Tuesday, July 31, 2012

YAckers Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Published September 27, 2011.

Author website.

Around the world, black hand prints 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 grows 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?  (goodreads.com)

DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE ended up being a mixed bag for us YAcks.  I personally went into it thinking I'd love it so hard I'd slather the book in drool.  I was mistaken.  For many the appearance of Akiva was a total buzzkill and Madrigal is something most of us could have done without.  While the consensus was that the writing was pretty and filled with WORDS there was a bit of distance, to one degree or another, but it was supplemented by lovely world-building and some intriguing characters that require more face time in the sequel.  Lucky for Angie she wasn't the lone downer of this book, as she was totally expecting to be.

Steph (one of Sya's minions) was Keeper of the Book this month but seeing as how the YAcks have spawned their own website, we're all congregating over there now.  LOOK!  And just for visiting you get a bonus YAcked book, inadvertently slaughtered by us.  Sorry, THRONE OF GLASS.  You lose.

Ban Factor: High - Anything that bastardizes Christianity is an automatic fire starter.

Monday, July 30, 2012

SKYLARK Giveaway Reminder + Calling Sandy G!

Just a friendly reminder that tonight is the last night for you all to enter to win some wicked SKYLARK (by Meagan Spooner) swag!  It ends tonight at midnight, EST, so be sure to get your entries in by then.

On top of that I'm still waiting on Sandy G. as my one lone Summer Blast Giveaway winner that has yet to respond!  If I don't hear from you by midnight tomorrow (EST, Tuesday, 7/31) then I'll need to draw another name.  You're a book winner so don't miss your chance of a book of your choice!  Email me!

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Pub date: August 7, 2012.

Author website.

It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.  (netgalley.com)

Now my main issue with GIRL OF NIGHTMARES is not turning into a blithering fangirl idiot in this review.  But that's going to be really hard because it's horror and YA and unforgiving and AWESOME.  I'll try, though.  I'll try.

This time around Cas, for the first time ever, is trying to be a normal teenager.  He has stayed in the same place for nearly a year and will even renew his tenure at his current high school.  A never for him.  As a result he's attempting to date (thanks to Carmel) and move on from the whole Anna issue.  Except she's not letting him move on.  Cas starts seeing her everywhere and it gets to a point where he starts questioning his sanity.  Lucky for him his marbles are all where they should be and something far deeper, and grander, is going on around him.

Blake doesn't spare punches in GIRL OF NIGHTMARES.  While it doesn't have the feel of "truer" horror (as in the genuine scare factor involved) to me there's still an unyielding, unforgiving horror to her storytelling that'll slot it in with the rest nicely enough.  Blake is unforgiving with her gore, the trials she puts her characters through and the means they need to meet in order to achieve their ends.  And she does it with such well-timed snark that I'm in awe of it.  It's not forced, it never feels like a contrivance and it fits in genuinely with it's surroundings.  Said snark is used sparingly but in just the right moments that it hits perfectly and it left me giggling more than once.

I had an issue with Cas referring to Anna as his girlfriend.  That's just a level of morbid that surpasses even my rather effed up capacities.  And it's also rather sad that the only girl Cas felt he could have a connection with was a murderous dead one.  I felt sorry for him on a few different levels but at least the entire story was realistic about it.  Yes, he referred to Anna as his girlfriend.  Creepy.  But it didn't delude anything.  There was no talk about bringing her back to fleshy life so her and Cas could live happily ever after.  Cas knew she was dead; Anna knew she was dead.  Different planes of existence.  Full stop.  Patrick Swayze got off back in Albuquerque.

I also had problems with Cas's mom and whether I was supposed to think of her as a good mom for letting Cas do his thing or a bad mom for letting him do his thing.  Probably one of the main reasons for them having to move so often was if they stayed in one place Cas's mom would have the Department of Children and Families wedged so far up her ass she wouldn't be able to walk.  At the rate he keeps ending up in the hospital (he tripped and fell into a campfire?  might as well just make him walk into doors too) all signs would start to point to child abuse.  But he's Cas and following in his dad footsteps and this is the family business blah blah blah.  But I really wanted his mom to be a real mom and be like, "EFF THAT.  You're grounded."  She wasn't though.  She made her candles and enabled his behavior and cleaned his wounds.  I don't know how I feel about that.  She fit the story and if there were a contrivance here she'd be it.  Luckily for the story as a whole I was able to suspend my disbelief enough to tuck it back.  She's not very prominent and I was so caught up in the action that I wasn't able to dwell on it long enough anyway.

There were tears at the end so beware.  It was shocking.  I kept trying to guess where it was going to go but, as you know, I kind of suck at that so I was nice and surprised by the ending.  It was unexpected and refreshing in that it didn't pander to the "norm" in YA.  All the more reason to love Blake.  She writes her story and everyone else be damned.  This is it and nothing else.

GIRL OF NIGHTMARES was an excellent continuation of the ANNA series.  Well worth the wait and not at all disappointing.  Just the right amounts horror, gore, fear, tears, snark and sass, GIRL OF NIGHTMARES hits all the right places at all the right times.  YA needs more horror and I'm so incredibly happy that Blake is a contributing factor to even that imbalance out.  It's nominally free of romance (except for Cas's, um, issue, I guess) but it has some hidden angst found in the likes of Thomas and Carmel, the comic reliefs in what is otherwise a pretty dark story.  I have no doubt GIRL OF NIGHTMARES will be a hit and will have people salivating for more ANNA.

Ban Factor: High - We see things getting tortured.  Shit comes back from the dead.  There are swears.  It's all over, folks.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Added to the Pile + 118

Just a single book this time via NetGalley.  I've been wavering on this one for a little while; I wasn't too sure and was teetering on requesting it until it was featured on a blog tour where I was able to get a deeper look into it.  The authors sound pretty good and the stories are supposed to be dark.  That's right up my alley.  Please I was able to read some excerpts on the blog tour.  I'll take it.

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.  (goodreads.com)

Things I've Learned from Books + 162

Posted weekly, you get, for absolutely free, a bit of knowledge learned from the books I read. I just couldn't keep this wealth of information to myself. That would be cruel. It will keep your gray matter happy. And happy gray matter keeps it from de-evolving. De-evolving is bad. You don't want to be sludge, do you? Or a fish?

Cruising corpses for girlfriends might not be the optimum avenue for date material.  Generally one likes a pulse in an intended, not to mention occupying the same plane of existence.  You know, small things.

Author Bites - Sandi Tan and THE BLACK ISLE

While THE BLACK ISLE is probably more ghostly literary I do think it has some crossover appeal with YA in that it's a story about Cassandra coming of age and finding out who she really is.  The ghosts are all around her and held within her and she needs to manage her ability to fight them off on both fronts.  I fell in love with THE BLACK ISLE from the very first page and I knew even then I wanted Sandi to come by and chat a bit about her book.  Hooray that she agreed to do it!  Check out THE BLACK ISLE on its own website, read an excerpt from the novel and then go check out Sandi at her website or over on Facebook and let her know what you think.  Thanks for stopping by, Sandi!

What made you choose this island in the South China sea as the setting for THE BLACK ISLE?  Is there really an island in that area that bears this history or is it entirely fictitious?

The Black Isle is an entirely fictional place. I decided to set my novel afloat in that corner of the Pacific, midway between China and India, because it’s a fecund, festering tropical zone that hasn’t been explored much in international storytelling—and that’s a pity. This is a part of the world where the air is so dense you break into a sweat just by moving, where violent thunderstorms happen three or four times in the course of a regular day, where bugs and lizards abound—it is rainforest by nature and civilization only by nurture. Imagine the most humid New York or South Carolina summer and then imagine it year round. The Black Isle is a physical composite of several island- or archipelago-states in the region: Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong—all of which experienced a similar historical trajectory with colonialism, World War II and post-war independence; but the Isle also bears some resemblance to tropical cities in Latin America, like Recife in Brazil, and many others in Mexico. Near the equator, the conflict between man-made order and natural chaos is both everyday and eternal. On the Black Isle, this is also true of the conflict between the present and the past—and that’s where the ghosts come in!
Photo by Kathleen Clark via sanditan.com

To me, the Black Isle is as much a character as a place. Its coming-of-age from messy little port city to sleek international powerhouse is a kind of dark mirror of our heroine Cassandra’s own growth from plucky little girl to mature, powerful woman.

You make Cassandra seem at times both endearing as a character in trouble and someone not so innocent when it comes to blatant self-preservation.  Did you find it hard to toe this line and maintain a balance that ultimately tipped in favor of a likable character as opposed to not?

Not really. When I created a heroine who was going to fight to retain her legacy, to keep herself from being erased by history, I knew I had to make her even more vivid than the usual heroine. She had to be a super-real whispering companion you’d feel charmed by, concerned for, terrified of, one you’d ultimately—hopefully—admire, as you witness her gradual rise to power. Because Cassandra’s a sensitive soul—she sees the dead, after all!—I wanted to make her extra susceptible to the emotions that grip us all, bad and good: fear, envy, lust, love, and even unexpected jolts of great courage and compassion.

My hope was that if I tied Cassandra’s experiences in the supernatural realm to down-to-earth, everyday feelings, if I made her honest about her feelings (for example, romantic jealousy!), I would be able to take the reader to strange and exotic places, and still keep them on her side. This is what a “likable” heroine means to me—the character may not always be noble, and may not always do the “right” thing, but she should always be honest so we understand her motives for her actions—especially when these are linked to feelings. THE BLACK ISLE is as much the story of a young woman managing her supernatural powers as the story of a young woman harnessing her wild emotions.

Why does Cassandra maintain such a strong sense of family when, time after time, they push her away, whether it's her mother favoring her brother or her father letting responsibilities fall to her while reaping the benefits?  Is this a draw on a more cultural dynamic or a more inherent familial need?  Or both?

It’s both and more—it’s primal. I think everyone feels they need the support of family (or the familiar) when they’re thrown into the wilds of a strange new land, as poor little Cassandra was—shunted as a seven-year-old from the known world of Shanghai to the mysterious Black Isle. As she discovers and gradually comes to terms with her own unique power, she’s able to shed some of the negative people and emotions that try to cling to her; yet her family remains her most persistent ghosts, probably because they are tied to her childhood past, and to deny them would be to also deprive herself of her own history. They are inseparable from her memory of herself. I think we are often shaped by the difficult relationships we have with people in our lives, if only because we are forced to chart our own destinies in reaction to them.

The relationship between Cassandra and her brother at times borders on unhealthy.  Is this a cultural dynamic manifested by their being twins (alluded to in the story) or a need to depend on each other due to their parents' shortcomings?

Yep, Cassandra’s got a troublesome relationship with her twin brother, Li! This is partly because he’s been through so many of the same dramatic situations she’s been through—the creepy voyage by ship to the Black Isle, the terror of the rubber plantation, the military invasion during World War II. They’ve seen each other at their worst, and there’s shame and embarrassment in it. Yet ironically, this shared experience over the years is what binds them, for better or worse, and makes them each other’s secret sharer, each other’s shadow witness. They understand each other on a cellular level, like two halves of the same person.

In the end, they are both survivors—they do the best they can, and help each other the best they can. It slowly becomes clear that Cassandra is much stronger and braver than her brother. And of course, it’s Cassandra herself, more than anyone else, who is the most surprised—and chilled—by this!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

80s Awesomeness! ~ 170

80s Awesomeness! is an original concoction of my insanity need to live in the 80s. The flashback started here and posts weekly on Saturdays, highlighting the best of 80s fashion, music, movies and whatever else the coked up, yuppie Rubik's Cube decade can throw at you.

Who didn't love this cat-eating alien?  Hell, I don't even remember what the premise of the show was about.  But I do remember having an ALF lunch box.  It was red.  Here's the basic rundown -
Gordon Shumway, last known survivor from the planet Melmac, crash-lands his spaceship into the Tanner family's suburban garage. Willie dubs him "ALF", short for Alien Life Form. The Tanners decide to take ALF in as a member of the family.  (source)
Nope.  Didn't even remember that ALF's real name was Gordon.  Kind of lame but okay.  Still, I know I liked the show.  I think.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Shitty YA Boy Toy: Ford - DROUGHT

Name: Ford

Dwells within: Pam Bachorz's DROUGHT

At a glance: deceptively kind and accommodating, townie loser, religious zealot, potential member of Westboro Baptist Church, sexual maturity level of a thirteen-year-old boy in a big boy body

And I rant: Ford starts off nominally appealing, lending a helping hand to Ruby but when he starts becoming more involved beyond his overseer duties his colors start to shine.  Even with the knowledge that Ruby's been raised in what is rightly a cult, sequestered from the rest of the world, he starts hammering home the "Christianity is the only true religion" schtick, forcing it upon her as if she's simply misguided and not wholly brainwashed and way too old for him.  He is steadfast in his Jesus love until the end, attempting to guide Ruby to the light the entire way and completely disregarding her own beliefs and feelings in the process because they're just downright wrong.

On top of that he pulls the "but I thought you loved me" line when she doesn't want to get physical with him.  Talk about a failure that more than likely just blew his way through his female townie equivalents and had nothing else to slog onto within a twenty mile radius.  Who better than some brainwashed shut-in that doesn't know better?  Sounds like a steal to me.

The reality:

 He's only good for:

Final thoughts: Ford's a Grade A dick, narrow-minded and uncaring of anyone's feelings but his own.  Blood-letting is a more amenable hobby than getting jiggy in the back of this dude's pick-up.  Plus guys like this shouldn't be procreating anyway.  There are enough bigots in the world without spawning more in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

Check the index for button meanings.

Freaky Friday :|: 170

Freaky Friday is a weekly post highlighting YA horror published between 1980 and 1999, originally inspired by Sharon's (Loves Books and Cats) Flashback Friday.

Title: The Body
Author: Carol Ellis
Published: 1996
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Pages: 208
A new girl in town must unravel the mystery of Lisa Randolf, who fell off a cliff under strange circumstances, and, left paralyzed, is so terrified over the incident that she refuses to speak.  (fantasticfiction.co.uk)
OMG is Lucius Malfoy the culprit???  AVADA KEDAVRA!!!  You now, if it were me and I fell off a cliff I'd probably refuse to speak about the incident too.  I wouldn't want to sit down to tea (because coffee is disgusting, I'm a tea drinker) and be all like, "So that day when I went ass over tea kettle down that cliff face . . ."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This Week on Blogger Confidential . . .

This week we're over at Emily's Reading Room chatting about keeping blogging awesome and keeping those drama llamas penned up.  Come check us out!

Vanishing and Other Stories by Deborah Willis

Published August 17, 2010.

Author website.

In Vanishing and Other Stories, secrets are both kept and unearthed, and lives are shaped by missing lovers, parents, and children.  With wisdom and dexterity, moments of dark humor, and a remarkable economy of words, Deborah Willis captures an incredible array of characters that linger in the imagination and prove that nothing is ever truly forgotten.  (book back blurb)

Every once in a while I'll come across a book with such stunning writing that when I get to the end of it I can't help but heave a great big sigh of relief.  There is hope.  There is talent.  There are WORDS.

I like reading anthologies but they're usually a compendium of stories from different writers so each work is, by default, going to be different.  Different styles, different prose, different methods.  Personally I find it a lot harder for an author to write a single anthology composed entirely of their own stories and have each story differentiate itself from the last.  My experience in that is pretty even keel; one working out not so well and the other I ended up loving.  VANISHING?  Yeah, I pretty much loved it.

VANISHING has stories told of life.  They're not all that action-packed.  In many not much really happens outside of a character's internal monologues.  But the way they're all written Willis just sinks her claws into each and every one of her characters and forces them off the page so that you can't help but see them as their own individuals.  And that's exactly what they are.  From the grieving scientist in ESCAPE to the lonely teacher in THE FIANCEE to the boy-turned-man in AND THE LIVING IS EASY, each are individuals, each are wholly separate and each are as vivid in my mind as if they were all given their own books.

VANISHING is one of those books that one SHOULD read because it's that kind of book.  These are the stories that would get taught in literature classes, dissected for meaning, subtext, intent.  To some that's a bad thing but I loved reading good short stories when I was in school.  It was how I was introduced to the likes of Flannery O'Connor.  And she's pretty awesome.  But just because people SHOULD read it doesn't make it bad or dull.  They're all engaging stories, each and every one of them, with a range of protagonists, a range of ages and a good mix of both sexes.  There is literally something for everyone in VANISHING and the writing is so good all the rest would just suck you in anyway.

All of the stories are inherently real, spun golden by words that would make any writer envious (including this one).  But it's not a high falutin, overtly showy type of writing.  It's glorious, simple enough to hook the resistant but intricate enough to ensnare the more well-read, those with noses held higher than others.  When literary does it right, it REALLY does it right.  Willis's writing is effortless.  She doesn't come across as trying to impress or show off her writing prowess.  Her words are for the stories and the stories are for you.  It's that simple.  And they're wonderful.

There may not be anything supernatural in VANISHING but that doesn't make it any less engaging.  It still hooks, it still drags you in and then spits you out, leaving you reeling in your book hangover because the writing . . . THE WRITING.  It stuns.  It really does.

Ban Factor: Low - It's pretty innocuous.  There might be a couple of salacious pieces in there but that would require the banners to read and that's just downright silly to expect.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

And the winners are . . .

Winners for the Summer Blast Giveaway!  Right here!  I have them.  The whole lot.  Who are they?

© 3dclipartsde | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Book Winners

Jessica (frellathon)

Swag Winners



Jessica S.

That's all of them!  Hooray!  And congratulations!  All of the winners have been emailed so you guys be sure and get back to me ASAP to claim your stuff.  It's waiting for you!

Not In My School (13)

Not In My School is a weekly feature that throws out one YA lit cliche a week to compare to my own high school days. Because we all know how accurate those fictional nuances are . . .

© Demidov | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Unsympathetic parents

BUT YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND!!!  Of course.  Because parents were born at the age of 30, having previous skipped their own teen years for the comfort of a prolonged womb . . .  I'm always put off by parents in YA that give their kids the brush-off, don't give them the benefit of the doubt and generally don't believe a word out of their mouths because that was the polar opposite of my own upbringing.  Unless the kid's a compulsive liar, or a constant complainer, why wouldn't the parents have a shred of sympathy?  That makes no sense.  Aside from the fact that teens have a tendency of blowing things out of proportion, that would also make me assume that parents don't know that, and thus make them seem far more idiotic purely for the sake of amping up the teenage MC.  Boo.  Let's give parents some credit, please?  Most of them aren't total uncaring dicks.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Last Call for Blastahol!

My Summer Blast Giveaway ends tonight at midnight, EST!  So if you want your chance to win some rather cool stuff then be sure to get your entries in by then.  You don't want to miss it!


Yeah, I know I said I'd post my first Shitty YA Boy Toys post today but I just spent the last couple hours swapping out buttons from the original post.  Considering all of the suing going around I'd rather be safe than sorry and since I'm going to be using those things regularly I wanted to make sure they were acquired properly.  Hooray for stock image sites!  Take a look at the new buttons.  Not as snazzy as the originals but they'll do and keep my ass from a sling.  Hopefully.

Dietrich - Twitter
In other awesomer news Savannah Dietrich, the 17-year-old rape victim that was facing charges of contempt for naming her attackers, has been absolved.  Her attackers' lawyers withdrew the charge after it went viral.  Apparently it had nothing to do with with public opinion -
David Mejia, an attorney for one of the boys, said the decision to withdraw the motion had nothing to do with public sentiment and online attention to the case.

He said the purpose of the motion had been to enforce the law that protects juveniles and their actions from disclosure. 
"The horse is out of the barn," he said. "Nothing is bringing it back." (source)
I think Mr. Lawyer missed the point.  Rapists are rapists regardless of age and don't deserve to hide behind the anonymity of age and juvenile court.  Those worthless fucks exposed all of Savannah to the entire world and they should be awarded the benefit of protection?  I sometimes wonder how defense attorneys sleep at night.

So yes.  Savannah doesn't face jail time because she refused to keep quiet about her assault.  Yes, it's a victory regardless of the fact that the reasoning is all wrong and the point is missed entirely.  Baby steps, I guess.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blade Song by JC Daniels

Pub date: August 1, 2012.

Author website.

Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.

So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.

Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.
If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…  (netgalley.com)

BLADE SONG is a bit out of my normal reading repertoire but at the moment I'm all about branching out and I've been following Shiloh  since she unabashedly spoke her mind about the Sirengate debacle.  So throw all of that together and I wanted to read something by her and see what she was all about author-wise because I already thought she was pretty cool as a person.

JC Daniels is the pseudonym for Shiloh Walker who writes romances, among a bunch of other books.  It looks like she writes PNR under her Walker name as well as her Daniels name and I just don't know enough about her to know why she pseudonymously writes.  But needless to say my first Walker book was a Daniels book simply because the blurb appealed to me and it's right up my alley for some adult PNR (because the YA stuff makes me a touch homicidal).

Kit is your kick ass heroine that smarts off right from the get-go and at least has the know-how to realize she should really keep her mouth shut most of the time she allows it to open.  She's part Amazon that allows her to call her sword at a moment's notice even if it's not in the area and it also gives her some other heightened senses that help her out in tough times.  Her childhood was total crap and I really liked the way Daniels interspersed Kit's PTSD with her current job, sending her reeling into her past.  Not that PTSD is a good thing but it's authentic to the character.  For instance Kit spent a lot of time starving and injured in a pit at the hands of her grandmother.  When her and Damon come upon similar pits in the Everglades Kit starts flashing back.  I just felt those flashbacks were authentic.  I bought them and it added a new vulnerable depth to Kit that gave reason to her kick ass attitude.

I was a little less than thrilled with her speech.  I felt that her dialogue and slang was, at times, reaching and it grated on me a little bit but not enough to stop reading.  The story was fast-paced and entertaining enough that it carried me through what I didn't care for and let me just enjoy the story for it's entertainment value.  I'm finding I can do this more with adult books than YA, probably because I'm starting to burn out on YA, I think.

The writing itself was on the simple side in terms of words on the page and at times redundant but I still felt Kit was a fully fleshed out character.  I found her as real as could be, right along with all of the secondary characters that Daniels introduced, from the witches to the cats and even to the humans that she ended up interacting with.  They were barely there and when they were they were serving a purpose but they were fully realized.  I didn't feel like they were puppets in a show, merely there to serve Kit.  They helped her, as much as she needed it, but they all were ultimately their own entity.

I was less than thrilled with the romance.  There was a bit by the way of sexy times but it was an antagonistic relationship that you could see coming from the beginning.  And the way Damon kept referring to Kit as baby girl made me want to strangle something.  From what I got Kit wasn't all on board with that pet name either.  The progression of the romance was exceedingly fast for what ended up coming to fruition but ultimately I think the two actually work together.  They both antagonize and compliment each other in equal measure; neither are dependent on the other, both are a bit possessive (Damon a bit more so which I found off-putting) and both could hold their own.  So I was less than thrilled with it but I didn't wholly not like it either.

You know it's a good foray into adult PNR.  It satisfied a craving that I had for something different yet similar (how . . . vague of me) and not nearly as angsty as I've been getting with the YA crowd.  It was a good deviation from my otherwise norm.  It's definitely gritty and doesn't shy away from the themes it presents so if you're a bit weaker in the will area BLADE SONG might not be for you.  But if you're keen on some violence, a kick ass chick with some issues, a nominal amount of sexy times and a good set-up for the next book, BLADE SONG is your bag.  I didn't love it but I'll keep my eye our for more, that's for sure.

Ban Factor: High - Is that a joke?  Did you read the last paragraph?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

17-Year-Old Rape Victim Refused to Be Silenced


I was going to post my first Shitty YA Boy Toys post today but I spotted this and it needs to be spread so Boy Toys got vetoed until Tuesday.  I was just so incredibly amazed by this story to stay silent.  You all know I try to keep my blog politically neutral because a book review blog that slants towards YA is just not the place for my political opinion.  I have other outlets for that.  But this?  No.  Just . . . no.

This article popped up on my Yahoo! homepage and I immediately jumped to reading it.  A 17-year-old sexual assault victim to be jailed for naming her attackers on Twitter.  Excuse me, what?  So I read it.  Savannah was sexually assaulted while unconscious, her attackers photographing what they did and then disseminating the images to others.  When she found out what happened it crippled her.

She and her parents did everything right by going to the police as soon as Savannah found out.  But when the verdict was read and the sentence handed down Savannah was shocked at the supposed slap on the wrist they both received and SHE was ordered not to discuss anything, to keep silent.  This article in the Courier Journal out of Louisville has more information than the Yahoo! article about the actual trial and the aftermath of Savannah ignoring her court order and naming names.  I was horrified.

What's even more horrifying in that Louisville article was that people were quoted as saying Savannah should have gone through the proper channels to try and lift the injunction keeping her silent instead of just disregarding it.  What?  Yes, she should have been the good little submissive rape victim and gone through the proper channels.  Fuck you.  She was sexually assaulted and then had it all exposed to the world.  Then she watched as her attackers got a dumbed down plea deal and demanded anonymity while forcing her mouth shut.  If I were her I would have done the same thing.

And good on Savannah for doing it.  It's one thing to teach children to follow rules but all this debacle has taught girls like Savannah is that boys can do pretty much whatever they want to do and, for the most part, get away with it and you will do what you're told to do about it and nothing else or you'll get pegged as aggressive, in contempt, defiant and you'll go to jail for it.  WHAT A WONDERFUL FUCKING MESSAGE TO SEND NOT ONLY TO RAPE VICTIMS BUT TEENAGE RAPE VICTIMS.  Motherfuckers, what is wrong with you?

Should we just be traipsing around in corsets and bustles at the beck and call to the menfolk and if we dare to step out of line well, we get what's coming to us, right?  What the fuck year is it?  1901?

If Savannah were my daughter I would be defending her actions with the vehemence of a rabid badger.  There would be no way I could watch as her attackers get little more than a slap on the nose for what they did while she was forced to be silent.  No.  No no no no no.

Rapists shouldn't get the benefit of juvenile court just because they're under 18.  They committed big kid crimes and should suffer big kid repercussions for their actions.  To belittle their crimes as kid stuff is to demean what happened to Savannah, say it's less important, it doesn't mean as much, because she isn't at least 18.  No.  This was not some stupid prank gone awry.  Rape is not a joke to be played on someone.  Snapping naked pictures of an unconscious girl is not harmless.  This is not stupid child's play and Savannah should have never been barred from speaking out about what she went through.

The last thing we want to instill in any rape victim of any age is that there will be terrible repercussions for her if she  deigns to speak.  Fines, jail, public shaming if you DARE to speak out about what happened to you.  The last thing we need to do is take even more from a rape victim, tear her down even more to something that should just remain silent, that should be remedied behind closed doors at the risk of shaming her attackers.  That rapists need to be protected.  FUCK YOU.

I am so incredibly proud of Savannah for speaking out.  I'm so incredibly proud of her for saying fuck you, I'd rather go to jail than keep silent.  I'm so proud of her for not being cowed into being the good little girl and taking the "appropriate" measures of action to see if it's possible please and thank you for her to talk about her pain.  If you're proud of her too then sign the petition.  The hope is that if enough people let this judge (and a woman to boot, how incredibly shameful) know just how fucking idiotic her ruling was that nothing will come of Savannah.  That she won't go jail for being a victim with a voice.

Even in a society where a woman's strength is encouraged we are still ultimately forced to be kept silent, second and steps behind men.  We are supposed to be demure, pleasant and as accommodating as possible.  What's handed to us we're supposed to say thank you, regardless of whether it's what we wanted or not.  If we are told to keep silent we are to keep silent.  If we're told to acquiesce then we acquiesce.  And if something bad happens to us then what did we do to deserve it?


Let the world know that rape victims should never be silenced.  Women should never just fall in line because they're told to.  They shouldn't shy away from what's right because someone threatens them.  Victims shouldn't be shamed for the sake of protecting their attackers.  This kind of thing is disgusting and reprehensible and we should be well over it by now.  It's disheartening that we're not, that we're attempting to teach our children, our daughters, that you don't mean enough to ever be a victim.

Things I've Learned from Books + 161

Posted weekly, you get, for absolutely free, a bit of knowledge learned from the books I read. I just couldn't keep this wealth of information to myself. That would be cruel. It will keep your gray matter happy. And happy gray matter keeps it from de-evolving. De-evolving is bad. You don't want to be sludge, do you? Or a fish?

patrikpaprika - flickr

Teeth have far more uses than the Tooth Fairy could ever imagine.  If he only knew he could he be one hell of an entrepreneur.  But money markets allude him.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

80s Awesomeness! ~ 169

80s Awesomeness! is an original concoction of my insanity need to live in the 80s. The flashback started here and posts weekly on Saturdays, highlighting the best of 80s fashion, music, movies and whatever else the coked up, yuppie Rubik's Cube decade can throw at you.

Married with Children - Fox

Another reason to thank the 80s: Married With Children.  Nothing screams down home like crass family life with a money-grubbing wife, a dead-end husband, a ditzy bimbo daughter and an idiotic demon son.  Kind of a nice contract to the likes of the Keatons, huh?  You know you're humming the theme song right now and picturing Al Bundy sitting on the couch with his hand down his pants.  Don't lie.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Freaky Friday :|: 169

Freaky Friday is a weekly post highlighting YA horror published between 1980 and 1999, originally inspired by Sharon's Flashback Friday.

Title: Silent Witness
Author: Carol Ellis
Published: February 1994
Publisher: Point
After her friend Allen dies, his mother gives Lucy Monroe some of his belongings, including a videotape that contains evidence of a crime--evidence someone will do anything to destroy.  (fantasticfiction.co.uk)
Ah.  It appears dumbasses were videotaping their illegal activities long before YouTube came around.  Nice to know people haven't actually gotten dumber; they've just acquired more access.  Perhaps the perpetrator should be less worried about destroying and more concerned about their life of crime in general.  Maybe it's not working out.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Week on Blogger Confidential . . .

Over at Emily's Reading Room this week we're talking about eReaders - bitchin' or just a bitch?  Come check it out!

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Published January 25th, 2011.

Author website.

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.  (goodreads.com)

I really liked THE FALSE PRINCESS.  I wasn't blown over by it but it was good.  YA needs more good books like this.  I'm not asking for much; not all books need to have me squealing with joy.  But if I came across more genuinely good books like THE FALSE PRINCESS I'd be a hell of a lot happier reader.

One, it's a stand-alone fantasy.  Let me say that again: STAND-ALONE FANTASY.  These things are about as common as unicorns at bus stops.

Two, the story is great.  Nalia/Sinda gets ousted as the false princess right from the get-go and even while I hardly knew the character I was just as thrown by the whole event as she was.  And I knew it was coming!  But it was the reaction of the king and queen, these two people that raised this false child, effectively casting her out with nothing so they can bring in their own kid.  Nalia/Sinda who was functioning as prophecy bait, a peasant sacrifice JUST IN CASE the prophecy came true to be discarded after she was no longer useful.  It's heart-wrenching.  And it's that single event, right in the first chapter, that pulled me into Sinda's character and kept me hooked on her plight.

Three, Sinda's pretty awesome.  The fact that she fared as well as she did once she was booted out of the castle was amazing.  But even despite her strength she was still naive, at times pig-headed and rash, especially when holes started unraveling and smoke started to lift from the world.  At her irrational moments she had her irrationality thrown back in her face only to make more irrational decisions as a result.  But everything she did, despite what her loved ones said, she did because of a higher order.  This thing was far more important than the saving grace of some peasant girl: her.  Although the disposable notion stuck in her head was likely a result of being thrown out like kitchen trash by people she thought were her parents but it fueled the story.  Hey, I can handle some conveniences if they make sense.

Four, Kiernan is the type of love interest all other YA love interests should aspire to.  He has no desire to see harm come to Sinda but he doesn't do things for her because "it's for her own good."  When things get too insane for him he actually says so and steps away.  He knew better than to try and hold Sinda back.  As if he even could.  Plus he was a life-long friend first and foremost.  No insta-love here!  And no love triangle.  Hooray!

Five, have I mentioned it's a stand-alone?  The ending was a bit of a shock; I certainly didn't see it coming (although I've admitted it before and I'll admit it again, I'm pretty dense when it comes to seeing this stuff in books) but the majority of the loose ends tied themselves up nicely by the end of it all.  It was almost a touch too saccharine but I was okay with it.  Of course there were a couple of threads hanging.  There's so much more of Sinda's magic that could be explored.  Someone could take advantage of the court discord, prompting a new quest for her and Kiernan.  But there was such a high satisfaction level to the ending that I find so incredibly rare in YA that I found myself wholly fulfilled.

The fantasy is a bit low with the use of magic and perhaps the oracles being the extent of it and the world is your standard medieval-type fantasy land but it's a good story with pretty awesome characters. I'm sad that there isn't more to THE FALSE PRINCESS but in the same vein it's so nice to have a stand-alone, let alone a fantasy stand-alone, that I will be incredibly happy with what I get.  It's just plain good.

I'm adding THE FALSE PRINCESS to my Summer Blast Giveaway!  If you want your chance to win it be sure to enter!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not In My School (12)

Not In My School is a weekly feature that throws out one YA lit cliche a week to compare to my own high school days. Because we all know how accurate those fictional nuances are . . .


The chosen one

From fantasy to paranormal to supernatural and whatever hell else there is there's always just the one dude or chick that can save the planet/race of people/prom from completely imploding on itself.  Except there are SO MANY of these chosen ones around that one can't help wonder if some high power just had a field day.  I mean really, are there THAT MANY heroines that have super shitty taste in boys and jeopardize their destiny as a result?  If anyone or anything hefted the weight of the world onto the shoulders of anyone in my school we'd be sucking earth dust in a gargantuan crater right now.  People need to listen to this guy more -

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

YA Boys That Make Shitty Toys

So I had this epiphany fairly recently that I may just absolutely lose my shit if I come across any more irredeemable love interests in the YA I read.  We're talking full on, fecal-flinging madness here.  And if I pissed and moaned about it every time I came across it even my sieve hole of a brain would remember that repetition.

Here's my remedy: I'm going to make individual posts, with the help of some of my lady YAckers to fill in the gaps of douchiness that I haven't read, highlighting a shitty YA boy toy.  Edward Cullen, Jacob Black, Patch, Ash AND SO MANY MORE that I don't have the mental capacity to remember them all at the moment.

I'm going to make this one sporadic just to mix it up.  I already have a lot of regular reoccurring posts, mainly because I'm a creature of habit and, well, my memory blows, if I haven't mentioned that already.  So keep your eye out.

What will these posts consist of?  The name of said shitty YA boy toy of the moment, the book from whence he dwells, his qualities at a glance, a longer rambling rant of his inherent dickbaggery, what his reality is (with visual supplementation) and what he's ultimately good for (also with visual supplementation).

So what are these visual supplements?  I think a key is required here.

The shitty YA boy toy's reality -

 An abuser, be it mentally or physically
 Asshole (yes, that is an ass in a hole)
 Total creeper
 Douche bag
 Quite possibly a kitten killer
Does NOT play well with others
Anger management issues

What the shitty YA boy toy is actually good for -

 The realization that you are FAR too awesome for him
 Birth control
 Eye candy
 Potential co-hero, if nothing else
 Life epiphanies aka the removal of rose-colored glasses
 Realizing just how amazing friends are
Realizing how much cooler hobbies, like knitting, are

Now you know and now you wait.  Who will the first shitty YA boy toy be?

Button image credits as follows, from top to bottom - fist, asshole, creeper, douchebag, kitten killer, doesn't play well with others, possessive, anger management, awesome, birth control, eye candy, co-hero, epiphanies, friends and hobbies.

The Shitty Toys

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