Monday, April 30, 2012

Does This Make Her a Queen?

The Girl who Owned a City – the graphic novel

Written by: O.T. Nelson, Illustrated by Joelle Jones

Released: April 21, 2012 by Graphic Universe

Summary: A killing virus has swept the earth, sparing only children through the age of twelve. There is chaos everywhere, even in formerly prosperous mid-America. Gangs and fierce armies of children begin to form almost immediately. It would be the same for the children on Grand Avenue but for Lisa, a ten-year-old girl who becomes their leader.  
Because of Lisa, they have food, even toys, in abundance. And now they can protect themselves from the fierce gangs that roam the neighborhoods. But for how long? Then Lisa conceives the idea of a fortress, a city in which the children could live safely and happily always, and she intends to lead them there.

I would suggest that you read the original novel before you read this graphic novel. Both are geared more towards a more middle grade reader but adults will enjoy the story as well. It’s simply a fantastic story and an interesting concept.

As a reflection on the original novel this was fantastic. The art was spectacular and really captured the multitude of emotions in the novel. I’m giving this graphic novel a 7/10 and a high recommendation for young readers.

Friday, April 27, 2012

It's the New Zombie Electropunk

Dearly, Departed

Written by: Lia Habel

Released: October 18, 2011 by Del Rey
Summary: Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

This novel is the first in the Gone with the Respiration series. It’s about zombies and steampunk-ish technology – but there’s not really steam involved and it’s more electronics like we have now, so I’ve coined the term electropunk. At least, I’ve never heard of someone using this term...

Anyway, this was a pretty great read and though it was five months since I read it (thus forgetting a lot of stuff that happened) I can’t wait for the second novel to come out in the fall.

I’m giving this novel a 7.5/10. It was a great 2011 young adult debut novel that you should check out if you want something different than the norm.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Spy With My Little Eye

A Spy in the House

Written by: Y.S. Lee

Released: March 9, 2010 by Candlewick

Summary: Introducing an exciting new series! Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this diverting mystery trails a feisty heroine as she takes on a precarious secret assignment.

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation. Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there? Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.

In short, this is a fantastic historical novel and I can’t wait to read the next two (which are sitting on my shelf) and any others that follow. The characters, setting, and plot really bond together flawlessly and this was an incredibly well-written novel.

I’m giving it an 8-8.5/10. I will be buying the first three novels in hard cover at The Strand when I’m there for BEA in June.

Let me know if you’re going to be at BEA too – and if you know about registering for the Book Blogger Convention online because it’s giving me problems.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wish List Wednesday - Number Seventy-Five

so. damn. excited!

Princess of the Silver Woods

Written by: Jessica Day George

Released: November 13th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

Summary: When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor’s twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist. Wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory. But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it’s not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse.

The stories of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood get a twist as Petunia and her many sisters take on bandits, grannies, and the new King Under Stone to end their family curse once and for all.

I love the covers for the first two Princess books (and, of course, the books themselves) and this one is not disappointing at all! As a bonus, it comes out right after my birthday! Happy belated birthday to me! ;) Plus, just how amazing does this book sound? Robin Hood and Little Red Riding Hood? It's two Hoods for one!*

I really hope that some of my favourite characters from the first two novels make appearances in this one too - even if just for a page or two!

*wow, that was a really bad pun...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (10)

Hmmm, this week poses a very tough decision on my part. After all, there are so many amazing characters whose lives I have stepped into while reading, so how can I only choose ten? Well, if I must I must – so here goes.

1.    Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle. Now, if we were going on the movie, it would be Calcifer all the way. But I adore Sophie in the book – so much so that I names my puppy Sophie.*

2.    Fred the Mermaid from the trilogy by MaryJanice Davidson. I think she’s just hilarious AND she’s a freaking mermaid. I sometimes wish that I was a mermaid...

3.    Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass. Yes, I realize that this novel has yet to be released by Bloomsbury, but I read it YEARS ago on and loved her as a character. She’s kick ass and a freaking assassin. Enough said.

4.    Tinkerbell the fairy from Peter Pan. She’s one sassy fairy who swears and gets away with it.

5.    Finley Jayne from The Girl in the Steel Corset. Another kick-ass heroine who has some serious mystery surrounding her.

6.    Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door. I want a Cricket in my life. Dear Universe, get on that – would you?

7.    Ella from Ella Enchanted. I wish that I had her finesse with picking up languages!

8.    Alexia Tarabotti from Soulless and following novels. She’s snarky, proper, and just so cool! Plus, she marries a super-swoon worthy werewolf.

9.    Elena Michaels from the Women of the Underworld novels. She’s the world’s only female werewolf and is as tough as nails.

10.  Ariana Osgood from the Private and Privilege novels. She’s a bat-shit crazy psycho killer and I still like her. She’s just an amazing character to read about since you have no idea what she’ll do (or who she’ll kill) next!

So that’s my list. It would be a lot different if this was a list of my top 10 literary boyfriends... but maybe that can be a topic for another week!

 For more Top Ten Tuesday fun – or to join in – visit TheBroke and the Bookish!

*ok, technically my aunt came up with Sophie for a name... but this makes for a better story.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (85)

Yay for books! I only have a few this week - I was rather good (for the most part).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Where I Fail...

So, these past few days = major blogging fail. BUT!!! I got food poisoning from a well-known fast food restaurant (think Golden arches) and then I had to drive home from London. Now I should be asleep since I work at 9am and then have a wedding reception after work, but I've been finishing reading Auracle by Gina Rosati. It was really good in my opinion.

In short, this has been a SUPER BUSY WEEK!!!

But never fear - I will post my IMM on time! At least, that's the plan. I have some wicked awesome books to share.

For now, I'm leaving you with a super cute picture of Sophie and her boy next door.

Yeah, he's 3x bigger than she is but she still tackles him. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (19)

As I re-enter the blogging world, this is a fantastic Top Ten Tuesday to do! I know that new bloggers are sometimes so unsure and they just want to please everyone (and get free books), so here are my top tips for them!

1.       Relax. Especially if you’re still a student, blogging isn’t the beginning and end of your world. Take the time to NOT be a blogger.

2.       Don’t apologize. So you just started blogging and posting a review every day until you suddenly miss a day or two. An explanation isn’t necessary and you don’t have to apologize to anyone for it. Sure, if you want to, go right ahead, but you don’t HAVE to.

3.       Find your rhythm. You may not want/be able to post something every day and you don’t have to. Set a schedule that has days where you don’t have to worry (if that’s what you want).

4.       Shake it up. Sometimes doing the same thing over and over again gets to be stale so don’t feel as though you NEED to stick to any schedule that you make. Swap colours or the day you post certain things. Try doing something different or start participating in memes.

5.       Remember that scheduled posts are your friends. If you can crank out a week or two worth of reviews and other blog posts, do it and just make it so that they are set to release when you want them to. Then you don’t have to worry for a while!

6.       Social media is also your friend. Start off slow or jump onto all of them at the same time. If you can use them to further expand our blog base – have at it. Just don’t be annoying with it and spam your links.

7.       Don’t worry about the numbers. And don’t compare yourself to established blogs. You will get followers in due time and if you’re only blogging for the numbers you need to rethink why you’re here.

8.       Don’t bitch about not receiving ARCs. It can take a long time to establish yourself in order to start receiving them. Instead, try places like NetGalley for digital ones, or you can try e-mailing pubs about specific ones. The worst you’ll get is an e-mail saying ‘no’.

9.       If you’re only doing this for the free stuff – stop. There should be a reason like wanting to share in your love of books for starting a blog. Yes, the free stuff is an amazing perk, but if you’re in this for the right reasons you’ll also make amazing friends.

10.   Have fun! Remember that this is something that you want to do. If you don’t want to do it anymore (or can’t – it happens) then you don’t have to. Do this for as long as it makes you happy!

Well, there it is – my top ten words of wisdom for new book bloggers! Happy reading everyone!

For more Top Ten fun, visit The Broke and the Bookish!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (84)

YAY! BOOKS!!! I was so good and only bought a few of them! Then I got some AMAZING books for review from Raincoast - THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH!!! I don't think I can say 'thank you' enough.

Now, on with the actual IMM!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hungry Like the Wolf

Trial By Fire

Written by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Released: June 14th 2011 by EgmontUSA

Summary: There can only be one alpha.

Bryn is finally settling into her position as alpha of the Cedar Ridge Pack—or at least, her own version of what it means to be alpha when you’re a human leading a band of werewolves. Then she finds a teenage boy bleeding on her front porch. Before collapsing, he tells her his name is Lucas, he’s a Were, and Bryn’s protection is his only hope.

But Lucas isn’t part of Bryn’s pack, and she has no right to claim another alpha’s Were. With threats—old and new—looming, and danger closing in from all sides, Bryn will have to accept what her guardian Callum knew all along. To be alpha, she will have to give in to her own animal instincts and become less human. And, she’s going to have to do it alone.

Bryn faces both the costs, and the rewards, of love and loyalty, in this thrilling sequel to Raised by Wolves

Rating: 9.5/10

Yes, it's another video review! This one was filmed MONTHS ago and I'm just getting around to uploading it. In short, I loved this novel and I can't wait for the third. If you haven't read these books yet, check into putting them on your To Read lists!

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Poison Tides

Queen of Atlantis

Written by: Sarah Rees Brennan

Released: May 2, 2011 by Subterranean Press
Summary: A tale of Beauty & the Beast with a zombie twist.

Read for free online here – it’s a good read.

I can’t remember how I stumbled across this one since I have yet to read a novel by Sarah Rees Brennan (which I need to rectify soon) but I’m sure glad that I did. I just wish that it was longer. I think that I could have read an entire novel about this story.

I’m a sucker for fairy tale retellings and this one didn’t disappoint. I loved the twist on the entire legend and just everything about it. If you’re looking for a good, short read (maybe while in a really boring class when you have your computer with you) look into reading this one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Got a Secret - Gotta Keep It

The Gathering Storm

Written by: Robin Bridges

Released: January 10, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary: St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue.

An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels inexplicably drawn.

The time has come for Katerina to embrace her power, but which side will she choose—and to whom will she give her heart?

Well folks, I fear that it’s going to be a long set of reviews which have been long overdue and have expired e-books. This, I’m afraid, is one of them.

The Deal:

I read this novel way back at the end of January and I enjoyed it a lot but it wasn’t a book that I thought was amazing. There was a lot that happened in this novel and while it made for an exciting read, at times I just thought that it was a little too much and it made it a little hard to follow. I mean, there were vampires, witchcraft, zombies, ghosts, necromancy, ancient prophecies, secret organizations, and all on top of Russian tradition and the happenings of the upper class. All of this is weaved together amazingly well and paired with a rich cast of characters that makes the novel something special to read.

The Characters:

Katerina is a very strong female character with strong morals and a good sense of right and wrong. She is a bit naive, but she’s the type of girl who wants to just do what’s right. I loved reading her as the MC and witnessing everything that happens to her throughout the book. I loved reading about how much she loved her friends and family, and to what limits she would go to in order to protect them from the knowledge that she was a necromancer. As the story progresses you really see her come into her own and start to question what she’s told. She really starts to think for herself – something that most young ladies of that period had taught out of them. The fact that she also wants to be a woman doctor and go to medical school just made her all the more phenomenal to read. I loved how strongly she wanted to be a doctor even when she was told it was next to impossible.

George was enough to make a girl swoon. The epitome of a jerk, it turns out that he is one – but one with a heart of gold. Plus, he’s Russian royalty and described as very handsome.

Then there are the multitudes of other characters in this novel from the best friend, to the supernatural characters, to unsuspecting soldiers, and finally the large family. At times it was confusing to keep them all straight, but I tried the best I could.

The Final Verdict:

I enjoyed this novel, and I can’t wait for the sequel to find out what happens next. While it probably will never be one of my favourites, it will always be one of those books that I remember when thinking of Anastasia-type Russian novels (I was obsessed with those in elementary school). I’m going to give this a 7/10.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wish List Wednesday - Number Seventy-Four

Ok, so this blogging break has gone on for a lot longer than I thought it would, and for that I apologize. I actually got the kick that I need today via e-mail. Apparently last week I got an e-mail from BEA (which I deleted without really reading like I do most of them since they’re about webinars and stuff) which stated that I didn’t meet the standards for the media pass. Since I never read it, I didn’t freak out until I got an e-mail today which apologized for taking so long for that previous e-mail, and letting me know that I’m still registered after all since they fucked up. Uh, thanks? I would have been super pissed otherwise since – having not received the “rejection” e-mail four months ago when I first registered – I have booked my flight and hotel and have been counting down the days for the last little while. (41 DAYS! )

Still, the e-mail really made me realize that I’ve been MIA for a long time and that it was about time that I got back to it. I do, after all, have something like 16+ reviews that need to be written/vlogged. So I’m taking a stand and today is the real day that I’m going to start back into it full time again. In fact, I’ve already scheduled some posts!

So, in honour of my first review starting back, my Wish List Wednesday pick is;

The Unfailing Light

Written by: Robin Bridges

Released: October 9, 2012 by Random House Children’s Books

Summary: Having had no choice but to use her power has a necromancer to save Russia from dark forces, Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, now wants to forget that she ever used her special powers. She's about to set off to pursue her lifelong dream of attending medical school when she discovers that Russia's arch nemesis--who she thought she'd destroyed--is still alive. So on imperial orders, Katerina remains at her old finishing school. She'll be safe there, because the empress has cast a potent spell to protect it against the vampires and revenants who are bent on toppling the tsar and using Katerina for their own gains. But to Katerina's horror, the spell unleashes a vengeful ghost within the school, a ghost more dangerous than any creature trying to get in.

My review for the first novel, The Gathering Storm, will be up tomorrow and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the sequel. But can I just say that I effing hate this cover? It would be gorgeous, but the unnaturally tiny waist of the cover model just makes me a little sick. It’s too extreme photoshopped. Blech.