It’s Bookanista Thursday!  Before I gush about THE GIRL GUIDE, find out how you can win a copy  on Christine Fonseca’s blog!

Plus, check out what the other Bookanistas are raving about this week:

Lenore Appelhans  is blown away by REBOOT by Amy Tintera

 Carrie Harris adores BEYOND DINOCALYPSE by Chuck Wendig — with giveaway!

 Tracy Banghart  & Debra Driza join THE GIRL GUIDE by Christine Fonseca book blitz!

  Corrine Jackson is stunned by BREAKING BEAUTIFUL by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

 Nikki Katz  wonders at THE GRAVE WINNER by Lindsey Loucks

 Gretchen McNeil talks TRUTH OR DARE by Jacqueline Green

 Elana Johson admires INSOMNIA by Jenn Johannson

 Tracey Neithercott celebrates THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS by Jacqueline Moriarty

 Katy Upperman fawns over FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Melina Marchetta

 Rebecca Behrens is wowed by THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey

Now, on to my review!

I’m a big fan of Christine Fonseca’s Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students, so of course I was really excited to check out her new non-fiction book, THE GIRL GUIDE:  Finding Your Place in a Mixed-up World.

I so wasn’t disappointed.

Let me just start by saying that I wish I’d had a book like this during those middle school or early high school years. That’s right about when I began struggling with being true to myself versus worrying about how others saw me. I’m a naturally loud (SHOCKING, RIGHT?) and energetic person, but back then, I tried to suppress those tendencies, because it became clear that some of my “friends” frowned upon that type of behavior, and wanted me to conform more to what they perceived as normal.

Boo.

This book addresses all that uncertainty and more, by providing quizzes and activities and thoughtful questions to help girls identify their own unique voices. It’s a wonderful tool  that encourages girls to think about who they are and who they want to be, by touching on subjects like building resiliency, bullying, mother-daughter relationships, navigating social media, and more, all without ever being preachy. Ultimately, I think the amazing thing Fonseca achieves here is to show girls that even though they might feel powerless much of the time, most of that is just a perception, and yes, they CAN take control of their lives.

THE GIRL GUIDE is an empowering, worthwhile read–definitely a book I’ll be sharing with my daughter when she’s a little older.

 

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Let me start off this blog post by telling you what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Christine Fonseca  interviews author Sandra Almazan

Stasia Ward Kehoe is spellbound by ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD & GIRL OF NIGHTMARES

Jessica Love falls for UNBREAK MY HEART

LiLa Roecker swoons over STORYBOUND

Megan Miranda is giddy for GILT


Now on to last week’s winners. The two lucky ducky recipients of shiny, brand-spanking new copies of HEMLOCK are:

Von and Amy K!

*throws werewolf junk confetti*

Finally, it’s time for another (very tardy) giveaway. See, when I reviewed STARTERS a few weeks ago, I totally neglected to give away the ARC and swag that author Lissa Price so graciously provided.  I know–me, forgetful?  NEVER!

*cough*

ANYWAY. To remedy that teensy little oversight, this week I’ll be giving away TWO copies of STARTERS plus STARTERS swag. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on the chance to read this fast-paced, thrilling sci-fi tale about the dangers of coveting youth at any price.

To win, all you have to do is answer this question—if you could “borrow” someone’s body for a few months, would you? And because I’m insanely nosey, WHOSE?

Winners picked at random on Wed, May 17th* Mon, June 4th at noon, PST.

*Apparently, it’s helpful to hold contests that are open longer than negative minutes and end on, you know, an actual real date  (as opposed to the ones I make up in my head–there was no Thurs, May 17th)–who would have guessed?

Good luck, and may the bodies junk odds be ever in your favor!

UPDATE: SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE!

If you live in SoCal and want to meet Lissa in person and get a signed copy of STARTERS,  go see her at the Los Feliz Costco this Saturday at 1:00. More details here!  Or, buy a copy of STARTERS from Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

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Let’s kick this review off by ogling the cover:

So Pretty!

 

Seriously, MASQUE is one of my favorite covers of recent months. I love how dreamy it is–in sort of a creepy nightmarish way which totally fits the book– and the color scheme, and how the girl’s face is completely obscured by the umbrella.

Now, on to the contents!  Here’s the official summary:

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

So, MASQUE is a steampunk post-apocalyptic Victorian retelling of Poe’s MASQUE—um, hello, how amazing is THAT?  The prose in this book is gorgeous, and the setting is vivid in a dark, dreamy-dreary way, as befitting a world that has been devastated by plague and a heroine who experiences everything through a haze in an effort to forget the past that haunts her. If you’ve read many of my other reviews, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for a broken, flawed heroine, so Araby grabbed me right away with her damaged soul and her exploits at the Debauchery Club.

In Araby’s city, the wealthy wear masks to avoid contamination while corpse collectors make regular rounds to collect the bodies of the less fortunate. I really loved the disconnect between that pervasive sense of despair and the sensuous, ridiculously expensive parties that the rich use as an escape.  The two love interests in MASQUE–Will and Elliott–are so, so different and both have their own secrets to keep.   To me, Elliott is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve read about in a long time, and I seriously can’t wait to see what the next book holds in store for him and Araby.

Now, it’s GIVEAWAY TIME!  To win a shiny new copy of Bethany’s MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, leave your best Poe pun in the comments by Tuesday, May 1st, noon PST (or, you know, just comment)  Winner will be chose by random–Good luck!

Don’t forget to check out what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Elana Johnson more than “likes” BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS

Nikki Katz is crazy about CREWEL

Stasia Ward Kehoe  adores BREAKING BEAUTIFUL

Katy Upperman wonders at WANDERLOVE

Tracy Banghart  takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS

Jessica Love is wowed by WELCOME CALLER, THIS IS CHLOE

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Bookanista Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Mar 29, 2012 Under book reviews, Bookanistas, Young Adult

 

Here’s the official summary:

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

And here’s a look at the cover:

 

While I loved the premise of SLIDE–sliding into other people’s heads? How cool/weird/scary would that be?–I think my favorite things about the book were the complex relationships and the snappy pace. Ms. Hathaway does a great job at constructing realistic relationships between her main character Vee and the people in (and out) of her life.  A lot of Very Big Issues are touched upon in the book via those relationships (bullying and suicide, to name two), and they all felt very real to me. Vee is far from perfect–she makes mistakes, jumps to conclusions, and isn’t always the best decision-make–but that’s a big part of what I liked.  And while she wasn’t perfect, her heart was in the right place, which was most poignantly shown through her interactions with her sister Mattie.

As for the pace, well–I breezed through this book in under two days. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Now, time to see what the other Bookanistas are up to this week:

Christine Fonseca  interviews author Eisley Jacobs

Stasia Ward Kehoe gets psyched for the release of TORN

Tracy Banghart takes a shine to UNDER THE NEVER SKY

 

 

 

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Bookanista Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Posted by houndrat on Wednesday Mar 14, 2012 Under book reviews, Bookanistas, Young Adult

Lissa Price’s STARTERS just debuted on Tuesday, WOOT!  Here’s a look at the cover:

oooh, SHINY!

(you can’t tell on the screen, but the background is all metallic and sparkly–it was an awesome surprise when I saw the book in person!)

And here’s the official summary:

HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER 

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. 

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . 

 

First of all, it’s not just any cookie they’d kill for, but a Supertruffle–and I *totally* want one.  *drools*

Next–and perhaps a wee bit more important–oh my gosh, the concept of this book was spectacular!  As I read, Starters played out in my head like a movie, and I think sci fi movie fans  (lovers of both old-school stuff like Total Recall and newfangled flicks like Source Code) will gobble this up!

Poor Arnie....

 

Ms. Price thrusts you right into the story–no page after page of info-dumping here!  We start in a very tense spot, when the main character Callie first visits the sinister Prime Destinations, a company that “rents” teen bodies to Enders (they put the *senior* in senior citizen) for an exorbitant price (creepy, right? Also, *snicker*–does anyone else think that the name Prime Destination would lead to a whole new batch of terrible pickup lines?)

Callie is instantly sympathetic as a young girl who is barely scraping by in a new world devoid of guardians, one who is willing to do anything to save her brother–even if that means allowing complete strangers to take her body for a little joyride.  I loved how the mystery played out, too–that definitely kept me flipping the pages!  There was a really poignant and thought-provoking part involving the senator’s son that reminded me of why I teared up during Meet Joe Black.  And, oh man, what a TEASE at the end. Is book two here yet?  *taps foot*

If you’re ready for a fast-paced, super cool sci fi read, then definitely give STARTERS a try.

 

Don’t forget to see what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca  interviews author Heather McCorkle

Megan Miranda gives stars to STARTERS

Stasia Ward Kehoe is giddy about GEEKTASTIC – with giveaway!

Nikki Katz praises PANDEMONIUM

Hilary Wagner swoons for PINK SMOG – with giveaway

 

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Before I dive into the review, I wanted to give a quick WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!  MILA 2.0 is finally off to copy edits, and yes, I’m totally doing the happy I’m Revision-Free-and-I-Know-it dance! No, I won’t be vlogging this particular dance anytime soon. Trust me when I say your eyeballs should thank me (though I solemnly swear I am not wearing a SparkleSpeedo).

WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE WIGGLE

I AM doing a giveaway though, WOOT!

But first, let’s take a look at CINDER by Marissa Meyer. Here’s the official summary:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl… Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future

A Cinderella retelling, featuring a cyborg Cinderella and a futuristic New Beijing?  Yes, please!  I was excited about this story the moment I heard about the premise (I mean, really—HOW COULD I NOT BE?) and oh my gosh, CINDER totally delivers. This book is So. Much. Fun.  The world Meyer paints is imaginative and stunningly visual. I love Cinder’s character—she’s compassionate, smart, and more than a little rebellious as a cyborg manifestation of the fairy tale legend. In her world, cyborgs aren’t considered full citizens, and the way Cinder questions her own worth is very poignant.  Prince Kai is a sympathetic character, as the son of a ruler who’s rushed into being a man, a boy with his own rebellious streak. Yes, the prince wants to do what’s best for his country, but without being a pawn, and the chasm that divides Cinder’s and Kai’s places in society provides oodles of conflict.

I don’t want to spoil anything, but the little twists on all the traditional Cinderella details were awesomesauce, too! And Iko, oh, Iko—your personality chip RULES!

Now for the giveaway!  I want you to win your own copy of CINDER—either a hard cover, or an ebook!  All you have to do is tell me which literary character you think would make a good cyborg, and why. Contest runs until Wednesday, February 22nd at noon PST.

Hmmm....

 

Don’t forget to check out what the other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca surrenders to THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL

Corrine Jackson delights in CHOPSTICKS

Stasia Ward Kehoe  presents a Stunning Seconds interview with A MILLION SUNS author Beth Revis

Jen Hayley gives a shout-out to the classics

Katy Upperman raves over JELLICOE ROAD

Hilary Wagner is all about LEXAPROS AND CONS – with giveaway

Carolina Valdez Miller talks about the tremendous cover of TEN

Jessica Love has high ratings for THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here’s the official UNDER THE NEVER SKY summary:

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART. 

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER. 

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim. 

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive. 

If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers

I picked up my copy of UNDER THE NEVER SKY at a book signing in San Diego. It was the second time I got to meet Ms. Veronica Rossi, and while I was totally thrilled by that (because, you know, Veronica is SuperAwesome) I also got that little pinch of worry—the one you feel whenever you’re getting ready to dig into an acquaintance’s book.  I so want to love every story I read, but of course that can’t always happen. And when you don’t enjoy a book written by someone you admire, it’s just, well, blah.

Yeah, so I totally angsted over nothing.

UNDER THE NEVER SKY is told by two different characters—Aria and Perry—which is great. Why?  Because Ms. Rossi takes full advantage of the opportunities presented by a dual POV book, and really uses Aria’s and Perry’s different perspectives to contrast their polar opposite worlds. I love the fact that they have such unique voices—something that’s often lacking in books that tackle this narrative style. UNDER THE NEVER SKY is billed as a dystopian (though one could argue it’s more post-apocalyptic) but because of the way some people have been going all Man Vs. Wild** outside of the pods, there are these really earthy fantasy elements to the story, too. The combo of the two gives the book a super fresh, unique feel—one that I think will make it appeal to a broad audience.  Plus, there’s plenty of action to keep even the most thrill-seeking readers turning the pages.

**I thought the survival stuff was full of awesome. Almost like a futuristic Clan of the Cave Bear in a way–but without all the gratuitous caveman sex.

Ahem.  I think that’s my cue to see what other Bookanistas are up to:

Christine Fonseca  takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS

Carolina Valdez Miller falls for FRACTURE

Jen Hayley surrenders to THE NIGHT SHE DISAPPEARED

Stasia Ward Kehoe is dazzled by DARK COMPANION

Nikki Katz wonders at THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

Debra Driza is overwhelmed by UNDER THE NEVER SKY

Jessica Love gives a trophy to BEAUTY QUEENS

Shelli Johannes-Wells takes you on a tour of The Reading Room

Tracy Banghart has double-love for THE SILVER PHOENIX and FURY OF THE PHOENIX

Hilary Wagner is in the grips of THE GATHERING STORM

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