Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan


Author:Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Date: September 13th, 2011
Series: Skychasers #1
Pages: 307
Genre: YA- Dystopian, Romance
Source: Provided by publisher (ALA)

This was an extremely interesting little story. Simply put, the Earth is in its final days with most of its resources spent and its life quickly running out. Two ships depart the dying planet and begin the long journey to New Earth, a distant planet that holds the promise of a new life. The ships carry with them a miniaturized version of the departed civilization, complete with the technology and resources to reestablish life as they have known it on this alien planet. It is expected, and indeed vital to their mission for the ship's people to procreate; these future generations necessary to keep their little world alive as the ship crosses unfathomable miles on a journey that will take more years than a lifetime to complete.

Two ships set out. One ship is alive with children, it's women fertile and the future of their people secured. The other ship houses a dying people, their women barren and unable to replenish the now aging population. Half way to New Earth, the second ship, their situation now dire, calls for a rendezvous with its sister ship...who refuses. In the midst of a distant nebula, its celestial whirlings rendering it undetectable and completely cut off from all other life, the barren ship lies in wait for the sister who refused to help...

I tried, unsuccessfully to read Across the Universe. I couldn't get into it and dropped it about a quarter of the way in. So when I started reading Glow, and the storyline was oddly familiar I got out the tissues just in case we were on the verge of some seriously unhappy bunny tears but I am happy to report that not one bitter bunny tear was shed.

We have several elements working in this story's favor. We have a sci-fi dystopia with breeder undertones thrown in for shock value- something you can never go wrong with. We have a strong, intelligent female lead, a male driven mutiny (that for some reason kept bringing to mind Ender's Game), and a nice little romance to tie them both together. An excellent mix and cast of characters- people to love and people to hate and an existence the likes of which one can only hope never comes to pass. While the hint of a love triangle tinges the romantic air in the story, it's not blatantly advertised in glowing, flashing neon. Ryan is giving us room to sweat and wonder. Good girl.

Now, the biggest shocker for me wasn't the religious undertones, because they were so apparent that they could hardly be considered to be hidden, nor were they so over the top that they smothered the story, but rather, and this is very hard for me to say- that they added to the story in ways that it would have been lacking without. If you've been with me for awhile you'll know that I DO NOT appreciate religion in my fantasy fiction, and yet, I saw the need in regards to this story. I enjoyed the inclusion. It made everything all the more vital, their cause all the more righteous and it opened the door for some vastly refreshing and unique heroes and villains.

I approve of this being a series (not all books warrant one) and I can't wait for the next book. Things are going to happen, not to mention the bigger picture- discovering a new planet and I'm ready for it. When might we have it Miz Amy?

Waiting on Wednesday (21) A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

A Rogue By Any Other Name
by Sarah MacLean

Publisher: Avon
Date: February 28th 2012

From Goodreads:
What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets . . .

A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London’s most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.

A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to such unexplored pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London’s underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them . . . even her heart.

I have turned into the most shameless romance book hussy and I'm powerless to resist when it comes to a MacLean novel. It's her fault, after all, and the fault of her little book Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake that I am in such a state.

This book marks the beginning of a new romance series and I WANT IT. February? Really? Seriously? Life is too cruel.

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Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

Published June 7th 2011 by Quirk Publishing
More at:

Like most storybook grandpas, Jacob’s grandfather was always good for a story or two and he was particularly good at spinning tales. His grandfather told him stories of the orphanage he grew up in and whose inhabitants had the most unusual traits. He told of a girl who could levitate and an invisible boy and of the bird who watched over them. He had pictures to go along with his stories; pictures of these magical children. Jacob’s grandfather even told him about the monsters.

But it was only kid’s stuff and as kids grow up, they stop believing.

Year later, the stories all but forgotten and the addled brained grandfather who spun the tales in a state of decline, Jacob sees his first monster. It’s the monster from his grandfather’s stories, and it’s every bit as real as his grandfather said it was. The stories are as real now as they were when he was six. The pictures, the orphanage- all of it has suddenly returned to him and it's made all the more believable by a letter from an odd little girl he forget he believed existed.

From the very moment that I saw the title of this book, I knew it was meant for me. How can you possibly resist a title like that? I love the world peculiar. It’s a magical word, with a quirky ring to it and one must tilt their head ever so slightly to the side in order to say it properly. It’s one of those words that makes being unusual and unique an admirable thing instead of a fault and it’s a perfect word for this little book. This book, with page after page of other glorious words, an unforgettable story and the most unusual use of photographs, is absolutely remarkable. That’s right, it is a picture book. Riggs doesn’t just tell you what his world and characters look like- he shows you. I'm in awe of everything about it. With all its different elements- mystery, fantasy, history, time travel, romance, it spans many genres.

Have you ever loved a story so much that you wish you hadn’t ever read it just so that you could experience the joy of the first reading again? I long for that with this book.

I can shamelessly admit that I dog-ear pages to mark particular passages in a book. If I get through a book without any little corner flips, it doesn’t mean that the story was any less remarkable but with nothing I want to remember, the writing was. This book, however, is riddled with creases. Corner after corner turned down in a polite curtsy in acknowledgement of the author’s superior storytelling. I want to remember every word.

Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize that we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries—but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.

Waiting on Wednesday (20) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Site by Jennifer E. Smith

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Poppy
Date: January 2nd, 2012

From Goodreads:
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

This just popped up on my Goodreads recommendations and now I'm in a permanent state of wait and want!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by John Green & David Levithan

Published April 5th 2011 by Speak
More at:

From Goodreads:
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Will Grayson is not gay but Tiny Cooper, his best friend since 5th grade, is most demonstrably so. Will tries to live his life by two simple rules: 1)Don't care too much and 2) Shut up. But being friends with someone who's bigger than life (quite literally, he's huge) has Will constantly struggling to follow his own rules.
Tiny Cooper is not the world's gayest person, and he is not the world's largest person, but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large.

But Will Grayson is gay. His "best" friend, Maura, a thorn in his side and bane of his existence is not.
it's like those people who become friends in prison even though they would never really talk to each other if they weren't in prison. that's what maura and i are like, i think.
He doesn't have any set rules, because he's never really cared enough to adhere to any. He's never really cared much about anything until he meets Tiny Cooper.

Two very different Will Graysons who have nothing in common save their name and ultimately the force known as Tiny Cooper. Tiny has written a musical about his life, and Tiny's life is all about loooooovvvvveeeee. He has a pile of exes nearly as big as Tiny himself and he's constantly looking for the next "The One." His musical, aptly titled "Tiny Dancer" will pull the two Will Graysons so far out of each of their comfort zones that they'll never be able to go back. Nor would they want to.

I love, with all the love my heart can hold, this book. I love it so much I could read it again right now. I love it so much I would read it to you. How often do you stumble upon a gem of a book in which you adore nearly every character? I say nearly because I would have liked to tar and feather Maura. It was instant love between Will Grayson and I and a slow to kindle love that ended up blazing between myself and the other Will.

Unbelievably funny, overflowing with personality, all the while being completely real without hitting you with too much reality to ruin the story. Top it off with an ending to rival the perfection of any John Hughes 80's movie and you have LOVE.

If I had a magic bag that when anyone asked me, "Have you read any good books lately?" I could reach into it and pull out unlimited copies of this book, I'd give one out to everyone I know.

September 24-October 1 is the American Library Association's Banned Books Week and it's BAN THIS all month long over at Bites. John Green is the Author of Looking for Alaska, a wholly remarkable story that has forced bored soccer moms around the country to pretend to care about what their children read. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a story of acceptance, both of oneself and of others. I've heard some flack about one of the scenes in this book, a very tame, nondescript and perfectly normal display of affection between two teenagers but I fear for the safety of this story since the teens in question are two males. I can only hope that anyone who would create a problem for this wonderful book would trip over their own stupidity and pray the fall shakes loose some sense.

From I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

     "I make it my business. I’m a witch. It’s what we do. When it’s nobody else’s business, it’s my business," Tiffany said quickly.
     "Yes, but we all thought it was going to be about whizzing around on brooms and suchlike, not cutting old ladies' toenails for them."
     "But people don’t understand what’s needed," said Tiffany. "It’s not that they are bad; it’s just that they don’t think. Take old Mrs. Stocking, who’s got nothing in the world except her cat and a whole lot of arthritis. People were getting her a bite to eat often enough, that is true, but no one was noticing that her toenails were so long they were tangling up inside her boots and so she’d not been able to take them off for a year! People around here are okay when it comes to food and the occasional bunch of flowers, but they are not around when things get a little on the messy side. Witches notice these things. Oh, there’s a certain amount of whizzing about, that’s true enough, but mostly it’s only to get quickly to somewhere there is a mess."
     Her father shook his head. "And you like doing this?"
     Tiffany had to think about this, her father’s eyes never leaving her face. "Well, Dad, you know how Granny Aching always used to say, 'Feed them as is hungry, clothe them as is naked, and speak up for them as has no voices'? Well, I reckon there is room in there for 'Grasp for them as can’t bend, reach for them as can’t stretch, wipe for them as can’t twist,' don’t you? And because sometimes you get a good day, that makes up for all the bad days and, just for a moment, you hear the world turning," said Tiffany. "I can’t put it any other way."

BBAW Community: In which I say nice things about people.....for a change.

It's Book Blogger Appreciation Week, kind of like our own private bookish Thanksgiving. Today's topic is on Community:
Today you are encouraged to highlight a couple of bloggers that have made book blogging a unique experience for you. They can be your mentors, a blogger that encouraged you to try a different kind of book, opened your eyes to a new issue, made you laugh when you needed it, or left the first comment you ever got on your blog. Stay positive and give back to the people who make the community work for you!

Ok, so I'm late doing this and to be honest I had no idea of its existence until all the posts showed up in my blog feed. I thought I'd jump in because


And I will say it with my own personal blend of eloquence, randomness and piss. As expected.

Being a part of this awesome community of bloggers is a wonderful privilege and I'm very grateful for it. I can say with all honesty that the blogs I visit everyday have time and time again, put me through a whole range of emotions- elations and rages alike, and I thank you for it. The stories were already out there, but you made me feel them.

Melissa @ Book Nut- Did you know that The Book Nut is what made me start my blog? Well it is. I'm amazed at the quantity and diversity of books she's read and reading. Somehow Melissa has managed to read everything I've ever loved? How is that? I love that she gets Pratchett. The wisdom and honesty conveyed in her reviews are the marks of a good witch. I wish her a very nice hat.

Sandy @ Pirate Penguin Reads- Is infinitely more fun than an entire roll of bubble wrap. I like our book chats and the fact that we can both have an "OMG!WOW!SQUEAL!SWOON!CRY!" fan-girl moment together over a book and still look cool. She's been an excellent book-bloggy mentor too btw. I appreciate her answering my (constant) "do you think I could get away with doing this (random thing here)?" questions and not having me committed.

Angie @ Angieville- Every new and wonderful book that has made its way permanently into my heart over the past two years has been because of Angie. I don't think anyone can love a book like she can. Books should consider it a great honor. I know it's just a book review, but she can make them glow. I also blame her for almost my entire TBR shelf and my love for Richard Armitage that will leave me forever wanting.

Donna @ Bites- When I am old and gray, and sitting in my rocking chair on my front porch, throwing bad books at the neighborhood brats who dare to come into my yard, I feel confident that Donna will be right there with me, or at the very least across the street and we will throw books at each other. If ever I feel myself caving under the pressure to write a nicey-nice, kiss-ass, I-want-every-one-to-like-me review, I stop and think WWDD? Well, she'd tell them all to piss off, so I say screw it and write what I feel. Donna can be inspiring in that way. She's fearless.

You're wonderful book peeps :)

"You're brave. You are the bravest person I know, and you are my friend. I don't care if you are imaginary."
— Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book)

Monday Mini (8): Chime by Franny Billingsley

It's Monday morning, the alarm clock just went off and everything is rush rush rush to get ready for the work week. Unfortunately there's limited time for book talk, and even less for blogging, but we still MUST share some book thoughts before we dive into the day. A Monday Mini is a quick little review typed with one hand, while coffee is made, makeup is applied and car keys are found with the other. Have a great Monday morning!

by Franny Billingsley

Published March 17th 2011 by Dial
More at:

From Goodreads:
Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Very interesting little read here but ultimately I was a bit underwhelmed.

I loved the language of the story (and I do mean loved), the sing-song way the characters spoke. Everyone spoke that way; humans as well as fae(-ish) and it made the mundane seem just as exciting as the magical. The main character Briony and I never really meshed what with her constant protests of just how wicked she was and yet nothing ever really happening. I wished it hadn't taken until the last few pages of the book to let on to what was going on. The ending seemed very "And all of a sudden..." to me.

Adorable hero, Eldric- loved him instantly for his great sense of fun and willing to embrace the ridiculous. Briony's sister Rose, quirky little thing that she was, would have made for a much more interesting story and I was disappointed whenever a scene was without her.



Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins

September 29th 2011 by Dutton
More at:

From Goodreads:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Happy sighs, twirls and twinkle lights. Loved, loved, loved this book. Loved it far more than it's predecessor, Anna and the French Kiss. Perkins writes amazing leading ladies, but Lola outshines Anna like a supernova does a light bulb.

Lola is 17 and in a relationship with Max, a 22 year old bad boy in a band. He's everything your mother wants you to stay away from...sounds delicious doesn't he? Her parents were far more tolerable than most would have been. She likes him for his, edginess, the rawness that comes across in his music. He likes her because she's a young thing dressed as a strawberry. Get your shotguns, dads.

But Max isn't her first love. A few years before she fell pink-wigged-head over platform-combat-boot-heels for Cricket Bell, the very tall, very odd, boy next door, you know, that boy, the one who broke her heart. Cricket and his family would pop in and out of the house next door; his sister's ice-skating career moving them frequently to different places around the country. It's been two years since the Bells have inhabited the lavender Victorian and despite the many wishes Lola has made that they never return- they've moved back in. And you know what they say about your first never get over it.

Lola is such a quirky, unique character, with her flamboyant costumes and her life covered in glitter. Lola never plays at being whoever or whatever it is she's dressed as. She revels in the clothes themselves, her attire serving only to accent Lola. I grew insanely jealous as I read each and every outfit change, and her reasons behind what she wore. I'd love the freedom to randomly show up somewhere in a tutu, to rock a raincoat on a sunny day simply because I liked the color. She was so creative and imaginative. I missed her for days once the book was over.

Now, I have to be perfectly honest. Both Anna and Lola are terrific books. I'm so glad I read them because I know now I would have been missing something if I had not. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE her main characters. They are so vibrant and alive that I find myself wishing that I could call them up for a chat. But....and here it is: She's 0-for-2 with me on leading men. I would NEVER have let Etienne (in Anna) dick me around like Anna did and I would have kneed Cricket in what he clearly DIDN'T have and told him to grow a pair. Even with that in the back of my mind, it didn't alter my love for the story one bit. I can't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After !

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin + Giveaway!

All These Things I've Done
by Gabrielle Zevin

Published September 6th 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

From Goodreads:

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family


Having read several fine and not so fine specimens of the Dystopian YA genre, I'm a bit at a loss for what category to classify this book in. So many people like to speak to the validity of a good dystopia being dependent on the world-building fashioned by the author. Granted, logistics is something I tend to ignore and generally base a book's worth on how it made me feel. However, a strange thing happened to me in my reading of this book in that I got distracted by the poorly formed world loosely portrayed in the story but I had a very strong attachment to the book's characters. There in lies the problem.

The very choppy, sketchy, vague setting that is Zevin's 2083 post-whatever-awful-thing-happened world left me with so many what-ifs, buts and questions that it took every ounce of willpower I possess to keep myself in the story. My flighty little magpie attention span can present a real challenge for an author to completely suck me in. In a world with such sketchy outlines, with very little shading, my imagination didn't have much to run with, so I'd get bored, see something shiny and off my brain would go.

What kept me coming back was the main character, Anya Balanchine, a tough as nails, spitfire who would take on the world to save her family. Hers was a very isolated, lonely life. A life that finds her, at the age of only sixteen, the acting head of her household, and the heiress to a rather large, rather dangerous and very illegal family business. Chocolate is one of the few pointless, insignificant and ridiculous things that is outlawed in this dystopia, and the Balanchine's have made a fortune out of the illegal sale of it. She has a variety of things to contend with and none of them pleasant. For starters, she is raising her older brother and her younger sister; their legal guardian being a frail and failing grandmother who lives in a sort of make-shift home ICU and is kept alive on life support.

For the most part I was pleased with Anya's relationship with Win who is so charming and adorable that I'd forgive him for just about anything. I was also surprised to find myself 100% on his father's side. He is the very ambitious, driven new district attorney and he doesn't want his son dating the daughter of a notorious crime lord. He's also extremely likeable so it will be interesting to see how he turns out in the next book.

And yes, I'm on board for the sequel. I'm in it for Anya.

I meant to do this much earlier but life somehow caught up with me. A book fairy sent me an extra ARC of this book in the mail. I wanted to get it out to you sooner so someone would have the chance to enjoy it before the release (which is Tuesday) but better late than never! We'll make this a short one to make up for it:

ARC Giveaway Rules:

  • Must be 13 or older

  • Must reside in the US or Cananda

  • Ends Friday September 9th at Midnight CST

  • Fill out this here FORM

  • Ilsa J. Bick Author of Ashes @ Lemuria September 8!

    by Ilsa J. Bick

    From Goodreads:

    It could happen tomorrow...

    A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed."
    Can one teen really survive on her own?

    An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

    Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

    This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.

    Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS, a place steeped in awesome, will be one of Miz Bick's stops on her Ashes tour! At 4pm on Thursday, September 8th I will be there trying desperately to contain my inner fangirl and NOT scream "I LOVE YOUR BOOK!" and faint. Hopefully I'll also be able to pick up a copy of her book Draw the Dark because Donna @ Bites says I must.

    You simply MUST add Ashes to your TBR, camp outside of the nearest bookstore and pounce the moment it opens on September 6th.

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    Laura @ A Jane of All Reads
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