Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (117)

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

Title: The Night Itself
Author: Zoë Marriott
Release Date: July 4, 2013
Publisher: Walker Books

From Goodreads:

A breathtaking new urban fantasy trilogy from the critically acclaimed, award winning author of The Swan Kingdom and Shadows on the Moon.

When fifteen year old Mio Yamato furtively sneaks the katana - an ancestral Japanese sword - out of its hiding place in her parent's attic to help liven up her Christmas party costume, she has no idea of the darkness she is about to unleash on modern day London, or the family secrets that she is going to uncover.

The paralysing paranoia that descends on her before she gets to her friend's party is her first clue. The vivid and terrifying visions that nearly get her killed are a pretty good warning too.

The giant nine-tailed cat demon that comes after the sword and tries to rip her throat out? Overkill.

Seconds away from becoming kitty-food, Mio is saved by Shinobu, a mysterious warrior boy. But it's already too late. Mio has ruptured the veil between the mortal realm and the Underworld, and now the gods and monsters of ancient Japan stalk the streets of London, searching for her and the sword.

With the help of her best friend Jack, a fox spirit named Hikaru - and the devoted protection of the bewitchingly familiar Shinobu - Mio attempts to discover the true nature of the sword and its connection to the Yamato family. Because if she doesn't learn how to control the katana's incredible powers, she's in danger of being overwhelmed by them. And if she can't keep the sword safe from the terrible creatures who want it for their own, she'll lose not only her own life... but the love of a lifetime.

I want this book. It sounds interesting, filled with Japanese culture and London's geography. The cover is stunning, the simple and striking colours and artwork. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Me on Unremembered

Title: Unremembered
Author: Jessica Brody
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (Macmillan imprint)

When a flight goes down over the Pacific Ocean, no one expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl they find floating among the wreckage, alive, is making headlines. Even more strange is her lack of injuries and lack of memories boarding the plane. And her lack of memories period. No one knows how she survived, why she wasn't on the manifest, why there's no record of her fingerprints anywhere. Crippled by a world she doesn't know, plagued by abilities she doesn't understand, haunted by a looming threat she can't remember, the girl struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is, but every clue beings more questions and she's running out of time. Her only hope might be a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who made her forget?

Unremembered is a complicated search for the truth, a search for memories, a search to discover someone's true identity. Lost, confused, alone, the girl struggles to find out who she really is while wondering if anyone is really telling her the truth. A slightly over-the-top love story veiled by secrets and science, this might interest some but struggled to hold my attention emotionally.

The girl is alone. Her memories are gone. She knows nothing, quite literally nothing, nothing beyond what her brain automatically processes when she looks out in the world (like complex math). The boy who knows her is as much a mystery as she is, only no one seems to know he exists. He knows her, he wants to help her, he cares about her, but she is lost in a sea of emptiness and missing memories.

Memories are curious things. How deep are they settled in our minds? How ingrained can a touch or scent or sight be to keep us from forgetting it? If we lose our memories, are we still the same person? Or do we become different people? When we've forgotten everything, how can we trust anything that's said to us? We have no way of knowing whether it's true or not, or whether those people have our best interests at heart.

An intriguing mix of romance, thriller, and science-fiction that will surely interest some readers. For me, this is one of those books where I can't definitely say whether or not I liked it. The story pulled at me, I wanted to discover the truth behind the girl, behind her amnesia, behind those chasing her, but I felt no emotional connection to the girl herself. Without her memories, she's lacking, almost always confused or frightened or clueless or angry. Of course, this semi-lack of a personality stems from her having no memories as well as the way she was raised. This kind of heroine is hard to like, I spent some time waiting for her to grow a spine and fight back instead of questioning everything and running when her instincts take over.

That being said, I'm sure this will appear to those who enjoy epic love stories that stretch out across time and space, books like Fallen, The Eternal Ones, and My Name is Memory.

(I acquired an advance copy at ALA Midwinter.)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (40)

This Week's Book Week is like Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only it's a little goofier. ;)

On Monday evening, we had a sort of Vancouver blogger meet-up, even though I just saw Caitlin and Nafiza at ALAMW. But I saw Alita and Jenny, who I hadn't seen in a while so that was nice. :) And we met a couple of girls who work at Raincoast Books, Melissa and Megan. Raincoast is a book distributor, they handle distribution for publishers who don't have a Canadian office or branch, publishers like Macmillan and Tor and Chronicle Books and Sourcebooks. It was so nice to meet them. Unlike the Toronto blogger girls (who are all adorable), we don't have a lot of meet-ups or publisher events to go to, so it was nice to hang out with new book people. And they brought us books. :) Of course, there was a fair amount of us saying, "I picked it up at ALA," when books were unpacked, like with Absent by Katie Williams (witty high school ghost story and Nobody's Secret by Michaela MacColl (15 year old Emily Dickinson mystery), but they brought some other books, too. :)

I'm thinking of having a day during the Canadian YA Lit event where everyone posts their thoughts on the same topic and links back here and everyone shares. Like, there would be a set day where everyone interested, bloggers and authors and everyone who wants to, posts their thoughts on Canadian YA/YA in Canada, and then links to everyone participating would be here and you can read what other people think. Thoughts?

Today I heard rumours that Sarah Rees Brennan might be joining Cassie Clare at her BC stop for the Clockwork Princess tour near the end of March. How interesting. ;)

I had a weird depressive morning on Thursday but then I pulled myself out of it by pre-outlining a book idea and listening to random music. I think I needed to work out some angst and work out an idea I've had for more than a year.

Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz (I adore Hannah's books. Also, I want more LGBTQ middle grade.)
Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox

Borrowed from the library:
Forgotten by Cat Patrick (audiobook) (I'm testing out some audiobooks to see if I want to listen to more of them. I have a finished copy so I might read along.)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Me on Dualed

Title: Dualed
Author: Elsie Chapman
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Random House

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their twin before they turn twenty. Survival means everything. Fifteen-year-old West has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month in order to hunt her and kill her. But then a tragic misstep shakes her confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she's no longer sure that she's the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she's to have any chance of surviving, she'll have to stop running not only from her Alt but also from love, even though both could destroy her.

Dualed is dark and dangerous, a high-speed chase to both eliminate the target and to stay alive. Constantly on the run, constantly in danger, constantly close to death, West is forced to think fast and move even faster if she wants to prove herself as the stronger of the pair. A very complex story, we see only one side, only West, but we know there is another story happening nearby, that of her Alt and her own mission to survive.

Like most protagonists, West has her issues. She has her own fighting skills, her own personality defects, her own emotional problems, but she knows she has to put everything aside if she wants to survive. The one variable is her Alt, her genetic twin, herself but not herself. We never her, never learn much of anything about her, but we know she must die so West can live.

West's problem is that everything around her crumbles at the start of the book, leaving her despondent and weary, leaving her wondering if she's really the better of the two. She needs to believe that she is, that she deserves to live, that she will fight her Alt as hard as she can for the right to continue living. If she doesn't, someone else with her face will have a future.

There seems to be a new trend popping up, a trend that circles around sibling bonds, twins, and alternate versions of characters. It's the other side of ourselves, us but not us, that intrigues it. What if there was someone out there who looked exactly like you do but lived a different life? What if, like in this book, you were forced to kill them, forced to prove you were the stronger of the two? How do you prove that? There's no comparison of skill or personality or intelligence, just kill or be killed. Just hope you can shoot faster.

As a whole, the book isn't as dystopian as I was expecting, the ruling group has its secrets but they aren't discussed or exposed. It's more of a futuristic thriller with a complicated over-looking government that makes its citizens choose who lives and who dies. A fast-paced and thrilling debut with hints of romance, I'm very curious as to what the author will bring forth for the sequel.

(I acquired an advance copy at ALA Midwinter.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (116)

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

Title: Thornhill
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Mac can’t lose another friend. Even if he doesn’t want to be found.

The ripple effect caused by Mac’s best friend Amy’s murder has driven Mac’s new love, Kyle, to leave Hemlock and disappear from her life forever. But Mac knows that Kyle plans to enroll in a rehabilitation camp, where he can live with other werewolves. She refuses to accept his decision, especially since the camps are rumored to be tortuous. So she sets out in search of Kyle with a barely sober Jason—and Amy’s all-seeing ghost—in tow.

Clues lead Mac to find Kyle in a werewolf den in Colorado—but their reunion is cut short by a Tracker raid. Now Mac and Kyle are trapped inside the electric fences of Thornhill, a camp for young werewolves. As she devises an escape plan, Mac uncovers dangerous secrets buried within the walls of Thornhill—and realizes that the risk to the people she loves is greater than ever before.

I'm a big fan of Kathleen's, not just because she's Canadian or because she loves the stuffing out of my Canadian YA Lit event or because she likes me, it's because with Hemlock she wrote a book that satisfied the part of my reader heart that adores stories about werewolves. Werewolves in the real world. The wait for Thornhill will be long, but at least I have Hemlock to reread. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Me on The Goddess Inheritance

Title: The Goddess Inheritance
Author: Aimée Carter
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

During nine months of captivity, Kate has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her, until Cronus offers a deal. In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if she agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother, and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead. With the fate of everyone resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

The Goddess Inheritance is a powerful and emotional end to a series steeped in myth and unimaginable power. Everything is on the line this time, not just Kate's fate, not Henry's, but everyone's, and one wrong move could send the world crumbling.

It starts so quickly, straight into the story, straight into Kate and the raw, seething hatred she feels towards Cronus and Calliope, as well at the love she has for her unborn child. This felt so different from the previous books, so raw and emotional, so brutal and evil and miserable. Kate is so close to tearing herself apart at the thought of having to make a decision, not willing to give up Henry or their baby. Or her own life.

Kate has become so strong over the course of the series, she's powerful in her own right, but she's still so young compared to the others. She's still weak and fragile, still thinking like she's mortal. She will have to overcome so much and risk everything to save the people she loves.

Family is important in this book, in this series. As she battles against Cronus and Calliope, she won't give up the idea of finally having a family, of having people close to her whom she cares about and who care about her. Everything is focused on that, and when Calliope tries to rip it from her hands, when Cronus keeps her from it, Kate fights back with everything she has.

Fans of the series might be sad to see it end, but the author gives it such a powerful and heartbreaking finale. Every movement carries weight behind it, and there are plots upon plots circling everyone in an attempt to either save everyone or to destroy everything that stands in the way. Kate has to dig deep, push every thought from her mind, and make the difficult decision. Or else no one who she loves will be left standing.

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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (39)

This Week's Book Week is like Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with more of my rambling. ;)

Hello, peoples. How was your week? I'm genuinely curious how your week was, pretty readers, since I tell you about my week without you even asking. :) On Monday I'll be seeing a bunch of Vancouver/Lower Mainland bloggers (some I just saw at ALAMW) for a meet-up. Yay for socializing in real life. :)

I mailed out some books this week, so if you're one of the 4 people I owe books to you'll be getting it soon. Sending 1 book (trade paperback/ARC size) to the US (small packet air US): $10. Sending 1 book the same size across Canada (regular parcel): $12. THIS IS NOT RIGHT.  We so need that media mail thing the US has. Or some kind of flat rate box option.

I'm starting to plan for the Canadian YA Lit Event for this year. It'll be the same as last year, May 1st to 14th, with a mix of returning and new authors who are willing to talk about things. :) Again, any suggestions of authors to contact or books to review are welcome. I have to give a shout-out to the awesome Kathleen Peacock for her overall enthusiasm and her mad excitement in taking part again. Kathleen is all kinds of awesome, her book Hemlock is out now and Thornhill comes out this September. :)

Question: is the new trend in YA siblings/twins/alternate versions of the same character? Look at Dualed, Linked, 3:59, Mind Games, Tandem, and a bunch of other books I can't think of at the moment. The 'what if there was another you in a different life that's better on the outside but is really worse on the inside and you should be grateful for the life you have' idea seems to be popping up more and more.

I had to go to the dentist this week. I'm a little surprised that, after not being covered under any kind of medical insurance for the past few years, I still go to the dentist and pay for it. I think it's because my grandmother had false teeth and she never once didn't complain about how much they hurt. I still have my wisdom teeth, but it's possible I'll never need them removed. *knocks on wood* My sister had hers taken out right before her coverage expired, I sort of wish I'd thought of that.

I've been playing Minecraft on and off since last fall, mostly on right now because I always get caught up in mining for diamonds. They're so hard to find but I'm fascinated by the rareness of them. Also getting different colours of wool. I giggled like mad when I learned I could hit a sheep with a blue stone and get a blue sheep. :)

Now, to the books! No colour-matching this week. Nuts. ;)
Received to review:
Linked by Imogen Howson (thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada)

Borrowed from the library:
Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz (What is it with me and completing a series right now? This'll be the third one so far this year after Destined and The Goddess Inheritance.)
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Friday, February 15, 2013

Me on Mind Games

Title: Mind Games
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her, except when her mid is gripped by strange visions of the future. Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in sick, twisted ways, or risking each other's lives by refusing to obey.

Mind Games is an intriguing thriller, fast-paced and filled with suspicions. Shifting back and forth between Fia and Annie, back and forth between their present and their past, this is a story about two sisters and how they became trapped by their abilities, trapped by a group that would use them for their own gain, trapped by their own attempts to keep the other safe.

The voices of the sisters are very different, showcasing that they are two very different people. Annie is collected but complicated, blind but all-seeing. She worries so much for Fia. Fia, however, is far less contained and practical. Her voice is very stream of consciousness, she's very expressive, very vocal. Her heightened instincts give her the sense that she's on the border between sanity and insanity, she makes snap decisions that to her seem logical and correct but to others appear random. Together, they're a complicated and broken pair of sisters.

The connection between them is both tenuous and the strongest bond possible. They need each other to survive, but are held captive in their separate situations because of the other. It's a terrible situation, having a person in your life you need and care for desperately but that same person is wearing you down until you need them to stay away.

This book is far darker, far more complicated, and far more dangerous than I ever anticipated. It borders on being completely opposite from the author's previous series, where danger and death are constantly close, where one girl can see the future and another appears completely insane. The non-linear plot took some getting used to, and I imagine there will be some who don't like Fia's character, but I found it interesting enough.

(I acquired an advance copy at ALA Midwinter.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Me on Through the Ever Night

Title: Through the Ever Night
Author: Veronica Rossi
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with a dangerous mission. Now, they are about to be reunited, but their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening of the Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both. Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder if their love will survive the ever night.

Through the Ever Night continues the story of Aria and Perry, of Aria's life outside the walls of Reverie, of Perry's search and rescue of his nephew. Of their battle to stay alive and survive the Aether storms. Of the search for the Still Blue. So many lives depend on the both of them, pressing down on their shoulders, and they're forced to survive and struggle forward in order to keep everyone alive.

Aria is searching for the Still Blue, trying to make things right, trying to help those in the Domes. Being half-Dweller confuses those at Tides, seeing her as something that doesn't belong, something that will ruin them. Meanwhile, Perry is struggling with the weight of the Blood Lord's chain around his neck. He's constantly at war with himself, his feelings for Aria clashing with his need to take care of his people, to do what's best for them, to keep them alive. He wants to help her, but he can't desert his people.

Second novels in trilogies quite often have a plot event or plot point that bothers me, even though I understand the reasoning behind it. Aria has to head off to find the Still Blue and Perry has to stay at Tides in order to keep the tribe alive, to keep them safe, to be the ruler he now is. In the first book, they grew together, and now they have to grow and learn apart. They need to prove they can be their own selves and not just half of a pair. To be believable as characters, they have to work as separate people before they can work as a pair.

Those who enjoyed the first book will certainly enjoy this new offering. Secrets are uncovered and revealed, surprises are unveiled, trouble comes from every direction, and Aria and Perry must scramble to keep everyone close to them alive. Including each other.

(I acquired an advance copy at ALA Midwinter.)

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (115)

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

Title: Inhuman
Author: Kat Falls
Release Date: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic

From Goodreads:

In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.

America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.

Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.

Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.

I know what you're saying, you're tired of dystopian. I'm sort of getting there, it helps that I like different genres and will always be a paranormal sort of girl. That being said, this sounds different enough that it could be interesting. :) Maybe like Partials but better (I was 'meh' on Partials).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Me on The Lives We Lost

Title: The Lives We Lost
Author: Megan Crewe
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

A deadly virus has destroyed Kaelyn's small island community and spread beyond the quarantine. No one is safe. But when Kaelyn finds samples of a vaccine in her father's abandoned lab, she knows there must be someone, somewhere, who can replicate it. As Kaelyn and her friends head to the mainland, then encounter a world that's beyond recognition. It's not only the "friendly flu" that's a killer, there are people who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the vaccine. How much will Kaelyn risk for an unproven cure, where the search could either destroy those she loves or save the human race?

The Lives We Lost is an exploration of humanity, of inner strength, of the drive to stay alive. The world around Kaelyn is slowly descending into utter madness and chaos, and she will have to battle her way through everything that's thrown at her in order to complete her mission: to return the world to what it once was. To bring back everything that's disappeared under the snow.

The book, the series, is eerily realistic. The disease, the bleakness of the situation, the degradation of society and governments, the sudden loss of the things that were once easy to obtain like food, heat, and shelter, the struggle for survival. The situation is not over-blown or exaggerated, not filled with action or battles for the cold box or constant drawing of guns, but it is tense enough to keep your heart pounding past the last page.

Kaelyn is pushed down by the weight of everything on her shoulders, but she's the one who put it there. She's the one who had the idea to take the vaccine off the island, she's the one who wants to save everyone, she's the one who wants her peaceful life with her healthy parents and her friends back. And she will go as far as it takes. Will she do anything? I don't think so, we all have our limits, but she believes in this cause so strongly that she will travel as far as she must. Previously, it was Kaelyn against the disease, against herself as she built up her strength and courage. Now, it's her against the world, a world far different than the one she remembers, a world far more dangerous and desolate.

In the first book, Kaelyn recounted the events of the disease on the island to Leo in a journal, but now he's there, now he's right there with her. But so is Gavin. It's something she doesn't need, to be pulled between Gav's support and Leo's familiarity, but it's what she gets. And sometimes it's both that help her continue the long walk.

There is something about this book that is utterly depressing, perhaps it's the complete breakdown of society as we know it now, but you can't help but have hope for Kaelyn and her group. You can't help but hope they make it, that Kaelyn finds the right people to give the vaccine to, that they all make it there alive. They have the strength and the resolve to continue on this seemingly impossible journey, they can only hope the world doesn't come after them before they reach the destination. It will be a long and arduous wait for the final book of the trilogy.

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

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Me on This Week's Book(less) Week (38)

This Week's Book Week is like Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with a goofy name and way more babble. And no video. I wonder if I should start posting videos.

No books this week. I'll just feature what books I read over the past week instead. :) And it's a 3 review week this week, so come back Monday, Wednesday and Friday for reviews of The Lives We Lost, Through the Ever Night, and Mind Games. :)

Congrats to Jess and Kat for being picked by the mystical Rafflecopter fairy as winners of an ARC each from ALA. Also, thanks for not wanting the same book. It makes it so much easier. :)

I've told you guys about my finger, about how it's a weird plague finger and I ended up on two weeks worth of antibiotics. Well, now I'm on this cream for a skin condition on the same finger. It's still weird-looking, but it might clear some things up. I'll find out more in March when I see my doctor next (as opposed to once a week like the past few weeks). The thing is, because of the drugs, I've put myself on a book-buying ban for this month and next month (with the exception of the Cassie Clare signing in late March). You know when they say "free healthcare in Canada?" It's not. It covers the big things, like the surgery for my broken ankle and the hospital stay and at least a dozen x-rays and the 10 minute surgery to remove one of the screws. It doesn't cover the small things, like the air cast boot or the physiotherapy. Or these prescriptions I've been on this year. It sucks, but, to be honest, I'd like to keep my finger, even if it's on my left hand and I'm right-handed. There are libraries and there are wonderful local bloggers who will let me borrow books and there is a bookcase in front of me with about 60 ARCs coming out over the next 5 months. So, yeah. There will be less books popping up in these posts. Unless I win the lottery without somehow buying a ticket. ;) (If it's a bookless week I'll mention what I read that week instead.)

Also, I've started planning for the Canadian YA Lit Event. It'll be from May 1st to 14th, just like last year. Hopefully, there'll be a bunch of reviews and guest posts and Q&A's with authors. I want you guys to give me some suggestions of books and authors that you want to see featured. Maybe you live out in Ontario or in the Prairies or on the east coast and you have some wonderful local authors you want featured more. Leave all of your suggestions in the comments below. :)

I'm also curious if a Canadian blogger or two is interested in writing a post on their thoughts on YA in Canada both now and when they were teens, see how it's changed, see if Canadian lit is changing. Stuff like that. :)

And now, the books I read this past week. It was very nearly a blue cover week until the last one 'ruined it.' ;)
Absent by Katie Williams (I was looking for something short to read and picked this off a shelf and then finished it in an afternoon. Then I was kicking myself because it's not out until late April and you guys will have to wait that long for my review. Short answer: I really enjoyed it.)
Destined by Aprilynne Pike (I was a little sad when I finished this, the series is complete now. But I have Aprilynne's next book on my shelf to read so I was happy again.)
The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe (I really like this series, not just because the author is Canadian but because the main character Kaelyn builds herself up because of the disease and takes everything into her own hands to fix. Review up on Monday.)
Unremembered by Jessica Brody (Hmmmm. It feels like one of those books that I liked well enough but other people will like more. It happens. Review up at the end of the month.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Me on Pivot Point

Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

Addison's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, whenever she's face with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. When her parents reveal their divorce to her, she pas to pick who she wants to live with-her father, who's leaving the paranormal compound, or her mother, who's staying put. Addie loves her life so it should be an easy choice, but a Search six weeks into each future proves it's not. In one potential future, she's slowly fitting into a "Norm" high school and making friends with a cute boy named Trevor, while in the other she's being pursued by Duke, the hottest guy in school, but she never wanted to be a quarterback's girlfriend. When Addie's father is asked to consult on a murder inside the Compound, she's unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she's willing to live through, and who she can't live without.

Pivot Point circles around a mystery, a mystery viewed from two different sides as Addie explores two different futures. In determining her fate, she becomes involved in something dangerous, and in the end it will be her difficult choice to choose which future to actually experience. An intriguing and complicated idea.

I've been thinking about why, in my opinion, the story fell a little short for my liking, and it's that it reads far more like a contemporary novel than a paranormal mystery. The paranormal element is still there, the mystery and the secrets are still there, but I don't think I expected it to feel as much like a high school contemporary YA as it did. That being said, I'm sure there are those who will enjoy this book, the mix of paranormal and contemporary, of mystery and romance, of Addie trying to figure out what to do and which life to choose.

If you could see into the future, if you could decide which life to live when faced with a choice, would you? It's a complicated question, one with a complicated answer. What if you looked into two possible futures and didn't like how either of them turned out? What if both ended in disaster? Would you avoid both? Would you run? Or would you face trouble head on?

Between the two story lines, Addie learns and changes in different ways. In one, she's confronted with being an outsider. In the other, she faces more danger. It's very interesting, seeing different sides of the same situation. As you read one you still know what is happening in or out of the Compound because of the other. It's like knowing something the author rarely or never reveals. The reader knows what else is going on, but will Addie figure it out? Will she be able to solve the mystery?

Addie has a very clear teenage voice. She sounded young, sounded like she was still trying to figure things out, trying to find out which was right and which was wrong, and in the end how to fix everything.

Two different lives that could be lived, two different fates Addie must decide between. I would've preferred more separation between the story lines, but it's not hard to tell which is which depending on which characters are present and where Addie is. I'm curious about what story the sequel will tell, if it will be a true sequel or more like a companion novel.

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

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (114)

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

Title: Inheritance
Author: Malinda Lo
Release Date: September 18, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads:

*Spoilers for Adaptation*

The triangular spaceship hovered motionless in the sky above Reese Holloway’s house, as inscrutable as a black hole. It had seemed like a good idea when they were inside: to tell the truth about what happened to them at Area 51. It didn’t seem like such a good idea now.

Reese and David are not normal teens—not since they were adapted with alien DNA by the Imria, an extraterrestrial race that has been secretly visiting Earth for decades. Now everyone is trying to get to them: the government, the Imria, and a mysterious corporation that would do anything for the upper hand against the aliens.

Beyond the web of conspiracies, Reese can’t reconcile her love for David with her feelings for her ex-girlfriend Amber, an Imrian. But her choice between two worlds will play a critical role in determining the future of humanity, the Imria’s place in it, and the inheritance she and David will bring to the universe.

In this gripping sequel to Adaptation, Malinda Lo brings a thoughtful exploration of adolescence, sexuality, and “the other” to a science fiction thriller that is impossible to put down.

I'm so excited for this book. I loved Adaptation, it was a great mix of sci-fi and teen angst and teens exploring sexuality and mystery and thriller. I want people to read the first book, and I want to read this in the fall. And the covers are gorgeous, the previous one with the dark green and this one with the blue. :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Me on Ettiquette & Espionage

Title: Ettiquette & Espionage
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. She's more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea, and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsey. Desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady, her mother enrolls her in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But little does Sophronia know that this is a school where young ladies learn a different kind of finishing. The school trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and modern weapons. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

Etiquette & Espionage is a rousing adventure of a young girl tossed into a school she never expected would be interesting or exciting, a school that floats around, traveling from place to place. The reader is very much held captive as a witness with this book, being tossed straight into watching the unfolding of what will be a very complicated and exciting life for Sophronia.

This book feels like a proper steampunk adventure novel. The dirigible-like boarding school, the clockwork mechanisms and objects and weapons, the steam and the coal dust of the lower levels, the mystery and intrigue that pops up every so often, gaining Sophronia's attention.

When being trained in espionage, the only truths you can trust are the ones you witness with your own two eyes. Secrets, lies, evasion, subterfuge. How is one expected to know who to trust or what to trust if they don't know their true character, if they don't witness their true action with their own eyes? This is what Sophronia faces, and what she must learn in order to keep her wits about her and stay alive.

The book is an interesting exploration of the class structure of England in the 1800's. The upper class, the landed gentry, the lower class and the labourers. There is a world underneath the school that keeps it moving, a world not often associated with young ladies of proper breeding, but sometimes those people are cleverer than one expects. Sometimes they can become great assets. Sometimes birth and social standing doesn't matter when you're trying to save lives.

There is a certain language and prose style present that's unique to this book and to the author herself, proper for the time period, rather fast-paced, and some terms and names that border on the ridiculous. As this is connected to the author's previous adult steampunk series, some names and places will be familiar to existing readers. It will be curious to see how new readers will react, if they will go back and read the Parasol Protectorate series. As this book was rather entertaining, and as Sophronia was intriguing as a heroine, I'm curious as to see where she will go next and what trouble she will find herself immersed in.

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

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Me on This Week's Book Week (37)

This Week's Book Week is like Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with a different name and a little more random babble. ;)

I'm home. Wooooo. *snooze* One thing about a conference over the weekend is your sleep schedule and your 'being able to tell what day of the week is is' skill goes right out the window.

So, since I'll be busy reading for the next 6 months, there won't be so much babble this week.

ALAMW update: lots of books to read. I am going to read all of these books.

Finger update: still looks gross but it's healing.

Do you guys think it's too soon for a giveaway? I didn't go to ALA just to turn around and give the books away. And it's not like I'm giving away all those books, it's just two. Hmmmm. Thoughts?

And here are the books. Well, I'm not going to post a picture of all of them. You're free to go to the shelf on Goodreads I have set up.
I also borrowed a copy of Shades of Earth by Beth Revis from the library and read it before going down to Seattle. It's always a little sad when a series ends.


Friday, February 1, 2013

Me on Scarlet

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan imprint)

Cinder's trying to break out of prison, tossed there after her Lunar heritage was discovered, but if she breaks free, along with a slick-talking American, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world in France, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out that there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information about her grandmother's location, she has no choice but to trust him. Even though he's got a few dark secrets of his own. As they work to unravel one mystery, they find another when the cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, and her prisoner.

Scarlet is a fast-paced science fiction thriller with pieces of retold fairy tale, sending readers straight back to a familiar futuristic world where everything, apparently, is connected and nothing is as it seems. It starts right where Cinder left off, immediately after, so nothing is lost. Who will reveal the next hidden secret next? What really happened to Princess Selene? The story isn't over yet, it's just beginning.

The mixing of the storylines gives the book a very immediate and important tone. Cinder's escape, Scarlet's search, Kai's struggles, they're all happening at the same time. No announcement of which storyline it is at the start of each chapter makes this very clear. Everyone is racing against the clock, hoping to reveal one truth or another before time runs out and they're discovered. Or killed.

Scarlet's chapters were my favourite, but I think I understand why. It's because Cinder will always be around in the series, and while Cinder is clever and battered and furious and confused, Scarlet's vocal fury and clear curiosity were wonderful. Her character mixed with Wolf's strength and odd timidity and twitchiness made their moments together the best part of the book for me. Her ballsy attitude and stubbornness, his physical strength and cluelessness and constant fidgeting made them strong but vulnerable heroes.

On the other side of the planet is Cinder hoping to clear her name and save her prince, which is hard when she's trapped in prison. Fortunately for her, or unfortunately, she happens across "Captain" Thorne, a clichéd smooth-talking American who finds every girl with a pulse attractive. Now, fortunately for Cinder, he adds some much needed levity to her panicked, worried, dangerous existence.

Fairy tale retellings, they can work and they can fail, but the basic story and overarching themes have to be there. After that, the author's free to put their own spin on the story. Marissa Meyer's somewhat distant cyber future makes the Cinderella and Red Riding Hood tales fresh and new. She has such a way of making the characters so complex and tossing them into dangerous and impossible decisions. The joy felt when reading this series makes the wait for Cress even harder.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)