Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: September Girls + Catherine


Good morning lovelies! Today, I have two oh-my-god-I-need-to-read-these-asap books for Waiting on Wednesday.

First up is water-related. Paranormal. Scales. Tails. Mermaids!

September Girls by Bennett Madison
Publication Date: May 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins

There’s no blurb yet but the author revealed this juicy tidbit on his site:

The book is about mermaids who are also regular maids; who can only wear flats because heels make their feet bleed; who smoke Gauloises but can never quite pronounce them and who are really into Valerie Solanas. The book features annoying moms with Sharon Olds quotes tattooed across their bodies and sad dads who wander up and down the beach with metal detectors searching for buried treasure. There’s karaoke and a hurricane. An enchanted mirror seems important. Perhaps someone dies. Or perhaps not?! It’s about being a teenager at the beach and in that respect is semi-autobiographical. The most important thing is that it’s a love story. It might be a semi-spoiler to reveal the mermaid thing but who cares.

Why I Chose this:

Mermaids! <3 I’ve been deprived of my mermaid dose when I couldn’t find a copy of a certain recent-ish mermaid release from Sourcebooks. And ze cover! Look at that and tell me it’s not beautiful and hot and perfect!

Second is all about retellings. Romance. Wuthering Heights!

Catherine by April Lindner
Publication Date: January 2, 2013
Published by: Poppy

A forbidden romance. A modern mystery. Wuthering Heights as you've never seen it before.

Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad's famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years -- a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn't die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her -- starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.

Why I Chose This:

The author’s first YA book, Jane, blew me away. It was deliciously well-written. It’s probably one of the first YA contemporaries and YA retellings that I loved. April Lindner’s writing is made of awesome. So you better not miss this! Especially if you liked Wuthering Heights (though I haven’t read it yet.)

What are you looking forward to this Wednesday? Leave your links so I can visit yours too!



Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm writing again: NaNoWriMo Madness


O-kay, it’s that time of the year again when authors and aspiring writers stock up on coffee, papers, pens and other stimulants, and intend to write a novel in 50k or more words. This is literary abandon is called NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month.



Last year, I joined and won Nano with my barely 51k YA dystopian WIP entitled Defying Gravity. If you’re interested, here’s the synopsis (which is um…not so good)”

 

Amber dreams of chaos in Paradise, her beautiful heaven, and of a very familiar-looking guy that makes her heart jump. But the thing she doesn't understand is this: How can he be familiar if she hasn't met him?

Amber suffers from memory repression, an effect of the forgetting pill administered to her by the Guardians. As a naturally curious girl, she will stop at nothing to get her memories back. As the dreams keep coming night after night, she realizes that with a part of herself gone, she can't live life, taste life to the fullest. She's also seized by fear because if the Guardians can take her memory away, a bit of herself away, what else have they taken?

I had long, detailed outlines for this project. It was too…controlled, too stressful to finish in one month. Whew.

So this time around I’m taking a break. I’m going crazy with my YA paranormal mystery. I only know the basics:

Rain’s only memory is darkness and muffled voices-

You can see a pattern, yes? I think I like stories that have to do with MEMORY.

Rain’s only memory is darkness and muffled voices. She was aborted. Never had the chance to live, to know her parents, to be human.

With overpopulation going crazy across the globe, the angels have their plates full. They have turned to souls in heaven for help. As an unborn soul, Rain was pure because she never had the chance to sin. She works as a guardian, watching over Hana, a 16 year-old girl who was a magnet for boys and trouble. After an accident, Hana’s soul was snatched away by a reaper and Rain’s soul was sucked into her Hana’s body. Things even get more complicated when the person who killed Hana sought out Rain.

Hmm…anything can change since I’m going crazy/impulsive this time.

If you’re up for the challenge, sign up here.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse


Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 432 pages
August 2, 2012, Orchard Books

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

Source: Vicky + Orchard Books (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Island Alpha, also known as the Wheel to its inhabitants, was divided into sectors. There were two groups: the Drones led by the Monk and the villagers. The drones wore robes and scary masks. They were loud, violent and determined to please the Monk. On the other hand, the villagers were as peaceful as they could be but they also fought back whenever the drones attacked. They were the normal ones. The on-going conflict between the drones and the villagers was bad. The villagers were losing their lives and their space. With their numbers dwindling, they needed to find a solution and possibly, a way to escape the Wheel. Their journey to the Gray sector aka the abandoned sector was very dangerous. Alenna and the other hunters needed to be careful not only with the forces of nature but also with their companions, the drones. Could they reach their destination and find the answers to their questions before something deadly happens?

Alenna was a character straight out of a tragedy. First, her parents were ripped out of her life. Second, she failed her GGPT test – the test that determines whether she was okay to stay in UNA or she was destined to be a criminal and then sent to Island Alpha. Alenna was a relatable. She seemed real to me. She doubted and questioned the things around her but she also had an open mind. She was flawed but she struggled to make herself better. Although she might be weak in the eyes of the villagers of the Wheel, eventually her inner Katniss broke through to the surface. She adapted and she survived. She became one of the hunters of her village.

From the beginning Alenna was attracted to Liam. Despite her friend’s warning, she fell for him. I couldn’t blame her though. Liam was badass, charming and handsome. He also exuded confidence. I enjoyed reading about their first encounters but I wish that there had been more time for them. At the end, I would say that the two have become even closer because of all the trials and danger that they went through together.

I had high expectations for The Forsaken. It lived up to my expectations but not fully. There was action, a lot of suspense and a little bit of romance. But what I liked the most was the ways of the inhabitants of the Wheel – how they lived and survived – and the unpredictability of the story. I was intrigued throughout the novel. There were a lot of questions to be answered and I trudged along with the characters as they searched for the answers. It was mysterious and even creepy to some extent. There were times when I sat at the edge of my seat but there were also times when I felt that the action plummeted and the story dragged. But don’t let that discourage you from reading The Forsaken because it is worth reading.

Take Survivor, add a cup of Struck (by Jennifer Bosworth) and a dose of mad science, you’ll get The Forsaken. This is the perfect read if you’re looking for thrill and unpredictability. I recommend this to readers of dystopian and post-apocalyptic!

Rating:

4 Cupids = Strong book love. 
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Creepy & Maud by Dianne Touchell



Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC, 220 pages
October 1, 2012, Fremantle Press

Hilarious and heartbreaking, Creepy & Maud charts the relationship between two social misfits, played out in the space between their windows.

Creepy is a boy who watches from the shadows keenly observing and caustically commentating on human folly.

Maud is less certain. A confused girl with a condition that embarrasses her parents and assures her isolation.

Together Creepy and Maud discover something outside their own vulnerability — each other’s. But life is arbitrary; and loving someone doesn’t mean you can save them.

Creepy & Maud is a blackly funny and moving first novel that says; ‘You’re ok to be as screwed up as you think you are and you’re not alone in that.’

Source: Claire & Fremantle Press (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Written with pure Australian genius, Creepy & Maud became a masterpiece. Viewing the world from entirely different and unique perspectives, I really enjoyed getting inside Creepy and Maud’s heads. I liked that Creepy’s chapters started with quotes from old books while Maud’s chapters ended with codas. Almost every line was a quotable quote for me. It was that good!

Creepy was the invisible boy – the one who was barely noticed in a room. He was distant but very observant, taking in all the littlest details of everyday life and interaction. He looked at the world through a very different lens. His take on social practices and relationships was one of the things I liked about him. His critical view of the world, infused with his humor and curiosity, made a lot of sense. He woke me up, made me think twice and reflect.

Maud was eccentric and problematic, most people including her parents misunderstood her. Throughout the novel, I’ve seen her be the problematic and misunderstood girl to the unloved daughter. She suffered from trichotillomania which was a condition in which the person experiences hair loss due to repeated and unstoppable urges to pull hair.  I felt for Maud. She craved motherly love and attention but didn’t get any of it. She only found comfort in hair pulling and sometimes, in Creepy.

I really liked how Creepy and Maud’s relationship developed from awkwardness to understanding. At first, Creepy was stalker-like and used binoculars to monitor Maud. Maud was creeped out by him. It was ironic how they were both locked in their own rooms – whether by choice or not – and yet they found friendship, understanding and even, romance in that situation. It was love from a distance, the so near yet so far scenario. They were neighbors and yet they couldn’t get close physically and stand next to one another because there was too much tension between their parents.

As always, Aussie writers never fail to impress me. This novel reflected real life: messed up people and messed up relationships. The story was heartbreakingly good. Love doesn’t conquer all but love helps ease the pain we feel, especially in Maud’s case. Love also pushed Creepy step forward and turn off his ‘invisible’ mode.

Creepy & Maud is a darkly humorous, eccentric and enjoyable YA contemporary. Prepare to be creeped out and amazed with this Aussie gem! I strongly recommend this to contemporary readers!

Rating:

4.5 Cupids = Obsessive book love. 
Almost made it as one of my favorites! I strongly recommend this!



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

YA News: Philippine Version

Hi there! This week’s YA News is earlier than usual simply because I’m too excited to tell you what I want to tell you.



First up: I have a new blogger affiliate! Please give a warm welcome to Nicole and Michelle from The Twins Read, which is also the newest blog on the block. They just launched their blog on October 20th with a Halloween-themed giveaway – make sure you join that one.


Next, one of my long-time booklover/blogger friends has just reached a milestone. Louisse and her co-blogger Geraldine over at The Soul Sisters are celebrating with a 300 Follower Giveaway! These chinita charmers are so generous to keep the giveaway open internationally!

And don’t forget the new releases yesterday:


Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick, the 4th book of the Hush, Hush Saga is now available! Plus you can buy the boxed set of the series, too.


Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl was out in stores yesterday (everywhere else aside from here.) I looked everywhere but just couldn’t spot a copy of my most awaited book of my favorite series eveeeer. WHHHHHHHHYYY??? :( Noes. This can’t be happening. I need my yearly dose of Caster Chronicle goodness N-O-W. *ahem - This is available in FullyBooked!

Keep your eyes open for it! (And tweet me @precious_shusky if you’ve seen a copy anywhere. Pretty please???)

Attention Pinoy bloggers!

Please contact me via precious_shusky@yahoo.com or pinoybooktours@gmail.com if you want to be a part of the following book tours:

The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton (YA historical/urban fantasy)
Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak (YA historical/mystery)

Keep reading,