Friday, May 31, 2013

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn



Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Release Date – June 11, 2013
Publisher Website -  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -  432 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn's haunting debut.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.
Another Little Piece will totally mess with your head. Its dark, gory, and eerie. A story in which your main character is not what they seem, and twisted is only the beginning.

From the synopsis I wasn't sure what exactly to expect. I thought it might be a thriller/mystery. It's paranormal novel in every sense. It's atmosphere, and style make it clear that it's also very much a horror infused one as well.

The entire idea of this novel is quite different from anything I've ever read. I've seen it compared to Stephen King and I can see where it came from. It's an ambitious plot and the way it's written builds on itself rather nicely. It's revealed slowly, and in a way that creates suspense. However, it also makes it rather jumbled. Flashbacks and 'visions' are used intermittently throughout the story, and often no clear indication is given. It ends up coming together in the end, but it's not has cohesive as it could be.

So much of what makes this novel work is a spoiler. I won't be giving too much away, but it's the reveal that makes the story fit, and provides the much needed pay off. Once you know how, and why everything is happening the rest of the story makes sense. It's like a puzzle where one piece suddenly makes the picture clear. It's an imaginative, unique story that did have some flair to it. I wish it has been explained a little more, delved a little deeper, especially into the backstory of the character who started it all.

The main character is the most developed, and surprisingly the only one to get any sort of development. This version of Annaliese grows and changes throughout the novel. I came to care about the eventual outcome of this Anna who was paying for sins for greater than she could remember. This is perhaps the best accomplishment of this story. It's main character has done terrible things, and yet I wanted redemption and release for her. I wanted her to find peace.

Those who like their novels filled with twisted chills, and plentiful gore will most likely love this one. I like the neat way it all tied together in the end, but ultimately wished for a little more backstory, and a little more character development from the secondary characters.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Goddess by Josephine Angelini



Goddess by Josephine Angelini
Release Date – May 28, 2013
Publisher Website -  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.

To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.

In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.
Josephine Angelini ends her twist on Greek mythology with a thrilling ending that both delivers action and romance in equal measure.

Greek mythology on a whole, but especially a fairly well known story of this mythology, provides the inspiration behind this installment of Helen's story. Each character has a specific role to play, and seeing it all fall into place rather magical.

This novel shows the planning, and forethought that went into the series. It's like Josephine set up this intricate set of dominoes, and when the time was right, let them tumble. Each thing fell into place perfectly. Every single little detail was tied in somewhere. Things you may not have realized would have a huge impact on the story end up being important.

Helen's transformation because staggeringly apparently in this novel. She's changed from the shy, timid, and unsure girl in the first novel into a strong, smart goddess. I love that she uses not only her power, but her intelligence to over come things. There are numerous scenes where it's her fast thinking that comes in handy, and it's a wonderful nod to the trickery of the gods themselves.

Orion's back story is revealed in full heartbreaking detail. It made me love his character even more. He quickly won my affection in Dreamless and I fully rooted for him to get the girl. I was satisfied by Orion's ultimate fate, and what destiny had in store for him.

Fans of Lucas will delight in knowing that the brooding, destructive boy from Dreamless is mostly gone. He's a different person, and is ready to step into the role of soldier in this war. His story, and path, take an interesting twist that I did not see coming. The impact of some of his choices is huge.

The gods appear in full force in this novel. They are everything you would expect them to be. Ruthless, and deadly, they present a true force to be reckoned with for Helen and her family/friends. This war, sadly, has causalities, and they are heartbreaking. One in particular is crushing because once you figure things out, it's obvious that it's coming..

I couldn't think of a more perfect way to end this series. It was a ending that was satisfying without having everything too nicely wrapped up. There are things left unexplored that could be a fantastic jumping point for another series if Josephine wanted to continue on, which I hope she eventually does. This is a world I would be glad to return to.

 Romance, action, and a delicious unveiling to all the secrets that have been building up since the first novel await. A stunning ending to an amazingly constructed series.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday.... Fire With Fire


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 Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian



Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn...
I loved Burn For Burn and what the cliffhanger ending that was served up to us, well....the wait for this one has been driving me crazy! So excited to get my hands on it.

Expected release date - September 3, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Tudor Tuesdays - Teaser and Giveaway



My stop on the Tudor Tuesday blog tour has finally arrived and I couldn't be more excited to host the fantastic Katherine Longshore and provide a teaser for her second novel Tarnish.

I've read Tarnish and it is beyond fabulous. I can't wait for everyone to get to read it upon it's release so that you can fall in love with it as much as I have.

Today's teaser features a meeting between Anne, and King Henry
“You are well met, Mistress Boleyn.”

I rise from my curtsy, but keep my head down. My face feels hot. Hotter than the rest of me.

“The lute!” he cries, and arrives in front of me in two beats. “Is this one yours?”

“Yes, Your Majesty.” I still can’t look at him. I may never look at him again. He must have heard me playing. Did he recognize himself in the notes?

“I played it last night. It is a fine instrument. You play well.”

“Moderately, Your Majesty.”

“Well, you must play better than your sister.” There is a rise of laughter in his voice. “For she is completely useless on the strings.”

But not in other things. I manage to hold my tongue. George would be proud.

“Anne plays exquisitely, Your Majesty,” Mary interjects. “And sings.”

“A girl after my own heart.”

He raises his hand. I can see it, beringed and bedazzling. His fingers touch my chin and lift delicately. He forces me to look him in the eye.

He is wondrous. His hair blazes and his gray eyes are like sun behind a cloud, the animated features almost seeming to blur because nothing about him is ever still.

“I greet you like a sister,” he says. But there is a hint of mischief in his half smile.

He keeps his fingers on my chin and lowers his mouth to mine. When our lips touch, it is like the alignment of stars. The hint of stubble on his upper lip tickles mine, and I realize, hysterically, that my mouth is bigger than his. The scents of cloves and orange water fill me to drowning, and for one incomparable, darting instant, I taste the sweetness of his tongue.
Katherine also shares her inspiration behind this intriguing scene
The picture we so often see of Henry VIII is of an aging, overweight man with a piercing glare—standing or sitting with arrogance and entitlement.  But as a young man, he was seen as the very picture of majesty—tall and well-built, with bright hair and a handsome face.  He was charming and playful and probably very sexy.  I wanted Anne to be infatuated by this Henry—the rock star, the quarterback.  I wanted to write a Henry we could all fall in love with—in spite of historical hindsight.
The Henry in this novel definitely much more swoon worthy than you may expect, and as Katherine says despite historical hindsight I feel many readers may fall for him right along with Anne.

Now that you've been teased, you're most likely wanting a copy for your very own. We have 2 copies up for grabs. One is a signed copy for US/Canada only. The other is unsigned but is international. Be sure to read the rules and fill out the appropriate rafflecopter. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo



Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date – June 4, 2013
Publisher Website -  Henry Holt and Co/Raincoast Books Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 448 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
Siege and Storm blends fantasy elements with a young girl's struggle to accept herself, and find her place in a dangerous, and pressing world. With the lore of this novel being unwoven slowly, the second installment in this series was more rich in detail than the first.

I have to admit that I started Siege and Storm with minor reservations. I liked Shadow and Bone well enough, but there were some issues that I personally had. However, Siege and Storm not only changed my mind, but this novel did something the last one didn't - make me care about Alina. It showed me a more vulnerable side to her icy character that lent warmer feelings towards her. Her struggle with her power, and how it is to be used.

Alina is constantly being pressured. Everyone wants her, and everyone wants to use her. Her power is tremendous. It is hers to yield and her strength may just be unparalleled. It's rather striking than that she may not be the one to decide how to use it. Manipulation, threats, coercion, and flattery are all used to sway Alina's loyalty. She's a prize that is being pulled on by many different players. The fact that Alina is the one holding the power is fantastic, however I found it frustrating that she's in essence the rope in a game of tug of war between a bunch of men.

Each of the men in her life want her to change, or be someone she's not. Mal wants her to return to being someone she can no longer be. The Darkling wants to corrupt her and mold her into something she can't live with being. Sturmhond's motivations are unknown at first, but suffice to say he has his own agenda. In none of these did I see Alina choosing for herself. I kept waiting for her to stand up and show them who was in control, as it should be her. She wields pretty intense power. I wanted for her to have faith in herself. While we see glimpses of her standing up for herself and what SHE believes in, I hope that the third book focuses on her making the choices that she wants, whatever they may be.

Sturmhond, the newest character in the series, is my new favourite. A cocky, self assured, yet very charming pirate with secrets of his own. He quickly stole my heart, and my allegiance in the quest for Alina's heart as well. Romance in this novel is raw and tainted. As a sun summoner, Alina has to deal with the fact that people want to use her. Her heart can lead her astray, and with that it makes falling in love dangerous.

Mal, of course, is swoon worthy as ever. His determination for Alina to live a quiet normal life with him is admirable, if somewhat foolish. Alina has power, and with it comes a certain responsibility. All Mal wants is for her to run from it and stay safe. It's another form of telling her what she wants, rather than listening to what she is saying.

My dislike of the Darking managed to grow in this novel. I am confident I will never fall under his dark and seductive spell. I think he's pretty unredeemable at this point. I just grew angrier with each new horrific thing that was revealed. His rules are hard, and he expects absolute obedience or his punishment is severe.

The fantasy aspect were quite well done in this installment. I loved the unraveling of the lore. The set up for the third book with the newest quest, and the potential of catastrophic consequences from completing it well executed. They say power corrupts, and we are seeing Alina faced with some pretty heavy temptation. It's this tease of the dark side of her character, and the knife's edge tension that make her fascinating. At her core she wants to do the right thing, but a taste of power is often never enough. I am curious to see how benevolent she would be if she ever ruled.

The ending, while a cliffhanger, impressed me more because I didn't think this novel would go in this particular direction. It's a different, and perhaps bold choice. It remains to be seen what exactly it means, and how it'll impact the rest of the series.

A novel where power can corrupt, a heart should be protected, and where ultimately the hardest choice may just be the right one. If you loved the first novel, I have no doubts you'll like this one even more. A fantasy novel that is rich with detail, and with characters that I am finally starting to warm up to.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

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). 

The next New To My Book Closet post won't be until after BEA! This week some fantastic titles made their way into my home. I received my advocate package for The Bone Season! I can't wait to start reading this one. The special edition ARC I received is amazing.

I won The Kissing Booth from a Chapters giveaway (a large retail book store in Canada). It sounds super cute, so a big thank you to them.

A huge thank you to Simon and Schuster for approving my request for Dangerous Girls. Super excited to dive into this one.


The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (Goodreads)
The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles (Goodreads)  
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (Goodreads)



3:59 by Gretchen McNeil (Goodreads)

Lastly, the lovely people at Harper Collins Canada sent me 3:59 to review. I can't wait to read it. A huge thank you to them.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

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 Bone Season by Samantha Shannon Trailer



I tend to not like book trailers. However, this one is intriguing. The second she says "I commit high treason just by breathing" I was sold. I can't wait to read this book. If you haven't already be sure to check it out on Goodreads for more information.

MOVIE

Now You See Me Trailer



I've quickly become obsessed with this trailer. I am not sure what it is about this movie, but I am DYING to see it. Jesse Eisenberg is one of my favourites. He's super talented, and this trailer makes him seem really good in this role. Magic, robbery, and flashy action sequences? It's officially summer at the movies!

OTHER

Book Expo America

I leave this Monday! Only a few days away. I figure now is the perfect time to tell you what will be happening on the blog while I am gone. It'll mostly be business as usual with some minor adjustments

Monday - review of Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Tuesday - Tudor Tuesdays post in honour of Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Wednesday - My Waiting on Wednesday pick for the week
Thursday - review of Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Friday - review of Goddess by Josephine Angelini
Saturday - Vote For My Next Read
Sunday - NO POST - Down day for the blog

So be sure to stop by and comment. I may have limited access, but will be around whenever I can. Upon my return the blog will resume as normal on Monday.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Follow Friday


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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:Q: The #FF is 150 weeks old! And we want to hear from you! What would you change about the hop? What do you like about it? Or just suggest a question to be used for next week!

Question for next week.... What is the last book you talked someone into reading by telling them how good it was?

Also, YAY for the 150 week birthday. Congrats ladies.

Happy Weekend!

Born Of Illusion by Teri Brown



Born of Illusion by Teri Brown
Release Date – June 11, 2013
Publisher Website -  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader  
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Anna Van Housen is thirteen the first time she breaks her mother out of jail. By sixteen she’s street smart and savvy, assisting her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, and easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums and mentalists in 1920’s New York City. Handcuffs and sleight of hand illusions have never been much of a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother, who will stop at nothing to gain her ambition of becoming the most famous medium who ever lived. But when a strange, serious young man moves into the flat downstairs, introducing her to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, he threatens to reveal the secrets Anna has fought so hard to keep, forcing her to face the truth about her past. Could the stories her mother has told her really be true? Could she really be the illegitimate daughter of the greatest magician of all?
I've always been fascinated by magic and magicians. Combine this with a 1920's setting and I knew I had to read this one. Teri Brown delivers a novel filled with magicians, real magic, and heart pounding danger. 

The relationship between Anna and her mother Marguerite was intriguing. You never really knew what her mother was thinking, or what genuine emotions she may have for her daughter. Their relationship was flawed, and at times felt competitive (especially from Marguerite's end). It all comes together, but seeing their interaction was one of my favourite parts of the story. It was obvious that Anna had a rather unique upbringing and often resented being in her mother's shadow.

Tying into the mother daughter dynamic was Anna's own 'growing up'. She was starting to distance herself, having her own opinions, and want to live her life the way she wanted. Teens can identify with this, as part of your teen years is finding yourself, defining what's important to you, and testing how you feel about things and  going out into the world. It was nice to see this tied into an imperfect relationship like Anna and Marguerite's was.

I felt the historical aspect of the novel wasn't as developed as I hoped in some aspects, but was well researched in others. The setting and tone didn't pull from the 1920's as much as I anticipated. However, I felt the other elements more than made up for this.. The research that was done was effectively used and sent me off on a Googling spree after. I wanted to know, especially about Houdini. Houdini's background is especially present, and she used events in his life to attach parts of the story to. It lent a credible tone to the novel.

The magic elements were exactly what I wanted them to be. Nothing too flashy or over the top. Mixing it with a scientific storyline made it feel plausible, and was a nod to the experiments that would have taken place around this time. Who hasn't seen the old video footage of people guessing cards behind a screen? This allowed the magic to immerse itself in the story, even as the story revolves around it.

The big question of Anna's parentage, and whether or not she is Houdini's daughter was one of my favourite parts of the novel. Seeing her curiosity about him, and their possible connection was intriguing. Every time they connected on some level left me wanting more. The ultimate question is whether or not it matters who her father is, and the answer is that it doesn't. Do we get an concrete answer either way? All I will say is that I was completely satisfied with the outcome.

As much as I loved the beginning of the novel, I do have to admit that it lost a little steam in the latter half. The ending didn't have the same impact, for me, that the beginning did. It was what I expected from about half way through the novel, and was satisfactory ending, but not as gripping as the beginning.

A novel that casts a dangerous and romantic spell. I quickly fell into Anna's story. If seductive magic, 1920's allure, and a quick moving plot are things you enjoy in a novel, be sure to pick this one up.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday.... Wild Cards


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 Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?
So I may have mentioned my new obsession with Friday Night Lights. It should come as no surprise that this book would be high up on my 'must read' list. It sounds amazing and I actually really love the cover. Counting the days until I can get my hands on this one.

Expected release date - October 1, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kobo Aura HD review



A little while back I was given the opportunity to test drive the new Kobo Aura HD. I've had the device long enough to read a few ebooks on it and decided to share my thoughts.

The first thing I noticed was it's sleek design. It's quite nice to look it. The 'slanted back' that gives the feel of holding a physical book is a perfect touch for those of us who love the feel of a hardcover novel. It weights practically nothing, and has a modern look to it.

The operating system is smooth. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and seamlessly turning pages was. Having the capablity to switch fonts is also another fantastic bonus.

The Kobo Aura HD's selling points* are

6.8" ulta-high resolution ClarityScreen and 1440 x 1080 display

No-glare Pearl E Ink touchscreen

Integrated front-light

Wi Fi capable

4GB of Memory expandable with Micro SD cards

All of these are huge selling points for any reader. However, as someone who reads A LOT the expandable memory card is enticing. The front light is a wonderful addition, and I've already used it quite a bit. There is no eye strain this way and it makes reading in low light much easier. It'll be perfect to travel on planes with.

With all the positives, there are a few little things I would LOVE as additions -

Twitter capability 

The system can post quotes to Facebook. I would love to see the same thing apply to Twitter. I use Twitter much more often than Facebook and it's the perfect social media platform for sharing your favourite passages.

Clearer Instructions

There are still many features I am trying to find, or ones I am accidentally coming across. While this makes for some fun surprises, having a better how to manual included would allow me to make the most out of the system.

My experience with the system has, so far, been amazing. It's crystal clear screen, and front light are huge selling features. The design is also a instant hit with the book lover in me. As someone who has been less than enthusiastic about ebooks, this electronic reader is just the thing to tempt me to indulge in a few. It truly is an e-reader that is built for book lovers.

If you'd like to know more about the Kobo Aura HD be sure to visit the Kobo website for more details.

*selling points listed on back of Kobo Aura HD package

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales



The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales
Release Date – May 21, 2013
Publisher Website -  It Books/Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Meet the Bling Ring: six club-hopping LA teenagers accused of stealing more than $3 million in clothing and jewelry from the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and other young members of the Hollywood elite-allegedly the most audacious burglary gang in recent history.

Driven by celebrity worship, vanity, and the desire to look and dress like the rich and famous, the Bling Ring made headlines in 2009 for using readily available sources-like Google maps, Facebook and TMZ, to track the comings and goings of their targets. Seven teens were arrested for the crimes, and instantly became tabloid fodder. The world asked-how did the American obsession with celebrity get so out of hand? And why did a band of ostensibly privileged LA teens take such a risk?

Vanity Fair reporter Nancy Jo Sales found the answer: they did it because they could. And because it was just that easy.

Author of the acclaimed Vanity Fair story on the Bling Ring "The Suspect Wore Louboutins," Sales gained unprecedented access to the Hollywood thieves, and in the process uncovered a dark world of teenage arrogance, greed, obsession, and delusion. Now, for the first time in a full book length work, Sales details the Bling Ring crimes up close and in depth, and reveals the key players' stories in a shocking look at the seedy world of the real young Hollywood.
Reviewing a non fiction novel has always been tricky for me. You're talking about real people and real situations. It's harder to critique someone personally than examine a character's flaws in a fiction novel. This novel however resonated with me, and it was surprisingly not the people involved, but the author's insight that spoke to me. The Bling Ring examines the perfect storm of current celebrity culture, and the boom of around the clock news reporting, and it's resulting impact on today's youth.

A case is made that these teenagers had access to round the clock information about these celebrities thanks to websites like TMZ. The shift in this type of reporting happened right around the time this was happening, and the dynamics changed everything. Celebrities were more accessible (or appeared that way) than ever. Twitter helped knock over some of those walls as well. It presented a different culture than before. Celebrities have always had a certain mystic, especially in 'Old Hollywood' and this lifted the veil. It made the  celebrities seem touchable.

The impact of Reality TV is also looked at. The entire notion of fame being easily obtained has always been around. However, talent was normally part of that equation. Reality TV ushered in a new era. One could be famous, even infamous, and talent was optional. I could see immediately how these individuals could have thought this would get the access into the club they so desperately wanted to be part of.

The refrain of "they have so much" was prevalent from numerous suspects involved in this case. I found it interesting that the idea of Occupy Wall Street and the whole '1 percent' notion was just a few years off. I suspect many may not feel sympathy for the victims. Their victims may have had 'more than enough' (and this point is shown by the fact that some couldn't even given a full list of items taken because they simply couldn't recall everything they owned) but something precious was stolen from them - a feeling of safety. Orlando Bloom's Grand Jury testimony in particular was heart tugging. You felt the violation, and hurt in his words. It was interesting to see how many of them couldn't return to those homes as a result of what happened.

I was both flabbergasted, and partially amused by the fact that one of the accused was wearing Orlando Bloom's shirt in his mug shot. It spoke to their arrogance, and belief that they wouldn't get caught. One of the police offers references that they were 'really bad at not getting caught' and that sums it up perfectly. They flaunted their crimes, the goods, and almost courted the notoriety that would stem from their actions. As Nancy Jo Sales says 'they did it because it was easy' and as a result felt they could get away with it. The teens came across as celebrity obsessed, and rather jaded. They were simply bored. They wanted to be part of what they deemed 'the life style' and this came across as their way of attaining it.

Nancy Jo Sales did a wonderful job of remaining impartial and is even sometimes sympathetic with some of the teens involved. She also holds nothing back when it comes to the vapid, self interested aspect of their personality. She allows these people to speak for themselves, and allows the reader to connect the dots from there.

Anyone with a passing interest in the case when it broke back in 2009, or who is eagerly anticipating the release of Sofia Coppola's film should check this out. I would venture that anyone interested in pop culture, and current events may find much to enjoy as well. An almost unbelievable story of young Hollywood that left me stunned and speechless.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

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

Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

I loved the first book so much. I had high expectations going in for the sequel. Beautifully written, and just as dark and sexy as the first one. It was everything I wanted as the end of the series. I can't wait to share my review, and for Dance of the Red Death week to happen close to the date of release.

Summer Reading

It's finally starting to feel like spring here. I am hoping the trend continues and we get some gorgeous weather because I WANT TO READ OUTSIDE! Nothing beats reading a really addictive book while laying out by the pool, or in a beautiful park.

TV

NBC's Dracula



Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a vampire? YES PLEASE. Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula? *dies*. Luckily this trailer more than lives up to my expectations. I will be obsessed with this for the entire season if it delivers on what this trailer promises.

 ABC's The Betrayal and Resurrection 




Resurrection is based on the novel The Returned that is being released this Autumn. The trailer makes it look full of emotion, and it's beautifully shot. The little kid is the cutest and I am cautiously optimistic that it will be a decent show.

Betrayal looks like a twisty, soapy, dramatic filled guilty pleasure. I see similarities to the movie Unfaithful. I hope it's as good as the trailer makes it seem. These types of shows can either be really good, or laughably awful, so here's hoping.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Follow Friday


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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: School is out! What is your favorite Summer Reading book??

I read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series one summer, and I still LOVE that series. Perfect beach reading.

Happy Weekend!

Golden Boy Blog Tour - Q & A with Abigail Tarttelin



Golden Boy is an wonderful written, intense novel that I fully enjoyed. If you missed my review be sure to check it out.

Today I have the author, Abigail Tarttelin, stopping by to answer some questions about her writing, and the novel.

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1 Describe Golden Boy in three words.

Emotional, sweet, heartfelt.

2. What sort of research did you do prior to writing Golden Boy? Did you interview any intersex teenagers?

I came to Max’s story with my own thoughts on what it meant to live a life as one gender and what it might mean to live life as another. I also did a fair amount of research into intersexuality, but to be honest, the science of someone’s body can only lend so much truth to a character. It can make your way of life different; for instance the relative size of women to men might make a woman feel more vulnerable and be more cautious. Having or not having a recognized gender, however, isn’t the thing that make you human or makes you feel as you do; and although Max is intersex, this isn’t what defines him, or makes him a sentient being. With Max, as with most of my characters, I feel like they are already formed people and I need to find the key to writing their point of view. In researching Golden Boy, I was able to contact a new generation of bloggers and subculture teenage internet icons totally subverting the old ideas of gender identity. Their identity was informed by gender, but by an alternative gender – for instance pangender or genderqueer – that they had chosen. I followed these blogs and spoke to several intersex people about their experiences, but in the end, Max’s story isn’t supposed to represent the feelings or experiences of all intersex people. It is simply one story, and one voice.

3. The "abuse of trust" that Max experiences is devastating. As a reader, because that part was so well written, it is emotionally draining. Was it as emotional to write?

With every character I write, I try to be in that character’s body and mind with them, so it was an incredibly emotional scene to write. I felt very strongly however, that it should be depicted in the detail that it was, because I think where literature sometimes tries to make sexual assault less frightening for readers it often obscures how truly horrifying it is, and why it’s so important we try to prevent it and care for victims.

4. Who are some of the authors who have influenced your writing?

When I was sixteen or seventeen, my English teacher gave me a copy of The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan, and I realised that I could write about anything, literally anything. Until then I had just read the classics, and although I love them, they didn’t show me that contemporary culture was an acceptable topic for a novel. Several books were a big influence on Golden Boy, but more than any other, The Women’s Room by Marilyn French made me focus on the theme of gender and led me to tell Max’s story. A book I wish I had read before Golden Boy, which is a stunning book in every way, is The Good Women Of China by Xinran.

5. Since this is your debut novel - what has most surprised you about the publishing process?

I’ve been so excited to be involved so much in the publishing process, from my notes on cover designs, to editing, to ideas about publicity and events. The thing that perhaps surprised me most was how much editing and proof reading work there in to do following the acquisition of the novel by publishers. We did one large edit, with notes from the two English language publishers, for which I handed in two manuscripts, one in the middle of editing to check we were headed in the right direction and one at the end. Then I did two separate proof reads of the 100,000 words manuscript for both publishers and then another read for each publisher for final checks on typos etc. Given that the book is so huge, this actually took me until the end of 2012, having sold the rights in April, but it was well worth it to get the book to the quality we hoped it could be, and I feel that I’m a much better editor and writer because of it.
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Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for the chance to be part of the blog tour, and Abigail for answering the questions. Golden Boy is in stores on May 21st so be sure to check it out.

If you are in the Toronto area, be sure to stop by Golden Boy event that is taking place. It sounds like a fantastic night.





Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green



Truth or Dare by Jacqueline Green
Release Date – May 14, 2013
Publisher Website - Hachette/Little Brown
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating- 2.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When a simple round of truth or dare spins out of control, three girls find it’s no longer a party game. It’s do or die.

It all started on a whim: the game was a way for Tenley Reed to reclaim her popularity, a chance for perfect Caitlin “Angel” Thomas to prove she’s more than her Harvard application. Loner Sydney Morgan wasn’t even there; she was hiding behind her camera like usual. But when all three start receiving mysterious dares long after the party has ended, they’re forced to play along—or risk exposing their darkest secrets.

How far will Tenley, Caitlin and Sydney go to keep the truth from surfacing? And who’s behind this twisted game

Set against the backdrop of Echo Bay, an isolated beach town haunted by misfortune, Truth or Dare is a highly charged debut that will keep readers in suspense from beginning to end.
Got a secret? Want to keep it? Take the dare. This first in a series of novels that twists the iconic game from many people's childhoods into something sinister, and dangerous.

This is a first novel in what is expected to be a series. I almost would have preferred a stand alone. It could be have been a tighter paced, and more cohesive if it was not drawn out to accommodate a series. The little drops and teases for the next books did pique my interest, but I felt like it took an effort to be invested.

Truth or Dare has a lot in common with the Pretty Little Liars series. Fans of that series will naturally gravitate to this similar sounding plot, and I do think there will be those who find much to love between these pages. For me I found the characters unrelateable, and the plot moved a little slowly.

Pacing issues plagued my enjoyment of this novel. It felt really long, and perhaps, as I mentioned, it could have been tightened up a bit. The ending flowed much better than the beginning.

I was expecting scandalous characters who were flawed. They are, but I felt distanced from them. The development seemed secondary to the plot. I think that plot heavy readers will enjoy it more, but character driven readers may have a harder time with it.

The secrets these girls are keeping have more to do with them not wanting to lose social standing than truthfully high stakes. One is scared that her plastic surgery will become common knowledge, another is worried her reputation will be tarnished. It made the dares, which quickly escalate into having real consequences, seem not worth it. It made the characters motivations lack any real urgency. It made the characters themselves seem rather shallow. Once other people (who appear to not be directly involved) could be harmed by these dares was when I wanted to slap sense into these girls.

The ending of the novel is much stronger than the first half. It starts the wrap up with a rather predictable unveiling of who is sending the dares, but ends on an unsettling note that will propel the series into what I hope is darker territory. There is potential here, and I would love to see this series live up to it. Sydney's dark past, the possible love triangle with Guinness, and the unanswered questions all leave much to explore.

The author didn't shy away from rising the stakes at the end either. It's the type of stakes I wish had been in place since the beginning. This game of truth or dare is deadly. The fact that many unanswered questions were left unanswered regarding the characters who die left me feeling unsettled. I can only hope that even though the characters are not around that these questions will get closure.

A novel that may not have blown me away but gave me enough to want to check out the sequel. Fans of Pretty Little Liars may enjoy this one, and I do urge you to check out other review before deciding to read it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Of Triton by Anna Banks



Of Triton by Anna Banks
Release Date – May 28, 2013
Publisher Website -  Raincoast Books/Fiewel and Friends
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 256 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

**SPOILERS FOR OF POSEIDON** 

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?
Mermaid stories and I tend to not mix very well. I can't put my finger on what it is, but they normally are a miss with me. I was pleasantly surprised when I read Of Poseidon last year. I was won over by it's charm, humour, and refreshing take on the genre. Of Triton is everything Of Poseidon was, and as a result it's a rather enjoyable read. However, there were a few little things that made this end up just being an okay read for me.

Anna Bank's humour that everyone loved in the first novel is back with a vengeance in the sequel. Funny, and a little sarcastic, it's the type of book that makes you feel good. Toraf especially provides delightful one liners that left me giggling. It's the humour that makes this novel so endearing.

My biggest issue was the pacing. It felt slower, and less urgent than the first. The major plot points were easily dealt with and resolved. The heart of the novel, Emma discovering her mother's deception and the aftermath, didn't pack the emotional punch I was expecting. Her mother sends Emma's life into a tailspin, and I wish they would have delved further into that, especially with the bombshell that is dropped regarding Emma's father. I didn't feel as connected to the characters in this installment and was therefore less invested in it's outcome.

The Syrena politics takes center stage in this novel. Emma's mother reappearing sends them into a frenzy and Emma's existence is just another potential complication. Filled with possible betrayals, and last minute revelations it made for an exciting part of the novel. I just wish the stakes felt a little higher, and the outcome a little less predictable. It was harder to become invested in the journey when you are certain about it's outcome.

Those who found the end to Of Poseidon torturous will be happy to learn that Of Triton has a non cliffhanger ending. It leave enough unanswered to warrant a third installment, but without the heart stopping ending.

A fun mermaid tale that fans of the first one devour and immediately look for more. For myself I found it on par with the first, but with a slower pacing that left me feeling like something was missing. I felt, overall, that the novel could have been a little longer to flesh out the plot points, but was otherwise an enjoyable summer read.

Monday, May 13, 2013

BEA - My Most Coveted Gets and Some Survival Tips


*picture courtesy of the Book Expo America official website*

Book Expo America is quickly approaching. It's only 2 weeks until I will be heading to New York City for a week of bookish fun. Now that the autograph schedules are out, some galleys are teased, and plans are under way I thought I would share some of galleys I am hoping to snag, and some survival tips if it's your first year.

SURVIVAL TIPS

1 - Wear Comfy Shoes

This is probably the most important. Your feet will hurt if you don't have proper footwear. You're standing in lines and are on your feet for a lot of hours. Your feet will thank you later that evening if you take care of them.

2 - Plan, plan, plan.

The Javits Center is huge. It's easy to miss things if you don't have some sort of plan. Know when your favourite authors will be around, and line up early.

3- Schedule time for breaks

It's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind that is BEA. You end up in a book filled haze that you forget to relax and take some time for lunch. Be sure to fit in a break somewhere in your day to get some much needed downtime. Bringing supplies (like water, and snacks) is also recommended.

4- Business Cards

Carry a few with you each day. You'll meet people in line while waiting for books, and will want to exchange business cards. You'll also want them for when you talk with publishers. It'll help you network, and is a great way to reconnect with bloggers you talk to while at the convention.

5- Have Fun And Enjoy The Experience

It's a rush to be around all these bookish people. Meeting publishers, authors, and other book lovers is always great, and this is seriously book mecca. Enjoy every single second of it. Take the time to just absorb everything, because it's an amazing experience.

These tips are just some things that have helped me. Plenty of bloggers have similar posts so do check those out for more.

The other exciting part of BEA is getting some amazing ARCs of upcoming fall titles. Here are the top 10 that I am most excited for the chance to snag.

1 Night Film by Marisha Pessel
2. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
3 Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
4 Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
5 Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
6 Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
7 Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
8 Vicious by Victoria Schwab
9 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil 
10 Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

*I would have included by The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, but as previously announced I am now an advocate for that book.*

Anyone else going to BEA? Let me know in the comments so I know to keep a look out to say hello!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

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). 

No words can describe how happy I was to get the review book in this week's mailbox. There was squealing and much fangirling. 


Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (Goodreads)
3:59 t-shirt from Gretchen McNeil

I am not going to be able to wait. Dance of the Red Death will be read immediately. I am planning on spending Sunday (today) reading it. Looking forward to seeing how this series ends. Huge thank you to Harper Collins!

Huge thank you to Gretchen McNeil for the t-shirt. I will be wearing it at Book Expo America and to the Teen Author Carnival to help promote 3:59. Super excited to read it.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, May 10, 2013

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 of Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles


My Friday Night Lights obsession has made this a must get for me. Totally psyched that it's going to be at Book Expo America! Loving the cover too.

TV

Emma and Baelfire (Once Upon A Time)

The first part of the Once Upon A Time finale killed me. So many amazing Emma and Baelfire scenes. So many feelings. It was pretty much everything I wanted and everything I didn't all at once. The second part airs this Sunday and I expect it to be just as excruciating with the wait for season three to be a killer. #SwanfireFeelings

MOVIE

character poster of Magnus from City of Bones



So Magnus is my favourite. I literally adore this character and fangirled over him when I met Cassandra Clare awhile back. He's the best. Godfrey Gao? PERFECT. Instrument of Chaos huh? Interesting.

OTHER

Bone Season Advocate

I've been selected as one of the advocates for Samantha Shannon's debut novel The Bone Season. I am not entirely sure what it entails, but I am super excited about this title. I will be getting my advocate package soon and can't wait to start sharing everything. It's a huge honour and am really looking forward to it.

Book Expo America

Alright, so Monday marks the 2 week mark until I leave for New York City. I excited for so much going on in the city. The Teen Author Carnival event is always one of my favourite. There are a bunch of other signings going on that week in the city. It feels like it's going to be one non-stop book filled week.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Follow Friday


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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: Happy Mother's Day! Who is your favorite mom from fiction?

This turned out to be a pretty easy choice for me. Mrs Weasley from Harry Potter. How can you not love her? I am sure that she'll be mentioned a whole lot this week.

Happy Weekend!

What Kind Of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly



What Kind Of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly
Release Date – April 30, 2013
Publisher Website - Random House Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  320 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A searing and sinister thriller for readers who liked Gone Girl.

What if your best friend's child disappears? And it was all your fault.

A searing and sinister thriller for readers who liked Gone Girl.What if your best friend's child disappears? And it was all your fault. This is exactly what happens to Lisa Kallisto, overwhelmed working mother of three, one freezing December in the English Lake District. She takes her eye off the ball for just a moment and her whole world descends into the stuff of nightmares. Because, not only is thirteen-year-old Lucinda missing, and not only is it all Lisa's fault, but she's the second teenage girl to disappear within this small tightknit community over two weeks. The first girl turned up stripped bare, dumped on a busy high street, after suffering from a terrifying ordeal.

Wracked with guilt over her mistake and after being publicly blamed by Lucinda's family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. But as she begins peeling away the layers surrounding Lucinda's disappearance, Lisa learns that the small, posh, quiet town she lives in isn't what she thought it was, and her friends may not be who they appear, either.
What if in one moment you were responsible for not only changing your life, but the life of someone else? What if you were responsible for the unthinkable? The guilt you would feel, and the sadness would be crippling. This novel looks at the devastating nature of family secrets, the idea of responsibility, and provides a fantastic thrilling read.

Lisa seemed like a typical working mother. Stretched thin trying to be everything to everyone in her life. She's not perfect, but the point is nobody is. The biggest message in this novel is that things are not always how they appear from the outside. As someone who is not a mother, but have close family and friends who are, it was refreshing to see someone who is a little frazzled by motherhood. Often mothers do so much, and are hard on themselves when they are unable to do it all. This glimpse shows that they're not alone in that.

Kate is what everyone considers to be the perfect mother. Put together, always on top of everything, and totally focused. She appears to be never frazzled, and would never for a moment not be able to juggle all the balls she has in the air. We get to see her world crumble when her daughter goes missing.

Joanne, and her Aunt Jackie were immediately my favourite character. A female detective that was capable and resourceful. Aunt Jackie was feisty and says exactly what everyone is thinking. She is the voice of reason and saying things exactly the way they are. Their interaction provided lots of humour in an otherwise tense story structure.

This debut novel is not only well constructed, and flows wonderfully, but is fantastically written. This novel will resonate with mother's who can all too easily relate to the overwhelmed Lisa, and fans of intense thrillers that leave you on the edge of your seat.

The inclusion of chapters from the point of view of a kidnapper gave the novel a sinister, and creepy feel. I was more unsettled by what was not said, with only the littlest hints leaving your imagination free to fill in the blanks. Shivers plagued me as I realized whose points of view these chapters are from, and it gives the novel a little something extra among an already tense storyline.

There are multiple storylines going on in this novel. They all seem like they are going to connect in a certain way, but twist in the most deliciously unexpected way at the last moment. They all tie together in a way that not only makes sense, but provides a most satisfying end to the story. There are even little storylines that appear to have no direct link to the story other than character background that are seen in a different light by the final pages.

This novel was a one sitting reading for me. I was drawn in right from the first page. A twisty, gripping novel that is not be missed. Don't spoil the end twists for yourself, as the way it all weaves together is part of this storylines appeal.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reboot by Amy Tintera



Reboot by Amy Tintera
Release Date – May 7, 2013
Publisher Website -  Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -  352 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.
A novel that is as dark as it is beautiful. A look at what makes us human, and the emotional connections we make with others.

This novel surprised me because I wasn't expecting what I got upon stumbling into it's pages. The emotions I felt, and the journey the main character goes on are only hinted at in the synopsis. Those looking for non stop action may be slightly disappointed to find that this novel is way more than that. Those looking for more depth from their action-y stories will, however, find much to love.

Wren's the perfect Reboot. Distant, cold, and void of emotions...or so she'd like you think. Underneath her hardened mask emotions simmer waiting to come to the surface. Enter Callum. A practically human reboot who was dead for a mere 22 minutes. He brings things out in Wren that she thought didn't exsist. There is a lovely parallell to someone going through something very traumatic, and shutting down, only to have someone help them find their way back. Callum is someone who feels everything. He is the most human, and humane Reboot out of the group. His easy smiles, his heart, and tenderness ignite something in Wren.

The romance is sweet. It's not rushed, or too much. There are no declarations of undying love. It's simply a boy who meets a girl, and they both eventually can't deny their feelings for each other. Tentative, and slow to start, you get to see it grow as they face things together. It's one of the few relationships I've read that grow as the characters learn to trust each other.

The other major theme in the novel is prejudice, and a form of racism. Naturally people are scared of Reboots. Being scared of what you don't understand is nothing new. Human beings have always been quick to fear and judge. I found myself angry because, to me, they seem so human. They are not just machines or a number in some army of robots. However, Amy Tintera also manages to make you reflect on the other side of it as well. It's scary to see your loved one walking around when you know they died. It would be unimaginable. She balances this perfectly and there is an incredibly heartbreaking scene with Callum and his family that tore my heart to bits.

With a few fun twists, some dark and horrific experiments, and this novel flew by. The pacing is gripping, as is it's writing. It's easy to see how a little spark of feeling can cascade into a rebellion and I am eagerly anticipating what comes next in Wren's story.

A darkly dangerous world where emotions are the last thing you want to show and embracing those beautiful moments that make us human. A debut novel that surprised me with how deeply I fell into it's pages. It's one I would say is not to be missed.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nominate My Next Read!


I read a lot of books. Over 100 a year. This is just a small fraction of the amazing novels that are released every year and I am sure there are plenty of fantastic ones that fly under my radar.

I wanted to do something that not only introduced me to new books I might not discover on my own, but also allows my readers a say in what I review.

I am going to dedicate a week to books have that been picked by my readers for me to review. I will review 3 that week (as I normally host 3 reviews weekly) and it'll happen sometime in July.

To start the process I am asking for suggestions on books you would like to see me review. Got a great book that everyone has to read? Want me to try something out before you read it? Nominate it in the comments.

A few little details .....

1. It can be either YA or cross over appeal adult
2. It does not have to be a new release, just one I haven't read yet
3. Sorry, no self published novels (as per my review policy)
4. It has to be easily purchased either in physical or e-book format

Otherwise that's it. Leave me your suggestions. I will narrow it down from there and have voting to determine which three novels I will feature during my first ever "You Pick What I Read" week.

Nominations close May 27th and voting will start shortly after that!

Thanks everyone, and I can't wait to see what novels you introduce me to.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Icons by Margaret Stohl



Icons by Margaret Stohl
Release Date – May 7, 2013
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting.
Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid.

She's different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy.

Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.
The synopsis of Icons is a little misleading. Yes it’s about a horrific day that decimates a large part of the population. Yes, it’s about seemingly alien type beings, and the aftermath of a devastating attack. However, it’s also about family, belonging, and secrets that can cause more damage by remaining hidden.

My issue with the Beautiful Creatures series is how long they felt. I felt some tightening would have helped the plot move along more with that series. The same feeling plagued me here. The storyline is interesting, well thought out, and engaging. However, I would have preferred a little tightening, but otherwise it is solid writing you would expect from this author. 

The characters were hit and miss for me. I wasn’t as drawn to Dol as much as I wanted to be. Lucas, Tima and Ro however captivated me. Lucas most of all. A confused young man who has been taught the same thing his whole life is quickly learning that everything he thinks he knows is a lie. Conflicted, and confused his motives are fuzzy and he’s always on the cusp of betraying everything.

Tima was illusive, and hostile. She’s  rather protective of her bond with Lucas. She has walls built up that don't let people in easily. I found myself wanting to know more about her as I think she's the most unwilling to show who they really are.

Ro is an inferno of anger. It consumes him. His temper is unyielding. His bond with Dol was interesting as she is the only thing that can bring him back from the brink. Nothing else stops the waves of fury that wash over him blacking out everything else. He's self destructive, and it will be interesting to see how his moods influence the rest of the story.

The emotional connection between these four teenagers was the main focus of the book. Bonding over their shared past created intense feelings between them. This has the potential to muddle how each of the characters really feel about each other, especially where Lucas is concerned. The reader is kept on their toes because you are never quite sure how much is being influenced by their abilities.

The romance in the book is more a square than a triangle. Each girl likes both boys, and vice versa. There is potential for each coupling, and I think readers will walk away with their own preferences. I like the sparks between Dol and Lucas. Their romance was hesitant, and unsure. Not being able to fully trust Lucas kept Dol on her toes, and made letting him in an even bigger risk. I am anxious to see if the risk is worth it, and which of the feelings are genuine.

Doc, a wonderfully funny character that I enjoyed immensely. I don’t want to give too much away about him, but I adored him. His role is rather unique, and I LOVE how literal he takes everything that is said to him.

I was intrigued by the reports, autopsy, and other documents that came after each chapter. The information appears to lead in a certain direction and there is a nice payoff at the end that comes with a little bit of a twist. It’s the unanswered questions, and what is to come that excites me. I know the world, and what the stakes are, and feel like we can finally get to the real story.

A decent start a new series that while different than expected still delivered. A novel that overall felt like a set up to a larger story that really just kicked in during the later half of the novel.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

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). 

Quiet mailbox this week. This is great because I am trying to get ahead before I leave at the end of the month for New York for BEA.

I have one book this week, and I didn't even technically get it this week. I forgot to include in a previous mailbox.

It's an eARC of a book that has a movie coming out VERY soon


 The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales (goodreads)

The trailer looks pretty good, and I am sort of curious about the real story behind the movie. This one expires soon so expect a review within the next few weeks.

I also got the seasons 2 - 5 of Friday Night Lights. These will be watched as soon as possible and I hope to to have them done once most of my usual shows end for the summer.


Big thank you to Emilie for lending me these!

Happy Weekend 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:

BOOK

Cover of Unhinged by AG Howard



I am in love with this cover. I haven't read Splintered yet, but that will be changing this summer (once I am out from under my review pile). I want to get my hands on this immediately. Yes, for purely silly reasons that the cover is STUNNING. It screams dark fairytale, and that is one amazing looking Mad Hatter. I obviously haven't checked out the synopsis due to possible spoilers for Splintered, but it's available on Goodreads.

Cover of Univited by Sophie Jordan



The synopsis sounds amazing for this one, but the cover also caught my eye. Mainly because...there is DNA in her hair! The end strands look like DNA (helix models). Clever considering the synopsis. Dying to get my hands on this one when it's released in winter 2014.

TV

Friday Night Lights

I finished season one and have started season two. I have no idea why I never watched this series before now. It's amazing. If you haven't started it, DO SO IMMEDIATELY. One season in and I am pretty sure I am Riggins girl. #TexasForever

OTHER

Book Expo America

It is officially BEA month. I can not wait for May to fly by. Lots to do before heading to New York City. I will be posting a list of my personal 'MUST GET' list for galleys at BEA sometime in May so be in the look out for that.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

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