Belated Bookanistas Links!

Posted by houndrat on Friday Jul 6, 2012 Under ARCs, Bookanistas, Young Adult

So, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve fallen behind in my Bookanista duties lately. Sorry–I really hope to fix that starting next week. Summer is having it’s way with me (kids, house guests, first pass pages, Book Two deadlines, True Blood), plus, this week I might have been a wee bit distracted by fondling acting out skits with staring at my MILA 2.0 ARCs.


ANYWAY.   Next week, I plan on doing a post about ALA–mainly because I picked up a ton of amazing ARCs there and I want to share their awesomeness with you via giveaways!   But for now, check out what the other Bookanistas are reading this week:

Elana Johnson raves about PERCEPTION.
Carolina Valdez Miller celebrates SKYLARK with an ARC Giveaway
Tracy Banghart praises 12 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES
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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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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).


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.



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













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Bookanista Review: ANGELFALL by Susan Ee

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Jan 5, 2012 Under Bookanistas, Young Adult


Official blurb:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again


ANGELFALL is a self-pubbed book that I stumbled upon via twitter (thank you, Dreaming in Books blogger John Jacobson!) The premise sounded interesting, and for 99 cents I figured, what the heck?  Worst case scenario, my kids get 50 less cents each to buy Squinkies from those machines at the food court. Actually, maybe that’s a best case scenario. Anyway.

What this book is not:

A cuddly, feel-good, paranormal romance about a human girl falling in love with an angel. If you’re looking for that, you’d best search elsewhere. THESE AREN’T YOUR MAMA’S ANGELS.

What this book is:

A dark, gripping, visceral post-apocalyptic tale complete with the types of angels that will haunt your nightmares, a kick-ass heroine who won’t let anything deter her from her goal of saving her sister, and enough gore to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty reader.

The author drops you right into the story, and between the savage angel attacks, the vicious gangs that troll the ravaged buildings and whatever the unknown third horror is that shreds humans to bits in mere minutes, Penryn has her hands full just keeping herself, her crazy mother, and her wheelchair-bound little sister alive. But before the story barely gets started, a lone angel’s (Raffe) wings are severed by a flock of hostile angels, and Penryn’s sister is snatched by the attackers. What follows is Penryn’s journey as she uses Raffe’s wings as collateral to get him to lead her across the perilous remains of California to the angels’ nest, or aerie (A word I actually had to look up! Hey, ask me a dog word, and I guarantee I know it!)

Ms. Ee paints a world that is terrifying and bleak, yet not completely hopeless. The touches of humor provided some much needed comic relief, and I found the crazy mother to be one of the most fascinating characters in a long time. Also, while the main plot is tied up at the end, there are plenty of unanswered questions to make me want the sequel NOW NOW NOW. I love that while there’s a hint of romance brewing between Raffe and Penryn, it’s not the main thrust of the book—but I totally look forward to their relationship expanding in book two. Despite a few quibbles here and there, this was a compelling, if more-gruesome-than-average, read.

A couple of quotes that stuck with me, for different reasons:

“I’m an ant in the battlefield of the gods. There’s no room for pride or ego, and barely enough room for survival.”

““You’re like a little girl demanding answers to questions during a covert operation. Why is the sky blue, daddy? Can I ask that man with the machine gun where the bathroom is?

Readers who like their YA fast-paced, scary, and angel-laden should love this one!


Check out the links below to see what other Bookanistas are talking about!

Elana Johnson offers musings on her Bookanista moments

Jessi Kirby savors HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

Stasia Ward Kehoe delights in FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB

Nikki Katz is crazy for ASHFALL

Shelli Johannes-Wells celebrates January Bookanista books–plus a DISCOVERY OF WITCHES giveaway

Lila Roecker shouts for joy over SHATTER ME.


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Bookanista Review: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Dec 1, 2011 Under Bookanistas, Young Adult

A.S. King

I’m so excited that my very first Bookanista review is for A.S. King’s new novel, EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS.  Here’s what the publisher has to say:

Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King’s smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you and taking a stand against it.

First off, I want to confess that I’m a huge A.S. King fangirl. If you haven’t read her Printz Honor Book, PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ,  oh my gosh! What are you waiting for?  Because I can say with certainty: You. Are. Missing. Out.  I loved that one so much that of course I snatched this book off the shelves the second it was released (okay, so maybe they were the e-shelves, but still).

EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS didn’t disappoint. It had everything I was expecting from an A.S. King book–symbolism galore, serious subject matter, humor (King mixes the latter two unbelievably well), and of course, her signature dose of magical realism.  Don’t get me wrong–at it’s heart, this is a book about bullying, and how everyone, from kids to adults, flail when it comes to knowing what to do.  But while it’s very serious and dark at times, brutally honest and sad, it’s also not relentlessly depressing like some books on the topic tend to be.  The MC Lucky is lost, angry, and depressed, but he also has an offbeat sense of humor that’s guaranteed to make you smile from page one via his unusual choice of sociology project. Plus, the book is about finding the courage to stand up for yourself, so ultimately, the message is hopeful.

The dream sequences in the book are unlike any I’ve ever read, and even though I enjoyed Lucky’s waking moments more, they definitely formed a compelling and crucial part of the story. Overall, it was a great read–I finished in a day!

For more great reads, check out the other books my fellow Bookanistas are raving about this week:

Lisa and Laura Roecker gush about HOW TO SAVE A LIFE
Shannon Messenger raves about CINDER–with an ARC Giveaway!
Megan Miranda spreads the love for UNTRACEABLE
Corrine Jackson falls for UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Stasia Ward Kehoe celebrates MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE
Katy Upperman gets swept away by THE SCORPIO RACES



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Bookanista Book Love, November 10th

Posted by houndrat on Thursday Nov 10, 2011 Under ARCs, writing, Young Adult

Poking my head out of revisions to say Hey! I joined the Bookanistas!  So excited to spread the word on books we love to the blogosphere, WOOT!

See what the Bookanistas are highlighting today:

Elana Johnson gushes about THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
LiLa Roecker sings for VIRTUOSITY
Shelli Johannes-Wells praises author Addison Moore
Rosemary Clement-Moore gets all wrapped up in WRAPPED
Jessi Kirby more love for VIRTUOSITY
Nikki Katz screams for LEGEND
Katy Upperman sets us all up for BEFORE I FALL


Happy reading!


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