Friday, May 4, 2012

Reading Rainbow: The Partials by Dan Wells

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for a good dystopian novel, but even I get skeptical sometimes.  I saw the cover for Partials by Dan Wells and was not convinced that it would be anything new and exciting.  Um, wrong.  I was wrong.  This book is a fantastic dystopian and I loved it!


From Goodreads:

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival

I think one of the reasons I was so wrong is that this book isn't strictly dystopian.  It's not strictly anything, really.  In addition to being described as dystopian, I've seen it referred to as sci-fi and post-apocalyptic.  Okay, honestly?  Add those three together and I'm a happy reader-girl.  And why stop there?  There are also scientists, feminists, partial-humans, and a Resistance.  My inner geek wants to throw a party about this book. 

And, AND?  A heroine that you will love.  Or, at least, I did.  I hope you do, but I'm thinking you will because she's extremely intelligent, tough, and ridiculously brave.  I admired her right away and that continued throughout my reading.

The best thing about Partials is the twists and turns - this book is filled with surprises.  There were times that I literally jumped while I was reading because things happened that I was definitely not expecting. It is action-packed and will keep you wanting more.  I could not put this book down!  It is going to be a long wait for Fragments!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reading Rainbow: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Okay, I'm going out on a limb here and I'm going to recommend a NON-YA book.  I know. The fact that I even read something that wasn't under the TEEN sign at Barnes and Noble is crazy enough, but now I'm going so far as to recommend it here, on this YA book blog.  But, I'm doing this as a PUBLIC SERVICE TO YOU ALL.  Trust me on this one.  First, the cover.  I think it speaks for itself.

Okay, maybe it doesn't speak for itself because the author, Jenny Lawson, did tweet a picture of her book shelved in with the dog books at Target, but still.  That's a mouse in a Hamlet costume! 
It is here where I normally give you a blurb from Goodreads, but this book doesn't even need a damn blurb.  Honestly, if I could I would give this book a bajillion stars and would recommend it to everyone in the world.  Well, except people who are easily offended.  Or who have no sense of humor.  Or who do not enjoy snorting while reading.  Those people would not be on my recommend-to list. (So if you are any of those... I'm sorry?)

A little backstory to this book, in case you are unfamiliar: Jenny Lawson is the blogger known as The Bloggess and her blog is filled with hilarity, taxidermied animals, and, of course, giant metal chickens.  I'm new to her blog, but I love every post.  She always makes me laugh, and Let's Pretend This Never Happened lives up to that in every way. 

And, if I haven't persuaded you yet, Neil Gaiman had this to say, which I think sums it up quite nicely (also - NEIL GAIMAN!): "The Bloggess writes stuff that actually is laugh-out-loud, but you know that really you shouldn’t be laughing and probably you’ll go to hell for laughing, so maybe you shouldn’t read it. That would be safer and wiser.” And if Neil Gaiman isn't going to make you read it, well, I probably can't help you.  But, trust us (Neil and I) and read this book!  Grab a glass of wine and settle in because you won't want to stop reading.  Also, you may want to warn your family that you might start cackling and they should probably leave the room.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reading Rainbow: Three Great Series!

I've been a super-happy reader lately as some of my favorite series of books have come out with new, fantastic books.  I thought you should know about three of them in particular, so I'm sharing them all in one, big (but not too big) post!

I'm going to start with a series that I love, and have recommended before: The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter.


If you've never heard of Ally Carter, then you must sit down and listen: She is amazing.  Her writing is so well-done that you'll find yourself wondering just how she managed to "do that" and still make it cohesive, funny, and leave you wanting more.  A word I've used to describe her writing: seamless.

Add to that the genius storylines she throws at you, and you're hooked.  Gallagher Girls is a smart, fun, romantic series that I cannot get enough of.  Honestly, I never thought I'd say that about YA books about a school for teen spies, but there it is.  The most recent book, Out of Sight, Out of Time, is a great addition to the series, and never once did I feel that things were getting too slow, or even a little boring, as often happens as a series gets past three books. And if that's not enough to win you over to this series, let me just say one word: ZACH.  That is all.

(Read my original rec of The Gallagher Girls here)

Moving on, if you haven't read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, then it's obvious that you don't trust our judgement here at WhimFic.  Leigh and I have gushed extensively about our mutual love of this series in the past. And now, with Spell Bound, we've reached that point that is both exciting and a bit sad - the conclusion of the series.


I am very sad to be saying goodbye to Sophie (and Jenna! The best sidekick ever!).  These books were so much fun, I honestly cannot wait to see what Rachel Hawkins comes up with next! 

(You can see all of the gushing from Leigh and I here)

And finally, one of my favorite series out there: The Curse Workers by Holly Black.  Black Heart is coming out next week (!!!) and I had the privelege to read it early.  Let me tell you all - it is PERFECT.


I love it when a final book in a series doesn't just conclude, but throws crazy-new things at us and still manages to make it all work in the end.  Black Heart does just that.  And, there's so much Casselishness to look forward to in this book - trust me and read this whole series just for Cassel.  He's worth it. 

(Read more Cassel-love in my rec for the series, and some from Sophie too, here.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

I have SO many books to tell you all about, because although I've been quiet lately, I've definitely been reading - and so many are worthy of recommendations! I'm going to start with the book I have just finished because it is OH SO GOOD. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi is a ridiculously well-done dystopian novel. It is delicious. I mean that. It is a book to be savored slowly.


From Goodreads:
Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

This book might seem to start out a bit slow, but don't give in to that idea. When I said that it's a book to be savored, I mean that every little detail is important. As I neared the end of this book, so many things from the beginning began to carry more weight and make the ending all the more intense and wonderful. The story is told very deliberately and weaves around itself beautifully.  I love finding a book that does this well.  

And the story! I know that I'm biased towards dystopian fiction, but I think that even non-dystopian-lovers (that's a term, right?) will like this book.  If you like dystopians, you will LOVE it.  The story is based around a unique concept and it is one that made me wonder throughout. Not everything is explained completely, but I loved that.  Veronica Rossi trusts us enough to come to our own conclusions, for now.  

Now, that being said, this story does not end ambiguously.  Aria's journey is wrapped up, but with a hint of what to come. If you're like me and love reading a journey of discovery, change, and self-realization, you will truly enjoy this book.  And if you like a beautiful love story thrown in there - one that is both believable and honest - then you will LOVE this book as much as I did. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reading Rainbow: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

It's been a while since I've been so very excited about finding a new book series, but I'm so happy to share this one with you!  Cinder by Marissa Meyer is one of those books that I loved so much, I had to send desperate text messages to friends so they could understand: "I don't want to put this book down! But the kids need to eat... I guess."  Yes, things like that.  It's definitely an "Ignore Your Life" kind of book!


From Goodreads

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.

If you haven't guessed from the title, this book is (sort of) a retelling of Cinderella.  I say "sort of" because the story has elements from the original, but is not overdone in any way.  You won't feel bored because you know the story already, trust me.  As Sophie put it in response to my sad text after finishing (I didn't want it to end!): "It's such a great story because the nods to the fairy tale were just enough and then the rest was BAM!"  She is spot-on - that is exactly how I felt about it.  

And, seriously the BAM part is just so fantastic.  It's not often that I read a book and love every single character, but that was definitely the case with this book.  Cinder is immediately likeable and easy to relate to.  Well, aside from the fact that she is a cyborg living in a futuristic world with an android for a best friend. But, those elements of the story are what make this book so compelling: the known (Cinderella) thrown into this completely new and unknown world.  It's so well done.

And Prince Kai. (Yes, of course there is a prince!) He's my new book-boyfriend.  I'm clearly not a very loyal reader-girlfriend since I change so quickly, but Kai is worth my shifting loyalties!  Trust me, you will love him too, along with the rest of the characters.  

So, if you're in the mood for a book that will make you forget about everything else going on around you, definitely pick up Cinder!  I will warn you, this is a series, so there is a bit of a cliff at the end, but it's not too high.  You'll get answers, and confirmation of things you might have guessed, but there is just enough of a cliff to make you long for the next book!  Perfect! 

And, if you finish and need just a bit more Kai, be sure to check out Sophie's interview with him at The Page Turner's Blog.  She asks all the important questions, of course!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reading Rainbow: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Happy Valentine's Day fellow book lovers!  In my world, this day is about love in general, so we can celebrate our love of books too, right?  Yes, yes we can!  In honor of the day, I thought I'd recommend a love story.  Okay, fine, most of the books I rec have a love story in them, but this one is a really great love story!  How can it not be with a title like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight?


From Goodreads:

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

First, I really love how this book begins by looking at all the ways Hadley's day could have gone differently.  I'm a big fan of movies like "Sliding Doors" (I'm totally dating myself with that reference) that explore the idea of fate, and this book does that as well. There are many moments within the story that can, and do, change the direction of Hadley's actions, and ultimately how she handles herself throughout.  I love the idea that each little decision we make, or someone else makes, can affect us in giant ways. 

Second, Hello Hot British Boy!  And contrary to the blurb from Goodreads, Oliver is not exactly perfect.  He has crumbs on his shirt, for goodness sake!  Okay, endearing crumbs, but still.  And did I mention that he is British?  Okay, but what I really love about Oliver and Hadley is the way they relate to each other, even in the span of one short (okay long) plane ride from New York to London. 

Third, the whole Love at First Sight thing.  I know people get very annoyed when main characters fall in love "too fast," but it just doesn't feel that way here.  You already know what you're getting into from the book's title, so the love story doesn't feel rushed or fake, but rather exciting and a little bit scary.  In my opinion, Jennifer E. Smith captures perfectly those first, intense moments of falling in love.  That she does it within the span of 24 hours is just a bonus. 

And finally, (yes, I just outlined this rec like an English 101 essay and I have no excuse but it's staying this way) the story goes beyond Hadley and Oliver Love Story and really reaches into Hadley herself.  Her personal growth, especially in relation to her family, is the real story here and I loved reading it. 

So, if you're in the mood for a sweet story about falling in love, definitely pick this book up!  I'm happy that I did!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reading Rainbow: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I'm guessing you all knew I would be recommending this book, right?  It's no secret that I have a literary crush on John Green, so it's pretty much a given that I would love his latest book, The Fault in Our Stars.  I'll be honest with you.  I was scared of this book.  For no real reason, I'm scared of books about cancer.  I don't mind sad books, but, come on, a book about kids with cancer?  That has to be depressing, right?  But, then, this is JOHN GREEN, y'all.  1. I had to read it, and 2. If anyone can do this right, it's him.


 From Goodreads:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Let me tell you, this book blew me away. I mean that. I thought I was prepared for something great (see above), but I was not prepared for the beauty of it.  There is beauty in the mundane, which is amazing in itself, but also in this transcendent way that cannot be described, but rather felt. And while I often thought I knew what was coming, I was usually wrong.  This book constantly went in new directions and each time it was fantastic. 

And if I may mention the Love Story: It's perfect.  It's worth reading.  It's mature, true love.  It's seeing one at their worst and wishing you didn't have to, but knowing you must and continue on anyway.  I don't want to say more than that.  In fact, I'm so worried about spoilers, that I'm just going to plead with you to read this one.  I don't know if it's my favorite John Green book (please don't make me choose!), but this book is life-changing in a way you won't even realize until you find yourself thinking about it every minute after you finish.  It's that good.  So read it, yeah? 

P.S. If you won't take my word for it, read Rachel Hawkins' funny and wonderful review here