Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bring Me Back to Life

Die for Me

Written by: Amy Plum

Released: May 5, 2011 by HarperTeen

Summary: My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

Ok, before I even start this review I’m going to warn you that there are going to be spoilers for the novel. So if you don’t want some of the story ruined, close this window and go here. The reason that I would be unable to write this without spoiling anything is that it would be so hard to write about the novel in general without bringing in details.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Beware the Blood Moon

Red Riding Hood

Written by: Sarah Blakley-Cartwright based on a screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson.

Released: January 25, 2011 by Poppy

Summary: The blacksmith would marry her.
The woodcutter would run away with her.
The werewolf would turn her into one of its own.

Valerie's sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.

After her sister's violent death, Valerie's world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them--it could be anyone in town.

It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes...or everyone she loves will die.

Save your money and just go watch the movie on cheap night. Seriously, aside from a very few added scenes this is a verbal regurgitation of the script. Hell, even the description of the scenery was taken directly from the sets used. So as a novelization of a film it was pretty well done. As a book in general it was completely plagiarized.

And yet, I enjoyed reading this – aside from the fact that I stupidly had to go online to download (for free) the final chapter. But when you stop to think about it, as stupid as it was it was fairly smart in a business sense. It created publicity which would have brought in the film, which probably didn’t hinder ticket sales. I don’t think it would have helped with book sales, though. I know several people who didn’t buy the novel when they found out it wasn’t complete.

I find it hard to rate this book. It screams Catherine Hardwicke (even though she just wrote the introduction) and I love her films. I really got into the book and I loved the movie. So, I’m going to rate it the same as I did the film; 8/10. It does the film justice but that’s about it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

If I Stay

Written by: Gayle Forman

Released: January 1, 2009 by Speak

Summary: Mia has no memory of the accident that changed her life. This inexperienced 17-year-old only recalls riding on that slippery Oregon road with her family, then, in an instant, seeing herself lifted from the twisted wreck. This affecting story of one young woman's struggle through tragedy and grieving will appeal to readers of books like Thirteen Reasons Why.

This was some novel. Sure, I went into it with a vague idea of what was going on, but I never imagined that it would be as powerful as it was.

I honestly can’t imagine something worse happening to a person than being the only survivor in a crash which took the lives of all close family. Then to lie in a hospital bed and have to make the decision of whether or not to wake up – it would be horrible. I don’t think that I would be as strong as Mia was.

Mia was an amazing character. It was great to see, the way that the novel was written, how her life was up until and then after the crash. Through the back and forth timeline – the past being represented as memories which are triggered by something happening in “real time” – you are really able to get a feel for the type of person that Mia is and how events in her life affected her and made her into the person she was. It also adds to the big decision on whether to stay or go.

I loved how music was incorporated into the novel. Sometimes making so many characters into musicians and having them in bands can come off as cheesy and overdone. But Forman was able to subtly and not to subtly immerse the reader into the music world, from punk or classical, and made it seem as though the music was almost a character itself.

This was one of those books that is going to haunt you for a while after you’re done reading it. Aside from the heavy subject matter, the writing is so hauntingly beautiful it’s hard to forget. I’m giving it an 8.5/10 and a high recommendation to read it if you haven’t already.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-Nine

There are so many amazing books out there that I would love to get my hands on, and this is just one of many.

Melody Burning

Written by: Whitley Strieber

Released: December 6, 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.

Summary: Beresford doesn’t remember much about his past or how he came to live in the chutes and crawl spaces of the posh high-rise that shares his name. But when rock star and teen sensation Melody McGrath moves to an apartment on the fiftieth floor, he knows he has to be near her. Although she doesn’t realize it, Melody is threatened by more dangerous forces than her manipulative stage mom and the pressures of life in the spotlight. The owner of the glamorous building has been hiding a fatal secret within its walls, and Beresford puts all his plans at risk. Will Beresford and Melody be able to escape with their lives (and love) intact?

Bestselling author Whitley Strieber makes his young adult debut with this pulsing romantic thriller.

Doesn’t it sound simple fantastic? It’s like Outside In meets the Airhead series in a very cool way. Plus, as an added bonus, it’s a 2011 YA debut!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cover Reveal for Twisted

If you’re like me, you can’t wait to read the next novel in the Pretty Little Liars series. I can’t believe that there are going to be four more books in the series, but I’m not complaining! And now the cover is up on Goodreads for the next in the series, Twisted, which is out this July.

I can’t wait!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Movie Monday - Happy Easter


Written by: Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch, and Cinco Paul

Directed by: Tim Hill

Released: April 1, 2011 by Universal Pictures

Rating: PG

Summary: Blending state-of-the-art animation with live action, Hop tells the comic tale of Fred, an out-of-work slacker who accidentally injures the Easter Bunny and must take him in as he recovers. As Fred struggles with the world's worst house guest, both will learn what it takes to finally grow up.

This is such a cute Easter movie and I thought was absolutely perfect for this Monday’s movie review since yesterday was Easter Sunday.

My mum and I went to the movies and this was the only one out which I either hadn’t seen or I was willing to see with a parent (some movies are just a little awkward to watch with parental units – like Black Swan). So by lack of choice, this was really the only movie eligible for viewing. I just wish that people wouldn’t take their much too young children to see these movies. I hate being distracted by their yelling/running/crying/all of the above while watching the movie.

Now, this movie was super cute and I thought that it combined together the animated-reality parts extremely well. Hell, there were parts in the animated bits with the live actors where I was looking to see whether or not it was actually animated or if the set design was just that brilliant that it made everything blend so well together.

The plot was fun, the take on the Easter Bunny mythology interesting, and the play-out was entertaining. I thought that the characters were cast incredibly well – Russell Brand always makes me laugh and as a rabbit he’s too adorable on top of the funny – and the cast itself is surprisingly star studded. I’ll always picture Hugh Laurie as Dr. House but he makes one adorable British Easter Bunny.

There were parts which ended up not being what I thought they would be. Case and point; Kaley Cuoco’s character isn’t the love interest for James Marsden’s character – she’s his sister in the movie. From the trailers I thought that it would play out differently but it worked well with the story.

While I’m glad that I saw this movie before Easter (after would have been weird unless I waited an entire year to see it) I’m also happy that I had movie passes to use in order to see it. It’s the perfect family holiday film and while I’m sure adults will enjoy it – like I did – it really is a movie geared towards the kids. I’m giving it a 7/10 though I’m basing that as a rating for a whole-movie film.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

For everyone who celebrates, I hope that the Easter Bunny was really good to you this year.  

And even if you don’t celebrate, you can still enjoy this adorable picture which I found online. Isn’t it the cutest? And who needs an excuse to eat chocolate?

Have an amazing day, everyone!

In My Mailbox (50)

Can you believe it? It’s only 4 weeks until I’ll be in NYC (or on a plane headed there) waiting to go to BEA 2011. I am so excited that I’m near bursting and I can’t wait to meet people who I only know through blogging. But until then, I’m just going to have to share what all was in my mailbox this week.

Unfortunately, I was lured by the bargain table at Chapters and by paperback releases... but I did get some awesome review titles from netGalley as well.


I Know I am, But What are You? by Samantha Bee
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Hollywood is like High School with Money by Zoey Dean

For Review;

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
In Trouble
Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz
The Clue in the Recycling Bin

I’m so excited to read all of these. One thing’s for sure – they’ll keep my mind busy for the next month so that I don’t go crazy with waiting.

Leave a line and let me know what you got in your mailbox this week!


Disclaimer: IMM credit all goes back to The Story Siren. Check out her fantastic website for more information!
by Gertrude Chandler Warner (review)
by Ellen Levine

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Those Characters

The Clue in the Recycling Bin

Written by: Gertrude Chandler Warner

Released: March 1, 2011 by Whitman, Albert & Company

Summary: When Mrs. MacGregor introduces the Aldens to the local recycling center, they bring home lots of great stuff, including unused notebooks and fun piñata. Mrs. MacGregor was right, you can find treasure in junk. When a series of break-ins and vandalization hits the center, the Alden kids are there to help solve the mystery!

I can’t believe that there are over 100 Boxcar Children novels published and they’re still coming. I’m not sure why this surprises me, but it does. Maybe it’s the fact that I read these novels when I was really young and there were new ones at that point in time. Add in almost twenty years on top of that and I don’t think I could name a children’s series that’s still going strong.

A while back I re-read the first Boxcar Children novel and was taken aback by the time warp. Reading this novel, I was surprised at how modern it was. Sure, a book needs to adapt from decade to decade in order to stay current but with this novel, even though that’s present, it was nice to see the juxtaposition of the modern with the older roots.

The thing that I love about this series is that no matter what time it’s set in, it’s still timeless and it teaches good life lessons. Manners aside, this one is focusing on recycling and being good to the earth. Sure, for today’s youth (a lot of them anyways) this is never going to be the type of novel that they’re going to go for (though they could probably benefit from reading these novels). No, today it’s all about wimpy kids and weird anime things. But those are the times. Oh how they change.

Personally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy this novel but I do appreciate the opportunity to read it. It’s a nice break from other novels since it takes no time at all to actually read and it’s fun to relive my childhood novels. But Benny annoys the living sense out of me and the only character of the four main ones that I can stand for long is Violet. I’m giving this book a 5.5/10.

My thanks to netGalley and everyone who made it possible for me to read this novel.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Feel the Burn

Angel Burn

Written by: L.A. Weatherly

Released: May 24 2011 by Candlewick Press (first published as Angel October 1, 2010)

Summary: Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip — and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

I’m not too sure what to think of this novel. There were parts where I was really into the story and then there were parts where I was so bored that I skimmed the page.

I liked the new take on angel mythology – though it was a little disconcerting to read about angels who behave more like vampires. Interesting, but so strange. I have to give props to the writer for taking a chance like that. I can imagine that the backlash from some for such literal blasphemy wouldn’t be that nice. Think about it. Angels are supposed to be these heavenly beings who, while they have several different vocations, are supposed to watch over humans. Hence the whole ‘guardian angel’ concept. In this novel they feed off humans and warp religion in order to make it easier for them to eat.

I think it’s brilliant.

I also liked the romance between Willow and Alex even though at times (I thought) it was a little forced and I would like to read the forthcoming two novels to see where it goes.

What I didn’t like about this novel was how it dragged. I can’t put it into words other than that. Even though the story seemed to move along well, there were just those parts that maybe could have been cut out or cut shorter. I also wasn’t a fan of the different perspectives; the switch between Willow, Alex, and two others.

The characters in this novel were... ok. They had their moments but for the most part I wasn’t entirely taken with them. I liked the chemistry between Willow and Alex but even that had its moments where I wanted them to just get it done with.

In the end, I just wasn’t all that into it as a whole. Sure, I wouldn’t mind reading the next novels to see where things happen, but if I didn’t it wouldn’t be a huge deal. I’m giving it a 5.5/10.

On a side note: This cover is gorgeous.

My thanks to netGalley and Candlewick Press for allowing me a copy of this eARC.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Newsflash: Zombies = Cancer Cure


Written by: Mira Grant

Released: May 1, 2010 by Orbit

Summary: In 2014, two experimental viruses—a genetically engineered flu strain designed by Dr. Alexander Kellis, intended to act as a cure for the common cold, and a cancer-killing strain of Marburg, known as "Marburg Amberlee"—escaped the lab and combined to form a single airborne pathogen that swept around the world in a matter of days. It cured cancer. It stopped a thousand cold and flu viruses in their tracks.

It raised the dead.

Millions died in the chaos that followed. The summer of 2014 was dubbed "The Rising," and only the lessons learned from a thousand zombie movies allowed mankind to survive. Even then, the world was changed forever. The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection. Danger, deceit, and betrayal lurk around every corner, as does the hardest question of them all:

When will you rise?

This was a novel that I had wanted to read for almost over a year. Seriously, as soon as I found out about it I made it a mission to find a copy for myself. My first break was when there was a copy available for request on netGalley. I gave a little squee when I found it and I don’t think that I’ve clicked that requet button faster than I did with this. But then I did something stupid; I waited until my time with the e-book was almost completely finished before I started to read it. Sadly, at the same time I was incredibly busy with work, so I was unable to finish reading it before it expired. Then I got my second break: in the entire city there were only two small bookstores that had copies of this novel and I was able to get one of my very own.

Then it took me about another month to finish reading this novel. To be fair, I read a lot of other books in-between, so it’s not as if I just wasn’t reading.

This novel isn’t going to be for everyone but I loved it from the first page to the last. Ok, maybe not the first page, but by the middle of the first chapter (which isn’t that long). I fell completely in literary love with Shaun and I wanted to be friends with George all the while being employed by their blog. I loved the dystopian future that was set up and the way that media had shifted largely to blogs in order for accuracy. The whole zombie-apocalypse was also so ingenious that I bow down to greatness.

One thing about this novel that I don’t think many will be able to handle is how dry it is. I don’t mean dry in a negative way, but it’s the best way to describe it. See, the focus isn’t necessarily on zombies as a whole. If anything, zombies have taken the back seat and are just merely an inescapable part of life. No, the focus is the presidential campaign, the gadgets and technology, and how the world has adapted. There’s also a large focus on world issues and the medical breakthrough that was the catalyst for post-life-form regeneration. It’s the way that these parts all work together that make this novel, though dry, so amazing to read.

Another thing that’s so great about this novel was that I had no clue what to expect at any given time. I mean, the book opens with Shaun poking at a zombie with a stick and then him and George having to outrun a horde of them. It’s action-packed and there are several twists and turns that I never ever would have expected. It’s also just so smart and thought provoking.

Basically, this was an amazing novel that I would highly recommend if it sounds like something you would enjoy. While technically labelled as YA I personally don’t look at it as such. In fact, aside from it being on the 2010 Debut YA Author Challenge list on Goodreads, I wouldn’t label it as YA at all. The characters are older and nothing about it screams ‘young adult’. That being said, there’s nothing really in it aside from your general zombie go-alongs which would make it inappropriate for teens to read. It’s probably too much for someone 13 and under (depending on what you personally read at that age), but it’s more than enough for anyone older than that to read without them feeling as though it was “below their age level” at any given time even if they’re not YA inclined in the first place.

I loved this novel and I cannot wait for the next in the trilogy –Deadline – to be released. Hopefully the bookstores in the city will smarten up about the second one and actually have it in stock at the time of its release. I’m giving this novel a 10/10.

Do yourself a favour if you decide to read this, though; don’t read the summary for the second novel until you’re done reading this one. It contains spoilers.

My thanks to netGalley and Orbit for allowing me to start reading this novel until I was able to secure my own copy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-Eight

I love Goodreads. Aside from being able to keep track of the books that I read, it lets me know about the books which are going to come out in the future. This is made easier by the lovely news feed on the home page. Thanks to that, I was able to stumble across this novel.


Written by: Amy Kathleen Ryan

Released: September 27, 2011

Summary: What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.

It sounds great. A little Inside Out meets Matched but also different. I’m excited to read it in the fall.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Movie Monday – Embrace the Suck


Written by: Daniel Barnz based upon the novel by Alex Flinn

Directed by: Daniel Barnz

Released: March 4, 2011 by CBS Films

Rating: PG-13

Summary: A modern-day take on the "Beauty and the Beast" tale where a New York teen is transformed into a hideous monster in order to find true love.

I hate Vanessa Hudgens as an actress; let me just say that right off the bat. I really don’t think that she has any talent and her role in this movie was just average. She always plays the same whiney, dippy character and it got old with the second Disney movie. That alone made me happy that I saw this movie on cheap night.

The movie itself was alright. It’s clear that Alex Pettyfer hadn’t done much as far as main roles went in big name pictures – his performance is whiney and reeking of a green actor – but he did a well enough job that the audience was able to believe him as a spoiled rich kid turned heinously ugly.

The makeup is amazing. I loved the effects with the tree tattoo – taking the place of the Disney rose – on his forearm and how his eyebrows mirrored his school campaign “Embrace the Suck”. It was the little details like that which really awed me. And though the makeup ran nowhere near how it was in the book, the film made the character of Kyle/Hunter its own in a way that didn’t seem to detract from the story.

This isn’t the best movie out there but it’s not the worst either. I’m happy that I saw it, but I could have easily waited until it was in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart too. In the end, I just don’t really care about the movie. Sure it had a few laughs (all Neil Patrick Harris) and a few sighs with the romance. Hell, even Mary Kate Olsen gave a pretty damn good performance as Kendra the witch, but the sum of the parts doesn’t equal the total. Sadly, I’m giving this one a 5/10. If you can, wait until it’s on DVD. Trust me, it’s probably going to be one of those movies that decreases in shelf price fairly quickly.

Looking back at my review of the novel, the Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) character annoyed me even then...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (49)

Well, I bought some books this week but with good reason – I was finally able to have Christmas with my dad and that side of my family, so I got books and money for Christmas. And a Sony Touch e-reader! Now I can take my lovely e-books on the road and leave behind my computer.

So, for Christmas I received;

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan – a signed copy to boot! She was at a lecture thing at the university where my aunt works.
Runaway by Meg Cabot – in paperback so that it matches the other two I have
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Then for review I received;

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade
Nerd Girls by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

I can’t wait to read all of them. I’m really looking forward to Queen of the Dead since I enjoyed The Ghost and the Goth so much last summer.

Leave a comment and let me know what was in your mailbox this week.

As always, check out The Story Siren for information about how IMM came to be.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Four Whiney Vacations

Invincible Summer

Written by: Hannah Moskowitz

Released: April 19, 2011 by Simon Pulse

Summary: Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive....

Not your typical beach read.

I disliked this novel. But I also couldn’t take my eyes off the page (computer screen). See, it’s like this; this novel was like a really gruesome train wreck. As horrible a thing it was, you couldn’t stop yourself from stopping and starring until the entire mess was cleaned up. This is just a testament to how well Moskowitz can write.

Don’t let the cover of this book fool you because it’s not what you’re going to get when you read it. I was thinking that the main character would be female and the story would only span one summer. No, instead the main character is male and his story spans four summers. The only thing that the cover implies that you will get is sex. A fair bit of it, actually. The cover is rather pretty, though, isn't it?

Thinking back on this novel – which I finished reading a few days before writing this review – I can’t pinpoint one specific thing that really irked me about this story; instead it was the culmination of just about everything that made me dislike it from the characters to the plot lines. I hated how whiney Chase was and how irresponsible Noah was. I really, really hated Meredith but I also really pitied her though that didn’t make me like her any more. Hell, the only character I liked was Gideon, Chase’s youngest brother.

And don’t get me started on the incredibly effed up love triangle that happens. All I can say is that technically it was statutory rape since one character was legally older than the other. Plus, the reasoning behind it was just plain wrong. Then there was a scene with the younger sister at 12 years old or so making out with a wait-staff person in a restaurant who was at least 19. Messed up.

There were things that I did like about this novel.

Aside from the writing (or because of it) the male perspective was interesting to read. It was remarkable just how into the head of Chase Moskowitz was able to go and make it believable. However, half the time I also thought of him as a female, but I’m pretty sure that was just because he was so incredibly whiney and overly sensitive. Seriously, aside from the whole sex thing, Chase could have been written as a girl and not much would have changed.

Moskowitz also has a way of writing emotion that really makes you believe that the characters could be real. As much as I disliked them, this was one thing that had me in awe the entire novel. In fact, at the end I was literally in tears.

No matter how amazing the writing was, I just did not enjoy reading this novel. I was expecting something a little different – and that might have added to my dislike – but really what it all boils down to is that it just wasn’t for me. I know that many are going to enjoy this novel, and I hope that they do. For now, I’ll just wait and see what else Moskowitz produces and hope that I enjoy it more than this. I’m giving this a 3.5/10.

My thanks to Simon and Schuster for allowing me a copy of this eARC for review.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Leave. Now.


Written by: Deb Caletti

Released: April 5, 2011 by Simon Pulse

Summary: Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.

Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

This is the girl that I never, ever want to become. In fact, this is the type of girl that I hate and would stop being friends with. However, the way that Deb Caletti wrote Clara, I couldn’t help but like her when she finally wakes up and realizes how bad things were. And this novel had me up late at night, while dealing with a headache, all because I wanted to – no needed to – know what was going to happen.

I have zero respect for females who can’t leave a bad thing. Maybe it’s because I had such great role models while growing up and strong women in my life, but I learned that there are certain things that you need to listen to – namely that inner voice that we all have – and certain things that you should not, under any circumstance, have to put up with. More than likely this is why I’m so picky when it comes to boyfriends, but I want someone who’s perfect for me and who’s going to treat me the way that I deserve to be treated. Losers need not apply.

Sadly, I’ve had friends who don’t have this mentality and have had to deal with their horrible relationships – like Clara in this novel – and telling them that they deserve better. This is something that, every alternate chapter, I was yelling at Clara. Seriously, I had to keep it to a mental yelling, but every chapter that flashes back to her relationship with Christian I wanted to slap the sense into her. And tell her to grow a personality/backbone/independent thought and get the hell away from Dodge.

But this is why this novel is so amazing to read. My favourite types of books are the ones where the author is so fantastic at what they do that you get so invested in the story. Deb Caletti has made me a life-long fan from this first book of hers that I’ve read.

I loved how the chapters alternate from present to past; dealing with the aftermath and the situation in alternating and coinciding plot lines. I think that this is why I was able to begin to like Clara – the fact that there was already proof that she had gotten out and was staying out of her bad relationship. I also liked how she was tentatively moving on and trying to establish herself once again as a separate entity and an individual person.

I also enjoyed how there were footnotes to give little extra bits of information to the reader. They didn’t necessarily have to be there, but they added this extra special something to the entire reading experience. I don’t think that many could have pulled it off, but Caletti did an amazing job.

My all-time favourite bit of this novel? The seagull. Oh my god the parts with him are so cute and funny, I almost wanted one of my own.

This novel is one that I think girls should read if only to point out dangerous behaviour and open their eyes to what could happen. If I were still in high school and I had of read this I would have gone out immediately (well, as soon as the book was published) and purchase a copy for at least one specific friend of mine.*I’m giving it a 9.5/10 and high recommendations to all girls everywhere.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for allowing me the opportunity to read this e-book before publication.

*Happily, since high school, she’s found a guy who treats her really well. Hell, I still might buy her a copy...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Death is Art (A Mini Review)

Putting Makeup on Dead People

Written by: Jen Violi

Released: July 26, 2011 by Hyperion

Summary: It's been four years since Donna Parisi's father passed away, but it might as well have been four days. Donna makes conversation and goes through the motion, but she hasn't really gotten on with life. She's not close with anyone, she doesn't have a boyfriend and she's going to college at the local university with a major that her mother picked. But one day Donna has an epiphany. She wants to work with dead people. She wants to help people say goodbye and she wants to learn to love a whole person--body and soul. She wants to live her life and be loving, at grieving and at embalming and cremating, too. Even as she makes the decision, things start to change. Donna makes friends with the charismatic new student, Liz. She notices the boy, Charlie, at her table and realizes that maybe he's been noticing her, too. And she begins to forgive the rest of her family for living their lives while she's been busy moping.
Jennifer Violi's gentle, moving story of a girl who finds a life in the midst of death will appeal to any reader who's felt stuck and found inspiration in an unexpected place.

This wasn’t exactly what I expected as I read it. After the first few pages I was a little worried that the focus would be largely on death and the after-effects, but what I found instead was a novel about coming into yourself and being true to what you want in life. Sure, death was a large part, but the way that it was used created a much larger picture than one would believe.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a ‘normal’ YA read free of vampires, were-animals, or anything remotely supernatural. If you’re looking for a book that’s firmly rooted in real life sans over-privileged rich kids scrambling to topple someone on the social ladder – this isn’t for you. But if you want something incredibly realistic with real problems and a wonderful plot, try this. Chances are you won’t be disappointed.

Look for a full review closer to the release date!

On a side note; isn't that cover gorgeous?

Thank you to everyone at netGalley and Hyperion who made it possible for me to read this before it's released in stores.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Amazing Trailer

Queen of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is at the very top of any of my to-read lists, but especially for the 2011 debuts (or has it officially been pushed back to 2012?). Honestly, I am very patiently waiting until its publication release date and I will probably be camped out in order to buy my very own copy as soon as the bookstore opens. I would consider pre-ordering, but I want it the day of, first thing, so that I can inhale the story and then bask in it. Then write a glowing review. Yes, I am that positive that it’s going to be amazing.

So, until then, I have to settle for the summary which has been released on Goodreads:

An infamous young assassin who is more than she seems must battle her way to freedom in a corrupt kingdom where magic has been outlawed.

And keep watch for the novel cover.

So imagine my happy surprise when I saw on Goodreads that a trailer has been made and released on YouTube! Unfortunately, I was only able to get about 12 seconds in before I gave up on my dinosaur of a dial-up connection and close the window. But I was able to copy the enabling code so that I could share it here with all of you.

Oh I can’t wait for the release date. If you haven’t added this one to your to-read list (or even checked it out) hurry and do so. It’s going to be amazing.

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-Seven

There isn’t any information about this novel on Goodreads other than the cover photo and release date, but by this cover alone I want to read it.

The Predicteds

Written by: Christine Seifert

Released: September 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks Fire

Tagline: Are you really who they say you are?

What if your boyfriend was destined to commit murder?

As an added bonus, this is also a 2011 YA debut novel. I can’t wait for a summary to be added so that I can find out what it’s going to be about.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Movie Monday - Enter the Wolf

Red Riding Hood

Written by: David Leslie Johnson

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

Released: March 11, 2011 by Warner Bros.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Valerie is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter, but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry. Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon, to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon's arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon...

I wasn’t too sure what to expect with this movie. I figured that the ending wouldn’t be what I was expecting due to the last chapter of the book being withheld from the actual hardcopy – I have since downloaded it in preparation for reading said book. But that was pretty much as far as I went.

This film is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and it just screams Catherine Hardwicke. The sets are so perfect and the cinematography is amazing. The swooping angles of the cameras and the little added touches really make the film something special. It’s the type of film that I could easily watch with only the soundtrack playing (it’s a wicked soundtrack) and just allow that to tell the story rather than the actor dialogue. In fact, I want to buy the soundtrack. It was that good.

I thought that the movie was well cast. The acting was average and there were times where I gave a little giggle because it seemed forced, but it was overshadowed by everything else so it didn’t bother me at all. But I like Amanda Seyfried as an actress and I thought that she did a pretty great job. Plus the male romantic options were really, really good looking.

This is the type of movie that I’ll definitely buy when it comes out on DVD. I also really want to finish read the novel – I’ve started but didn’t get past the first chapter – because it’s supposed to be a bit different. For the movie, I’m giving it an 8/10.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (48)

Another week, another failure when it comes to my habit. I have been on a pretty good streak, though, so I suppose purchasing two teeny little books isn’t that bad. And I just couldn’t pass up a good deal... so there I was – enabling my habit and buying books.

So, this week in my mailbox I got;

Sharks and Boys by Kresten Tracy
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

See, not too bad considering that I only bought Wither and It’s Not Summer Without You. And I have absolutely no plans of buying any more books until BEA in SIX WEEKS! I can’t wait. But I’ve never been one to pass up a good deal... so we’ll see how well I do between then and now.

Wish me luck and leave a line telling me what you got this week.

Disclaimer: For information on IMM go see The Story Siren because it wasn’t my idea. I just happily participate.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

If Romeo Came Alive

The Cellar

Written by: A.J. Whitten

Released: May 2, 2011 by Graphia

Summary: Meredith Willis is suspicious of Adrien, the new guy next door. When she dares to sneak a look into the windows of his house, she sees something in the cellar that makes her believe that Adrien might be more than just a creep—he may be an actual monster.

But her sister, Heather, doesn’t share Meredith’s repulsion. Heather believes Adrien is the only guy who really understands her. In fact, she may be falling in love with him. When Adrien and Heather are cast as the leads in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to Heather, it feels like fate. To Meredith, it feels like a bad omen. But if she tries to tear the couple apart, she could end up in the last place she’d ever want to be: the cellar. Can Meredith convince her sister that she’s dating the living dead before it’s too late for both of them?

Look no further if you want a good zombie novel to read. This novel is full of creepy walking dead goodness with a side of romance and a dash of Romeo and Juliet tragedy. Really, it has just about anything that a reader could ask for in a novel.

The novel starts out shrouded in mystery and though the veil is quickly lifted, what’s left behind is the unsavoury feeling of unease. Don’t let the shortness of the novel fool you, this story packs a lot of punch within its pages and the climax at the end is chaotic.

As far as characters go, it’s clear that both Meredith and Heather have been deeply affected by the death of their father – though in very different ways. Meredith had burrowed into her strength and tried to be the pillar of support and the voice of reason. But Heather has retreated into herself and seems to be lost in her own darkness... until Adrien shows up. While it’s quickly shown that Adrien isn’t what he seems, it’s hard to decide what to think of him as the plot unfolds.

Through the alternating perspectives of Meredith, Heather, and Adrien the story unfolds and it’s hard to take a firm decision on whom to side with. Personally, I can see the love that blooms between Heather and Adrien, I feel the need in Meredith to protect her family from evil. But then the question of how to define evil comes about; after all, evil is relative.

The ending left me a little confused, though. It’s just that there seemed to be a few details overlooked – which I can’t elaborate on without giving anything away – but unless I read too fast and just plain skipped over them, I have some unanswered questions. But for the most part, though frenzied, the ending was non-stop action that almost left me in tears.

I enjoyed reading this novel. The writing was fantastic and the plot was pretty damn cool. And while it may not normally be something I would pick up, I’m really glad that I read it. I’m giving this a 7/10. I now want to read other works by these authors (since A.J. Whitten is a pen name for a mother-daughter duo).

Oh, and isn't the cover gorgeous? It definitely adds to the mystery and creep-factor.

My thanks to netGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mysteries Revealed at Last (a mini review)

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick

Written by: Chris Van Allsburg and others

Released: October 25, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade

Summary: One Pulitzer Prize, five Newbery Medals, three Newbery Honors, two Caldecott Medals, one Caldecott Honor, three National Book Awards, seven National Book Award nominations, and five Coretta Scott King Awards. This is only a partial list of all accolades earn by the contributors of this book.

This inspired collection of short stories is based on the original illustrations of Chris Van Allburg in his esteemed and mysterious The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, originally published in 1984, and features many remarkable, best-selling authors in the worlds of both adult and children's literature: Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, and Chris Van Allsburg himself.

Van Allsburg's Harris Burdick illustrations have evoked such wonderment and imagination since Harris Burdick's original publication in 1984; many have speculated or have woven their own stories to go with his images. More than ever, the illustrations send off their eerie call for text and continue to compel and pick at the reader's brain for a backstory--a threaded tale behind the image. In this book, we've collected some of the best storytellers to spin them.

When I was in grade 5 or 6 (some time in the late ‘90s) my teacher decided that we were going to do a literary unit on Chris Van Allsburg. The weeks that followed had us reading Jumanji, The Z was Zapped, The Polar Express, and every other Van Allsburg book that we had available in our school library. With each book we did a project and the one that went with The Mysteries of Harris Burdick was my favourite. That’s because the project that we did was this book.

Ok, it wasn’t this book exactly, but everyone in the class had to sign up for one of the pictures and write a short story incorporating both it and the caption below it.

This collection is a wonderful use of the imagination that will captivate audiences all over the world. It really showcases the power of a picture and how it can help form an entire stream of consciousness. I give it 9/10.

My thanks to both netGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read this.

An Excerpt!

I you’re as excited as I am for the release of Kieran Scott’s new novel He’s So Not Worth It – the sequel to She’s So Dead to Us – then this is news that’s going to make you happy. At least it made me happy.

Right now you can go over to Kieran Scott’s blog and read the first THREE chapters!

I just finished reading it and I cannot wait until I’m able to read the rest of the novel. Only a few chapters in and already I’m hooked on the drama.

So if you’re interested, check it out! It’s well worth the time it will take.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vampires are So Over

The Magnolia League

Written by: Katie Crouch

Released: May 3, 2011 by Poppy
Summary: After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah's long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?

As in her popular adult novels, Crouch's poignant and humorous voice shines in this seductively atmospheric story about girls growing up in a magical Southern city.

Not what I was expecting at all. Since Crouch is already an established author with a following, I knew to expect something well written and imaginative from her first YA novel, but I never would have thought that this calibre of story was possible. And while I know that many will disagree with me, I really loved this story. It caught my attention from the very beginning and I had to continue reading right until the very end. This, of course, led to a marathon read after I couldn’t sleep once done reading this novel.

Alexandria (Alex) was one of those whiney characters who knows that she’s being a brat and even calls herself out on it, but circumstances taken into consideration, her behaviour is warranted. After that, her constant harping on spending money and the like got to be a little irritating, but once again it was all a part of her past and her character, so I let it slide. Where things really get interesting as far as her characterization goes is when she gets the proverbial slap in the face from reality. Then everything goes insane. What I really didn’t like about her was (after she stopped complaining) how she grasped onto the entire Magnolia offering as soon as she realized just how much it could benefit her. She went from a character with morals to one who cared more about how she looked in about 2.5 seconds. But I did love how she reigned herself in just in time for the ending.

I loved Alex’s grandmother Miss Lee and how she was described as a “ninja with brass knuckles, dressed for a tea party”. Seriously, she is one fierce character. Plus, what sort of grandmother would catch her granddaughter smoking pot and then just tell her that if she’s going to smoke she should just smoke tobacco since their family has stock in it. I hope that I’m half as cool as that once I’m in my sixties.

I loved the incorporation of hoodoo into the story and how it explored both the negative and positive points of it. It was great how it was neither condemning it as a reality or pushing all of its chips into it either. What it did was skate that thin line between, which was fantastic. Plus, hoodoo isn’t something that we see in the everyday paranormal YA novels, so this was something new to read and it was fantastic.

This book has just about everything to offer a reader. There’s the paranormal edge, the romance, the mystery, the magic, plus death, life and everything in between. I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel and I just hope that its release date hurries up and gets here as soon as possible. The ending in this novel definitely leaves you wanting more and needing to know what is going to happen. Plus, it leaves several mysteries unsolved. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who thinks it looks like a great read and I would suggest to try it even if it you don’t think that it does. I’m personally giving it an 8/10.

My many thanks to netGalley and Poppy who made it possible for me to read this before its publication date.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Forty-Six

Last autumn I read Halo by Alexandra Adornetto and I was rather blown away by her North American debut – especially since she’s so young. Ever since then I have wanted to read the next two novels in the trilogy.

Well, finally, the cover was released for the second book. While I’m not a fan at all, I still can’t wait to read it and find out what happens to Bethany.


Released: August 28, 2011 by Feiwel & Friends

Summary: Even the love of her boyfriend, Xavier Woods, and her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep the angel Bethany Church from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly her loved ones as well. Can he be trusted in this wager? And what does Jake have Xavier believing about Beth’s fate that may result in an act of betrayal that will leave Bethany – and readers – wondering if Xav is so good after all?

The summary sounds fantastic and I cannot wait until the end of summer. But how does someone go about being tricked into getting on the back of a motorcycle?

But then there’s this cover which I really hope isn’t the final one. I just think that this cover just doesn’t have the romance and appeal that the first had. It's also not as graceful and classically beautiful. If this had been the cover for the first novel I don’t think that I would have been near as excited to read it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Movie Monday - Speak Straight

The King’s Speech

Written by: David Seidler

Directed by: Tom Hopper

Released: December 22, 2010

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George ('Bertie') reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stammer and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country through war.

I almost fell asleep while watching this movie. I know, I know, throw the rotten vegetables at me and put me in the stocks, but I just wasn’t interested. Even though it was a good movie, with great actors and fantastic performances, I just wasn’t thrilled. I also saw is months ago just after it first came out... so this review is very late in coming.

Sure, it’s not supposed to be a movie where there’s a lot of action. It’s based on true life, after all, and on a person who is well known in the history books.

But, while it wasn’t a movie for me – my mum and aunt wanted to go and I went with them – it was interesting. Hell, it’s worth watching just to see Helena Bonham Carter looking nothing like herself. Honestly, it took me a second to put her in this movie together with the “fashionista” that walks the red carpets. And her performance is remarkable. She’s so poised and together; it really shows just how flexible an actress she really is and how much talent she has. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress after all at this year’s Academy Awards.

Of course, this movie wouldn’t have been as great as it was without Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. These two are top of the tier for acting on their bad days and their performances were remarkable in this film. It’s no wonder that Firth won Best Actor at the Oscars and Rush was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. The chemistry on screen between them was funny and touching and I really don’t think that anyone else could have pulled it off as well as the two of them.

So it’s not a movie that I will ever watch again, but I don’t regret seeing it. It’s one of those award winning films that everyone should probably see just to watch for themselves why it won as many awards as it did. Personally, I’m giving this a 6.5/10 but I know many will disagree.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rampant Winner!

I tried to get this posted yesterday, but I worked and was exhausted when I came home. So I instead decided who would win – random draw via text message and choosing a number – and I waited to write this post.

And so, without further ado, the winner for a fantastic copy of Diana Peterfreund’s Rampant is...

Sara, I’ll be e-mailing you soon. Congratulations!

In My Mailbox (47)

Another week, another victory over my book addiction. And another victory for my bank account. I’m so happy about that since it helps save for BEA – countdown is at 7 WEEKS!!!!!!!

As for books, I was lucky enough to receive for review;

Shine by Lauren Myracle
Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith
The Twisted Thread by Charlotte Bacon
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

My thanks to netGalley and all publishing companies who made it possible for me to review these titles.

So this is what I got in my mailbox this week. Leave a line and let me know what you got in yours.

Disclaimer: I never will, nor have I ever, had an idea like In My Mailbox; that goes fully to The Story Siren. So if you want more info, check out her amazing website.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Two is Better Than One?

A Tale of Two Castles

Written by: Gail Carson Levine

Release: May 1, 2011 by HarperCollins

Summary: Mysteries abound, especially in Two Castles.

A handsome cat trainer, black-and-white cats, thieves on four legs and two, suspicious townsfolk, a greedy king, a giddy princess, a shape-shifting ogre, a brilliant dragon. Which is the villainous whited sepulcher?

Elodie journeys to the town of Two Castles to become a mansioner—an actress—but luck is against her. She is saved from starvation by the dragon Meenore, who sends her on a dangerous mission inside the ogre's castle. There, disguised as a kitchen maid at an ogre's feast, she finds herself cast in the role of a lifetime and pitted against a foe intent on murder.

Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine weaves an entrancing tale of a fearsome ogre, a dragon detective, and a remarkable heroine, who finds friendship where she least expects it, learns that there are many ways to mansion, and discovers that goodness and evil come in all shapes and sizes.

I’m pretty sure that I was confused for about ¼ of this novel trying to figure out exactly what was going on. Maybe I was just having a slow moment, but I’m almost embarrassed that it took me as long as it did. However, once I fully clasped on to the entire story, I was swept away with the mystery and the magic. In that way, this is your classic Gail Carson Levine novel. I think that a part of the reason it took me so long to get into this story was because I was figuring on more of an Ella Enchanted type read – something I have to stop doing while reading Levine’s books.

This novel was really cute. I liked following Elodie on her adventures and seeing how she grows up during them. Her interaction with the other characters in this novel is endearing and I liked how she didn’t always take things at face value even though it showed her naiveté.

I loved the mystery of this novel (once I was clued into it). And the ending threw me for a complete loop; I never saw that coming. That alone is reason enough to read this novel. When the big reveal came I was all ‘what the hell?’ and then I had to re-read the scene just to make sure I read it right the first time.

This is a great MG novel. It has everything that a reader could want from this genre and you can be sure that a novel by Levine will always be worth reading. I’m giving this novel a 7/10.

A big thank you to netGalley and HarperCollins for allowing me an advanced readers copy of this novel.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Preggo My Eggo


Written by: Megan McCafferty

Released: April 26, 2011 by Blazer + Bray

Summary: When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

I really felt as though this could have concluded better than it did – meaning that it could have included the second novel. But, I’m also biased because I really just want to find out what happens next.

It took me a while to get into the flow of alternating chapter perspectives between Harmony and Melody. While I liked the tactic to see into how the other twin was thinking, I found myself dreading the Harmony chapters in the beginning. While I really grew to like her in later chapters, the first few had her incredibly preachy and just way too good. Melody, on the other hand, I kept flitting back and forth on whether or not I liked her as a character.

The novel itself is beautifully written and because of that the conflicting issues are really brought forth in this unique light. The idea that all forms of birth control were illegal was something that really made me think. That paired with the idea that girls as young as 12 were popping out babies because they were paid to do so and that there were scholarships centred around this, it made me a little ill. But through how it was written, I was completely able to see both sides of the argument. I may not like all the arguments, but I can clearly see them.

This was a great YA debut for 2011. It’s interesting, fresh, and plays brilliantly on the growing dystopia trend. It takes real problems that we have now and twists them into something grotesque that captivates us so completely that we can’t look away. I cannot wait to read the next in the series and I can only imagine that it will be even better than this. I’m giving this novel a 9/10. Be sure to add it to your lists.

Thank you to everyone at netGalley and Harper Collins for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel.