Posts tagged Jessica Khoury
A Day in the Life (2)

Hey y'all!It's Grace, and I've had a crazy busy week. I was really excited because this week I could actually blog a bit more (even if it was only an In My Mailbox and a Top Ten Tuesday) because my schedule is starting to get regulated. I'm starting to get a feel for when I'll have time to blog and when I should schedule a post, etc,. I haven't been able to read as much as usual but I still have some EXCELLENT books to gush about on the blog for now! I’d love to hear feedback in the comments below, or you can tweet me about it!The Books:

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter - The book that I just finished was incredible. Alice in Zombieland was spunky, sinister, and electrifying. I highly recommend it if you love zombie books! It's a fresh concept in a great voice! My only issue with it was that there wasn't as much Alice in Wonderland as I thought there would be. The only reference that I saw to Alice in Wonderland was the white rabbit. But it was still an excellent book and I'm really happy about it. I love the clever tagline too. "Off with their heads"? So clever.

Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull - This book drew me in by its amazing cover at BEA and I'm so excited to read it! I've heard that it's really great and it gives off a really Wildwood vibe. It's also about sisters and seems like such a fantastic read. With a cozy feel, a plot revolving around sisters, it seems like the perfect book to curl up with and go on an adventure with! It seems like the perfect book to usher in the fall! I'm going to read it as soon as possible!

The Life:

With Homecoming around the corner and people itching to meet everybody, it's been chaotic and stressful. I've been working pretty hard not academically (although that's challenging too!) but socially. I'm loving everybody and really can't wait to experience everything! I'm also itching for fall (hot cocoa and vivid leaves), Halloween (Disney Channel movies and trick-or-treating, anybody?), and Homecoming! With cute proposals occurring at almost every lunch, girls freaking out over before-parties, and dress mania, it's Homecoming fever! I'm doing pretty well, I think. I've been getting really stressed and anxious over everything recently and it's stressing me out stressing out over the little things. I try to get myself to stop, but I can't! I've been overthinking everything and I'm starting to miss the full immersion in the book blogging world. I miss being able to Tweet with everybody all the time and I hate being away from it so much. On the bright side, my high school wants to put me and my blog on the Talents page of our yearbook! My life is pretty good right now but it's been really stressful. To keep up with my personal life, you can also read rants, musings, and recaps on my personal blog. The password is the last name of my favorite author (found on my About Me page above)!

The Posts:

I'm really proud of my review of Origin by Jessica Khoury that I posted last week. Lush, evocative settings and pulse-pounding action (and romance) make this a must read!

I received a signed copy of Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr in my mailbox last week from HarperTeen.

I wrote a blog post on the Top Ten Bookish People I'd Like to Meet, including people like John Green, J.K. Rowling, Sarah LaPolla, and more.

The News:

My high school's yearbook may put me and my blog on the Talents page of the yearbook! I'm so excited! A lot of people have been asking me about my blog and I'm going to put a little stack of business cards at the front desk at my high school's library so I'm really excited!

I've got some really interesting and exciting emails recently from people that I'm ecstatic to be working with! Sometimes when I'm having a bad day, I love just getting emails and comments that remind  me of why I blog in the first place.

I may be contributing to a fantastic blog run by one of my good friends, Vy! She asked me for tips on blogging during the school year and (although I suck at it), I'm going to share some tips with her readers on her blog! Check her blog out here.

Other:

If y'all could just take a second to pray for Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, who was recently attacked by a disgruntled writer, it would be much appreciated. A literary agent and a WONDERFUL blogger and person, according to the Huffington Post, she was hurt by an author who had been emailing her messages after her rejection of his query. Luckily, she's in good condition now, but it's scary and horrifying to think that somebody could do this. Please just keep her in your prayers!

Thank y'all so much for your patience while I get my blog posts regular again! I really appreciate it and hope y'all are having a fantastic week!Love y'all!Grace

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Release Date: September 4, 2012

Publisher: Razorbill

Format: ARC

Source: BookExpo America

Origin

"ORIGIN is a startling mystery played out in the vivid and lush Amazon jungle. In this deadly clash of science and nature, a heroine emerges. Pia clawed her way through the pages and left her mark on the landscape of my imagination as the almost tangible danger left me breathless."--Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of Tiger's Curse"I loved Origin's action, romance, and mystery--and I couldn't stop thinking about the questions it raised." --Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of Across the UniverseAn electrifying action-romance that's as thoughtful as it is tragicPia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.

Review:

The emotions and evocative descriptions of this book make it a true standout. It is beautifully written with a riveting plot, a book that I literally could not tear my eyes away from for even a minute. I literally fell asleep with the light on at three A.M. in the middle of reading it because I didn't want to put it down to sleep.

Pia was a very interesting character. She's been told that she is "perfect" for her entire life. A part of her is lonely and confused. Another part of her is haughty and believes that she's perfect. It was interesting to see how these sides of her interacted and how her curiosity about the outside world impacted her as a character. Pia was one of those characters that I honestly feel could have been real. Her emotions and thought processes were very realistic and left me wishing that less would happen to her. She just went through so much and although she developed throughout all of this, I found myself wishing that she didn't have to go through so much. Not only is she confused about where she came from and what she would do when everybody from Little Cam died, but she has to make really hard decisions. She has to choose between actually living her life and finding out the secret to immortality.

The main concept of the book involved a girl (Pia) who is immortal. After generations, scientists hidden deep in the jungle have created an immortal girl. Pia has been in the compound for her entire life - she doesn't know the outside world. Needles can't pierce her skin, she doesn't get sick, and her family of scientists will die out among her while she stays ageless.

The description was the number one thing for me though. I could really read a book that is entirely description if it were written by Jessica Khoury. I don't even care that much about the plot or the characters or any of that because the description was so gorgeous and stunning and vibrant.

There is a reason that this is a breathless read because it did leave me breathless. The action was perfectly plotted and paced and left me unwilling to put the book down. I wished I would read faster (although I read plenty fast) because I just wanted to know what happened!

The romance in this book was really realistic although I wouldn't quite call it "love". Pia and Eio didn't really know each other but they were attracted to each other and had a connection. It was both a mixture of heart-pounding romantic tension and getting to know each other like best friends. Although they only knew each other for (a week?), I would say that I felt satisfied with it. I wouldn't really classify it as insta-love but they were really attracted to each other and helped each other through a lot.

Intriguing questions dealing with morals were dealt with throughout the book. It was very thoughtful, which is hard to do considering the amount of action, mystery, romance, and tension constantly pulsing through the pages. There are a lot of books that deal with the theme of how far you would go to get something you want and Jessica Khoury brought a fresh perspective to this. Pia was almost treated like a tool. They didn't see her as a person; they saw her as a genetically engineered goddess and I found that utterly fascinating.

Origin was one of those books that just completely floored me. It had so many intertwining elements of romance, mystery, fear, and emotion that all blended together perfectly and made for a truly satisfying and thought-provoking read. It was strange and incredible and such a surreal experience. I was immersed in this book from page one to the end and even then, my mind was still in the story. I thought of this book for ages after I finished and it kept me up long after I should have been sleeping. Wow.

Extended Review:

Throughout the book, Pia almost reminded me of the vampires from the Twilight series. The hard, unbreakable skin, strange properties, speed, and enhanced senses gave me that vibe. The immortality storyline was extremely well done and Jessica Khoury made it both easy to understand and complex enough to be different.

I was just transported to an entirely different world with this book. It was so enthralling and compelling and just completely sucked me in. It's one of those books with a completely unique feel - one that I doubt anybody will be able to capture again. The description, the plot, the supporting characters, character development...I honestly don't think that I can come up with a flaw for this one.

This is one of those books that I just put down and bawled. I hate it when books end and this was a vivid story that I didn't want to lose. It had such an ENDING - one that really tugged at my heart strings. Oh my goodness. Wow. Really, it was THAT good.

Pia's character develops constantly throughout the book. She feels like nobody truly sees her and none of the other scientists will ever understand what it's like to be her but she's also used to getting almost everything that she wants. She gives up privacy and freedom involuntarily, but she's also used to being practically worshipped. She clings to any knowledge that she has about the outside world and is completely thirsty for knowledge about the world. She's cooped up all the time and kept in the dark about her origin. She wants to know where she came from and why she exists but while she does know a ton, she's also kept in the dark about everything that really means anything to her.

There was an entire culture to this book. There was a culture for Little Cam, a culture for the tribe outside, so many varying people and ideas and morals. It made it such a truly engaging and complex read. There were many philosophical ideas behind Origin but it did not preach at ALL. I could read at a deeper level but there was also swoonworthy romance, a dark mystery, action, and plenty of other elements that really appealed to me. This book just...wow.

There were so many characters that contributed to this book. Uncle Anthony, Eio, the doctors, the tribe. Oh my gosh - I was captivated. There were so many blurs between black and white. Was somebody with a good heart and confused morals still a good person? Did somebody who knew the consequences of his actions but still went through with something still deserve Pia's sympathy? Were some secrets better left unknown?

There was this balance between Pia's curiosity and her desire to be a scientist. She was put through a series of tests to determine her worth as a scientist. She longed to have somebody else like her in the world and sometimes felt completely alone in the world. She was born and raised in Little Cam so when she had the opportunity to slip out, of course she took it. Her emotions and tangled thoughts were such a joy to experience. Perhaps joy isn't the right word for it because she also experienced grief, anger, confusion, and a range of other emotions. Coming to terms with who she was and what her history was just left me grieving for her and what she had to go through.

This is one of those books that keeps me up at night and makes me want to go out and experience the world. It provoked the most intense wanderlust. It deals with a part of the world that isn't mentioned in that many books and her incredible description - from describing the little things like the sounds and rain and individual species scattered throughout the book - just left me longing to visit the inside of this book. Jessica Khoury does such an excellent job of coaxing out the little things that really bring a setting to life and make it memorable. Pretty much any story that she could have placed here would have been a ht for me. Especially when the tribe comes into play...I was riveted.

All these words that I keep using - "captivated", "enthralled", "riveted" - do no justice to the book. I'm struggling to find the right words to describe my absolute DEVOTION to this book and to the setting and the tension and everything that just tore me apart in this book.

The immortality aspect was done so well and so cleverly. There's a secret behind Pia's immortality that she's been dying to find out so that she could begin to create more immortals. What Pia doesn't realize is that there's another more sinister reason for the secret of immortality. Things that the scientists have done that would shock her and make her wonder whether immortality was truly worth it. The plot twists involving this aspect of the book were so wonderfully created. The ending was intense and fast and just paced perfectly. There were just enough betrayals and tears to break my heart and the tension and passion between Pia and Eio were what I've been dreaming of reading. Think the romance in The Vampire Diaries (TV show) but amped up and placed in a disturbing and beautiful setting.

Little Cam was extremely unsettling. The scientists' ideas of right and wrong were sometimes taken to extreme and morals were ignored. Ethics were questioned many times throughout this book and some people just left me horrified. There were some characters that I was honestly TERRIFIED of and just left me sympathizing with Pia once again. She was both hardened and extremely vulnerable. She wanted to see the world and her immortality wasn't even that much of a gift. Her mom was a nightmare and her "family" of scientists didn't even see her. They were more absorbed with their various projects and didn't realize how scared that she was of her future.

As for the ending, let me just say that Jessica Khoury is not afraid to take risks. Her scientists become more and more confused in Pia's mind towards the end and several are sinister. The pure passion and intensity left me feeling like I was a character. This was where her writing really made it an experience. She isn't afraid to kill off characters or essentially torture Pia and I absolutely loved it. I want a book that will destroy me like this one did.

Making this a stand-alone was such a great decision. While series are wonderful and it means that I don't have to come out of the world for at least a little while longer, Origin had the world in it. It contained the emotions and confusion and morals of a teenage girl, the chilling ideas of a scientist, a tangled mystery, and romance that left me wishing for my own Eio. The description and every single part of this book just left me flipping pages until I finished. I refused to put it down and separate myself from this book, no, EXPERIENCE that left me so shaken and filled. It was such an intense and gorgeous book and dealt with so much. I can't recommend this book enough.

Recommended to anybody who loves: The Vampire Diaries (TV show); Eve and Adam; blurred morals; The GiverAirheadHarbinger; Shiver series; etc,.

Book club questions to come later.

A Day in the Life (1)

Hey y'all! I've been debating doing this post for a while and today I decided to go for it. One of the problems with going to school is that I usually end up scheduling most of my posts and not being able to promote them as much as I want, or tweet about bookish news and other things that I find interesting. I've been missing that. I was actually inspired to do this by Reut's Weekly Watchamacallit where she gives a general update about her books and her life. I'd love to hear feedback in the comments below, or you can tweet me about it!The Books:I'm currently in the middle of Rift by Andrea Cremer. I've read about a hundred pages of it so far and I'm really enjoying it. I also have an "Independent Reading Day" in my Semantics & Logic class tomorrow so I get to read for an hour during school!

I just finished Origin by Jessica Khoury. The beautiful writing, strange and bewildering setting (which I loved!), and a plot that had me biting my nails and fighting back tears, I was spellbound by this. A review will be coming soon and it will be extremely positive!

Origin

The Life:I started high school last week and I've been really bogged down with social engagements, projects, and of course, homework. I've been meeting a lot of new people that I adore (and a ton that I really want to be friends with!), I started dance class last week, and life is overall pretty good. The Republican National Convention is taking place in Tampa (please, no political comments! I'm sorry, but this is a book blog and I'm fourteen so I really don't enjoy them nor do I think that they're necessary) so it's a little difficult what with traffic and whatnot, but this week has been pretty great! My friend Mary Olive actually sang at the convention because she's an incredible singer! I just got back from pas de deux class at my dance studio and am about to finish up my homework! In other news, I also just really want The Vampire Diaries to come back on TV.The Posts:I recently posted a school paper that I wrote on the blog on the prompt of whether or not I think that Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie could become a classic. While I enjoyed the book, I don't think that it would last (especially with books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower out there!) and wrote a paper stating my reasons why it would not become one. This is not a negative review by any means (I may review it later in a mini-reviews post) but a school paper. Please keep that in mind if you read it.I wrote a mini-reviews post including Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry, The White Glove War by Katie Crouch, and Speechless by Hannah Harrington!Last week was Alexandra Adornetto week on my blog! This included my review of Heaven and a giveaway! It was also supposed to include an interview with the lovely Alexandra Adornetto but unfortunately she was not able to respond in time. As soon as she does, I'll post it. She's such an inspiration and I'm so happy that I got to honor her! As a reminder, my giveaway of the entire Halo series ends at 11:59 tomorrow night. It's really easy to enter and I don't have that many entries!The News:I have had several extremely exciting blog developments that I'm so excited to talk to y'all about!First of all, I received an email from Jen Calonita who is going to be participating with a guest post about her closest experience to cotillion life relating to her Belles series.I hit 2000 subscribers (thank you guys! I love you all - I'm so blessed to be supported while I follow my passion!) and have been getting a lot more coverage recently. A ton of people at my new school have been asking me about it and I am so excited!I may be going down to Miami in October for a week for a book blogging event at Books & Books! My aunt works there and she just got married. Her reception was at Books & Books and her cake was in the shape of a book! Anyways, while my mom was down there for the wedding, she was talking to the owner and (he or she, I can't remember) told her about it! I'm so excited, especially since a ton of incredible bloggers live near there!My request for Touching the Surface by the FANTASTIC, FABULOUS, absolutely PHENOMENAL author and person Kimberly Sabatini was approved! I should be getting it in the mail any day now!I have several other things that I'm not sure whether I can tell you about yet but I'll hint. One involves the author of a book releasing this fall from Scholastic and a really unique opportunity. The other involves a really well-known author of a really intense and beautifully written series that I would never have expected to be doing this secret something. And it also involves me doing this secret something with her. I'll announce it as soon as I get more details and it is absolutely positively finalized. But one last hint: it's the second book in the series that is releasing this fall. I'm sorry I can't tell you more but I am so excited! This is probably going to be the highlight of my fall!Other:In the book blogging world, there have been some fantastic posts and opportunities. The two that I'm going to spotlight today are things that I read and mulled over today.The first is Gretchen McNeil's Army of TenAfter hearing that Ten wouldn't be stocked in Barnes & Noble, Gretchen launched her own marketing idea. It's genius, and I love Gretchen (I met her at BEA and she is one of the funniest people I've ever met!) so I am so happy that she took the initiative to do this. There are so many people that I know who are doing this and I'm participating in it myself. Anyways, Publisher's Weekly wrote an article on her Army of Ten on their website today and it completely deserves to be shared. You can enlist in her army here.

The second article "How Not to Act at a Conference" is one that really doesn't relate to me as I can't really go to writing conferences (yet!) but I thought it was fascinating nonetheless. This is a must-read for writers attending conferences and was just slightly shocking to read about. I thought Amy Tintera wrote a great post and I just wanted to share it. While attending a conference, at a panel, an editor was asked if she accepted unsolicited submissions and after hearing a different answer than they wanted to hear, over 3/4 of the panel walked out on her. Anyways, I just thought this was a great article that deserved to be spotlighted!

I love y'all! I hope you have a great week and I'll be back soon to update the blog! I miss talking to y'all on Twitter! :) Have a great rest of the week!Grace