Wednesday, December 31, 2014

{Flash Reviews} 5 Great Books I Didn't Have A Chance to Review in 2014!



Sometimes after I read a book, I'm in the middle of an event or have a bunch of blog commitments or have no time or...something. For some reason or another, many deserving books don't get reviewed. And then I forget the smaller details that flesh out a review and so...it never happens. Or I can't connect well enough for a full, meaningful review, even though you might.

Here are a few books worth reading that escaped a full review in 2014 for various reasons!



TITLE: RITES OF PASSAGE
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Release Date: Sept. 9, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: For Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/170136.Into_the_Wild

SUMMARY:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.


If you want a book where you can root for the underdog, RITES OF PASSAGE is perfect. Sam never wanted to go to the Military Academy despite the fact that her father works there and her brothers have all gone. Yet, on a dare, she becomes one of Denmark Military's first female cadets. The hazing and hell that Sam goes to throughout the novel is extreme and readers will truly feel for her. Hensley pulls from her own experiences to create a vibrant environment that feels real and causes readers to be emotionally invested.

There's also a great mystery involved that will keep readers on their toes and never know who to trust. Plus, the romance? Talk about slow-burn! It's just right without being a romancey book. That's not what it's about at all, and the focus is elsewhere. The elements involved are just right.

AND... I really want Hensley to write a sequel because I'm not done reading about Sam yet!

COVER FLASH:

I would have passed this one by on the shelf, mostly because it's not my genre. It explains what it is well, however, and I like the flash of pink in the title going against the grain of the rest of the cover!

TITLE: SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan
Received: For Review
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/170136.Into_the_Wild

SUMMARY:


Laureth Peak's father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers - a skill at which she's remarkably talented.

Her secret: she is blind.

But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness.

SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.

I was so excited to have a book to read by Marcus Sedgwick, who has won so many awards. I truly thought this was going to be one of my favorite books of 2014, one I could savor. Instead, I only liked it. I was expecting something beautiful about adapting around a disability to embrace life and learn new things. Instead, the book is more of a straight-forward adventure that asks readers to suspend a lot of belief. If I had known that going in, I would have read the book completely differently.

I really liked how brave Laureth was to go across the world to a foreign country in order to help her father. At the same time, she's very reckless, especially since she brings her young brother to be her "eyes." She puts both of them in a lot of danger. She has a lot of guts, and I respect that and admire her ability to do these things despite being blind. At the same time, she's a little too rash.

There were some really fun quirky elements I enjoyed as well, such as the fact that Laureth and her brother's pet raven are both named after chemicals. So random and cool! Her father's research on coincidences is also really interesting, though I always struggle to read epistolary passages in novels.


COVER FLASH:

I like the way you can't see her eyes. I also like the way the model is superimposed over the city and that streams of light are coming from her and blanketing the world below!

But at the same time, it's not my favorite cover ever; it's a little busy for me! But the elements that bring it together are intriguing.


TITLE: THE WALLED CITY
Author: Ryan Graudin
Release Date: Nov. 4, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown
Received: For Review (BEA Copy)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/170136.Into_the_Wild

SUMMARY:

730. That's how many days I've been trapped.

18. That's how many days I have left to find a way out.

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible....

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister....

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She's about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window.....

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.


It is amazing that this is based on real-life events in Kowloon Walled City, located in Hong Kong. I didn't initially know that, and when I read it, I thought the events must have taken place so much longer ago than they actually did. There' a lot of action and cause-and-effect fueling this book along. Readers will see things from the perspectives of a few different characters, who each bring a unique voice and view of all that is happening in the city, from the penniless to the "pampered." Everyone has their own goals and wishes that motivate them to get through the day, and characters find and interact with one another in intriguing ways that detail the way we randomly meet one another in life. "It's a small world after all," if you will.

I was lucky enough to meet the author this year at BEA and get a signed ARC, and have really looked forward to reading it.  Yet I wasn't in the greatest reading mood when I read this and the book moves slowly, so it was easy for me to pick up and put down, but reflecting now on all the themes and interactions, I can see why so many people have loved and embraced the novel this year and would like to try my hand at it again in the future.

COVER FLASH:

This cover has undergone a few revisions. I really like the final cover and how it manages to convey action and suspense through words. It sums up the city very well! I also like the way it swoops sideways and upwards, rather than in straight horizontal lines. It's eye-catching!

TITLE: A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU
Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: Nov. 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: For Review
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/170136.Into_the_Wild

SUMMARY:

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

I struggled with this one, but I knew I would going into it. Sci-fi isn't for me. A blogging friend who has very similar tastes encouraged me to read it because it was one of her 2014 favorites. I think part of the problem, for me, was that I read it too close to TANDEM and TETHER by Anna Jarzab, and both have similar concepts.

If you're looking for something with a lot of sci-fi, you'll like this, but it wasn't for me despite all the cool Russian elements! A lot of people really did love it, so I wanted to include it!

COVER FLASH:

So gorgeous! One of my favorite covers of 2014. So many visually pretty things, and I love the watercolor effect! It's a very artistic cover.


TITLE: I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN
Author: Jandy Nelson
Release Date: Nov. 4, 2014
Publisher: Dial/Penguin
Received: For Review (BEA Copy)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/170136.Into_the_Wild

SUMMARY:

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Contemporary fiction isn't always for me, but this one had been lauded as one of the years best. I've been wanting to read THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE for a while, so I was excited to snag this at BEA!

I really like where the title of this book came from, and I won't spoil that revelation for you. The novel explores themes of loss and of fitting in, of first love, of family, of a special bond between twins. There are so many beautiful themes-- and writing -- in this book. If you're a fan of contemporary novels with the ability to move you, look into this one!



COVER FLASH:

Very colorful! I like the way the cover is a sun, and both illustrated and meaningful! It catches my eye! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

80 AMAZING ebook deals!

It's almost the new year!

Last year after Christmas, there were new ebooks on sale almost every single day!

I've been checking the deals daily when I have time to see if anything new and interesting pops up.

Want help spending your gift cards and holiday money???
 
Because I'm willing to share a lot of the things I'm seeing! ^.~

Here are some of the deals so far. (I can't wait to see the New Year's Sale!)

**All of these titles were found on Nook. The deals may or may not be the same on Amazon/Kobo/iTunes/etc! Sorry about that! 
I don't have enough time to write the post AND cross-reference. But they should be the same or pretty close?
Also...double-check prices before hitting BUY because they may change!***



(Normally, I'd put banners with pictures alongside these. BUT my mouse is dead, which means it would take longer to manipulate things around in Photoshop...and then you wouldn't have the post until Tuesday or Wednesday. I figured you'd forgive me since you want to see the deals NOW while they're happening...right!?)

PRE-ORDER THESE BOOKS AND SAVE BIG!!!!

*THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER by Melinda Salisbury ($2.99!!!)
*VANISHING GIRLS by Lauren Oliver ($4.99!!) 

FREE

*ANGELBOUND by Christina Bauer
*THE COURTLIGHT SERIES BOXSET (Featuring Books 1-3) by Terah Edun (My review of Book I, SWORN TO RAISE)

99¢

*FALLING BY DESIGN by Valia Lind
*CARNIVAL OF SOULS by Melissa Marr

$1.99

*GRACELING by Kristin Cashore (One of my favorite high fantasy teen books EVER)
*KILL ME SOFTLY by Sarah Cross (My review! One of my favorite fairy tale novels!)
*PANIC by Lauren Oliver 
*THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis
*UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand (My Review! This is my favorite angel series!)
*SEA OF SHADOWS by Kelley Armstrong
*THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER by Megan Shepherd (My review! This wins my Best First Kiss Award!)
*SAY WHAT YOU WILL by Cammie McGovern
*CRIMSON FROST by Jennifer Estep
*THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani (My review! So good!)
*THE THICKETY by J.A. White (This one has a lot of librarian buzz supporting it!)
*THE PRINCESS SPY by Melanie Dickerson (Her newest book! Fairy tales!)
*THE CAPTIVE MAIDEN by Melanie Dickerson (Fairy tales)
*THE FAIREST BEAUTY by Melanie Dickerson (Fairy tales)
*THE MERCHANT'S DAUGHTER by Melanie Dickerson (Fairy tales)
*RED RISING by Pierce Brown (A sci-fi novel that has gotten a lot of attention!)
*THE QUEEN OF THE TEARLING by Erika Johansen (My review!)
*THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale (My favorite fairy tale of hers!)
*MY FAIR GODMOTHER by Janette Rallison
*THE FROG PRINCESS by E.D. Baker
*LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter (My Review! My favorite mermaid novel!)
*STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle Jensen (A 2014 debut with a lot of buzz)
*SHADOWS by Ilsa J. Bick
THE PIPER'S SON by Melina Marchetta

$2.99

*THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
*OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord (My review! A 2014 Favorite!)
*DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth
*OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon
*THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien (Actually $2.79; final movie in theaters now!)
*STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson
*DEFY by Sara B. Larson (I get to review this on tour next week!)
*SWITCHED by Amanda Hocking (My review of the Trylle Trilogy)
*TORN by Amanda Hocking (My review of the Trylle Trilogy)
*ASCEND by Amanda Hocking (My review of the Trylle Trilogy)
*IF I TELL by Janet Gurtler
*A DANCE OF CLOAKS by David Dalglish
*BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS by Shanon Hale
*AMONG OTHERS by Jo Walton (Critical Acclaim)
*THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET by Kady Cross
*PUSHING THE LIMITS by Katie McGarry (My Review)
*WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE by Trish Doller
*ALTERED by Jennifer Rush
*THE VICIOUS DEEP by Zoraida Córdova (My review!)
*WATER WARS by Cameron Stracher

$3.99

*ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth
*BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty (All of my co-workers love this book...and this author!)
*THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

$4.99

*ROOMS by Lauren Oliver
*GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn (My review!)
*THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner
*CINDER by Marissa Meyer (My review!)
*TALON by Julie Kagawa
*HOW I LOST YOU by Janet Gurtler (My review!)
*YOU by Charles Benoit
*NIGHTSPELL by Leah Cypess

$5.99

*THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT by Amy Tan
*THE LONGEST RIDE by Nicholoas Sparks (Actually $5.39. Movie Trailer out now!)
*CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas (I was waiting to review this series with Kat!)

$6.99

*ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell (My Review)
*LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green
*PAPER TOWNS by John Green
*AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green
*THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass (My mini review!)
*THE ELITE by Kiera Cass
*MATCHED by Ally Condie (My Review)
*INSURGENT by Veronica Roth (My mini spoiler-free review)
*WILD by Cheryl Strayed (Actually $6.15; in theaters now!)
*DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn
*MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins
*THE KILL ORDER by James Dashner
*THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher
*CRESS by Marissa Meyer (My Review!)
*PRODIGY by Marie Lu

$16.99

*THE COMPLETE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS SERIES by Rae Carson
(I know this one is more expensive BUT it is ALL THREE novels and ALL THREE novellas. You are saving a LOT of money buying this set AND the series is FABULOUS if you love high fantasy. Here are my reviews of Book I, THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, Book II, THE CROWN OF EMBERS, Book III, THE BITTER KINGDOM, Novella I, THE SHADOWS CATS, and Novella II, THE SHATTERED MOUNTAIN if you need help buying this one!)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Psst! Wanna see my shiny new holiday book loot???

Happy Holidays, Bookworms!

No matter what you do (or don't) celebrate, I hope you've had a good month!

As for me, I grew up celebrating Christmas. Here's all the book loot I received this year!


You may recognize some of these titles from last week's Top Ten Tuesday, when I talked about why I wanted them!

(I also received 3 gift cards and some $$$ for books...none of which is pictured above!)

My mom gave me...

*LITTLE BIG PLANET STRATEGY GUIDE (For my new video game!)
*CHOOSE YOUR OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHY by Neil Patrick Harris 
(And it is AUTOGRAPHED!!!!!)

My dad gave me...
(...every book I asked him for! ♥♥♥)

*OF BEAST AND BEAUTY by Stacey Jay (My review!)
*GATHERING DARKNESS by Morgan Rhodes
*STITCHING SNOW by R.C. Lewis
*TROUBLED WATERS by Sharon Shinn
*ROYAL AIRS by Sharon Shinn

 On the breakroom table at work during the holidays, I found a copy of...

*I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman (Thank you for my "gift," Penguin!)

And these are three books I bought myself BUT two arrived on Christmas Eve during our Christmas Party and the third arrived earlier in the week even though it wasn't supposed to be released for another week. 
SO THEY COUNT. Right? Presents to myself!

*THE CRANE WIFE by Patrick Ness (A week early, whoot!)
*BITTER GREENS by Kate Forsyth
*THE WILD GIRL by Kate Forsyth
(Kate's books arrived during our family Christmas party...at first we thought it was my sister's boyfriend at the door! I'm so glad that Book Depository is importing her books from Australia now. Especially since I love these covers the most. 
Now they just need to sell her novel DANCING ON KNIVES and I'll be all set!)

Did you get everything you wanted this holiday season?
What were your favorite presents?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Book Days from A Backwards Story!


Happy Holidays, bookworms! 

Whatever you celebrate, have a safe and happy new year, and enjoy a lot of food!

Book Wreath, from Top to Bottom:


MATCHED by Ally Condie
FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell
GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale
DEAREST by Alethea Kontis
THE MERMAID CHAIR by Sue Monk Kidd
WATCH FOR ME BY MOONLIGHT by JacquelynMitchard
SEVER by Lauren DeStefano
FINS ARE FOREVER by Tera Lynn Childs
TEAR YOU APART by Sarah Cross
MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND by Matthew Dicks
FIREBIRD by Mercedes Lackey
INFINITE by Jodi Meadwos
THE HERO'S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE by Christopher Healy
HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas
THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan
MASTIFF by Tamora Pierce

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Books/Items I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Year!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!
This week's topic:
Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing This Year

I am doing a Top FIVE.

I actually asked for five books for Christmas this year...
...and these are the titles I'm hoping to receive!

I'll round out the list with some non-bookish items that I really, really want and have asked for.  (Books first, of course!)

How's that for a compromise?
  
^_^

In No Particular Order...


1) TROUBLED WATERS by Sharon Shinn


I've been eyeballing ROYAL AIRS since it was out in hardcover, but I never got around to picking it up. Recently, I discovered that the book is now in paperback. I was going to buy it, and then I saw that it was the second book in a series. So I should probably pick up the first title in the series, TROUBLED WATERS, too, right?

 

2) ROYAL AIRS by Sharon Shinn


I've been eyeballing ROYAL AIRS since it was in hardcover. Such a pretty cover! I love her outfit, and the fact that this is an Elemental Blessings novel? Well, I love books about the elements! WANT!!!



3) GATHERING DARKNESS by Morgan Rhodes


Confession: I still haven't read book two in this series...but I own it! I was waiting for all three books to read them together since FALLING KINGDOMS had such a huge cast of characters to remember.
....Now I find out that there are going to be five or six books. AND a spin-off trilogy. I'd better catch up now!!!

 

4) STITCHING SNOW by R.C. Lewis

This is one of my favorite book covers of 2104. It's so, so pretty in person! I received an ARC of this one at BEA earlier this year, and while it was the first BEA book that Kat read, I never got around to it until this past week. It's been sitting on my TBR pile staring at me. I've been trying to get around to more of my 2014 "Potential Best of the Year" books this month, and knew how much Kat loved this. I wound up really liking it as well...so much that when my dad asked me what books I wanted for Christmas, I asked for a finished copy! I was afraid to read this because I heard it was a CINDER knock-off, but that's not the case AT ALL and I really loved it!




5) OF BEAST AND BEAUTY by Stacey Jay



I read an ARC of this novel back in the day, and I never bought a copy. I was waiting to see if tehre would be a bait-and-switch cover re-design when THE PRINCESS OF THORNS came out, because I like my books to look uniform. 
...Not that the books look like one another ANYWAY. At this point, I don't care. I just want the book!!!

My review: OF BEAST AND BEAUTY
My interview with Stacey Jay!

 

6) INTO THE WOODS Deluxe Edition Soundtrack



My all-time favorite musical ever and ever and ever is...Into the Woods.

I'm really excited (and also really nervous) about the upcoming movie. 

When I buy musical soundtracks, if a 2-disc edition or special edition exists, I ALWAYS think it's worth the extra money. So I only want the deluxe edition of the movie soundtrack!

7) PETER PAN LIVE!


Okay, Peter Pan Live! had issues. I know this. I admit this. Christopher Walken was the biggest issue. But that's neither here nor there. The sets were fabulous. The choreography was fantastic. And getting a bunch of the Newsies to play Lost Boys? Brilliant! I own DVDs/Blu Rays of the majority of musicals that I can get my hands on, so I want to add this to my collection!

8) THE LEGEND OF KORRA: Season 3: Change


I tend to watch each season of this series once it's available to buy. Nick just never puts it on at a decent time, I miss any re-airs, and it takes forever to come on-demand. And now it's online-only, and I tend to not watch TV from my computer. But the third season is now out, so the blu-ray is a gift I bought myself this past week when I saw a steal of a deal! ($15!)

9) LITTLEBIGPLANET 3


I've been playing LittleBigPlanet since I first got my PS3, since LittleBigPlanet 1 came with my console. I was sad when I heard LBP3 was coming out, since I have no intention of buying a PS4 anytime soon, and then I heard it was on sale for PS3 as well. 

Sackboy, let's get reacquainted!


10) RASCHEL THROW

Raschel Throws are some of my favorite blankets in the entire world. I call them my "fluffies." They're so soft and cuddly and warm and comfortable! AND they're only $7.98 or something like that at Walmart (Don't be fooled by the ebay people trying to sell them to you for $20-30!) I stumbled upon them a couple of years ago by accident and took one home. Now I have two of them (One with horses and one with a fox). Last year, I got one for my mom. This year, I got one for my dad and my sister-in-law. I also picked out one I'd like, and my mom is giving it to me. It's a beautiful snow leopard 
[Both pictures are from ebay!]. 

I just love his expression:


I also like the way he's peering through the ice. The photography is stunning!

I think the raschel throws make amazing gifts, and they're also beautiful. It's great to cuddle up with when you just want a little something extra because it's nippy in the house!


What are you asking Santa for this holiday season? ^_^

Monday, December 22, 2014

{Review} STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel



B O O K   T R A I L E R:




O P E N I N G   L I N E:

    {1. THE THEATER}

    THE KING STOOD in a pool of blue light, unmoored. This was act 4 of King Lear, a winter night at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. Earlier in the evening, three little girls had played a clapping game onstage as the audience entered, childhood versions of Lear's daughters, and now they'd returned as hallucinations in the mad scene. The king stumbled and reached for them as they flitted here and there in the shadows. His name was Arthur Leander. He was fifty-one years old and there were flowers in his hair.

(pg. 1, US hardcover edition)

There is so much to say about STATION ELEVEN, and so little that can be shared without revealing spoilers. STATION ELEVEN is a book that unfurls slowly, one that introduces you to a multitude of characters and slips all of the puzzle pieces together later. It's interesting that Erin Morgenstern blurbed the novel because in her own debut, THE NIGHT CIRCUS, she also has a way of unfurling the story to move it along. Slowly, softly, but with great impact.

As the novel opens, we are introduced to an actor named Arthur Leander. Within a couple of pages, Arthur will die onstage from a heart attack at the end of King Lear. The little girl watching him from the wings, Kirsten Raymonde, will survive the oncoming plague and grow up working with a traveling theater troupe called the Traveling Symphony. A man in the audience, Jeevan Chaudhary, will attempt to resuscitate the fallen actor, and readers will later learn of his connections to Arthur. Arthur's best friend, Clark Thompson, is asked to inform Arthur's ex-wives and his small son of his passing because he has no one close in his life. All of these people are introduced briefly; their lives will become more important later as the novel progresses and we see some of their POVs. Through many of these various characters, we see the world fall, people succumb to illness and die, people carving out a new existence. Despite his brief introduction, Arthur Leander connects so much of this novel in ways that most characters will never know or understanding. Reading the individual fragments as the author weaves the past and present together make the reader privy to all this knowledge and more.

Right after Arthur Leander dies, 99% of the world dies. The Georgia Flu is brought to the US from a Russian flight of passengers. Within 48 hours of being exposed to the Flu, the exposed will contract it and die. Only a lucky 1% of the population will survive this international disaster. The majority of STATION ELEVEN either takes place twenty years after the collapse of civilization, or in the period leading up to the collapse. The focus isn't on anarchy and survival, as in novels such as THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy. It is about surviving and building a new world, of living and recovering. A quote from Star Trek is emblazoned on the Traveling Symphony's caravan: "Survival is insufficient." This quote encompasses so much of the way humanity is now.

STATION ELEVEN could be called speculative fiction, or post-apocalyptic fiction. It details the end of civilization in a straight-forward, unflinching manner. The novel can, at time, weigh readers down. The end is depressing, and when characters don't make it, or their loved ones don't, it's tragic. Mandel also has a fantastic way of ending chapters that leave readers with a delicious sense of foreboding. After finishing STATION ELEVEN, I wanted to immediately read something light and happy because I couldn't handle anymore darkness. At the same time, STATION ELEVEN is also built on hope. Humanity will survive. It will be altered, but the goodness in people will allow for us to recover and come together in new ways. This sense of hope gets readers to the end. All is not forsaken.

I loved the language and prose of STATION ELEVEN, and want to read more novels from Mandel moving forward. The way she thought about things that would no longer function, or the way small moments can have rippling repercussions far down the road are exemplary. At the same time, this might not have been the best time of year to read it. With all the media coverage of the upcoming flu season, which is supposed to be "especially bad," and with people freaking out about ebola, it's easy to become very paranoid. I'm still half in the world of STATION ELEVEN, which I only finished reading this past weekend. While, on the surface, I know that none of this equates to the Georgia Flu, the possibilities are in the air. Part of the horror in STATION ELEVEN is the truth that something like this could one day happen. I like to think that if it does, humanity will bounce back and come together over time. STATION ELEVEN gives me that hope for the potential future.
~*~
C O N T E N T R A T I N G S

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: -- ( There is the memory of romance, but there is no romance )
Language: --
Violence: PG15 ( there are a few deaths throughout the novel, but they aren't graphically detailed )
Other:  ( rape mentioned in passing; sex mentioned in passing; end of the world scenarios )
~*~
C O V E R   D E S I G N:


The cover was the first thing to catch my attention about STATION ELEVEN. 

It had a blurb from Erin Morgenstern, author of THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

Looking at the image... Were those circus tents?? (No. But the tents belonged to a traveling Shakespeare troupe and, oh, that sounds pretty neat!) 
 This cover did exactly what it needed to. I had never heard of it before. But I picked it up to learn more based on the blurb and the tents. It was only in the following weeks that I started hearing the buzz about it, as though the world was discovering the book alongside me (Though I'm pretty sure that wasn't the case and I was actually the last to know!)
~*~
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  STATION ELEVEN
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Release Date: Sept. 9, 2014
Publisher: Knopf // Random House
Received: Borrowed
SUMMARY:

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek:  "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, STATION ELEVEN tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.