Sunday, February 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (42)

Well, I had a busy week but I’m allowing this fall from the book ban to happen all because I was on vacation in Florida (we went to see the last Discovery launch) and I didn’t really buy souvenirs.

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

These two I was privileged enough to be able to read before now, but to have hard copies of my own is fantastic.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
Rogue by Rachel Vincent
Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier

These were re-purchases for the first two and the recent release in paperback for the third. I hate it when I loan out books and they’re never returned...

Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck
Kiss in the Dark by Lauren Henderson
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Gone by Lisa McMann
Loser Queen by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I couldn’t pass up some of these books because Borders was having a buy one – get one 50% off on select teen titles... which there were a few that I wanted. So if you’re in the area of one, check it out.

One thing that I noticed, though, was that some YA books in paperback were different sizes than the ones that I already own in the same series; The Iron Queen, Cybele’s Secret, and Kiss in the Dark are bigger than mine. Can anyone tell me if that’s normal or are paperbacks just coming out in slightly larger sizes? Oh well, I love them anyways.

So this is what I got in my mailbox this week, let me know what’s on your list!

Disclaimer: IMM is the brainchild of The Story Siren.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Billings One


Written by: Kate Brian

Released: June 27, 2006 by Simon Pulse

Summary: Tradition, Honor, Excellence...and secrets so dark they're almost invisible

Fifteen-year-old Reed Brennan wins a scholarship to Easton Academy -- the golden ticket away from her pill-popping mother and run-of-the-mill suburban life. But when she arrives on the beautiful, tradition-steeped campus of Easton, everyone is just a bit more sophisticated, a bit more gorgeous, and a lot wealthier than she ever thought possible. Reed realizes that even though she has been accepted to Easton, Easton has not accepted her. She feels like she's on the outside, looking in.

Until she meets the Billings Girls.

They are the most beautiful, intelligent, and intensely confident girls on campus. And they know it. They hold all the power in a world where power is fleeting but means everything. Reed vows to do whatever it takes to be accepted into their inner circle.

Reed uses every part of herself -- the good, the bad, the beautiful -- to get closer to the Billings Girls. She quickly discovers that inside their secret parties and mountains of attitude, hanging in their designer clothing-packed closets the Billings Girls have skeletons. And they'll do anything to keep their secrets private.

I don’t like Reed.

There, I said it, may the backlash commence.

Ok, it’s not that I particularly hated her, I just thought that she was a bit of a jerk who was using anyone to get what she wanted even though she didn’t particularly earn it at all. Honestly, I think it’s because I read the Privilege books first (excluding the final novel which comes out this summer) and I really have come to like Ariana and her completely insane brain. Maybe in comparison Reed is just too annoying and the previous idea from Ariana’s head that Reed is horrible.

That being said, I think that I’m going to enjoy this series even though I know some major spoilers already – like that happened to Thomas at the end of this novel.

It was interesting to see the characters from a different perspective that was previously established in the Privilege series and I think that I may have rethought my stance on which to read first. While I don’t think it’s going to really take away anything from these books by reading Privilege before Private, it would be nice going into Private with a sense of unknowing. Still, I don’t regret reading Privilege first.

Overall, I think that this is a 6/10. My dislike for Reed brings the mark way down but the intrigue that’s building saves it a little. Thankfully I have the next five books all ready to read, so I hope that it get better as they progress, especially after the arc with Ariana is completed. After that I’ll be in the dark and won’t know what’s coming.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty

Ahhh scheduled posting. I love the fact that right now I’m in Florida, more than likely enjoying the fact that there’s no snow here.

Anyways, another 2011 debut this week which will be released in a few months. This one sounds incredibly intriguing and like it’s going to be a good take on the Persephone mythology.

The Goddess Test

Written by: Aimee Carter

Released: April 19, 2011 by Harlequin

Summary: It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...

Doesn’t that sound fantastic? Plus, it’s the first in a planned trilogy. If this is as great as it sounds, the wait between books might just be killer.

Sorry that the cover is so small, but it's the best I could do. Still, doesn't it look pretty? I can't wait to see a bigger full resolution copy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Movie Monday - Insta-Parents

Life as We Know It

Written by: Ian Dietchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson

Directed by: Greg Berlanti

Released: October 8, 2010 by Warner Bros.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Holly and Eric were set up on a blind date by their friends, Peter and Allison who are married. A few years later after Peter and Allison were killed in an accident, they learn that Peter and Allison have named them as the guardians to their daughter, Sophie. So they move into their house and try their best to honour their friends' wishes. But raising a child puts a crimp on their style and they don't exactly get along.

I was able to watch this after my aunt told me that she had bought it and I had a few hours to kill before a hair appointment. Admittedly, as much as I would have liked to see it, it wasn’t so high a priority that I would have gone out and spent money on it – which I’m happy I didn’t do.

This was a cute movie, with a cast that worked well together, but when you got right down to the basics, it was just that: a cute movie. It was predictable and you knew how it would end even before you saw it. It’s not one of those movies that I would rush out to buy as soon as I could.

Don’t get me wrong, even though I was severely sleep deprived (allergies) it was enough to keep me awake and I did enjoy watching it. It has its funny moments and its touching, heart-felt moments. Basically it was a fantastic chick-flick. But I’m still really happy that I wasn’t the one to spend any money on it.

Overall, I’m giving this a 6/10. May watch it again, but there are so many better movies out there that unless I was with someone who hadn’t seen it, I highly doubt that it would happen any time soon.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (41)

This week I was incredibly good and didn’t buy anything! The book ban lasted an entire week without being breached at all, which is a fantastic thing in my books. I did, however, receive some e-books for review, so the week wasn’t barren of anything to read.

I received;

The Cellar by A.J. Whitten
This one sounds incredibly intriguing and a really interesting twist on Romeo and Juliet.
Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan
These two are the first two in a Twisted Tales series by the author. I’ve already read both and they are pretty neat, especially considering that they’re like your classic Choose Your Own Adventure books from several years ago. The reviews will be up soon if they haven’t been posted already.

Well, this is what was in my mailbox. Leave a line and let me know what you got this week!

Disclaimer: IMM is the brainchild of Kristi. Check out her amazing blog The Story Siren for more information.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The New Fairy Tale Princess

Cinderella: Ninja Warrior

Written by: Maureen McGowan

Released: April 1, 2011 by Dolphin Books

Summary: In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!

Well, the summary doesn’t lie; this was unlike any fairy tale that I’ve ever read. I’ve read the ‘choose your own adventure’ books before, and even one about Snow White in first grade (I have a weird memory when it comes to things like that) but to me recollection, Snow White wasn’t a warrior or a zombie hunter or anything of that nature. This book, on the other hand, has Cinderella as a wizard-ninja girl who kicks some supernatural witch butt.

The whole choosing the paths that Cinderella takes with this book was different. You started off with the same beginning (obviously) but the strange thing was that all the endings were the same; it was just the middle bits that you were able to decide what happened. But the way that the story unfolded and how closely it stayed to the original fairy tale while still incorporating so many different ideas was great. I liked how the original bits like the fairy godmother and the ball were taken a step in a different direction while still staying rooted in the base idea. There’s a godfather instead of a fairy godmother and while there was a ball – complete with glass slippers in one choice – there were other aspects that really tied together the whole ninja-magic bit.

I never always loved Cinderella and thought that she was a rather strong and brave female for your typical fairy tale but this story takes her into a different realm as a character. You can see her determination to escape and her love for her family and friends all while she’s doing her best to live without great punishments (a feat, I assure you).

In all, I really enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to reading more like this from this author. I think that it’s a nice modern take on the typical CYOAs – which I always found a little too sci-fi and boring in the ones that I remember seeing – and even though there isn’t all that much choice, there are eight different outcomes that you can read about. I give this book a 6.5/10 and I would recommend it for someone who likes the fairy tale retellings with a twist.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cover for Supernaturally by Kiersten White

While I thought that the cover for Paranormalcy was pretty with the blues and violets, this cover is on fire and completely gorgeous.

If you want more information, check out the author's blog. She also has the full wrap-around cover for perusal. It's gorgeous.

Quoth The Raven

Trickster’s Girl

Written by: Hilari Bell

Released: January 3, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Summary: In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obsessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.

The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.

Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.

I read the first few chapters of this and then skimmed the rest of the novel. I just couldn’t get into the story at all and I really wasn’t in the mood to read about magic and rainforests. Perhaps I can try and sit down and re-read this at a later date, but all I can think of now is that I have a huge TBR full of books that I would rather be reading.

I found it difficult to be thrown into 2098 America without any explanation in this book. In fact, it took me a while to even realize that it was a futuristic setting (I had forgotten that the summary had plainly said as much) and once it did sink in; I just couldn’t seem to accept it. I know that sounds weird, but I can’t put it into words any better than that.

This book wasn’t my cup of tea, but if it sounds like something you might like I highly recommend that you try it yourself. I’m giving it a 4/10 with the possibility of having a higher rating if I ever decide to give it another try – which isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

I received this novel from netGalley for review. Thank you to everyone who made that possible.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Grim Life


Written by: Courtney Allison Moulton

Released: February 15, 2011 by HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books

Summary: This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action.

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.

A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.

I’m not sure what I thought about this novel. I enjoyed reading it, but I felt as though it was something that I had to do rather than I wanted to do... even though I wanted to read it. Does that make sense? I think it’s because I haven’t been in a real book worm mood lately and reading anything has seemed like a chore. I’m in a bit of a book funk, I guess.

Anyways, though it took me a while to get into I liked this book; it was slightly different in the paranormal YA stream. I liked the mythology that was put into it and the entire story was well written and well played out. For a 2011 debut, this had the air of a more seasoned writer. It was also a well-crafted beginning to a set of novels which are set to follow in the coming years.

I liked reading about Ellie and how her personal discovery completely changes her life. I also liked how she dealt with the knowledge of her past lives as they slowly come back to her, along with Will and everything that she knows about her powers. The incorporation of past lives was a concept that I was pleasantly surprised to read about the first time that it made an appearance in the novel. I thought that it added another layer to the build-up and the foundation for the overall story arc.

Ellie herself was a strong character, which I always enjoy reading. Her fears are present and seeing how she works through (or around) them is a part of what makes her a great character.

Now, I have my speculations about certain aspects of what’s going to happen in the next books, but I don’t want to share them since they cause a few spoilers for this novel. Let’s just say that there are secondary characters who I think are more than they appear but who aren’t who they’re supposed to be. Once you read the novel (if you choose to read it) you may conclude who I’m talking about.

Overall, though I wasn’t in the mood to read this, I loved the fact that I was able to read a 2011 debut; especially one of this calibre. I look forward to reading not only more in this series but more from this author. I give this novel a 7/10.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wish List Wednesday – Number Thirty Nine

I loved Heist Society when I read it in the summer (it’s a bargain teen book at Chapters now, so if you haven’t read it, now’s the time to get it) and I fell in love with the characters. This, of course, has me incredibly excited for the fact that there’s a sequel coming out this summer even though the first had an ending that didn’t necessarily warrant another book.

Uncommon Criminals

Written by: Ally Carter

Released: June 21, 2011 by Hyperion

Summary: Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

I cannot wait to read more about Kat and her crew, especially when it comes to Hale. And I love the fact that the cover has now been released.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Television Tuesdays (3)

I love the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I completely bow to the genius of Joss Whedon, so when I heard that he was coming out with a new series, I knew that I wanted to see what it was all about. Then, after doing some research on the show and seeing the trailer, I knew for sure that I had to watch if only to quell my intrigue.

Dollhouse is one of those shows that throws you directly into the action and you’re not quite sure what’s going on for a few minutes. And even after you think you’ve figured out what’s going on, something else is introduced that makes you rethink everything. It’s a very mystery-orientated show. The summary from IMDb says it better than I can;

The show follows an organization that employs mind-wiped humans known as Dolls who are implanted with false memories and skills for various missions and tasks. When they are not 'at work' they are living in a real life Dollhouse which gives the show the name. One of those mind-wiped humans, a young woman named Echo, is slowly starting to become aware of herself and what's going on - all the while somebody on the outside is trying to bring the Dollhouse down while getting closer to Echo - possibly not aware that she is one of the Dolls he is after.

Even after reading the summary, let me tell you that there is so much more to the show than that.

Sadly, this was one of those shows that only had about half the regular number of episodes per season than most shows and with only two seasons making up the entire series, it’s a very shortly run show. But, even though it doesn’t have the numbers, the content more than makes up for it. I swear that you’ll be on the edge of your seat until the very end and even then you’re left wondering.

If you’re into sci-fi and you like to have shows where you need to keep track of details, this might be one that you would enjoy. It’s one of the shows that I’m incredibly happy I have on DVD (at least, I have season one)so that I can watch over again since I don’t believe that it’s playing in re-runs. I give it a 9/10. If you have a weekend to spare especially now that the weather isn’t all that nice, watching this entire series would be a great way to spend it if you so desired.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

To all my readers, I hope that you had a better Valentine's Day than I did. Sadly, I was stuck working all night.

On the bright side, one of the pharm. tech's brought in home made candy for everyone! So at least I got some sugar.

Movie Monday - Roomie Beware

The Roommate

Written by: Sonny Mallhi

Directed by: Christian E. Christiansen

Released: February 4, 2011 by Screen Gems

Rating: PG-13

Summary: College student Sara finds that her new roommate Rebecca has an obsession with her, which quickly turns violent.

Holy crap this movie made me very happy that I no longer had to deal with horrible roommates. And also very thankful that my roommates – bad as they were – weren’t completely crazy like this movie depicts. The worst I had to deal with was promiscuity and random boy strangers being there in the morning. Thankfully, nothing every truly heinous happened to any of us and as far as I know they’re all sane and alive.

In the realm of horror/thriller movies, this one is definitely done to perfection with the entire psychological side of things, though at times it was a little ridiculous.

Leighton Meester is brilliant in her role as Rebecca and she portrays crazy to the utmost perfection. I was seriously freaked out by how phenomenal she was in this role, especially taking into consideration just how different it is from her role on Gossip Girl. I don’t think that I can properly put into words just how creepy she is in this.

Now, this movie hasn’t gotten the best reviews/ratings since its release. And though I really liked it, I can see where some would think that it was more than a little over the top. I mean, the extremes that Leighton’s character goes through in order to keep her obsession (her roommate Sara) to herself are just that: extreme. There was this part with a kitten that had me covering my eyes and just to think that someone would do the things that her character did... the writer has some serious dark side.

If you’re looking for a movie that will make you want a single room when you venture off into the wild unknown, this is it. Upon leaving the theatre, the first thing that I said to my friend who I went with was that I was very happy the roommate portion of my life was over. And if you scare easily but still want to see it, make sure that the person next to you is someone who won’t mind you burying your face into their shoulder. I’m giving this movie a 7.5/10.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In My Mailbox (40)

Well, it was a week of only buying one book! Go me! And I wouldn’t have bought anything, but I’ve been anticipating this book for a while. So, the book ban is going on, though not as strong as I would like it to be. Still, I’m getting better at not spending so much on books.

So, this week I bought from Chapters;

Skins by Ali Cronin
I can’t wait to find out what happened between series 3 and 4 since there was a lot left unsaid between the two.

Then I have for review;

My Favourite Band Does Not Exist by Robert T. Jeschonek
Goodreads doesn’t have much good to say about this one, but I can’t help but want to draw my own conclusions.

Queens of All the Earth by Hannah Sternberg (review)

So this is what was in my mailbox this week. Leave a comment and let me know what you got in yours!

Disclaimer: IMM credit is not mine, I merely participate. All information can be found at The Story Siren.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

No Parole 5

Pure Sin

Written by: Kate Brian

Released: October 19, 2010 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Summary: The drama follows her wherever she goes in the New York Times bestselling series.

Oh my god I can’t believe that I have to wait until June to read the final novel in this series. Granted, I have the Private series to tide me over, but to last the next three months without knowing if Lexa is going to be alright (sorry for the mild spoiler) and to find out what the hell Reed was doing there... I think that I may perish before then. If that happens, please pay the audio book at my gravesite once it’s released.

I feel as though this novel was the rising action at the cusp of the climax within the series. We see Ariana getting exactly what she wants and then struggle with ensuring that she keeps it. I don’t want to say more than that because I don’t want to spoil the novel for anyone who hasn’t read the series yet – and by saying anything about this one you spoil stuff about the previous – but it’s amazing.

I will, however, say this. I completely would want to date Jasper. He’s sweet and described as good looking and fun. And the love interest story line with him is smoking.

Go out now and read this series. If you haven’t read the Private books yet, I wouldn’t worry about it because I have yet to read them and I’ve had no problem following along. There’s mystery, intrigue, murder, mayhem, and romance. Plus, the leading lady has some serious psychological problems that you just eat up as you’re reading about her. I give this novel a 9/10.

Friday, February 11, 2011

To Be Glad and Young

Queens of All the Earth

Written by: Hannah Sternberg

Released: June 15, 2011 by Bancroft Press

Summary: As her freshman classmates move into dorms at Cornell University, Olivia Somerset suffers a nervous breakdown. When months of coaxing and analyzing fail to rouse Olivia from her stupor, big sister Miranda decides the sisters should fly off to Barcelona for some "vacation therapy."

When a mistake at their Barcelona hostel leaves the Somersets in a large co-ed dorm room, Olivia and Miranda are saved by kindly Mr. Brown and his son Greg, who happily volunteer to surrender their private room. But while Olivia feels an instant connection with brooding Greg Brown, Miranda sides with fellow guest and cocky American travel writer Lenny:

The Browns are just plain weird, and must be avoided at all costs.

In the midst of urbane Peruvian priests-in-training and Scottish soccer fans, from the shops of La Rambla to the waters of the Mediterranean to the soaring heights of Montjuic, Miranda works to protect her still-fragile sister while Olivia struggles to understand her burgeoning adulthood, her feelings for Greg, and the fear that makes the next step in her life so impossible to take.

Inspired by E. M. Forster's classic novel A Room with a View, debut author Hannah Sternberg's Queens of All the Earth is a poetic journey of young love and self-awakening set against the beauty of Catalonia. Teenagers and adults alike will be riveted and moved by this coming-of-age novel about the conflicting hearts and minds of two very different sisters.

I know that this isn’t being published until the summer, but I really don’t want to wait to write my review because – knowing me like I do – I will forget all about it and thus never get around to writing it, let alone publishing it. However, that probably wouldn’t be such a travesty.

Maybe it’s just me, but I could not get into the narrative of this book. It also wasn’t anything like I thought it would be, so that could have something to do with it. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to read this, months before publication thanks to netGalley and Bancroft Press, but I didn’t like this book.

I empathized with Olivia and I could see where she was struggling against herself, in that way she was beautifully written, but I couldn’t get behind most of the other characters especially the annoying Lenny and sister Miranda. But Olivia I just wanted to see everything work out for and for her to center herself enough in order to move forward.

At times I thought that this was a little difficult to follow. For the most part, Olivia is the main focus and the third person perspective is centered on her. But then there were times where it would shift focus to Miranda (as it originally was at the very beginning) and it happened with such suddenness that I was taken aback and left thinking that I was reading about Olivia for a sentence or two. And the sisterly relationship that the two shared felt forced and unnatural when they were together. I thought that it would be a more important factor of the novel, but it was as if it was a last minute decision to have them sisters and not merely strangers or second cousins.

There is almost zero romance with this book when I was hoping for there to be more. The summary made it out as if there was going to be this great vacation romance between Greg and Olivia but aside from a pretty kiss and purposeful avoidance, there was nadda. Hell, there was more between Marc the Priest-in-training and Miranda than anyone else.

I thought that this novel held great promise and taking into account that it wasn’t a final copy that I read and that it’s a debut for this author, it wasn’t that bad. But if you’re looking for a novel where something happens, this isn’t for you. In fact, it seemed as though everything that would have been what it was working towards happened outside of the pages right before the pseudo-epilogue. I would have liked to read more about Olivia and how she fared in her freshman year at Cornell, how it was to return home after being in Spain, and how she completely overcame her nervous breakdown (if she even did completely).

In the end, I’m going to have to give this novel a 3.5/10; while I’m happy that I was able to read it, I’m more happy that I didn’t spend any money on it. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. But, if you can, read it yourself and make your own conclusion. Who knows, it could be your next favourite book.

**This is the cover on the author's website, but I'm not positive that it's the final one. Still, isn't it pretty? I love the colours.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Thirty-Eight

With an amazing list of 2011 debuts, is it any wonder that so many of them have made it onto a lot of bloggers (and non-bloggers) wish lists? Going through the list, this one has always stuck out at me. Plus, since the cover is released, the inner cover whore rears its ugly head and makes me want to read this one even more.

Tempest Rising

Written by: Tracy Deebs

Released: May 10, 2011 by Walker Books for Young Readers (hardcover) / July 2, 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (paperback)

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.

It sounds so good I can’t wait until spring to read it. I mean, what girl can resist a love story with mermaids with a cover like that? I know I can’t. I just wish I knew which cover I liked best; they’re both so pretty. I really want to know what that tattoo is supposed to mean (if anything) though...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Television Tuesdays (2)

I remember the first time that a friend of mine told me about the television show Roswell. It was then that my memory was briefly jogged about a show from a few years ago that I thought would be incredibly stupid because it was about aliens, so I steered clear. However, after hearing my friend gush about it – and the delicious eye candy within – I knew that I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Sadly, at the time, there were only the first few episodes available on DC++ (the document sharing connection at my school) and they weren’t the best quality. But then I was able to find the first season for super inexpensive at some store and I sped through it and then the following two seasons with vim and vigour.

I fell in love with the cast of characters and the plot lines. I mean, aliens were the thing then and so much more can happen with them than vampires and werewolves...

Then came the moment of amazingness; I found out that there was a book series that started around the same time as the show, but has significantly different plot lines and more characters. Sadly, I haven’t been able t get my hands on any of the 10 books which were published... but my search will never relent so long as I have used book stores to explore through. Someone please let me know if you’ve read the books and just how cheesy-amazing they are.

Anyways, back to the show.

While everyone was fawning over Max, I was a Michael fan. There’s just something about his tortured soul that makes me want to take him away and make everything better by fixing his problems. Of course, he has super powers and can pretty much take care of himself. Still, a girl can have her fictional dreams.

This was a series that was well executed and the finale was done so that you were left wanting more, but it was concluded enough that you accepted it and moved on. What’s really amazing about it, though, was that it was going to be cancelled after the first season but so many fans flooded the mail room at the station with mini bottles of hot sauce (it’s pertinent t the show), that the signed the show on for another season. How can you not love a show with fans like that?

The romance in this show is second to none. You have love triangles, star-crossed (literally) lovers, and forbidden love. There’s life, death, and everything in-between. Plus, there are some amazing mysteries to be had and the search for other alien life forms.

If you are looking for a new show to get into – one that’s complete so you’re not left waiting week to week for new episodes – I would highly recommend this one if you can get your hands on the DVD seasons. I do warn you; once you start it’s going to be hard to not watch just one more episode. I re-watch the entire series every so often and even though I know what’s going to happen next, I still need to see it for myself every time.


I am super excited right now because I’m downloading the new The Pretty Reckless CD which was just made available on iTunes – I pre-ordered it last week. Anyways, from the four songs that I‘ve been able to download so far (dial-up internet is not fun) I’ve gotten a feel for the album and it made me think.

There are so many YA playlists out there and even before I started this blog – hell, before I even knew that people were out there book blogging – I was following a few blogs from people who wrote fiction online and they sometimes posted their inspiration songs. From those blogs I was able to create some amazing song playlists on YouTube. I remember listening to E.S. Posthumus’ song Nara from their Unearthed CD (it’s the theme song from the television show Cold Case) for the first time after seeing it on someone’s blog and just falling in love with it*. It also made reading that particular story a more passionate experience. Ok, passionate isn’t the right word, but I can’t think of the feeling that it invoked.

Anyways, that was the beginning, and this new CD Light Me Up from The Pretty Reckless is reading like the emotional undercurrent of so many amazing YA books out there. I can see a lot of the songs from it being featured in people’s playlists.

This leads me to question: are there some songs that as soon as you hear them they make you think of a certain character or book? If there are, let me know. I would really like to find some new music and new context to listen to it in.

*I know that on their official website, you can listen to some of their songs for free and Nara is one of them. If you want to check them out and YouTube isn’t always your friend (like for me) this might be a good way to do that. Granted, their website could have changed since the last time I was on it a few years ago...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Movie Monday – The Period Mix CD

No Strings Attached

Written by: Elizabeth Meriweather

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Released: January 21, 2011 by Paramount Pictures

Rating: R

Summary: A guy and girl try to keep their relationship strictly physical, but it's not long before they learn that they want something more.

My cousin and I wanted to go to the movies and this was pretty much the only one that neither of us had seen and we could both agree on. We were both really happy that we decided on it, too.

This movie, right from the first scene, has this type of humour that creeps up on you, makes a stealth attack, and then retreats. As funny as the movie was, it was those moments that made me miss several following lines of dialogue because I was mentally reliving the previous one-liner.

Aside from the witty (and fairly sexual) lines, this was a cute movie. The chemistry between Portman and Kutcher was sizzling; you could completely believe that they were a ‘friends with benefits’ couple who develop into more.

This is a great date movie but not one I would suggest seeing with a parental until. While funny, I know that if I was sitting next to my dad during this movie I would feel completely embarrassed over the sexual content. However, I would completely buy this on DVD when it comes out, I enjoyed it that much. I give it an 8/10.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (39)

See, I have to figure that I need a few beach reads for when I’m in Florida at the end of the month, so I justify this week’s purchase. I got;

Choker by Elizabeth Woods
It was 30% off at Wal-Mart. I couldn’t pass up that chance.

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
I like her writing and this one looked really promising.

Then from netGalley I received;

Plan B by Charnan Simon (review)

In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane

Technically I also bought a few books by Cathy Glass, but they are for my mum, and books 1-4 and 6 in the House of Night series are on the bargain shelf at Chapters so I grabbed those for my cousin. Randomly, book 5 isn’t included in the bargain books...

Leave a line and let me know what you got in your mailbox or let me know if you’ve read these books and what you thought of them.

Happy reading, everyone!

Disclaimer: IMM goes to The Story Siren. I only participate on a weekly basis.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pregnancy Information Pamphlet

Plan B

Written by: Charnan Simon

Released: March 1, 2011 by Darby Creek Pub

Summary: Is this happily ever after? Lucy has her life planned out: she'll graduate and then join her boyfriend, Luke, at college in Austin. She'll become a Spanish teacher and of course they'll get married. So there's no reason to wait, right? They try to be careful. But then Lucy gets pregnant. Now, none of Lucy's options are part of her picture-perfect plan. Together, she and Luke will have to make the most difficult decision of their lives.

I have always been pro-choice on just about anything – a person’s life is their own to live – and while I may be vocal when it comes to certain aspects of the lives of the people who I love, pregnancy is one of the topics that I only ever stick to listening and providing a shoulder if needed.

A friend of mine got pregnant just at the end her third year in university and she kept her baby. I don’t think that I’ve ever been as proud of someone as I am of her. She was able to complete her final year of university, graduate, and get into law school. Granted, she had an amazing support group and a loving family, but she’s such a strong person that she would have succeeded no matter what, I think. I truly admire her.

This novelette – it’s super short, hence my not classifying it as a full-blown novel – was good at portraying the emotions that would follow finding out about a pregnancy and the subsequent activities leading up to conception; I could picture myself in Lucy’s shoes even though I’ve never even tried them on while window shopping.

This would be the ideal short story for girls to have to read in health class. It goes over the cautions of sex, the repercussions for not being careful, and the options that a girl has once she finds out that she’s pregnant. The ending also won’t anger any parents (at least I wouldn’t believe it would) since no decision is firmly made one way or the other concerning said baby.

Speaking of the ending, I can see why some reviews didn’t particularly care for it. I wasn’t exactly a fan myself, but that’s mostly because there wasn’t any resolution to the story; it kind of just ended after a weak climax. But in its openness, I liked how the reader was able to decide for themselves the outcome since everyone who reads this would have a different opinion based on their beliefs.

I liked that this was a short read and I was able to decimate it in under an hour. But to be honest, there wasn’t anything to it. I’m giving this one a 5/10, but I do recommend it for younger high school and older middle school readers purely because of the subject content.

I want to thank netGalley and everyone who made it possible for me to read this. It was a nice way to spend an hour.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The First Cure?


Written by: Lauren Oliver

Released: February 1, 2011 by HarperTeen

Summary: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

I was so excited to be able to read this a little bit early from netGalley and I will be going out and purchasing my own copy as soon as I can. I loved this book that much.

Love is one of those emotions that I really can’t get enough of when I’m reading. I think it’s because it can take on so many facets and directions that it can never get old. Star-crossed lovers are way up there on the love stories, and this has the Romeo and Juliet vibe all over it. Plus, love in dystopian literature was just an added bonus that I couldn’t pass up.

I went into this with an open mind purely because after liking Before I Fall, and with all the hype surrounding this novel, I didn’t want to be disappointed. Happily, I wasn’t and I inhaled this book from page one. After all, it’s one of those rare books where the story hasn’t really been done before in this way. If I’m wrong, let me know. I would like to read that book...

Anyways, I didn’t really like Lena at first, but I think that’s mostly because she wasn’t quite was I thought she would be. I pictured her as a bit stronger, but as the story progressed I was able to see her morph into someone who was independent and finally thinking for herself. At the end, I was breathless and bewildered and completely left wanting the next in the trilogy because I needed to know what was going to happen to Lena next.

The love within these pages was the great kind that strikes like lightning and then smoulders until it’s a full-blown five alarm fire. I loved seeing Lena struggle with her feelings; her want and need for the ‘cure’ along with her eye-opening experiences. Her relationship with Alex and its juxtaposition to that of Romeo and Juliet added to the danger and excitement on each page. I was almost holding my breath for several scenes almost scared to find out what would happen next.

The ending of this book is the type that makes me want to hate a book. Meaning, it just ended. Now, I know that there are going to be two other books, but the wait is going to be excruciating since everything was left at loose ends. I need to know what happened and I would like to know ASAP. I suppose that I could resort to looking for fanfiction about this book, but hopefully it won’t come to that. If anything, I wouldn’t want to really spoil what will happen.

I loved this novel and it seems as though Lauren Oliver’s books just get better and better as they come out. This will be high up on my recommendations for anyone who wants a good love story or a good dystopian novel. Luckily, this is a fantastic mix of both. I’m giving it a 9/10 and I can’t wait to get my own hard copy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Caution While Climbing the Ladder - A Mini Review

An actual review will come closer to publication date at the end of this summer, but here’s a mini-review until then.


Written by: Elise Allen

Released: August 1, 2011 by Harcourt Children’s Books

Summary: Cara has always dreamed of being a Populazzi, one of the popular crowd. But it’s not until she changes schools that she gets a shot at it, thanks to her best friend Claudia’s crazy plan. The idea is simple: The rungs of The Ladder are relationships. First get a boyfriend who's ranked low, then climb up through more boyfriends until you're not just one of the Populazzi, but the Supreme Populazzi. Yet what starts off as a fairy tale turns into a somewhat dark comedy of errors. Just when Cara reaches the top, her life hits rock bottom. She wonders why she wanted to be popular in the first place—and if there’s any way to live happily ever after now.

While I had problems with a few parts of this novel, it was a good debut with (mostly) great characters. It was well written and shows great promise for the author's future endeavours.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading about high school drama – a topic that’s never exhaustible. I give it a solid 6/10.

I received my copy via netGalley. Thank you to all who made that possible.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Thirty-Seven

I was surfing Goodreads and I came across this novel. It sounds pretty good.

The Carrier of the Mark

Written by: Leigh Fallon

Released: 2011 by HarperTeen

Summary: A move to Ireland is about to introduce Megan to her destiny, her real destiny, can she embrace it and will she survive it?

A tragedy in Megan’s past set her on a predetermined course. A chain of events has been set in motion that brings Megan to Kinsale, a small town in the south of Ireland where her destiny awaits her. Her life starts to fall into place as she makes new friends and settles into her new school. However, the reclusive and distant Adam DeRís calls to her body and soul.

She finds herself increasingly drawn to Adam and his strange family. Adam knows a secret from her past and he and his family hold the key to her future. A future that binds her to Adam and his world, a world of power, mystery and ancient orders. A world that unbeknownst to her, she very much belongs in.

It looks like this is going to be another debut for this year. The summary has definitely piqued my interest and that cover (hopefully it’s the final one) is gorgeous.

What do you think?

‘Cause Earl Had to Die

The Countess

Written by: Lynsay Sands

Released: January 25, 2011 by Avon

Summary: The fairy tale courtship did not turn into a happily-ever-after . . .

Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters' debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing's happened . . .

Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title . . . only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited "wife"— certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new "husband" . . . and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts!

Meh, this book just didn’t do it for me. I love Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau series and it seemed as though this book was lacking what they all seem to have – and I’m not talking about the vampires.

I think that it was because everything was incredibly rushed. Now, I’m not sure if that was because scenes were missing from my copy – Goodreads states that the book was over 300 pages and my copy was just a little over 200 – or what, but it was all ‘boom, boom, boom, ending’ with this one. It was like you never got a chance to catch your breath until after you were finished reading the very last page.

However, the hanky panky in this book was great and I did enjoy the slight mystery that the plot was shrouded in. The classic mistake of identity was well done and very fun to read.

In the end, though, this just wasn’t fully it – it was missing the je ne sais quois. All the pieces were there but it still seemed as though something was absent. It is a fun, short read that promises the typical Lynsay Sands smut-tastic romance and I would recommend it if you’re looking for a spring break beach read. I give it a 6/10.

Many thanks to netGalley and Avon for allowing me the chance to read this e-book edition.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Television Tuesdays (1)

My sudden venture back into some old TV shows via DVD has left me wanting to share my feelings over certain series’ so Vintage Tuesdays is going to take a backseat for a while and make way for a new weekly feature.

This week is going to be none other than my current flashback Veronica Mars – a show cancelled well before it’s time (if you ask me).

I fell in love with this show as soon as I first saw an episode and quickly spent my money on the seasons (all three of them) as they came out on DVD. In fact, I’m pretty sure that season one was the first television series that I had ever bought. This was also the season that I watched over and over again when my mum and I moved into a new house and we didn’t have to television set up yet. I fell asleep and procrastinated doing homework while watching Veronica solve cases on a portable DVD player.

I think it was my inner Harriet the Spy that attracted me to this show. As each episode unfolded week after week, I was completely caught up in who murdered Lilly Kane and every episode-based case. Plus there was the lack-of romance between Veronica and Duncan which always had you questioning what went wrong between the two of them. Oh, and there’s Logan Echolls... yum. But, come on, a show about a teenage private investigator? How can you not want to watch?

Seasons one and two both focused on a season-long mystery that was solved during the last episode where season three had two mysteries that encompassed half a season each. Thrown into the mix were PI cases that took the entire episode to solve (thereabouts) with a few episodes that were more two-parters. Personally, I’m more of a fan of the first two seasons just because the intrigue built up over 20-some episodes and by the time the final episode came with the climax and resolution you were just about ripping out your hair. Several of my friends were felled during exam time by this show for that reason alone.

Veronica as a character is a girl who you just can’t help but want to be friends with. Set aside the fact that you wouldn’t want to be on her bad side, she’s the smart, sarcastic, and sassy girl that you would want to be but would settle on hanging out with. While watching the show, you want to make Veronica and Wallace’s dynamic (platonic) duo into a trio and help solve crimes. But she’s also such a broken character that you can’t help but feel for her and want to see her succeed where others had failed.

I think that the writing in this show is phenomenal. Set aside the genius for writing mysteries, there are all these classic one-liners and quippy little moments that make you laugh. Plus, the characters are so well developed – a must for the depths of the mysteries – but acting can only take a character so far and the writing foundations must have been great.

Another thing that was great about this show was that it was completely parent appropriate; my dad and I would sit and watch marathons on the weekend when I had a few episodes to catch up on. And, when I got the DVDs, we would watch an entire season at a time. I think that he was only able to stomach it because Veronica’s father was a focus for several of the story lines as was the father-daughter relationship between him and Veronica.

This is one of those shows that I’m able to watch over and over. In fact, I just recently re-watched season three and was devastated when I found out that one of the DVDs was ruined and would no longer play. Sadly, I’m going to have to find a replacement season somewhere inexpensive or try and see if I can exchange it somewhere for a new one.

My only complaint about this show is the wig that they used on Veronica in the season one flashback scenes. It was truly heinous.

So, if you haven’t yet experienced the amazingness of Veronica Mars, you should totally go out and try to find copies to watch. Beg, borrow (but don’t steal) your way to watching this. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed if you give it a chance. Trust me. As crazy as I am about my books, I tend to know a lot more about movies and television shows. And that’s saying something.

Oh, and as a bonus for this show, the soundtrack and the music used in the show is amazing.