Mundie Moms

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Book Review / Giveaway: The Farm by Emily McKay

Published by: Penguin
Released on: December 4th, 2012
Series: The Farm #1
Source: book from author to review
4 Stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race... -quoted from Goodreads

Romance, danger, vampires and a whole lot more! This book was packed full of surprises, twists, and one seriously awesome butt kicking heroine who will do whatever it takes to protect to her twin sister. This book was not at all what I was excepting it to be, it was so much better. When I sat down to read this book I wasn't sure what I should except, and I can tell you I wasn't excepting to be hooked from the get go, to read it in one sitting, and to fall in love with some of the characters. Emily McKay's The Farm is an awesome read and one I really enjoyed it. 

One of the things I liked about this book is you don't have to be a fan of vampires to enjoy it. Sure vampires are in this story, but the main characters aren't vampires. Set in a world that's best described as a cross between a paranormal nightmare and a well crafted dystopian one, everything has been devastated by vampires and ticks, zombie like vampires. People are wiped out in some areas. Families are driven apart, homes and cities are destroyed, and parts of the US are in ruins. Teens are all that seem to be left, and they are sent to farms. Nope, I'm not talking farms that grow fruits and veggies on either. At the heart of this dark, troubled and dangerous world is where we meet Lily and her twin sister Mel. Forced to live on the farm, a place where survival of the fittest is key, Lily does everything in her power to keep her sister and her safe. She's even devised a plan for them to escape, and all seems like a go until Connor, Lily's crush from the Before arrives, and he's looking for her. 

I adore Connor! I love the relationship that he and Lily have. It's complex, and it's realistic given the history between them and all that's going on around them. There's a few things I'm leaving out to avoid spoilers, but their relationship and the relationship he has with Lily's sister Mel is fabulous! Mel is different, and I loved that while Lily is so busy trying to keep her safe, Connor bursts onto the scene and immediately gets through to her. Mel is a character I fell in love with right of the bat. Through she doesn't communicate how we do, she's a character her sees a lot that goes on around her, and understands way more than Lily thinks she does. I love how protective Lily is of her sister. Lily herself is a tough cookie. Part of me felt bad she had to be that way and another part of me admire her for it, because she is the protector. She's fearless, and isn't afraid to kick some butt. Connor, well he's a strong hottie with a secret agenda. I love that Connor and Lily both throw each other off their games a little it. It's fabulous! 

Being that the story is told from all three of their points of views makes this story that much more addicting! It wasn't confusing, nor did it ever hinder the flow of the storyline. It added depth to the characters and I liked getting to see them from three different points of views. The paranormal elements in this story are frightening, creepy, exciting and intriguing. I like there's this mix of humans, "special abilities" and vampires. The world building is fabulous. It's meant to be a little dark, laced with danger, and has this unknown feel to it. It's unknown what lies to the north, and what's going to happen to them now that they're on the run after their escape from the farm and yet there's this hope that Lily, Connor and Mel find and cling to. 

This is a story of survival at it's finest. It's driven by will, made possible by sacrifice, and touched with love and the will to endure. There's plenty of danger, fabulous character chemistry and some great action packed twists that kept me hooked with this book. Oh that ending! Just as I thought I had the very end of the book predicted, Emily throws in a twist that might have left me a little teary eyed. I need the sequel like now. This is a great read and one I'd recommend reading. There is a tiny bit of gore, and some very mild language through out the book.


The Giveaway: Thank you to Emily, I have a sweet giveaway today! I have a limited pack and SIGNED copy of The Farm to giveaway! My computer is currently being a bit wonky, and I'm not able to post a picture of the items, but I will have the pic up as soon as I can. 

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#BIR2012 Day 2: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi / Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Best I've Read is back! I'm excited to be taking part in this for the third straight year. Through out the entire week I'll be spotlighting some of my favorite reads along with hosting some giveaways. I'm not the only one featuring my favorites, myself along with Page TurnersOnce Upon a TwilightReading LarkBooks Complete MePortrait of a BookAmethyst DaydreamsA Reader's RamblingsCindy Thomas, YA AuthorI Am A Read, Not a Writer, are all also taking part in this year's week long feature. 

In addition each of our posts, don't miss all of our top favorites which will be featured on Best I've Read's blog along with giveaways! Collectively as a group we came up with our shared favorites which are being featured on the BIR blog each day. So you have numerous chances this week to win some fabulous goodies. You can check out each blog's individual schedule's here. Next week you'll have more chances to win goodies with our annual Mundie Moms Best of series. 

Don't miss today's BIR2102 blog favorites: Insurgent by Veronica Roth & Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.

Today's Feature Favorites are: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi & Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Published by: Harper Teen
Released on: January 3rd, 2012
Purchase from: Harper Teen | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Browse inside the book via Harper Teen

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction. 

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions. 

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY -quoted from Goodreads

You know you've read a brilliant book when you get to the end of it and keep flipping between the blank pages and the end and the last page of the story hoping you've missed something or you have that wishful thinking that maybe the publisher forgot to add more of the story in. That's what it was like for me when I finished reading Under The Never Sky. I needed more of this story! Veronica's stunning debut is one of those books that Sophie & I still talk about it. Veronica's characters, her writing, storytelling and world have left an impact on us, and of course being the type of readers were are, we're addicted and want more. If you haven't yet picked up this book, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT! It's that good! You can read my full review here.

Thank you to Harper Teen, we have a copy to giveaway via the Best I've Read 2012 Harper Teen prize pack. Be sure to enter to win here:

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Published by: Random House
Released on: September 11th, 2012 TODAY
Purchase from: Random House | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him? quoted from Goodreads

This is my favorite Sarah book to date! She's an author I have come to love, because her books are always full of hot kissy scenes, angst, great characters and she of course isn't afraid to let her characters endure moments of pain or broken heartedness. I love that Sarah lets her characters be real. UNSPOKEN is simply a beautifully written book. It's complex, heartbreaking, hopefully, and introduces readers to unforgettable characters. If you've not read about Kami and Jared yet, you need to hurry up and read about them! I LOVE this cover! Not that has anything to do with my love of the book.... 

You can read my full review here and read my interview with Sarah here. I also had the chance to sit down & visit with Sarah when she was at the Austin Teen Book Festival this past September. Here's a brief re-cap of what we discussed....

Me: What do you admire about Kami?
SRB: Kami believes in love, and she's very focused on truth and justice. She will protect those she loves. 

Me: What can you tell us about book 2?
SRB: Truth and lies play a huge part in book 2. There is so much making out. 
Me: YES! I mean, I'm looking forward to Jared getting kissed.
SRB: Jared does get kissed. (insert, incase you can't tell SRB is being very coy, and I'm assuming he gets kissed a lot). ;)

Me: What are you working on now?
SRB: I'm in the middle of book 3 in the series, but I have a short story called AFTER that's in Defy The Dark, and features authors Carrie Ryan, Beth Revis, and 13 others (this will be out June '13 from Harper Teen), and a short story called Monsters Reflection, about a boy who's father is a harper. Cassie also has a short story in it as well. 

Me: You know I have to ask you about your thoughts on Cassie's characters. What are your thoughts on Sebastian. I'm thinking if he and Nick had to face off, it would be a close match.
SRB: I will step into the role and burn down the world. I would also ship Magnus & Sebastian.

I wish I had an audio recording of this interview, because it was hilarious! Sarah is, as always, a treat to sit down and talk with. Sarcasm, and laughter is always had. Thank you Sarah!