Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Genre: Anthology

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Summer Days & Summer Nights Ed. By Stephanie Perkins

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Blog Tour, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Summer Days & Summer Nights Ed. By Stephanie PerkinsSummer Days and Summer Nights by Brandy Colbert, Cassandra Clare, Francesca Lia Block, Jennifer E. Smith, Jon Skovron, Leigh Bardugo, Lev Grossman, Libba Bray, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Tim Federle, Veronica Roth
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 17 May 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Anthology, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Demons, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, This is What Happy Looks Like, The Geography of You and Me, The Raven Princess, Shadow & Bone, Six of Crows, Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After

Greetings and Salutations Internet!

Today I am going to talk about the anthology SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS which was edited by Stephanie Perkins. SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS is a collection of twelve stories from various authors in the YA world that all embody the lazy crazy days of summer. This review will be set up a little differently from my regular reviews as it won’t be one long rambling post of my thoughts. Instead I broke things down by each story in the collection and shared my thoughts on each after I read them.

HEAD, SCALES, TONGUE, TAIL by Leigh Bardugo

Place(s) Traveled: New York, New York (1986) // Little Spindle, New York

First Line(s): There were a lot of stories about Annalee Saperstein and why she came to Little Spindle, but Gracie’s favorite was the heat wave.

Rating: 3 stars

This was an odd little story but one that reads like an updated version of a hodpge of different myths. Its a short story (duh) but there is so much included in it. It spans a few years and there is a lot of character growth and development and even some heart-achy feels.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

THE END OF LOVE by Nina LaCour

Place(s) Traveled: Berkeley, California // Muir Beach, California

First Line(s): I don’t realize how early I am until I open the door.

Rating: 3 stars

I liked this story and the voice of the main character, Flora. She was sweet and filled with a sadness that just lept off the page. This is a girl who is going through a lot and doesn’t quiet know how to process it all. For this entire story I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her its ok to just cry it out. I liked the other characters in this story as well, with the exception of Flora’s parents who were such selfish asshats! My big complaint with THE END OF LOVE is that if felt unfinished as if there is still a lot more story to tell and more to explore and I’d have liked to see this one as a full length story.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

LAST STAND AT THE CINEGOR by Libba Bray

Place(s) Traveled: Deadwood, Texas

First Line(s): On the last night of the Cinegore, the sky looked like it needed to call in sick, all yellow-green going dark around the edges like an infected cut, a summer storm heading in hard.

Rating: 2.5 stars

I liked the start of this one and thought that it would be a fun start to a summer romance. But then things took a crazy turn for the weird with the appearance of demons. Yes, demon demons and I guess it was supposed to turn spooky horror story but it just made me go…huh? Even with demons it might still have ended up a good story but it just sort of fizzled out and the ending just leaves you scratching your head.  It was rushed and just fell flat. Not a fan of this one.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

SICK PLEASURES by Francesa Lia Block

Place(s) Traveled: Los Angeles, California // Studio City, California // Calabasas, California // Camarillo, California

First Line(s): It was the first night of summer vacation when my friends M and L and I piled into J’s VW Bug and drove to Phases, the teen dance club deep in the San Fernando Valley, to escape sorrow and find the thing that we were looking for.

Rating: 1 star

Not a fan of this one at all. I hated how much distance there was between the narrator of the story and the reader. Its like you are trying to watch something from very far off. There was little to no emotion in this story either. No real purpose. Just words on a page that didn’t amount to much of anything at all. Just a sense of sadness and bitterness and I could have done without reading this one.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

IN NINETY MINUTES, TURN NORTH by Stephanie Perkins

Place(s) Traveled: Burnsville, North Carolina

First Line(s): Marigold hated this time of year.

Rating: 4 stars

Oh how this story hurt my heart!! Perkins brings back characters that she first introduced in her winter anthology and I just loved what she did with this story. I liked how Perkins wove in Marigold and North’s history without making the story one big flashback. Instead, it only made this story all the more heartbreaking. I totally teared up while reading this one and just loved all the feels that it made me feel. I really want a full length book of Marigold and North. Of all the stories in this anthology I think that this one will be my favorite.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

SOUVENIRS by Tim Federle

Place(s) Traveled: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): Maybe I’ve been reading too much Charles Dickens recently, but today doesn’t seem dreary enough for a break up, you know?

Rating: 4 stars

This was another bittersweet story and I loved the progression of it. It felt like a complete story but I would have loved to have more words. I really liked Matty’s voice and would love to see what becomes of him after this story ends. SOUVENIRS made my heart ache and I was sad to see this one end.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

INERTIA by Veronica Roth

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

First Line(s): “There must have been some kind of mistake,” I said.

Rating: 3 stars

What is with the heartbreaking way these stories are going?!? This one started out a bit choppy and rough but my heart was totally invested by the end. I wasn’t a fan of how cryptic it was at first but the end does make up for the beginning. I liked the characters and I liked the story I just didn’t like it as much as I did some of the others in this anthology.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

LOVE IS THE LAST RESORT by Jon Skovron

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

First Line(s): Dear reader, I want to assure you that this is not a story about love or romance, regardless of what you may have read on the cover.

Rating: 1 star

I was not a fan of this one. It wasn’t a bad story but I hated how it was written!! The prose was stifling and I felt like I might drown in it. It was a poor written 19th century novel and the words totally drowned out the meaning behind them. I really didn’t care about any of these characters and if this was any long than it had been it would have been a DNF.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

GOOD LUCK AND FAREWELL by Brandy Colbert

Place(s) Traveled: Chicago, Illinois // Andersonville, Illinois

First Line(s): Audrey and I are lounging on the sandy banks of Foster Avenue Beach when she tells me she’s going to San Francisco.

Rating: 3 stars

This is another so-so story in the collection. I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Rashida and Pierre and their story felt a little forced. I would have liked to have seen more of them actually talking and interacting and it just felt rushed.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

BRAND NEW ATTRACTION by Cassandra Clare

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, USA

First Line(s): It was a dark carnival.

Rating: 3 stars

Another story with demons. Like the first one it just doesn’t seem to fit with this anthology. It was weird and choppy and another one where I really didn’t care for the characters. Events were rushed and feelings felt very surfacy and I was just glad to have it over because it was just weird.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

A THOUSAND WAYS THIS COULD ALL GO WRONG by Jennifer E. Smith

Place(s) Traveled: Unknown, Illinois

First Line(s): When I spot him at the other end of the grocery aisle, I freeze.

Rating: 4 stars

I was ready for another disappointing read after the previous few stories but in the end this one is among my favorites. This is the sort of story I was expecting this whole anthology to be. Fun, contemporary romances that make your heart ache and bring a smile to your face. I smiled a lot while reading this one and its another story that I wish had been a full length book. I really enjoyed this characters and hated to say goodbye to them.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS by Lev Grossman

Place(s) Traveled: Lexington, Massachusetts

First Line(s): It was August 4th, and I guess it already had been for a while.

Rating: 3 stars

Another so-so story rounds out this anthology. It wasn’t bad but it just seemed to be missing that little something special that makes my heart ache. There wasn’t a lot of depth to it or character development and it just sort of blends in with the other stories in the anthology.

Beach scene with striped towel, sunglasses, flip flops, seashell and starfish laid on old weathered blue wood decking.  Space for copy.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS

SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS, like most anthologies, is a mixed bag of stories. I was expecting for there to be a bit more cohesion in this collection and so was surprised at the addition of things (ie demons) into the mix. Those odd ball stories took me out of these worlds and made it hard to pick the book up. There were only a handful of stories that I felt compelled to read and ones that I will probably re-read again. But there is nothing particularly wow inducing for me in SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS and I was left a little more disappointed than not. I just expected more from it than what I got and so that makes me more disappointed than I might otherwise have been as my expectations were so high. On the plus note, there is definitely something for everyone in this collection.

OVERALL RATING: 3 stars

 

irishdarkblue

three-stars
Divider

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson, et al

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson, et alViolent Ends by Beth Revis, Blythe Woolston, Brandon Shusterman, Christine Johnson, Courtney Summers, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Delilah S. Dawson, E.M. Kokie, Elisa Nader, Hannah Moskowitz, Kendare Blake, Margie Gelbwasser, Mindi Scott, Neal Shusterman, Shaun David Hutchinson, Steve Brezenoff, Tom Leveen, Trish Doller
Published by Simon Pulse on 01 September 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Anthology, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Shades of Earth, Some Girls Are, All the Rage, Please Remain Calm, Bruiser, The Deathday Letter, Better, Where the Stars Still Shine

Place(s) Traveled To: Middleborough, Florida

First Line(s): Susanna Byrd turned nine that Thursday morning at 7:17 a.m.

When people think of school shootings they tend to think of Columbine (1999) yes they’ll reference the current school shooting but there is always a reference to this event. Its sad and scary to think of school shootings as a common place thing and there are times when it seems like before Columbine life was idyllic and that things like this just didn’t happen. I graduated in 1995, I was a pre-Columbine teenager but I wasn’t without knowledge and fear of what a school shooting could be. In 1988, in the town next door to the one that I grew up in there was a school shooting as a result of one student bullying another. In 1994 my town and that town merged to form one school system and my high school became the high school where this event occurred. I was 11 in 1988 and so I don’t recall much surrounding the events of the shooting when it happened but when the towns merged there was a lot of talk about it. And also lots of talk surrounding the courtyard where the shooting took place and if it should be reopened to students or not. Had enough time passed? Would it happen again? What will happen when you bring together two rival towns and try to make them one school.

There was fear then, in those pre-Columbine days. There was talk and meetings and rumors and gossip and even though the kids in my town weren’t part of that event it became ours as we heard about it and that school became our school. So when I read a book like VIOLENT ENDS that involves a school shooting I’m transported back to 1994, to high school, and to all the talk and remembering and fear of the shooting that happened there 7 years before. Tragically school shootings aren’t a new thing and until something major happens and we learn why or come up with a better way to deal with guns in America they will keep happening. With each occurrence the fear will get worse and more ingrained and books like VIOLENT ENDS will become even more important. VIOLENT ENDS is a unique story and is told by 17 different authors who are all telling the same story but different pieces of it. Different glimpse into the killer, Kirby Matheson and why he may have done what he did on that fateful day when he brought a gun to school.

I’ve read school shooting books before, HATE LIST (my review) and NINETEEN MINUTES, and while they hit home they didn’t effect me as much as VIOLENT ENDS did with just its first few chapters. I think this is in part to how the story is written because it just reminds of when I was in high school and the events of that 1988 event kept getting brought up by different people in different ways. During my read of VIOLENT ENDS I found that I needed to take a lot of breaks. This wasn’t an easy read and I had to pause and think about what I’d just read, process the chain of events that I was reading about, and just be in the present before being able to dive back into this world that Hutchinson had created. Throughout it all you only get these little pieces of the puzzle. You read about the day of the shooting from different moments in time but the one thing missing from VIOLENT ENDS is the complete picture.

Violent Ends Quote

The one viewpoint that we never see in VIOLENT ENDS is Kirby’s. You never learn why he did what he did or why who chose the victims he did. The picture you get of Kirby isn’t the crazy loner type that you often see when you hear about a school shooting. Kirby was liked by his peers and his home life was pretty ordinary. So why did he snap? In the end, we’re left with almost as many questions as we start with but VIOLENT ENDS isn’t a book that feels incomplete. Yes, there are pieces to the puzzle missing but its a raw and powerful story and its the sort of book that with each re-read you will learn something new in its pages.

VIOLENT ENDS defied all of my expectations and its hard to find the words to tell you just how amazing this story was. Its an emotional read and it hit me harder than I expected it too. This is a book where there are no easy answers and as a reader it will often make you feel helpless because you can’t stop the chain of events from happening. With each new chapter, each new POV, you become a part of this story. And despite the many authors that take part in this book it feels like one cohesive story. Often with an anthology things can be choppy and you don’t like all of the stories. But that isn’t the case here as VIOLENT ENDS isn’t an anthology as we think of anthologies. It really is one story and all these authors worked some impressive magic to take their very different styles and meld them together to seem like one. I think that VIOLENT ENDS is a must read and I can’t recommend it enough. The reading experience is as unique and different as the way it was written. This book will make you feel things and each person who reads this book will take away something different from

irishdarkblue

Oh and for those who might be wondering. The shooting that happened in my school involved a 15 year old gunman who was bullied by the kid that he shot in the head. It happened in the school’s courtyard and it was then closed off until 1994. The shooter only shot the one person and he was then sentenced to 3 years in juvie and released at 18 to move away to places unknown. The kid he shot survived albeit with some brain damage and he now talks to students about the dangers of bullying and is also a teacher.

 

IR - Violent Ends

 

Add Hate List by Jennifer Brown to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Nineteen Minutes to Goodreads.

 

four-stars
Divider

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J MaasThe Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas
Series: Throne of Glass,
Also in this series: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire
Published by Bloomsbury on 04 March 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Anthology, Assassins, Death & Dying, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 435
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Heir of Fire

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas is a collection of the prequel novellas that introduce people to Celaena Sardothien, the main character of her debut fantasy novel, Throne of GlassThrone of Glass has been on my radar since it was first released and I thought that a good way to lead into reading that book. I enjoyed The Assassin’s Blade and below you’ll see my thoughts on the various novellas contained in the book as well as my individual rating of them.

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

Place(s) Traveled to: Rifthold, Adarlan // Skull’s Bay, Dead Islands (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): Seated in the council room of the Assassin’s Keep, Celaena Sardothien leaned back in her chair.

I think that The Assassin and the Pirate Lord was a good introduction to these characters and this world. I enjoyed the banter and interaction between Sam and Caelaena. The story was fast paced and interesting and its one that I wish was longer though its not without its flaws. As with all novellas it was short and so some things were glossed over. More detail could have been given and I would have liked to have seen Celaena being a bit more assassiny.

3 stars

POV: Celaena Sardothien

 

The Assassin & the Healer

Place(s) Traveled To: Innish, Melisande (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): The strange young woman had been staying at the White Pig Inn for two days now and had hardly spoken to anyone save for Nolan, who had taken one look at her fine night-dark clothes and bent over backwards to accommodate her.

Oh man I wish that I had skipped this one! I was not a fan of Yrene’s voice, which was so very whiny. I didn’t like how this novella was less about Caelaena and more about Yrene. There was nothing new given to Celaena’s story here and it didn’t seem to have much purpose other to act as a transition, of sorts, to the next novella in the book. I really didn’t like Calaena either…gone is the fun arrogance and instead is this surly unlikable women. As for the plot, I was not a fan of the victim blaming and it felt a bit preachy. I also missed Sam. A lot.

2 stars

POV: Yrene Towers, Celaena Sardothien

 

The Assassin & the Desert

Place(s) Traveled To: The Red Desert // Xandria, The Deserted Land (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): There was nothing left in the world except sand and wind.

How many times do we need to be told that Celaena is Ardarlan’s greatest assassin? Stop telling & start showing already. At this point these novellas are getting repetitive with how she’s the best assassin and how her guild is all men and how she is so super special and young and amazing. Ugh! Heard it the first time can we please move on to something new? Also Celaena’s feelings for Sam also seem so sudden considering how much she detested him in the first novella. I also thought that some of the dialogue was a bit pedestrian and obvious. Calaena, who I again started to like after The Assassin and the Healer,  seemed to be going a bit boy crazy in this one and it just seemed so out of character. My main take away from this one was that I still miss Same and that Caelaena alone just isn’t as fun. Overall, liked this story but it was a bit predictable

3.5 stars

POV: Celaena Sardothien

 

The Assassin & the Underworld

Place(s) Traveled To: Rifthold, Adarlan (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): The cavernous entrance of the Assassin’s Keep was silent as Celaena Sardothian stalked across the marble floor, a letter clutched between her fingers.

*le sigh* Celaena is such a naive fool sometimes…we’re always being told how smart and fierce she is but her actions never match that. I guessed the twist in this one early on. Despite my annoyances with Celaena I did enjoy this one. Most of all I loved the return of Sam.

3.5 stars

POV: Celaena Sardothien

 

The Assassin & the Empire

Place(s) Traveled To: Rifthold, Adarlan // Endoviar, Adarlan (World Name: Erilea)

First Line(s): Curled into the corner of a prison wagon, Celaena Sardothien watched the splotches of shadows and light play on the wall.

Oh what a foolish foolish girl Celaena was. So much could have been avoided if you had just used your brain child. The Assassin and the Empire was just so very obvious in its plot twists and story ARC. I liked the writing of the story but it was just so very predictable….and then there was that one thing that made me so very mad!!!

3 stars

POV: Celaena Sardothien

.

irishdarkblue

.

.

.

Assassin's Blade2

three-stars
Divider

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Diverse Energies Anthology Wrap-Up Post

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Diverse Energies Anthology Wrap-Up Post

Diverse Energies Anthology Wrap-Up PostDiverse Energies by Tobias S Buckell
Series: Diverse Energies,
Also in this series: The Last Day, Freshee's Fogurt, Pattern Recognition , Gods of the Dimming Light , Next Door, Good Girl, Pocket Full of Dharma, Blue Skies, What Arms to Hold Us, Solitude
Published by Tu Books on 01 November 2012
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Anthology, Death & Dying, Diseases, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Mythology, People & Places, People of Color, Politics & Intrigue, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 268
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a feature here at Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. Starting with Diverse Energies which the book synopsis describes as  “In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing cultures, and sometimes one another as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction. Includes stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Daniel H. Wilson, and more.”

 

Story 1: The Last Day by Ellen Oh – 2 stars

Story 2: Freshee’s Fogurt by Daniel H. Wilson – 3 stars

Story 3: Uncertainty Principal by K. Tempest Bradford – 4 stars

Story 4: Pattern Recognition by Ken Liu – 2.5 stars

Story 5: Gods of the Dimming Light by Greg can Eekhout – 3 stars

Story 6: Next Door by Rahul Kanakia – 1 star

Story 7: Good Girl by Malida  Lo – 3 stars

Story 8: Pocket Full of Dharma by Paolo Bacigalupi – 3 stars

Story 9: Blue Skies by Cindy Pon – 4 stars

Story 10: What Arms to Hold Us by Rajan Khanna – 3 stars

Story 11: Solitude by Ursula K. LeGuin – 3 stars

 

Average Rating: 3 stars

 

Favorite Story: Blue Skies by Cindy Pon

Least Favorite: Next Door by Rahul Kanakia

irishdarkblue
three-stars
Divider

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – Solitude by Ursula K. Le Guin

Posted by Irish in 2.5 Stars, 3 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – Solitude by Ursula K. Le Guin

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – Solitude by Ursula K. Le GuinSolitude by Ursula K. Le Guin
Series: Diverse Energies,
Also in this series: The Last Day, Freshee's Fogurt, Pattern Recognition , Gods of the Dimming Light , Next Door, Good Girl, Pocket Full of Dharma, Blue Skies, What Arms to Hold Us, Diverse Energies
Published by Tu Books on 01 November 2012
Genres: Adolescence, Anthology, Dystopian, Family, Girls & Women, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a feature here at Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. Starting with Diverse Energies which the book synopsis describes as  “In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing cultures, and sometimes one another as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction. Includes stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Daniel H. Wilson, and more.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Eleven-Soro

First Line(s): My mother, a field ethnologist, took the difficulty of learning anything about the people of Eleven-Soro as a personal challenge.

Solitude by Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the longer stories in the Diverse Energies Anthology and it really felt long. For me, this one just seemed to drag and I really couldn’t bring myself to care about the main character Ren. I often found her to be aloof and uncaring and couldn’t bring myself to like her very much. There were a lot of set up in the story but not much really happened. There just seemed to be no point to the story and it just ended before you learned what happened to Ren or to her mother and brother. I like Le Guin’s writing style and its because of it that I kept reading until the end. Solitude was also the last story in this anthology so I also felt I owed it to the book and myself to finish it to the end. Though if Solitude had been a full length story I would most like have marked it as a DNF.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
Divider

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Light It Up by Kimberly Derting

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Light It Up by Kimberly Derting

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Light It Up by Kimberly DertingLight It Up by Kimberly Derting
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Better
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Abduction, Anthology, Family, Short Story / Novella, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 26
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: The Woods

First Line(s): I drop my sleeping bag and sit down hard on the slime-covered boulder, refusing to take one more step.

Original Story: Hansel and Gretal

Anthologies are always a grab bag of good things and not so good things so as with every other story in Grim, I was a bit uncertain at the start of Light it Up by Kimberly Derting. Though in the end Light it Up has been one of my favorite stories (so far) in this anthology. Its true to the original story and modernizes it for a new audience. I thought that it was well written and I hated for the story to end. I would have liked to have seen this one go on for a few more pages to see what happened next. The story was fast paced and it kept me engaged and it makes me want to go back and read all things Kimberly Derting.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
Divider

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – What Arms to Hold Us by Rajan Khanna

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – What Arms to Hold Us by Rajan Khanna

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – What Arms to Hold Us by Rajan KhannaWhat Arms to Hold Us by Rajan Khanna
Series: Diverse Energies,
Also in this series: The Last Day, Freshee's Fogurt, Pattern Recognition , Gods of the Dimming Light , Next Door, Good Girl, Pocket Full of Dharma, Blue Skies, Solitude, Diverse Energies
Published by Tu Books on 01 November 2012
Genres: Abduction, Anthology, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, People of Color, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 33
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a feature here at Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. Starting with Diverse Energies which the book synopsis describes as  “In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing cultures, and sometimes one another as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction. Includes stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Daniel H. Wilson, and more.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown

First Line(s): If gollies had ears, Ravi might have heard the other driver coming straight at him.

What Arms to Hold Us by Rajan Khanna is an interesting if a little confusing story in the Diverse Energies anthology. Its a story that I found to be well written but had a hard time trying to pin point just what was going on. There wasn’t much background given for this strange dystopian world and the reader is just thrust into this world. Then before you know it the story has ended and you are left wondering. What Arms to Hold Us isn’t a bad story but there just wasn’t enough of it to really get a feel for it. It just feels unfinished and I would like to see more of it just to know what the point of it all was.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
Divider

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David Hutchinson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David Hutchinson

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Better by Shaun David HutchinsonBetter by Shaun David Hutchinson
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Untethered, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Adaptation, Adolescence, Anthology, Diseases, Friendship, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 30
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Deathday Letter, Violent Ends

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Hamelin Space Ship

First Line(s): I feel real.

Original Story: Pinocchio The Pied Piper

I was never a huge fan of the whole Pinocchio story but in Better by Shaun David Hutchinson I have seen a potential in it that I never have before. Hutchinson’s version is much darker than the original and really lives up to promise of what I thought the Grim anthology should be. Hutchinson takes this pretty bland story and transports the reader into a futuristic world where a group of humans are flying through space looking for a new home. Think Across the Universe by Beth Revis but where things don’t go as well. Better is a quick read and I loved the promise of it. This is the sort of retelling that I was hoping every story in this anthology would be when I picked it up. Better is also a story that I would enjoy if there was more to it but at the same time I think that its pretty solid as it is.

Edit: I originally thought this story was based on Pinocchio but have since learned it was really The Pied Piper.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
Divider

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – Blue Skies by Cindy Pon

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – Blue Skies by Cindy Pon

Short Story Saturday: Diverse Energies – Blue Skies by Cindy PonBlue Skies by Cindy Pon
Series: Diverse Energies,
Also in this series: The Last Day, Freshee's Fogurt, Pattern Recognition , Gods of the Dimming Light , Next Door, Good Girl, Pocket Full of Dharma, What Arms to Hold Us, Solitude, Diverse Energies
Published by Tu Books on 01 November 2012
Genres: Abduction, Anthology, Dystopian, Health & Daily Living, People & Places, People of Color, Sci-Fi, Short Story / Novella, Social Issues, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 26
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Silver Phoenix, Fury of the Phoenix, Serpentine

 

Short Story Saturday is a feature here at Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. Starting with Diverse Energies which the book synopsis describes as  “In this stunning collection of original and rediscovered stories of tragedy and hope, the stars are a diverse group of students, street kids, good girls, kidnappers, and child laborers pitted against their environments, their governments, differing cultures, and sometimes one another as they seek answers in their dystopian worlds. Take a journey through time from a nuclear nightmare of the past to society’s far future beyond Earth with these eleven stories by masters of speculative fiction. Includes stories by Paolo Bacigalupi, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Daniel H. Wilson, and more.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Taipei, Taiwan // Yang Ming Shan Mountain, Taiwan

First Line(s): I watched the two you girls from the corner of my eye as the crowds surged around me.

Blue Skies by Cindy Pon is another installment in the Diverse Energies anthology and takes place in a futuristic Taiwan where the world is falling apart as a result of pollution. The skies are no longer blue and the people are divided into the haves (you) and the have nots (yao). The story is a quick read and told from an unnamed male character who you just want to know more about. He’s a teenager that is wise beyond his years, thanks to the world he has grown up in, and is filled with a sense of purpose and mystery. Blue Skies is over before you want it to be and I really hope that one day Pon will go back and expand this story as there is so much potential for it. There is the bad boy and the potential love interest. The mystery of how the world became how it is and the rush and desire to fix all that is wrong and make the world perfect again. Or as perfect as can be when there are still pesky humans about to muck things up. So far, Blue Skies, is among my favorites in the Diverse Energies anthology and worth checking out.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
Divider

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Untethered by Sonia Gensler

Posted by Irish in 2 Stars, Review, Short Story Saturday, Young Adult0 Comments

Short Story Saturday: Grim – Untethered by Sonia GenslerUntethered by Sonia Gensler
Series: Grim,
Also in this series: The Key, Figment, The Raven Princess, Thinner Than Water, Before the Rose Bloomed, Beast/Beast, The Brothers Piggett, Better, Light It Up
Published by Harlequin Teen on 25 February 2014
Genres: Anthology, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Family, Paranormal, Short Story / Novella, Young Adult
Pages: 15
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Goodreads
two-stars

 

Short Story Saturday is a new feature that I am doing here on Ticket to Anywhere where I start to read some of the various anthologies I have, one story at a time. One of the anthologies that I am focusing on now is Grim edited by Christine Johnson which is described as: “In the days when fairy tales were first spun, they weren’t the sweet and cheerful stories we tell today. Back then, fairy tales were terrifying. They were a warning to the listener to stay out of the night, to keep away from the mystical and ignore the mysterious.”

Place(s) Traveled To: Unknown

First Line(s): Grief hangs on my bones, at times nearly suffocating me.

Original Story: The Shroud

 

Untethered by Sonia Gensler is a very short story in the Grim anthology that feels even shorter than the few pages that it was contained on. Its a fast read and while I did like the twist it was just too short to have any real impact on me. There is no history or boackground or anything tangible to it that allowed me to become connected to any of these characters. I was told that they were grieving and shown it but the why was just sort of glossed over. It just felt so incomplete like we received less than a fragment of a story and I remember asking myself when I hit the last page, “That’s it?” I thought that Untethered was well written and liked Gensler’s style but just didn’t feel this story. I would say to skip it but its over in such a blink that reading it is almost the same as not reading it at all.

irishdarkblue

two-stars
Divider