“Waiting On” Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a meme created at Breaking the Spine to spotlight upcoming releases that we can’t wait to read.

This week I’m reluctantly curious about Sever by Lauren DeStefano.

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Here’s the summary, taken from Goodreads:

What if you knew exactly when you would die? In the not-too-distant future, genetic engineering has turned every newborn into a ticking time bomb — males only live to age 25 and females only live to age 20.
In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. When 16-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by “the Gatherers” to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Rhine has only one purpose after she has been married to her new husband, Linden: to escape and find her twin brother.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant to whom she is dangerously attracted, Rhine is desperate to learn the truth and protect those closest to her. But, as her sister wife Cecily keeps insisting, her role may be much bigger than that.
In the first two books of the Chemical Garden trilogy, Wither and Fever, Rhine struggles to escape the mansion and then to navigate the brutal world outside. Now in Sever, the third and final book, Rhine uncovers some shattering truths about the past that her parents never had the chance to tell her and the alarming implications regarding her own genes. She may be the one who can save the human race.

While I enjoyed Wither, I felt the series really lost steam with Fever. However, I’m interested enough to stick around and see how things play out. The cover was just released yesterday. Thoughts? Personally, I’m rather mystified by the bright colors; it doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the series, but I’m sure there’s some symbolism that I’m missing.

This title will be released on February 12, 2013.


Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish that allows us to list our top ten answers to a different question each week.

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Favorite Covers

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

1. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

2. The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

Looking for Alaska by John Green

3. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

4. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

5. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

6. Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

7. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith

8. The Rift Walker by Clay and Susan Griffith

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

9. River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

10. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a meme created at Book Journey to catalogue everything read in the past week, what you’re working on now, and what you hope to get to in the coming week.

The Past Week

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Lovesick by Jake Coburn

What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

 Reading Now

Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian

 The Week Ahead

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a meme created by Kristi over at The Story Siren to share new book acquisitions, whether bought, gifted, received for review, borrowed, or won.


  • Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
  • Lovesick by Jake Coburn


  • Fever by Lauren DeStefano ARC plus swag (special thanks to Audrey from holes in My brain)

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

At the end of the first book in Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden series, I was rather undecided yet hopeful that the second book would elucidate some of the plot holes and inconsistencies left unresolved. Unfortunately, I don’t feel that Fever did much to further the worldbuilding of the series, and even less to endear me to any of the characters involved.

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

My main problem with this series is that, whereas I believe DeStefano thinks that she has created a haunting landscape, it is really only bleak and dismal. Fever progresses in a series of shattered intervals during which Rhine’s attempts to leave behind Linden and his sadistic father are continually thwarted, each obstacle more unfortunate than the next. DeStefano introduces several new characters, yet I found it difficult even to connect to Rhine and Gabriel amidst this parade of horribles, let alone to form any attachment to these new additions. While I’m still intrigued by the underlying connection that has drawn Gabriel and Rhine together, DeStefano hasn’t yet allowed either character to shed their fronts enough to let each other under their respective skins in a way that would endear me to their struggles. Rhine is particularly aggravating in her alternating malaise and stoic determination; perhaps it is a trait common to all dystopian heroines that the tragedy of the circumstances erases personality despite consistent reminders of the character’s supposed passion.

Overall, DeStefano’s deteriorating world came across as more gratuitous than gritty to me. Whereas the dynamics among sister-wives lent a welcome dimension to the first novel, it was lacking here with nothing quite as compelling offered as a replacement. At this point, I find Linden to be one of the more interesting characters, yet his appearance was unfortunately too brief to begin mining the complexities of his character. I gather DeStefano will focus squarely on Linden and Rhine’s fractured relationship in the third novel, and unfortunately predict that it will play out as the third side to a love triangle rather than as the platonic relationship that I feel would be more appropriate at this point. Still, I’m interested enough to stick around and see how Rhine’s story plays out.

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at A Few More Pages designed to feature the book you are reading right now by sharing the first few lines of the story.

Today I’m reading Fever by Lauren DeStefano.

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

“We run, with water in our shoes and the smell of the ocean clinging to our frozen skin.

I laugh, and Gabriel looks at me like I’m crazy, and we’re both out of breath, but I’m able to say, ‘We made it,’ over the sound of distant sirens.”

I was rather on the fence regarding Wither, so I’m hoping that DeStefano clears up some of the inelegant worldbuilding that was introduced in the first novel.

Here’s the summary, taken from Goodreads:

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago – surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous – and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion…by any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price – now that she has more to lose than ever.

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is a meme started over on Should Be Reading that presents a different literary-themed question every week.

This week’s question is: Do you judge a book by its cover?

I might be more excited for the cover of Fever than for reading this second in DeStefano's Chemical Garden series.

There was a point in time when I collected book just for their pretty covers. I used to troll the free shelves at the local used book store searching for regency-era paperbacks, none of which I actually fooled myself into believing I would ever read. Thankfully, that little habit subsided, else I would be in even more of a bookshelf-space bind than I am in now. Still, I’m often persuaded to pick up a book or click on a review based on a beautiful cover. At least I try to avoid the old cliche by refraining from staying away from those whose covers are artistically challenged.