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A Reader of Fictions: June 2013

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #19: Death Watch

Death Watch
The Undertaken, Book 1

Author: Ari Berk
Pages: 544
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Read: June 19-23, 2013
Source: Library
Recommended by: Kara of Great Imaginations

Description from Goodreads:
They say the dead should rest in peace. Not all the dead agree.One night, Silas Umber's father Amos doesn’t come home from work. Devastated, Silas learns that his father was no mere mortician but an Undertaker, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands, the states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town where Silas was born, and move in with Amos’s brother, Charles.

Even as Silas eagerly explores his father’s town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber’s ornate, museum-like house—something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father’s disappearance. When Silas’s search leads him to his father’s old office, he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead.

Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport’s secret history—and discovers that he has taken on his father’s mantle as Lichport’s Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father—no matter the cost.

First Sentence: "He should have gone home."

Ari Berk's Death Watch is, without doubt, one of the most beautifully-written books I've had the pleasure of reading. His prose is lyrical, gothic, and drenched with meaning. The discussions of life, death, and family are thought-provoking and touching. For the prose alone, this book is a hundred percent worth reading. Berk has massive talent and, though I can't say this series, is perfect for me, I will be keeping an eye on his career.

The catalyst of Death Watch is the disappearance of Amos Umber, Silas' father. Silas and his mother are turned out of their home, for it belongs to his Uncle. With little recourse available to them, they agree to move back to Lichport, the hometown of both his parents and his own birthplace, to live with his Uncle. There, he must confront his father's disappearance and his destiny, and try to help Lichport in the process.

The world depicted in Death Watch feels both real and fantastical, modern and historical. Lichport feels like a place out of time, a town where the realm of the dead is closer than anywhere else. Ghosts roam the streets, inhabit houses, and attempt murders. Berk captures the eerieness perfectly, but also the magic. Ghosts are like people; they aren't all bad, and they come in all sorts of forms. In fact, some ghosts are even corporeal, lingering almost like zombies, simply unwilling to accept that they're dead. The world building is fantastic and rich, full of ghost lore. The family dynamics are like Lemony Snicket meets Hamlet, which basically means it's dark and messed up, but a bit fanciful. Actually, much of the story recalls Shakespeare or classic literature.

Where Death Watch came up short for me was in plotting and characterization. So far as the plot goes, I would have liked more of it. Death Watch is hefty at over 500 pages, and it felt long too. There's a lot of meandering to the plot, and, despite that, I felt like most of the actual plot elements were dealt with so swiftly as to be unsatisfying. Berk focuses more on the quiet reflection than on the active moments, like Silas having to separate from his ghostly girlfriend and the takedown of the villain.

Though I like Silas, I don't feel any strong emotions towards him, and I can't be bothered about anyone else in Death Watch. I felt a definite distance from him that never diminished. He also never really does much growing through the course of the book, and certainly the others don't. His troubled relationship with his mother is never really resolved or satisfactorily confronted. His brief courtship of the ghostly girl is told in such a way that it elicited no feels from me, though it is a tragic experience for him. He's a character I feel I should have liked, but the story focuses so much more on the writing and world building than on building up characters. Also, on a side note, this novel really doesn't strike me as young adult and, if anything, would fall more under the new adult umbrella, as Silas is over 18 and deals with issues of becoming an adult, like finding a profession and moving out of his parents' home.

Anyone who enjoys ghost stories or gothic literature will be doing themselves a disservice by not reading Death Watch.

Rating: 3/5

Favorite Quote:
"It was well past one a.m. and into that portion of evening where things went very quiet, as if the world was waiting for something to happen.
     But Silas was tired of living in a world where everyone and everything held its breath."

Up Next:
The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book is Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke suggested by Ashleigh Paige of Birth of a New Witch. Thanks so much to Ashleigh for putting in a recommendation, even if I'm the black sheep on this one...

Want to tell me what to read? Fill out the following form with a suggestion! For more details, check this post.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Review: Famous Last Words

Famous Last Words

Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Pages: 288
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Read: June 27-29, 2013
Source: ARC from publisher for review

Description from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Samantha D’Angelo has death on the brain. Her summer internship at the local newspaper has her writing obituaries instead of soaking up the sun at the beach. Between Shelby, Sam’s boy-crazy best friend; her boss Harry, a true-blue newspaper man; and AJ, her fellow “intern scum” (aka the cute drummer for a band called Love Gas), Sam has her hands full. But once she figures out what—or who—is the best part of her summer, will she mess it all up?

As Sam learns her way around both the news room and the real world, she starts to make some momentous realizations about politics, ethics, her family, romance, and most important—herself.

First Sentence: "Samantha Elisabeth D'Angelo, the Herald Tribune's youngest-ever obituary writer, died Friday."

This is my second experience with Jennifer Salvato Doktorski in as many months. In a lot of ways, her sophomore novel is much like her first, with similar strengths and weaknesses. Both novels exhibit a lot of promise, but left me vaguely irritated and unsettled at some of the themes and messages throughout. Famous Last Words is an improvement on How My Summer Went Up in Flames, with a slightly more likable heroine and the delightful focus on Sam's summer job.

The best part, and what makes Famous Last Words stand out from the bulk of YA offerings is that t he main plot deals with Sam's job. At 16 going on 17, she's got a summer job as a paid intern at the Herald Tribune. She doesn't get to do much but write obits and fetch coffee, but the excitement of the newsroom delights her. In fact, she's much happier working late nights and crazy hours at the newspaper than dealing with other teens in high school.

Sam has quite the work ethic, though that is in part due to her desire to avoid thinking about other things, like her problems with her best friend, boys, and college. Getting caught up in the mystery of the case against the mayor, who seems to be doing something illicit, Sam assists the actual reporters and does some amateur detective work. Through her job at the newspaper, she discovers a passion she didn't realize she had - for writing and for life. Writing obits makes her realize how important it is to truly live. I love that the newspaper work isn't something in the background here at all; it's in the forefront and Doktorski really delves into the process and the problems facing the newspaper industry today.

As with How My Summer Went Up in Flames, I'm also largely impressed with Doktorski's characterization and writing. Most of the characters feel very authentic and human, with the little quirks that really make them feel alive. My personal favorite is definitely Sam's sassy grandma and her touching stories about Sam's late grandfather.

However, Sam has a lot of the troublesome qualities that made Rosie such a frustrating heroine in How My Summer Went Up in Flames, though I do not think Sam's quite as hateful. Both Sam and Rosie are judgmental, jealous of any girl who talks to a boy they have any sort of interest in, and terrible friends. One of the main focuses of the book is the deteriorating friendship between Sam and Shelby. Sam has a lot of legitimate reasons to be mad at Shelby: the way Shelby wants Sam to be someone she's not, the way Shelby ignored Sam for a boyfriend, and the way that Shelby abandons Sam at parties. Instead, Sam gets mad about other things; Shelby's drinking and flirtatiousness, and the possible damage to her reputation (love that subtle slut-shaming).

Meanwhile, Sam turns into a puddle of goo at the feet of an obviously obnoxious guy just because he has a pretty face, much like Rosie did over and over again. For all her judgment of Shelby for flirting with guys, Sam tries (though she pretends to be in ignorance of what she's doing) to string two guys along during the summer. She's single and has every right to do it, but so is Shelby free to do what she wants. Since Sam doesn't respect Shelby, I don't respect Sam. The actual romance in Famous Last Words is cute, but I was so irritated by Sam I didn't feel like she deserved the nice guy she got, because she learned very little. She does determine to do some more work on her relationship with Shelby, but her sense of elitism over the drunken, popular, pretty people never dissipates in the slightest.

Running through both of Doktorski's books is an intense distaste for underage drinking, and perhaps any drinking at all. The "good" characters almost never drink in both. While I'm not saying underage drinking or perpetual drunkenness is admirable, arguing, even through fiction, for such abstinence education is silly; we all know how the prohibition turned out. Neither Rosie nor Sam has, to my knowledge, a reason to be so anti-drinking, like a family member who suffers from alcoholism or was killed by a drunk driver. It just seems very out of place and preachy.

Both Sam and Rosie seem like believable people, and they are well-characterized. At the same time, they're not likable, at least for me. Of course, unlikable characters can be pulled off admirably, but my issue here is that I do not think that either was meant to be perceived as unlikable by the reader. The other characters generally seem to find them charming, and any hate they get is because they're too cool or talented and the other person is jealous. The fact that the two are so similar also seems a weakness.

My second experience with Jennifer Salvato Doktorski leaves me still convinced that she can do great things as a writer, but that she's not there yet. The continual themes of hatred of other women, of drinking and of slut-shaming bog down otherwise incredibly fun books. If you want to try Doktorski, I would recommend Famous Last Words over How My Summer Went Up in Flames.

Rating: 3/5

Favorite Quote: "Do I look angry? People are always doing that to me—telling me to smile, asking me what's wrong, when I'm perfectly content. I just have a pouty-shaped mouth, that's all."

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On My New Arrivals Shelf (61)

People Mentioned:
Lindsay Ribar, author of The Art of Wishing

For Review:
Horde (Razorland #3) - Ann Aguirre
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland #3) - Catherynne M. Valente
Boxers - Gene Luen Yang
Saints - Gene Luen Yang

The Path of Names - Ari B. Goelman

The Boy on the Bridge - Natalie Standiford


Friday, June 28, 2013

Review: Zits: Chillax

Zits: Chillax

Author: Jerry Scott
Illustrator: Jim Borgman
Pages: 256
Publisher: HarperTeen
Read: May 16-17, 2013
Source: Gifted

Description from Goodreads:
Comic god Stan Lee says Zits is a "comedic masterpiece!" Fans of funny illustrated YA novels such as Drama by Raina Telgemeier and Teen Angst? Naaah... by Ned Vizzini will definitely want to read Zits: Chillax. In Zits: Chillax, Jeremy Duncan, high school sophomore and future rock god, offers up a comedic outlook on teenage life, including school, parents, chores, bands, and friends. Jeremy and his best friend, Hector Garcia, are planning to achieve a lifelong dream...going to a rock concert! Without parental supervision. But the Gingivitis concert falls on the same night their friend Tim is donating bone marrow for his mom, a cancer patient. Not a problem: Jeremy and Hector are determined to go to the show...for Tim. Written and illustrated by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman, Zits: Chillax is based on their comic strip, Zits. The book features 300 illustrations--including hilarious full-page comics.

First Sentence: "I see a bead of sweat clinging to Byczykowski's mustache hairs, and on her it doesn't look bad."

When I was a kid I loved reading the comic pages of the newspaper, or the 'funnies' as we always called them in my family. Zits, tragically accurate name aside, was always one of my favorites, perhaps even the favorite comic strip. Given that love, I was curious when I saw this book around, so when my dear friend Lenore (author of The Memory of After) offered me her ARC, I went for it. This novelization of the comic strip series was enjoyable if not quite as awesome as the strip itself.

While this is a novelization and not a collection of the Zits comics, which I thought might have been a possibility, fear not, as there are a bunch of illustrations in classic Zits style. Reading books with pictures is super refreshing, because all of a sudden I read so fast. Borgman's illustrations are hilarious, largely integrated into the story, including dialog responding to the prose text, though some are sort of commentaries on the story going on around it.

Jeremy continues to be the quintessential teenage boy. He completes his schoolwork at the last minute, recognizes the best ways to avoid getting stuck doing chores, and is completely embarrassed by his parents. This, right here, is what most teens I know experiences: present parents who care and are just sort of endlessly the bane of your existence, as though they purposefully want to harm your tenuous social status. Jeremy hates talking about his feelings and converses primarily with the word "Dude." He's a teenage boy with dreams of being a rock god, who sometimes forgets where his bed is and sleeps on the piles of stuff on his floor. Oh yeah, and he sleeps until the afternoon because that's what teens do.

Two elements combine for the plot of Zits: Chillax: a concert and cancer. Jeremy and his best friend Hector have tickets to go see their favorite band, Gingivitis, but are unsure whether they'll be able to convince their parents to let them go. At the same time, their band Chickenfist is in trouble when Tim, the bassist, announces that he'll be leaving them for a while, as his mother has cancer. The boys, unsure how to handle such an emotional moment decide that they need to go to this concert for Tim. This premise does make me a bit uncomfortable, using cancer as a device to move the plot along, rather than conveying the seriousness of it.

Aside from the cancer thing, Zits: Chillax is a series of hijinks related to getting to the concert. There are a lot of great funny moments, especially the moments where they're just hanging out with their friends being teens or when Jeremy's complaining about his parents. Oddly, the teen/parent dynamics have always been my favorite part of the comic, since they're so spot on, both to the affection and the rampant frustration involved in the relationship.

The pacing of Zits: Chillax is fast, even without the pictures. It's a light, fluffy read that can be enjoyed by boys and girls alike, as well as fans of the comic.

Rating: 3/5

Favorite Quote: "Whatever. Detention wasn't that bad (Sara was there, too) and I don't really mind being grounded because I don't mind spending time alone in my room. Why do parents consider that punishment, anyway? Half the time they're trying to pry me out of my room, and then when I screw up and get in trouble, they turn around and send me back in there, which is where I wanted to be in the first place! If you ask me, the only real punishment in the world is anything that falls under the heading of 'Fun for the Whole Family' which, trust me, is a lie."

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cover Snark (61): Let the Snark Break

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don't write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I've linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

 Shiny and New:

1. Elusion - Claudie Gabel & Cheryl Klam
Thoughts: Saruman, FOCUS. You can get a girlfriend AFTER you finish betraying everything you're meant to stand for. Also, my brain cannot comprehend how there is not a unicorn in this cover. LISA FRANK DEMANDS IT.

2. Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) - Veronica Rossi
Thoughts: INTO THE LEATHER PANTS. And does she have a jacket around her waist? What is this? The 90s?

3. Tremor (Pulse #2) - Patrick Carman
Thoughts: BRB, thinking of Hayao Miyazaki.

4. Split Second (Pivot Point #2) - Kasie West
Thoughts: So...is this Laila? Or did Addie totally change her appearance? I do like the rain better than the bubbles or whatever on the first cover.

5. The Promise of Amazing - Robin Constantine
Thoughts: More like The Promise of ADORBS. THAT GIRL EVEN SORT OF LOOKS LIKE LYDIA. Also, ELBOW PATCHES. *swoons*

6. Nearly Gone - Elle Cosimano
Thoughts: *offers model towel* Okay, so I'm loving the tagline on this one, only she better ACTUALLY be the killer. I'm also liking the backwards numbers as letters, even if they got the idea from a crime drama.

7. Side Effects May Vary - Julie Murphy
Thoughts: Cute cover: CHECK! I am trying to make the pills and the checkbox and the ballet shoes and the ferris wheel add up to a plot: Ballerina with consumption does want to go on a date with you (Do you like me? Check YES!), so you go on the ferris wheel, and the power of your love makes her stop coughing up bits of her lungs.

8. Sally Slick & the Steel Syndicate - Carrie Harris
Thoughts: Honey, suspenders are SO last season. I do, however, love that she looks like she's ready to take care of business and the boy behind her just looks like he's about to pee his pants. Also, she reminds me of Kaylee a bit, so yay.

9. Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street #3) - Samantha Young
Thoughts: "One simple lesson in seduction between two friends" Ummm, wait. You can't just SAY that like it's a totally normal thing. Or maybe I have boring friends. Only I'm pretty sure my friends are AWESOME. Okay, guys, let me know in the comments: ever had a simple lesson in seduction with a friend?

10. The Inventor’s Secret (The Inventor's Secret #1) - Andrea Cremer
Thoughts: So cute. It's like if Wallace & Gromit built a heart.

11. Frozen (Taken #2) - Erin Bowman
Thoughts: SO PRETTY. Not sure I like convenient puddle to reflect them or her weird pose. Nor do I know why they're at Epcot, but it's pretty.

12. Shark Out of Water (Grab Your Pole #3) - Jenn Cooksey!
Thoughts: That is not a shark. Also, not sure if it's a boy or a girl. Whoever it is appears to have a mullet.

13. Dear Killer - Katherine Ewell
Thoughts: *tries to read all the words* *fails* *is frustrated*

14. Fake ID - Lamar Giles
Thoughts: FAKE IDS ARE ON SALE. GOTTA GET ME ONE OF THOSE. RUN LIKE THE WIIIIIIIIIIIND. On an unrelated note, pretty green color is pretty, and I like the paint effect around the edges.

15. Chasing Dirt Roads - Pixie Lynn Whitfield
Thoughts: All those years I BEGGED for a horse, and this bitch gets one and isn't even happy about it. NOT FAIR. *slams door*

16. Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1) - Kelley Armstrong
Thoughts: I have no idea what's happening, but I like it.

17. Let the Storms Break (Let the Sky Fall #2) - Shannon Messenger
Thoughts: These kids should be tornado chasers, since they apparently get caught anyway. Not a fan of how much larger the font is on book two.

18. A Cursed Moon (Weird Girls #2.5) - Cecy Robson
Thoughts: *yawns* Pretty font, but otherwise... *prowls for more interesting covers*

19. No More Goddesses - Kim Baccellia
Thoughts: Watched The Mummy once over 10 years ago probably and I am still creeped out by scarabs, even lime green ones. *hugs cat*

20. To All the Boys I've Loved Before - Jenny Han
Thoughts: Ha, I love how it's written with a Sharpie. And how she's wearing normal clothes. And MIGHT be a POC. Cover rating: Cuteness.

21. The Woken Gods - Gwenda Bond
Thoughts: Independence Day sponsored by Anubis?

22. Unbreakable - Rebecca Shea
Thoughts: So, this is gorgeous, but WHAT IS HAPPENING? She died in a tragic fireworks accident? Katy Perry sole her song idea so she's crying on the grass? What?

23. Nomad - JL Bryan
Thoughts: Her skirt is TOO shiny. I mean, I love shiny, but...that's like food-preserving shiny. I do like the use of hot pink here though.

24. Life, Love & Lemons - Magan Vernon
Thoughts: Awww, this is cute. Look how many things couples can be doing on covers besides making kissy faces! However, what on earth are they lying on? It looks like a futon frame without a mattress on the grass or something. Whaaaat?

25. Deathsworn (Deathsworn #1) - Leah Cypess
Thoughts: Based on how awesome The Tenth Kingdom is, I think if you see a mirror portal, YOU TAKE IT. I'll call this a win.

26. Ruins (Partials #3) - Dan Wells
Thoughts: Her hair is ALWAYS blowing to that same side. I want to gift her a pony tail holder. Otherwise, I love the background. Pretty ocean. Pretty sunset. Pretty title treatment. YESSSS.

27. Tsarina - J. Nelle Patrick
Thoughts: I do like the classic feel of this, but the color/wall paper pattern is upsetting to my eyes. Lol at the fact that she's standing in a faberge egg.

28. This Is How I Find Her - Sara Polsky
Thoughts: When she's not maintaining gardens outside creepy houses, she works as an umpire.

29. Ashes to Ashes - Melissa Walker
Thoughts: This looks WAY too similar to some other covers for me. Like this one. BRB, gotta go barf because that tagline.

30. Born in Blood (Sentinels #1) - Alexandra Ivy
Thoughts: "Trust the ones you fear." NO. DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS COVER. The leather pants and shirtlessness MAY seem to convey trustworthy, but they are LYING to you. DO the opposite of trusting those you fear.

31. Special Editions of Daughter of Smoke & Bone / Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1-2) - Laini Taylor
Thoughts: Special editions just for Tesco. I quite like the Daughter of Smoke and Bone one. Reminds me of the Shades of London redesign.

32. Murder of Crows (The Others #2) - Anne Bishop
Thoughts: Bleh, feathers. I like her hair, though. It's all short and colored and not long and flowy. Also, a girl with her hood up! That's new.

33. Angel Seduced (The Hidden #3) - Jaime Rush
Thoughts: They look like they're in a lamaze class.

34. Burn (Pure #3) - Julianna Baggott
Thoughts: Well, this was obviously leaked, since it's small and blurry, but oh well. I pretty much love it, despite the lack of color. Don't know why they've not followed the black background of the previous two though. Don't think I like the inconsistency.

35. Compelled (Coveted #3) - Shawntelle Madison

36. Promise Bound (Lies Beneath #3) - Anne Greenwood Brown
Thoughts: So...like Ten Tiny Breaths + Breathless?

37. Teen Spirit - Francesca Lia Block
Thoughts: These are the ingredients that go into every Teen Spirit deodorant.

38. Steadfast (Spellcaster #2) - Claudia Gray
Thoughts: I WANT THAT DRESS. MIIIIIIIINE. Will steal it while she tries to put out the electricity in her hair.

39. Wanderers (Wasteland #2) - Susan Kim & Laurence Klavan
Thoughts: The font colors do not blend with everything else AT ALL. Especially the author names. *scrubs eyes*

40. Young, Gifted & Dead – Lucy Carver
Thoughts:Wow, that expression is punchable. However, this is also pretty awesome, even if it reminds me of a million other sunglasses covers, like Heist Society.

41. Fugitive X (Revolution 19 #2) - Gregg Rosenblum

42. Maybe One Day - Melissa Cantor
Thoughts: This really looks like a children's or middle grade cover to me, not YA. The girls just look so young.

43. Salvage - Alexandra Duncan
Thoughts: BAHAHAHAHAHA. "Her fall is only the beginning." I can't. Don't you hate when you get all dressed up only to fall off a planet and land on the beach? That can really destroy your Saturday. The question, my friend, is whether you can salvage your weekend.

44. Wrath (Soul Savers #5) - Kristie Cook
Thoughts: Maybe wrath is one the rise because of the number of people shoehorned into leather pants for this week's covers.

45. Jump Zone (Cleo Falls #1) - Wylie Snow
Thoughts: I am attempting to reconcile the title/tagline with the cover image. I am failing.

46. My Own Mr. Darcy - Karey White
Thoughts: Well, they did successfully make the blur look like Matthew MacFaddyendyendn or however that's spelled. Otherwise mehhhhhhhhhhhh.

47. Fire & Flood - Victoria Scott
Thoughts: LOVE LOVE LOVE the font treatments. LOATHE LOATHE LOATHE the burning feather.

48. Little White Lies - Katie Dale
Thoughts: Is Marureen Johnson's cover flip having an impact? Look at this totally non-girly cover for a female author! In fact, this is downright creeptastic.

49. Wild West Promise - C.R. Moss & R.M. Sotera
Thoughts: Double D Ranch. I see what they did thar. Also, that hat was worth however much money he paid for it with how well it keeps him in the shade. Way to let your lady, who's wearing a freaking long sleeve velvet dress in that weather, sunburn.

50. Burn Out - Kristi Helvig
Thoughts: Very reminiscent of Maria V. Snyder's Inside for me. But I do like the colors and the tagline!

51. In Time (The Darkest Minds #1.5) - Alexandra Bracken
Thoughts: I am TIRED. GET IT?

52. Stripped - Jasinda Wilder
Thoughts: Of course she's a virgin stripper. And he's a tattooed (I'm assuming), wealthy sex god.

53. The Quantum League by Matthew Kirby
Thoughts: Baby Iceman and baby other X-Men whose character names I do not know off the top of my head. Also, they may be coming to ruin that ballerina's date. RUDE. She has a hard enough life already, what with the CONSUMPTION.

54. Effortless with You - Lizzy Charles
Thoughts: Hmmm, looks more like Effortless WITHOUT Shoes.

55. Landry Park - Bethany Hagen
Thoughts: I think I might like this, but who really knows, because the image is TINY.

Cover Battle: 

1. Out of the Easy - Ruta Sepetys
US vs. Italian vs. French: Interesting to me that they all went for a blue or green color scheme. Also, I really think they all fit the plot really well, which is AWESOME. According to the ever reliable Google translate, the Italian title means "A Room Full of Dreams," so that loses because LAME. I think I like the American cover a bit more than the others for the vibrant colors, but they're all pretty great.

WTF of the Week:

1. Darkness Splintered (Dark Angels #6) - Keri Arthur
Thoughts: That pose. Those wings. The fact that she's about to slice off one of those wings and her own head with a lightsaber.

2. Faking Normal - Courtney C. Stevens
Thoughts: Snakeroot + If You Find Me = this cover. The new trees growing on someone's face trend baffles me.

3. Uh-oh... We Turned Our Brother into a Zombie? - K.B. Miller
Thoughts: Which is funnier? The title or the way they think zombies look?

Outstanding Cover of the Week:
The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

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