say, these novels keep getting better. I can't wait to see where the final installment of this story goes!

The Time Will Come (37): The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme started by Books for Company which spotlights books that have been sitting unread on our shelves for too long.

Want to join in?:
- Pick a book you have been meaning to read
- Do a post telling us about the book
- Link the post up in the linky at Books for Company
- Visit the other blogs!

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London, it's the start of a new life at a boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.
This is another novel I know I need to get to because so many people read it and loved it. I saw it on some top 10 lists for favorite novels of last year so I know it's going to be great.

What is on your shelf?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (77)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, just do as following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that pageBe careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others!Make sure to share the title and the author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR piles!

I can never get used to the feeling of looking through someone else's eyes. It's as if each person sees the world in a slightly different hue.
--Pg. 4 of "Slide" by Jill Hathaway

I read this book in an earlier draft so I am having loads of fun going back and reading all of the changes. This really si a great novel and I highly recommend it.

What's your teaser?

Happy Birthday Slide!!!

I promised I wouldn't cry. But I can't help it! I'm so stinking excited for this book to FINALLY be out in the wild. Slide is an action packed thriller that is going to leave you breatheless to the last page. I love Vee and what she can do and I loved the mystery behind this one.

Some of you might know this but most of you won't. I was actually a beta reader for Slide on Jill's second draft that she sent into her agent. I caught some things like detail inconsistences and gave her notes on who I thought the killer was. I had loads of fun reading this in manuscript form and was so psyched when I found out it was picked up by Harper. I've been waiting on this novel to be out in the wild for what feels like forever.

The thing about this book is that not only is the novel fantastic but Jill Hathaway is such a sweet person and she deserves every good thing that comes her way. I couldn't be more happy and proud to celebrate the release of Slide with her and all the other Sliders.

I urge you to pick up this book if you like your main characters spunky, your mysteries full of twists and amazing writing. As soon as I opened the manuscript document on my screen, I knew I was reading something special and I can't wait for everyone else to feel it too!

Oh, and here's a little something else that makes this book all the more special to me. This is under the acknowledgements section:
That name right there. The one that reads Amber Johnston. Well it's me before I got married and took my husband's name.

You can check out her website here to enter into her epically cool contest too!

And in case my gushing and glowing doesn't convince you, I know the Slide Book trailer will:

Look out for my review of Slide and an interview with Jill Hathaway in early April as part of the Dark Days of Supernatual Tour!

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Favorite Moments in The Hunger Games- A Mini Movie Review

Suffice to say I loved The Hunger Games movie. Really, everyone I’ve spoken to has loved it. I thought the casting was dead on, it didn’t stray too far from the book, the writing was perfect, the cinematography was great and it was just as brutal as it needed to be without overdosing on the violence.


I was thinking of writing up an in-depth review—we’re talking parts here, people—but decided to share my top ten moments and my very few complaints instead.

Top Ten Moments in The Hunger Games

1) Effie Trinket’s outraged and scandalized exclamation of “manners!” to Katniss after she attacked Peeta following the Flickerman interview. I could actually put “Any seen with Effie Trinket” here and it’d be true. Elizabeth Banks did an amazing job bringing those favoring odds to District 12

2) The first glimpse of the capitol. Like Peeta, I couldn’t wait to see where the people of the capitol call home. It looks like utopia amplified after seeing what Katniss and Peeta call home. Watching at they explore it further, peeling back layers of their gluttony is incredible.

3) Haymitch’s reaction to the capitol child getting a sword. It’s not the most powerful scene you’ll see but it’s one of them. It bastardizes everything the Districts are forced to go through and puts it into the eyes of the clueless capitol people. As the boy chases the girl around with the sword and Haymitch watches while probably re-living the horrors his hand has committed is so emotional. It also shows the viewer how the games have been reduced to child’s play in the capitol’s eyes even though it is children brutally murdering children.

4) The premiere of The Girl on Fire. As Katniss and Peeta rode out on their gold chariot behind the 22 teens they were going to end up killing, it was one of the most glorious things I’d ever seen. The fire effects were amazing and it made my jaw drop. I was especially happy because I wasn’t too impressed with the pictures of their outfits released.

5) The memory of The Boy with the Bread. I have to admit that it wasn’t how I imagined it but that wasn’t a problem. I loved how this memory was flashed at different times. It worked so well when Peeta was first introduced and I like how the director used it to show us how Katniss felt about Peeta. Even when she was angry at him, that scene would flash.

6) The gamekeeper’s room and equipment. This was an addition I could really get into. Seeing the behind the scenes of the games, how each control person could, with the touch of a finger, inflict a fresh new terror on the tributes was awesome.

7) The tracker jackers introduction and attack. I love how the movie introduced tracker jackers to the audience for those movie goers who haven’t read the book yet. Caesar explaining their side effects while the wasp is on screen in the back was amazing. Even better was watching those effects take place on Katniss and the unsuspecting Glimmer.

8) The cave scenes. We didn’t get to see too much of Peeta and Katniss together so these scenes were really vital. I thought Hutcherson did an awesome job of showing how much his character cared for Katniss and Lawrence did an equally good job of showing that the love was mostly one-sided. Plus, the scene with them lying side by side will be important in the next novel and Hutcherson gave me goose bumps as he tried to confess how he regrets throwing her the bread instead of handing it over.

9) Katniss shooting the apple. This is the first scene where we got to see the fire raging through her. Equal parts funny and fierce, it definitely left an impression on me!

10) The District 11 Riots. I didn’t tear up when Rue died and Katniss adorned her with flowers. But what got me was her districts reaction to her death. As Katniss saluted them and they saluted her back, it was absolutely the most powerful scene in the movie. Seeing the district rebel was horrifying and liberating in equal parts and I couldn’t turn my face away. It still gives me goose bumps thinking about it.

Those are some of my favorite things though there were countless other moments to love. This really was a well made movie and I have very few complaints. In fact, I can only think of two:

President Snow- I thought that Donald Sutherland understood what Snow was about. I read an interview with him talking about his preparation for the role and I really liked what he had to say. But I just wasn’t scared of him and I desperately wanted to be. Especially since I consider Snow as one of the scariest villains of all time. I just felt that Sutherland looked like Santa Claus which made him not very scary.

Katniss and Rue- I really liked their relationship, the short time it was on screen. I just wish they’d had a few more minutes with each other. Their time together was too brief and I wanted just a bit more to feel a connection to them. It made Rue’s death a little numb to me since I didn’t have enough to them to latch on to.

So overall, I’m very much a fan of this movie and plan on seeing it again soon. I’ve heard some complaints with the camera shakiness which I can understand. When I go back, I’ll be looking to see if it bothers me. As of now, I’m under the opinion that it dulled some of the violence and therefore was necessary but I’ll leave my final judgment for the second viewing.

What did you think? What were some of your favorite parts? Did you have any major complaints?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday Discussions: Book to Movie Adaptations- Are you an unreasonable viewer?

With the opening of The Hunger Games this weekend, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to love a book and to have that book made into a movie. I know there are going to be a lot of differing opinions and I'm going to review the movie a little bit later. But what I want to talk about today is expectations versus reality.

A lot of people were nervous about The Hunger Games, me included, but while I was at the movies, I was listening to some people talk. I heard a lot of "they better have included *insert really random small detail here*". Sometimes as readers, we latch on to these tiny details and forget about the bigger picture. I sort of laughed to myself and thought "man, you are going to be disappointed". I'm sure these were the same people that walked out of the theater grumbling.

So what I want to talk about today is the unreasonable viewer. I'll preface by saying that if you are one of these people, you have every right to feel the way you do. I'm not saying you shouldn't want everything to be perfect if you do. I'm not even saying you're wrong to feel this way. So don't read this next bit and think I'm attacking you. I'm just saying that you are setting yourself up to fail.

A book to movie adaptation is not meant to be the book on the big screen. It is meant to be a separate entity of it's own. It is someone else's creative statement. Most movies set out to make their own statements using material created by other people (in this case the author's). And this is a GOOD thing. It's good because the idea was already explored, and way more thoroughly, in book form. The movie is looking to nod to the book while making different statements, highlighting different ideas and sometimes saying completely different things. Now it's true that some movies take the book's ideas to a completely different level and that is usually what makes the movie successful. It's because they are offering something new.

Wanting a movie to be exactly like a book to the last letter isn't going to work. Not only is the book way longer than any movie could possibly be but it's more personal because you get to spend more time with the character. On top of that, a book leaves a lot to the imagination so you get to decide what everyone looks like and how they act and what a half smirk looks like as they move around in your head.

A director is doing the same things when they make a movie. They are bringing their verison of the book to life. But unlike the personal experience of reading a book, there are a lot more hands that touch the movie. A lot more thoughts and ideas are thrown at the table and thus, things are changed.

So if you are going into the theater looking for the same thing you read, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If you want to really enjoy what you are seeing, my suggestion would be to look at the book and the movie as two separate things that happen to share similar ideas, plots and characters. Or look at it like you are in the head of a completely different person as they read and picture the book-- they are going to like some things more than you (translating into the things you see on the screen that make it from the book), they are going to wish some parts went different (translating into the changes the movie makes) and they aren't going to see everything the way you would. Otherwise, the beauty of art would be lost. And for me, that's what makes book to movie adaptations so special. Not that I'm seeing my version of the book but that I'm getting a glimpse into someone else's mind as they saw it.

I tend to like book to movie adaptations way more with that attitude so I've adopted it. I can still recognize when things are bad and I don't like everything. But I don't go into the movie with expectations that things are going to play out exactly like I read and exactly like a saw in my head. That way, I'm able to see the beauty that other people have missed.

So I want to know, do I sound crazy or do you do this? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum and you like you movies to be exactly like the books? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happily Ever Endings... Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Happily Ever Endings... was born out of sheer frustration. You know how when you read a series and you love it but the last book takes a little while to come out and then you sort of forget parts of the novel? That's what these posts are going to serve to remedy. Happily Ever Ending... is a short post about what happened at the ending of each book that is going to be in a series for people who need a quick reminder of what happened in the previous installment. I hope this saves someone else the frustration that I went through!


Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon



Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRĂ­s.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.
Click "read more" to find out the ending of Carrier of the Mark so you're ready for the next installment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Giveaway: Abandon and Underworld by Meg Cabot

I was lucky enough to receive an extra ARC of Underworld by Meg Cabot. I really did enjoy the first one and I got to thinking, don't I have a paperback copy and a signed hardback copy of Abandon? Why, yes, yes I do! So I decided to host a big old Meg Cabot lovefest and giveaway some books!

So here's the deal, there will be two winners:

  • 1 winner will receive paperback copy of Abandon and an ARC of Underworld
  • 1 winner will receive a signed hardback  of Abandon
Rules:
  • US only
  • Must fill out form
  • May only enter once
  • Must be 13 or older
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (76) and Top Ten Tuesday (21)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along, just do as following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that pageBe careful not to include any spoilers so as not to ruin the book for others!Make sure to share the title and the author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR piles!

"Yeah, I'm sure," he said emphatically. "All I wanted was respect."
He sounded for real, so she meet him head-on. "Respect goes both ways, Beck." she argued. "You treat me like a kid all the time. If nothing more, Ori treated me like a woman."
--Pg. 169 of "Forgiven" by Jana Oliver

I'm a little less than halfway in and I have to say that I'm really enjoying this book. The things that infuriated me about the first two--namely Riley and Beck's inability to be in the same room without killing each other--have dissipated as they both are growing up and realize just how dangerous their job is. I'm a huge fan of this series anyone but this book has been my favorite so far! I'm so happy to be back in Riley's world!

Top Ten Tuesday is a 10's list meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. There is a different question every week and all you have to do is answer their question with your top ten results!
Top Ten TBR List of Spring Releases
1) Croak by Gina Damico- I had to have this book sense I stumbled on the author's site and read she was a "walrus tusk shiner" or something to the effect. Anyone that adds this in their "About Me" section is definitely someone I want to know more about. Then, come to find out that this book looks awesome too! How could I pass it up?

2) Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers- Beautiful cover AND about a female assassin? Plus, you know this is going to be a ruch fantasy world. Sign me up any day.

3) Insurgent by Veronica Roth- Sequel to Divergent. Need I say more? Well, if you insist. Considering Divergent was my favorite book of last year, it makes sense for me to pine for it now, right? Can't wait to find out what happens to Tris and Four!

4) Slide by Jill Hathaway- Considering I was a beta reader for this book nearly two years ago, I've been waiting for forever to discuss how brilliant this novel is with the world! Everyone must grab a copy and read it! I can't wait to see the changes myself!

5) The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting- I'm a huge fan of this series. I think that Jay and Violet are so cute together and one of the best relationships I've seen in YA. Can't wait to see where this book takes them!

6) Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin- I love Poe and this is one of my favorite stories by him. I can't wait to see how the author re-imagined it! Plus, that cover is too creepy for words in the best way possible!

7) The Selection by Kiera Cass- This was snatched up before it was even out for t.v. which is so stinking exciting! I can't wait to dig into this book, especially since it's coined as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor.

8) Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins- I love that this book is making the lead character pick between the good and dark she has in her. I'm interested to see which way she is going to fall.

9) Underworld by Meg Cabot- I really enjoyed the first book and Pierce found herself in quite a predicament at the end of the last novel. I can't wait to see how she fairs in this one!

10) Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock- I love how this mixes werewolves with a zombie like virus. I think is is going to set the stage for a very different kind of werewolf story!

There are loads others but these are a few that really caught my eyes and I know I'll be snatching up copies of all these throughout the months. What made your list?

Monday, March 19, 2012

How to Add a Link in Your Comments


Lately I've noticed that quite a few people don't know how to leave links in comments on Blogger. I am, by no means, a computer expert but this is something that I know how to do and I'd like to share that knowledge with you.

The only reason I feel even qualified to do a quick how-to is because it is a simple code. It looks like this:
<a href="Your URL Here.com">Your Title</a>
*To make it a bit clearer, you need to copy the entire formula including the <a href= stuff. That is the code that will enable the link to appear.

After you've copied the entire thing, you need to replace the wording in there for your own. So under "Your URL Here" you need to get the URL to whatever you are linking to. Say I'm trying to link to my blog I'd get amberinblunderland.blogspot.com and replace it in the code. It would look like this:

<a href="amberinblunderland.blogspot.com ">Your Title</a>
Then, you can title the link the comments with whatever you want it to appears as. So since I used the example of linking to my blog, it would be titled Down The Rabbit Hole. You'd need to put that information in "Your Title" part.

So if I wanted to leave a link to my blog it would look like this:
<a href="amberinblunderland.blogspot.com">Down The Rabbit Hole</a>
 
You just copy that code and paste it wherever you want it to go in the comment.

Having some trouble?:
  • My suggestion is to erase the "" and re-type them. Sometimes they change font or do something funky but that almost always clears it up for me.

So copy and past that code up there and keep it in an open word document in case you ever need it again!

Want to practice? Leave me a comment with your blog code in it or a recent post you think I should check out! Also, feel free to ask me questions but keep in mind that am not very computer literate.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (75)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme created by The Story Siren that encourages other book bloggers to share what they bought, won, begged for or borrowed. It is usually held on Sundays!


From St. Martin's Griffin:
  • Finished copy of Forgiven by Jana Oliver
From Harper Collins:
  • Finished copy of Slide by Jill Hathaway
From Barnes and Noble:
I want to give a big thank you to the publishing houses who made my mailbox interesting this week!

Did you guys get Hunger Games tickets? What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Discussion: Do you post negative comments?

I got my first negative comment this week. It's been a little over a year and a half since I've had this blog and I haven't been face with this before. Now, for me there are two types of negative comments: negative comments about me and my blog and negative comments about the things I'm posting about.


I'm talking about the second kind. I can take criticism about me and my blog and just throw that in the trash where it belongs. I'm not posting about my thoughts and things I love to get criticized by people. I don't need it and I don't have time for it. I used to have this problem before I turned off anonymous comments and I didn't even have someone to reply back to. So I don't really worry about negative comments on my thoughts or about me. I just trash them and don't think twice.

But I want to talk about negative comments on the material I'm posting. I wrote a nice review recently on a novel that I liked. Some people agreed, some didn't but I've never run across something where someone really disagreed and trashed the novel in their comment. I read it, looked around stunned for a moment and read it again.

My pointer went to the delete button and then I stopped, a question plaguing me. Was it right to trash this comment? It's a differing opinion than mine and even though they are words I'd never say (my negative reviews and comments are always respectful to the writer, always) does that give me the right to silence this person?

Ultimately, I decided that yes, yes it does. This is my blog and I want it to reflect the things that I hold as true. If I receive a comment that I would never, in a million years write then I feel that I am within my rights to deny it showing on my blog. Just because it is clear someone else wrote this comment, it still reflects on me because this is my blog.

So what do you guys think? Is it cool to delete rud or negative comments about material or even about you or your blog?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA (February 14, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606842633
ISBN-13: 978-1606842638 Series: No
Series: No
Source: ARC provided by Paper Lantern Lit
Cover: I can take or leave this cover. It doesn't wow me but it does fit with the book. I think the blood spatter is interesting but I'm not sure I'd pick this book up based on the cover alone.
First Sentence: I spot her out of the corner of my eye and freeze.

Mini-Review: A YA mystery like nothing you've ever read with interesting chracters and a wildly imaginative setting.

Summary:
Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place—possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"—a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined—a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.
Review:

Finishing The Butterfly Clues is a little like coming back from Wonderland-- that is to say, you feel like you have been someplace wonderful and interesting and completely twisted. It's taken me a few weeks to digest what I read and put my complicated feelings into something comprehensible. The Butterfly Clues combines places you haven't been before in YA fiction with people you haven't likely met into a tale you haven't read before.

Penelope "Lo" Marin is unlike anyone you've met before. She has a severe case of OCD that gets worse under stress. So you can only imagine how much more interesting things get when she becomes obsessed with a murder of a girl she doesn't know and puts herself right in the path of a murderer. I've got mixed feelings about Lo. Her OCD fascinated me but I had a hard time figuring out how I felt about it. Half of the time, it really felt like an illiness and I want her to get help. There are times in the story where it literally hinders her health and makes her life terrible. Not to mention, when people actually shine light on what she's doing, it was sort of horrifiying to me. At the same time, I liked some of her rituals and loved how she could find beauty in mundane things. I feel like "Lo" wouldn't be herself without them. I guess for me, I wish I knew she was one her way to getting a little bit better by the end of the book. The harmless ones could stay but some of her OCD is really unhealthy and as a reader who was vested in her future, I wanted to know she was on her way to getting better.

Lo finds out about Sapphire's murder by accidently stumbling on her home when the murder is occurring. Sapphire is a stripper in a place called Neverland. Neverland is a place where runaways gather and art runs rampant in the streets. Basically, it's all run down buildings, abandoned streets and homeless kids and young adults. This place is bursting with the truly dark like strip clubs, drug users and such with the incredibly beautiful like random treasure finds and hidden beauty. It was a character in and of itself and I loved every description about it. From the birdfeeder bowl where all of Neverland's notes are passed to the little place called "M" where people came to make art, everything about Neverland was interesting. I also really liked the people there.

The author did an awesome of contrasting not only the places where Lo goes (her house in the safe suburbs with the seedy streets of Neverland) but the people as well. For instance, at school there is Jeremy who has a thing for Lo even though he knows about some of her habits. In Neverland there is Flynt who also knows and accepts Lo's habits. I really enjoyed Lo's relationship with Flynt and felt it added a breathe of fresh air to the story.

Ellison's writing was definitely beautiful but it did feel a bit dense at times. I found my eyes skipping over paragraphs, especially when they were overly detailed accounts of the past with Lo's brother. I just felt like some of the details were unneed and really slowed the pace of the story. I did love the murder mystery aspect of ths novel. I love a good clue novel and how Lo could use items to bring herself closer to Sapphire. It made for an interesting angle to a relatively straightforward plot. I will say that I wish there were a few more twists and turns. I did guess who several of the characters were right away--that is to say I knew who the murder was and the identity of someone in Sapphire's past as well. I'm not sure if this is a credit to the writer who did a great job with the clues or whether it could have been buried a little better.

I think the unique places and people in The Butterfly Clues outweighs the few hiccups it has. Though the writing does slow the pace, the fascinating characters and wildly imaginative world more tha make up for it and work to suck the reader in. After added up the clues, my best theory is if you are into mysteries and something a little topsy-turvy, The Butterfly Clues is definitely for you!


Rating:

Favorite Lines:
The seconds between the reaching and holding are fast and warm; they vibrate like tiny earthquakes.
--Pg. 2 of an ARC of "The Butterfly Clues" by Kate Ellison
I wonder if what draws me to the butterfly is what drew her to it too: not just its dark, pooling glow but the way its wings are folded back like it has just landed-- and not a grand, proud landing, but a solemn, lonely one, a head-bowed one, a middle-of-the-night-leaving-of-somewhere-or-someone landing.
--Pg. 33 of an ARC of "The Butterfly Clues" by Kate Ellison
In Neverland, with Flynt, I'm a killer trash can bowler, a musician...
--Pg. 57-58 of an ARC of "The Butterfly Clues" by Kate Ellison
Maybe the things we think we have to believe are the things that end up killing us in the end, when we figure out we were wrong, about everything.
--Pg. 149 of an ARC of "The Butterfly Clues" by Kate Ellison
Even though I'm embarrassed that he was watching me while I slept, no one else in the world has ever looked at me like he's looking at me right now--like he could stare at me forever and never get bored...
--Pg. 219 of an ARC of "The Butterfly Clues" by Kate Ellison
I breathe in the words, fastened now into the night-- a rope stretched between us that I'd trace back to Flynt's eyes...if I could...
--Pg. 277 of an ARC of "The Butterfly Clues" by Kate Ellison

This or That with Jordan Dane, author of On Dark Wing

Today I have Nate from Jordan Dane's On Dark Wing to chat with us! I hope you all enjoy this Q & A This or That style and I hope it gives you some insight!

1) Live or recorded? Live. Always.

2) Love, money or fame? Love. Without it, the rest doesn’t matter.

3) Pen or pencil? Neither. I’d rather be outside.

4) Black, white or grey? White. Reminds me of snow and the mountains.

5) Being able to read minds or fly? Fly. I like being in my own head.

6) Now or then? Now. When I get old, I’ll think about ‘then.’

7) Being stuck with someone you hate or being alone? Alone. Life’s too short.

8) All or nothing? Wow. Tough one. Nothing, I guess. Having it all makes you lazy.

9) Answer or question? Question, always.

10) Night or day? Day

11) Noise or silence? Silence

12) Summer, winter, spring or fall? Tough one. Summer - I like all seasons in Alaska, but summer is killer.

13) See, smell, touch, taste or hear? Oh man. Brutal. I guess SEE. Can’t imagine not being able to see off the peak of a mountain ever again.

14) Call or text? Text, less commitment

15) Old or new? New, maybe.

Thanks so much for stopping by and answering some of my questions. I particularly love the answers to number 13. I knew that was going to be a tough one to answer!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Time Will Come 36: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

The Time Will Come is a weekly meme started by Books for Company which spotlights books that have been sitting unread on our shelves for too long.

Want to join in?:
- Pick a book you have been meaning to read
- Do a post telling us about the book
- Link the post up in the linky at Books for Company
- Visit the other blogs!

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . . 
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy. 
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny? 
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
It stinks that I haven't read this book or it's sequel yet because so many people love this series. I've only heard good things and this is a book I was really anticipating. I'm practically ready to propose marriage to the cover so it's definitely something I need to pick up soon.

What have you had sitting on your shelf too long?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (68): The Glimpse, Black City and Velveteen

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where you can post about upcoming books you're looking forward to. This is a wonderful chance for blogger to show off what's coming out soon that they are excited about! Every week my wishlist balloons thanks to this awesome meme.

The Glimpse by Claire Merle
Once you've seen into the future, can you change your destiny?

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.
Why I need this: Doesn't this look like it is going to be really cute? I'm hoping Ana's love will be for herself and Jasper. I really like the concept of this one!

The Glimpse is out June 7, 2012 from Faber and Faber (UK).

Black City by Elizabeth Richards
A dark and tender postapocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection, that causes Ash’s long dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
Why I need this: Because I'm a sucker for forbidden romance and this seems like a fresh take on that concept. The stakes seem a lot higher and I'm interested to see where this is going.

Black City is out November 13, 2012 from G.P. Putnam and Sons.

 
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.
Why I need this: I also like purgatory concepts but I think this one is especially interesting because I don't think I could avoid the temptation of brutally haunting someone who murdered me either. I'm definitely excited for this one!

Velveteen is out October 9, 2012 from Random House.

What are you waiting on this week?

Happily Ever Endings... The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Happily Ever Endings... was born out of sheer frustration. You know how when you read a series and you love it but the last book takes a little while to come out and then you sort of forget parts of the novel? That's what these posts are going to serve to remedy. Happily Ever Ending... is a short post about what happened at the ending of each book that is going to be in a series for people who need a quick reminder of what happened in the previous installment. I hope this saves someone else the frustration that I went through!


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin



Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.
She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.
Click "Read more" to read the ending of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer so you'll be ready for the next installment of the series! 
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