Saturday, July 30, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (32)

In My Mailbox is a bunch of fun hosted every week by Kristi over at The Story Siren. :)

I'm posting this early because I'm going away this weekend. It's shifted from a day trip to go to a book signing to see some awesome local/Pacific Northwest authors to (since there's no rush to come back home that night) a weekend away. It's sort of like the trip I took at this time last year down to Portland, OR, only this might have less wandering around and more sitting in my hotel room writing. We went to Portland specifically to go to Powell's.  So awesome. :)

I hope it'll be fun. I'm going to be so neurotic about getting to places really early and printing off directions while also bringing a GPS unit. I'm such a nerd. ;)

Received from Penguin Canada (to review for part of the blog tour starting on August 23rd):
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Wildcat Fireflies by Amber Kizer (so big, almost 530 pages)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Me on Forever

Title: Forever
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic

In Forever, Maggie Stiefvater gifts us with the final piece of her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. The time has come for readers to learn the end of Grace and Sam, the girl who loved watching the wolves behind her house, the girl who fell in love with a wolf. But now Grace is the wolf, and Sam is the boy who must save her before all the wolves in Mercy Falls are killed. The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

It takes nothing for Maggie's prose to sweep me straight into the strange and magical world she's created. So moving and powerful, so honest, so compelling.

As I read this book, I could feel something coming to an end. I just didn't know what it was. It felt like the end of an era. After Forever, there would be no more books of Mercy Falls, no more Grace or Sam, no more of the wolves who shift when the temperature drops.

This book tears as me in more ways than one. I understand the feelings of some, that it was wonderful and romantic and emotional like Shiver and Linger. I understand the feelings of others, those who felt it dragged in spots, that the pacing was off, that it took too long to get to the point, that they have issues with the ending.

One of the things about literature that I love is its subjectivity. The parts that some people love can be the very same parts that others hate. Some might see this as a book of survival, about fighting to stay alive, no matter the cost, and others might see it as an impossible romance that somehow became possible, that stretched and shifted and warped as Grace and Sam changed. Some might see it as a struggle for life, that being the wolf is both death and another form of life, that becoming the wolf condemns you to death like it did with Jack (in Shiver), that through the experiments and injections they were holding death back to give Grace and Sam a chance to live. Some might see Beck's gathering up and changing others into wolves as a way to keep him from being lonely, to find others who don't quite fit in so they can all be a family. It might be a journey towards self-discovery, for Sam to figure out who he is without being a wolf, for Grace to discover how she is as a wolf, for Isabel to learn that life sucks and you have to hold onto the good parts, and for Cole to finally figure out what he wants in life.

The end has come, and yes, I'm sad to see it come, but I can imagine what might come next for Grace and Sam. Where they will go, how they'll get there, what they'll do. If they'll ever become wolves again. If they'll stay wolves. Their story might be out of Maggie's hands, but that doesn't stop readers from wondering what happened, from proposing their own ideas and suggestions. That's what makes literature wonderful: the fact that you keep thinking about it minutes, hours, days, even weeks after reading it.

Dearest Maggie, thank you for Grace and Sam. A hundred thank yous. A thousand.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (36)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

From Goodreads:

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. 

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

This is one of those books where I feel like I'm the only one who hasn't read it and it sucks because a lot of people are gushing, like The Near Witch (which I've since read) or Wolfsbane (which I'll be buying this weekend when I'm away). It sounds rather spooky and weird, a little like Michele Jaffe's Rosebush, which I enjoyed. And the cover is gorgeous.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Me on Once Every Never

Title: Once Every Never
Author: Lesley Livingston
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Canada

Clare is a pretty typical teenager. She's smart but kind of a slacker. She's outgoing but a little insecure. She's not a trouble maker, but trouble seems to follow her. She also has a centuries-old Druid blood curse running through her veins.

Now, with a single act done without thinking about it first, what started off as a boring summer suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a wrong that occurred centuries before Clare was born, and maybe, if there's still time left, get a date.

It's the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every... never.

What I love about Lesley's writing is how much she blends magic and absolute excitement and enjoyment. With all the weird, complex, Druid- & Celtic-related events that happen to Clare, there's still laughter and fun. Most of that comes from Clare and her slightly snarky attitude, her friend Allie with her smarts and nerd knowledge, and Milo, Al's cousin, another nerd but also, in the eyes of Clare, really really good-looking. I'm starting to notice a few more hot nerd guys popping up in books.

This book reminds me of a magical British-Celtic-Druid version of Myra McEntire's Hourglass. Weird time travel, the dangers of changing history, someone wanting to manipulate our fair heroine and her abilities, said fair heroine thinking she's possibly insane then accepting it when she has to fix a giant problem.

Clare is one of the most enjoyable parts of this book. Her attitude is so familiar and teenager-like. She's got a high IQ, but she almost doesn't care and just wants to be normal. She'll sort of pay attention to things, but not when it's scholarly and she's on summer vacation. Unless she's totally wrapped up in this ancient Celtic situation and starts to pay attention because her life depends on it. The snark is perfect, it provides moments of light and laughter in dark and brutal times.

The second enjoyable part of the book is the history. There are some days when I wish my degree was in history, specifically British history, and not in English lit. The history is so magical, so realistic, so moving and powerful, it makes you forget that those events happened almost two thousand years ago. Sure, there have been tweaks and changes made by the author, but the root of the story still exists, back in a time where the Celts were at war with the Romans and blood magic was commonplace.

Once Every Never swept me up in its blood magic spell and shoved me straight back into Britain's past. I can't begin to describe how much fun this book was to read. So much fun. Thank you, Lesley, for feeding the sci-fi and history nerd living inside my head.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Me on Giveaway Winners

No IMM this week. I need to keep myself from getting any books before I go away because I know I'll be getting a lot of books then. So, this post is me announcing the winners of my Summer Book Giveaway. :)

There were 43 entries in all, all comments and RT's on Twitter and blog mentions. I put the numbers 1 to 43 into and these are the results.
 Number 27 is Tee and number 4 is Carole. Both winners have been e-mailed. If, on the off chance, I haven't heard back from a winner by Thursday morning, a new winner will be drawn.

Thank you everyone who entered. Hopefully you'll come back the next time I have a giveaway, whenever that may be. ;)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Me on Entangled

Title: Entangled
Author: Cat Clarke
Release Date: January 6, 2011
Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc (UK)

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room. It has paper, pens, and a table. She has no idea how she got there. As she pours her life onto the page, she's forced to remember everything she's tried to forget: falling in love with Nat and unraveling her relationship with best friend Sal. But something's missing. Is there something she just can't see?

Why is she here?

The book begins like a shot, like a slap in the face, and we're instantly tossed into a white room, trapped alongside Grace as she struggles to figure out what is going on. I was left hanging by my fingernails on the edge, trying desperately to find out why Grace was put in that room, who Ethan is, what the flashbacks to her life before the room mean.

Grace's voice is such a teenage girl's voice, which is what you want to find in a YA novel. She complains and she cries and she mopes around and she talks about how cute Ethan is. The way Cat Clarke writes Grace's annoyance of a fellow bus rider's hair was perfect. Saying reading Grace's voice felt familiar is the best compliment I can make. The way a teenage girl goes on and on about certain topics, drifts in and out, huge run-on thoughts. Drinking (drinking way more that I thought teens drank but this book is set in the UK (not that teens in the UK drink a lot, I'm not making that generalization, I'm just saying I don't remember alcohol playing that big a part in my social life when I was a teenager)). Self-centered. Teenagers often think about themselves, how people upset them/bother them/make them happy, but they can't always see everything that's smack in front of their faces. Grace just felt like such an imperfect, angsty, confused and clueless teenager to me.

I wonder if the names of the characters mean anything. Sal. Nat. Quick and to the point, short, harsh sounds. Grace. Ethan. A bit drawn out, a little more fluid on the tongue.

Now, with a book like this, I'm at a loss to discuss it any further. I could talk about subject A and B, but that might give it all away and ruin the book for any future readers. I will say that I had no idea where the book was going, that I was along for the ride (or kidnapping) just as Grace was, and that I didn't mind not knowing. A book that pulls you along blindly but drops hints. If you figure them out and discover where Grace is, then hopefully you enjoyed the ride and your heart goes out to Grace. If you didn't figure it out, that's ok, perhaps you still liked the book.

Be warned, there may be some words or phrases readers from North America might not understand. I don't think every teenager in the US or Canada knows what a chemist is to teens in the UK (the pharmacist). Don't let it bother you, keep reading.

Captivating from the start, Cat Clarke's debut novel takes readers on a journey with Grace as a sort of blind guide, dragging us through days spent in a white room with paper and pens, pushing us back into her past to show us hints and clues as to her present situation. The ending might surprise you, it might not, but in either case, maybe your heart will still go out to Grace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (35)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen (HC imprint)

From Goodreads:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.

I know, I know, I've already read this, but I had to do it as a WoW post when the cover was released last week. My ARC has the plain white 'cover art to come' cover with just the title on it. And doesn't it sound amazing? Don't you want to read it?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Me on Lips Touch: Three Times

Title: Lips Touch: Three Times
Author: Laini Taylor (illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo)
Release Date: October 1, 2009
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic imprint)

Darkly and sweetly magical, Laini Taylor has given us three eye-opening tales of the hopes and dreams and dangers of kissing, because what could be so wrong about kissing? It's kissing. We love watching it in movies and we flip straight to it in books, waiting for the one single perfect romantic moment where everything seems to click for an instant.

Twelve hours after finishing it, I was still thinking in terms of pinks and reds and gorgeous illustrations and lots of romance and kissing.

The worlds Laini Taylor creates in the three short stories are nothing short of lush and magical. Her writing style appears effortless, weaving around your mind, creeping in, soaking into your soul until you wish you were Kizzy, or Anamique, or Esmé.

For me, especially Esmé. My favourite of the three stories was "Hatchling." It wasn't just the kissing this time around, it was more of the questions on the soul, on what makes a soul. On the magic of life. On fear and fire. On the past and the future. On the human spirit.

And again, because it has to be said and because they mean as much as Laini's stories, I love the illustrations. So beautiful. As I read I would always go back to look at them. You're a genius, Jim Di Bartolo.

I'm not sure what else I can add without spoiling all the fun. Perhaps that these might not be your mother's fairy tales. A little creepy, a little different, but still packed with magic and myth and creatures from legends lost.

If you're looking to get completely swept away by magic and compelling characters and kissing (always with the kissing), throw yourself head first into Lips Touch. I'm not surprised at the National Book Award nomination. Not at all. ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (31)

In My Mailbox is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. :)

Slow book week. I might be holding off on getting any books until my trip at the end of the month. At last count, I'll be getting 4 books (maybe 5, or more), plus 2 for giveaway winners. Of course, the books I plan to get are awesome: Ripple (& get it signed by Mandy Hubbard), Wolfsbane, Supernaturally, and Wildcat Fireflies. Maybe the special edition of Delirium if it's out a day or two early, maybe Suzanne Young's A Need So Beautiful. Maybe more.

I might go a little nuts. ;) I so need Mindi Scott to keep me from getting too many books.

And don't forget to enter my Summer Book Giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 6 signed books. It ends on the 23rd (next Saturday), I announce winners on the 24th (next Sunday), and get them signed in Lake Forest Park, WA on the 31st (the next Sunday). :)

Bought: (I caved)
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Found in the S&S Galley Grab newsletter:
Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Friday, July 15, 2011

Me on The Dark and Hollow Places

Title: The Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Possible spoilers for The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves.

There's a lot Annah would like to forget, but the one thing she wants to forget most of all is the day Elias left her to join the Recruiters. Ever since that morning, she's been waiting for him to come back home. Without him, Annah finds life to be meaningless, dead, and wasted. Until she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his secrets, a dark truth that links him to a past Annah wants to forget, and to a future far too deadly to even think of considering. Now, it's all up to Annah: does she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living, or is death the only escape?

There's something so powerful and haunting about this series, and it's not just the Unconsecrated/the Mudo/the walking dead. It's the different characters, how they've been formed by their struggles, and their encounters with the Unconsecrated. There's so much about this series that boils down the the ability of the human race to fight back from so much tragedy and continue to survive when they should've been wiped out long ago.

There's also a dark, historical feel to these books, a slight Puritan pilgrim feel that I think comes from the lack of cyber technology. It's nice, it makes it feel different to other books I've read in the past year.

Annah is so completely flawed. Her world shattered when she left her sister in the Forest, when Elias left, when Elias came back with Gabry and Annah realized he was in love with Gabry and not her. Her life sucks so much, so what is there to look forward to when a massive Horde is mindlessly killing and infecting the living?

And Catcher. Every day he defies fate by surviving, by being one of the Infected without becoming one of the Unconsecrated. He becomes a tool of those who took power in an attempt to keep as many people as possible alive. They need each other, Annah and Catcher. They need someone to care for, to live for, and not just as a replacement for someone they lost.

This world is not perfect, far from it. But there is still life, and those who are willing to fight for survival. For the chance to see the sun rise again the next morning.

At the heart of this series is the ability of the human race to survive against all odds and fight their way through massive murderous hordes and dead cities and forests. In the darkest night, in the bleakest moment, there is still hope, still passion and fire, still the need to continue living. Carrie Ryan's The Dark and Hollow Places is the perfect end to an emotional and powerful series.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (34)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Fateful
Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen (HC imprint)

From Goodreads: 

In Fateful, eighteen-year-old maid Tess Davies is determined to escape the wealthy, overbearing family she works for. Once the ship they’re sailing on reaches the United States, she’ll strike out on her own. Then she meets Alec, a handsome first-class passenger who captivates her instantly. But Alec has secrets....

Soon Tess will learn just how dark Alec’s past truly is. The danger they face is no ordinary enemy: werewolves are real and they’re stalking him—and now Tess, too. Her growing love for Alec will put Tess in mortal peril, and fate will do the same before their journey on the Titanic is over.

Featuring the opulent backdrop of the Titanic, Fateful’s publication is poised to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the ship’s doomed maiden voyage. It is sure to be a hit among Titanic buffs and fans of paranormal romance alike.

I've read most of Claudia Gray's Evernight series (haven't read Afterlife yet) and I enjoyed it. This just sounds so interesting. Who hasn't been waiting for werewolves on the Titanic? It just sounds awesome. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Me on Hourglass

Title: Hourglass
Author: Myra McEntire
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA

To Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there, like Southern Belles and jazz trios that vanish in an instant. Plagued by these apparitions since the death of her parents, Emerson just wants them to stop. She wants to be normal again. So when her brother brings her a consultant from a secret group called the Hourglass, Emerson is willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael might change her past as well as her future. Who is he? Why does her believe every word she says? Why does electricity fill the air whenever he's in the same room? And why does he need her help to prevent a death that never should have occurred?

An intriguing debut, a surprising mix of certain parts of paranormal, science fiction, and romance. Emerson herself is an interesting character. She complains about rules and consequences like any other teenage girl, but she also sees ghosts and attempts to live her life around them. Even when it doesn't work and she can't help but stare at someone no one else can see. She wants answers, she wants to be better, but that doesn't mean she'll believe everything Michael tells her. That's not how it works, which is good. She shouldn't just blindly believe the new super cute guy just because he understands what's happening to her. The skepticism still belongs.

There was a familiar taste in my head as I read this book. Memories of Kirsten Miller's The Eternal Ones sprang forth in terms of memories and the past. It's not past lives we're talking about in Hourglass, but the past and the future, time travel, how time works and the science behind it. It had the same rather vague 'something about things that happened in the past that somehow we know about but no one else does' feeling.

What makes this book stand out is the time travel/timeslip aspect, as well as some of the characters. I like wounded, ragged robins like Emerson, ones who defend themselves against cute guys and close friends and domineering brothers with sarcasm and avoidance. She's ballsy and so imperfect and takes things the wrong way and it works.

And I love the sci-fi time travel bits. It's not overwhelming enough to put of readers that don't like science fiction. It's not so futuristic that everything's different. The world as we know it is tweaked just enough to be different. It's just time travel, back and forth, saving lives, changing destinies, attempting to right wrongs. What's so wrong with that? With any luck, readers will appreciate the vague similarity to X-Men and the Doctor Who one-liner. It's almost like a book for readers of YA who are also pop culture geeks. ;)

There's something about this book that felt magical, that felt a little stuck in the past but still modern. It also felt rather lush, snippits of romance here and there that had to wait for time to pass. I look forward to the next book in this exciting series.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (30)

In My Mailbox is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. :)

Ahhh, summertime. You're so elusive in the Lower Mainland. ;) Seriously. June was full of cloud and rain. Part of this week was sunnier, warmer, nicer out. It actually felt like summer. Now comes the wait for the couple of days were the humidity spikes (it's rarely humid in the summer here) and things get a bit muggy and the news is filled with people buying out electronic stores of their giant fans. Few houses have built-in air conditioning. It doesn't get as muggy out here as, say, Kelowna (BC interior) or Toronto (out near the east coast). The Lower Mainland is a temperate rain forest: mild winters, cooler summers, lots of spring & fall rain.

Bought: (possibly splurged upon)
Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston
Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen

Received in the mail:
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (Ashelynn over at A Gypsy Writer sent this to me before the mail strike and it finally got here)

Borrowed from the library:
Entangled by Cat Clarke (I finally found this book. It sucks so much when a book sounds really good but it's only found in the UK or it's only available as an e-book. There are just some books you want to read in physical book form.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Me on Witches of East End

Title: Witches of East End
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion

Out in North Hampton live three unique women, Joanna Beauchamp and her daughters Freya and Ingrid. They are witches, powerful, but banned from openly practicing magic. Not until each of them are presented with certain situations do they break out their wands and start casting spells again, bringing to life their small town. Then the darkness comes, and the sickness, and the missing girl, and the Beauchamp women realize it's time to uncover what dark forces have come to their small town hidden in the mist.

This book has what I love about Melissa de la Cruz books: magic, secrets, powerful but flawed characters, New York class and style, and hidden romances. It's another exciting book, with hints of her Blue Bloods series. Characters like Freya and Ingrid and Joanna help this book stand on its own, but it's still half-related to its well-established and well-loved Blue Bloods cousins.

This is not a YA book, per se. The characters are not teenagers, but I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of readers of this book have drifted over from Melissa's YA series. It's still what I've come to expect from a Melissa novel: a blend of character and plot driven with characters in conflict and aren't sure what they really want (or who, Freya) and events happening that slowly change the world around them (the dead birds and the sickness).

I loved the inclusion of (maybe spoiler) Norse mythology (like you couldn't see it with a name like Freya or Ingrid). I like tweaks and spins on mythology in general, it explains why I loved Aimée Carter's The Goddess Test so much (Greek mythology) and why I'm excited to read Tera Lynn Childs' Sweet Venom (also Greek mythology). It's another idea that sets Witches of East End apart from Blue Bloods, that it's not all blue blood-angel-reincarnated soul-vampires.

Such a fun, interesting, mysterious summer read. I couldn't help but think of summer as I read this. They're at the beach, it's New York, Freya is bubbly and sexy and fun. And I liked Ingrid, too, and not just because she's a librarian. She wants to help people. I hope in the next book she gets kissed as much as Freya did in this book. ;)

(I received this book from HarperCollinsCanada for the intent to review it. I haven't received any sort of compensation for my time, but I do appreciate them sending it express overnight to me.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (33)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of fun hosted every week by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Glimmer
Author: Phoebe Kitanidis
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HC imprint)

From Goodreads:

What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?

And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?

When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school.

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

I'm kind of kicking myself for not reading Phoebe's first book Whisper yet, but I'll finally get it when I see her at the end of the month. Yay. Because this book sounds so good.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Me on Rage

Title: Rage
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Release Date: April 8, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Graphia

Missy didn't mean to cut so deep. But the party was terrible, and someone she once cared for humiliated her in front of everyone. Who could blame her for wanting comfort? Sure, most people don't turn to a razor blade, but Missy was always... different.

Now, Missy has become War, one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and she wields a new weapon, a giant sword that can cut down everything and anyone in her path. But it's with this weapon heavy in her hand that Missy learns something that could help conquer her own pain: control.

What I love about this series is that it's heart-breakingly honest. No sugar-coating, because why would you? These are real issues that reel teens face every real day. I want a teenager to pick up this book, read it, and go, "Wow, that was amazing. Maybe I should talk to someone/talk to a friend because I think he/she is cutting/because I'm a cutter. I need/my friend needs help."

Missy is ruined, her body a road map of scars, of pain and sorrow and hopelessness. I could see myself in her, the teenager who wanted to avoid school, avoid the pointing, avoid the name calling and public shunning. The anger in her is like a disease, slowly building, growing, until she unleashes it upon the world so they can feel how she feels. So they can rage like she can.

There's something about this book that cuts so deep with me, no pun intended. I considered committing suicide when I was in high school, on a rainy day in November, at a point in time where most of my friends had dumped me over something stupid and pointless. Those months were my lowest, when I didn't want to leave the house, when I didn't want to get out of bed. Sometimes I think I would've started cutting. I don't know if it was reading that saved me, I still don't know to this day if I've gotten past that depressed point in my life, but I know that in those dark points, in the shadows, there's still hope. There's still a reason to go on living.

There are a few days here and there when I feel lost and alone, when I imagine the rush of blood and the brief flash of pain before it all rushes away, but I pull back when I remind myself I don't want to fall into the darkness.

Gritty, dark, honest, and powerful, Rage reaches into the heart of the reader to squeeze tight. This book gives Missy to us to care for and to love, to watch her grow and learn, to face her pain and hopefully, find the love and support she craves. To find victory.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (29)

In My Mailbox is a bunch of fun hosted every week by Kristi over at The Story Siren. :)

So, this whole Canada Post strike/lockout/back to work legislation stuff has been a huge pain in the butt. Now we enter that weird time where all the backed-up mail gets sorted and delivered, like the books and other fun mail people sent me before the lockout. *sigh* FedEx and UPS and DHL probably all had a good spike in business this past month.

Sent by Emma at Booking Though 365: (both are ARCs she picked up for me at BEA, which makes her awesome)
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

Requested from NetGalley: (not really requested, it's in the public catalogue so anyone can read it)
Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

Friday, July 1, 2011

Me on Imaginary Girls

Title: Imaginary Girls
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Release Date: June 14, 2011
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin imprint)

Chloe has an older sister, Ruby. Everyone looks at Ruby, longs for Ruby, but she can't be caught or caged. A night with Ruby and her friends goes wrong for Chloe when she discovers the body of her classmate London Hayes floating in the reservoir, and Chloe goes off to live with her father.

But Ruby wants her back. When Chloe returns after two years away, things in town are different. As she starts to poke at the changes in the town she's come back to, at the truth that Ruby's hidden away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn, recreated by the bonds of sisterhood.

Initially, this book just sounded like the kind of book I love reading about (and writing). Realistic characters in a realistic setting with something tweaked to be just a little unrealistic and impossible and compelling. Reality can be boring. ;) There so much suspense and intrigue in this book. And I'll fully admit to reading this book after 11pm, which totally increased the spook factor. I did the same with Dia Reeves' books, which are heavy on the spook and the creep and the horror-fun. ;)

There's something so simple about this book, but there's also so much hidden just under the surface, waiting to be exposed. On the surface, it's a book about sisters, like Dia Reeves' Slice of Cherry or Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red, but under the water there's something lurking, something dark, something mysterious and dangerous and forbidden, like Dia Reeves' Slice of Cherry or Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red.

Chloe's an interesting character. She loves her sister, wants to be with her sister, but she doesn't quite understand what Ruby does and why she does it. Something motivates her beyond sisterly love, something possibly more obsessive or possessive of Chloe.

To Ruby, Chloe is her sister, hers to take care of, hers to have fun with, hers to spend all of her days with talking and laughing and having fun. Nothing will hurt Chloe or bother Chloe, no one will touch her. Chloe will be the safest girl in town, as long as she follows Ruby's rules.

As long as she stays out of the reservoir, away from the sunken town of Olive.

This haunting and mysterious book sucked me right in. I was right there with Chloe, trying to figure out life with Ruby again, trying to understand why the town seems different. Nova Ren Suma has written such a moving book, and such a spooky book. I'm not talking about spooky in the Hallowe'en sense, but spooky as in you don't know what's going on and when you figure it out you're shocked and creeped out.

And I would so recommend you read this book in the middle of the night. It took me a little while to fall asleep after finishing. ;)