Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review - 2011

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

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

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

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Evens or Odds

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2012 TBR Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cover Reveal of Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Announcement

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

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

**Update 12/14:

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

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

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

Wish List Wednesday - Number Sixty-Eight

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (13)

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

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

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

Monday, December 5, 2011

COVER REVEAL - ONYX by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In My Mailbok (76)

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

For review from Raincoast Books;

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Doggone Mystery

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

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

Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcomed Alien Invaders

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

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

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It’s Animal Magnetism

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

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