Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Major YA Giveaway!

With the summer here and all, my book blogging has been more and more infrequent. Although I do plan on having at least one more giveaway before I have to go back to school in the Fall, I wanted to share with you ANOTHER giveaway, at one of my ultimate fave book blogs: Literary Exploration.

Click on the icon above OR this link, and find out how YOU can win all our Fierce Reads! Included are SIGNED copies of Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, Struck by Jennifer Bosworth, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne as well as some other goodies!!

Review: Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Title: Lies Beneath
Series: Lies Beneath #1
Author: Anne Greenwood Brown
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, mermaids, fantasy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

Review: It looks like mermaids are the hot new supernatural beings that are taking their place in the limelight. I was especially intrigued by "Lies Beneath," due to it having a male protagonist, and the fact that it painted mermaids as vicious, murderous creatures whose only joy was stealing the happiness of others.

Calder is a merman who is caught in between his desire for revenge over his mother's murder, and the crush he has developed for Lily. Lily is the daughter of the man that Calder and his sisters are plotting to murder. As Calder struggles with his conflicting desires, we learn the story of who he is, and the complex nature of being a merman.

For starters, I was intrigued by Calder. Here is this guy who has totally confessed to killing before and yet, I did not automatically hate him. Surprisingly, Lily annoyed me far worse than he did - namely because of how flat she fell, as a character. I thought she was written as an extreme cliche and I had to roll my eyes at points that described her outfits or love of Victorian poetry. Sure, Calder was no prize himself (can we say "stalker"??), but at least I was invested in his development.

Together, they both lacked the buzz and intensity that is ascribed to their relationship. There is a definite insta-love element at play, and although Calder's can be explained by what he is, Lily has no excuse. Either way, it is something that gets really old, really fast.

What I loooooved was the writing. I felt uneasy reading certain parts of this book. It was dark, and edgy - keeping me at the edge of my seat. And that ending?? Whoah! Loved it!! Too often nowadays, YA books are part of a series which leaves off in a cliffhanger ending - so that you are forced to read the rest of the series. While "Lies Beneath" is the first in a series, it answered most of the questions that it put forward.

Overall, "Lies Beneath" was an enjoyable read in a series that I'd love to continue on with. Perhaps given more books and time to grow, my main annoyance with the first book - Lily and Calder's relationship - will develop into something strong, lasting, and unlike every other story out there.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: The Glimpse by Claire Merle

Title: The Glimpse
Author: Claire Merle
Series: The Glimpse Duet

Publisher: Faber & Faber (UK)
Release Date:  June 7th, 2012
Genre: YA, dystopian, sci-fi

Synopsis: In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

When Jasper disappears, Ana sets off on his trail, determined to solve the mystery of his abduction. In doing so she journeys into the darkest corners of society, and uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she’s ever believed.

Review: I have read a lot of negative reviews about "The Glimpse," that are mainly geared towards it's supposed subject matter or handling of sensitive mental health issues. I, for one, have to strongly disagree that this book exploits mental illness or making a mockery of it and I am glad that I was able to ignore the voices of those who haven't even read the book but are already judging its subject matter. What it boils down to is that Claire Merle handled the matter well and exactly as I hoped - by showing the reader how so many people are affected by mental illness in one way or another and that any sort of mandate separating people by their risk factors or the score they receive on a psych test is completely wrong. Unfortunately, it is also a future that isn't all too impossible to imagine, with the over-medication of our society as it currently is.

The book centers on Ana, the daughter of the scientist responsible for the test that deems whether you have any sort of triggers or possible genetic makeup that will turn into a mental illness down the road. Ana lives in a community of "Pures," people who have tested as not having any risk-factors for any mental illness. As it turns out, Ana's results were flawed, yet she had already been promised to "Pure" Jasper Taurell. Regardless of her status, Jasper wants to be joined to Ana. It is when Jasper disappears that Ana's world starts to unravel as she decides to find out the truth about him, her father, and the deep, ugly underbelly of a world previously unknown - one filled with "Crazies."

I thought the premise of this book was extremely unique and captivating. There were parts of it that were hard to read, and I would not recommend this book to a younger crowd, but ultimately I was captured in the story.

My issues were really with the tone and the flow of the story, which I thought was pretty messy. There were parts of the book that I had to re-read because I was just not exactly grasping what was going on, or how it related to the overall story. Some of the events that occur in the book also seem a little far-fetched and it was hard for me to understand why they were even included (unless its all to be explained in a later installment, since this one did leave with a kind-of cliffhanger ending).

While the scenarios were interesting, the majority of the characters were rather dull and bleak. Ana didn't bounce off the page for me and I was pretty indifferent on her as a character. That's never something I want from my heroines. The other characters (with the exception of Tamsin and Lila) were also not very interesting and lacked that "spark" for me.

Overall, "The Glimpse" was an enjoyable read, but I'm not sure if I'll continue on in the series.

Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Author's Site

 3/5 teapots!