Thursday, March 23, 2017

YA Dystopian Books-- Where Are They?









This is more of a thinking out loud post than it is something that is going to generate discussion-- but I've been wondering something & it's: WHERE IS ALL THE YA DYSTOPIAN?

Remember back in the Hunger Games heyday when you couldn't shake a stick without hitting a knock-off??  Well, I was one of those people who were SO annoyed by it.  I didn't understand why everyone had to just jump on the bandwagon and write mediocre copies of the series.  Seriously, even the covers of those books were all the same.




So, in the sea of copies, there were a few that were unique and worthy of praise.  But you know, I didn't read them because I was annoyed.  Now, for whatever reason (mostly because I'm difficult), I've been in the mood for dystopian books.  I like a good apocalypse book and I've been wanting to read books that explore what happens after a world changing "event".

The thing is, there aren't any!  Right now it seems like what is being published as far as Dystopian goes are fairy tale retellings or high fantasy crossovers.  And yeah, I like a good retelling, and I'm trying to branch out in to fantasy more, but honestly I just want to read a good Hunger Games knock-off.


I recently read The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, which I wouldn't say is the classic definition of dystopia, but it's in the ballpark.  I really did like it, but I'm not seeing anything new or upcoming that is like it.

I know trends come and go (and that there are plenty of backlist books I could read), but just because it isn't a "trend" doesn't mean it should be extinct!

I know I'm like 7 years late to this party.... but UGHH.


I need your help


I want to read a new Dystopian that has these elements:
  • 2017 release date
  • Futuristic setting
  • A powerful government or entity in charge
  • Things look grim
  • No magical or fantasy elements
  • No monarchies
  • No space
(Now I bet you're waiting for me to say I want that whole Twilight bandwagon book phase to come back.  Well, rest assured, I won't be asking for more vampire romances.  Ever.)



Any suggestions?


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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy-- Yes THAT Andrew McCarthy!!

Just Fly Away

Lucy is told about a family "secret" and it messes with her hard.  Her father had an affair that produced a child-- a boy named Thomas, who is now 8 years old.  

She never even suspected that her parents were having problems, so it messes with her sense of reality to think that she doesn't really know her dad as well as she thought she did.  She feels betrayed and angry and she doesn't know how to deal with those emotions.  She's lashing out at everybody, including the guy that she's falling for.

To get away from it all she takes an impromptu trip from New Jersey to Maine to see her estranged grandfather and clear her head.









I picked this up because I saw the name Andrew McCarthy and wondered if it was THAT Andrew McCarthy-- it is.  It's the brat-packer from Pretty in Pink and St. Elmo's Fire (& most recently The Family-- RIP) and all that 80's goodness.  So I thought why not??  Let's see what inspired him to write YA as a 50-something.

I started out really liking this book.  I especially liked all the descriptions the author used to put me in the place where the character was.  Descriptions aren't usually a big selling point with me, so I know these ones were top shelf if I was noticing and loving them.

I think I would have been all about this book if I liked Lucy better.  Or if there was another character that was fully developed that I could like.  As it was, Lucy is really the only character in this book, and I didn't get along with her.  There was a boyfriend-type guy in this book that I almost got to know, but not really-- and I kind of wished the book was about him instead because he was a cool guy.

A weird thing:  I really liked that she was immature.  That's not something I can usually love in a character, but it was refreshing to read about a 15-year-old who doesn't have it all together.  She was emotionally immature for sure-- super impulsive-- pretty much everything a teenager is, and it made me like her more than I wanted to.

Why I didn't like her:  She was super selfish and kind of dense.  I can get behind impulsive, but denseness is a whole other thing.  Like okay, you're going to Maine on a whim-- but maybe don't accept rides from random dudes??  And you can be immature and still care about other people.  Lucy only cared about how the big secret affected her.  She didn't even try to talk to her sister or mom, she was just ME, ME, ME.  And I got bored with that.  Also, anyone who is okay with wearing the same underwear for multiple days, I don't trust :)

I think this was a good try for a first novel, but I think it needed MORE characters and MORE plot.  Not a lot happened asides from hanging out and running away.

OVERALL:  It's readable and interesting, but needed a few more developed characters for me to really like it.  Lucy got on my last nerve and she was really the only person in this book, so for me it wasn't really a book I'd recommend.


Date Published: 3/28/2017
How I got this book: ALA-- thanks to Algonquin for providing me with this copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3/5












Character: Lucy Willows
Book: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
  • McLean is going through a similar family problem and has a lot of resentment, just like Lucy.





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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday-- Books I Read Super Fast

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (March 21th) I'm one of them :)


Today's Topic

Top Ten Books I Read Super Fast


  • I'm not a very fast reader... but something about these books turned me into one!!  Most of them I read in a single sitting.   A few of them took me 2 evenings.  They're not all favorites though.  Some were just easy to read!





1.  One Moment by Kristina McBride- This book was ADDICTING!!  I HAD TO KNOW what the deal with Joey was.  I highly recommend it!

2.  Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers- I read all of Courtney's books fast because I'm her #1 fan.  But this one I stayed up all night reading.... and basically died the next day.  Totally worth it.

3.  Party by Tom Leveen- This author is so underrated.  This was the first book I read by him and I flew through it.  It's short, narrated by multiple people, and takes place over one night-- which are all things I love in books.

4.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling- I didn't expect to love this when I bought it on a whim at Wal-Mart.  But I stayed up all night reading it and found myself back at Wal-Mart at 3AM buying HP and the Chamber of Secrets.

5.  Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay- I didn't love this, but it was a super easy read because it follows the TV series (or I guess the TV series follows the book) VERY closely.  There really aren't any additional details in the book-- it was almost like reading one of those novelizations.





6.  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- This book HURT!!  I was up all night reading and crying and it's a pretty long book, but I couldn't stop reading it.

7.  Torn Away by Jennifer Brown- Ughh, this was another sobfest that I read in a single night.

8.  The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith- This book was SO powerful that I thought about it the every single time I wasn't reading it.

9.  The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs- I read this at the beach, which probably contributed to my fast reading-- but it was really, really good.

10.  13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher- I enjoyed that this book tried to do something different and it is a short book.  PS-- YAY for the Netflix show coming soon!!





What books made your list this week?

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Monday, March 20, 2017

FFBC: Welcome to the Club The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco & GIVEAWAY





The Bone Witch (#1)

by Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

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Synopsis:


The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer. 

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.




Welcome Rin! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


1.  Favorite Book? 

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

2.  Favorite TV show? 

Star Trek (the Original series, Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, etc. - yes, I am a Trekkie), and also Boston Legal for some reason.

3.  Favorite movie? 

Jurassic Park

4.  Your Favorite Song? 

Drops of Jupiter by Train

5.  Favorite Food? 

A tossup between salmon sushi and ramen, but I suspect my real answer is “buffets”.

6.  Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

1.) Hogwarts. I swear House Slytherin isn't as bad as they make it out to be!

2.) Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (I would probably have the most useless superpower though, like maybe the ability to transfer my cholesterol onto someone else)

3.) Not exactly a place per se, but I wouldn't mind living on the U.S.S. Enterprise despite my Romulan nature

7.  Who is your perfect fictional boyfriend? 

Namor / The Sub-Mariner. I have a weakness for antiheroes with unrelenting honor, who appears boorish but is chivalrous and devoted to his love interest. All the other Marvel characters have movies by now, make one for him already! 

8.  Favorite Quote? 

It's not worth doing something unless you were doing something that someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing.” - Terry Practchett 

9.  What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over? 

How long do you want this interview to be? If it's a fandom I like, I'm probably already fangirling – Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Trek, Marvel, D.C., Psycho Pass, Agatha Christie, Discworld, Sandman, Lucifer – the list goes on. 

10.  If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be? 

Terry Pratchett, hands down. I would also say Neil Gaiman, but I've met him like three times (a brief conversation I had with him was the reason I started taking writing seriously)

11.  Something to say to our Book Addicts? 

I am a very weird person, which I think is a great strength as a writer. Be as weird as you want, as many times as you can be, and whenever you deem it necessary, which should be often. Celebrate the fact that you are the only person in the world that can be you, and the world will be all the better for it.  




ABOUT THE BOOK:


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about The Bone Witch?

The Bone Witch is about an exiled asha – girls capable of runic magic - who encounters a bard. At his urging, she recounts her life as an asha, a powerful spellcaster who discovers the rare power of necromancy when she raises her brother from the dead. Her ability makes her reviled by most of society, despite relying on her to protect them from undead beasts roaming the land, and alludes to this as the reason she was banished. But as she recounts her tale, the bard slowly begins to suspect that she may not be as innocent as she appears to be.  

How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

This was inspired by all the Asian fantasies I've read growing up. I was born in Asia (and still live here!) and I've been reading Chinese and Japanese fantasy / historical epics long before I'd started reading any Western counterparts. The Bone Witch is a magical fantasy homage to them, the kingdom of Kion in particular. I wanted a melting pot of traditions and cultures too, and researched a lot about Middle Eastern culture as my basis for the kingdom of Odalia. I also wanted to explore relationships between siblings as a focal point of the story – my family lost a son before I was born, and I'd always wondered what it would be like, if I could literally bring him back from the dead.

Which kind of asha would you like to be?

I would rather be one of those asha who putters around libraries and functions as an official historian instead of fighting people or dancing. But I would also be one of those people who'd devote their lives to studying rune magic just because it would make for fascinating study, and I'd like to think I'd be somewhat competent in it. Please no one ask me to sing, though. I can curdle milk that way.

Tell us your favorite quote from The Bone Witch.

The very first two lines actually, which I think sets the (dark) tone for the rest of the book, and sums up what I believe should be everyone's first impression of Tea: “The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.”

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write? Or which one was the most difficult to write?

Rahim Arrakan is one of my favorite characters to write in the book. He's basically a gay icon who's escaped the prejudice of his nation to start the most popular haute couture fashion house in the kingdom. He's also a very unique figure, being masculine in appearance but unrepentantly open about his sexuality, and speaks with an obvious Tresean (nearest similarity would be East Slavic) accent. Tea's first meeting with him is hilarious, and I'm surprised at how easily I was able to delve into his personality while writing that scene, and how much I enjoyed it.  

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for The Bone Witch – Which one would you pick?

Like Real People Do, by Hozier. It's about the death of a relationship but described the way one might describe digging up a grave, and I found it a really apt analogy.

Imagine that we get to see your book on the big screen (how awesome would that be?). Who would you pick to play your characters? (It can be anyone – famous or not)

I haven't actually thought much about casting. I don't know a lot of teen Middle Eastern celebrities, and should any screen adaptations happen I'd always hoped unknown Middle Eastern actors and actresses would make up most of the cast. But I remember coming across a picture of Hasti Mahdavifar before and thinking she would look amazing as Tea Pahlavi. I also think the actor who was once kicked out of Saudi Arabia for “being too handsome”, Omar Borkan al Gala, would make a great older Prince Kance. And as for Fox – maybe a much younger Sam Asghari with long hair? 

Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read The Bone Witch (specific music, snacks…)?

I wrote The Bone Witch for the most part with my mouth full of food (mostly ramen), but if they are so inclined, red wine goes very well with reading sessions. Persian cuisine makes up a lot of the food in The Bone Witch, and while it might be hard to find in your area, you can never go wrong with lamb or beef kebab. Or hummus! I love hummus. I wrote a lot of The Bone Witch on a Hozier playlist – I like Take Me to Church, but he has so many other profound songs I'm surprised he's only known for that - so I'd recommend listening to his music, too!

What’s next for you?

The next two books of The Bone Witch series, where the wars of both past and present truly begins! I also work on a lot of WIPs at once, but I'm concentrating on one that has both an ensemble cast (with a Filipino girl MC) and a modern fairytale spin to it. It's the kind of book that's easier to explain by reading it. My initial premise was: how would a modern world where fairytales form a part of actual history, and where magic exists side by side with technology, react when a long-forgotten prophecy is suddenly fulfilled by a refugee of a destroyed nation, with a long-forgotten villain returning to make sure this will not come to pass? (Yes, it sounds confusing. My apologies.)  

Thank you so much for everything, Rin!


Thanks for having me! :)






   






Rin Chupeco wrote obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and did many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fairy tales but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She wrote The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and The Bone Witch, the first book of a new YA Fantasy trilogy. Find her at rinchupeco.com.




















    • Open Internationally
    • Please read our Rules and Guidelines in the Rafflecopter
    • (1) winner will win a crochet Tea doll and Signed Hardback copy of The Bone Witch
    • (2) winners will win a Bottlecap Necklace and a crochet Tea doll each























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    Tuesday, March 14, 2017

    FFBC: Welcome to the Club THE MOST DANGEROUS THING by Leanne Lieberman & GIVEAWAY



    The Most Dangerous Thing

    Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
    Release Date: March 7th 2017
    Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

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    Synopsis:

    Sixteen-year-old Sydney hates to talk (or even think) about sex. She's also fighting a secret battle against depression, and she's sure she'll never have a boyfriend. When her classmate Paul starts texting and sending her nature photos, she is caught off guard by his interest. Always uncomfortable with any talk about sex, Sydney is shocked when her extroverted sister, Abby, announces that she is going to put on The Vagina Monologues at school. Despite her discomfort, Sydney starts to reexamine her relationship with her body, and with Paul. But her depression worsens, and with the help of her friends, her family, a therapist and some medication, she grapples with what she calls the most dangerous thing about sex: female desire.
    Welcome Leanne!!  We're very happy to have you apart of the FFBC Tours!