Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter


The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter
Release Date – July 30, 2012
Publisher Website –  Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  395 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**received from publisher for an honest review (via Netgalley)**

**SPOILERS FOR THE GODDESS TEST and GODDESSS INTERRUPTED**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
For millennia we've caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimee Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows. 
Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness.... 
Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal.... 
Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another.... 
James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before.... 
Henry/Hades's solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope.... 
Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages
While reading The Goddess Test and it's sequel Goddess Interrupted I often found myself wondering about some of the other characters and their actions. The story is told from Kate's perspective and we only know what she is privy to. These are the kind of novellas that make you want to go back and re-read the previous novels. Each novella gives you insight into the characters and paints their actions in a new, and often changing, light.

The notion of good and bad is tossed aside as Aimee shows each character is a shade of grey. I felt for each of them, and yet disliked many of their actions, but each story brought me something new to think about.

The first story, titled The Goddess Queen deals with Hera (Calliope) and her story. Her callous and unthinkable actions from the previous novel are not excused, but rather explained. The heartbreaking, crushing betrayal from not only her husband but her sisters  had a hand in turning Hera into the cold hearted, formidable goddess we know. Her love for Henry is understandable, if somewhat intense. Her strength is shown, and I do believe she is a force to be reckoned with.

The second story titled The Lovestruck Goddess deals with Aphrodite's (Ava) story. The theme of different loves providing you with different things, and if we should expect to get everything we need from one person are explored in this story. Aphrodite is absolutely fickle, but she never hides this. She is upfront and honest about what parts of herself she can give to another person, and what she is unwilling to comprise on. The importance of finding someone who cares and loves you for who you are is also something I took away from the novella. She’s quite sure of who she is and what she needs which is not always the case for young women.

The third story title The Goddess of the Underworld happened to be my favourite. It is Persephone’s story. It resonated the most with me because we learn about events that not only motivate Persephone, but Hades (Henry) as well.  The power of love, and what you are willing to sacrifice for it was beautifully touched upon in this sad novella. The theme of not settling for anything less than someone you care deeply for, and who cares just as deeply for you is one that also ties into the present time story as well. Love can not, and should not be one sided no matter what the circumstances and letting someone go might just be the greatest act of love there is. I did enjoy seeing where the Persephone/Ava dynamic began. The heartbreak both Henry and Persephone go through in this novella really helps the reader understand Henry’s current state of mind in dealing with Kate.

The fourth story is titled God of Thieves tells of Hermes (James) relationship with a girl named Tuck. Acceptance from our family is very important, but sometimes our family can be those who are not related to use by blood. James learns the true nature of loss and love. James sought out the answer to why the gods and goddesses are fading, and I think this story may be quite important to The Goddess Inheritance. Getting to see how the relationship between Henry and James became strained was something I was happy to discover, and this novel made me look at James quite differently.

The fifth story entitled God of Darkness revolves around the path Hades (Henry) takes leading up to meeting Kate. The devastation he felt each time a small piece of hope was ripped away when one of the girls was murdered tore at my heart. His distance from Kate is not only understandable but expected. Henry’s fear of getting close, to only be hurt again, has caused him to shut down. Everyone who has had their heartbroken can relate to the pain of opening up again. The Henry we meet in The Goddess Test is already in ruins, and this tells his side of how he got to that point. Ultimately this ends on a note of hope in the form of Kate. A tentative, small step out of the darkness and towards the light.

This novel deepens the characters, shines new light on the previous novels, and might even get you to view beloved (and maybe not so loved) characters differently. This is the reason novella’s should exist.  It is a book for the fans in every way and for that, I say thank you Aimee.

Monday, July 30, 2012

In Honor by Jessi Kirby




In Honor by Jessi Kirby
Release Date –  May 8, 2011
Publisher Website –  Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  240 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**borrowed from library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Hours after her brother’s military funeral, Honor opens the last letter Finn ever sent. In her grief, she interprets his note as a final request and spontaneously decides to go to California to fulfill it.
Honor gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen Rusty in ages, but it’s obvious he is as arrogant and stubborn as ever—not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. Despite Honor’s better judgment, the two set off together on a voyage from Texas to California. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn’s memory—but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?
In Honor has the makings of a great read - likeable characters, a pop star that brings to mind Taylor Swift and a road trip. While the novel was certainly likeable it left me wanting more. I was hoping for something deeper. It ended up by an average read for me.

The characters while quite likeable did not resonate with me to leave a lasting impression. The plot, while engaging, is reminiscent of  other books I’ve read. Jessi Kirby does, however, make the plot her own and does so with her wonderful writing and charming characters.

The pacing  was great at the start but it felt a little rushed towards the end.  Once they reached California a lot was a lot happening very quickly and it felt a little jarring to me.

Honor’s journey isn’t just to fulfill what she sees as her brother’s last request but to also challenge herself.  She does  a lot of things she would normally never do while on this trip of self discovery and growth. Her character learns some hard truths, and this makes her perspective change. Having your character grow and change is important in any novel and this aspect was a strength of this one.

Rusty is the bad boy who might be hiding something good underneath it all. He goes from sweet, to infuriating many times throughout the novel. The cute banter between he and Honor provided some sweet moments.

Finn, the protective older brother, is such a large part of the novel because his death is the catalyst for everything. While you think the novel would have a sad, darker feel this is not the case. Finn’s death does provide many heartfelt moments but the novels tone is much more light hearted over all.

Part coming of age, part road trip Jessi Kirby has created a cute, quickly readable story. It may resonate with other readers more than it did with me. I found it to be a average read that will compliment those long summer days at the beach

Saturday, July 28, 2012

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

My books this week consist of some amazing titles from Raincoast Books.


Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (goodreads)
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (goodreads)
Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones (goodreads)

A huge thank you for Raincoast! I have already read and LOVED Girl of Nightmares! I also really liked Catching Jordan so I have high hopes for Stealing Parker.

I also snagged an eARC from Netgalley


Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (goodreads)

Been hearing great things about this one and decided to give it a try.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Michelle Hodkin announces third Mara Dyer novel

My love of Mara Dyer (and Noah Shaw) is well known if you have read my blog. I was hoping that there would be a third Mara Dyer novel to make the series a trilogy. Well, this week Michelle announced that the third book is officially happening and it even has a title - The Retribution of Mara Dyer.

TV

Dracula update starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers

I got really excited when I heard this was in the works. VERY excited. Right up until I heard the network that it is going to be on - NBC. I don't have anything against NBC. They even have some shows I do like. My issues is that network television will tame this down. It needs to be on HBO or something similar. When I think vampires I think sexy and when that vampire happens to be as good looking as Johnny well.....I am afraid the network might not allow as much sexiness as I would like.

Jonathan is a fantastic actor and so charming in person (yes, I've met him) and I think this casting is PERFECT. I am a little apprehensive about the synopsis though (as well as the network) so I remain hesitantly optimistic about this 10 episode mini series. I believe it will be a fall 2013 addition to the network.

OTHER

Ottawa Blogger Meet Up

A bunch of us Ottawa bloggers are meeting up tomorrow! A lovely group of ladies who are as obsessed with books as I am. Very excited to chat about what everyone has been reading and what we can not wait for.

Ontario Blogger Meet Up

A lovely group of Toronto blogger started this Ontario wide meet up that is going to take place in Nov this year. It is the second annual meet up and I am so excited to be going this year. I have already obtained my ticket for the event and the Ottawa bloggers are making plans to make a road trip out of it.

So what you are obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Follow Friday


Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

Q: Summer Reading. What was your favorite book that you were REQUIRED to read when you were in school?

Hmm....I loved Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Lord of the Flies stayed with me long after I read it. I also did a book report on Pride and Prejudice which is one of my all time favourites.


TGIF at GReads! is a weekly blog hop hosted by Ginger from GReads

This weeks question is

Christmas in July: If Santa were to come down your chimney in the middle of summer, which books would you want him to leave for you under the tree?

Can they be books that are not out yet? If so The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and, one that is already out, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

Happy Weekend!

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver


We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Release Date –  March 23, 2003
Publisher Website –  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -  400 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
A mother has many situations that would qualify as a parents worst nightmare after they have children. Many horrors that could potentially happen to their offspring and their instinct is protect. This story deals with the dread of hearing something horrific has happened at your child’s school…..only to be told your child is not a victim but rather the perpetrator.

The families of the people who commit acts of violence have never really entered my thoughts. I usually feel for the victims, their families and loved ones. I think it’s easier to not think of the one responsible as having people who might care about them. This novel took me and made me examine what it might be like for those left behind. By the end of the novel I looked at them as another casualty in a tragic situation.

The idea of writing the novel in letter format resonated with me. I felt I got to know Eva much better this way. Her voice was so clear and was an extension of her character. Her background, past experience, education, and beliefs all presented themselves in her writing. A guilt driven, haunted and strong woman her pain is uncomfortable because it’s easy to put yourself in her place.

The other characters come to life and are so richly developed and multifaceted. Kevin, and Franklin are so fully realized with using only Eva’s voice. Lionel Shriver’s strength is evident when you take into account that this all comes about in letter format.

I found the notion that she wasn’t one hundred percent sure of motherhood, and that she was even a little put off by the idea intriguing. I had not come across a woman in literature who was quite indifferent to motherhood. A flawed mother that keeps her child at a distance. She was a little selfish, not ready to give up her career and perhaps she would never be ready. She did not feel like she was a good mother to Kevin, and this caused her to blame herself for a lot of his actions.

Kevin fascinated me. His character danced teasingly between allowing the reader to grasp an understanding of him and his being a million steps ahead of not only Eva but the reader as well. His tight clothing, indifference and cold nature masked something that is not relatable, and yet not unrecognizable either. Perhaps the scariest thing about Kevin is how average he appears, and how completely unknowable he is. His intelligence and ability to see through people were tools he used to get under people's skin and make them uncomfortable. Manipulative, bored, and distant are just some of the words I would use to describe this complex character.

A sense of foreboding accompanies the novel’s slow build to it’s shattering conclusion. Something that was telegraphed and hinted at so completely in the novel eluded me and I was left shocked and shaken. While the novel has a most satisfying ending, the lack of a definitive reasoning behind Kevin’s actions may unsettle some readers.

This story is an unflinching look at senseless tragedies, and those left in the aftermath that are rarely thought of. It’s also an eye opening look at raising children that might make some people uncomfortable. It’s a gripping, complex read that will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday...Scarlet

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is Scarlet by Marissa Meyer


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. 
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own. 
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Cinder is amazing and I enjoyed it so much. I am excited to meet Wolf! I can't wait to get my hands on this. Early reactions seem to be really positive and are making me even more anxious.


How gorgeous are these covers?!

Expected release date - February 5, 2013

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

500 Follower Giveaway!


I recently surpassed a goal that, for me, is mind blowing. I hit 500 followers on this blog. When I started it just over a year ago I never expected to have this many followers. It's awesome and I want to thank each and every one of you.

This means it's time for a giveaway! Two prizes are up for grabs. The first one is a mystery ARC. I thought this might be fun. All I will say is it's an ARC that will be releasing in the fall and the cover is quite pretty.

The second prize prize is any book from my Top Ten of 2012 (so far) list.

To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The contest is open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your country.

Thanks again everyone for making this a wonderful, crazy, awesome experience.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March


The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March
Release Date –  June 19, 2011
Publisher Website –  Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  325 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained via Twitter contest**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the bestselling tradition of The Friday Night Knitting Club and The Jane Austen Book Club, three women find unexpected answers, happiness, and one another, using Meryl Streep’s movies as their inspiration. Three estranged female relatives—two sisters and the cousin they grew up with after a tragedy—are summoned home to their aunt’s inn on the coast of Maine. Thirty-one-year-old Isabel Nash McNeal is reeling from her husband’s affair, but a secret pact she made years ago may keep her from the one thing she wants most. Twenty-eight-year-old single mother June Nash promised her young son she’ll finally track down his father, and her search will lead her where she least expects it. Their cousin, twenty-five-year old Kat Weller, rocked by her mother’s shocking announcement and the arrival of her cousins, accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal—then has her “yes” tested in ways she never imagined. Every Friday night, Isabel, June, and Kat reluctantly get together to watch the films of their family matriarch’s favorite actress—Meryl Streep—and find themselves sharing secrets, talking long into the night, and questioning everything they thought they knew about one another, life, and love. Through surprising and heartfelt discussions of movies such as Out of Africa, The Bridges of Madison County, and Mamma Mia, the three women unexpectedly discover who they really are and what they truly want.
Having characters bond over movies, books, and other forms of entertainment is nothing new in literature. They provide something to discuss, dissect and entertain. This novel takes that and shows that it can bring families closer, provoke us to think about our own lives, and sometimes even provide us some answers that we’ve been searching for.

The setting of this novel, a charming town in Maine, is almost another character. The quaint inn that the story mostly takes place in provides the perfect backdrop to this character driven novel. While the characters were less clear in my head, the setting was easy to picture. The inn and surrounding area sounded lovely and a great vacation spot.

Based on the synopsis I was expecting a much more serious book than it ended up being. Light, fun and touched with some romance this novel is a great beach time read.

June, Isabel, and Kat are the three characters that the story mostly revolves around. Each woman is trying to find themselves and are on a cusp of a change in their life. Kat has to decide between getting married or following her dreams, June finds herself uprooting her life back to where she grew up, and Isabel finds her marriage ending after her husband cheats. Each woman has choices to make and each struggles in their own way. I felt connected to them and invested in the outcomes for each of them. I personally found Kat to the by the most engaging and looked forward to her sections in the novel.

The bonds between these women felt authentic and real. The strong point of the novel is seeing their relationship grow and evolve into a true friendship. The ups and downs they experience and handled together. The family dynamic was believable and  rather touching.

The book will make you want to watch many of the Meryl Streep movies discussed. The movies selected are ones that resonate with the characters and help the plot along so it all connects rather nicely.

While this book does have serious issues in it, the tone of the novel tends to remain fun and light. It is perfect for a summer read. A story of growing up, finding yourself and reconnecting, The Meryl Streep Movie Club made me want to start my own movie club.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

My book haul this week is all library books as I had a huge batch of requests come in at the same time.


Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead (goodreads)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon  (goodreads)
Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J Black (goodreads)
In Honor by Jessi Kirby (goodreads)

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I am now obessed with reading this novel. I can't wait to get my hands on it. My library has a waiting list that is approx 200 people long so it might be awhile but it sounds so good!

Books that stay with you

I have recently read two books that really stuck with me. I don't mean life changing reads or anything, just something about them resonated with me.

We Need To Talk About Kevin haunted me long after I finished it. The ending packed a punch I wasn't expecting and it made me think back and examine things that happened previous in the novel. It makes you think about a horrific event from a perspective I never thought much about before.

The Meryl Streep Movie Club made me want to grab a bunch of my friends and start our own movie club. It is on this list for that reason alone.

MOVIES

The Dark Knight Rises poster


I hadn't seen this one until the other day. OMG! The high heel spike on the Batman symbol! I love it. The lipstick and the XX signature is so Catwoman. It mixes the gothic feel of Chris Nolan's world with the sexiness you would expect from the character. I can not wait to see this movie!

OTHER

500 Followers

Excuse me while I freak out. So, yesterday I surpassed a goal I never expected to hit - I have over 500 followers. I am in awe that anyone is following this little blog. A giveaway will be going up next week (most likely Tuesday) as a thank you to everyone that is following me. Thank you for making this a crazy awesome adventure.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Follow Friday


Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends.

This week I happen to be the FEATURE blogger on Alison Can Read and am very excited to be featured on such a great blog.

You can visit either Parajunkee's View or Alison Can Read to sign up, or sign up below.



This weeks question is:

Q: Christmas in July! Someone gives you a gift card for two books (whatever that costs). What two books will you buy?

I have so many books I would love to purchase. If I were able to purchase any two books I think I would select Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. I have heard so many wonderful things about Gone Girl and I am quite excited to read it. As for Forbidden, I had read it awhile ago and loved it and have yet to purchase my own copy.

Happy Weekend!

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce


Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Release Date –  August 23, 2011
Publisher Website –  Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 310 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained from the library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too. 
Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion. 
Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past -- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone -- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is. 
Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
Sweetly may just be one of my most surprising reads this year. It was not at all what I was expecting. Those looking for a Hansel and Gretel retelling should be warned - this isn’t the tale from your childhood.

The world introduced to us in Sisters Red plays such a huge part in this second novel. I went into it thinking each novel was more self contained and were tied together by the fairy retelling aspect. The novels are more intertwined that I anticipated. This made the world feel comfortable and helped me jump into the story right way. The surprise and delight at finding out how connected the two novels are is one of my favourite parts of reading it. However, I was a little disappointed that it was not a more self contained story, and not a more figurative retelling of the classic tale.

The theme of guilt runs throughout the story with each of our characters feeling as if they have to atone for something. Some of those supposed crimes are ones that the character should not suffer for, and others are right to feel responsible for their actions. The lines are blurred, however, and Sweetly will leave you wondering just who is culpable. I found Gretchen’s survivors guilt heartbreaking and exceptionally well developed.

Sadly, the characters in this one also kept me at arms length. I am not sure what it is, but I have a harder time becoming attached to them.  I am a very character driven reader, so it’s often hard for me to continue reading when this happens. It was the unique spin that Jackson Pearce has put on these fairytales that drew me in.

Here is where I admit that I am huge Little Mermaid fan. The introduction to what I can only hope is the storyline for Fathomless was woven into the plot flawlessly. I am already intrigued and engaged with the story, and again was surprised at how it ties into the werewolf mythology we already have been introduced to. Seashells play a little part in the mystery of Sweetly and I relished each mention.

This series has surprised me and I do have high hopes for Fathomless based on the set up from this novel.  I love the intertwined connections between the novels and am looking forward to meet Pearce’s mermaids.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday...Clockwork Princess

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In Clockwork Princess, Tessa and her companions travel all over the world as they race to stop the clockwork army before it’s too late. As Jem’s health worsens alarmingly and his friends search desperately for a cure, can Tessa choose between the two boys she loves—even if it means never seeing the other one again?
Short synopsis, but I am excited for this one anyways. The cover is so stunning! I can not wait to see how this series ends.

Expected release date - March 19, 2013

The Land of Stories - The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer


The Land of Stories - The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Release Date – July 17, 2012
Publisher Website –  Little Brown  Books For Young Readers/ Hachette Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairytales. 
The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.  
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
The magic, for an adult, of a middle grade novel is that it can make you believe again. It can take you back to when you really thought you could wish upon a star, and when fairytales were as real as you are. Chris Colfer’s debut novel brought some of that magic back for me.

This novel was cute, and quite charming. It has all of the classic elements of the fairytales you know and love, with Chris putting his own spin on it. The weaving together of favourite fairytales was flawlessly done. He managed to keep the essence of the fairytales without retelling each detail of them. He knew these were familiar stories and ran with them.

Alex and Conner are characters that younger children will relate to. Alex is a wonderful student who is often picked on because of how well she does. She feels lonely and her brother Connor is one of the few people she gets to talk to. Connor is a funny, smart mouthed kid who is very much a class clown. He sometimes resents being compared to his “perfect” sister by adults but is quite loyal to her. The bond between the siblings rang true with the loyalty and sibling rivalry being presented in equal measure.

The story is a pretty standard adventure tale, and I found myself easily invested in the quest. Getting to explore the various kingdoms and taking the journey along with the twins is part of the story's charm.

The fairytale characters really stand out. The story presents a different side to beloved characters, even the villains. I found them much more developed and engaging than the twins, and really enjoyed these “twists” on the familiar.
Reading this I could almost visualize the movie that will eventually be made from this. I could see a wonderful cartoon or live action movie come out of this story. Chris’ writing strength is the dialogue. He has sense of humour that both adult and children will appreciate and the pacing lends itself towards screen adaptation.

The minor issues I had while reading are (mostly tightening of the chapters) ones that a younger reader will not even pick up on. Little missteps that are not enough to distract from the magical quality of the tale.

While it’s not a perfect novel, there is a lot of potential and promise here. I predict that young children and parents will delight over this charming read at bedtime. It’s one I can’t wait to share with the young ones in my family.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why I am voting for Noah Shaw


The YA Sisterhood is currently hosting a Crush Tourney! All our favourite book guys competing for the title of ultimate book crush.

I am firmly supporting Noah Shaw, from Michelle Hodkin's The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

Here I share my top 5 reasons for voting for him. His match is today and hopefully I can sway some of you to vote for him as well.

His official advocate is Amanda from Stuck in YA Books and I would also like to point you in the direction of her lovely post advocating him! You can vote by visiting the YA Sisterhood website.

My top 5 reasons -

1 He is kind to animals. Sure, this may not seem like a huge deal, but I am firm believer that you can tell a lot about someone from how they treat animals.

2  "I hear her before I see her. She stands in the crowd; with her curves wrapped in emerald silk and her dark hair in luscious curls, Mara looks like a pin-up I want to unpin." Now picture this in a British accent. Pretty sure you're running off to vote already.

3 His treatment of Mara - He is always there for her. She's going through a lot and he does everything he can to help her. He stands up for her when people are making fun of her, helps her family, and is someone she can confide in.

4 His sense of humour. He's funny, and his humour is a little on the sarcastic side. There is something pretty sexy about a guy that can make you laugh.

5 Michelle has promised to share one scene from Noah's point of view if he wins. See #2 above. If you want teasers for the other scenes she may share, you can find those on Michelle's website.

Go forth and vote for Team Shaw!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

Two review books this week


Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel (goodreads)
Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh (goodreads)

An insanely huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada (You are the best Shannon) for sending me Such Wicked Intent. I loved the first book and can't wait to get started on this one.

Enshadowed was passed along to me by a fellow blogger (thanks Meaghan) and I am looking forward to starting it soon!

I have one eARC for review


Mystic City by Theo Lawrence (goodreads)

I was very happy to recieve this on Netgalley. A huge thank you to Random House and Netgalley for the chance to review this.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

the cover of Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare



GORGEOUS! That word does not even begin to describe this cover. Tessa is stunning, and that dress....I love it. I can't wait to see how this series ends. If this series is not already added to your Goodreads, get on that!

the cover for Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer


I don't love the name, not going to lie. I do however think the covers to Immortal City and this one are pretty. Huge spoilers for the end of Immortal City in the synopsis of this one, so be careful if you have yet to read it.

MOVIES

The Amazing Spiderman

I saw this and LOVED it. Andrew Garfield is fantastic as Peter Parker! I think this was even better than the original Spiderman movies.

OTHER

LaineyGossip

My second love is gossip - celebrity gossip to be exact. Right after reading, I am a huge celeb culture junkie. I get my daily fix by visiting the website of, in my opinion, The Queen of Gossip - Lainey. Her mix of snark, and excellent taste makes her blog, LaineyGossip, one of the best. She also happens to be Canadian so bonus points for that.

Lainey is going to be hosting a "Smut School" so to speak. Her Faculty of Celebrity Studies is travelling to various Canadian cities. All things gossip will be discussed. It sounds like such a fun night. I have put my name into the draw for enrollment for her Ottawa stop and should find out next week if I am in! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

This "school" also has the BEST school crest


So what you are obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Friday Hops!


Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

Q: What drove you to start book blogging in the first place?

Well I have always been the "go to" person for my friends when it came to book recommendations. I started blogging so that all of them could see my opinions in one place. Also, I read a book called Stolen by Lucy Christopher and I had to tell everyone how amazing it is.

TGIF at GReads! is a weekly blog hop hosted by Ginger from GReads

This weeks question is

Quotes That Make You Swoon: What are some of the most swoon-worthy quotes you've experienced in a book?

I have so many quotes that I love.

We'll start with one from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn't concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated.

One day, the boy had to move away. He couldn't bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he'd look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name. 
At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he'd wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who'd turned on the floodlights. 
The boy did. By thinking about the girl.”  
What woman would not want something like this said to her? Cricket Bell....sigh.

The next swoon worthy line comes from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”  
I love how this sounds when you say it. It has a beauty to it, and is 100% how I view love. You fall slowly and once you do it's all at once.

My third choice is from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
“I'm oxygen and he's dying to breathe.”  
There is just something about this quote that make me swoon. It's really beautiful.

Lastly, this quote isn't from the actual novel. It's from a point of view that the author teased. Technically, it would take place during The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. It comes from Noah's point of view and is posted on her website.
"She stands in the crowd; with her curves wrapped in emerald silk and her dark hair in luscious curls, Mara looks like a pin-up I want to unpin."
It's from the costume party scene and SWOON! It's sexy and picturing it said in a British accent makes it even more so.

Happy Weekend!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce


Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Release Date – June 7, 2010
Publisher Website – Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 324 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained from the library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an axe and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?
Fairytale retellings are very much all the rage right now. I knew when I came across this one I had to read it. While I enjoyed the twist on the Little Red Riding Hood story, this ended up being just an average read for me.

Scarlett is the more driven, revenge minded sister. I like that as in control as she is, she’s capable of falling apart. It’s easy to forget how young they are as you are reading, and her vulnerable side was a reminder of much they had lost at such a young age. Her jealously and passion both drive her. She almost doesn't know how to exist if she is not hunting. It was her way of coping with the loss.

Rosie has a lot of guilt. Guilt that her sister sacrificed so much for her, guilt that she isn’t has focused on hunting wolves as her sister. Her dreams to have something outside of the hunt made you want her to succeed. Her strength is different from his sister and it comes from being able to move on.

My main issue was that the sister’s voices sounded so similar. I used their descriptions of themselves and the slight differences in character to determine who was narrating. The tone, and style was identical. I was hoping for more of a clear “voice” for each of the sisters. This made it harder to connect to them and really immerse myself in their story. It kept me at a distance that prevented me from falling under this novels spell.

The werewolf lore in this story is fairly standard. I still enjoyed what elements Jackson Pearce did infuse. The use of the red cloak to entice and attract the werewolves was fantastic tip of the hat to the fairytale this is based on. The use of sexuality and flirtation, for me, was nicely complimented with the fact that these sisters could cause some serious damage. The weak, harmless woman routine gave way to strong, capable fighters. Any story that teases the ideal that you can be both feminine and not a push over is wonderful. On the flip side, I wished that maybe some of the werewolves could have been female. If there was some medical reason (the male chromosome or something) it would have made it less distracting for me.

The underlying storyline of the sisters growing up and apart added an element of realism to the plot. The strength of their bond, from having just each other to depend on, was intense. Each felt a duty to hunt, but for different reasons. Scarlett starts to realize that Rosie may not have the same desire or determination she does, and that ultimately they want different things. I could easily imagine similar feelings if two sisters who are close ended up going to different colleges after high school. Jackson Pearce made you feel the heartache, bitter sweetness, and unwavering bond that these sisters go through during the course of their journey.

The only other person the sister’s allow into their life is Silas, a handsome woodsman. He just a genuinely all around nice guy. His support for both sisters was admirable, and he tied into the growing apart storyline easily. Nothing about the romance made me feel strongly either way. Everything was just NICE. A little heat between he and Rosie was lacking for me, but I did enjoy their friendship first beginnings. There is a scene where he talks to Scarlett after she finds out about his relationship with Rosie that really touched me. It showed, in that brief scene, that he totally understood the bond between these two girls, and supported it. He also wanted them to each be who they are.

While it had a few issues for me, I found Sisters Red to be a decent story about growing up, falling in love and dealing with werewolves.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday....Let The Sky Fall

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Vane Weston should have died in the category five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past—except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She's swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she's real. 
Audra is real, but she isn't human. She's a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She's also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, they start to realize the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.

Set amongst the desert airstreams of Coachella Valley in California, LET THE SKY FALL is about two teenagers broken by their pasts, divided by their futures, and bound by love.
This sound really different and I LOVE the cover. So soft and romantic.

Expected release date - March 5, 2013

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green


The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Release Date – January 10, 2012
Publisher Website –  Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -318 pages
My Rating- 5/5
**obtained from Book Expo America/publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.  
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
This novel should come with a warning label. It should first warn you that you will fall hopelessly in love with Augustus Waters. Secondly, it should warn you to have tissues at the ready.

I had not read a John Green novel previous to this, and I am not at all sure why. His writing is effortlessly charming and engaging. I found myself loving so many passages and quotes as I was reading. His skill with humour, sarcasm, and realism blend to create something truly amazing.

Hazel knows she is dying. She's known for awhile. The treatment she is currently undergoing isn't doing much other than buying her time. Time she is perfectly happy spending with her parents, watching Next Top Model episodes and reading her favourite book. This character could have been so many different things. Dealing with cancer could have made her angry, bitter, and cancer could have been her defining trait. Instead John Green made her still be Hazel. He's written her as someone with cancer rather than having the illness define who she is. She's aware of how much it sucks, and deals with it using her sense of humour and grace. I loved her and agonized, cheered and sighed along the entire journey with her.

Augustus Waters, the good looking guy she meets in support group provides Hazel with a reason to venture outside her comfort zone, and let down some of the walls she has built. I adored Augustus from first time he put his unlit cigarette to his lips. His quirky sense of humour, mixed with his adorable charm made me fall for him right along with Hazel.

The romance is really captivating. The chemistry between Hazel and Augustus is undeniable and joyous to see develop. They lift each other up, experience new things together and see each other through their best and worst.

The cancer plot was written with respect, and is unflinchingly real. The humour in which the characters deal with their illness is contrasted with the stark realities of this devastating illness.

The last ¼ of this book destroyed me. The ending few lines lingered long after the last sob escaped my mouth. The simple words “I do” left me gasping with tears as I closed the novel. I felt fortune to have experienced Hazel and Augustus journey and these are two characters I will never forget. John Green’s achingly beautiful novel will leave you in tears, make you laugh and remind you that while we can't protect ourselves from pain, we can chose who impacts our lives.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Black Heart by Holly Black


Black Heart by Holly Black
Release Date –  April 3, 2012
Publisher Website –  Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 296 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained from book blogger swap**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Cassel Sharpe has the most deadly ability of all. With one touch, he can transform any object - including a person - into something else entirely. And that makes him a wanted man. The Feds are willing to forgive all his past crimes if he'll only leave his con artist family behind and go straight. But why does going straight feel so crooked? 
For one thing, it means being on the opposite side of the law from Lila, the girl he loves. She's the daughter of a mob boss and getting ready to join the family business herself. Though Cassel is pretty sure she can never love him back, he can't stop obsessing over her. Which would be bad enough, even if her father wasn't keeping Cassel's mother prisoner in a posh apartment and threatening not to let her leave until she returns the priceless diamond she scammed off him years ago. Too bad she can't remember where she put it. 
The Feds say they need Cassel to get rid of a powerful man who is spinning dangerously out of control. But if they want Cassel to use his unique talent to hurt people, what separates the good guys from the bad ones? Or is everyone just out to con him? 
Time is running out, and all Cassel's magic and cleverness might not be enough to save him. With no easy answers and no one he can trust, love might be the most dangerous gamble of all.
Reading the ending to a series is always bitter sweet. You’re saying goodbye to beloved characters, but at the same time getting answers to questions that have plagued you from book one. Black Heart is a solid ending to a fantastic series.

Holly Black has managed to create a world that you not only want to explore but is filled with characters that you become invested in. The premise is unique and the books have an overall fun feel to them. The crosses, double crosses and cons only make the experience that much more of a thrill ride.

Cassel thinks working for the Feds will help him stay on the path he’s chosen. He wants to do the right thing and wants to be “good”. Most of all he wants to forget his past. The irony behind working for the Feds is that they ask Cassel to do the one thing he doesn’t want to do - use his ability. This makes for an interesting dynamic as Cassel has to determine which side has his best interest at heart, and does being used by the good guys necessarily make what he’s doing any less horrible? I love that he is torn. Neither side is especially appealing to Cassel and he is much more weary than he used to be.

The romance between Lila and Cassel is intense. She’s either his salvation or the person who costs him everything. His unwavering devotion left me swooning. Holly uses Cassel to make us care about other characters. I love Lila because Cassel does, seeing her through Cassel’s eyes makes me care about her. Their fates are so intertwined  that you have to want them to have some version of a happily ever after. This world of lies and cons, however, offers no guarantees however, and sometimes love requires sacrifice.

Saying goodbye to Cassel happens the only way it could - the con is still the thing, and our reluctant hero’s morality is still as muddled as ever. I, for one, wouldn’t want it any other way. If you have yet to pick up this series, I highly recommend you do so immediately.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

You may remember a City of Lost Souls t-shirt that was in one of these posts a little while ago. It was part of a prize package that I won from Simon and Schuster Canada and Chapters. The other part was a family ring from one of the Shadow Hunter families. I received the Fairchild family ring. It's lovely, with butterflies all the way around it.



As a total surprise I also got all the novels in the Mortal Instruments series. I own all of these already so they will be finding their way into a new home soon.


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (goodreads)
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (goodreads)
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (goodreads)
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (goodreads)
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (goodreads)

A huge thank you to both Simon and Schuster Canada and Chapters for this amazing contest and prize pack!

I picked up a finished copy of Tiger Lily as well. One of my favourite reads this year!


Tiger Lily By Jodi Lynn Anderson (goodreads)

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Cover for Scarlet by Marissa Meyer


Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.This picture may not be the best quality as the original image is so tiny. I LOVE this cover. It matches Cinder beautifully and sets the tone of Scarlet's story. I am DYING to get my hands on a copy of this!

The Cage by Megan Shepherd

Megan has a trilogy starting soon called The Madman's Daughter (which sounds awesome), but has already sold a new series that intrigues me as well. Here is the brief description
THE CAGE is a TWILIGHT ZONE-esque sci-fi which follows six teens who are put in an elaborate "human zoo" by a powerful and psychic otherworldly race known as The Kindred, and one girl's attempts to escape without falling for her terrifyingly beautiful captor. 
AMAZING right? Seriously, I say it every year but 2014 looks to be even more amazing than previous years. I can't wait.

MOVIES

Magic Mike

Yes again! Still obsessed. The guys are hot, the moves are slick, and the storyline didn't suck. This movie was much darker than I was expecting it to be. The second half especially got pretty dark. It takes you into this world, and the temptations are plentiful.

Channing Tatum can dance his butt off. Seriously, I knew he could dance, but WHOA! His second solo especially was pretty mind blowing. He is great at the whole "movie flirt" thing. Alex Pettyfer played his role really well too. It also doesn't hurt that he's totally hot.

It is one of those movies I would see again for sure!

So what you are obsessed with this week?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Friday Hops!


Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

Q: Jumping Genres: Ever pick up a book from a genre you usually don't like and LOVE it? Tell us about it and why you picked it up in the first place.

Yes! I read a few books I normally would not read and loved them. The biggest surprised was Across the Universe by Beth Revis. I am not a fan of heavy Science Fiction novels, but I ended up really liking this one. I picked it up due to the amazing reviews I kept seeing and decided to give it a chance.


TGIF at GReads! is a weekly blog hop hosted by Ginger from GReads

This weeks question is

Friday, July 6th - Comfort Reads: Which books do you go to for comfort & familiarity? Is there a type of book you seek out when you're needing that extra bit of comfort in your life?

I feel like this is my go to answer but Harry Potter. I always feel better after I've read any of the books. I also tend to read Pride and Prejudice when I am sick. It helps for some reason.

Happy Weekend!

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally


Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date – December 1 , 2011
Publisher Website –  Sourcebooks/Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 284 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. 
But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?
Jordan Woods has just one dream - to play college level football at her dream university. Catching Jordan introduces us into some memorable characters, and a fun, refreshing voice for a teenage girl character.

Jordan is such a great character. She is a mixture of confidence and insecurity that rings true for a lot of girls. She doesn’t have a lot of experience dating boys, even though she’s always surrounded by them. Her determination, focus and passion were some of my favourite qualities in her. She could handle sexist jerks as well as she could handle a football and yet she had this softer side to her.  Jordan’s voice and journey feels authentic. Not just to the character, but the experiences of a lot of teenagers.

Miranda Kenneally took a subject I knew very little about and made me care. I wanted Jordan to succeed. I wanted her to get into the college/university of her dreams and play college football. I was indignant on her behalf when someone expected her to behave “like a girl” and told her to quit football. The author managed to capture of essence of having a passion and what is means to strive for our dreams. I also loved the message that sometimes our dreams can be met in different ways.

Sam Henry, Jordan’s best friend and team mate. I loved their friendship. The bond between these characters is shown by the characters actions rather than by having the author tell us. Fiercely loyal to each other, and always there when needed. Their friendship has ups and downs and is tested. It’s worth it to both of them though, and they each make the effort when it counts. I was wanting Jordan to stop making lusty eyes at Ty and focus on the incredible guy already in front of her.

Ty is most girl’s definition of a catch. Good looking, charming, and friendly. He also happens to share Jordan’s love of football. His character is likeable enough, and I found him really charming at first.  However, he is completely shattered by the connection and chemistry between Jordan and Henry.

The romance is cute, and has a few little surprises along the way.  I loved the descriptions of how Jordan feels right after meeting Ty. It brought back memories of high school and being smitten with the cute guy in my class.

Each of the characters in this novel, even the minor side characters, were given a lot of depth. Miranda Kenneally focused on flushing out her characters, and using the plot to reveal them to us. It is impressive that with all the characters we meet that each of them is anything but one dimensional.

The Woods family dynamic was another of my favourite parts of the novel. An imperfect family that care about each other. I don’t think we see enough of strong family relationships in YA novels so I was happy to see it done so wonderfully in this novel. Jordan’s parents are a large part of the story, and she has a pretty amazing relationship with her mother.

Catching Jordan reminds us that taking chances is worth it, to never judge someone based on outside appearances and  that sometimes love is the biggest surprise of all.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday...Nobody But Us

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Bonnie and Clyde meets Simone Elkeles in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts. 
They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run. 
Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger.... 
When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough. 
Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr
I have been pining for this book since I first read the synopsis. I think it's going to be beautiful, heartbreaking and romantic. I can't wait.

Expected release date - January 29, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson


Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release Date –  July 3, 2012
Publisher Website –  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 304 pages
My Rating- All the stars
**obtained from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . .
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.
A heartbreaking, spellbinding, stunningly written novel. Tiger Lily tells the story of the girl with the crow feather in her hair, her Peter, and the many facets of love.

The writing in this novel is simply stunning. It flows with an almost lyrical quality that is highly engrossing and addictive. The plot points, and story arcs are plotted masterfully and the pacing is pitch perfect. Jodi Lynn Anderson’s talent is simply awe inspiring. There are so many highly quotable passages in the novel, but this line "Sometimes love means not being able to bear seeing the one you love the way the are, when they're not what you hoped for them” stayed with me.

The characters are so richly developed and fleshed out. They seem like living, breathing people rather than just characters in the story. The complex motivations for many of their actions, and continuous growth make them especially captivating.

The Peter Pan we meet in this story is haunted. He doesn’t exactly like himself, or what he is becoming. He wants to make better choices, and struggles with it. He wants to protect everyone he cares about, and grapples with what this entails. It’s a Peter that you want to protect, and yet fall in love with all at once. His vulnerability and brokenness is compelling.

Tiger Lily is independent. She pulled at my heart and made me ache for her. I wanted her to have a ending that was happy; no matter what that entailed. Her ability to remain steadfast in the face of pretty unpleasant circumstances was something I admired. At the same time, the fragility she displayed suited her character as well. Her bravery, tenacity and heart make her someone you will embrace.

The star of the novel, for me, is our narrator, and resident pixie Tinkerbell. The fiery tempered, fiercely loyal, and jealous pixie was exactly what I wanted her to be. From the moment she tells you that she fell in love with Peter Pan upon meeting him I fell in love with her. Her voice and character shine even without it being her story.

The story takes the known plot of Peter Pan and twists it a bit. The story is much more ground in reality than the previous adaptations. I liked that the author based it more in reality. The feelings that it invokes work so well because the novel feels so achingly real.

The many different forms of love play a large part in the story. Unrequited, consuming, possessive, patient, unconditional, the type of love that saves you, and even the kind that can destroy. The love Peter shares with Tiger Lily is very different from the love that grows between he and Wendy. It’s the differences that make it so heartbreaking, real and raw and make this story have the impact it does.

The ending is bitter sweet and brought both tears and a sad smile. The story packs an emotional punch. A vividly written tale about growing up, falling in love, and finding your own path in the world.  A tale for all those who have fallen in love with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and the idea of Neverland. Just don’t be surprised when you fall just as in love with the girl with the crow feather in her hair.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Half Year Check In

We are already half way done with 2012! Time to check in and see what books have made my top 10 list so far and other bookish goodies.

In no particular order, my top ten reads of 2012 at the half year point are.....

1 Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (goodreads/ my review)
2 This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel (goodreads/ my review)
3 Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siohban Vivian (goodreads)
4 Gilt by Katherine Longshore (goodreads/ my review)
5 Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (goodreads/ my review)
6 Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (goodreads)
7 Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock (goodreads\ my review)
8 I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (goodreads/ my review)
9 Cinder by Marissa Meyer (goodreads/ my review)
10 Insurgent by Veronica Roth (goodreads/ my review)


Some of you may recall my Bucket List post. I am going to post it again and scratch off the ones I have completed. I figured this would be a good time to do a check in on that as well.

My Bucket List

1. Annotate and scribble and highlight a book I really loved and send it to the author. I’d mark my favourite quotes. Parts that made me cry and laugh and smile and ache. *this was such an awesome idea I had to borrow it*

2. Send a little thank you gift to a fellow blogger who has helped me (or otherwise made an impact).

3. Leave a note in a book at a bookstore detailing how much I loved the book for the person who purchases it to find. *again, awesome idea Audrey*

4. Browse bookstores, have dinner, drink wine and talk books with a fellow blogger.

5. Obtain some sort of bookcase that will fit all my books and protect them from my cat (she likes to eat books). One I could decorate would be a bonus.

6. Send a book on a “book tour” with some papers inside so that the people who receive it can write something before they pass it along. Eventually I will get the book back with all these notes.

7. Take a tour of a Publishing office

8. Send a thank you basket to a publisher contact for all the awesomeness they do for us bloggers.

9. Have a meet up for Ottawa book bloggers, so we can meet each other *if there are enough of us*

10. Take a book that is set in a real life location and photograph some of the places mentioned in the book (with the book in it of course).

11. Have a birthday cake themed after a book that I love  My awesome Masque of the Red Death cake

So I have managed to cross two items off this list. Looking forward to scratching off more.


My other check in is going to be with my 2012 Debut Author list

1. Gilt by Katherine Longshore (Penguin, May 15)  review
2. Immortal City by Scott Speer (Penguin, April 3)  review
3. Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Harper Collins, Jan 24)  review
4. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Ross (Harper Collins, Jan 3)  review
5. The Selection by Kiera Cass (Harper Collins, April 24)  review
6. What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang (Harper Collins, TBA 2012)
7. Fracture by Megan Miranda (Walker Books for Young Readers, Jan 17)  review
8. Storm by Brigid Kemmerer (Kensington Books, April 24) review
9. Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (Penguin, Feb 7) review
10. Slide by Jill Hathaway (Harper Collins, March 27)
11. Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock (Harper Collins, May 8) review
12. Velveteen by Daniel Marks (Random House, TBA 2012)
13. The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (Tor Teen, TBA 2012)
14. Blind Spot by Laura Ellen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, TBA 2012)
15. Mystique by Shari Arnold (Chronicle, TBA 2012)
16. Pivot Point by Kasie West (Harper Collins, TBA 2012)
17. Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (Random House, June 12) review
18. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (Harper Collins, May 1) review
19. When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle (Simon and Schuster, May 1) review
20. Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Walker Books, Apr 24)
21. The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams (Simon & Schuster, Jan 3)
22 Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London (Harper Collins, May 29)
23 Cinder by Marissa Meyer review
24 Of Poseidon by Anna Banks review
25 Scarlet by AC Gaughen review
26 Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
27 Crewl by Gennifer Albin
28 Splintered by A.G. Howard
29 Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) by R.L. LaFevers review
30 Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
31 Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill
31 Black City by Elizabeth Richards
31 Venom by Fiona Paul
32 The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
33 Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore review
34 The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg
(Penguin, Feb 21) review

I have read 18 of my 34 that I wanted to read. I am sure that I have other debut author books not on my list and may be changing my list as I go along but I feel pretty good at having read 17 already.

Has the time flown by for you as well? This year has gone by super quickly. I can't wait to see what is to come and what wonderful books I will get to read in the second half of 2012!

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