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Megan McCafferty

    Review: Thumped

    Thumped by Megan McCafferty will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 304 pages.

    Thumped is the sequel to Bumped by author Megan McCafferty.

    ***

    Goodreads description:

    THE CONCLUSION TO ONE OF THE MOST TALKED-ABOUT NOVELS OF LAST YEAR

    It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

    Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

    To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

    The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

    Tell the truth.

    ***

    Melody seems to have everything she ever wanted – a relationship with the most famous ReProductive Professional on earth and one of the best Surrogette contracts she could have ever hoped for.

    Fame and fortune, Melody seems to have it all. She is a marketer’s dream. She has her own brand. She has her own fragrance. Her fan base is enormous. Everyone wants to know about her. The cheerclones want to be her.

    And as one half of the Hotties with a Double Double Due Date or D4, she and Harmony are what everyone is talking about on the MiNet.

    Even the stock market is betting on her and Harmony’s delivery dates. Identical twins bumped with twins due on the same day. What could be more exciting?

    Even Harmony seems to have it all. Back in Goodside with Ram, her popularity has brought more money into the community. Her fame has allowed her to spread the word of her community to a wider audience.

    Everything seems to be perfect. And it would be if it weren’t all a lie.

    ***

    Thumped is the compelling, witty and utterly engaging follow-up to Bumped, a story set in a dark and disturbing future where getting bumped at a young age is essential to human survival. Alternating between the dual perspectives of Harmony and Melody, this sequel brings this shocking, exciting and thought-provoking series to its bittersweet end.

    Picking up months after the first book’s conclusion, both Harmony and Melody are now famous. While Harmony has returned to Goodside and to Ram, Melody is still in Otherside promoting her brand and trying to maintain contact with her sister.

    But while to the rest of the world everything seems perfect, not everything is as it seems. And Harmony and Melody may not be able to keep up the fake image they are showing the world or the lies that they are telling themselves for much longer.

    Fast-paced and humor-filled, Thumped answers the question of what is the truth – the truth about Jondoe’s feelings, the truth about Ram and the truth about Melody’s motives. This immensely entertaining story, that is light on the surface with a dark premise beneath, will keep readers engaged as all is revealed and everything comes together at the end.

    Both Melody and Harmony grow as characters in this sequel. They discover their own strengths and weaknesses and find their own voice in a society where marketers, advertisers and community leaders would dictate otherwise. Deviating from what’s expected of them and figuring out for themselves what is best for them makes them incredibly likable and relatable protagonists.

    Author Megan McCafferty has written an exceptionally unique series with Bumped and Thumped, which tackles sensitive and potentially controversial subjects – promoting teen pregnancy, promiscuity and procreating for money. Her futuristic society is disturbing yet scarily realistic. And the issues she addresses – just what will our society do to ensure its survival and just how will people react and fight back – offer readers much to think about.

    Thumped is a captivating must-read conclusion to this series for fans of the first book looking for answers. And this series is a must for readers looking for a surprisingly different peek at a very real dystopian future where marketing and advertising play a key role in the survival of the human race.

    Review gives this book…

    On a personal note:

    After the wildly differing opinions about the first book in this series, Bumped, I wasn’t sure if there would be a sequel. But I’m so glad there was. It tied up all the loose ends and answered all those questions I had. About Melody. About Harmony. And about Jondoe.

    I absolutely adored Thumped. This was such a super quick read, and I totally devoured it in one sitting. But just like with Bumped, this wasn’t simply a light and fluffy book. Those very real and disturbing issues that were presented in that first book were addressed in this follow-up and a few new issues were introduced. Though the sequel felt a bit more mild, less weighty.

    The propaganda machine wasn’t out in full force like it was in Bumped. The shocking lingo wasn’t utilized quite as much. It was as if all that glamour was stripped away. Perhaps this was because Melody wasn’t blindly going along with things anymore. Neither was Harmony. But I missed that extra kick the first book had.

    Much of Thumped was about the characters’ storylines that were left hanging. I loved getting back into their lives, seeing where they were just about eight-and-a-half months later. I loved getting an answer to the question as to whether Jondoe was “for serious” or not.

    And I loved finding out just what happened with Melody, Harmony, Zen and Ram. I just wish a bit more time was spent, like it was in the first book, tackling those heavier issues.

    In Bumped the messages were delivered in a much more subtle way throughout the story. The book really made me think. In Thumped, the messages were spelled out in a much more obvious way and their delivery felt a bit rushed at the end. It was still thought-provoking, but I didn’t have to dig quite as deeply to uncover any hidden meaning.

    But, rushed or not, the ideas in this book, and this series, were chilling, fascinating, meaningful and important. And It was still every bit the super scary future that was introduced in Bumped. Things did not magically improve overnight. There was no perfectly packaged ending. It felt very real and very believable. And I absolutely loved it.

    While the ending does tie up the loose ends, there are still so many possibilities left open for the characters’ futures. But it doesn’t feel incomplete. Though it was most definitely bittersweet. And my heart ached just a bit at the end.

    And while it was the story and the ideas that kept me intrigued in the first book, it was the characters – Melody and Harmony – that I was captivated by in Thumped. They were both strong in their own ways. And smart and brave and true to who they were. They were both independent thinkers and I loved them for it.

    I definitely plan on reading both books in this series again back-to-back to experience the story as if it were one read and to see just how things changed from one book to the next.

    I found this series to be incredibly thought-provoking, but presented in a way that was unique, fun and full of humor.

    ***

    I have a favorite passage, but because it’s at the end of the book, it is a spoiler. So, I wasn’t sure whether to go with the humorous one about Muggle Quidditch or the more profound one…. I chose profound.

    As I lie down on the bed, I pay no mind to the emancipated braid as it falls off the edge and onto the floor. It’s already too late to stop the loose end from unraveling.

    ***

    If you’d like to check out my review of the first book in the series, Bumped, click here.

    To take a long look inside Thumped courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins, CLICK HERE.

    This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #69

    Below are the YA books coming out this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of April 24th-April 30th that I have pre-ordered.

    ***

    Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 336 pages.

    Masque of the Red Death is the first book in a new series by author Bethany Griffin. The second book, currently untitled, is slated for release in 2013.

    ***

    Masque of the Red Death was so unbelievably awesome. Somewhat different from what I expected but way better than what I hoped it would be and just so super cool. I have the ARC but I can’t wait for the finished version to download onto my Kindle so I can re-read it. And I just have to buy a print edition because I know that cover will be amazing.

    As I’ve already read it I can’t guess what it will be about, because I already know. But it’s a dark future. The characters are mysterious. Not everything is as it seems. There is a bit of a mystery, a touch of heartbreak and an ending will leave you dying to get your hands on that sequel.

    So yeah, as I said… awesome. Araby is fascinating, Elliott is intriguing and Will is so easy to adore. Though I will say no more, other than that I am so excited for this book’s release. I can’t believe release date is finally here.

    Ascend by Amanda Hocking will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in paperback, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, the print edition is 336 pages.

    Ascend is the final book in the Trylle trilogy by author Amanda Hocking.

    ***

    I am still so thrilled with each book’s release in this trilogy. I am such a huge fan of this author and I love seeing her books on the shelves at my local bookstore. While I have read the self-published version, I have a print copy of Ascend pre-ordered. It was my favorite of the series, even though the ending was a topic of much debate among her fans.

    Wendy is forced to make a difficult decision in this final book in the series. She has her heart and the Trylle to think about and no matter what way she decides it will cost her. The description is absolutely right when it says that the “stakes have never been higher” and that the “future of her entire world rests in her hands….”

    I thought this was the perfect end to an absolutely delightful series. And I thought that Wendy was an amazing heroine who grew stronger with each book. I can’t wait to get this new version of the story to see just how much of a change there is from the original and to check out any extras this book includes. And I can’t wait for it to be delivered on Tuesday!

    Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 288 pages.

    Social Suicide is the second book in author Gemma Halliday’s Deadly Cool series.

    ***

    Although I received a surprise ARC from the publisher I wasn’t able to get caught up on the series in time to read it prior to release. But I do plan on reading both books back to back in the next few weeks. This sequel sounds just every bit as awesome as the first and I can’t wait for my pre-order to download to my Kindle.

    I love mystery stories and Social Suicide grabbed me just from its title. But when I read the description, I couldn’t help but be super curious to read this next book in the author’s series. Although dealing with a murder, the idea of solving a crime where the victim was electrocuted while Tweeting sounds kind of hilarious. And from the tone of the description it appears to be just that with a touch or two of sarcasm added to the mix.

    The Selection by Kiera Cass will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 336 pages.

    The Selection is the first book in a new trilogy by author Kiera Cass and is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

    ***

    I fell in love with this cover instantly. It’s why I added The Selection to my pile when choosing books for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge. Well, that and the description. It sounds like it will have all the drama of a reality television show mixed in with the glamour of all things royalty, the magic of a fairytale story and the heartbreak of star-crossed love.

    I had received an ARC early on through a trade but knew I wouldn’t get to read it before release date, but I am thrilled that my Kindle pre-order will be downloading this week and that I’ll be able to take a peek at this story that seems to have it all. Excitement, danger, heartbreak, competition and ultimately love.

    I can’t wait to meet America Singer and Prince Maxon and see just what never-before-dreamed-of future she could possibly have.

    The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 512 pages.

    The Immortal Rules is the first book in author Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series.

    ***

    The Immortal Rules sounds like it has everything I could love in a story and more – an amazing author, a strong heroine, a dark urban/dystopian setting and vampires. The bloodthirsty and deadly kind.

    I am heartbroken that I couldn’t read one of the three early copies that landed in my mailbox, but I won’t be waiting too long to read this book that everyone is talking about. Now it’ll just be the finished version I pre-ordered for my Kindle.

    I cannot wait to meet Allison Sekomoto and see just what life is like for the people living in the Fringe. And I am just so curious to see how turning into what she hates most will change Allison. I hope she is able to find a cure and I hope that she can pass as human until she does. And I especially can’t wait to meet Zeke.

    And once I do, I will definitely check out the Blood of Eden website to find out more.

    Eve of Destruction by Patrick Carman will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online to pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 288 pages.

    Eve of Destruction is the second full-length book in the Dark Eden series by the author.

    ***

    I absolutely loved how the first book in the series offered a multimedia experience rather than just the reading experience. I found that discovering the world of Dark Eden through videos and the app injected a whole new level of chills and thrills to the story.

    I am super curious to see what the author and publisher do for this next full-length book in the series, Eve of Destruction. I have the book pre-ordered and will definitely try to track down the other media once I’m ready to read it.

    I can’t believe that Will Besting and the others who were treated for their fears at Fort Eden are headed back. I hope that they’re able to find a cure and defeat Rainsford. The description promises a “terrifying journey” with an ending that offers the characters redemption. And I am super excited for this next installment. I hope to read it in the next few weeks.

    Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 464 pages.

    Unraveling is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

    ***

    Until I heard the chatter and checked out a few reviews for Unraveling it hadn’t been on my radar, though I did receive a surprise copy for review in the mail. I had heard that this was SciFi, a genre I don’t typically read, but this sounds totally awesome so I just had to add it to my pre-orders.

    The description has me intrigued. A girl who is killed and brought back to life. A boy who is responsible for saving her. And the possibility of the world coming to an end. Seriously awesome. Love stories and doomsday are always high on my list of books to be read.

    If I can’t sneak this in next week, I will definitely be adding this to the pile before the end of May. I’m just not sure whether I’ll read the ARC or the finished copy on my Kindle.

    Thumped by Megan McCafferty will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online to pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 304 pages.

    Thumped is the sequel to Bumped by author Megan McCafferty.

    ***

    I am sad to see this series end. I loved both Bumped and Thumped. I had hoped it would be a trilogy but am happy that a sequel was written that has answers to all of my questions.

    When I found out it was available to pre-order, I immediately added Thumped to the list. Long before the ARC showed up in my mailbox. And even though I have read it early, I want the finished copy to add to my collection.

    This series surprised me in all the best possible ways. It wasn’t anything like what I expected. It was so much fun but at the same time such a scary possibility for the future.

    As I already read it and have written my review, I won’t ramble on for too long. But this sequel answers all those questions that were left hanging about Jondoe, Harmony and Melody and is the perfect sendoff to the series. It’s fun, it’s incredibly entertaining and the pace is super-quick, even with the heavy subject matter.

    I can’t wait for the finished copy to download to my Kindle. I definitely plan on re-reading both books back-to-back this summer.

    The Temptation by Alisa Valdes will be released in the U.S. in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 320 pages.

    The Temptation is the first book in author Alisa Valdes’ The Kindred series.

    ***

    Until the ARC showed up in my mailbox I hadn’t heard of The Temptation by Alisa Valdes. But when I read the description I knew that this would be one of those “me” books. Just those first four sentences had me hooked. So, I instantly decided to pre-order it for my Kindle so that I’d have it for my collection.

    I didn’t have a chance to read this one early, but I hope to read it in the next couple of weeks. I want to meet Shane and Travis. I want to see just what kind of temptation this “mysterious cowboy” from the Underworld is. I want to find out if they’re willing to risk destroying their souls to break the rules and be together. And I want to find out just how tough it is to resist temptation. Especially if they are kindred souls.

    The description promises this first book in the series “will leave readers lusting for more” and I am anxiously anticipating that very thing happening. I can’t wait to finally devour this book that’s been calling out to me from my bookshelf. Though I just might end up reading the finished version on my Kindle when it downloads this week.

    The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King will be released in the U.S. on April 24, 2012 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Scribner, the print edition is 320 pages.

    The Wind Through the Keyhole is a story in the author’s Dark Tower series.

    ***

    The Dark Tower series by Stephen King is and always will be my favorite series of all time. When it ended I was devastated. And not just because of that absolutely tormenting ending. So when I heard that there was going to be another book in this world, because the author couldn’t get the world out of his mind, or the world wouldn’t let him, I was ecstatic.

    I pre-ordered not only a copy for my Kindle with all the extra features, I pre-ordered the Grant slipcased edition. And while I did receive that copy before release it was just too gorgeous to open. So I’ve had to wait.

    Well, deadlines be damned, because I will be reading it on release date. And I won’t be writing a review, though I may post my thoughts about it on one of the blogs. Unless those thoughts are too incoherent to voice.

    The only thing I know is that the story will be returning to Mid-World and that Roland will be sharing two stories about his past with the rest of his ka-tet – Susannah, Jake, Eddie and Oy. As visiting Roland’s past was one of my favorite things about this series, I can’t wait to do so again.

    ***

    The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

    Pub. Date: April 24, 2012

    Published by: Simon Pulse

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    Purity by Jackson Pearce

    Pub. Date: April 24, 2012

    Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    (Amazon, Barnes & Noble)

    ***

    I have ten books pre-ordered this week and a couple of them in more than one format. So, it’s a huge week for releases and a tough week for my wallet. Fortunately I have read a few of them or my TBR pile would be suffering just as much.

    With a large number of books on next week’s pre-order list, I have a feeling I’ll never be able to dig my way out from under this large stack of books to be read. But maybe if I go on a six month book buying ban in 2013 I could at least make a small dent. Not sure if I can do that, though.

    I know there are a few other books releasing this week, two of which I’ve noted above, but I just couldn’t buy more than ten books in one week. Of course if I see another book I must have….

    ***

    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!

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    My Reading Pile #57

    That huge box of books I was expecting from a trade came in this week. As did an amazing box of seven books and ARCs from HarperTeen for the Rock the Drop event. As the RTD books were not mine to keep, I am not featuring them below. But if you’d like to, you can check out what I got (HERE) and how I dropped them (HERE).

    As I am sharing what I received in my mailbox this week, I’m giving credit to Kristi at The Story Siren who came up with the idea of sharing what’s in her mailbox each week.

    I received all ten books above from a trade with another blogger. Yes, that’s the third copy of The Immortal Rules that I received, but I have also promised this one to someone else once I finish reading it.

    I am so super excited to read Endlessly by Kiersten White and once I get caught up on the earlier books in the series I can’t wait to read Once by Anna Carey, Underworld by Meg Cabot and Destiny by Gillian Shields.

    I’ve heard that For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund is beyond awesome as is Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. And I was so excited about Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard that I requested it via Edelweiss so I may end up passing along the print edition and just review the eARC.

    I hadn’t heard of Drain You by M. B. Bloom, but it definitely looks interesting and I hope I get time to read it prior to its release in July. And last, but not least I am super curious about Soulbound by Heather Brewer. I very much enjoyed the one book I read in the Vladimir Tod series and own all books in that series, so I can’t wait to check out this first book in her new series.

    Anyway, none of those books will be read this week, except perhaps just one. So….

    Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.

    (April 15 – April 21, 2012)

    ***

    First up on the pile is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I bought the eBook as I apparently didn’t own it like I thought I did. I only had the first two books in the series. I had added The Girl Who Was On Fire to the pile last week, planning on reading it after The Hunger Games, but decided that I’d rather form my own opinions of the entire series prior to reading what the authors think.

    So I managed to sneak in an all-night read of Catching Fire last week and this week I’m going to be reading Mockingjay.

    I am extremely curious to see if I’ll be in the minority and love how this one ends. I tend to like unpopular endings. As long as they feel right for the characters I’m not so concerned about whether the endings are perfect for me.

    I wonder if Katniss will become the leader I hope she can be. And I am dying to find out just what each person’s part was in those “carefully laid plans.”

    And once I have discovered this series for myself I know I’ll be even more curious about what the authors had to say.

    Next up on the pile is Thumped by Megan McCafferty. I received a surprise copy for review from HarperTeen and I’ve been dying to read it ever since. I very much loved the first book in the series, Bumped, and I can’t wait to see how the series ends.

    I found myself absolutely fascinated by Bumped. I thought the book was incredibly clever and a frighteningly real possibility for our future. I can’t wait to find out what’s happening with Harmony and Melody – to see if they are able to find true happiness or if they choose to live the lies they’ve created for themselves.

    I would love to have the time to go back and read Bumped once more but as it was an incredibly memorable book it isn’t necessary. I am hopeful that in this book both girls tell the truth and I can’t wait to see what the repercussions for that are.

    I just know that this book will be a super quick and easy read. But it’s all that stuff under the surface that takes awhile to absorb. So I may have to chew on this for awhile before I post my thoughts. But I will not be missing out on reading Thumped this week.

    Wishful Thinking reads:

    I am glad that Endlessly by Kiersten White didn’t arrive earlier so that I can officially add it as one of this week’s wishful thinking reads. I believe it’s the series ending book, which typically would mean that I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. But I really can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next with Evie, Lend and Reth and so I think my curiosity will win out.

    I also hope to start Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill. I’d been intrigued by that series since it crossed over into the author’s young adult series. But when someone gave this book a terrific recommendation on my other blog a couple weeks ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. And so I’m adding that as a second wishful thinking read this week.

    Those left behind:

    My reviews are falling farther and farther behind though I’m only slightly behind on my reading. I decided not to review the books in The Hunger Games series and just share my thoughts instead. But I haven’t posted an official review in more than two weeks and it’s stressing me out to no end.

    I have not read either book from last week, but I did read three books this week – The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and My Soul to Keep. I will be catching up with last week’s The Girl Who Was On Fire just as soon as I finish Mockingjay and I hope to read Shine immediately after that.

    I am in the process of writing my review for My Soul to Keep which I’ll be posting later in the day, so hopefully that will break me out of my review writing slump.

    NetGalley Pile Adds:

    I totally cracked under pressure when I saw the New on Netgalley post at Bookalicious. While I fought the urge to request all the books, I did end up requesting Crimson Rising, book two in the Skyship Academy series by Nick James.

    I own and still have to read book one, but this series sounds so awesome, and as there’s plenty of time to read both books I just had to grab it.

    ***

    I am still guilt-ridden for not having posted my overdue reviews. But it has been fun to post my thoughts on the Suzanne Collins books rather than trying to write them in my review format. Thinking about books in a more cut and dry way has been an interesting and refreshing change, even though I don’t typically like to think about books with that level of specificity.

    I also find that I am just a bit quicker of a reader when I know ahead of time that I won’t be writing a review. Maybe I should add in a few reads to just read every once in awhile. Hmmm… Anyway, I hope you have an amazingly happy reading week ahead of you!

    ***

    Do you create a reading pile?

    If so, what’s in your pile this week?

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    Book Buzz: Bumped

    As I recently announced in my “Random Thoughts” post, I am starting a new feature here on the blog called “Book Buzz.” It will be a weekly or bi-weekly post in which a “buzzworthy” book will be up for discussion.

    All information in these posts will be my opinions and observations. I do not claim to be an expert, nor do I claim to be all-knowing, these are simply my thoughts and things I’ve observed.

    I would like this to be an open discussion. All viewpoints are welcome as long as they do not contain inappropriate language for readers of all ages. And all opinions should be respectful and they should be respected. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and no one opinion is more important than another. Critical, differing or challenging opinions are always welcome, being insulting or nasty to an author or other commenter is not and those comments will be removed.

    If you would like to buzz about a book on your site, please leave a link to your post in the comments so that I or other readers can visit your blog and participate in your discussion.

    So, without further ado, here is this week’s “Book Buzz.”

    ***

    Bumped by Megan McCafferty is the first buzzworthy book here on Fiktshun.

    The Book:

    Bumped by Megan McCafferty. Released on April 26th – so it’s a very recent release.

    Loved it or Hated it?

    Loved it. Yes, it did take me a couple tries to actually get into the book, but once I did, I was hooked. I thought there were elements that were so funny that I caught myself chuckling out loud quite a few times during this one-sit-read.

    But what made this book for me was that it actually got me thinking. Because as light and funny as it appears on the surface I found there to be so much more hidden beneath.

    The Early Buzz:

    There was a huge amount of build-up for this book. I haven’t been witness to too many debut books with quite the amount of hype that this book had. Everyone was talking about it on Twitter. Everyone was discussing its beautiful but simple cover. It seemed everyone could not wait to get their hands on a copy and were jealous of those who had.

    And when it became available on NetGalley, HarperTeen must have been swarmed with review requests. I know it took several weeks before I was approved, whereas I had previously been approved within a day or two for their titles.

    I was completely caught up in the early frenzy. I just had to have this book. But as I didn’t get to read it as early as some, by the time it got to the top of my pile the reviews were pouring in.

    Fizzle or Sizzle:

    Fizzle. The buzz on this book died out rather quickly. It’s only just over a week since its release and I’ve barely heard anything more about it. I typically hear the chatter for at least a week or two after release as readers get their copies in the mail post-release and finally read and review them.

    After release, for at least a short time, the buzz still remains, but for Bumped, it seems to have gone quickly and quietly away. And when browsing my local bookstore I was not able to find a copy of the book.

    What Happened?

    Mixed reviews. Just look at the starred ratings on Goodreads and Amazon and you can see that they are all over the map – from one star to five stars, with most somewhere in the middle. The fact that there were so many mixed reviews may have scared potential readers off. If a book has consistent praise, even those skeptics will pick it up just so that they won’t miss out. Who doesn’t want to be part of the conversation for a book that is H.O.T.?

    Controversy. The book is aimed at a young adult audience. The subject matter, as well as some of the language used in this story, was not seen by everyone as appropriate for readers of all ages. Some felt, too, that the humor made the idea of getting bumped too appealing for young female readers. And others didn’t approve of the religious aspects to the story.

    Similarities. Some felt it was just too similar to The Handmaid’s Tale and paled in comparison.

    Genre. Although dystopian novels are growing in number and popularity, it’s still not a genre loved by all.

    Add all this together and you could have a book that is quickly set aside when the next book comes along or perhaps simply overlooked.

    What’s Left to Buzz About?

    For me, it boils down to one thing – this book really made me think.

    Not about the characters being twins or the fact that one really walked all over the other. Not even about whether or not the super hot Johndoe is a good guy or a bad guy. And not even about the fact that there are a lot of dark-ish futuristic books that seem to be set in New Jersey. What is that about anyway?

    I really got to thinking about a world where infertility is a problem and we have to rely on the youth in our country for survival. I don’t know how at ease I’d feel about putting that burden on the young.

    And then candy-coating it with all sorts of propaganda to make it palatable for children, to make getting bumped the “it” thing, just sits wrong. But survival is a crazy thing and people will do most anything to survive. Even the government is not immune to this instinct.

    But targeting – manipulating, really – teens and even pre-teens through media and advertising, and targeting families who could use the economic boost just seems to be a step too far.

    Because the buzz died out so soon, potential readers are really missing out on this aspect of the story. It is definitely a topic worthy of discussion and thought.

    How would you handle the prospect of a dwindling society? Would you see your child as a commodity? Would you railroad them into early pregnancy, multiple pregnancies even, just so that your species would survive? Would you sell these babies to the highest bidder to get the finer things in life?

    …and then of course there’s the humor.

    The author added so many humorous elements to this story that lightened this grim tale. From song lyrics, to adverts, to all that is Johndoe, to the terminology, Megan McCafferty used levity to counter the rather dark and disturbing nature of this story.

    I think without the humor, the reality of what was being asked of those young teenagers – and even pre-teens – would have made this book too disturbing of a read.

    Did the humor make this story too appealing to young readers so that they’d miss the point and instead think getting bumped is cool? Was the humor too flippant for such a serious topic as teen pregnancy? Was the author’s use of humor too much of a sugarcoating for such a tough topic? Should it have been more serious so readers would take the subject matter more seriously?

    Buzzworthy?

    I say yes. What do you say? What about Bumped is buzzworthy for you? Or is this one of those books you think should quietly fade into the background as it seems to have done?

    ***

    Any item related to this book is up for discussion. Just because I haven’t mentioned it here doesn’t mean you can’t bring it up in the comments. I am just trying to keep this as focused as possible so that readers won’t fall asleep in the middle of this overly long post.

    And feel free to discuss any points of interest from reviews that you’ve seen and would like to talk about. But please talk about them in general terms and not point out specific reviews unless they are my reviews or your own.

    As this is the very first “Book Buzz” post, this format may evolve over time. Before even going “live” I’ve re-written this at least four times. And this is actually a shortened version – I took out my discussion on the reviews and my opinions. And as these posts are meant to keep the conversation about a book going, I decided not to focus on why the book might not be a success and tried to focus on why it could be.

    If there is anything you’d like to see added to future “Buzz” posts, please let me know! I’m happy to keep it much simpler, leaving more room for discussion and including much less of my ramble.

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    The Extras: Teasers #4

    There are so many amazing books out there – released or soon-to-be-released – that have certain passages that just captivate.

    Here are just a few of those that caught my attention in the past month.

    ***

    There were quite a few passages in this story that stuck with me, haunted me. I chose a completely different one for my review, and had several I had bookmarked that I loved just as much, if not more than the one I originally chose to include. The writing was just that good.

    This is another of my favorites and is a bit longer of a teaser, but it really says a lot about Chase.

    Chase’s thoughts:

    Being grown-up should feel like a big transition. It can’t be something that, despite my best efforts, I’ve been drifting closer and closer to every summer. It needs to be a shock. I need to know at what point to stop holding on. And that moment will suck, and probably every moment after that will suck, but at least I’ll know that everything that came before really was valid. I really was young and innocent. I wasn’t fooling myself.

    One of my favorite things about this story was the humor. Much of it isn’t quite as “G” rated as I’d feel comfortable with posting on the blog. But this is one of the lines, and it’s a quote, not a passage, that had me chuckling.

    It might not mean quite as much out of context, but it’s silly nonetheless and reveals a lot about society in this dystopian future.

    Melody to Freya in the delivery room:

    “Now, now. With an attitude like that, you’ll never win the FedEx ‘We Live to Deliver’ Scholarship….”

    There are so many passages from Aunt Peg’s letter that are my favorites. But I decided to choose a quote that really stood out to me, instead.

    It’s one that has quite a lot of meaning to the story but doesn’t give away anything.

    Aunt Peg to Ginny:

    “People always say they can’t do things, that they’re impossible. They just haven’t been creative enough. This pool is a triumph of imagination. That’s how you win at life, Gin. You have to imagine your way through. Never say something can’t be done. There’s always a solution, even if it’s weird.”

    This is another book with so many beautiful passages. As I don’t want to spoil anything for those who might not have read it yet, I’m including one which highlights the author’s beautiful style but doesn’t reveal too much.

    Anna’s thoughts:

    The sand had been swept clean; no wood or glass, seaweed or bits of shells. The ocean had washed away everything, leaving behind a calm that spread out in me as I breathed it in. Beyond it all lay the expanse of the ocean, just beginning to sparkle beneath the rising sun as a new day unfurled itself. She’d captured it all perfectly in her frame, and in the pale morning light, it felt like peace.

    I know I already included this passage with my review, but it is still my favorite from the book, so I’m including it here.

    It’s the very first passage in the book and is such a powerful way to introduce and begin the story.

    From the prologue:

    The war had been raging for centuries; a war that breathed beneath human reality, lost in the labyrinth of their legends and folklore. It was a silent war of soundless screaming and invisible bloodshed.

    I don’t yet have the final copy of this as the U.S. release isn’t until May 24th, so this passage and quote are from the eARC and may be changed in the final version.

    I chose a shorter passage for the review, but this one is much more steamy and a definite teaser and is one of my favorites from this book.

    Willow’s thoughts and conversation with Alex:

    There was no way that I wanted him to stop touching me, even for a few hours. My pulse thudded as I glanced across at the camp bed. I cleared my throat. “Well . . . is there a reason we can’t both take the bed? The sleeping bags zip together, don’t they?”

    Alex stared at me without moving. “Would that be OK?” I asked, feeling nervous suddenly.

    I’d already included my favorite passage with the review. But here’s another one about Jacob and Malini that caught my attention and is a definite tease.

    Jacob’s thoughts about Malini:

    Her breath came in huffs as she looked at him. There was a question in her eyes that he couldn’t read but he desperately wanted to be the answer. He wanted to be the thing that made this world better for her.

    There were a lot of very powerful passages in this book. I had only included a short one in my review, but here are two others, with very different messages, that really show just how well the author uses her words to paint a picture.

    Missy’s thoughts:

    Missy’s mouth twitched into a smile as she imagined Death running his long, cold fingers over her, making music on her body. Would his kisses be cold? Or would they be hot enough to burn away her fears, to turn her dead face to ash and reveal her soul to the world.

    (and)

    Yes, she thought, a smile blooming on her face. Trust. It was stronger than power, subtler than influence. She could simply let herself feel, acknowledge the bad and embrace the good – and between the two, come to an acceptance.

    I know I just posted my review and included a short passage that was one of my favorites. But now that I have the finished copy, I thought I’d include one that’s just a bit longer, but won’t be spoiler-y.

    Aura’s thoughts and a brief quote from Logan:

    The music seemed to fade with Logan’s smile as he stared at me with full understanding. I wondered if knowing the truth would change his mind. If knowing the truth would change everything.

    For a moment, his eyes grew inexplicably sad. Then his face relaxed back into a smile. “At least now you know.”

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    Review: Bumped

    Bumped by Megan McCafferty was released on April 26, 2011 in the U.S. It is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover and eBook formats.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 336 pages.

    Bumped is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

    Goodreads description:

    When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

    Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

    Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

    When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

    ***

    Imagine a world where a virus would make you infertile, typically by the time you were eighteen. That from the moment you were old enough to conceive, society would push you to do so.

    Where the government’s propaganda machine is out in full force working with advertisers to ensure that their slogans, their music, their message would move everyone toward that one single goal – procreate or face extinction. Convincing the young that not only should they do it to save the species, but because everyone is doing it, it is the thing to do and they wouldn’t want to miss out.

    And in this world, where children are the only chance for survival, for salvation, it is the parents who have a golden opportunity to prey on their naiveté and profit from their willingness to follow the trend.

    Becoming a Surrogette could be very lucrative, especially for those reproaesthetical enough to go pro and bring in the big contracts. If bumping is a necessary evil, why not accept the perks?

    This is life in Otherside. This is life for Melody. She is on the path to success. A pioneer for professional Surrogettes. She has everything going for her. She has the looks. She has the brains. She has the athleticism. She has the contract. All she needs is to get bumped. The only one standing in her way is Harmony.

    Harmony is from Goodside. The side where bumping is reserved for husbands and wives. Where procreation is still a necessity but is done only in the marriage bed. Where the community abides by the scriptures and believes that because of their faith, their purity, the virus that came to those so young in Otherside is afflicting those in Goodside at a later age.

    But Harmony’s life in Goodside is not on a sure path. She is a thinker where individual thought is not welcome. And she has questions. If she could just find some way to redeem herself she knows she’ll find the happiness and acceptance she has been missing. And the only one standing in her way is Melody.

    ***

    Bumped is a humorous and thought-provoking dystopian novel about a future version of our society on the verge of extinction, whose only chance at survival is for those not affected by the infertility virus to procreate. And the only ones capable and holding the power are teenagers.

    In this future, society is split into two groups – those who live in Goodside and those who live in Otherside. They are both radically different, but they both have one thing in common – survival of the species.

    Melody has lived her life in Otherside, being groomed to be the best Surrogette she possibly could. She had all the comforts and opportunities that life could offer her. Harmony grew up in Goodside, in a community that shunned the outside world, where hearth and home replaced wealth and power as the desired lifestyle. And venturing beyond the boundaries of Goodside was not an option.

    But when Harmony discovers that she has an identical twin sister living in Otherside, she makes it her mission to save her sister and bring Melody back with her. But it may not be Melody who needs saving.

    Bumped is a wickedly entertaining read, but not a story that should be read lightly. Author Megan McCafferty takes a humorous approach to a topic that could be seen as highly controversial – a future where not only is premarital sex by minors accepted, but endorsed by the government, and one in which profiting from promiscuity is the norm.

    In this future, young teenagers, and even preteens, are encouraged to procreate, to take mood-enhancing drugs to help facilitate the process, are made celebrities by the media for numerous pregnancies and are ostracized by friends and society if they haven’t jumped on the bandwagon.

    The surface story is light and amusing but the underlying one is a chilling look at a dark future. Bumped is very original and is just scary good.

    This is a must read for not-so-young adults who are looking for a story that will provoke discussion and thought and are not easily offended by language and concepts of a sexual nature. This book may not be appropriate for all ages and adults may want to read this through before suggesting it a younger audience.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

    On a personal note:

    I was really surprised by how much I loved this book. Before I decided to read it for review I checked out some of the ratings, as although I love most of the dystopian novels I read it isn’t necessarily a genre I will seek out. Ratings seemed to be all over the map, so I decided to read it and judge it for myself.

    And I really enjoyed the story. There were two things that pulled me in, though it took a couple of false starts to get me going.

    The first was the outrageousness of the premise. Although, the scary reality is that it might not be so out there – I can totally imagine a world where a virus causes infertility and I know it’s not a stretch for advertisers, marketers and songwriters to push their influence on the impressionable. But the way the author presented the idea was very unique. And really, really funny.

    The second was my absolute hatred for most of the story of Harmony. I cannot stand people who think they know best. Who inject themselves into a situation and then without thought for anyone but themselves act without even considering the consequences.

    I get that she was weak and confused whereas Melody was strong and just kept getting stronger, but oh man she just rubbed me the wrong way from the start and that absolutely got me hooked into this story. I had to know just how far the damage went.

    I loved Melody. She was strong and smart and although she was closed off at the beginning – keeping her eye on the prize – she really became a much better person as the story went on.

    I am not a young adult reading this, and I’m sure some of the content may be inappropriate for younger readers, especially if they’re not looking for the underlying messages and only looking at this on the surface as a cute, fun and funny story that talks about some adult topics in a youthful and non-serious sounding way.

    I do think younger readers are capable of discovering the messages without being negatively influenced, but I do think that readers who are a little older might appreciate the humor a bit more than younger readers, without any risk of reading something age-inappropriate or being distracted by some of the terminology.

    I think the author did a fantastic job of showing just how the government and the media can brainwash, for lack of a better term, impressionable individuals if they start at a young enough age. And how offering incentives can lure in those of any age to profit from something that might not otherwise be seen as acceptable. The fact that she used humor and some very original terms to get her point across gave this story its quirkiness and individuality and made the pages just fly by.

    And long after the read I am still giggling like a five-year-old at some of the words, but I am also still thinking about how very real some of the influences in this story are and how they affect our society.

    At the end I still loved Melody best, but am hating Harmony just a little bit less. And I am really looking forward to the next book to see what happens as everything is so up in the air.

    ***

    If you’d like to read an excerpt of Bumped from RT Book Reviews, click here.

    An untitled second book in the series is currently slated for release in 2011.

    The author discusses Bumped:

    Thank you to HarperTeen and NetGalley for the eARC for review.

    Note: The eARC is around 244 pages and the finished copy says it’s 336 pages so there may be major differences between the advance copy and the final book.

    Bumped by Megan McCafferty will also be released on April 26, 2011 in the U.S. It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover and eBook formats.Published by Balzer + Bray, a division of Harper Collins, the print edition is 336 pages.

    Bumped is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com. (Although this is considered a 2011 debut YA novel for the author she does have two previously published books for teens.)

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #17

    Below are the YA books coming out this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of April 26th-May 2nd that I have pre-ordered.

    We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han is the third book in the Summer series. It will be released in the U.S. on April 26, 2011. It is currently available online for pre-order in hardcover and eBook formats from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, the print edition is 304 pages.

    I first saw this book on Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab newsletter and thought it sounded like something I’d definitely want to read. Only it is the third book in the series, which I realized way too late to read all three by release date.

    I’ve heard they can be read out of sequence, but with a book like this I really want to read them in order and meet the character, Belly, as she was originally introduced.

    I purchased the first two books for my eReader but still haven’t had a chance to read them and I have this book on pre-order as I won’t get a chance to read the Simon & Schuster Galley before it expires. This is another series I’ve heard great things about and I am really hoping I can read all three books soon.

    Two boys, one girl and only the summer for everything to happen sounds like the a perfect way to escape for a few hours.

    To read an excerpt from Chapter One on the publisher’s website, CLICK HERE.

    Exile by Anne Osterlund is the sequel to Aurelia. It will be released in the U.S. on April 28, 2011 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by Speak, a division of Penguin, the print edition is 304 pages.

    I decided to pre-order Exile as I’ve owned Aurelia for several months and just haven’t gotten around to reading it. But I can’t just read the first book and stop there knowing that a sequel exists and so I decided to order this one.

    I haven’t read too many books about princesses and royalty and all the deception and betrayal that come along with being in line for the throne, but there was just something captivating about the synopsis of the first book in the series that made me want to buy it for an eventual read.

    It also hints at some type of – if not forbidden then frowned upon – romance. And Exile promises more betrayal and even greater danger. So, although I probably won’t get to read it, or book one, right away, but I definitely like knowing they’ll be in my collection to read whenever I want.

    To read a few excerpts from Aurelia or Exile on the author’s website, CLICK HERE.

    The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson is the sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes. It will be released in the U.S. on April 26, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 288 pages.

    I just started reading the first book in the series yesterday and am just about finished. It’s really quite sweet and has been an easy peasy read so far. I got approved for The Last Little Blue Envelope from NetGalley for review and because I’m really liking the first book in the series I thought I’d pre-order this one. I’ve heard it’s even better than the first book.

    I do anticipate reading this prior to release but the galley will expire and I want to have the finished copy for my collection. I have not read the description for this book as I didn’t want anything to spoil my read for the first book, but I’m guessing from the title that something must have happened to one of the envelopes. Oh no!

    At least I don’t have that huge wait to find out what happens, that readers of the first book had between book one’s release and this one.

    To have a look inside The Last Little Blue Envelope from the publisher’s website, CLICK HERE.

    The first book in the series, 13 Little Blue Envelopes, is available for free eBook download through April 25th. Links are available in my blog sidebar until the 25th.

    Abandon by Meg Cabot will be released in the U.S. on April 26, 2011 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available for pre-order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Point, a division of Scholastic, the hardcover is 320 pages.

    The second book in the series, Underworld, is currently slated for release in 2012.

    I’ve already spotlighted Abandon for my Book Watch post so I won’t ramble on yet again. This is also in my reading pile this week as I have an ARC. But I have the eBook on pre-order so that I can keep it forever and will be giving away my ARC once I’m done reading it.

    I am so loving this trend in books about the Greek gods and can’t wait to find out more about Hades and Persephone in this modern take on their story. I’ve only read a few pages, but I already love the author’s writing. This will be my very first Meg Cabot book and I’ve heard only amazing things about her.

    And as I’ve said a million times, I love this cover. Even the version on the ARC is stunning and I know that the hardcover will look absolutely gorgeous, although I’m only getting the eBook. But I will be taking a peek at the final version in stores this week.

    To read excerpts from chapters one and two from the author’s website, CLICK HERE.

    Book trailer for Abandon:

    Bumped by Megan McCafferty will also be released on April 26, 2011 in the U.S. It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in hardcover and eBook formats.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, a division of Harper Collins, the print edition is 336 pages.

    Bumped is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com. (Although this is considered a 2011 debut YA novel for the author she does have two previously published books for teens.)

    I got approved for Bumped on NetGalley a short time ago and accepted it for review. So I will be reading and reviewing this book in the next few days. And as I didn’t think I’d be approved I had added this to my pre-orders at least a month ago.

    I loved the simplicity and symmetry of the cover and I always love the way pink pops against a grey backdrop. So, yes, I did plan on buying this book for its cover, but also because it is a book that can be read for the DAC. It wasn’t one of my original picks, but I’m trying to read as many debuts as I can.

    I hadn’t realized it was a dystopian novel when I accepted it. The cover and tagline gave me a very different impression. But the premise sounds pretty bizarre and unique – teen pregnancy for profit to keep society going – and I am very curious as to where this book will end up.

    If you’d like to read an excerpt of Bumped from RT Book Reviews, click here.

    ***

    There are quite a few books releasing this week. Not ideal for the reduction in book purchases I was hoping for, but these were all on pre-order so I’m getting them.

    I’m still waiting for Amazon to notify me that my pre-order of Blood Magic will not be downloading on April 26th. It was originally scheduled for release this week, but the release date is now May 24th. Of course I would love it if it downloaded a month early as I gave away my ARC and would really like having that book back in my collection.

    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And please let me know if I missed purchasing something that is a “must read.”

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