Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: The Forgetting Curve by Angie Smibert

Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC, 202 pages
May 1, 2012, Marshall Cavendish

Aiden Nomura likes to open doors—especially using his skills as a hacker—to see what’s hidden inside. He believes everything is part of a greater system: the universe. The universe shows him the doors, and he keeps pulling until one cracks open. Aiden exposes the flaw, and the universe—or someone else—will fix it. It’s like a game.

Until it isn’t.

When a TFC opens in Bern, Switzerland, where Aiden is attending boarding school, he knows things are changing. Shortly after, bombs go off within quiet, safe Bern. Then Aiden learns that his cousin Winter, back in the States, has had a mental breakdown. He returns to the US immediately.

But when he arrives home in Hamilton, Winter’s mental state isn’t the only thing that’s different. The city is becoming even stricter, and an underground movement is growing.

Along with Winter’s friend, Velvet, Aiden slowly cracks open doors in this new world. But behind those doors are things Aiden doesn’t want to see—things about his society, his city, even his own family. And this time Aiden may be the only one who can fix things... before someone else gets hurt.

Source: Bridget, Marshall Cavendish (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Aiden Nomura was rich, glossy and handsome. Yes, he was the only son of the head of the Nomura business and he was bound for awesomeness in the future. However, during his pastime he was a hacker. He wanted to open doors, nudging them and sometimes prying them open with force, code, etc.

I was intrigued and fascinated with the Nomura family. As a whole, they were an interesting bunch of intelligent and talented people. But each one of them had their own life story, their own struggles, their own drama and their own desires. In this installment, I got to dig deep into Winter Nomura’s life. In Memento Nora, she was Micah’s best friend. In The Forgetting Curve, she was the girl diagnosed with schizophrenia who spent her time creating kinetic sculptures, asking about Japan and trying to find out what happened to her parents. She remained strong, determined and creative but that didn’t mean that she was safe from TFC.

Based on what I read in Memento Nora, I knew that TFC would continue aiming for control and power through deception and terrorism. But in The Forgetting Curve, the already powerful company decided to take everything to the next level. TFC was spreading all over Europe now.  Aiden’s nostalgic and beautiful Bern was being bombed. Something that violent and unexpected rattled the peaceful place. I was terrified and panicked over the expansion to Europe. I have to say that I was expecting some of the things in this installment but I was still surprised with the twists and turns and I enjoyed the chase for truth. She was one of the victims.

As Aiden strived to unlock the door to the truth about his cousin’s recent past, he will find out as much about himself and his father. I enjoyed the alternating perspectives of Winter and Aiden, as well as the peppered perspectives of Velvet in between. Seeing the aftermath and everyday effects of TFC and the society from three different perspectives completed the whole picture for me. The elite and the privileged mingled with the ones who slipped off the radar, the hiding and the rebels.

The casts by Meme Girl, an unknown girl broadcasting about the ugly truth of the society, politics and TFC and rebel-themed songs were one of the things that I really liked. It was a good way of tracking what was going on in Aiden and Winter’s world. Sometimes the life of the Nomuras just gets so stressful and complicated that I forget what’s really happening outside of their little world.

I was freaked out over how much people could distort and even ruin your life, your beliefs by making you forget. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t and doesn’t want to forget. I like to keep all my memories in my head. The idea of a person being vulnerable to losing those memories – the ones that define and make that person – was just plain harsh and awful. Not all memories are good but people hold on to those, both good and bad. It’s a part of them and it’s unfair to take it away. It’s like losing a part of yourself.

The Forgetting Curve is charming, thought-provoking and engrossing. This fast-paced read is perfect for quick reads. I highly recommend this to dystopian and science fiction readers and fans of Possession by Elana Johnson! Big, awesome stories come in small packages. Like this book.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 341 pages
February 16, 2012, Simon & Schuster

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

Wither was the terrifyingly beautiful introduction to the story world that Destefano created. Fever was the tragic, tension-filled phase wherein the characters that I loved were thrown into a haze of confusion, doubt and struggles. It was not as good as the first for me but it still had an intriguing and surprising quality that kept me reading on.

Rhine was still determined and strong, always moving forward, passing obstacles. She still wanted ‘freedom’ long after she escaped Linden’s mansion. She was able to escape but no matter where she went it seemed that her recent past with Linden, her sister wives and Vaughn still trailed after her, unwilling to let her go. Her relationship with Gabriel, the servant who escaped with her, was progressing. Now that they were free, they could express their feeling towards each other freely. But Rhine and Gabriel fell in love in a cage, constantly worrying about anyone seeing them. They gravitated towards each other, wanting what they couldn’t have. Now that they were in the outside world, they still feel the same. However, they faced several obstacles and struggled to keep their relationship going. In a world where there was no happily ever after for withering youths, is it possible to truly, deeply, wholeheartedly love and be happy?

Gabriel was still caring, loving, gentle and curious. I was glad to see what he would be like outside the mansion. For once, he wasn’t living by the rules of his master. He was living by his own rules. He was free and he was with the girl he loves, Rhine. He assumed a protective role, trying to keep Rhine from trouble. I got to see an edge of his rough, protective side come out. It made me smile to see Gabriel – who never lifted a finger against anyone in the mansion – fight.

When the two escaped, Rhine was simply returning to her ‘home’ but for Gabriel, it was like entering an entirely different realm. Having lived as a servant for half of his life, he was no longer accustomed to hard, rough days on the outside. He was curious about the outside world, was inspired and intrigued by the way Rhine saw it through her eyes but it was evident that he wasn’t impressed with it at all. Rhine’s world was not a paradise. It was a chaotic, faded world, a shadow of its former self, where the strongest, smartest and wisest survived. They left security and wealth behind for this not-so-great world. The question was: Was it worth it?

The lives of the new characters in Fever and the old characters in Wither blended together to bring a clearer and unbiased view of the society. I was touched with the drama, the tension and the fear that the characters felt in their short lives. Each scene was painted well by the gripping and gorgeous writing of Destefano. The overall impact was great. The unpredictability was maintained however I feel that there was a little something missing in Rhine and her journey to find her brother. I felt that it was a bit too long. The ending was good but not as strong as Wither’s ending.

Fever is the reflection of Rhine’s world, life and journey outside her cage. Filled with tragic, surprising and terrifying and somewhat sickening moments, this is fit for readers of dark, harsh dystopian tales. If you loved Wither like I did, you’ll enjoy this.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Harper Teen Apocalypsies Prize Pack Giveaway!

Hi guys! So we know that you’ve been waiting for the Prize Pack Giveaway for Part 2…
It’s finally here! But before that, let me remind you that all our Part 2 giveaways are still open:

Signed HarbingerARC + Swag (Sara Wilson Etienne) – US & Canada
SignedOldsoul ARC (Dan Haring) – US
SignedHemlock ARC + Swag (Kathleen Peacock) – International 
InsigniaARC (SJ Kincaid) – US
SlatedARC (Teri Terry) – International
InnocentDarkness Swag Pack (Suzanne Lazear) – International
Pretty Crooked Swag Pack (Elisa Ludwig) – International
LiesBeneath Swag Pack (Anne Greenwood Brown) – International
Signed Copy of Getting Somewhere (Beth Neff) – International
SignedCopy of Born Wicked + Swag (Jessica Spotswood) – International

There you go!

Now for the fun part, Harper Teen is sponsoring this giveaway so this is only for US residents (sorry my lovelies.) However, if you have a US addy or if you have a friend/relative/or maybe even a lover in the US who can receive the prizes for you, sure, you can join!

Harper Teen Apocalypsies Prize Pack Giveaway

This includes:

Finished Copy of Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Finished Copy of Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC, 311 pages
January 24, 2012, Disney-Hyperion (US), Pier 9 (AUS)

It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival.

As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest. Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.

Source: Netgalley & Hyperion, Ashlea and Pier 9 (Started reading the one from Netgalley but continued and finished reading using the Pier 9 copy)

My Thoughts:

Many years ago, Kaelyn moved out of her island to live in Toronto. Then a few years ago, she moved back to the island with her family. She went back to everything she left behind – her home, her school and her neighborhood. But the thing was that, Kaelyn felt disconnected with them. She didn’t get along that well with the islanders. With her dark skin tone and having lived away for years, she found it doubly harder to fit it. She never did – not on the island or in Toronto. She was just that kind of girl.

The virus was a queer one. It didn’t turn people into zombie-like versions of themselves but it made people friendlier, and took away social inhibitions, letting its host get close to other people and spread the virus. Even though the virus killed an awful lot of people in Kaelyn’s island, there was a part of me that liked it. With the virus, people spoke the truth. And the ones left behind realized the importance and shortness of life. They grouped together, offered support and lend a helping hand to each other.

The virus took Kaelyn’s father away, making him devote too many of his hours working at the hospital and at the research center. It was everywhere, manifesting through itches, coughs and overly talkative and overly frank people. School was shut down and after that everyone disappeared into their homes, refusing to walk outside with the danger of contagion. It was terrifying because an outbreak of a virus was highly possible. It scared me how the government could decide to isolate the island and control it with men poised to shoot and rare deliveries. I realized that the truth of self-preservation is this: people can easily turn away and leave the minority, so long as it ensures the safety of the majority. But doing that meant the loss of many lives, the crushing of a thousand hopes and forcing people to live every day of their life thinking that they might drop dead next like their family, friends and neighbors.

I loved seeing Kaelyn grow, accept reality of her not getting what she wanted and living in peace with her rival, Tessa. Her perception about Gav, the popular guy who started the Fight Club on the island, changed. Instead of the popular, somewhat violent guy, she saw someone who deeply cared about the people around him, who would take that extra step to help the ones in need and who would risk his life, his health just to make sure that his objective was fulfilled. Gav and Kaelyn’s relationship was sweet. There was no insta-love. It was very realistic for me.

The Way We Fall was told through Kaelyn’s diary. It was very effective with the abrupt stops, the urgent beginning of another paragraph and its honesty. Really, reading Kaelyn’s diary was like reliving everything that happened to her. Everytime a sentence didn’t finish, I got worried. Everytime she wrote more than one entry a day, I just knew something was wrong.

The Way We Fall is a gripping and touching tale of survival, loss and hope. It’s a dark tale both disheartening and encouraging for dystopian readers. I highly recommend this!


Author Interview with Kate Kae Myers

Hi everyone, so this is the last author I’m featuring at Fragments of Life for Dystopian Domination 2, Part 2 – Apocalypsies and Debut Authors. I’m featuring Kate Kae Myers and her debut, The Vanishing Game.

What or who inspired you to write The Vanishing Game?
I was actually working on another writing project when the main character, Jocelyn, and the events in the first chapter kept coming into my head during the early morning hours. She had such a strong voice, even from the beginning, that I finally had to write down the first chapter as I felt afraid I’d lose it if I didn’t. Later, on the brink of giving up my dream of getting published, I took one more chance and wrote her story.

What kind of world did you portray in The Vanishing Game?

The main part of the book takes place in Watertown, a small city in upstate New York. More than the setting, though, I think it’s the actual mood of the book which creates Jocelyn’s world. The feeling is one of intrigue and constantly being a bit off-balance; and, of course, the instability of her childhood has deep roots in her current life. The more the mystery of Jocelyn’s past is unraveled, the more uncertain her purpose grows.

Can you tell us about your main character?

Jocelyn is smart, self-deprecating, a bit jaded and yet vulnerable. She’s a beautiful girl who fails to see that about herself; instead, she’s permanently imprinted by the awkward and unloved child she once was. She hides her insecurities with a dark sense of humor. The one thing I most love about Jocelyn? In spite of everything, she never surrenders hope.

What are the themes tackled in your novel?

Sorry, no themes in my writing. I have nothing to preach to anyone. I write for myself—for the sheer joy of living the story through my main character’s eyes. If my own personal values happen to shine through during the growth of my characters, then that’s a plus.

What is the best thing that a reviewer said about your novel?

So far I’ve gotten some really encouraging reviews, which is definitely uplifting for a new author. Best comment? One reviewer called my writing “Brilliant!” which is not what I expected, since this isn’t a literary book. Not that I’m complaining.

Did you ever base any of your characters on real people?

I don’t base my characters on people I know because it would be limiting. However, certain subliminal influences from my past do seem to occasionally surface. That’s probably unavoidable for most authors.

Can you give us one line from your novel that you find important, striking or unforgettable?

“That’s the problem with trying to fit into normal society, isn’t it?  After you’ve walked a crazy tight-wire like the one we were on, the rest of the world with its safety net seems so unexciting.” 

Seventeen-year-old Jocelyn follows clues apparently from her dead twin, Jack, in and around Seale House, the terrifying foster home where they once lived. With help from childhood friend Noah she begins to uncover the truth about Jack's death and the company that employed him and Noah.

Jocelyn's twin brother Jack was the only family she had growing up in a world of foster homes-and now he's dead, and she has nothing. Then she gets a cryptic letter from "Jason December"-the code name her brother used to use when they were children at Seale House, a terrifying foster home that they believed had dark powers. Only one other person knows about Jason December: Noah, Jocelyn's childhood crush and their only real friend among the troubled children at Seale House.

But when Jocelyn returns to Seale House and the city where she last saw Noah, she gets more than she bargained for. Turns out the house's powers weren't just a figment of a childish imagination. And someone is following Jocelyn. Is Jack still alive? And if he is, what kind of trouble is he in? The answer is revealed in a shocking twist that turns this story on its head and will send readers straight back to page 1 to read the book in a whole new light.

Here’s a little something for you!

How good are you at puzzles? Try to solve Jack's clues yourself while you follow Jocelyn as she deciphers each clue. Download and print Jack's clues at

About Kate:

There are hoards of people who "want to be a writer". I'm not one of them. Instead, I just want to write. To me, there is a difference between craving the attention and kudos of "being a writer" as opposed to the rush of climbing inside a character's skin, living their experiences, and watching their story-world build itself. Seeing words come together on a page in a hundred fascinating ways is immensely rewarding. 

I am fortunate to be represented by Jessica Regel of JVNLA, and my first YA novel, The Vanishing Game, is a 2012 debut with BloomsburyUSA.

Connect with Kate: Facebook | Goodreads | Site

Come back soon for the Apocalypsies Prize Pack Giveaway! :)