Sunday, April 20, 2014

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan


Genre:  YA Science Fiction

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood.

Ava has lived her life on a ship ruled by men.  She cooks, cleans, sews, and takes care of the livestock.  What she doesn't do is see the outposts and worlds the ship visits; that job is for the men.  But when a wedding deal is struck, she leaves her home ship for another.  And since the women are to know absolutely nothing, she makes a mistake by assuming she's marrying a boy from her childhood.  This assumption leads her down a path with no turning back.

After running away from her home ship, Ava finds an ally in Perpetue, a mail shipper.  Perpetue helps her escape by bringing her down to Earth.  Ava has only known Earth as something that infects and sickens people.  When she finds a thriving world there, her eyes open.  There's life outside her ship, and it's not as male-domineering as her ship was.  As Ava learns to navigate this new world, she learns more about her history.  But with this new knowledge, will Ava be able to choose the life she wants?

It was the "male-domineering" phrase that made me hesitate with this book (and the 520-page length).  I am so sick of male-domineering books; I think we need to see some books where women rule (and men have to clean the floors with their toothbrushes).  But this book is more than that.  It's pointing out a closed-off society set in a future science-fiction world.  We have plenty of closed-off societies in our current world; it's very easy to see the parallels.  Back to the book, as big as this book was, I feel like it didn't cover enough of Ava's life.  It follows her as she learns about her world, herself, and her past.  And believe me, she does a lot of growing.  I truly felt for her character and saw the heartache in her choices.

But...  Back to how I mentioned that this book wasn't big enough.  It does an excellent job of setting the background and the landscape.  But it changes so frequently that I'm left questioning things.  Like what was the point of the ship Ava grew up on?  And what happened in the past that made the women willing to submit (trust me, I'd be leading the women rebellion as fast as I could)?  It feels like important details were glossed over.  But in the end, it doesn't really affect the main point of the story.  This is a book about a girl growing, coming to terms with who she is, and deciding where she wants to be.  And then add the futuristic space setting to it.

In the end, it's a good story.  A really long book that I think would've done better as a trilogy with more explanations (me and my explanations - but hey, I want a complete story).  Gasp, it's my first standalone novel in a longtime, and I wish it were a trilogy or more?  What's wrong with me?  Anyways, I'd say pick the book up if it's got your interests...


Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich


Genre:  Adult Detective
Stephanie Plum Series, Book 10

Description (taken from Janet Evanovich's website):
She’s accidentally destroyed a dozen cars. She’s a target for every psycho and miscreant this side of the Jersey Turnpike. Her mother’s convinced she’ll end up dead…or worse, without a man. She’s Stephanie Plum and she kicks butt for a living (well, she thought it would sound good to put it that way…)

It begins as an innocent trip to the deli-mart, on a quest for nachos. But Stephanie Plum and her partner, Lula, are clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time. A robbery leads to an explosion, which leads to the destruction of yet another car. It would be just another day in the life of Stephanie Plum…except that she becomes the target of a gang. And the target of an even scarier, more dangerous force that comes to Trenton. With super bounty hunter Ranger acting more mysteriously than ever (and the tension with vice cop Joe Morelli getting hotter), Stephanie finds herself with a decision to make: how to protect herself and where to hide while on the hunt for a killer known as the Junkman. There’s only one safe place, and it has Ranger’s name all over it-if she can find it. And if the Junkman doesn’t find her first. With Lula riding shotgun and Grandma Mazur on the loose, Stephanie Plum is racing against the clock in her most suspenseful novel yet. Ten Big Ones is page-turning entertainment and Janet Evanovich is the best there is.

This book takes off right away with Stephanie witnessing a robbery gone wrong, her car going up in flames and everyone whipping out their guns.  Once Lula and Stephanie talk themselves into locating a fugitive by driving through gang streets, there's a certain gang that notices Stephanie Plum, for better or worse.  This forces Stephanie to try to protect her loved ones by staying away.  But all Joe wants is Stephanie to stay home and lose the bounty-hunting gig.  Which of course isn't going to happen.  And we enter the Stephanie Plum entertainment world.....

I enjoyed this book because we got to know a little more about Ranger.  The story's main plot is similar to all of the others, but it's the side plots and the side characters that keep you going.  However, I do have to say this: the whole Ranger-Joe-Stephanie triangle is getting old fast.  And that's probably why I pick up these books once every other month.  I'm going to keep reading them because they're addicting, but it's the same-ol', same-ol'.

If you haven't started the Stephanie Plum series, there's 21 books out there.  I'm not even halfway through them.  So you'll be like me: on the long road of Stephanie Plum-ism.  It's a fun series to try.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

14PTC Flash Sale


Awesome news: for the next four hours, you can purchase tickets for the Pure Textuality Convention for $50.  The convention is in Minneapolis this year during the first week of October.  I hope you'll think about going.  Tickets can be purchased here, and they are included in the Amazon Fire Kindle giveaway.

Pawn by Aimee Carter


Genre:  YA Dystopian
The Blackcoat Rebellion Series, Book 1

Description (taken from Goodreads):
YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

Have you ever thought about the perfect society where everyone contributes?  And those that don't are sent away.  The thiefs and criminals aren't allowed in society.  And you are ranked based on what you can contribute which also determines your class in society.  Almost sounds like the perfect world, right?  Too bad we'll never get it right.

Kitty, the second child in a family whose class only allows for one child, spent her life in a group home.  The only mother she's known she's had to share with 40 other kids.  At the age of seventeen, every kid takes a test that determines their rank in society.  The Is (those that can't contribute to society) will be sent away while the lower rankings will have mediocre jobs but a roof over their heads.  Kitty's goal is to get a IV: something that lets her stay in her town to wait for Benji to get his ranking.  Only problem is she can't read and it's a written test.  Unfortunately, she ends up a III and must leave everything she's ever known for a mediocre life.

But...  People from very high places have noticed her.  She's given the opportunity to be a VII: a ranking that only belongs to the Hart family.  Only problem is she'll have to be Masked as one as well.  She will become Lila Hart.  But once she's a VII, nothing gets easier.  Instead, everything is more complicated and nothing is as it seems.  Can Kitty handle losing her identity and taking a new one?

The description that comes with this book is good and enticing.  But there's so much more to this story than that.  This book builds on the world Kitty is in.  And once you think you've figured it out, you're thrust into Lila's world.  And while a lot of the plot twists are predictable, you're so engrossed in the world that you don't care anymore.  This is the kind of world-building I love to see.  It's as if I can throw the characters aside and think of myself in this world (as a VI of course).

This is a dystopian that doesn't disappoint.  It's fun to read, and you begin to question all those off-handed remarks you've said about your own society (or at least I did).  I'll be picking up the next one for sure.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

manda-rae's Haul

Stacking the Shelves consists of books we received in the last week, hosted by Tynga's reviews.

And another week has gone by.  I have a Zumba class in a couple of hours, but I plan on getting a little bit of reading done before that.  And then I'm going to watch the first thunderstorm of the season...  Or do yard work if it doesn't show up.

For Review:

  • Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

From the Library:

  • Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • I am dying to read this series finale.  I'm pretty sure I will finish it in one sitting.  One of my favorite mythology retellings.
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
    • Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
      • Now that the third one's out, I think I can start this series.  I think I should make that new rule: don't start trilogies until all books have been published.  Then I don't have to wait, and the story's fresh in my mind...
  • Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano
  • Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich

manda-rae's Past Week

Reviews:

Convention:
  • Pure Textuality Convention - You can enter a giveaway if you by your tickets now.  The convention's in Minneapolis at the beginning of October.  Are you going to go?

Giveaways:
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