Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (188)

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

Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

I really enjoyed Marie Lu's previous series, her characters were really interesting, and I'm looking forward to this. Marie's drawings of the characters look really cool. Not totally sure about the cover, though. Seems a little boring with all the grey clouds.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Me on The Isobel Journal

Title: The Isobel Journal
Author: Isobel Harrop
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Publisher: Switch Press (Capstone imprint)

This quirky, narrative scrapbook gives readers a witty, honest look at what it means to be a teenager. Using mini-graphic novels, photos, sketches, and captions, The Isobel Journal offers a unique glimpse into the creative life of eighteen-year-old Isobel, just a northern girl from where nothing really happens.

The Isobel Journal is a collection of honest observations by a teenage girl from the North West of England. This is how she sees her family, her friends, life, love, and herself in a place "where nothing really happens," all in a mixture of drawings, photographs, and little one-line stories.

The textual side is rather brief, a few words on most pages describing what's presented to the reader. But some provide insight into how she sees the world, whether it be about what she wants to be in the future or what it feels like to be in love. I found the parts where she talks about her likes of vintage clothing and records and indie music interesting. She doesn't apologize for liking them, but at the same time wonders how other people will see her. It's a curious mix of confidence in being who you are, being different, and shame at being different from someone who might not share your interests. That seems to sum up life right there: wanting to be an individual while not wanting others to see you as strange or different.

The visual side is a mixture of pencil or coloured pencil drawings and photographs. The pencil lines can be thick at times but her drawings are by no means crude. They're just as honest as her words. The book contains a wonderful collection of faces, all different, all characters in their own right.

It was refreshing to read this look into a teenager's life, to read her thoughts, her likes and dislikes. It was like a glimpse into a journal you would normally keep secret, tucked away in a drawer or under a pillow.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Capstone through NetGalley.)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (113)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hmmm. Another slow summer week has gone by, which means there isn't really anything new for me to ramble about. *sigh* Oh, well.

ComicCon is this weekend. I think I need to experience it in virtual reality, or like in an out of body experience, so I can see everything but not put up with the crowds and the lines and the crazy. Knowing that, it'll probably be a while before I go, if I ever do go. It looks so expensive.

I think UPS hates me, or is useless and keeps losing the packages that one publisher sends me. I really don't want to send this one wonderful publicist another e-mail saying, "I'm so sorry but it's been 4 weeks and it never arrived," and have her scramble to find more copies of those ARCs. I hate that so much. And it's not that they haven't been here. UPS dropped off a different book mail package for me on Monday and a package for my sister on Tuesday. They know where we live. So, cross your fingers and toes and everything and hope it arrives.

Reviews for the coming week will feature The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop (Tuesday) and The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco (Friday). :)
The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare (from Scholastic Canada)
The Worlds We Make by Megan Crewe (borrowed from the library)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Me on Plus One

Title: Plus One
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Macmillan imprint)

Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece—a Ray—in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D'Arcy Benoît, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities—and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.

Plus One is enchanting, dangerous, and thrilling. It's a high-stakes journey through days and nights, and shocking secrets about her world are revealed, leading Sol places she never thought she'd go.

I love Sol. She's rough and gritty, mouthy and rude. She's a fighter. She's smart but she's an idiot. She's angry with the world for good reasons, for actual reasons beyond 'just because she's a teenager and teenagers hate everything.' Her parents are dead, her brother doesn't contact her, and her grandfather is wasting away before her eyes. She can't do anything. Well, anything legal. Anything that won't get her in trouble. So she decides to do something reckless: kidnap her newborn niece so her grandfather can meet her before he dies. Everything Sol does in this book takes guts, takes courage, and takes the cake. She's an impossible to handle outrageous hero.

As always, I was intrigued by the world-building, by the twist on a moment in history that transformed the real world to Sol's world. It sounds like an interesting experiment, having one part of society work only in the daytime and the other part work only at night. What Sol's world is is certainly speculation on the author's part of what the world could've turned into had it been mandated all over the world. It would've changed so much, but change often has consequences. Sol's world isn't perfect, there are those who hate the divide and choose to rebel against the government. Also the science aspect, I imagine there was some research done by the author on Vitamin D, melatonin, and how the human body could survive without the sun.

This is one of those books that I was surprised to devour in a matter of hours. I needed to know what happened next more than anything. I think what kept me reading was Sol. She was crude and rude and just wanted to do this one thing for her grandfather. She's rough but she has such a big heart. She was the best hero this book could've asked for. If you're looking for something exciting, thrilling, and complicated with a bold main character, this is it.

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (187)

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

Title: Ticker
Author: Lisa Mantchev
Release Date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Skyscape (Amazon imprint)

From Goodreads:

A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass “Ticker,” transforming her into “the first of the Augmented!” But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny. 

The last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?

Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

I really enjoyed Lisa's previous books about Bertie Shakespeare Smith, they were fun and exciting and full of whimsy. This sounds like the start of something just as exciting. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Me on Extraction

Title: Extraction
Author: Stephanie Diaz
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan imprint)

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she'll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel's toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves promising enough to be "Extracted," she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life. What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it's free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon's lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet's leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too. Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don't want her running. They want her subdued.

Extraction is tense and dangerous, very secretive and rather deceptive. Clementine thinks she's going to a better place, thinks life in the Core will be easier, but she has no idea what awaits her. Or how hard she'll have to fight back in order to survive.

Clementine grew up, if you could call it growing up, in a harsh environment. It was more like sixteen years of surviving, struggling, existing. All for a chance to be "Extracted" to what she sees as a better place. But it's not better, as she discovers. It makes her question a lot of things, like why some people are valued more than others. Why the tests push her further than she wants to be pushed. Why everyone seems rather compliant at times. I was confused by her character, though. Her willingness to to whatever it took to escape and make it down to the Core, her willingness to survive, seems to be at odds with her unwillingness to give up on Logan. Then technically she's not willing to do whatever it takes. She's willing to do anything that doesn't mean hurting or killing him.

This felt reminiscent of so many other dystopian YA novels and trilogies, like Inside Out, The Testing, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Forsaken, and Glow. The premise sounded interesting. A poisonous moon? Acid spilling down through space towards the planet? Now that's different. But somewhere along the way it fell flat for me, it all felt too familiar. If you're a fan of dystopian novels, of any of the titles listed above, then by all means give this a read. The tension grows and I was surprised as a few secrets were revealed. It just didn't stick with me.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Macmillan through NetGalley.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (112)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

It's cooling off after 2 weeks of blazing hot. Finally. *reforms from puddle* Well, blazing hot for here. And because it's been so hot I can't think of much to talk about.

We went to Bard on the Beach last weekend, which is our version of Shakespeare in the summer at a nice outdoor venue. It's in a part right by the water and they keep the back of the stage open so you can see the water and the mountains as the play goes on. This year we saw A Midsummer Night's Dream and it was so good. They messed with the setting and costumes a little, so it was all Victorian steampunk + glitzy glam rock + a bit of Katy Perry. It was lots of fun. :)

And it looks like I won't be going away in August, but I'll still be taking a week off because I won't really be around.

Reviews for the coming week will feature Extraction by Stephanie Diaz (Tuesday) and Plus One by Elizabeth Fama (Friday). :)
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell (from Simon & Schuster Canada)
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (from Simon & Schuster Canada) (SO BIG.)
Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe (from Penguin Canada)
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King (e-galley from Hachette Book Group Canada)
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis (e-galley from Hachette Book Group Canada)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Me on The Kiss of Deception

Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. (Macmillan imprint)

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia's life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight, but she doesn't, and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom, to a prince she has never met. On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive, and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets, even as she finds herself falling in love.

The Kiss of Deception is a rather deceptive book. I thought I would read an epic fantasy set in a strange land with a runaway princess, a jilted prince, and an assassin. What I read was an epic fantasy set in a strange land with a runaway princess, a jilted prince, and an assassin, but events didn't unfold in ways I expected. I didn't take into account the threads of something far more secret and sinister twisting their way through this book, appearing here and there like random drops.

Lia is filled with worries and dreams, she worries about an upcoming future she doesn't want and dreams of something different. She is First Daughter to a king and queen, but beyond that she is nothing. She's valuable as a thing, as something to be traded, to be won, but she has no value. She is existing but not living. She is there to be their game piece, to move how they tell her to, to serve them. To play their game. But then she runs away, making a decision, making the decision that will change her life and everyone else's.

The chapters narrated by the prince and the assassin were interesting in that they added mystery to the book, and to Lia's running away and finding a new place to belong to. When you're on the run you never know who's chasing you, and here are glimpses into who they are, where they're from, and what their motives are. It isn't long until their names are revealed, but it's longer until a name is matched to a role. And I was surprised to discover that I'd guessed wrong as to who was who.

Like with most epic fantasy, I was intrigued by the world created here. So familiar with its kingdoms, its small towns, its feuds, its hidden legends. So familiar that I was bored at the beginning. A princess and her hatred of her station and impending political marriage is nothing new. And in terms of the romance I went in extremely wary of the prospect of a love triangle, then I was okay, and by the end I was wary again. But not as wary.

What makes this different is who she becomes over the course of the book, what she learns about the world she thought she knew and about herself. There is a moment when she realizes that, when she finally becomes someone, and that almost made the boring beginning worth it. Of course, the book ends with so many questions left unanswered, so many small secrets suddenly revealed and then left behind when the book returns to the main story. In the end I did enjoy this, so I'm looking forward to the next two books of the trilogy.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Macmillan through Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (186)

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

Title: Blackbird
Author: Anna Carey
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen

From Goodreads:

This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her. 

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined. 

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.

This sounds twisty and twisted. And it's told in second person, so that's different. I hope it's not wrong that I hope it's all dangerous and brutal. ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Me on Hexed

Title: Hexed
Author: Michelle Krys
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Publisher: Doubleday Canada (Random House Canada imprint)

If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won't stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn't want to be her? Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie's world, she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn't get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that's seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she's a witch too. Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie's about to uncover the many dark truths about her life, and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

Hexed is mysterious and intriguing. High school isn't just about cheer practice, popularity, and boyfriends, as Indigo soon discovers. Sometimes it's about witches and sorcerers and running for her life. This debut is filled with growing tension and clever dialogue.

Indigo is a number of things when it comes to being the main character. She's sharp, clever, curious, and she's filled with snark. Her biggest weapons at times are her sharp tongue, quick wit, and attitude. She's not bossy but she's serious. She's determined. She needs to know what's going on and what she has to do to fix the massive problem that's fallen into her lap. Her verbal battles with Bishop were the best parts, sparring with words with a guy who looks slick and acts like a child with a smart mouth and no filter.

The witches and sorcerers and their ongoing war certainly add suspense, secrets, and shadows to Indie's normal high school days. She suddenly has bigger things to worry about than cheerleading and Bianca's popularity pressure. She has people coming after her with the heartless intent to hurt and quite possibly kill her. That sure puts things in perspective. And Indie does get scared. It's okay for her to be scared, for her to cry and scream for someone to save her. It's also okay for her to take charge and work her own plans if it doesn't look like anything else will work out.

This book does for me with witches what Kathleen Peacock's Hemlock did for me with werewolves. There's lots of intrigue and suspicion, a lot of teenage attitude, and good chemistry between Indigo and Bishop (even when they're arguing). It's an intriguing mix of contemporary with its high school teen angst and paranormal with some sudden secret magic and some bad guys hellbent on getting their revenge. I'm really looking forward to the next book.

(I received a finished copy of this title from Random House Canada.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (111)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

*collapses* So hot out. Need water. And ice cream. And it's going to be this hot for at least a week. *melts into the ground*

I spent the week fun-reading, which meant re-reading Adaptation and Inheritance by Malinda Lo. There really needs to be more YA LGBTQ sci-fi conspiracy thrillers. ;)

August looks like it's going to be weird. I won't really be around for about 2 weeks (1 for the usual book camp and 1 because I'm driving to Edmonton and I'll be there for a couple of days), and so I'm torn on which week to take off, the 1st where I'll have a computer in the afternoons or the 2nd where I won't have a computer at all. Hmmm, if I put it like that, maybe the 2nd week.

Reviews for the coming week will feature Hexed by Michelle Krys (Tuesday) and The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (Friday). :)
Oh Yeah, Audrey! by Tucker Shaw (from Amulet Books through NetGalley)
Pride & Prejudice (manga edition) (from Udon Entertainment through NetGalley)
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols (borrowed from library)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Me on Illusive

Title: Illusive
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She's what's known as an illusionist. She's also a thief. After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn't? The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.

Illusive is an intense thriller, an action-packed adventure, a series of events and car wrecks that come together over and over in a battle between cops, criminals, and a secret that could change the world if it falls into the wrong hands.

One of the first things about Ciere that I like is she's an illusionist, she can create any kind of illusion, can trick anyone into seeing someone or something that is or isn't there, but she's bad at it. Just because you have superpowers doesn't mean you're perfectly skilled. Because she's not, she's foolish and reckless, she's frightened and frail and useless in a fight. She's jumpy and impulsive. But she's still trying to fix her problems.

Ciere's world is a curious one. So familiar because it's Earth, but because time has passed, because of the MK virus and its vaccine, it's not exactly the same. And so there are some differences, some advances in technology. Some new groups and new crimes. New labels and reasons to fear people.

What's interesting about books with thieves and crime syndicates and government agents, books like this, is that the lines between good and evil are blurred beyond all recognition. It's not about good and evil anymore, not about right or wrong. Instead, it's a fight for survival, for freedom. Ciere has committed crimes, and she's done that in order to survive. She was pushed to the edge of the cliff and found the only escape route that guaranteed her living one more day. Technically, almost every character has committed one crime or another, but would all of them be considered evil? And what about the FBI agents? They don't exactly have the best motives when it comes to people like Ciere.

A book like this certainly humanizes thieves and criminals. There is always a reason why crimes are committed, why a person steals priceless works of art or robs a bank. Why a person works as a bodyguard for a crime boss. It's certainly an interesting look into a different world, one where you're constantly looking over your shoulder, constantly running, constantly hiding. A world where safety is just an illusion.

This book has a lot in it. Criminals and superpowers, running scams and schemes, government agents, truth and lies, plots and plans, secrets and suffering. And it all works together. There's a high level of tension running throughout the book, spiking when things go wrong and bullets start flying. A fair amount of the dialogue from Ciere and her group was witty and clever. I can see where there would be a sequel, where there are questions left unanswered and secrets still waiting to be unleashed, and I can see where this story as a whole ends. Knowing there will be a sequel makes me excited.

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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (185)

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

Title: Girl Defective
Author: Simmone Howell
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Simon & Schuster imprint)

From Goodreads:

In the tradition of High Fidelity and Empire Records, this is the literary soundtrack to Skylark Martin's strange, mysterious, and extraordinary summer.

This is the story of a wild girl and a ghost girl; a boy who knew nothing and a boy who thought he knew everything.

It's a story about Skylark Martin, who lives with her father and brother in a vintage record shop and is trying to find her place in the world. It's about ten-year-old Super Agent Gully and his case of a lifetime. And about beautiful, reckless, sharp-as-knives Nancy. It's about tragi-hot Luke, and just-plain-tragic Mia Casey. It's about the dark underbelly of a curious neighborhood. It's about summer, and weirdness, and mystery, and music.

And it's about life and death and grief and romance. All the good stuff.

This sounds all kinds of funky and off-beat and weird and kind of cool. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Me on Idols

Title: Idols
Author: Margaret Stohl
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

The Icons came from the sky. They belong to an inhuman enemy. They ended our civilization, and they can kill us. Most of us. Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas are the four Icon Children, the only humans immune to the Icon's power to stop a human heart. Now that Los Angeles has been saved, things are more complicated, and not just because Dol has to choose between Lucas and Ro, the two great loves of her life. As she flees to a resistance outpost hidden beneath a mountain, Dol makes contact with a fifth Icon Child, if only through her visions. When Dol and the others escape to Southeast Asia in search of this missing child, Dol's dreams, feelings and fears collide in an epic showdown that will change more than just four lives, and stop one heart forever.

Idols is a continuing mission for the Icon Children, as they now know themselves to be, an ongoing search. A search for answers, a search for weaknesses, a search for a way to save the human race from the Idols and their insidious control. A search to save humanity.

Dol's life is filled with running and hiding, with searching and discovering. She and the others, Ro, Tima, and Lucas, are trying to find out as much as they can about the Idols so they can stop them like they did in Los Angeles. So they can take back Earth. But it certainly wears on her. The mission of theirs sounds bleak, hopeless. They are constantly hunted by the Sympas and the Idols, who will stop at nothing to continue their plans for the planet. But Dol won't stop. She can't.

Dol is certainly pulled in different directions in this book. First to the mountain, then across the Pacific Ocean to Asia, then into the jungle. Between Ro and Lucas. She has her moments of being active, of making decisions, but perhaps it's her personality that made me think everyone else was just a bit more interesting. She can be passive, which isn't always a bad thing, but she does get yanked around by Fortis quite a bit, they all do, and it would be nice to see her tell him off and take complete control.

I found the in-between chapters rather interesting. I could picture a child poking a hornet's nest with a stick, once a day, every day, for years, poking at it and poking at it, until one day it explodes in a cloud of furious insects flying straight at his face.

Emotions are important to this book. What do they mean to humanity. What do they mean to humans when confronted with alien life forms with no faces, aliens with an agenda of colonization and extermination of the planet's native life forms? They mean everything. They are what separate us from them, what drive us to rebel, to fight back, to resist until our dying breaths. No human being wants to die a slave, wants to die under the oppressive thumb of a faceless dictator. Sorrow, rage, fear, love. They are what push us to the brink in order to guarantee our survival.

It's a curious kind of second book in what I assume is a trilogy. There's so much travel, so much searching. And the truth behind their existence is so much more than what Dol and the others ever thought possible. The book ends with the biggest shock, and I'm so interested to find out what will happen next.

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

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Me on This Week's Book Week (110)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Hi there! Not a lot happened this week, but nothing much happens this week with Canada Day and the 4th of July. It's a bit of a laid back week, North America-wise. :)

There was a cover reveal on Tuesday. Did you see it? It's for Denise Jaden's Foreign Exchange, so add it to your to-read list if you like contemporary YA possibly partially set in Europe. And there's a giveaway included in the post for an ARC of Isla and the Happily Ever After, so go enter! :)

Reviews for the next week will feature Idols by Margaret Stohl (Tuesday) and Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones (Friday). :)
Pantomime by Laura Lam (bought)
Shadowplay by Laura Lam (bought)
Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater (bought)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Me on Relax, I'm a Ninja

Title: Relax, I'm a Ninja
Author: Natalie Whipple
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Whipple House (self-published)

A Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable, but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or at least he thought he did. When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato—newest ninja recruit and his best friend's crush—and sets out to uncover the killer's identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined. As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them both their souls.

Relax, I'm a Ninja is exciting, mysterious, and dangerous. It's a tense exploration of truth and lies, trust and secrets, good and evil, and the power to fight back.

What stands out for me with Tosh is his voice. It's filled with knowledge in terms of what it is to be a ninja, to train as a ninja, to keep quiet, to hide in a crowd. To appear as if you don't have any secrets to hide. It's also filled with the self-assuredness, awkwardness, and attitude that is being a teenager. Hanging out with friends, raiding in D&D, playing games online. Butting heads with the school jock or uptight cheerleader. Trying to figure out if a girl likes you or not, or if you like her.

I enjoyed this different look into ninjas, into the culture and the secrecy, the physicality and the training. It's not always all black clothes, throwing stars, and deadly poisons. Sure, those are present, but it's more than that. It's the day-in day-out of training that comes across in Tosh's tone of voice, in his habits and ways of thinking and observing. It's the acknowledgement that, yes, they're ninjas, but that doesn't mean they're on the side of good, that the lines are rather blurred. Except, in this case, when it comes to killing innocent people.

A life spent hiding, surrounded by secrets and deception, always watching. I imagine that kind of life would get rather lonely. Tosh isn't alone, though. He has his parents, his friends, the Clan, but it's still the life of a ninja. Hiding in plain sight, watching your every move so you don't give away the truth about yourself.

I will admit that I cringed during a scene that centered on how catty teenage girls can get, but other than that I found this book different and exciting. It's fast-paced with an interesting and new voice carrying the story. I certainly would recommend this to anyone looking for a book that's a little different, a lot quirky, full of adventure, and the odd ninja or two. Or ten.

(I purchased a copy of this book.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (184)

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

Title: Waistcoats & Weaponry
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

From Goodreads:

Class is back in session...

Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all. 

Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.

This series has been lots of fun to read. It's historical and intelligent, it has curious steampunk-type machines, and it's all about a girls finishing school where they're taught finishing of a very specific nature. At times the names are foolish and the reactions are outlandish, but that's what makes it so much fun. :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cover Reveal: Foreign Exchange

It's a special Canada Day post! I'm so happy to be part of the cover reveal for Denise Jaden's upcoming Foreign Exchange. I really enjoyed Denise's previous books Never Enough and Losing Faith, and this one sounds rather interesting. Plus there's a giveaway!

Here are a few of Denise's thoughts on Foreign Exchange and its cover...

I'm so incredibly excited to share my cover of Foreign Exchange with you! This book holds a very special place in my heart. I wrote it during a very difficult year of my life, and the characters and their stories were a real bright spot for me.

Because this book is so important to me, I'm giving away something VERY important to me to go along with this cover reveal. I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of the highly-anticipated Isla and the Happily Ever After by one of my all-time favorite authors, Stephanie Perkins. ISLA and Foreign Exchange are both romances with swoon-worthy boys, and they're both set partially in Europe. So I want one lucky person to receive my advanced copy of ISLA in to get you excited for Foreign Exchange!

Read on, check out my cover, and read the first chapter of Foreign Exchange below. It'll all help you in earning extra entries to win my copy of Isla and the Happily Ever After!

And here is the beautiful cover...

Jamie Monroe has always played it safe. That is, until her live-for-the-moment best friend, Tristan, jets off to Italy on a student exchange program. Left alone with her part-time mother and her disabled brother, Jamie discovers that she is quite capable of taking her own risks, starting with her best friend’s hotter-than-hot older brother, Sawyer. Sawyer and Tristan have been neighbors for years, but as Jamie grows closer to the family she thought she knew, she discovers some pretty big secrets.

As she sinks deeper into their web of pretense, she suspects that her best friend may not be on a safe exchange program at all. Jamie sets off to Europe on a class trip with plans to meet up with Tristan, but when Tristan stops all communication, suddenly no one seems trustworthy, least of all the one person she was starting to trust—Sawyer. 

 “Foreign Exchange is a fresh contemporary YA that will keep readers compulsively turning pages until the very end. Combining international intrigue with a steamy forbidden romance makes for a can’t miss read.”
 - Eileen Cook  Author of Year of Mistaken Discoveries. 

"A pitch perfect voice and delicious chemistry kept me turning those pages!"
- Tara Kelly, author of Amplified and Encore

"Foreign Exchange is heart pounding and suspenseful...the teenage dream of escaping the boredom of suburbia by travelling Europe and spending quality time with a hot guy shifts into a dangerous nightmare."  
 - D.R. Graham, author of Rank and the upcoming Noir et Bleu MC series.

One of the entries in the Rafflecopter below will ask you a question from the above chapter!

This contest is open internationally!

Don't forget...this copy of ISLA could be yours...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Note - If you cannot access the Rafflecopter Widget through this blog, access it HERE.