Friday, March 30, 2012

Me on Immortal City

Title: Immortal City
Author: Scott Speer
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

Jackson is the hottest young Angel in a city full of them and he's days away from becoming a Guardian. People around the world are hoping to be watched over by him. Everyone is obsessed with the Angels, except for Maddy. She's possibly the only girl who doesn't watch the TV shows or read the gossip blogs, so when she first meets Jackson, she has no idea who he is. But he's captivated by her. Maddy's quickly caught up in Jackson's world, a bright flash of glamour, red carpets, and now murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for police to find. Even the Guardians are powerless, and it might be up to Maddy to save Jackson.

Immortal City was interesting to say the least. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much, I'm not a fan of books that focus on fame, reality TV shows, gossip, and paparazzi, but there was enough mystery and intrigue to keep me reading. It also didn't hurt that there were some unexpected plot twists, those are always appreciated.

But I'm torn between taking this book one of two ways in terms of the fame and popularity aspect. I can either take it seriously, like this is how the world treats its celebrities and reality stars and fawns over them for doing nothing but look good, or as satire because of the outrageous antics of the reporters, gossip columnists, and Angel fans. I would love to take it as satire, as the author poking fun.

There's a clear class distinction in this book between the privileged and the rest of society, the haves and have-nots (to borrow a cliché from high school). There will always be more than one side of any situation. In this book we have Jackson who's always had everything handed to him and everything expected of him, and we have Maddy who's as normal as can be and struggling, maybe not struggling to stay above the poverty line but struggling all the same. Everyone has their own opinion of normality, about a normal life and what's normal to them, but when you try and force your way onto someone else, someone who doesn't want it, you run the risk of ruining what someone's worked hard for. Both Jackson and Maddy have to learn this.

The purpose of the Guardians is to watch over normal humans and protect them, but only the rich humans, only those who can afford it. I'm curious if the author was making a comparison between the Angels saving lives for money and the heath care system.

The idea of fame is interesting, of being recognized wherever you go. Not everyone wants it. Jackson's always had it, but Maddy's happy enough without it, with living a normal life with normal struggled and high school and college. There's no pressure in her world, but in his, it could crush him if he's not strong enough.

It was good that there was some intrigue, some action in terms of the dead Angels' wings and the murders, the questions that kept arising, and the honest life or death aspect. Without it, it's possible I wouldn't have finished this book.

I'm sure there will be some who liked it and some who didn't, some parts I enjoyed and others I found impossible and outrageous, some I expected and some I didn't. A certain crowd will enjoy this book, those who enjoyed L.A. Candy and the popularity aspect, those who enjoyed Hush, Hush and its angels, romance, and mystery.

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (71)

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

Title: Adaptation
Author: Malinda Lo
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown BYFR

From Goodreads:

Reese and David don't remember what happened to them after a bird flew into their headlights on the Extraterrestrial Highway--not the resulting car accident and certainly not a bit of the 21 days of care at the military hospital in Nevada. It's a good thing, the doctors and colonels tell them, that they crashed on a military base, but they won't tell Reese and David what the extent of their injuries were, or how they were healed. They do tell them they're not going home, though, until they sign a confidentiality agreement.

When they get home, Reese can't help but find everything a little weird. Worldwide bird strikes resulting in plane crashes have grounded air travel, David won't talk to her, and she could swear she's seen her military doctors around the neighborhood. It's only when she meets Amber Grey that things in her life begin to really fall apart, and the mysteries of the bird strikes, the military, and her own treatment come together. Reese realizes that she must find out what they did to her in that hospital, but her search for the truth threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

What if we aren't alone in the universe? What if the alien is inside us?

Another book that I would honestly beg for an ARC of. Ever come across books that just seem to fit with a mash-up that you're craving? This one does it for me. The world going weird, what seems to be a present day(or close to it) setting, and possibly some sci-fi elements and aliens. And the green water. I love the green.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Me on Black Heart

Title: Black Heart
Author: Holly Black
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (S&S imprint)

Cassel knows he's being used as an assassin, but he's trying to put that behind him, trying to be good, trying to do the right thing. It isn't always easy when your family is full of con artists and the girl you love is a mobster's daughter. But the line between what's right and what's wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When he's asked to do the one thing he'd never do again, he needs to sort out what's a lie and what's truth, and whether or not he'll make the biggest gamble of his life.

Black Heart was exactly what I was looking forward to reading, it was still dripping with noir, reminding me of the 1920's and its gangsters. And, like with the previous two books, so many different shades of good and evil, of cons and truth. There's the truth we know, but then there's the truth as Cassel knows it, the truth with different shades of grey. Fresh off making a deal with the FBI, Cassel still in deep, but what trouble is it this time? Can he work himself out of it?

One of the best parts of this series is Cassel himself. From a family of curse workers and con artists, he's the only good guy with an honest heart. He's always working himself out of the hole that his family and other circumstances dig deeper around him. There's so much he has to juggle, so many truths and lies, so many things he can and can't say to certain people because of those other circumstances. He may look like one of the bad guys, but when everyone else is worse, is even more dangerous, then Cassel's definitely one of the good guys.

It often feels like Cassel's the one who's trying to stay straight, a few cons here and there, maybe a little gambling in the dorms, while the rest of his family pulls him down. His brother's no angel, and it seems that his mother isn't happy unless she's conning some rich guy out of his money so she can keep living the high life. Then there are the agents who want to keep him close, who want to use him, who want him to take of his gloves.

Lila. Cassel's still in love with Lila, as he should be. There's no one else for him, only this daughter of a mobster will do, this daughter that's joined the family business. And Lila's still in love with him, but the situation becomes ever sticker, and, like every book in this series, there's never a guarantee that they'll end up together. Or that Cassel will survive until the end.

Cassel's unpredictability coupled with his good-guy attitude kept me guessing right until the end of the book. I couldn't expect anything good or bad, I could only rely on Holly Black to take me wherever Cassel went. All that was left for me was to hope he didn't get betrayed, hurt, or killed. Or all three.

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (65)

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

I've been in a weird reading slump, but I think I've figured it out. It's because I still have issues with e-galleys and I like paper books more. So frustrating. I should really trade off, read an e-galley then a physical book, then an e-galley and so on. Of course, it helped that I read the e-galley of Gone, Gone, Gone this past week and really liked it. :)

My copy of Above made it to Michele in Toronto on Monday. *phew* Now, to wait for it to come back to BC from Toronto.

There's another YA signing in about a month, this time with Jay Asher, Hiromi Goto (author of Half World) and Carrie Mac (local YA author of The Beckoners and the upcoming The Opposite of Tidy). I figure I'll go. Of course, I'm also outrageously tempted to head to Seattle on April 26th to see Stephaine Perkins. *sobbing* Instead, I'll just renew my passport (since I need to) and weep over the $90 it'll cost.

Earlier in the week I was scheduling Waiting on Wednesday posts (this past week's and next week's) and started looking through Macmillan's Kids & YA catalogue (imprints like Farrar, Straus & Grioux, Square Fish, Feiwel & Friends, First Second, Henry Holt, and Roaring Book Press). My brain almost exploded with all the books I saw that I want to read, like Crewel and the graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time and Necromancing the Stone and lots of others.

I was bored and went searching on NetGalley this week. Never a good idea. Oh, well. Next week is a library-visiting week. :) Also, did everyone get approved for Unspoken except me? I've seen a bunch of yes on Twitter but I'm still waiting.
Traded for:
Under My Skin by Judith Graves (from Anna at The Bursting Bookshelf)

From NetGalley:
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (from Harlequin) (My first foray into Julie Kagawa's writing. *hiding from the Iron Fey fans chucking their books at me*)
Between Gears by Natalie Nourigat (from Image Comics) (In my search for more teen/young adult graphic novels, I started searching on NetGalley and found this. It came out on the 6th and is an autobiographical comic of the artist's last year in university. I thought it sounded kind of cool. Also, it's not on Goodreads, so if you're a Librarian on Goodreads, put it on there.)
Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett (from Random House)
Zero by Tom Leveen (from Random House) (You know, Random House might as well auto-approve me, they never seem to say no to me.)

To read & review: Zero, The Immortal Rules, The Last Princess, Struck, The Hunt, Fated, Shadow and Bone, This is Not a Test, Never Enough, Scarlett Dedd, Yesterday, and Romeo Redeemed. :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Me on Goddess Interrupted

Title: Goddess Interrupted
Author: Aimée Carter
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen

Kate Winters has returned to Eden after six months away. She's won immortality, but apparently, she'll have to fight for a life with Henry, also called Hades, the Ruler of the Underworld. In the midst of her coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other Gods prepare for war, Kate ventures deep into the caves of the Underworld, enlisting the one person she believes to be the greatest threat to her future with Henry: his first wife, Persephone.

Aimée Carter once again sends us on a journey with Kate, although this one is far more perilous than the first. More mysterious, more dangerous, and with so much more at stake. There is less getting to know characters, which was good (if you've read the first book), and more struggle. Yet another struggle for survival, for love, and for the chance for Kate to spend eternity with Henry.

Along with the search for Henry and the mission to find a way to defeat the King of the Titans is Kate learning what she's capable of. Along with her immortality comes certain abilities, ones she didn't know she'd end up with. Mixed with her journey is a lot of self-exploration, learning her gifts, her new strengths and weaknesses. And once again, things don't necessarily work the way she wants them to. She has to trust that Henry loves her, that he wants to be with her just as much as she wants to be with him, but it doesn't help when he's not that open with his feelings. Henry's far too closed off for his own good. In the third book, what would be nice is Kate yanking a bit more, pulling his emotions out into the open.

Then comes the wrench that is Persephone. She doesn't ruin the book, but she semi-ruin's Kate. Who really wants to include their husband's first wife in a battle to save his life? A woman who, in her eyes, is far more experienced and beautiful and knowledgeable.

Goddess Interrupted raises the stakes for Kate and Henry. There's more evil and even more danger than the first book, but it's still romantic and heart-breaking with an ending that will leave you breathless, gasping for more, wishing the final page wasn't the final page.

(I received an e-galley from Harlequin through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (70)

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

Title: Crewel
Author: Gennifer Albin
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

I've been waiting for months for this book, even since I heard Genn talk about it last July (hi, Genn, I was that awkward girl who didn't say much at that dinner with Mindi Scott and Mandy Hubbard after Mandy's signing with 5 other YA authors). :)

This book sounds odd and quirky and a little dark and mysterious and I want it so bad. And the cover is funky and bright and swirly. I'm honestly prepared to beg Crystal at Raincoast for an ARC of this book. ;)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Me on Tanpopo Volume 2

Title: Tanpopo Volume 2
Artist: Camilla d'Errico
Release Date: 2009
Published by d'Errico Studios

Free from a purely analytical mind, Tanpopo leaves the safety that knowledge provides and explores the realm of the unknown... emotion. Kuro, her devil in disguise companion, stays true and grants her wish to experience the emotion of the real world, but little does she know he has a surprise in store, a painful lesson in what it means to be human.

Volume 2 marks a return to d'Errico's familiar manga style of art. Every page is so striking, bright colours, yellows and pinks and blues, combined with thin black lines like scratches from a pen. Tanpopo's eyes are so big and clear, and so important. They are how she sees this new world, the one Kuro had pulled her into to teach her about emotion, and here on the beach, to teach her about sadness.

This is Tanpopo's first sight of the outside world, her first moments away from the knowledge machine, away from what is controlled and cold and easy to understand. Bringing her to the sea, having her witness the shooting of the albatross, the encounter with the strangers, it almost seems like too much, like the sadness would bring her to her knees and make her question the world.

Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner plays off of d'Errico's artwork in the same way the artwork plays off of Coleridge. That epic poem has been reimagined, twisted and turned, but is still something beautiful and haunting. The message here is harder to understand, perhaps a mix of Coleridge's fault and my own. It seems to me that the lesson of Kuro's to Tanpopo is that of life and death, that blame comes when it isn't deserved all because of what the situation appears to look like, and that he has the power to take life away as well as give it.

Tanpopo's journey into the world of emotion will not be easy, that much is clear, but if every step of the way is as haunting and lyrical as the last, as visually enchanting, then I will relish the journey, no matter how long it takes.

(I own a copy of this graphic novel.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (64)

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

Hello, people who also blog and read my ramblings. ;) How are you doing?

I've extended the signed Shatter Me giveaway for another 2 weeks, so you've got until the 1st to enter. Also, some books came this week for me to give away (books sent and signed by the author), but I'm not sure when I'm going to give those ones away, considering the giveaway I'm holding right now. So, are you guys ok with waiting until April for that giveaway? These might be the last giveaways from me for a while if shipping kills me.

After reading Above last weekend I was kind of bummed about not being in Toronto for Leah Bobet's book launch/signing on the 22nd, but then Michele at Just a Lil' Lost said she'd get my copy signed so I sent it off to her. Thanks again, Michele. :)

Do you guys have any graphic novel recommendations? I'd like to read more, but I don't necessarily want to get pigeon-holed into kids comics or adult graphic novels. Middle grade and YA suggestions are welcome. Like... (thinking of an example) would Bone count?? I remember that from when I was a kid.
The Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen (Yes, I totally bought my own copy even though it's a paperback and looks almost the same as the ARC the author sent but it's totally different. The Chapters near me finally got some copies, and they were on the shelf, I didn't have to ask or anything.)
Half World by Hiromi Goto (In my attempt to have some reviews of books during the blog event, I picked this up. I actually read a short story by the author in my first semester at university and rather enjoyed it. Also, I've heard rumours of a signing in April.)
To review:
Yesterday by C.K. Kelly Martin (from Random House through NetGalley) (I might as well be auto-approved for Random House, they say yes so much to me on NetGalley. Of course, this book isn't out until September. *shoving it far back on the to-read list*)

To read & review: Kill Me Softly, The Last Princess, The Vicious Deep, Struck, The Hunt, Fated, Shadow and Bone, This is Not a Test, Never Enough, Yesterday, and Romeo Redeemed. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Me on Above

Title: Above
Author: Leah Bobet
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic imprint)

Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, blonde hair shining and bee's wings falling away. They live together in Safe, a refuge deep underground for those fleeing the harsh city Above, like Whisper who speaks to ghosts, like Atticus who has thick claws for hands, like Jack Flash, shooting lightning from his fingertips. But one night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of Shadows, and only Matthew and Ariel, with a few friends, escape Above. Forced to survive in a dangerous place, Matthew strives to unravel the mystery of the shadows and Safe's own history, because he knows he has to find a way to rebuild Safe, not just for him or his friends, but for Ariel, who comes face to face with the life she ran away from.

Above is pulled from the depths of imagination, a gorgeously written story that's both unbelievably magical and undeniably real. This book left me feeling weighed down, emotional and fractured. I have so many words and feelings about this book, but they feel dry and useless.

You're in the dark when it starts, knowing not a single thing. Not about Safe, not about Matthew (except that he can Pass), not about Ariel or Atticus or Jack Flash, not about the others and their Curses, and not about Above. You've been sent into Safe blind with Matthew as your guide, but it's okay. Matthew is so wonderful as a narrator that you almost don't mind. His voice is perfect, giving just enough, hiding what doesn't need to be said. A voice so knowledgeable, but also so hauntingly sad and sweet. A little lyrical, a little poetic, and honest to the core.

There's no background information cluttering up the story unless Matthew wants you to know about it. It's his purpose to Tell, and all he Tells you is what's happening at that moment, what he sees and hears. Because of that, you're thrown straight into his world, into his head, following him through the old and new sewers under the city Above, searching and running, racing to survive and keep Safe.

Ariel is Matthew's gorgeous and fragile mystery, iridescent bee's wings like honey drawing him in. He's so in love with her, the scent of it sickly-sweet and cloying. Anything for Ariel, anything to keep her with him, to keep her away from Above, to stay with her and love her.

Days after reading this book, I was still thinking about it. About what everyone went through, all the heartache and the struggles to keep Safe, the struggle to find a place to belong in a world that rejects them. What struck me the most, what cut the deepest, is how real Above felt. It felt like it was happening now. Not in a world past or a world to come, but now. Right now. And that both fascinates me and terrifies me.

This book is not an easy book, not simple. It started soft and sweet and cautious, turned wary, draped in shadow, and became a Tale I never saw coming when forever passed in a moment. Never in a million years did I imagine that at the end of this book I would be left breathless. Both gorgeous and heartbreaking, Above is a world of mystery, full of creatures more human than humans and emotions so honest I was left wondering if it was reality and not fiction. So real and so magical, it took nothing for me to fall in love.

(I own a copy of this book. The release date above is the Canadian release date. The US release date is April 1, 2012.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (69)

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

Title: Through To You
Author: Emily Hainsworth
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HC imprint)

From Goodreads:

A romantic sci-fi thriller about love and second chances.

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the pain meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become, and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

What drew me in straight away was the cover, the darkness at the bottom mixed with the pale green. The girl confuses me a little, I thought the book was more about Camden than Viv or Nina. Hmmm. Still, it sounds interesting. What's also interesting me these days besides non-paranormal mystery thrillers is weird time travel/timeslip/parallel dimensions. They're a little off the beaten path, but still compelling.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Me on Illuminate

Title: Illuminate
Author: Aimee Agresti
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books

Haven is brainy and shy, but then she's offered an internship in Chicago and heads off to the big city, along with her friend Dante and fellow classmate Lance. They end up at the Lexington Hotel, a very stylish hotel run by owner Aurelia Brown, her second-in-command Lucian, and a stunning staff known as The Outfit. But then Haven learns they're not what they seem, that in the secret passageways underneath the hotel, Aurelia's in the business of buying souls. Haven's left with a choice, joining them or thwarting their plan.

This book was mysterious and complicated, rather lush with a gorgeous setting, and subtle hints at danger growing as the book continued. A different take on a YA novel involving angels, Illuminate told an interesting story, but the length kept me from enjoying this book.

It was clear that the author drew from The Portrait of Dorian Gray in this book, the portraits of the members of The Outfit altering over time, showing their true selves. The original book is about good and evil, an exploration of the soul and the evilness that taints it but leaves appearances pure and young, about deals with the devil and acting without consequences until you wonder whether you're living or merely existing, if you deserve to live. This book isn't necessarily about all those things, but it does include Haven's own search to discover who she is and what power she has.

Haven was intelligent, cautious, and very careful. She knew what had to be done, what secrets to keep from others. She wasn't rushing blindly into situations (unless it called for it). Her mysterious book was something of a cliché, though. Still, I was curious as to who was sending her messages.

And I was surprised there wasn't as much romance as I'd expected. Yes, Haven's drawn to Lucian, but she has her suspicions, has her own worries, has her own questions, and she doesn't always have time to fawn over him, especially when she starts learning The Outfit's secrets.

Unfortunately, the length of this book kept turning me off. There were so many details about setting, and so much set up over the slowly increasing tension and confusion and danger. At over 500 pages, this book is rather long. The story was interesting enough to keep me reading, but I can't get past the length.

Even with the large page count, I'm sure there will be some readers that appreciate the gradual discovery and the suspenseful climb towards an explosive climax.

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

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 10 - Tahereh Mafi Book Signing

It seems like only last month I was writing one of these event posts. ;)

When this stop was first announced, someone made the joke that HarperCollins send the author to BC just for me. Very funny. ;) It's rather well-known on Twitter that I adored Tahereh Mafi's debut novel Shatter Me, so when I heard she'd be coming to BC, I was thrilled. :)

The usual band of BC book bloggers got together (Caitlin, Jenny, me, Mariam, no Alita this time around, and we added Natalie and Mariam's sister and friend) and hovered around the table Tahereh sat at. It was super informal this time around, no chairs, just a quick talk and sign. Which was nice. Tahereh can be such a sweetheart. And she's so cute. :)
So, some questions were asked about the book and the characters. It turns out that Shatter Me isn't the original title, that the book was first shopped as Touching Juliette, but then some questions came up about book 2's title (how weird it would be if book 2 was titled Sniffing Adam or something) and the word 'shatter' comes up a lot. Shatter Me makes sense as a title.
There was some asking how Tahereh was enjoying Vancouver. She rather likes it here, a little rainy but not gloomy is sort of how she put it. :) Her hotel was downtown. Someone told her that the signing was in Burnaby which is like a suburb of Vancouver and she thought she was going to actually be in the suburbs and not in a big bookstore in a big mall.
Then the semi-circle around her got their books signed. :) I'm so jealous of Mariam because they took down the event poster and gave it to her. And then Tahereh doodled all over it. So jealous, Mariam. And yes, it does say that book 2 and 3 are fake-titled Sniffing Adam and Licking Warner. ;)

Afterwards, we totally kidnapped/walked with Tahereh (and her friend who was there with her taking pictures) and had frozen yogurt and talked about books and writing and stuff. I totally plugged Leah Bobet's Above to her. ;)

This event was the least formal I've been to, as well as the smallest, but it was still loads of fun. :) Keep an eye out for Tahereh Mafi this summer at both ALA and ComicCon, and there might be another event post in April (possibly).

And, because it's been a while, go here for something fun. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Giveaway - Shatter Me

It's been forever since I had a giveaway, and since you guys have been so nice, I've got a giveaway book for you. :) Here's a picture of the inside.
At the signing on Saturday, I got my hardcover signed and picked up the paperback (that Canada and loads of other countries ended up with) to give away. Don't say I don't ever do anything nice for you guys. ;)

Enter away. :)

Me on In My Mailbox (63)

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

This might as well be the Canadian version of IMM this week. All the books I got are by Canadian authors. How often does this happen?? Never. ;)

This bit is just for people I know in Toronto. Are you going to Leah Bobet's book launch on the 22nd?? Can I send you my copy to get signed?? I will include money for shipping it back to me and for a new bubble envelope. I'm reading it right now and loving it and I'd love to have it all signed and pretty. :)

Since I was at a book event today, look for an event recap post soon. :)

Hmmm, I guess I don't have much to talk about this week. Oh, well. More room for books. :) And sorry for the dark picture. I only had one lamp on.
Above by Leah Bobet (I pre-ordered this because Chandra at IndigoTeenBlog adores it so much, plus it sounds so cool and different, plus the cover is gorgeous (why, yes, that is the CN Tower on the cover), plus since it's a debut novel I wasn't sure if it would be at Chapters on release day. And, apparently, it was. *head-desk* So I had to deal with that agonizing wait for it to come in the mail when I so wanted to drive down to the closest one with copies and snatch it up.)
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks (I read an e-galley of this and reviewed it. So much fun. A must-read graphic novel. :))
(I actually bought another book this week, but it's not for me. ;))

Under My Skin by Charles de Lint (from Penguin Canada) (Debating whether or not to save this for the blog event in May.)

To read & review: Under My Skin, Kill Me Softly, Gone, Gone, Gone, The Last Princess, The Vicious Deep, Struck, The Hunt, Fated, Shadow and Bone, This is Not a Test, Never Enough, and Romeo Redeemed. :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Me on Starters

Title: Starters
Author: Lissa Price
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

Callie and her little brother Tyler lost their parents in the Spore Wars, when everyone between twenty and sixty died. Now they're squatters, without a family, scrounging for food with their friend Michael. As far as Callie sees it, their only hope is Prime Destinations, a place that allows teens to rent their bodies out to Enders, the elderly that want to be young again. Desperate for money for Tyler, Callie agrees, but something goes wrong and she wakes up in the life of her Ender renter. She's introduced to a fairy-tale life, until Callie learns her renter had more in mind than just partying, and that Prime Destinations is more evil than she imagined.

A mix of science fiction, dystopian, and a thriller mystery, Starters is a glimpse into a complicated world. You're either young or you're old, there is no in between, and the two sides can lead very different lives. Callie wants to make everything easier for her brother, to get them out of ruined buildings and back into an actual home, but for orphans/unclaimed minors such as them, it's not that easy.

A very unique premise, I will say that, but there's something that kept me from enjoying more than I did, something elusive. The entire book was Callie and her journey, her discovery, her battle for survival, her realizations that the world was even more dangerous than she thought, but it's possible I'd expected more. Perhaps I wanted more of a mix between her life with Tyler and Michael and her life as a donor. Perhaps I wanted more science fiction, a more distant future, something besides the chip implanted in her brain.

Perhaps it was the moral and ethical questions that arose with the practice of donors and renters. What right do the Enders have to want to be young again? They lived their lives, what about the younger generation? The Enders aren't just borrowing a younger body for a period of time, they're stealing the chance to live from someone else. As a practice, as a last resort for Callie, it left me rather chilled.

Callie was an interesting character, rather willful and smart, but through the book I was torn. Does she go see her brother when she wakes up unexpectedly? Does she help her renter with her plan? Does she wait out the month, staying quiet, and live a normal life with Tyler?

Starters is an interesting story, a journey of discovery, of the lengths that someone will go through to keep their family safe, and what dangerous situations someone might be unknowingly forced into, but it wasn't necessarily my cup of tea. Something I haven't yet put my finger on kept me from enjoying it as much as others.

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (68)

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

Title: Shadows Cast By Stars
Author: Catherine Knutsson
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Atheneum (S&S imprint)

From Goodreads:

Two hundred years from now, blood has become the most valuable commodity on the planet - especially the blood of aboriginal peoples, for it contains antibodies that protect them from the plague that is ravaging the rest of the world.

Sixteen-year-old Cassandra Mercredi might be immune to the plague, but that doesn't mean she's safe. Government forces are searching for those of aboriginal heritage to harvest their blood. When a search threatens Cass and her family, they flee to the Island, a mysterious and idyllic territory protected by the Band, a group of guerilla warriors, and by an enigmatic energy barrier that keeps outsiders out and the spirit world in. And though the village healer has taken Cass under her wing, and the tribal leader's son into his heart, the spirit world is angry, and it has chosen Cass to be its voice and instrument...

This book sounds so different from anything I've read recently. I love how the author's mixed together all these different elements, blood and antibodies and Aboriginal people and village healers and an evil government and spirit forces, and it all sounds like it'll work. It's with books like this that I'm kicking myself for not having an S&S contact. And the author's Canadian, so this book would totally work for my Canadian YA lit blog event. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Me on The Way We Fall

Title: The Way We Fall
Author: Megan Crewe
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion

When a deadly virus spreads through Kaelyn's community, the government steps in and places the island under quarantine. Those that stay uninfected must battle for dwindling supplies or lose their chance to survive. When the mysterious virus starts to rob her of her friends and family, she clings to the belief that there's a way to keep those closest to her alive. Because, if there isn't, how will she go on?

Megan Crewe gives readers a plain, normal girl and her struggle to find her inner strength and bravery, to push past her own limits and grow, to survive when most are dropping around her, leaving her alone. This book is a mix of self-discovery and the fight to stay alive in an increasingly bleak and isolated setting.

The book is written in journal entries, like unsent letters to an old friend untalked to for years. It's like Kaelyn needs to talk to someone while the virus hits, someone on the outside, someone who won't talk back. Someone who won't question why she's worried or fearful or close to the edge of giving up.

The disease aspect kept me reading, as did the bleak setting. Everything felt so real. The smell of disease, the isolation, the fear and the concern. The paranoia of the uninfected and their desire to remove anything and anyone that could be carrying the disease. The island becomes a powder keg of fear, anger, and confusion during the quarantine, waiting for the single spark that will set everything aflame.

More importantly, this book is about survival, about the desire to survive and continue living, even when everything around you has crumbled into dust. The fear of being alone is powerful, it can make you strive for something familiar, for someone to tell you you're not alone.

Moving and powerful, The Way We Fall is insight into a young girl's world as everything falls apart while she's helpless to stop it. Whether or not Kaelyn has the strength to carry on, to live, to survive and wait for the world to change, is up to her.

(I received a copy of this book from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Me on In My Mailbox (62)

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

First, I need something from you guys. 1) I need suggestions of ways an author can contribute to the Can YA lit blog event that aren't time-intensive or typing-intensive (this author has agreed to contribute but has two May deadlines so we're looking for something quick & easy). 2) What are good questions to pose for Q&A's?

Quite often, I've had a review buffer so I don't have to scramble to read a book and write up a review the night before. Then I started reading other books (read: Fruits Basket, curse you, Kathleen Peacock, for introducing me to it) and sort of lost the buffer. Then last weekend I was down to only this past week's three reviews as my buffer (there were some books I've read but hadn't written reviews for yet).

Yesterday was the first Lower Mainland book blogger meeting that didn't involve sitting in a Starbucks at a Chapters that also had a book event going on. ;) We had lunch instead. And Crystal at Raincoast Books sent Caitlin a box of books, so we totally fought over that. ;) Kidding. There were copies of the same 4 books for everyone.
Received to review:
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (from NetGalley) (Good thing I hadn't totally deleted the e-mail from NetGalley when I saw someone mention it on Twitter on Monday.)
Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay (from Random House through NetGalley) (On the same say I was declined for a different book I was approved for this. So excited, I really enjoyed Juliet Immortal. But does anyone know the actual release date? Goodreads says August and NetGalley says October.)
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth (from Macmillan through NetGalley)
Books from the box from Raincoast:
Shadows & Bone by Leigh Bardugo (looks like this will save my eyes from reading the e-galley)
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Fated by Alyson Noël
Wake by Amanda Hocking (I'm rather skeptical of this one. Hmmmmmmmmm.)

When the Sea is Rising Red by Cat Hellisen (from Caitlin)
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross (from Caitlin)

Borrowed from the library:
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

To read & review: When the Sea is Rising Red, Grave Mercy, Kill Me Softly, Gone, Gone, Gone, The Last Princess, The Vicious Deep, Struck, The Hunt, Fated, Shadow and Bone, This is Not a Test, Never Enough, and Romeo Redeemed. :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Me on Girl Meets Boy

Title: Girl Meets Boy: Because There Are Two Sides to Every Story
Authors: Kelly Milner Halls, Chris Crutcher, Rebecca Fjelland Davis, Terry Davis, Terry Trueman, Rita Williams-Garcia, James Howe, Ellen Wittlinger, Joseph Bruchac, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Sara Ryan, Randy Powell
Editor: Kelly Milner Halls
Release Date: December 28, 2011
Publisher: Chronicle Books

This review might be a little different, but the book is a little different.

Girl Meets Boy is a collection of stories, the he said and she said sides of love and relationships. 12 YA authors joined together to form 6 pairs, a male author writing the boy's side and a female author writing the girl's side. Put together, this book gives the reader 6 unique takes on love, heartbreak, and relationships, proving that there really are two sides to every story.

What first drew me to this book was the concept. Getting to know both sides of the story provides so much character insight but also character flaw. The reader will never really know the actual truth, just two differing view points. It's like we get to talk to both sides of the same coin, learning some actual truth, but the entire situation can only be explained by the hand that flipped that coin. Still, it was interesting to see the opinions and ideas and reactions of each character. I think this worked more in some pairings than others, like Rita Williams-Garcia and Terry Trueman's, or James Howe and Ellen Wittlinger's. While all pairings were enjoyable, were honest and surprising about love and relationships, those two pairs in particular provided my favourite stories.

Because this book is a collection of short stories, I could talk about each pairing, but I feel that it would take something away from reading the book as a whole. I went in mostly blind, knowing only what I've told you here, and what I was given was more than I'd expected. The only complaint, if it could be called that, is that I want to know what happens after the stories end, but I suppose that often happens with collections like this, just glimpses of important events. Still, what could be more important to a teenage boy or girl than how they felt when falling in love?

(I received an advance copy from Raincoast Books.)