Waiting on Wednesday: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah BiancottiPublisher: Simon Pulse

Authors: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

Release date: September 29, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads: Ethan, aka “Scam,” has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn’t just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn’t consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts – like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him – his former group of friends, the self-named “zeros” who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam’s latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action.

Why I’m excited: It’s Scott Westerfeld. Is that answer enough? No? Okay: superpowers, gorgeous cover, dystopian, super interesting premise, and Scott Westerfeld. Is that better? I’m a little hesitant of co-authored books, but this one sounds really cool and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

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SUNDAY FUNDAY on MONDAY!

The lovely Cristina over at Girl in the Pages started Sunday Funday as a way to recap the bookish (and not-so-bookish) things that have happened that week.

So yeah. I’m really bad at doing these on Sunday, as I’m sure you’ve all become aware of. Sundays are pretty much the only day when I just relax and by the time I think about it, it’s too late to do this post or I’m just too lazy to turn my computer on. Oh well.

Today’s Sunday Funday on Monday is all about crafts, pretty much. Saturday I finished making up a bunch of these mustache pillows, which I sell, for someone who is giving them away as Christmas presents. I’ve never done ones with such pretty colors (usually red and green mustaches are ordered), so I had to take a rainbow picture!

Yesterday, Sunday, I made a blanket and a bracelet, both of which I think turned out pretty well. What do you think? 🙂

Made myself a blanket today. 🙂 #diy #wintercrafts #blanket #mustaches #bowtiesarecool

A post shared by Stefani (@stefanisloma) on

 

Other than that, I didn’t do much but read and work this week.

Books read: I finished and reviewed Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld and started Stephen Graham Jones’ Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn’t Fly, which is interesting so far. I plan on finishing and reviewing that one later today. I also finished the audiobook of Doll Bones by Holly Black, which was pretty cool. I plan on reviewing that one soon.

TBR: I’ve been adding a ton of 2015 books to my TBR over on Goodreads. I also got approved for an excerpt of V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and Josh Sundquist’s We Should Hang Out Sometime so I’m looking forward to digging into those soon. I also had a really awesome comic book haul yesterday with a bunch of new series that look awesome.

Non-bookish things I’m excited about:

I’ll be going to New Orleans for the first time this weekend to visit my friend Annette (aka Booknerderie). Yes, for the first time. I live in MS and I’ve never been to New Orleans. I’ll be remedying that though! Yay!

In less than two weeks I’ll be seeing The 1975 for the first time with my friend Georgie! Seriously looking forward to this show!

What about you? Did you make anything fun this week? Read some good books? Tell me about your week!

Book Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld’s new novel Afterworlds alternates between good and great.

Afterworlds

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: September 23, 2014

599 pages, hardcover

Check out the synopsis on Goodreads.

 

This book is LONG. Yes, it’s 599 pages, which is a somewhat long page length, but I read long books all the time. It was just long. It took me almost two weeks to read which is a long time for me. How many times do you think I can say long in the first paragraph? I think part of the problem was that it took me a while to get into it. Once I did, I suppose it didn’t take too much time to finish. As this book is told in alternating chapters of Darcy’s real life (which reads much like a contemporary novel) and Darcy’s novel about Lizzie (which is very much fantasy), I think I should break up my review into two sections: Darcy and Lizzie.

Darcy’s chapters:

Darcy’s story was my favorite of the two. She’s written and sold a book she wrote during NaNoWriMo and has high tailed to NYC with her outrageous earnings to live for as long as she can there while rewriting her novel Afterworlds. She’s just graduated high school so is somewhat naïve and a bit of a newbie, but as she lives in NYC, meets authors, falls in love, gets her heartbroken, and rewrites, she grows up. I really enjoyed her character growth and seeing this side of the publishing industry in a book. I have a Master’s degree in Publishing Studies so I’m really interested in this, and I don’t think most people get to see what this side of the books you read looks like. I don’t know too much about the writing side so seeing Darcy’s book evolve throughout was really cool.

I especially enjoyed being able to see things that Darcy and Imogen (another writer) would discuss that would then show up in Darcy’s novel. Seeing Darcy change the novel from conversations she has gave an insight into how writing works, which I liked. I also really liked the romance between Darcy and Imogen, and even though they got together really quickly, I don’t think it felt like instalove. It felt genuine and organic.

Lizzie’s chapters:

Lizzie is the main character in Darcy’s novel Afterworlds, who after surviving a terrorist attack at an airport, finds out that she can now enter the afterworld (or the flipside as she eventually comes to call it), a place that is just like our world but gray and which renders her invisible to the living. When she first entered the afterworld, she was greeted by a boy named Yamaraj, a psychopomp or a guide to the dead. After returning home from the attack, she meets Mindy, her mother’s best friend from childhood who is eleven years old and dead. She was abducted, murdered, and buried in her own backyard, and Lizzie promises to seek revenge as she comes to care for Mindy. I really liked Mindy’s character and how she was both still a child and a little bit grown up. She was still deathly (hehe) afraid of the bad man who’d murdered her and hid in the closet where she felt safe. I won’t give anything away, but what happened later in the novel in regards to her character was fascinating. Very cool idea.

Unlike with Darcy, I really hated the romance in Lizzie’s chapters. It was exactly like instalove and even though it’s explained that Yamaraj hasn’t really aged and is still very much like a teenager, any kind of romance between someone who is really thousands of years old and someone who is actually 17 is creepy (*cough*Twilight*cough*). They jump into a relationship way too quickly, especially after Lizzie has come through something so horrible. On that note, I think Lizzie’s reaction to everything happening to her is…well, it’s pretty much nonexistent. She doesn’t really react to almost dying or to the fact that she can see ghosts or that she can now visit the land of the dead. It was weird.

I did really enjoy the whole idea and plot and story behind Afterworlds though. The thing that gets me though is the fact that it reads like a debut novel even though it was written by Scott Westerfeld. This is either an account of how awesome a writer he is or is not really a good book (Darcy’s novel, I mean). I can’t tell so I’m not sure how I feel about it.

The bottom line: I really, really enjoyed the chapters that centered on Darcy and her road to publication. I liked the idea behind the chapters from her novel but had my reservations when it came to Lizzie’s romance and her reaction to what happened. Overall, it was good but not great. I liked it but didn’t love it.

Rating: 6.5 – between good but not great and pretty good

WWW Wednesday [5]

WWW Wednesdays are hosted by Should Be Reading. To play along, just answer the following three questions: (As always, all titles are linked to their corresponding Goodreads pages)

  • What are you currently reading?Afterworlds

I’m currently reading Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. It’s pretty great so far. I haven’t gotten that far into it yet as I’ve been a little busy (or relaxing with arts and crafts like yesterday), but I hope to read more of it today. I really like the alternating chapters between real life and Darcy’s fantasy world in her novel. So cool.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

The Young ElitesI finished reading Marie Lu’s The Young Elites a few days ago and reviewed it on Monday. I thought it was absolutely incredible. I was super impressed by my first Lu book. Her world building was amazing and I cannot wait for the next book. The Young Elites is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. I gave it a 9.5, which should tell you how much I loved it.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?IMG_20141101_104327

I’m not sure. I had this awesome haul last week, and I’m not sure what I want to read next from it. What do you guys think? Want to recommend something to me? Let me know in the comments! 🙂 Here are the titles I want to choose from: My True Love Gave to Me, Black Ice, Belzharor Messenger of Fear.

 

Teaser Tuesday: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Teaser Tuesday is a meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It’s super easy: open your current read to a random page and share two sentences from that page – but make sure you don’t spoil the book!

Afterworlds

My current read is Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. I opened it to a random page – 283 – and this is the quote I want to tease you with from that page.

The whistle of the bad man’s breath sputtered for a moment, and a tremor passed through the gray bedclothes. I froze, staring at them, my heart pounding sideways in my chest. Even invisible, I felt as though any movement would wake him. I was afraid to breath.

Afterworlds is told in alternating chapters (from Darcy’s perspective and then from chapters within her novel), so I thought it’s only fair to give you a teaser from a chapter set in Darcy’s perspective, as the first is from her novel. This teaser is from page 264.

Their bodies fit perfectly like this, two continents pulled apart eons ago but now rejoined.

I know that last one isn’t very long, but I like that sentence all by itself. It doesn’t need any context. I’ve only read ten pages of Afterworlds so far, but I really like it. I’m looking forward to getting to these two teasers.

If you participate in Teaser Tuesday, link me up! Or if you don’t, tease me with your current read in the comments!

Tell me what I should read next!

Alright, I need your help. I finished Get Happy by Mary Amato last night (reviewed it this morning), and I don’t know what to read next.

I recently bought Scott Westerfeld’s new book Afterworlds and checked out Marie Lu’s new book The Young Elites from the library. Those are the two books I’m currently debating between, and I want YOU guys to help me pick. Please? Just tell me which you’d rather see me review or which you’ve read and think I’ll enjoy or just click one of the buttons. 🙂

Check out the books on Goodreads if you want to know more about them (the covers are linked to the corresponding Goodreads pages).

Afterworlds          The Young Elites