Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
Release Date: Already on the Shelves! Get it now!

Guys! Guys!

We’re still alive.

I know we’ve been MIA for almost two weeks which is forever in the world of the interwebs. It’s the end of the school year (for me as a teacher and Amy as a mother), and time just got away from us.

Here’s the good news! Even though we haven’t been blogging, we have been reading! And boy, do I have a review for you today!


I loved this book!!!!! I ended up making my final exam for one of my classes in the wee hours of the morning because I couldn’t make myself stop reading this book.  Let me set it up for your right quick:

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

That’s right, kiddos. I’ve got another awesome dystopian for you! The world building in this book is so strong that I never questioned for a second that this time and place could actually exist. Life is hard in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic society that has moved into subway tunnels to survive. Life is so hard in fact, that you aren’t even named until you make it to 15-years-old, because so few make it that long. There are three types of people in this society—Hunters who find the food and protect the enclave, builders who build needed supplies and maintain their compound, and breeders who attempt to keep the population steady.

Deuce is a strong, interesting heroine, and Fade—her partner—is mysterious and damaged and tough. Parents are sort of a foreign concept because no one lives very long. Everything is done for the good of society. But Deuce and Fade soon learn that “the good of the society” is a little more complicated than originally thought.

This book has a lot of elements that at first made me think it was going to be just another run of the mill teen book. Dystopian is everywhere now days, and the “freaks” that the hunters are fighting against are most definitely zombie like in nature. HOWEVER—Aguirre has somehow managed to get a fresh outlook on all of these things, and I think it goes back to her world building. There are so many layers of this world (metaphorically and literally). There are societies that have managed to survive in the tunnels, above ground, and outside of what used to be NYC, and each of them has had to adapt to survive, and it’s so COOL to see how drastically different each society became over the years. There are details that are so unique and fresh—like the blood ritual used to give every person who reaches fifteen their name.

This book is packed with imagination, adventure, and excitement!

And unlike some books, it doesn’t excel just in the action. It has great characters that give the story more depth! Fade is the only person in the enclave who wasn’t born there, and as such is an outsider. Deuce comes from a long line of breeders, but she’s determined to be a huntress. You’ll fall in love with these characters, and then when they start to fall in love it gets even better.

Now—here’s the one thing that some might have an issue with. It is not an easy romance between Deuce and Fade (as it rightly shouldn’t be, HELLO, APOCALYPSE!). They’re both inexperienced, afraid, and terrible at communicating what they want. If you’re looking for an easy romantic pay-off, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a slow-building, realistic relationship that has ups and downs and will most likely have an EVEN BETTER pay-off when it finally works out in future books (at least I hope it works out in future books)—buy this book now! I, for one, thought it was so refreshing! It was great to see two incredibly brave characters lose all their courage in the face of love.

Read this book! It’s definitely made my list of favorites of the year so far!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Minor Characters!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Weasley Twins- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling-- Fred and George! Or is it Gred and Forge? From U-No-Poo to their epic firework exit-- we love the twins! Two of my most favorite characters ever. (I can hear them scoffing at being labeled minor! :) )

2. Luna Lovegood- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: Another Harry Potter favorite! We probably could have done a whole list of our favorite HP minor characters like we did with Mean Girls, but we decided it was time to share the love. Anyway-- Luna is odd, and awesome, and completely hardcore. I want to BE Luna Lovegood. 

3. Rudy Steiner- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Oh Rudy! That Saukerl! How can I express how much I love Rudy Steiner? He painted himself black to be like Jesse Owens! He threw bread to Jews on their march to Dachau! And he loved the Book Thief heart and soul! To quote  from the book, " He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It's his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry." 

4. Finnick O'Dair- Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins: Oh Finnick! He deserves his own cheerleading squad. He's that awesome. He's gorgeous and cocky with a dark history. Plus, he's a wicked good swimmer. A more courageous, more handsome, more fictional Michael Phelps?

5. Nuts and Bolts- Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins: I loved this quirky duo! Nuts being, well, Nuts, and Bolts being made of supergeniusawesomeness made for an entertaining and heart wrenching minor character arc. 

6. Jules- Die for Me by Amy Plum: You might have heard us rave about how much we love this recent release. But in case you haven't-- WE LOVE DIE FOR ME! GO BUY IT NOW! Part of what makes the book so good are the minor characters like our beloved Jules! He's handsome and witty (oh, the wit!) and an artist. What do you know... I think my heartbeat just sped up from only talking about him!

7. Magnus- The Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare: There are so many things we could say about Magnus. He's odd. And we love our oddballs. He does magic. And boy do we like Magic. He's funny and mysterious and such a fascinating character! Loooooovvve him! :)

8. The Haldis Pack- Nightshade by Andrea Cremer: We might be cheating here by choosing a whole pack, but they are called a pack for a reason! It's a little difficult to distinguish just which character makes them so great! Neville is hysterical with his cheeky limericks. Mason sings. Ansel is the adorable little brother. They all come together to make for a fun, dangerous, heartfelt ride!

9. Tris's Mom- Divergent by Veronica Roth: We just finished reading this new release, and if you haven't read it, you should get your hands on it like yesterday! Perhaps my favorite book in a long, long time(But more to come on that later)! Tris's mom was this hardcore, tough, intelligent woman all hidden underneath a plain, selfless exterior! We love it when characters turn out to be so much more than they first appear!

10. Daneca-- The Curse Worker series by Holly Black: We were so glad to see more of Daneca in Red Glove, and after learning a secret about her in the new book, she's an even more fascinating character!

And now for some much loved Honorable Mentions: 

Mr. Tasey- Paranormalcy by Kiersten White: (Not technically a person, but still awesome)

Gonzo and Balder- Going Bovine by Libba Bray: What's not to love about a hypochondriac dwarf and a talking lawn gnome that might be a Norse god?

James Atherton- Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins: Same biting wit as his daughter Sophie, but in  a much older, more demon-y package. 

Neville Longbottom: It made me so sad to leave your off Neville. Know that you are first in my heart!

And last, but certainly not least Archer -Fire by Kristin Cashore: The womanizing bad boy with a knack for protecting Fire. *sigh*

Friday, May 13, 2011

Theory Thursday: Summer's Crossing and Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Theory Thursdays Theory Thursday is a weekly meme created here at YA Sisterhood because oh how we love predicting what's to come in a series. Every Thursday (hopefully) we'll bring you our theories for what might be happening next in various YA series. All we ask is that you fill out the link widget at the bottom to link our blogs together that way we can all see each others theories!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Covers to Die For #4

Wow, this week it was so hard to decide which covers to post! I honestly had about 6 or 7 to post, but I will just have to save the rest for next week! All three of these are oh so beautiful!

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey
Release date: December 8, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey
Release date: October 4, 2011

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick
Release date: October 4, 2011

So go ahead...go put these on your To Be Read list!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

by Cynthia Hand
Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
The Sisters say: Unbelievable. Unpredictable. Unearthly. J

I have this tendency to get annoyed with trends really fast. I’ll read a couple fairy books, then be loathe to read anymore. I read two angel books, and that was quite enough for me. But then a book comes along like Unearthly that makes me wonder if I’ve been missing out on some amazing books in my haste to ignore trends. It’s certainly not a book I would have ever picked up on my own, but I kept seeing recommendation after recommendation for it on Twitter. And can I say how thankful I am? Because I loved Unearthly!

It was long, which if you’re anything like me, is a major plus. I read so frequently and so quickly that I’m often left feeling like a book ended too soon. But Unearthly is very filling!

The Angel folklore definitely had a unique twist! Cynthia Hand definitely didn’t rely on the same old same old information. She created a world of Angelbloods that was uniquely her own, and I personally loved getting to be a part of it.

Jackson Hole made for a wonderful setting. I never thought I’d have a desire to vacation in Wyoming, but you can bet I’ve changed my mind!

I also really loved that this book didn’t follow the normal paranormal formula. For one…. Clara already knows she’s an angel. So you don’t have to suffer through pages and pages of waiting for her to wake up already. As I read the book (and loved it), I had this recurring fear that it was going to fall into that same predictable pattern, but thankfully, IT NEVER DID! YESSSSSSSS!!!!!

And now… to my favorite thing about Unearthly. THE BOYS. Oh, the boys. Christian is your classic YA boy. Clara’s been having visions of him, and she’s pretty sure that her Angel purpose is to save him. And Tucker… well, Tucker is her best friend’s brother. And he’s kind of a pain in the butt. But a charming pain in the butt. And I won’t give anything away… but once again, Cynthia Hand goes against the grain and doesn’t let the romance fall into predictable patterns.

And there aren’t just twists when it comes to the oh-so-predictable YA formula. There are also plot twists galore.

I loved this book. LOOOOOOVED IT. And you will too.

So read it.

(And yes, in case you were wondering, that’s an order). 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie

Released November 30, 2010

Book #1 in series

Summary from Goodreads

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Review by: Guest blogger, honorary sister, BethH

Beth says: Clever, Cool, Captivating

Matched is the first dystopian book I have ever read; and all I can say is….more please! I loved every single page of this book. The first page hooked me and I literally could not put the book down.

Cassia is a relatable, down to “earth”, inquisitive, rebellious, and conflicted teenager who is torn between what she knows and what she wants to know. As she is matched with Xander, her longtime friend, they feel a sense of relief that the society has put them together. Not only that, but they do not have the long drawn out courtship that most matches have to endure. With the society’s mistake with her microcard (showing Ky’s picture) and upcoming death of her grandfather (I definitely cried at that part), she becomes curious if the society’s decisions are right for her. The more she learns and sees, the more I want to tell her to “fight the man”!

Xander…..Xander, Xander, Xander….what can I say about Xander!?!? What a guy! He is loveable from the beginning. Although, I knew he was going to be matched with Cassia, I was holding my breath. He is the typical boy next door. Good looking, caring, cute, athletic, playful, and he’s your best friend. He does have a flaw though…..he plays way too many games! I mean, seriously, Xander, wake up! In my cougar opinion, Xander is definitely crush-worthy. But….then there’s Ky (sigh).

Ky is the mysterious, smooth, sensitive, complicated, romantic, smokin’ complication….oh, and I forgot...

Spoilers ahead! Click below to read the rest of the review! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Theory Thursday: Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Theory Thursday:

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade series

Release date: July 26, 2011


If we were werewolves, this would be the part where the full moon is just barely starting to peek out from the clouds in the sky. The last warning before the change begins... or, you know, before our Wolfsbane theories begin. :)

*Channeling Professor Trelawney*

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Covers to die for # 3

With another Wednesday, we bring you more delicious covers! These are the kind of books I would pick up and buy based on covers alone! They are an art form all their own!

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher: already on the shelves! Buy it now just to stare at it! :)

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma: Release date is June 14th, 2011

Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison: Release Date is October 11th, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa

-The Iron King 

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. 

Also in the series:

-Winter’s crossing

-The Iron Daughter

-The Iron Queen

And coming soon: Summer’s Crossing and Iron Knight! 

Reviewed by: Baby Sister Brittany
The Sisters Say: Superb!

I absolutely loved this series! I read approximate 900 pages of awesomeness within about 50 hours because I just couldn’t put these books down! I’m not even sure where to begin! These characters basically took over my life for a little while, and I didn’t want to eat or sleep (well… I take that back… I did eat, but sleeping? Not so much).What makes this book even more remarkable, is that before I picked it up, I would have sworn up and down that I was through with Faery books. Don’t get me wrong. I like faeries, but I’ve read so many Faery books and because they’re all drawing on the same folklore, they all sort of feel the same. But this book takes Faery folklore and gives it a modern twist! Smart, fun, and suuuuper addicting!

So first up—I LOVED THE CHARACTERS!!!! Meghan was a hardcore protagonist! She was likeable, but not a pushover. And best of all, she was witty! She wasn’t whiny or weak like so many girls we see in YA fiction today. She was JUST PLAIN AWESOME! Now…on to Rob. Robbie. Robin Goodfellow. Also known as Puck. Yeah, that’s right. PUCK! As in from Midsummer Night’s dream. I am a Shakespeare freak, and to see Puck, Titania, Oberon, and MAB in one book—I was ecstatic! And Puck was perfect! He was reckless and hilarious and caused all sorts of problems! And I’m pretty much completely in love with him! Then there’s Ash… the Winter Prince! *Sigh* He was perfect as well. What can I say? I like my boys cold (pun intended). He is so emotionally guarded that it makes his relationship with Meghan infinitely more interesting! There are so many more layers of ice they have to melt before anything can move forward. And he, being the youngest Winter Prince, is as frosty as they come. I can’t really pick a team between Ash and Puck because they are both awesome, and I want them both for myself!!!

As I said earlier—I like fairies, but I feel like most fairy books are all the same. But this series uses the traditional folklore, but adds a special kick with the Iron fey. If the original faeries came about because of the imagination of humans—the iron fey exist because of the technological advances of humankind. So imaginative and cool! Never Never (the land of faerie) is gorgeous and lush. Kagawa’s descriptions are so vivid that I felt like I could really see the world of faerie.

If you haven’t read these books—please, please do so! They are more than worth your time. In fact, they will rock your face off.