Archive | February 2013

Slated by Teri Terry

Slated Cover

Slated Info

Kyla Davis is sixteen and has never been kissed, well she doesn’t have any memories of it. She’s been Slated. 2054, in the United Kingdom, it’s the government’s job to stop terrorists. A program has been implemented that wipes their brains of their former life, giving them a clean slate, a second chance at life. If Kyla has been Slated, then does that means she was a terrorist?

Struggling to adjust to this second chance Kyla tries to settle in with her new family, home and school.  Her emotions are kept in check through her Levo – a device on her arm that monitors her feelings. If she’s not happy Kyla runs the risk of getting shocked causing her to blackout. A Slated must be happy in order to fulfil their contract.

Even as Kyla tries to stay Level, her mind is still stuck with memories, which should be impossible. She’s different than the other Slated. By some miracle Kyla can think for herself without compromising her Levo. It’s dangerous for a Slated to talk back and think their own thoughts, but Kyla can’t stop asking questions and the more she asks the deeper she falls into the darkness of this new, Slated world.

I’ve been reading a lot of American YA lately so this was a special treat. I had seen this book on NetGalley but unfortunately was denied my request. It was all right in the end as I was able to get it from the library (WIN). I also have to say that yes, I mainly wanted to read this book because the author’s name is Teri Terry. Don’t judge.

I really loved Terry’s language in this book. She repeats a lot, but it worked in this setting and genre. The way information is delivered is well written and a pleasant surprise. The only cliché bit was the romance but even that was still understated (but not the control government bit). The ending left me asking millions of questions as it took a direction I didn’t expect. I tip my hat to Terry and I look forward to reading more about the Slated world!

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden – February Vintage YA

AnnieThis month’s Vintage YA is very on theme for February! Sadly, I haven’t read this title myself, and my local library doesn’t have it available for check out. (It’s on special reserve or something) I do plan on reading the book eventually, but with a pending move in the works I’m trying not to increase my amount ‘stuff’. Regardless, I feel that this book needs special mention. Here’s the summary provided by Goodreads:

“This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. This book is so truthful and honest; it has been banned from many school libraries and even publicly burned in Kansas City.

Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Nancy Garden has the distinction of being the first author for young adults to create a lesbian love story with a positive ending. Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.”

I would also like to mention that this book is on my YA Banned Books Bracelet, which I wrote about for last month’s Literary Inspired Item.

I loved the idea of this book. A teenage lesbian story filled with love and heartache. It’s a coming of age story that there are rarely others to compare it too. Everyone experiences love for a first time and it isn’t always with the hottest guy at school, or an undead vampire. This is an example of power to women, in this case, young women on the right to freely express whom they want to love.

This Valentines Day should be celebrated by all of those in love, and with the progression of more states in the US making gay marriage legal, I can only hope that one-day people all over the world can love freely. Thank you Nancy Garden for writing this book and paving the way for girls who love girls to read about others that feel the same way they do.

National Library Day

Today around the UK is National Library Day!

Libraries are being taken for granted and are underappreciated. They’re also beginning to disappear. Before I moved to London I survived on working multiple part time jobs, being a nanny, receptionist and babysitter. I worked all hours and didn’t get health care. The Seattle Public Library was my saving grace and provider of all essential entertainment (other than Netflix). My life was ridiculous but I could do amazing things because of what the library could give me access to.  Today I celebrate the Seattle Public Library by writing a letter to this amazing library that provides some of the best literary service, books and resources all for free.

SPL outside

Dear Seattle Public Library (mainly the Northeast and Northgate branches),

            How do I say that one of the best things about living in Seattle is having access to the your local library branch? For my three years working as a nanny the Northeast Branch had been my Thursday destination as soon as I dropped off one of the wards for piano lessons. There was always a book waiting in the reserve section and a computer to quickly check process of the others. I must also mention that the easy to use website that makes it possible to search for practically ANY book and request it at ANY branch for free is one thing I took for granted before I moved away.

SPL hallway

Your proactive ability to advertise the future purchase of a book before it’s published, allowing for members to request it in advance had given me more opportunity to read different types of books that I never expected. Even better? Your stock of knitting books gave me hope that one day I could knit myself my very own jumper (sweater).

SPL Shelf

Because of your standout service I treated books as an investment. If I liked them then I would purchase. The self-check out also gave me the privacy to check out books without watchful or judgemental eyes. I am so proud that Saturday hours are back and swoon over the new library card designs. I no longer live in Seattle, but I would love a newly designed library card to flaunt around London.

May you always remain standout, not just in architecture, but in service, community and of course books! (duh) Other than friends and family, honestly the one thing that I miss most of all is indeed the Seattle Public Library. Target is a close second.

Your biggest fan,

Ashley

Please take the time today to visit your local library. Check out a cookbook, a children’s book or the latest bestseller! If you don’t have a library card – WHO ARE YOU?! Get one immediately and start loving your library! These amazing places are disappearing and need your support! 

Jane Austen Scarves by Brookish

February’s Literary Item Spotlight is brought to you by the fantastic guest blogger Flaneur in the City! Please take the time to check out her amazing and intelligent blog filled with original opinions on ‘Reading between the lines of pavement cracks and pop culture.

The scarf is the from the talented Brookish on Etsy. They do more than just scarves but everything is inspired by memorable quotes in literature!

Side chair scarf

“It’s a long scarf, my favorite kind, since I can wear it in different ways with different outfits. I wore to the grocery store yesterday, doubling it over and wrapping it “turtleneck” style over a long sweater, paired with leggings and boots. I tied it so the ends intertwined and the Mr. Darcy quote became a swirling pattern beneath my neck. Tomorrow I’m meeting a fellow writer for dinner and I can’t wait to show it off. Literature and fashion, unite!

Quote

The quote, of course, is simply romantic. What girl wouldn’t melt if such words of love were spoken? Oh, Mr. Darcy! As a writer, I can only hope (and dream and pray!) to one day capture such romance on the page.

Chair Scarf

I am truly, truly blessed to have you as a friend and every time I wear this scarf I think of you.”

Many thanks to Flaneur in the City for the lovely post! I’m just as lucky to have such a talented friend! Many thanks to Brookish for your amazing projects and handiwork!

Prized by Caragh O’Brien

Prized Covers

Prized Info

Gaia Stone has escaped the Enclave with her newborn baby sister Maya. Out into the wasteland she ventured, but with little food, water and baby formula, they’re doomed to die if they don’t find help soon. Days pass and just when death looms near, a hero on a horse rescue Gaia and takes her and Maya to Sylum.

Sylum is a community where the women are in charge. Something is happening to all the newborn babies, they’re always male. Females are in high demand and marriages are a battle. Kissing is outlawed and when Gaia joins the people of Sylum she doesn’t understand why everyone isn’t equal. Sylum isn’t better than the Enclave, it’s almost worse.

Gaia is determined to figure out the mystery of Sylum, but her heart is distracted. As a new female she gathers the attention of every eligible male. When a familiar face returns Gaia must look inside her heart and trust what she feels if she, Maya and the people of Sylum have any chance of continuing their existence.

I loved the first book in this series, Birthmarked. I was looking for something that would grab my attention like The Hunger Games and Birthmarked filled all that criteria. However, once I leaped into Prized, I found myself disappointed. It started off great, and finally here is a scenario where women have all the power and treat men like they have treated us for thousands of years! Power to women! What a fantastic choice to move the story I originally thought.

Instead I found myself being embarrassed to keep reading. The women in power were just as bad as stereotypical male lead characters and it was a huge disappointment. What had the potential to be a great story line got somehow lost. My disappointment grew as the lack of originality progressed. I still want to read the last instalment in the series. The ending at least in Prized wasn’t a disappointment and I’m happy O’Brien captured my attention. I’m excited to see how things end for Gaia in Promised.