Saturday, July 16, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie [Audiobook Inspection] [YA]

Size: 135 MB
Length: 8 hours, 51 minutes
Author: Ally Condie
Narrator: Kate Simses

Plot Sketch: Cassia Reyes' family lives in Oria Province, a part of The Society.  Her father works as an official in the government and her mother at the Arboretum, working with botanicals.  Cassia's friends, Ky, Em, and Xander are all gaining on turning seventeen, the age when you can decide to be matched with a future mate and be married, or choose to be a single and have no children.  The society matches them with their future mate.  Cassia's been so excited to be matched ever since she can remember, and on the night of her Matching Ceremony, she's pleasantly surprised with her match.  Until the next day, when she's given the microcard with information about her match on it and someone else's face is on the card, leading her to wonder if it's a mistake, a prank, or... destiny.

Plot Verdict: What was amazing about Matched is that it was dystopian that I didn't shred apart in my mind, thinking it unfeasible or trite.  It was refreshingly amazing, sure it's a totalitarian society that doesn't even let you learn how to write or choose who you marry, but there are still freedoms enough to be late and to eat all of your meal or not.  Ally Condie did a wonderful job with this one.  It had all of the elements of a controlling government and obedient citizens without being overwrought and overthought so as to create holes in her world. She focused on the love story rather than the environment, allowing the part we're all interested to flourish and grow, not burdening us with a crapload of impertinent details about The Society or the history of why Cassia's world came to be the way it is, allowing me to more easily accept the details she did give.  It was beautifully written, I was entranced by the musicality of the words while they were spoken to me, and the vivid pictures they painted in my head.  But it was still concise.  Authentic.  Beautiful.  Heart-breaking.  And definitely worth your time.

Narration Verdict:  Kate Simses did a wonderful job.  She voice acted most of the parts so that I didn't have to guess who was speaking before she read the dialog tag.  I knew what was going on by the tone and inflection in her voice.  She read at a pace that I at first thought was slow, but then came around to appreciate as the beauty of Condie's words were delivered appropriately through the cadence and pacing Simses gave me.  Great job, Kate!

People Who Would Love This: lovers of dystopia, obviously; {insert your hated political figure here 'cause I'm so not going there}; people who are thinking of giving dystopia another chance; people who know what Frankenfood is; fans of freedom and liberty and revolution; Team Gale; Jennifer Love Hewitt;

People Who Would Hate This: any number of world dictators at any given time; Posh Spice or Vicky B. or Victoria Beckham or whatever you wanna call the vapid woman; your veterinarian; purists; archivists; historians

Note:  I can't pick a side.  I can't pick Team Ky or Team Xander.  I just can't.  Every time I think I can, something else sways me temporarily to the other side.  I can't wait to read Crossed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vacay Books - Help Us Choose

Monster and I are heading to Wyoming again for a couple of weeks at the end of the month.  We're going to be in the middle of nowhere (Beartooth Highway and West Tensleep Lake), with no bookstores, no cell reception or data reception, and no electricity.  I'm totally excited.  It'll be great fun.

I'm limiting myself to ten books for the twelve day trip, which can be hard.  So, I thought I'd let you guys help me choose.

The first category is books that are newish that I haven't purchased yet, that I will be purchasing at an Indie bookstore locally.  Take your pick, which should I read? (pick 2 from the list below)

The second category are first books of a series that I own, and haven't started yet.  (pick 2 of these too!)

Books I'm taking no matter what you guys say:

1) The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (met him at Comicon and totally want to read the series now!)
2) Darklight by Leslie Livingston (because Wondrous Strange was so great, and I'm dying to read the next installment)
3) Beautiful Darkness (because I'm way too much of a slacker and am dying to read this)
4) The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong ('cause I'm dying to know the end)
5) Invasion by J.S. Lewis. (it's about time I read it, geez)
6) Whatever I'm in the middle of when I'm leaving.
7) Whatever our August book group book is.

Now, get to voting.  Help me decide! ♥

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer's Crossing: An Iron Fey Novella [Freebies]

So, if you're a fan of the Iron Fey series (Iron King, Iron Daughter, Iron Queen, Iron Knight...) there are a few things you should know:

1) Summer's Crossing, a novella that takes place, I believe, between The Iron Queen and The Iron Knight, (which I saw on amazon for $2.99) is available for free from Harlequin Teen until June 2012 on their site.

2) There's a smokin' fun behind-the-scenes video about the photo shoot for the Iron Knight cover:

Who's loving this series?  Who's hating it?  I'm curious.  I've got the first two, but I haven't dived in yet.  Share your views in the comments.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Read Party: Elin Hildebrand's Silver Girl [Events]

These types of e-vents are always fun, so I thought I'd share this one with you.  RSVP to reserve your spot!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Local Bookishish Events in July - Arizona [Local]

Just because there are no YA book signings this month doesn't mean that there aren't totally rad events happening, right?  Downtown Mesa is sporting some awesome this month, and though the events aren't explicitly bookish, they're hosted by bookish people and that's enough for me!

7/1,2,8: Mesa's Second Friday.  This month is a beach party.  But leave it to the rockin' folks at eVeRmOrE NeVeRmOrE to turn it into a Zombie Bikini Contest and the I Want You Dead, Red, and Blue Patriotic Macabre Art Show.   (best of all, it's Free)

7/9: And there's always Poetry Slams by Anthology on July 9th at Queen's Pizzeria in Downtown Mesa at 8pm.  Tickets are $5 in advance here, or $8 at the door.

TBA: And then there are those rumors that The Royale, a promisingly fantastic B-Movie Theatre is opening in July.  More details are supposed to be revealed, but dude, I'm stoked and can't wait.  It's kinda blowing my mind that all of this awesome is taking place like three miles from my house.

Other awesome in the Valley includes:

Teen Writing Workshop with Robin Brande at Changing Hands: The Way You Want To Write.  Aspiring teen writers: bring a pen and paper and be prepared to write your fingers off! Robin Brande, the award-winning author of young adult novels such as Fat Cat and Into the Parallel, hosts a fast-paced, fun and inspiring workshop to teach you to start writing, bring forth your individual voice, and finish what you begin. She also covers the secret tricks professional writers use to blast through any blocks and be as creative and productive as they want to be.  Cost: $25. Registration and pre-payment at 480.730.0205.