Tag Archives: YA literature

Cover Reveal: Lindsay Cummings’ “The Murder Complex”

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I am a day late but, hey, better late than never, right? (That’s what I told my professors then. It rarely works but it’s worth the shot, eh?)

Anyway, I have been stalking Lindsay Cummings’ blog for some time now. She has a book coming out next year and it sounds pretty darn awesome. I’ve always been into dark, haunting, blood-soaked dystopias and her debut novel, The Murder Complex, hits all the right spots.

Here’s a little tidbit from Goodreads:

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is-although he doesn’t know it-one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

And yesterday, Lindsay Cummings has put a face to this baby.

Murder complex front jacket

Isn’t it gorgeous? To add more to your excitement, the lovely author is giving away some cool stuff – signed ARCs, The Murder Complex bookmarks and #booknerdigans shirts. Want to join? (I know you want to.) Just click on the image below.

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The Murder Complex will be released on June 10, 2014 but if you can’t wait for that check out the prequel The Fear Trials to be released May 27 under Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.

You can pre-order both books already.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     The Book Depository     IndieBound

Also, get to know the author more from these links.

Website     Twitter     Instagram

November 2013 Releases

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Well, I only have two on my list right for this month, and I already bought one while the other I’ve read a year ago but, because I’m OC with book covers, did not buy the physical copy. Anyway, here are the two books I’ve been waiting for this November.

Champion cover

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Summary from Amazon.com

If you want to read the first chapter, Amazon has it. Check it out from this link. Champion has been released last November 5.

Reached

It’s not really new. The harcover has been out for nearly a year but for the sake of my OC tendencies when it comes to book covers, I am including Reached, the third and last book in Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. The paperback version is set to be released November 19.

That’s about it. I think most of the books on my Most Anticipated Reads list for this year has been released.

Book Review: Veronica Roth’s “Allegiant”

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I haven’t been this excited for a series in a long time. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was the last one that did this to me. But I had to do catch up for that. There were already three Harry Potter books when I got sucked in.

I was always sort of late in starting book series. I started reading Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy when Catching Fire came out. I rushed through Ally Condie’s first two Matched books a few weeks before the last book’s release. That was a bad idea because I had to re-read all three books again since rushing made me miss a lot of the trilogy’s plot points. And, hey,I just started Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy a year after the last book came out.

But it’s different for the Divergent trilogy.  I’ve been on the Divergent train from the very start. Someone gave me an ebook copy, and I immediately got hooked. I fell in love with the whole story; with Veronica Roth’s dystopian Chicago the moment Tris accepted her divergence.

It’s been two years since I’ve first read it and the Divergent fanbase has definitely grown. I have more people to talk about it now. I’ve converted some of my friends, convincing them to read the books and even giving away a few copies. That’s how much I’ve loved this series. Suffice to say, saying good-bye to it is hard. Bittersweet.

After reading Allegiant, though, things are mostly bitter than it is sweet.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant, the last book in Roth’s Divergent trilogy, picks up from where Insurgent ended with the factions collapsed,  the factionless – under Evelyn’s leadership – taking over the city, and the discovery that they were all put inside the fenced-in Chicago by a group of people who may need their help. Buoyed to discover the truth about their city and their existence, the trilogy’s protagonist Tris goes outside the fence with Tobias, Cara, Christina, Uriah, Caleb and Peter. What they discover completely obliterates everything they know and believe in.

Again, I fell in love with the first two books. I still am, actually, and I wanted to love Allegiant as much as Divergent and Insurgent but I just can’t. It’s not even because of the ending, although that made me sad, too.

Allegiant is an ambitous book, and it should be after the success of its predecessors but there’s a fine line between being ambitous enough and outright being bombastically, overly ambitous you lose touch of any realism. Allegiant crossed that line.

My biggest issue with Allegiant was Veronica Roth’s plotting. Instead of tying loose ends from Divergent and Insurgent, she pulled even more strings into the mix. The result? A convoluted mess of a story that’s confusing at best. I feel that the conclusion was rushed and does not offer neither explanation or resolution.

The switching between Tris’ and Tobias’ point of views also didn’t help. I know she said that she needed two characters to narrate her story, to give the readers a multi-faceted view of the world she created but it did not work. Personally, I didn’t get any new information from reading Tobias’ POV. It actually confused me even more to the extent that I have to check every chapter whose POV I’m reading. He started sounding like Tris, and it led me to feel like I didn’t know his character at all. Allegiant’s Tobias is a million miles away from the one I knew from the first two books. Divergent’s and Insurgent’s Tobias is tough, confident, strong and brave. The one in Allegiant is a pale and weak version of him.

Continuing my discourse on character development or lack thereof in Allegiant, let me go to Tris. Tris, stubborn and reckless; Tris, my favorite character in the trilogy. I expected Roth to stabilize her beliefs, make her go forward. That does not happen, though, instead she goes on retrograde – travelling backwards to her demise. It wasn’t so much her death that affected me, it was the way it played out. It was senseless.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with writers deciding to kill off their main characters but it has to make sense and it has to push the narrative forward. Roth did not do Tris, who’s such a great character, justice. Also, the author could have taken that chance to give Caleb the redemption he so deserves.

Allegiant is so full of interesting characters which Roth could’ve explored more. I’ve mentioned Caleb, now add Marcus and Peter into that list. Then there’s also the dynamics between Marcus and Evelyn, the Allegiant and the factionless and, of course, Tris and Tobias but you wouldn’t want me to start on that last one because this review would need 10 more pages.

I know Veronica Roth can write better than this. She’d shown an incredible talent in being able to get her readers’ attention, draw them into the world she created and make themselves immersed in it. She also has the knack for creating really amazing and varied characters. She’d shown that in both Divergent and Insurgent. I gave those books a 4 and a 5 respectively, that’s how good they were.

Allegiant could have been a better book if the author was able to plot more carefully. I’m more sorry for all the lost potential than the unnecessary ending. I will still recommend Divergent and Insurgent to people who haven’t read it yet. Allegiant, however, is a read-at-your-own risk kind of book. There were things I liked about Allegiant – Tris and Tobias finally talking things out like adults 75% into the book, how Tobias’ grief was potrayed and the role of his and Tris’ friends in his handling it – but there were just more things I can’t let pass.

This review doesn’t mean that I hate Veronica Roth. I am still a fan, she, after all created this wonderful, intriguing world and all its amazing, interesting characters. I wouldn’t be this affected if her writing wasn’t effective to begin with. She made me care about this fictional world and all these characters, and that says a lot about her. Allegiant just did not work out for me but that does not invalidate the rest of the trilogy. I will definitely still read Roth’s works in the future. Come to think of it, there are stil three Four short stories.

Please know that giving Allegiant this rating hurts.

Also, I will still watch the Divergent movie and I would still love for the other two books to get the same treatment (ATTENTION: Summit Entertainment). Seeing these books become movies, translated into a different medium, is both exciting and intriguing at the same time.

Rating: 2/5

Book Music: Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” Playlist

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It’s just, what? Six days, five days before the release of the third and the final book in Veronica Roth‘s Divergent trilogy, Allegiant. A lot of people, myself included, have been eagerly (also, impatiently) waiting for it. We all know it has to end but, still, it’s bittersweet. It’s hard to say good-bye to all the characters in the series. We’ve been with them from day one, accompanied them through their struggles, grew to love them. So, as a sort of “saying good-bye” to Tris, Tobias, Christina, Uriah and the rest of the Divergent gang, here are the songs that, in a way, inspired the books.  This is for the first book, Divergent.

Personal note: My faves from the list are Again and Arise by Flyleaf, and Come Alive by Foo Fighters because it really captured the feel of the book. Give it a listen. NO, strike that! Give all of these songs a listen.

Divergent hc c(2)

1. Starts with One – Shiny Toy Guns (We Are Pilots)

This song gets me in touch with the good aspects of Beatrice’s chosen faction

2. Chasm – Flyleaf (Memento Mori)

And this song gets me in touch with the bad aspects of Beatrice’s chosen faction.

3. Come Alive – Foo Fighters (Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace)

This is the love interest’s song for Beatrice.

4. Again – Flyleaf (Memento Mori)

And this is Beatrice’s song for the love interest.

5. Help I’m Alive – Metric (Fantasies)

Beatrice’s initiation song.

6. We Die Young – The Showdown (Temptation Come My Way)

This might as well be the theme song for Beatrice’s chosen faction—it’s what they would choose for themselves.

7. Canvas – Imogen Heap (Ellipse)

This is the “riding on trains” song.

8. Running Up That Hill – Placebo (Covers)

The tone of this song matches the tone of much of the book, for me.

9. Sweet Sacrifice – Evanescence (The Open Door)

I was listening to this song when the first scene I wrote (in chapter 6) popped into my head. That scene led me to the world of the book and its basic plot.

10. Arise – Flyleaf (Memento Mori)

A powerful song that’s perfect for chapters 38 and 39.

Book Thoughts: Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak” and Melinda Sordino’s Five Stages of Speaking Out

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For the record, I am a serial re-reader. I’m the kind who, if a story tugs on my reader heartstrings, would read a book over and over and over again without ever tiring of the plot lines and the characters.

There, now that’s out of the way, here’s another fact. I love Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. I can no longer count the number of re-reads I’ve given it. I love the novel’s protagonist, Melinda Sordino, and out of that love (and my inherent compulsion for re-reading books and making sense out of almost everything), this post is born. Ta-da! *falling colorful confetti and glitters*

book cover

But seriously now, Melinda went through such a traumatic experience. It’s something no person should ever go through. But the reality of the world we live in contradicts our want of being safe from harm, and thus the painful truth – that some people hurt other people.

Though Melinda dealt with what happened to her with much courage, it wasn’t at all “all” that easy. It took her time, she went through stages, painful ones. It’s like the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – she went from deciding not to speak to coming to terms with what happened to her to finally speaking out. It took Melinda time to talk about being raped. That’s what speaking out does, it can be tough especially when you feel like no one will listen to you. This world we’re living in puts too much emphasis on speaking out and not enough on listening.

Alright, well, enough about me and what I think. Let me re-focus the spotlight on Melinda.

– Melinda Sordino’s Five Stages of Speaking Out –

Denial aka Deciding not to Speak:

“It is easier not to say anything. Shut your trap, button your lip, can it. All that crap you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings is a lie. Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say.”

Anger aka Refusing to Speak:

“The suffragettes fought for the right to speak. They were attacked, arrested, and thrown in jail for daring to do what they wanted. Like they were, I am willing to stand up for what I believe. No one should be forced to give speeches. I choose to stay silent.”

“Lawyers on TV always tell their clients not to say anything. The cops say that thing: ‘Anything you say will be used against you.’ Self-incrimination. I looked it up. Three-point vocab word. So why does everyone makes such a big hairy deal about me not talking? Maybe I don’t want to incriminate myself. Maybe I don’t like the sound of my voice. Maybe I don’t have anything to say.”

Speak

Bargaining aka Coming to Terms:

“Was I raped?

Oprah: “Let’s explore that. You said no. He covered your mouth with his hand. You were thirteen years old. It doesn’t matter that you were drunk. Honey, you were raped. What a horrible, horrible thing for you to live though. Didn’t you ever think of telling anyone? You can’t keep this inside forever. Can someone get her a tissue?”

Sally Jessy: “I want this boy held responsible. He is to blame for this attack. You do know it was an attack, don’t you? It was not your fault. I want you to listen to me, listen to me, listen to me. It was not your fault. This boy is an animal.”

Jerry: “Was it love? No. Was it lust? No. Was it tenderness, sweetness, the First Time they talk about in magazines? No, no, no, no, no! Speak up, Meatilda, ah, Melinda, I can’t hear you!”

My head is killing me, my throat is killing me, my stomach bubbles with toxic waste. I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”

Depression/Caving In:

“I shouldn’t have raked anything. Look what I started. I shouldn’t have tried something new. I should have stayed in the house. Watched cartoons with a double-sized bowl of Cheerios. Should have stayed in my room. Stayed in my head.”

Acceptance aka Speaking Out:

“I think about lying down. No, that would not do. I crouch by the trunk, my fingers stroking the bark, seeking a Braille code, a clue, a message on how to come back to life after my long undersnow dormancy. I have survived. I am here. Confused, screwed up, but here. So, how can I find my way? Is there a chain saw of the soul, an ax I can take to my memories or fears! I dig my fingers into the dirt and squeeze. A small, clean part of me waits to warm and burst through the surface. Some quiet Melindagirl I haven’t seen in months. That is the seed I will care for.”

“IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding. Andy Evans raped me in August when I was drunk and too young to know what was happening. It wasn’t my fault. He hurt me. It wasn’t my fault. And I’m not going to let it kill me. I can grow.”

It may have took Melinda some time but eventually she speaks out and she finds people who want to listen to her. Still, there may be other Melindas out there who may not be as lucky to have willing, listening ears for them. There could still be other victims out there who can’t speak out.

I think it’s high time for all of us to be listeners and not just speakers.

P.S. Expect that this is not the last time you’ll hear from me about Speak.

P.P.S. If you have the time, go watch the movie adaptation of this book. It’s good. =)

P.P.P.S. That’s a 13-year old Kristen Stewart playing Melinda Sordino by the way.

Cover Reveal: Ransom Riggs’ “Hollow City” (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2)

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HOLLOW-CITY-COVER

 

The cover of Ransom Riggs‘ follow up to his eerie fantasy novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is out. Hollow City, which will not be out until next year January 14, will continue protagonist Jacob Portman and his new-found group of friends to London. You can read an excerpt of the book from here.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire OST Tracklist

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire OST Tracklist

I think no one would disagree with me on this, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is one of the most anticipated movies this year. I have excitedly fangirled every still from the movie, and now that we’re just six weeks away from seeing the film in its entirety, the hype just keeps on going.

I love soundtracks. Really. I even buy OSTs of movies I haven’t even seen. So, needless to say, aside the movie, I am also eagerly waiting for Catching Fire soundtrack. The complete tracklist was recently released and it includes some of my favorite artists and bands – Ellie Goulding, The Lumineers, The Nationals – they’re joining Coldplay, the first band to be confirmed for the said OST.

Here’s the complete tracklist:

  1. “Atlas” – Coldplay
  2. “Silhouettes” – Of Monsters and Men
  3. “Elastic Heart” – Sia (ft. The Weeknd and Diplo)
  4. “Lean” – The National
  5. “We Remain” – Christina Aguilera
  6. “Devil May Cry” – The Weeknd
  7. “Who We Are” – Imagine Dragons
  8. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Lorde
  9. “Gale Song” – The Lumineers
  10. “Mirror” – Ellie Goulding
  11. “Capital Letter” – Patti Smith
  12. “Shooting Arrows at the Sky” – Santigold
  13. “Place for Us” – Mikky Ekko
  14. “Lights” – Phantogram
  15. “Angel on Fire” – Antony and the Johnsons

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack is due to be released on November 19, two days before the movie. But you can already pre-order it on My Play Direct.