Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (23)

Waiting on Wednesday is some weekly fun hosted every week by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: October 3, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

The cover is dark and wicked. The plot sounds lush and mysterious. Sounds like a must-read. ;) 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Me on City of Fallen Angels

Title: City of Fallen Angels
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (S&S imprint)

The anticipation for this book was so big. I was surprised Twitter didn't explode on release day. ;) I'm going to attempt to write this without giving anything away, but I can't make an promises. Well, I would recommend that you at least read the first three TMI books before reading this.

Six weeks after the end of City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels starts back in New York. Everyone's getting back to normal. Well, as normal as it gets for Clary, who's trying to fit a relationship with Jace into her Shadowhunter training. Simon's also trying to cope with being the only vampire that can walk in sunlight. Plus, someone's killing Shadowhunters that once aligned themselves with Valentine, and something's going on with the vampires in the Downworld.

The action and twists and turns brought me right back into Clary and Simon's world. It almost felt like I hadn't left, that it hadn't been a few months since I read the first three books. Shadowhunters and runes, vampires and werewolves and warlocks, everything totally going straight to hell and messing everything up. It was awesome.

New characters balanced out the old, adding new conflict and a new dimension to old relationships (or totally messing them up). The book was oddly refreshing, something new mixed with something old.

I know that initially the series was going to end after City of Glass and now won't for another two books, but I don't know what other readers were expecting to find when they read City of Fallen Angels. I knew things weren't going to be easy. If things were easy, if Cassandra Clare wrote nothing but 400 pages of Clary and Jace dating like a happy couple, the book would've been outrageously boring. You can't go from 3 books of action and disaster and surprises to 3 books of normal boring life.

I expected a weird new evil person to show up, I expected something to happen between Clary and Jace that might split them up until the end of the series, and I expected Simon to do something because he was tired of being the only special vampire. I even expected part of the city to explode and ruin everything. I won't say if any of this actually happened, those would be spoilers, but I will say that I'm totally satisfied with where the book went and how it ended.

I will say I'm not looking forward to the wait for City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire. I understand why, though. I'll just have to self-medicate with the first four TMI books and The Infernal Devices series in the meantime. ;)

Cassandra Clare was able to draw me back into her dark and dangerous New York with its Shadowhunters and Downworlders. I was sucked back in so quickly, so seamlessly, that it felt like I hadn't ever left. Classic twists, turns, and secrets mixed with runes and magic, and an ending no one will expect.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox is hosted every week by Kristi over at The Story Siren.

Monday was awesome. Sure, I spent more time waiting than listening to Cassie Clare and Holly Black talk, but it was lots of fun. It's been a while since I went to a signing here, usually because if it's an author I really like, the tour locations are in the US. Or in the UK after they've had a few bestsellers. Or Europe or Australia. Or, if they do hit Canada, quite often it's Toronto. Sure, Vancouver's pretty big, but Toronto's become the centre of everything.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
White Cat by Holly Black
Red Glove by Holly Black
The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

No, the picture behind the books and bears is not from a movie. It's an Elizabeth May print. Here is her website. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 18 - Cassandra Clare and Holly Black Event

The last stop of Cassandra Clare & Holly Black's City of Fallen Angels/Red Glove Tour (I think, Holly said this was their last stop) happened on April 18 at 7pm at the Chapters at Metrotown in Burnaby, BC, Canada. I'm not sure how many people the bookstore thought were going to show up, but I heard Tuesday morning at least 540 people were there.

This is my story of the event. :) Complete with pictures.

My friend drove my sister/pack camel and I to the SkyTrain, and we took the train to Metrotown. If I hadn't broken my ankle, I would've gone alone. If I hadn't been cleared to walk on it, it's possible I wouldn't have gone. My arms are so sore, but only because the trip from the station into the mall and to the bookstore and then again back when we left was so long.

We got there around 4 and the wait line was about 15 people long. Then it looped around and down along more shelves and back and around and got massive. I did get a chair to sit in while waiting in line, and I was close enough to the front of the line that I got a seat when the event started, which was awesome. I wasn't going to pitch a total fit, but I was in line for 3 hours, then the reading and Q&A was about another 90 minutes.

Cassie and Holly were super nice, answering a bunch of questions and signing all the books people brought. I had 8. :) Some questions people asked were good, but some were repeated ones they've answered bunches of times over and over again on their websites, or they were questions they can't answer. No, Cassie can't tell you if Clary and Jace will end up together at the end of City of Heavenly Fire. If she can't tell everyone who e-mails her and who asks her on Twitter every day, what makes you think you're special enough to be told on a Monday evening surrounded by 540 other excited fans??

Then came the time to get books signed and I had to call in my pack camel to carry all my books. Before the event, everyone was told that while Cassie and Holly would sign all books, they could only personalize 1 book in each series. Holly chose to sign both White Cat and Red Glove to me. ;)

Cassie personalized my copies of City of Fallen Angels and Clockwork Angel. :) It wasn't until we got home that I realized the copy of CoFA with my name in it wasn't the one with the extra letter. *face-palm* Fail on my part, but it was easy enough to fix. I carefully pulled out the letter and stuck it in the other book.

Swag was cool. Buttons, postcards (which tell a very funny story), a booklet with excerpts of Clockwork Prince and Black Heart, a bracelet, and a poster.

All in all, it was pretty awesome.

Of course, to make it that much trickier for me, they were up on a little stage which I couldn't get up onto because stairs are still a big no for me on crutches. So of course I had to explain to Holly and Cassie about my ankle and surgery and why I looked like a dork with someone carrying my books for me. Their expressions are awesome. :) Plus, there's my big head taking up the whole right side of the picture.

Holly's expression just before was the best. ;) (I cropped out my big head)

And so that's how I met Cassandra Clare and Holly Black for about 5 minutes on a Monday evening. And then they probably forgot me after signing books for the rest of the 540+ people crowd. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (22)

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

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

From Goodreads:

One hour to rewrite the past . . .
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

Whoa. Did you guys notice how she's walking down the wall to the floor?? Spooky. And who calls their daughter Emerson?? It's certainly an interesting name.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Me on Kat, Incorrigible

Title: Kat, Incorrigible
Author: Stephanie Burgis
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (S&S imprint)

Note: Kat, Incorrigible is the North American title. In the UK, it was published as A Most Improper Magick.

Kat Stephenson is precocious and, yes, incorrigible. Her 'desperate to climb the social ladder' stepmother is often at her wit's end, but she is her mother's daughter, the mother who worked magic as a Guardian but was expelled from a mysterious Order. After somehow finding her way into a grand hall, some older Order members find Kat's ready to turn everything inside out. What they also don't expect is Kat's determination to do whatever it takes magic-wise to help her siblings Elissa, Angeline, and Charles, even if it includes becoming a highwayman.

This book was all kinds of magical and fantastical. Kat is perfect, not uncaring but strong, both in will and in spirit. Very clearly a girl who grew up with her older sisters telling her their memories of their mother instead of having memories of her own. Elissa is practical, Angeline is working magic on her own, and Charles... well, we don't see a lot of Charles, but we do find out he's hopeless.

The little twists and turns and surprises and magic bits were tons of fun. Nothing really seems to go right for Kat. Her stepmother's close to heartless, her father rarely stands up to her stepmother (they're his kids, not hers, after all), Elissa won't listen to reason and follow her heart, Angeline won't listen to Kat and share their mother's magic books, and Mr. Gregson and Lady Fotherington won't listen like only adults can and try to bend Kat to their will. Life really sucks for Kat. It isn't until everything comes out in the open, everything and anything and all the secrets people wanted to stay secret, that Kat finally has the ability to make everything work.

If I was younger and read this book, I would've loved it even more. I love the Regency England setting, I adore that time period, and I love that Stephanie Burgis has created a world that is so believable even with the weaving in of magic. It just makes Kat's England more sparkly, more unpredictable and fun.

I'm not sure if this book would be classified as middle grade or YA. It reads like a YA novel, seems to be about as long, but Kat is twelve years old. Maybe older middle grade/younger young adult.

Kat is full of incorrigible charm, making her an ideal narrator. Readers will enjoy her unique take on her surroundings, will admire her desire to rescue her siblings while being the youngest, and will cheer when she, against all odds, saves the day.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (20)

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

Monday is the Cassie Clare & Holly Black signing at the Metrotown Chapters at 7pm. I'll be there around 5pm. Even though I got the okay from my orthopedic surgeon to start walking on my surgically-repaired ankle (FINALLY!!), I can't put all my weight on it. It really hurts. I tried going up a step. Whoa. So much ow. I head off to physiotherapy on Wednesday to learn what to do to walk on it again. And it'll be my first time driving since I broke it. Kinda scared. I wonder if my sister is willing to come with me.

Received from the author/publisher:
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Okay, now, I tried requesting this on NetGalley twice and HarlequinTeen said no, which I found confusing. They said yes when I requested The Goddess Test. I mentioned this on Twitter, and Kady Cross herself replied and asked if I had a blog. I said yes. She said I should e-mail her with my address and she'd get her editor's assistant to mail me a copy. This was awesome news. I figured it would be an ARC or finished copy closer to the release date, not a giant inch thick manuscript copy.


I still might buy an actual copy of the book when it comes out at the end of May. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Me on A Touch Mortal

Title: A Touch Mortal
Author: Leah Clifford
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Bored and alone, Eden didn't expect to meet Az, but she also didn't expect to end up stuck between living and dying, didn't expect to be ripped from his side after falling in love with him, didn't expect to have the ability to ruin people with her touch. But Eden's a girl who knows her heart, and isn't going to give up, even if Az is a Fallen angel tossed out of heaven.

This was the third YA book I've read in hardcover (Unearthly and Angelfire being the other two), all three even have the same publisher (if not published by the same imprint), but it had a different twist to it and so I wasn't totally bored while reading it.

It started off a bit different with Eden all depressed and possibly contemplating suicide, but what drew me in was the third person point of view. I think I've read far too much first person YA novels. This was so refreshing, following characters through terrible situations and being in more than one person's head. Often, there's more than one character in a book and sometimes you want to know what's going on in their head instead of just speculate about it with the narrator.

The Siders were really interesting, a new wrinkle in the eternal struggle between angels and the Fallen. It shows a different side to those who commit suicide, that they don't all end up in Hell, that there might be another place they go to, a place between life and death.

The darkness and death was almost too much, almost overwhelmed Eden's relationship with Az. I wanted more Eden and Az as the book went on.

Still, I found Leah Clifford's debut rather interesting, even if after reading it I was a little tired of reading angel YA novels. Not as much romance as I expected, more good versus evil and what happens after death/suicide, but still interesting. If there's a book two in the works, I'll read it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (21)

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

Title: Illusions
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

From Goodreads:

Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

I was so close to forgetting about this series, probably because I read Wings and Spells in late last May and haven't reread them. I do remember them being rather fun and sweet and magical, like books to read and escape into because they've got faeries and flowers and other cute things. ;) I'll probably reread them before this comes out.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (19)

IMM is hosted every week over at The Story Siren by Kristi.

A little more than a week until the Cassandra Clare & Holly Black signing in Burnaby. If you're in the Lower Mainland (that's BC, Canada, if you didn't know), head for the Chapters at Metrotown on Monday the 18th. The signing event starts at about 7pm. I'll be there way early, maybe 5/5:30pm. It's mostly so I can buy Clockwork Angel and White Cat and Red Glove beforehand, but also because I assume I'll still be slow and hobbling around on crutches. :) The SkyTrain trip sure is going to be interesting, as will getting into the mall.

My dad says to milk the broken ankle as much as I can for seats and getting to the beginning of the signing line and stuff. It sounds a bit mean, but my mobility sucks, my balance isn't the best, and this event is going to be packed. I totally expect to see 200 people show up.

Also, I've been in an odd not really reading phase right now. I've had Amy Plum's Die for Me for the longest time and haven't gotten past the first page. *sigh* I think I've had cabin fever this week.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (I caved and ordered a copy online, but there was no extra Jace to Clary letter. Then I went to Chapters today and got a copy with the letter. The non-letter copy will be a signed giveaway copy, possibly with event swag.)

Borrowed from the library:
Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer (e-book)
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting (e-book)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (20)

Waiting on Wednesday is weekly fun hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

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

From Goodreads:

Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker… but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly carries a centuries-old Druid Blood Curse running through her veins.

Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time—literally—maybe even get a date.

This is the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every… never.

It sounds weird and mysterious and maybe a little funky. Plus the historical aspect sounds cool. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Me on The Goddess Test

Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimée Carter
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTeen (Harlequin imprint)

At times mythical, thoughtful, and sweetly romantic, Aimée Carter's debut novel The Goddess Test is the story of selfless 18-year-old Kate Winters, who would give anything to keep her mother from dying. After meeting a dark and handsome stranger, she soon learns that anything means anything, like six months of the year every year. Like her life.

Kate, who hasn't had the easiest life so far, travels to Eden, Michigan so her mother, frail and weak from fighting a losing battle with cancer, can die in her hometown. Not wanting to leave New York, Kate complies in order to make her mother happy, and possibly to steal more time with her, even though she enters the town with no friends and no other family members to speak of. Through a series of odd and jealous teenage girl circumstances, she meets Henry, the young, dark, and handsome resident of Eden Manor, and claims if she'll live with him from the start of fall to the beginning of spring, he'll keep her mother alive.

Soon finding herself in the situation Persephone once found herself in, Kate learns Henry is Hades, the Greek god of the Underworld, and to ensure her mother's continued survival, she mast pass seven different tests. If she passes them all, she'll become an immortal. A goddess. Henry's wife.

If she fails... well, failure might mean death for Kate herself.

I'll admit, I love Greek mythology, so I knew I would at least like this book before reading it. Aimée Carter brings a fresh twist to this mythical tale, reworking and reimagining Greek gods and goddesses to make them, if possible, more human in their encounters with Kate.

The character of Kate is so strong, she's willing to face these tests, willing to do whatever it takes to keep her mother alive. Her dedication, her honest affection, her lack of guile and duplicity, was wonderful. I understand why she rarely questioned Henry on what was required of her in terms of the seven tests. It wasn't that she didn't care, but more that she wanted to help Henry by being his new queen while keeping her mother alive long enough for her to accept her passing. Sure, wanting her mother to stay alive sounds selfish, but who wants to lose a parent to cancer at 18?

All of the characters, human and immortal alike, were creatively and interestingly described. Even the Greek gods and goddesses came to life, in a manner of speaking, even if I couldn't quite determine who all of them were in terms of their classical Greek names.

The twists and tweaks of the classic tale were intriguing. I feel this book would have been different if it were a straight modern retelling of Persephone and Hades with Henry and some girl whose name starts with a P. Instead, it is more like Henry moving on to a new relationship, a different relationship, searching for a new queen in Kate. One that might love him. His failed relationship with Persephone ruined him in terms of finding love and friendship with his co-ruler, and Kate's willing to be friends and show him how it could be, even if at the beginning she doesn't totally want to fall for him. Even if there's something drawing her to him. Even if he's gorgeous.

Everything about the book was amazing. Kate and Henry. The various secondary characters like James and Ava. The grand and glorious but slightly creepy Eden Manor. The outdoor settings and the nearby river.

This book surprised me. It took me on a journey through a mythology I've long been fascinated with, and introduced me to characters I'm longing to read more about. The wait for Aimée Carter's next book will feel unending, but knowing how enchanted I was after reading The Goddess Test, I'm sure it'll all be worth it.

(I received this e-galley by request through NetGalley from HarlequinTeen for the sole purposes of reading it and reviewing it.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (18)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted every week by Kristi over at The Story Siren.

It's been a rainy week here, but a little book-filled. I got to meet a local book blogger/review this week and we traded some books to borrow and read. That's pretty much it. :)

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Borrowed from Caitlin at WhatchYAReading:
Goddess Boot Camp by Tera Lynn Childs
Personal Demons by Lisa Desroches
Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst

Me on Invincible Summer

Title: Invincible Summer
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster Imprint)

I've seen some reviews that start by saying the summary of the book coupled with the cover is a bit misleading, that it's not a fun happy-good-time contemporary summer romance YA novel. I agree, it's not.

Heart-wrenching and thought-provoking, Hannah Moskowitz shows us, through narrator Chase, how fragile family can be and what we'll do to try and keep it together during a teen boy's first brush with lust and love. The highs and lows of life don't just happen every day when teens are at school and parents are at work. Summer holidays are not exceptions. There is no sugar-coating.

It was such an emotional book, it felt like I was right there in that beach house listening to the arguments and the laughter, watching Gideon sigh, watching Claudia be Claudia, watching Chase and Noah struggle to be good brothers. I didn't cry at the end like some other readers, but I did feel drained and worn out. It was like an entire lifetime passed during those four summers.

There's a bit of missing character growth between the summers, but that's not what we're meant to see. We're meant to see what the growth has created, how the characters have changed, how each summer has changed them, and who they have become.

I'm unsure on all the Albert Camus quotes that Moskowitz uses. I have a B.A. but I never had to read any Camus. I felt that some of the quotes went over my head, that I wasn't quite smart enough to read it, but Moskowitz said online how Camus, in her opinion, is a good philosopher for teenagers. Perhaps Chase and Noah were the kind of teens that needed a bit of existential philosophy in their lives and I wasn't. ;)

This book is very moving. It made me look at the little bits of their lives, the things that change in an instant and impact our lives in massive ways, and the giant big deals that have the ability to ruin us.

One thing I learned at the end of this book: not every family holiday is all fun and giggles, no summer is pain-free and sparkly with perfection, but it has the ability to make us stronger. To maybe even make us invincible.