Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (62)

I broke my book ban – but it was completely worth it! Besides, three weeks is such a long time to stay with a book ban, so I’m pretty proud of myself even though I didn’t make it four. But, come on, if I’m going to break my book ban, at least it was for this;

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Heck yes! I was super lucky and was in the right place at the right time at my local Shoppers Drug Mart when they were doing the weekly changeover in books. This little beauty was sitting at the bottom of a pile on a cart and since the staff there love me I was able to buy it on Monday!

Then from NetGalley I got some amazing titles this week!

Eve by Anna Carey
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies

The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees
Ambitious by Monica McKalhan
Reel Life Starring Us by Lisa Greenwald

So that’s it for me this week! Leave me a line and let me know what you got in your mailbox!

As always, IMM credit is due to Kristi The Story Siren and her amazing blog.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

For Heart or Country


Written by: Cayla Kluver

Released: June 28, 2011 by HarlequinTeen

Summary: I noticed his eyes. They were blue, sharp and intense. Despite the youthful glows of his suntanned face, his eyes were cold and unfriendly, suggesting he had great experience in the world and was now expecting the worst.

In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.

When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.

In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.

Oh what a horrible ending for a great story! I, of course, mean that in the best way possible. I just don't want to have to wait the long while for the next two novels. I need to know what happens next and it stopped at such a horrible moment!

Aside from the ending, there was one thing that I didn’t care for with this novel, and that was how the pacing seemed to drag for the first third of the novel. Don’t get me wrong, the story is one that will keep you going through the lull, but it’s in my opinion that about 100 pages could have been summed up in less. However, at the same time (since this is the first in a trilogy) I can also see where those pages were needed for story building to hold up the entire series arc.

I loved the world that Kluver created inside of this novel. You can tell that it’s roughly based upon true-life historical fiction but the alternate universe allowed for such exploration and the ability to create a whole new history. That, paired with her characters and the warring nations, makes this a book that’s hard to put down once you’re entrenched in the mystery and adventure.

Another thing that I really loved about this novel was how Kluver made Alera go through a subtle transformation as each chapter passed by. She started off as a little girl who was slightly petulant but did what she was told to a girl who started to follow her heart and grow a bit of a backbone. I can’t wait to see how much more she evolves in the next two novels because it’s great to see a female character become true to herself.

The romance in this novel was one of the real draws that kept my eyes on the page. I needed to know what was going to happen and who Alera was going to choose (or not choose) to be her husband. I wanted to know how far she would go for both her country and her heart. Her turmoil over the entire love triangle was heartbreaking and leaves you questioning if true love can conquer everything.

I’m giving this novel an 8/10 and high recommendations to read this amazing debut. I hope that the release dates for the next two novels comes sooner rather than later!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for allowing me to read an e-galley of this novel.

Seriously though, what a horrible ending!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wilde Child


Written by: Karsten Knight

Released: July 26, 2011 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Summary: Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned.

Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smouldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

I have three hours left on my lease for this e-galley from Simon and Schuster (from the time that I'm actually writing this review, not when it will be posted on my blog), so I really need to get down and write my review so that I can cross-reference any information I may have forgotten (I’m pants at remembering names!). So this review will be written just in time for the midnight release.

This was an absolutely amazing novel to read and I am so happy that I was able to read a copy through S&S. Of course, now I’m going to have to go out and buy my own hard copy, but I think I can manage that! Seriously, though, this is a story unlike any that I’ve come across for quite a while. Not only is it overflowing in a plethora of ethnic characters (who don’t conform to stereotypes), it is also rich in storytelling.

Ash is a phenomenal character. In fact, I’m floored by how amazing she is considering that she was written by a he. Aside from the fact that this just shows the magnitude of Knight’s writing capabilities, the way that she was written really made her jump off the page. Add in the awesome mixture of all the supporting characters and you’re never left bored.

I don’t know what else I can say about this novel without repeating myself and generally sounding like a crazed person. If you haven’t already, try and get your hands on this novel sooner rather than later – you definitely won’t be disappointed. I’m giving this novel a 10/10.

My eternal gratitude to Simon and Schuster’s galley grab for allowing me the opportunity to read this novel.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Covers and Summarys for Spell Bound and Fever

I have the books that come before both these ones sitting on my shelf, but since my TBR is so out of control lately I haven’t been able to read them yet! However, that’s not stopping me from being super excited about these two for both their summary’s and their covers**.

Spell Bound

Written by: Rachel Hawkins

Released: March 13, 2012 by Hyperion Book

Summary: Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?


Written by: Lauren DeStefano

Released: February 21, 2011 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Summary: Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

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

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

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

Admittedly, the Fever cover kind of scares me and may just give me nightmares, but I still can’t wait to read it!

**keep in mind, these covers may not be final.

Deal With the Devil - a mini review

The Mephisto Covenant

Written by: Trinity Faegen

Released: September 27, 2011 by EgmontUSA

Summary: Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

I really enjoyed this novel. As soon as I started reading it I didn’t want to put it down and I needed to know what would happen. I love it when a book can sink its hooks into me from page one and keep my eyes glued to the page until the very end and while I’m greatly looking forward to the next novel, I can’t help but think that this could have been condensed into one longer novel. Of course, that could also just be my insane want for the next so that I can find out what happens next. The ending was pretty well done, but there were enough loose ends left that I still have many questions left unanswered.

I’m giving this novel an 8/10 and I can’t wait for the next.

Stay tuned closer to the publication date for a full-length review.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Egmont for allowing me to read an E-galley of this novel!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Looking for Your Next Nightshade Fix?

So the news has been out all over Twitter for the last few hours, but for those of you who aren’t Twitter (like I was up until a month or so ago) here’s the breaking news (maybe, if you haven’t already heard).

As most of you know, today marked the launch of Andrea Cremer’s Wolfsbane. I was lucky enough (SUPER LUCKY!) and was able to snag a copy last night at my local Shoppers Drug Mart where I’m in tight with the lady who does the books and magazines every Monday night. Lo and behold, Wolfsbane was in the pile of books on her cart and I was able to properly squee and grab a copy before it went on the shelf.
Now, I’m almost finished reading Heartless by Gail Carriger, so I haven’t dived right into reading Wolfsbane quite yet, but for those of you who have – and who have subsequently finished reading it already – there’s the first chapter of book three Bloodrose up online for you to read! Just click the link here and find out what happens next in order to take the edge off your need for the next novel which unfortunately doesn’t come out until February 21, 2012.

So now I’m off to finish reading Heartless and start reading Wolfsbane!

On a side note, isn’t the Bloodrose cover gorgeous? And I am SO beyond happy that the hardcover sizes are the same between Nightshade and Wolfsbane. I hate it when they don’t look right together on the shelf...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (61)

This marks week THREE of my book ban holding strong! I couldn’t be more proud of myself, especially considering that I’ve been to Chapters, Wal-Mart, Costco, and my own place of work and I haven’t succumbed to the temptation!

However, I was able to get some amazing galley titles from Simon and Schuster!

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Tunnel Vision by Susan Shaw

Nocturne by Christine Johnson

I can’t wait to read them. I think that I’m going to try and tackle them while I’m on vacation the first couple of weeks in August.

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

As always, for more information about IMM (and to just go to an amazing book blog) check out The Story Siren.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Little Birds in Tuxedos

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Written by: Richard and Florence Atwater

Released: first published in 1938

Summary: The unexpected delivery of a large crate containing an Antarctic penguin changes the life and fortunes of Mr. Popper, a house painter obsessed by dreams of the Polar regions.

This was one of the classic novels that I had never read as a child and never really wanted to. However, after finding out that it was being made into a movie, I grew curious and I was provided with the perfect opportunity to read it through NetGalley.

It definitely wasn’t what I was thinking it would be, though it shouldn’t be as surprised as I am about it. I think it’s because I went into reading this thinking that it would be like the movie trailer and not like a novel published in the ‘30s.

While I doubt this would ever be a novel I would read again, I enjoyed this very short novel and I was able to read it in an hour or so (taking breaks and waiting for the lag with my e-reader) and it’s nice to have added it to the list of classics that I’ve read. I’m giving it a 5/10.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Publishing for making it possible for me to read this novel.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Campfire Tofu


Written by: Sasha Paley

Released: May 22, 2007 by Simon Pulse




April's been saving all year to afford Wellness Canyon (aka Fat Camp) and she can't wait to start losing weight. Wil's wealthy health-nut parents are forcing her to go to the camp, but Wil is determined to get revenge by gaining weight. They're supposed to work together to meet their weight-loss goals. But Wil's leading April on "hikes" to 7-Eleven, April's relentless pep is driving Wil to hit her secret stash of Godiva, and soon they're both crushing on the same guy. With April as committed to the cause as Wil is determined to undermine the system, this summer's going to be about more than just counting calories....

Sending your children away to “fat camp” has always intrigued me. I mean, at a regular camp you’re never not busy; there’s always swimming lessons, bike riding, hiking, canoeing, and so many other typical camp activities. Sure, you also have your arts and crafts and other indoor things, but in my experience the counsellors were always making us be outside as much as possible. So exactly what’s the added benefit of a “fat camp”?

Well, this book helped me see the difference while still offering a peek into regular camp life.

I liked the duo-perspective between Wil and April and seeing how much their views differed on their experience while at Wellness Canyon. I also liked seeing just how far each would go to get what they wanted – only to discover what they really wanted in the process.

This is a great read for the summer (especially if you’re away at camp) but it’s also a good read in general. One thing that I wasn’t keen on, though, was that actual weights were never mentioned. I kept picturing the characters much bigger than I think they would have been. I also couldn’t help but picture the actors cast in the television show from a couple of years ago.

Overall, I’m going to give this novel a 7/10 and I recommend it to anyone who wants a fun summer camp read.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Red Riding Hood was a Fruit

Honestly, Red Riding Hood was Rotten! The Story of Little Red Riding Hood as Told by the Wolf

Written by: Tricia Speed Shaskan

Illustrated by: Gerald Guerlais

Released: August 1, 2011 by Coughlan Publishing

Summary: OF COURSE you think I did a horrible thing by eating Little Red Riding Hood and her granny. You don't know the other side of the story. Well, let me tell you...

This was a cute little book that drew my attention on netGalley with its title. I’ve always loved when authors take the classic fairy tales and put a spin on it like this one for short stories. I have an aunt who had a book of them and I used to love it when she read them to me.

The way that Shaskan made the wolf a vegetarian (with a craving for apples) was an adorable little twist on the classic story. Same with how Granny and Red were made to resemble apples; in fact, it was rather genius.

This is going to be a fantastic picture book for young readers. Sure it has larger words spattered throughout, but the pictures are colourful and for the most part there are fewer words per page than picture. I can definitely see my 6 year old cousin reading this out-loud like he does with his Franklin books.

I’m giving this book a 5.5/10. While it will be one I’ll keep my eye out for in order to recommend it to young readers, it’s probably not one that I’ll read again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

TEEN VOGUE and their top 25 Summer Must-Haves!

If you’re like me and are always looking for new amazing reads (especially for lazy summer days), Teen Vogue has put out their top 25 summer must-reads list. There are some books on this list that I absolutely cannot wait to read, and here are a few highlights;

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer
Between by Jessica Warman
Hooked by Catherine Greenman
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan
Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin
Eyes in the Mirror by Julia Mayer
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Tylor

Admittedly, I have read a few and I have an ARC or two of a couple others (which I was lucky enough to acquire at BEA), but this list is full of great books I can’t wait to get my hands on. If you want to browse the entire list, visit the link here.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my July giveaway (for Canadian and US addresses only, sorry!) where you may be able to win a title or two from this list!

Monday, July 18, 2011

While I still have to get around to reading Prom and Prejudice, this is an amazing cover for the next Elizabeth Eulberg novel, Take a Bow.

Well, what do you think? Be sure to check out Elizabeth Eulberg’s blog for more information on the novel (including summary) and leave a comment!

Movie Monday - Mistaken Identities

Monte Carlo

Written by: Tom Bezucha, April Blair, Maria Maggenti, Kelly Bowe based upon the novel by Jules Bass

Directed by: Tom Bezucha

Released: July 1, 2011 by Fox 2000 Pictures

Rating: PG

Summary: A young woman, her uptight step sister and her best friend use their savings for a long anticipated dream trip to Paris, which turns out to be a big disappointment. When they decide to take a break from their lousy tour and duck into the lobby of a luxury hotel, one of them is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress. Before they get the chance to reveal their true identities they are wrapped up in misadventures during a vacation to Monte Carlo instead.

I kind of forced my friend Kally to see this movie with me with the promise of her not having to pay for her ticket (I had two free passes). I was in the mood for a brainless chick-click with cute guys and pretty clothing. Luckily, that’s exactly what I got with this movie.

This cast was rather teen-star studded and as a whole they seemed to work well together. It was weird seeing Leighton Meester as someone other than Blair Waldorf but she played her anal part quite well. Selena Gomez was fit pretty well for her part, but at the same time you couldn’t help but be annoyed for when she was trying to do the British accent. It just got a little annoying how she couldn’t always seem to hold onto it... though at the same time with her main character portrayal it did make sense that that was how it was. Still, a little annoying.

If you’re looking for a cute girlie movie to go out and see with your friends, this is a great one. But if you’re looking for a film with a serious (or realistic) plot you might want to check out something else. One comment that my friend had after we watched this was that she was on edge the entire time needing to know that everything would work out without anyone going to jail. So at least it was able to keep your attention.

I’m giving this movie a 6/10. It was cute but not likely one that I will watch again unless it’s for free. I will admit, however, that I was insanely jealous of the entire suitcases of MAC make-up... of I wish that that was my collection.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (60)

Another week, another IMM and this week was rather amazing.

First off, I received in the mail a swag pack from Gretchen McNeil which included a gorgeous signed bookmark and several fake tattoos. I won a Possess twitter contest and I was so excited to get my prize in the mail!

Then I hit the jackpot on NetGalley! I got review copies of;

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
The Sleepwalkers by J. Gabriel Gates
Honestly, Red Riding Hood was Rotten! By Tricia Speed Shaskan
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Tris and Izzy by Mette Ivie Harrison

So this is what I received in my mailbox this week. And look! My bok ban held strong this week! Leave a comment and let me know what you got in yours!

As always, IMM information and origins can be obtained over at The Story Siren where it came into existence. If you haven’t checked out Kristi’s site, you really should. It’s an amazing site.

Oh, and don't forget to enter the July Giveaway for some amazing ARCs - some are even signed!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Love and Salt Water


Written by: Tricia Rayburn

Released: July 12, 2011 by Egmont USA

Summary: After losing her sister and finding out who- or what- she really is, Vanessa returns home for her senior year. Everyone at Hawthorne Prep has questions about her tragic summer, but knowing who to open up to is impossible. As she walks the halls without Justine for the very first time, Vanessa has more to worry about than just making a new life for herself.

Because the sirens are out for revenge. To protect herself and the ones she loves, Vanessa must call on powers she believes she has but does not know how to use. To learn, she'll have to seek help from the only person who truly knows her. But first, she must admit the truth about her real identity.

Another mermaid novel for summer and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. I was so happy when I picked up a copy of this novel while at BEA. I had wanted to read Siren (the first novel) for a while and with obtaining this novel it gave me the push to go out and buy the first so that I could read them together. Of course, now I have to wait probably a year or more for the third novel in the trilogy...

Reading this second novel right after the first definitely had its perks. First of all, since Undercurrent happens right after Siren, I was already in tune with the characters and there was no period of catch-up, so immediately I was thrown into the drama and action.

One thing that I really liked about this novel was how you weren’t sure whether Vanessa was slightly going crazy or if she was really seeing what she thought she was seeing. There were times when I wondered if the transformation had friend her brain (or the connection was playing tricks on her) or whether she was just seeing something that no one else was looking for. The whole psychological angle of the story was just amped from the first novel, which made this a really interesting read.

Another thing that I liked about this novel was the romantic side of things. Sure, there were times where I just wanted to scream at the characters and fill them in on how things were, but I loved reading about Vanessa’s inner battle against her siren nature and her love for Simon. I think that’s why the ending broke my heart just a little bit.

The slight cliff-hanger ending almost made me chuck this novel across the room. I cannot wait to find out what happens next and it made me upset that it didn’t end. Of course, I’m also so excited now to read the last novel in the trilogy, which means that there’s another whole book where I can read about Simon and Vanessa’s romance. But the anticipation might just kill me.

In all, this is a great second novel and a great novel in general. In fact, I enjoyed reading this one just a little bit more than the first! I’m giving it an 8/10.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Please Hold for Baby - a mini review

Pregnant Pause

Written by: Han Nolan

Released: September 19, 2011 by Harcourt Children’s Books

Summary: Nobody gets away with telling Eleanor Crowe what to do. But as a pregnant sixteen-year-old, her options are limited: move to Kenya with her missionary parents or marry the baby’s father and work at his family’s summer camp for overweight kids.

Despite her initial reluctance to help out, Elly is surprised that she actually enjoys working with the campers. But a tragedy on the very day her baby is born starts a series of events that overwhelms Elly with unexpected emotions and difficult choices. Somehow, she must turn her usual obstinance in a direction that can ensure a future for herself—and for the new life she has created.

I’ve said it before; I love reading books about teen pregnancy. I think that’s also where my slight addiction to watching 16 and Pregnant stems from. I always want to know what their decision will be – abortion, adoption, or keeping the baby – and then I almost always put myself into the situation and see if I would have made the same choice.

** On a side note, I was able to read this novel through netGalley and I’ve been super slacking on writing my reviews right away... so bear with me if I’m vague about some things!

Ok, this was one of the books that I started to read during my whole BEA-NYC adventure (see, this review is so late) and it kept some amazing company while I was flying back home. I was immediately sucked into the drama of Elly’s life; her sudden pregnancy, her forced marriage, and her basic eviction from her family. I immediately clicked with her (even in her whiney moments) and was empathetic with her problems. Sure, some of it I felt as though she really brought on to herself, but at the same time I was in awe of how well she was handling everything. Plus, major bonus points for the fact that she quit smoking, drinking and partying as soon as she found out about her sperminated state.

It was the ending of this novel that really made it great. While I don’t think that I could do what Elly ultimately does, I think that I would still feel the completely inner battle that she did. Still, the ending was perfect and even though it didn’t seem quite a few times where things would end on any sort of happy note, I was glad that it did.

Han Nolan is definitely an author who I will be looking out for in the future. This was an amazing novel and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next. I’m giving it a 9/10.

Stay tuned for a full review closer to the publication date! And many thanks to netGalley and Harcourt for allowing me an eARC of this novel.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Stassed Beauty

A Long, Long Sleep

Written by: Anna Sheehan

Released: August 9, 2011 by Candlewick Press

Summary: Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for 62 years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew.

Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose - hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire - is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes - or be left without any future at all.

I tried to explain this novel to a friend just after I finished reading it and I did the story absolutely no justice. So I’ll try to better capture it in my review.

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought that it was a very different take on the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale; definitely one that I never would have ever imagined before. Once I was able to really get into the story (it took a few chapters) it took a lot for me to put it down. This, of course, resulted in long periods of reading and one really late night. The only thing I really had a problem with was the slang used – obviously made up to give that futuristic feel, but slightly annoying to translate nonetheless.

Rose was an interesting character to get to know. You could tell that she had missed out on most things in life but what was really fascinating was how it didn’t affect her in the ways that one would think. Instead I was surprised to see how she embraced it and even flourished in it. Her artwork and artistic abilities was one coping mechanism of hers that really showed just that.

The story and the entire concept of it was so, so different to read. I’ll admit that I’m not one to actively go in search for the more scifi novels out there, but the fairy tale aspect really drew me in. Plus, with the added dystopian undercurrent and the intriguing summary, I couldn’t help but need to know what this novel was about. I also never imagined that this novel would touch on some rather questionable subjects, but I loved it’s take on genetically modified organisms, the constant quest humanity has for the cure for the common cold, the repercussions of society achieving everything that they could ever want, and exactly what defines humanity. And that’s just the top layer. There’s parenting issues involved, human slavery, age-differences in relationships, and so much more. It’s a novel that will make you think while you’re sucked into the action.

As far as debut novels go, this one is top notch and I don’t think that I could have asked for more in a novel. In fact, I almost hope that there’s a sequel because there were a few questions left unanswered which are eating at me a little. But I would be able to live if there wasn’t an accompanying novel... though it would be nice.

Overall, this isn’t a debut to be overlooked. I really enjoyed it and I’m giving it an 8.5/10.

My eARC copy of this novel was graciously provided by Candlewick Press and netGalley.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Fifty-Six

At some point during today I will more than likely have broken my book buying ban since I fully plan on going into the city and more than likely going into a Chapters. I hope that I'm able to get a copy of the Sara Shepard's new Pretty Little Liars book, but this week I am adding to my wish list another one of her novels.

Two Truths and a Lie

Released: February 7, 2012 by HarperTeen

Summary: Sutton Mercer watches from the afterlife as her long-lost twin, Emma Paxton, takes over her identity to solve her murder. But after ruling out her early leads, Emma still hasn’t found Sutton’s killer. A lot of people wanted her dead—but one name keeps popping up: Thayer Vega. When the gorgeous and mysterious Thayer returns to town, Emma has to move fast to figure out whether he’s back for revenge…or if he already got it.

Set in a town where friends can turn into dangerous enemies and everyone harbors dark secrets, The Lying Game is a juicy new series that fans of the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series—and the hit ABC Family show—will love.

I also can't wait to be able to see the television show (if it ever airs in Canada). I also can't wait to find out what happens in these next books with this series. It's so full of mystery I am waiting very impatiently!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (59) - a later than usual posting

First of all, can I just say that I absolutely hate this new blogger draft. It takes forever to load and it just generally stinks. As someone who deal with dial-up because there's no high speed coverage, it's almost enough to make me stop blogging.

Now that that's taken care of, on to the real topic at hand; IMM!

I was so incredibly good this week and I didn't buy anything! Of course, I attribute that mostly to the fact that I've worked the last 9/10 days, so I haven't had time to really do anything. But this is also a good thing, so I'm not complaining.

This is also the reason this post is so late and why I've been in such a book slump; I'm exhausted. So as soon as this is posted, I'm off to watch season 4 of Heroes and fall asleep... only to wake up in the morning to work again.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you got in your mailbox!

Oh, and don't forget to enter the July giveaway!

Disclaimer: IMM is the brainchild of The Story Siren. Visit her amazing site for more information.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Best Friend's Guy

Sometimes it Happens

Written by: Lauren Barnholdt

Released: July 12, 2011 by Simon Pulse

Summary: On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Sebastian dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side...until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction--and one night, into a passionate kiss.

The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Sebastian, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think...

I was interested when I spotted this novel on Simon and Schuster’s galley grab. I hadn’t heard of the author and after I cross-referenced the novel with Goodreads (in order to read the summary) and as soon as I did that I was incredibly intrigued as to what direction this novel would take. I was incredibly pleased to see that this was really based in reality; meaning that I could picture the events of this novel unfolding exactly as they do. There wasn’t any instance where I thought that something ridiculous happened and it was nice to read a novel like that.

I’m not sure whether or not I liked Hannah as a character. I mean, there were so many times when I just wanted to slap her – either to get over herself or to stop whining – but I also felt as though she could be a great person to be around (so long as she didn’t develop a crush on my boyfriend). She just reminded me so much of the high school girls I know, which is part of why I loved how she was written. Her realism made for a good story.

After reading this novel I definitely want to check out more by Barnholdt. Luckily, she has a few novels already floating around out there in book-land. If this is the standard, I can’t wait to read more. However, I’m only giving this novel a 6.5/10 because nothing special really happened and the total ‘wow’ factor wasn’t there; which isn’t a bad thing, though it may sound like it.

My eARC of this novel was provided by Simon and Schuster through their galley grab.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Last Weekend (a mini review)

Never Eighteen

Written by: Megan Bostic

Released: January 16, 2012 by Graphia

Summary: I had the dream again. The one where I’m running. I don’t know what from or where to, but I’m scared, terrified really.

Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. But in the short time he has left there’s one thing he can do: He can try to help the people he loves live—even though he never will.

It’s probably hopeless.

But he has to try.

But first off, bravo to Megan Bostic for a debut novel that most definitely never seemed like a debut. This novel had an air about it that, while raw, never lacked in that professional undercurrent. And to be fair, the subject matter and the pure emotion were what made for a raw experience.

This is a fantastic novel and while it made me cry I would highly recommend it. I can’t wait to see what else Bostic comes out with after this amazing debut. You can be sure that I’ll be reading it. I give it an 8/10.

My thanks to netGalley and Graphia for allowing me to read this advanced copy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How to Climb the Ladder


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.

Before I even start this review, I have to get this off my chest. You cannot – I repeat – cannot get so high that you’re in an almost vegetative state for a while after on your first time, your first hit of smoking pot when it’s only one toke that you take*. Not unless there’s something incredibly nasty included in the mix, but the dude seemed completely fine. Hell, from what I know, most of the time you’re not going to get high at all your first time smoking. When I read that part of the novel I rolled my eyes and almost shut the computer window.

The next time that I almost stopped reading was when I read this;

“After he [Karl the stepfather] fought with Mom, he was so disgusted that he stormed out of the house, promising her that since she was choosing me [Cara] over him, the next time she heard from him would be through his divorce lawyer.”

Honestly, it’s still pissing me off even now. Thank god there was a voice of sanity and reason or else I would have washed my hands of this and called it a day. Still, the maternal unit in this is suffering from some serious mental instability if she willingly submits herself to this stuff. Slight ‘Battered Wife Syndrome’, anyone? Maybe I’m just a stronger person with strong female role models, but I would never EVER allow this to speak to me and my child(ren) in that way, let alone have that attitude towards us.

Ok, now I can continue on with this review.

As you can see above, this did evoke some real emotions from me that obviously stuck around longer than a few chapters. In that respect, this book is great and a phenomenal debut for 2011. It also has some amazingly written characters who are not only well developed but incredibly realistic and relatable.

Cara is your typical YA high schooler; the nobody who becomes a somebody after a full haul that changes just about everything in one way or another. She goes through transformations and in the end... well, I don’t want to ruin the ending. Let’s just say that she gets her man and leave it at that. However, Cara’s little journey was slightly different than others. Sure, there are books about the social climbers, but this one was inherently different in the fact that Cara, while scratching her way to the top, completely evolved into her alias’ and she carried over something from each into her real self. In that way, her disguises were really steps in not social-climbing, but discovering her true self. I think that that’s a great message; everything that happens in life happens for a reason. It either teaches you a lesson or makes you discover yourself. Sometimes it does both.

I thought that the basis of this story was very A Christmas Carol. Each relationship that Cara makes is reminiscent of the ghosts that visit Scrooge with each leaving their mark upon him as well as a life lesson. In the end, the result was the same with a self-realization and a slight change in direction.

I enjoyed this novel and I read it practically in one sitting in one evening (a reader does have to eat at some point). Where I found parts unbelievable and distasteful, I’m purposely putting them aside to look at the book as a whole. I think that the entire reason that I’m giving this a 6/10 is because while I enjoyed it, it didn’t ‘wow’ me at any point. But I think that also has to do with the fact that lately with what I’ve been reading, not a lot has had a completely original foundation; everything can be related to something else (or several somethings else). Still, this was a cute high school read and a great debut. I would recommend it if this is a genre that you like or if you’re interested in diving into YA high school drama for a few hours. Trust me, the drama in these pages does not disappoint.

Oh, and there’s Star Wars references, which is awesome.

Thank you to netGalley and everyone who made it possible for me to read this novel before its set publication date.

*Please note that while I’m not a person who regularly smokes (anything), I lived with them in university and I am 23. I’m also not against or for it – I couldn’t care either way, really – but I do believe that if you’re going to try it, you should make an informed decision and don’t do it just because everyone else is. Peer pressure is never cool, people.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Giveaway - July

Ok, so last month was a huge success and I was able to send out four novels all over the globe! But, there’s the slight problem that I still have several extra novels left to giveaway, so that’s just what I’m going to do!

So, as before, here are the rules!

1. This month, to save my bank account a little, I can only send to addresses in Canada and the United States. Sorry to my international followers!
2. This contest will run from July 5 to July 31 – so the whole month pretty much.
3. There will be three winners. The first name will get to choose a book from the list and they’ll get a Beautiful Creatures t-shirt (size XL) from the list, the second will get to choose one from the remaining list, and the final will get to choose one.
4. In order to enter you have to fill out the firm below.
5. I’ll e-mail the winners in order after the contest closes with updated lists of books.
6. Oh, and you have to be a follower to enter. Old or new, it's all good so long as you follow!

Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman (signed)
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
The Predicteds by Christine Seifert
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater x 2
Bunheads by Sophie Flack x 2
Undercurrent: A Siren Novel by Tricia Rayburn

Good luck to everyone who enters and have some fun!

Cover Reveal - The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

Look at that cover! Gorgeous. Publication for this book isn’t set until April 2012, which might be a good thing because hopefully I can get caught up in my Kelley Armstrong reading by then!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Movie Monday - Escape from Bangkok

Hangover 2

Written by: Scott Armstrong, Craig Mazin, and Todd Philips

Directed by: Todd Philips

Released: May 26, 2011 by Warner Bros. Pictures

Rating: R

Summary: Stu is getting married. Along with Doug, Phil, and his soon-to-be brother-in-law Teddy, he regretfully invites Alan to Thailand for the wedding. After a quiet night on the beach with a beer and toasting marshmallows by the camp fire, Stu, Alan and Phil wake up in a seedy apartment in Bangkok. Doug is back at the resort, but Teddy is missing, there's a monkey with a severed finger, Alan's head is shaved, Stu has a tattoo on his face, and they can't remember any of it. The wolf-pack retrace their steps through strip clubs, tattoo parlours and cocaine-dealing monkeys on the streets of Bangkok as they try and find Teddy before the wedding.

Ok, first of all, I didn’t really enjoy the first movie, and then I went to see this one with the paternal parental unit... talk about awkward. Granted, this movie was better than the first, but only by a little and that’s not really saying much.

I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m not the sort of person who really enjoys this type of stupid-comedy movie or maybe because it was an awkward situation to begin with, but I wouldn’t watch this again and I definitely wouldn’t pay to see it at all – my dad paid for the tickets.

In short, I just didn’t like it, although it has to have something going for it since it’s raked I over ½ a million dollars since its release date. I think that if you were a fan of the first movie you’ll enjoy this one, but for me it’s a 4/10.

RAK June Wrap-up

I participated this month for the very first time in the Random Acts of Kindness hosted over at Book Soulmates and it was an amazing month. I sent out five (I think) and one sample chapter to several Canadian bloggers. I also contacted an Australian blogger to send her a book, but I haven’t sent it out yet so it will be a July RAK I guess.

Then I received one amazing book from fellow Canadian, Lucy, over at Moonlight Gleam's Bokshelf. She sent me Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau and I can’t wait to read it!

I am so excited to participate in July’s RAK and if you’re interested it’s definitely something that you should check out! Click the link below or over in the side-bar.

Book Soulmates

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In My Mailbox (58)

My IMM this week is super late, I know, but it’s been such a crazy weekend between work and family and the holiday that I’ve just been completely exhausted. But I’m writing it and posting it now as I eat Kraft Dinner mac and cheese!

So I really have a hate-on (in a completely good way) for Chapters now. I went way too many times during their Buy 3 Get the 4th Free event; but it did make me come home with amazing books!

Plus, since the postal strike here in Canada was over on Wednesday, I was able to finally receive my RAK from the amazing Lucy from Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf.

So, without further ado, I present my IMM.


Heartless by Gail Carriger
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn’t have) by Sarah Mylnowski
Undead and Unworthy by MaryJanice Davidson
Flawless by Lara Chapman
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
Tiger in the Well by Philip Pullman
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

RAK June

Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau

So this is what I got in my mailbox (literally this time, too, for one!) this week. Leave a comment and let me know what you got in yours!

Stay tuned for my June RAK wrap-up!

Disclaimer: For any and all IMM info, visit the fabulous Story Siren over at her website.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Lipstick Bandolier

Beauty Queens

Written by: Libba Bray

Released: May 24, 2011 by Scholastic Press

Summary: From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

I was beyond excited when I saw that this novel was on the shelf at the pharmacy where I work. Seriously, I squeed and had people staring at me while I snatched up a copy to set aside. And then I dove right into the story. Oh this novel had me giggling like a little schoolgirl. Seriously, it had people giving me weird looks – I’m just a little thankful that I had taken off the dust cover or else there would have been a few more.

But, really, I loved this novel. It’s the perfect summer read and it has so much more going on for it than anyone would ever think. It contains not only the superficial, shallow, stereotypical pageant contestants but lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered characters, cross-dressers, and complete girl power. It has just about everything and anything that a reader could ever want in a novel without seeming like there’s too much going on.

Libba Bray really has a gift for writing. She was able to keep straight the multiple mail characters and each of their separate narrations. I never felt as though I was overwhelmed with the many different voices and I was never lost in who was speaking at which time. It was amazing how Bray kept the flow constant while alternating views every so many pages. Really, mad props.

If this isn’t on your summer To Read list, make sure to at least check it out. Don’t be fooled by the pretty cover and the lipstick bandolier, these girls kick some major butt and bring on the hurt. I give it a 10/10!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

To all my fellow Canadian bloggers out there, Happy Canada Day!

I, unfortunately, have to work today (hell yes to time and a half!) but I'll be done in time for fireworks! Hopefully everyone else has a great Canada Day!

I'll be back to my regularly scheduled reviews tomorrow.

Summer Giveaway - June WINNERS!

So I picked the winners the fairest way a girl with dial-up can – I made my friend Rachelle choose three numbers within the given parameters.

7 – Carol from South Africa

25 – Krystal from USA

14 – Brett from Australia

I’ve e-mailed the winners already and as soon as they all choose their titles I’ll post the giveaway for July!

Of course, if you’re jonsing for a contest to enter, I’m doing a flash-giveaway of a Beautiful Creatures t-shirt on twitter! Click the link here for more information!

Thanks to everyone who entered! Good luck if you enter one of the other summer giveaways!