Sunday, 23 November 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (19)

Julie

Book Haul


I skipped last week since I had a really slow book haul week, wasn't reading much, and had little to say. Then this week happened.


Week 1:
The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre (egalley via Netgalley)
Love, Lucy by April Lindner (ARC via NOVL program)

Week 2:
Tracked by Jenny Martin (egalley via publicist)
Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan (egalley via publisher from Netgalley)
The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard (Kindle freebie)
3: AM Kisses by Addison Moore (Kindle freebie)
One Dream Only by Elodie Nowodazkij (Kindle freebie)
Starstruck by Lauren Syvertsen (Kindle freebie)
Omega City by Diana Peterfreund (ARC from publisher)
The Cage by Megan Shepherd (ARC from publisher)
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (ARC from publisher)
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman (ARC from publisher)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (finished copy from publisher)

(Note: There's been...a lot more since then, but it's late and I'm sleepy, so I'll just throw them on to next week's.)

I'm SO STOKED for a lot of these, guys. So. Stoked.

Books Read 


A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas 
Skandal by Lindsay Smith
 
Upcoming Reads


Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I'm already almost done with Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (SO!!! GOOD!!!) and I'm a good way through None of the Above as well. And since it's a holiday weekend...a girl can hope, right?

Odds and Ends 

My birthday was yesterday and it was really lovely. I got up early to see Mockingjay with my mom, then we went to lunch at my favorite Mexican food place, rested for a few hours, then I went to dinner with two of my best friends. When we came back, I opened presents and we collected cupcakes and candy and began a movie night (Despicable Me 2 and Austenland) while looking through yearbooks before eventually starting a Mario Kart tournament. It's not super special, but it's the kind of birthday I like. And today, I get cake. I also could NOT be more excited to have a shortened week. I'm going to be working on a few things in December I'm thrilled about, but I could definitely use some more rest and quiet time first.

--Julie

Lanna:
So, it's been a while. I haven't been reading as much as I'd want to this month, partially because of NaNoWriMo and partially because of family stuff. I was planning on doing a read-a-thon today and tomorrow, but my grandad died today so I don't think I'll be able to focus on that--I'm pretty much just writing this post as a distraction from thinking and feeling. I'll shut up now.

Book haul

These are all the books I've gotten since...whenever I last did one of these posts. 

For review:

Shiver the Whole Night Through by Darragh McManus (started this already, it's good so far).
Conspiracy Girl by Sarah Alderson (netgalley)
Captive by A.J. Grainger (netgalley)


Bought (I had a gift card):



Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
The Pirates Wish & The Assassins Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Fall by Bethany Griffin
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
The King of Attolia and A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

I think that's all. What've you guys been reading? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned?

Later.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Weekly Wrap-Up (18)

On the Blog

Monday: THE WALLED CITY was kind of a let down



Julie

Book Haul



Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Part-Time Princess by Pamela Dumond
Inherit Midnight by Kae Meyers


These were all egalleys from Edelweiss or Netgalley. They all seem really interesting in VERY different ways and I'm excited for them. Also, kinda happy to have such a slow week.


Books Read




Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins




GUYS IT'S SO GOOD. I'm so glad I was FINALLY able to finish this since I've been working on it for weeks.

I had hoped to read more since it was a slower-week school wise but...I'll explain.

Upcoming Reads


Skandal by Lindsay Smith
A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

I'm reading both of these now and I'm LOVING Skandal. Not quite as enthused by A Wicked Thing, but it's a fast moving read.

Odds and Ends 

So, I've been dealing with a recurring health issue periodically for a year and a half now. This week it finally knocked me on my ass. I could barely move for two days and basically laid in bed and watched Gilmore Girls for hours. I finally went to a doctor and was able to start functioning again on Thursday but I'm still FAR from 100%. It's been kinda terrible. But today I'm staying home and doing laundry and working on NaNoWriMo and school and work stuff, then I can try to figure out how to get to my campus Monday morning. I was finally about to catch up on things last week too. =/ Hopefully before the holidays everything will get worked out!

--Julie

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

The Walled City
Ryan Graudin
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
[November 4, 2014]
ARC from BEA

730. That's how many days I've been trapped.
18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window.....

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

I was intrigued by this book when BEA started, but not enough to be super concerned about getting it. It was kind of a "meh" book for me. Then I went to the YA Buzz Panel, and this book was talked up in a way that had me super excited. I braved the mob scene that attacked the ARC tables to get a copy. My excitement grew as time passed and more friends read it and loved it. I was SO READY for this book.

And I was kinda disappointed.

One of the most interesting aspects to me was the world itself. It sounds so fascinating and surreal but it also WAS real. It's amazing to think about. And the way the book started out really hooked me in...and then, eventually, it becomes clear that this is technically a contemporary. Obviously, I love my contemporary books, but it made it less exciting and thrilling to know that a perfectly normal, safe world was so close. And the characters could turn to that world. I would've much rather preferred it be a dystopian or sci-fi or just an alternate reality where there wasn't that safety net.

The characters themselves were all interesting and likable. They had different back stories, even Jin and her sister had these different scars from growing up. But there was something lacking in them, for me. I can't put a finger on what it was, but I wanted more from them. More darkness? More moral tension? Richer back stories? Maybe all three. I found myself more interested in some of the more questionable side characters, wondering what their stories were.

The plot was kind of predictable. There were definitely surprising elements thrown in to make it more interesting, but the overall arc was something kinda clear from the beginning pages. I was hoping to see it take a twist, be something I couldn't predict, but it never came. I guess it goes with me wanting the story to have been darker, rather than wrapped up relatively simply. I appreciated those elements that would be thrown in, but I wanted to be more surprised by the ending.

The writing was gripping though. Ryan Graudin knows how to tell a damn good story. I was always excited for my subway rides when I could read more. She manipulated the time and the perspectives to best keep me hanging on every page, especially near the end, which I flew through. And I did love the set up for how the story was told.

And there were other elements I liked. There was this consideration of freedom and human trafficking, as well as a really great portrayal of a variety of female characters - again, something I wish I could've seen more of. Very complex, interesting relationships and political arrangements. Some themes that were fascinating.

While there were some great elements to THE WALLED CITY, I was mostly bored. It all felt kind of simplified. I don't think there was an intent to talk down to a younger audience, but I do wonder how this book would've been different if it were marketed as adult. I wanted something darker and more complex and tense, less predictable. And I think knowing more clearly that it was contemporary from the beginning would've made it more interesting to me, since that kind of annoyed me. 

This was all very much a ME thing though. I expected and wanted different things from this book than what it provided. Other people going in without those wants and hopes have enjoyed it way more. But for me, this was kinda forgettable, though I do look forward to checking out Ryan Graudin's other books.

--Julie

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