Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Me on Article 5

Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen

Large cities like New York and LA have been abandoned, and the Bill of Rights has been replaced by the Moral Statues. Soldiers instead of police. Arrests instead of fines for bad behaviour. Ember remembers when the world wasn't like that. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard to forget that life used to be different. Until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statues, and one of the arresting officers is the only boy Ember ever loved.

Kristen Simmons' debut novel is a glimpse into a dark and brutal future, a rough and ruined world, a world where law is based on morality and a 'one man one woman with children' family structure. Those who don't conform or comply are arrested, put on trial, or otherwise eliminated. This book is the journey of a teenage girl who once flew under the radar and would now do anything to save her mother.

Ember was a certain kind of ruined, flawed character. She struggles to survive day after day, struggles to keep the authorities from finding anything at fault with her and her mother, and once her mother is arrested, she struggles again to escape and find her, to go back to a life with her. She has no idea what's coming, has no idea who's ready to whip her into shape. Or kill her. Her battles are numerous: the government, the rehabilitation school she's sent to, and Chase, a boy she both loves and hates with every fiber of her being.

The Moral Statues are unique in this book, the rules that all citizens but obey, but they raise a number of questions about morality. What actions are considered moral? Who makes the rules? What is someone disagrees? And what constitutes family? What should really happen to someone who breaks one of the rules? Should it be prison, rehabilitation, or even death?

There are rules, moral statues, rehabilitation centers, gender-specific dress codes. There's a loss of choosing what to read and who to live with and what you can do or say in both public and private. The removal of personal freedoms and individuality leads the world in this book towards a dystopia. A cookie cutter society, plan and processes set in motion to make everyone look the same, act the same, think the same. Of course, if the opposite were to happen it might lead to anarchy, but there has to be a line, and once you cross it the only way to go back, in my experience, is revolution.

Everything is ruined in Article 5. This is possibly the darkest dystopian I've read in a while. I could almost see the ruined cities, the smell of death and destruction and gunpowder. The brutality might surprise readers, but still an intriguing story and a world I hope I never have the pleasure of encountering.

(I received an advance copy to review from Raincoast Books.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (57)

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

January's almost over. It feels so weird. Stupid time, moving both slowly and quickly and messing with people's heads. ;)

You know how This Is Not a Test was on NetGalley and everyone requested it and then they pulled it? Well, I deleted it from my list on NetGalley... and then people started saying they were approved. And then I started kicking myself. *head-desk* Oh, well.

I had a weird brain crack moment on Wednesday morning. It was both awesome and it sucked so much.

I think I might start e-mailing more next week for the blog event. If anyone has any suggestions of Canadian authors you'd like to see featured, suggest away. It'll, hopefully, be a mix of reviews and posts with authors. Still not sure about a giveaway. As for dates, which do you like more: April 29 to May 12, or May 1 to 14?? I'd really like to finalize the dates before contacting more people. :)

Received to review:
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze (from Hachette Book Group Canada) (does anyone know if this counts for the debut author challenge??)
Starters by Lissa Price (from Random House, through NetGalley)

Borrowed from the library:
Fruits Basket Volumes 1-4 & 6 (I blame 2012 debut author Kathleen Peacock. Last week I was looking through the anime shows on Netflix, posed a question on Twitter, and Kathleen jumped in with, "Watch Fruits Basket!" So I watched it. And it broke my brain. And raced to the library on Monday to borrow the manga. They didn't have volume 5 on the shelf, and no library has a copy of volume 7. I honestly went to 2 different libraries. My sister said she'd read it before, but online. Not sure if I'll cave & read the rest online, but we'll see.)

To read & review: A Touch Morbid, Partials, Starters, Goddess Interrupted, Gone, Gone, Gone, The Last Princess, and Never Enough. :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Me on The Scorpio Races

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to hold water horses long enough to make it to the finish. Some live. Others die. At nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. If he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep. Puck Connolly is different. The first female competitor, she never meant to enter the Races, but fate never gave her a chance. She is in no way prepared for what's to come.

There was something so effortless in this story filled with determination, struggle, death, and complications. This book is hard, wind-swept and tasting of salt and blood, but reading it was a joy.

I'm hard-pressed to place this book in a particular genre, or in multiple genres. It has a historical feel, the island and the struggle of its inhabitants reminiscent of Ireland, Scotland, or Wales before the 1800's, but there are cars and America and California. Perhaps some sort of mythological story, the water horses pulled from the water to race, their spirits strong and their teeth at the ready to tear into human flesh. It's a unique blend of harsh and mystical with survival and hope and fate.

Sean is the classic tortured hero, haunted by the death of his father, one foot on the island and the other in the sea with the water horses he loves. He respects the dangerous creatures, more than most, and will do whatever it takes to win the Races and live the life he loves. But he's alone with only a water horse for company, not proper company. It's like he lives half a life.

Puck, on the other hand, was adorable in her bitterness and spunk. She never wanted to be in the Races, never meant to enter, shocks the entire island by putting in her name and that of her normal non-human-eating horse, and ends up in a place she never expected.

Their coming together, because how could they not, the returning winner and the first-time girl, was almost a brush past, no big thing, but Sean can't help but watch Puck and wonder why she entered, wonder why she'd risk her life.

This book was unexpected in my head. I didn't expect such a book, such a race, such a craving for survival and love of danger and the unique. Stiefvater has woven a wonderful story between the covers, and had given me a new wariness for horses.

(I received a copy of this book as a present.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Me on There You'll Find Me

Title: There You'll Find Me
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

When Finley Sinclair travels to Ireland, she hopes to find a new identity and get some answers from the God who took her brother and seems to have left her high and dry. But from the moment Beckett Rush, teen star of vampire flicks, sits next to her on the plane, nothing goes according to Finley's plan. Finley soon feels the pressure all around, from school, from her music, from her struggle to find God, and when things start to fall apart, she begins to rely on a not so healthy method of taking control. For the first time in her life, Finley has to be honest with herself to get right with God.

An emotional book about loss, a crisis of faith, learning when to stop and listen, and learning that it's okay to ask for help and lean on others.

I really liked Finley. What was most interesting about her was all of her problems. Her brother was dead, she was panicking about an audition in New York, some girls at her new school hate her, a movie star won't leave her alone, and God stopped talking to her. Finley was on a journey to work her way through all of her problems, but she couldn't let some things go. Everything had to be under control, and when it wasn't, she'd control something else.

The descriptions of the Irish setting were wonderful. It's a reason why I enjoy books set in Europe or the United Kingdom, the setting is just different enough from the US and Canada that it feels far more magical and ancient and mystical.

Not the usual sort of book I read. Well, it is and it isn't. At first, I was more intrigued by the traveling to Ireland aspect and Finley dealing with all of her problems while in Ireland while being annoyed by Beckett. The religious part didn't hold much interest for me, mostly because I don't prescribe to any set religion (I'm not an atheist, it's more that I believe there's something out there, but whether or not it's God, I don't know, that's not for me to decide or to judge).

In the end, Finley's struggle with God and faith was rather powerful and heartfelt. I hope understand why people are religious, why they turn to God, that sometimes they need guidance and support and love and believe their faith in God will bring that to them.

While not my usual cup of tea, I still enjoyed the story very much, enjoyed Finley's journey and the book's powerful message. Sometimes you have to just stop and listen, to let it all in and let go of what's holding you down. Sometimes it's not that you're alone, but that you're not listening when the message comes at you from a different angle.

(I borrowed an e-book copy from the library.)

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (62)

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

Title: Revived
Author: Cat Patrick
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette imprint)

From Goodreads:

As a little girl, Daisy Appleby was killed in a school bus crash. Moments after the accident, she was brought back to life.

A secret government agency has developed a drug called Revive that can bring people back from the dead, and Daisy Appleby, a test subject, has been Revived five times in fifteen years. Daisy takes extraordinary risks, knowing that she can beat death, but each new death also means a new name, a new city, and a new life. When she meets Matt McKean, Daisy begins to question the moral implications of Revive, and as she discovers the agency’s true goals, she realizes she’s at the center of something much larger — and more sinister — than she ever imagined.

I really enjoyed Cat Patrick's first book Forgotten. I actually had a moment of 'everything I've ever written is crap' after reading it. This books sounds so different but just as interesting, and the pretty teal of the cover doesn't hurt. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Me on Incarnate

Title: Incarnate
Author: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HC imprint)

Ana is new, not one of the million souls reincarnated over and over. She has no memories of past lives, no experiences. But when she was born, the temple went dark and one of those million souls vanished. Ana's mother Li thinks she's a nosoul, a bad luck omen, and kept her away from society. To escape and to learn whether or not she'll be reincarnated, Ana heads for the city of Heart. Sam believes her new soul is good, and he stands up for her when others would rather cast her out. But can he love someone who might only live once? Will Ana's search threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows' debut was sweet like a whisper, an effortless joy to read. Futuristic but oddly rustic, mysterious, and the additions of creatures like dragons and sylphs made the book rather fantastical.

Ana was rather interesting as well. Filled with despair, she was self-depreciating, she didn't enjoy being alive. The little unique bits of herself were masked by the horrid way she was raised by Li, the mother who never loved her and instead saw her as something to be feared and hated, something abnormal, something wrong and unnatural. Not human. A monster.

Ana wasn't effortless in the book, she didn't glide and instead plodded along in careful steps, like a puppy still waiting to be loved but constantly ignored and dismissed. She was so stubborn and hard-hearted in the beginning, she had every reason to lie and hide herself from the people in Heart because of how different she was. But she was so alone as well.

By contrast, Sam was the rather experienced boy in a young body. He'd seen it all, he'd even been a girl a time or two, and he was willing to help Ana. But she couldn't understand why, not after Li and not knowing how the world actually works, and so they rubbed each other the wrong way for a little while.

The idea of souls living on and reincarnation isn't new, but being a new soul after a million have been returning for 5000 years is. Jodi Meadows uses Ana to show us how it is to be a stranger in a strange land, a thorn in the paw of the inhabitants of Heart, a reminder of a man's strange experiments. Some would rather forget Ana existed, they'd rather they never would have to deal with her, but you can't turn someone like Ana away. At the beginning, they were as she is, and after those 5000 years of lifetimes, you'd think one of them might have a glimmer or a glimpse of a memory of what it was like to know nothing of the world. To know nothing of people and truth and lies.

Unique and enchanting, intriguing, an exploration of self and what it means to be alive and matter, what is it to be new surrounded by experienced and ancient. A wonderful blend of romance, fantasy, and paranormal elements.

(I received an advance copy to review from HarperCollins Canada.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (56)

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

It snowed this week. Barf. It's such a pain when it snows here. There were on and off little bits of snow and cold weather, then on Friday it snowed in the morning before turning to rain. Which is nice. It's supposed to rain on and off for the next little while, so the snow won't be here for long. It's possible we've had our week of winter. ;)

Have you visited the post on my possible event featuring only Canadian YA authors and their books?? If you haven't, go check it out. :) I'm making a list of authors and books, e-mailing publishers for any suggestions, so if you have any favourites, feel free to add them in the comments.

ALA Midwinter is this weekend in Dallas. Well, it's probably best I'm not there, considering the trouble Caitlin had getting there. The snow hit Seattle harder than Vancouver, so she ended up on this massive pain in the butt journey to get to Dallas. I also saw something about some people (who were named as book bloggers but I have no way of knowing who they really were) shoving and having big grabby hands. To everyone at ALA: don't be grabby jerks, you make everyone look bad. Next year the midwinter conference is in Seattle. Maybe I'll go. :)
Received to review:
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (from Raincoast Books) (ooooo, I've been looking forward to reading this for a while now, and considering it comes out on the 31st, it's ended up on the top of my review pile)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (from Raincoast Books) (I totally forgot that I'd mentioned this when I last talked to Raincoast. Oops. To be fair, I lasted e-mailed them in November and only said that I was hoping to read it before reading Girl of Nightmares comes out in August. Oh, well. It happens. Into the giveaway pile it goes.)
Partials by Dan Wells (from HarperCollins Canada)
Borrowed from the library:
What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook (I tweeted a picture to Eileen of her books at the library and she said she liked the "wee Canadian flags.")
Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel
Take Me There by Susane Colasanti
Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti
Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti
Fins are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
Looking at the Moon by Kit Pearson (e-book) (I adored this series when I was younger, about two British kids who end up in Canada as "war guests." This is the second book out of three, it was always my favourite. :))

To read & review: Article 5, Partials, A Touch Morbid, Goddess Interrupted, Gone, Gone, Gone, and Never Enough. Maybe some library books, I'm not sure. I might review This Dark Endeavour but save it for the blog event.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Me on The Taming

Title: The Taming
Authors: Teresa Toten & Eric Walters
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Random House Canada imprint)

Katie likes to believe she's invisible. It's much safer than being seen as who she is - shy, awkward, poor. Getting up on stage to play the lead in The Taming of the Shrew should be torture, but it's not. Something completely unexpected happens and she's transformed from invisible Katie to visible Katharina. Evan's another story. He knows what it takes to get noticed, and uses every one of those skills. Okay, sure, it might be an abuse of the power the comes with money and privilege. But is his romance with Katie another version of the same thing, or is it real?

The Taming was a unique re-telling or re-imagining, or at the very least a unique 'drawing on Shakespeare as source material.' There were realistic characters and setting and plot, plus humourous dialogue at odds with a story that slowly turns dark and subtly dangerous. I couldn't help but continue reading, I needed to know how the book ended.

There are two sides to this book, Katie coming out of her shell and Evan attempting to start over in a new place. When they come together, it's not necessarily surprising, but the path they take certainly was. So much of the plot was unexpected.

Katie slowly comes out of her shell by becoming Katharina and sees a new world over the one she's lived for years, one when she's invisible, wounded, walked over and put down by her mother. I kept waiting for that moment when she would spread her wings and fly.

Evan is flawed, entitled because of his father's money but hating him all the while because he's been forced to change schools. Seeing Katie act wakes him up, but he becomes overwhelmed to turn her into the perfect girlfriend, to make her Katharina instead of Katie. He's blinded by what she becomes on stage.

To me, Evan was the handsome but wicked prince, trying to turn Katie the innocent princess into something she's not, and it's up to her to fight her way free and find herself again before she completely loses herself.

As unexpected as this book was in terms of the plot twists and and darkness, it was still enjoyable, still a great story told by two great authors. I feel the need to push this book into the hands of every teenager I can find, boy or girl, visible or invisible, lost or found.

(I received an e-galley to review through NetGalley from Random House Canada.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (61)

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

Title: Girl of Nightmares
Author: Kendare Blake
Release Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen

From Goodreads:

In this follow-up to Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas begins seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep, and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong. These aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

If you saw my review yesterday, you'll know how much I enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood. It was so good, so not what I thought it would be, so interesting and well-paced. And set in Canada, which is rather rare. :) I want this book so much. After how the first one ended, I'm desperate to know how it continues and how Cas will save Anna. Or, at least, how he'll try to save Anna. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Me on Anna Dressed in Blood

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Tor Teen

Cas has an unusual job: he kills the dead. So did his father, until his gruesome murder. Now, armed with his father's mysterious athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead, keeping the future at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything different. Move, hunt, kill. That's how it works. Every single person that steps into the house she haunts is killed. Until she lets Cas live.

A welcome book in the packed YA market, Anna Dressed in Blood was the horror/paranormal that grabbed my attention and didn't let go. Haunting, dark and creepy, dangerous. This is the kind of YA horror that will draw both teen girls and teen guys. It wasn't all blood and ghosts and gruesome danger, but it wasn't just Cas solving a mystery and making friends in a new town.

It's rather refreshing to find a YA novel written from a teen guy's perspective (or it is when I take into consideration the YA novels I read), and Cas was perfect. Hard and jagged around the edges, cracked and broken from his father's death years earlier, dangerous with the athame and willing to do what it takes to kill the dangerous ghosts he comes across. Like any hunter in this situation, he's solitary, even with his mother there with him. Like Dru and her father in Strange Angels.

And you had to know that Anna wasn't going to be like every other ghost he came across, you had to expect that something would be different when she lets him live. You had to know that it would start something huge that would get Cas thinking and planning and realizing.

A great story mixed with the gruesome horror you'd expected in a book when the ghost is called "Anna Dressed in Blood," Kendare Blake gives readers something special. This book is all manner of things, gorgeously written and haunting and vivid and terrifying. No sugar-coating, no mercy. Ghosts, blood, horrifying death, and a battered hero.

(I bought a copy of this book.)

Me on Top Ten Tuesday (2)

Top Ten Tuesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. :)

This week's topic is "Top 10 Books I'd Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read X." I'll make it YA, since that's what I review here. And I'm going to try and mix it up a bit, give examples of the different types of YA novels. :) This might as well be a list for my sister, who reads (she likes chick lit, like Sophie Kinsella and some Nora Roberts), but not YA. I've slowly been trying to get her to read it, and the ones she actually reads (instead of skipping to the end) are few and far between.

1. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Dystopian with a bit of paranormal/X-Men type abilities. Juliette can't touch anyone or she'll kill them, draining the life out of them. The world outside her cell is dying, grey and bleak, cracked and dried up. Then Adam gets tossed into her cell and she's forced to confront the outside world, a world that pushed her to the brink of sanity. This was, in my opinion, the best book of 2011. It was all about identity and potential and the need to survive and fight, plus some really hot kissing scenes.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Contemporary romance. Sweet and funny, it's a bit less about the romance and more about Anna figuring out who she is while in Paris for a year and figuring out that sometimes the perfect boy is really flawed, and that he might be perfect. Same goes for Lola and the Boy Next Door.

3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver. A little dystopian lite plus romance. Yes, controlling society, but it

4. Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston. A mix of contemporary and historical, time travel for pop culture nerds. Average (Canadian) teenager Clare heads off to England for the summer with her friend and ends up able to travel back to the time of Boudicca and the Celts. (My sister actually liked this one.)

5. The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff. Dark fantasy/paranormal plus romance. Daphne is the daughter of Lucifer and Lilith, living in Pandemonium. She heads to Earth to find her brother and searches for his last charge, a broken and bleeding human boy named Truman. If Shatter Me was my #1 of 2011, this was my very very very close #2. Heart-wrenching and breathtaking, all about discovering your purpose in life, about fighting your way back from the edge even if the fall left you broken and twisted, about good and evil and the grey areas, and most of all, about love. What is the space between the dark and the light? This book is about the area where the lines are blurred

6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Straight-up dystopian. No magical powers, just dismal and dark and brutal and teenagers fighting to the death.

7. Blood Red Road by Moira Young. A little more post-apocalyptic than dystopian, but still just as brutal and dangerous. It's written in dialect, so be warned, but once you get used to it it's an amazing story. Saba's searching for her kidnapped brother and encounters some unique and dangerous people along the way. Like Jack. (What is it about girls in YA books meeting guys that rub them the wrong way but he's totally into her? I'm not saying it sucks, but it happens quite a lot.)

8. Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Science fiction. Honest science fiction. Traveling through space hundreds of years in the future science fiction. And there's the huge mystery of where they are and who's killing the people in sleep stasis.

9. Forgotten by Cat Patrick. Half mystery, a little paranormal, a little romance. London remembers the future but not the past. Every morning at 4:33AM, her memory resets, everything from the day before gone. Then Luke moves to town.

10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Contemporary, some romance thrown in. This book is quite possibly John Green's best. A book about cancer kids and the harsh reality. It's not all make-a-wish and Disneyland, sometimes it's about the suffering, the honest pain and isolation, the need to live in the infinite numbers between 0 and 1 and love as hard as you can for as long and your body will let you live. This book was raw and emotional. Everyone needs to read this book. It's mid-January and I'm wondering if any book in 2012 will top it.

Other suggestions, for braver souls and those who will honestly read anything, include Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves, Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, White Cat by Holly Black, Matched by Ally Condie, and Divergent by Veronica Roth. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Me on A Possible Canadian YA Lit Event

Yesterday, I was talking to Kathy at A Glass of Wine on Twitter and she mentioned she had an idea for a blog event where it was just all Canadian authors. So I started thinking and figured this would be a good idea.

Now comes the planning and the asking of authors and possibly involving publishers.
 My initial idea is that it would be 1 week or 2 weeks, maybe in April or May, and every day would have a different post, either a review or a guest post or an interview, on a different Canadian author and their book(s). I'm not sure about giveaways. They're fun, they increase blog publicity and readership, but shipping can get a little pricey. (This might be where I'd contact publishers, see if they're willing to give anything away.) Another option is for this to be a once a month feature.
It sounds like fun. Canadian YA authors are out there, but they're not as well known for a number of different reasons. I love that there are currently 3 books on my list of books I'd punch a lion in the face for written by Canadians. And they all come out in the next 6 months. And that I've already read another that came out a couple weeks ago.

The thing is... I've never hosted something like this. I don't really know how to go about it, apart from contacting authors to see if they'd be interested or contacting publishers to see if they or their authors would be interested.
So... yeah.

I'd like this not to be just be reviewing books for a whole two weeks, because that would be boring. I want you to be entertained. So, pretty much what I'd like from you is any tips or suggestions on how I'd go about this, as well as any authors you'd like to hear from or any books you'd like featured. It's possible that, because I love having you all as readers, I'll have a giveaway that'll go on during the whole event but only for one or two books.
I hope you like this idea. I think it would be rather fun. :) And let me know if you'd like to join in, either in reviewing or writing a post on your thoughts on YA in Canada. You can get in touch with me here in comments, on Twitter (@-mention or DM), or through e-mail (if you know my e-mail).

(And the pictures are recent and upcoming books by Canadian authors. :) Any surprises??)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (55)

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

Blogger is finally letting us reply to comments. Yay. :)

I've started a list on Goodreads: Books I'd Punch a Lion in the Face for. ;) Go here to add books and vote. :)

I had a driving test this week. There's a graduated licensing deal up here. First a multiple choice test, then a road test, then another road test. I just took the second road test so I've got my full license and everything. :) Yay me. :) And screw you, Friday the 13th. Not so unlucky, are you?? ;) Well, the $50 I had to pay for the test was a bit much. Ow.

And so I have bought 2 books this month, and all others will be library books, or may you strike me down. ... No, really. Don't let me buy any more books this month. What's also helpful is the fact that there are no books that I actually want to buy with my own money (notice the "my own money" qualifier) coming out until late February in The Fine Art of Truth or Dare, Pandemonium, and Friends with Boys. All others can wait or can be borrowed. I need to prioritize.

Do you guys want reviews of Bloodrose and The Fault in Our Stars?? I won't be writing up a review for Clockwork Prince. It's pretty big, almost 500 pages, and considering the ARCs that went out, plus the fact that it's been out for a month, I figure there are more than enough reviews out there. Even the ones that are a few lines long and only discuss whether they're team Will or team Jem. I'm not even sure if I can write a review of The Fault in Our Stars, I have this intense desire to both re-read it and hide it because it made me cry (at the end).
Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer (the day I bought this, Andrea was down in Seattle/Lake Forest Park. *sigh* So close, yet so far.)
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (like every other nerd, I checked all the copies I could at the bookstore but they were all plain J-Scribbles in purple, fuchsia, and black (mine is purple). Of course, I only went to 1 bookstore, but still. I wasn't in the mood to drive around. I also had a Nerdfighter sighting, two girls were putting little messages in the TFioS's. :) So awesome. And I'm so annoyed that I didn't quickly buy a ticket to the Vancouver event the day I heard about it. It sold out in a day.) (And my brain is being all neurotic about wanting one in green or with a yeti. *sigh* Well, if I happen to come across one at a bookstore, I might buy it.)
Requested through NetGalley:
Goddess Interrupted by Aimée Carter (oh, thank you, auto-approval from Harlequin)

Borrowed from the library:
There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones (e-book)

To read & review: Someone Else's Life, A Touch Morbid, Goddess Interrupted, Gone, Gone, Gone, and Never Enough. I don't have a review scheduled for the 31st. Please please please suggest a book you'd like to see a review of. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Me on Liesl & Po

Title: Liesl & Po
Author: Lauren Oliver
Illustrator: Kei Acedera
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

Liesl lives in an attic bedroom, locked away by her stepmother.He only friends are mice and shadows, until a ghost appears from the darkness. Po comes from the Other Side, where the dead go. Both are lonely, but together they are less lonely. The same night, the alchemist's assistant, Will, accidentally mixes up a box with the world's most powerful magic with one that isn't as extraordinary. Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and the three of them end up on a remarkable journey.

This book was magical and hauntingly sweet and sorrow-filled. It was a journey through life and death, through truth and lies, through a dangerous world to fins the one place you can call home.

After reading the book, I found the title a little misleading. Yes, it's about Liesl and Po, but it's also about Will. It's Will that continues the book after Liesl and Po's first meeting, even though he has no idea what he's done until it's too late.

The trip Liesl and Po and Will make is so daunting, so dangerous (but they don't know that). All Liesl cares about it her father, about seeing him again, making everything right, escaping the attic. Once she's out in the world, nothing will ever keep her locked away again.

The illustrations were wonderful, they added to the story, giving the characters more life. Like snapshots into their journey. I can't talk about this book without mentioning the artwork.

When reading this book, I wondered whether or not it could be called middle grade or not. Considering the story, the characters, the journey, yes. Considering that it's 300 pages long and hardcover, I'm curious if some kids will see it and think it's too big or too long. However, I do see this as a book parents can read with their kids. If you've got any 8 to 12 year olds in your life, get this book and read it with them.

A change of pace from the author's previous novels, Liesl & Po proved to be just as magical and moving. A welcome addition to the huge crop of historical fantasy (it has a vague historical feel to it, dusty from coal and wood fires) middle grade books with ghosts and magic.

(I purchased a copy of this book.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (60)

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

Title: A Want So Wicked
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HC imprint)

From Goodreads:

Elise is a normal seventeen-year-old girl until the day she wakes up in a desert park, with no idea who she is.

After that episode, her life takes a bizarre turn. She’s experiencing unexpected flashes of insight into people’s lives—people she’s never met before. Strangers frighten her with warnings about the approaching Shadows. And although Elise has never had a boyfriend, she suddenly finds herself torn between two handsome but very different young men: Abe, the charming bad boy whose affect on her both seduces and frightens her, and the mysterious Harlin, who’s new to town but with whom Elise feels an urgent, elemental connection—almost as if they are soul mates.

Now Elise begins to question everything about her life. Why do these guys both want her so desperately? What are the Shadows? Why does the name Charlotte inspire a terrifying familiarity? And who is Elise, really?

Last year I read A Need So Beautiful, thinking it would be okay. It was wonderful, something so different that what I'd read so far. Charlotte was wonderful, the fact that there wasn't a love triangle was great, her already having a boyfriend that she loved and who loved her back was almost unheard of in a YA novel from last year. This can only be just as good, if not better. :) And remember, it's not an angel book. No angels. She's not an angel. Yes, there might be similarities, but they're not angels.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Me on Tempest

Title: Tempest
Authors: Julie Cross
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan imprint)

In 2009, Jackson Meyer is a normal guy. He's in college, he has a girlfriend, and he can travel back in time. Nothing big, though. Nothing changes when he makes these jumps. It's just for fun. But one day two strange men burst in on Jackson and Holly, and in the struggle, Holly is shot. Then Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but it's different this time. Now he's stuck, and he has to learn how to actually use his ability before the "Enemies of Time" appear to recruit him. Or kill him. Piecing together clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson has to decide how far he's willing to save Holly, and possibly the entire world.

First, I have to say how refreshing it is to find a book written in a male point of view that's convincing (see also Mindi Scott's Freefall and Marie Lu's Legend). Jackson sounds like a guy. He's totally freaking about about being chucked back to 2007, he's trying to work it out logically in a guy sort of way, and all he can focus on is getting back and finding Holly. Which is sweet.

The time travel is a little complicated, like time travel often is, but it's not packed with loads of science info dumping. Instead it's Jackson and his friend Adam's definition of time travel. So much like guys, winging it as they go along. So many questions, so much speculation. Less physics, more other areas of scientific fields, fairly easy to understand.

You spend most of the book rooting for Jackson, hoping he can figure out why he can travel through time, what his dad really does, and if he actually saves Holly in the end. His life has suddenly been turned all around and backwards, and he's trying desperately to put it all back together.

An interesting story, Tempest reminds me of a spy or action movie involving teenagers with some family drama and time travel mixed in. I'll admit, I think it loses some of the action and suspense with it being a book, but I can see how it would translate to the big screen (lots of actions scenes and special effects). This book will interest readers looking for more modern-day (in a way) suspense mixed in with their time travel plus some romance thrown in.

(I received an e-galley of this book through NetGalley from Macmillan.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (54)

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

Hello, internet. ;) How's your January been so far?? 2012 feels weird, different than 2011.

I've started a personal project for 2012, stemming mostly from things happening in my personal life. While personal, I need to put it out there for someone to maybe find and possibly read, so I've started a blog on Tumblr. If you're so inclined, if you don't mind reading something written by me that's rather personal, then head here to read it. Of course, if you'd rather I stick to books, then feel free to stay here. :)

I went to the new fancy library here this week. Very fancy. Mostly because it's bigger than the one just down the street (the one down the street is a good size, too) and I wanted to see what kind of YA selection they had. On the first floor was the kid's section. On the third floor was the teen section. Ummm... yeah. But there were lots of books. :)

I'm trying to keep myself from going to Chapters every other week. This year, I'm going to go once a month and limit myself to 2 or 3 books. All others can be borrowed. I was looking through my to-read list on Goodreads at the 2012 releases and thought to myself, "Sure, I want to read all of these, but do I want to buy all of them, too? No." And that's what it comes down to. There are books I know I will buy, like Pandemonium and City of Lost Souls and Above and This Is Not a Test, but I'm still not sure about the rest. This is why I love libraries. Sure, it takes a little while for them to get the book, but still. :)

I learned this week that Marissa Meyer, the author of Cinder, is coming up to BC for a signing. Since I've read the e-galley, I'm going to get a copy for Audrey at Holes in my Brain because she'll be off in Toronto and we're working out a trade or something. And, apparently, Tahereh Mafi's coming up to Vancouver in March. Yay. :) I can finally get a picture with her.

I've got some gaps in my review schedule. If you'd like to see a review of any of the library books below, or any other book (that I can get easily), feel free to suggest in comments. :) This week's reviews will be Tempest by Julie Cross and Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver.
Borrowed from the library (I got 5 more books, but they're romance, not YA):
Corsets & Clockwork anthology
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (I found it funny, I was talking to Corey on Twitter on Wednesday morning then went to the library and there was his book up on the top shelf and cover out and everything. Like a sign. ;))

Technically, I also "received" Fever by Lauren DeStefano this week, but only because Evie (who I borrowed it from) said I could keep it. Hugs for Evie, she's such a sweetheart. :)

To read and review: Incarnate, Someone Else's Life, A Touch Morbid, Gone, Gone, Gone, and Never Enough. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Me on A Million Suns

Title: A Million Suns
Author: Beth Revis
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

Amy has been awake for three months, and everywhere she looks she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed instead of the normal life she left behind. But there might be hope. Elder has assumed leadership, he's free to enact his vision. No more Phydus. No more lies. But when Elder discovers shocking news, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. The must work together to unlock a puzzle set in motion hundreds of years before, unable to fight the romance between them and the chaos that threatens to break them apart.

Like Across the Universe, A Million Suns was thrilling and fast-paced. Survival was the single most important thing. Anything else was pointless. I was always at the edge of my seat, wondering what would be discovered next, wondering what secret would pop up to be realized in the third book.

I knew what was happening in this book, knew what the biggest of the secrets was, but it was the smaller secrets left for me to discover that kept me reading. There were still hints and clues I couldn't decipher, ones Amy and Elder had to decode for me. And I didn't mind that. Discovering the secrets of the Godspeed along with them is part of the fun of the book.

There's still a connection between Amy and Elder, maybe a romance, but it's not the focus of the book. I think that's helpful to know, that this isn't a romance with sci-fi elements but a sci-fi with mystery and thriller and romantic elements.

This is what a sci-fi thriller should feel like, a race for survival and discovery, a race to learn, a race to not die in the vacuum of space. A race to find a new home among the stars. A Million Suns is more mystery than science fiction, more science fiction than romance, but still enchanting and intriguing and mesmerizing. A welcome continuation to an already amazing series.

(I borrowed an advance copy of this book from a friend.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (59)

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

Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

From Goodreads:

Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then Taylor's dad gets devastating news that changes everything. Her parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old vacation home in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he's much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

I really enjoyed Morgan Matson's first book, and this sounds like it'll be just as good and as heartbreaking. Maybe contemporary books are just getting better, it's been so long since I've read so many that don't have some kind of paranormal leaning to them. ;)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Me on Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. :)

It's my first time doing a Top Ten Tuesday. :) I usually post reviews on Tuesdays and Fridays, but since a review came out early yesterday, I figured I'd do something new this week. If people like it, I'll do it more often.

This week's topic is "Top 10 Books I'm Excited to Read in 2012."

Shatter Me #2 by Tahereh Mafi. I adored Shatter Me, it was possibly the best book I read in 2011, and I'm salivating at the chance to read the next offering that Tahereh will give us.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. This book feels like an enigma of sorts. We've known the title for a while now, but no cover, no summary (besides Isla, the meek redhead artist from Anna), but considering it's Stephanie Perkins, it's going to be great. :) (EDIT: Stephanie put out a blog post today (January 3rd) that Isla is now a 2013 release. I read the post and at the end understood why and wasn't upset. Sure, the wait is now longer, but it's not about readers complaining and demanding, it's about Stephanie and what she needs to be able to write this book. I'm happy to wait, it gives me more chances to re-read both Anna and Lola.)

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. Delirium just about broke me last February. I can only hope that the next will leave me wrecked.

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. The cover. It's all about the cover. The cover makes the book for me, but the story also sounds amazing. Courtney, while I've only read Fall For Anything, writes such powerful and honest stories, and this new zombie book of hers is going to be great.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. I'm about to start this book, actually, and I'm so excited. It sounds creepy. This is the kind of YA horror that grabs my attention.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. A recent birthday present. I like the series, this one and her other one, and I'm interested to see where this one goes and what happens with Tessa, Will, and Jem. :)

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson. Another contemporary YA romance that involves travel to Europe. There's something about those books that hooks me and sucks me in. Maybe I need to travel or something. ;)

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock. This might satisfy the part of me that loves werewolf novels and the desire to have more YA novels in bookstores written by Canadians. There need to be more of us out there writing YA books.

Above by Leah Bobet. It sounds so enchanting, and the cover is gorgeous. So magical, yet the city looks torn and ruined around the girl. Plus, it's written by another Canadian. ;)

Crewel by Gennifer Albin. It just sounds so interesting. What reader of YA, at this point, in the middle of the amazingness that YA brings us, who doesn't want a dystopian novel with time-travel? I do. Dystopian is getting a bit stale, a bit overdone. I'll read it, but it's really got to hook me.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Me on The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: January 2, 2012
Publisher: Poppy (Hachette Book Group imprint)

Today should be one of the worst in Hadley's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding taking place in London and to a woman she's never met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's waiting area. His name's Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row on the flight. A long night on the plane passes so quickly, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival.

Set over a twenty-four hour period, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is filled with twists and turns of fate and timing. It's romantic and theatrical, sweet, interesting, and completely adorable. Anchored by Hadley, the complicated and confused seventeen-year-old on her way to a wedding she never thought she'd have to attend, this single day in her life might possibly be one of the most important days.

The book is written in third person, but it's all Hadley, all of her confusion and anger. All her frustration and her feeling lost and confused. It's about Hadley being late, it's about Hadley meeting Oliver in the airport, but it's also about Hadley and her father, about their strained relationship and how, in her eyes, he ruined things when he left her and her mother. She's more than a little bitter, more than a little strained, and more than a little perfect for this book.

Writing this so takes place over a twenty-four hour period was so interesting and unique. The pacing was excellent, nothing felt rushed or bogged down. It felt longer that twenty-four hours, but it also felt like no time at all had passed. The best compliment I can give Jennifer E. Smith is that at the end of the book, I wanted another twenty-four hours with Hadley and Oliver.

At the heart of it, this book is about change, about that one thing that changes your life forever, about twists of fate and the coincidences and quirks of life. Hadley misses her original flight by four minutes. Can four minutes really change everything?

It felt like a holiday read, like Dash & Lily's Book of Dares which takes place at Christmas, even though this takes place in the summer. I imagine it's both how my mind was working and the sense that anything can happen on a holiday.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is an amazing story packed into twenty-four hours. It's such a journey for Hadley, it's second chances and first loves, and it leaves you wondering who you might meet the next time you're in the waiting area at the airport.

(I received a copy to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)