Thursday, December 27, 2012

Feature and Follow #1

Gain Book Blog Followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers — but you have to know — the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

trans Feature & Follow #119
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

When did you start blogging?
I started this blog on December 7, 2012.  I also have another book blog called New Adult Addiction, but I needed a place to put YA reviews so I came up with this idea.

What is your favorite part of book blogging?
Pretty covers!  No, really - just finding new books to love.

What is your favorite book(s)?
I am a SF junkie - the Takeshi Kovacs series (Altered Carbon, Broken Angels, and Woken Furies) by Richard K. Morgan are all my favorite books.  But I also love me some paranormal romance. I'm not really much of a YA reader, but I've come across a few in my NA reading, that are really worthwhile.  I tend to like books that are not about the ordinary world, but rather a world that's either upside down or backwards, or futuristic in soem way.

What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?  Meeting other cool book loving people.

Q: What book do you think everyone should read? If you could gift the entire population with one book?

At New Adult Addiction I chose The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  I have no idea why, but this book, of all classic literature, is my favorite.  It describes perfection and demise in the same story, it's so tragic and sad, but at the same time hopeful.  It's really a brilliant piece of work.  And it's sorta new adult too, because almost all the players are very young - even though they have so much money and houses and careers, they are still very young.  Except for Gatsby, of course.  He's the only grown-up in the room, yet he acts so childish. 

But for teens, I'd choose The Lord of the Flies because it teaches almost the same lessons, except from a kid's point of view.  Both my kids loved The Lord of the Flies, and even as a small child, my son immediately got it.  They liked the movie too.

What is a Clean Teen Read?

Well, this is not an easy question to answer because every parent will have a different opinion.  But since this is my blog and I get to choose which books I read and review, I’m gonna give you my version of what it means to be a clean teen read.  Here we go:

Sparse cursing.  I’m personally OK will all sorts of bad language in books, and I’m not really even against my teen reading books with swearing, but to be a teen read, it needs to be few and far between.  For emphasis only, in other words.  Not the characters normal everyday way of talking.  If a book has the F word, it can still (in my book blogger opinion) be a clean read.

Sparse sex.  Romance and sex are not the same thing.  Describing sexual acts is a rated R event. To me, a clean read will have romance but little mention or descriptors of the actual acts.  I’d like the rating to be PG-13 for 95% of the book.  An occasional f-word and third base mention is not a disqualifier, but it stretches the limits.

Violence is a little harder.  I’m OK with pretty much just about any level of violence, as long as it’s not too descriptive.  A clean read would not be dismembering children, for instance.  But getting hurt is part of life, as is death.  So these occurrences do not wipe out a book from clean teen territory.

Drug use is not my favorite thing in any book.  Alcohol is OK if the book is new adult or adult. But for teen reads, I’m pretty strict on this one.  I tend to knock off points for drug and alcohol use in YA books. 

Now, if I’m reviewing the book for my other book blog, New Adult Addiction, I could care less.  In fact, none of these things matter at my other book blog.  But for a teen read, yes.  All of these are taken into consideration.

I happen to like (as you can tell by the blog design) edgy books.  My son enjoys edgy books, particularly ones with male protagonists, lots of violence, and trending on the dystopian side.  So I'll probably review a lot of those here.  I also like YA romances where the plot is not about high school.  Anything SF, and paranormal, again - when the plot does not center on high school.  Why no high school centered books?  Because we're homeschoolers and while my teen doesn't mind reading about high school, it makes very little sense to him.  He prefers to read about teens who have more freedom and/or are already dealing with adult issues.  I tend to agree with him.

My rating system:

The bio-hazard symbols are for rating the book as a reader only.  It’s your typical five is spectacular, four is I really liked it, three is ho-hum.  It was OK.  Two is the book has real issues, and one is did not finish (DNF).

If the book has issues that need to be mentioned, I will put those in the review summary.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

REVIEW: Human.4

Title: Human.4
Author: Mike A. Lancaster
Genre: Young Adult SF

Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far. 
I picked Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster up in paperback because I thought my son would like to read it.  He’s not a reluctant reader, but he doesn’t read unless I make him do it for homeschool.  I like science fiction so I typically choose SF for him as well.  Oddly enough, he’s never once complained about my choices.
So I picked up Human.4 for him, handed it over, and he read it.  I asked him what he thought and here’s basically how that went:
ME: So, did you like it?
HIM: Yeah.
ME: What was it about?
HIM: Read it and find out.
ME: Was it like the Matrix?
HIM: No.
ME: Like Body Snatchers?
HIM: No.  I’m not gonna tell you, so read it and find out.
Yup.  Did I mention he was 15?

So I did read it.  It’s a quick read, only 231 pages in my PB copy.  And I did like it.  My teenager did mention that it started slow, and I agree.  It took a little long to get going in my opinion, but it picked up and got interesting once the action started.

I don’t enjoy doing plot run-downs, so I’m not going to do that here, I’m just going to let you know what I did and didn’t like.  Here we go:


Young adult science fiction – there is not a lot of this around so I enjoy the fact that it simply exists.

The premise is actually quite well-thought out I think.  I have two science degrees, so I look for that stuff. I don’t mind suspending belief in certain places, but there are little details that must add up or I can’t get past it.  Nothing in this book required me to suspend belief.  I like that a lot.

It was a clean read for my teen boy.  I’m the last one to talk about clean reads with my nasty little Junco character in my books, but I do actually prefer that my son read something with less profanity.

Changes that might make it better:

I did not care for the commentary.  I felt it pulled me out of the novel, however, my son never mentioned this and he’s the one that counts.

That’s pretty much it.

I asked him if he wanted the sequel and he did, but only in paperback, so I had to order it from TBD.  We’re waiting for it to come right now and then he’ll read that.  (And so will I because he’ll refuse to tell me anything about it!)

Until then.