Thursday, January 31, 2013

Me on The First ALA Midwinter 2013 Giveaway

Yay, it's time for a giveaway! :)

I have a lot of ARCs, about 70 from ALA Midwinter, and I don't want them to sit around on my shelf forever and ever.

So, I'm going to give away 2 ARCs to 2 random people (1 book each) (picked by Rafflecopter).

The thing is... there are a lot of books, so I'm going to have a few giveaways over the next few months. What doesn't find a new home with a giveaway winner will get donated to the libraries close to me (once I figure out who to contact and if they want them).
Hope there are some here you're interested in reading. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Me on ALA Midwinter 2013

Last weekend, I headed down to Seattle for ALA's midwinter conference. Wow, was this ever a big deal for me. I figure this will be the only time I go to something like this for the next few years, so I wanted to soak up as much as I could (which is a little hard when your feet hurt from walking and your shoulders are sore from carrying bags).

And, like the idiot I am, I don't have any pictures of the exhibit hall or any of the bloggers I met or the authors I met or of Seattle in general. *head-desk* But it is me, you should've expected my lack of pictures right from the start.

We (Caitlin at whatchYAreading, her two friends Courtney and Heather, and me) drove down in the morning through a long border wait but the easiest crossing ever (*hands over passports* Guard: Where are you going? Courtney: Seattle. *hands back passports* Guard: Okay, go.). Then came checking in at the hostel (which was right in front of Pike Place Market) and heading up to the convention center.

Then came waiting for the doors to open to the exhibit hall with all the other people waiting around.

I don't think I expected the rush of people into the exhibit hall when everyone started streaming in. So many people. I never heard of any shoving or knocking over of displays, but some people seemed so enthusiastic that first night. I imagine it was all the adrenaline and excitement. Two of the books I was very excited to pick up were Dualed by Elsie Chapman (yay for local authors) and Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger.

We stayed in the exhibit hall for about an hour before heading back to the hostel to find something to eat.

That evening, Caitlin and I headed to the blogger meet-up which was so much fun. We saw Nafiza and some of her fellow UBC library students (they're so nice). It was nice to meet bloggers I recognized from Twitter like Anna and Jamie, and Katie earlier in the evening in the exhibit hall. And the authors there were so nice, Kristin Halbrook and Kirsten Hubbard and Lenore Appelhans and Amy Tintera (I did make good on my Twitter mention to say hi to Amy that night). I also met Kristen Kittscher, her middle grade debut The Wig in the Window comes out this fall. Then I listened in on Jill Corcoran talking with bloggers and authors about new adult and mature content. :)

Saturday was rather overwhelming and busy, but it was the first full day.

More busy, more books, more walking. More tired. The mattress at the hostel sure was firm.

There were some author signings on Saturday that I checked out. It was so nice to meet Janet Gurtler, Canadian author of fun, sweet contemporary YA like Who I Kissed and the upcoming How I Lost You. After her signing I saw Denise Jaden and Mindi Scott, two other contemp YA authors, and again I met Jill Corcoran because she's Janet's agent. I had no idea. I saw Emma Trevayne and got an ARC of Coda signed, it sounds really interesting.

Now, my stalking of Amy Tintera. First, I said to her on Twitter that I'd stalk her at the blogger meet-up and say hi, and I did. Then I saw her on Saturday. Then I was heading back to the hostel with a heavy bag of ARCs and I saw her again. I made sure to tell her I wasn't stalking her anymore. Sometimes, once you meet someone and you're at a big thing, you keep seeing them everywhere.

Then someone wonderful at the Harper booth named Sarah give me an ARC of Reboot when I asked about it. Other big acquisitions of Saturday were Rush by Eve Silver, Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan, and Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey.

Again, it was busy, but the crowd seemed to be diminishing as the weekend went on.

My (now unintentional) stalking of Amy Tintera continued that morning when we were waiting outside the hall and I saw her walk up. I might've gushed about how I was reading Reboot and really enjoying it (there will be a second book, it's a duology). And Amy was very sweet to sign my ARC for me. :)

It seemed to be a HarperTeen morning. So many YA ARCs went out on tables and on the floor and on shelves at their booth.

I hung out with Mariam and Katie and Anna and Jamie for some of the morning, we'd take turns sitting and watching everyone's bags while others went off to wander through the booths. It's how we found out what was being put out and what you could get if you asked. Asking always felt weird to me. I always feel awkward when asking for things, it feels like I'm bothering them. But everyone at all the booths I asked at was extremely nice.

I think I was only there in the morning (there were some 5/6am mornings because of not being able to sleep and things got a little hazy). I was rather excited to pick up Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider, Arclight by Josin L. McQuein, In the After by Demitria Lunetta, and Breath by Jackie Morse Kessler.

For dinner I headed back up to the convention center for cheesecake. Yes, there was a Cheesecake Factory right across the street. :)

We only went to the last day for half an hour, we needed to head back. We only went because Caitlin heard copies of This is What Happy Looks Like were going to be put out, and it was. :) And I totally gushed over Hannah Moskowitz' Gone, Gone, Gone at the S&S booth after I saw it was named a Stonewall Honor book. I really like Hannah's books, but GGG is my favourite Hannah book so it has a special little place in my book nerd soul. Now I'll need to buy a copy when it gets its new sticker. :)

Then came the sleepy drive north and across the border (where the Canadian border guard asked us more questions than the US guy but the crossing was still painless, maybe because Courtney spoke with such authority).

And now I'm home (or I have been for 2 days), and this has been written up. It was exciting to go to ALA Midwinter. I imagine I would do it again, or attend something similar, but it would have to be close by. One day, BEA, but not soon.

The big list of books I brought back is here on Goodreads. Please suggest books you'd like to see reviews of in comments below. I'm not sure if all will be listed in the weekend's TWBW post, I might just post a picture of the ones I'm most excited about.

And come back tomorrow when the first of many giveaway posts goes up. :)

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (113)

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

Title: The Indigo Spell
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

I think I like this series more than Vampire Academy, Sydney is a little more interesting than Rose, and Sydney's starting to get involved in a lot of different messes and problems and plots to ruin the world.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Me on Unravel Me

Title: Unravel Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point, the headquarters of the resistance. There she discovers other people with abilities, ones they learned to control, and for the first time in her life, Juliette has hope. Hope that she can have a life with Adam. Hope that her touch can be used to save instead of destroy. But Juliette is only just beginning to understand the depth of her power, and she's struggling to fight the desire to use it. She's haunted by her past, terrified by her future, and too tempted by Warner, who still wants her more than she ever thought possible. Juliette is forced to make some life-altering decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right, decisions that might involve choosing between her heart and Adam's life.

Unravel Me is just as compelling as its predecessor, if not more so. Rich with Juliette's confusion, her terror, her power, here is the story of a girl who thought things were going to be okay but discovers she was mistaken. The world is still crumbling, everyone is still afraid of what could happen next, and Juliette is being pushed closer and closer to the edge. The edge of reason, of thought, of purpose. Of sanity.

Things are working together without knowing to unravel Juliette. Adam. Warner. Castle and Omega Point. The Reestablishment. She might be (relatively) safe, but after the life she's lived, after what she's experiences, after who she's harmed with her touch, it won't take much for her to shatter and unravel.

Her power is dangerous but untapped. Being told to focus, to harness it, to use it, is a double-edged sword. She could reach her highest potential, she could become invincible, but what if she becomes something she fears? What if her body becomes the weapon she hoped would never be created? Being afraid of what's inside your body, your mind, is something you never want to experience. Your body is yours, but not being able to control something you should? Frightening. Juliette must find control, she must find strength to push on, or she'll be lost.

The book is an interesting look at the human psyche. After it has been beaten down, battered, contained, restricted, shunned, what is left? Is there anything left, any sense of sanity or humanity? Juliette is fracturing constantly with every word she speaks, every thought she thinks, every emotion she feels. She's torn between the world she's lived in, the one where she was left shattered and glued back together by Adam, and the one where Warner slowly unravels every piece of what was built up. In the end, what will be left? Will she still be there?

Lush with imagery and metaphor, both sweetly and sadly poetic, this book is painful to experience. A young girl, locked away, who doesn't know how to live without pain or isolation or fear, is grasping onto whatever she can that's warm and loving and familiar. But as her mind fractures, as she's faced with truths no one wants to accept, it's hard to keep it all from slipping through her fingers. Surprise after surprise in this book will create wave after wave in the next, and hopefully Juliette will be left standing at the end.

(I borrowed an advance copy from another book review blogger and later received an advance copy at ALA Midwinter.)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (36)

This Week's Book Week is like Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews but the name is different and I ramble on about things.

Hello! I'm not here right now. Instead, I'm speaking to you from the past. (Why does this sound like I'm leaving an answering machine message??) I'm in Seattle until Monday because I made the trip, with some bloggers, across the border to ALA Midwinter. :) Hopefully, I've been enjoying myself (since I can't see into the future), and hopefully I finally met some awesome bloggers at the meet-up on Friday night. Hopefully, the convention centre has Wi-Fi so I can tweet from the exhibit hall instead of just tweeting from the hostel in the evenings (or from one of the many nearby Starbucks'). Hopefully, I haven't made a complete and utter fool of myself. *fingers crossed*

A recap post of the whole weekend will go up at some point during the week. Maybe Wednesday, maybe Thursday. In it will be a giveaway for an ARC or two or more. :) I'm still hoping that most if not all of the books I bring back will go to my local library, I know they have some teen groups but I'm not sure what they do during their meeting times. I'll need to send an e-mail or two to someone when I get back.

So, I'll see you all when I get back. :)

(I picked up some holds at the library this week, they'll be in next week's post.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Me on Asunder

Title: Asunder
Author: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Ana has always been the only one. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls, and the newsouls who may be born in their place. Many are afraid of her, see her as a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving strangely around her, when people turn violent, Ana must learn how to stand up for herself as well as those who cannot. More than anything, she wants to be a part of Heart, to live and love and be considered an equal to those who've lived for so long, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, Ana's lifetime of rejection seems impossible to overcome. It's time for Ana to discover the truth behind reincarnation, and time for her to make her young life meaningful.

Asunder is at times sweet and whisper-soft but also darkly mysterious and utterly heartbreaking. It took nothing to fall back in love with this world first discovered in Incarnate, this combination of rustic old world living and the simplicity in life brought on by futuristic devices and the retained knowledge of five thousand years of lifetimes. If Incarnate was about discovery, then Asunder is what comes next. This is so much more, this is an exploration of life and death, of what it means to be new in an ancient world.

The people of Heart are now faced with something they never imagined would occur. Almost eighty souls disappeared the night the temple went dark, souls that will not be returning. The souls that will, however, will be newsouls. The finality of death is real now. Previously, there was an impossibility of new life, but no longer. And there are those who resist, who see the newsouls as invaders, as dangerous and insidious as a disease. They don't want to know what it is to die after living forever.

The newsouls that will come, those like Ana, will know nothing of the world. They'll need to be taught and supported by others, not being able to contribute to society for a time. It seems, to me, like a metaphor of childhood and adolescence. The newsouls are the children, blind and clueless, and the oldsouls are the adults who must bear the burden of their education and care. But the oldsouls don't want the newsouls because they have nothing to contribute. And so the newsouls suffer before they're even born.

Ana still struggles to find her place in Heart. She was the first newsoul but she still sees herself as a nosoul, especially when confronted by those who see her as an omen of danger. But there are those who care for her, people like Sam and Stef. She needs Sam desperately, needs the support and the unflinching affection and love. It could border on dependency, their relationship, especially after a lifetime of disdain from a parent who refused to teach her or love her. But I don't think that's the case here because Ana wants to learn, to discover and change and live the life she deserves.

Her voice is wonderful, curious but confused and lost like a lonely little girl. Not necessarily lyrical or poetic, but honest and trying in her discoveries and uncovering of secrets. And so clear in her voice is the surprise and horror she feels when she uncovers the biggest secret of them all: the secret behind the reincarnation of the oldsouls.

Something big is coming, but what is it? Does it have to do with sylph? With Menehem's experiments? With Janan and what's lurking in the dark inside the temple? Over the course of the book the tension builds, and it builds, and it builds until an ending arrives that changes everything. Whatever comes next, wherever Ana goes in the third book, it will be greatly devoured.

(I received an advance copy by an author.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (112)

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

Title: Life After Theft
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Moving to a new high school sucks. Especially a rich-kid private school. With uniforms. But nothing is worse than finding out the first girl you meet is dead. And a klepto.

No one can see or hear Kimberlee except Jeff, so--in hopes of bringing an end to the snarkiest haunting in history--he agrees to help her complete her "unfinished business." But when the enmity between Kimberlee and Jeff's new crush, Sera, manages to continue posthumously, Jeff wonders if he's made the right choice.

Clash meets sass in this uproarious modern-day retelling of Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.

The first book by an author after their debut series is often interesting. You've been with them in one world for multiple books, but then there's something completely different and new and the same characters aren't around anymore. Still, I've enjoyed Aprilynne's past series about faeries and this new book also sounds like fun. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Me on Prodigy

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Putnam (Penguin imprint)

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo has died and his son Anden has taken his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request: June and Day must assassinate the new Elector. It's their chance to change the nation. But June is conflicted, this Elector is nothing like his father, and she's afraid of the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood?

Prodigy is as complicated and harsh as Legend, continuing Day and June's uncovering of the Republic's true motives and what they have planned for their citizens. Now that they're together, now that they're fragile after what they just experience in L.A., they'll be split up for a new mission. The entire book is a test for June and Day, individually and together as a pair.

First came the explosion that was Day and June, first came the meeting, the realization for June that the Republic wasn't perfect, the realization for Day that he'd been used as a lab rat. Now comes the exploration, the tests of faith in their hopes and dreams of the future and of each other. Now separated, how will each of them act? They're hoping to survive, hoping they make the right choices, hoping they don't fail.

Both Day and June are interesting narrators. Both are prodigies in their own way, Day lived on the street for years and was able to protect both him and Tess, June knows tactics and strategy and is very calculating. But it must be said that they're still only fifteen. Remembering that makes them feel so young and vulnerable in a world so dangerous and decaying, but it also makes one wonder how quickly children and teenagers are growing up, if they're being stretched beyond their years.

There is a plot point or event that occurs in this book that I'm not a fan of, but I understand its use. Day and June need to be separated for the Patriots' plan to work, but I've never understood why an almost immediate separation in book two is a way to test the relationship first established in book one. There are other ways in which to test their relationship, but I understand why the author went this way. They need to figure out some things apart, they need to learn what's been kept from them, but that doesn't mean I need to like it all that much. My dislike of this plot device lessens as the pair spends less of the book apart.

So much happens in this book, so many things change, so many lives are threatened. Whatever comes next, whatever is coming for June and Day, will be the hardest.

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

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (35)

This Week's Book Week is like Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews but I suck at naming things. It's a terrible disease. ;)

1 week to ALA. Freaking out (for a different reason, see below where I talk about my new meds).

It snowed a little on Monday, but it was just enough, mixed with the cold, to make the roads slippery. Again, people cannot drive in snow in Vancouver. They freak out because it's not the same as rain.

I'm on antibiotics right now. Yay. (Not really.) There's an infection in my left middle finger (no pictures, I promise) so I have to take some antibiotics with some possibly disgusting side effects. I probably should've asked my doctor about still being able to go to Seattle but I'm seeing him on Wednesday again so I'll find out then. That would really suck, finding out 2 days beforehand that I can't go to ALA because I'm on antibiotics (my round of pills will last until next Saturday) or suffering from the side effects. I'm kicking myself for not asking when I was in his office. Of course, if I get the weird side effects, that might decide it for me. *angry sigh* Stupid finger. Couldn't you have waited until after ALA to go all weird and hot and swollen?? So, yeah. Minor health deal with me.

I've been watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the modernization of Pride and Prejudice where Lizzie talks about her family and the people they know in a diary vlog format. It's very funny. So funny. Of course, it's made me want to read Pride and Prejudice as well. Good thing I have a Kobo with an e-book copy.
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff (many thanks to Penguin Canada for the finished copy)

Borrowed from the library:
Destined by Aprilynne Pike
Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler
(Also some other books like Watchmen and Y: The Last Man and some romance novels but you guys don't care about those.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Me on The Archived

Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Release Date: January 22, 2013
Publisher: Hyperion

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Every body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures the only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and they reside in a vast realm called the Archive. Mackenzie's grandfather first brought her to the Archive when she was 12 and determined to prove herself. Now, Da is gone, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from getting out. Because of her job, she lies to people, and she knows fear for what it is: a tool used for staying alive. But being a Keeper reminds her of who she's lost. Not only is Da gone, but her brother Ben has died as well, and Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between the living and the dead. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed, yet someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential memories. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

The Archived is haunting and heart-breaking, a complex and expertly crafted tale of truth and lies, the living and the dead. A mysterious magic weaves a path through this book, a magic as elusive as mist, as powerful as love. In the Archive there are secrets, and there are whispers, and there must be courage and strength in order to survive.

Narrators like Mackenzie are what make novels such as this always complicated and never easy. As a Keeper, she's tough, she knows certain truths, and she's seen enough to make her appear old beyond her years, but she's sad. She's so sad, and she's so lost, and she struggles to cope and keep up with the lies, to keep the mask on her face. She's very much a hunter, a hunter of Histories, of the truth, of remembering the good times. She has the instincts, but not being able to move away from her grief holds her back.

The idea of the Archive drew me in so because it's a question we as human beings ofter ask ourselves: what happens to us after we die? Our bodies are taken away, yes, but does anything else happen? Is there a record of our lives? Is there such a thing as a spirit or soul? And if there is life (such as it could be) after death, where are we kept? Are we kept under control? Who makes the rules?

There is a special connection between truth and lies, where the line is blurred and both are the same yet different. The lies we keep to hide the truth, the lies we tell to keep those we love safe, the lies we tell ourselves when we pretend everything is okay. The truths we hide. Mac must face this, face all of it, to survive. She must discover what is causing the Archive to crumble, or she won't make it back through the passage alive.

It's quite possible that this book is all about family. Both Mac and her parents are struggling and failing to continue their lives without her brother Ben, and Mac often thinks back to memories of her grandfather when he was alive and appeared invincible. Family provides so much, the unconditional love and support, the connections they make with us, the way they tug at our hearts when they laugh or cry or even just smile. Anything and everything is for family.

This book is about a girl searching for the truth when lies fill her life. This book is the unveiling of a mystery, the exposure of a twisted map of truths, secrets, and lies. This book is the unflinching love of family and the unwavering desire to keep them close. This book is rich with complications, rife with danger, but in no way did I ever want to avoid it. If anything, it only made me want to step through that doorway, golden key in the lock, even more.

(I received a finished copy to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (111)

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

Title: Breath
Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Graphia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt imprint)

From Goodreads:

Contrary to popular belief, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse aren’t just harbingers of doom—they actually keep life in balance. But what happens when their leader and creator, Death, becomes suicidal?

Before the first living thing drew its first gasping breath, he was there. He has watched humanity for millennia. And he has finally decided that humanity is not worth the price he has paid time and again. When Death himself gives up on life, a teenager named Xander Atwood is the world’s only hope. But Xander bears a secret, one that may bring about the end of everything.

This heart-pounding final installment of the Riders of the Apocalypse series looks at the value of life, the strength of love, and how a small voice can change everything . . . forever.

Seeing this coming out in April reminds me that A) I really enjoy this series, and B) that I need a copy of the second one (that I've read) and that I need to read the third one even though it'll wreck me. This series has a way of making me remember the sad and depressing and horrid parts of high school, but books that make me feel are awesome. I hope there are teenagers who read this series and feel those things, too.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Me on Teeth

Title: Teeth
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse (S&S imprint)

Rudy's life flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother. With nothing to do but worry, Rudy sinks deeper and deeper into loneliness and lies awake at night listening to the screams of the ocean beneath his rickety house. Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about everything. Rudy can't remember the last time he felt so connected to someone, but being friends with Teeth is more than a little complicated. He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother's life.

Teeth is raw, emotional, and brutally honest. This is one boy's story of family and friendship, doing what he wants versus doing what's right, and another boy's story of love and freedom. Nothing is easy, every step taken in this book is a struggle for every character, but hopefully there will be moments of happiness, if the hard choices are made.

Rudy's voice is brutal to the point of crude, angry and swearing about almost everything. He's sweet, he cares about his family, but he's angry and lost, drifting in the grey of the sea under his house. And then Teeth falls into his world.

Teeth is impossible to classify. Is he a monster? Is he a hero? What does he represent, the innate fear of the unknown and the unexplained that's trickled through society for decades? Is he a manifestation of all the illnesses and diseases that were hoped to be cured by those who traveled to the magical island? What I do know is he was abandoned and cast aside, abused and mutilated, treated like something worse than trash. He's like a banshee, screeching in pain, wailing over the crash of waves upon the island's shore. With a child's sense of right and wrong and a predator's teeth, he's feral. But there were times when he was the only human being on that island.

Diana is different, different than Rudy or Teeth. Isolated, alone, her world is the many found between the covers of books. Unfortunately, that is not how the world works. There is a line between fiction and reality. I'm curious as to who represents which, if Diana is the real world while Teeth is the fantasy, or if it is the other way around with Diana as the created girl and Teeth as the harsh reality of abuse, abandonment, and over-harvesting of natural resources.

Love has no rules, no boundaries, no borders. Teeth loves as a child loves, without restraint or wondering why it will only hurt in the end. The romance in this book is rather subtle, and I feel you're welcome to believe it's there or not, but if it wasn't, I don't think Rudy would've done what he does.

Freedom is elusive. How do we obtain it? How do we escape when the world becomes too painful? Rudy craves an escape from his family life, an escape from his brother's illness, while Teeth deserves freedom from the pain he suffers but he won't leave because he loves and won't dare leave a certain something behind.

This book is what I expect from Hannah Moskowitz. Raw prose leads to raw characters, raw emotions, and being left wondering what just happened and why your heart has been left broken and bleeding at your feet. I expect honesty and reality, the idea that nothing is perfect, that all we can hope for is living the way we want to, living free and safe, human or fish. It's weird little books like these that become cult classics, and I hope that happens with Teeth.

(I purchased a copy of this book.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (34)

This Week's Book Week is like Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only I thought up this name and while terrible, it stuck around. ;)

Hello to new people! There are some new followers so I thought I'd say hi. Hi. :) Reviews are posting Tuesdays and Fridays (sometimes Monday-Wednesday-Friday if I have a lot of review books that come out around the same time), I take part in the Waiting on Wednesday meme on Wednesdays, and this post where I babble about my week shows up on Saturdays. Sometimes there are book tour posts and guest posts from authors. Sometimes there are giveaways (there probably will be one after ALA). In the spring I'll be bringing back the Canadian YA Lit Event, hopefully with new and different authors.

Countdown to ALA Midwinter. 2 weeks. That's 2 whole weeks of me stressing and freaking over whether or not I packed the right clothes and enough tote bags and the right shoes (stupid broken ankle) and enough business cards (hopefully, I've got about 80 of the mini cards I ordered last year from Moo (I really like Moo) and I'm too late to order more for them to arrive in time). Stupid. Maybe I should buy a stack of notecards, write all my blog and Twitter info on those if I run out of mini cards.

Now, in the past few years that I've been blogging and know about ALA and BEA and book festivals, I know there are librarians that get upset when bloggers come to ALA. I do get it, it's a conference for librarians put on by a huge association of librarians where they discuss books and library tech and readers and everything else they're passionate about. I can only hope they won't sneer at me for being there, trying to be polite and not a jerk. If this year's Midwinter Meeting wasn't so close to where I live, I wouldn't be going. Ever. So, yes, I'm going as a blogger and a reviewer, and I'm going to try and be as nice and friendly as possible. Of course, I'm not big with crowds so I might be that tall girl wandering around not talking to anyone. I'm hoping to give a lot of the books I come back with to the local library and their teen reading groups. :)
The Archived by Victoria Schwab (thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada for the gorgeous finished copy)

Borrowed from the library:
Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (I don't read a lot of comics, but this one sounds really interesting. The artwork is vibrant and the story looks to be all kinds of messed up and complicated so I'm interested in where it'll go. Also, when the cover features a horned guy with a sword and a woman with insect-like wings holding a gun while breastfeeding her baby, you know it's going to be awesome. Also not meant for kids, there's a lot of swearing and violence and sex in this.)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Me on Paper Valentine

Title: Paper Valentine
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, birds are dying, and someone in a peaceful suburban community is killing girls. For Hannah, the summer is complicated. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago and Hannah wants everything to go back to normal. But things can't be normal when Lillian's ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders. Hannah's trying to understand why her friend self-destructed and where she fits in among the social elite now that Lillian is gone. And she needs to stop thinking about Finny Boone, an enigmatic delinquent whose hobbies include petty larceny and random acts of kindness. With the city in a panic, Hannah finds herself drawn to a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. Only by confronting the Valentine Killer will Hannah be able to move on, and it's up to her to put the pieces together before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine brings a welcome and bitter chill to a hot summer's day. Oh so spooky and oh so dangerous, the book is descriptive and lush with detail, lush with hauntings and murders and one girl's reluctant quest to find whoever is responsible. A sweet and sad story about love, death, and friendship.

Hannah feels like such a lost girl, broken by the loss of Lillian, left to wander aimlessly and attempt to navigate the small spaces her other friends have left for her. With Lillian gone, where does Hannah fit in now? With Lillian gone, Hannah has no strength, no power, and her other friends see this as a chance to take over the top spot. There are reluctant characters, and there's Hannah, pushed into a search for a murderer by an angry and emotional ghost. Then there's the intriguing, no good, must be avoided at all cost Finnegan Boone who's keeping some secrets of his own.

The story of the dead girls takes over Ludlow, pushes fear into the hearts of mothers and fathers and daughters alike. One question rings true throughout the book and kept me guessing right to the end: who is the murderer?

Sharing the spotlight with the Valentine Killer is Hannah's relationship with Lillian. It seems to me more like an alpha versus an omega, the stronger personality dominating the meeker one, but both girls are battered and bruised in different ways. Hannah always had Lillian for support, but now she's been left alone after her death, left to find her own place. Lillian has lost most of her strength after she died, lost her presence, but she still needs Hannah to be her arms and legs, to find out what happened.

When I read a book written by Brenna Yovanoff, I'm always overwhelmed by wonderfully poetic and emotional storytelling. Such realistic and honest and flawed characters, everyone is flawed in some way, and it's those flaws, those bruises and scars, that make this book so moving. There is beauty in the darkness of this book, a gorgeous story where danger and death stay close.

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

Me on The Darkest Minds

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: December 18, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, she knew something had changed. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal "rehabilitation camp" run by the government. She might've survived the mysterious disease that killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, she barely escapes with her life. Now she's on the run and desperate to find a save haven for other kids like her called "East River." Once she's out, she ends up with another group of kids that broke out of their camp. Their leader, Liam, is falling hard for Ruby, but she can't risk anyone getting close. Not after what happened. Plus, there are other forces at work, those who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government, and they're not willing to let her go.

The Darkest Minds is a deadly and dangerous look at a crumbling future, a future where the children who weren't killed by a mysterious disease now possess psychic abilities that they cannot control. With this as the background, the reader is introduced to Ruby's journey to discover what she can do and how to live a normal life, if such a thing is possible.

The book heads straight into the story, straight into Ruby, and it felt a bit sudden and disjointed. It took a few pages to understand that the little back story on the disease was the only back story to appear at the start. Nothing on what Ruby and the other children were gathered up for, nothing on what's happened to the world. The reader is sent straight into Ruby's head where only a few things are known and so many questions on how she ended up at Thurmond.

Ruby is afraid. Very afraid. She's scared of herself, of her abilities, she's scared of the PSF's and what they might do with her. But what she's scared of most is what might happen, what's coming and what she'll have to encounter. If she wants to survive, she'll have to dig deep and find the strength to fight back.

More dystopian novels with characters that have paranormal abilities are popping up, and books like that can be hit or miss. It takes a lot for a dystopian to stand out in a (possibly) saturated market, and adding the paranormal is an attempt to make it stand out. This book reminded me at times of Partials, of Delirium, of Shatter Me, but I think Bracken has put a different enough spin on things to make this book stand out. There's a rather obvious military feel to the book, and the different kinds of characters are complicated and exciting enough to stand out.

The heart-pounding tension was kept up and continued through the book straight to the end. From where the book started to where it ended, I was surprised and intrigued. I'm very much look forward to the next book, to where Ruby will go and who she'll meet. She has a lot to learn about herself and her own abilities, and she'll need to find the strength to fight back or else she'll fall.

(I received a finished copy to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (110)

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

Title: How to Lead A Life of Crime
Author: Kirsten Miller
Release Date: February 21, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other—or will the school destroy them both?

In the search for flawed characters that have to fight for your affection, what's more perfect than a school filled with criminal prodigies?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Me on Altered

Title: Altered
Author: Jennifer Rush
Release Date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown & Co. (Hachette imprint)

Everything about Anna's life is secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to four genetically altered boys in a secret underground lab. There's Nick, Cas, Trev... and Sam, who's stolen Anna's heart. When the Branch decides to take the boys, Sam stages an escape. Anna is torn between following and staying, but her father tells her to go, making Sam promise to keep her from the Branch. They flee, but none of the boys remember anything about their past lives. Now on the run, Anna discovers she might be connected to Sam in more ways than expected, and if they're going to survive, they'll have to piece everything together before the Branch catches up to them.

Altered is an exploration into the past while on the run from those who want to control their future and use them as tools, a thriller that circles around a group of teenagers on the run from a secret group who performed experiments on them. What was done to them? What have they forgotten? What is the truth? All they can do is run, run and search for the missing pieces, and hope they're the ones who can run faster.

For some reason, before I started reading I thought this was going to be vaguely dystopian and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't. Instead of a dark and dismal futuristic setting there's a possible present day setting, maybe a little technologically advanced with the semi-military group and their experiments but that was it.

A book like this needs tension, it asks for it, but I didn't feel that there was enough tension until about a third of the way through the book. From there to the end, it was fast-paced. No one really knows what they're looking for, only that it's out there and they have to find it before the Branch finds them and locks them away.

The author has crafted a very interesting group of boys, each with their own quirks and traits that help them get out of tough situations. Anna as well, she's like a mother hen wanting to take care of her boys, because they are her boys, in a sense. She cares about them more than anyone. She also has a stronger connection with Sam than with Cas, Trev, or Nick.

There was a plot twist or two that I expected, but there were more that I didn't expect which made reading it interesting. As the first in a series about characters searching for forgotten memories, it leaves more questions unanswered than answered, but I'm looking forward to Anna and the boys' search to answer those questions and to uncover more secrets in their past.

(I received an advance copy to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (33)

This Week's Book Week is just like Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only I'm terrible at naming things. ;)

Wow. It's 2013. Weird. And I'm 26 now, which really feels weird.

In three weeks I'll be at ALA Midwinter in Seattle. Will you? :) I started freaking out over how I'm getting down there and what to say at the border when they ask why I'm going down there. There are a bunch of books I need to read and write up reviews for for late Jan and early Feb so I won't be rushed to read and write up reviews for whatever ARCs I come back with.

Because I was so looking forward to reading this book when the ARC arrived in November, my first read of the year was Ink by Amanda Sun. It's set in Japan and it involves ancient gods and ink drawings and dark power and the crime underworld of the yakuza. And the cover is gorgeous. The main character, Katie, is very much tossed straight (apart from learning the language as best as she can) into Japan and its odd (to her) culture and customs and food. There were a fair number of Japanese terms and phrases, but there was a handy glossary at the back. And there were illustrations in the book. After watching so much anime and reading so much manga over the last year, I sort of fell into reading this, but it still felt new and different. So, maybe you go look it up, see if you want to read it when it comes out in late June. *sigh* Wow, that's going to be a really long wait for book 2.

Reviews of Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff and Crash by Lisa McMann went up this week. :) Next week will be Altered by Jennifer Rush and The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken.

I had a bad headache on Wednesday, then it came back on Friday. Sorry I didn't babble more here. :)
Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (I read an e-galley and reviewed it but I was at Chapters looking for Teeth and bought this because I enjoyed it last year. Also, hardcovers were on sale.)
To review:
Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)
Unremembered by Jessica Brody (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Me on Crash

Title: Crash
Author: Lisa McMann
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: SimonPulse (S&S imprint)

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their food truck shaped like a double meatball to school. It's not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle it. What she can't handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a speeding truck hit a building and explode... and nine body bags in the snow. The vision is everywhere, on billboards and television screens and windows, and she's the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see one of the faces in the body bag, and it's someone she knows.

Crash is fast-paces, tense, and complicated. It's an intriguing mystery thriller reminiscent of the Final Destination film series mixed with some intense family rivalries, a combination of contemporary real world high school life and the paranormal. It's all up to Jules to figure out what the visions are showing her, if they're real. If not, it's a sign that she's slowly losing her mind.

What she sees is impossible, but that doesn't stop her from trying to solve the mystery of where the explosion is and how to stop it. There are times when no one believes her and she has to struggle to not look insane. Nothing is easy for Jules, but that doesn't stop her from trying to figure it all out.

Jules' home life isn't the easiest as well, meaning her visions arrive at possibly the worst time. On the other side of the visions is an exploration of sanity, of what people hide from the outside world in the confines of their home. Of obsessive tendencies and the different ways in which people cope with trauma or stress. Something is lurking around, something that started before the book did, and what Jules learns will impact what comes next.

Taking what the visions show her, Jules believes she can tempt fate and change the outcome. It's a curious notion: what teenager wouldn't want to change the future if it meant saving people from dying? If it meant saving someone you cared about?

The fact that the story moves so quickly comes from the immediateness and directness of the prose, which is similar to the author's previous Wake series. It's a serious and complicated story but the reader is only given what's needed at certain moments. It gives the story a sense of urgency, because how can it not be urgent when lives are on the line and there's only one person who knows when and where they're destined to die?

(I received an advance copy to review from Simon & Schuster Canada.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (109)

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

Title: Reboot
Author: Amy Tintera
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

From Goodreads:

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

I really like how weird it all sounds, how the longer you're dead the more advanced you are when you come back to life. It'll make the story rather interesting. :)