Monday, December 22, 2014

Top 10 Books I Read In 2014


1 Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer All snark and heart. 

2 Scarlet & Lady Thief by AC Gaughen This series bleeds awesome. I need Lion Heart now.

3 Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White Made me remember I like Paranormal stories.

4 Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley Glorious sense of place. It earned that "P" on the cover.

5 Deathless by Catherynne Valente Beautifully written. I'm still dazzled.

6 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Reading Dorian's downfall for the first time was so gorgeous and so grotesque. Perfection.

7 The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno  YA Psychological done right. 

8 Lothaire by Kresley Cole It's got Lothaire. Potentially the best book in the series?

9 Past The Shallows by Favel Parrett This read like a love letter to the ocean.

10 Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios I officially love Jinn and Heather's new series!

Friday, December 19, 2014

I Heart Robot Cover Reveal + Giveaway

M9B-Friday-Reveal

I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen

I Heart Robot
Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.
Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.
Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?
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Excerpt


Tyri

If today were a song, it'd be a dirge in b-flat minor. The androids cluster around the coffin, their false eyes brimming with mimetic tears. They were made to protect and serve their human masters, to entertain and care for us. Now, just one generation later, we toss them in the trash like nothing more than broken toasters.
The androids huddle in a semicircle, four adults and a child droid with synthetic curls. They all look so human; their grief real even if their tears aren't. The two male-droids are even good looking in that chiseled, adboard model kind of way. They're a little too perfect. With their machine strength, they lower the cardboard box into the dirt and the child droid begins to sing. His exquisite voice shatters like crystal in my ears, heartbreaking.
Asrid and I shouldn't be here—the only two humans amongst the machines—but I loved Nana. I loved her before I knew better than to feel anything for a robot. It doesn't matter how attached you get. A robot can never love you back, regardless of how human their advanced AI might make them seem.
“Why're they burying it anyway?” Asrid mutters beside me. My friend doesn't wear black to the funeral, refusing to acknowledge the passing of my nanamaton, an android that always seemed more like a mom and less like an automated child-minder.
“Should be sending it to the scrap heap. Isn't this against regulation?” Asrid's face scrunches up in a frown, marring her impeccable makeup. She’s a peacock amongst ravens, and I’m a scruffy crow.
“Nana was like a mother to me. I'll miss her.” Tears prick the corners of my eyes as the coffin disappears into the earth, and the droid keens a eulogy.
“I know you will, T.” Asrid gives me a one-armed hug.
Svartkyrka Cemetery is losing the battle to weeds. Human tombstones from back when there was real estate for corpses lie in crumbling ruin covered in pigeon poop. No one gets buried anymore—there's no space and, anyway, it's unsanitary.
“Can we go now?” Asrid hops between feet to fight off the chill. Autumn has shuffled closer to winter, the copper and russet leaves crunching beneath our shoes. The leaves look like scabs, a carpet of dried blood spilling into the open earth. Fitting for my nanamaton's funeral, but robots can’t bleed.
“Sure, we can go.”
Asrid wends her way toward the parking lot as I approach the grave. Nana loved yellow anemones, said they were like sunshine on a stick.
“Hope there’s sunshine where you are now, Nana.” I drop a single flower into the ground and wipe away the tear snailing down my cheek. Why Nana chose to permanently shut down and scramble her acuitron brain, I can only guess. Perhaps living in a world controlled by groups like the People Against Robot Autonomy, PARA for short, became too much for her.
“Sorry for your loss,” the child droid says in a tinkling voice.
“Thank you for letting me know,” I say.
“She would've wanted you to be here.” The other nanamaton, gray haired and huddled in a trench coat, doesn't meet my gaze.
I stuff my mitten-covered hands into the pockets of my jacket and hunch my shoulders against the chill. You'd think the universe might have had the courtesy to rain given the sullen occasion, but the sun perches in an acid blue sky.
“Tyri, you coming?” Asrid shouts from the gate, remembering too late that we're supposed to be stealthy. Government regulation stipulates cremation for humans and scrap heaps for robots. If the authorities discover us committing metal and electronics to the earth instead of recycling, Asrid and I will be fined. The robots will be decommissioned on the spot.
“I’m so sorry,” I whisper to the androids before turning away. Their artificial gaze follows me, boring into my back sharp as a laser.
“Botspit, I'm hungry. I could gnaw on a droid. Where're we going to lunch?” Asrid ignores the dead and grieving as if none of it exists.
“I think I'll just go home.”
“Come on, T. I know she was your Nana but she was just a robot, you know.”
Just a robot! Nana changed my diapers. My first day of kindergarten, Nana held my hand. When I came home from school, Nana made me cocoa and sat helping me with homework. Nana cooked my favourite dumpling dinner every Wednesday and made me double-chocolate birthday cake. Nana taught me how to tie my shoelaces and braid my hair. The day I turned sixteen, Mom decided we didn't need Nana anymore. She should've been decommissioned then, but Nana disappeared the day before Mom's M-Tech buddies came to kill her core and reprocess her parts.
“She was more than that to me,” I say.
“Ah, you're adorable.” Asrid casts nervous glances across the lot. Satisfied no policemen lurk behind the bushes, she slips her arm through mine and drags me through the gate. The wrought iron is warped and daubed with rust. Marble angels stand sentinel, broken and stained by time. One misses a nose, and the other has lost a wing.
“You didn't say anything about my new bug.” Asrid pouts when we reach her vehicle. The hoverbug is neon pink, matching her shoes, handbag, and the ribbons holding up her blond hair. The 'E' badge that stands for Engel Motors looks more like a spastic frog than the angel it's supposed to represent.
“Is it meant to smell like cherries?” Even the plush interior is unicorn puke pink. I put on my sunglasses in case all that color stains my eyes.
“Yes, in fact.” Asrid flicks a switch and the engine purrs. “Slipstream Waffles.” She assumes that monotone voice she always uses when addressing machines.
The last thing I want is to sit on sticky vinyl in a noisy waffle house, indulging in sugar and calories served by permanently smiling droids on roller-skates.
“Take me home to Vinterberg.”
“Tyri, don't annoy me.”
“Sassa, Don't patronize me.” I give her the glare she knows better than to argue with.
“Vinterberg,” I say again and Asrid heaves a melodramatic sigh.
“Be boring. Going home to make love to your violin?”
“Why ask when you know the answer?” Nana's coffin lowering into the ground replays in my mind to a soundtrack in b-flat minor.
“How does Rurik put up with being the other love of your life?”
It's my turn to sigh. Rurik doesn't really put up with it or even understand why I love music so much. But then, I don't understand why he gets so hung up on politics, and I definitely don't understand why he didn't show up for Nana's funeral when he knows how much she meant to me.
“We manage.” I stare out the tinted windows at the darkened scenery whipping past.
The hoverbug takes the quickest route, zipping along the street ways that skirt the chaotic center of Baldur. The jungle of concrete and steel thins out into a tree-shrouded suburb studded with modest brick homes. Rurik calls my redbrick bungalow quaint, and it is, complete with flower boxes and a patch of green lawn out back. It’s nothing at all like his dad's slick penthouse, all glass and chrome with a panoramic view of the city. The funny thing is, Rurik used to live right next-door till his mom had the affair and his dad became a workaholic, transforming the family business into an automotive empire.
The hoverbug slows and lands in my driveway.
“I'll call you later,” I say before disembarking.
“You heard anything yet?”
“No, but tomorrow is the last day so I'll hear soon.” I'm trying not to think about why it's taking so long to hear back after my audition for the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra.
“You'll get in T. I'm sure of it. You're brilliant.”
Asrid's words make me smile despite the morbidity of the day. She waves and the hoverbug zooms off, leaving me in the rustling-leave calm of Vinterberg.
I press my thumb to the access pad and the front door hisses open. Mom's at work like always. Taking off my coat and shoes, I whistle for Glitch. She pads into the hallway, her face lopsided from sleep. She stretches and sits down with a decisive humph as if to say, 'Well, human, I'm here. Now, worship me.' And I do.
“Hey my Glitchy girl.” I fold my cyborg Shiba Inu into my arms and sweep her off the floor. Her mechatronic back leg sticks out straight and stiff, the rest of her soft and warm. She licks my ear, one paw on my forehead.
“Good afternoon, Tyri. Would you like some refreshments?” Miles whirs out of the kitchen into the hallway. He's nothing like Nana, just a bipedal mass of electronics and metal with assorted appendages capable of mundane tasks. He doesn't even have eyes, only a flashing array of lights. Despite Mom designing a new generation of androids for M-Tech, we can't afford the new model housebot. Maybe it's better this way. I don't feel much for our bot, but I dubbed him Miles. It seemed to fit.
“Would you like some refreshments?” he repeats.
“Tea and a sandwich.” I carry Glitch into my bedroom at the back of the house. Glitch leaps from my arms, landing on the bed where she curls up in a knot of black, white, and tan fur amongst my pillows.
Still in my black lace skirt and corset, I stretch and flex my fingers. Twisting the cricks from my neck and rolling my shoulders, I ease out the graveyard tension. My violin lies in a bed of blue velvet, waiting for my touch. With the strings in tune and the bow sufficiently taut, the instrument nestles against my jaw as if I was born with a gap there just for the violin. It completes me.
I warm-up my fingers, letting them trip over the strings as my bow arcs and glides. Then I'm ready to play: Beethoven's Kreutzer violin sonata in A major, Nana's favorite. Glitch's ears twitch back and forth. She raises her head to howl but thinks better of it, yawning and curling back into sleep.
The frenzied opening of the sonata segues into a melancholy tune and in the brief moment of calm, my moby warbles at me. I have mail. I try to ignore the distraction and play through the screeching reminder of an unread message, but it might be the one I've been anticipating.
Vibrating in my hand, the moby blinks at me: One unread email. Subject: BPO audition.
“This is it, Glitchy.”
She raises her head as I sit beside her. One hand buried in her fur, I open the email. The words blur together, pixelate and run like wet ink across the screen. Disbelief makes my vision swim. I have to read the message several times over to make sure I haven't misunderstood.
“Codes! I got in.” Blood warms my cheeks as I whisk Glitch into my arms, spinning her around before squeezing her to my chest. She does not approve and scratches at me until I drop her back on the bed. Miles enters with a tray of tea and neat triangular sandwiches.
“Miles, I got in! I'm going to play for the junior BPO. This is amazing.” I'm jumping up and down.
Miles flashes orange. “Could not compute. Please restate.”
“I'm going to play for the best junior orchestra in the country. This could be my chance to break into the scene, to meet all the right people, and make an impression!” My one chance to escape the life already planned for me by Mom. The last thing I want to be is a robot technician.
Miles keeps flashing orange. “Apologies, Tyri. Could not compute, but registering joy.” His visual array flashes green. “Happy birthday!” He says in his clipped metallic voice before leaving the room.
I clutch the moby and read the email another ten times before calling Mom. I reach her voicemail, and my joy tones down a notch. I don't want to talk to another machine, so I hang up and call Rurik instead.
“Hey, Tyri. Now's not a good time. Can I call you back later?”
“I got in,” I say.
“To the orchestra?”
“Yes!”
“That's great.” He doesn't sound half as happy as I am.
“Thanks, I'm so excited, but kind of scared too—”
“T, I'm just in the middle of something. I'll call you back in a bit, okay?” He hangs up, leaving me babbling into silence.
Deflated, I slump onto the floor and rest my head on the bed. Glitch shuffles over to give me another ear wash, delicately nibbling around my earrings. I should've known Rurik would be busy getting ready to go to Osholm University. Getting a scholarship to the most prestigious school in all of Skandia is way more impressive than scoring a desk in the Baldur Junior Orchestra. Still, I received better acknowledgment from the housebot than my boyfriend. I call Asrid.
“Hey T, what's up?” Asrid answers with Sara's high-pitched giggle in the background.
“I got in!”
“That's awesome, except I guess that means more practicing and less time with your friends, huh?” Asrid sounds genuinely put out, as if she’d even notice my absence when Sara's around. Codes, isn't there someone who could just be happy for me? Maybe Mom’s right, and I am being selfish wanting the “Bohemian non-existence” when I could have a “sensible and society-assisting” career in robotics.
“Sorry, I . . . thought you'd like to know.”
“I'm happy for you, Tyri. I know it's a big deal to you. Congrats. Seriously, you deserve this considering how hard you practice,” Asrid says, and Sara shouts congratulations in the background.
“Thanks, Sassa.”
“Hey, our food arrived. Chat later?”
“Sure.” I hang up and reach for my violin. Nana would've understood. She would've danced around the living room with me. She probably would've baked me a cake and thrown a party. Determined not to cry, I skip the second movement of Beethoven's sonata and barrel straight into the jaunty third. The notes warp under my fingers, and the tune slides into b-flat minor.
Two days until the first rehearsal. Maybe I’ll be able to do something different with my life; something that makes me happy instead of just useful.



About The Author
Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
Giveaway
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins Tag

I've been tagged in a few of these tags before but I've never participated this time I was nominated by Michelle at Unraveling Books and these questions were too fun to pass up! 

Envy: What Book Would You Most Like To Receive As A Gift?

I really want to read Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas!

Gluttony: What Book Have You Devoured Over And Over Again With No Shame?
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald it's the only book I try and read every year.

Greed: What Is Your Most Inexpensive Book?
Probably the freebies I find on Amazon or library books.  

Lust: What Attributes Do You Find Attractive In A Male/Female Character?
I like terrible characters that have a whole host of problems you think they don't have a chance in hell of solving. A really, truly, lost cause. I don't think I find that attractive but it is fun to read about.

Pride: What Book Do You Most Talk About In Order To Sound Like An Intellectual Reader?
The classics! I generally like reading classics though so it isn't like I'm trying to sound intellectual. I just like talking about books and those happen to be books that people recognize. 

Sloth: Which Book Have You Neglected Reading Due To Laziness?
The Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. I really liked the show so I bought the first book but I didn't even make it through the prologue. It just felt too long and I often struggle to get through High Fantasy so I just got lazy and stopped trying. 

Wrath: What Author Do You Have A Love/Hate Relationship With?
Julie Kagawa. I loved the last book in her Iron Fey series but thought the rest of the series and everything else I've read from her has been mediocre...but her mini dragon statues are so cute! See, it's totally love/hate.

I am going to tag:
Olivia-Savannah @ Olivia's Catastrophe
Haley @ Ya-Aholic

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Ignite Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
Before beginning this novel I checked out a few reviews on Goodreads. I wanted to be surprised but I also wanted to get a general consensus and I believe the consensus is that your enjoyment of this novel will be based on what “team” you are on. Which is too bad because I think there was more going on here then just who Juliette was going to pick.

Ignite Me was compulsively readable. Very, very, little happened plot wise and I was still enamored by the characters making plans, training, or whatever they felt like doing between dialogue. Despite being a dystopian this novel, and the entire series, are character driven.

One of my qualms with this finale was that the writing, which I found so lovely in the first book, basically disappeared. Juliette wasn’t striking out text or making long-winded analogies. She really has her stuff together in this novel and the story reads that way. Juliette isn’t lost in her own head so I can see the need to change the way the story is written but I still missed the pretty prose.

One of my favorite aspects of this story was how much Warner grew as a character. We get to see his justifications for the choices he has made throughout the series and I think this novel made a lot of sense when read in conjunction with the two novellas Mafi wrote Destroy Me and Fracture Me. While neither novella blew me away I think they did a good job foreshadowing the outcome of Ignite Me.

On the other hand I couldn’t stand Adam. He went from being kind of ho-hum to something completely out of character. Adam genuinely surprised me but not in a good way. I guess I expected better of him, and it’s sad when characters let you down.

Overall, Ignite Me was a solid finish to the series. I finished the novel very quickly because I just had to know what was happening next and even though nothing was happening I was still on the edge of my seat which I think speaks to the quality of Mafi’s writing. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bookish Discussion: Book Boyfriend's (or lack thereof) in 2014


I was putting together my Top Ten lists of 2014 and usually my favorite list to put together is book boyfriends. I mean who doesn't want to gush over book boys?! The problem I've run in to is that in 2014 I found a distinctive lack of swoony boys.

Basically 2014 in a nutshell.

 There were some truly great male characters in 2014, especially male leads, but none of them screamed that they HAD to be on the list. It was more of a whisper that maybe they should make it. If I have the space....and I feel like it.

2014 was really the year of the Heroine. I think the distinctive lack of book boyfriends was because heroines took center stage. Male counterparts were relegated to background status. And choosing a guy wasn't the central point of many of the stories I read. I wasn't forced to pick a team in 2014. And you know what? I liked that!


So this makes me wonder will this trend continue in to 2015? After already reading a few books with slated release dates in 2015 I believe this trend will be continuing in to the foreseeable future. The market was tired of picking a team. They were tired of girls relying on guys to save them. Ladies are now saving themselves (or being saved by another lady) and I'm glad for that! It's about time.


Still, this trend has made my list making rather hard so I'm going to hold out hope that 2015 will be the year that strong female/male leads can find strong male/female leads and form semi-healthy, swoony, relationships. It's a long shot but here's to hoping!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

For Real by Alison Cherry Blog Tour

For Real
Author: Alison Cherry
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: December 9, 2014

Synopsis:
No parents. No limits. No clue what they're in for.
Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister's shadow. While Miranda's life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality TV.
When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just before her college graduation, it's Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They'll outshine Miranda's fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.
But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may or may not be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life... or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what's for real?
Goodreads ♥ Amazon ♥ B&N 

Alison's Top 5 Favorite Reality Shows

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox, 2005-present)
 Two of my all-time favorite contestants, Melanie Moore and Sasha Mallory, dancing a contemporary routine in season 8.
Premise: Ten male dancers and ten female dancers are paired up and perform choreography in at least one randomly selected dance style each week. Viewers vote to eliminate one guy and one girl per week.

Best points: The level of talent on this show is phenomenal, both among the dancers and the choreographers. (It has won six Emmys for outstanding choreography!) The show’s format doesn’t give you a lot of time to get to know the dancers as people—it’s really almost all about dancing—and I actually appreciate that about it. It’s rare that watch a reality show and feel like the winners are chosen based on talent alone. Bonus: I am really good at calling the winner of this show in advance.

Worst points: After every routine, a panel of judges gives the dancers feedback about their performances, which is meant to guide the voting public. However, I already know a lot about dance, so I find all the talking unnecessary—I just watched the performances, I know whether they were good or not! I often fast-forward through all the talking, which cuts my viewing time down from two hours to 45 minutes. Ah, the wonders of DVR.

Top Chef (Bravo, 2006-present)
My favorite Top Chef winner, Stephanie Izard, proudly displays an amuse bouche during season 4.
Premise: A group of professional chefs compete in two challenges per week: a “Quickfire,” in which they often must cook something in less than half an hour, and an elimination challenge, which are more complex. One chef is eliminated each week by a panel of chefs, guest judges, and food critics.

Best points: I can barely make a hard-boiled egg without consulting a cookbook, so the speed and agility with which these chefs cook is astounding to me. It’s almost like watching them do magic tricks. The challenges are also incredibly creative—I’ve seen chefs prepare entire meals with one hand, concoct appetizers from ingredients they bought from a vending machine, and build landscapes out of dessert items.

Worst points: As with all cooking shows (except visual ones like Ace of Cakes,) the viewing audience has no way of knowing whether the right people are being eliminated, as we can’t taste the food. Also, this show makes me incredibly hungry.

The Amazing Race (CBS, 2001-present)
Bopper and Mark, one of my all-time favorite teams, searches a field full of mini hot air balloons for their next clue in season 20.
Premise: Teams of two travel to a different country each week and complete a series of challenges as quickly as possible. The last team to arrive at the “pit stop” at the end of each leg of the race is eliminated.

Best points: This show is edited really well—the scenery is beautiful, the camerawork is extremely professional, and the producers are great at creating dramatic tension. Even if two teams are actually hours apart, it appears to the viewers as if they’re neck and neck. Many of the challenges relate to local customs, which are fun to learn about, plus there’s the schadenfreude of watching people do annoying tasks like searching a packed china shop for one specific figurine.

Worst points: The producers always pick at least one team of people who don’t actually get along, and they spend the entire season bickering and screaming at each other, which gets grating very quickly. Also, because speed is the goal of the show, it’s rare that anyone gets to pay much attention to the local culture or admire the scenery. It seems like such a waste to race around the world without actually seeing anything.

Mythbusters (Discovery Channel, 2003-present)
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, ready to white-water raft on rafts made of duct tape in season 14.
Premise: Two special effects experts set out to prove or disprove the validity of myths, old wives’ tales, adages, and improbable-sounding news stories and movie scenes.

Best points: I love watching people be wildly enthusiastic about things, and hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are so excited about science (and possibly even more excited about blowing stuff up!) I also love how much effort they put into doing things that are completely useless and ridiculous, just to see if they’re possible, like building a functional sailboat out of duct tape (success!) or cutting down a tree with machine-gun fire (success, though it was areally big machine gun, and it took a while.) This show is both hilarious and informative, and it’s rare to see anyone have this much fun on reality television.

Worst points: Though I’m sure they take precautions to make sure everyone is safe, Adam and Jamie are constantly putting themselves in situations that looklife-threatening. Those blast shields just don't seem strong enough to protect them, and I’m always afraid someone’s going to die in the name of science. What if they don't get out of the sinking car in time? What if the sharks actually do try to eat them? Busting myths is very stressful, as it turns out.

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist (Bravo, 2010-2011)
 The judges take in contestant Sara Jiminez's performance art piece in season 2.
Premise: Fourteen up-and-coming artists compete in visual art challenges. Each episode culminates in a gallery show, and then one artist is eliminated by a group of judges.

Best points: Everyone on this show is completely nuts. There was a guy who went by “The Sucklord.” There were people who made “art” with their own bodily fluids and hair. There was always one girl who photographed herself nude for every challenge. I was a visual art major in college, and these are exactly the kinds of people I interacted with every day, so it was very cathartic to be able to laugh at the weirdness without having to actually, you know, be in the room with them.

Worst points: Apparently nobody watched this show. It was canceled after two seasons, and I mourn its passing.

About The Author
Alison grew up in Evanston, IL. She is a professional photographer and spent many years working as a lighting designer for theater, opera, and dance. Now she lives in Brooklyn and writes young adult novels full time. She is represented by the lovely and amazing Holly Root of Waxman Leavell.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

A Thousand Pieces of You
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Goodreads ♥ Amazon

Review:
Marguerite’s parents are genius physicists that created the Firebug. This device allows the wearer to travel through different universes. After her father is killed Marguerite uses the Firebird to follow his killer in to alternate universes. The problem is the killer might just be her soul mate.

If you’re like me then I’ve probably already lost you. Whenever I see alternate universes or any kind of science I’m usually ready to put the book back on the shelf. But Gray explains everything very simply and A Thousand Pieces of You doesn’t read like a sci-fi novel it reads like a romance.

My favorite thing about A Thousand Pieces of You was the ever changing setting. Because Marguerite is universe jumping the settings included a futuristic London, a Romanov-esque Russia, and a submarine. I was especially fond of the Russian setting which felt both romantic and threatening. Part of me enjoyed the political intrigue and the other part just loved the fancy balls.

I liked the relationship between Marguerite, Paul, and Theo. Paul and Theo are Marguerite’s parent’s grad students who basically live at her house. I liked that Paul and Theo thought of each other as brothers. But I didn’t like when this friendship started creeping in to love triangle territory, especially because I wasn’t really feeling the love and I don’t think Marguerite was either.

Overall, A Thousand Pieces of You was a fun read. The changing setting made the novel feel very quick paced and I was always interested to see where the Firebird would take Marguerite next. I’m definitely excited to continue this new series.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top 10 New-To-Me Authors of 2014


1 Oscar Wilde! 
I can't believe I'd never read anything by Oscar Wilde before this year. I feel almost embarrassed to type those words. I am SO GLAD I started reading his work at the end of this year, he is witty, insightful, and just all around amazing. Excuse me while I go read everything he's ever written now!

2 A.C. Gaughen
I accidentally requested Lady Thief thinking it was a standalone. When I found out it was the second in a series I bought Scarlet and expected it to be mediocre. WHOA was I wrong! Out of the 100+ books I've read this year I have only given eleven books five stars, Scarlet and Lady Thief are two of them.

3 Heather Demetrios
Heather's been having a big year! Her debut novel Something Real came out at the beginning of 2014, Exquisite Captive came out in October and I have to admit I loved both books. She's definitely an author to watch and I can't wait to start her next novel I'll Meet You There.

4 Catherynne M. Valente
This was actually the second book I read in 2014 and it has stuck with me all year. The story was powerful and the characters and images were so vivid. I'll be reading everything else this woman has written.

5 Adam Selzer
I feel like Adam Selzer gets me. All of the jokes in this book, the friends, the crappy/slacker part time job, all of it was so similar to my high school experience that I got nostalgic, I laughed hysterically, and couldn't help but love this novel!

6 Kate Karyus Quinn
This book was weird in the best ways. I was so enamored by Kate's storytelling ability that the first thing I did after finishing (Don't You) Forget About Me was buy Another Little Piece which I can't wait to read!

7 Andrew Smith
I feel like I showed up late to the Andrew Smith party. Not as late as the Oscar Wilde party but still. Both Winger and 100 Sideways Miles have strong voices and fascinating male-pov characters. Spare yourself the embarrassment and come through a side door to this party!

8 Brenna Yovanoff
I'm a long time Maggie Stiefvater fan and I knew of  Brenna in that way you know of people that are friends of friends. I hadn't read any of her work until The Curiosities. Color me surprised when the majority of my favorite stories in the anthology were written by her! I quickly bought The Space Between and The Paper Valentine. I can't wait to get to both.

9 Katrina Leno
The Half Life of Molly Pierce is an amazing debut. I loved the inclusion of mental illness and how the author deals with tough subject matter. This book gave me feels and made me think, I can't ask for anything more then that!

10 John Corey Whaley
Where Things Come Back was perfection. I loved every second of this novel from the writing, to the characters, to the way Whaley perfectly captured the small town feeling. I loved it and will be reading everything else he writes.