Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Book Description via Goodreads:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Source: Simon and Schuster Galley Grab (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Wither started in darkness. Rhine, along with other girls, was taken by Gatherers. Girls, young and frightened, were sold off to rich men to become brides. It was a great act of human trafficking. Cruel and inconsiderate, the Gatherers, searched for candidate brides for their clients as if the girls were nothing but a good source of money. Polygamy was widely accepted. The number of brides was a status symbol.

Rhine and her sister wives had no choice but to perform their roles as wives to Linden. I got to see what it was like to be a girl in Rhine’s time. It meant living through adolescence but not being able to enjoy adulthood, being special with the constant presence of risk and danger of being taken away from your family, your life and everything you’ve ever known, and having a short time to figure out identity, self-worth, purpose and life. 

Jenna was the observant one, the cold one with a heart full of hatred. Cecily was the youngest, naïve, loud, demanding but eager to please Linden and his father, Vaughn. Both girls did not desire to escape, unlike Rhine. She wanted to spend her remaining years with her twin, Rowan. She wanted to be able to do what she wanted to do without the restraint of being a wife. Although as she lived in the mansion, she realized that sometimes, despite her dislike, rage and loss, it was not that hard to be the wife of a man who loved and lost. But with her growing attraction to Gabriel, the servant boy, could luxury be enough to stay with Linden?

DeStefano created a world where majority of the people were like candles, with a definite deathday, with a certainty that soon they would reach that point and just fade. With the life span cut so short, children lost their parents and were no longer able to enjoy childhood, always striving to survive. Humans were fading because of their science. Their perfection led to their greatest imperfection.

The writing was very beautiful despite the scary dystopian concept. Rhine’s narration was a careful observation of a person who was more or less living like a prisoner – caged in a luxurious floor in a huge mansion, always being watched and unable to explore and express certain feelings and thoughts openly. The cost of being bride was the one thing that Rhine wanted to keep: freedom. The certainty of death pushed the people to act. With this horrifying set deadline, acceptance and perseverance thrived. Death is inevitable but when it comes too soon and gives people so little time to stay on Earth, things happen, perspectives change.

Wither is an excellent dystopian novel – beautiful, horrifying and bittersweet. This is a story of loss, death and hope. I recommend this to dystopian fans!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday in YA (Bookish News)

Hi everyone! I’ve gathered lots of YA-related news this week from authors and bloggers. So…I’m calling this post “Saturday in YA.” It seems fitting. 

1. First of all, there were lots of cover reveals these past few days. Some of my favorites are:

Wood Angel by Erin Bow (I really wanted to read this!) & The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (My blogger friends are raving about this. It's my turn.)
Girls lying in the grass.

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez & Supernaturally by Kiersten White (I was amazed with Paranormalcy! I can't wait to devour the next installment.)
Hair dancing in the wind. More or less.

Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison (When I found out this was a retelling of a German story about a witch and king, I couldn't resist. I added it to my wishlist right away.)
Most romantic cover for 2011 (so far!)

2. And then…months ago, when I’ve just started blogging…I met Kate Evangelista. She’s a Filipina and she’s an aspiring YA author back then. As of now, her agent is working hard to sell her novel, TASTE – formerly Lunar Heat (when I was beta-ing her novel.) For paranormal romance fans out there, I think you’ll like her mythology.

She created a Facebook Page for Taste where you can find the latest updates about Kate and Taste!

3. In celebration of the paperback release of Invisible I (Book 1) of The Amanda Project, The Amanda Project by Melissa Kantor is now available in Wattpad! Read it for free on your phone.

Mysterious, charismatic, and one of a kind—the only way to find Amanda is to think like Amanda.
When enigmatic freshman Amanda Valentino arrived at Endeavor High, she chose three people—Callie, Hal, and Nia—to guide her through the choppy waters of her new school. Except she didn't tell them about each other. When Amanda leaves, the three must reluctantly work together to figure out why. But once they start piecing together the cryptic clues that Amanda herself is leaving for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew about her is false. The more they dig, the mystery of where—and who—Amanda is deepens.

4. Some Disney-Hyperion upcoming releases are now available in Netgalley, such as Mercy by Rebecca Lim, The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt, and Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin. Thanks to Kai for telling me about this about…5 seconds after the egalleys were available!

5. Lastly, Ednah Walters just posted the trailer of the sequel of Awakened in the Guardian Legacy Series – Betrayed. For those of you who are into angels, demons and Nephilim and who like heroines who kick ass, try this series!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Blogger Hop (15)

Book Blogger Hop

Hi everyone! It’s time for another blog hop! As you all know, Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event that gives readers and bloggers the chance to get to know other people who share their passion and interests, as well as to discover blogs. Join the Hop!

It’s been so long when I last joined the hop. I kinda missed it!

This week’s question is:

"Do you ever wish you would have named your blog something different?"

Nope. I like the name of my blog – Fragments of Life. Through books, I get to see pieces of life weaved within the pages and within the lives of fictional characters that inspire, provoke my thoughts and make me feel different things.

Three more days before RiYA contests end! Join now!

Welcome to Fragments of Life! Feel free to look around!
Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Troy High by Shana Norris

Book Description via Goodreads:

Homer’s Iliad, the classic tale of love and revenge, is shrewdly retold for teens in Troy High.

Narrated by Cassie, a shy outsider at Troy High, the story follows the Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena—who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders—transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Cassie’s brother Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten. Off the football field, an escalating prank war fuels tensions between the schools.

The stakes are raised when Cassie is forced to choose between the boy she loves (a Spartan) and loyalty to her family and school. Troy High will seduce readers with its cast of mythic proportions.

Source: Abrams & Chronicle Books – Amulet Books, Emma Sanders (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Elena, the face that launched a thousand ships, sent a different kind of attack to troy High. It was an attack made out of the desire for vengeance – one that will start a war between two football teams and two schools. Caught in the middle of it was Cassie, the sister of Perry and Hunter, the stars of the Troy High football team, and the best friend of Greg, the president of the student council of Lacede.

Shana Norris did an excellent job with this retelling – not only did she retell the tragic side of the Trojan war, but inside it, she also weaved the story of Cassie, whose loyalty to her family and to her best friend was tested. With football stars for brothers, a football star for a father and a former cheerleader for a mother, Cassie stood out by being in the school band. Her desire to belong and to be noticed affected her decisions. Like in most YA novels, this desire to belong – one of the needs of man – was explored. Troy High was not only an echo of the Trojan War, it was also a story about a teenage girl who attempted to fit in, claim her place and remain neutral throughout the rivalry.

The rivalry of Lacede and Troy intensified with every attack and drove the students to avenge their respective schools, pushing their school spirit to the limit. I got to see what it meant to stand beside a sibling, as well as the hesitation, dedication and musings behind this act. Cassie’s every move was watched. She was judged based on her loyalty. No consideration took place. Like most teenagers, Cassie experienced pressure. The advantages and disadvantages of popularity were experienced by Hunter and Perry. Perry took advantage of it, relished the attention given to him while Hunter was expected to lead, to make the decisions and guide the student body. He was both a leader and a brother – responsible but a little reckless.

The romance was what I would call typical: cheerleader falls for football player. It was an instant attraction, love at first sight. However, it was different for Cassie and Greg. Their friendship was affected by the rivalry, not getting the chance to bloom into something more. The awkwardness of it was quite cute to read about. I found the hesitation in their every move and the worry they felt about each other’s reaction.

Funny and youthful, Troy High is a perfect retelling of the Trojan War in a high school context. Although at first, I thought it was a bit off with a little too much dialogue intensity on the ‘war,’ eventually I found an enjoyable story in this novel. Troy High followed Cassie’s narrative of the war between the two schools – Lacede and Troy and how this affected her life romantically, socially and emotionally.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Contest Roundup + Blog Updates

Hi everyone! With only a few more days before the deadline of the contests, I realized that it’s time for a contest roundup! I wanted to tell you guys that there are six contests here at Fragments of Life that you can join. All the prizes are YA books – some signed, some ARCs!

You have until February 28, 2011 to join! That's 5 more days!

Blog Updates:

  • I will be participating in two blog tours for Teen Book SceneNickel Plated & Priscilla the Great. 
  • I’ll also be joining the Quote Hop for Lemniscate by Jennifer Murgia. 
  • Sometime in March-April, I will be reviewing Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler as a part of a blog tour. 
  • Watch out for author interviews:
  1. With Terra Elan Mcvoy
  2. With Dawn Metcalf + Giveaway of Luminous 
  3. With Aimee Carter + Giveaway of The Goddess Test
  4. With C.K. Kelly Martin and other Debut Authors
  • Reviews coming soon:

  1. The Samantha Granger Experiment: Fused by Kari Lee Townsend 
  2. Troy High by Shana Norris 
  3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano 
  4. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter 
  5. In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane 
  6. Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson 
  7. The Poison Eaters and Other Stories by Holly Black

Waiting on Wednesday: Witch Song by Amber Argyle + The Redemption of Ajax by Trinity Faegen

Witch Song by Amber Argyle
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Published by: Rhemalda Publishing

The world is changing.

For thousands of years, witch song has controlled everything from the winds to the shifting of the seasons. But not anymore. All the Witches are gone, taken captive by the dark Witch, Espen.

As the last echoes of witch song fade, Espen grows stronger as winter and summer come within the space of a day. Now she’s coming for the one she missed—a shy, untrained girl of fifteen named Brusenna.

Somehow, Brusenna has to succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find Espen. Fight her. Defeat her.

Or there won’t be anything left to save.

Why I Chose this: 

One word: Witch. I love fantasy novels and this sounds dark. After reading Joy Preble’s Dreaming Anastasia series…I just need more magic-related YA novels. And doesn’t it sound good? Love the concept of Witch Song as the one controlling witches.

The Redemption of Ajax (The Mephisto Covenant 1) by Trinity Faegen
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Published by: Egmont USA

A descendant of the daughter of Eve, born before Original Sin, falls in love with a son of the dark angel, Mephistopheles, then discovers she alone can save him from Hell, but only if she gives up mortality and her birthright of certain Heaven to join him and his brothers in a brutal war to save mankind’s free will.

Note: I'm not sure if this is the final cover, maybe not, but as of the's the only one available in Goodreads!

Why I Chose this:

I love reading novels about angels, fallen angels and everything in between. It’s another case of forbidden love. I’m a sucker for those. Another paranormal romance for us! 

What are your Waiting on Wednesday picks?