Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: Hungry by H.A. Swain

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & friends
384 Pages

In Thalia’s world, there is no more food and no need for food, as everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. Her parents both work for the company that developed the drugs society consumes to quell any food cravings, and they live a life of privilege as a result. When Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that there is an entire world outside her own. She also starts to feel hunger, and so does the boy. Are the meds no longer working?

Together, they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food. It’s a journey that will change everything Thalia thought she knew. But can a "privy" like her ever truly be part of a revolution?

Imagine a future where there is no food and the only nutrition you get is through a synthetic substance called Synthamil. Your daily dose of Synthamil is carefully calibrated to your body’s needs and eliminates the need for actual food. So none of this:
Or this:

Nothing! Just a small liquid tube of nutrients. Sounds yummy…
In this future, all forms of food (seeds, animals, etc) have been eliminated or lost to wars. Scientists have found a way to sustain society without the constant struggle of people fighting for food and money. Or so they think. Enter Thalia Apple, daughter of one of the founding scientists of Syntamil. Thalia comes from a life of privilege, having both parents who work for the OneWorld Corporation, until one day her stomach growls.  She’s scared at first; constantly trying to hide whatever is happening to her body, but it just gets worse.

Then she meets Basil, another person like her who also feels hunger. Thalia is then thrown into a world of lies, deceit, confusion, and corporate domination as she struggles to find the truth in what’s going on in the world. 

Honestly, I’m on the fence about this one – not sure how I actually feel. On one hand, I loved the concept. It was original and interesting. And I liked Thalia – she questioned everything, she never followed people blindly instead she challenged them to further understand. I also liked Basil. He was adorable if not a little too easily swayed. Their relationship, although a little insta-lovish, was cute. I loved how they always looked out for each other. 

What was confusing for me was the world set up. I felt like there was so much thrown at us that it was hard to grasp and even harder for me to visualize, especially the Inner Loops. Everything was so hi-tech and scientific that I felt like I was in the Fifth Element.

The pacing was another thing that felt a little off to me. I lost some interest about halfway through and didn’t end up going back to the book for a few weeks. Parts felt extremely cultish and that whole idea freaks me out, so it may have just been me. 

And then there was the ending. At about 90% in, the book enters this crazy, non-stop action ‘omg what’s going to happen’ phase. Its built up so much that you just know something bad is going to happen and I started to wonder how anyone is going to get out of this and how this book was going to be wrapped up in 10%. Well, basically, it just ended. It was so abrupt that I was left feeling unsatisfied. Now, I just want to say, I’m not upset or dissatisfied with how the story ended for our characters, it’s more the way it was so rushed that ultimately I felt let down.

Overall, a good concept and a decent read. 
I received an e-copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blog Tour: Giveaway & Review: All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

I am very happy today to join The Midnight Garden in their blog tour of All Four Stars as a review stop! You can find all of the tour stops here.

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: July 10, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
288 Pages

“A scrumptious gem of a story!”—Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Timesbestselling author of The False Prince

Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.

But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

This giveaway is for US/CA residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Four stars go to All Four Stars!

Gladys Gatsby is a foodie. At eleven years old, her greatest hobby is cooking, and she would rather spend her break making new dishes than playing with her friends. Too bad her family finds the idea of cooking repulsive and after a (minor) cooking accident, she is banned from the kitchen for the foreseeable future. A mistake at the New York Standard newspaper gives Gladys a grand opportunity--to write a food review for the paper! But pulling off the story may not happen as easily as she expected.

This book was utterly adorable, and so fun to read. It was so light-hearted, and had me laughing aloud several times! The descriptions were phenomenal, and by the end of the book, I was dying for home cooked meal. Dairman did an excellent job putting this story together. It flowed very well, and reading about the different dishes that Gladys tried making and/or ate was quite neat. Her reviews of said dishes were fantastically funny, as well, and truly made the book. Reading about Gladys' parents meals were grotesque. They made my stomach hurt just thinking about them! But when she spoke of the desserts? There was actual drool.

Gladys perspective is very interesting to read from. She's a determined character, with a good head on her shoulders and watching her grow as the book progressed was wonderful. Gladys really grew into herself, and became more confident in her future and desires by the end of All Four Stars. I really love when that happens. I adored watching her make friends, and become close to those around her. This book isn't just about one girl's passion, but how she comes to realize that there is more to life than just food/cooking--though that's quite important as well! 

This is a great book for middle grade fans. It's short. It's sweet. And absolutely delicious! I really would like to see what's next for Gladys, and her career as a restaurant reviewer. This book is so perfectly adorable. Anyone who gives it a shot will be able to find something within its pages to love.
Thank you to the ladies at The Midnight Garden for allowing me to join the tour, and to Putnam for the e-copy for review!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Real" Book Challenge June Recap

Real Book Challenge on Swoony Boys Podcast and Fiction Fare

Well, June probably wasn't the best month for reading books - at least not for me. Damn work and real life getting in the way. But I was able to read a few to count towards my goal.

So that's 5 more for this month.
Total So Far: 43
Current Level: Real Book Hoarder

So close to being Queen! July may not be the month because of Comic Con, but I will definitely be making my goal! If you're interested in joining us, you can sign up here. See you next month!
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