Monday, April 29, 2013

Manga Review: Dawn of the Arcana 1-7

TitleDawn of the Arcana
Japanese TitleReimei no Arukana
Author: Rei Toma
Volume(s) Reviewed: 1-7
Publisher: Shojo Beat, VIZ Media
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rated: Teen (violence, bullying, thematic elements, sensuality)
Find It On: Goodreads

SummaryPrincess Nakaba of Senan is forced to marry Prince Caesar of the enemy country Belquat, tantamount to becoming a hostage. While Caesar is pleasing to the eye, he is also selfish and possessive, telling Nakaba outright: “You are my property.” With only her attendant Loki at her side, Nakaba must find a way to cope with her hostile surroundings, her fake marriage...and a mysterious power.

Art: Sharp but pleasant, with handsome characters and simple backgrounds.

Setting: A medieval fantasy world with two kinds of people: humans, who rule, and ajin, part human-part animal who (while more powerful) serve as slaves to the humans. The setting lacks richness as far as the art is concerned, but it's well-rounded enough for the characters to live in.

Story: Simple but engaging. We follow Nakaba as she comes into her powers (which aren't unique but the spin on them is different enough - and there are consequences to using them, as there should be), Caesar as he falls in love and finds his purpose, and Loki (Nakaba's ajin servant) as he begins executing his plans for world change.

CharactersPrincess Nakaba is sweet and kind, despite her past, and a brave soul not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Prince Caesar, while proud and a bit arrogant, is both strong and gentle, and not afraid to love (he's my favorite :). Loki's loyalty to Nakaba is touching, and he's a handsome devil, but his questionable schemes are constantly at odds with his feelings - and, more often than not, Nakaba and her sensitivities. The rest of the cast are interesting enough and fill in any gaps nicely.

SpecialIn the back of some of the books they have "Arcana High" mini-episodes, where the cast and story are set in a present world high school. They're pretty cute.

Conclusion: While nothing to rave about, it is an entertaining story that I will continue to follow as long as the library keeps collecting the series.

Recommend If... You like medieval fantasies.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Into the Future Tour Stop

Friday evening I headed over to my local independent, Changing Hands, for the Spring Into the Future Tour stop featuring Tahereh Mafi, Anna Carey, Cynthia Hand, and Veronica Rossi!

It was a very informal affair. After they introduced each other (in which some expressed their love and a few almost ran away together) and their books, they took questions from the audience. These included their thoughts on the trilogy fad, their first stories, and if Tahereh did herself any damage making her Shatter Me shoes. Needless to say, a great time seemed to be had by all - I know I enjoyed myself!

After the Q&A, they signed. Those with only a few books went first before those with stacks for every author. I hung out at the back of the line with the lovely Ashley, and got my usual group signature. (My name at the top is by Tahereh - she was just as sweet and funny in person as I thought she'd be! :)

But don't fret, dear Followers, I didn't forget you! I happened to have an ARC of Anna Carey's first book, Eve, so I got it signed - just for you! I also snagged a few bookmarks (Anna's bookmark is signed as well!) and a Perry temporary tattoo from Veronica. Check it out:

If you would like to win this lovely pack, just enter below! Good luck! :)

(Must be 13 years or older; US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (4/27/13)

Time for another Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where I share the books that I've added to my shelves this week:

Katana (Katana, #1)The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko, Volume 1The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko, Volume 2
  • Katana by Cole Gibsen (PBK) - It looked interesting, so I splurged. Hopefully it'll be worth it.
  • The Secret Notes of Lady Kanoko by Ririko Tsujita (Volumes One and Two) (PBK) - Out of print and the series has always looked cute to me. Not that I might ever get to finish the series...

So what books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, April 26, 2013

2nd Blogoversary Giveaway: Winner

The winner of my 2nd Blogoversary giveaway, for a box of ARCs, has been chosen!

Kelly H.

Congratulations, Kelly!!! XD I hope you enjoy your books!

Thank you to everyone for entering the giveaway, and for celebrating my blogoversary with me! Have another glass of bubbly - on the house. ;)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Siege & Storm

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

Title: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Summary (from Goodreads):

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: OMG how have I not picked this book yet?! I devoured Shadow & Bone (aka Book 1) and have been looking forward to Book 2 since the second I finished it! If you haven't read Book 1 yet, definitely do - you won't be sorry.

So what book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (4/20/13)

Have you entered my 2nd Blogoversary Giveaway yet??? 
You could win a box of books! Check it out here!

Time for another Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where I share the books that I've added to my shelves this week:

As usual I got a whole box, but the titles I'm most excited about are:

The Beautiful and the CursedThe Summer PrinceWhen We Wake (When We Wake, #1)
  • The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan (ARC) - I've been hearing good things about it.
  • The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson (ARC) - I've been on the fence with the mixed reviews, but with an ARC I'll give it a try.
  • When We Wake by Karen Healey (ARC) - I have been really excited about this one - looking forward to starting it soon!

The Elite (The Selection, #2)The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)

This Week on the Blog

So what books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, April 19, 2013

2nd Annual Book Fast: Results

The results are in! My 2nd Annual Book Fast last week went really well and I got a lot written, although I'm ashamed to say the project (and my stamina) did sort of die out in the end. Here's a breakdown of the week, and the words written:

Required words: 1,000
Written words: 1,273
Notes: Felt good to get back into it! Took a little effort (I was definitely rusty), but I knew where I was going so it was relatively easy sailing.

Required words: 1,000
Written words: 1,209
Notes: Major action scene! No problem getting words and had to eventually stop myself past burnout.

Required words: 500
Written words: 1,363
Notes: Major action scene, Part 2! Again, no trouble getting words - had to stop myself past burnout again.

Required words: 1,000
Written words: 1,011
Notes: Fell into a slow spot and had trouble getting words written, but when it comes to Character D, I'm never at too much of a loss for content.

Required words: 500
Written words: 0
Notes: Had a bad health day and allowed myself to take a break.

Required words: 1,000
Written words: 722
Notes: Reached a point in the story that required quite a lot of research before I could continue. Did the research instead of writing the last few hundred words.

Required words: 500
Written words: 0
Notes: Was too sick to do any one any good, including my writing. XP

Words required to be written the entire week: 5,500
Words written the entire week: 5,578

Overall this was definitely a good move for my writing. I was able to push through the end of the murky middle and almost to the peak of the story! After this next carefully crafted scene it will all begin to slide downhill, and although I'm not quite sure how it will go down, I'm looking forward to the ride.

Thank you to everyone for your support! Until next time...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Happy 2nd Blogoversary! (& Giveaway!)

We interrupt the regularly scheduled posting to inform you that...


Two years ago today I published my very first post, back when this blog was known as Write Or Die Trying. It was originally meant to be just a writing blog, but keeping a separate review blog became too much for me to keep up with. So I merged the two, and together this January they became the Skye's Scribblings that you all know and have hopefully come to love. :)

You, my Followers, are what make this all worth it. I raise my glass of sparkling cider to you, both old and new, and thank you for your loyalty. I appreciate and adore each and every one of you, and I hope you will stick with me as this blog grows and refines with your help and support. Cheers! XD

And to show my appreciation, I offer, for your reading pleasure, a Follower-only Mix & Match Giveaway! Everyone has their own tastes, so instead of a mystery box, the winner gets to choose FOUR books from THIRTEEN titles!

I tried to pick a diverse pile, so there should be a few in there for everyone! Click the titles below to find out more about the books on Goodreads:

So pick your 4 titles and enter below for a chance to win a box of books from yours truly! Good luck, and thank you for your support these past two years! Here's hoping for many more to come. :)

  • All books are Advance Reader Copies and uncorrected proof
  • Must be 13 years or older
  • US only (my deepest apologies to my international Followers!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: The Testing (Joelle Charbonneau)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Testing (The Testing, #1)

Title: The Testing
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher: HMH BYR
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Summary (from Goodreads):

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same? 

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. 

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one. 

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: This is being billed as the next Hunger Games, and I'm ready for a replacement to get that excited about! Even if it's a little too close in some ways (so I've heard), it's supposed to still be really good, so I'm definitely looking forward to it.

So what book are you waiting on?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: The Elite (Kiera Cass)

The Elite (The Selection, #2)
Title: The Elite
Series: The Selection, Book 2*
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Edition: ARC (releases April 23, 2013)
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Told: First Person (America), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (sensuality, scary situations, a scene of medieval punishment)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illéa.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

*          *          *

Cover: Almost as gorgeous as the first book. *pets*

Writing: Easy, breezy, refreshing. Kiera's style makes reading effortless, like you're not actually reading anything but simply enjoying a good story.

Setting: This dystopian future finds us in the country of Illéa, which appears to be an amalgamation of the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and a few other nearby islands after some probable U.S. takeovers and wars. Technology has backpedaled and formed to fit the needs of the people (aka the government) - computers and phones are scarce, but television is everywhere (although mostly for propaganda). The exact location of the capital is murky but unnecessary as we never leave the palace in this book, the setting nothing more than a stage for the story - as it should be, in my opinion. The style of living, however, rises to the forefront as the subject of the castes - and their unjust rigidity - are spotlighted from many different directions. In this book we learn more about the history of Illéa and how it came to be, and it is most enlightening - and frightening.

Story: There is a little more action in this book than The Selection, but overall the story maintains a steady, constant pace that doesn't let up until "End of Book Two." The Selected have been whittled down to the Elite, the final six, and the competition rises to a whole new level as the girls battle for Prince Maxon's hand - and/or the power of the crown. America must now decide not only between Maxon and Aspen, but figure out if she has what it takes to be queen. But as she struggles to make sense of her emotions and tackle the tests as they escalate in difficulty, life continues to progress and alter around her. When shocking revelations about the history of Illéa and the Selection begin to surface, America must decide what - and who - is ultimately worth fighting for.

Characters: America continues to be a realistic and relatable character as she struggles with both her confused and conflicting emotions and her capabilities to wear the crown. Being with the prince means someday becoming queen, and with people telling her that she both would and would not make a good ruler, she must decide for herself. Along the way she triumphs and fails and can't help but make mistakes (several of which ultimately hurt her), but slowly she starts finding her strength of heart and self, earning my declaration of "Team America" for much of the book.

Maxon is...complicated. In The Selection he was the glowing image of the prince we all dream of, but in The Elite we begin to see how very human he can be - and it isn't always pretty. To my chagrin, Aspen's worth rose, even in my eyes - although probably not in all the ways he would have liked it to - and he remains an important face in the cast, as well as that pesky bottom left corner of the love triangle.

Relationships: Such a rollercoaster. I changed "teams" several times, and I'm not normally like that. Kiera does an excellent job of making us just as unsure of the boys - and America's feelings for them - as America is. At one point I couldn't stand one of them (no spoilers on who ;), but when America stopped being mad at him, so did I. My emotions connected directly with America's, and with each twist of her heart I had an equal twist as well. I found America's confusion and indecision, along the actions of the boys, realistic, and in some instances raw and maybe a little too human for the fairytale ending I'm hoping this will ultimately become.

Conclusion: I loved this book as much as The Selection, with its easy writing style, relatable characters, and realistic relationships. I cannot recommend The Elite highly enough, and look forward to Book 3 with great anticipation!

*My review of Book 1, The Selection, can be found here.

Scribble Rating
5 of 5 Scribbles

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review: The Selection (Kiera Cass)

The Selection (The Selection, #1)
Title: The Selection
Series: The Selection, Book 1
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance
Told: First Person (America), Past Tense
Content Rating: Teen (sensuality, some violence, scary situations)
Format Read: ARC
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

*          *          *

Cover: So beautiful - definitely one of my favorites. I could stare at it all day. *pets*

Writing: Easy, breezy, refreshing; a quick read. Like really good writing should be (in my opinion, anyway), the prose was almost unnoticeable, so much so that I forgot I was even reading because I got so lost in the story.

Setting: How Illéa came to be in this dystopian future was murky, but it appeared to be a collection of the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and a few other nearby islands. The book mainly sticks to two locations: America's home, and the capital/palace, where the royal family lives. I wasn't sure where exactly these were located, but it wasn't important to the story. Technology is not prevalent, with phones and computers scarce and only "public access" (aka propaganda) television available free to all.

The country is structured on a rather imprudent caste system - there are eight levels, One being the highest (royalty) and Seven being the lowest, with Eight being the outcasts. Each level has its own field of expertise, and you must find work within your level - even if you have no talent for it. For example, America is a Five, which means she must be an "artist." Luckily she has a passion for music, but her little brother has no affinity for the arts at all. His talents lie in sports and science, but because he is a Five he has no choice but to find work in the arts - or eventually starve. Aspen is a Six, which means he must be a "servant," even though he's much smarter and could do so much better for himself and his family if only he was allowed to. But outside of a miracle, or a lot of money, it's impossible to climb your way up the castes to get yourself a better life, no matter how talented - or untalented - you are in your caste. The history behind how the castes came to be is unclear, but they are at the forefront of the story as they dictate how everyone lives - and loves.

Story: The story is as simple as "if Prince Harry did The Bachelor in a caste-dominated dystopian future." And it even follows like a reality show - we open on America in her normal life and follow her through the selection process, all the steps that lead to the palace, and then all the rituals and tests that come there. But don't be fooled by it's simplicity - the pacing is perfectly balanced with interaction and reaction, and like a good reality show all the "boring bits" are edited out to maximize the story's full potential. I will say there isn't a lot of action - this is most certainly a romance - but it's definitely not your typical YA romance.

Characters: Where most YA characters begin awkward and out of place in their current situation, America is the opposite - she is right at home with her family, life, even her caste. But she isn't afraid to give all that up for the one she loves (Aspen), preparing herself for the inevitable changes instead of bemoaning her fate. It isn't until she becomes a part of the Selection that she finds herself out of her element, and depth - where a normal YA character would discover where they truly belong, America again finds the opposite. But she shows great strength of character and heart as she tries to make a place for herself in her new situation, while still maintaining who she truly is. One cannot help but love America - she's brave, compassionate, a fierce friend, and highly realistic and relatable. 

For the boys, I found Aspen prideful and untrustworthy and didn't like him much. I celebrated when he was out of the picture and wasn't happy when he returned. Prince Maxon is sweet and gentle and regal and a boy I could definitely fall for - needless to say, I'm completely Team Maxon.

Relationships: Most YA books see romance being an immediate and overpowering occurrence, but America's passion for Aspen was built over several years, and her connection with Maxon begins first as a friendship before blossoming into something more with time (aka my favorite kind of love). I haven't read such realistic relationships in quite a while, and I became highly invested in both of them. 

The Reviews: I do know about the kerfuffle last year involving the author and her agent (or was it her editor?) lambasting a reviewer on Goodreads for giving this book a bad review, and how several fellow reviewers refuse to read this book because of it. While I do totally believe the author shouldn't have gone there, my motto with all my entertainment is: "You can like the product, but you don't have to like the person who made it." Everyone is human - don't miss out on a good book just because the author made a human mistake.

Conclusion: This is one hundred percent my kind of book - easy writing, light romance, and a main character with a backbone and a heart that doesn't immediately fall for the first person she sees. I will be re-reading this one again and again whenever I need a reminder of what good fiction is to me. Highly recommended.

Scribble Rating
5 of 5 Scribbles

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (4/13/13)

Time for another Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where I share the books that I've added to my shelves this week:

  • Icons by Margaret Stohl (ARC) - Sounds pretty good, and I'm always up for another dystopian with aliens. :) 


So what books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, April 12, 2013

How & Why I Review

It is highly recommended that writers should write what they want to read - and, in my opinion, this applies just as much to book reviews as it does to fiction.

I have found that most reviews are a series of unmarked paragraphs in which the reviewer goes over what they liked and didn't like about the book. Most individual paragraphs keep to a general subject, like a certain character or area of the story, but overall they can be like talking to the reviewer in person - but without the instant ability to ask questions.

This is one of the reasons I break my reviews down into marked sections - Writing, Setting, Story, and Characters. While one section may work, another may not, and therefore I think it's good to separate and individually review the pieces that make the whole. There are even some who feel one single aspect can make or break a story, like a relatable main character or intense plot. Personally, the writing is usually my make-or-break aspect - if I can't connect with the writing, the story can be brilliant but I won't be able to stay focused enough to enjoy it. So by separating out each aspect in my reviews, a prospective reader can skip straight to what they feel they need to know without wading through the entire review if they so desire.

Another reason for the breakdown is, as a writer, we are told to read critically - to study the writing of others (both good and bad) to better our own. Breaking my review into sections helps me study each area on its own and see what the author did right, and wrong, and learn from their brilliance and failures.

When it comes down to it though, the "big four" aren't the most important sections for me, personally. Instead, these are the ones I tuck neatly under the Title and Author, namely Series, Genre, Rating, and Told.

Series: I have learned the hard way that if I don't know a book is in a series, it can ruin the book. And I do mean ruin. I hated a book for an entire year because I went into it thinking it was a stand-alone and discovered otherwise when the story didn't end on the last page. A re-read cleared this hatred up (it's a really good book), but after that mishap I vowed to keep on top of it in the future, and wish to keep others informed as well, just in case. If I don't give a series, then it was billed as a stand-alone when I wrote the review.

Genre: This is a bit of very important information I wish Goodreads offered up front - at least tell me the age range, for heaven's sake! While not everyone may agree with the genres I give, since I try to get technical instead of generalizing, they offer at least some insight into what the reader will be getting themselves into.

Rating: This is a big one for me. If there's going to be a lot of language, sex, or zombies nomming on necks, I want to know about it up front. One has to wade pretty deep into the review pool to find this stuff out, so I definitely like to put it front and center for others to find quick and easy.

Told: I've heard people say they absolutely refuse to read anything Present Tense or First Person, so I like to be sure to indicate the book's voice. I can't stand Third Person Subjective Omniscient myself (what I have titled head-hopping in the same scene - *shudder*), so I can sympathize and offer others the opportunity to pass and not be subjected to their version of reader's torture.

To wrap up my reviews, I end with a Conclusion, summarizing my thoughts on the overall book and stating if I recommend it or not, and how highly if I do. While I do give star ratings on Goodreads, I don't on my blog - whether I recommend it or not says enough for me. I leave the rest is up to the individual reader, to take away from my review what they will.

So why do I review? Part is, again, that as a writer I should study other author's work to better my own. Without the requirement of a review, though, I tend to read books without a second thought, enjoying them simply as entertainment and not stopping to weigh their worth or learn from them. Forcing myself to study the book as I read it, and then take a good, hard look at it afterwards in individual sections, teaches me so much. Even if it's only subconsciously, I know I'm becoming a better writer because of it.

But the main reason I review is simply because I am highly opinionated - especially on the subject of books. When I love a book, I want the world to know it - and go out and pick up a copy immediately. And when I don't like a book, I want to let readers know that, with all the other amazing titles out there, perhaps this one just isn't worth their time. But I try to be sure and state just what I didn't like and why, and then leave it up to the reader to make up their own mind in the end.

So that's the how and why of my reviews. What do you think of how I structure my reviews? Are my reviews helpful in your book decisions?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

Title: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Summary (from Goodreads):

From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl's summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.

When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they've hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she's assigned to serve "The Queen"-Fairyland's boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money.

Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe's job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?

Why I'm Looking Forward To It: Another contemporary! And this one sounds sassy and all shades of fun. Yes, please!

So what book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Arclight (Josin L. McQuein)

Title: Arclight
Series: Arclight duology, Book 1
Author: Josin L. McQuein
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Told: First Person (Marina), Present Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (scary situations, violence)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Find On: Goodreads

No one crosses the wall of light . . . except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be. 

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?

*          *          *

Writing: Engaging and vivid. I got lost a bit in some of the action scenes as the language became a little choppy, but otherwise I was thoroughly engrossed.

Setting: There were three settings: the Arclight, a compound/bunker encased in lights where the humans live; the Dark, a wild, untamed landscape where the Fade live; and the Grey, a desolate area between the two where nothing lives at all. I believe it was supposed to exist somewhere in America, but we only see a tiny area of what has become of our world in this dystopian setting. Given the story, what we did see felt plausible, although realistically it seemed a little out there for me. But this did not hurt the story in any way.

Story: Definitely an interesting premise - one which I cannot go into detail about without spoiling things. Although it has been done before, Arclight gave it a highly original spin. Josin did a masterful job of throwing us right into the action with the first sentence, and didn't let up until the end. I did see the big reveal coming really early on, but where this should've frustrated me it actually pulled me deeper into the story as I noticed every little detail that should've tipped Marina off. The end was bittersweet, which considering the story was highly satisfying - a try for a "happy" ending would've ruined it.

Characters: Marina's lack of memory gave her voice the feel of an objective observer, which I really loved for this book. Her desire to fit in made for a strong motivator - and an interesting twist at the end. Tobin was all over the place emotionally, but early on Josin makes this a defining tick of his so it was easy to just let it go. Without ruining the story, all I can say about Rue is that I adored him once I figured out who he was. The "villain" (who shall remain nameless due to spoilers) was no cardboard cut-out - they had great depth, and I was very satisfied with their role, story, and ultimate conclusion.

Conclusion: I did not expect this to be my kind of book (it was by pure accident I got a copy), but it ended up being one of my favorite books of this year! Josin pulled me right in and never let go, and even before I finished the book I was looking forward to re-reading it. Even though it's supposed to be a stand-alone - and I love it for that - I wouldn't be averse to a sequel if it meant finding out what happened to the rest of the world. Highly, highly recommended.

Scribble Rating
4.5 of 5 Scribbles

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2nd Annual Book Fast Begins! (& Blogging Updates)

Today begins my 2nd Annual Book Fast! *throws confetti* I've been itching to focus on my writing for a month now, so I'm definitely excited to get started. Let's do this! (What is this Book Fast? All the details can be found here.)

My writing schedule for the week:

Sunday: 1,000 words
Monday: 1,000 words
Tuesday: 500 words
Wednesday: 1,000 words
Thursday: 500 words
Friday: 1,000 words
Saturday: 500 words

Project I'll be working on: Project P

If any of you decided to join me this week, feel free to post below and let me know! If not, I can still use all the encouragement I can get, so any cheerleading and whatnot would be greatly appreciated this week, both below and on Twitter (@skyelyte). One day you will read a book of mine! And hopefully this mini-sprint will help me get there a little faster.

Never fear though, this project will not affect my normal blogging schedule. My review of Arclight by Josin L. McQuein goes live tomorrow - it's an awesome book and I definitely encourage you to check it out. I will also have posts for my regular memes, Waiting On Wednesday and Stacking the Shelves, as well as a Friday post of some kind. And prepare yourselves - next Wednesday is my 2nd Blogoversary! I am planning a box giveaway for my loyal Followers, so be sure to watch for it. :)

Now, let the writing begin!