Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 5, 2012

From Goodreads:
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?

I have checked this book out from the library more than once and I even tried listening to it as an audiobook but for some reason I couldn't get past the first chapter.  Now that the third and final book in the series has been published I decided to try it once again and I am so glad that I did.  Once I got to chapter three or four I was completely hooked. 

First, I absolutely loved Karou and  Akiva and the setting. The more I got to know Karou and her unusual family and friends the more I wanted to know.  I wish we could have learned more about Akiva but I suspect that will happen in the next book. Setting the action primarily in Prague and Marakesh added the necessary "Old World" feel.   

Second, the nature of the main characters and the conflict between them was fascinating to me.  I have always loved Native American literature that focus on origin stories and this book certainly had great ones.  The angels reminded me of the angels in Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. These are not angels from childhood stories, they are beautiful and fierce, full of vengeance and  loyalty.  I personally find it fascinating when authors develop stories around these types of angels.  I also loved reading about the chimeras and imagining what each of them would look like. It's not often that I wish for illustrations in my books but this was one where I would have loved them.

In addition to appreciating all the main characters, the angels, and chimera, I thought the plot was a perfect balance of suspense and reveal.  The story kept me wondering just what was going to happen next while providing me with enough to understand what was going on. Unfortunately, I find a lot of the plots in fantasy YA to be rather predictable but not this book.  I had to practically tape the last chapter closed so I wouldn't cheat and read ahead. 

As I said at the beginning, this book didn't originally connect with me but I am so glad that I finally read it and am looking forward to the next two.  Fortunately book two was available at my local library and I am only fifth on the list for book three. 

Posted By:  Sheri

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (51)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Defector by Susanna Winnacker
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier

From the Library:
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Dangerous Girls by Abigal Haas

From NetGalley:
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

We Are the Goldens
Author:  Dana Reinhardt
Publisher:  Wendy Lamb Books, 208 pages
Publication Date:  May 27, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

We Are the Goldens is told in second person through Nell's POV, as if she's talking to her sister, and I liked this conversational style of writing.  There was such a sense of foreboding throughout the whole novel that it made me a bit tense when reading it, wondering how Layla's affair with her teacher would play out.  Even though the plot is familiar, the author chose such a unique way to tell it so it felt different.  

While all of this is going on with her sister, Nell is also dealing with starting high school, having a crush on a junior, and being a good friend to Felix, who's going through some family drama himself.  I loved Felix, what a great best friend to have! He was adorable.  

My only complaint about the book is the ending.  It just sort of ends, with the major plot line not completely resolved.  And all of the other plot lines are also left hanging, although those were more slice of life so I didn't mind it as much.  But I still wanted to know.  So yeah, absolutely no closure.  Other than the ending, I enjoyed this short novel about sisters, friendship, high school, and figuring out how to do what's right.

Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)
Author:  Leigh Bardugo
Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co., 417 pages
Publication Date:  June 17, 2014

From Goodreads:
The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Ruin and Rising is an amazing, epic, and heartbreaking end to this brilliant series.  I absolutely loved every single moment of it.  I devoured it.  I couldn't stop reading it.  It had it all.  At different points in the book, my heart was pounding, I was smiling, tears were flowing, I was screaming "Noooooooo!" At one point, I couldn't take it any more and I almost couldn't finish it.  It. Is. That. Good.

The world-building is rich and imaginative, Leigh Bardugo is just a genius.  I have a hard time visualizing things in books sometimes, but I never had that problem here. The characters are multi-layered and real, I felt like I know each and every one of them.  I got so attached to them, I have to say.  The Darkling…"How could he be so cruel and still so human?"  That pretty much sums him up.  Alina…she has come so far in this series.  She has so much riding on her shoulders and no matter what, she rises to the occasion.  She's not perfect, she makes mistakes, but she always does what she believes is right.  Nikolai…loved him.  His witty one-liners, his strength, his charm.  And Mal…I know a lot of people thought he was whiny in the second book (I didn't), but what he does in this book…if you don't love him by the end, I just don't know what to say.  The relationship between Mal and Alina is beautiful.

And the secondary characters are AMAZING!!  Zoya is just one example.  Here's why I love her:

"Maybe you're hungry," said Zoya. "I always get mean when I'm hungry."

"Are you hungry all the time?" asked Harshaw.

"You haven't seen me mean. When I do, you'll require a very big hanky."

He snorted. "To dry my tears?"

"To staunch the bleeding."

All of them go through so much in this book.  It's dark, there's pain, there's death, there's betrayal.  There are so many twists and turns in this book, I was constantly being surprised.  Gasping, shocked, mouth hanging open.  And the ending…it was perfect, although somewhat bittersweet.  

If you haven't read this series, READ IT!!  You won't be disappointed.  And I'm so excited that the author's next book is set in this world.  

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Random Books

Biggest Flirts (Superlatives #1)
Author:  Jennifer Echols
Publisher:  Simon Pulse, 336 pages
Publication Date:  May 20, 2014

From Goodreads:
Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

I liked Tia, who was a typical teenager but sort of atypical for a YA book, in the sense that she drank, smoked pot occasionally, was smart but didn't really try in school, and hooked up with guys.  That was actually pretty refreshing.  I also liked Will, he was also portrayed realistically, with some faults and he made mistakes.  I loved them together, how they were different but still fit together so well, how they couldn't keep their hands off of each other, constantly flirting.  It felt a little forced, Tia's whole I don't want a boyfriend thing, and I just wanted to shake her and tell her to snap out of it, but it created the necessary tension and problems.

Cute, light, and fun, Biggest Flirts is a great summer read!

The Naturals (The Naturals #1)
Author:  Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion, 304 pages
Publication Date:  November 5, 2014

From Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

This book was a fun read.  Cassie and Dean are naturally talented at profiling people, Michael can read people's emotions, Lia can detect if people are lying, and Sloane is a natural with numbers and probabilities.  I loved this premise and the fact that the FBI is training them to help out with cold cases (and that they all live together).  Each teen had a distinct personality and we get bits of information about their history and baggage.  Even though this is a series, the case was wrapped up.  I have to say, the love triangle plot was completely unnecessary (why why why??), but it's not a huge part of the book.

Fast-paced and filled with action, The Naturals is Criminal Minds with a bit of teen angst.  I definitely enjoyed it.

Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1)
Author: Juliet Marillier
Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers, 410 pages
Publication Date:  September 11, 2012

From Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her own canny skill--a uniquely powerful ability to communicate with the fairy-like Good Folk--Neryn sets out for the legendary Shadowfell, a home and training ground for a secret rebel group determined to overthrow the evil King Keldec.

During her dangerous journey, she receives aid from the Good Folk, who tell her she must pass a series of tests in order to recognize her full potential. She also finds help from a handsome young man, Flint, who rescues her from certain death--but whose motives in doing so remain unclear. Neryn struggles to trust her only allies. They both hint that she alone may be the key to Alban's release from Keldec's rule. Homeless, unsure of who to trust, and trapped in an empire determined to crush her, Neryn must make it to Shadowfell not only to save herself, but to save Alban.

I  really enjoyed this book.  To be honest, it started a bit slow (there's a lot of walking and Neryn is alone quite a bit), but then it picked up and I especially fell in love with Flint, who is strong, courageous, patient, kind, but Neryn doesn't know if she can trust him.  Who is he?  What is he hiding?  Flint is complex and conflicted, and his relationship with Neryn was slow-building (almost painfully so), but so well done. I'm deeply invested in the characters and this lush, rich fantastical world.  This one is definitely worth a read.

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review: The Immortal Crown (Age of X#2) by Richelle Mead

The Immortal Crown (Age of X#2)
Author:  Richelle Mead
Publisher:  Dutton Adult, 432 pages
Publication Date:  May 29, 2014

From Goodreads:
Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.

This is a great series and here's why you should read it:

1.  World-building and plot. It's hard to classify this because it's part dystopian (two main countries, one that is anti-religious and filled with technology and freedom and the other more backwards with religion intertwined with the government), part sci-fi (super soldiers with implants), with a ton of mythology (gods and goddesses).  It's rich, detailed and intricate, and Richelle Mead has brilliantly weaved all of it together.  The plot revolves around gods and goddesses who have chosen people to represent them in an upcoming war.  Fascinating stuff.

2.  Flawed characters.  Justin, the religious investigator, a womanizing borderline alcoholic who also dabbles in drugs.  He has a lot of issues, including having a god who wants him to swear loyalty to him.  Think Adrian from VA (although he's darker and no snark).  Mae, the super soldier who feels a connection with Justin, but he keeps pushing her away and she doesn't know why. Such tension between these two, but at the same time they work so well as a team. What Richelle Mead puts these two through…gah!  

This impressive series just keeps getting better.  Highly recommend.

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (50)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Discussion Question: Do You Read the Acknowledgments?

Do you read the acknowledgments?  If so, why? 

More and more lately I've been reading the acknowledgments.  I find them fascinating.  A lot of times you find out something about the author, the inspiration for the book, the process of writing, and even what other authors have helped out. With young adult books, it seems like there's really a community for these authors and they help each other out a lot.

For example, recently I read The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, which is about teens with natural talents who help out the FBI with cold cases involving serial killers.  Really liked it, by the way.  I was curious about this author because she's a psychology professor and, being a professor myself, I find it fascinating when other professors write fiction, especially YA fiction.  This may be too much information, but I grew up wanting to write.  And specifically wanting to write YA fiction.  I wanted to be the next Judy Blume.  But I discovered that I basically sucked so I gave up that dream.  And now I do write for a living, but it's not fiction.  

When I read the Acknowledgments to The Naturals, I found out that the author did a lot of research and specifically relied on the memoirs about an FBI profiler.  I found out that she's friends with Ally Carter, Sarah Cross, Sarah Rees Brennan, Melissa Marr, and Rachel Vincent.  I found out that she wrote and revised the novel during the last year of her PhD and her first year as a college professor.  And I also found out that she teaches Cognitive Science of Fiction and Writing Young Adult Fiction classes.  All of this is so interesting to me!

So, what about you?  Do you read the acknowledgments?  Ever come across something you thought was interesting?  

Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Happy Blogoversary (and Giveaway)!

It's our One Year Blogoversary!!!  We can't believe we've been blogging for a year, it's gone by so fast.  We've had fun reading books, writing reviews and discussion posts, and participating in memes.  We are extremely thankful for everyone who reads our blog, and we love to read your comments.  This past year we've written 
200 Book reviews
26 Discussion Posts/Bookish Thoughts
34 Top Ten Tuesday Posts
49 Stacking the Shelves
24 Waiting on Wednesday Posts
and some other posts, such as Spoiler Discussions and Lost in Austen. 

To celebrate, we are giving away a YA book (your choice) from Amazon (up to $25).  Sorry, but we can only ship to the U.S.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book Review: Perfected by Kate Jarvik Birch

Author:  Kate Jarvik Birch
Publisher:  Entangled Teen, 304 pages
Expected Publication Date:  July 1, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
I was bred to be the perfect pet. I was bred for my beauty and grace, to be a showpiece, an ornament to sit upon the couch, to sing, to dance, to play the piano and paint. I was bred to willingly put my owner's happiness before my own.

Until Penn. The handsome and rebellious son of the congressman who owns me, he's the only person who's seen past my perfect exterior to the girl underneath. Falling for him is forbidden. Falling for him is freeing.

But there's a dark underworld lurking beneath my pampered life. The only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn's family is escaping it, because if I fail, I face a fate far worse than death...

For fans of Kiera Cass's Selection series and Lauren DeStefano's Chemical Garden series, Perfected is a chilling look at what it means to be human, as well as a stunning celebration of the power of love to set us free, wrapped in a glamorous—and dangerous—bow.

I really wanted to like this book, but it was just ok. The concept was interesting, but it wasn't explained well enough so that I really bought it.  How did this world get to the point that they bred girls to be pets?  It would make more sense if they were workers but just to sit around...what was the point?  And other than that, the world was the same as ours, so how would that happen?  They even talk about how they got rid of slavery a long time ago…more information about the history of this genetic engineering was needed. 

And then the characters were all a bit dull and underdeveloped.  The attraction between Ella and Penn just happened way too fast and I never felt any spark between them.  I did like their connection through music, but it felt so rushed.  And the congressman…just ugh.  Why did his wife put up with this, especially given what happened to their last "pet"?  

The plot, the characters…just not believable.  In sum, Perfected was pretty mediocre.

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On Our TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

Pam's List
A recent Top Ten Tuesday was about upcoming beach reads.  For that post, I picked fun and light contemporary reads so for this one, I'm picking upcoming paranormal, fantasy, or dystopian books that I'm really excited about.

1.  Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead.  I have to say, I love the Bloodlines series, even more than VA.  After that cliffhanger in The Fiery Heart, I NEED this one right now.  
2.  Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard.  I'm really nervous about reading this one because I've read a few things out there that do not sound good.  It better end well, that's all I'm saying.
3.  Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne.  I love a good fantasy and this one sounds so good!  A thief and a palace knight?  Yes, please!
4.  Extraction by Stephanie Diaz.  A sci-fi/dystopian about a girl on a toxic planet who goes to live in a "utopia" below ground.  Sign me up!
5.  Prototype by M.D. Waters.  We read the first book, Archetype, in book club and I can't wait to find out what happens next!
Sheri's List
6. Among the Joyful by Erin Eastham: In this book Alaire lives in a world where everyone must be happy, to be negative can cause social destruction.  I heard about this book from another blogger and it is at the top of my list.
7. Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #3) and The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4), so I can be ready for Silver Shadows (Bloodlines # 5) to be released July 29, 2014.

8. Solving for Ex by LeighAnn Kopans: In this retelling of Mansfield Park, Ashley Price must battle evil classmates and attractive twin brothers, in order to win the heart of her best friend Brendan. 
9. The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt: There are so many great YA contemporary books on my shelves but this one made Pam's top 2014 list so I definitely plan to read it this summer.
10. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter: I have wanted to try this series for so long and I am finally going to this summer.

What books are on your TBR list?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)
Author:  Mary E. Pearson
Publisher:  Henry Holt, 492 pages
Publication Date:  July 15, 2014
*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assasin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

Why You Should Read This Book:

1.  The feels!  The feels!  My emotions were all over the place.  Gah!

2.  What a fantastic way to present the two main male characters.  Lia meets both Rafe and Kaden at the same time, but you don't know which one is the assassin and which one is the prince.  There are chapters from both of their POVs, but they're labeled "Assassin" or "The Prince" and written in such a way that you can't tell.  That was genius, and I loved it.

3.  Two strong females who are friends.  Even though Pauline was Lia's handmaid, they are also best friends and their friendship shines throughout this book.  

4.  No love triangle.  Even though the synopsis sounds like there's a love triangle, there really isn't.  From the very beginning, she is drawn to one of the guys more than the other.

5.  The. Last. Chapter.  It killed me, I have to say.  I am so hooked, I want the next book now.  I NEED the next book now.

Wow…just wow.  I loved this book.

Posted by:  Pam

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Novella Review: Just One Night by Gayle Forman

"I heard you readers and I kinda wondered what happened after the door opened also"
~ Gayle Forman.

Like many readers, I fell in love with Allyson and Willem in Just One Day.  Even though I didn't love Just One Year quite as much, I still loved the idea of this couple and was dissatisfied with the conclusion of the two book series (read my review here).  When I found out that a novella was to be published I was both thrilled and annoyed.  Thrilled because I might finally get the closure I expected from the second book.  Annoyed because I was going to have to pay a very modest fee to get that closure.  Based on a funny video clip on the facebook page for the books, many readers agreed with me and I guess convinced, persuaded, and pestered Gayle Forman until she gave readers what they needed. 

In my opinion, Just One Night is a great example of an author responding to fan interest in a particular aspect of a story.  Like many readers, I have become increasingly cynical about novellas that appear to simply be another way to make some money.  Don't get me wrong, many YA authors are underpaid and deserve an opportunity to earn a little extra from a series that have been successful.  In addition, most novellas cost less than a cup of coffee at my local coffee house.  But readers don't want to be short-changed in the original books. 
Based on my web based research efforts it seems to me that Just One Night was written as a result of READERS asking Gayle Forman for more rather than Gayle Forman choosing to leave out this text which quite frankly should have been the last chapters in Just One Year.  For those of you who loved the story of Allyson and Willem I would definitely recommend this novella.

Posted By: Sheri

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (49)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
Witch Hunt by Ruth Warburton
Wings by Elizabeth Richards
The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

From the Library:
Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor
From NetGalley:
Feuds by Avery Hastings

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Discussion Question: Author/Reader Contract?

Do you believe that there is an unspoken contract between writer and reader?  If so, what violates that contract?  Should authors care about what their readers want or should the author just write for herself? I've been thinking about these questions, especially when I get to the end of a book and I want to throw it against the wall.  Did the author break that contract?  Is there a contract?  I sort of think there is.  Let's face it, it's a relationship.  If the book is published and a reader buys it, there's a relationship between author and reader.  The author expects people to buy her work (otherwise, she should just write in her journal) so that means that the author should care about readers.  And readers have expectations.

I'll just mention a few of the expectations that I have:

1.  Each book in a series should tie up the main storyline and should have some resolution.  There are so many series these days, but I feel like more and more, I'm reading one really long book that's been divided into three.  What is up with that?  

2.  Characters should remain who they are.  Now that doesn't mean that characters can't have layers, and reveal things that we didn't know about, or that they can't grow and change to some degree.  But you can't have a character who suddenly changes for no reason, who becomes completely different and who acts in a way that doesn't make sense.  (Yes, I'm talking about you, Warner and Adam).

3.  Closure.  This is slightly different from #1.  This about the ultimate ending of the book.  I don't want to read open endings.  Um…that's why I bought the book, I don't want to make up my own ending.  Tell me what happens to the characters!  I don't need to know how they lived the next fifty years, but please, make it clear, don't leave it ambiguous and open to interpretation.  Ugh!  So I want closure, and that includes closure to all of those minor plot points.  Don't keep those dangling or think that we've forgotten about them.  We haven't.  Leave too much hanging, authors, and we are not going to be happy.

4.  Happy endings.  This one you may disagree with, and I'm not saying that a book about teenagers who have cancer should have those teenagers miraculously cured, but come on.  For the most part, readers want happy endings.  So that means this:  Do. Not. Kill. Off. A. Main. Character.  And if you feel like you absolutely have to, make it have a point rather than just writing for shock value.  And make the way they die have meaning.  I won't mention the book I'm talking about but if you've read it, you know.

So what your thoughts?  What expectations do you have when reading a book? When has the author broken that contract (or your trust)?  

Posted by:  Pam