31 December, 2010

Ender's Game - Review

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
(Note: That's the proposed movie poster, not the book cover. I *love* it!)
Publication date: 1985, Audio 20th Anniversary Edition 2002

Category: Science Fiction

Format: audiobook

Keywords: Humanity, War, Evil, Power, Forgiveness

Find the synopsis on goodreads.com. 

How I found out about this book: It's a sci-fi classic, and at least one of our local schools is teaching it to their sixth-graders. 

Quickie: This book will rip your heart out, then gently pat it back into your chest and tell you you're stronger for having survived. I loved it, every syllable of every word, every iota of meaning.

My review: I know there are people out there who hate, hate, hate this book. In my mind's eye I forgive them, because that's what Ender Wiggin would probably do--he'd puzzle out the whys and hows in a millisecond and do the right thing, because that's what he does--that's why he's so special. Ender is about as ordinary as extraordinary beings come; left to his own devices he'd probably want to spend his time reading and playing with his sister Valentine, avoiding pain and violence, but when he's pretty much drafted into Battle School at a tender age--what we would think of as kindergarten or first grade--Ender can't help but do what he was made to do, which is win, at any cost--save the world, no matter what.

On the surface of the story is Ender's role as hero--he's expected to destroy The Buggers, an insectoid alien race that had, many years before, decimated the human race; but at the core of the game there is the conflict between Ender's gentle and loving nature and the evils of the world: The Buggers, the Battle School, and his psychopath older brother, Peter. The fierce rivalry between them escalates to huge--geopolitical, even interstellar--proportions, which is where, I think, a lot of readers get lost. I think those who read and love Ender's Game can appreciate the intricacies of logic, not necessarily in the academic sense (such as what you would need to explain it in, say, a book report) but the philosophical and pragmatic applications of the game as they emanate out of a single human life. 

While listening to this ensemble audio recording I had to fight really hard not to cry while sitting at my desk in the office--Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, and others who unfortunately get lumped in as "and cast", made my first reading of this book a very emotional experience. I highly recommend it. Card's descriptions of the zero-gravity Battle Rooms where the games take place and the tenuous, at times toxic relationships Ender builds with his classmates take even more palpable shape as voiced by the readers. The woman who reads Valentine makes me tear up every time she speaks.

1994 paperback cover
Who should read this book: There is a lot of violence in this book. A LOT. It's brilliant and balletic in parts, bloody and brutal in others, and many of the negative reviews of this book call it gratuitous, as it never seems to be Ender's fault when he causes harm. Like anything parents might find objectionable, I say, to each his own. If I had an eight-year-old, I'd probably read this with him or her, as the messages about ethics, bullying, and friendship as revealed in the book are things that I would like my own child to value. 

Find the author at http://www.hatrack.com/

This author is currently on tour! I'm going to see him at Vroman's Pasadena on January 4, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. Check his official website for more appearance dates. 

Shortlink to this review: http://bit.ly/2010ender

Find this book on goodreads.com, listen to a snippet at audible.com, or buy it now

Comments? What do you think? Is this something you would read? If you've already read it, put in your two cents... (no spoilers, please!) 

Year End Winners and Inside Out

All right! Contest update, then I swear it's reviews reviews reviews for a few days.
Here are the final winners of my year-end giveaway:

Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, #1) by Rachel Caine

Finished copy, signed by the author (rated 4 stars/really liked)
Won by Kimberly C.

Magic Under Glass (Magic Under, #1) by Jaclyn Dolamore

Unsigned UK paperback edition (rated 4 stars/really liked)
Won by Ashley C.

Annexed by Sharon Dogar

Unsigned ARC* (unread, unrated)
Won by Vivien
The non-US/Canada winner was
Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins

Unsigned UK paperback edition (rated 5 stars/loved) 
Won by Janine M (Philippines)

The winner of another signed copy of Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder is...

Congratulations to all the winners! If you'd like a chance to win a signed hardcover of Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl's Beautiful Creatures from me, all you have to do is go to the All Things YA community page on Facebook and hit the "Like" button! I'll randomly pick a winner on 1/11/11 :)

30 December, 2010

All Things YA

I just started a new community page on Facebook: thanks to The Book Vixen for the idea! Click above to join. Responsible folks (bloggers, authors, publishers etc.) will be considered for Admin positions anytime. Just email one or both of us, and we'll add you in! Talk about books, authors, blogs, and, well, All Things YA.

If you tweet our link, it's http://on.fb.me/atya2011 and use the hashtag #atYA!

28 December, 2010

Out With a Bang

So, I'm thinking of joining this read-a-thon... may as well, right?

Related posts will be added below over the next few days. You can sign up, too! Click the image above.

Still waiting... Many ellipses...

I'm waiting for one more winner to get back to me, but if you're curious as to the other winners from the Year End Giveaway, go to the list now for a sneak peek! I'll post the new list when I get the final winner... I just don't want to do two.

Coming up soon, the reviews for Matched by Ally Condie and The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, Book 3) by Julie Kagawa!

Off to read myself to sleep... zzz...

19 December, 2010

3 More Year-End Winners

The moment you've all been waiting for...

Aurora M wins a signed finished copy of If I Stay!

Minas wins a signed finished copy of Inside Out!

Jessica (ephrielle) wins an ARC of Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side!

Congratulations to all of the winners! :D These were all excellent books; I just know you're going to love them!

Just a reminder: the current winners are now out of the running for further prizes, but there are 4 more books available in the End of the Year Giveaway, including one for a non-US/Canada winner. So keep entering! Also if you have previously entered and the top 3 books that you wanted are now out of the prize pool, feel free to enter again--just change the books you want to win--your previous entries still count, but your new ones will let me know which book to send you.

As previously stated, winners are chosen at random.org. When someone wins I remove their entries from the total pool of entries to give everybody else a clearer shot at winning.

I'm also giving away another copy of Inside Out--there's no form for that one, just leave a comment. (One entry per person, ends 12/29)

If you have a contest of your own, I think you should pop over to Bookworming in the 21st Century--Kristen hosts the meme Link a Contest Thursday there. She's also doing a massive giveaway for her birthday! So go wish her a happy one.

Coming up on Read Now Sleep Later: my long-overdue Matched review; Neal Shusterman's Everlost (The Skinjackers, Book 1), and a year-end round-up!

17 December, 2010


So, I'm in Big Bear with my family.
I'll post winners next week when I get back.


Keep entering the giveaway, and don't forget to vote for Book by Book!

15 December, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


I'm totally thrilled to be reading the digital ARC for Outside In, the sequel to Maria V. Snyder's Inside Out. I don't recommend reading the blurb/excerpt for Book 2 without reading Book 1 first--it's just so much better if you have no idea what's going on. It's dystopian, and fantastic!

Because I'm so excited, I'm giving away an *extra* copy of Inside Out (in addition to the one I'm giving out in the End of the Year Giveaway), with signed bookplate and HarlequinTeen bookmark.

To enter, comment below this post with your name and email address (you can space it out like blah blah blah at blah dot com). The winner will be chosen at random on 12/29! US/Canada only unless you want to pay International shipping. Duplicate entries will be disregarded.

Outside In releases March 1, 2011. Put it on your TBR list!

Contest update: 12/31/2010 - the winner is Pointy_Star! Congratulations! :)

12 December, 2010

Mark Your Calendars!

I've got a couple of things cooking as far as YA author signings in Southern California.

First of all, the superlative Lisa McMann will be signing her new novel, Cryer's Cross, at Borders Glendale: Friday, February 11, 2011 at 7 pm. I'm collecting RSVPs to better help plan the event. Just in case you haven't yet picked up her previous books in the Dream Catcher series, I want to make sure they have enough there! You can fill out the form below if you think you're going to attend.

From Goodreads.com:

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. 

Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. 

Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? 

The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

I can't wait!

My good buddy Janelle is also using her super-fangirl powers on Cassandra Clare and Holly Black... which means Borders Glendale *might* also be hosting another super-exciting Midnight Release Party as well... so if you want to be contacted about that, check the appropriate box--you'll help us show the publishers and Borders how many people they can expect at the party. If we throw it, fans will come!

I'm also going to be starting a YA publicity networking group on Facebook in the next week or so; if you want to be emailed when that launches, please check that box, too.

If you can't see the form below, click here.

P.S. as of Jan. 1, 2011 I will no longer be employed at said Borders Bookstore, but I will still be stalking all my favorite YA authors there (ha. ha.) so I remain defacto info-gatherer/disseminator for YA special events. So if you have any book signing questions, I don't have authority but I do have information, so don't hesitate to ask me things.

Shortlink to this post: http://bit.ly/hTBkpY
Link to the Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=117643518301048

If you tweet it, please mention @frootjoos and/or hashtag #bordersglendale.
If you blog/post it anywhere, let me know! You can email frootjoos at gmail dot com.

10 December, 2010

Winna! Winna! End of the Year Giveway Takes Two

Congratulations to WulfLuva and Allison T!

WulfLuva, appropriately, got an ARC of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer! Check out her blog at http://wulfluva-shellsstories.blogspot.com/.

Allison got an ARC of The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood & The Duchess of Northumberland. Check out Allison's blog at http://allisonsbookreviews.blogspot.com/.

Congratulations to both winners.

You can win, too! Check out the End of the Year Giveaway here! Three, yes, three winners will be chosen next week :D

And yes, a real blog post is forthcoming. Give my brain a day or so to reboot after finals; I promise something good.

09 December, 2010

Be Right Back

I've got a linguistics final at 4:30 today, then I'll be announcing the next 2 winners in the End of the Year Giveaway, so go enter right now!

And if you haven't yet today, please go vote for Book by Book: we need your help!

Let's go!

03 December, 2010

Winner #1! The 2010 RNSL Year-End Giveaway

So we have our first winner in the Year End Giveaway!

Victoria Sloboda wins a signed copy of My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent.

My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1)

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally. 

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.

Thanks to all who have entered so far--there have been over 300 entries! Wow!

More winners will be announced a week from now; in the meantime, except for Victoria you all can continue to enter the contest! Remember, you can enter once a day :D

8 more winners will be drawn from US and Canada, 1 winner will be drawn from the International entrants on 12/25/2010.

And if you'd like to do some good with your mouse or trackpad today, give us a click over at the Book by Book page on Pepsi Refresh:

Bloggers, you can get this handy dandy widget for your page, too. Just follow the link. We need your vote every day to make it into the top 2 and win the grant. So vote, share, and vote again!

01 December, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Okay, it's been ages since I did a meme. This one's hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Warning, today's description is a little spoilery if you haven't read the first book, The Dark Divine

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

From Goodreads.com: Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She was infected with the werewolf curse while trying to save him, and lost her beloved brother in the process. Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot, a newcomer to town. But as the two grow closer, Grace’s relationship with Daniel is put in danger — in more ways than one. 

Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace begins to give into the wolf inside of her — not realizing that an enemy has returned and a deadly trap is about to be sprung.

Bree Despain delivers sizzling romance and thrilling action in the heart-pounding sequel to The Dark Divine.
Bree Despain is having a contest to celebrate her book's birthday. Enter here!