Waiting on Wednesday: Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Release Date: February 26, 2013

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her. (summary from goodreads)

This sounds so cool. I can’t wait to read it, and I hope it lives up to my expectations from the summary.

Socialize with the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @elsiechapman

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

2013 Blogging Resolutions

I’m not usually one to make resolutions, but blogging resolutions are different! I plan to check these every month in my monthly summaries and see how I’m doing. Ticking things off a list should keep me on track :D

01: Post 2-3 reviews a week. I have a lot of reviews I haven’t posted. There’s something nice about seeing them all stacked up in my Google Docs, but it isn’t so nice not posting them! It doesn’t take that long to schedule some ahead of time and have them ready to go, which is what I kept meaning to do this year when I would be extra busy.

02: Keep Amazon/Goodreads updated. I haven’t been so good about posting my reviews to my Amazon and Goodreads accounts, which is something I want to be better about in 2013.

03: Make 1 vlog a month. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but making a video takes forever! For my first one, I probably recorded it fifteen times before I had one I was satisfied with. But practice makes perfect.

04: Post 1 personal update a week. For the past few weeks, I’ve been pondering starting a fitness blog. But there’s no way I have the time to keep up two blogs, and I don’t really want to try to crack into another blogosphere right now. Besides, I like blogs that have a personal touch behind them, because I like to get to know the person behind the blog. This weekly update can be anything, from fitness progress to writing and anything in-between.

05: Use Facebook. I am so not a Facebook person, but having likes is a good thing, and I might as well learn more about Facebook marketing. Can’t hurt.

06: Learn about SEO. Along with number 5, I want to learn about SEO this year.

07: Be more active on Twitter. This is more of a networking resolution. I tend to just read my Twitter feed and not really interact, but it’s one of the best ways to interact with fellow bloggers and authors.

January 2013 Page Count Contest

I’m participating in Reading Angel’s page count contest. It’s a fun way to push yourself to read more. My goal for January is 6,000 pages.

Title Author Date Finished Page Count
Vampires Revealed Rebeka Harrington 01/01/13 106
Desires Revealed Rebeka Harrington 01/01/13 128
The Cadet of Tildor Alex Lidell 01/02/13 400
The Queen’s Vow C.W. Gortner 01/05/13 400
Broken A.E. Rought 01/01/13 320
Mind Games Kiersten White 01/08/13 256
The Last Queen C. W. Gortner 01/13/13 400
The Queen’s Vow C.W. Gortner 01/18/13 400
Counting One’s Blessings ed. William Shawcross 01/18/13 666
Incarnation Emma Cornwall 01/19/13 352
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone JK Rowling 01/20/13 332
Star Wars: Scoundrels Timothy Zahn 01/21/13 464
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets JK Rowling 01/22/13 341
Magisterium Jeff Hirsch 01/23/13 310
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban JK Rowling 01/26/13 448
daynight Megan Thomason 01/26/13 324
Lady at the O.K. Corral Ann Kirschner 01/28/13 244
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling 01/28/13 752
Marie Curie and Her Daughters Shelley Emling 01/30/13 211
       

Running count: 6,854

– leeanna

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #39 ( #IMWAYR )

Last Week’s Reads:

The Lady Elizabeth
by Alison Weir
Velveteen
by Daniel Marks♦♦
The Madman’s Daughter
by Megan Sheperd♦♦

This Week’s Reads:

The Cadet of Tildor
by Alex Lidell♦♦
The Shadow Society
by Marie Rutkoski♦♦
Incarnation
by Emma Cornwall♦♦

The last It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? of 2012!

As you can see, I’m trying my best to get caught up on review books. I’m sick right now, so about all I can do is sit up and read, since breathing while horizontal is a challenge. Writing reviews is tricky, though — my brain is fuzzy. I’ve been staring at a blank doc for a review for two days.

Here’s to kicking off January with some good reads.

Review books received from:
Velveteen: Amazon Vine
The Madman’s Daughter: Amazon Vine
The Cadet of Tildor: Publisher for blog tour
The Shadow Society: Amazon Vine
Incarnation: Publisher for review

Thank you! ♥

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

– leeanna

2012 Favorite Books of the Year

The only limit to this list was that I read the book in 2012. There’s a mix of books published this year and in years past. Several are books I’ve reread several times over the years, hence why they’re on my favorites list.

I went down my spreadsheet of books read in 2012 and picked out the ones that leapt out. So I probably missed a few favorites, but they’ll show up next year, I’m sure.

Bunheads by Sophie Flack
Date read: January 2, 2012 and November 5, 2012
Review: Haven’t posted it yet
I read Bunheads twice this year. I really hope the author writes another book set in the ballet world. Or any book — I’d love to see more from her.
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Date read: January 11, 2012
Review: See comment
I still remember how excited I was to see an ARC of this at work. I very excitedly emailed the teen librarian and asked if I could borrow it. I never reviewed this, because I was too full of squee to do so properly.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Date read: February 29, 2012
Review: Here.
A few weeks ago I got an email that my blog will be one of the ones listed in the paperback of Cinder as a thanks for supporting it!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Date read: April 27, 2012
Review: Here
I haven’t yet reread Shadow and Bone, but I definitely want to. It’s YA fantasy with Russian influences, and I’ve convinced at least one person to buy it.
The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
Date read: February 8, 2012 and May 17, 2012 and September 23, 2012
Review: Here
The review I linked is an old one, from my previous blog. Seeing as I’ve read The Fire Rose three times this year, and countless times over the years, it marks right up there in my favorites. It’s just one of my comfort reads.
Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs
Date read: May 22, 2012
Review: Cry Wolf and Hunting Ground
I love both of Patricia Briggs’s series on shifters, but Alpha and Omega slightly edges Mercy Thompson out for my favorite. Yet another series I’ve read multiple times since first finding it.
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Date read: July 7, 2012
Review: Here
I will always remember Incarnate as one of the very first books I saw when I got into the book blogosphere. The scavenger hunt the author did on her blog was the first event like that I’d seen.
Huntress by Malinda Lo
Date read: July 28, 2012
Review: Not written
Sometimes I get way too excited over a book to write a review for it. Huntress is one of those books. I love, love the author’s writing style.
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Date read: September 31, 2012
Review: Here
Libriomancer was the subject of my first ever v-log. This is one of those books that I really, really wish was true, because how cool would it be to use the magic in books?
The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
Date read: October 6, 2012
Review: Not yet reviewed
The Dark Wife is probably my favorite indie of the year. It’s a fantastic retelling of the Hades/Persephone myth.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Date read: October 10, 2012
Review: Not reviewed
This is one of my favorite classics, and I reread it once every year or two years.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Date read: November 5, 2012
Review: Not reviewed
Hands down, Kushiel’s Dart is my favorite epic fantasy. I had to buy a second copy this year because I wore out the spine on my first.

– leeanna

Book Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Book Review: Crewel by Gennifer AlbinCrewel by Gennifer Albin
Series: Crewel World #1
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) on October 16, 2012
Genres: Alternate Universe, Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
3 Stars
Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, where they live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.

My Review:
CREWEL is a book I was highly anticipating. From the minute I read the summary, I wanted to get my hands on it. A book that has a cool premise, a dystopian society, inventive world building, and a twist on the Greek Fates? Yes, please.

I gobbled up the first half, even though it was slow going at times. The worldbuilding and the weave captured my attention, and kept me going. But when I put the book down for a week, with only 40 or so pages to go until the end, I knew something was wrong.

As I said, the worldbuilding in CREWEL is quite inventive. When I found out where Arras came from, I thought it was pretty neat. Yeah, I saw influences from other dystopian novels, including THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood and THE GIVER by Lois Lowry, but I enjoyed the way Gennifer Albin twisted everything together.

The descriptions of the weave — the force Spinsters manipulate to keep everything perfectly in line in Arras — are gorgeous to read, and the cover is evocative of that. I applaud the publisher for not going with the “pretty girl in a dress” trend for the cover, and doing something abstract yet fitting.

My problems with CREWEL started with Adelice, the main character. Her parents trained her to be clumsy, so she would never be picked to be a Spinster. I never understood why being clumsy would translate to being unable to see and touch the weave. When she’s taken, Adelice discovers that she has more talent than any other Spinster, because she can manipulate the weave without a loom. Yet she uses her incredible talent to create a safe space to make out with the first boy she meets.

Yep, there’s a love triangle here. I’m sorry, but I am sick of love triangles, and didn’t think this one fit the book. I can understand Adelice having feelings for Jost, because she’s been segregated from the opposite sex for her whole life. And Jost is a great guy. But the romance with Erik is weak and unnecessary.

While most of the writing was beautiful to read, sometimes it confused me. There was more than one passage I had to read several times in order to figure out just what was going on and why it was important to the plot. The ending was a real problem for me; it was rushed, and I’m still not sure exactly what happened.

I had some other problems, but I also had a lot of things I liked about CREWEL. One of my favorite characters was actually Maela, Adelice’s enemy, and I want to know more about her. In a world where women are controlled by men, Maela is power hungry and vicious. I also appreciated that Albin brought up same-sex relationships — I definitely wondered about them in such a controlled society, and while I don’t agree with how the Guild (Arras’s rulers) handles them, I do think it’s something readers will ponder.

Overall, I enjoyed CREWEL. I just wasn’t blown away, like I’d hoped to be. I WILL read the next book, because I want to find out what else the author has in mind, but it’s not going to be a grabby hands, GIVE IT TO ME NOW sequel.

This review on Amazon Vine.

Socialize with the author:
Gennifer Albin:
Website
Facebook
Twitter

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
Release Date: February 5, 2013

The girl with no past, and no future, may be the only one who can save their lives.
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life. (summary from goodreads)

I love me some Asian inspired fiction, and this sounds amazing. I’m sad I have to wait until 2013 to read it!

Socialize with the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @miriamforster

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #38

Last Week’s Reads:
The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
The Children of Henry VIII by Alison Weir
Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Alison Weir
Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan♦♦
Fall to Pieces by Vahini Naidoo♦♦

This Week’s Reads:
Incarnation by Emma Cornwall♦♦

As I predicted a few weeks ago, I’ve continued my reading spree on the Tudors. I’m still sort of in my reading slump — I haven’t read anything super great for the past few weeks, which makes it hard to pick a new book to start.

Review books received from:
Delusion: Amazon Vine
Fall to Pieces: Amazon Vine
Incarnation Publisher for review

Thank you! ♥

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Asunder by Jodi Meadows

Asunder by Jodi Meadows
Release Date: January 29, 2013

DARKSOULS
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

SHADOWS
Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

LOVE
Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy. (summary from goodreads)

I freaking loved Incarnate. I can’t wait for Asunder. It doesn’t hurt that there are some gorgeous covers on these books — I’ve been using them as wallpaper! I could stare at it for a while, it’s so different!

Socialize with the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @jodimeadows

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Blog Tour Review: Debris Dreams by David Colby (and giveaway!)

Today I am a stop on the Debris Dreams blog tour, hosted by Bewitching Book Tours. I apologize to both the host and the author for missing my original date, and thanks to them for letting me post late!

debris dreamsInfo:
Title: Debris Dreams
Author: David Colby
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam
Source: Publisher for blog tour
Series? No
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, LGBT
Page Count: 292

Summary:

2068
1.5 million kilometers above the surface of the Earth

Drusilla Xao has only seen a tree in movies and vid-games. She has never breathed air that wasn’t recycled, re-filtered, and re-used a hundred times over again. She has never set foot on the Earth.

And now she never will.

When a terrorist attack by a radical separatist group on Luna destroys the space elevator that had called so many – including her parents – to live permanently in space, Dru is cut off from any hope of ever reaching Earth and her beloved girlfriend, Sarah. The Chinese-American Alliance declares immediate war on the rebels and conscripts everyone they can get their hands on…including Dru.

Cast adrift, forced to become a soldier, trapped in a nightmare of vacuum and loneliness, Dru’s training will help her survive, but only Sarah will be able to bring her home. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
I have to admit, I was initially drawn to Debris Dreams because the summary mentions that the main character, Drusilla, has a girlfriend. I haven’t found a lot of YA science fiction with a gay main character, so I excited to see it here. Now that I think about it, I haven’t found a lot of YA science fiction, either.

Debris Dreams is a fantastic book. It’s the kind of YA book that makes me happy because it’s about something important: war and the effects of war on soldiers. Even better for me, it doesn’t delve into too much romance. Yeah, Drusilla has a girlfriend, but that relationship is something that helps keep Dru sane in a very insane situation, not the entire focus of the book. So refreshing!

Dru is conscripted into a war she doesn’t want to fight after Lunar terrorists attack the space elevator that connects Earth and the Hub, effectively cutting off any chance Spacers have of returning to Earth. Dru herself has never been to Earth; she was born in space. But she dreams of going to Earth one day, to meet her girlfriend, Sarah.

I loved how real Dru was. After her parents are killed in the attack, she can’t help but be glad they died, and not her. I gotta say, if a big disaster happened, and heaven forbid, something happened to people I loved and I was alive … yeah. I’d be happy I was alive, too.

The science aspects of Debris Dreams aren’t dumbed down for the YA audience. A lot of it, especially the physics explanations, kind of flew over my head, but I appreciated the effort the author put into explaining space combat. It helped me imagine how each battle played out, as well as imagine the horrors of those battles.

And that’s the message behind Debris Dreams: war is horrible. I cared about Dru and her fellow cadets, and rooted for them every time they got into a shitstorm. And unfortunately, there were plenty of those with the dunderheads in charge of the war.

The only nitpicking I have with Debris Dreams is that the slang used by Dru and other characters isn’t translated. Usually I can figure out what slang words would relate to, but in this book, it’s a mix of Mandarin, English, Cantonese, and even some Swahili.

While the book is aimed at teens, I’d recommend it to an older audience as well. Admit it, no matter how old you are, you’ve always wondered just how astronauts go to the bathroom in space … now you’re about to find out.

Lastly, if Debris Dreams piqued your interest, or you enjoyed it, I’d recommend Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card for further reading.

Rating: 4 owls

Socialize with the author:
David Colby:
Website
Twitter @therealzoombie

Giveaway:
Leave a comment (and a way to contact you) to enter! This is a giveaway on my blog, copy provided by blog host/publisher.

– leeanna