Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2 ARCs and a Bookmark Giveaway Winner!


So the results are in. Twenty one awesome individuals entered for a total of 69 entries, but there can only be one winner who takes home an ARC of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan, an ARC of All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin, and a beaded bookmark made by me.

Using Random.org, I have selected a winner, and congratulations...

Melissa @ Just One Opinion!


Congratulations Melissa! I will be emailing you soon to get your shipping details.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered and please note that I will be hosting another giveaway in the next few days. Thanks again everyone!

Waiting on Wednesday (8)


So I have seen snippets of this book here and there posted by various bloggers or websites, I've seen reviews (including the starred review from Kirkus, who I generally agree with) and I've seen the plot. This seems like it will be a pretty awesome book. Anyone want to let me borrow their ARC please? Trade? I will send you SEX AND THE KITTY as a trade, LOL. I think of all the upcoming YA releases for the next three months, this one is far and away my number one pick. I want this book and I want it NOW.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor comes out September 27 from Little, Brown and Company (thanks for pointing out my stupid, Wendy!).

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (5)


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

-----------------------------------------

I am currently reading FRENCH LESSONS by Ellen Sussman. I felt like I needed some more chick lit on my blog to counterbalance the influx of YA from this month, especially since this isn't a genre-specific blog, it's an age- and gender-specific. Even though if you're an 80 year old man and you enjoy my reviews, feel free to follow me. That's only a little creepy.

Here is my teaser!

From page 110. "And when did he start wearing pajama bottoms? Riley had a momentary wish to walk up to Vic and slide his pants down, wrap her body around her naked husband and whisper, "Come back to me.""

I haven't gotten to that point yet, but sounds...interesting.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sex and the Kitty by Nancy the Cat (REVIEW)



Cats, cats, and more cats! If you have ever wanted to read a memoir penned by a feline, SEX AND THE KITTY is probably the funniest chance you'll ever get.

Reviewed by Special Correspondent for Feline Fiction, Sir Wilson Snufflepuff
Sex and the Kitty: A Celebrity Meowmoir by Nancy the Cat
208 Pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Plume
Courtesy of Plume / Goodreads First Reads

A hilarious "first-feline" memoir charting Nancy's transformation from small-town kitty into celebrity glamour-puss.

Even as a kitten, Nancy knew she was different. Unlike her peers, who were content to hunt mice and sunbathe all day, Nancy was born with a thirst for adventure.

She first tastes local fame after hitching rides in strangers' cars and visiting neighborhood pubs, but soon the fearless feline has started a blog, become a Facebook sensation, and dipped her paw in the world of show business. With the help of an agent, she moves to London and meets Baron Romeo III, the country's #1 cat actor. Will they be the Brad and Angelina of the cat world?

A purr-fect gift for the legions who adore LOLCats, and for anyone who ever dreamed of being famous and meeting Mr. Right, Sex and the Kitty is an irresistibly catty mélange of silliness, wit, and feline charm.

*clean clean clean*

Let me start this review by saying I am a cultured kitty and I do not read books at random. Most of the stuff my caretaker Megan reads just does not interest me in the least, although I did find ANIMAL FARM to be most intriguing. Megan asked me to read SEX AND THE KITTY by Nancy the Cat as a favor. I owe her a few favors after the money she spends on me so of course I said yes, after several hours of relenting and ignoring her offerings of kitty treats. I was just hungry and milking her for all she was worth.

Nancy the Cat starts her story with her birth and how she came to be taken in by her family. I could not really identify with this, mostly because my mother was feral and lived in the basement of a condemned house in Newark, New Jersey. She kicked me out of the nest and when I was four months old I wound up in the right driveway at the right time. I’ve since moved to North Carolina and turned into a classy cultured southern kitty. I sleep with a picture of Zachary Quinto and have a closet full of clothing. I spend my days lounging around my house and playing with my best friend New Kitty (yes, such an unfortunate name). Sadly, in North Carolina, I do not have many friends.

Nancy’s story is one that humored me for three days of fun. Her shenanigans were very much unlike mine, but her story is one I wish I could live. My owner went to London in January and brought me back English cat treats and they were most tempting. I wish I could be a cat model and act and meet more cats than my two stepsiblings and that cat that sent me to the vet when he attacked me. I did nothing to him! Honestly!

While the story appears inane, it’s actually quite fun. *clean clean clean yawn* I stayed up late and kept reading when I should have gone to bed. I read when the power went out thanks to Irene since Megan wouldn’t let me go outside. I even read after my bath even though I wanted to yowl and get a warm blow dry. Nancy’s story is fun and adventurous, even though it’s outlandish. She is so right about birds and dogs and chickens. I’ve killed a large number of fowl in my life, and don’t get me started on dogs.

*clean clean clean*

Anyway, for my feline friends and the human readers of this blog, SEX AND THE KITTY might be up your alley if you are a fan of Sex and the City. Lolcats? No. I don’t see that at all. Besides, Lolcats aren’t even funny.

MEGAN’S VERDICT: Although the story is farfetched and for humor, Nancy’s story is entertaining and cute. For cat-lovers who enjoyed Sex in the City, it is a great book and makes you think about what your cats are up to a lot more closely.

♥♥♥♥ - FOUR HEARTS


About Wilson:

Sir Wilson Snufflepuff is a 2-year old orange tabby rescued by Book Brats owner Megan from a Newark, New Jersey sidewalk in September 2009. This is his first and probably last review.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (4)




In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie! It features a list of what books you have received over the previous week, either for review, from the library, or from the bookstore.


And since it's been a few weeks since I last did an In My Mailbox, I have a bunch of books, and not all of them are pictured (for example, my weird nonfiction purchases and wins that would not fit on Book Brats). One might slip in, but here is what I got, and thanks to everyone who made this possible!


WON

Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready - thanks Ginger from GReads!

Fury by Elizabeth Miles - thanks Jen from MakeShiftJen!

Mercy by Rebecca Lim - thanks Jen!

You Against Me by Jenny Downham - thanks Jen!

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey - thanks Jen!

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins - thanks Brooke from Brooke Reports!

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards - thanks Random Buzzers!

Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Elissa Schappell - thanks Goodreads and Simon & Schuster

Do Bears Shit in the Woods by Caroline Taggart - thanks Plume!

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman - thanks Goodreads and Tor!

Sex and the Kitty by Nancy the Cat - thanks Goodreads and Plume!

Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe - thanks J.D. at J.D. Nichols Writes!

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman - thanks Goodreads and Random House (yeah, I had a good Goodreads streak, LOL)


BOUGHT

Venus Envy by Shannon McKelden

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (for Book Brats on Classics)

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine


BORROWED

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

(PS I borrowed/was given five other ARCs from the darling Bethany courtesy of the UNC Greensboro library discard pile, but they're not pictured here because that would be too many books)


FOR REVIEW

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin - thanks FSG! (check out my review!)

The God's Wife by Lynn Voedisch - my review will be part of the blog tour for this book coming soon)

Dark Beauty by Taryn Browning (kindle) - thanks Taryn!

Rippler by Cidney Swanson (kindle) - thanks LibraryThing and Cidney!

Kings & Queens by Courtney Vail (kindle) - thanks LibraryThing and Courtney!

Verita by Tracy Rozzlynn (kindle) - thanks Tracy!


I think that's everything... If not, oh well!




Thursday, August 25, 2011

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin (REVIEW)


Able to look past wonky world building and focus on a well-paced coming of age romantic thriller based on Romeo + Juliet? Check out Gabrielle Zevin's latest book, ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE.

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

368 Pages

Published September 6th, 2011 by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux (BYR)

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

In Gabrielle Zevin’s new novel ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE, the first in the Birthright Trilogy releasing September 6th from FSG, we are dropped into 2083 New York and the life of mob princess Anya Balanchine (George Balanchine reference anyone?). Her family controls the city of New York’s illegal chocolate supply in an almost apocalyptic (note: not dystopian – nothing remotely utopian here) cityscape where everything from water to paper is rationed and caffeine and cocoa are illegal. Sadly for 16 year old Anya, her parents both died in mob hits and she is left in the care of her dying, bedridden grandmother and her mentally handicapped older brother Leo. She has a lot on her plate, that’s for sure.

ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE begins with a douche of a boyfriend trying to take advantage of Anya, Anya’s revenge, and a fateful meeting of a potential romantic interest while waiting to be seen by the headmaster. From this point things begin to unfold slowly but surely. Poisonings, potential hits, intrigue, arrests, reformatory sentences, and so forth. Anya’s story is one of personal growth and coming of age, along with romance, as she goes from beleaguered caretaker to a self-sustaining young woman who is strong and powerful in her own right.

I loved Anya. She was a great heroine and protagonist, taking on everything that came at her with such deft ease. Even after being smacked down, she picks herself back up and grows. At times her manner of narration (speaking directly to the reader) can be a bit tedious, but the easy mix of literary writing with clean-cut and eloquent is successful. Zevin’s skills as a writer are evident. What I missed, though, was a connection with the other characters, especially Win, the designated love interest in this tale obviously based on Romeo and Juliet. I thought at times the relationship seemed forced and based on little or nothing. It just happened, as did the story at times. An entire year is covered in the novel while only seeming like a month or two, which was somewhat confusing.

About the setting… The story takes place half in 2082 and half in 2083, but besides tablet computers, the mention of rationing and plagues, and the Statue of Liberty’s mysterious fate, it could easily be 1983. There was nothing that set this story apart from now, and that was distracting. To be successfully science fiction, ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE needed more world-building, but this was easy to overlook and so I did, but it is the main reason why I cannot give this a higher rating. And it gets a bonus half point because at the end there is a mention of Mount Koya in Wakayama-ken, Japan. Having been there, I agree – it’s a wonderful place to go into hiding. If book two or three takes a jaunt to Koyasan I will suggest this series to any and everyone. If you ever go to Japan, Mount Koya is a MUST SEE. And stay at a temple. You will not regret it, trust me. I mean, look at this, it’s GORGEOUS.



Enough of my fond memories! I am going to sum this up.

Pros: great writing, awesome heroine, 日本が大好き!!, interesting premise

Cons: nothing really happens, somewhat blah romance, world building issues

VERDICT: Even if the action is kept to a minimum, the pacing keeps pulling you along for the ride, which is the sign of a great writer. At least in my opinion. Ignore the world building issues and you’ve got yourself a tight piece that is sure to keep you interested and hooked.

♥♥♥♥ - FOUR HEARTS

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

So unlike many people, I actually like snakes. Ones that come from the pet store and stay in their cages, I should say. The one in my bathtub that time? Not so much.


This week's selection is ARCADIA AWAKENS by Kai Meyer, mostly because that cover is pretty darn awesome, don't you think? And I normally don't really judge a book by its cover. I've read some stuff with hideous covers that was amazing, but this book sounds pretty nifty. Read the plot and see for yourself!


It comes out February 14, 2012 (2 days after my birthday) from Balzer + Bray.


To Rosa Alcantara, the exotic world of Sicily, with its network of Mafia families and its reputation for murder and intrigue, is just that—exotic and wholly unknown. But when her life in Brooklyn begins to fall apart, she must travel there, to her family’s ancestral home, where centuries of family secrets await her.

Once there, Rosa falls head over heels for Alessandro Carnevare, the son of a Sicilian Mafia family, whose handsome looks and savage grace both fascinate and unsettle her. But their families are sworn enemies, and her aunt and sister believe Alessandro is only using Rosa to infiltrate the Alcantara clan. And when Rosa encounters a tiger one night—a tiger with very familiar eyes—she can no longer deny that neither the Carnevares nor the Alcantaras are what they seem.

Hidden caves, dangerous beasts roaming the hills, and a history of familial bloodlust mean that Rosa can’t trust anyone. Torn between loyalty to her family and love for their mortal enemy, Rosa must make the hardest decision of her life: stay in Sicily with her new love…or run as far and as fast as she can.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (4)


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

-----------------------------------

This week I am reading an ARC of ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin (did you know you can win my copy in the 2 ARCs and a Bookmark contest?). I'm about 140 pages in I guess and I am a bit mixed so far, but here is a teaser so you can get a feel of the book!

From page 35 of the ARC...
"On the board, Mr. Beery had written Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it. I wasn't sure if this was meant to be inspirational, thematic, or a joke about making sure to study."
It comes out September 6th from FSG, so two weeks from today. Look for my review on Wednesday or Thursday!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris (REVIEW)


Looking for a comedy/horror crossover that will only take a few short hours to read? BAD TASTE IN BOYS has a few flaws, but not enough to keep you from having a great time!

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Published July 12, 2011 by Delacorte Press
201 pages

Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.

BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris is a short, fun little book for those who like their zombies with a dose of comedy and fun (and maybe just a bit of horror). Following protagonist Kate, we are dropped into the mind of a high school student and future doctor who has science on the mind. She works as an athletic trainer with the school’s atrocious football team, and its coach may or may not have been giving the players something to turn them from blah into BRAIIIIINSSSSS.

Okay, fine, he was. That’s pretty obvious.

Kate deals with boys, her family, and her health all while facing the threat of a zombie apocalypse. The results range from scary to comical at times – mostly the latter for those of you who are squeamish. I learned an important lesson from this book – the crush of your dreams showing interest in you while the entire football team turns into zombies and begins to infect your town and school is very inopportune.

This book mixes humor and horror extremely well. By no means does the plot really make any logical sense in my opinion, especially how nobody besides Kate apparently noticed that member of the football team had suddenly developed a taste for brains and lumbering around in a daze. Everyone was apparently unaware that kids were turning into zombies left and right until the very end of the book, which also came very fast. I liked that the book was short, but at the same time I wished that at times it would have been faster paced and included more action. The sudden revelation of the villain was also a letdown, mostly because I had no idea who that character was even though they played into the plot early on apparently. The villain was a letdown, but the rest of the book was awesome with only very minor exceptions.

VERDICT: A fun little comedy/horror crossover with a letdown of a villain. For a few hours of fun, though, it’s a great read.

♥♥♥♥ - FOUR HEARTS

Two ARCs and a Bookmark Giveaway!


On the heels of our successful 100 Followers Giveaway, we're going to have a contest that we hope you love! We're calling it...

2 ARCs and a Bookmark!

The prize is obvious. Two ARCs of September releases and a Bookmark made by mean, hand beaded in your choice of colors. The ARCs? Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan and All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin. Or in the event that I cannot get my copy of Glow back in time (since I had to give it to a friend to ask her opinion on something - typical me), I will try and find something equally as awesome to throw in, like one of my favorite books. But hopefully it will be Glow. PS Check out my review of Glow here! Review of All These Things I've Done will be coming soon after I've finished it.

Your automatic entry will be you following Book Brats via GFC, but for extra entries you can follow us on Twitter (@bookbrats), on Goodreads (here), posting about this giveaway on your blog, posting our awesome giveaway button, or tweeting about this giveaway or advertising it in some way. Want to put fliers up on streetlamps? That's cool. We're down.

This contest will be US only (sorry - I swear once I have some cash I'll do an international giveaway, but to get cash requires people to be hiring, which they aren't apparently) and will be open from August 21st (today) until August 30th (a Tuesday). Why the 30th? Because I made the graphic without realizing the end of the month was the 31st.

Good luck!

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED

Mission Accomplished - RCL Readathon


Although I sadly didn't last 24 hours or read anywhere near as many books as I should have, I feel like I did a respectable job considering it was my first readathon! I finished Bad Taste in Boys and started on All These Things I've Done. I'm hoping to get a few more books busted out this week, so stay tuned for reviews, and of course the 2 ARCs and a Bookmark giveaway coming up...TODAY! Well, starting today.

Thanks so much to Patrick for hosting the Readathon, and be sure to stop by Read. Chat. Love. for updates on future readathons and awesome events. They're great people over there and worth a look!

And, some food for thought. I really just wanted to post this GIF, lol!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

RCL Readathon - Book Music Challenge


As part of the RCL Readathon, the 12 PM challenge is to create a playlist revolving around the book we're currently reading or love. So I love the manuscript I'm working on (maybe you will get to read it one day), so here are 5 songs from my playlist that I hope you enjoy!.

1.) Safari Disco Club by Yelle

2.) Destroy Everything You Touch by Ladytron

3.) Choke by Hybrid

4.) Overkill by Kosheen

5.) Ruby Blue by Roisin Murphy

and a bonus

6.) Lightning Field by Sneaker Pimps


Enjoy!


Required Reading/Wishes Challenge - RCL Readathon!


Have you ever had required reading for school? Those sometimes boring and painful books to read? Where you would rather watch the movie than read the book?

If you could create your own required reading list, what books would you put on it? Lord of the Rings, instead of Lord of the Flies?
Actually, as it turns out, we here at Book Brats (IE me, Megan) recently put together a list called the Book Brats on Classics Recommends list, which will be part of our upcoming feature called Book Brats on Classics. And for the sake of saving space on my already cluttered pages, I will simply give you a link to the list instead of listing them here!

Book Brats on Classics Recommends...


One of the missions of Book Brats is to promote literature and books that we (I) feel are important or amazing or otherwise something you should read, or steer you clear of that. And this includes stuff that I read as part of required reading in high school and stuff that kids today should be reading. And adults.

Feel free to add to my list if you'd like. It's open for suggestions, and in the future we (me and some friends, and maybe guest bloggers) will review some classics and tell you why they're still amazing today.

PS - I haven't read anything yet for the readathon. I'm a bad reader!

Friday, August 19, 2011

RCL Back to School Readathon - Participation Post!


Remember that tonight is the Read. Chat. Love. Back to School Readathon. If you don't remember, this is actually my first semester since Pre-K where I have not gone back to school. But does that matter? Nope. I want to help you guys celebrate returning to Hell. I mean school. (Just kidding, it's not that bad.) And this is my first Readathon, so I am not making any promises about me staying awake or finishing much of anything, especially since I have to go to a family event tomorrow.


Here are the books I HOPE to finish/read/start. Or at least what I'll limit myself to.


1.) Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Ryan (finish)

2.) All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

3.) Drink. Slay. Love. by Sarah Beth Durst
Rippler by Cidney Swanson (Galley Grab issues)

4.) The Smartest Woman I Know by Ilene Beckerman

5.) Austenland by Shannon Hale

6.) Kings & Queens by Courtney Vail


I hope to see everyone there! Or at least I will schedule some posts so that it looks like I am actively participating when in fact I will be snoozing. Just wait and see!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

So I am a big fan of near-futures that are well done and make sense - I have to believe these dystopian futures for me to get into them, and that is rather hard. But from what I have read about WHEN SHE WOKE by Hillary Jordon from reviews from other bloggers and trusted review sites, this book sounds so amazing that I cannot wait to get my grubby little paws all over it.

It comes out October 4th from Algonquin Books and this one is definitely going on my wishlist. And I love the cover, so that's an added bonus.

Faith, love and sexuality have fallen prey to politics in this stunning creation of America in the near future, from the author whose international bestseller, Mudbound, so hauntingly recreated America’s past. Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she lies on a table in a mirrored room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new “chromes”—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime— is a new and sinister form of reality TV. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, says the state of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she shared a fierce and forbidden love. Inspired by The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a dark fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate a dystopian, theocratic America of the not-too-distant future, where convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated, but “chromed” and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the moral authority of a country that politicizes the personal.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Life As We Knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer (REVIEW)


Looking for an enthralling, engrossing post-apocalyptic drama with a great protagonist and an all-to-believable plot? Look no further than LIFE AS WE KNEW IT.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
337 Pages
Published October 1st, 2006 by Harcourt Children's Books

Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all--hope--in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

I used to work in the field of disaster preparedness, helping to create plans for disasters in the New York City area (well, it was my internship, and my project was all theoretical, but I learned a lot). My goal in life other than writing is to work in international disaster preparedness. I am the person who tells you to prepare now before it’s too late. Of course I was going to love this book. LIFE AS WE KNEW IT tells the story of 16 year old Miranda, living in Pennsylvania living an ordinary life until an asteroid collides with the moon and knocks it closer to the Earth. Besides making every human have a great view of the moon day and night, it also leads to mayhem, madness, and chaos – both natural and manmade.

Told as Miranda’s diary entries, we are taken into a world where things go from normal to disastrous in a matter of days. From volcanoes blotting out the sun to diseases spreading like wildfire, Pfeffer transports us to a world that while being somewhat farfetched feels all too real and plausible. Miranda watches friends and family die, the world crumble down around her, and struggle to survive herself. Her story is almost heartbreaking, but at the same time enthralling and engrossing. We root for her to survive and keep living while things look bleaker and bleaker with each passing moment.

As I mentioned, a lot of the story is farfetched, but if you suspend your disbelief and look at the story for what it is, a drama about life in the face of disaster, it’s a great story with a believable narrator. The story is not the most vivid, leaving a lot to the reader, which was something I enjoyed. While some have described it as dystopian, it isn’t at all – completely post-apocalyptic, and this apocalypse is one of the best portrayed in my opinion in young adult fiction.

VERDICT: A great novel that, even with a farfetched plot, manages to become an all-too-real feeling portrayal of a young girl on the brink of death facing the destruction of the world. I definitely recommend this to everyone.

♥♥♥♥♥ - FIVE HEARTS

Monday, August 15, 2011

Giveaway Winner Announcement!


Thank you to everyone who entered the very first Book Brats contest, our 100 Followers Appreciation Giveaway! There were 87 entries from 20 AMAZING people. Thank you all so much, you are so wonderful and you are very much loved by Book Brats! Smooch smooch!

But every contest must have a winner. Using Random.Org I selected a number from the 87 entries and picked...

46 - JLynn!

Congratulations JLynn and thank you everyone again for entering! I will be emailing the winner soon (this post was written and scheduled several hours ago and I'm probably asleep right now) so check your email!

I hope to be giving away an ARC of Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan soon, but it's temporarily being borrowed and once she is done she'll let me know. Stay tuned!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (3)



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! D This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

This Monday I am currently reading three books! One is non-fiction and will not be reviewed on Book Brats (Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman - but I wholeheartedly recommend it if you're into that kind of thing).

The two books I'm reading that will be reviewed are:





I started reading this last week and I'm only a few pages in (life and all), but so far I enjoy it! It's a cute read with some action and fun and ZOMBIES! Hopefully this review will be coming around Friday or so.



This I...randomly picked up. It was on my friend's shelf when I visited so I grabbed it and started reading it. I'm loving it so far, so this one will probably be done by tomorrow or so. It's a few years old (came out during my college days of hell) so I hadn't heard of it until recently. Expect a review of this on Tuesday or so.

Up next in my To Read List will be The Help since I'm seeing the movie this week, but I also will take a day off to read a book I won off Goodreads (during my 8 wins in 2 weeks spree) called Going Home, about the death of pets - it arrived three days before my dog suddenly died while I was out of town (see last blog entry for that). Also coming soon in my To Read Pile are Paranormalcy and...something else. We'll see!

So, what are YOU reading?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Small Update

I was out of town over the weekend and then my dog died (he just turned 12 on Monday) so this weekend has been...not so good for me (except for visiting my lovely friend Bethany and seeing X-Men: First Class finally). I plan on doing a BUNCH of posts tomorrow and finally hitting up all my Follow Friday loves. So tomorrow, there will be an In My Mailbox, a WINNER'S POST for the contest (!!!), and a Wrap Up/What Are You Reading?

So expect three posts tomorrow, or two posts tomorrow and then two posts on Tuesday. I'll try and stagger them somehow.

Just a head's up!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Follow Friday! (7)

Follow Friday is an awesome meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read where you go around the blogosphere, meet new bloggers, follow as many as you like, and say hello to your fellow book bloggers! This week's featured bloggers are Steph Likes Books and Teen Fiction Centre, so go and check them out!

Q. How has your reading habits changed since you were a teen? or If you are still a teen what new genres are you in love with currently?
When I was a teen, I mostly read ADULT fiction. Paranormal romance, urban fantasy, lots of Stephen King and Michael Crichton (my love of Michael Crichton knows no bounds, TRUST ME). I've started reading a lot more of Oprah's Book Club, LOL. Okay, time for Megan's Book Club aka what I've read since I turned 20.

Best books I think you should read - Middlesex, The Time Traveler's Wife, She's Come Undone, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Other Boleyn Girl, Stones from the River (my second favorite book of all time)... YA has been a recent thing for me really. Reading wise, though, I still do read mostly adult books and contemporary literature.

Oh! Remember to enter my 100 Followers Contest! It closes at 11:59 PM on Sunday and I will pick a winner Monday morning. Check it out here! While you're here, check out my review of Glow and my discussion about YA romances.

Coming next Thursday will be another Book Brat's View, so mark your calendars now!

A Book Brat's View: Romances in YA Novels

L is for the way you look at me, O is for the only one I see, V is very, very extraordinary, and E is even more than anyone that you can adore…

Love is an ever pervasive plotline in fiction. Will she get the guy? Won’t she? Please dear God will she wise up and realize that she’s better off single? Especially in young adult novels, we see romances of all sorts – love triangles, forbidden love, forever love, instalove, etc etc etc. The list goes on. But what do we learn from these stories? Can Twilight serve as relationship advice to preteens? Should we take harmful relationships with a grain of salt and let them serve as examples of true love?

I am not ashamed to say that I didn’t start dating until I was in college, and even then I had more sour apples than good ones. Not boys that were abusive, mind you, but boys that just weren’t for me. I’m still not ready for a committed relationship at age 24 and most of my friends are in the same boat. I read young adult novels and see tales of fifteen year olds in relationships that were ~meant to be~. Many times these same relationships have the telltale signs of domestic abuse – controlling, manipulative, obsessive, yet these girls persevere because we are supposed to believe as readers that boys controlling your life and watching you sleep is romantic.

Um…ew. No thanks.

This has been an argument time and time again, that some young adult novels are promoting bad relationships. To an extent, maybe this is true, but maybe instead young readers, with help from their parents, teachers, and other adult figures in their lives can learn from these and take away healthy dating tips. We can learn from these books about creeps and guys to stay away from. Is there a boy in your life that follows you around staring at you all day? Sweetie, you probably need to tell your parents about that one. A guy trying to kill you out of love? Call 911 or 999 or 119 or whatever depending on your country.

Surround yourself with smart friends who have your best interests at heart. If you hear them saying you should go for the stalker because he clearly loves you, please back away slowly.



Maybe what we can take away from some young adult novels is learning more about standing up for ourselves and not repeating the mistakes these imaginary characters may or may not have made. Domestic abuse in any of its forms is not alright, and please, if your boyfriend or husband or anyone does anything to harm you or make you feel uncomfortable, tell someone – a friend, a parent, the police, someone that can help. You can stand up for yourself. Obsession and stalking is not love!

Please let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your comments and views!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (REVIEW)

GLOW undoubtedly has a great cover and a great marketing scheme (the next Hunger Games? Yes please!) but a plot heavy on religious sentiment and unlikable love interests weighs down a good plot and writing.

GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan
307 Pages
Published September 27, 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?


GLOW was a book where the cover and synopsis had been hooked. I put other books aside to read it. They say don’t judge a book on its cover, but I did anyway, and this was one of the few cases where I ended up being disappointed. This review has taken me several hours to write, something so unusual for me, because it alternated between being a great book for me and pissing me off.

Many YA books recently (see my review of DROUGHT by Pam Bachorz) have tackled religion as a key plot point. GLOW’s depiction of Christianity was what almost ruined this book for me. It was almost a fallacy, using Christianity as an excuse for evil actions. The antagonist of this story is the Pastor/leader of the other ship, the New Horizon. They come to the Empyrean, home of our protagonist Waverly, and kidnap all the girls to solve their fertility issues while sabotaging the ship, killing the adults, and leaving the boys to run the ship once the remaining adults sacrifice themselves to prevent a meltdown.

SPOILER WARNING!!!

The logic of the ship states that the religious people were put on one ship and the secular (and Muslims) on the second, yet Kieran, the main male character, becomes a religious leader on the Empyrean at the end. His family was noticeably religious and by the end he has converted the boys in one fell swoop – after one SPEECH – to Christianity and calls his work God’s work, basically mimicking what happened on the New Horizon. The logic here was…not really present.

SPOILER HAS ENDED

There is a love triangle in this book, but not so much instalove – it has been set up that Waverly and Kieran were a couple beforehand, more so out of expectation than true love. At the beginning their relationship is almost refreshing, showing Waverly’s doubts about their relationship but setting up a scenario that is believable. However, Kieran becomes increasingly week and possibly a little unstable (crazy). The other love interest, Seth, is just purely insane. His methods are sadistic and his excuses are lies. He beats, tortures, imprisons, and almost kills people. Of course, it is expected that Waverly will pick one by the end, but I honestly think she shouldn’t based on book one.

What saves this book? The writing. I am honestly not one for frilly, overwrought literature. I like some description and florid enhancement, but I had it beaten over my head by my lit professor that purple prose was Satan’s work. This is my kind of writing – a little lyrical at times, but mostly straightforward, to the point, and eloquent. Ms. Ryan is my type of author for sure. It’s just the plot that falters. Waverly is also a strong protagonist that I enjoyed. She was smart, she was a strong leader, and she knew what she was doing. She risked herself for others and had a mission. I loved her as a character while I quite hated her potential suitors.

This book needed to tone down the religion a great deal. I am not sure if I will read book two based on the fact it implies that religion will be a strong point in the second book. Also, Waverly’s love interests were unlikable.

I could go on about this (and I will on Goodreads – check out my review there for more), but overall, this book was likable, but nowhere near as good as it could have been.

VERDICT: The overuse of religion in this book overran the interesting plot and the good writing from Ms. Ryan. If you are not big on religious bashing and/or preachiness, steer clear of this book

♥♥♥ - THREE HEARTS

Waiting on Wednesday (5)

This week's waiting on Wednesday comes from our UK Correspondent Rebecca as she fights of rioters and brings to you something new that I've never heard of. Maybe that's a good thing.

Guess I’m moving a little more away from the YA and lady-fiction theme here at Book Brats. It’s a talent of mine.

Anybody who knows my reading habits will tell you I adore anything that takes a popular genre and tips it on its head, especially when it’s with the classics (or fairy tales, but that is a story for another blog). Which is why I’m waiting on Professor Moriaty: Hound of the D’ubervilles. The plot looks like it’s not going to disappoint and is that another plot hint I see there? And with the delightfully sinister cover, Oh yes, I want this.

I’m a little ahead of the game here, as Moriaty doesn’t come out until the 23rd September (in the UK, I couldn’t say for the US) from Titan books.

Imagine the twisted evil twins of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson and you have the dangerous duo of Professor James Moriarty - wily, snake-like, fiercely intelligent, terrifyingly unpredictable - and Colonel Sebastian Basher Moran - violent, politically incorrect, debauched. Together they run London crime, owning police and criminals alike. When a certain Irene Adler turns up on their doorstep with a proposition, neither man is able to resist. An entertaining and wickedly humorous crime adventure from the bestselling writer of Anno Dracula.

So what are you waiting on? Better not be entering in the Book Brats 100 Followers Contest! Click on the sidebar button to enter!