Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review of GLOW and SHIFTING (with ARC Giveaway)

I'm seriously backed up on reviews. I've read loads and really need to somehow catch up while continuing to read. Mega conundrum. So, I'll just dive in. Two reviews for you today.

OH! And a new giveaway. Check it out below the review of GLOW. It's got a soonish end date.



GLOW by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Glow  Goodreads Summary: What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside



MY REVIEW
I know what you're thinking. Space travel to create a new world? Um, doesn't this sound like ACROSS THE UNIVERSE? I don't know, maybe you're not thinking that, but let's say you are.  Okay, yes, it does share a common concept, but it's not exactly a new concept. It's all about the execution, i.e. the clever unfolding of the story. Right?

The good news is GLOW has a pretty kicking storyline. It holds its own, and beyond the first page, similarities really fade away. I was hooked from the beginning, and I have to tell you, did not see the twists in this coming. Taking its cues from pretty much most of YA lately, GLOW is a bit of a genre buster. It's got a space opera feel as well as a strong dystopian element with a hint of Lord of the Flies slash Matched--BUT, it's faster paced than either one of those with a love triangle that...isn't. It's a sort of coming of age story dropped into the middle of a survival book--where survival is a constant quest...in space.

The story is actually told from two points of view, but it's not constantly alternating. You see a block of time occur in one POV, and then a block of time occur in another. But the important thing is it works. The sections weren't jarring, each section just the right length to make you anxious to see the other POV. And I never stopped to think, "I wish this were in the other person's POV." Really well thought out.

Most of all, I was impressed by how much GLOW made me stop and think. It indirectly presents ideas, and then, as if listening to a debate, you get to see contrary ideas that seemed just as valid. Boils down to where you're standing and what you stand to gain or lose. Talk about verisimilitude in science fiction.

But when I say science fiction, I don't mean it in the hard sense. GLOW is really accessible. A lot of cool, realistic futuristic concepts, but there's a strong emphasis on characterization. Love, hate, hopes, dreams, loss, humanity, inhumanity, greed, loneliness, desperation, and above all, an unquenchable need to continue existing. This is what any good YA-space-opera-dystopian-survivalist love story is all about. I, for one, am digging the genre busting, but I'm especially taken with GLOW.

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CLICK HERE to win an ARC of GLOW

This giveaway is international and ends Sunday, September 18, midnight EST. You must be 13 years old to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission to enter.

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And now, review number 2. You'll possibly be seeing me double up on reviews for a while, if I can manage it. I have so many books I want to talk about. And a bunch to give away.


SHIFTING by Bethany Wiggins

Shiftingtwo
Goodreads summary: After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.
Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.


MY REVIEW

Just as a side note, this is actually the third cover I've seen for this book. The first was a girl facing a cheetah head on. The second was a shot of a girl from the back with the braid morphing into a snake. And then this one. And I must say, I like this one best. It suits Maggie's personality well. Her eyes really say it all, revealing the depth of sorrow within her as well as her fierce determination.

Which brings me to my first point. One of the greatest qualities of SHIFTING is that it isn't afraid to go there. In SHIFTING, we see a foster child who has faced abuse and real hardship. And through it all, her reactions to her life feel real. She's not artificially wise, capable of adult-level introspection . When she buys a pretty outfit--from Wal-Mart--she feels glamorous because it's new. And she's not ashamed of wearing charity clothes. You know what they say--it's not until Eve was made to feel ashamed that she was aware of her nudity. And her foster mother, as kind as she is, isn't made of money either. SHIFTING bypasses the old cliché of the poor kid getting taken in by the rich family and given a new lease on life. At times I cringed, wanting so much to give this girl a hug. She's really suffered, and yet, she's really strong regardless.

And that's not even getting into the paranormal aspect of the story. If you read the summary, or...eh hmm...the title, you know Maggie's a shapeshifter. But not just any shapeshifter. SHIFTING has a clever new spin on the whole concept, incorporating the Navajo legend of the skinwalkers--also given a clever twist. What's more, Maggie's reactions to the shapeshifting ability feel truly genuine. It made for some pretty humorous scenes. There were some sad ones, too, as well as a bit of youthful drama that you would expect in YA, all of it adding richness to the story and making Maggie feel like more of a 3D character.

Did I mention the romance? Because there's that, too. But that doesn't come any more easily to Maggie than the shapeshifting. Bridger's got his own secrets, which adds to the tension, and as the summary says, the intrigue. There's a great mystery and a certain level of darkness that stems from her difficult past, her troubled present and unknown future in love and shapeshifting. You can't help but feel pulled in. SHIFTING is a fairly quick, enjoyable read with surprising twists and a clever new spin on old ideas.

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If you missed the giveaway for the ARC of GLOW...

CLICK HERE to win an ARC of GLOW


This giveaway is international and ends Sunday, September 18, midnight EST. You must be 13 years old to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission to enter.


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Also, be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are highlighting today!



Elana Johnson is in a tizzy over Texas Gothic
LiLa Roecker celebrates Something Like Hope
Christine Fonseca  is transformed by Shifting
Shannon Whitney Messenger takes a shine to So Silver Bright – with giveaway
Scott Tracey is on board for Starship Academy
Beth Revis shouts out The Name of the Star
Shana Silver loves Lola and the Boy Next Door
Rosemary Clement Moore is distracted by Alien Invasion & Other Inconveniences
Sarah Frances Hardy adores Birdie’s Big Girl Dress
Stasia Ward Kehoe takes a fancy to Fracture


60 comments:

  1. I was already planning on reading Shifting, and thanks for introducing me to Glow.

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  2. Wow, I hadn't heard of Glow yet! You have me dying to read it. Thanks again for your giveaways!

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  3. Great review! I am so excited for Glow! :)
    -Angel
    http://909reviews.blogspot.com

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  4. Holy awesome covers! Love the Shifting one. And thanks for the reviews! (adds to TBR list)

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  5. Alright, so I already won something. I will trade it in for this!!!!!! (lol I said that last time, didn't I?)

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  6. Glow sounds very interesting, I would love to read it. Great reviews, I think I'll buy Shifting :)
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    I blogged about the contest at my blog and put the contest link at the sidebar: http://angel-on-a-move.blogspot.com/2011/09/contest-at-carolina-valdez-millers-blog.html

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  7. Both books sound awesome. Thanks for the contest.

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  8. awsome giveaway and great reviews.

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  9. Wow, awesome giveaway!! Glow sounds like an amazing book

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  10. So awesome! I've heard some amazing things about GLOW and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the review!

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  11. Great reviews, Carol!
    Glow and AtU have similar concepts, but I love how a writer can totally create a unique story with similar plots.
    Crazy that the second book had three covers already!

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  12. Dude, I'll have to put up the link to my blog post later, but just wanted to say this book has been on my mind so much lately! LOVE supporting sci fi! (Also, people shouldn't be put off to a similar concept since many classic sci fi themes involve terraforming/colonizing planets...)

    And, I *thought* Shifting seemed familiar as a premise...turns out the cover I've seen was the braid-morphing-into-a-snake one...and yes, I do prefer this version

    Great reviews and giveaways as always!

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  13. Thanks so much for the giveaway and the great reviews!
    misusedinnocence@aol.com

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  14. Wow, these both sound fabulous! Thanks so much for the reviews (and giveaways)!

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  15. Wow! Talk about 2 vastly different books! They both sound good in their own way with fresh ideas tucked into the stories. I always love your reviews!

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  16. ooo, I have SHIFTING, but not GLOW--and it sounds exactly like what I'd like these days :) Also--I like that new cover for SHIFTING. I have the ARC with the cheetah, which is cool too of course.

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  17. Glow sounds like an interesting concept.

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  18. I would love to read Glow!
    Thanks for the giveaway!!

    Janhvi
    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

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  19. I only had time to read the first review, but man it sounds awesome! And I especially love the name of that ship.

    Empyrean. Awesome word. Part Greek, part Latin, it means the highest heights of Heaven. Which just sounds beautiful.

    Not that you didn't know that.

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  20. I always love your reviews, Carol. You give the mood and feel of the story without ever giving away any spoilers.

    Also, I hope you had a lovely birthday.

    And, know you are loved, my sweet friend. *hugs*

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  21. okiedokie, I featured your giveaway in the second half of this blog post:
    http://lizakane.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/monarch-by-michelle-davidson-argyle-plus-giveaway-news/

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  22. These both look so good! I love great sci-fi and fantasy! And your reviews make me want to read them even more. :)

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  23. I'm super excited for this release. I've heard excellent things. It's always a good thing too, to keep thinking about a book well after you're finished.

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  24. I'm really looking forward to Glow especially. I'm dying for more YA scifi :D

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  25. Great... two more books to add to the pile! lol! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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  26. Oh, Glow sounds really good... this is the first time I've heard about it.

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  27. I've been reading about Glow in different sites and gotta say it sounds pretty cool, so might as well give it a try!

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  28. I have not read either of these interesting books. I have been trying to follow the Glow tour, but Shifting I had actually never heard of. They both sound like wonderful reads and I would love to read them. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway opportunity and sharing with us today.

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  29. I cant wait to read glow. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  30. I had some problems with Across the Universe, so I'll be interested to see how this handles the same sort of topic. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

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  31. Great review, and awesome giveaway... thx!

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  32. Thank you for an amazing giveaway as usual! And I really like the new cover for Shifting! :)

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  33. Both books sound awesome! And I agree with you on the cover of Shifting, it looks great!

    Thank you for the reviews and the giveaway! :)

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  34. Awesome. I can't wait to read this book. Thanks. :D

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  35. I've seen both of these books around and they both look awesome!! Thanks for the giveaways :)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

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  36. I have a friend how has read this book and loved it so I am really anxious to read it now!

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  37. These books sound so amazing, thanks for the giveaway, Carolina :D

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  38. Okay, GLOW totally reminded me of ATU at first too, but after reading the full blurb and your review, I'm totally intrigued. It sounds amazing, and the cover is gorgeous. Thanks for another fantastic giveaway, Carol! :)

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  39. Hadn't heard of GLOW yet, but it sounds great. *enters ARC contest* *hopes to win* :D

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  40. Thank you so much for sharing! I was already interested in Glow, but now I really want to read Shifting. :)

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  41. Oh GLOW sounds awesome! I love some good space ship romance!

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  42. Glow reminds some people of Across The Universe? Well, I haven't read either, but I really want to! Thanks for the awesome giveaway! :)

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  43. Thank you so much for the tons of giveaways you do! You are too generous!

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  44. It DOES sound like Across the Universe, but I liked that book so I'm hoping I will like this one too. Thanks for the review and the giveaway. And don't stress yourself too much trying to catch up on reviews.

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  45. Thanks so much!! I have Glow on my wishlist :)

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  46. GLOW sounds fantastic... AtU was okay, but this looks a bit more promising :)

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  47. I saw Glow at a book store when I was in NYC, and I almost bought it but didn't want to carry it back with me in my luggage. Now I totally regret not getting it. Haha.

    Thanks for the reviews & giveaway! Excited about both of these books now!

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  48. This actually looks really good.

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  49. Thank you for this giveaway! I'm really curious about Glow.

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  50. thanks for the chance to win this book! :)

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  51. Thank you for the awesome chance of winning this book!

    fallendream03 AT gmail DOT com

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  52. Thanks for an awesome giveaway! Glow looks awesome!

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  53. Thanks for this awesome giveaway! Glow sounds fantastic! :D

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  54. I have to admit that I also thought it sounded a little too much like Across the Universe but I look forward to seeing how it's different.

    Thanks for the giveaway:)

    Sarah

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  55. I'm dying to read Glow. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Laura x

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  56. Thank you so much for the chance to win♥ i would love to read Glow :)

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  57. I really really really want to read this book. I have heard amazing things about it! Thank you so much for the chance to win it!!

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