Monday, January 31, 2011

REVIEW: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium #1)
by Lauren Oliver
Releases on 02.01.2011
440 pages
HarperTeen
Source: NetGalley for Review

Synopsis

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
(from GoodReads)


REVIEW:  Ever wanted to wipe a guy from your mind because he shattered your heart so soundly?

In Lena’s world, you can.  However, like all small blessings, it comes with a catch, and it’s a biggie.

Lena lives in a future United States where a group called the ‘Consortium’ has taken over.  In true dystopian fashion, the government, not individuals, make all major life decisions for citizens, including place of post-secondary education, profession and spouse.  Lauren Oliver creates a future U.S. with beautiful, descriptive language, and sometimes you get lost in the loveliness and the originality of the sentences, especially when she writes comparisons.  That being said, I found it difficult to ‘sink into’ this novel at first.  When we first meet Lena, she is about to turn 18 and full of anxiety about her future.  Because of this, Lena is an extremely introspective character, and at times, I think I would have liked some more dialogue or action to break it up a bit, but then Oliver would come out with a completely amazing sentence that would make me reread it with pleasure. 

Lena's world is SUPER circumscribed, and this is where Oliver’s novel really differs from other dystopian reads for me: Lena’s world never feels safe, not even at first.  Yes, she was told her world was safe, orderly and protected, but I never got that feeling.  I was creeped out from the beginning by how regimented her life was: early curfews, absolutely no contact with boys who weren’t family or cured yet, and the constant reminders that if you are suspected of doing anything that smacks of civil disobedience, you will get a one-way to ticket to death or hell on earth.  The government certainly has covered its tracks with the mother of all PR campaigns in Delirium; everything, from the Bible to national history to current events, has been rewritten.  At times, it felt like something akin to Nazi Germany.

Lena's insecurities as a young woman are poignant and familiar.  However, she mentions them enough times to make me think of other contemporary characters who also are self-deprecating.  She feels that doesn’t measure up in the looks department and is nothing very special.  Here family also lacks in social status and her legal last name is a burden because of the shady past of her parents.  Because of these things, she actually is grateful for the procedure and her government’s system – it ensures she’ll have a place in the community and have someone in her life, albeit one who is chosen for her, not by her.  You get the feeling that Lena isn’t happy to get the procedure so she can dodge the love sickness, but so she can escape her memories and feelings about the past. 

She didn’t count on meeting Alex, who is a marvelous example of a loving, brave, and selfless guy (he’s my new lit crush).  Alex has a few secrets of his own, and they both broaden Lena’s horizons and endanger her future at the same time.  Oliver’s writing really shines at its best during the beautiful moments shared between Lena and Alex.  I won’t spoil anything here, but let’s just say I said, “Ahhhhh,” and “ Awww,” several times.  Outloud.

I have to admit, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the premise.  Who wants to get rid of love?  Sure, it’s really inconvenient at times, but capable of being a national threat?  No.  And then I realized the catch.  Remember the old saying, “It’s a thin line between love and hate?”  It’s a thin line between a lot of different emotions: love, hate, passion, anger, etc., and all these different feelings provoke strong actions.  Take away the ability to feel those emotions, and what sort of person do you have?  A damn boring one who won’t cause trouble.  This isn’t spelled out in Delirium, but I have seen this comment in a few reviews and wanted to add in my two-cents. 

While I struggled to get into the first third, I couldn't stop reading the second half.  Lena really develops in it and creates her own beautiful world within the one she has to live in.  I hope we learn more about what circumstances the Consortium came to power under in book two, and gain more insight into what kind of world Lena is truly living in.  I wish I had more background context for this book as I think it would have helped me get into it a bit earlier, but I will say that once I was hooked, I stayed that way.  The world in Delirium is a refreshing, new dystopia we have not yet seen before with an original premise - a truly fascist, threatening government right from the start with a paranoid population in which a forbidden love flourishes and a young woman starts to find out what she is really made of.  I think once we know more about the the reasons behind the premise and understand more about the world outside of Lena's immediate frame-of-reference, we will have a wholly satisfying trilogy in our hands.

Quotes (please note that these are from an unpublished e-galley and may not reflect changes in the final print copy):

"You know you can't be happy unless you're unhappy, sometimes, right?" she whispers, and her voice is hoarse, as though she's just been crying.
-Hana

He's speaking in the kind of voice that everyone uses when they are about to break you apart.  Gentle - kind, even - like they can make the news sound better just by speaking in a lullaby voice. . . like you won't somehow hear the violence underneath.
-Lena

It strikes me how small everything is, our whole world, everything with meaning - our stores and our raids and our jobs and our lives, even.  Meanwhile, the world just goes on the same as always, night cycling into day and back into night, an endless circle; seasons shifting and reforming like a monster shaking off its skin and regrowing it again.
-Lena

Love: a single world, a wispy thing, no bigger or longer than an edge.  That's what it is: an edge; a razor.  it draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two.  Before and after.  the rest of the world falls away on either side.
-Lena

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday!

The hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books. Check out Jennifer's blog to sign up and start hopping!  

This week's question is:

 "What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011?  Why are you anticipating that book?"

Oh, wow, that is a crazy hard question!  I guess it would be a toss up between four books: This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost, Where She Went by Gayle Forman and Wither by Lauren DeStefano and Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer.  To be fair, I am only really familiar with the ones being released in the first six months, so I am sure there are some great titles coming later on, too!  I am looking forward to TSOTG because I simply cannot get enough of Cat and Bones (my first every blog post was about this series).  I CANNOT wait to see what happened to Mia and Adam in Where She Went (I am certain I will cry many, many times), and I love a good dystopian/issue book, so Wither is looking oh-so-fabulous to me!  If you haven't read Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, yet, I highly encourage you to - it will leave you chomping at the bit for Wolfsbane!  

How 'bout you?



 
Also, today is Follow Friday with Rachel's blog, Parajunkee's ViewThis week's question:

"What is/was your favorite subject in school?"

 I'm a bit certain that this is going to be the same for everyone, but my favorite subject was English.  I was just good at it.  I took it for granted sometimes, though.  In my freshman lit and composition course in high school, I sat in the back of the classroom to shamelessly flirt talk to this hottie I had a crush on - wound up getting a 'C' that year and missed my chance to get into honors.  Remedied that my sophomore year and would up getting the award for Honors American Lit my junior year (I was on a major mission to 'prove' myself - insecurity, anyone?).

P.S. - check out my interview with Megan McCafferty and giveaway for an ARC of Bumped in the post below if you haven't had the chance!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Getting BUMPED with Megan McCafferty: The Third Trimester Interview and ARC GIVEAWAY!

Back in the Fall when I first started book blogging, I kept hearing about this book called Bumped that everyone was buzzing about.  I'd never read the Jessica Darling series, so I wasn't too familiar with Megan McCafferty.  However, I loved the premise of Bumped and emailed her right away asking for an interview.  Not only did she grant an interview, but she was good enough to send me an ARC of Bumped - check out my review here.  Here's a snippet:

"Imagine a world where your only worth is what your body can do for others.  Imagine a world where adults give teenagers the message, “If it feels good, do it!  If it doesn’t feel good, here’s a pill for that!”

No, I don’t mean 2010.  I mean 2010 aged 26 years and on steroids. 

Welcome to Bumped by Megan McCafferty.  Everyone under age 18 in this world is a liability or a commodity, and you better protect your brand if you want to take it to the bank.  So, the question is, how do you decide who you are when your brand, your life already has been determined for you?"

Bumped releases on April 26, 2011 - without further ado, here's Megan with more!


It's three months until Bumped drops and there's been a lot anticipation for this book.  How are you feeling?

Today I’m more excited than nervous. Other days it’s the opposite. I’m so glad I can focus my energy on writing the sequel because months of relentless pre-publication speculation is a guaranteed way for a writer to go crazy.

This book is a departure from your Jessica Darling series.  How do you think your previous fans will react?

I actually don’t see Bumped as such a radical departure from what I’ve done before. The high school in Bumped isn’t all that different from the high school in the Jessica Darling series. These teens are horny and moody. They're bored with school and obsessed with pop culture. They want to party without consequences. They feel pressured by their parents. They go to church, go shopping, go to bed with the wrong boys. They gossip, flirt, cram for exams. They worry about their looks. They fall painfully in and out of love. They may shoulder the heavy burden of mass extinction, but Melody and Harmony are still subject to the whims of developing brains and raging hormones---just like Jessica Darling and her friends.

How did you get the idea for Bumped?

I’ll try to answer this by skimming through my Bumped research folder. Let’s see… I’ve clipped articles about: The Gloucester High School pregnancy pact. Bristol Palin and Jamie Lyn Spears. Purity balls. Surrogate “tourism” in India. MTV’s 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom. Plummeting birthrates throughout Europe and “baby bonuses” paid to women who procreate. Teen pregnancy rates in red states versus blue states. Genetic risks of IVF. Failure of abstinence only sex ed programs. A class for type-A engineering students in Singapore called, “Love Relations for Life: A Journey of Romance, Love and Sexuality,” intended to teach its students how to “mate and multiply.”

It’s a thick folder. My inspirations go on and on and on.

How would you describe your writing process for Bumped?  How did it compare with your Jessica Darling series?

At times I felt like I’d never written a book before. After writing about Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie for nearly a decade, it was a huge challenge to get to know Melody, Harmony and the rest of the characters in Bumped. Plus, I was inventing a whole new world and I had to figure out its rules as I went along. So I wrote an overlong, too tangential first draft because I had no idea what was important and what wasn’t. It was drastically reduced and overhauled in revisions—only about a ¼ of that original material remains. Thankfully, the sequel is going much more smoothly because I worked out all those issues the first time around.

You have some funky-fun names in the book: Zen, Shoko, Ventura, Jondoe (ha!).  Where did you come up with them?

Bumped is set in a fictionalized future version of Princeton, New Jersey. The real Princeton in 2010 is a very multicultural town, and I imagine that it will be more so in 2035. I actually consulted my son’s elementary school directory for inspiration because it contains so many names with gorgeous combinations of countries and cultures.  I don’t think I borrowed any specific names, but the directory did help spark ideas for the types of names that might be popular 25 years from now.

Melody and Harmony. Why twins, and why two protagonists?

The novel’s central premise—that a virus has made adults infertile and only teenagers can have babies—didn’t change much from when I first came up with it. But as I thought about it more deeply, I realized that there wouldn’t be one solution to the problem, there would be many different approaches based on a person’s environment and upbringing. Because the cultural conversation in this country is dominated by extremes, it made sense to follow two girls who live on opposite ends of the sociopolitical spectrum.

Genetics are so important in the world of Bumped. Twin protagonists allowed me to plot with DNA in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

I first read the synopsis of Bumped on another blogger's website.  I instantly thought of the The Handmaid's Tale and was so excited when I later saw that you used that in that in your description, too.  Without giving too much away, how close is the plight of Offred/Eurydice to either Melody or Harmony?

My novel concerns global infertility and young women having babies for older couples, so I had to acknowledge Margaret Atwood. Bumped treads on similar territory as The Handmaid’s Tale, yet offers a contemporary twist on familiar themes. I wouldn’t have bothered writing it otherwise.

Bumped is being called dystopian.  I feel that it's also satirical.  What would you call it and why?

I didn’t think about genre as I wrote it. I just wrote the story the way I thought it needed to be told. Though there are certainly dystopian elements, I don’t blame my publisher for playing up that angle because of the popularity of such books right now. And the satirical humor sets Bumped apart from the grim tone that most people associate with The Handmaid’s Tale and other dystopian novels. That said, I found myself having to pull back in my revisions and not make it too satirical. The subject matter already pushes enough boundaries and I didn’t want to go over-the-top.

I found Bumped to be shocking, but in a good, wake-you-up way. As you wrote it, were you expecting readers to be shocked?

I’ve never written anything for shock value, but I can’t write a book that deals with sex, politics and religion without expecting to raise a few eyebrows. Especially when that book is about--and for--teenagers. I hope Bumped inspires readers of all ages to talk about complex issues.

Books like The Giver and The Handmaid's Tale are frequently banned.  How do you feel about the chances of that happening to Bumped, as well? 

It would suck because censorship sucks.

Bumped takes on topics that will make some people uncomfortable. I believe talking about touchy subjects accomplishes far more than trying to make them go away.

Of course, I have to ask - what can you tell us about the sequel?

I don’t like to say too much about a work in progress because so much can change between the first and final drafts. But I think it’s safe for me to say that the sequel picks up 32 weeks after Bumped ends. And though trilogies are so hot right now, there won’t be a third book. Two narrators, two books. I like the symmetry of it.

Thanks so much for joining us, Megan.  I thought Bumped was "fascinating, provocative and controversial."  I can't wait to hear what everyone else thinks, including you!  If you want to pre-order Bumped from Amazon, go here.  Can't wait that long?  Well, here's some good news:  Megan's publisher, HarperCollins, has an ARC up for grabs for one lucky U.S. reader, and if you want it in your hands, here's what to do:

+1 for leaving a comment on the interview with an email addy (required)

For extra entries:
+2 be a follower of Bibliophile Brouhaha (new or old)
+3 for tweeting about the contest (leave direct link in comment)
+4 for blogging about the contest

Please add up your points in your comment.  That's it!  Again, please note that the giveaway is open to readers with U.S. addresses only.  The contest ends on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at midnight EST.  Good luck!


Waiting on Wednesday (12)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.  I highly encourage you to get to know your fellow bloggers and see what's new and upcoming in the book world!

Here's what I'm waiting on:


Releases on 02.01.2011

Synopsis

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself – and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on…
 
Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps.  The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get – even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.
 
But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood.  And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart – and her life?

So, what are you waiting on?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winner of Raw Blue Announced!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar giveaway!  I was so pleased to host it and have the interview with Kirsty here on my blog.

With extra entries added in, the grand entry total came to 46. 
When I did the random.org thing, the lucky number generated was 12, which means the winner is. . . .

SAVY (from Books with Bite)!


Savy runs a fabulous blog that you should check out - can't wait to hear her thoughts on Raw Blue!

Congrats, Savy!  I will be contacting you shortly. Please email me with your address within 48 hours to claim your book. 


Synopsis

Carly has dropped out of uni to spend her days surfing and her nights working as a cook in a Manly café. Surfing is the one thing she loves doing ... and the only thing that helps her stop thinking about what happened two years ago. Then she meets Ryan and Carly has to decide ... Will she let the past bury her? Or can she let go of her anger and shame, and find the courage to be happy?

For more information, please visit Kirsty Eagar's website.


Top Ten Books I Wish I'd Read As a Kid


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. Participators in this meme love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND sign Mister Linky at the bottom to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Don't worry if you can't come up with ten every time.. just post what you can!


This week: Top Ten Books I Wish I'd Read As a Kid!  My childhood was pretty richly immersed in fairy tales, but here are some ones I really wish I had read when I was 10 or younger. . .  Only six picks this week - still trying to catch up after the wedding!

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
This book and Makeway for Ducklings (also by McCloskey) are considered classics in children picture book literature.  I first heard of this one reading a Babysitters Club book, and I became enamoured with the idea of it since I had blueberry bushes in my backyard.  The entire book is illustrated in this wonderful, dark blue ink.




The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
A wonderful tale about a little bunny testing his limits and his mother's promise of devotion.  I learned about this book after it was prominently featured in the movie Wit starring Emma Thompson.  The book will warm your heart, and the movie will break it.




A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I actually have read this book, but I was 14 at the time.  I fell madly in love with it.  Sara Crewe is an endearing character, and one I wish I had gotten to know better when I was younger - she is valor, compassion and resilience - a true heroine in the face of adversity.






Anne of Green Gables  by L.M. Montgomery
I love love the movie that has played on PBS for as long as I can remember, but true confession time: I have never read the book the whole way through **shame face**.  The bits and pieces I have read make me think that Anne would have been a true kindred spirit to have at 10 or 12.  I adored the Road to Avonlea series, through - both the books and the show.





The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo
I read this book a few years back, and I absolutely adored it!  I was so convinced that I would want to read it to my future children some day that I bought a copy for my bookshelf after returning the borrowed copy to the library.  A wonderful, adventurous tale of victory.




The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
The one somehow escaped my attention when I was kid, although I faithfully watched the movie when it played on TV every year.  I don't even think I knew it was a part of a series until I was in my teens. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jodie from Books for Company on Great Reads from the UK!

Here's what I love about the book blogging community - when I put out my post on needing to take a break from blogging until after my wedding (five more days to go!), Jodie from Books for Company stepped right up and offered to do a guest post, which I appreciate so, so much!  We put our heads together and came up with a topic we think will be of interest to you.  So, without further ado, let's welcome Jodie to Bibliophile Brouhaha!

* * * * * * * *

Me and Linds thought as l am from the UK it would be good for me to do a post about some British authors which you may or may not have heard about!  I decided to do a range of different genres for you all: Paranormal, Romance, Chick-lit, etc!

Melanie Rose

My first author l wanted to introduce you to and thought of as soon as Linds came up with the idea of British authors was Melanie Rose. I have an interview with the lovely Melanie over at my site, check it out if you wantMelanie has three recent books out in the UK and lucky for you all has two so far out in the US (and l believe other countries too).  Melanie Rose's books really keep you, as the reader, in total suspense the whole way through her books, as well as guessing all the way through what's going to happen next. 

So l will introduce you to her books! -


This is the US cover, quite a bit different from the UK cover which you can see here. This book made me fall in love with Melanie's books, the characters in the books were some of the best characters l have 'met' and the concept is totally amazing.

Blurb :
What if you had the chance to live someone else’s life? Full of heart and soul, here is a captivating novel about the choices we make for family and love—and how sometimes a total stranger is the person we really need to be.

Jessica Taylor is walking her dog in the rain when she meets the man of her dreams—only to be struck by lightning moments later. When she wakes up in the hospital, the doctors insist she’s someone else: Lauren Richardson, wife and mother of four.

 
    Lauren’s husband wants nothing more than for life to get back to normal—complete with a well-organized house and very properly behaved children. But Lauren’s kids haven’t been allowed to have much fun, and one of them has special needs. Can Jessica embrace this family of strangers and become the wife and mother they need? As she struggles to find her way in this new life—and the way back to her old life—she reconnects with Lauren’s estranged sister and discovers a secret that could rip the family apart.
 
    Now, torn between Lauren’s responsibilities to her family and Jessica’s chance at love, one woman is about to find out whether the road not taken leads to happiness—or to heartbreak.

Her other two books are Finding Home/Coming Home (released in US) and Down to Earth (not yet released in US l believe)

Louise Douglas

My second author which l wanted to introduce you to is Louise Douglas, l read her first book 'The love of my life' in 2010 (January) and adored it! So so touching and just a remarkable written story which really grabs the emotion of the main character. I still need to read her second book and l am checking to see if she brings anymore books out. 


I miss him with every breath and heartbeat. He should have been my happy ending. Instead, he is the sad beginning to my story.' Olivia and Luca Felicone had known each other nearly all their lives, but when they fell in love as teenagers and eloped to London they broke the hearts of those closest to them. Luca's parents run Marinella's restaurant, the colourful hub of life in the otherwise bleak north-eastern seaside town of Watersford, and his mother, Angela, has never forgiven Olivia for causing such a rift in her beloved family.On a freezing January night Olivia's life is shattered when she learns that Luca has been killed in a car accident. She is left with nothing and, after suffering from weeks of overwhelming grief, she abandons her job and returns north to where Luca has been buried in Watersford. Olivia's chance meeting with Luca's married twin brother, Marc, leads to the realization that he is experiencing a loss almost as painful as her own. Their desolation draws them into an affair which both know has no future, but fills the space where Luca should be. It is a course of action that can only spiral out of control, and when it does the consequences are both explosive and cruel.

Her second book is 'Missing You'. The blurb is here .

Mia James

This third author is an author which l have not read a book by yet. I actually found her while searching for people to do this post. I love the sound of this book and isn't the cover great? I can just tell its a paranormal genre from the cover (l love paranormal books!). This was released in 2010 and you can get it from amazon (in US and UK).

April Dunne is not impressed. She's had to move from Edinburgh to Highgate, London, with her parents. She's left her friends - and her entire life - behind. She has to start at a new school and, worst of all, now she's stuck in a creepy old dump of a house which doesn't even have proper mobile phone reception. Ravenwood, her new school, is a prestigious academy for gifted (financially or academically) students - and the only place her parents could find her a place, in the middle of term, in the middle of London, on incredibly short notice. So she's stuck with the super-rich, and the super-smart . . . and trying to fit in is when the rest of the students seem to be more glamorous, smarter, or more talented than she is, is more than tough. It's intimidating and isolating, even when she finds a friend in the conspiracy-theorist Caro Jackson - and perhaps finds something more than friendship in the gorgeous, mysterious Gabriel Swift. But there's more going on at Ravenwood than meets the eye. Practical jokes on new students are normal, but when Gabriel saves her from . . . something . . . . in the Highgate Cemetery, and then she discovers that a murder took place, just yards away from where she had been standing, April has to wonder if something more sinister is going on. . . . and whether or not she's going to live through it . . .

Thank you for having me Linds! I hope you all enjoyed my post and found a new author.

* * * * * 

No, Jodie, thank you for helping a girl out!  I love the sound of By Midnight and look forward to picking it up!  Please visit Jodie's blog, Books for Company, to find out more about what she likes to read (it's a great mix)!  Oh, and may I just say that she posted pictures of her adorable non-human buddy for last week's Follow Friday - the cutest Westie ever (my favorite breed) named Alfie!!  I want to fly across the pond and scoop him up!

If you are interested in guest posting while I am a bit out of it in the blogging world, drop me a line at bibliophile.brouhaha@gmail.com - thanks!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wedding vs. Work vs. Blog

Hi Everyone!  So, some of you may be wondering, "It's Thursday!  Where's the News Roundup?"  Here's what's going on: I put a lot of time into the news roundup - reading over headlines, reading the actual articles, looking through every blog I follow, picking out great reviews that I wouldn't want you to miss, formatting them all and linking them up in a post, etc.  And really, I am a news junkie, so I enjoy doing this.  But seriously, if I were to add the time up, it takes hours and hours every week to compile.
 
Right now, I don't have that kind of time.  I have a big life event coming up quickly.  I am walking down the aisle and getting married on January 22.  I was hoping/wishing/praying that I could keep up with everything, and driving myself nuts to do so.  And truth be told, after working my regular 9 -5, coming home, doing all the wedding stuff that needs to be done in the week and a half before weddings, and then organizing my things and packing to move into my new home. . .  well, as book lovers yourselves, I am sure you can understand why I just want to take comfort in reading a good book to relax, and not necessarily write about it afterwards.
 
So, I have decided to just give myself a break and take in the moments I can to relax and enjoy the process leading up to the Big Day rather than feeling guilty about not keeping up with everything.  I figure if the college bloggers can do that over finals, surely I can for my wedding?  I may post here and there until then when I find a little extra time, but until the week of January 23rd, my postings will be touch and go (if anyone is interested in guest posting, just let me know - I certainly appreciate the help).  I also will be on Twitter(@bibliobrouhaha) and Gchat here and there, as well. 
 
Upon returning, I will be back just as I was with reviews, the roundup, the memes that I participate in, a great interview with an author of a highly anticipated upcoming book. . .  I am looking forward to getting back to normalcy, but until then, I have to make room somewhere for the things I have to do right now, so I hope you guys understand.  I really love blogging.  I love the community here, but if I don't give myself a break somewhere, I am going to go nuts.  And then I'll miss the moment.  And I definitely don't want to look back thinking I missed something leading up to my wedding.
 
Thanks for your patience - can't wait to be back in full force!
 
xoxo,
Linds

Monday, January 10, 2011

REVIEW: The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game
Published 12.07.2010
by Sara Shepard
307 pages
HarperTeen

Synopsis

I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move? (from GoodReads)

REVIEW: Where have I been?!?!  Why in the hell have I never read anything by Sara Shepard before?  I’m usually a lot more technical and not as emotional with my punctuation, but this book was seven shades of awesome!

Yeah, I know, I usually am all about the depressing ‘issue’ books!  So, maybe this book was a breath of fresh air.  And that air smells de•li•cious, as if it was laced with Auntie Anne’s cinnamon ‘n’ sugar pretzels and Chanel No. 5.  The Lying Game is that kind of yum!  See, I’ve never even watched Pretty Little Liars.  Ever since Dawson left the creek and Felicity graduated, I just haven’t been able to look at teen/young adult shows the same. 

Sigh.  Does anyone else hear The Boys of Summer playing?  Oh, that’s just me?  Sorry, I’ll return to the point.

So, as you can tell from the synopsis, Twin A, Sutton Mercer, is dead.  Murdered, in fact.  Twin B, Emma Paxton, has been stuck in foster care her whole life and finds out she even has a twin through the evil creepiness of her foster mom’s bio-son-spawn.  So, Emma is more that thrilled and excited to greyhound it to Arizona from Vegas to meet the rich, long-lost sister she’s never known.  When she arrives, however, she falls into her twin’s murderer’s plans, and through a strategically placed note and other freaky events, is made to understand that Sutton is not only dead, but that she is to take her place.  Unfortunately, Emma soon learns that Sutton makes Regina George look like Anne Shirley, and she has to quickly learn the ropes of playing an overly privileged, self-centered mean girl to A) protect herself from her sister’s murderer; and B) find out who the murderer(s) is/are.

This was such a fun, high school who-dunnit thriller.  I wasn’t bored once throughout reading it.  Twists, turns and maddening intrigue kept my attention the entire time.  There is a very small part of me (both in size and pettiness) which genuinely enjoyed seeing the rich girls squirm and Sutton show regret for her living transgressions.  The stance from which the story is told is also very interesting.  I’ve seen reviews where readers think that the point-of-view switches between Sutton’s post-mortem first-person narrative and Emma’s third-person limited.  I disagree – it’s Sutton the entire time.  Sutton is in an in-between state from what I can surmise, and her death has somehow left her dependent on and attached to her twin, both in body and mind.  So, when the book describes Emma’s actions, it’s actually Sutton observing Emma, and when the you are reading what Emma thinks, it’s Sutton telling you that.  You can tell it’s not third-person because Sutton directly comments and reacts to what Emma thinks at times, particularly towards the end.  Through Sutton, we learn about Emma’s abandonment by their mother, her life in foster care, her hopes for a family, her opinion of Sutton, her friends and their lifestyle, and her attraction to a certain, brooding high school hottie, who is so not Sutton’s boyfriend, the guy who Emma has to pretend-be with.  Equal parts dreaminess and awkwardness ensue. 

The best part?  You really don’t know who did it.  Anyone and everyone is a suspect.  The Lying Game is an actual creation of Sutton and her friends, and they treat it like a high school version of Fight Club.  It literally makes it impossible to for Emma to trust anyone.  Also, death conveniently has rendered Sutton an amnesiac.  Her memories ebb and flow throughout, but they’re spotty to say the least.  At times, she is as surprised and horrified as Emma is to learn what she did to others when she lived, and you soon learn that any number of people may have wanted her dead.  The facts of what Sutton did are mostly only alluded to and vaguely referenced, though, which frustrates both sisters and impedes Emma’s investigation.  It ends in a grand manner, and you are not much closer to the truth than Emma was when she first arrived in Arizona

Never have I ever read a mean girls thriller more fun that this.  I can’t wait for the sequel.

I’m hooked.  Game on, Ms. Shepard.  Game on.

Quotes:

I wished so badly that she could see my flickering body and understand this wasn’t a joke.  That I was dead, really and truly.  It was one thing when she rolled her eyes at my life and wrinkled her nose at my boyfriend, but I didn’t want her to think that I was the type of person who would use her long-lost sister that way.  I didn’t want to be that kind of person.
pg. 179

At least she had a clear picture of what the Lying Game was now: Girl Scouts for psychopaths.
pg. 202

He reminded Emma of the malfunctioning Tickle Me Elmo doll she had inherited from an older girl her first year in foster care; sometimes the Elmo stared into space and didn’t know what to do next.
pg. 205

But now all Emma could think of when she saw that wheel on the screen was how it seemed like a metaphor for her life – a wheel of chance.  Risk or reward.  Once twin getting the good life, the other twin getting the bad.  One twin dying, the other twin living.  The living twin choosing either to go after the person she was almost certain had killed her sister . . . or slip quietly away.
Pg. 246

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (12)


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren with inspiration from Pop Culture Junkie

This is a great event where we share all the great books we've picked up to read for the week!  Please join us in getting to know one another and sharing great reads! 

Here's what I got this week:

From the Library:

by Daisy Whitney

Synopsis

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

From NetGalleys:

Delirium
by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday!


The hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books. Check out Jennifer's blog to sign up and start hopping!  

This week's question comes from Ivan who blogs at Ivan Bookworm:

"What book influenced or changed your life? How did it influence/change you?"

Okay, this might sound crazy, and I don't know about 'changed my life', but A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett has always been very special to me.  Sara Crewe is one the most marvelous, resilient characters ever written.  She went from having it all to being a little drudge, but throughout everything, she retained an imagination and personal code of conduct that saw her through.  I've always loved that book and appreciate how she always weighed the consequences of her decisions and how they might affect those around her.  I'd like to think that Sara has set an example and goal for how I treat others in my own life.


 
Also, today is Follow Friday with Rachel's blog, Parajunkee's ViewThis week's question: 


What book(s) have you discovered lately from someone's book blog? 

0.4 (Human.4 in the US) by Mike Lancaster.  I just discovered this book through a review by Lauren at I was a Teenage Book Geek while collecting reviews for my Thursday News Roundup.  It sounds fascinating!  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

 It's a brave new world.

'My name is Kyle Straker. And I don't exist anymore.'

So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on to old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world...If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie.

And if everything we know is a lie does that mean that we are, too?
 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Thursday Literary News Roundup (9)

The Thursday Literary News Roundup 



Blog Posts of Note:

Excellent post from Khy at the Frenetic Reader called "The Appeal of Dystopian YA".  He reacts to the recent NYT article discussing the 'Dark Side' of YA lit (see last week's roundup): ". . . dystopian YA is appealing to teenagers because the teens in those novels are usually the ones doing the work. They get away with rebelling."  Writer Mike Duran also had this well-penned response, "YA Fiction: The Upside of the Dark Side".

Great discussion going on at Fiction Folio: "Is YA for losers?"

Special thanks to the Book Maven for tweeting the following two detailed and well-said blog posts from Brillig about the Borders debacle: Borders, Post-Mortem and The Cold Equations.  Fore more on the situation, see a link to an article under 'Articles'.

The Super Librarian started a great new feature called "Library Love: 100 Reasons to Love Your Local Library".  Do you know all the resources that you have at your local library?

Wastepaper Prose had a great post with "Author Insight: Sold or Sell-Out?" in which she asks authors how much they feel about changing their manuscripts at an agent's or editor's request.

Lindsi over at Books, Sweets and Other Treats started a fantastic new weekly meme called "What Do You Think? Wednesdays".  This week's discussion was on character perspectives - very nice conversation there!

Amazing review of a soon-to-be-released book that I haven't heard much about from Lauren at I was a Teenage Book Geek on 0.4 (Human.4 in the US) by Mike Lancaster: "Reminiscent of such genre classics as John Christopher's Empty World and John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos, Brit author Mike Lancaster's debut novel 0.4 is the kind of book you pick up with a feeling of mild intrigue and eventually put down hours later having completely forgotten to eat, sleep or possibly even blink for the entire duration."

Brandi at Blkosiner's Book Blog got a pleasant surprise when she reviewed Across the Universe by Beth Revis: "I usually stay away from anything that is too science fictiony, but I heard so many good things about this book and managed to snag a copy from Librarything Early Reviewers program. And let me tell you, about 50 pages in, I completely forgot about genres and devoured Across the Universe."  I'm the same way, so I was so glad to have found her review!

Books in the Spotlight posted this review on upcoming release The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante: "This book could have easily become preachy, but the characters prevent that from happening. As a result, The Trouble with Half a Moon is a thought provoking story of grief, forgiveness, and healing."

Anna Reads posted a very positive (and entertaining) review on Cynthia Hand's Unearthly, which just came out this week: " If you're thinking, "Oh, no, not another angel book," stop it right now.  Okay, so, yeah, it totally is another angel book. And that's definitely what I was thinking too. But shush and listen for a second."  Melissa from Books and Things also reviewed and gave a very well-rounded review, as well!
Jessica gave a very well-balanced review of The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher over at Chapter Chicks: "The Water Wars is a book that will leave you savoring every drop of today's existence and praying this world doesn't exist in our near futures. It may not have been the best book I've ever read, but it was still well worth the read."

 New book Choker by Elizabeth Woods had several reviews this week.  Presenting Lenore gave an excellent one, as did the Frazzled Book Nommer.  I think there have been quite a few others - the reponse to the book had been varied, but it sounds very startling, different and disturbing.






Articles to Read:

A wonderful interview with A Northern Light and Revolution author Jennifer Donnelly was posted by Teen Ink.  In it, Donnelly says, "I struggled as a teenager with depression, and literature sustained me. It still does. I guess what I really want to say to teenagers is that this artistic legacy, whether you are a musician, a painter, or a writer – whatever you are – it's there, so reach back to your artistic ancestors and clasp hands with them and let them carry you for a bit."

The Christian Science Monitor did a very nice, well-detailed piece on Steampunk: "Steampunk: The new Goth

NPR's regular program You Must Read This featured an absolutely wonderful review of Gayle Forman's If I Stay (reviewed by Kaleb Nation).  Both audio and written word included: "'If I Stay': Trapped Betwen Life and Death". 

Good article from the CA's Press-Enterprise on a 2011 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults nominee: "Cal State San Bernardino professor a finalist for book award".  The book's title is Every Bone Tells a Story by Peter Robertshaw and Jill Rubalcaba.

From Salon.com: "'Huckleberry Finn' loses the N-word: A whitewashed version of Twain's novel is on the way. Is that the worst thing in the world?"  From the article, "On Tuesday, Publisher's Weekly announced New South publishing will release a new, racial epithet-free version of "Huckleberry Finn." So go bleep yourself, Samuel Langhorne Clemens."


Shelf Awareness put out a great article with links to many other articles on the shaky situation of Borders. There was also an update in yesterday's edition, as well with more links.  Read both for the full story.

The Huffington Post put out this neat article on self-published author, Amanda Hocking, who has sold over 185,000 copies of her book on her own: "Meet Mega Bestselling Indie Heroine Amanda Hocking"


Okay, and I shouldn't laugh, but check out this wry piece of wit in the form of a press release.  It's, um. sarcastic.  Very much so.  To say the least. "Writers Band Together To Save Struggling Borders Bookstore Chain With New Anthology"

The San Francisco Chronicle also posted an article on "5 places to enjoy new 'steampunk' subculture" on the West Coast.

StyleBistro also posted this great piece on some new windows in a famed NYC department store: "Bergdorf Goodman Brings Posh Steampunk To Its Windows".

Fascinating.  This guy has a dream job.  From the New York Times: "Selling a Book by Its Cover".

The School Library Journal posted "In Memoriam", a list of, "librarians, authors, illustrators, and others in the world of children's book publishing passed away in 2010."

Half-Priced Books came out with something new.  From the Dallas Business News: "Half Price Books launched its own online shopping website".

And, The Library Journal announced its "LJ's 2011 Librarian of the Year".


Buzz: Books & Otherwise

More news about the film adaptation of The Maze Runner from Spinoff Online, "Fox’s Adaptation Of Young-Adult Hit The Maze Runner Gets A Writer".  And also from the LA Times, "Young-adult sensation 'The Maze Runner' gets ready to run the movie gantlet"

The LA Times posted an article about LGBT characters and plotlines in shows for young adults: "Gay and lesbian characters are popping up on shows for young people"


Have you ever seen this site?  It's called "Dear Teen Me: Letters to Our Teenage Selves".   Famous and up-and-coming post here - it's a wonderful site and insight!

The Cohen brothers talked to Thompson on Hollywood about their remake of True Grit.  I wanted to add this piece in here because the 14-year old who may be in the running to play Katniss Everdeen is in it, and in the interview, Joel had this to say about True Grit, "Part of what was so compelling to us about the novel is that you’d almost call it young adult adventure fiction. It has that element which is very strong. It seems to be stamped more strongly with that than the western genre to me in many ways"

And last, but not least, the book trailer for Clarity by Kim Harrington was released:


That's it for this week, kids!  More news and fun stuff to come next week!

If you have any thoughts or suggestions for The Thursday Literary New Roundup, feel free to comment or email me at bibliophile.brouhaha@gmail.com.