Tag Archives: Dystopian

Once Upon A Time Read-a-thon

It’s time again for another Read-a-thon. This one is one of my favorites sponsored by Pure Imagination Blog. This will be my second year reading with them. And for extra excitement I will be hosting my very own mini-challenge here at Stiletto Storytime tomorrow. It will include an autographed giveaway by one of my favorite authors…So don’t miss out!  The Read-a-thon Kick Off was this morning but below is the link that will allow you to still sign up until tonight so you don’t have to miss out on all the mini-challenge prizes over the next three days or the $60 gift card up for grabs.

The Read-a-thon will last from Monday July 9th to Wednesday July 11th at 11:59pm. So start your reading!

As always feel free to post your reading goals and challenge updates on your blog and/or Twitter. We are using the hash tag #OUreadathon on all Twitter postings! So tweet away!

Here’s the list of participates so far and you can still sign up until 12:00am EST tonight!

My Read-a-thon Results

Books Completed 

Partials by Dan Wells

Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

Mini-Challenges Completed: 4

Mini-Challenge Hosted: 1

IBBookBlogging Book Cover Mini-Challenge

1.) What is your favorite cover that has been revealed this summer and why?

2.) Do you rely on the cover to help you choose whether you want to read a book or not?

My favorite cover reveal of the summer would have to probably be Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close. I loved how fresh and inviting it was…it definitely would stick out from any book shelf with it’s brightness and quirky humor. I don’t always base my reading choices on cover but a bad cover can certainly deter me from picking up the book and learning more. As a librarian I know there is a lot to shelf appeal especially for young adults and adolescents. Adults love a great cover just as much as the next person but they might actually read the description behind the book- at times other age groups may not. I think in the end…it all depends upon if the cover speaks to the reader and if the reader is serious enough to look past face value. However this particular cover just grabbed me from the first moment I saw it. I just fell in love at first sight.

Kindle Fever’s Mini-Challenge

“Once upon a time there was a bookish fight…As the story teller, I now want you to tell me which two characters are fighting and WHY! If you want to, you’re also more than welcome to guess the outcome.”

My Heroine Showdown: Katniss v.s Bella Swan 

Katniss thought she was all that…I mean she had won the Hunger Games. The odds were definitely in her favor until she found herself confronted one day with Bella Swan. Bella felt that she was far more the better heroine. She too had two suitors ready to fight for her, she was also constantly beating the odds where her safety was concerned and she did Katniss one better…she would have four books written about her compared to Katniss’ measly trilogy. In the end the girls decided to call a truce. After all…they had both been through so much. So in the spirit of friendship Katniss told Bella she looked a little pale…almost anemic…she should really eat something. Would she like some berries? Boom! The cannon sounded…Nightlock struck again.

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Filed under Book Blogs, Challenges, Dystopian, Events, New Books, Reading Challenge, Reading Fun, Young Adult Books

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

    America Singer is in love. It’s that deep, hopelessly romantic kind of love that invades every fiber of your being every moment of every day that you live and draw breath. It’s all she can think about. At this point in her life America may only be a  teenager but she truly believes she has found the man of her dreams right in her own backyard.

After all who wouldn’t love Aspen Leger with his dark looks and giving heart. He’d do anything to make America happy. But then again he has to do many things to make many people happy because of his caste. You see Aspen is a six, destined to live his life working hard and earning little. Hunger is a constant for him and always likely will be for those he loves except for America that is.

America is a five and so she lives easier, eats a bit better and has somewhat  of a choice in her career in entertainment. These luxuries will remain unless she chooses to marry someone below her caste level.  But despite these obstacles America is about to face she is convinced she will be Aspen’s wife someday. That is until the selection letter arrives on the doorstep of every eligible young girl in the kingdom.

The selection changes everything. Thirty-five girls will be chosen to vie for the attention of Prince Maxon but only one can be his wife, only one will be true royalty.  Girls are chosen from all the castes; the highest ones to lowliest eights but only thirty-five will go on to live in the palace and compete against one another to possibly become a Princess of Illea.

America would give anything not to be one of those chosen girls. However with the prestige of the selection will come food and money for her family and both Aspen and her loved ones insist she must enter her name or they could never forgive themselves for her missing the opportunity of a lifetime. It would change the life of her and her family forever, by just being selected in the first group of girls America would become a three.  A whole new world would open up before her.

As the names are announced it becomes clear that America Singer will miss out on nothing. She is a chosen one, shipped off to the palace to compete for the heart of a Prince while her own heart lies broken into pieces in a tiny tree house in her own backyard.

As the days go by in this “The Bachelor” meets Hunger Games dystopian romance, America does her best to stay as close to the Prince as possible in order to help her family to survive but she also strives to keep her mending heart locked up tight from his princely charms.  Even as rebel forces attack the palace, Prince Maxon seems to have his sight set on America as much more than the confidante she has tried to be. Could she love him? Is it possible that her true love was not Aspen but a man belonging to a world she could once only dream of?

As the citizens of Illea watch a romance begin everyone can’t help but wonder just who is falling in love? And for American and Maxon what could be the consequences if an old flame appears?

In a perfectly timed novel that will feed the desire for dystopian love and cutthroat societies, The Selection is sure to be a hit as each novel in the trilogy unfolds for eager readers of all ages. Smart, creative and dazzling it will delight and captivate a new generation of teens who are now finding more and more of their chosen entertainment surprisingly in a book.  However don’t count out this series for the small or big screen anytime in the near future. It simply sparkles with possibility.

Just like it’s cover which is a show stopper as far as shelf appeal is concerned. Don’t you agree?

3 Comments

Filed under Dystopian, Girly Books, New Books, Young Adult Books

Review & Giveaway: The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch

  In the newish dystopian The Eleventh Plague, readers are introduced to a region of North America that would be unrecognizable to us all in this modern day and time. In the near future after a catastrophic war with China resulting in bio-warfare producing a devastating plague….little and barely anyone remains. Food, shelter, supplies and other life sustaining items are scarce. Options are few and many are forced to become “scavengers” who travel the land looking for items of use to trade and sell to keep alive.

One such scavenger is a young man named Stephen. Born into this bleak world after the Collapse, all he really knows is this life of darkness and hardship. Traveling along with his father and grandfather, he keeps to the wisdom they have taught him and thinks very little about the past or the future until the day that everything changes and he finds himself becoming a leader.

Being a fan of dystopian novels, I was immediately drawn to this book especially when I saw that author Suzanne Collins of Hunger Games fame had endorsed it. In the end I found it to be a pretty satisfying read. The characters were well-defined and shaped and they progressed well as the novel picked up steam although at times I did feel like things were moving rather slowly. Still it was a well thought out and believable world into which the reader was escaping and that can be tricky to create with dystopian novels. I think it would be a great read for teen boys especially although there is some romantic element later on in the book that might appeal more to the teen girls out there as well. Ideally it’s a book that would be suitable for either gender if they were inclined towards the dystopian genre.

 Triple Book Giveaway

 One extremely lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime will win not only their very own copy of The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch but also copies of Underdogs by Marcus Zusak and iBoy by Kevin Brooks. That’s right three books! Giveaway ends midnight EST December 19, 2011. This giveaway is open US/Canada only. Winner will be chosen by random.org and notified by e-mail address or Twitter. Good Luck to all and Happy Reading!

To enter simply comment below and share your favorite dystopian novel. I am always on the look-out for a new read and would love to hear about any you have read recently or maybe even those that you consider your favorites.

Want extra entries? You can get an extra entry by doing any of the following:

Be/Become a Follower/Subscriber of Stiletto Storytime

Be/Become a Follower Stiletto Storytime on Twitter (Please leave name in comments)

Like This is Teen on Facebook (Please leave name in comments)

Tweet or Blog about this Giveaway (Please leave link in comments)

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Filed under Contests, New Books, Young Adult Books

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ibedmbivr60/TKOlluMpyYI/AAAAAAAABHw/YnjdVDmTPoI/s320/matched.jpgIn the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

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Books with hype make me nervous. I don’t know if it’s that I am afraid that they won’t live up to the buzz or if I just want to hold them off until I am in need of a sure-to-be page turner. Whatever the reason I don’t dive into them as soon as I get them especially when they are advance reader copies far in advance of publication. And so goes the story of Matched by Ally Condie. Anyone who has read my blog knows I love YA. I also love dystopian…put the two together and I am a pretty happy reader. However I received an ARC of Matched from BEA this year in May….and I just read it yesterday. Despite it’s being my “cup of tea” and having a fantastic cover and even more fantastic hype…I just didn’t pick it up. But when I did get around to reading it, I could not put it down.

Condie has really created a unique dystopian that reads not only as a thought provoking take on society and our future but also as a well written story in general. Lovers of dystopian will be in Heaven but teens and adults who enjoy a good read will also be mostly satisfied with Matched. Most intriguing to me was the idea of simplicity. Would a more simple life make us happier in the future? What if all the choices we make were made for us? Would we be relieved of burdens or deprived of the most important aspect of life? Even better is the fact that this is only the first book in the trilogy. Readers still have two more books to look forward to.

If I had any complaints for the book it would probably be that the characters were not quite as deep as I would have liked. I felt we only scratch the surface on who they are…we never really see them come alive on the page. It’s seems as though the setting and the “Society” took center stage and the characters in some way fell behind. Hopefully just maybe that will change in the next book in the series. I do know that Matched was good enough to make me read the next book and to look forward to more from Ally Condie in the future. I guess sometimes the hype is deserved.

Matched by Ally Condie will be released on November 30, 2010.

How do you feel about books with a big buzz? Does it make you more likely to grab the book as soon as possible or more hesitant?

4 Comments

Filed under Books for Girls, Dystopian, Girly Books, New Books, Young Adult Books

Review: The Limit by Kristen Landon

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Almost every family has a credit card. While it’s never a good idea to go into debt or to exceed your financial budget, the repercussions of such an action are not extreme in today’s society. If you splurge on something or even need to make an emergency purchase you may have to pay extra but the cost is usually not much. Perhaps you may pay an overdraft fee or owe more in the long run but it’s not as if someone is going to come to your house and take your first born child. However in the future what might happen if you reach your limit and what might it really cost you in the end? What if it did cost you your child or what if you were taken because your family couldn’t afford to pay their debts?

Matthew Dunston never worried about being taken, after all his father made a good living and he and his sisters never had any reason to believe that someday they might exceed their family account. While his mother shopped quite a lot and their father was always playing golf they still believed that their parents always had everything under control. The Dunstons had heard of children being taken to the workhouse for family debts but they didn’t know anyone who had disappeared personally. No matter anyhow since “Matt” as his family calls him is the oldest of the Dunston children and still in middle school, if they did go over their limit the government would simply put them on “supervised spending “or some other penalty program. Everyone knows the government never takes kids under high school age to the workhouse for family debts. Until now that is.

When thirteen-year-old Matt’s family accidentally goes over “the limit”, he finds himself in the highest ranks of the workhouse program. After testing exceedingly high in his math capabilities he is sent to the “top floor”, a kids dream where he can literally have anything or do anything he wants except the one thing he wants most: to go home. However soon odd things begin to happen to the kids at the workhouse and Matt finds perhaps his family’s unfortunate luck of losing him to the government was not luck at all.

In an inventive thriller that will keep you reading non-stop until the very last page, Kristen Landon has given middle grade readers a fast paced tale that will enthrall even the most reluctant reader.  Suspense, mystery and excitement all combine to make The Limit a must read not just for kids but their parents as well. Landon details a future society that has incurred the ultimate penalty for debt: children.  Kids will enjoy reading Landon’s fearsome tale and parents may even think twice next time they go to swipe their card for that un-needed purchase.  In the end everyone will want to know what it cost the Dunston family when they went over “the limit”.

The Limit will be available on September 7, 2010. In the meantime you can go “Behind the Scenes” and check out Landon’s inspiration for her latest book.

9 Comments

Filed under Children's Literature, Middle Grade, New Books

Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Imagine a place where children grow up together without parents but instead guardians. They are encouraged to be healthy, well behaved and as creative as possible. Their days are filled with arts, academic lessons, time with friends and sports. They are nurtured in many ways by not only those who care for them but by each other as well. Imagine these children of every age and appearance from the infants to the gangly teenagers, growing together in a beautiful private school in the English countryside. This is Hailsham. The children of Hailsham are told they are special. They are important to the world beyond.  However they never see this world beyond until adulthood when they will transition and then make their contribution to society.  No one questions from where they came but only from hence they will go.  Until that time they can only guess and wonder at what is beyond their school grounds, rumor often becomes truth in their minds.  Never Let Me Go is a novel that I went into knowing nothing about and I have to say I am thankful for it. It was book that led me slowly into another world. Written so simplistically it is beautiful in its emotionally evoking tale but also heartbreaking at times. It is a book to become absorbed into, to lose yourself in, then to contemplate long after. Kazuo Ishiguro is an amazing writer who creates words made into art that you can find yourself lost in for hours. While I did not know it at the time of picking up this novel, a movie is being made of Never Let Me Go. I am so glad to have had the experience of reading the book before viewing the movie. I encourage anyone who truly wants to connect with this book to do the same. However here is the trailer for those who are interested. I must say that I am very excited to see what will be done with this book on film. It could truly be amazing if done correctly. The film will be released on October 1, 2010 in the United States.

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Filed under Adult Books, Award Winners, Movies

Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

http://enterthepassage.com/wp-content/themes/EnterthePassage/images/passage-cover.jpg The Passage is an adventure spanning decades, genres and voices. It is a journey of characters and their beliefs paired with questions of morality and the fate of the future world. It’s also good to use as a doorstop or a weapon of defense in case of emergency considering its staggering size at nearly 800 pages. In short it’s not “light” reading in any sense of the word but worth reading nonetheless. A long walk worth taking even though you have no idea of the path ahead or the twists and turns it may take.

The first in a trilogy The Passage hovers somewhere between dystopian science fiction and contemporary masterpiece. It is a book comprised of many books, characters and settings. The story of Amy, the girl who does not die and yet is a part of a force that is death itself is the center of Cronin’s tale. This force decimating what we know of the modern world is one we have known of in many forms. Vampire, zombie, drac, smoke…no matter the name, we have listened to the tales throughout history and yet now it is made new. Cronin not only makes the story breath new life but also even makes it somewhat believable. However the child Amy is the center of all and what truly makes the pages turn as the reader searches for her and her fate in the lives of others.  She is a beacon not only for the characters but for the reader as well.

The Many are what make up this book. The stories of each character, their lives, their fears, their hopes, even memories and the ties that bind are what make this book worth its weight. Cronin weaves together stories as he creates a web of prose that at times is breathtaking in its simplicity and other times so complex in its technical aspects, the reader may wonder if it could possibly still be the same book. Any yet it is and Amy remains a fixture to lead readers through.

To say Justin Cronin has written a blockbuster would be true, to say he has written some utterly beautiful lines would be true as well but that they are in the same book is what might come as a surprise. The Passage has a quality that I have never seen before, it is such a mixture of literary parts and yet it works and flows perfectly.  The Passage is a book to get lost in and find yourself still in the same position many hours later still wanting more. And since it is a trilogy, we hope more is sure to come.

7 Comments

Filed under Adult Books, Movies, New Books