Hey everyone, and welcome to the blog tour for Daughter of Isis by Kelsey Ketch, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. You might remember that a little while ago I helped reveal the cover of this book, and after that I just couldn’t NOT be a part of this tour! As always, I’m only one stop, so remember to check out the rest of the tour! Now, onto the real business!
When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables send for a boy orphan to help them out at their farm, they mistakenly get Anne Shirley, a feisty, independent, but warm-hearted eleven-year-old girl. Fortunately, her sunny nature and quirky imagination win the hearts of her reluctant foster parents and everyone in the community. But not a day goes by without some memorable adventure or prank in the tragicomedy of her life.
3 1/2 stars
Yes, this is a re-read. But I sat there and read the whole thing and I don’t have anything else finished for today so HERE WE GO! Besides, I think it’s quite interesting to compare reading this now to how it was when I read it as a child.
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
Read this book if: you’re looking for adventure, fantastic worldbuilding, and vampire fiction that thinks outside the box.
Do not read this book if: you’re looking for sweet-and-broody vampire romance, or you don’t like blood. Seriously. There’s a lot of it.
I read the short story this book started with a while back, and when I found out she was writing a book off the idea, I was very, very excited. The short story was an interesting take on the vampire myth, free of stereotypes and surprisingly believable. The novel absolutely lives up to that, and more.
In this take on the vampire myth, vampirism is well and truly a disease: once infected, people must either drink human blood and turn into vampires or find someone to lock them up for 88 days while they scream and throw up and try to attack anyone who comes close. If the government finds out you’re infected, you’ll be quarantined in a Coldtown–a walled vampire city–and never, ever allowed to leave, even if you beat the infection. Due to the existence of the Internet and TV, the public has a somewhat unhealthy fascination with the goings-on in Coldtowns, and lots of people dream of being infected. In a way, I think what made this book work so well is that it’s not about vampirism so much as it’s about people’s reactions to vampirism. Some people dream of being turned, romanticizing the idea; some people fight the idea for all they’re worth, even after being infected. Some people become vampires and stay exactly the same, and some people turn into bloodthirsty maniacs. Some families lock infected family members in the basement for 88 days and suffer through the screaming, and others turn them in to the police and ship them off to Coldtown. There’s a broad range of humanity explored through the idea of vampirism here, and I really love how multidimensional the idea gets.
Tana is a very…appropriate main character for her setting. She’s got some nastiness in her past and some problems in her present, and she ends up going to Coldtown for not-very-good reasons, with minimal preparation and a vampire chained up in the backseat. Once she gets there, though, she is no helpless vampire-romance heroine. She is drugged and locked up with two very bad options to choose from, and instead of playing along she makes a third option. She is threatened and she doesn’t back down; she’s attacked and she defends herself. Often writers of vampire fiction play up their human characters’ helplessness in the face of such supernatural strength and give the vampires all the agency, but Tana seems to be at her strongest and most formidable when surrounded by people who think she looks yummy. She gets involved in big, dangerous events and refuses to be sidelined. She is not taking any of your bloodsucker BS.
I think one of this book’s biggest strengths is its ability to produce character development and worldbuilding without slowing the action down at all. The author really does her ensemble cast justice here, and it’s delightful. Even the jerk ex-boyfriend mentioned in the blurb actually gets some interesting character development and does some good things.
Romance didn’t play a very big part, and I was pretty happy with that. Gavriel, the obligatory mysterious/hot vampire boy, is a good character, there’s no denying that: he’s driven, he’s angry, and he is insane–legitimately crazy–in ways that make a really weird amount of sense. He fits right in in the opulent, bloody environment of Coldtown: extravagant, devious, gleefully mad, and dangerous in ways even the other vampires can’t guess at. Which brings me to a plot element I had to think about a LOT before I decided what I thought of it…
–WARNING: Thoughts on relationships ahead. Spoilery, but only with plot elements that you probably guessed anyway!–
Gavriel is everything I could ask for out of a character, but NOT someone I would want my friend dating. He and Tana circle each other throughout the book, which, anyone who’s read any YA at ALL knew from the blurb that there would be romantic tension there, right? I’m super-happy that it’s mostly just romantic tension–these people are REALLY BUSY, they don’t have TIME for smoldery vampire sex. And Gavriel is not…safe. He’s unstable, and a self-acknowledged monster. But he never shows any violence or cruelty or even abuserish tendencies towards Tana (which is better than I can say of 99% of vampire boyfriends out there), and although any relationship between them is going to be inherently abnormal and a bit twisted…I think that’s more because both parties are really abnormal. They live in a weird, violent world, and they’re both weird, somewhat violent people (okay, Tana’s only violent out of necessity, but she doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with it). So although it’s certainly not a normal relationship, it doesn’t seem inherently damaging, just a product of Coldtown and of the two people involved–and I actually am glad that the weirdness of it is acknowledged. Gavriel gives me the creeps, but he’s supposed to. At least the narrative acknowledges that he’s not stable, and Tana is aware of it. And honestly? I think she can handle him.
–End Predictable Spoilers–
So, basically: this book is dark and bloody and sometimes twisted. The world is extravagant and insane and manipulative. People are desperate. Some of the vampires are still people, and some of them turned into monsters as soon as their bodies gave them permission. This book has a lot of desperate people (human ones) in it, and also a lot of blood.
If those are not turn-offs for you, I definitely recommend this book.
After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
Thanks to Walkers Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for this eARC! This title will be released on October 1st, 2013.
I have a soft spot for Simone Elkeles’ books. When I saw she was writing a new series, I jumped up and down with glee. I had hoped that with this one Simone might try for something a little different, and it certainly seemed that way. But what I got was more of the same tried and true Simone Elkeles, but not in the best way.
Sara Crewe seemed just like a real princess… When Sara Crewe arrives at Miss Minchin’s London boarding school, she seems just like a real little princess. She wears beautiful clothes, has gracious manners, and tells the most wonderful stories. Then one day, Sara suddenly becomes penniless. Now she must wear rags, sleep in the school’s dreary attic, and work for her living. Sara is all alone, but keeps telling herself that she can still be a princess inside, if only she tries hard enough.
Yet another story I have to admit that I didn’t read until my Children’s and YA Lit class here at Ithaca College. Depressing, I know, but still the truth. Honestly, I’m not sure I could have made my way to the end of this one if it wasn’t required. Still, I didn’t come out hating it as much as I thought I would.
Welcome to the By Blood Blog Tour, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! I know you’re excited to get to all the goodies I have in store for you, so let’s get started!
On their way to the first Circle temple in Gyongxi, mages Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy pay a visit to the emperor’s summer palace. Although treated like royalty when they first arrive, the mages soon discover that the emperor plans to invade Gyongxi, posing a fatal threat to the home temple of the Living Circle religion. Accompanied by one of the emperor’s prize captives, the three mages rush to Gyongxi to warn its citizens of the impending attack. With the imperials hot on their trail, Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy must quickly help the country prepare for battle. But even with the help of new allies, will their combined forces be enough to fight the imperial army and win the war?
Thanks to Netgalley and Scholastic for this eARC. This title will be released September 24th, 2013.
So, you remember how I said I was excited for this book? Immediately after I posted about it, Gretchen and I got an ARC. We were both extremely excited. But because Gretchen has more ARCs to review than I do, I get to be the one talking about it! (Which in retrospect may have been a bad idea, because I am very sleep-deprived. Bear with me.) Before I do that, here’s some quick, spoiler-free context if you haven’t read Tammy’s Circle books:
3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped.
2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game.
Kira Jordan survived her family’s murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis.
1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it.
Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira’s psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan’s secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira’s only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can’t escape.
Thanks to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for this eARC! This book will be released on September 24th, 2013.
I basically only ended up with this book because I’m auto-approved for Harlequin Teen titles, and few of them have ever disappointed me. I came into the book with no expectations, which ended up being a good thing. A little while ago I read a book called Nerve by Jeanne Ryan, and I thought that was what this was going to be like as well. It was a lot like Nerve: fast paced, twisty and action packed. But then there was that shoehorned love story that made me want to headdesk.
Little Women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these are hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through their dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, women of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married at the end of Part I. Part II, chronicles Meg’s joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo’s struggle to become a writer, Beth’s tragedy, and Amy’s artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. Based on Louise May Alcott’s childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.
CLASSICS TIME! You heard right – I’m reviewing a reeeeeal oldie. But this IS my first time reading this book and I DID read it for a class called Studies in Children’s and YA Literature, so honestly it seemed like a good thing to do. Also, I had to read this in like two days I deserve this. ANYWAYS! Let’s get this show on the road! I apparently have a really inflammatory opinion about the end of this book, according to my classmates, so this should be FUN.
“I’m lucky just to be alive”
Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. As the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.
Now fugitives, Eva and Addie find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion.
Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.
Four and a half stars
Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for this eARC! This title will be released September 17th, 2013.
WARNING: This review WILL include spoilers for the first book, What’s Left of Me. Read my review for more!
Getting a hold of an ARC of this book became an absolute necessity after reading the first book. When Edelweiss declined my first request, I requested again – basically until they let me have it. I was like a dog with a bone for this book, and with good reason. What’s Left of Me blew me out of the water and then some. Of course, after that, it was impossible to like the second one as much as the first, but the book gave me a good go, anyways!