Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Release date: January 29, 2013
Author info: Website
Publisher: Angry Robot
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn.

He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat.

When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.
The Mad Scientist's Daughter is in no way what I expected. First of all, I, for whatever reason, thought it was young adult. It is most definitely not, but that didn't affect my enjoyment in the least. The Mad Scientist's Daughter is a beautiful story of love, redemption, and what makes a human a human.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter covers several decades of the life of Caterina Novak. It begins when she's a young girl and her father brings home a stranger--one she believes to be a ghost. That stranger is Finn, an android that looks exactly like a person. He becomes Cat's tutor and they form a fast and close friendship over the years. We learn to love Finn through Cat's eyes; we love his kindness and gentleness, even though we know somewhere that it's programmed into him.

Cat's upbringing gives her a different view on the world, especially as people begin to fight for the rights of robots--and others fight back. At times I found myself disliking Cat because I felt like she kind of disengages from others and takes a back seat in her own life, though I understood. In the end, she definitely got her redemption, both in my eyes and in her life. It takes some pretty extreme events, but Cat unlocks her heart and is able to realize how to really love and be loved.

I LOVE Finn. (His name is my favorite guy name in the world, so I'm probably predisposed to like him...) Though he's a robot, he's sweet and dedicated. His perspective is one that no one can understand.

My only complaint is that the book gets a little long in the middle. The beginning and the introduction of Finn, Cat, and the world are interesting and compelling. The last third is heartwrenching, exciting, and completely gratifying. It's just that middle third! There's a little too much of detailed day to day life and it just gets boring. If you power through it, though, the ending is completely worth your work.

I'm actually glad I didn't realize this was an adult novel before I requested it on Netgalley. Had I realized, I probably wouldn't have given it the chance, simply because it's not what I normally read and review. Luckily, I DID request it. The Mad Scientist's Daughter is gorgeous, a little bit dark, and a story I fell completely in love with.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Teen Author Boot Camp: All About It + Win Access!

Guys, today I have some fun news! Saturday, March 16, from 9 am to 5 pm, Writers Cubed is holding the Teen Author Boot Camp at Utah Valley University. Now, you may be thinking, "I don't live in Utah or anywhere close. Why is this fun news for me?" This is fun news for you because they are doing a livestream of the events that day! If you're an aspiring author, this is for you! Shannon Hale is the keynote speaker, and there are panels from a BUNCH of other great authors throughout the day. I have a little bit more information provided by Writer's Cubed if you're interested:

Hey everyone,

My name is Tahsha, and I’m a member of Writers Cubed.

I’m here to talk about something I think is downright amazing:


Particularly teenage authors.

Did you know that there are tons of teen writers out there? There are. And guess what? They are freaking good at writing! Good chance is you are one of those teen writers, or maybe you want to be but you’re hiding behind your facade of coolness, not believing that you actually have the skills to be a writer.

That was true for me (though I’m not a teenager-even though I act like one half the time.) I always wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t believe I could. In fact, I was embarrassed to admit that I wanted to be. Silly, I know.

Then I found an awesome writing group, (feel free to pause and go to our website if you want to know just how cool we are--I’ll wait for you.) and we started learning how to write together. We attended classes and conferences that taught us that there is more to writing then just romantic tension.

Guess what we discovered through the process? There wasn’t much available to help the super talented teenage writers that we were friends with.

So, with our combined brain power, super awesomeness, and freaking hard work…



The boot camp, held in Orem, UT, has been so popular in the past, that this year Writers Cubed wanted everyone out there a chance to be a part of it, even if you live in the middle-of-no-where and even if you are just a teenage wanna-be like me. So we are introducing the first EVER LiveStream of Teen Author Boot Camp.  

The keynote address by Newbery Winning Author Shannon Hale will be free for anyone to watch. It will be on March, 16th, 2013 at 9 a.m. MST. A subscription to the Live Broadcast costs $4.99 and includes the following:

9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Writers Cubed: Welcome

9:15 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.—Keynote by Newbery Award winner Shannon Hale (Princess Academy)

10 a.m to 10:45 a.m.—Tyler Whitesides (Janitors)  Class: Imagine and Create. 

10:55 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.—Janette Rallison (My Fair Godmother)  Class: Bad dialogue can kill a story.

12:50 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.—NYT bestseller Kiersten White (Paranormalcy)  Class: Plot Like a Villain.

1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.—J. Scott Savage (Farworld)  Class: Finding Your Voice.

2:50 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.—Journey to Publication Panel: Agent Amy Jameson & authors Chad Morris, Tess Hilmo, J. Scott Savage, Cindy Bennett

3:35 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.—NYT bestseller Aprilynne Pike (Wings)   Class: World-building is the invisible foundation to your book.

4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.—Writers Cubed: Winner of the First Chapter Contest and closing remarks.

If you just can’t get enough of TABC, there is also an All Pass Subscription to the rest of the conference (including more than fifteen awesome presentations, including mine--haha). That only costs $9.99 and, as if it wasn’t a sweet enough deal already, you can watch the whole conference whenever you want for an entire year.

To register to watch Shannon Hale’s Keynote for free, visit and click on Livestream. It only takes a minute. While you’re there, check out the other presenters who will be teaching at the conference under the tab “Drill Sergeants.”

Stay tuned for details on how to win a subscription to the TABC Live Broadcast for FREE on this blog.

Tahsha Wilson is a co-founder of Writers Cubed, a group of Utah writing activists who created the Teen Author Boot Camp in 2010. Please visit her website at
Isn't that cool? You don't have to drive anywhere or fly anywhere, or pay for a hotel, and you can still enjoy learning all of the information that you'd get from actually going to a conference! I already know what I'll definitely be tuning into. Also, luckily for you guys, the people at Writers Cubed are giving away a subscription to the Live Broadcast for one of you guys!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: The Goddess Inheritance {14}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Title: The Goddess Inheritance
Author: Aimee Carter
Release date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Pages: 384
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.
My teaser, from the egalley p. 52:
I had no idea where I was, but I wanted to see Henry. I had to make sure he wasn't dead. That my vision hadn't been his last goodbye to me.
EEK! I haven't started this yet, but it's my next read and I've been dying to get to it. Luckily for everyone, The Goddess Inheritance is out today! :) I hope this had whet your appetite, it certainly has mine! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

Release date: July 10, 2012
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 375
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.
This is a review that I really don't know how to start. I was so excited to finally read The Forsaken since I was convinced it sounded amazing, it had gotten a slew of good reviews, and the cover is just plain awesome. Sometimes I think we have to dampen our enthusiasm, because it sets a high bar, and The Forsaken just didn't live up to the bar I'd set for it. There was boundless potential, but the book was just unable to capitalize on it.

Everyone keeps describing this as Lord of the Flies meets Lost. Now, I've never seen Lost in my life, but I am all over the Lord of the Flies idea. I crazy love that book. I think it's fascinating and revelatory. This book could have easily gone on that vein, and oooooooh I would've died. Instead, The Forsaken takes the predictable, done-a-thousand-times dystopian approach. The government is trying to control its citizens "for their own good" and it has devised a way to rid itself of the people wont to rebel: Prison Island Alpha, or the wheel. This is serviceable, but there's no good exploitation of the consequences of leaving hundreds of sheltered teenagers on an island to fend for themselves. Most of them are just too well-adjusted! I thought the drones were going to be my salvation, but their behavior gets explained away, so we're left to believe that all of those hormonal kids would've totally been able to survive if it weren't for some interference. Okay. Besides, I wanted pig's heads on sticks! (Seriously, if you haven't, read Lord of the Flies. It's fantastic.)

For the first half of the book, I was bored out of my mind. I had to force myself to read, knowing I'd never revisit this book if I put it down. In the end, I was glad I made myself suffer through. The second half picked up a lot and I was treated to twists and turns and blood and all the fun things that make my heart go pitty-pat.  There are a couple of seriously good plot twists that I didn't suspect in the least and that I gasped audibly at. And when I finished the book, I did find myself curious to read more. I want to see the fate of the island and its inhabitants. So mission accomplished there.

I could go on and talk about Alenna and her personality (or lack thereof) and the case of the super-instalove, but I won't. You've probably read it before if you've read other reviews of this book. But I'm left wondering how to recommend this one. I can't say, "Yes, absolutely read it," but I also can't completely warn you off. I guess I'm left with the lame middle ground. If it sounds, like, REALLY good to you, try it out? If not, or if you just really can't stand instalove, skip it? That's really all I've got. I think I've failed... :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {4}

Stacking the Shevles is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

Just a couple of things this week. I really want to go crazy requesting on Netgalley and Edelweiss, but I'm trying to control myself, since I have so much to read already. I think I'm doing a decent job, too! :)

For review:

Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal, and Consumer-Centric Employees by Doug Lipp, to be published March 29, 2013 by McGraw-Hill

Towering by Alex Flinn, to be published May 14, 2013 by HarperTeen

Disney U is definitely not my normal, for fun, kind of reading. BUT as a former cast member and crazy Disney fanatic, I'm very interested to see just what this book has to say. I know a lot of people I worked with who might disagree with the book's title statement, but in my experience it was completely true. I adore Disney and I would love to work for them again. As for Towering, I've read all of Alex Flinn's other fairy tale adaptations and enjoyed each, so I'm looking forward to see how she takes on Rapunzel!

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - I reviewed Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Tuesday - I teased The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke.
Wednesday - I reviewed Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson.
Friday - I talked in depth about villains and their role in YA.

Books I read this week:
The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse

I'm Currently Reading:
The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

So that's everything for the week, I think! (Hehehe, that rhymed.) Please remember the giveaways for Cinder and Scarlet swag (INT)and the ARC of Mila 2.0 (US)! Both end this week, so enter while you can! Please leave me links to your STS posts or equivalent and I'll check them out! Have a happy Sunday and a great last week of February!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Let's Talk About... Villains

As I was writing my review of Unravel Me, I happened to get on a little bit of a rant about Warner. I loved his progression as a character in the second book. In Shatter Me, Warner was simply a villain. He was evil and wanted to use Juliette for his own gain and for the gain of the government. But, with Unravel Me, Warner becomes a dynamic character. He moves out of being a villain, and into someone I couldn't get enough of. Not only did I want to know all about him, I could sympathize with him. Even if I inevitably don't side with him in the end, Warner is a character, not just a villain.

Now, I'm currently in a Shakespeare class. Thus far we've read Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, and Othello. I've read all except A Midsummer Night's Dream before, but I'm getting so much more out of the other three this time around--especially The Merchant of Venice and Othello. One thing the two have in common is their fantastic villains. The two villains--Shylock and Iago--are very different, both in their backgrounds and in their methods of villainy. But, the two have one important aspect in common: their charisma.

In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock holds a grudge against Antonio and plots to inevitably kill him by taking a pound of flesh after he cannot pay back a debt. The crutch is that Shylock is a Jew and Antonio is a Christian in sixteenth century Venice. Since the play was written for an Elizabethan England audience, the people had a predisposition to dislike Jewish people. The characters and the audience would have both already disliked Shylock for his religion, then he is trying to kill a Christian. But Shakespeare works hard--and very effectively--against his audience's prejudice by making Shylock compelling, charismatic, and pitiable. By the end of the play, the audience--especially a modern one--will have complete sympathy for him and almost root for him. Even if one doesn't root for him, you absolutely cannot be content with his fate. (I won't spoil it for you if you want to read/see the play!)

Like Shylock, Iago is out to get the protagonist of his play, Othello. Othello has worked hard to reach his enviable position and Iago has no problem with killing, conniving, and lying to take him down. He hates Othello because he believes the Moor slept with his wife and Othello played favorites by promoting another ahead of him. Again, the audience would respect Othello and be predisposed to side with him. But there's just something about Iago and his utter determination that makes you want to believe he's right. One doesn't sympathize with him like Shylock, but he's compelling and easily the most interesting character in the play. One could even argue that Iago is the protagonist and Othello is the antagonist. Othello is standing in the way of Iago's ambition. 

With this realization of how much I like these villains, I seem to have lost my tolerance for anything less. In scrolling through the books I've read in the past year or so, I'm hard pressed to find many books with compelling villains, villains that attempt to pull me in another direction. But there are a few exceptions! 

In Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo gives us the Darkling. He is mysterious and brooding and, ooh, we just want to see more and more of him, even when he does bad things. Even our protagonist, Alina, doesn't know how to react to him.

In the Lumatere Chronciles (Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, and Quintana of Charyn) Melina Marchetta begins by making the villain an entire country and its impostor king. Through the series, the reader is pushed back and forth, torn in two directions by love of so many different characters, many of whom are supposed to be the bad guy according to another character.

In The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna, we don't necessarily have a villain, but the forces working against Eva are specific and very different. In a way, she's working against herself and for those she's supposed to learn to love. The reader is torn between respecting wishes of the deceased and her family and concern for a character they've learned to love.

So I'm sorry for this essay-length post! I got a little bit excited about the subject and had lots to say. :) I'd love to hear what you guys think, and how you like your villains! Do you agree with my YA picks for compelling villains?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Strands of Bronze & Gold by Jane Nickerson

Release date: March 12, 2013
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
The Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world.
I had very high hopes for Strands of Bronze and Gold, and who, really, could blame me? It takes place in my beloved home state, Mississippi, and is a retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale! I was actually unfamiliar with the fairy tale prior to reading the book--though I did look it up when I started reading--and it's a fascinating story that I think is perfect for retelling. While I had my concerns regarding Strands of Bronze and Gold, I found it to be altogether a very atmospheric and entertaining read!

The story excels in its perfect setting and atmosphere. It was very Gothic, and I felt like a ghost was going to pop out at every twist and turn as Sophie traversed the house. I don't like scary movies or stories, but I adore Gothic ones! Wyndriven Abbey is fascinating in its air of mystery and history and I would die to spend an afternoon exploring it's dark corners myself. I thought Mississippi just prior to the Civil War was also a very fitting time period for the story; it works to explain a lot of the uneasiness of the people and makes the environment almost crackle with a certain kind of excitement.

My only qualm is that I couldn't really get a grasp on Sophie, the protagonist. She has a love for fine things and a fanciful heart, but her family is not so comfortably situated that she can spend her life in leisure. When her father dies and Monsieur de Cressac wants to take her in as his ward, she jumps at the chance to enter a world of riches and comforts. At first she's entranced by de Cressac and by his world, but she soon comes to realize that not all that glitters is gold. My problem is that she was so changeable and so able to brush off major concerns. She falls in "love" quickly and without much information on the object of her affections. She has clear and easy to understand signs that things are not as they seem, but she skips along. The only time I found myself really rooting for her was when it came to her family. I could see her love for her brothers and sisters, and I did enjoy that interaction.

Honestly, though, the beautiful and lush setting completely makes up for my frustration with Sophie. If you love Gothic novels, and I bet you do if you're interested in this book at all, you're sure to be entranced by Wyndriven Abbey and the secrets it holds! And you will want to come to Mississippi! :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: The Mad Scientist's Daughter {13}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Title: The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Release date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pages: 400
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist.

There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn.

He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat.

When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.
My teaser, from the egalley (I forgot to get the location before I went back to my page... Oops!):
"You can't do this," she said. He regarded her with his black eyes, and she shook her head. "No, you can't. They'll just... You'll be like a slave. They're just using you-" 
Ooh, I'm not very far into the book, so I have no idea what's going on, but it sounds good! :)

Be sure to check out the giveaways I've got going on where you can win Lunar Chronicles swag signed by Marissa Meyer and an ARC of Mila 2.0! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi

Release date: February 5, 2013
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 461
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from library
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance. She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.
I quickly and wholeheartedly fell in love with Shatter Me and Tahereh Mafi's distinctive writing style, so I was absurdly pumped to read Unravel Me, especially after getting Warner's perspective in Destroy Me. At the same time, I was a little scared because I loved Shatter Me so much. Luckily, no worries here! There a lot of things I could talk about to fill space here, but only a couple I'd like to touch upon, since I'd much rather you go off and read the book than sit here reading my review. :)

Juliette has been placed in an utterly new environment, one where she's not physically separated from the world, one where she's supposed to contribute to a community and reap the benefits of being surrounded by people who are different, just like her. The problem is that she's so different--and potentially dangerous--that the people want little to do with her when she arrives. Instead of working to make people accept her, Juliette retreats into herself and into Adam's company--what little of it she can get, at least. This is where we find her at the beginning of the book: scared, lonely, and frustrated. She 's been trying to hone her abilities for a short time, to no avail. What I loved reading, though, was how Juliette--with the help of Castle and Kenji (KENJIIIIIIII)--grows, how she learns to befriend people, become part of a community, and care what happens to those people. She's whiny and self-absorbed at the beginning, but she becomes fierce and dedicated to helping those people she's quickly come to care about. It's a lovely transformation to watch.

I don't believe I can stress enough how big of a dilemma we are put in when it comes to Adam and Warner. Love triangles tend to make me gag a little bit. There's always the guy who it's obvious the girl is going to choose in the end and the guy who's just put there for some conflict, generally the bad boy. In Shatter Me, this was totally the case, but in Unravel Me and Destroy Me Warner has come into his own as... Something I really don't have a word for.

I couldn't help but think about him in relation to Shylock in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (I know, I know, but I'm in a Shakespeare class right now and we JUST finished reading it!) My professor talked about how scholars deliberate over Shakespeare's intentions when it came to Shylock. He starts off as a clear villain, wanting to take down our nice, generous hero, but by the end of the play, he is easily the most complex and compelling character in the show, and one really can't help but root for him. Some scholars like to say Shylock got away from Shakespeare, that he became more than was intended, but I don't think that was the case. The ambiguity presented when Shylock speaks brings the play to a higher level; it makes it a powerful commentary, rather than just a play where the bad guy gets his dues. While I don't think Tahereh Mafi is making some huge commentary, I do think her intentions with Warner are clear. The "bad guy" is not just a bad guy. Taking Warner from a stereotypical villain to a very human, suffering character makes the reader think about labeling people from the beginning, and it makes me adore the book even more.

Now that I'm done with that rant.... I honestly don't have much to say past: Get to reading! Unravel Me takes the world and the characters established in Shatter Me to a whole new level. There's more action, more romance, more funny lines from Kenji, and just more to love all around.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Stacking the Shelves {3}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

I didn't buy or get anything in the mail this week, but I went to the library Friday and got some great books. I hadn't been in a while and was so excited to find the books I got! I just love the library here in town; their young adult section is quite awesome and the people that work there are just so nice. :)

From the library:

The Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse
Origin by Jessica Khoury
\I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

I am inordinately pumped about all of these! I've been dying to read The Forsaken and I Hunt Killers since they came out! I'm more than halfway done with Unravel Me already and it's absurdly fantastic. :)

A recap of the week here on Paper Cuts:
Monday - Marissa Meyer Signing Recap + Swag Giveaway
Tuesday - Teaser Tuesday: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Wednesday - Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
Thursday - Review: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza + ARC Giveaway
Saturday - Smarter (Or At Least More Informed?) Saturday

So that's it for me! I'd love to see what kind of lovelies everyone else got this week, so leave me a link and I'll visit back and drool over your books! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Smarter (Or At Least More Informed?) Saturday

In order for you to have an informational Saturday, I have compiled a list of links to articles that I've found interesting over the week and to news you might have missed:

On Cracked, which is like my favorite site on the whole of the internet (I can spend an entire day just reading their articles and never get bored.), they--in their signature sarcastic and snarky style--listed 5 best-sellers and their funny reasons for being rejected by publishers.
"5 Hilarious Reasons Publishers Rejected Classic Best-Sellers"

For the fans of the Downton Abbey and Pride & Prejudice (two of my favorite things!), Matthew Miller compared the series with our favorite of Ms. Austen's books and told us why one is superior. 

On, Kevin Smokler, author of Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School, talked about 10 classics and why we should reread them.

The Justice Department okayed the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House this week and company officials expect to receive the rest of the approvals during the second half of the year. (This is one of those things I can't decide if I'm excited about or not... Anyone with me?)

Lots of YA movie adaptation news in the past couple of weeks, including:
  • Shailene Woodley is apparently in talks to star as Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars
  • A brand new trailer for The Host was released (and it looks AWESOME!)
  • A script for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 has been finished and the screenwriter, Danny Strong, has been given the go-ahead to begin the second part
  • The Book Thief movie has cast Sophie Nelisse, Emily Watson, and Geoffrey Rush
  • Emma Roberts has been cast as Lena in the television adaptation of Lauren Oliver's Delirium
  • Oscar nominated director Scott Hicks is in final negotiations to direct the adaptation of Lauren Kate's Fallen
  • Universal has already picked up rights to Julie Kagawa's new series--which is set to be released by HarlequinTEEN as a 5 book series starting in 2015
  • The Maze Runner movie is set to be released February 14, 2014
So there you have it; it's not much but I hope you're informed and entertained! :) I'd love to know what you think about any of this, especially some of that movie news (Shailene Woodley, enough with the YA movies! We're bound to get tired of you.) Happy Saturday!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

[Review + Giveaway] Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Be sure to check out the end of the review for a chance to win my ARC of Mila 2.0!

Release date: March 12, 2013
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 480
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.
Mila 2.0 has a fascinating premise, one that calls to mind Marissa Meyer's Cinder but on a more extreme level. The only problem is that Mila 2.0 doesn't quite deliver on that premise. While there are a few definite strong points here, I found myself struggling to get through the middle of the book, and I don't know that it will leave much of a lasting impression on me.

I think my main qualm with Mila 2.0 is that there are so many people, places, and ideas thrown at us that it's hard to discern what's supposed to be important and what's not. Along with that, I found there was no time for us to learn much about the characters past a very general sense of their purpose in the book. At almost five hundred pages, I think there could have been quite a bit more development of those characters important to this and future books.

Also, for all it's touting as a fast-paced thriller, I got bored for close to two hundred pages in the middle there. What happened could have been important to the future books, but I only remember the broadest bits of what went on, and had to power through that bit. It did finally pick up again and I was immersed for the last fifty to a hundred pages, but it was difficult for a while.

While I'm spewing these negative things, I do think Mila 2.0 is an engaging and well plotted book. I felt the tension during the fight and chase scenes and was definitely nervous for Mila. I think the idea is a good one and that there's a lot of potential, especially now that the story base is established. I believe Mila has a lot of room--and necessity--to grow, but that she has the makings of a great heroine, one readers can really root for.

Giveaway time!

To make you more excited for Mila and because it's Valentine's Day and I just love you guys THAT MUCH, I'm giving away my ARC to one lucky US reader! You must be 13 years or older or have express permission from your parents to enter. Unfortunately I must make this US only because of shipping costs. At the end of the giveaway, I will contact the winner by the email provided in the FREE ENTRY, to which they have 48 hours to respond. Your information will only be used for the giveaway and will be deleted at the end of the contest. Happy Thursday and good luck! :)

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: February 5, 2013
Author Info: Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Mmmm, Scarlet. I am fine admitting that I approached you with trepidation. Cinder was just such a fabulous book that I was afraid Marissa Meyer wouldn't be able to capture that same vibe more than once. Scarlet not only did that, but it also managed to combine the ends of Cinderella perfectly with Little Red Riding Hood. With four books in the Lunar Chronicles, one would expect that the middle books would slump in some way, working as filler, but Scarlet is riveting, fun, tightly plotted, and just plain awesome all the way through.

One concern when coming into Scarlet is letting the characters introduced in the previous book get enough time in the spotlight while also introducing and endearing to the reader several new characters. Marissa Meyer does this spectacularly. I quickly knew Scarlet would be a favorite because of her no nonsense attitude; she doesn't take crap and does what she's got to do. She also keeps a gun in her waistband, clearly marking her as awesome. I felt the same with Wolf, though he's a mystery for much of the book. There was an air about him that made me want to like him and his story is a fascinating and original one. Even with Scarlet, Wolf, and Captain Thorne (who is absolutely hilarious in his rakish ways) added into the mix, I thought we got enough of Cinder and Kai to expand a lot of their stories and their development.

What I believe really makes this book, though, is how the two fairy tales work together to make a cohesive plot. Everything from Cinder has its place in Scarlet, which makes for great reading. There are no loose pieces from the previous book that got left behind, and I imagine it'll be the same as we go on into the stories of Rapunzel and Snow White. I am absolutely pumped to see what happens and to see just how these girls fit into the world Marissa Meyer has beautifully created.

So... Um... You should read it. :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Mila 2.0 {12}

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. i'm a little late getting this up, since I forgot to write it last night and have class all day on Tuesdays! BUT, here's my teaser!

Title: Mila 2.0
Author: Debra Driza
Release date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 480
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.
My teaser, from page 284 in the ARC:
My deficiencies, emotions? Was this strange, disheveled guy telling me that any show of emotion would be counted against me?

I didn't have long to ponder it, because three seconds later, he uttered his next words:

The first test five minutes.
That's certainly ominous, yes? If you're just too darn intrigued, you can check out the short prequel that Debra Driza has written, Origins: The Fire, about Mila. It's free from both Barnes & Noble and Amazon! Also, be sure to stop by here on Thursday because I'll be posting my review of Mila 2.0, and there just MIGHT be a giveaway... ;) I'd love to see what everyone is teasing this week, so leave me links! Have a happy Tuesday all!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Marissa Meyer Signing Recap + Giveaway

So, living in Mississippi, we don't get a whole lot of authors coming to the area. Needless to say I was more than pumped to see Marissa Meyer was coming to Lemuria in Jackson, MS this past Thursday. Like a terrible college student, I skipped my last two classes of the day to get there in time. I had important things to do!

The signing was outside on a small patio by their event building. Marissa signed our books first and then answered questions. The biggest thing I gleaned from this bit was the nerdiness of her family, something I loved. It's so nice to see inheriting a nerdiness can help you out in life. :) She told us about her inspiration for The Lunar Chronicles: Sailor Moon fan fiction. Her very original inspiration for a future set fairy tale came when she entered a Sailor Moon fan fiction contest with a story about Puss in Boots. Sadly--though good for us--she came in second out of two entries.

Everybody at the signing. (There were multiple cameras, we looked all over. ) :)
The nerdiness continued when she told us how she wrote the first drafts of Cinder, Scarlet, and a third of Cress as a result of NaNoWriMo and her uncle's love of Star Trek. In 2008 there was a contest in Seattle in conjunction with NaNoWriMo that said whichever Seattle-based writer wrote the most words in the month would win a walk-on role in Star Trek. Marissa wrote just over 150,000 words for the contest. Funnily enough, like the Sailor Moon contest, she lost by a little over 1,000 words.

She went on to talk about some of her favorite books--Pride & Prejudice, Kristin Cashore's Graceling series, Harry Potter, Divergent, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, The Book Thief, Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, and Shadow & Bone--and how much hope she got from successful young adult series when she was writing and now.

She talked about a lot more, but that would make for a very longg post :) But before I go, if you get the chance to see Marissa in person, GO! I had the best time; she was hilarious, entertaining, and such fun. And even if you can't go see her definitely pick up Cinder and Scarlet ASAP. They're AMAZING.

Now for a giveaway! Currently, I'm especially out of money so I couldn't get a book to give away, BUT I got some extra fun swag for two lucky winners! Each winner will get a signed bookmark and a button. One will get two tattoos and the other will get some Scarlet lip gloss! It's watermelon and quite tasty. :) It'll be open for entries for two weeks and winners can be from anywhere in the world, so get to entering!

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review! I didn't get a lot this week, but it makes up for that with its AWESOMENESS.

I got a couple more ebooks for review, a beautiful package (!!!), and a few things at the Marissa Meyer signing (Recap tomorrow!!)

For review:

A Touch of Scarlet by Eve Marie Mont, to be released March 26 by K-Teen
I read A Breath of Eyre and generally enjoyed it, though I can't love anything messing with Jane Eyre. I'm thinking I'm going to love the sequel, though, because it's based on The Scarlet Letter! This is not a work I've read and adored for years, so I can handle it. :)

Moonset by Scott Tracey, to be released April 8 by Flux
A male witch! Love. I'm taking part in a book blast for this, so I was pumped to be approved on Netgalley to read it ahead of time! I've not read Witch Eyes, so I'm excited to finally be reading Scott Tracey.

Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta, to be released April 9 by Candlewick Press
I thought I was supposed to be getting this beautiful girl back in November, so when it never came I just gave up on it. Needless to say I squealed when I saw who the package was from! I'm just absolutely in love with it. 


Cinder (paperback) by Marissa Meyer
I'm a sucker and bought the paperback because of the blogger feature in the back. :) I got Marissa to sign that page instead of in the front and it's my special book that no one shall touch. Hehehe.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Of course! I bought it Tuesday after class and got as much read as I could before the signing, which wasn't actually much. But what I've read is amazing! And it's so pretty and smooth and matches Cinder perfectly.

A Recap:
Monday - I posted about the books releasing during the week: A Whole New Batch
Tuesday - I teased Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson: Teaser Tuesday
Wednesday - I reviewed Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: Review
Thursday - I reviewed Pantomime by Laura Lam: Review
Friday - I featured a few fun book-inspired foods: Bookish Baking

So it's been an AMAZING WEEK!! I did pretty well with my resolution to post quite a lot more often. I didn't get to every day since I didn't have internet access Friday and got home late Saturday, but I'm pretty proud of myself. I've got more fun things coming up next week, so be sure to visit again! I must extend a huge huge thanks to K-Teen, Flux Books, and to Candlewick Press! I'd also love to see what y'all got this week, so leave me links and I'll definitely stop by to ogle. :) Have a great week!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bookish Baking

Lovelies, I know you love baking as much as I do. :) I don't bake often, really, but I just get into baking moods and it's all I want to do. Since we're all bookish people here, I've compiled some lovely baked goods for you to make if you're feeling like Martha Stewart!

First and foremost, Maggie Stiefvater's November Cakes from The Scorpio Races:

Don't they look AMAZING? I want them like now. You can find the recipe here, on Maggie's photostream. She came up with the recipe herself. :)

Next, if you love Harry Potter, these might make you drool, Sugar Bean Bakers has made Apple Pie Cupcakes with Browned Butter Icing:

It'll just feel like Christmas at Hogwarts if you make these! The recipe can be found here. There's also a recipe for pumpkin juice if you're feeling especially inspired.

Now if you're having a party and wanted to make a subtle reference to a favorite book (or it's just Halloween...) you could make this punch, which I realize is NOT baking, but it just so reminded me of Unwind by Neal Shusterman's cover!

This is from Real Simple, and I doubt it was their intention, but just look!

And finally, Turkish Delight, as mentioned in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe! This is a classic recipe, but I've never really thought to look it up. It looks interesting! Like a pink lemon square, and I love lemon squares. So I'd eat it. :)

This was featured on The Geeky Chef (And you should really go visit. She has a recipe for Lembas Bread like in Lord of the Rings, which I almost put on here.) :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pantomime by Laura Lam

Release Date: February 5, 2013
Author Info: Blog | Twitter
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pages: 392
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Netgalley
Buy the Book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

R. H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass—remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone—are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimaera is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star.

But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
I was super excited to read Pantomime. I've never actually been to the circus but it seems like just the kind of thing I'd love, and if the circus depicted in Pantomime is any indication, I totally would. :) The problem is, while the story and idea are great, they're not executed as tightly as they could be.

There are so many things I loved about Pantomime. I loved the country of Ellada and want to know more about it. I loved Micah. I loved Gene. I loved Drystan and Cyril. I loved Penglass. I loved the circus itself and all of the characters in it. I could go on and on and I want more.

Pantomime suffers, though, from a lack of a real plot and slug slow pace. The main culprit for the slow pace is the frequent switches between Micah and Gene. I understand the point of making the switches, but I couldn't help but to get bored because nothing was really happening in either narration. The switches also called into the light the lack of a real plot. The big plot point was whether Micah was going to get caught in the circus or not, and nothing happens with that till the end (which was crazy fun by the way).

Even though the plot was thin and the pace slow, I enjoyed Pantomime. Luckily, Micah and Gene were endearing narrators and I really grew to care about them. Their problem was a very individual one I really loved following and found refreshing. Micah's problems were real and his questions poignant. So, despite my problems, Pantomime is categorized as a must-read. It's a book I had to struggle through at times, but the end result was rewarding and definitely worth the time and struggle.