Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Me on Pandemonium

Title: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins

The old Lena is dead, back with Alex in Portland, Maine behind a wall of smoke and flame. The new Lena was born in the Wilds, transformed. Now an active member of the resistance, she fights for a world in which love will no longer be considered a disease. She's still consumed with grief over Alex, but there might be someone else close to her, and she's sent from the untamed Wilds and straight into the heart of a full-scale rebellion.

Unlike the first book in the series, this alternates between different times, giving the readers different parts of Lena's life. There is "Then," her time in the Wilds right after her escape, and six months later, "Now," with Lena in New York as a member of the resistance. "Then" is Lena's hardening, maybe her trial by fire, her struggle to survive after losing Alex, and "Now" is Lena's mission, to learn about figures prominent in eradicating amor deliria nervosa. The reluctant Lena is gone, replaced by someone who knows what she is fighting for replaced by someone stronger, someone knowledgeable, someone no longer running away. Someone who has lost everything and everyone she loved and is still living her life after having her heart almost ripped straight from her chest.

Pandemonium was different for me as a reading experience. With Delirium, I felt everything Lena did, the worry, the fear, the love she had for others and didn't want to have ripped from her. It touched me on more of an emotional level than this book. This is more of a physical and psychological-hardening journey for Lena, her learning how to live on the outside, how to hide the fact that she is not cured, how to break down society from the inside.

I wonder if my expectations were too high after Delirium, that I'd hoped for a plot with less ups and downs in terms of tone and atmosphere. Perhaps it's the differences between the two books that is keeping me from enjoying the second as much as the first.

But Pandemonium was still thrilling, still secretive and dangerous, still romantic and star-crossed, still the fight of a young girl against a world that ripped her love from her arms and separated her from her mother for most of her life. Some moments didn't surprise me, some twists, but others were unexpected. I did not expect the strength of the resistance, or Lena's own new-found courage and power. There is one plot element that I was not a fan of, that I hoped would not be in this book, but it, coupled with the shocking end scene, does leave me waiting on the edge of my seat for the final book in this trilogy.

(I borrowed an advance copy from another book blogger.)

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (67)

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

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HC imprint)

From Goodreads:

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school's most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn't scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

So outrageously creepy. I'm rather enjoying this wave of YA mystery/thriller books that don't involve any dystopian bits or paranormal stuff, like Rosebush and The Butterfly Clues. I want this book so bad, I can only hope that HC Canada will get some ARCs so I can beg for one repeatedly. ;)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Me on Partials

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HC imprint)

War and a deadly virus have decimated the world's population, and the tens of thousands in North America that survived now inhabit Long Island, trying to survive, to learn a cure, to keep newborns from dying days after their birth. When Kira, a medic, learns a close friend is pregnant, she's determined to find a solution, but a rash decision forces her to join with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to find a cure, Kira learns that survival, for both humans and Partials, lies in the hidden secrets of the war's beginning.

Partials could be considered nothing new in the vast realm of dystopian YA, just another ruined and war-torn world, but it's the genetic twist, the RM disease and the Partials, that make it stand out. Humans are dying, infants decay almost instantly upon birth, and suspicions are everywhere as to what the solution might be.

Kira's world is a bit different than other dystopian novels. There's still cities, still technology, still a government forcing rules and taking freedoms, but the population is shrinking. The infant mortality rate is, basically, 100 percent. With no new humans being born, there is no hope for the future. It makes for a rather bleak environment. And the government thinks the best course of action is to force women younger and younger to get pregnant in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, a child will be born immune to the disease. How creepy.

In dystopians, there's always someone who hopes for a better world. Kira's working on a cure, she doesn't want to be forced into being pregnant at 16 so she can watch her babies die year after year while she keeps on living. She wants to live a normal life, as normal as it can get, and won't agree to contribute to the number of dead.

The most interesting aspect of this book for me was the genetic part, the Partials and their differences. The Partials are engineered beings to look exactly like humans, but they're not, and instead were used to fight wars until they turned on the humans. Now, there's an ongoing struggle, the parent trying to eliminate the child and vice versa, all because the parent chose to play God and create life they thought they could do away with once they didn't need it anymore. It just smells of a possible revolution, doesn't it?

This book has the highest of stakes, the survival of the human race before it dies out and the world is left without it. It was thrilling, there was lots of action. Some twists were a little obvious, in my opinion. My one complaint would be the length, it seems rather hefty at almost 500 pages, but it's still a story perfect for fans of science fiction dystopias brought on by genetic experimentation and the mistakes than stem from them. Think of Partials as sort of a YA version of Richard Matheson's I am Legend, but with more than just one character and no one's trying to eat her.

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

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (61)

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

Monday and Tuesday this past week were full of rain, then Wednesday was bright and sunny and it sort of felt like April (except for the cold breeze). Weird. But there's been a lot of weird weather over the past year. Last summer was so mild it was like spring from March to October, then it got a bit cooler, then it snowed for only a week in January. Climate change, people. We haz it. (According to my sis, and I think I'll trust her and her honours degree in environmental science.)

Have been contacting authors about Canadian YA lit blog event in May. This is your last chance to suggest an author I haven't thought of yet. :)

Still watching anime on Crunchyroll. I've discovered two detective-type ones with magic-type stuff (one historical like Gosick, one more present-day/futuristic) and an alternative history one with half-fox spirit girls. I'm starting to wonder if all the anime I've watched is affecting my dreams, sometimes I don't think I'm dreaming in English. Well, every so often I think about the French translations of some words, but that's cause I took it in school for 8 years.

I rather like it when pub contacts send mass e-mails to their reviewer lists saying what ARCs are available as opposed to e-mailing them and asking. It gives you a better idea of what's available. So, when Raincoast sent out their blogger newsletter during the week, I was rather excited. If you're a Canadian book blogger and you're not on Raincoast's list, you're missing out.
Thumped by Megan McCafferty (from HarperCollins Canada) (Turns out this was sent to me by accident. Apparently, there's more than one Lindsay in Canada on HC's list who's a book blogger. Who'd've thunk it? ;) Because I haven't read the first one, I'm torn on whether or not I'll read it. It might end up in the giveaway pile.)
The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova (e-galley from Raincoast (Sourcebooks) through NetGalley)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast) (I saw the cover reveal on Friday, rather dark and mysterious.)
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast) (I totally freaked when I saw this in the newsletter from Raincoast. So excited.)
Borrowed from the library:
Siren's Storm by Lisa Papademetriou
Tempestuous by Lesley Livingston
Little Miss Red by Robin Palmer
Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer
And lots more Fruits Basket. ;)

To read & review: Illuminate, Black Heart, Among Others, Gone, Gone, Gone, The Last Princess, The Vicious Deep, The Year of the Beasts, Shadow and Bone, This is Not a Test, and Never Enough. :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Me on Friends with Boys

Title: Friends with Boys
Author/Illustrator: Faith Erin Hicks
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: First Second Books (Macmillan imprint)

Maggie hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mom and hanging out with her brothers, it's time for her to face the outside world. High school. But it also means solving the mystery of the ghost that's followed her for years. Maybe it means making a new friend, someone who isn't her brother.

This book was a sweet coming of age story. It kept me reading through a mix of compelling characters, interesting plot points and twists, and amazing artwork. I found myself overwhelmed, in a good way, by the realism and the believability of this story, even with the ghost. Maggie's introduction to high school took me back to my own, which made me connect with her so much more than I expected to. Of course, I didn't have three older brothers there to help me out.

Away from the homeschooling, out in the real world with other teenagers and the weird way they act, Maggie's left struggling to find her place, to connect with them. She doesn't know them, they don't act like her brothers. How's she supposed to make friends right off the bat?

I loved the relationship between Maggie and her brothers, she wanted to be with them, to hang out with them, but they'd grown up on her. Grown up, maybe a little grown apart, and so Maggie's alone and floundering.

Until Lucy and Alistair. I adored Lucy and Alistair. Maggie doesn't really find them, more like they find her, and while they're a bit odd and different, they're still her new potential friends.

The ghost that Maggie sees only adds to the story, adds a sense of otherworldly mystique and intrigue, a little bit of horror in a small town. Small towns always have some kind of ghost story, always have some kind of connection.

This book kept reminding me of Hope Larson's Mercury, but I enjoyed Friends with Boys far more. Funny and heartfelt, a coming of age for a smart but semi-lost girl looking to find her own little niche in the massive world that is high school. The story was clear, not hidden in the graphic art but working along with it to give the reader something to enjoy. I hope it's not wrong to unabashedly wish for more.

(I received an e-galley of this book to review through NetGalley from First Second Books.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (66)

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

Title: What's Left of Me
Author: Kat Zhang
Release Date: September 12, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

From PubCrawl (it has a better summary):

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

The author revealed the cover on Friday and it's gorgeous. There's the one girl's face, then there's the profile of another face (tilt your head to the right and try to ignore the girl's eye, then you'll see it). And the book sounds so good, maybe a little like Incarnate but not really. I would buy this book just for the cover alone, but the story sounds awesome so that's an even better reason, right? ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Me on A Touch Morbid

Title: A Touch Morbid
Author: Leah Clifford
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HC imprint)

Eden won the battle, but the war is just beginning and everything is coming apart. She's suffering, keeping it a secret from Az. Kristen's mind is crumbling, and she doesn't know who to trust. Gabe and Az are battling their own demons. And the Siders have attracted the interest of the Bound.

So much of this book is life and death, love, purpose, choices. It goes up and down, touches angels and devils and the Siders in between. There's darkness and destruction. No one knows what's true and what's a lie. There's loving and wanting and craving. Things are falling apart, and everyone is at risk. There are so many twists and turns that it's hard to know who to trust, what to believe.

I felt something when reading this, but I was never sure what it was until the end. It was because I never knew where everything was going until the end, that I never knew who to trust and what the consequences were. This book was dark and twisted, always exploring the shadow-drenched side of life and death and choices.

A Touch Morbid is more multiple stories all woven together than another book all about Eden. There's Eden and Az and what's happening to the both of them. There's Gabe, who's lost and confused, his memories spotty at best. There's Kristen, lost without Gabe to anchor her, slowly losing her mind and her strength until she turns to Luke. There's Jarrod and a newcomer, and their connection is dangerous. Plus there's Madeline with her own motives different from the others, she has plans of her own but doesn't always see the need to share.

Then there's the Bound, the angels, and their interest in the Siders. There's Eden, unsure of whether or not hers go Upstairs or Downstairs.

It's difficult to talk about this book without spoiling any of it, but I will say that the reader puts a lot of trust in the author for most of it. You have to believe that Leah Clifford will bring everything together, that it's all connected when it doesn't look it, and that the ending will leave you breathless.

Honestly, the ending leaves you hanging off the edge of a roof. Metaphorically, of course. The despiration to find out what happens next is so great. And the title is so true. The first book was a touch mortal, and this, a touch morbid.

(I received an advance copy from another blogger.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (60)

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

I've been stuck at 173 blog followers since forever. Spread the word: when I hit 200, I'm giving away a book. :) And comment on either of the reviews I posted this week and you'll get 5 entries towards that giveaway.

I have avoided re-breaking my ankle on the 1 year anniversary of me breaking my ankle. Yay me. :) There are still jokes whenever someone takes out the vacuum hose (remember how I slipped on it going down stairs and dislocated and fractured my ankle?), but that's how my family works. Making fun of the stupid things we did and the odd things we broke, like water fountains and toilets (neither of which was me).

A review went up on Tuesday for a book that I adore and no one's commented on it yet. Usually I don't care if you comment or not. If you just read it and consider giving the book the chance, I'm happy. It just sucks a bit when there aren't any comments on a book I loved so much while reminding me how much high school sucks when you're a socially awkward and artistic misfit.

I heard during the week that Penguin Canada is sending Jay Asher, author of 13 Reasons Why and co-author of The Future of Us, to Toronto, Vancouver, and 1 city to be determined by voters over on their Razorbill site, so go vote if you live near Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, or Montreal. :) Not sure if I'll go, considering I haven't read either book. I might just go so I can write up another event recap post. There will be one in March when Tahereh Mafi comes, so look out for that.

The only book I got this week is related to my Canadian YA lit blog event in May. Yay for books by Canadian authors. :) Would you guys rather I review this first then have a guest post in May, or do both in May??
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe (from Hachette Book Group Canada) (HBG sent it because they deal with Hyperion's books in Canada, Hyperion has no Canadian office, so if you're a book blogger in Canada looking for Hyperion titles to review and you've got a contact at HBG...)

To read & review: Illuminate, Black Heart, Among Others, Gone, Gone, Gone, The Last Princess, The Way We Fall, The Year of the Beasts, and Never Enough. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Me on Fever

Title: Fever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Rhine has escaped the mansion with Gabriel, but they haven't outrun the danger. In the outside world, they encounter a landscape as mysterious and threatening as the one they left behind, a twisted carnival run by a ruthless madame who looks to add Rhine to her menagerie of girls. Despite the perils, Rhine is desperate to get back to Manhattan to find her brother Rowan. Even worse is the fact that they can't seem to elude Rhine's father-in-law Vaughn, who is determined to bring her back to the mansion by any means necessary.

This book scared me so much more than Wither did. It was mysterious, haunting, surrounded by danger. I kept imaging Rhine and Gabriel walking blindly across a mine field, hoping to make it across without tripping an explosion.

When they reach the carnival with its retched ringmistress and her harem full of young girls forced into prostitution, Rhine seems to trade one prison for another, as much of an accident as it is. They were on the run, looking for somewhere to hide and to plan, it wasn't their fault they ended up at this creepy carnival.

Fever is a glimpse of the darker side of the world Lauren DeStefano introduced us to in Wither. First, she gave us the Gatherers and their vans shipping young girls off to be wives for young husbands, polygamous marriages and sister wives, luxury and comfort and a safe but dangerous cage with walls made of eyes and ears. Now, she gives us a dangerous carnival with a ruthless madame, young girls trapped in a life of prostitution, and an even more dismal future.

But Rhine's strength is still there, still alive in her heart as she struggles to continue the search for her brother. In Fever, there are more questions of choice and survival, more hope but also more fear, more speculation over whether or not love and freedom are worth the struggle, worth dying for, worth searching for in a world slowly decaying from the ground up.

This book frightens me more than the first. Dark, deadly, dangerous. Mysterious and haunting, Fever is a dark look at a ravaged future brought down by disease and genetics and the evilness that comes out in people. The need to survive, no matter the cost, no matter the pain, no matter the lack of morals or human decency.

Like Wither, it shook me to my soul, the glimpse of such a dismal and dangerous future almost too much for me to bear. Like Wither, it always surprised me and never failed to disappoint me. And like Wither, it showed me once again that Lauren DeStefano will be an author to watch out for in the future.

(I borrowed an advance copy of this book from another book blogger, and then she said I could keep it.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (65)

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

Title: Live Through This
Author: Mindi Scott
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)

From Goodreads:

Sometimes hiding the truth requires more than a lie . . .

From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her from the annoying drama. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a stepdad and mom who would stop at nothing to keep her and her siblings happy and safe.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now, Coley and Reece are getting closer, and as Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect in this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel.

I really enjoyed Mindi's first book, and her new one sounds so good and raw and emotional. And the cover is gorgeous. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Me on The Fine Art of Truth or Dare

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

Ella Marino is nearly invisible at the Willing School, but she's okay with that.She's got her friends, Frankie and Sadie, she's got her art, and she's got 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's your French tutor, and lessons have become more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl end up with the golden boy when no one even knows they're dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?

This book both was and wasn't what I expected, in a good way. I did expect an amazing contemporary YA novel that was both romantic and thoughtful, but I didn't expect my heart to reach out towards Ella as much as it did.

At the heart, the novel is about truth and lies, about taking the dare versus never taking a risk, about letting family and friends, background and socio-economic status define who we are instead of ourselves. Instead of our own thoughts and feelings and abilities. For Ella, this book is about love and faith, loving yourself and having faith in yourself, loving your family and friends, having faith in them no matter the circumstance. It's about discovering the truth, both about yourself and in yourself.

Ella was a perfect narrator, a perfect character, but because of all her flaws. She has her picks and preferences, she goes about her life in the way she's accustomed to, even if it is hiding behind the fall of her hair. In hiding the scar from everyone else's eyes, she hides herself and becomes the invisible girl of the Willing School. But Ella has to learn to step out of the shadows, to let what she wants to define herself actually define herself as opposed to her family, her sweet meekness, or her scar. The scar does not define her, but being a caring friend, a great artist, and a wonderful sister and daughter does.

But like any teenage girl filled with self-doubt and shame, she uses her imperfection to define her, she highlights it by hiding it, she uses it to escape the world. It's no longer a thing to be experienced but one to be approached with great caution, as a thing filled with people ready to mock her because they themselves are coping with an imperfection of their own.

This is the kind of book I wish I'd read in high school. Like Ella, I had a few close friends. Like Ella, I was an artistic nerd (she draws, I wrote). Like Ella, I was terrible at French (well, I could write it, I just couldn't speak it). And like Ella, I was mocked by my peers. It hurts, but you can't let it colour your whole life because those people are just as outrageously insecure as you are. Plus, your friends will always be there after to take you out for Greek food to make you feel better.

After reading this book twice in the span of three weeks, I realized two things. One: always tell yourself the truth. Two: it's okay to take a dare because it'll make you stronger, and your friends will be there to catch you on the off chance it goes completely wrong.

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare is a must-read for lovers of contemporary YA, fans of misfits and artistic nerds, and those who never felt pretty enough or popular enough or smart enough in high school. You probably were, you just didn't know it. Trust me.

(I received an advance copy of this book from the author. Also, the above release date is the US release date. The Canadian release date is February 21, 2012.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 11 - Marissa Meyer Book Event

It's been a while since I had a book event to write up a post for (but that's not my fault now, is it??). Finally, there's one to break up all the IMM's and reviews I've posted since then. And you'll have to deal with no pictures because all the ones I took turned out blurry. *sigh*

It seems to me that Canadian stops on book tours often include Toronto (it's where a lot of publishers have their Canadian offices), but sometimes tours send authors to Vancouver. This time, Marissa Meyer, author of the sci-fi Cinderella re-telling Cinder, headed up to Vancouver, which isn't that far from where she lives in Washington state and isn't far from Raincoast Books, the distributor in Canada for publishers like Macmillan.
And Raincoast was awesome in setting up some fun events before the signing.

On Friday, there was a lunch arranged by Raincoast (thanks to Crystal, Raincoast's Kids & YA publicist) so some local bloggers and other book-related people (one of the Vancouver Public Library kids' librarians was there, as were a couple of booksellers from Chapters) could meet with Marissa and talk about the book. I went (of course), and Caitlin did as well. It was nice to meet Marissa, and Crystal (always nice to meet people in person that I've met online), and Mariam, an actual teen book blogger. :) And everyone at the lunch was given a copy of Cinder that Marissa was happy to sign (which was so nice and something I didn't expect).

Later that afternoon was an online chat for Canadian bloggers to listen to Marissa read from Cinder and answer questions. It looked like the chat had a lot of Ontario bloggers in it, which was awesome (there was talk of trying to plan a Toronto stop next January when Scarlet comes out). I stalked the chat, I didn't ask any questions, but the ones that Marissa answered shed some light on what's to come in the next three books.
  • The fairy tales the next books touch on are Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.
  • The red shoe on Cinder's cover was publisher idea, they thought the colour would pop and draw in readers.
  • All books will have parts with Cinder's point of view. Book 2 is about 60% Scarlet and 40% Cinder.
  • The hardest scene to write in Cinder was a scene with Peony (if you've read the book, Marissa says you should know which scene).
  • Book 2 is about Scarlet, a girl in France who's grandmother disappears and a local street fighter named Wolf helps her out but she's not sure what his motives are.
  • Book 3 is the Rapunzel fairy tale. Apparently, rapunzel is a type of lettuce (look up corn salad), as is watercress, and that's where Marissa got the idea for Cress.
  • I don't remember which book, but there will be a sexy spaceship captain named Thorne, because Marissa says every sci-fi needs a sexy spaceship captain. ;)
Then came the signing on Saturday, which had a great turnout. Crystal said after that the total was 126 people, which was awesome. :) Marissa talked about the book, when she got the idea, when she started writing it, read a short passage, answered some audience questions (pretty much the same as the online chat questions), then sat down to sign a bunch of copies of Cinder. I'd already gotten by copy at the lunch, but I was also there to get a copy for Audrey since she's off in Toronto. I also saw Alita and Jenny, saw Mariam again, and met Sarika and Natalie. :)

I love that all this happened for Marissa. Cinder is her first book, there's another three coming, and the Canadian response has been so positive. I hope she comes back up here on tour for the rest of her series, and I hope the next books are just as enchanting as Cinder was.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (59)

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

Watched some more anime this week. It's easy to pick up some words and phrases, since they're said in almost every episode or whatever I've watched. Good morning. Thank you. Sorry. I love you. The fact that it's all subtitled also helps a little. ;) Some of the one I've found have been weird, like it seems normal then something odd happens and it totally changes how I thought it was going to go.

Yesterday was the Marissa Meyer signing, & the day before was a live-chat... and a lunch. Oh, lunches with authors that include bloggers, how I wish there were more of you. :) I bought a copy of Cinder at the signing, but it's for Audrey. I said I'd get it for her, she said she'd pay me back, & she'll get it soon, next time she's in BC. :)

I have to remember to do another round of contacting people for the blog event in May. I should really do it now, since there's a fair amount of time before the actual event.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (from Raincoast Books) (Everyone at the lunch on Friday was given a copy, which was so nice of Raincoast because I wasn't expecting it, and I got it signed as well. I read the e-galley a couple months ago, but I'm re-reading it right now.)

Borrowed (from Caitlin):
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
Black Heart by Holly Black
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Received to review:
The Year of the Beasts by Cecil Castellucci & Nate Powell (from Macmillan through NetGalley) (I'm rather excited about this one, it's a mix of prose and comics.)
Girl Meets Boy: Because There Are Two Sides to Every Story edited by Kelly Milner Halls (from Raincoast Books) (This has to be the cutest ARC I've ever received. :))
Among Others by Jo Walton (from Raincoast Books)
Borrowed from the library:
End of Days by Max Turner (I read his first book Night Runner a while ago and have been slowly searching for this one. A different tweak on vampires, plus Canadian. Hmmm, maybe I should review it for the blog event.)
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Undercurrent by Tricia Rayburn (sort of a re-borrow, I borrowed an e-book version but couldn't get into it. It was a non-e-book phase.)
Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Fruits Basket Volume 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 (supposedly, the library has a copy of each of the 23 volumes, we'll see about that. ;))

To read & review: Pandemonium, Illuminate, Black Heart, Girl Meets Boy, Among Others, Starters, Gone, Gone, Gone, The Last Princess, The Year of the Beasts, and Never Enough. :) Again, tell me if there's anything else you'd like to see me review.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Me on Someone Else's Life

Title: Someone Else's Life
Author: Katie Dale
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Random House Canada imprint)

When Rosie's mum dies of Huntington's disease, she's even more uspet by the fact that she has a fifty percent chance of inheriting the disease herself. Rosie plans to get tested, but that's when her mum's friend, Sarah, tells her that her mum wasn't really her mum, that she was swapped with a premature baby destined to die. Devastated and confused, Rosie heads to America to find her birth mother, but as she discovers more deeply buried secrets and lies, she's left with an agonizing decision, one that will be the most heart-breaking of all.

Unique and heartfelt, Katie Dale has written an emotional story about a girl who's life falls away from her and her search to find the one she was supposed to live. The plot was interesting, the pacing was good. Fans of emotional books might enjoy this, loyal readers of Jodi Picoult and Lurlene McDaniel. Perhaps even Lisa Schroeder fans.

But those aren't the sort of books I usually read and so I was torn while reading this. I'm not saying I didn't like the book, which I did, or that the writing is bad, which it isn't. I just wasn't what I'd expected.

I wish this book was a little more upbeat, I wish Rosie could've been more decisive at times. Sometimes I wished the book had been shorter, it was more like two books in one.

There's more I could say, about certain characters and plot twists, but that would give away some of the magic of this book, this search for place and family, this discovery of self. Instead, I'll say that this book is a journey, not just Rosie's but lots of peoples', and at the end, this was a book about an 18-year-old girl searching for a family and a place of her own.

(I received an e-galley of this book from Random House Canada through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (64)

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

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic

From Goodreads:

Filled with mystery, romance, and the supernatural, The Raven Boys introduces readers to Richard “Dick” Campbell Gansey, III and Blue Sargent. Gansey has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on the hunt to find Glendower, a vanished Welsh king. Legend has it that the first person to find him will be granted a wish—either by seeing him open his eyes, or by cutting out his heart.

Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there—known as Raven Boys—can only mean trouble. When Gansey and his Raven Boy friends come into her life, Blue realizes how true this is. She never thought her fortune would be a problem. But she was wrong.

My brain freaked out when I saw Maggie's announcement about her new series. I crave this book the way I crave Shannon Messenger's Let the Sky Fall, and that comes out next March. This is what I want more of, me reading a summary and it hooking its claws into me until it won't let go. And come on, her name is Blue Sargent. Best. Name. Ever. ;)

It's possible that Maggie's books are hit or miss with me. Ballad I tried and couldn't get into. The Shiver series I enjoyed (maybe not as much as most), it was a wonderful story to say the least. The Scorpio Races I really liked. I was describing it to my sister when I was reading it, saying it reminded me of Ireland (she liked it there as well), saying it had horses (she was intrigued), saying it was a stand-alone (she won't read any of the series I have because she hates to wait). Then I said the horses ate people and she instantly said no and walked off. She has issues with dead bodies in books.

(Also, sorry if this is the billionth time someone's featured this book today. ;))

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Me on The Butterfly Clues

Title: The Butterfly Clues
Author: Kate Ellison
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: EgmontUSA

Lo has always loved collecting beautiful things. Her dad's job means a lot of moving around, and she's learned to cope by collecting, or sometimes stealing, trinkets and souvenirs in each new place - possessions that allow her to feel some semblance of home. But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers an antique butterfly at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as being stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known as "Sapphire." As usual, Lo beings to obsess over it and can't get the murder out of her mind. As she attempts to piece together the "butterfly clues," with some unlikely help from a street artists named Flynt, Lo finds herself caught up in a seedy, underground world - a world that could hold the key to her brother's death.

Thrilling and mysterious, The Butterfly Clues is a thriller mystery for a YA audience, giving the reader twists and turns and suspense. When reading this, the question kept popping up in my head: where are the YA thrillers? Where are the contemporary murder mysteries? Sure, there's Michele Jaffe's Rosebush, with all its questions and partial amnesia, but I'm so pleased to have finally found this book. So many twists and questions, and it made me uncomfortable the way a raw and powerful book should.

Lo was so unique a character I couldn't help but feel for her. Her obsessive compulsions and her hoarding/stealing were very real, her voice crisp and clear, weaving its way into my head as I read her story. The author has pulled off her personality in an amazing way. It's good to read books about characters that are autistic or bipolar or depressed or have OCD. There's nothing wrong with seeing the world through their eyes, learning how they cope with the randomness and irregularity of the world around them, how the compulsions bring order to their lives and reduce the anxiety.

And the setting. The Cleveland found in this book is raw and gritty, filled with secret passages and hidden treasures, filled with the downtrodden and the forgotten.

Dark, complicated, and so very real, The Butterfly Clues will leave your heart racing as you follow Lo deeper and deeper into a seedy underbelly of runaways, strippers, and drug addicts we often ignore.

(I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher on NetGalley.)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (58)

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

Only one book this week. Oh, well. I would've gone to the library if my holds were in. Next week will have more books.

It's February. Weird. Remember almost this time last year when I broke my ankle?? Fun times. (No, not really) It was interesting. Breaking any limb and/or needing surgery gives you an insight into another part of the world. I don't have any relatives or friends that are doctors or nurses or anything like that, so I never knew what went on in a hospital (apart from watching ER when I was younger). It was very interesting.

I discovered Crunchyroll this week. So much anime. I'm not used to the subtitles yet, I can't really put it on then listen to it in the background because I don't know any Japanese (shocker ;)). I imagine I'll pick up the easy words fairly quickly. Yes. No. Thank you. If you're curious, I've been enjoying such anime shows as Chihaya Furu (if I grew up in Japan I honestly think I would've played karuta) and Gosick (it's got a massive tower library, so awesome). I'm taking suggestions, if you have any favourites. :)

And there's a signing next weekend for Marissa Meyer and her book Cinder. And some other stuff, so look for an event post next Monday. :)
Received to review:
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock & some fun bits (from HarperCollins Canada) (I'm so excited to read this. HC Canada is hosting a blog tour in April before Hemlock comes out in May, and I'm able to work my posts into my Canadian YA lit event so my review & a guest post from Kathleen will be kicking off the event.)

To read & review: Starters, Goddess Interrupted, Gone, Gone, Gone, Hemlock, The Last Princess, and Never Enough. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Me on Born Wicked

Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenille (Penguin imprint)

Everyone knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. They're too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But they're witches, and the truth coming out could mean an asylum, a prison ship, or an early grave. Cate promised her mother she'd protect her sisters, but with six months to go until choosing between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word. Especially after discovering her mother's diary and a dangerous secret that could destroy her family. The search for answers put her in danger of being discovered, and throws her into a secret romance with the unsuitable Finn Belastra. If what her mother wrote is true, Cate and her sisters aren't safe. Even from themselves.

Dangerous, dark and magical, lush and mysterious, Born Wicked wrapped me up in its magic and misty secrets. I couldn't help but keep reading to discover the secrets, to discover the ending, to learn what lengths Cate will go to to keep her sisters safe and hidden.

Cate wasn't necessarily a new and different kind of heroine, but I can't remember one that was as frustrated and stubborn as she was. She's a witch, yes, but hates it. It complicates her life when she craves being normal and not having any kind of ability. Well, she craves a normal life that won't include the Brothers and their hatred of witches and the God-fearing that drips from their lips as they speak during service.

The relationship Cate had with her sisters Maura and Tess is what stood out the most, apart from the magic. Everything was so real, the struggle Cate had to keep the both of them in check, to be a second mother to them when all they wanted was a sister. Cate needed to learn to let go, to let them learn and hide on their own. She wouldn't always be there to watch them.

The Brotherhood and its religious leaning, the Cahill sisters and their hiding their powers in plain sight, this book was rather reminiscent of the witch trials that occurred in colonial times. I imagine that was the point, to highlight this time period, to tweak it and present an alternative history.

This book had so many complications, so many secrets and hidden stories and realizations that changed hopes and dreams. I'm craving the next book desperately, I need to know what happens next. Anything could happen next, but that both scares and delights me.

Born Wicked is a book that left me frustrated, but only because it ended. I had such a visceral reaction when I wanted more and only had a blank page at the end of the book. The next book cannot come fast enough.

(I borrowed an advance copy from a friend.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (63)

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

Title: Soulbound
Author: Heather Brewer
Release Date: July 5, 2012
Publisher: Dial (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

What's worse than being blackmailed to attend a hidden school where you're treated like a second-class citizen? How about nearly getting eaten by a monster when you arrive? Or learning that your soulmate was killed in a centuries-old secret war? And then there's the evil king who's determined to rule the world unless you can stop him...

Meet Kaya, a young woman with the power to heal and the determination to fight. But struggle as she will, she remains tied to three very different men: a hero who has forsaken glory, a tyrannical ruler who wants to use Kaya, and a warrior who's stolen her heart. Kaya learns the hard way that some ties can't be broken...and blood is the strongest bond of all.

I really enjoyed Heather Brewer's Vlad Tod series. This sounds rather different, but still interesting. It's been a while since a fantasy like this has intrigued me the way this book does. And the cover makes Kaya look rather badass, which doesn't hurt. ;)