Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ready Player One - Yep, I'm ready.

Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Broadway Paperbacks, 2011
Genre: Scifi

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - To Wish or to Hope, that is the question.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown, 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

 Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Embassytown - Alienating the Reader

Author: China Miéville
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 2011
Genre: Scifi

China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war.

In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.

Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.

When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mechanique: A Tale of…The Undead Human Machines

Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti
Author: Genevieve Valentine
Publisher: Prime, 2011
Genre: Scifi Dystopia

Come inside and take a seat; the show is about to begin...

Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents. Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass-and-copper troupe and their impossible feats: Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes. War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magic.

That magic is no accident: Boss builds her circus from the bones out, molding a mechanical company that will survive the unforgiving landscape. But even a careful ringmaster can make mistakes.

Two of Tresaulti's performers are entangled in a secret standoff that threatens to tear the circus apart just as the war lands on their doorstep. Now the Circus must fight a war on two fronts: one from the outside, and a more dangerous one from within.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms - Humanlike Gods and Godlike Humans

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: Orbit, 2010
Genre: High Fantasy

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle with cousins she never knew she had. As she fights for her life, she draws ever closer to the secrets of her mother's death and her family's bloody history.

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Yeine will learn how perilous it can be when love and hate - and gods and mortals - are bound inseparably together.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Leviathan Wakes - Worldbuilding

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse 1)
Author: James S. A. Corey
Publisher: Orbit, 2011
Genre: Scifi

Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, "The Scopuli," they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to "The Scopuli" and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Game of Thrones - Thoughts on the use of Multiple POVs

A Game of Thrones
Author: George R.R. Martin
Publisher: Random House Publishing, 1996
Genre: High Fantasy

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Interviewing and Interviewed

If my first love is writing, then my second love is book blogging. One of the many 'jobs' of a book blogger is to bring the readers closer to the authors via fun and short interviews. I've had my blog for about a year now, and I decided that it was probably time to do just that. There was just one little problem.

I was intimidated.

The prospect of talking to these people, these amazing creatures whose books held special places in my bookshelf and my heart, these paragons of YA literature!...When I read and fall in love with a book, I put that author in a shinny platinum pedestal with a plaque that reads "This person rocks!." My only question was, would they even talk to a lowly peasant blogger like me?

The answer was yes. Why? Because they're human! Not demi-gods...And because they have to market their stuff. This only clicked in my head this past week when I found myself on the other side of the coin when a fellow classmate interviewed me. Yes, my first interview as a writer/author! I'm still all giddy and excited about it. It's up on Mary DeSantis's blog Out of the Lock Box if anyone is interested <.<

I also interviewed her, and will be interviewing other classmates. So stay tuned :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publisher: Speak, 2009
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating: 5/5

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life--dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge--he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues--and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little Brown Books, 2007
Genre: YA
Rating: 3/5

In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely
Author: Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Rating: 3/5

Rule #3:
Don't stare at invisible faeries.

Rule #2:
Don't speak to invisible faeries. 

Rule #1:
Don’t ever attract their attention
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. When the rules that have kept Aislinn safe from them stop working, everything is suddenly on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic, 2008
Genre: YA Dystopia
Rating: 5/5

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Primrose, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

The First Part Last
Author: Angela Johnson
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2003
Genre: YA
Rating: 3/5

Bobby's a classic urban teenager. He's restless. He's impulsive. But the thing that makes him different is this: He's going to be a father. His girlfriend, Nia, is pregnant, and their lives are about to change forever. Instead of spending time with friends, they'll be spending time with doctors, and next, diapers. They have options: keeping the baby, adoption. They want to do the right thing.
If only it was clear what the right thing was.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The Chocolate War
Author: Robert Cormier
Publisher: Laurel Leaf, 1986
Genre: YA
Rating: 2/5

Stunned by his mother's recent death and appalled by the way his father sleepwalks through life, Jerry Renault, a New England high school student, ponders the poster in his locker-Do I dare disturb the universe? Part of his universe is Archie Costello, leader of a secret school societ-the Virgils-and master of intimidation. Archie himself is intimidated by a cool, ambitious teacher into having the Virgils spearhead the annual fund-raising event-a chocolate sale. When Jerry refuses to be bullied into selling chocolates, he becomes a hero, but his defiance is a threat to Archie, the Virgils, and the school. In the inevitable showdown, Archie's skill at intimidation turns Jerry from hero to outcast, to victim, leaving him alone and terribly vulnerable.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Writer's Journal

The blogging world isn't new to me. I've been running a successful—or so I like to think—book reviewing blog for the past six months, and writing a post shouldn't be that hard for me.

But damn it, it is.

Because this time I won't just be writing about books, I'll be writing about myself, my opinions, and experiences as I work on my thesis for the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program. And writing about oneself is never easy.

So, I welcome you, random stranger, who have just stumbled in here into my writer's journal, where fantasy, imagination, silliness, and a desire to be a better writer can always be found in abundance.