ARC Review and Giveaway- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

November 9, 2011 § 20 Comments

Shatter Me
Author – Tahereh Mafi
342 Pages
Publisher – Harper Collins
Date – November 15, 2011

Shatter Me introduces us to Juliette as she sits in solitary confinement in what seems to be a mental asylum, counting the days (264) since she’s seen, heard, or been touched by another human. The world outside those four walls (with 14 cracks) has gone insane, people starving to death, whole species of animals no longer exist, and the people in power call themselves the Reestablishment. The Reestablishment…these are the people who drug her away to this place for a murder she didn’t mean to commit, to a fate she’s sure she deserves, to be trapped by her guilt as much as by the prison walls. The power she holds within her very skin is one she doesn’t want and she will do anything to disprove the notion that she is a monster, even though she herself believes it. She maintains her tenuous hold on sanity by writing in her notebook and refusing to allow herself to acknowledge the thoughts that sometimes overwhelm her. When she awakes one day to find herself with a cellmate, her entire world begins to change.

The writing style of Shatter Me was like none I’ve read before, both haunting and at times a bit overwhelming. Written in an almost lyrical or poetic prose, Juliette’s inner thoughts and feelings were often uncomfortably intense, which would be understandable considering the situation she was in. Many of her words/thoughts were written and then struck out, as if she were refusing to allow herself to acknowledge those thoughts. I thought this was a powerful way to show how she was struggling to hold onto her sanity. As she began to have more human interaction, the strikethroughs became less common. It was such a fascinating progression. While, for the most part, I thought the writing was beautiful, there were also times when it felt like overkill and it became a bit tedious. Overall though, I enjoyed the unique imagery and the flow of the words.

“I always wonder about raindrops. 

I wonder how they are always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. Its like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the raindrops dare to tap on their doors.

          I am a raindrop.
       
          My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a           concrete slab.”

The story itself was intense and reminded me very much of Xmen. Juliette’s power is reminiscent of Rogue and many of her characteristics also reminded me of Rogue from Xmen. The plot was action packed and thrilling. The villain, Warner, was out of his mind and made an even more effective bad guy because of the hint of a hidden past that may explain why he is the wicked boy he’s become. Happily, this did not become a love triangle since Warner is simply too psychotic to engender much sympathy from Juliette. The interplay between Juliette and Adam was extremely well done. This is a romance that I can believe. Things between them tend to get pretty steamy a couple times, but Mafi reins it in and manages to keep it PG. The ending also reminded me a lot of Xmen and has me incredibly excited about the sequel.

Overall, I think that Shatter Me has lived up to all the hype. Most readers will enjoy the intense and original writing style as well as the exciting premise, a steamy romance, and a villain you love to hate. In the sequel, I hope to see more details about the dystopian world and how it became that way and more about the two factions, the Reestablishment and the people who are not ready to succumb to that tyrannical rule and of course more Adam and Juliette! I would recommend Shatter Me to readers who enjoy dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction, fans of Xmen, and anyone who enjoys a thrilling YA adventure.

Rating- 4




The Giveaway


I somehow ended up with two ARCs of Shatter Me so I decided to give one away to one of my lucky readers. I will be shipping this myself so this will be US only. You do not have to be a follower to enter but following is appreciated! Extra entries for sharing the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. (leave me the link) and for commenting on yesterday’s discussion question located here.
You have from today (November 9) until Monday (November 14) at 11:59 PM to enter. Winner will be announced on Shatter Me’s release date, Tuesday November 15. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form, if you have any problems please email me. Good Luck!!

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Review: The Walking Dead Rise of The Governor by Robert Kirkman

November 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor
By- Robert Kirkman
Narrated by- Fred Berman
Publisher – Macmillan Audio

 

From Goodreads:

Following in the footsteps of the New York Times best-selling graphic novels and the record-breaking new television show, this debut novel in a trilogy of original Walking Dead books chronicles the back story of the comic book series’ greatest villain, The Governor.
In the Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than The Governor. The despot who runs the walled-off town of Woodbury, he has his own sick sense of justice: whether it’s forcing prisoners to battle zombies in an arena for the townspeople’s amusement, or chopping off the appendages of those who cross him. The Governor was voted “Villain of the Year” by Wizard magazine the year he debuted, and his story arc was the most controversial arc in the history of The Walking Dead comic book series. Now, for the first time, fans of The Walking Dead will discover how The Governor became the man he is, and what drove him to such extremes.

My Thoughts:

The Walking Dead Rise of the Governor is a story about survival in a world that has lost all semblance of civilization and one man’s journey as he becomes  what some would consider a diabolical madman. The zombie apocalypse is happening and pockets of survivors are doing what they need to do to exist amidst all the carnage. One man in particular, along with his brother, daughter, and a few friends have found themselves in a suburbia gone mad and may find themselves going mad along with it.

I only heard about this series after being offered this audio to review. If you, like me, are unfamiliar with the wildly popular comics, graphic novels, and TV series, this is a perfect introduction. The Walking Dead will deposit you right in the middle of all of the undead chaos and introduce you to the small band of survivors attempting to make a life in this suburban nightmare. It was fascinating the way the book explored the emotional reactions of the group. Most of the reactions were quite understandable, but it really makes you wonder what you would do, say, feel if you found yourself in an unbelievable and terrifying new reality. The Walking Dead, didn’t lack for action either! In this world where the normal rules no longer apply, the zombies are at least the one danger in which you know what to expect, the humans are another story altogether. You would think that the struggle with the zombies would be action enough, but The Walking Dead contains some shocking twists and an ending that will leave you speechless.

The audio was narrated by Fred Berman who does an incredible job of bringing The Walking Dead to life in the most gruesome way possible. Fred Berman perfectly communicated the terror of the group trying to carve out a place in this altered world as well as conveyed each gory detail in a way that brought images to my mind that I may be a long time erasing. This is definitely a perfect audio for someone with a strong stomach and a love for zombie mayhem!

Rating – 4

StarStarStarStar

Blogger Labels: Rise of The Governor,The Walking Dead,graphic novels,comics,horror,blood and gore,Macmillan,read in 2011,audio book,Review,Dead,The Governor,Robert Kirkman,survival,zombie apocalypse,Fred Berman,survivors

Guest Post and Giveaway: A.J. Scudiere, author of God’s Eye

October 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

I am so thrilled to have bestselling author, A.J. Scudiere, on The Happy Booker today to talk about writing POV. A.J.’s newest book God’s Eye has recently been released and the good news is, the ebook format of God’s Eye will be available for just $2.99 from Amazon and Barnes and Noble beginning on 10/24 and lasting until 10/31!! Unbelievable price for such an incredible book! With such a wickedly scary cover, I couldn’t help but be curious about what’s inside!! God’s Eye is a thrilling novel that includes elements of horror, romance, and the paranormal. I’m so excited that A.J. Scudiere has offered one lucky Happy Booker reader a chance to win a signed copy!

The Thrill of Point of View.


Let me start with a resounding ‘Yes! Point of view can be thrilling.’ No, wait . . . it’s always thrilling.


Though I would never attribute the overall quality of a thriller to any one particular writing skill, I find that POV is often overlooked as the essential element that it is. We all know must have interesting characters, a suspenseful plot and a writing style that is hopefully great, but at the very least good! POV is something that must exist – it’s truly impossible to tell any story without it – and yet it is so often forgotten about. Maybe that’s because it’s so essential . . .


Still, POV is often what makes a thriller . . . well, thrilling. Imagine the book told from the serial killer’s point of view. From the first moment, you know who he is. Likely why he does what he does. Who he’s stalking . . . etc. Now imagine your lead detective knows all this, too. And so do the next three victims. Thrill: gone.


It’s what you don’t know that keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s the fact that you are stuck there with the detective . . . with a profile, a handful of suspects and kill-pattern knowledge. You know someone is going to die – but you don’t know quite who, and you don’t know how to stop it. You only know that you have to. Yes, it’s two AM and you are still reading. And that’s because of the point of view.


The author always has to make decisions about characters and their POV. I’d wager a lot of it isn’t done consciously. The writer may just have a feel for what makes a suspenseful read, just like some people feel the beat of music and others have to count it out. Other times, POV decisions are made very conscientiously. What’s revealed and when to reveal it is exactly why you are still up at two in the morning when you have to go to work the next day. And if the POV is played right, it’s worth every minute!


In addition to deciding if the reader knows what the police officer knows, or what the victim or killer knows, the author has to decide how much to reveal of what each character knows. So, in addition to singular or changing POVs, there’s an omniscient POV (where you can see inside all the characters’ heads) and there’s also partial POV. At least, that’s what I’m deeming it here, because I haven’t heard it talked about before.


Partial POV is this: though the author has put you in the head of one of the characters, you still don’t know everything that character knows. I worked hard at this in my latest book, God’s Eye. Though the demon and the angel both clearly know which they are, the POV doesn’t ever reveal it. So, while you are in Allistair’s head, you see what he sees, and you may examine things along with him, but he isn’t thinking about what species he is. And though he thinks about what his goal is for Katharine – the pawn in this otherworldly tug-of-war – Allistair doesn’t think in terms that reveal what he is, just what he wants.


The other benefit of POV is that the reader can know more than the characters know. The reader gets the benefit of sitting in his chair and seeing what’s coming, even when the character doesn’t. With a single POV throughout the whole story, this is limited, but the more eyes we see through, the smarter we get, and the more exciting it is as we put the pieces together.


Because of this challenge of POV, the thriller becomes a thinking man’s book. The POV has to reveal the story in a way that gives you enough information, yet hopefully keeps you from putting all the pieces together until the end. In the best cases, you learn the answers along with the characters (or maybe just a moment before they do!) And you find, when you solve one piece of the puzzle, that you had all the clues to put it together already in your hands.


POV is the way the author hides those clues. It’s the biggest and most overlooked element of suspense writing. It’s what truly separates books from television and movies and the good writers from the great.


So the next time you are up at two in the morning, still turning pages, ask yourself this: whose eyes do you see through and what is the author hiding there?



Wow! Thanks so much A.J. for joining us here at The Happy Booker today!Want to know more about A.J. Scudiere? You can find out more at these websites:

Author homepage: http://www.ajscudiere.com/
Audio Movies: www.AJsAudioMovies.com
Newest title, God’s Eye, out October 2011: www.GodsEyeTheBook.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AJScudiere
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ajscudiere

Goodreads Summary:

Katharine Geryon is living the life her family name has dictated, and why not? After all, it has given her a good job in the family company and a fine life with all the things she should want. But all that changes as increasingly disturbing events begin to occur: soot stains on the carpet, glimpses of strange black animals, and cryptic messages written on her bathroom mirror. Baffled and afraid, Katharine begins to doubt her own sanity.
At the same time, two charismatic men enter her life: Allistair, her new assistant at work, and Zachary, a well-heeled neighbor who just moved into her building. Katharine soon finds each of them inextricably entangled in her affairs. As her life becomes stranger and her dreams more terrifying, she realizes neither man is what he seems and that she’s caught in something far beyond her own comprehension. For the first time, she must reach beyond her own boundaries. There Katharine forges her first true friendship with Margot, a librarian who helps her discover what these men really are, why she’s drawn to them, and what they want with her.
The answer places Katharine in the middle of a fierce battle that forces her to decide between the two men fighting for her soul.
In the end, only one can be saved, but all three will be judged.



Sounds amazing right?? It sounds like an angels & demons paranormal romantic thriller with some kick!! A.J. is generously offering one lucky reader a signed copy of God’s Eye!! For those who don’t want to wait around for a giveaway, remember, the ebook format of God’s Eye will be available for just $2.99 from Amazon and Barnes and Noble beginning on 10/24 until 10/31!!  

GIVEAWAY
To enter:

US only (sorry, I’ll be having another giveaway that will be Intl starting tomorrow)

Simply fill out the form. 
Following my blog is not required but appreciated. 
Extra entries for commenting on this post, tweeting the giveaway, or following the author on Facebook or Twitter.
Last day to enter will be October 31. Winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on November 1. 
Good luck!!


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