Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review - 2011

Well, it’s officially New Years Eve and I’m back to blogging. December has officially sucked – Christmas included – since it ended in me having a horrible case of strep throat which started on Christmas day.
But, tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year and I’m quite glad for it.
As a blogger, I accomplished a lot in 2011.

I wrote 319 posts including this one
I read 129 books
I wrote 122 full reviews and 10 mini-reviews
I went to NYC all by myself for BEA 2011
I met AMAZING fellow bloggers – some even who live near where I do
I had my very first author interview
I received my first ARC of my very own in the mail
I discovered the absolute joy of The Book Depository and its amazingly low prices with free shipping
All in all, it was a busy blogging year with a couple of breaks thrown in. I do, after all, have to have a life outside of being a complete bookworm. Plus, there were times when I think my co-workers were a little worried about the days I would come in after pulling an all-nighter reading a really good book!
I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings with it. Ideally I’ll be at BEA again this year*, and I would love to have more amazing author interviews (in fact, I have one cooking for later!) and more chances to meet fellow book lovers.
So to everyone, have an amazing New Year and a safe New Years Eve.
I’ll see you in 2012!

*oh who am I kidding; I would sell my kidney to make sure I got there in 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Evens or Odds

Every Other Day
Written by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Released: December 27, 2011 by EgmontUSA
Summary: Every other day, Kali D'Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She's human.

And then every day in between . . . She's something else entirely.

Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she'll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.
I don’t know why I left reading this book for so long because it was amazing. I’ll admit that I started to read it a while ago (when I first got it from NetGalley) and couldn’t get past the first page. I think that it was just because I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time and even this time I almost stopped after reading that hell hounds were an endangered species. But I have huge faith in Barnes’ writing, so I kept reading and by page two I was hooked.
Kali is an amazing character. Not only is she Indian (from India not Native American – well, half anyway) but she’s a kick ass heroine. She’s like Buffy meets the Terminator (minus being a robot) but only every other day, which is an amazing concept. The other days of the year she’s just a normal person. I loved how no matter who she was she was counting down the time until she’s the other person. The duality of it all was just so fascinating.
The supporting characters are all equally phenomenal. I loved how blunt Skylar was from the very first time she came onto the page and opened her mouth. It took me a while to warm up to the other main characters – Bethany and Elliot – but in the end they each added something extra to the novel and it gave it a real sense of completion.
Then there’s Zev. I don’t want to ruin anything by saying a lot, but he definitely wasn’t who I thought he would be. I was pleasantly surprised, though, and I really liked the twists that he pulled into the overall story. I’m kind of hoping for a sequel just to see what else pans out with him, but I would he happy without one.
There were a few things that I didn’t particularly care for in this novel. There were a few scenes that didn’t flow as well as I thought they would and though they all served a specific purpose they were awkward. I guess that’s the best that I can describe it. It was nothing that made me love this novel any less, but I just thought it... strange.
Still, this is a brilliant novel. It has so many amazing twists and turns in it that sometimes as a reader you have to double back and make sure that you just read that last paragraph right. I had so many WTF moments with this book and I loved every minute of it! I would love another novel but this one ended in a way where you were left wanting more, but without the annoying cliff-hangers. It had an actual ending where strings were tied up and characters were, well, I don’t want to give away the ending. It ends well and let’s just leave it at that. I also sat and read it in one sitting and stayed up way too late doing so. It's captivating and you shouldn't be disappointed.
I’m giving this novel a 9/10 and I can’t wait for more from Barnes!

I received this novel from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2012 TBR Challenge

Yes, it’s high time that I join in the 2012 TBR Challenge. My bookshelves are overflowing and I need to read so many of them. This is the ideal challenge for me in the New Year and I’m going to attack it with zeal.
I’ve decided to start with the Sweet Kiss category which is 21-30 books since I can move up in levels but I can’t move down. This seemed like a good jumping off point that I could definitely reach.

So far I’ve decided that I’m going to try and read;
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Dead-Tossed Waves and The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus books
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Kate Brian’s Private series and the last Privilege book
Several Sarah Dessen books
Fury by Elizabeth Miles
Daughter of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor

Of course, there will be many more books and I may not stick to reading all these ones, but I think that this is a good jumping off point. A lot of the books that I want to read are parts of series but there will also be several stand-alones.
If you’re interested in joining in with the 2012 TBR Challenge be sure to check out Bookish’s website and this post here.
I’m really excited to get this challenge underway!

Oh, and I'm still taking a break from my regular blogger posts but I'll start up again after Christmas. I just need a break for personal reasons. I'm still keeping up with the blogging world, though, do don't be surprised to see me!

Well, not SEE me see me... but you know what I mean! :D

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cover Reveal of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

I was lucky enough the other week to receive a copy of Embrace in the mail from Raincoast Books. Now, I'm happy to show you the cover for this 2012 North American Young Adult Debut.

It's pretty, no? Although, I'm going to admit that I love the simplistic, classic beauty of the ARC cover. I do love the colour use with this one, though, and the title font with the smoky detail. And what a fantastic tag line. I can't wait to read this one and post my review!

Embrace comes out in North America March 1, 2012 from Sourcefire Books. It is already available in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany. You can find out more about this upcoming series by visiting Jessica Shirvington's website. Find this novel and add it to your Goodreads To Read list! And if you're so inclined, keep up to date about this novel over at its Facebook page. For even more Embrace goodness, visit the Embrace the Series website.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Announcement

Hi everyone.
I need to take an unplanned break from blogging for the next little while. My dad’s in the hospital about to have brain surgery (at the very least) and I really need to focus on my family right now.

I have one more review scheduled a couple of weeks from now but other than that I’m taking a blogger break. I’ll still be reading (like I could ever stop that) but I just won’t be posting or worrying about writing reviews. I'll also still be keeping up with the world with Twitter.
Hopefully everything goes back to relative normality soon.

**Update 12/14:

My dad's doing ok. He's back at home but they discovered cancer growths in several spots - not just in his brain. The doctors need to find where the pirmary source for the cells are before they can decide on a treatment plan. 

For now I'm still going to take a blogging break just so that it's one less thing I have to stress about (and trust me, my stress levels are through the stratosphere) but I'll keep on reading and visiting other sites all while keeping up with Twitter!

Expect regularly scheduled posts to start back up some time shortly after Christmas!

Wish List Wednesday - Number Sixty-Eight

Written by: Jill Hathaway
Released: March 27, 2012 by Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins
Summary: Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.
Mystery? Check
Paranormal coolness factor? Check
Kick-ass sounding MC? Check
This novel sounds like it has everything that I could ever want from a wicked cool summary. I love the idea of sliding into other people’s minds and seeing what they do. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one and read it for myself to find out whether or not it’s as amazing as I think it will be!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (13)

This week the topic is top childhood favourites. I was always a bookworm and started reading from a really young age – like before kindergarten – so I had a plethora to choose from. However, I picked the ones that affected me the most even now into my adulthood. A lot of them I still reread even now as an enjoyable way to dabble back into my childhood.
And so, in no particular order my picks this week are;

1. Peter PanGuys, Tinkerbell swears in this novel! I was so worried that I was reading something that I shouldn’t be the first time I got it out from the library.
2. A Little PrincessI used to read this backstage when I was performing in theatre productions and it zenned me out.
3. The Secret GardenIt took me a while to get through this one but I love rereading it even now.
4. Charlotte’s WebThe first real chapter book that I ever had to read in school in grade 3.
5. The Baby Sitter Club/Baby Sitter Little Sister series
I think I’ve read every one. I was always so jealous of my cousin when we were kids because she was older and able to read the BSC books before I was.
6. Sweet Valley Kids/Sweet Valley TwinsI collect the SVT books now and I’ve accumulated most of them! The SVK books I pass on to one of my younger cousins.
7. Farmer Boy by Laure Ingalls Wilder
My aunt and I still have inside jokes about this novel almost 20 years later. I must have read this book 50 times as a kid.
8. Fairy TalesI had this huge blue hardcover book with 100 fairy tales like Cinderella, Sleepy Hollow, and Aladdin, plus some of the more unknown ones. It’s falling apart I read it so much.
9. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
These books were ones that were always in my classrooms when I was in younger grades. The teacher would read them to us too.
10. The Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer
I found an omnibus of these books at Wal-Mart and give it as a baby gift to my friend’s son when he was born. I signed it ‘From Auntie Kittie’ since Katherine is a bit too much for a little kid to handle sometimes.

 As always, check out The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten fun!

Monday, December 5, 2011

COVER REVEAL - ONYX by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Are you as excited as I am for what I’m about to reveal to you? But first, are you aware that Obsidian comes out tomorrow, December 6th, right? I need to get a physical copy of this novel. From my review – which can be seen here – you all know that I adored it and I can’t wait for the next novel, Onyx, to come out in 2012.
For all you who haven’t read Obsidian, run out to your local bookseller and buy it as soon as the store opens tomorrow. For all you internet savvy people here are a few links to buy it online:

So far, for Onyx, all that there is is this vague blurb;

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Is that not just infuriating? I need to know what it means ASAP.
And now for la piece de resistance (and what you are all waiting for)! The freshly revealed cover for Onyx!
Drum roll please...

Isn’t it gorgeous? I love how it goes with the Obsidian cover (I have when covers don’t match) and I love the colour choice. Onyx is coming at you May 2012 from Entangled Publishing so be sure to keep your eye out for it!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In My Mailbok (76)

I’ve been so good! Granted, it’s not exactly by choice since I’ve quite literally been working non-stop for the last few weeks, but the point of the matter is that I haven’t bought a book in at least two weeks! I have, however, gotten a few books in the mail.

For review from Raincoast Books;

If I Tell by Janet Gurtler
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
Thank you a million times over! If I Tell was promptly stolen by a co-worker who works in the post office as soon as I opened the package. Seriously, she grabbed it, briefly read the summary, and set it aside stating that “she would give it back to me later”. It was a failed battle before it began so I just laughed. I made her promise to write a review to post here, though!

From TBD;
Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L.A. Meyer
This one was one that I ordered several weeks ago and it showed up last week. Now I have them all in pretty paperback!
From NetGalley;
Allegiance by Cayla Kluver
So, so, so excited for this one but I haven't been able to download it yet due to my snail-paced connection.

Ok folks, that’s all for me this week! I’m hoping to keep up this non-book ban streak of not buying books! (unless we get some really good ones in at work...) Leave me a line and let me know what you got in your mailbox this week!

As always, check out The Story Siren for all IMM info and more IMM fun!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Doggone Mystery

Last Chance
Written by: Norah McClintock
Released: January 28, 2012 by Lerner Publishing Group
Summary: A new series from Norah McClintock, five-time winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Crime Fiction!
When a protest march goes awry and a store is accidentally damaged, Robyn Hunter finds herself on the hook for the mishap. To make amends, she reluctantly agrees to volunteer at an animal shelter for the summer.
Robyn’s terrified of dogs, so working at the shelter is no picnic. But bigger problems surface when she think she sees a boy with a troubled past "stealing" from the donations to the shelter. It turns out that Robyn was wrong about the boy, but now he’s in more trouble with the law and it’s up to Robyn to clear his name.
This novel was originally released in 2006 by Scholastic but is being re-released in the New Year so I’m posting this review now instead of closer to the release date simply because it’s not a “new release”.
I was a fan of McClintock’s Chloe and Levesque mystery series when I was in grade school and so when I saw that she had a new novel on NetGalley I was rather excited to relive a favourite author from my childhood. I’ll admit that I wasn’t hugely impressed by this novel, though, and I skimmed about the last half.
I found that the pacing was relatively slow for what I would have liked and there was an infuriating repetition of scenes where facts were alluded to but were only explained in later chapters when you just about forgot what it even related to. By the third time or so I was more than fed up because there didn’t seem to be a need in the movement of the plot to warrant this omission of details.
However, I do believe that this will be (and is) a great mystery series for the older MG and younger YA audience to get into. This novel in particular covered a lot of issues that kids can come across like judging a person before knowing them, stealing, standing up for what you believe in, and sticking by your friends. The actual mystery was realistic and interesting – it was the reason that I kept reading in the first place.
I’m giving this novel a 5.5/10; I think it was just too young for me.

I received this novel from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcomed Alien Invaders

Written by: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Released: December 6, 2011 by Entangled Publishing
Summary: Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don’t kill him first, that is.
I need to get me a hard copy of this novel ASAP if only for its love towards book bloggers. Of course, there is so much more about this novel to love, too, that luckily that’s not the case.
Ok, first off the main character is a book blogger and there are little inside blogging things that you can’t help but smile as you read about the enthusiasm for reviewing and the love of novels. Hell, this is an fervour that each and every blogger shares and to see it on paper (figuratively since I received an eARC through NetGalley) just strengthens the bond that all bloggers have; their complete and utter fanatic approach to books.
Next you have the drop dead gorgeous next door hottie who just happens to be an alien. This is what drew me towards this novel in the first place. I’m not quiet about my love of Roswell (the television and the books series) and with the entire alien focus it screamed of a new love from the same idea.
Ok, and there is a very strong similarity to Roswell. Aliens sent to Earth for a better life, a warring alien race, a forbidden love between human and alien – but I never felt as though this were a copy. Along the same lines, sure, but with aliens (like most paranormal creatures) exactly how different can they all be? I’m going to admit that more than likely some won’t like this novel because of this fact and more than likely those people will be the hard-core, Roswell-only, Max and Liz supporters.
I loved this novel so I don’t give two flips.
This novel really does have it all – action, adventure, romance, hate, and a kick-ass ending that leaves you wanting more from the sequel while not necessarily leaving you hanging by your thumbs. I’m giving it 9.5/10 and I really am counting down the days until Onyx comes out this Spring.

**Entangled pub, keep me in mind for advanced reader copies ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It’s Animal Magnetism

Rules of Attraction
Written by: Simone Elkeles
Released: April 13, 2010 by Walker Books for Young Readers
Summary: When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.
So I loaned my paperback copy of Perfect Chemistry to my older cousin and she loved it so much that she practically begged to read this one and Chain Reaction. Personally, this novel is my favourite of the three and I’m expecting to get a message from her any day now about how much she loved it as well.
Carlos is definitely my favourite of the three Fuentes brothers. He’s so rough edged and yet so incredibly sweet. I loved reading about the relationship between him and Kiara – especially the bit with the magnetic cookies. Kiara was one spit-fire of a main character and I really loved her characterization. She just seemed so much more realistic than Britney did in the first novel.
Be warned, there are plenty of sexy times in this novel. It’s really enough to make a reader fan herself from all the heat produced. Add in the undeniable sexual chemistry between the alternating viewpoints of the two main charcters and it really makes for one spicy novel. Plus you get the whole ‘bad boy’ thing with the gangs, the classic good girl, and a ‘forbidden’ romance that gets your heart all a twitter. Don’t get me wrong, though, there’s more to this story than any overdone cliché you might expect it to be and though there are several similarities to Perfect Chemistry it is its own novel.
I laughed, I cried, and I completely fell in love with all the characters in this novel. Overall it’s a fantastic contemporary novel. I’m giving this novel a 9/10 and I really can’t wait to read it again and again.

Ps: Kiara’s dad is one BAMF. I definitely wouldn’t want to be on his bad side.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Sixty-Seven

So I think this is what they’re calling a New Adult novel – a novel based around a MC who’s late teens and early 20s. I have to admit that I’m really intrigued by these novels and this one has gained my interest.

Eternal Starling
Written by: Angela Corbett
Released: December 6, 2011 by Pendrell Publishing
Summary: A love so strong, even eternity can’t separate them.
Evie Starling has lived a relatively uneventful life hanging out with friends, gossiping about boys, and driving her 1966 Mustang. All of that changes when she moves to Gunnison, Colorado, to start college and meets two mysterious men.
For centuries, Alex Night and Emil Stone have yearned for Evie—but they each have their own reasons for wanting to be with her. When both men claim to be her soul mate and tell her about an unbelievable past, Evie learns that she’s not the person she thought she was. Soon, Evie finds herself in the middle of an age-old battle between the Amaranthine Society—the soul protectors, and the Daevos Resistance—the soul destroyers. With a past she doesn’t understand, and a future rife with danger, Evie has to decide who she can trust. But Alex and Emil aren’t the only ones who want Evie, and her soul is about to become the rope in an eternal tug-of-war.
First off, Evie is driving my dream car – especially if it’s a convertible. But this novel sounds like something that I’ll definitely have to read and very soon since its release date is next week! I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the soul and whether it’s a real thing that people possess, whether it’s some part of the brain, or if it’s just something that’s been made up. I love reading novels where the soul comes into play and I hope that this one doesn’t disappoint!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (12)

Soooo... I have way too many books currently on my TBR – a lot of which are sitting prettily on my shelf – so this list wasn’t all that hard to think up. Of course, if I listed all the books that I wanted to read this winter you would be here for quite a while reading and would most likely give up and stop reading. So I decided to list only the books which are sitting on my shelf and I hope to use in the 2012 TR challenge (once I’m able to sign up for it. my internet isn’t fast enough in order to do so).
In no particular order those books are;
1. The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer.
Now that I have all the pretty, pretty paperback covers I can properly dive into this series with gusto. I read the first novel a while ago from the library and they only had the second one on audio book so I tried but failed to get more of the Jacky story.
2. The Private series (and last Privilege novel) by Kate Brian
Another series that I have in its entirety and haven’t been able to read through. This will happen soon!
3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Let the hailstorm begin. I can’t believe that I have yet to read this one!
4. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
I read and loved her first four Sisterhood novels when they first came out and I really want to know how it all really ends.
5. Ten Things Wd Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
This just looks like a great contemporary novel and it’s just sitting on my shelf.
6. Anything by Sarah DessenI’ve only read one book of hers and I want more! Due to my dives into used book stores I’ve collected quite a few of her novels!
7. The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore
I absolutely loved I Am Number Four last year when I read it and I need to know what happens to Four and Six next!
8. Novels by Rick RiordanI’ve only read his Percy Jackson series and now I really want to read his Heroes of Olympus and Kane Chronicles novels.
9. Abandon by Meg Cabot
I love Cabot’s books and I have no idea why I haven’t read this one yet.
10. Sisters Red and Sweetly by Jackson Pierce
Fairy tale retellings are my favourite and I need to get around to reading these.

Ok, I cheated and listed way more than 10 books – but you can see where my entire TBR predicament comes from! I’ve made my Goodreads challenge this year already to read 125 books so next year with these ones on my list I hope to read more than that!
As always, check out The Broke and the Bookish for more Top Ten fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leader of the Pack

Raised by Wolves
Written by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Released: June 8, 2010 by EgmontUSA
Summary: Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.
But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.
But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?
Oh this review is way overdue. I mean, I read this amazing novel back in September! It’s almost December – that just shows you how backed up my need to review pile is.
I was able to get a signed finished copy of Trial by Fire while at BEA this past May and it gave me the kick I needed to get myself a copy of this novel so that I could read them in order. I was able to find a paperback copy at The Strand (which I need to get back to ASAP because that book store is amazing) but soon realized that paperback wouldn’t cut it (bookworm OCD being what it is with matching covers) so I got a hardcover copy from The Book Depository and quickly started to read.
I loved this novel. I loved the characters, I’m a sucker for werewolves, and it was just an all-over amazing novel.
Bryn is an amazing voice to read about and follow. Her need for separation is something that is easily understood but at the same time you see that she needs something more in her life as well. Then in comes Chase and her entire world is upended and everything that she knows changes.
From the very beginning you’re thrown into the world of the pack, the life of Bryn, and non-stop action. You get several plot twists, different plot lines, and a culmination of events at the climax that just about makes your heart stop beating.
This was the first novel of Barnes’ that I have read and it definitely won’t be the last. I can’t wait for the third novel in this series, Taken by Storm to come out next May. I’m giving this novel an 8.5/10!

Ps: Can I have a best friend like Devon? I would love to have a big burly guy who also has a penchant for show tunes as a bestie. Also, I would want Lake to teach me how to hustle pool!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Life is a Masquerade, My Friend

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Written by: Stephanie Perkins
Released: September 29, 2011 by Dutton

Summary: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighbourhood.
When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

I don’t think that I will ever be able to convey the amount of love that I have for this novel so I’m not even going to try because I’ll just end up talking in circles. Seriously, this is the type of book that I wanted to start reading all over again as soon as I finished the last page. I loved it even more than Anna and the French Kiss and I loved that book a lot!

Lola is such a strongly voiced character who you just can’t help but love. You follow her through this amazing journey of self discovery and first love and it’s so hard to tear your eyes away from the pages of her story.
And can I just quickly mention Cricket? Where can I find a Cricket of my own? I would love a guy who would let me paint his nails blue and who would cross between houses on a ladder just to get to me. Yeah, he’s also a genius and super beyond sweet. Please, someone find me a guy like this. It can be my Christmas gift, ok?
This is a novel that I’m going to be passing along for years to come, just like it was passed on to me (Thanks again Brenna!!!).
Lola is the type of novel that you really just have to experience for yourself so rush out and buy, borrow, or – well don’t steal it but you get what I mean. I give it a 10/10!
Love, love, love!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Hail Mary Pass

Catching Jordan
Written by: Miranda Kenneally
Released: December 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire
Summary: What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starting position... suddenly she's hoping he'll see her as more than just a teammate.
I was a little sceptical that I would like this novel. I know nothing about football (hell, nothing about sports) and I’ll admit that I was a little worried that I would be left wondering what the hell the characters were talking about.
Well, I had nothing to fear.
Sure, there were sports analogies and sport talk but it was done in a way that I wasn’t left scratching my head. No, this is an amazingly well written contemporary novel that has roots in love, family, and friendship (as well as football).
Jordan is the type of girl who I think I would have been incredibly intimidated of in high school. The girl is written as being pretty (though I think that it’s in that modest way which means she’s gorgeous) and an all-state footballer who has no sense of guys other than being one of them. Plus she’s a regular Amazon woman. I would have cowered in fear that she would body check me into a locker and then laugh at my hair. But, that’s simply not the case. Jordan is as clueless as anyone when it comes to the fine art of boys (as in dating them) and it was sweet reading about her trip into the deep end. Plus, the girl knows no bounds when it comes to the art of conversation. I loved how blunt she was and how no topic seemed to be taboo. Hell, the girl comes right out and talks about her sex life to a fellow female classmate – not someone who’s a close friend either – as if it’s no big deal. I chuckled at that scene and shook my head.
This novel isn’t just about first love or football, it’s about going after what you really want. Jordan wants nothing more than to play college-level football for Alabama and she’s bound and determined to make it happen. But this novel is also about realizing when you need to bend and maybe try something new and strange in order to get what you really want.
Whether you’re a sports fan or not this is an amazing novel. In this novel I have found a new literary crush in Sam Henry and I’m just about to pre-order my very own copy of this book from The Book Depository. I’m giving it a 9/10 and a high recommendation for you to read it if you want a good contemporary novel.

I received my copy of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Sixty-Six

So I came across this book on Goodreads a few days ago and it immediately caught my attention. Aside from the amazing cover, the summary made me just want to read it as soon as possible.
The Raft
Written by: S.A. Bodeen
Released: August 12, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
Summary: Robie, 16, lives with her family on the Midway atoll, a group of islands in the middle of the Pacific. Her parents are scientists; it’s an isolated life. Robie enjoys visiting her aunt in Hawaii – she gets back and forth on a cargo plane that brings supplies to Midway.
During a visit, her aunt is called to the mainland for a work emergency, leaving Robie to get home on her own. On her flight back to Midway the cargo plane hits nasty weather, and goes down. It’s just Robie, the pilot, and Max, a co-pilot she’s never met till this flight, on board. Robie is pulled aboard a raft by Max, who is injured and slipping in and out of consciousness. They have a bag of candy and very little water between them. When they finally reach an island that seems abandoned, Robie hopes they’ll be found quickly. But she’s not sure she was even on the flight manifest. Her parents must be looking for her…aren’t they?
In THE RAFT, S.A. Bodeen creates a hair-raising suspense story that will have readers agonizing over the same question as Robie -- how long can they survive?
It seems a little like Sharks and Boys (which I read and reviewed earlier this year) with a little Lord of the Flies. I really need to know if they survive and if a romance blooms. Is it weird if I immediately want a romance to be there?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (75)

Ok, so I am so done with book bans. It seems as though I never stick to them when I’m on them so this is me officially calling it off (in the hopes that the reverse psychology will work). To be fair, though, I only bought two books myself. So on the whole I’m doing quite well in that respect!
Anyway, this week in my mailbox I got;

For review
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
A HUGE thank you to Vimala at Penguin for sending me this novel! I was so excited when I got the e-mail I literally threw my phone across the table. The back fell off and everything. It also scared the crap out of my friend Megan.

I got one of those mystery Chapters Indigo gift card thingers in the mail. You know, the ones where you have to spend a certain amount and then the gift card will tell you how much you get off your purchase. Anyway, I’m a huge sucker for those and my mum gave me a Chapters gift card for my birthday so... yeah. I cleaned up in the bargain books though!
Fragile Eternity and Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Now I need to find a hardcover copy of  Wicked Lovely... TBD it is! (Plus, both these are in the bargain books!)
For the Win by Cory Doctorow
This book has been eyeing me ever since it was first released but I didn’t want to commit to the cover price. But since it was in the bargain books I decided to take a chance!
Willow by Julia Hoban
Another amazing bargain book. I remember Kristi from The Story Siren talking about this one a long while ago and it intrigued me. It’s a tough subject matter (cutting) but I think that this will be one of those amazing crying books.
Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
The cover roped me in – it just looked so pathetically cute on the bargain table.
Blood Promise and Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Yay! Now I have the whole series and I can’t wait to read them!

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
It was calling me from the shelves at work earlier this week (before I bought the other two). It cried out that I would get my discount on it.
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
So excited to read this one! I’ve heard such amazing things about it.
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Ok, technically I bought this one a couple of weeks ago but it just came into my Chapters in Ottawa and I was just able to pick it up!

So this is what I got in my mailbox this week. Yay for books! But I really need to stop acquiring them (even at good prices) because I’m almost out of shelf space. Hahaha. Leave me a line and let me know what you got in your mailbox this week!

As always, check out The Story Siren for more IMM amazingness!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Great White North

Written by: Sarah Beth Durst
Released: October 6, 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry
Summary: When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.
Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.
That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.
Ok, this wasn’t my favourite retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon but I did enjoy reading it. I thought that the modernization of this fairy tale was incredibly well done and that it incorporated a lot of great ideas to make the entire story plausible.
That’s as far into this review that I can make it. I don’t know why but everything I write sounds so stupid when I read it over so I’m not even going to try.
I liked this novel, really I did, but whether it was the modernization (which was done really well, don’t get me wrong) or the characters or whatever it just didn’t cut it.
The parts I did like, though, consist of;
The ideology behind the trolls.
This was a really interesting and different part of the novel and it really sets it apart from others od the same myth. I love how it made for a happy ending and in general how it played out.
The whole Reaper thing.
This was something else that made the concept interesting and kind of explained why there was a talking polar bear in the modern day world.
A female character who was career driven but also followed her heart. I loved how she was ready to do anything that she thought was right or was for a good cause. The girl literally throws herself off the top of a mountain – now that takes guts.
So, yeah. This novel has a lot of really good points but it just didn’t awe me like I thought I would. However, if you’re a fairy tale lover and like a good retelling, make sure that you check this one out. I’m giving it a 6/10.

Friday, November 18, 2011

To Mer or Not to Mer

Tempest Rising
Written by: Tracy Deebs
Released: May 10, 2011 by Walker Books for Young Readers

Summary: Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance.

Mermaids – the next big YA trend and I couldn’t be happier. What makes it even better is that almost all mermaid novels have gorgeous covers and this one does not disappoint.

But if we judged a book by its cover all the time we book bloggers would read a bunch of horrible books with pretty covers and overlook the amazing books with ugly ones. Thankfully, this is a book that you can judge by its cover and I’ll tell you why.
First and foremost this cover obviously states that the novel is about a mermaid (duh) so the reader has a vague idea of what to expect. Definitely there will be a lot of time spent in the water – as the underwater background suggests – and the plot will have a little mystery.
Ok, I’m totally BS-ing you. But really, judge away with this one.
Tempest is the type of girl who I would like to hang out with because she’s super cool and would teach me how to surf all while hanging out with really attractive guys. But there were so many times that I wanted to slap her. Especially at the end, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Other than that, I liked reading about her. I liked following Tempest through the mermaid transformation and the situation that she’s very suddenly thrust in the middle of.
I’m going to warn you, there’s a slight love triangle happening in this novel, just like the summary leads you to believe, but as the reader you know who the choice is going to be so it’s not really that big of a deal. Still, both guys are sweet in their own way and you find yourself slightly rooting for the underdog just a little bit because he is just so cute.
I really enjoyed this novel but I also went into it knowing that I would love it. There was action, adventure, love, betrayal, and a quest for answers. There were fight scenes and tears shed along with romantic sighs and quiet yelling at the characters to remove certain body parts from certain cavities. Basically it has everything that a mermaid YA novel should have in order to be great. I was kept at attention and on the edge of my seat for a lot of the novel just wanting to know what was going to happen next. In fact I read this novel from start to finish in a very short period of time due to my inability to disconnect from the pages. There were a few things that I didn’t like about this novel, though.
First, there’s the ending. Ok, I get it, really I do, but I almost screamed in frustration. I don’t want to ruin the ending so I’m not going to go into details, but what the hell Tempest? Not even a freaking “Goodbye, I love you”? If I were on the receiving end of this whole situation I would be super pissed for not being even a passing thought. One thing I did like about the novel was that it didn’t end on a huge cliff-hanger. Yes, there were several unanswered questions but I could have lived with it as a stand-alone if need be. Thankfully, it was building for at least one more, so I won’t have to make do with just one.
The villain fell a little flat for me. I was more intrigued by something else that happened very quickly than I was with the evil sea witch. I thought that the build-up for her was well written, but the entire confrontation was a little too Breaking Dawn for this reader.
And what’s with the coldness that’s the big focus for about the first five chapters and then BOOM never mentioned again. I mean, seriously, you’re forced to read several paragraphs about how cold this girl is, how she can’t stop shivering, and then all of a sudden... what? She’s not cold anymore – ever? There’s a brief moment where it’s semi-brought up but it really means nothing in the long run and doesn’t explain it. I guess it’s just me but this really irked me.
Some of the lore was a little vague for me as well, but I think that it will be explored more in the second novel which is due out next June – a novel I can’t wait to read.
Despite the problems that I had with this novel, it delivered exactly what I wanted from reading it. It’s fun, cute, adventurous, and it has such a pretty cover. I’m giving it a 7.5/10 and it’s one that I’ll definitely be passing on to fellow YA lovers who also like mermaids and magic.