Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (272)

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

Title: The Last Boy and Girl in the World
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads:

What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?

While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.

And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.

There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost always outweighs the risk.


It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it’s not always clear what’s worth fighting for and what you should let become a memory.

I'm intrigued by this, by the plot of this book. Teens left to their own devices in a ruined town, left to do what they've wanted to, what they weren't able to do. Knowing they've got nothing to lose. It sounds interesting. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Me on The Pharos Gate

Title: The Pharos Gate
Author/artist: Nick Bantock
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books

A love story for the ages, the tale of Griffin and Sabine is an international sensation that spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and continues to beguile readers 25 years after its original publication. Here to celebrate that anniversary is the final volume in Griffin and Sabine's story—a book that can be enjoyed as a singular reading experience or in conjunction with the series as a whole. The Pharos Gate rejoices in the book as physical object, weaving together word and image in beautifully illustrated postcards and removable letters that reveal a sensual and metaphysical romance, one full of mystery and intrigue. Published simultaneously with the 25th-anniversary edition of Griffin & Sabine, The Pharos Gate finally shares what happened to the lovers in a gorgeous volume that will surely delight Griffin and Sabine's longtime fans and a new generation of readers.

The Pharos Gate is magical, a return to the impossible and inescapable magic of the previous books. A return to a couple separated by land and sea but connected by the depth of their love for each other, connected by happenstance. By letters and postcards.

The first three books enchanted me as a child. The gorgeous and sometimes abstract artwork of the postcards. The curved lines of Sabine's handwriting. The nervousness and hesitation in Griffin's first few messages, the panic at the end of the first book. The intensity of their journey. The way this story is told in few words, the finite number of words that can fit on the back of a postcard, but conveys enough emotion and determination as any thousand page book can.

Here is the last stretch for Sabine and Griffin. After corresponding for more than a year, after travelling around the world, after a failed attempt at being together, they are ready to leave their homes and their lives behind. They've shared secrets, shared artwork and ideas, shared the depth of their love for each other and the joy and sorrow that sprang up from it, like seedlings in the spring. They're ready to be together. But it's not so simple. Their first encounter was by chance, Sabine somehow, in the South Pacific, being able to see into Griffin's London studio. It was impossible. Improbable. And here are those in the world that will not allow them to meet.

There's an extra something in this book, an extra poignancy that's currently lost in the digital age, in the age of technology and immediacy. Time passes so slowly here. The longing, the waiting. The yearning to find a card in the mailbox, to see the familiar handwriting. This is what I remember when reading those first three books so many years ago. The desperation in Griffin and Sabine's words. Their desire to finally be face to face, to finally be together without fear or anger or distance in their way. Without the rules of the world in their way. They defy their hunter, defy the idea that "the pragmatic and the ethereal" should never meet, never marry. This is their choice. No matter what the rules of the world are, what some say. Their connection is stronger than that, goes deeper than that, and they will not be kept apart any longer.

I wonder if these books are where it started, my love of the mundane combined with the extraordinary. With storytelling. With epic love stories and connections. This is a definite must-read for those who fell in love with the earlier books, for those who've always wondered what happened between The Golden Mean and The Gryphon. For those looking for a piece of the impossible.

(I received a finished copy of this book to review from Raincoast Books.)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (199)

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. ;)

This is where all the rambling would be if I got any books this week or if anything interesting happened, but none came and I didn't go to the library and nothing much interesting happened my way this past week. It was another strange, sad week world news-wise.

I've been slowly making my way through the review books I have. I've hit a big e-galley pocket and it's a bit hard for me to work through it when my brain likes the tactile sensation of reading a paper book. But I'm determined to make it through.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature The Pharos Gate by Nick Bantock (Tuesday) and Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan (Friday). :)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Me on Gotham Academy Volume 2

Title: Gotham Academy Volume 2: Calamity
Writers & Artists: Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl & Mingjue Helen Chen
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: DC Comics

At the beginning of the term, Olive Silverlock returned to Gotham Academy a shadow of her former self. But thanks to her new friendships and their Detective Club sleuthing, Olive was finally starting to feel whole again. But now, Olive is seeing ghosts. A spectral, robed figure is haunting the Academy, and haunting Olive in particular, appearing to her and giving sinister instructions. Could this spirit be the key to unlocking the secrets of her family's dark past? Or is Olive simply losing her grip on reality? Plus, the kids hunt a werewolf on campus and Maps teams up with the Academy's newest transfer, Damian Wayne!

Gotham Academy Volume 2 is again full of mystery, investigation, danger, and supportive friendships. Olive's sorrow hangs over the school like a cloud full of rain, but she and Maps are still searching. Still hoping to find out more about Olive's mother and the secrets hiding in the walls.

Olive and Maps are back. Back to being awesome friends that work with each other, back to searching out the secrets of Gotham Academy. The secrets in Olive's past. Things are a little more serious now. We start to see the reason why Olive's mother was locked away in Arkham, the reason why Olive was sent to Gotham Academy. Her loneliness, listlessness, and desperation are quite clear. As sad as she is, she's desperate to know why, know who, and know what comes next. Maps, as always, is supportive, but she can't escape sticking her nose into secret things. Into Batman-related things. Into kick-ass sidekick things.

As with Volume 1, I love the artwork and the colouring. The clean, thin lines. The fury in Olive's eyes in the cover art. The bright pop of Maps' yellow raincoat in a dark, dreary, rainy scene. The sweet, round faces found in the first 'chapter' of this volume, the adorable artwork done by Mingjue Helen Chen.

After Volume 1, I had high hopes for this series. I was hoping what I found would continue. That the Pizza Club would keep on searching out and hunting down the Academy's secrets and mysteries. That the reason behind Olive's distant summer would come to light. In some ways, that is what's happened. It goes deeper into what pushes Olive, what motivates her and what scares her. But that's as deep as it goes. I was hoping for more about the school and its students. More diverse representation. Some LGBTQ characters.

I do wonder if I'm at some kind of crossroads with this series, if I'm waiting for a story that's being held back because of the pacing and release schedule of comics. Volume 2 is good. It picks up where Volume 1 left off and gets into some dark, dangerous things. I suppose I thought there would be more. Still, I am curious as to where the series will go as a whole. What Olive will do with this new family knowledge. Where Maps will go in her quest to learn every secret thing about Gotham Academy.

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (271)

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

Title: The Vanishing Throne
Author: Elizabeth May
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books

From Goodreads:

The second book in the Falconer trilogy is packed with surprises and suspense. 

Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the portal that she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes up in the fae world, trapped and tortured by the evil Lonnrach. With the help of an unexpected ally, Aileana re-enters the human world, only to find everything irrevocably changed. Edinburgh has been destroyed, and the few human survivors are living in an uneasy truce with the fae, while both worlds are in danger of disappearing altogether. Aileana holds the key to saving both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing that might be her life. 

Rich with imaginative detail, action, fae lore, and romance, The Vanishing Throne is a thrilling sequel to The Falconer.

I'm so looking forward to this. I remember reading the first one and falling in love with it, finding it to be something I was looking for. Something familiar but also different and new. I can't wait to see what happens next, what happens to Alieana. I get the feeling that I'm going to have to re-read the first book before this come out in the summer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Me on The Inn Between

Title: The Inn Between
Author: Marina Cohen
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Eleven-year-old Quinn has had some bad experiences lately. She was caught cheating in school, and then one day, her little sister Emma disappeared while walking home from school. She never returned. When Quinn's best friend Kara has to move away, she goes on one last trip with Kara and her family. They stop over at the first hotel they see, a Victorian inn that instantly gives Quinn the creeps, and she begins to notice strange things happening around them. When Kara's parents and then brother disappear without a trace, the girls are stranded in a hotel full of strange guests, hallways that twist back in on themselves, and a particularly nasty surprise lurking beneath the floorboards. Will the girls be able to solve the mystery of what happened to Kara's family before it's too late?

The Inn Between is a clever, mysterious journey through a hotel full of secrets. At the heart is Quinn, a girl with regrets in her heart, and as time passes she knows that something is going on. But will they be able to escape with everyone?

Quinn's looking for some time to herself. After the disappearance of her younger sister, she needs to get away from her parents. Parents who see her as a disappointment. Parents she feels that she's let down. She doesn't want things to change, and with Kara moving over the summer, she won't have anyone close that she can share things with any more. But then Kara's parents drive their van up to the Inn Between, a sudden paradise in the middle of the desert, and Quinn wonders if it's too good to be true.

There's a haunting, mysterious tone to the book that doesn't let up. Even at the beginning, Quinn is a bit absentminded, her thoughts somewhere else. Thinking about Emma. Then her thoughts turn to the people in the hotel. The suspiciously friendly woman behind the front desk. The couple with the little girl in the restaurant who think it's far too hot. The sad man in the baseball cap. They're only seen in glimpses, pieces, as Quinn and Kara try to uncover the truth about the Inn Between, about the reason why Kara's family was suddenly gone the next morning.

This definitely edges towards the creepier side of middle grade, which in its own way was refreshing to read. Sometimes there are ghost stories, stories like this book and Holly Black's Doll Bones, and they can delight as much as others. I was intrigued as I read this, following Quinn and Kara along as they searched for answers, as they wondered where they were and what was going to happen to them. I would definitely recommend this to those looking for some haunted middle grade.

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

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (198)

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 started. *sobbing* It's the start of lawn-mowing season. *falls into a pit of despair* Well, actually, it wasn't so bad. It's been sunny the past few days so it wasn't sopping wet. But this means it's the start of maybe 6 or 7 months of me complaining about mowing the grass. Like every year. ;)

I've vaguely hit one of those points where I feel like I'm missing a bunch of book releases. Like it feels like I'm missing a bunch of summer titles. This always happens, and after a few weeks it seems to balance out. But still. Doesn't stop me from worrying. It's because my review schedule still has gaps in it. But I'll probably be filling it in with library books and releases where there hasn't really been an ARC. Books like Riders and Map of Fates, books like The Winner's Kiss (although some days on Twitter it feels like it's been out for weeks) and The Raven King. I think I'll review The Raven King when my pre-ordered copy arrives, but I don't know what I'd say beyond a vague description of magic and trees and whispers and the magic in the everyday and the inescapable thing that is death.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature The Inn Between by Marina Cohen (Tuesday) and Gotham Academy Volume 2 (Friday). :)
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (e-galley from Sourcebooks through NetGalley)
Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen (e-galley from Angry Robot through NetGalley)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Blog tour: Gena/Finn

Hi all! Welcome to one of today's stops on the final day of the Gena/Finn blog tour! I'm so happy to be part of the blog tour, I love books by Hannah (they always punch you smack in the heart), and I was excited for this one with her friend Kat and reading about fandom and life and problems and how everything can intersect. Thanks so much to Raincoast Books and to Hannah and Kat for answering my question. :)
Gena/Finn certainly highlights how some internet friendships start, two people who have a shared interest in something coming together and talking about it before moving onto other things. Like Gena heading off to college and her meds and her hallucinations. Like Finn struggling to find work and figuring out her relationship with Charlie. In the beginning they barely know each other, but they still share some personal details. Do you think this is what internet friendships give us, a space to share some of the things we can't with those close to us? Is it the weird filter the Internet provides, the ability to have the sounding board qualities of a person but not be an actual person? The separation from not talking face-to-face?

KAT: Something Finn comes to realize early on in the book is that the people you meet online actually are real people. I think Charlie feels that his online friends, the members of his guild, are just faceless names, but Gena and Finn are waking up to the fact that the person in the computer is incredibly human and important. And, in fact, they find it really hard to maintain a separation. So I would say the internet can provide that filter for some people in some cases, but I don't think that's definitive of online friendships.

HANNAH: I don't think Gena ever had to wake up to that, actually. She has some of the same experiences I do--she's been in fandom for a long time, she went to a small school and thus is very good at deep conversations and very bad at small talk--so for her opening up has always been really natural.

Title: Gena/Finn
Authors: Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena's romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn's online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual "real" lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.

Gena/Finn is honest and heart-wrenching, so telling about the relationships we have with others and the different things we share with different people. This reads almost like an homage to fandom, to the friendships we make with people we only know across the vast distance that is the Internet, because sometimes those friendships end up defining us. For better or for worse, or somewhere in between.

Gena is bright and excited, pushing hard to make it out of her boarding school and off to college in the fall. She's looking forward to the new start while spending her downtime writing fanfics about her current interest, the cop show Up Below. It's great expanding on scenes and imagining what might've happened or (according to some fans) what should've happened. Finn is fresh out of college and floundering a bit. Now that's off in California with her boyfriend Charlie, she's struggling to find a decent job and sound happy in the e-mails to her parents. The only thing she has that cheers her up is Up Below and the little corner she's carved out for herself in its fandom. It's like they needed each other when they first met online. They needed someone to talk to, to talk out ideas, to share personal things that they wouldn't dare tell those close to them.

So much of this book is about fandom, about being a fan and sharing thoughts and ideas with other fans. About meeting people who feel the same way and slowly sharing other things with them. It shows the ups and downs of fandom, the fanfic writers and artists, the ones who are obsessed with certain characters, the ones who go to conventions to meet the actors and cosplay. The ones who hide themselves in fandom to avoid their 'real lives.' Some people need this escape, this time away from work or school or family in order to express themselves.

There's also a lot to be said about friendship and relationships in this book. The differences between the-person and online ones, the things we hide from those we're close to and the things we freely share with near-strangers on the Internet. How do we define these relationships? Can we? Clearly we need them, clearly Finn and Gena need them. Different people do different things for us, support us in different ways. They let us share or create, yell or cry or party. As multi-faceted as we can be, so are the relationships we have.

This book definitely doesn't hide that behind fandom, behind cheery letters to family and friends behind stories and art, there are people looking for a way to escape real life. That sometimes things get too hard, get too serious, and we're so afraid to ask for help, to admit defeat, that we retreat into something that makes us happy. That sometimes it's the connections we make with people we barely know that make us the strongest or the safest we've ever been. A definite must-read for those looking for books about friendships, relationships, fandom, and how they shape our lives.

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (270)

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

Title: Labyrinth Lost
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

From Goodreads:

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Beautiful Creatures meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone with an infusion of Latin American tradition in this highly original fantasy adventure.

Once again, another cover that I knew I'd show off once it was revealed. The cover looks like it fits so much with the story, with Alex's expression, her looking up, and the Latin American traditions and days like El Dia de Los Muertos. It sounds like it's going to be about magic and family and complicated things and I'm so on board for all of it. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Me on Out of Frame

Title: Out of Frame
Author: Megan Erickson
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Intermix (Penguin imprint)

Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise. And it won't be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality show Trip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show's beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he's straight—or so the world thinks. At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there's no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera's frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he's willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he's bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams...

Out of Focus is about two people trying to figure each other out, trying to figure themselves out, together while trying to keep things secret. Which is hard when you're on a cruise ship full of cameramen and drunk college students. These are the struggles of two men who want to be honest with themselves, with those around them, but for some reason or another keep getting held back.

Quinn is sweet, kind, and often slightly worried, which is just how he is. Growing up an only child with nervous parents, some of it was bound to wear off. But he doesn't want to be worried so much anymore. He wants to live after the last few years of constant college, constant saving and working, and a not-so-healthy relationship. He wants be alive, he wants to be wanted, but he doesn't want it to hurt.

J.R. is essentially living two lives. The public life, the one shown on camera, has him being tough, harsh, sneering, and straight. In his private life, the one he lives when he's alone or talking to his parents and brother on the phone, he's none of those things. He's been caught by circumstance and his own failed trust in his agent, stuck playing the role of the slightly tough straight black guy on a 'reality show.' It's wearing on him, weighing him down, and he wants nothing more than the show to end and for him to finally life honestly and openly as bisexual.

This book certainly shows, especially from J.R.'s point of view, the struggles of occupying a space where you can't be truthful, where you can't be your honest self. Of erasure, of being bisexual when everyone else thinks he's straight. He's been typecast in Trip League, crammed into a stereotype that those in charge of the show wanted, and it hurts him. He's constantly in a space full of people telling him to be quiet, to keep pretending, to not rock the boat and be different. Because it doesn't matter, right? He can just date women. Because he would've already dated women so he's basically straight, right? No. And all the while every piece of him is screaming to stop hiding. During the cruise he has Quinn to lean on, to be honest with, but it's not enough.

What I like about this series is how honest and realistic everyone's problems are. This could happen to anyone, everyone, and does happen so often in real life. So many hide their sexuality, their personality, their mental health status, because of family reasons, other personal reasons, work-related reasons. It's sad that, as open and progressive as many parts of the world claim to be, people still can't be honest and open about who they are. What they're anxious or worried about. Who they're attracted to, romantically and/or sexually. It's easy to look at what sets us apart, from differentiates us from each other, while forgetting that we're all human beings that deserve equal respect. A great addition to the series.

Quick note that as with most new adult titles out there, there is some explicit sexual content.

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

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (197)

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. ;)

So much rain. *paddles down the street*

I have a review buffer again! It's been ages since I haven't had to grasp at quickly reading something on a Wednesday or Thursday so the review can go up on the Friday. I figure I could've taken some more days off in order to not rush, but I like having a schedule.

So it's March and I haven't really done any planning in terms of the Canadian YA blog event for this year. It might be a bit more of a low-key year this year because of a number of reasons. My own vague reading slump. The struggle I have every year of thinking up questions and the stress over e-mailing authors to see if they're not busy. I panic every year over this. I think I'll still try to make my May reviews as CanYALit-centric as possible.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Out of Focus by Megan Erickson (Tuesday) and Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz & Kat Helgeson (Friday), along with a bit of blog tour fun. :)
Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly (borrowed from the library)
Titans by Victoria Scott (borrowed from the library)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Me on Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Title: Exit, Pursued by a Bear
Author: E.K. Johnston
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books (Penguin imprint)

Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn't mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don't cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team's summer training camp is Hermione's last and marks the beginning of the end of… she's not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black. In every class, there's a star cheerleader and pariah pregnant girl. They're never supposed to be the same person. Hermione struggles to regain the control she's always had and faces a wrenching decision about how to move on. The assault wasn't the beginning of Hermione Winter's story and she's not going to let it be the end. She won't be anyone's cautionary tale.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a book that shows the strength of girls after they are raped, the ways they fight back and live their lives after the assault, and the way one girl refuses to be a cautionary tale for those who will follow her.

Hermione is smart, personable, and kind. The kind of supportive girl you want in your corner, the kind of girl who you want to be in their corner. She's strong, focused, and looks at certain things with questions in her eyes. She wonders what her light year of high school will be like, where she'll be after graduating. She wonders why her boyfriend acts the way he does, a little presumptuous and a little more jealous. She wonders about cheerleading, how far the team will go in terms of competition over the school year. Then she's assaulted, drugged and raped and left cast aside. But she refuses to let the assault define her.

Hermione has to fight to regain her agency, from those in her life, from those she doesn't know. Which feels strange to her. Yes, she was raped. She doesn't deny it. But that doesn't mean she's suddenly a different person, that she's no longer who she was. She refuses to be treated any differently, to be seen as a warning, a story to tell others. Before the rape, she was Hermione Winters. After the rape, she remains Hermione Winters. No one will take that from her.

There's a support structure here not often seen in stories about rape and assault, not to this extent. There are so many here that support her choices, her decisions, her requests that she not be treated as a cautionary tale. Her best friend Polly. Her parents. The girls and boys on the cheerleading team. The police officer who handles her case. The therapist that drives two hours to meet with her once a week. The cheerleading coach. Not every rape and assault victim will have this kind of support, the kind of access to police, health care, and abortion services that Hermione does. This is one story about one girl. No two stories will be exactly the same.

As optimistic as this story is, it's still an honest story about what happens to a teenage girl before and after she is raped. In 2015, All the Rage by Courtney Summers highlighted the anger that some girls are filled with after they are raped, the shields they put up around them. The fear that fills them. The harm that victim blaming does. Both books push back at rape culture, at victim blaming. But both books tell different stories. Romy and Hermione are not the same girl. Their experiences pre- and post-rape are rather different, which is good. There is no one way to be raped, to be a victim of rape, to react after being raped, and to live your life in the days, weeks, months that follow. Once again, E.K. Johnston gives readers a heroine who refuses to be anyone but herself.

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (269)

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

Title: Company Town
Author: Madeline Ashby
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Tor

From Goodreads:

They call it Company Town--a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd.

Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. As such, she's the last truly organic person left on the rig--making her doubly an outsider, as well as a neglected daughter and bodyguard extraordinaire. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?

Meanwhile, a series of interconnected murders threatens the city's stability and heightens the unease of a rig turning over. All signs point to a nearly invisible serial killer, but all of the murders seem to lead right back to Hwa's front door. Company Town has never been the safest place to be--but now, the danger is personal.

A brilliant, twisted mystery, as one woman must evaluate saving the people of a town that can't be saved, or saving herself.

This all sounds rather intriguing. The family empire aspect, the sci-fi bio-engineering aspect, the murders and mystery aspect.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Blog Tour: A Gathering of Shadows

Blog tour time! All of my thanks go to Raincoast Books for the ARC and the chance to take part in the blog tour and to Victoria for answering my question about everyone's favourite reckless and inquisitive pirate, Delilah Bard. ;)

Victoria! I was tempted to just ask how you book, but that would be cheating (but seriously, how do you book? Kell! Lila! Rhy! MAGIC! SAD THINGS! DANGEROUS THINGS! *shaking my fists at the sky with book angst*). But my question is about Lila. Delilah Bard is a thief, a pirate, a traveler. She's headstrong and stubborn, quick with a blade and quicker with her tongue. She wants, and wants, and wants. There's her line to Kell in A Darker Shade of Magic, that she wasn't going to die until she'd seen everything. There's her line to Alucard near the beginning of A Gathering of Shadows, that she wants to know everything (which I took to mean both magic-everything and everything-everything). Where did this desperation of hers come from, this craving? Was it always there when she first appeared? Is it infuriating to have someone like Lila in your head?

Ah, Lila. My mad child. Her desperation comes from the fact that she sees surviving and living as very different, and up until the moment she meets Kell, she's been trapped doing the former. For her, it's as vicious a cycle as stealing, in that few people steal enough to be able to stop stealing. They just steal enough to keep themselves stealing. Poverty cast her into a position where no matter what she does, she can't get out. When Kell and Lila's paths collide, she is desperate to escape this cycle, and to take control of her own life. That often manifests as recklessness, but for Lila, recklessness is one of the only ways for her to truly exert that control, to say, it is my life. And she's been like that since the moment I started writing her. I often call Lila an aspirational character for me, which perplexes some people, but as an overthinker (a Kell), I envy her willingness to take great risks for the chance at freedom. I have all of her stubbornness, and only half her brawn.

Oh, Lila. How wonderfully dangerous you are. But you're going to give Kell an ulcer one day. It'll join the one Rhy's given him. ;)

Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V.E. Schwab
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Tor

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift, and into Black London. In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port. But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

A Gathering of Shadows is rich with magic, with mystery and danger, with compelling characters and impossible plots. The shadows haven't yet disappeared, not all of them. Something is coming, and it's coming to Red London.

Kell. Lila. Rhy. As before, each character is different, intriguing, hugely flawed, and looking to find something that's missing in their lives. Kell is filled with guilt, with self-hatred. Everything feels different, ever since he brought Rhy back from the dead, ever since he met Lila. Ever since Black London. In some ways he's desperate to run, desperate to leave the shackles of the court. To escape the nightmares that haunt him. He drifts through life, not sure what to do, where to go. How to go back to the Kell he was before. But he can't. Lila returns after months away at sea, months as a thief to a captain, as a student to a teacher. As a reckless, possibly amoral young woman who sees what she wants and will kill to get it. She's been poor, been nobody. Now she's somebody. She's one of a kind. And she can run as much as she can. But the past always returns, either running towards you or you running towards it. Rhy puts on the act of exciting, fun-loving prince even more so now, even while somehow spending less time out gallivanting. Things are different. He died. Now he and Kell share a life, feel what the other feels. But that's not living.

As always, the story spins and turns, races through streets and across the ocean. I'm in awe of how this alternate London feels so realistic, feels full of real people with their own plots, tricks, and motives. How their emotions, their excitement and their fear, feels so real. Everyone is seen in snippits and pieces. Back and forth, back and forth. It adds immediacy to the story, adds a desperation to my reading. Just enough is given to entertain,  to intrigue, to entice, and then the scene moves away, returns to another, and I was left grasping at threads, wondering both what would happen next and what I might be missing.

This feels like a book of consequence, of guilt and fear and sorrow, as opposed to the first book when it was about discovery, revelations, and in the end, survival and escape. Here, the end results of past events are circling, coming back around, returning to show how inescapable they are. My eyes were glued to the page as I read this, unable to put it down for long because I just had to know what would happen. For me, as the story progressed, the tension built and built until the end when it burst and I was left reeling, wondering how it could end like that. Wondering how long I would have to wait to find out what happens next. A definite must-read for fantasy and magic fans, for those looking for extremely complicated and flawed characters.

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

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (196)

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! No new books this week so this is going to be short. It's looking nice out today, which is a change from all the pouring rain from during the week.

I went down to Seattle to see Victoria Schwab on Tuesday. It was great to see her again, to hear her talk about her books with such joy but also be honest about how hard it is to actually get down and write and revise and edit and put in the work. But it's all worth it in the end. It was nice to go to an event, considering it's been a while since the last one and I have no idea when the next one will be.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Monday) along with a blog tour post and Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (Friday). :)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Me on A Study in Charlotte

Title: A Study in Charlotte
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books (HarperCollins imprint)

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that's not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective's enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who's inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there's a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they're being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

A Study in Charlotte is a rich mystery that brings the skill of Holmes and the humanity of Watson to the modern world in an uptight prep school setting.

Jamie. Or Watson, as Holmes often calls him. He's a little fanciful, a little lonely. He's looking for something. What he finds is Charlotte Holmes, a curious girl who investigates crimes, speaks rather matter-of-factly, and throws herself headfirst into dangerous situations. Before they meet, Jamie sees her as something magical, something impossible but real, considering the number of newspaper articles with her name in them. He once pictured them on adventures, just like the Holmes and Watson of old. But then he meets her, then he talks to her, then he learns about her vices (hardcore drugs) and her family situation (sending her off to America for school) and her secrets, and he realizes that she might actually be human. Even with the excellent deductive reasoning and the plots and plans. As Charlotte is only ever shown through Jamie's eyes, the reader only sees so much. Which is probably for the best.

The mystery. The clues. The investigation. It was all interesting, at times quick and others slow. The ways in which things happen as time goes by. The moments of discovery interspersed with moments of insanity, of lucidity, of boredom, of anger and arguing, and of melancholic musing. The plot and the rising tension worked well together, the mystery uncovered piece by piece until the exciting end.

I was interested in the story, in the mystery and the investigation of who the killer was. In the growing relationship between Watson and Holmes. It's hard to like Holmes, as it often it when the character appears in literature and on screen. Holmes can be hard, harsh, unfeeling, and a drug addict, which is how Holmes is here. As smart and as investigative as she is, she has her vices and her stubborn qualities. I would definitely suggest that Holmes fans and mystery fans check this book out.

(I received an advance copy of this title from another blogger/reviewer.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (268)

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

Title: Gemina
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)

From Goodreads:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

Hanna Donnelly is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik Malikov the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. 

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

How excited am I for this book?! I love how they've set up this 'series/trilogy' as each book holding the pieces of a bigger story. It just means that the ending will be massive and far-reaching. Similar to Amie's previous series with Meagan Spooner. And I love the blue of this cover, it'll contrast well with the reds and oranges of the Illuminae cover.