Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (41)

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

Title: This is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Release Date: June 2012 (exact date unknown)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

From Goodreads:

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up.

As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life–and death–inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

Were you there when Twitter totally flipped over how gorgeous this cover is? I was. Such an amazing cover. And the book sounds amazing, like one of Courtney's contemporary novels mixed with zombies. Insta-buy.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Me on Falling in Love with English Boys

Title: Falling in Love with English Boys
Author: Melissa Jensen
Release Date: December 23, 2010
Publisher: Speak (Penguin imprint)

Catherine Vernon is stuck in London over the summer, away from her friends, her ex-boyfriend (good riddance), and anything remotely familiar. So she blogs about her summer to her friends. Desperate to do something while her (s)mother's off researching boring historical stuff, Cat starts reading the 1815 diary of a young British girl her mom gives her and finds their lives oddly similar. But where Katherine has the whirls of society and the parties, Cat only has the really good British chocolate. Until she meets William, the super hot descendant of Katherine, and things start to look up...

This book was funny, witty, and very interesting. It was a little different, written in blog posts, but why not? It's a contemporary YA novel (just about everyone and their mom blogs these days). And the plot grabbed hold of me so easily. A displaced girl in a weird apartment (owned by a fungus professor) in a foreign country (so what if it's just England?) with no social support besides the computer? She's bound to go insane if she doesn't find something to do. After reading this book, I wanted to go back to London (I went once in 2008) and try and have the same exact experience Cat did. That says so much about the author, that I want her book to be real and my life for a summer. And include the cute British guy (his name doesn't have to be Will).

I really like Cat. She's funny and snarky but not mean about it. She's trying to get the most out of this trip but it's hard when the weather's dreary and she's been left to find her own way around while her (s)mother's off at a museum all day long. What's familiar to Cat isn't even familiar. Different food, TV, sports, (no one understands cricket). Even the accents can be tricky to understand.

I wasn't totally expecting the blog post format, but after a while I didn't necessarily mind. It still read like prose, like a diary with events and her own perceptions mixed in. It it would've been awesome to have some of the pictures that Cat mentions, even one or two, or even a little map of London. I've been but without a map you're screwed if you want to go to specific places (unless you're the type who likes to travel and wander without care). I did love the fact that there were links included, like a real blog post, if a place or event sounded interesting and you wanted to learn more. Points for ingenuity.

I know I wasn't expecting the diary entries of Katherine's, but I think I understand why the author included them. There are similarities between Cat and Katherine, between then and now. Just because there weren't computers or TV or Hello! magazine doesn't mean her life was any more or less interesting or important than Cat's. Sometimes I liked Catherine more because of the actual historical value from her entries.

I haven't seen a lot of buzz around this book, and it's been out since the end of 2010. It's fun and different and exotic (I know it's England, but still). It's not chick lit, Cat doesn't come across like a pink flouncy girl, but her attitude makes her more believable, more real, more possible. More angsty teenager writing a blog for her close friends thousands of miles away. This book filled the part of me that craves contemporary YA set in Europe, and so I tucked it away with Rachel Hawthorne's A Year in Europe: Three Novels and Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss where it belongs.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (36)

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

Slow book week. I've hit a lull. Didn't browse at the library when I went, maybe I should've. I want to yell at Chapters for not having Gretchen McNeil's Possess in stores. WANT SO MUCH.

The Summer Book Giveaway winners have received their signed books. Yay. I'll be hosting another giveaway soon to coincide with 2 signings I'm going to in October. Choice of a signed book by 1 of 10 authors and random swag I can get. Maybe next time I'll use a spreadsheet or Rafflecopter (do people like Rafflecopter?? I signed up for an invite).

Review checklist: Wolfsbane, Tanpopo Volume 2 & 3 (do you want to see reviews of these?), First Kill (reading it now but not sure, tell me if you'd be interested in reading a review), The Mephisto Covenant, Past Perfect, Crave, The Pledge, and Every Other Day.

Requested on NetGalley:
Crave by Melissa Darnell

Found on Kobo website:
Impulse Control by Susan Bischoff (free)
Hush Money by Susan Bischoff (free because I used the $1 off coupon code)

And it's not books but I got the first season of the UK show Misfits (think Skins plus X-Men) off iTunes. So good. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Me on Tanpopo Volume 1

Title: Tanpopo Volume 1
Artist: Camilla d'Errico
Release Date: 2009
Published by d'Errico Studios

Edge and emotion bring to life the story of a mysterious young girl who makes a pact with the devil. Released from the machine that has been her only existence, she hopes to find happiness...Tanpopo Volume 1 was inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust: A Dramatic Poem. The play's tragic themes are carried throughout this graphic novel by Camilla d'Errico's manga-style artwork.

My second attempt at reviewing a graphic novel (my first was Hope Larson's Mercury). If this goes well, perhaps I'll start reviewing graphic novels on a semi-regular basis. ;)

Artist Camilla d'Errico combines stark images drawn in a manga style with passages from Goethe's Faust to introduce us to Tanpopo, a young girl who only knows what the machine tells her. She knows nothing of emotion, nothing of good or evil, nothing of what it means to be human. She is intelligent but emotionless, caught in the struggle between her mind and her heart. She does not live but survives, the machine's cold intelligence and guidance her only connection to the world.

Taken from Faust is the conflict in Tanpopo's heart, the decision to leave a familiar world for a new and possibly heartbreaking experience. We stay in comfortable situations because we fear the unknown, we don't know what is beyond the boundaries of our existence. Here is Tanpopo and the machine that provides knowledge but gives her nothing of the human experience. And so, like in Faust, in walks the devil to make a deal, in walks the promise of emotional experiences, in walks a hidden objective to own a young girl's soul. he gives her wings to fly away, to experience life as she desires to.

The artwork brings the passages alive, giving them a lonely face, a name, a joyless situation to leave behind. The loneliness in Tanpopo's huge eyes is so clear, the sorrow in her slumped shoulders and dangling hands. The devil Kuro is childish, playful, and cute, but disguises himself as The Poodle, a small, black figure. By doing this, his goal is to get Tanpopo to agree to their deal for her soul, keeping from her his ability to change forms. Including a boy.

d'Errico's drawings are stark, like a black pen was scratched across the page, hints and splashes of colour added later to highlight. Simple, but so much is hidden below the surface, so much to explore and discover.

It's hard to separate the words from the artwork because they are connected, one bringing so much emotion and life to the other. I feel I can only quote the website d'Errico has for Tanpopo (found here): "Tanpopo is not an illustrated poem nor is it a reinterpretation of literature. It is a unique visual and literary experience that combines a rare, open storytelling format with oriental aesthetics and character development, while bringing long lost or little known classic literature to today’s audience – both young and mature."

Tanpopo is more than a graphic novel, more than a unique experience that combines literature and illustrations. It is a story that cuts to the heart of us, a story about what makes us human beings, what we perceive and what defines us.

(Starting August 8th, Tanpopo is free to read online over at MTV Geek. A new section is posted every week until the series is completed.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Me on Bloodlines + Blog Tour

Welcome to the next stop on the Bloodlines blog tour. I'm your resident reviewer/total book nerd. ;) And this is my first ever time being part of a blog tour. And I'm day 2. I can feel the pressure to be awesome. *biting fingernails* Also, thank you so much, Penguin Canada. You're so awesome for sending me an advance copy of this to review. It's possible I was ready to beg a friend to borrow hers. ;) Here's a link to the trailer.

I was just going to post a review, but I thought about it and I'm going to give you something extra at the end, a little compare and contrast between Rose, everyone's favourite Dhampir and Guardian, and Sydney, our new intrepid narrator and wary Alchemist. But first, the review (the whole post might be a little long).

Title: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, part of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets, and human lives. Ripped from her bed, Sydney thinks she's still being punished for helping dhampir Rose Hathaway, but it's far worse than she imagined. Jill Dragomir, the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir, is in danger and needs to be hidden. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to be Jill's guardian, to pose as her roommate and hide her in the last place a vampire would be, Palm Springs, California. Instead of finding safety and a semblance of security, Sydney discovers the drama is just the beginning.

Bloodlines is the start of a companion series to Vampire Academy, beginning after the events that almost cost Rose and Lissa their lives multiple times, and now everyone's favourite stoic Alchemist and part-time character Sydney has returned, becoming our new narrator. So reluctant to get involved, so wary of getting kicked out or sent away to be "re-educated," Sydney is shoved into a situation she wouldn't dare touch with a 10 foot pole, but she has her reasons.

Familiar but still new and different, Richelle Mead gives us a new series with former side characters like any good companion novel. Think Dia Reeves (Bleeding Violet and Slice of Cherry), Stephanie Perkins, or Heather Brewer (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod and The Slayer Chronicles). These are characters both beloved and left behind at the end of Last Sacrifice: Sydney, Jill (Lissa's discovered half-sister), Adrian (the Moroi spirit user with an addiction Rose turned away), and Eddie (a dhampir Guardian just skating the edge after some unfortunate events). I think a lot of readers are waiting for Adrian to find his girl after being dumped by Rose for Dimitri.

I like Sydney, she's unique and intelligent, but rather closed off. Who else would you bring in but Adrian to chip away at her walls and completely infuriate her with his thousands upon thousands of issues and addictions and his bitterness over Rose? And Jill's sweetness and semi-naivete needs hardening up. A bit of Sydney needs to rub of on Jill, and vice versa.

Now, it's all about Sydney being surrounded by vampires and part-vampires and humans. A social butterfly, Sydney is not. Far too smart for the prep school she and Jill are dumped it, she has to learn to navigate the human world, a world full of resentful teen girls, jock guys, and unique teachers. She has to keep her wits about her, to trust her instincts, to trust the right people (which might also be the wrong people, but it does happen), to learn that the world, be it the human, Moroi, or Alchemist world, is more gray instead of black and white.

And maybe that vampires aren't so bad to hang around with. Well, the Moroi, at least. She can still avoid the Strigoi as much as she wants.

Filled with twists and turns and many questions with few answers, Bloodlines will satisfy loyal Richelle Mead readers and leave them hanging on by the tips of their fingers for more. A wonderful blend of familiar characters and problems with a new setting. And, of course, new problems. Here, the stakes are so much higher than they were before, and now everyone's out for blood. But whose blood is wanted more?

Now, with the change in series and setting comes a change in narrator. Readers will miss the strong and rough and gutsy and ballsy Rose, but Sydney is strong in her own way. Strong in character and belief, in doing what's right and not necessarily what's best for the Alchemists (good thing, too). Sydney wants to keep Jill safe, to keep her alive, and to keep her hidden from any Moroi or Strigoi or whoever might want to kill her. Like Rose, she'll help and keep people safe. Unlike Rose, she's maybe not as street smart or used to teenage drama in a school environment. And, like Rose, Sydney puts up with Adrian's crap and wants him to chance.

If only Sydney could kick butt like Rose. She seems like a reluctant heroine, not necessarily comfortable in her new role, but she'll do it. And as the series goes on, Sydney will be amazing.

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (40)

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

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

From Goodreads:

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18B. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

I've read some early buzz, some people have been receiving advance copies from LB, and they're saying it's awesome. I love the set over 24 hours part of it. Such a short period of time, but some days 24 hours last forever. I want to read this book so much. It intrigues the small contemporary part of my reading brain.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Me on Whisper

Title: Whisper
Author: Phoebe Kitanidis
Release Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HC imprint)

Joy can hear Whispers, people's deepest and darkest desires. She uses this for good, to make people happy. For her older sister, Jessica, the gift is a curse, and she uses it to make people's lives miserable. Still, when Joy Hears a mysterious Whisper from Jessica's own mind, when she thinks she's starting to lose her mind, she knows she has to save her sister.

This book kept me interested page after page. I kept coming back to it, reading it in rare snatches of free time. It has a unique premise, not calling it telepathy but Hearing and Whispers, including a semi-compulsion to help others.

Joy is stuck between her sister and her mother. Caught, she has to learn to think for herself or follow blindly and listen to what's told her to her. Should she question that there's more she isn't being told? What if she just wants to be a good girl? What's so wrong with that? But Jessica is right, Joy can't just take what her mother tells her and follow without thinking at least once that it might not be the best idea.

Jessica as an interesting antagonist, like the outspoken side of Joy that's hidden away. It felt more like the book was about Joy at war with herself, her learning how to think for herself, like Jessica is the dark side of Joy, buried away in the back of her mind.

Joy's trapped by her Hearing. She can't have a normal teenage life and has to learn to pick and choose or block it out. Her friends get suspicious like any normal group of friends would be, but it would also be awkward, knowing all the secrets of your friends and not being able to help them out or tell them because they'd get embarrassed. It's a sticky situation Joy is in, trying to be loyal but wanting to help them with their problems.

A dark but sweet debut, Phoebe Kitanidis introduces us to a girl with a smile on her face hiding her issues and her fears, a girl who has to grow up and discover that everyone has their problems, that not everyone is perfect or wants to be, that sometimes the people closest to you need to be saved even when they don't want to. An enjoyable and underrated novel.

(I received this book from the author, not to review but because I couldn't find a copy of it up here. Phoebe actually said I didn't have to review it, but I did anyways.)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (35)

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

I finally mailed the books out to my giveaway winners. Sorry it took so long to send them. ;) Odds are, you'll get them Monday or Tuesday, Friday at the very very very latest.
From the S&S Galley Grab newsletter:
Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Found on Kobo website for free:
Haunting the Night by Mara Purnhagen (e-book)

From NetGalley:
Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (it seems to me that whatever Egmont puts on NetGalley is automatically available for people to read and review, which is nice because I've been waiting weeks to hear back on The Way We Fall) (also sorry for the fuzzy picture, it's from Goodreads and is kinda tiny)

I felt a little bad, looking through the Galley Grab newsletter this past week and not finding anything I wanted to read or didn't already have or could read because it was the next in the series and I'd already read the first or first and second in the series.

I started this last week and you guys kind of like it, so here's a list of books I currently plan on reviewing (with release dates because if they're not out yet my review won't be posted until about a week before): Wolfsbane (out), Tanpopo Volume 2 & 3 (out), First Kill (Sept 20), The Mephisto Covenant (Sept 27), Past Perfect (Oct 4), The Pledge (Nov 15), and Every Other Day (Dec 27 but my time to read it runs out on Sept 16).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Me on Supernaturally

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

Evie's so enjoying her brand-new normal life. It's got Lend, her awesome boyfriend, it's got a normal school, it's got a family and a home. It's even got lockers. But after a while, Evie discovers that normal, well, it's kind of... boring. Just when she starts to dream of her days of danger with the IPCA, they want her to work for them again. Willing to get away from the normal, she jumps at the chance.

But when one thing goes wrong, and another, and when her stalker-ish faerie ex-boyfriend Reth shows up, Evie's left wondering what else will go wrong.

So much for normal.

Kiersten White's sophomore novel, the sequel to Paranormalcy, brings us right back where readers missed spending time, straight back to Evie and the weirdness that follows her as she tries to have a normal life. Evie is still as bubbly and enthusiastic and weird as ever, but the book has more of a dark note. Not quite as bright and quick as the first, but this book felt more dark and dangerous, more unknown and mysterious. More deadly.

Evie still has to figure out who/what she is. Not all the questions were answered in Paranormalcy. Now, the question is why do both Seelie and Unseelie faerie courts want her? What do they want her to do? Why are they at war? What will happen if the supernatural world explodes?

She still has Lend, her gorgeous, supportive, shape-shifting boyfriend. I was so worried this book would have what other second books in a trilogy have: something that totally pulls apart the main girl and main guy. Look at Beautiful Darkness, Crescendo, The Lost Saint. Something happens to totally rip them apart and a huge middle chunk of the book has a lot of moping in it. I won't say whether or not it happened (those would be spoilers) but I'll say I was on the look-out for it.

This book is very much a lead up to the third in the series. Something big will happen, that much is clear. The sad thing is we have to wait for 2012 to read Endlessly.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Me on Flash Reviews (2)

I have a lot of e-galleys to review and I figured I'd read a couple and give a quick review instead of a longer one like I usually write, mostly because these were books I was only mildly interested in (no offense). It's possible that in the future, I'll come back and write longer reviews, but I don't know when that'll be. So, here are two quick reviews on Witchlanders by Lena Coakley and Fury by Elizabeth Miles.

Title: Witchlanders
Author: Lena Coakley
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (S&S imprint)

Not my usual cup of tea but still an enjoyable read. Refreshing to find a YA fantasy novel with a male protagonist. Should appeal to fans of fantasy novels with magic and witches and two sides to every story but always connected.

The book summary is a bit misleading, less of the strange girl and more magic and Ryder needing to figure things out, but still an interesting book.

Characters were interesting, action scenes moved smoothly enough, and the twists and surprises kept me reading.

No rating this time (on Goodreads) because while I enjoyed it, I don't often read high fantasy like this book is and so I don't think the rating I would honestly give it would be fair. I will say that I enjoyed it, that I liked the world-building and the legends that the author has created, that I liked the characters and the struggles they had, how it was never easy for Ryder. Struggle builds character.

Title: Fury
Author: Elizabeth Miles
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)

It has an interesting premise, I'll give it that. Two teens make some mistakes and so the Furies of Greek mythology are there to teach them a lesson. It is a fresh twist on something old and makes it more than a little dark and mysterious.

I'm still unsure of Emily, and of any character who has a crush on her best friend's boyfriend and doesn't try harder to stay away from him. Cheating happens, situations like this happen, but it rarely ends with everyone all smiles and sunshine. Em knows it's wrong, clearly, but where's the resistance?

People make mistakes all the time, some that can be fixed easily and some that can ruin a person's life. What if there was someone who went around righting wrongs, punishing the liars and the criminals and the bullies? What if learning a lesson was deadly? What if karma was real, that we get what we give?

This book is right. Sometimes sorry isn't enough.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (39)

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

Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: January 3, 2012 (updated release date)
Publisher: HarperCollins

From Goodreads:

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as the Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage— and her only hope of staying alive.

Because they must, they will struggle together to survive.

Aria and Perry forge an unlikely alliance—one that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Yet another weird YA dystopia novel with a creepy wasteland, but they're all still different enough to interest me. They still have that one hook in the summary that makes me want to read it and makes me anxious to read the next in the series, if there is a next in the series.

Sometimes I wonder what will comes next, if contemporary YA will skyrocket, if more and more steampunk will appear, if science-fiction will take over and make us as readers took towards the future, look towards space travel and artificial intelligence and cybernetic implants.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Me on Forgotten

Title: Forgotten
Author: Cat Patrick
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Every night at 4:33AM, London Lane's memory resets and she forgets what happened that day. All that's left behind is a note, written by London herself, reminding her of the big things that happened and the stuff she has to watch out for. It doesn't make high school any easier, or dating, but she's trying. Even when a new guy shows up. But London starts seeing some strange things and wants to learn more about the past she keeps forgetting, before it ruins her future.

Such an interesting concept. London's memory resets at 4:33 in the morning every morning, but she remembers little bits of the future. It's such a mind-blowing idea, reading this book was exciting. Something would happen that the reader knows all about, but London wouldn't and had to figure it all out again.

This book has a unique psychological aspect to it. To be unable to remember your past while discovering moments of your future is different, to say the least. I was waiting for London to be a very 'living in the present with no cares' character, but she wasn't. She was concerned about what she'd forgotten and what was going to happen, like her memory loss was so much more of a curse than it might've been to a different character. London was strong after learning how to cope with this curious part of her life, but she still needed support, needed more than just her mother or her friend.

Luke showing up surprises her. She's drawn to him, wants to talk to him, but he's not in her memories of the future. Why isn't he there? Does something happen to him? It made their relationship interesting, not remembering a guy you have a crush on but seeing him at school every day and finding him attractive.

And there are some things both London and the reader doesn't know, so some of the mystery is still there, still weaved into the prose and the pages to be discovered.

Mysterious and romantic, Cat Patrick's debut novel was an evenly-paced glimpse into a young girl's life, a girl who can't remember her past but somehow knows parts of her future. Unique and different, this book will grab hold of readers and show them a different side of life, show them how important memory is and what can happen when you have none.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Me on Picking Books to Review

Hi, people. Just a quick post but I hope you'll comment and add your two cents at the end. :)

Starting this week, I'm going to list which books I plan to review at the end of my In My Mailbox posts. This way it's a little bit of fair warning for you guys so you can keep an eye out for the review. Plus, I want you guys to tell me whether or not you'd like to see a review of a book I didn't list. I'm totally willing to start a people's choice review thing maybe once a week or once every other week.

For example, this week I got Slayer Chronicles: First Kill, Legend, Tanpopo Volume 1, 2, & 3, Graveminder, Passion, One Hundred Candles, and Bogus to Bubbly: An Insider's Guide to the World of Uglies. I only plan on reviewing First Kill, Legend, and Tanpopo because I want to, because First Kill and Legend are ARCs, and because I want to review more graphic novels (and because I met Camilla during a recent volunteer job in Vancouver, found her manga drawing style gorgeous, bought her books, and got them signed).

I want you guys to like my reviews, to read them because you also liked the book or because you think it sounds interesting. But I also want to know what you guys want to see me review. There have been some books I've gotten either from bookstores or the S&S Galley Grab newsletter that I haven't reviewed (if I've requested it I'm more likely to review it, the Galley Grab newsletter lets you pick and choose and leaves it up to you which you want to review if you want to).

On Goodreads I have shelves of what I own, what's in my current to-read pile, what I've reviewed. You're welcome to take a look and suggest a book for me to review. I know it sounds like I'm making you do the work, but I need to know what you want so you don't get bored when you come here.

So, maybe you could give some input every now and then? Maybe? Just a little? ;) If not, it's ok, I'll just review what I want or what I get sent to review and that'll be it. :)

Me on In My Mailbox (34)

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

The Writing & Book Camp was fun. Day 1 I wore flip flops, which might've been a mistake because my feet were sore at the end of the day but not necessarily my ankle, which was also sore but because I'm pretty sure that's because I was going downhill & my ankle wasn't happy about that. Uphill was better. Day 2 I wore sneakers & took the bus home instead of waiting an hour & a half for a ride, which was ok but my ankle swelled up a bit & my toes were all squished from my shoe. As some would say on Twitter, I now had a #whitegirlproblem or a #firstworldproblem. Probably both. ;) Both feet were tired when I got home Friday, so I spent yesterday not wearing shoes.

I imagine I worked out some of the stiffness in my ankle from walking & standing more than usual for the past week, but most nights it would be all swollen. Maybe I should go back to physio this week, see what they say.

From Caitlin at whatchYAreading:
Legend by Marie Lu (an extra copy she had from ALA, & it's got gold text in it :D)
The Slayer Chronicles: First Kill by Heather Brewer (signed to Caitlin, so whenever I read it I'll pretend her name is my name)

Tanpopo Volume 1, 2 & 3 by Camilla d'Errico (signed plus one adorable doodle in the back of Volume 3; Camilla was one of the workshop leaders at the book camp this past week & I adore her manga art style featuring girls in huge helmets made out of metal or birds or other animals (Helmetgirls), Tanpopo is a series of hopefully 10 volumes she's self-publishing, doing the artwork herself and drawing on literature like Faust and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" for the text)

Borrowed from library:
Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Passion by Lauren Kate
One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen
Bogus to Bubbly: An Insider's Guide to the World of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Out of these books, First Kill, Legend, and all three Tanpopo volumes are on my review list. Of course, you will have to wait for November for my Legend review. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Me on A Need So Beautiful

Title: A Need So Beautiful
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HC imprint)

Bright and softly magical, Suzanne Young's latest novel grips the hearts of readers and doesn't let go, even after the final page. This is a tale filled with friendship and romance, but also a story of struggle and sacrifice, of discovering what we're put on Earth to do. Charlotte is special, so special it took her time to realize her true potential, but there's realizing it and the pain of actually going through with it that she has to face.

A YA novel with a romantic element but the girl already has a boyfriend and is totally in love with him. How outrageously refreshing. And (in the summary of the book) there's no hint of a love triangle. Instead, Charlotte's forced to embrace fate and shine or turn her back on her destiny and turn dark.

Charlotte has this Need to help people, these visions or compulsions to go up to strangers and give them advice before walking away. But, like any teenage girl with a loving boyfriend and a best friend with a lot of issues, she doesn't want the Need, especially when it starts to hit her stronger than before. It takes a toil on her body, and when she's told she's one of the Forgotten, a sort of angel (but not an angel, I want to be clear about that), she's not so sure she wants to be forgotten, to be a glimpse of support for people in their times of sadness and pain.

Embrace fate, be that shining star, or turn away from everyone she loves and fall into the darkness. Tough call.

Charlotte is selfless but still a teenager, still wants to be able to decide what she wants to do in her life. She wants to stay friends with Sarah, wants to keep loving her boyfriend Harlin, but the Need grabs hold of her and won't dare let her go. There are others that need her, need the guidance and support only she can provide, if she's brave enough to give it.

She's also like a sort of angel, not an actual angel. No wings, no messages from Heaven. Perhaps more of a golden guide than anything else.

At a recent book signing (from what I can remember because I was a fool for not taking notes), Suzanne Young shared her inspiration for this book, how someone close was in the hospital and a total stranger walked up to her and gave her some advice. Afterwards, Suzanne wondered if that person was even real.

Fresh and inspiring, A Need So Beautiful will strike you with how beautiful it is but will also draw you in with the mystery behind Charlotte. She discovers who she is, who she's meant to be, at a time so precious and unexpected, but it's up to her whether or not it's who she wants to be. This book kept me waiting on the edge of my seat, kept me gripping the book in my hands as I read, insanely curious to discover Charlotte's choice.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (38)

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

Title: Ultraviolet
Author: R.J. Anderson
Release Date: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books

From Goodreads:

"Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her."

Sixteen-year-old Alison wakes up in a mental institution. As she pieces her memory back together, she realizes she’s confessed to murdering Tori Beaugrand, the most perfect girl at school. But the case is a mystery. Tori's body has not been found, and Alison can't explain what happened. One minute she was fighting with Tori. The next moment Tori disintegrated—into nothing.

But that's impossible. No one is capable of making someone vanish. Right? Alison must be losing her mind—like her mother always feared she would.

For years Alison has tried to keep her weird sensory abilities a secret. No one ever understood—until a mysterious visiting scientist takes an interest in Alison's case. Suddenly, Alison discovers that the world is wrong about her—and that she’s capable of far more than anyone else would believe.

It sounds all weird, but rather interesting. I'm really excited to read this book.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Me on Ripple

Title: Ripple
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Release Date: July 21, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

Dark and mysterious, Mandy Hubbard's latest novel Ripple is her first venture into paranormal romance. She gives us Lexi, a girl with a tragic past, a girl whose heart slowly breaks every single day she's forced to go on after a terrible tragedy took someone she loved from her. Cursed with a dark and deadly secret that requires her to swim every night to keep it locked away, she shuts herself off from the world. But someone tries to draw her out and she's faced with a difficult decision: return to the life she once had or stay away and keep him safe. And alive.

This book was mystical and dark, haunting and heartbreaking at the beginning for Lexi. She's flawed and broken, stripped down until all that's left behind is a soul left raw and aching. It took nothing for this book to completely suck me in and refuse to let go. She's still sweet but mysterious, trying to notch out a very confused place in the world for herself. Think Brenna Yovanoff's Mackie from The Replacement, but with less horror and sirens instead of dark creatures living underground.

Because of what happened to Lexi, what she did, she closed herself off to protect everyone else. By doing that, she lost almost all her chances for human connection and interaction. The problem is she needs to let someone past that massive brick wall she's put up before she dips down too far below the surface. She needs someone to pull her up out of the water, which is at odds with the curse that holds her back.

The chemistry Lexi has with Cole was realistic and believable. All of Mandy Hubbard's characters were believable. She's crafted this wonderfully executed glimpse into Lexi's life with all the hangups and complications and highs and lows of being a teenager and going to high school where your former friends have turned you into a social leper. Her pain and fear and loneliness is so clear and profound. Castoffs and castaways need to find somewhere to belong, but if they're alone for too long they get wary of social interactions, like when Cole approaches Lexi over and over again to bring her out of her shell.

This book is beautifully written. I'm completely in awe of Mandy's writing and Lexi's voice. My heart would crack and tremble and shatter along with hers. There's such realism here but so much dark magic as well. My one dark wish would be for a sequel or perhaps a companion novel so I can go back to that world, return to that lake off in the middle of a forest so I could dip my toes in the cold water.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (33)

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

Hello again, people. I have returned from my trip relatively unscathed (apart from having the trunk of my car checked both times I crossed the border because, apparently, me traveling on my own for the weekend was suspicious) and brought back a load of books. Some I've already read and didn't have copies of, some I waited to buy because I knew they would be cheaper (technically cheaper; hardcover books can cost about 2 to 5 dollars more in Canada and the exchange rate is about even these days).

At the moment, I'm not sure if there will be a new IMM post next week. I might have to cut back on the book-buying after last weekend. Plus, I'll be in Vancouver all this week working a fun volunteer job. The VPL is hosting their annual summer Writing & Book Camp for kids 11 to 13 & 14+. Kids participate in workshops, talk about books, write a 1-page story that gets published in a big anthology at the end, and meet other kids who love reading and writing as much as they do. :)

Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (picked up at the signing cause the first 2 bookstores I went to didn't have it)
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (wanted to re-read before I started Bloodlines)
Delirium (Special Edition) by Lauren Oliver (it's gorgeous & it was at the store, I caved)
Ripple by Mandy Hubbard (signed)
Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting (signed)
The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook (signed)
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder (signed)

Forgotten by Cat Patrick (random signed copy won as a door prize at the signing, which is handy since my other copy is going to a giveaway winner)
Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis (signed ARC from Phoebe who appeared for a few minutes & had to leave because of an emergency but was still super sweet about giving me a copy)

From the S&S Galley Grab:
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (apparently, the link was making its rounds on Twitter on Friday & I missed it, but thanks to Ashley at Book Labyrinth for sending me the link)

I also bought A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young, but it's for a giveaway winner. I hope she doesn't mind that I read it since I hadn't read it yet, I promise I was careful with it.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Me on Darkness Becomes Her

Title: Darkness Becomes Her
Author: Kelly Keaton
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)

Ari can't help but feel alone, abandoned and left to grow up in foster care, labelled a freak because of her silver hair and teal-coloured eyes. When she finds a letter written for her by her mother, dead for years, Ari knows something is wrong, that something is coming for her. She travels to her birthplace, the town of New 2, New Orleans after the storms that ruined it, and finds that things are much different. In New 2, she's normal, no longer a freak, but everyone seems to know who she is.

And they're afraid of her. Ari still won't stop, but sometimes the truth is too terrifying to be revealed.

A glorious blend of the paranormal, the strange and the bizarre and the ancient, and the lush history and grandeur of New Orleans, Darkness Becomes Her was a breath of fresh air. This book was so easy to devour like candy, the pacing was quick, the characters different and interesting, the plot packed with secrets. Ari was the highlight of the book for me, a heroine who kicks ass and takes names like Lili St. Crow's Dru from Strange Angels or Courtney Allison Moulton's Ellie from Angelfire. Strong with a cracks in her armour, Ari knows how to take care of herself.

And there has to be a guy for her to fall for, there just has to be. It happens so fast, too, but because of the quick pace the book takes place over a few days. It's not instant love, more instant attraction that can and hopefully will be fleshed out in the next book.

The dark side of New 2, the reason for the storms and the ruin of a once great city, was something I hadn't expected but welcomed with open arms. Mixing New Orleans with Greek mythology was new and interesting, it filled that spot in my scholar's soul that loves mythology and history and bringing it into a modern setting.

Darkness Becomes Her was a lush, quick-paced, no-holds-barred journey into the deep dark of a strange town filled with the paranormal and the bizarre, the dangerous and the despicable. A welcome mix of vampires, witches, shapeshifters, and Greek mythology.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (37)

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

Title: The Fine Art of Truth of Dare
Author: Melissa Jensen
Release Date: February 16, 2012
Publisher: Speak (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

Pretty in Pink meets Anna and the French Kiss in this charming romantic comedy.

Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that’s just fine by her. She’s got her friends— the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She’s got her art— and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it’s hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they’re dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

This just sounds like so much fun. Who doesn't like art and cute French tutors? I liked her previous book, Falling in Love with English Boys, and I know I'm going to like this one as well. Look at the cover of both books. They've got the same 'girl kissing boy with her foot up in the air' pose. :D

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Me on The Near Witch

Title: The Near Witch
Author: Victoria Schwab
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Hyperion Books

Lexi knows certain truths about the town she lives in: the Near Witch is just a story, the wind is lonely and looking for company, and there are no strangers in the town of Near. But a stranger appears out of the mist, and children start disappearing. Lexi knows he isn't to blame, that she can trust him, and as they search for the missing, Lexi discovers she needs to know more, more about the Near Witch might not just be a story, more about the calling wind, and more about the stranger without a name.

A soft and mysterious debut, Victoria Schwab gives readers part love story, part fairy tale, part historical novel, and part familiar sweet story that won't let you put it down.

Lexi is strong-willed and intelligent, her father's daughter through and through, and struggles to prove herself as a tracker. She doesn't fit in, not in the role her uncle and others try to put her in, and so she wanders and tries to figure things out. She feels she knows what to do better than others do. It's not necessarily cockiness, but the fact that she thinks outside the box and others like her don't. Sometimes, with all the evidence given, the most obvious solution is not always the correct one.

Like in any mystery, it's difficult to put down a book when you don't know the answers, and I struggled to put this book down and go about the rest of my life. I needed to know where the children had gone, who the stranger was, what Lexi discovered whenever she stole away to do her own investigating.

Victoria does such a wonderful job creating the town of Near, close to the moors. Sometimes I thought I could hear the wind, knocking on my window, calling my name because it was lonely. Sometimes I thought I could smell the dirt and the rain and the trees, feel the coolness of the mists. Such gorgeous world-building was done. It almost felt like a dream.

Sweetly mysterious and romantic all at once, The Near Witch was both an expected and unexpected delight. I was willingly swept away by the wind, for I was lonely as well.

Monday, August 1, 2011

July 31 - YA Author Event

When I first heard about this huge YA author signing with 6 authors (I know, that's a lot of YA lit awesome in one space), I knew it was something I'd be interested in going to. Even if it meant another 3 and a half hour drive across the border. But I wanted to go, and so I turned it into a weekend away mini vacation kind of thing. And totally added to the Canadian content that Eileen Cook brought with her (Mandy Hubbard, Cat Patrick, and Kimberly Derting live in Washington, and Lisa Schroeder and Suzanne Young live down in Oregon). It seemed to be a pretty good mix of authors from the vague and large Pacific Northwest area.

Here are the awesome authors that showed up to sign books. :)

And this is the best picture out of all the ones I took. *sigh* If only we'd sat closer. Good thing Mindi Scott and I asked them about getting a big group photo once they were done signing all the books. I thought it was pretty cool that Suzanne Young's book A Need So Beautiful is all bright and shiny while the photo is a little dark. How mysterious. ;)

All the authors talked a bit about their books and shared where they found the inspiration for them. I like Cat Patrick's inspiration for Forgotten, how she'd gone down into the kitchen when her twins were younger, was doing something in the kitchen, and totally forgot what she was doing. Then she started thinking about amnesia and how it would impact a teenager.

Every author brought up the fact that their book has kissing in it. There were some giggles circling the crowd, but no one was surprised that there was kissing. It got me thinking, though. There are a lot of YA books out there, published and unpublished and circling our brains currently unwritten, that have kissing in them. Some kissing, a lot of kissing. It's there. It's part of that teenage block of life, no matter who you are, wanting to kiss someone because they're cute or you really want to or your friend told you they think you're cute. You can kiss your way through high school or only dream about it, but it's still there along with crushes and boyfriends and girlfriends and heartbreak and disappointment.

In the end, everyone was happy to sit and listen and stand in line to get their books signed. I think I was one of those rare people that had a book for everyone to sign. While it did mean I had to drive a fair distance, it was still a fun event to go to.

If only I knew what to read first. ;)

Oh, and thanks to everyone who let me semi-crash the huge dinner that all the authors plus some others and some friends went to afterwards. I didn't plan on joining, but Mindi sort of asked if I was going to come so I did and spent most of it listening to Mandy Hubbard, Mindi, and Gennifer Albin (who I was surprised to meet but figured out who she was when she brought up her book Crewel which sounds awesome). :)