Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (259)

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

Title: Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend
Author: Alan Cumyn
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Antheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon & Schuster imprint)

From Goodreads:

Prepare to be blown away—or rather, carried away on huge muscular wings—by this blissfully outlandish, bracingly-smart, tour de force about a teen who has to come to terms with relinquishing control for the first time as she falls for the hot new... pterodactyl... at school. After all, everybody wants him!

Sheils is very pleased with her perfectly controlled life (controlling others while she’s at it). She’s smart, powerful, the Student Body Chair, and she even has a loving boyfriend. What more could a girl ask for?

But everything changes when the first-ever interspecies transfer student, a pterodactyl named Pyke, enrolls at her school. There’s something about him—something primal—that causes the students to lose control whenever he’s around. Even Sheils, the seemingly perfect self-confident girl that she is, can’t keep her mind off of him, despite her doting boyfriend and despite the fact that Pyke immediately starts dating Jocelyn, the school’s fastest runner who Sheils has always discounted as a nobody.

Pyke, hugely popular in a school whose motto is to embrace differences, is asked to join a band, and when his band plays at the Autumn Whirl dance, his preternatural shrieking music sends everyone into a literal frenzy. No one can remember what happened the next day, but Shiels learns that she danced far too long with Pyke, her nose has turned purple, and she may have done something with her boyfriend that she shouldn’t have. Who’s in control now?

Hilarious and relatable (despite the dinosaur), Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend is about a teen who must come to terms with not being in control of all things at all times, break free of her mundane life, discover who her true self is, and, oh, finding out that going primal isn’t always a bad thing.

This book sounds bizarre as heck. And imagine my surprise and them almost instant understanding when I discovered it's CanLit. Of course something this bizarre would be Canadian. ;) I'm curious as to how the story will be told, how it'll all work with the dinosaur aspect, and how hysterically funny it'll be.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (186)

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 all! It snowed this week, which was horrible. But barely, so it's all good.

So we celebrated Christmas on Friday, which is more low key than it was when I was a kid. We're a small family. Things were a bit more exciting with Lucy running around like a crazy puppy, eating new treats and trying to stick her nose into the wrapping paper, but it was most of the same. Then came my birthday, which was smaller as my new laptop from earlier in the fall was an early present. But it was all good. Having fun, eating food (we had a ham this year for Christmas dinner), and watching the traditional Boxing Day hockey games. ;)

I'm thinking of shifting things a little bit in the new year, maybe moving Tuesday reviews to Monday and taking part in TTT more often. Thoughts? Any suggestions of backlist books to check out?

Reviews will start back up on Friday with Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. :)
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (ARC from Nafiza)
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (ARC from Nafiza)
The Rose Society by Marie Lu (Christmas present)
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (Christmas present)
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Christmas present)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (258)

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

Title: The Steep & Thorny Way
Author: Cat Winters
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books

From Goodreads:

A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.

I'm intrigued by the Hamlet retelling part of this, how it will come across and how the author will change things to fit Hanalee's story. I like how the main character is a girl, because why not? Girls can search for ghosts and uncover clues and get revenge.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (185)

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 all! It snowed this week, which was horrible. But only for a few hours. I'm not a fan of snow, as regular readers know. We don't really get along well, snow and I.

I'm attempting to cram in a bunch of reading over the next couple of weeks, basically until the end of the year. There are a bunch of books I've had for ages, some ARCs I'd like to at east get read, some finished copies. I basically want to get them read so I can get them out of the way of next years upcoming books and ARCs, but I don't just want to skim and then forget everything that's happened.

My birthday is in a week. *falls over dead* I imagine I'll be spending it the usual way: sleeping in, reading what I want (probably A Gathering of Shadows), eating Christmas leftovers, and getting what I want for dinner. This year, I'm thinking pizza. ;)

No reviews until January! But there will still be Waiting on Wednesday and This Week's Book Week posts going up on Wednesdays and Saturdays. :)
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)
The Inn Between by Marina Cohen (e-galley from Macmillan through Raincoast Books)
Ruined by Amy Tintera (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)
The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Me on My Most Anticipated Books of 2016

Hi all! Instead of a review today, I thought I'd essentially end the year with a look forward to what's coming out next year.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: How intriguing is this book! Time travel and pirates and history and confused girls and complicated matters. I've got an e-galley of this so I'm thinking it might be my first read of 2016. It just sounds so interesting, and other people I follow have enjoyed it. I'm curious as to how in depth it will get into pirates and different time periods and adventure and danger.

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst: I want to read this so much. How often do you come across a fantasy novel where the princess, engaged to marry and prince from another land, instead falls in love with his sister? Lesbians in YA fantasy? Finally. And there isn't a love triangle, the author said so on Twitter. Exciting!

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab: New YA from Victoria! It could be about almost anything and I'd read it. It's by Victoria. I love how all of Victoria's books play with good and evil, right and wrong, and how vast the shades of grey in between them are. It's not just one or the other, true or false, A or B. It's a giant mishmash of everything. It's going to be a mess of the monsters outside and the monster inside and danger and angst and it's going to be wonderful.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater: This list is in no particular order. If it was, this would be first. ;) I crave returning to this world with a fiery passion. Rereading just won't cut it, not completely. It's the needing to know what happens next. What happens to Blue and her boys now that things were uncovered and people were rescued and people were left behind. What happens now with the trees and the magic and the ghosts and the possibilities. How will Gansey die? What will happen after he dies? Remember, gentle readers, to think of the 'what will happen after.'

Riders by Veronica Rossi: The only other series featuring the Horsemen of the Apocalypse that I've read is Jackie Morse Kessler's series, so check that out if you're looking for something more contemporary that really nails some tough issues. This appeals to the dark fantasy part of my reader's brain, especially the part of the summary that details their failure.

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski: This series has been emotional and painful and deadly and full of hidden truths and obvious lies. Kestrel and Arin have been through everything, it's wrecked them so much, and they still have further to go.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: BECAUSE I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. *ahem* Because Illuminae was so enthralling and expansive and dangerous. While each book will feature a different 'pair,' I'm still curious about what was happening during Kady and Ezra's story. There's never just one side to a story.

Of course, these are just the books I'm really excited for right now. There are loads more that I'm also excited for, like The Dark Days Club, Gena/Finn, Places No One Knows, Behold the Bones, etc. It's hard to narrow it down, you know?

What books are you looking forward to for next year? Hope you all have a great holiday and a happy new year! :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (257)

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

Title: Places No One Knows
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

A high-achieving girl falls for the most imperfect boy in school through a series of mysterious dreams, which change how she feels about herself, her future, and love.

Waverly Camdenmar doesn’t have friends, she has social assets. She doesn’t get sucked into drama, she makes tactical decisions. Her life is dominated by achievement, competition, and functioning as the power behind the throne in her school’s little kingdom of popularity. But even the most resilient mercenary has weaknesses. Perfection is exhausting, and her longstanding alliance with queen-bee Maribeth rests on a foundation of resentment, anxiety, and a nagging feeling that there must be something beyond student council. Waverly’s name might be at the top of every leader board, but she hasn’t slept in days.

In a last-ditch attempt at relaxation, she finds herself at the center of an inexplicable phenomenon when a harmless counting exercise ends with Waverly materializing in front of one of the school’s most dedicated burn-outs. Marshall is not someone Waverly would ever consider … well, she would just never consider him. His nights are spent indulging in the kind of self-destructive pastimes she can only roll her eyes at. But despite herself, her curiosity is piqued. He sees her—really sees her —and his earnestness and his empathy are strangely affecting.

In these ghostly dreams, Waverly can do what she wants and say what she thinks, without risk or repercussion. Without it meaning anything. As nights pass, however, she begins to understand the nature of relationships, and to question her own daytime machinations. Her encounters with Marshall are growing steadily more intimate. Every new interaction forces her to ask herself how close is too close, and her days are becoming restless, complicated by her silent anger at Maribeth, and her budding friendship with a raucous, enigmatic girl who was never supposed to be anything but Waverly’s latest pygmalion project.

The truth is, it’s hard to be cavalier about hurting people when you know them. When you love them. As her edges begin to fray, Waverly must confront the very real danger of losing Marshall to the rigid image she’s spent so long cultivating, and accept that the only way to keep the people who matter to her is to embrace what it means to be vulnerable.

I love Brenna Yovanoff's books, they're dark and weird and lush and atmospheric. I'm very intrigued by this book, by where it will go in terms of Waverly and her materializing, about what ends up happening between her and Marshall. It sounds like it's going to be brutal.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Me on A School for Unusual Girls

Title: A School for Unusual Girls
Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen

It's 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England's dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society's constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war. After accidentally setting her father's stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...

A School for Unusual Girls is intriguing and mysterious, an introduction to a group of misfit girls who spend their days learning how to uncover secrets and escape dangerous traps. But the danger is closer than they think.

Georgiana is intelligent, scientific. She's been left broken by unfeeling parents who think she's wasting her life with books and experiments. She's a rare girl for the time period and for the upper class: she's not interested in balls or afternoon teas and she doesn't put much weight on finding a rich, titled husband. She's a practical girl, and so she's constantly tossed aside. But at Miss Emma Stranje's school for young ladies who are a bit too hard to handle, she finds herself. It's there that Georgie learns the truth about the school, about the girls. About herself. That her practicality and scientific leanings are greatly desired. At the beginning, when she fears the school, it's because she doesn't understand why she's there. She doesn't know what her opinion of herself, coated in fear and embarrassment, will change. Georgie won't have to worry about being ridiculed and scolded by her parents anymore. Someone will find her interesting.

The school is a very curious school. It would have to operate under the radar, discreetly, under the noses of society, because young women would've had little freedom to act on their interest and desires of they strayed from the 'common' or 'normal' ones that most proper young ladies had. The girls of Stranje House were sent there because they fell outside the norm and their families either didn't know what to do with them or wanted to be rid of them because they didn't understand them. It's disheartening, but the girls have finally found a place for themselves.

The book left me intrigued as the plot took a rather interesting turn near the end, changing from a historical novel to an alternate history novel. Anything is possible as one might've already guessed after meeting the different young women of Stranje House, but it's especially so now. I was annoyed at how the true purpose of the school wasn't explained to Georgie nearer to the beginning, saving her from panicking and constantly yelling at everyone. They purposely held off on telling her, which seemed foolish. It didn't seem like they enjoyed having her shout at them that she didn't understand what was going on. With how the book ends I'm curious as to what might happen next, especially since it looks like a different girl will be the narrator. I would recommend this to those looking for intelligent girls operating outside society's borders, and secrets and spies.

(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (184)

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. ;)

The rain and wind is taking over these days. So cold and wet and blowy.

Thanks to everyone who entered the 5 Years of Me on Books giveaway. The winners have been contacted and things have been sent and I'm hoping they won't be totally delayed in the post.

I need to get my holiday shopping done soon. I wonder if its going to be a low-key Christmas here, what with some unexpected costs and buying a new laptop and a recent surgery (not me, it was really minor so no need to worry).

Reviews going up next week will feature A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (Tuesday) and a surprise! (because I don't know what book yet)
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (Borrowed from the library)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Me on Unmade

Title: Unmade
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town. Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami's life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

Unmade is the conclusion to a trilogy full of magic and secrets, of mystery, of deception and lies and evil. The time has come, the time to stand up against the evil sweeping through this small town, but will anyone survive it?

Kami is battered and bruised, torn to pieces, but somehow she pushes forward with her mission to defeat Rob Lynburn, to save Sorry-in-the-Vale from the sorcerers hellbent on controlling it with fear and death. Ever since she broke the link, ever since Jared was taken from her, Kami's been missing a part of herself. She still tries to stay positive and search for clues, still promising the best while battling back against the worst, but it's taking its toll. It's all about survival now, survival and discovering the one thing that could save them. As deadly as it could be.

Even more of the bizarre family dynamics with Jared, Ash, and Lillian. They're the most dysfunctional family, especially when Rob and Rosalind are included. They have different goals, different evils they've committed. But when it comes to Jared, Ash, and Lillian, their loyalties are mostly the same. They have each other, they have the town. They have people like Kami, Angela, Rusty, and Holly to support them. They just have to let them in, by which I mean Lillian needs to calm down and admit that she can be wrong at times.

This series captures the perfect combination of magical mystery, devastation, heartbreak, and clever banter. While the town crumbles, while the sorcerers fight back, while people are harmed and kidnapped, while Kami and her friends search graves and deep, dangerous places for clues, there's still time for snappy one-liners, Because there's always time for levity. And awesome friendships. And kissing. This is a great series for fans of sleepy towns with secrets, girl detectives, brooding boys, and a spot of danger or two. Or a dozen.

(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (256)

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

Title: Heir to the Sky
Author: Amanda Sun
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

From Goodreads:

As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.

Yay for more Amanda books! I really liked Ink, it was full of magic and brooding and danger. And this has some of my favourite things in it, like magical beasts and trouble and runaway (?) princesses and journeys. :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Me on Untold

Title: Untold
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy little town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission by killing human sacrifices for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so the town can return to the old ways. But Rob and his followers aren't the only sorcerers around. The town must make a decision: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she's now free to love whomever she chooses. But who should that be?

Untold is mysterious and dangerous, the return of evil to a small town and those who would fight back against it. Those who would hope to save it. But how can you fight back against magic when they have it and you don't?

Kami is intelligent, driven, inquisitive, and determined. Now that she knows the truth of Sorry-in-the-Vale, that evil sorcerers are set on ruling it, she needs to get the word out. Luckily she has awesome friends like Angela, Rusty, and maybe Holly, but she needs more. If only Lillian Lynburn, known sorcerer and fighting back against the evil ones, would give her the time of day and let her help. If only she knew who else to trust because some of the evil ones might be important people. If only she wasn't so conflicted when it came to Jared, the guy she once thought was just a voice in her head who turned out to be real and brooding. After breaking the link, everything's awkward with Jared. Now Kami has to rely on her own instincts. But will Jared still help? Will he hate her?

The Lynburns are a complicated bunch. Jared has his denial and his anger, his refusal to have anything to do with his uncle's evil plans, but he has his sore spots when it comes to Kami. Ash is full of fear and indecision, of worry. His dreams of being a happy family were crushed when his father committed murder. He knows he's trained more than Jared, but Ash keeps getting pushed aside by Lillian. He's seen as weak. Unique family dynamics abound, even more so that usual because of all the magic and the murder.

Power, greed, desire. They all fuel Rob Lynburn, his desire to rule the town and its people with a magical fist. But not all in his family feel the same way. A battle between the sides is coming and Sorry-in-the-Vale stands in the middle.

This book is despair and darkness and danger mixed with clever wit and humour. It's layered with mystery and realistic characters full of homes and dreams and motives, mistakes and flaws. It's enthralling and enchanting and exciting. It's complicated. And it certainly ends with a punch to the face for the reader.

(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (183)

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. ;)

No books this week! Oh well. Slow weeks happen.

The giveaway celebrating 5 years of blogging and 500 reviews going up is still going on! Head on over here to enter. You've got until Monday (I think).

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Untold (Tuesday) and Unmade (Friday) by Sarah Rees Brennan. :)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Me on Inherit the Stars

Title: Inherit the Stars
Author: Tessa Elwood
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Publisher: Running Kids Press

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family's livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren's life... possibly from the hands of their own father. But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Inherit the Stars is the story of a young girl hoping to save her sister, but it felt rather lackluster and flat.

Asa is loyal to her sister Wren. When she falls ill, injured, near death, Asa pushes to keep her alive. She has hope that Wren will wake up one day. She does the impractical and enters into an arranged marriage to keep Wren cared for. Everything she does is for Wren, but she can't help but ruing everyone else's plans.

I was hoping for something exciting to happen but I got bored with Asa's stumbling and bumbling around, her trying to be honest while also trying to use people. With the multiple people trying to control the situation. With Eagle seemingly having no emotions beyond angry, surprised, or resigned. I did get through the book but it struggled to hold my attention. I imagine some will like this book, but it didn't work with me.

(I received an e-galley of this book from Running Press through NetGalley.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (255)

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

Title: Love, Lies and Spies
Author: Cindy Anstey
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions... and Juliana herself.

I'm intrigued by this book. By Juliana and her scientific leanings. By Spencer's actual job of being a spy. By the cover and all the keys, how they'll fit into the story. And as always, by the setting. I love this time period, all the possibilities and worries of Victorian England. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Me on The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One

Title: The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire
Author: Daniel Kraus
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

May 7, 1896. Dusk. A swaggering seventeen-year-old gangster named Zebulon Finch is gunned down on the shores of Lake Michigan. But after mere minutes in the void, he is mysteriously resurrected. His second life will be nothing like his first. Zebulon's new existence begins as a sideshow attraction in a traveling medicine show. From there, he will be poked and prodded by a scientist obsessed with mastering the secrets of death. He will fight in the trenches of World War I. He will run from his nightmares—and from poverty—in Depression-era New York City. And he will become the companion of the most beautiful woman in Hollywood. Love, hate, hope, and horror—Zebulon finds them. But will he ever find redemption?

The Life and Death of Zebulon Finch, Volume One is the start of an epic story, a look back at beginnings. At the first lifetime that crafted Zebulon Finch and the second that showed him all the horrors and delights of the world.

Zebulon is reflective and bold, not necessarily all that boastful. There are many words he wishes to share with his readers, which makes him a pensive and witty narrator. His tales are full of intricate details, from his childhood in Chicago with his controlling mother, to his time as a member of a gang, to his death and subsequent awakening. To his afterlife full of charlatans and criminals, villains and heroes, people desperate for money or desperate for fame. Or desperate for life. From America to Europe and back again. He wanders through space and time, experiencing, learning. Decaying. Because, with all his adventures and stories, Zebulon Finch is still dead.

It's a curious story with a voice keen to describing every single detail of what occurred to him and around him during his time as a resurrected young man. It's almost 700 pages of description, narration, and reflection on how cruel he once was, how clueless he was, how jaded he was, how battered he was, how smart he was, and how reminiscent he's become.

The idea of this story is intriguing, very intriguing, but I struggled with the overall length of the story. Zebulon has had more than 100 years to ponder life, to wonder about peoples' motivation for their actions. To think about why him, why didn't he die. It's a dark story full of wit and adventure, but it's just so long. If you think you can handle the length, if you are interested in Zebulon's journey from Chicago to Georgia to Boston to France to New York to Hollywood, if you're interested in the story of a dead man discovering what it is to be alive and human, then give this a read.

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

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (182)

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! It's been frosty and cold this past week, and it looks like more of the same for the next few days. Which is ok, it's not snow or rain, but the cold isn't always fun.

It's going to be weird next week because I'll be the only one around watching the puppy, so hopefully I won't completely lose it when she doesn't listen because of still being a puppy. I still need to cram in a bunch of reading. I need to portion out my time better, STILL, and read while she's sleeping and not poking her big nose in everything.

The holidays are coming! Slowly but surely. Then my birthday right after, then the freaking out that another year has gone by. But for now, the planning.

Reviews going up next week will feature The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One by Daniel Kraus (Tuesday) and Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood (Friday). :)
Beyond anthology (Kickstarter reward)
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin (borrowed from the library)
Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt (borrowed from the library)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Me on Beyond

Title: Beyond: The Queer Sci-fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology
Editors: Sfé R. Monster & Taneka Stotts
Contributors: Gabby Reed & Rachel Dukes, Niki Smith, Reed Black, Christianne Goudreau & Taneka Stotts, Ted Closson, Wm Brian MacLean, Blue Delliquanti, Shing Yin Khor, Kiku Hughes, Jon Cairns, Sfé R. Monster, Kate Ebensteiner & Bevan Thomas, Savannah Horrocks & April J. Martins, Dylan Edwards, Kori Michele Handwerker, Kristina Stipetic, Anissa Espinosa & Alison Wilgus, Lin Visel & Leia Weathington, A. Stiffler & K. Copeland

Swashbuckling space pirates, legendary dragon slayers, death-defying astronauts, and monster queen royalty. All this (and more!) in Beyond, the queer sci-fi and fantasy comic anthology. Featuring 18 stories by 26 incredible contributors, the Beyond anthology celebrates unquestionably queer characters hailing from across the spectrum of gender and sexuality, from and centre as the heroes of their own stories; exploring the galaxy, mixing magic, having renegade adventures, and saving the day!

Beyond is a comic anthology full of emotion, honesty, and hopes for more visible representation in science fiction and fantasy. Each story hammers home the idea that queer characters, meaning gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or non-binary or genderfluid or however the character defines themself, are present in sci-fi and fantasy. That they have their stories to tell. They they can be the hero or the heroine, the saviour or the rescuer. That they don't have to be the villain, immoral or evil or horrifying. That they are people, even when they're aliens, creatures, or androids.

All 18 stories are wonderful in their own way, each with amazing art, but here are some highlights.

"Optimal" by Blue Delliquanti. Sort of a prequel story to her ongoing webcomic O Human Star, this tells the story of Sulla, the young android made by Brendan Pinsky in order to keep the consciousness of his research partner Alistair Sterling alive, and her figuring out how to navigate in a new body. A female-gendered body. Because, according to Sulla, there's always room for improvement.

"O-Type Hypergiant" by Jon Cairns is intriguing, a sort of pure impossible science fiction story rooted in science and possibility (if such a description could ever make sense). The Instamen are artificial humanoids, sent off by humans to catalogue stars and live on time-bending satellites. It's a rather poetic story with some wonderfully detailed artwork.

"Twin-Souled" by Bevan Thomas & Kate Ebensteiner shows a tribe of aboriginal people using their magicks to combine with totems to protect their village. These people fight for love, for the ability to love whomever they wish, no matter their gender, and to be whomever they wish, no matter their gender. Even when the spirit of the totem they are bound to is a different gender than they are. To me, this story is one of the saddest, but it's filled with so much hope and love.

"The Next Day" by A. Stiffler & K. Copeland. In a world where the sun had gone dark, where the shadows stretch across the land and light is rare, a man wanders. He claims that without light, man is without hope. But one day he meets another wanderer, and as the two of them travel, as they fight against thieves, as they grow closer, the man discovers that when they are together, he needn't fear the dark. Because his light is close to him.

I love the idea of this anthology. Too often queer characters are pushed to the side in genre fiction, in prose, comics, and film, but now there's this continues wave of webcomics and crowdfunded anthologies with a huge variety of queer characters. If the modern world as we know it is full of people of different genders and sexualities, why can't science fiction and fantasy be the same way? Why can't there be more escapist genre fiction for queer people in print, on TV screens and movie screens? There's already tons of it for straight people. These stories drive home the fact that queer characters can have hopes and dreams, that they can have fun and laugh. That they can have pasts shrouded in mystery. That they can make mistakes, have regrets. That they can be in love, and be willing to fight for that love with every inch of themselves.

It makes my heart happy that this anthology exists, that there are people out there working so hard and creating amazing stories filled with diversity. If you've been looking for a collection like this, full of aliens and magic and hard journeys and honest emotion, full of representation, then check it out. I think an anthology like this is perfect for teen readers.

(I backed this anthology on Kickstarter and received a PDF and a physical copy. Those interested in Beyond can head over to the Beyond Press website.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (254)

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

Title: On the Edge of Gone
Author: Corinne Duyvis
Release Date: March 6, 2015
Publisher: Amulet Books (Abrams imprint)

From Goodreads:

January 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one.

Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time.

A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister?

When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?

So excited for this book! Yay to more Corinne books, which means yay to more diversity in YA and yay to more genre fiction. I'm really looking forward to this futuristic survival in a European city with an autistic, biracial heroine. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Me on Da Vinci's Tiger

Title: Da Vinci's Tiger
Author: L. M. Elliott
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Young, beautiful, and witty, Ginevra de’ Benci longs to take part in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence. But as the daughter of a wealthy family in a society dictated by men, she is trapped in an arranged marriage, expected to limit her creativity to domestic duties. Her poetry reveals her deepest feelings, and she aches to share her work, to meet painters and sculptors mentored by the famed Lorenzo de Medici, and to find love. When the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, arrives in Florence, he introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers—a world of thought and conversation she has yearned for. She is instantly attracted to the handsome newcomer, who admires her mind as well as her beauty. Yet Ginevra remains conflicted about his attentions. Choosing her as his Platonic muse, Bembo commissions a portrait by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them—one Ginevra can only begin to understand. In a rich and enthralling world of exquisite art, elaborate feasts, and exhilarating jousts, she faces many temptations to discover her voice, artistic companionship, and a love that defies categorization. In the end, she and Leonardo are caught up in a dangerous and deadly battle between powerful families.

Da Vinci's Tiger is an intriguing imagining of a young woman's portrait, a fictional look into her life in Florence and her struggles as a learned woman in a time and place where women had little power.

Ginevra is very aware of her position. She's expected to keep a clean household, to have children, to listen to her husband, and to not shock anyone by speaking intelligently of poetry, art, or of her own thoughts. She's a woman. Why would a woman wish to learn, wish to speak intelligently of her own ideas of the world, of art and poetry and relationships and business? Ginevra is treated like she is less than the men around her, treated more like a horse coming up to the auction block, ready to be sold to the highest bidder. She has no agency beyond the walls of her home, and even then because her husband has left the care of the house and the instruction of the servants to her. But she craves company, the chance to speak with someone about philosophy. She desires an honest connection with someone and she hasn't found it. Men make the decisions for her. At this point in time, she has no say in what she does, where she goes, which man to marry. She resents the men who control her life but she cannot speak up, and so her thoughts build in her mind, waiting for a chance to express themselves. Ginevra waits for the time when she can be herself to the world.

The setting is rich with the glamour of Florence in the 15th century. The people, the commonplace talk of business and money, of friendship and rivalry. The chivalry and the platonic love a man would have for a woman not his wife. It's a curious, to me, concept taken from history, to gaze upon a woman and lavish her with praise, to wax poetic of her beauty and virtue, to love her as a glorious thing upon a pedestal, and to go no further with your affection. It's certainly something rarely seen in the present day. But how interesting is it that a man can value the inner beauty as well as the outer of her Platonic Love while never bothering to actually ask her about her thoughts and feelings. Constantly treating women like objects instead of people.

It's an intriguing tale, yes, a possible history expanding on the portrait Leonardo da Vinci did paint of Ginevra de' Benci. It highlights the plight of women at the time, how they were treated as tools or bargaining chips by many men who thought themselves more powerful simply because they were men. How women were considered property. But perhaps, at one time or another, all women in Ginevra's position proved themselves to be mountain tigers, to be caged but never tamed. THe story moves slowly, following Ginevra is this imagined time in her life. I would certainly recommend this to history fans, to those interested in the Renaissance period, to those intrigued by the real life portrait of Ginevra.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (181)

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. ;)

Hello! It's been another long week and I'm looking forward to sleeping in as much as I can over the weekend. Which will only be 1 morning out of the 2, I think.

Everyone's off watching Mockingjay this weekend, yes? Or at least most people, according to my Twitter feed. Or they're watching the new Marvel show in Netflix, Jessica Jones. I figure I'll see both at some point, the movie with my sister. It used to be that for her birthday we'd see the HP movies, then the Hunger Games. But what will we see next fall? What will I be doing this weekend? Reading a massive book (curse you, Zebulon Finch) and playing that kitty game Neko Atsume. ;)

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Da Vinci's Tiger by L.M. Elliott (Tuesday) and The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume 1 by Daniel Kraus (Friday). :)
Untold and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan (borrowed from the library)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Me on Winter

Title: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan imprint)

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long. Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Winter is a dangerous, explosive ending to a gripping, intriguing, unique series. A series about girls taking charge and fighting back, an evil queen set to rule the world, some clever boys ready to help, and a witty android sidekick.

The book is titled after Winter, a trapped princess, a young woman slowly losing her mind, but it isn't just about her. It's about Cinder's last stand against Levana, it's about Scarlet getting out of her cage and finding Wolf, it's about Cress finding the courage to fight back and not cower in the shadows. And yes, it's about Winter and her fractured mind but still being able to help. I did like how Winter's mental illness was handled, how her attraction to Jacin didn't make it all better. How her mind was fractured, showing her things that weren't there, and how she fought to stay sane. How she wanted to stay sane. How she wanted to get better for herself.

This book is all encompassing. It's hard to describe, hard to discuss without giving anything away. It's massive, which means a lot happens. There are fights and betrayals, racing off down corridors and falling victim to secret plans and plots. There are happy moments, sad moments, devastating moments. This is the end of a story that started all the way back when a disguised prince walked up to a skilled mechanic in a market square, asking for some help. Now that mechanic is a lost princess trying to survive, now that mechanic is a girl with a number of friends, all skilled at different things, all ready to help her. Now that mechanic is no longer alone, but this is the greatest danger she's ever faced.

I do think fans of the series will enjoy this, will be thrilled to see it end in an exciting way. But I will admit that there was a time or two when it felt like the book was dragging. So much is happening. At the beginning, Cinder is heading to Luna with Kai, Wolf, Thorne, Cress, and Iko, and Scarlet is stuck on Luna with Winter and Jacin. Then they all explode together and soon after fracture. Again and again. Back and forth from the palace to the outer sectors. From freedom to captivity. It just felt like a lot was happening, perhaps too much. That being said, I was intrigued by how everything happened, who helped out and who got in their way. Who was still horribly evil. How it all ended.

(I purchased a copy of this book.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (253)

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

Title: My Lady Jane
Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

This sounds intriguing. I rather like British history, even though there's a lot of present day paranormal and futuristic dystopian that might say otherwise, and so I'm curious as to how the authors have tweaked the story of Lady Jade Grey. Apart from her horrible death at the age of 16 or 17.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Me on Manners & Mutiny

Title: Manners & Mutiny
Author: Gail Carriger
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

Lessons in the art of espionage aboard Mademoiselle Geraldine's floating dirigible have become tedious without Sophronia's sweet sootie Soap nearby. She would much rather be using her skills to thwart the dastardly Picklemen, yet her concerns about their wicked intentions are ignored, and now she's not sure whom to trust. What does the brusque werewolf dewan know? On whose side is the ever-stylish vampire Lord Akeldama? Only one thing is certain: a large-scale plot is under way, and when it comes to fruition, Sophronia must be ready to save her friends, her school, and all of London from disaster—in decidedly dramatic fashion, of course.

Manners & Mutiny is the final book in what's become an adventurous, clever, witty, and entertaining series. Unique characters. Conflict upon conflict up on torn loyalties. Vampires and werewolves and young ladies flashing fans in order to send secret messages.

Sophronia is, as always, Sophronia. Looking for the hidden truths in peoples' actions. Looking to uncover the plot of the Picklemen. But with her past transgressions and actions being held against her, it's harder and harder for her to find those in positions of authority at Madmoiselle Geraldine's to believe her claims. Difficult, yes, but Sophronia isn't one to back down. She soldiers on, worrying about her friends, worrying about Soap. Wondering if Agatha is right, that she now assumes the worst of people, even her own family. Does she? After her time at finishing school, does Sophronia now no longer trust anyone? Does she assume that everyone lies, that everyone has something to hide? Pessimistic, yes, but the past few years have taught her to be suspicious, taught her to observe and discover. Training to be an intelligencer does change one.

As with the previous books, there is no shortage of mystery or deception, of truth-seeking or secret-uncovering. Of Picklemen-hunting or sootie friendship-making. But this is certainly the most dastardly plan Sophronia has ever had to untangle and thwart. The one that might reveal the most about this secretive intelligencer world of hers. The one that, if mishandled, might bring down society as they know it. Fortunately, Sophronia isn't one to back down and will go down with the ship, so to speak, if that means saving the day.

This series is dangerous, comical, intriguing, full to the brim with the impossible, and I've enjoyed it immensely. It took some time for me to enjoy the first, to allow myself to be immersed in this world, because it requires full immersion. This series needs you to listen, to watch and observe and follow Sophronia during these years at Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. It needs to to believe in airships and mechanimals, in vampires and werewolves, in the impossible. Now that it's all over, I should like to re-read it, see what secrets, if any, are given away early. A great series to read for those looking for steampunk and a story that mainly focuses on adventure and intelligence with a dash of female friendship and romance thrown in for fun.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada through NetGalley.)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (180)

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 all! Not much rambling today. Big hugs to everyone who needs it/needed to take a step back this weekend. A lot of sad things have happened over the last few days. If you need time to take care of yourself, then take it. *hugs*

There's a giveaway going on! I know, I rarely do these. In honour of 5 years blogging about books and posting 500 reviews in some form or another, go here to enter the giveaway. There will be more than 1 winner, so make sure you enter as much as you can! :)

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger (Tuesday) and Winter by Marissa Meyer (Friday). :)
Winter by Marissa Meyer (Bought)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Bought)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Me on A Pocket Full of Murder

Title: A Pocket Full of Murder
Author: R.J. Anderson
Release Date: September 8, 2015
Publisher: Atheneum

In the spell-powered city of Tarreton, the wealthy have all the magic they desire while the working class can barely afford a simple spell to heat their homes. Twelve-year-old Isaveth is poor, but she's also brave, loyal, and zealous in the pursuit of justice—which is lucky, because her father has just been wrongfully arrested for murder. Isaveth is determined to prove his innocence. Quiz, the eccentric eyepatch-wearing street boy who befriends her, swears he can't resist a good mystery. Together they set out to solve the magical murder of one of Tarreton's most influential citizens and save Isaveth's beloved Papa from execution. But each clue is more perplexing than the next. Was the victim truly killed by Common Magic—the kind of crude, cheap spell that only an unschooled magician would use—or was his death merely arranged to appear that way? And is Quiz truly helping her out of friendship, or does he have hidden motives of his own? Isaveth must figure out who she can trust if she's to have any hope of proving her Papa's innocence in time. . .

A Pocket Full of Murder is layered, smart, and wonderfully magical. This is a tale of a bright new heroine in a magical city of secrets, her relationship with her family, and her mystery hunting with a curious new companion. The truth must be discovered, but will it happen in time?

Isaveth is a brave girl, a determined girl. Determined to help her family, to discover the truth, to protect her siblings. The different kinds of relationships she has with her siblings are honest and realistic, as is the unwavering father she has in her father. As is the curiosity she has in Quiz when few things about him make much sense. She's also a bit of a lost girl trying to pick out a place for herself in the world. A daydreamer, she relishes in the moments she's allowed to have for herself, the moments of imagining the adventures of her favourite radio show heroine. She's a well-meaning girl who knows when something feels wrong, who knows when the truth needs ferreting out. But danger lurks because some very powerful people want the truth kept secret.

The different pieces that make up this book are woven together so well. The ways the people in the city are separated, by social standing, religion, and magic. It's a glamorous city with its own biases and rejections, its unwarranted disdain of those less fortunate. This book treats those divisions so well, presents them with such clarity that you cannot escape the harsh truth of the world, the unfairness of it. The wondering why those with money and influence would fear those without.

This book is all kinds of sweetness and sadness and magic. I want to push this book into the hands of kids and teens and adults to see which pieces of Tarreton they see in the real world. Which parts of familial support and complicated friendships they see. How often they find someone to be discriminated against because of their religion, their race, or their economic standing. For as many happy moments as there are, there are sad moments. A magical city, yes, but that doesn't mean it's free of hatred or fear.

(I received a finished copy of this title from Simon & Schuster Canada.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (252)

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

Title: Wink Poppy Midnight
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Dial Books (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

The intrigue of The Virgin Suicides and the "supernatural or not" question of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime.

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

For fans of Holly Black, We Were Liars, and The Raven Boys, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and a whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.

This just sounds so bizarre. I'm hoping its going to be full of intrigue, vague or not-so-vague magic, and some extremely different characters.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Me on Lost Stars

Title: Lost Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
Release Date: September 4, 2015
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press

The reign of the Galactic Empire has reached the Outer Rim planet of Jelucan, where aristocratic Thane Kyrell and rural villager Ciena Ree bond over their love of flying. Enrolling at the Imperial Academy is nothing less than a dream come true for both of them. But Thane sours on the dream when he sees firsthand the horrific tactics the Empire uses to maintain its ironclad rule. Bitter and disillusioned, he joins the fledgling rebellion, putting Ciena in an unbearable position between her loyalty to the Empire and her love for the man she's known since childhood. Now on opposite sides of the war, will these friends turned foes ever find a way to be together, or will duty tear them, and the galaxy, apart?

Lost Stars is an exciting adventure across a distant galaxy following two people somehow fated to be together. As much as duty, honour, loyalty, choice, keeps them apart, they seem to find a way back to each other. But with being on either side of a war, are they also doomed?

Thane is full of adventure. Growing up on Jelucan, he couldn't wait to fly, to escape. It's all he's dreamed of, being a pilot for the Empire. Flying every kind of craft he can get his hands on. But the truth is hard to accept. Ciena is filled with honour and respect. Loyalty. She's smart and passionate, strong, and believes in the oath she's taken with every part of her. Well, almost every part. But for her, giving your word is everything. Their different personalities clash repeatedly but they work so well together as children, then in the Imperial Academy. The bold soldier and the moral compass. As much as they work well, their perception of the world, of the Empire, will be different. It makes them human, makes them believable.

For fans of the franchise, this should be a joy to read. Events happen alongside the plots of the films, occasionally meeting and revealing a familiar character or two, and you're sent back to the movies, trying to pick out what point in time it is. Where characters like Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia would be. But it never detracts from Ciena or Thane. This is still their story, their version of the clash between Empire and Rebellion.

While the book is billed as a star-crossed lovers story, and while I've even said that to some extent here, that's not all it is. It's a look at honour and loyalty, at duty and choice. At making those hard decisions and doing what you feel is right, even when someone you've known for years, someone you love, feels differently. It's a brutal look at how war separates and destroys, even when we think we're following a path of good intentions. I would definitely recommend this to Star Wars fans, to those looking forward to the upcoming movie, to those looking for something so in-depth in such a familiar universe. Also, there just has to be another book. It has a proper ending, don't worry, but it can't just end like that.

(I purchased a copy of this book.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Me on A Celebration Giveaway!

Hi all! It's time to celebrate! Me on Books turned 5 a couple of weeks ago, and tomorrow my 500th review goes up.

5 years. 500 reviews. That's a lot of time spent reading, spent writing reviews, spent writing up other posts, spent on social media talking to other bloggers and readers, spent at book events and meet-ups. It's been hard at some points, easy at others, but I still love the little piece of the community I've fallen into.

And so without further ado, this is my top 16 (because it's so hard to narrow it down) of the last 5 years:
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow & Jen Wang
  • The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton
  • Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
  • The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  • Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
  • Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston
  • A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
  • Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
  • Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
  • The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff
  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
All of these are books that've thrilled me, saddened me, made me think about the world, about people, about history and how we'll always be doomed to repeat it. About strength and conviction of character, about the horrible things we do to others in the name of truth or fear. About hope. About love. About time travel and far-flung futures where we travel to stars beyond our own.

I want to share these books that I've loved, so 2 winners will each get their choice of 1 book and 1 winner will get a bunch of swag that I've collected over the years, things like bookmarks and buttons.

(There might be a slight issue if 1 of the winners wants a copy of Bleeding Violet or Harmonic Feedback, both are a bit tricky to find in print. Your local library would definitely have them, and they are available on e-book sites like Kindle and Kobo. I know I could've just not added these books, but they were some of the first I read when I started reviewing. Both are rather honest when it comes to mental illness and how the world is seen through their eyes.)

The giveaway will go on until the end of the month and is open internationally as long as Book Depository ships free to your country. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (179)

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 all! It's been cold and rainy here. The wet puppy smell lingers these days.

Christmas is slowly starting to vomit all over the Halloween things. There's really no delay between the two anymore here. In the US at least there's a bit of a barrier with their Thanksgiving at the end of November, but with ours in October, the Christmas ads start to smack you in the face when November starts.

I'm sort of getting back to reading what I should be, still trying to work out when to read at different times. I should read more on the weekends. I miss having a buffer so I'm not panic-reading on Mondays and Thursdays. I'm looking forward to the Christmas/New Year's break where I'll hopefully get a head-start and build up a buffer again.

Reviews going up the coming week will feature Lost Stars by Claudia Gray (Tuesday) and A Pocket Full of Murder by R.J. Anderson (Friday). :)
A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry (e-galley from Algonquin)
Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger (e-galley from Hachette Book Group Canada)
Check Please! Year 1 by Ngozi Ukazu (Kickstarter reward)
Black Iris by Leah Raeder (borrowed from the library)
Cam Girl by Leah Raeder (borrowed from the library)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Me on Soundless

Title: Soundless
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin imprint)

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom. When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei's home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation. But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Soundless is a mystery in the mountains and a search for the truth, a journey down below the clouds for answers. But will Fei find them, or will she only find despair as her village continues to starve and suffer?

Fei is a cautious girl who worries about the well-being of her sister, a creative girl who dreams of painting gorgeous pictures filled with bright colours instead of the daily report of what's going on in the village. Like everyone else in the village, Fei cannot hear, relying on a signing language and writing in order to communicate. But when her hearing does return, things change. With the village in decline, with her sister's health suffering, she knows something must be done. And so she and a companion head down the mountain, using her hearing to keep them safe from rock slides. But the land below the mountain is a strange one, hiding secrets about those living above and in the mines.

A village where no one can hear. How intriguing. It's there in the sign language, in the writing out of the day's news, in the machines that shake the beds awake. There's a moment where Fei sees a bird open its mouth and another bird flies in to sit next to it. As she couldn't hear then, she wonders what the bird did to attract its mate. It's intriguing to see how the village adapted to their lack of hearing over the years, how they're able to get on with their work and their lives. How some still wonder what it would be like to hear the sounds around them.

The book begins with a soft, quiet tone that belies the urgency the villagers face. They're slowly going blind. They need to see and mine if they want food from below the mountain, if they want to survive. As the book progresses, as Fei and her companion travel and learn, the sound builds as Fei hears more of the world around her. The tumble of the rocks down the mountain, the wind rushing past, the bustle of the township, the sounds the traders and townsfolk make when they open their mouths. It all builds, rushing towards the climax. I found this to be a rather sweet sort of mysterious fantasy story with a strong heroine. Fei is frightened, yes, but she would do anything, go anywhere, to keep her sister safe and healthy. She would fight back. I would recommend this to those looking for a softer kind of fantasy tale, to those looking for a story with roots in Chinese folklore.

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

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (251)

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

Title: The Winner's Kiss
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

I really really want to know how this trilogy is going to end. It's going to be brutal and harsh and wreck everyone. I hope they end up together, or in some form of together like not killing each other or dying horribly. Like, if they could both be alive and talking to each other at the end. As 'epic' and 'star-crossed' as they are, this series is about so much more than the romance. It's about secrets and empire and colonialism and entitlement and survival and fear and war. And hope.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Me on The Conjurer's Riddle

Title: The Conjurer's Riddle
Author: Andrea Cremer
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Philomel Books (Penguin imprint)

Charlotte leads her group of exiles west, plunging into a wild world of shady merchants and surly rivermen on the way to New Orleans. But as Charlotte learns more about the revolution she has championed, she wonders if she's on the right side after all. Charlotte and her friends get to know the mystical New Orleans bayou and deep into the shadowy tunnels below the city–the den of criminals, assassins and pirates–Charlotte must decide if the revolution's goals justify their means, or if some things, like the lives of her friends, are too sacred to sacrifice.

The Conjurer's Riddle is a look into revolution and rebellion, the secret-gathering and the spying, the hard journeys and the dangers. The heavy cost.

Charlotte is driven, soft-hearted, and passionate about her chose cause, about saving her friends. But doubt lingers, as it always does. Things aren't the same as they were in the Catacombs or in the Floating City. On their journey west, in New Orleans, Charlotte learns how different things are. How duplicitous and two-faced. How her ideas and reasons for fighting back might differ from other members of the resistance.

In terms of the romance, I still feel that Jack is the only option for Charlotte. I still don't understand why a love triangle was added in the first book why Coe suddenly went from person Charlotte barely knew to romantic entanglement. Charlotte is still drawn to Jack, still attracted to him, still hating him and worrying about him, while Coe just seems there. But there wasn't much time for Charlotte to worry about her feelings for most of the book. She was far too busy travelling, learning secrets, or trying to stay hidden and alive. The romance takes a back seat to Charlotte's journey and the still hidden mysteries of Grave. So hidden, so mysterious.

The Resistance is still fighting back against the Empire, fighting to be free from an oppressive ruler from across an ocean. When you fight back as part of a rebellion, you fight for your beliefs, your friends and family. But at what cost? Destruction of property? Injury? Death? Is revolution the only answer? This book, this series, will always scream America to me. Their idea that freedom is a right, that no one can take it from you, but if it ever is taken you can fight to regain it. Is violence ever the only answer? As a Canadian, it feels so American to go in guns blazing to fight for freedom. It feels like it's all they have, like their identity as American is based on freedom and without it they're nothing.

I'm still intrigued by this world, I think the building of it is creative. To speculate on what a country would look like had a major event in its history not happened, if someone else was still in control. If it was a mixture of colonies and disputed territories. It's a dangerous world Charlotte's in, one filled with deception and the impossible. I want to know more. What is the Resistance's endgame plan? What are Grave's secrets, the ones that even he doesn't know? What else is out there for Charlotte to discover? A great follow-up to the first book.

(I received an advance copy of this title from Penguin Random House Canada.)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Me on This Week's Book Week (178)

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! The rains are upon us. But I'm still going to have to mow the lawn again before we pack it all in until March.

Sorry for those who dropped by yesterday looking for a review of The Conjurer's Riddle. I meant to read it Wednesday and Thursday but got wrapped up in other things and instead moved up a review I'd done for later in November. Lumberjanes is a great comic, though, so hopefully you'll give it a read. I'm really enjoying the mix of friendship, smart female characters, mystery, girl scouts, and supernatural monsters and magic. :)

Reviews going up this coming week will feature The Conjurer's Riddle by Andrea Cremer (Tuesday) and Soundless by Richelle Mead (Friday). :)
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (pre-ordered)
The Killing Jar by Jennifer Bosworth (ARC from Raincoast Books)
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (e-galley from Raincoast Books)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Me on Lumberjanes Volume 1

Title: Lumberjanes Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy
Authors/artists: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: BOOM! Box (BOOM! Studios)

At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for hardcore lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together... And they're not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

Lumberjanes is a super fun comic full of adventure, action, strange creatures, and awesome friends. What more would you want at summer camp?

Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley. Five different and helpful friends. They all have their good times and bad times, their quirks, their skills and their fears. Their doubts. Their personalities come out in their likes and their clothes, their fun catchphrases ("What the junk?"). But they're all super supportive of each other. This comic is full of positive female friendships. It's not about showing up the others or taking control. They're ready to fight back against monsters as much as they're ready to go searching around in mysterious caves. It's about having fun together and figuring out the mysterious goings-on before cabin leader Jenny reigns them back in.

The artwork is bright, colourful, and expressive. You can see the confusion on their faces when they come face to face with three-eyes foxes in the middle of the night in the middle of the forest. The huge grin on Ripley's face as she comes barreling in. The worry on Molly's when Mal gets hurt. The excitement on April's when get earns the Pungeon Master badge for clever word play. Their pure unadulterated curiosity can barely be contained on the page.

This book is 100% unique characters and 100% exciting artwork, which adds up to 200% and is completely impossible, but nothing is impossible when it comes to these young hardcore lady-types. There's something going on in the woods, something that means three-eyes wolves and secret messages, and it's up to these five girls to figure out while kicking butt and having fun together. A must-read for those looking for fun.

(I borrowed a copy of this from the library.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (250)

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

Title: Map of Fates
Author: Maggie Hall
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (Penguin imprint)

From Goodreads:

Two weeks.

That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 

Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.

But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

I'm looking forward to this next book. I like the sort of international intrigue that's centered around secret societies and puzzles and travelling around the world. I do wonder about Avery's relationships with Jack and Stellan, which one she'll fall for more. Which one she'll end up with. What will pop up from the Circle and ruin everything. With it being the second book, it's bound to end with a big surprise or explosion or something.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Me on How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don't Have a Clue

Title: How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don't Have a Clue
Author: Jess Keating
Release Date: October 2, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Surprise! Ana's long distance BFF is finally coming back to visit. But with her purple hair and new attitude, Liv is barely the girl Ana remembers. This new Liv probably thinks a birthday party at the zoo is lame. Maybe if Ana has a super-secret sleepover instead, she'd never have to introduce Liv to Ashley, former enemy and now Ana's best-ish friend. What could go wrong?

How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don't Have a Clue is fun, adventurous, and heartfelt. Ana's a sweet girl, trying to figure everything out, trying to keep things the same. But sometimes friends change. What's a girl to do when that happens?

Ana is back. As inquisitive as ever, as helpful as ever. As fumbling through life like every other kid that's ever turned thirteen or had old friends come back to visit. She has no idea what to expect when it comes to life, school or friendships or anything else. All she has are hopes and expectations, what she thinks might happen from TV and movies and gossip. But those pale in comparison to how it actually unfolds.

Friends can be tricky. It can be hard to find them, harder to keep them. When you can, when they last, it's special. You feel like you've found that person that will understand you for the rest of your life. But sometimes they move away. Sometimes you're scrambling to find that feeling again. You'll never have the same kind of relationship with a different person, but that's fine. Friendships are never the same, they differ from person to person. You don't have to have everything in common in order to be friends. Ana was lost when Liv moved away, she felt cast adrift in the bizarre world of middle school. Now, now that's made peace with Ashley and gotten to know Bella. She's feeling better. But that doesn't discount what she had, has, with Liv. People can change. It's the lying that can ruin things.

I think this series is honest it how complicated it feels to be a kid, a new teen. You're supposed to start figuring some things out but you're not sure how. You don't want to change but every day is a step closer to the next big achievement. Thirteen. High school. Sixteen. Driving. Ana's is a great point of view. She's bright and curious, she loves animals, she has a good support structure, and she's awkward. A definite recommendation for those looking for fun, smart, realistic middle grade.

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