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Review: Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, Book 1) by Scott Westerfeld

in a sentence or so: Tally is 15 and Ugly. the good news is, on her 16th birthday she gets to have the surgery that makes her Pretty - and then life is one big party! until she meets Shay, a girl who is just fine the way she is and knows of a place where everyone is Ugly. which leads Tally to the question: why would anyone want to stay Ugly for life?

Tally's best friend Peris turns pretty about a month before Tally is able to. while spying on him one night in New Pretty Town, Tally runs into Shay. Shay is also spying on her Pretty friends, but lacks the desire to join them that Tally has. but - they are both currently friendless, and become prankster friends pretty quickly. when Shay tells Tally mere days before their surgery (same birthday = same surgery day) that she intends to run away to the Smoke and stay Ugly forever, Tally is heartbroken her friend will not be there with her in New Pretty Town. Tally has resigned herself to live life without Shay, until Special Circumstances (super creepy organization) decides to use Tally as a spy. Tally is faced with the choice to either become a spy and betray the Smoke - or stay Ugly forever...

i really dug the futuristic / sci-fi aspect to this. it wasn't over the top sci-fi (which, for the record, i am okay with), but had a lot of potential realism in it. sure there were hover boards and dehydrated food and interface rings, but nothing was really that outlandish. which i think was the whole point. but anyway, Tally's journey and decision making was interesting. without being too spoilery, i will reveal that there is a love interest at some point (other than Peris) which is super cute.

while i am interested in the rest of the series (Pretties, Specials, Extras), i was not super in love with this. i think it picked up during the second and third sections, but a lot of it was explaining what things were like, how society had evolved from the Rusties (that's you and me folks) into the society they have now, etc... which was necessary, but not the most riveting thing for me to read. regardless, i enjoyed this book and am looking forward to seeing how the rest pan out!

fave quote: "Sometimes Tally felt like she could almost accept brain damage if it meant a life without reconstituted noodles." (367)

fix er up: i felt like it took forrreevvverrrr to get to the action of the book.

title: Uglies (Uglies Trilogy, Book 1)
author: Scott Westerfield
genre: Fantasy, Futuristic

Review: Living Dead in Dallas (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book #2) by Charlaine Harris

(this is the second book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series. beware of spoilers for the first book, Dead Until Dark)

in a sentence or so: Sookie is back in action. between a dead body in the backseat of the local police officer's car in the parking lot of her bar, a maenad reeking havoc, and being sent out to find missing vampires in Dallas, she's a pretty busy telepathic barmaid.

Sookie, the local telepathic barmaid in Bon Temps, Louisiana, is dating Bill, a vampire. when she arrives to work one morning to discover one of their short order cooks dead in the backseat of a police car, Sookie is a bit worried. murder isn't exactly an everyday occurrence in the little town, and disposing of bodies in the back of police cars isn't exactly the norm either. however, before she can dig too deep into that mystery, she and Bill are summoned to do some 'work' in Dallas. as a telepath, she is a huuuuuge help to other vampires, and is 'loaned out' to find information they need. not exactly her favorite thing to do, but at least she prevents the vampires from killing innocent people unnecessarily, right? there are vampires missing in Dallas, and Sookie soon learns that a group calling themselves the Fellowship of the Sun Center, may have some pretty sinister motives.

i liked the introduction of other supernatural characters to this mystery, and i thought they were weaved in pretty well. i think my biggest challenge was that the book felt a bit like a sandwich. it opened with the murder in Bon Temps, had the mystery in Dallas, and then closed with the murder in Bon Temps. it didn't feel as if the two stories meshed well together - and by the time she returned home from being in Dallas, i had almost forgotten the opening of the story all together.

overall, i still really dig Sookie's voice and her personality. not over the top, but confident. i can tell that Harris is setting up some love-triangle-drama for the rest of the series, which should compliment the mystery well. while i did not enjoy this one as much as Dead Until Dark, i still plowed through the book in a matter of days. it deals with more serious issues than Dead Until Dark, and did so well. the furthering of the vampire and supernatural mythology was laid out for future books too - and i can't wait to read them!

fave quote: "Though I was a human-albeit a weird one-I knew better. I'd been a lot happier when I believed Bill had some classifiable illness. Now, I knew that creatures we'd shoved off into the realm of myth and legend had a nasty habit of proving themselves real. Take the maenad. Who'd have believed an ancient Greek legend would be strolling through the woods of northern Louisiana?" (63)
fix er up: the clunky-ness of the two mysteries. if they had meshed or overlapped more, that would have been nice.

title: Living Dead in Dallas (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book #2)
author: Charlaine Harris
genre: Mystery, Romance, Vampire