Twisted

Lisa Harrington’s novel Twisted has a very appropriate title for the content. It was a good book until the last chapter but it is disturbing that Lyssa does not tell the police the full story, she acknowledges a resemblance between her love interest and her brother, and that she is calm about what she discovers in the final paragraph. The decisions made by the author about the ending cast a new light on the novel that is not as favourable. Were it not for the denouement, the reader would be left with a less unsettling feeling.

Twisted begins as a drama with the typical teen angst about relationships and the sadness of a lost parent, but the second half of the novel is a suspenseful, psychological thriller. The pace begins slow but things escalate quickly once the suspense begins.

If you liked Twisted read:

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Fury blog tour

I’m honoured to be part of the Fury blog tour, and I was given the opportunity to ask the author, Elizabeth Miles, a few questions.

1) What inspired you to combine Greek mythology and the issue of bullying?

When I first read about the Furies, I was fascinated by the idea of creatures who took revenge into their own hands. I think so many bullied kids and teenagers (and adults, too) harbor revenge fantasies — how they would get back at their persecutors, if only they had the guts, or strength, or support… Exploring (and taking creative license!) with the Furies let me play with and combine those ideas.

2) What character do you identify with the most in Fury?

While Em and I are very different in lots of ways, we also have some similarities. We’re both bookish and, to different degrees, introverts. We share the bad habit of too often letting things happen TO us, rather than seizing the reins of our own lives. Over the course of the Fury series, I think Em will become more proactive — just as I try to be in my daily life.

3) Will the sequel be about the same teens in Ascension, or will it follow the three mysterious girls to their next victims?

The sequels to Fury will follow some of the same characters through their lives in Ascension, while introducing other (exciting, sexy, flawed) new characters. We’ll also learn more about the Furies — who they are and where they came from.

4) How do you think the supernatural elements in your story help you get your message across?

Supernatural, paranormal elements allow me to heighten certain scenes and emotions — to give tangible menace or mysteriousness to scary, overwhelming, nuanced feelings or actions.

5) What’s it like having your debut novel receive so much attention?

Honestly, it’s kind of bizarre and unexpected! Of course it’s also wonderful and exciting. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a part of me that was unprepared for and overwhelmed for all the attention. Thank goodness for all my supportive friends, family, and colleagues.

You should also check out my review of Fury.

Wither

* I received this ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada

If you haven’t already; please check out my initial impressions of Wither that I wrote about 4 chapters in.

Lauren DeStefano has created a terrifying world, where at 16 a girl is considered an old maid, and no one expects to live beyond 25. Can you begin to imagine the social, economical and political repercussions of such a dramatically shorter life span that suddenly plagues what is left of the world? It’s an interesting (albeit terrifying) idea, and I’m pretty fascinated by the parts of the book that describe life outside the mansion that is essentially Rhine’s prison. It seems like I’ve been reading a lot of books where characters are in cushy prisons, with all the luxuries except freedom. Is this a commentary on our lifestyles? Slaves to our work so we can be wealthy and have no time to enjoy it? Just a thought, not that I’m anywhere near approaching wealth. I hope the other two books in the Chemical Garden Trilogy explore more of the consequences the dwindling population would have.

I began this story expecting to hate the man Rhine is forced to marry, and sure that the polygamy will make her experience as a reluctant bride even worse. Neither of these things ended up being true, DeStefano actually made Linden a surprisingly likeable character. He thoroughly flawed, but given his upbringing and circumstances a lot of his faults are understandable. He is shockingly gentle and patient, not the crude rapist I would have expected. His father is the one character who remains truly villainous in my eyes, but even his deplorable actions are working towards a goal he thinks is noble. I still think he is scum, but I like that he’s not just evil for the sake of evil as so many bad guys are in fiction.

The relationships formed between Linden’s four wives are intricate and intriguing.  Although there is some competition between them, I think there is significantly less may be expected in a polygamous family due to the fact that none of them had a choice about marrying him. They bond as prisoners, as roommates and through the shared attention of their husband. Rhine bonds with each of her sister wives in a different way, and DeStefano did such a good job with this family dynamic that I might actually read more books with polygamy, not something I’d ever expected to enjoy reading about.

Rhine’s relationship with Gabriel is not as prominent in the plot as I anticipated. At first I was disappointed by this, but since neither is free to be themselves in the mansion, it makes sense that they would not have the opportunity to be together. I like that DeStefano didn’t take the easy way out, and make the captors more sloppy with security.

Wither (Chemical Garden, #1)This was an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it for dystopian fans but my recommendation comes with the disclaimer that it contains, disturbing subjects, mature themes, polygamy, and sexually active minors, so parental discretion is advised.

Let’s talk cover-art shall we?

  1. The little circles on sticks design isn’t just cool-looking a futuristic, it draws your attention to certain areas of the cover and makes connections. Notice that her wedding ring is circled and connected to the caged bird? The bird clearly represents how Rhine is imprisoned by her marriage.
  2. The model is gorgeous and her frilly clothes do look like some of Deidre’s designs.
  3. the flowers on the back go well with my flower analysis (see my earlier post)
  4. I wish you could see her monochromatic eyes, because this feature is mentioned repeatedly in the book.

This book counts toward the debut author challenge.

I’m giving away a copy- enter the contest

Across The Universe

Beth Revis’ Across The Universe is nothing like the musical movie, if that’s what you’re thinking; it’s about a girl on a spaceship.

Most books marketed as science fiction for teens are more like fantasy, just set in space. I was pleasantly surprised that Across the Universe is an exception to this. It’s actually science fiction, heavy on the science, and Revis did an amazing job with making it interesting.  This was apparent from the very beginning, I expected being frozen for space travel to be like on Futurma, where they are frozen instantly and painlessly. I though Revis’ interpretation of the freezing process was both horrifying and logical.

Much of the book was terrifying to me, I hadn’t gone into it expecting to be afraid or disturbed but I was. The book has been hyped as a science fiction/ romance, but for me it was a science fiction/ horror. The terrible freezing process was only the first of many things that made me cringe, because Revis writes in such a way that it’s impossible not to put yourself in Amy’s shoes and poor Amy goes through a lot.

There were two major plot twists I predicted, but this didn’t make them any less satisfying. I was still on my toes (not literally of course) with anticipation of seeing if I was right, seeing how everything would unfold.

There is a lot of unconventional sexuality, so I would recommend this for older teens and warn librarians there will be parents who take offense, even though these scenes of sexuality are meant to be offputting to the teens.

This book counts toward the 2011 debut author challenge.

*Spoiler Alert***Spoiler Alert***Spoiler Alert****Spoiler Alert*

I was impressed with how Revis delved into the huge impact artificial hormones can have on a person. She takes it to the extremes, but it’s actually not as far-fetched as it may seem. A tiny hormonal imbalance can make you incredibly ill physically or affect your ability focus.

The effect of the drugs in this book reminded me of two other fantastic pieces of fiction. When taken in small doses the characters become “pretty-minded” like in Westerfeld’s Uglies series. Given larger amounts, the result is just like what happened with pax in the film Serenity (I wrote an essay about Serenity .) 

Harley was my favourite character and I think maybe the book should have been called little fish, or had the painting of the fish in the stars as cover art just to honour his awesomeness. Not that the current cover isn’t pretty darn awesome.