Sunday, May 29, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (25)

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

BEA is over. Sometimes I wish I'd gone and grabbed ARCs and met authors and bloggers and wandered through New York and had sore feet and enjoyed myself, but other times I think of the giant crowds and huge lines and really sore feet and the possibly getting lost and I'm so glad I didn't go. Especially with my foot being the way it is. I would've been all limpy and slow, but I so would've milked it to get ARCs and to the front of lines. ;) Like Shatter Me. That book sounds so awesome.

Thanks to Emma for grabbing me ARCs of, according to her, Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Trinity Faegen's The Mephisto Covenant. You're so awesome. :) I'm going to have lots of fun reading them when they arrive (whenever that is, Emma sounds so tired on Twitter). :)

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
Divergent by Veronica Roth (already reviewed :D)

Received in the mail:
Illusions by Aprilynne Pike (ARC) (Nicole over at Word for Teens sent this to me after seeing my Waiting on Wednesday post about it. thanks, Nicole)

Borrowed from the library:
Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer (e-book)
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard (e-book) (i haven't read any of the Pretty Little Liars series, so hopefully i can get away with reading this first)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Me on Divergent

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen (HarperCollins imprint)

Divergent feels like the 86th dystopian YA book I've read in the past year & a half (it's actually the 12th) and I feel like I'm starting to get tired of it, like I need to circle back around to contemporary or paranormal, or try middle grade books for a little while. That being said, this was still a really good book. I also think it wasn't a good idea to read this and Blood Red Road in the same day. Too much bleak.

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five different factions: Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Abnegation (the selfless), and Erudite (the intelligent). On a certain day, all sixteen-year-olds must decide which faction they will devote the rest of their lives to. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is. The choice she makes surprises everyone, including herself. And so starts the highly competitive initiation process where she renames herself Tris.

But, she also has a secret, one she has to keep hidden because it could mean death.

I don't want to be boring and say how the idea for this segmented dystopian society is really interesting, but it is. You can see bits of it in society now, the sections and jobs that certain types of people always take.

Tris is rather interesting as well. She doesn't completely back down, even when she's beaten and bruised and sore, even when she tired and scared and alone.

There's a trend I've been noticing in YA novels on the inner strength of characters, their immense courage and perseverance, they way they somehow fight back against whatever's beating them down. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. It's just something I've been noticing, how characters get dragged down into the deepest, darkest pit and find a way to claw back up the side.

A unique and daring debut from a young author, Veronica Roth's Divergent will leave you gasping through the book's fast pace, the complex characters, and the hidden truths we find in ourselves in what looks to be our darkest hours.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (27)

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

Title: The Mephisto Covenant
Author: Trinity Faegen
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: EgmontUSA

From Goodreads:

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha. 

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

What is it about some of these books that make me want to read them?? This just sounds awesome, like a YA book mixed with the paranormal romance stories I enjoy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Me on Unearthly

Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Release Date: January
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)
Pages: 435 (Hardcover)

I bought this on a whim about a month ago when I spotted it in a bookstore. It was another case of books that come out in the US but don't really end up in Canadian bookstores for another month. *sigh*

Unearthly was one of the sweeter YA angel books I've read in the past while. It didn't feel overly dark and mysterious like Hush, Hush or Crescendo, it wasn't full of action and fight scenes like Angelfire. It was more relaxed, more journey of an angel to a new place so she could help people kind of book. Which I didn't mind. Not every book has to be like a Buffy episode.

Clara was sweet as the heroine. Not overly strong or powerful, perhaps a little meek and curious, but that's how I found her character and enjoyed her. She wasn't one to totally run in and beat everyone up, but she isn't supposed to be. She's an angel blood, a quarter angel, and after learning what she does from her mother, sees angels as benevolent and helpful, going out into the world to protect people. It wasn't until further into the book that the hint of danger comes into play.

Now, when I say sweet, I don't mean sugary and syrupy and overwhelmingly girly. It was such an easy-going book, such a quick read. I felt eased into the story, almost like I was gliding through it, coming across the twists and surprises like I was riding rapids down a river before hitting another calm spot.

The Wyoming setting was really nice. Not urban and with so much natural beauty highlighted by the author in her descriptions of the setting.

The vague love triangle, while getting tired and overdone in YA, didn't totally bother me. Clara is drawn to Christian, of course, but then there's Tucker. And even with the connection to Christian, there's no chemistry there like there is with Tucker. The second he became one of those needling getting on her nerves rubbing her the wrong way kind of guys, I just knew there was going to be something between him and Clara. It was obvious.

This book was almost devoid of pressure, apart from Clara's task to determine what her vision means and who she has to save, and so I enjoyed reading it. So peaceful to read, so gentle and easy. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (24)

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

I was in a weird sad and grouchy 'I hate everyone who's going to BEA because I'm not and it's possible I might've if I hadn't broken my ankle but I did so all my money goes to that right now and it's a good thing I have some insurance cause I have to pay for is my air cast boot thing and physio and renting crutches but not for any of the surgery/hospital stuff' phase during the week. Thankfully someone wonderful and lovely (Emma over at Booking Through 365) has offered to grab me an ARC or two when she goes. I was talking to someone on Twitter the other day about how much we'd totally freak out if there were Lola and the Boy Next Door ARCs. I'd honestly faint if I got an ARC of Lola. Like totally spaz and lose my mind. (No pressure, Emma. ;) I promise.)

And if you are also going to BEA this week and you don't mind grabbing an extra ARC or two for me, I'll pay for shipping and a box. Seriously. Shipping is on me.

Found in the S&S Galley Grab newsletter:
Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt
Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Wildefire by Karsten Knight

Borrowed from the library:
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci (eds.) (e-book)

And it's got all the comics in it, too. :D I love Bryan Lee O'Malley & Hope Larson's work.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Me on Wither

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Unbearably haunting and frighteningly possible, Lauren DeStefano has crafted a very possible future where mankind is dying at younger and younger ages and young teenage girls are forced into polygamous marriages to keep the human race from dying out. This book may be hard for some readers to stomach, eternal optimists or those who feel the future holds such promise, but take out the dystopian setting and what are we left with?

A young girl who will do anything, who will escape a lavish household, who will leave behind a loving husband she was forced to marry, to search for her twin brother.

What if you knew you exactly when you would die? This single sentence is massively powerful, and it's part of the synopsis to hook readers. It's freakishly dismal and depressing, knowing that once you hit 20, or 25, that you'd be overtaken by a terrible genetic twist of fate and die. Most people barely start living at 20 or 25.

Early buzz for this book called it The Handmaid's Tale for this new generation. I can't stand that book, but enjoyed this one, which is interesting. Both give me that same "is this really what the world might turn into in the next 50/100 years and will younger and younger girls be used as brood mares to make sure the human race won't die out" weird squidgy feeling. It's books like this that make me realize I'm somewhat of an optimist when it comes to the future.

Rhine was an interesting character, full of unexpected resilience and hope and determination, even when faced with kidnapping and a forced marriage and a husband and an extremely creepy father-in-law.

I'm not sure what else I can say about this book without giving it away or turning readers away, so I'll leave you with this. This is one of those books that should not be read at night. It pulls at you, drawing your expectations from you, leaving you huddled, gasping, drained, emotions raw and exposed to a chill wind. The possible realism is shocking, and I hope if the world we know now does turn into Rhine's world, if we are stricken by a genetic ticking time-bomb, I hope I'm not around to live in it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Me on Waiting in Wednesday (26)

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

Title: Supernaturally
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

A lot has changed in the six months since Evie escaped from the International Paranormal Containment Agency with her shape-shifter boyfriend, Lend. She finally has the blissfully normal life she’s always dreamed of, including:
1) A real live high school
2) A perfectly ordinary after-school job
3) Her very own locker (and by the way, rusted metal is every bit as awesome as she imagined)

But Evie’s not-so-normal past keeps creeping up on her...and things get pretty complicated when you factor in:
1) A centuries-old, seriously decaying vampire stalker
2) A crazy faerie ex-boyfriend who is the perpetual bearer of really bad news
3) A major battle brewing between the faerie courts where the prize in question happens to be...Evie herself.

So much for normal.

I enjoyed Paranormalcy so much. I didn't really think I would, for some reason it sounded a bit too cutesy with the pink and Evie being all bubbly.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (23)

IMM is a bunch of weekly fun hosted every week by Kristi over at The Story Siren. :)

Slow book week, even though I was out 5 out of 7 days this past week. If only it was to buy books. It could've been, but there's nothing out right now that I want to read. Nothing but ARCs other people have, of course. ;)

Free e-book:
The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross (the prequel short story to The Girl in the Steel Corset, i actually got this last week and spaced on it, but figured it would be boring to say all i got last week was a free e-book)

Borrowed from library:
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (e-book)

Won on Twitter:
Some signed Across the Universe swag from Beth Revis

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (25)

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

Title: Sweet Venom
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

This just sounds freaking awesome. Medusa's been typecast as a mythological character that's creepy and gross and can totally kill you if you look at her. Twisting the story around and using her descendants as quirky and weird and human characters and narrators is really interesting. I'm on pins and needles waiting for this book to feed my Greek mythology mixed with modern day people addiction. ;)

I want this so much. If you have an ARC and you're willing to part with it, I will gladly trade for it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Me on Defiance

Title: Defiance
Author: Lili St. Crow
Release Date: April 19, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

Before reading this, I reread the first three books in the series. Partially to remind myself what had happened, but mostly because they're freaking awesome. :)

Oh, and there are spoilers for Strange Angels, Betrayals, especially Jealousy, and maybe Defiance. If you want to read the other books first, you might not want to read this.

Dru's always been a good listener. She listened to her dad, but she did have to gun him down when he showed up at their house as a zombie. Then she listened to the Order when they popped into her life, but they kept lying to her. She even listened to Christophe, but still lost the only friend she had left.

Now, Dru's done listening. She's doing things on her own extremely pissed off terms, and she'll fight Sergej, king of the evil vampires, if she bloody well wants to. If the Order has a problem with that, they can kiss their sweet little svetocha goodbye.

I spent the last three days (May 3, 4, & 5) reading this series. I got through Betrayals and Jealousy both in one day. I felt like a junkie just after midnight on the 5th, wanting to read Defiance because Jealousy has a brutal ending but needing to get some sleep.

This book was just as mind-blowing and just as powerful as the others in the series. It took almost nothing for me to get swept back into Dru's deadly and extremely mixed-up world, a world she's somehow survived sort of on her own ever since she had to kill her brand new zombie dad. Nothing happens slowly, even though Dru's continually anxious about how long things are taking. The pacing is quick but smooth, no rough edges to get caught up on or stumble over. Four books in, St. Crow still has the ability to pull me straight into Dru's world until it feels like I'm smack in her head watching everything twist and move and crumble around her.

And once again, nothing's easy for Dru. She really has pulled the shortest straw possible for easiness of life. And thank God that she's still the same Dru I love reading about. She's armed, she's gritty, she's not girly but has that girly part of her brain that worries about zits and looking like a rumpled slob in front of Graves and Christophe, and she's forever ready to beat the crap out of whoever she has to to find out the truth.

Jealousy ended like a punch in the stomach with Anna shooting Dru, Christophe making Dru drink his blood, and Sergej leaving a note saying he's going to Break Graves the way he Broke Ash. It doesn't take long for Defiance to get right back into the action, it doesn't take long for Dru to continue killing nosferatu or learn how to fight with Christophe or ask over and over again if the Order has found Graves.

I don't want to give away spoilers, but the places this book went and where it ended in preparation for the last book in the series was so good and so satisfying. Because it's Dru, nothing was even close to perfect, and at the end it's clear there's a giant mess left to be fixed, but I so know I'm going to get what I want in the last book.

Dru kicking some ass. ;)

Powered by a strong heroine who's not afraid to get a little dirty, Defiance is what readers of Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels series have been waiting for after the huge action-packed mess of Jealousy. Dru's learned, she's grown, she's on the edge of blooming into a full-fledged svetocha, and she'll do anything and everything and whatever it takes to get her Goth Boy back.

When Reckoning hits shelves in November, it'll feel like the end of an era. No more Dru, or Graves, or Christophe. It's almost enough to make me want to hug these books to bed. ;)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Me on Gushing About Lilith Saintcrow

I love urban fantasy/dark fantasy/paranormal books. There's something about real life that can get so boring sometimes, there's something wild and unexpected missing. In urban fantasy novels, that something wild and unexpected is right there, usually hidden in the shadows, creeping around in the background. It makes the book that much more interesting, like real life mixed with something that's bound to keep you on your toes.

If the world-building is done right, then you get totally swept into the book and start to feel like you're right there with the characters, seeing what they see.

That's how I feel whenever I read Lilith Saintcrow's Strange Angels series. There's a bunch of spoilers, so be warned.

This series just sort of found me, too. Early in 2009, I read the first Vampire Academy book by Richelle Mead. That July, I ordered the next two, cause that's all that was out at the time. At the end of Shadow Kiss was the cover and a preview (the prologue) of this book called Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow. I saw the cover and was curious. I read the prologue and fell in book-love. I bought it and for the past 2 years have fallen under Lilith's siren spell.

I think it's the character of Dru that sucked me in. She's not your normal heroine. She knows, and I mean knows, how to fight her way out of a situation or two, she knows her guns and weapons, and she knows a bunch of 'Real World' stuff, like wulfen and faeries and apparitions and the like. She's rough around the edges, she's got a smart mouth, she's punchy like you wouldn't believe. She's awesome. Dru's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer without the blonde hair and cheerleading background and more gruff attitude..

Sure, Dru's not your average girl and could so kick your butt (and knows it), but she's not heartless. She's got a clear sense of right/wrong and she cares about people when they're being pushed around. I think I was waiting a little not so patiently for a girl like Dru who's not all that of a girl and has accepted it. She's not focused on how to find a date while fighting roach spirits or poltergeists. She's focused on how to fight them while hoping her dad lets her come along on a hunt or two.

Dru knows the world is dark and creepy. There's a distinct lack of perfect in the Real World, as there should be. Her mom was killed, her grandmother died, her dad turned into a zombie, she just discovers she's part-vampire, and there's a different super creepy evil vampire after her who wants to kill her. There's no sugar-coating whatsoever, even when Graves drops into her life with his aspirations of being a physics professor (which is so cool) and ends up being turned into a loup-garou.

I also think the whole djamphir and svetocha idea is different and intriguing. Vampires can be written about forever and ever, but a world where female vampires are really really rare? Where they're a little more than average until they 'bloom' and become strong and pretty? And they're poisonous to evil vampires just being in the same room as them? That's wicked. In a cool, creepy vampire way. ;)

There's just something about these books, especially the first one, that makes me want to read it over and over and over again. Thank God these books exist (and that they're in paperback). I so wish I'd written this series.

The different characters are so fleshed out and so close to being real. Dru with the huge chip on her shoulder, Graves and his sense of humour mixed with his ability to roll with all the punches, Christophe's need to protect Dru plus a little vampire creepiness. Ash. I love Ash. I could happily devour a new series all about Ash. He's the broken lost soul Dru has to fix right before she fixes her own broken lost soul.

For all her strength and knowledge and determination and blood-boiling anger, Dru's still fragile.

I finished reading Defiance today (May 5, review to be posted May 10), and after reading nothing but these books for the past 3 days I feel like a junkie coming down from an amazing high. It was like a bomb went off in my head and obliterated everything but (spoiler) Dru, Graves, and Ash. I didn't want it to end. I wanted to keep reading. Once I was done, I went back and read the ending because it was so good. I still don't want to book to be over because I know I'll be counting the days until Reckoning.

I want to punch myself in the face for not writing these books before Lilith Saintcrow did.

I can't believe the series is coming to an end with Reckoning due to come out November 1, 2011. It almost feels like the end of a weird and dark and dangerous era of a couple of years. Even if there's no more Dru and Graves and Christophe, the piece of my soul that loves how Lilith Saintcrow writes and world builds and makes me want to hug these books to sleep would cry for joy if there's ever another book or series set in the same world.

That would be spectacular.

It doesn't seem like I've gushed nearly enough about this author and this series and these characters, but what else can I say? Besides go out and buy these books if you've been looking for a flawed and fragile but still amazingly strong heroine. ;)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Me on Die for Me

Title: Die for Me
Author: Amy Plum
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

Amy Plum's debut novel, Die for Me, weaves together a mysterious and sweetly romantic story with the magnificent city of Paris and a secret group of people fated to sacrifice themselves time and time again to save others. An intriguing twist on a classic character, Plum's Revenants turn the undead into saviours, into helpers, into cute boys to crush on, and Kate is soon swept off into their world.

Kate's life was normal, but then her parents died and she and her sister move to Paris to live with their grandparents in an attempt to get away from the bad memories. Broken and alone, Kate doesn't see life getting any better. Until she meets Vincent, who sweeps her off her feet. Who isn't normal. Who has enemies trying to kill him.

The premise sucked me in. I love stories about old cities like Paris or London or Rome. There's something about novels that take place outside of North America and in Europe that give it an old world mysterious historical feel. Cities that are hundreds of years old, that have so mush history in them and hidden underneath them, sometimes turn into characters themselves, silent narrators guiding the main characters through its shadows and secrets.

Kate almost needs Vincent to show up in her life and mess it all up. She's stuck in a rut, stuck in a huge pit of sadness and despair, and needs Vincent to show up, freak her out, and pull her back out into the real world. Losing both your parents at a teenager clearly sucks, and clearly Kate's self-preservation kicked in big time so she wouldn't lose anyone else she cared about, but she still had to live her life.

Even if Vincent is the one to start to draw her out of her shell.

But she's still damaged. It's good that she's not just instantly cured by Vincent, that Plum still has Kate be all partially emotionally unavailable. It makes Kate more realistic, more human, more believable as a character. Meeting a cute French guy doesn't completely fix all your emotional problems and get over your 'don't let anyone get too close because they might leave me before I'm ready' issues.

Immortality isn't always a good thing. Sometimes, it really sucks. Especially when you're not and the guy you think you might be in love with is.

If you're looking for the softer, more romantic, and less flesh-eating side of the undead but still want some mystique and hints of danger and suspense, then you'll love Die for Me. It's an entertaining mix of YA romance with paranormal/urban fantasy twist in one of the most magical cities.

(I received this book through NetGalley from HarperCollins for the sole purpose of reviewing it. I have not been compensated in any way.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (24)

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

Title: Wolfsbane
Author: Andrea Cremer
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended–Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer–one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack–and the man–she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

I loved Nightshade. I can only hope Wolfsbane will be just as amazing. I haven't been lucky enough to grab an ARC of this yet, no matter how much 'asking' Jess Ring and I have done on Twitter. Seriously, if you have an extra ARC of this, I'll totally take it off your hands. And I'll owe you big.

I still love the old cover, but the new one's not so bad. Not sure about getting a paperback of Nightshade with the new cover so it'll match. Maybe one day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (22)

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

My sister, who's two years younger than me, is graduating from university this June. She's getting an honours degree. In May, she starts a 16-week work period with a professor she's had before funded by the government because she received some undergraduate student research award. She's really smart, my sister, which sucks a bit because it's not hard for me to feel like an idiot, but she's happy. We're really different, but we still do things together. :)

Like this past week. We early-voted on Monday (federal election time in Canada), we went browsing through Ikea (she needs a new desk chair, I'd like another bookcase), and she was nice enough to let me buy her another book for carrying my things a couple weeks ago. ;) She's also been awesome getting stuff for me since I broke my ankle. Feels like it's been forever instead of 10 weeks. *faint*

The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter
Defiance by Lili St. Crow
Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz (I've read it, I know, but I had to buy it)
Red Mortal by Deidre Knight
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (these last two are two paranormal romance series that I'm addicted to)

Found in the April S&S Galley Grab newsletter:
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma (I already read it on Friday and it's wrecked my brain)
Possession by Elana Johnson (it's in the Adult eGalley section, if you couldn't find it)