Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: The Memory Key by Liana Liu

Title: The Memory Key
Author: Liana Liu
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Release Date: 3 March, 2015
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.

Lora Mint is determined not to forget.

Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.

But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?

Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with authentic and poignant emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride. In the end, Liana Liu’s story will spark topical conversations about memory and privacy in a world that is reliant on increasingly invasive forms of technology.
Review by Nara

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Title: A Wicked Thing
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Release Date: 24 February, 2015
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.
Review by Nara

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Love Triangles That Actually....Work

The love triangle.
One of the most used tropes in YA today, and among one of the most hated.

You know, recently I came to the conclusion that I actually don't mind love triangles. That is, I don't mind them when they're done well. Of course, if it's some stupid triangle where we have instalove on both sides, or where it's completely clear that the protagonist prefers one person over the other, no one is going to like that. But there are some books which do the love triangle so damn well that we honestly have no idea who we should choose to ship the protagonist with, or where both love interests are so awesome that we're left flip flopping from one to the other.

These are those love triangles.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian
Source: Bookworld

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
Review by Nara

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Title: A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter #3)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Science Fiction
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.
Review by Nara

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's My Birthday!'s the 16th of February, 2015. You know what that means?

Uh, anyway. Since it's my birthday, I thought I'd give away some books!
And since it's on Looking for the Panacea, you know how this giveaway is going to be done?
I'm going to be giving away two or three books (depends on how large the books are, and whether I can cram them in a single package) from a set of mystery books, for which I'll give you some clues. The clues are pretty difficult, so you don't have to get the answers right for you to get an entry. Just go ahead and guess the ones you don't know, or keyboard mash or whatever haha.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Title: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Bookworld

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
Review by Nara

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reading Compatibility Test 1: How Close Are Your Favourites to Mine?

New feature time!

Basically, I'm going to give you a list of statements that you have to agree or disagree with. If you have any idea what book/series they're referring to, it means that you've probably read some of the books that I've read, i.e. our reading tastes are somewhat compatible. I thought it'd be more interesting doing this in quiz form than me just listing off some of the books that I enjoy. Really, this feature is going to be a series of disguised recommendation posts!

This edition is going to feature some of my favourite books.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review: There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

Title: There Will Be Lies
Author: Nick Lake
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Magical Realism
Source: Bloomsbury Australia

In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning.
Review by Nara

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Review: Polaris by Mindee Arnett

Title: Polaris (Avalon #2)
Author: Mindee Arnett
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Balzer + Bray via Edelweiss

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of mercenaries are pulled into one last high-stakes mission in this breathtaking sequel to Mindee Arnett’s fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi thriller Avalon.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.

With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxton Price, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.

The conclusion to the story Mindee Arnett began in her acclaimed novel Avalon, Polaris is a dangerous journey into the spaces between power and corruption, life and death, the parts of ourselves we leave behind, and the parts we struggle to hold on to.
Review by Nara

Friday, February 6, 2015

What's With All the Books About Suicide?

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but there have been a crapload of books dealing with more serious issues recently. It's really become a return of the dark contemporary, and I, for one, am quite liking this shift in YA.

In particular, there seems to be a surge in books dealing with mental health issues, suicide and grief.
It's definitely important that we make these issues more apparent in YA, because so many people suffer from them in real life. It's important we recognise the signs and it's important to get help.

Personally, I think the main reason I like to read books about serious issues is because I actually really like being able to feel something from the book I'm reading. Something that some people don't understand is that I love finding books that make me cry, because that means that I felt deeply enough about the characters and their situations that I was overwhelmed by feels. This doesn't happen often, and I find it's mostly contemporaries that can make me really feel something. Probably because they often depict things that could easily happen to me, or to a friend, or to a family member.

I also quite like how a lot of books dealing with darker issues actually handle the issues very well. A lot of them are twisted through with humour, but it's never to the point where it seems like the issue is being dealt with lightly. Many are beautifully written, and leave you with the sort of quotes that you don't easily forget. They really are just fantastic.

List of some great recent/upcoming darker contemporaries
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Do you like reading "darker" contemporaries? Have you read any books dealing with mental health, or other serious issues, recently? Any that you'd recommend?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Title: Belzhar
Author: Meg Wolitzer
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Source: Simon & Schuster Australia

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.
Review by Nara

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Mime Order (The Bone Season #1)
Author: Samantha Shannon
Genre: Adult/Young Adult crossover, Dystopian, Fantasy
Source: Bloomsbury Australia

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London...

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city's gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.
Review by Nara