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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Perfect Ruin (Early Review!)

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles, #1)
by Lauren DeStefano

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan’s older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose. (goodreads.com)

Release date: October 1, 2013

(No spoilers. But read at your own risk.)

This book doesn’t come out for two months but I couldn’t help myself and read it early. I have been struggling horribly with reading lately and when this ARC arrived  on my doorstep (this time I knew it was coming) I picked it up with a mixed feeling of dread and anticipation.

You see, I absotively adored Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy and discovered that series thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada when a surprise ARC of the first book showed up one day. Since then I devoured each and every book in that series and lamented the year-long waits between instalments.

So when I saw that there was a new series by this author about to be published I jumped up and down and waved my hand frantically and danced excitedly about the possibilities that could come from a new series by an author I had grown to love.

But of course the fear of not loving a new series by an author you already love from another series is always LOOMING overhead as you fret over opening the book to the first page. What if it’s horrible? What if it’s exactly like the previous series and completely unoriginal. What if it’s sheer drivel?

What if…? What if…?! OMG WHAT IF…!??!

But you know what? All my fears were laid to rest pretty quickly as I read. I admit, I wasn’t certain right off the bat. I had to get my head around this new world and its rules and mythology but it became quickly apparent that this was a book that I was going to be able to finish in a normal amount of time (for me; therefore a few hours) and I wasn’t going to toss it aside with a big, dramatic sigh and wish that the world would just offer me some originality!

Lauren DeStefano delivers with originality. And awesome world-building. And wonderfully likable characters. (There is totally a word for that that I can’t think of. Sympathetic characters? Empathetic characters? Something better than “likable” anyhow. That is way too bland a word for what I mean.)

I was in awe of the world in the Chemical Garden trilogy and I am yet again in awe of the world in the Internment Chronicles. I enjoyed Morgan as a protagonist and I extremely enjoyed her voice in the novel.

One of the aspects of the book I loved the most was the relationship between Pen and Thomas. I don’t know why, but they were such a delight to read. Their banter, dialogue, interaction, everything. I loved them dearly in this story. They were such an enjoyable bonus to an already stellar story. I was always smiling when I would read their dialogue. Always.

Although I didn’t have the same amount of terror and anxiety while reading this book as I did with DeStefano’s first series, I found that she can really create a wonderfully, creepy and deep dystopian world. Her imagination is astounding and her ability to capture these ideas and put them down in words so well-crafted that I can visualize everything in such great detail is just…breathtaking.

My only negative comment about this series is that I read the book two months before it’s due to be published and now I have to wait even longer for the next book to come out. Likely, it’s not even written yet. It doesn’t even have a title on Goodreads and – OMG! Goodreads lists it as due out in 2015.

TWENTY FIFTEEN.

That’s not even next year. *flails*

I will have to survive with other epic books like the final book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy and the third book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. It’ll be hard, but I’ll do my best to make it through the rough days ahead.

And BONUS points to Lauren DeStefano (and/or the publisher?) for creating not one, but TWO series that have names other than that of the first book.

The Internment Chronicles

  1. Perfect Ruin
  2. TBA – 2015???
  3. TBA – ??

Sever

Sever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy, #3)
by Lauren DeStefano

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain. (goodreads.com)

Release date: February  12, 2013

If you haven’t read the first two books. I’d suggest you bypass this review because it’ll spoil you, unintentionally for the most part, but still. You have been warned. 😉

It is always a bitter sweet moment when an amazing series comes to an end. On one hand, you’ve just finished a wonderful series and you don’t want to face a future without the anticipation of another book down the line. (Much like Harry Potter books and movies…) On the other hand, you’ve managed to complete a series that wrapped up nicely  in three books and you’re not having to suffer through that “Why is this series STILL going on!?” crap that longer series often have. The quality of the books tend to become mediocre and you’re really just sticking with it out of misplaced loyalty or nostalgia for the Series That Once Was and a sense of closure.

So as sad as I am to see The Chemical Garden series come to an end, I am also very happy that it was such an enjoyable ride for three books.

There’s a lot happening in the third and final book of this trilogy. I am sort of happy to report that I didn’t feel nearly as anxious while reading Sever as I did reading Fever. This isn’t a bad thing to me. I don’t really like having panic attacks while reading. Call me crazy. I was actually truly fascinated for most of the book, the parts in Reed’s home. I enjoyed him as a character, all grumpy and rough around the edges, and I loved his dark house full of curiosities. Once more I was moved by Linden and had completely forgotten about Gabriel until he was mentioned out of the blue. I still feel zero connection between Rhine and Gabriel. Zero.  He could have be written out of the story and I wouldn’t have cared.

I loved how the stories from the first two books all sort of tied together in the final one. I loved seeing sides of Madame I hadn’t experienced before. I loved that characters I previously couldn’t stand (Cecily, Madame, Vaughn) became more interesting and in some cases, some of my favourite characters throughout the series.

I am forever grateful to Simon & Schuster Canada for the discovery of this series three years ago. A random, surprise ARC in the mail one year sparked a love affair between myself and The Chemical Garden. It was ALMOST insta-love. ALMOST! But like a real relationship, this series and I grew to know each other better over the course of three books and I can now say with certainly that it is true love. This series is a keeper and I shall always be happy that it graces my bookshelf.

I do want to take a moment to discuss the covers for this series though. The first book, Wither had an amazing cover. It was dark and mysterious and tragic-looking all at once. Fever‘s cover was brighter but still evoked a strong emotional response from me. The cover model still looks broken and unhealthy, as if she’s withering away. But then there’s Sever which just sort of looks like a bad photoshopped mish-mash of STUFF and a happy, healthy Prom Dress Pose model over a horrible green screen. I am actually quite disappointed in this cover and I can assure you that if I didn’t already know how amazing this series was, I’d have not picked the book up in the store.  I think if the green screenesque background has been changed to something else.. a pattern? Wood? Texture? SOMETHING! It might not have looked so cheesy to me. The story between the covers is amazing though, so don’t let it make you think otherwise!

Oh, hey! I just saw this cover on Goodreads and it’s got a darker, moodier background and it really DOES change the look. I like this one a lot better and I’m wondering if that’s how it’s going to look when final copies come out?

Chemical Garden Trilogy

  1. Wither
  2. Fever
  3. Sever

3 Questions: author Lauren DeStefano (Wither, Fever)

Hi there, blog readers! Do you remember when I used to blog regularly and tell you all about the books I was reading? Sigh. Sorry about the lack of activity, life is all upside down and turned around right now, so I’m having a slight time management issue (as in, I have NO TIME FOR ANYTHING! GAH!) Heck, if I can actually find time to use the bathroom during the work day I consider that an accomplishment!

But that’s not why you’re here! You’re here for me to tell you about BOOKISH THINGS! And though I am slightly late in posting this, I have something exciting to present to you! I was lucky enough to have some questions answered by Lauren DeStefano, author of one of my most favourite series out there – The Chemical Garden Trilogy. Wither was a 2011 YA debut last year and I ADORED it. The second book, Fever, comes out this month and I reviewed it a few weeks ago, this book was also very much adored.

You’ll note that I am so out of time, I didn’t even have time to get five questions answered, which is what I normally do for this rare-occurring feature. Three questions was all I managed!

Lest I run out of time to actually finish this blog post, I shall stop here and present to you, Ms. DeStefano, author of the amazing Dystopian YA trilogy! Enjoy!

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1. Did you ever feel anxious at all while writing FEVER? I was a huge ball of anxiety the entire time I was reading the story because of everything that was happening. Do you ever feel that sort of emotion when you write, or are you able to be detached from the events?

I did feel anxious, but I think my anxiety came from my wanting to tell the story in the best way possible. Fever is a bit of a darker story than Wither, and Rhine is presented with a lot of heartache, and I wanted to make sure I got it right. There was a lot of rewriting involved with the second installment, and a lot of sleepless nights.

2. The secondary characters in both WITHER and FEVER are very real and 3-dimensional. How deeply do you research those characters to make them so interesting?

I don’t research my characters. I acknowledge that they’re human beings with their own ideas, and I let them decide what they’d like to become.

3. What is your least favourite thing to do? (Could be anything from laundry, to walking around the block ;))

Waking up before 10:00 in the morning. It doesn’t matter if I’m waking up to collect a winning lottery ticket; if it’s before 10, I’m going to gripe about it.

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Well, drat! I hit publish instead of save and posted this before it was done. GREAT! Go, me!

For those of you who happen to read this when you drop by, rather than in a feed reader, you’ll get extra stuff. heh

If you have not yet heard of this series or tried it – DO IT NOW! Go here and learn more about it. They have a lovely website set up with all sorts of nifty things! One of the coolest things on there is a map of the Wives’ floor, which I think is great. I like having maps and locations detailed for me when I read books (comes from a long standing romance with fantasy novels. I love being able to refer to the maps provided in the books to see what the journey is like!)

I was also going to post the rather cool looking widget they have on the site, but I can’t seem to get the code, so you’ll just have to click through the website and see it for yourself. It’s got the covert art from the second book on it and I LOVE the covers for this series. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

And as a disclaimer, though Simon & Schuster Canada provided me with the opportunity to ask Lauren some questions (thank you!), everything else in this post, all the gushing ramblings are 100% my own. If you’ve been reading for a while you know I don’t promote anything on my blog that I don’t 100% agree with and feel strongly about. If I didn’t adore this series so much I wouldn’t be telling you this, nor would I have jumped at the chance to interview the author. Just felt like explaining this to those of you who might be newer to these parts. (Welcome!)

Ok, NOW I’m finished with this post. I shall publish again and then link all social media thingamabobs to the completed post. heh

Toodles!

Fever

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)
by Lauren DeStefano

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 mansion…by any means necessary. (goodreads.com)

Release date: February 21, 2012

I couldn’t wait any longer to read this book. I know it comes out a month from now, but I have had it in my house – taunting me! – since November. Last year I received Wither for review and it made me so happy. The book was even better than I had hoped and it stayed at the top of the Best Books of 2011 I had read.

Right from the first page of Fever I was in a constant state of anxiety and rage. Rhine and Gabriel’s escape at the end of the first book leads them right into even worse conditions. The entire time they were in Carnival with Madame my skin was crawling, my stomach knotting and my heart was racing. I swear this book was a cardio workout the entire time.

I hate feeling trapped when I read books. Hate it. I was trapped the entire first half of this novel and I just wanted to escape. I say this in the most positive and complimentary way as odd as it seems. I felt like I was experiencing Rhine’s fear and frustration first hand. Even once they escaped from Madame and ended up with the Fortune Teller, I still couldn’t breath properly.

In fact, my breathing was irregular and catching for the entire story. The action doesn’t even slow down at the end! I have no idea what’s in store for the final book, but by golly, I can’t wait to find out!

My one issue with the story is Gabriel. It’s more my own personal feelings towards him than anything in the book. If I had to chose between Linden (in the first book) and Gabriel, I’d choose Linden. I know that’s weird, but he was just so complex and naive and I could get why Rhine’s opinion of him would change. Gabriel, to me, has always been sort of secondary. I found him very secondary in this particular installment in the trilogy because he spends much of it out of sight out of mind and though Rhine does think of him often, I felt like he should have had a larger roll in their adventure since they’d escaped together. I don’t find him particularly likable and he’s never created any emotions within me, unlike Linden and his creepy-ass father Housemaster Vaughn. *shudder*

I can’t say I was all that disappointed by the lack of Gabriel in Fever even though he probably should have been around more if you think about it.

Heck, I felt more for Jacob, the guard in the Carnival than I did for Gabriel. That’s saying something.

Ultimately, I feel like Lauren DeStefano is a gift to readers that we should not ignore. It’s rare when an author can write just so poetically and wonderfully and create such emotion with their words. Sarah Addison Allen, Michelle Zink, Erin Bow, Kate Forsyth, these are authors who get the same reactions from me as Lauren DeStefano does. These are authors I know can paint a masterpiece on paper with their words. I feel, taste and touch every single emotion they describe. I love books that are like a thrill ride – even if it’s not a scary kind – and they don’t leave me motion sick in the end, either.

Have you not read this Dystopian YA yet? What are you waiting for! Go NOW and pick up the first two books and prepare to burn calories as you read because your heart will be a-pumpin’!

Chemical Garden Trilogy

  1. Wither
  2. Fever
  3. Sever

In My Mailbox #49 – Sugar Rush edition

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

All my IMM posts can be found here!

Bought:

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern (link goes to review)

For Review:

Awesome person mention:

Gail @ Ticket to Anywhere (my Revenge BFF!)

Two links go to my reviews, and the Fever one goes to Goodreads, as per the norm!