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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Ruby Red

Most of us have books we've bought with all intentions of reading (or maybe just because it was cheap!), only to have them fade away on a shelf or disappear into a stack of books, never to be seen or thought of again.
TBR Tuesday is a way to talk about the books we own but haven't read, see what other people think about them, and help us decide whether to bump it up our list or knock it off completely.
[If you're more a book borrower than a book buyer, you're still welcome to participate with the books that you've been meaning to read and haven't!]

On my TBR

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Historical Timeslip, 324 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.


Okay, I'm about to show you just how ridiculous I can be.  I got this book from a friend almost a year ago during a week of red books, which made me super excited because it sounded great and it looked AMAZING.  And I mean that literally - this is one of the prettiest books in person, a picture does not do it justice. And it's tall and narrow - not much, just enough, so it stands out that little extra bit.  This tickles something inside of me.  And yet...
And yet I haven't read it.  Haven't even picked it up, other than to look on it lovingly.  Why?  Well...I'm afraid I'm going to be disappointed (and here's where we get to the ridiculous part. Okay, more ridiculous), and the reason I'm afraid I'm going to be disappointed is: Cornelia Funke.

Yes, Cornelia Funke. See, this was translated from German. As was Cornelia Funke, who does nothing for me except maliciously hurt my brain. And even though I know the two have nothing to do with one another, when you add the fact that I don't like (translated German lady) Cornelia Funke + there was another German translation I can't recall that I hated = I just can't bring myself to not hold Cornelia Funke against Kerstin Gier.
See? Ridiculous.
So I need some convincing. Anyone read this one?  I've heard it's an insanely popular international bestseller... (But that's what they said about Inkheart...*shudder*)  Let me know what you think in the comments!  (Or feel free to tell me how crazy I am. It'll give the voices something new to bitch about.)


What's on your TBR this week?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cinder winner!

Alright, friends, it's time to announce the winner of the 2nd Cinder giveaway.  There were a lot of you who were very excited and crossing lots of fingers and toes trying to win this book, so I'm sorry to say there can be only one winner.  But I do hope you guys will pick this one up.  It's some serious fun, promise.

(And who knows?  Maybe we'll do a giveaway of it during this years Fairy Tale Fortnight...)

Anywho, the winner is. . .


KELSEY!!

Congrats, Kelsey, hope you enjoy it!  =)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Face Off: The Vicious Deep


I've talked about this one in various wishlist posts and videos, but I had yet to do a Face Off. So now, Face Off they will.   Below on the left you'll see the cover that was originally released for Zoraida Córdova's apocalypsies debut The Vicious Deep. On the right, you'll see the new cover, the one it will actually be released under (I assume. Guess they could change it again.)
I have mentioned my loooooove of the original proposed cover many, many times. It is one of my favorites, ever. I want it framed and hung on my wall.  I don't understand - I cannot fathom - why they would have changed it.  The new cover is more rollicking, I guess. It's more Percy Jackson-esque, more adventuresome, and maybe that suits the tale better than the sly, calculating, mysterious original cover?  Not having read it (yet, because I still intend to, no matter the cover), I can't really speak to that.  But I do know the first cover says "vicious" to me more than the trident, and it pains me a bit to see it go from one to the other.
But what about you?  Which cover would you reach for on the shelves?  Which cover-story speaks to you more, and makes you want to know what's inside?
Which one did it better?



Last Week on FFO: The new covers for Holly Black's Curse Worker series faced off against the originals, and unfortunately for the upstart newbies, the vote was unanimous: the originals won.  (Though there were a lot of mentions of the UK covers).
WINNAHS:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Without Tess

Most of us have books we've bought with all intentions of reading (or maybe just because it was cheap!), only to have them fade away on a shelf or disappear into a stack of books, never to be seen or thought of again.
TBR Tuesday is a way to talk about the books we own but haven't read, see what other people think about them, and help us decide whether to bump it up our list or knock it off completely.
[If you're more a book borrower than a book buyer, you're still welcome to participate with the books that you've been meaning to read and haven't!]

On my TBR

Without Tess by Marcella Pixley
Contemporary, 224 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Tess and Lizzie are sisters, sisters as close as can be, who share a secret world filled with selkies, flying horses, and a girl who can transform into a wolf in the middle of the night. But when Lizzie is ready to grow up, Tess clings to their fantasies.
As Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her delusions, she decides that she can’t live in the real world any longer and leaves Lizzie and her family forever. Now, years later, Lizzie is in high school and struggling to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of a school psychologist and Tess’s battered journal, Lizzie searches for a way to finally let Tess go.


This one kind of makes me feel guilty.  It came in a surprise package of awesome, and was one of the most highly recommended things in the package. I was all gung-ho for it when I got it, but didn't have time - and then when I did have time, I hit a massive lazy streak and barely read anything.  Now, heading into 2 of my 3 big blog events of the year, I've got to begin my fairy tale reading and, shortly thereafter, my Austenesque reading.  As much as I love both, this leaves little room for anything else, and if I do read something else, I have to know that it's going to be something I'll devour.  All that means I don't really know when I'm going to be able to get to this one.  Thus the guilt.
Anyone read this one?  If so, did you love it enough to want to push it on me relentlessly?  Will this be one I tear through as a bit of a break in my scheduled reading, or is it a pace-yourself-and-absorb-it kind of read?


What's lingering on your TBR pile this week?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Face Off: The Curse Workers series


As I mentioned in my review for White Cat, this week's Face Off is for the covers of Holly Black's Curse Workers series (White Cat, Red Glove and Black Heart).  Personally, I've always loved the covers on this series, so when I saw they were redoing them (before the series is complete! ugh!), I was a little bummed.  I know that people-covers are overdone, and I know some people have pet peeves with obscured faces on covers, but for this I thought it really worked.  The covers are a little unsettling, especially the first with it's supervillain white cat, and I loved that (even despite the whitewashing controversy). Unfortunately I think they've gotten more mainstream with each cover, so I guess they thought they needed a shake-up.  Don't get me wrong, the new covers are neat - a really interesting design concept - and they are growing on me.  Still...why can't they just effing wait for the reissues?  So...
Which did it better?





Last Week on FFO: Different editions of Flynn Meaney's Bloodthirsty went head to head, with the cheesy, goofy, absolutely adorkable "boy" cover vamping its way to a win.
Winnah ------->

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quickie: White Cat by Holly Black in 90 Seconds



Guys, it is hard to make a min & 1/2 review. For reals. But I finished with a second to spare, so take that, countdown clock!
Let me know your thoughts in the comments if you've read the book or want to.  And make sure to check back for this week's FFO, which will feature the Curse Worker series!
And as always, happy reading!

ABOUT THE BOOK:
WHITE CAT by Holly Black
Fantasy, 310 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love — or death — and your dreams might be more real than your memories. (from Goodreads)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Across the Universe

Most of us have books we've bought with all intentions of reading (or maybe just because it was cheap!), only to have them fade away on a shelf or disappear into a stack of books, never to be seen or thought of again.
TBR Tuesday is a way to talk about the books we own but haven't read, see what other people think about them, and help us decide whether to bump it up our list or knock it off completely.
[If you're more a book borrower than a book buyer, you're still welcome to participate with the books that you've been meaning to read and haven't!]

On my TBR

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Science Fiction, 398 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Razorbill
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming


I went on a little shopping spree early in 2011 where I had to have ALL THE BOOKS.  They all looked so good, and I had heard good things about all of them.  But...of all of those had-to-have releases of early 2011, I don't think I've even touched most of them.  This is one of those hotly anticipated, just gotta have it book, and it's just been sitting on my shelves.  Thing is, I do intend to read it, and am even eagerly looking forward to it - I just can't seem to work it into the reading schedule...and here it's almost time for the sequel, A Million Suns, to come out!
So someone give me a push.  How many of you have read this and loved it?  Any of you who think it didn't live up to the hype?  Lemme know in the comments!


What's on your TBR this week?

Monday, January 16, 2012

CLOSED Cinder Audiobook Winner + ANOTHER Cinder Giveaway!!

You know I love you, right?  Yeah, I'm back with another chance to win Cinder!  But first, I am pleased to announce the winner of the audiobook copy of Cinder is...

Juju!!

Congrats, Juju!  I have a feeling you are going to enjoy this one! =)

Now, onto the 2nd Cinder giveaway.
This time, thanks to the folks at Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, I have a finished copy of Cinder to giveaway to one lucky winner!

TO ENTER:
  • Realize that this book is awesome, and then fill out this form.
  • US/CAN only please!
  • Ends January 28, 2012
  • 1 bonus entry for tweeting "I want to win CINDER by @marissa_meyer from @TheBookRat!  http://www.thebookrat.com/2012/01/cinder-audiobook-winner-another-cinder.html "  (optional)
  • Please do not leave your email address or info in the comments! Of course, comments are welcome, but they are not entries - make sure you fill out the form.  :)
  • Good luck!


ABOUT THE BOOK:


CINDER by Marissa Meyer
Retold Fairy Tale/Sci-Fi, 387 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

IMM + Scrabble Jewelry Tutorial!

Hey guys! Here is my Book Haul / IMM for the week, PLUS, since so many of you asked me to do the scrabble ring tutorial, I finally caved and made one. Awkwardly, with super close ups of my face...
So enjoy that!

Special thanks to Dustin Disco:
http://www.youtube.com/user/dustindisco

IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren




THE BOOKS (and shirt):
The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer: http://amzn.to/yVfdVy
Gauntlgrym by RA Salvatore: http://amzn.to/yA3dtT
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien: http://amzn.to/wacw9n
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy: http://amzn.to/xJNSjM
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen: http://amzn.to/zLlRwd
Lies are free, talk is cheap shirt: http://www.skreamclothing.bigcartel.com/product/oversized-lies-are-free-talk-...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Face Off: Bloodthirsty


I've had Flynn Meaney's Bloodthirsty sitting on my shelves for quite some time now. I keep intending to read it as a light and silly alternative for Helluva Halloween, but it just hasn't happened.  I own the simple white heart cover, but I'm not going to lie - the goofy grin on the boy cover was what made me want to read it in the first place - the heart cover was just the first I came across for the buying and the owning.  And I'm disappointed by that, because I think the boy cover is rare - sure, we see a lot of face covers (it sometimes seems that's all we see).  But to see one so light and ridiculous in tone, with a boy cheesing in a completely adorkable way, rather than being all broodysexy...well, I'm not opposed to broodysexy, but this makes for a nice change.  And it says something about the tone of the book, too, which I like.  But I know it won't be to everyone's tastes, so I ask you:
Which did it better?



Last Week on FFO: The covers for Karen Mahoney's The Iron Witch and The Wood Queen went head to head, tattooed arm to tattooed arm, with The Wood Queen managing to snake a win!
Winnah ------->

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Chat: Reading Resolutions

Hey guys! Welcome to Book Chat. This may be the last "regularly scheduled" Book Chat I do, or I may just vary up the schedule (every other week, once a month, etc), so if you have an opinion on this, please let me know!

This week we're talking about Reading Resolutions - Do you do any? Have you been successful with them? What are your goals this year?
Remember, if you do a video or a blog, make sure to link it up here or on www.thebookrat.com (linky goes up Thursday, 1/12)

Thanks for watching!



TO BE CLEAR - I'm not trying to guilt you into participating! Not having to do a BC every week would take some pressure off me to always have a topic and always have something to say, and it would allow me to do other stuff, which is fun.
:)


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday: Enchanted



Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Fairy Tale, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2012 by Harcourt Children's Books
It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?


I have been in a real fairy tale mood lately, which is a good thing since Fairy Tale Fortnight II is coming up and I'll have to start my reading for it soon.  Basically Amazing Ashley and I were talking a couple of days ago about how much we both want to read Enchanted by Alethea Kontis (frog prince!), so fingers crossed that we'll get our hands on copies and be able to share it with you for FTF!  Either way, this is a wishlister for sure!


What's on your wishlist this fine Wednesday morning?

[Psst!  If it happens to be the fabulous Cinder
make sure you go here to win a copy of the audiobook!]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TBR Tuesday: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Most of us have books we've bought with all intentions of reading (or maybe just because it was cheap!), only to have them fade away on a shelf or disappear into a stack of books, never to be seen or thought of again.
TBR Tuesday is a way to talk about the books we own but haven't read, see what other people think about them, and help us decide whether to bump it up our list or knock it off completely.
[If you're more a book borrower than a book buyer, you're still welcome to participate with the books that you've been meaning to read and haven't!]

On my TBR

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Paranormal Romance, 351 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Harcourt
The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancé. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.


I got an ecopy of this awhile back because even though I don't own an ereader, it was FREE on Nook and Kindle!  I mean, come on!  I can read it on my computer or phone, if I need to, but on top of that, I do intend to own an ereader (as soon as I can make up my mind to which one), so by the time I do, I'll have a nice little stockpile of books to go on it. ;P
Anyway, I picked this up just to have, but I've heard it's really fun and am wondering if it's a good reading-funk breaker - should I wait until I have an ereader to read it on (who knows when), or should I cuddle up to my computer on a reading-slumpy day and get to know Jessica?
Let me know your thoughts on Jessica's Guide in the comments!


(Oh, and by the way - it's STILL FREE on Amazon... Love ya!)


What's on your TBR?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Revamp feedback + cool news!

Hey guys. As many of you have noticed by now, I revamped the blog.  I've been considering it for awhile now, so I finally just did it.  I really like the bright new look, and I hope you do, too.
I've also slightly revamped the Facebook page, Twitter and Youtube to match, and will likely be making some more changes as I go to make everything more user friendly and prettyshiny.

I would LOVE your feedback on the changes, as I'm going to be making a few more tweaks before unveiling a mega giveaway to celebrate a whole bunch of stuff.
You can leave a comment telling me your thoughts, or if you want an easier or anonymous route, you can just fill out the little feedback form below!

*Before I get to the form, I just wanted to let you all know about some more ways to win a copy of CINDER.  Today on Twitter, @Figmentfiction is having a #cinderparty, with lots of chances to win Cinder swag and signed copies of the book!  There are all kinds of ways to get involved, like asking Marissa questions during the Q&A or answering trivia questions.  It sounds like it's going to be a blast, and you can find out more here, or hop on over to Twitter and join the #cinderparty.  It runs until 7pm EST TONIGHT, so hurry!!


Now onto the form!
Thanks for your time, and thanks for supporting The Book Rat!!
EDIT: Some of you have said you see a gray bar 1/2 down the page, and that the background disappears. This means you are viewing the mobile version, and though I'm not sure why that is, at the bottom of the page you can switch to web version and see The Book Rat as it's supposed to be seen.  (The gray bar's not the only issue with mobile!)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

IMM: 1/8/12

This is my In My Mailbox (aka book haul) for the first full week of 2012. Woot!
IMM is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

Thanks to Evie and Melissa, my favorite peoples!!


Well, that's a beautiful freeze frame, isn't it?  




THE BOOKS:
Vixen by Jillian Larking: http://amzn.to/A2oeTr
Soul Screamers, vol 1 by Rachel Vincent: http://amzn.to/wjY58F
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan: http://amzn.to/xbbT50
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan: http://amzn.to/wjpF6F
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: http://amzn.to/we5bCc

I DID forget something, it will be in the next one I do!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

December Rewind (vlog + linky)

This is my December Rewind, a look back at what I read in December, with a quick thumbs-up/-down. Let me know your thoughts on what I read in the comments, and if you do your own Rewind video or blog, share it up on the linky below!




The CINDER audiobook giveaway ends 1/15. Enter here:
http://www.thebookrat.com/2012/01/cinder-audio-book-preview-giveaway.html

THE BOOKS:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer: http://amzn.to/n5L9xI
Tempest by Julie Cross: http://amzn.to/svrp7T
When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen: http://amzn.to/vUUpB5
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder: http://amzn.to/upnN38
The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss: http://amzn.to/s7PxxQ


Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Face Off: The Iron Witch v. The Wood Queen


Welcome to the first Friday Face Off of 2012! I took a little bloggy break there at the end of 2011 (just a little one), but it's time to get back into the swing of things, and we'll start with this Face Off I've been wanting to do for awhile now.  I have Karen Mahoney's The Iron Witch sitting on my shelves, waiting patiently to be read - and the sequel, The Wood Queen, is about to come out!  I have to say, even though there's still a focus on the arms, the cover for The Wood Queen doesn't remind me all that much of its predecessor.  What do you guys think?  Is it cover-series growth, or do they seem like they don't belong together?  I have to say, it's growing on me, so I'm curious to know what you think.
Which would you reach for on shelves?  Which appeals to you more?
Which one did it better?



Last Week on FFO: The Anna Dressed in Blood series faced off against the upcoming Archon, and though it was a close fight, the deck was stacked against Archon - Awesome Anna wins!
Winnah ----->

Thursday, January 5, 2012

CLOSED Cinder Audio Book Preview + Giveaway!



Yesterday you saw my (glowing) review of Cinder, as well as a guest post from Marissa Meyer on building Cinder's cyborg side, as part of the official Cinder blog tour.
I hope you all enjoyed it, but who says the fun has to end there?

The lovely people at Macmillan Audio have offered up a giveaway of the Cinder audiobook to one lucky winner!  If you saw my Favorites of 2011 post, you'll know Cinder made the list of my absolute loves of the last year; and since one of my resolutions this year is to (finally) try audiobooks, I am super happy to be able to share this one with one of you.

Take a listen:

video

TO ENTER:
Fill out the form below and leave a comment letting me know why you want to read Cinder.
US only, please
Ends January 15th
Please do not leave your email or sensitive info in the comments!



Book Chat: Favorites of 2011 (vlog + linky)

Yes, this will probably go down as the video with the absolute WORST lighting and close-to-camera-ness. It couldn't be helped; I am in the process of REARRANGING ALL THE THINGS in my whole house, so there was no other time/place to do it.
The plus side of this is that the bookshelf tour you've all been asking for will probably happen in the nearish future.

Anywhoodle, I hope you all participate and share your favorite reads from last year. If you do a vlog or blog, make sure to link it up or mention it in the comments. (And if you don't vlog or blog, of course you are still welcome to join in on the discussion!)

NEXT WEEK: Reading Resolutions




THE BOOKS:
CINDER by Marissa Meyer: http://amzn.to/n5L9xI
PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White: http://amzn.to/vDiT94
WISE MAN'S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss: http://amzn.to/AygSos
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor: http://amzn.to/oPu2xT
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake: http://amzn.to/nhbqEt
STARCROSSED by Elizabeth C. Bunce: http://amzn.to/xuPSjF
BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu: http://amzn.to/wYvrFp
DRINK, SLAY, LOVE by Sarah Beth Durst: http://amzn.to/ox74u7
ANYA'S GHOST by Vera Brosgol: http://amzn.to/z1ht38
HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter: http://amzn.to/zMKgcZ
UNCOMMON CRIMINALS by Ally Carter: http://amzn.to/yhddhz
EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS by A.S. King: http://amzn.to/qa5pbf
ROBOT DREAMS by Sara Varon: http://amzn.to/zJ71c3
THE SPACE BETWEEN by Brenna Yovanoff: http://amzn.to/viHT8j
DUST OF 100 DOGS by A.S. King: http://amzn.to/xMDJYo
THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab: http://amzn.to/hv68Lt

And I forgot: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS!! by Stephanie Perkins. Definitely deserved to be on the list. http://amzn.to/wvSGJs

Edit: Oh good lord, I forgot JELLICOE ROAD too!!  http://amzn.to/sMmwYk

If you did your own Favorites of 2011 vlog or blog (even if it wasn't for Book Chat), feel free to share it below!  We all want to know what the best books were... =)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

***EDIT: There has been a giveaway of the Cinder audiobook added here!




CINDER by Marissa Meyer
Retold Fairy Tale/Sci-Fi, 387 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.


Last year during Fairy Tale Fortnight, I hosted an interview from this lady, Marissa Meyer, who had a book coming out in the misty distant future about a cyborg Cinderella.  It sounded quirky and weird and awesome, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it to share it with you this year for FTF.  But uh...turns out I couldn't wait until April to share the awesomeness that is Cinder.  (But no worries. We'll find some other way to get Marissa and Cinder involved in FTF this year!)

Clearly from Fairy Tale Fortnight, I love a good fairy tale retelling.  I even occasionally love a bad fairy tale retelling.  But what I absolutely love most about any fairy tale retelling is when the story can stand on its own.  This is where a lot of retellings fail, because without the recognizable elements that some rely on too heavily, the story falls flat.  Thankfully, that is not at all the case with Cinder.  All of the familiar set-pieces of Cinderella are definitely there, but Meyer doesn't use the fairy tale as a crutch.  Even if you don't know or like the original fairy tale, Cinder is complete and interesting enough on its own; it has enough going for it that it should work for fairy tale lovers and sci-fi fans alike (and if you like both, like me, then Cinder is just a treat).

Now, this is not to say it's not predictable.  Of course it is.  It's a fairy tale retelling - we already know the characters, the plot points, the motivations.  But in a retelling, it's not so much about the story but what you make of it.  And I have to say, this is absolutely one of the most creative and unique twists on a fairy tale that I've read, but what's even better is that it's not forced.  There's good depth and believability for such a potentially outlandish premise. It doesn't feel like Meyer sat down and said "How can I make Cinderella weird/new/different/innovative?"  The sci-fi/cyborg elements don't feel forced on the tale, they feel more like a natural evolution, and where Cinderella was our lovable outcast of the past, Cinder is our lovable outcast of the future.

And she's strong.  She's smart, she's spunky, she's brave.  AND SHE'S NOT A SWOONER.  (I mean, other than when her cyborg body sort of overloads and kinda sorta electrocutes her.  But that doesn't count.)  My point is, she's not simpering, and her elevation from outcast status isn't going to be wholly dependent on a fairy godmother and Prince Charming.  She intends to take control of her own life and make it what she wants it to be.
[Ignore me while I jump up and down and scream "Yes! This!"]
She has her hardships and has to continually work against prejudice, but she's competent and perseverant and I ♥ her for it.

Add to all this that the stakes are legitimately high, not just for Cinder but for her entire world - tough choices have to be made and bad things actually do happen, and there is just enough doubt in the readers mind that maybe things won't be very happily-ever-after.  It's not saccharine, and I ♥ Marissa for this.

But above all, it's just story telling that worked for me.  It reminded me of Firefly and Ever After, and a million other things that I love.  But it didn't feel derivative of those things; more like Marissa grew up with the same loves and interests as I did, and they wormed their way in, just a touch, to give the story this enjoyably eclectic feel that nods to all these things that came before, but builds something entirely its own.

And I cannot wait to see where the story goes in the rest of the Lunar Chronicles series.
(So bring on Scarlet!)

*This review was part of the Cinder blog tour (yay!) You can check out an awesome guest post from Marissa on Cinder's cyborg elements here, or view a full list of the stops here.
Or you can sit back, watch this trailer, and then ask yourself, "Why am I not reading this book right now?"

[Need more convincing?  Download the first 5 chapters here!]


CINDER Blog Tour: Guest Post from Marissa Meyer!

***EDIT: There has been a giveaway of the Cinder audiobook added here!





Well, my lovelies, the first "real" post of this new year is actually part of the Official Blog Tour for the fantastic 2012 debut, Cinder - and I am pleased as punch to be a part of it.  [I had intended to have my review of Cinder up before this awesome quest post from Cinder's author, Marissa Meyer, but life intervened.  Don't worry, though - it'll be up later today!]
But for now, I'll just let Marissa tell us a bit about how she transformed the most universally well-known fairy tale heroine, Cinderella, into a futuristic teenage cyborg mechanic.  Yes, you read that right and yes, it is just as awesome as it sounds.
;)
~  ~  ~  ~  ~


Building a Cyborg: How Cinder Changed Throughout Revisions
By Marissa Meyer

The idea for Cinderella re-envisioned as a teenage cyborg, part-human and part-machine, came to me as I was drifting to sleep one night. Some elements of her cyborgness were there from the start: She always had a robotic hand. She always had a robotic foot that she’d long outgrown. She always had a keen understanding of mechanics and robotics.

During the writing of the first draft, I also discovered net-connectivity in her brain, which she used to download user manuals and blueprints, but the information she could gather this way was rather limited.

Then, after I finished that first draft and (months later) sat down to read through it, I realized something. For having a written a cyborg who had the potential to be awesome in all sorts of ways, I’d somehow managed to make her entirely lackluster.

I had no intention of writing a superhero into the story, and I didn’t want Cinder to become so high-tech she wasn’t recognizable as a sympathetic human being anymore. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t have some more fun with her abilities. I talked to some sci-fi-geek friends of mine, and asked what skills they would want if they were a cyborg. I watched movies and read books that starred part-machine characters. I read scientific articles on all the cool things that scientists are doing right now that involve cybernetic organisms.

Over the next few drafts, Cinder’s cyborgness developed into something cooler than I’d ever imagined her to be.

I found a hidden compartment in her leg, useful for storing tools and other secret items. I discovered a retina display that could scan the things she was seeing and overlay images across her vision—whether it was connecting a prince’s features to the global database, or laying a blueprint of a car engine across her eyesight so she could figure out how it worked. Her net-connectivity became more complex, allowing her to dig up all sorts of useful information. She surprised me in a late revision of the story by suddenly having the ability to tell when people were lying.

And all the while her skill with mechanics became more impressive, until a girl who had started out doing small jobs around the house for her stepmother, eventually—inevitably—became the most renowned mechanic in the entire city.

As I revised, I felt like I was gradually uncovering Cinder’s character, or maybe that she was slowly letting me in on her secrets. And the weird part is—the less physically human she became, the more human she felt to me. The more real she became.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

I know. If you didn't want to read it before (and, um, why wouldn't you?), you CERTAINLY want to now, right?!  Just wait until you see my review...
=D

To Marissa - Thanks for stopping by!
To all of you - Cinder is in stores now, and it is a great way to kick off a new year of reading!
[Psst!  If you're still undecided, you can download the first 5 chapters of Cinder here for free!]


* You can see the full list of tour dates here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

January TBR vlog + linky!

This is my January TBR (to be read) Pile - make sure to let me know what you think of the books I'm planning to read this month, and if there's one you'd like to see a video review of, feel free to request it.
As always, if you do your own TBR vlog or blog, feel free to link it up here or at www.thebookrat.com

Book list and links below; thanks for watching!



THE BOOKS:
The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
White Cat by Holly Black
By These Ten Bones by Clare B Dunkle
Chime by Franny Billingsley

Sunday, January 1, 2012

IMM: 12/29/11 (but posted late because I suck)

This is my final Haul for 2011!  And I forgot things!  (So, I guess part of my first haul of 2012 will be 2011-goods... =D )
As always, I invite you to share the links to your own IMMs and hauls so I can check them out, or to tell me what you think of what I got. :)
And of course, In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

   



 THE STUFFS:
BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (aka THE version)
(from Tim, aka Bumblesby)
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Magic Under Stone by Jaclyn Dolamore
a bookmark from Bonnie @ A Backwards Story 
and a ring, from yours truly (and Milton Bradley, I guess...)

 Happy New Year!!

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