8.10.2009

And This Is What It Comes To...

I said yesterday that I would explain why I closed the giveaway early.
To put it short and sweet, in a matter of time, AyeCaptain Reviews will not be running any longer. Well, it will be here for you to browse around, but no more charming posts, no more insightful reviews, you get the idea... ;)
Have any ideas why? Some of you might, but let me explain. It's as easy as 1,2,3,4.

1. School. I'm headed into my junior year and really need to devote all my time to schoolwork. I noticed last year how much I procrastinated on here, and being homeschooled, that could be dangerous.

2. I've had a year's foray into the YA genre, but it's time for me to move on for now. One of the things I thought about when I was up in Chicago this weekend for an editing workshop, was that I haven't gone through all the classics, like To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye. These books are essential for me, and I want to learn how to become a better writer, which is not possible just reading the YA genre. It feels unfair to me to keep a YA blog, but blog about more classic books everyone has heard of. It's also very time-consuming.

3. I've been reading a wonderful book called Do Hard Things, about how teenage expectations have dropped. I don't need to be spending so much time on here when I could be working to really change something. I joined the PolyphonyHS staff this year as a second reader (basically an editor). If you write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, check it out! We give feedback to every poem submitted. If you want to see what being an editor is like, you can be a First Reader. We always need more. Please check it out; it's wonderful fun and you learn so much!

4. I've really slacked on my relationship with God. I've put him off to review books, obsessed about reviewing books, and read books when I could have been in His word. Some of you may not understand this, but just let me say, it isn't fair to him. He's the most wonderful thing in my life and deserves way better.

I've been so, so blessed to be let into this wonderful community for just over a year now. I've learned so much about books and love talking about them, and hope many other kids will make their way into the blogging realm as well.
To all my followers: I'm so sorry to leave you hanging, but I've thought about this long and hard, and I have to do it. I know it's right for me.
I love you all and appreciate everything! Let me know if you need anything ever:
emilyruth@gmx.com

Thanks again!

8.09.2009

Sleepaway Girls WINNER!

Hey all! Alright, I have to close this contest early for a reason I'll disclose in a post coming tomorrow (hopefully).

I'll be shipping Sleepaway Girls out tomorrow as well (hopefully). :)

So, without further ado...

The winner (taken from random.org) is:

DeAnna!

CONGRATULATIONS DEANNA! I don't know if any of you know, but this is really freaky for me, since deanna is my best friend in real life. I thought about redrawing just incase any of you thought I'd cheated, but I decided it would be unfair to deanna to do that. So I took a screen shot for proof.
(I circled the number 3 in red, which means the 3rd commenter, which means it goes deanna)

So, yeah. Really weird.
But I promise you this was completely fair and if you don't believe me...
deal with it.
Just kidding :)

Thank you all so much for participating in this contest!

Review: Offworld

by Robert Parrish

Summary: Commander Christopher Burke is the first man to walk on Mars, and the mission is a success despite the unexplained 18 hours he went missing. But when his crew returns to Earth, something's wrong.
Everyone is gone.

Review: Offworld is an adult novel set in the future. The action is intense (as anyone could guess from the summary). In fact, even though this is an adult novel, Offworld could quite easily overlap into the YA section. The writing is simplistic, the dialogue clever, the premise interesting. I really can not say enough for this book. The pages fly by.
There was no lag in the plot, which was a perfect example of moments of action interspersed with moments of calm, all under one big plot. The ending was, in a word, satisfactory. All is explained well enough, with a little room for our imagination.
The characters were well developed, each with their own personality. A nice addition to a clever plot.
On the negative side, I expected an adult novel to have a more developed sentence structure and a wider vocabulary besides the big words here and there. Parrish quite obviously can write, but I see his writing as more of a YA fit. There are cheesy moments, and the obvious love triangle/unattainable love/happy ending love. But really, it doesn't make the book bad.

People will enjoy this book. It's a nice crossover, has a great plot with a perfect resolution, doesn't drag, and is an easy read.

4.5 Stars
368 Pages
Adult Sci-Fi
Released
*contains no inappropriate material

Props to the cover designer. It's quite simply perfect. AND it's got this nice, soft paper, not that ugly shiny kind...

8.06.2009

Review: Once Was Lost

by Sara Zarr

Summary*: Samara Taylor used to believe in miracles. She used to believe in a lot of things. As a pastor's kid, it's hard not to buy in to the idea of the perfect family, a loving God, and amazing grace. But lately, Sam has a lot of reason to doubt. Her mother lands in rehab after a DUI and her father seems more interested in his congregation than his family. When a young girl in her small town is kidnapped, the local tragedy overlaps with Sam's personal one, and the already-worn thread of faith holding her together begins to unravel.
In her third novel, acclaimed author Sara Zarr examines the coexistence of affliction and hope, and what happens when everything you thought you believed---about God, about your family, about yourself---is transformed.

Review: I realize some of you may shy away from a 'Christian' YA book, but Sam's story really is awesome. There's mystery, love, struggling, family issues, kidnapping... everything you could want in a YA book. There's tension and excitement. It's clean, but real.
If you can't tell already, I really liked this book. From the title to the gorgeous cover, Once was Lost is everything I've wanted for a long time. A good, not crappy, not cheesy, christian novel. There's way too many of the crappy ones.
The plot arc is exciting. I was glad Zarr inserted a little something other than just 'spiritual growth' to keep the book going. The kidnapping was great and had a nice twist at the end. The ending was open and left room for thought.
But though I really liked this book, there was no 'wow' factor. Nothing that kept me after I closed the book. Nothing that left me thinking. Really thinking. It might be because I don't struggle anymore with my salvation, and I know I'm saved, but I just wish there might have been something... I don't know... more.

4 Stars
224 Pages
YA
TBR October 1, 2009
*contains no inappropriate material

*Summary taken from Amazon because this book has not yet been released.

8.05.2009

Review: Forest of Hands and Teeth

by Carrie Ryan

Summary: Mary never questioned the Sisterhood or Guardians that kept her town safe from the Unconsecrated--those that used to be people, but now gnaw at the gates of the village for blood. Until now. When Mary joins the sisterhood, she comes across things she never imagined--particularly a woman from the Outside, named Gabrielle.
But that was before Mary's village is attacked by the Unconsecrated.

Review: In a word, creepy.
It's a mix of The Village and I Am Legend.
But it's good.
Plot. Mary's story instantly draws you in, and the love triangle keeps us in. Carrie Ryan has it all planned out; she has this huge tantalizing background story (that gets confusing sometimes). The whole story circles around a kind of Catholic church theme, which was really cool as well and added to the creepy feel. I must admit, the story starts out a tad slow and is kind of confusing for the first part of the story, but once you get into the action it gets much better.
Characters. Mary was a good protagonist-- confused but still pretty strong. Her pining after Travis gets a little annoying, but I could deal. I never saw much development in the other characters until the end. It didn't really bother me because the story was so exciting, but now that I think about it, I wish they had been a little more defined.
Overall. A very good book, with a very good 'wow' factor. The ending was fantastic. I would really reccommend this book if you aren't faint-hearted. Some have complained about it being too graphic/bloody for them, but I really didn't feel it was too graphic except in one part. Even then, it wasn't graphic, it was just horrible to imagine. Ryan doesn't linger.

4.5 Stars
320 Pages
YA
Released
*contains brief sexuality

here's an awesome trailer:

8.04.2009

Tuber Tuesdays [8]

If you'd like to join in on the fun, put up a youtube video with a link back to my Tuber Tuesday post. If you'd like, you can post a comment with a link to your video!

The purpose of Tuber Tuesday is to share a great video you've found throughout the week. It can be funny, inspirational, gut-wrenching, interesting, a book trailer, a movie trailer, an author chat, or anything else you want to share!

If you need help embedding a video, please let me know.

Week 8 Video: Book trailer for Lisa McMann's Wake. The book was good, but I like the trailer even better, haha. Take a look.

8.03.2009

Review: Willow

by Julia Hoban

Summary: Ever since the night when Willow was driving her parents home in the rain.
Ever since crash that followed and killed her two parent with Willow at the wheel.
Willow's been a cutter.
And she's been able to keep it well hidden as she lives at her brother's house, until a guy Willow barely knows accidentally finds out. If he tells, it will destroy Willow's brother, who has already been through enough pain. If he doesn't, if he just leaves Willow, it might destroy him...

Review: Willow's story is heartbreaking, to say the least. It seems like everything that could go wrong, went wrong. But the chemistry between Willow and Guy is charming. Though well over 300 pages, Willow is still a rather quick read and has a nice pace. Nothing really major happens, but the story is still somehow very enticing.
I didn't particularly like Willow's character, however. Granted, her circumstances were awful, and this is the reason she is a cutter, but her complaining every single page got a little old. Guy's character was fantastic, and I would much rather have heard the story from his perspective, as He constantly surprised me. For me, Guy kept the story going.
And finally, my last annoyance.
*SPOILER WARNING*
I really didn't like the fact that everything got better once Guy and Willow slept together. It totally ruined the book for me, and seemed to send out the idea that you can get over anything if you sleep with a guy. I'm really sad that a YA author would even hint at this; it quite depresses me. I think if Hoban wouldn't have had this play a part in Willow, I would easily have suggested it for Teen's Top Ten at my library. However, I really don't think book that promote premarital sex should be promoted at the library.
*/SPOILER*
Okay, so overall: a very good book, a quick read, interesting characters (some annoyingly weak), and sends an awful message.

3.5 Stars
336 Pages
YA
Released
*contains language and sexuality