Mailbox Monday is a weekly event started by Marcia from A Girl and Her Books, and is now hosted on a blog rotation. Cindy of Cindy’s Love of Books is the host for the month of April. This is my first week participating in Mailbox Monday and I’m so excited to visit some new blogs and see what everyone received this week.
This week’s mailbox is pretty eclectic for me and I’m glad to expand my horizons and check out some new authors.
This week’s new arrivals:
The Mongoliad: Book One by Neal Stephenson – This book is a hard one to label, but it seems to be a serialized fantasy historical book and it sounds very unique. I’m excited my husband is interested in reviewing this one!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – What do you think of the new paperback cover? I’ve already listened to the audiobook but am excited to have a hard copy to read.
Fated by Alyson Noel – The first book in the Soul Seekers series – received for an upcoming blog tour.
eGalleys from NetGalley & Edelweiss:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I hit the jackpot this week with all the Read Now’s on Netgalley. This one is a historical YA that has gotten some good early buzz.
Timepiece by Myra McEntire – This is the sequel to last year’s Hourglass, a book I own and need to read, stat!
One Moment by Kristina McBride – I’m always interested in reading more YA mysteries.
The Glimpse by Claire Merle – A romantic dystopia with a very pretty cover.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller – A contemporary YA with a male protagonist. Have to say, the early reviews make this sound so good.
A Thunderous Whisper by Christina Diaz Gonzalez – A new historical YA from the author of The Red Umbrella. This one comes out in October.
Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn – J. Lynn is Jennifer Armentrout’s adult romance pen name. I liked Obsidian a lot so took a chance for $2.99.
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe – Kindle freebie bought to peruse before reading Bethany Griffin’s Masque of the Red Death.
What did you receive in your mailbox this week?
Book Info: Young Adult Contemporary, Received from the publisher, Available in HC 224 pages
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Megan is the only survivor in a small plane crash, and now seen as a miracle in her parent’s eyes. Megan is shell-shocked from the experience, but continues to go through the motions as if everything is fine. Megan withdraws from soccer, her friends, and her classes, retreating because of the ghosts that haunt her. She finds comfort from some unlikely sources, including Joe the troubled boy next door, and Margaret, a war veteran church acquaintance, who can see through her miracle façade.
Miracle is Elizabeth Scott’s 11th book (I’ve read 4 of them so far) and is as intense and personal as I’ve come to expect. Miracle has a raw honesty as it delivers an authentic look at PTSD. I felt all the emptiness and isolation in Megan as she worked through the aftermath of the plane disaster. The book also takes a look at the individuals closest to Megan, who just don’t get what she’s going through, mainly because she won’t let them in.
The story is told through Megan’s POV and takes place right after the plane crash. She doesn’t remember the crash, but fakes that she does just so she can get out of the hospital already. Bits and pieces begin coming to her and make it impossible for her to resume her normal activities. All of the symptoms of PTSD were there, and it was interesting that those closest to Megan refused to see her obvious need for help. Where previously Megan’s sickly little brother was the focus of attention, the plane crash created a shift in the family dynamic, as the parents became all about Megan.
Two people recognize that not all is right in Megan’s head and become a support system in her healing journey. Joe, her gorgeous next-door neighbor, is one who is no stranger to survivor’s guilt. And though the book is not all about the romance, the two bond over their experiences. Margaret is another character who stood out for me, and her experience as a Vietnam vet makes her uniquely suited to recognize some of what Megan is going through. Both characters are societal outcasts in their own way and I really enjoyed getting to know them. Margaret especially stole the book, and I loved all the details about her character, such as her pushing milk on Megan, the homemade bears that littered her home, and her matter of fact personality.
Scott’s stripped-down prose is well suited to the story and subject matter and makes it an intense quick read. Megan’s experience is one that many who have experienced a loss may relate to. The journey is not easy and the characters don’t always behave the way you want them to. This portrait of a PTSD survivor is a gratifying reading experience.
Other Reviews of Miracle:
Published by: Simon Pulse, May 24 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Format/pages: Hardcover 256 pages
Format read/Source: ARC via Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
Date read: May 15 2011
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Abby’s older sister Tess is in a coma after a car accident. Abby has always felt less worthy than Tess and is jealous of her sister’s beauty and charisma. Now that she lies in a hospital bed, Abby visits Tess daily to try to help her wake up. Her motives are not entirely selfless though. Abby wants Tess to get better so that she can leave town with a free conscience after high school. She does not want to have to stay in town out of guilt. She is not having much luck reviving Tess until handsome Eli comes in. Abby swears she sees Tess’s eyelids flutter at the sound of his voice. She decides to bring him in to try to help wake the comatose Tess, even if it means he falls in love with Tess the way so many others have before. As she accepts the fact that Tess may never be the same, she starts to see value in herself and being able to see those closest to her as they really are.
This book is an emotional read and covers issues galore. It is satisfying to read a book with so many rich and layered characters and to see the character’s growth throughout the book. Abby starts out with low self esteem to the extreme. She can’t imagine anyone would take notice of her when her sister’s around, and that if they did it’s only to get close to her sister. Abby is barely holding it together, and doing the best she can to manage her family crisis. However, her lack of self worth comes off as frustrating and irritating at times, especially in the first half of the book. She definitely has some stumbling blocks to overcome. Eli is sweet as the love interest. He is much more than the gorgeous guy that Abby idealizes under the surface.
Everyone has something to hide in this book. As the story unfolds we find out secrets about all the characters. The book came together for me in the second half when the secrets and issues come to light. The book does not shy away from hard-hitting issues and this gives the story more depth and interest.
This book is a fast read with interesting and layered characters and a compelling story. Fans of Elizabeth Scott’s other contemporary books should enjoy this one as well. I haven’t read the author’s first book, Bloom, but apparently there are some familiar characters in this book from Bloom. I’m curious to read that one next. This is the third book I’ve read by Elizabeth Scott, and I’m impressed by her writing and flawed and realistic characters. Her next book As I Wake is due out September 15 2011.
What Elizabeth Scott book is your favorite?
For more information:
Book: Grace by Elizabeth Scott
Published by: Dutton Books, September 16 2010
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format/pages: Hardcover 200 pages
Format read/Source: Hardcover from library
Date read: February 26 2011
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Summary from Goodreads:
Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.
Set in a bleak world in the near future, Grace has been trained to give her life for the People’s cause to oust ruler Keran Berj. Grace has always known this was her path, and she was prepared to die when it was asked of her. However, she always had her doubts, and when the time came she was unable to fulfill her mission. Now Grace is on the run and with a traveling companion who is also running from the past.
This is the second book I have read from this author, the first being Living Dead Girl. Both books are compelling, haunting stories wrapped in a small package. At only 200 pages, this book can be read in one setting. However, the subject matter is weighty, timely and thought provoking. The short chapters and spare writing powerfully convey the character’s frame of mind.
The story begins as Grace has hopped a train and is on the run; the details of how she got there are filled in through flashbacks. The whole story had me on edge as I felt Grace’s anxiousness and fright as she waited to get caught. She has spent her whole life being told what to do and now is trying to understand and learn what it will be like to be free. She has always felt out of place as she has watched the other Angels go so willingly to complete their suicide missions. With the help of her traveling companion Kerr, Grace is questioning all that she ever knew. Kerr has his own heart breaking story to tell, and I was pulled into his story as much as Grace’s.
Most of the action takes place on the train, and the claustrophobic environment contributes to the moody atmosphere of the story. Some of the difficult scenes take place “off camera” and are even more mysterious and disturbing as the reader is left to fill in the blanks. The character of Grace makes hard choices and is brave to go off into the unknown to live life for herself. This haunting character struck a chord with me.
Grace is a powerful dystopian book set in a recognizable near future world. The themes are those that many will relate to with several discussion points that could be explored in a classroom setting.
I’m glad I took a chance on this book, and maybe next time I’ll even read one of this author’s lighter novels. Elizabeth Scott’s next book is called Between Here and Forever and is due out in May 2011.
For more information:
This is a hard book to talk about. The subject matter is horrifying and disturbing. The story is told by “Alice”, a 15 year old who was abducted at age 10 while on a school field trip. She is subjected to unthinkable abuse at the hands of her abductor Ray. He gives her the name Alice.
Alice is broken and resigned to her fate, and all is very hopeless. Adults around her either don’t notice her situation or don’t want to know or get involved. She does not trust any adult to help her, many times I wished she would run to get away or try to get help.
As Alice grows up into a woman, Ray gets angry and tries to keep her looking like a young girl by starving her, etc. Alice starts to see a way out of her situation when Ray decides he wants to abduct another young girl. We see her struggle with this decision of whether to help Ray abuse another child.
The story is very engrossing, thought provoking, and well written. It is just very unsettling to read about this subject matter. I rushed to get through it in one sitting- it is a gripping story, and one I’m sure not to forget. I quickly picked up another book to read right after to try to get over the haunting feel of this book.
Recommended for mature teens due to the subject matter. This book is not for everyone, but it certainly makes you think.