Saturday, February 27, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (195)

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 weather's been nice this week, sunny and warm. It certainly doesn't feel like February.

On Tuesday I'll be heading off to Seattle, or close to it, to see Victoria Schwab at her book signing. There will be other authors there but I'm mainly going for Victoria. I always feel a bit like a jerk, only bringing books for some authors when they're in a group, but it happens. This might be the last trip down to the US for a signing for me for a while, which seems weird to say, considering the last one was 2 years ago, also for Victoria.

I'm feeling a bit rushed and burned out right now. I'm hoping to get two reviews up this week, but I haven't read the books yet because I've had to read others due to expiring e-galleys and blog tour question deadlines. At the very least, a review of A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro will be going up on Friday. :)
Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson (ARC from Raincoast Books)
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (ARC from Nafiza)
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor (ARC from Nafiza)
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (e-galley from Raincoast Books)
Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun (e-galley from Harlequin through NetGalley)
Gotham Academy Volume 2: Calamity (E-galley from DC Comics through NetGalley)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Me on Their Fractured Light

Title: Their Fractured Light
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world's gaze. Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He'll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others dont dare touch. Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you're done noticing it, she's got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost. When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia's separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they're forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Their Fractured Light is the last in a series that has traveled the stars, ripped apart planets, and revealed that perhaps humans are not alone in the universe.

Sofia is a lonely girl bent on revenge, determined to con her way up to the top and put an end to Roderick LaRoux and his less than ethical dealings. Make him pay for the death of her father. Gideon is a tech whiz, spending his days and nights searching out the secrets that LaRoux Industries hides from the rest of the known universe. Both are passionate, determined, scarred, and stubborn. Neither trust the other, not at the start. How could they?

The interludes, the memories and the words of the whispers, as Lilac calls them, are haunting and thoughtful. Here is an intriguing alien life form, a sort of consciousness, and their encounter with the human race. Through their words we see the highest points of humanity, our ability to love and laugh and create, and the worst. The hatred and the revenge. The warring, the imprisonment. The manipulation. The destruction. And it makes them wonder, it makes them curious. It makes them cautious. And it makes one vengeful.

Everyone comes together in this book, like they were all fated to come together. To learn the truth about the whispers. To help them. To stop their suffering. The fact that each book has focused on different characters shows that in something epic like this, it isn't just one or two people who fight back, who struggle. It's a group of people who all have parts to play, who all have hopes and dreams, who all suffer because of someone's megalomania. This book, this series, has been all about hope and faith and trust. About those parts of the human condition that we can't escape from. The parts that push us forward towards our goals.

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (267)

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

Title: Beast
Author: Brie Spangler
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads:

A witty, wise, and heart-wrenching novel that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan.

Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn't look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers. 

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She's funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She's also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie's humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn't know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn't listening. Something that shouldn't change a thing. She is who she's always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?

I'm really looking forward to this. Like Of Fire & Stars, I'm looking forward to the books that are coming out that are new versions of fairy tales and fantasy novels. Books with gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender main characters. I do hope it's done well with this book, that Jamie isn't trans just to add in a trans character. That it works, that it makes sense, that it fits with how the story unfolds.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Me on Kill the Boy Band

Title: Kill the Boy Band
Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Point (Scholastic imprint)

Okay, so just know from the start that it wasn't supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band. We didn't mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of happened that way. But now he's tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it's Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn't be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group. We didn't mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn't. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that's what you do when you love a group so much it hurts. How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell.

Kill the Boy Band is outrageous, full of four teen girls, their current obsession, and the lengths they'll go to to meet them. Only things go a bit weird and nothing goes according to plan.

This book is all kind of insane. I knew going it that it was going to satirize fandom, that it was going to highlight the dark dark DARK side of fandom. The obsessive side, the oblivious side, the nasty side. Everyone seemed like they'd lost their minds. That for the four teen girls, consequences didn't matter. Than they could kidnap a member of a boy band. That they could tie him up. That they could ransack his hotel room.

There's always going to be a dark side to being a fan, unfortunately. To be part of a fandom. There will always be people who spend all their time on their fandom. Who go to every concert or event. Who try to get backstage. Who follow them. Who send them creepy-sounding messages. It's not healthy. This book shows how unhealthy it is, what it does to people. It makes them vicious, like Isabel, or in denial, like Apple, or regretful, like Erin. Or thoughtful, like the narrator. The narrator, by whatever name she goes by, seems to be the most sensible. She's shocked at every turn when her friends do something crazy. Like kidnap Rupert P. Like go through his pockets. Like go up to the band's hotel room. But she still goes along with it. She wants to know. She wants to see.

I can see where many will find this book funny. It's outrageous, both in plot and in the different characters. In the beginning, I thought it was fun. But I kept waiting for common sense to kick in with someone, anyone, and it didn't. I think that's where I went wrong with this book, that I had to suspend my common sense, and I couldn't fully do that. This book just wasn't it for me. BUT. But. If you were already interested in reading this, if the summary grabs you, if you're looking for a dark comedy about being a crazed fan, then by all means give this a read.

(I received an advance copy of this title from Scholastic Canada.)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Blog Tour: The Winner's Kiss

Hello! Welcome to the blog tour for the final book in the Winner's Trilogy, The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski. :)
What book is your favourite literary kiss in? Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor (which might be cheating as it's a novella, but who cares?)

Who is kissing? Everyone's favourite diminutive sidekick and rabid fairy Zuzana, and Violin Boy, who's also known as Mik.

Why is it your favourite? It's a favourite because of who they are, because of the story they're a part of. While Karou is off searching, while Akiva and his siblings are hunting down doors, we have this brief interlude with Zuzana and Mik. These two completely normal human beings who are utterly enchanted by the other. These two, full to the brim with shyness and hope, with doubt and fanciful dreams of each other. These two, who just spent an evening wandering around a small part of Prague in the dark and the cold. An evening of treasure maps and riddles and Latin, of magically moving puppets and haunting violin serenades, of sinfully delicious chocolate cake. These two, who are finally talking to each other, actually exchanging words with each other after moths of watching, waiting, hoping. And after this night of magic, after peacock footprints in the snow, they kiss. And it was perfect.

Bonus question! What kind of kiss do you hope will happen in The Winner's Kiss? Hopefully one that doesn't turn me into an emotional wreck, but odds are they all will. Maybe a good concluding kiss, whether they end up together or have to separate because their roles demand more of them before they can try to actually be together. It's the ending I'm more worried about.

Thanks for stopping by today! And many thanks to Raincoast Books and Macmillan for letting me be part of the tour for The Winner's Kiss. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (194)

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! How's it going?

I've got a bunch of blog tour post going up soon! On Monday my post for the tour for The Winner's Kiss goes up. There's been a huge group of bloggers posting their favourite literary kisses over the last few weeks leading up to the March release of Marie Rutkoski's final book in The Winner's Trilogy. So check back on Monday for which kiss I picked as my favourite. ;)

And the graphic went up yesterday but I'll be part of the tour for V.E. Schwab's A Gathering of Shadows, which is great because I both love Victoria's books and I'm hoping to be at her signing on March 1st. It's been a while since I crossed the border for a signing. :)

I'm trying to say yes to more blog tours when they pop up. Get me thinking, get me interacting more. Because I like having the chance to ask authors what they mean by/with certain characters or locations or events.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky (Tuesday) and Firstlife by Gena Showalter (Friday). :)
And I Darken by Kiersten White (e-galley from Random House through NetGalley)
Out of Frame by Megan Erickson (e-galley from Penguin through NetGalley)
The Only Thing Worse Than You is Me by Lily Anderson (ARC from Raincoast Books)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Me on Behold the Bones

Title: Behold the Bones
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

Candace "Candy" Pickens has been obsessed with the swamp lore of her tiny Louisiana town for... forever. Name any ghostly swamp figure and Candy will recite the entire tale in a way that will curl your toes and send chills up your spine. That doesn't mean Candy's a believer, however. Even though she and her friends entered the swamp at the start of summer and left it changed, Candy's the only one who can't see or feel the magical swamp Shine. She's also the only one who can't see the ghosts that have been showing up and spooking everyone in town ever since. So Candy concentrates on other things—real things. Like fighting with her mother and plotting her escape from her crazy town. But ghosts aren't the only newcomers in Sticks, Louisiana. The King family arrives like a hurricane: in a blur and unwanted—at least by Candy. Mr. King is intent on filming the rumored ghostly activity for his hit TV show, Local Haunts. And while Candy can't ignore how attracted she is to eighteen-year-old Gage King and how much his sister, Nova, wants to be friends, she's still suspicious of the King family. As Candy tries to figure out why the Kings are really in town and why the swamp that had previously cast her aside now seems to be invading every crack in her logical, cynical mind, she stumbles across the one piece of swamp lore she didn't know. It's a tale that's more truth than myth, and may have all the answers... and its roots are in Candy's own family tree.

Behold the Bones is a haunting tale. The smell of the swamp is thick in the nose, the swamp mist creeps up and over between the words on the page, and the mysteries are rich and begging to be uncovered.

Candy is brash and sharp with a quick tongue and quicker one-liners. She doesn't see what the fuss is about the Shine or any of the rare and random ghosts that happen to pop up in Sticks because she can't. Because the Shine doesn't affect her. Which is fine, even if it makes her feel left out when Sterling and Abigail do see something. It's when her mother tries to sit her down to talk about her lack of a period and infertility that she gets angry over someone wanting to make decisions about her body. It's when Sterling and Abigail lean on her and she leans on them that you see that this book is also about friendship. It's when the King family comes to town that she gets suspicious. Suspicious of their ghost hunting TV show plans. Suspicious of the new teens in town, Nova and Gage. Suspicious of the voice in her head, calling out to her. Singing to her.

Fixing and being fixed. Being whole and being broken. Candy doesn't see herself as a failure when it come to her never having a period, but she can see something in her mother's eyes. In her expression. When the talks of doctors and therapists come up over and over, Candy sees disappointment and fear coating the love and support of her parents. She doesn't see herself as broken, as someone who needs fixing. As a young woman who won't feel complete until she has children. It's not something that's as important to her as it is to her mother. What is important to Candy? Discovering the truth behind the Kings. Behind the sing-song voice.

The swampy southern setting drips from the page. The heaviness in the air pushing down, compressing, magnifying the summer's heat. The sounds and sights of the swamp, the mud and the grass. The eternally flowering cherry tree.

This book brings up at a number of things that don't often appear in YA. It discusses teen girls menstruating without shame and not behind closed doors. It pushes at friendships and relationships. It highlights a small town full of guns and moonshine without derision. Many of the people of Sticks are conservative, wary, old-fashioned, but they're not stereotypical clichés. Enjoy the previously released companion Beware the Wild? Looking for a different kind of ghost story? Then by all means, give this a read.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (266)

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

Title: Of Fire & Stars
Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria's formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna's intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare's independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

I knew that once the cover was revealed, this book would be my WoW pick for that week. I'm so excited for this book. Finally, a fantasy YA with princesses and magic but the girl falls for the prince's sister instead. With all the fantasy and epic fantasy filling YA, where are the LGBTQ stories? This has to the be the book I'm looking forward to the most that comes out in the second half of 2016 (well, this and Gemina.) I can't wait to read this.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Me on The Shadow Queen

Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: C.J. Redwine
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins imprint)

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She'll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen. In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol's father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman... and bring her Lorelai's heart. But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn't going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

The Shadow Queen is a dark and twisted fairy tale retelling, a battle of wills and power.

Lorelai is a combination of strong and weak. The sudden death of her father and betrayal of her stepmother hardened her, made her grow up quickly. The sudden responsibility of watching over her younger brother made her watchful, cautious. Her magic, her skill, makes her a force to be reckoned with. It makes her dangerous. But that doesn't mean she isn't afraid. She fears going up against Irina, of being defeated, of not being strong enough. She's afraid that she'll never be strong enough to reclaim her throne. This way of thinking, Lorelai can't see that she's holding herself back. She sees Irina as an unbeatable enemy. Until Lorelai is pushed too far, until Irina's terror hits her where it hurts.

On the other hand, Kol is reckless and foolish, head-strong, and full of fire. Not just because he's a dragon. The unexpected king, he feels the pressure to rule and be sensible like never before. The interactions between him and Lorelai make for some amusing banter as they both trying to figure each other out, figure themselves out, and figure out how to defeat Irina without everyone dying in the process.

As I read this, I wondered if others would compare Irina to Levana of the Lunar Chronicles series. Both have been wronged, ignored, both feel that they've been cheated. Both have committed terrible acts in order to get what they want. There's this trend going on where the villains are shown as being three dimensional, where their motives and reasons are becoming more plausible beyond just being evil and battling the heroes. Where they're actual people.

This book does a good job at keeping up the tension. Lorelai is very good at a number of things, but there were always stepping stones for her to walk across. Always obstacles in her path. Always times where someone was either too reckless, too involved, or too worried about someone else instead of themselves. I thought it was the first in a series, not the first in a series of connected stories, so I was a little confused when a proper ending appeared. That being said, I wasn't disappointed. And I'm curious as to where the following books will go in this fantasy world. I would recommend this to those looking for more fairy tale retellings with interesting heroines.

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

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (193)

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 chat this week as I've had an on-off headache for most of the week and it's still lingering. Hopefully it'll go away soon and I can get back to reading.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine (Tuesday) and Behold the Bones by Natalie Parker (Friday). :)
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (borrowed from library)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Me on The Girl from Everywhere

Title: The Girl from Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)

Nix's life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix's father can sail his ship, the Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he's uncovered the one map he's always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix's mother died in childbirth. Nix's life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix's future, her dreams, her adventures... her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who's been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.

The Girl from Everywhere is full of adventure, intrigue, danger, and magic. It's a story of searching and hunting and racing across the seas, a story of hope and fear and impossibility.

Nix is rough and opinionated. Her relationship with her father is ragged and jagged around the edges, a constant battle of love and distrust and fearful arguments. For a girl with her whole life in front of her, she fears the past and the future. The past, when her mother birthed her and died. The past her father is desperate to return to, to save her mother. But is Nix continues along with his plans, if they return to a point in time before her mother died, what will happen to Nix? What if she makes plans of her own?

The history here is rich and detailed. The Temptation travels through time, yes, but with an old world magic and glamour to it. Maps have always been the key to travel, the ways we plot out our journeys. Our adventures. In this book, to this captain, they're a way to travel across space and time, gliding across the page and into the seas themselves. Towards distant countries and mystical islands. And the detail in which 19th century Honolulu is portrayed is wonderful. It's so rare to see a book set in this place at this point in American history, mostly because it's largely ignored and often forgotten.

This is a book of possibility, of regrets and hopes and tension, of mistakes and second chances. This is a book about obsession, about how we cannot let go of what we crave. Who we love. Nix's father cannot let go of her mother, of his love for her, and Nix cannot let go of her desire to live. To continue. To be a real girl and not an accident or mistake. This book is filled with adventure and danger, of treasure-seeking and home-searching, of impossibility and mortality. How wonderful it was to find a book with a diverse heroine, a complicated and sometimes angry heroine, and multiple characters of colour. And have it be genre fiction! As I turned the last page, I couldn't help but wonder about whatever could happen next. What's coming in the next book?

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (265)

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

Title: The Way Back to You
Authors: Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott
Release Date: May 3, 3016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken. 

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they're barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake. 

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her...and to each other.

I'm intrigued by the plot revealed by the summary, by the road trip part and the searching part. I've read Mindi's previous books and rather liked them (and you all know how I am with contemporary YA). I'm curious to see how this goes, how Cloudy and Kyle will find closure.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Me on Under the Dusty Moon

Title: Under the Dusty Moon
Author: Suzanne Sutherland
Release Date: January 23, 2016
Publisher: Dundurn Press

Victoria Mahler is the sixteen-year-old only daughter of rocker Micky Wayne, whose band, Dusty Moon, took the world by storm when Micky was just a teenager. The band broke up under mysterious circumstances, but, after years spent off the road being a mom, Micky's solo career is finally starting to take off. When an offer to tour Japan falls into her mom's lap, Vic is left to spend the summer under the care of her distant grandmother, and without her built-in best friend. Fortunately, a boy with a secret geek side and a group of feminist game-makers save the season, and Vic starts to see herself as her own person, out from under her mother's shadow. But when Micky finally comes home — with a poorly chosen boyfriend in tow — all bets are off. Will Vic be able to maintain her newfound sense of self amidst the building thunder of Micky's second chance at stardom? And through it all, will Micky still really be her best friend?

Under the Dusty Moon is clever and bright, wonderfully capturing the screwups, mistakes, and flaws of being a teen, of fighting with friends, of dating, of trying to figure out who you are and what you want to be when you're in someone's shadow.

Victoria is smart, creative, and somewhat serious. She'd have to be, what with her mother being a bit bold and fun, maybe a little wild. Books like this highlight the focus of teens, which is often themselves. Vic resents her mom and her career as a musician. Why can't she get a real job? Why does she have to leave her alone for part of the summer? Why dis she get famous when she was younger, making Vic feel incompetent, like she'll always come in second place? Vic looks at her mom, sees someone who people know, sees someone who made a name for herself, and doesn't think she could have something of her own without people wanting to talk about her mother and her old band. She doesn't know that she's smart and creative enough on her own, she can only see her own flaws and insecurities. Now, with her mother out of town, Vic has a chance to find something that's hers, but will it work out?

This book feels so classically Canadian. The Toronto streets. The hot, sticky summers. The money struggles of anyone trying to be a musician or in the arts in a big city. The story of one person trying to figure themselves out. The self-discovery journey is part of so many books, but there's just something about it here that screams Canadian.

I think the author has fairly captured what it is to be a teen here. To be clueless and bratty and demanding of parents. To want to have their own things, to have some private things without your parents embarrassing you. To be kept in the loop with friends, to be able to stay friends while being with others. To not screw up dating a guy you really like because there's only ever one chance for a first date, first kiss, first time having sex. In some ways this is a serious comedy of errors (the awkwardness of parents who blab everything!). Everything seems to go right then go wrong for Vic and she scrambles to pick up the pieces. I would recommend this to those looking for something fun but also thoughtful and realistic.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Dundurn Press.)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (192)

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 raining again! Pfft to weather updates, I know, but my computer is right by a window. ;)

Still struggling to keep up with my to read list, with reading ahead of time. It's a slow process.

I've been looking at my review schedule and I've noticed a gap or two when it comes to April and into the summer. So, what are you all looking forward to reading over the summer? I keep thinking that I'm missing a bunch of books that I know I'd be really interested in. So feel free to fill the comments with recs. Also of already released books that you loved. It would be great if the books you all name are ones I could borrow from the library.

Reviews going up next week will feature Under the Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland (Tuesday) and The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (Friday). :)
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan (e-galley from HMH through NetGalley)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Me on These Vicious Masks

Title: These Vicious Masks
Authors: Taran Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads (Macmillan imprint)

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they're not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.

These Vicious Masks is a combination of the mysterious, the paranormal, and the adventurous, carried along by a quick-witted heroine with a clever tongue.

Evelyn is intelligent, opinionated, and head-strong. When her sister disappears and heads off to London, she refuses to sweep it under the rug. Refuses to not know the truth, to not be able to help and possibly rescue Rose. Which means a quick trip to London. Which means having to uncover secrets with the assistance of two rather different young men who annoy her for different reasons. But if she didn't work with them, find them irritating, begrudgingly accept their help when she needed it, she wouldn't have discovered the truth about them. About Rose. About herself.

The premise intrigued me, a mixture of Victorian sentiments and social movements mixed with a bit of the unexpected. It sounded like something I would read. The spirited heroine and the men who confound her, the search through the good streets and the bad, the shine of polite society and the harsh reality of the side streets and the docks. I had fun reading about Evelyn's moving between the two parts, struggling to keep them separate.

There were a number of times when I chuckled at the witty banter between Evelyn and Mr. Kent and Evelyn and Mr. Braddock. Both push her, annoy her, infuriate her, and she's able to do battle with them quite expertly. Considering I've recently read The Dark Days Club, I could say that there's a similarity or two, for those looking for something comparable to read, but this had much more humour and clever banter. I felt both amused and excited as I read on, curious as to what Evelyn would discover next on her search for Rose. I would recommend this to those looking for a race through Victorian London with some intelligent characters with some intriguing abilities. I'll be happily waiting for the next book.

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

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (264)

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

Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Flatiron Books (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

A big-hearted novel about being seen for who you really are.

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. She's determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can't help but start to let him in. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself--including her past. But Amanda's terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won't be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda's been keeping? It's that she used to be Andrew.

Will the truth cost Amanda her new life--and her new love?

If I Was Your Girl is a universal story about feeling different--and a love story that everyone will root for.

I'm so intrigued by this! A transgender main character! I get the feeling that this book will punch me right in the feels, make me think that some people are awesome while others can be the scum of the earth, like when I read None of the Above.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Me on Where Futures End

Title: Where Futures End
Author: Parker Peevyhouse
Release Date: February 9, 2015
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books (Penguin imprint)

One year from now, Dylan develops a sixth sense that allows him to glimpse another world. Ten years from now, Brixney must get more hits on her social media feed or risk being stuck in a debtors' colony. Thirty years from now, Epony scrubs her entire online profile from the web and goes "High Concept." Sixty years from now, Reef struggles to survive in a city turned virtual gameboard. And more than a hundred years from now, Quinn uncovers the alarming secret that links them all. Five people, divided by time, will determine the fate of us all. These are stories of a world bent on destroying itself, and of the alternate world that might be its savior--unless it's too late.

Where Futures End is a journey through time, a haunting collection of stories, of glimpses into what the world might become given the possibility that another world is right there, brushing up against ours, and how that connection changes us.

This is going to be a bit of a non-standard review from me. It has to do with how the story is written, how I want to express how complex and bizarre and somehow expertly connected all 5 stories are with each other. In the beginning, Dylan is looking to escape. It seems that he doesn't like his life, considering the number of times he pretends to be his brother and doesn't correct anyone. Like he wants to be someone else, wants to be somewhere else. Wants to be someone people pay attention to. Each narrator/main character is looking for something, is wanting something. They all want to escape and be in a better place.

There's a part of me that's fascinated by how each story was connected, how each time period was influenced by both the one before and the Other Place, and there's a part of me that's still confused. I think this book plays with connection and with possibility, with the idea that when we look to the future we need to keep an eye on what we're doing now, on the warnings. This book also plays with storytelling, how we recount the stories from the past and how they influence the present. If you're looking for a book that moves through time, that allows for short bursts of insight into different time periods, that somehow through all this movement still highlights the setting, then check this book out.

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