Saturday, July 30, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (217)

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 was really hot here this past week, like the hottest it's been so far this summer, which was nice but also not. I've been going for little walks in the evenings when it's cooled off now, all because of Pokémon GO, and all the sunshine means it's at least nice out. I did got for a walk one day before lunch, which was a mistake. Really hot, no clouds, and no shade along the streets at that point.

I've been trying to get a bunch of review reading done before my week of volunteering, mostly so I can read whatever while taking public transit, and so far it's slow going. I'd like to spend the week rereading some faves, but we'll see how it goes.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Starflight by Melissa Landers (Tuesday) and Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin (Friday). :)
The Shadow Hour by Melissa Gray (e-book borrowed from the library)
Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (ARC from Hachette Book Group Canada)
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (ARC from Hachette Book Group Canada)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Me on Two Summers

Title: Two Summers
Author: Aimee Friedman
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Point (Scholastic imprint)

When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds. In one, she travels to France, where she's dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue — but nothing is as it seems. In both summers, she will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. What may break her, though, is a terrible family secret, one she can't hide from anywhere. In the end, it may just be the truth she needs the most.

Two Summers is full of possibilities and what ifs, the chance to explore and to learn. But it doesn't matter where you are, at the end you still have to face reality.

Summer is a teenage girl caught up in possibility. Standing in front of the boarding gate, staring at her ringing phone, she wonders how things would be different depending on whether or not she answers her phone. Wonders what her summer would entail. The reader is given that chance, shown both possible summers, both possible settings and the things Summer learns along the way. She's smart but shy, creative but afraid to show it. Like most when they come to a crossroads, she would rather things not chance. She's happy with how her life is going, happy she has her friend Ruby and her mom at her side. But things can't always stay the same. People grow, learn, change, and Summer has to decide if she wants to as well.

The chance that Summer gets through the magic of fiction is one I imagine most people would like. The chance to know both sides of a decision, of a what if or either/or question. I like that Summer doesn't know that both summers are happening. It's more like they occur at the same time and the reader gets to see how each would've happened. They see the different things Summer learns, the different ways she hears about Ruby's new friends and the secrets both her mom and her dad are hiding.

This book reminds me so much of the movie Sliding Doors, when the main character lives out two different versions of her life based off of two different results of one action. The difference here is that Summer sort of learns the same things along the way. That friends change, that people change, and that's okay. That sometimes you have to actually talk to people instead of hiding behind a stoic mask. That you have to take risks, even though you might get hurt. That secrets kept by those close to you can hurt the most, even when they're keeping them with good intentions. And as for which summer Summer actually has? You'll have to read it to find out. I would recommend this to contemporary YA fans.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (289)

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

Title: Wayfarer
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

From Goodreads:

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta awakens alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected—Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk. 

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travelers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives. 

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable… and might just run out on both of them.

I enjoyed Passenger, I thought the time travel part was interesting, how it works with certain families, and there were some twists that I hadn't expected. It's interesting when people's motives win out over common sense or reason. I'm definitely curious about how it will end, how Etta and Nicholas will find the astrolabe and how everything will end. Who will live, who might die, and who might end up stuck in time because of reasons.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Me on The Gilded Cage

Title: The Gilded Cage
Author: Lucinda Gray
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co. Books for Young Readers (Macmillan imprint)

After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper-class England in the 1820s, is shattered when her brother mysteriously drowns. Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can't accept that her brother's death was an accident. A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There's a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham. Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother's killer claim her life, too?

The Gilded Cage is a cold, deadly mystery, one centered around an expansive country estate and those who live there. Is there something haunting the house, stalking its prey, or is it all coincidence and accidents?

Katherine is a simple country girl turned heiress to an English country estate. In this new world of ballrooms and status, she's lost, trying to find herself when she's caught between the hard farm life she once lived and the privileged life she now leads. She cannot see the point in wearing nice clothes, in pleasing the eyes of strangers in order to keep them from gossiping, when she's only just arrived, when they know nothing about her. When her brother has died so suddenly. Katherine is certain it was no accident, and she will not rest until she learns the truth.

I found that the wintry setting, the ice in the water and the chill in the air, added to the mystery. Something external and unavoidable seeping into something rather internal and secretive. It adds to the story, makes the location seem even more dangerous.

This is certainly a chilling mystery, a tale of secrets and death and suspicion, but that's it. I expected something more from the gothic aspect, something more intangible and impossible, but it never appeared. Katherine certainly stands out as someone not from the same time and place as the others, as her cousins Grace and Henry or her new friend Jane. Her bold, brash, searching for the truth unsettled a number of characters. They were not expecting someone like her to constantly ask questions and hunt out answers. Her character and her determination were the only things that kept me reading, everyone else seemed uninteresting. Those looking for a quick read, for a mystery with a few twists and turns, might want to check this book out.

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (216)

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 all! It was sunny and warm this week, so much so that I got a sunburn when walking around with my sister and her goofy dog. Fun! Do sunburns make anyone else feel tight and groggy? I felt terrible the first day after, so tired and stuffed up and wanting to sleep so much.

I've totally fallen into the pit that is Pokémon GO. I played Pokémon Gold and Crystal so much when I was a teen, I loved the collecting aspect and the wandering around, so I'm liking it so far. I'm not totally sold on the gym and the battling parts, though. I waited for the game to actually be released here in Canada before playing, which means I'm behind those who played early and levelled up and captured the gyms, but we'll see how it goes in the weeks to come. It's possible that people will stop playing as the summer goes on and into the fall, once the novelty wears off. As I like collecting things, I figure I'll be playing for a while. At least until I get certain ones like all the Eevee possibilities and the starters and so on.

Reviews going up this coming week will feature The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray (Tuesday) and Two Summers by Aimee Friedman (Friday). :)
The Stone Heart by Faith Erin Hicks (e-galley from First Second through NetGalley)
Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin (borrowed from the library)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Me on The Impostor Queen

Title: The Impostor Queen
Author: Sarah Fine
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster imprint)

Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule. But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn't enter Elli. It's nowhere to be found. Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

The Impostor Queen is a tale of magic and fate, of the intended and the unexpected, of will and servitude. A tale of making the choice that will let you hide from war and death versus making the choice that will save a kingdom.

Elli is meek and clueless about the world outside the temple, but she is inquisitive. She wants to know more, more about the magic that will fill her body when she takes over as the Valtia, more about the Kupari out in the city, more about the rumours of conflicts between bandits and miners. More about the possibility of war against the Soturi. But then, when she's found to have not taken in the magic of the former Valtia, she's discarded. Nearly killed. She survives because she doesn't want to die, she's lost and confused but wants to continue living. Of course, she didn't expect that she'd end up in the outlands, to end up in the company of thieves and the banished. She didn't know that she'd discover more truths outside the temple rather than inside. She didn't know she'd have to decide on whether or not to go back.

What first interested me in this wasn't the world-building or the magic, but they did intrigue me as the book went on. As Elli moved from a position of honour and importance to one of fear and possible death, as she was kicked out and left to somehow survive in the outlands as winter starts to creep across the land. The idea that the magic of the Kupari is only fire and ice, only those two elements, was curious. This world has magic, but specific types of magic. That usually isn't the case in terms of fantasy settings with magic, and I found this to be rather unique.

What first interested me in this book was that Elli was described as a bisexual princess, which is true. I was so surprised. Elli has lived a lonely life with only wizened elders and her handmaiden at her side. It was so nice to see this part of Elli, this sexual and romantic attraction to both men and women, described as something real. As something she would've acted on, if their positions had been different. If she'd found the courage to say something before everything changed. That alone made me want to read this because it's something that, unfortunately, appears so rarely in fantasy. I would definitely recommend this to fantasy fans looking for something different. Knowing that the next book is more of a companion novel than a sequel, I'm interested in seeing this world from a different side, interested in seeing how they come together.

(I borrowed an e-book copy of this title from the library.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (288)

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

Title: The Stone Heart
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: First Second Books (Macmillan imprint)

From Goodreads:

Kaidu and Rat have only just recovered from the assassination attempt on the General of All Blades when more chaos breaks loose in the Nameless City: deep conflicts within the Dao nation are making it impossible to find a political solution for the disputed territory of the City itself.

To complicate things further, Kaidu is fairly certain he's stumbled on a formula for the lost weapon of the mysterious founders of the City. . . . But sharing it with the Dao military would be a complete betrayal of his friendship with Rat. Can Kai find the right solution before the Dao find themselves at war?

Yes to more books from Faith. I really liked the first one, it was a great mix of interesting characters, mystery, and setting. The Nameless City is a curious place, one that belongs to everyone and to no one. One that holds many secrets in its walls and its towers. It's also great at highlighting what empire and colonization does, how a group can come in and claim a space, call it theirs, but is it really theirs? What about those who came before? What about those who built it? I can't wait for this next story.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Me on Places No One Knows

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

Waverly Camdenmar is perfect. She is straight As, most likely to take over the world. She has the best cross-country times, the most popular friends. And she hasn't slept in days. She spends her nights running until she can't even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tune, nagging sensation that there's more to life that student council and GPAs. Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he is does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly's world. But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall's bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly's dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she'll have to decide if it's worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists, in a place no one knows.

Places No One Knows is honest, raw, and emotional. It's a realistic look at the thoughts teens have, the worries and stresses that they mask with smiles and bury in recreational drug use. The pieces of themselves that they keep secret, the pieces that they wish they could reveal to someone.

Waverly is driven, focused, and intelligent. She keeps her life in order, follows a set plan. Goes to school, hangs out with friends, does homework, competes in cross-country. Wonders why she's friends with Maribeth. Says yes to an invitation to the dance because it was easier than saying no. Runs through the night when she can't sleep. She lives a life of lies, pretending she cares about what Maribeth says about anything, pretending that she's completely normal instead of a trainwreck with a great mask on. Then the dreams start. Marshall is lost and alone, on the edge of giving up. He's sick of school, sick of the unspoken words that circle his parents in their home, sick of escaping by getting drunk or high at his brother's place. He's withdrawn, mulling things over in his head so much, not caring about much of anything. Then Waverly appears next to him.

I do think this book is about the places no one knows, the secret places inside ourselves. The raw, fragile, meaningful places that we keep hidden because we know they'll be trampled on the second someone looking for a weakness finds it. They're tucked away, in pockets and shoes, in closets and lockers, so we can both keep them safe and ignore them. But they do appear from time to time. In secret messages on bathroom walls. In unsigned notes. In dreams.

This book wasn't what I expected. Did I like it, enjoy it? Yes. As with past Brenna Yovanoff books, it delivers an emotional punch. An honest look at what we put ourselves through, what we lie about to ourselves and to others, and what we wish we could say out loud. Both Waverly and Marshall hide from the world, hide the parts that have been hurt and scarred, covering them with masks and scarves in order to appear normal. But what is normal? Being normal is being insecure, is being worried and uncomfortable. Being normal is doing what you want and not what your friend constantly nags you into doing. Being normal is being you, flaws and all. Revealing those hidden places when you find someone willing to share theirs with you. This is the harsh reality of high school, of being human, and somehow surviving.

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

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (215)

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. ;)

After weeks that have been this somber, pensive, surprising, hateful, and caring, it's hard to know what to talk about. *hugs*

Reviews going up this coming week will feature Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff (Tuesday) and The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine (Friday). :)
Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff (borrowed from the library)
Two Summers by Aimee Friedman (borrowed from the library)
Starflight by Melissa Landers (borrowed from the library)
Enter a Glossy Web by McKenna Rhea Ruebush (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Rebel Genius by Michael Dante DiMartino (ARC from Raincoast Books)
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamond Hodge (e-galley from HarperCollins through Edelweiss)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Me on Razorhurst

Title: Razorhurst
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Soho Teen (Soho Press imprint)

Sydney's deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by "razor men." Kelpie, orphaned and homeless, is blessed (and cursed) with the ability to see Razorhurst's many ghosts. They tell her secrets the living can't know about the cracks already forming in the mobs' truce. Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell, a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She's earned the nickname "Angel of Death" because none of her beaus has ever survived knowing her. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and she knows that Gloriana's hold is crumbling one henchman at a time. As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens the two girls at every turn, Dymphna is determined not only to survive, but to rise to the top with Kelpie at her side.

Razorhurst is dark and dangerous, lethal and haunting. It's a glimpse of a time, of a neighbourhood, caught up in a crumbling agreement. A glimpse of two young women trying to navigate their way out while hands keep grasping at them, pulling them back in.

Kelpie is sweet and alone, a lost orphan girl. Left to her own devices, which aren't in great number. Left to scour the streets for food and shelter, left to hide from cops and Welfare. Left to be raised by ghosts. Dymphna is beautiful, mysterious. Deadly. The men who she becomes involved with can't stay alive for long. There's darkness in her past, a past she's run from, a past she hides as she lives in a fancy apartment, bought with money earned as Gloriana Nelson's best girl. Both of these young women come together by accident, by happenstance, and become immersed in a dangerous plot. Surrounded by guns, razors, and shouting ghosts, each must trust the other if they both want to survive.

The way this book is written is a curious kind of exploration, both of character and of setting. Chapters that alternate between plot, Kelpie and Dymphna's race to keep themselves hidden and alive, and insight and history. The history of why the neighbourhood is called Razorhurst, of where Kelpie came from and the times the ghosts helped her eat and learn, of where Dymphna ran from and how she ended up a prostitute. Moments of the past, glimpses into characters and the events that shaped them. As a fan of storytelling, I was very intrigued.

This is a dense book, full of detail, of worried thoughts and dangerous characters. It's a density that kept me reading, kept me wondering. Who was Kelpie's birth family? Would the war between Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson going to come to a head? Will Kelpie or Dymphna ever say out loud that they can see ghosts? Will both young women survive? As this book takes place during a time period in a country I don't know too much about, I was eager to learn of its history, that the author drew from her neighbourhood and looked at its bloody past. Looked at the ways women were treated, the jobs they took in order to support themselves, and the power they fight to keep. I would definitely recommend this to all readers, to historical fiction fans and ghostly mystery fans and those looking for a new story.

(I borrowed an e-book copy of this title from the library.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (287)

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

Title: Like a River Glorious
Author: Rae Carson
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins imprint)

From Goodreads:

After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram.

Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom.

The second epic historical fantasy in the Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson, the acclaimed author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Walk on Earth a Stranger last year, how intrigued I was by the time period, the Gold Rush to California setting and Lee's vague gold-finding ability. By the other people around her, the strength they all carried. This sounds like it will be far darker than the first book, especially when it comes to Lee's creepy uncle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Me on Flying

Title: Flying
Author: Carrie Jones
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen

People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She's used to being coddled, being an only child, but it's hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother's babying gets more stifling than ever, she's looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while. But that night, Mana's life goes haywire. First, the hot guy she's been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she's always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective. It turns out, Mana's frumpy, timid mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she's missing--taking a piece of technology with her that everyone wants their hands on, both human and alien. Now her supposed partner, a guy that Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up, ordering Mana to come with him. Now, on her own for the first time, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother--and maybe the world--and hope she's up to the challenge.

Flying is an exciting and dangerous race to find the missing, to find the answers to Mana's sudden questions. Like where her mom is. Like why the guy she was crushing on can suddenly spit acid. Like what's happening to her.

Mana is snarky and quirky, a great friend and a great daughter. A little coddled by her over-protective but also supportive mom. Being kept from a number of things as she grew up, she's curious. Inquisitive. Maybe a little nosy. She refuses to back down when it comes to finding her mother, when it comes to finding out the truth. And when it turns out her mom is an alien hunter, that she works with this abrasive guy named China who's been sent to take Mana to their people in order to help them out? Mana's all in. Anything to save her mom. Which pushes her head-first into a fair amount of danger.

I would agree that this does read like Buffy meet Men in Black, a plucky, snarky cheerleader somehow falling in with aliens and alien hunters and plots to kill all humans. There were parts I found interesting, like the beginning when we're introduced to Mana, to her friends Lyle and Seppie. The moments of banter between Mana and China. It definitely felt a bit different than other books I've read recently. The stakes are high, the tension is building, but the repeated moments of adult characters refusing to explain anything to Mana near the beginning of the book slowed things down. The silence and runarounds only made Mana annoyed and angry and made me annoyed for her.

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

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (214)

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. ;)

*hugs for all those who've needed it this past week, the past few weeks*

I got my Kobo working in terms of e-books I've gotten from my library. After reading some on the smaller screen of my phone, I got some pretty bad headaches. This will make things a lot easier in terms of reading and continuing the summer of reviewing backlist titles and library books.

Reviews this coming week will feature Flying by Carrie Jones (Tuesday) and Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier (Friday).
Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier (e-book borrowed from the library)
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan (e-book borrowed from the library)
The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine (e-book borrowed from the library)
The Program by Suzanne Young (e-book borrowed from the library)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Me on On the Edge of Gone

Title: On the Edge of Gone
Author: Corinne Duyvis
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books (Abrams imprint)

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 near 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. Then a last-minute encounter leads them to something better than a temporary shelter: a generation ship that's scheduled to leave Earth behind and colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But each passenger must have a practical skill to contribute. 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?

On the Edge of Gone is a thoughtful, tense look at the end of the world, at what might happen if something were to collide with Earth. Yes, it's about survival, but value also comes into play. Is everyone's value the same, no matter what, or does it differ? Who is worth saving? How can you calculate something so intangible?

Denise is smart, quiet. Worried. Autistic. She's upset with her mother for dragging her feet, for wasting time they don't have in order to get to a shelter. Her relationship with her mother is complicated, needing her for a number of things that she can't do because of her age but not wanting her around because of her drug problem. It does leave Denise caught between saving her, because she's her mother, and pushing her away to keep her from spiraling.

Here we have the end of the world. Potentially. The comet is coming, and it will hit the Earth's surface, but after that? Who knows? In terms of world-building, I thought it was great, atmospheric and dismal. Even more so because of the setting, because it takes place in Amsterdam. The high density of Europe, the different people and cultures that mix together in European cities. How similar it would be if the book was set in North America. We're all human. We would all react to an event like this in similar ways, yes? Stockpile, build, protect. Survive.

As time goes on for Denise, the feeling of not knowing what to do builds and builds. Which is understandable. She's sixteen, she loves cats. What is she supposed to do in terms of survival? In terms of being on a spaceship? How is she supposed to know what to do? With the amount of time left? How are any of us supposed to know what to do? How are we to prove our worth? What if we believe we are worth more than others? What if the others disagree?

This book is as diverse as it gets, led by a biracial autistic narrator as she searches for a place to survive. The different people she meets, gay and straight and lesbian and bisexual and trans, Jewish and Christian and Muslim, able-bodied and physically or intellectually impaired. It's also, for sci-fi, not that scientific or impossible. This could very well happen. And it seems more about Denise and her connections with others, her internal struggles, her desire to find something to do when told she has to prove herself useful. I found this to be an intriguing look at the human aspect of science fiction and a pending apocalypse, a book I would recommend to those looking for more grounded science fiction and those looking for stories that explore people and their thoughts and motives.

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (286)

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

Title: Every Hidden Thing
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada

From Goodreads:

Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.

But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.

As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?

I'm so intrigued by this! Dinosaur bone-searching plus romance? I'm all in. This sounds different than other books with similar descriptions. Plus it's historical! It's set in the late 1800's! Want. Want so much.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Me on Lumberjanes Volume 2

Title: Lumberjanes Volume 2: Friendship to the Max!
Writers & Artists: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen & Marta Laiho
Release Date:
Publisher: BOOM! Studios

Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are not your average campers and Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types is not your average summer camp. Between the river monsters, magic, and the art of friendship bracelets, this summer is only just beginning. Join the Lumberjanes as they take on raptors and a sibling rivalry that only myths are made of.

Lumberjanes Volume 2 is the further adventures of the Lumberjane scouts, the continuation of the mystery they first discovered in the forest.

The girls are back. Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley. They're still bright, still ready to save the camp from evil creatures. Still falling into dangerous situations, acting too quickly and not thinking everything through. But still helping each other out, saving each other when they're trapped or captured. There's a fair amount of thinking about others and not about their own safety, which is reckless but shows how important they find their friends to be.

The art is still wonderful. Still bright and fun. The lines are a little sketchy, a little rough around the edges, and that only adds to the charm. To the frantic running and chasing that happens so much in this volume. And the over-eager excitement that seems to spread out from Ripley. I love the colours of this series, bright and bold, highlighting the peak of summer hijinks.

This is definitely the end of the story arc that started in volume 1. The mystery behind the creatures with the glowing eyes, the secret messages/anagrams. But there are still questions to be asked. And, considering the dynamic of the five girls and how quickly they, but mostly Ripley, get into trouble, the adventures to come are bound to be just as wild, magical, and complicated. A great read for the summer, or for any time of year. Would definitely recommend to middle grade and teen readers looking for comics with excitement and mystery.

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

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Me on This Week's Book Week (213)

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 was Canada Day yesterday, which is often like a big birthday for the country. The weather wasn't the best in the morning, but it brightened up as the day went on. But like with us and most holidays, it was rather low-key. We're a small family.

I'm still looking to fill my review schedule for the summer so please please suggest some books for me to check out. :)

Reviews this coming week will feature Lumberjanes Volume 2 (Tuesday) and On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis (Friday). :)
Lumberjanes Volume 2 (borrowed from the library)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (borrowed from the library)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Me on Heroine Complex

Title: Heroine Complex
Author: Sarah Kuhn
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: DAW (Penguin imprint)

Evie Tanaka is the put-upon personal assistant to Aveda Jupiter, her childhood best friend and San Francisco's most beloved superheroine. She's great at her job—blending into the background, handling her boss's epic diva tantrums, and getting demon blood out of leather pants. Unfortunately, she's not nearly as together when it comes to running her own life, standing up for herself, or raising her tempestuous teenage sister, Bea. But everything changes when Evie's forced to pose as her glamorous boss for one night, and her darkest comes out: she has powers, too. Now it's up to her to contend with murderous cupcakes, nosy gossip bloggers, and supernatural karaoke battles—all while juggling unexpected romance and Aveda's increasingly outrageous demands. And when a larger threat emerges, Evie must finally take charge and become a superheroine in her own right... or see her city fall to a full-on demonic invasion.

Heroine Complex is exciting and dangerous. It's a fast-paced adventure across San Francisco and an honest look at friendships and having the confidence to stand up and fight for those you care about and what you believe in.

Evie is caring and supportive, working as hard as she can to save money for her and her sister. Working as hard as she can to make sure that superheroine boss Aveda Jupiter only has to worry about kicking demon butt and looking awesome while doing it. It's her job to keep all the darker secret stuff hidden away, like the fact that Aveda can fall into tantrums quicker than a toddler, like how she worries all the time about money and her sister's acting out. Like how Evie has her own superpower that she's afraid of. Evie's strong and smart but a total pushover. Her sense of self-worth and confidence in her abilities needs a real shot in the arm, especially if she's going to help save the city from an invasion of demons, but doing that might mean saying the things she's always wanted to say to Aveda to her face.

This is a book about superheroes, about what makes them in terms of mystical superpowers and in terms of personality and drive. It's been a long-running requirement of saving the world from villains and demons that superheroes be physically strong, that they be able to both throw and take a punch. But what about the strength that comes from being confident with yourself and your abilities. Both Evie and Aveda are insecure about a lot of things when it comes to themselves and their abilities, which makes them great at being flawed heroes. The hardest thing for them might be to be completely honest with each other and those around them.

I did find this book fun, this is a fresh look at being a superhero in a modern day setting. There's a lot more interpersonal relationship talk than I was expecting, but the moments of fighting and saving the day do balance it out. I wasn't necessarily a fan of the times Aveda would talk down to Evie, how Aveda would always need to have her way, but all those moments worked with her personality, with her needing to be in the spotlight. I would recommend this to urban fantasy and paranormal fans looking for something new and different.

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