Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday...Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

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 Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Exiled from her comfortable home, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – called the Death Shop – are slim. Violent energy storms can strike suddenly, and even the very air she breathes might kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild, dangerous – a savage. He’s also her only hope.

Because Aria alone holds the key to his redemption, Perry needs her, too. Their unlikely alliance will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Debut author Veronica Rossi is accumulating fans from all over the globe—the book has already sold to more than twenty countries. It’s not surprising that foreign rights for this title have been flying off the shelf. It’s a tantalizing romance in any language.
The cover is so pretty! I also happen to be a fan of the name Aria (my adorable cat's name) and this just sounds awesome. Why does Aria hold the key to Perry's redemption?! I am so excited to get my hands on this one.

Expected release date - January 3, 2012

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Frostbite - Vampire Academy #2 by Richelle Mead

Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Release Date – April 10, 2008
Publisher – Razorbill
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 327
My Rating- 9/10
Obtained - from the library

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose…

It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians—including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.
But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price…

There will be spoilers for Vampire Academy, so if you haven’t read it you may want to wait to read this review. For more information on Vampire Academy you can read my review.

Frostbite returns us to the characters we know and love from Vampire Academy. The characters are ones that you fall in love with. I realized I am now fully invested in Rose, Lissa and the rest. I love that Richelle is able to make us care about the fate of these characters and has us hoping for some form of happiness for them.

Rose’s character is a good balance between the rough, snarky girl we know and the woman she is growing into. She’s changing, and her character growth is amazing. I wish more novels had such an arc for major characters. Her training classes with Dimitri are having a impact in more ways than the physical. Dimitri is still his wonderful, smart, sane self. The chemistry between Rose and Dimitri is electric, and you can’t help by root for them.

Lissa is still the same sweet Lissa from the first book. She is less unhappy, and eager to learn more about her unique powers. I love her and Christian together. Christian is one of my favourites. He’s so haunted by his past, and hurt. I love that Lissa is so good for him and that he is good for her.

The introduction of some new characters spices things up and creates some interesting potential for the upcoming books. Adrian Ivashkov is the most prominent addition. He is snarky, has some great one liners, and can keep Rose on her toes. I love that there is someone that can verbally match Rose’s banter, and look forward to seeing more of him later novels.

In Vampire Academy the fact that the Moroi can use magic was important in the first book, but it plays a major role in this book. The politics of the Moroi society are fascinating to me and I can’t understand why the idea of using the Moroi’s power to fight the Strigoi had not been discussed and implemented.

This series is quickly becoming one of my favourites, and my only complaint is not having book three to dive into right away. Richelle has left enough questions to keep me coming back, answered enough of them to satisfy me, and introduced elements (and characters… I am looking at you Adrian) that I can see causing troubles for some of my favourites. Sigh…Why did I wait so long to start this series? If you haven’t yet please fix this immediately, you won’t regret it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Abandon by Meg Cabot
Release Date – April 26, 2011
Publisher – Point
Pages - 304
My Rating- 6.5/10
Obtained - won from a giveaway

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away... especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Ever read a book that frustrates you by not giving you any answers? This applies to Abandon. We are given little bits of information throughout the novel. The narrative jumps around with flashbacks spaced throughout the novel. I felt like a lot of the answers were not given, or took much longer than required to be revealed. We spend so much time hearing about the “accident” that kills Pierce, and the “incident” that happened after she has came back from the Underworld. It takes so long to find out what exactly either is referring to that when we finally have all the answers it is almost the end of the novel.

The main character is one those characters who can’t make up her mind. She also has a tendency to blame EVERYTHING in her life on EVERYONE else. Her mother, John, her father, the fact that she died, etc. I find that she doesn’t take responsibility for her own actions. She ends up having a seven figure lawsuit brought against her, and her attitude is “Oh well, Dad will take care of it”. She ended up being pretty unlikeable.

John is another major character. Sadly, we do not learn much about him, or his motives. He acts aloof, cold, and doesn’t tell Peirce things “for her own good”. I hope we do find out more about him in the next few books because he could be a very interesting character if we are able to learn more about him.

The secondary characters are much better. I loved Pierce’s cousin Alex, and there was not enough of him in the book. He often seemed like the sane person in Pierce’s life. There is lingering questions about him that I curious about so I would be thrilled to see more of him. I also liked Kayla. She’s interesting, and seems like a true friend.

The mythology that is introduced closer to the end of the book is interesting, and I am quite looking forward to reading more about in the second book. I think it provides a good starting place for the next book. I think this may be better once fully part of the series, as I don’t think this one stands on it’s own.

I do enjoy Meg Cabot’s writing. She kept me turning the pages, and want to know more. The more I was wanting just didn’t come. This novel feels like a set up for the next books in the series. I feel that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. It held my attention enough that I want to read the second book, and hope to learn more about these characters and the mythology.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox

This is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome Kristi at The Story Siren. It gives us a chance to showcase the books we got during the week.

I got a few books this week (mostly from the library.

For review

Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard (goodreads)

Thanks HarperCollins Canada (especially Shannon). I am going to be doing something exciting with this book in Oct, so look forward to that.

From the Library:

Frostbite by Richelle Mead (goodreads)
Ten Things We Did and Probably Shouldn't Have by Sarah Mlynowski(goodreads)

I am so behind in reading the Vampire Academy series. I am almost finished Frostbite and am loving it!

What books did you get this week? Leave me a comment and I will check it out.

Happy reading everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friday Hops!

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

Q. In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

Vampires...all the way baby. I have always loved vampires. I would want them to be the hot, sexy kind though. It also wouldn't hurt if they didn't want to kill people.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy For Books. It's a great way to meet new people and friends around the blogworld!

Q. Non-book-related this week!! Do you have pets?

I do. I have an adorable cat named Aria. She loves books too...well to eat them anyways.

Happy weekend and Happy reading!

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
Release Date – August 9, 2011
Publisher – Delacorte
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 304
My Rating- 9/10
Obtained - purchased

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

The most tragic love story in history . . .
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

Do you remember reading Romeo and Juliet in high school? Most people I know don’t really like the play, I happen to love it. Stacey Jay’s novel promises to turn the familiar story on it’s head and twist it and it accomplishes exactly that.

The writing style is fast paced, engrossing and the story kept me guessing. The “paranormal” or “supernatural” aspect of the novel is well developed and explained. It is a unique element and I really enjoyed it.

There are a lot of twists in the novel, so even when you think you know what is going on something happens to change that. Things are often not what they seem, and people sometimes are not who you think they are.

There is a lot of action in this novel. The fight scenes are plentiful and action packed. Juliet can certainly hold her own. Fans of fast paced, intense reads will appreciate this aspect of the story.

The characters were my favourite thing. I really ended up caring for both Juliet and Romeo for different reasons.

Juliet in this novel is strong, smart, caring, and still angry as a result of Romeo’s betrayal. She is an Ambassador of Light and is sent to protect the souls of soul mates from The Mercenaries (whom are represented by Romeo). She is often hard on herself as she doesn’t feel she had the “qualities” an Ambassador of Light is supposed to possess. I love that when she falls in love with someone who is “forbidden” to her that she is willing to sacrifice her happiness to save that person. She really does want to help Ariel have a better life when she is finished her mission. She is an interesting character and I am looking forward to seeing more of her in the second novel.

The other main character is Romeo. Oh Romeo, Romeo Wherefore art thou Romeo? The Romeo we know from Shakespeare’s play is nowhere to be found. He’s cocky, arrogant, and flat out mean most of the time. There is a more gentle nature underneath and sometimes you can almost see that he did love Juliet at one point. His character arc and development is the most dramatic in the story. I really enjoyed guessing what his motives might be and figuring out how much was truth and what was lies. I can not wait to find out what is next for him in Romeo Redeemed. He captivated me, and I looked forward to his parts of the story (I wonder what that says about me?). I had a hard time liking the love interest because I was so invested in Romeo.

Stacey Jay has created something really unique and captivating. You if love Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet you’ll appreciate this twist on the classic story, and if you didn’t care for the play you’ll appreciate it because it’s so different. Pick this one up, it’ll surprise you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff

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 Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Is life offering fewer and fewer options? Then join the dead.

When Annelise meets dark and seductive Ronan, he promises her a new life-if she has the courage to chance the unknown. Now, she's whisked away to a mysterious island and pitted against other female recruits to become a Watcher-girls who are partnered with vampires and assist them in their missions. To survive and become a Watcher, Annelise has to beat out every other girl, but she's determined to do so, because to fail doesn't mean dishonor-it means death.

This is being called The Hunger Games meets Vampire Academy. It certainly sounds unique, and I hope it's as good as it sounds!

Expected release date - September 6, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Author Interview - Vicki Grant

Yesterday I reviewed the fun (and cute) Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret. Take a second to read it if you haven't already.

Today I have the author, Vicki Grant, for an interview. I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions and it turned into a really fun interview...I especially love the insight into her daughters influencing the look of the guys in the novels.

You can learn more about Vicki and her novels at her website.

1. Describe Betsy Wickwire’s Dirty Secret in 3 words.

Funny. Sad. Hopeful.

2. What sort of research did you do for this book?

Not much frankly. I live in Halifax and set the story here so that wasn't hard. I've done my fair share of housecleaning so didn't need to research that much either. The little bit of research I should have done, I didn't. I gave Dolores a crush on the goalie of Nick's rugby team. It wasn't until my daughter - a rugby player herself - read it that I realized the game doesn't have goalies.(I clearly should spend less time talking with the other mothers on the sidelines and more time actually watching the games).

3. Betsy Wickwire experiences the heartbreak of having a significant other break up with you. What is your recipe for curing heartache?

Time. Food. Coming up with nasty names for the creep who broke your heart. More time. Someone new.

4. Your book is a fantastic beach read. What is your favourite beach read?

I'm about to start writing a YA mystery set in Halifax during the second world war. (it was the most important port in North America at the time and doubled in population with the arrival of tens of thousands of young - and handsome, older women tell me - service men) because of that, I've been reading books set in WWII. we happened to have Ken Follett's books, The Eye of the Needle and Jackdaws, at the cottage. The're both ripping wartime yarns. Perfect beach reads.

5. Who gets to read your writing first?

Usually my daughters. They'll read over my shoulder as I'm writing but also sit down wtih the early drafts of the manuscript. You can often see their influence in the description of the guys in my book. I can pretty much figure out who they have a crush on by how they want me to tweak my characters. "He should be taller with green eyes..." "His hair is darker than that..." It might be easier if they just pointed him out in the yearbook and let me take it from there.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant

Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant
Release Date – August, 2011
Publisher – HarperCollins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 288
My Rating- 8/10
Obtained - from HarperCollins for an honest review (thanks Shannon)

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Betsy’s life is officially over: Dumped by her boyfriend, betrayed by her best friend . . . how is she ever going to show her face again?

Determined to avoid everyone and everything from her previous life, Betsy stumbles into an unusual café and an even more unusual girl. Dolores Morris—a mouthy, green-haired outsider Betsy can’t quite remember from school—talks her into starting a cleaning service. Before she knows it, Betsy is down on her knees, dressed like a dust bunny, scrubbing strangers’ toilets.

It’s a long way for the most popular girl in school to have fallen. But Betsy finds comfort in the wine bottles and prescriptions and other dirty secrets she finds hidden in her clients’ homes. She also finds love with a client’s son, friendship with Dolores and a liberated sense of herself. Her new life soon falls apart, though, when valuables begin to go missing from some of the homes she and Dolores have been cleaning. Betsy discovers the hard way that not all dirty secrets can just be swept under the rug.
I had read a whole bunch of more serious, intense reads and was looking for something lighter. This arrived in my mailbox and I was eager to dive right in because it sounded like exactly what I needed. I got a funny, charming read that was an instant pick me up. I also wanted to add more books set in Canada to my list and was thrilled to see that this took place in Halifax.

Betsy Wickwire is a character that I really enjoyed. I felt for her when she discovers the betrayal of her boyfriend and best friend. I felt I could really relate to her as I have been in a similar position. I loved the character growth she had throughout the novel. She provided a lot of the funniest moments. Her reactions to cleaning were hilarious, and her first meeting with Murdoch made me laugh out loud.

Dolores was another character I really liked. She was quirky and I loved her different outfits. She was exactly the type of friend Betsy needed when she met her.

Murdoch was another example of a character being exactly what Betsy needed at the time. He’s sweet, geeky in the most adorable way, and the romance is cute without being over sappy.

I liked the light tone of the book, even when dealing with more serious issues. It was a great balance between the comedic part and the series parts. Vicki really makes you feel for these characters and understand their motivations. Often in “female literature” the characters are one dimensional and more a means to the story than important to it. Vicki makes each character unique and interesting.

Betsy Wickwire is a fun, cute summer read that would go perfectly with a day at the beach and a nice Piña colada. Don’t be surprised if you are smiling after you’ve read it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox

This is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome Kristi at The Story Siren. It gives us a chance to showcase the books we got during the week.

I had a pretty crazy mailbox week....

I purchsed:

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay (goodreads)

It FINALLY came in this week. Stacey Jay was offering to send a signed book sticker if you preordered it and that also came this week (along with a Juliet Immortal magnet).

I won:

Die For Me by Amy Plum (goodreads)

Amy was having a contest on her Twitter for a signed copy and I won. I was so happy to get a signed copy. I have an extra copy now so I will be having a contest for that soon.

For review:

Betsy Wickwire's Dirty Secret by Vicki Grant (goodreads)

I also like the actual cover MUCH better :)

Thank you HarperCollins (and Shannon). This was a really cute book. Look for the review next week.

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (goodreads)

The S&S GalleyGrab had this in it, and it was the only one I decided to take. Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the chance to read it.

What books did you get this week? Leave me a comment and I will check it out.

Happy reading everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blog Hop/Follow Friday

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

Q. If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?

Hmmm.... If it was a book that was not written yet it would be paranormal romance. I would be the main character (as they are usually alive at the end). I would have to have powers of my own though. I would want to be a stong a character as possible. If I was to be in a book that is already written...I am going to go with Mara Dyer. I would have to put myself as some form of competition for Noah's heart.(Sigh!) If that doesn't work out I would love to be in Harry Potter and just be a witch at school that was friends with Neville. Getting to see Hogwarts would be awesome.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy For Books. It's a great way to meet new people and friends around the blogworld!

Q. “What’s the LONGEST book you’ve ever read?”
(Note: I’m putting one caveat on this question. You aren’t allowed to say the Bible, Torah, Qur’an, or other religious/spiritual text.)

I am pretty sure it's the Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson. It's just under 600 pages I believe.

**Edit** I just realized that the last few Harry Potter books are longer than this I believe. So it would actually be whatever Harry Potter book is the longest (Order of the Phoenix is the longest I believe).

Happy weekend and Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Release Date – April 12, 2011
Publisher – Feiwel & Friends
Pages - 259
My Rating- 9/10
Obtained - library

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known

There has been a lot of dystopian out there recently. I have read a whole bunch of it. This is one of the few that has honestly scared me. The world that Ann Aguirre has created is described so well, developed so well that you can picture it. It’s not just the Freaks that you need to worry about in this world, and that is the scariest thing of all. You think of how the survivors would evolve and it wouldn’t be far fetched for some of them to become like what is depicted in this novel.

Deuce is an amazing heroine. She’s tough, smart, and self reliant. She knows how to take care of herself, and knows what she wants. It’s not as common to find a character like this in YA and I am so glad Deuce exists. She does follow orders given to her by the people in charge of her enclave, but she is able to THINK for herself.

Fade is amazing. He’s tough, smart, thoughtful and a great match for Deuce. I liked that the “relationship” stuff was understated and not the focus of the novel. It felt like it was just this slowly developing thing. Neither Deuce nor Fade really knows what is going on, and they are just kind of “living in the moment” which to me seemed very real and natural under the circumstance.

The writing style is very gripping. You want to keep turning the pages to find out what is going to happen next. It’s a shorter book so I was able to polish it off rather quickly. The terms used for the different placements in society - breeders, hunters, and builders - could have been distracting, however, they really went with the tone of the novel.

The ending of the book was satisfying as a stand alone, but I also felt the need to revisit the characters that survive and see how they have fared since we left them last. I became invested in these characters and want to know more.

If you are a fan of dystopian novels this one will make you remember why, and if you’re picking one up for the first time it will make you wonder why you waited so long.

Waiting on Wednesday...Black Heart by Holly Black

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 Black Heart by Holly Black

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.

I love this series, and am really looking forward to this one. I hope Cassel gets his version of "happily ever after" when the series ends.

Expected release date - April 3, 2012 (my birthday!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Bucket List - Book Blogger Style

I saw a post from the very creative Audrey at Holes In My Brain. She had listed the things she would like to do (or experience, etc) during her book blogging life. I thought it was an amazing, fun, and unique thing to do. I want to complete my list and will be working towards it for sure!

Thanks again Audrey for the idea.

Here is my 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

I may add things if I come up with more. I will, of course, post blogs if I complete one (with photo or video proof). If you make one as well please leave it in the comments and I will be sure to check it out.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Release Date – June 14, 2011
Publisher – Egmont USA
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 397
My Rating- 8/10
Obtained - library

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

I picked up this book due to the sheer number of people buzzing about this book. Science fiction novels and I do not usually agree, so I was not really sure what to expect. Myra McEntire’s novel is one of the few science fiction novels I have enjoyed.

The characters in this novel really make the difference. There were some characters I really liked and surprisingly they were not who I was expecting.

Emerson is a puzzle. She’s snarky and tries to keep people at a distance. She is afraid of people finding out about her visions, and thinking she’s weird. She’s also someone who has been through a lot. I felt it harder to connect to her as a character. Her family consists of her brother and his wife. I liked how concerned her brother was for her, and the relationship she has with her sister-in-law is actually really sweet.

Emerson’s best friend Lily was fantastic. She provided a lot of humours moments, and was a really fun character. I think I liked her more than Emerson. I really hope to see more of her in the next books.

The character of Michael is very typical of the “cute boy” in a lot of books. He is good looking, is a little snarky like Emerson, and is part of the Hourglass organization. He and Emerson have this hot and cold relationship and I found myself just wanting them to talk it out already.

Kaleb is another boy who ends up on Emerson’s radar and could potentially give Michael some competition. I liked Kaleb a lot too. He was damaged, and broken. He made mistakes. I liked that even though he had some awful things happen in his life he could still joke around. I hope he is in the next few books a lot more.

The science part of this was really unique and my favourite part of the story. Michael asks her to help him prevent a murder that happened and to do this they travel back in time. I haven’t read a lot of books that deal with time travel so I was really excited to dive in. I felt it was adequately explained and I wasn’t confused.

I was expecting a huge cliffhanger as I read this is just the first book in a series, and was surprised to see that was not the case. There was enough to set up the next books though, and I am looking forward to getting to know these characters more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox

This is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome Kristi at The Story Siren. It gives us a chance to showcase the books we got during the week.

I only got one book this week.

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (goodreads)

I picked this up from the library right after reading the fantastic review by Evie over at Bookish. I have already read this and it is AWESOME.

What books did you get this week? Leave me a comment and I will check it out.

Happy reading everyone!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Follow Friday/Blog Hops

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

Q. How has your reading habits changed since you were a teen? or If you are still a teen what new genres are you in love with currently?

When I was a teenager I was always reading. I still enjoy the same books I did as a teenager. I think I read less YA when I was a teenager though. I read a lot of Stephen King books in highschool. Just before highschool, however, I was reading a lot of Sweet Valley High books.

As an adult I am also open to more genres than I was in highschool. I think I was less likely to try something new. I've read some things that I would not have touched as a teenager recently.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy For Books. It's a great way to meet new people and friends around the blogworld!

Q “Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!”

I was searching Google for this because I could not think of one off the top of my head. I stumbled upon this

I believe they probably mean how to read critically, but the title just sounds funny when taken at face value. All I want to ask is "if you can't read how can you read THIS book?"

Happy weekend and Happy reading!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Autumn Book Buzz...

It’s that time of year again…

Students are getting ready to head back to class (or are already there in some cases), leaves will soon fall from the trees, and my thoughts turn to cozy evenings with tea and a good book. Luckily for me (and you) there are some AMAZING new releases coming up this autumn. As I was lucky to have been able to attend Book Expo America I have had the chance to read some titles that will be released soon. These are ones that I am sure you’ll be excited to get your hands on!

Here are my Buzz Worthy selections for Autumn 2011 (Sept - Dec):

1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

What’s it about?

That’s super secret. Seriously, I can’t tell you. I will tell you there is paranormal elements and that there is a sexy boy named Noah Shaw.

Why I found it Buzz Worthy

The story blew me away from the amazing cryptic start to the jaw dropping ending. I am already aching to read book 2. I am not sure I will last until it’s released. It’s an amazing start to what is hopefully a series of books. The romance is super sexy and Michelle is now one of my favourite writers and I look forward to anything she writes. The question “Who is Mara Dyer?” is one I am dying to get more answers to.

Release date September 27, 2011

2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

What’s it about?

A girl whose touch is powerful enough to kill people, as a result she’s been locked away. Anything more than that would be too much of a spoiler. Just trust me that awesomeness happens.

Why I found it Buzz Worthy

The writing is unique and unlike anything I had read before. The main character is such a strong female lead character that I loved her immediately. The ending is going to make the wait for book 2 long and horrible.

Release date November 15, 2011

3. The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

What’s it about?

Two teens stumble upon this thing called Facebook before Facebook was a reality. This allows them a glimpse into their futures, but is that something they really want?

Why is it Buzz Worthy?

The nostalgia factor was high for me. I would have been about the same age as these characters at the time the novel is taking place. I had flashbacks when certain things were mentioned, and it left me with a warm fuzzy feeling. Plus, who hasn’t wanted to see what their future holds? This was done in a clever, and unique way that we can relate to today.

Release date November 21, 2011

And one last title. This is one I haven’t had the chance to read yet. It’s one of my most anticipated books of the fall:

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Who didn’t LOVE Anna and the French Kiss. I am pretty sure the answer is NOBODY. I have seen reviews and they have done nothing but make me even more ravenous to read this book. Exactly how long until this is out?!

Release date September 29, 2011 (or October 4, 2011 if you live in Canada like I do)

What Autumn book are you most looking forward to?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday...Pandemonium

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 Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of The Hunger Games and the bittersweet love story of Romeo & Juliet.

I loved Delirium so much. I literally made me thankful for each and every broken heart I've ever had because I can FEEL. I am beyond excited to continue Lena and Alex's story. Is it March yet?!

Expected release date - March 6, 2012

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen

The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen
Release Date – June 01, 2011
Publisher – Point
Pages - 272
My Rating- 8/10
Obtained - library

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?
Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.

We’ve all read books in which we wished to be able to enter the world within the pages. We’ve all had book crushes on some of the amazing characters in those books. What if your book crush could actually show up at your door? ….ahem…Hello Noah Shaw. This is the premise of the cute novel written by Allison van Diepen.

Amy is the main character. A typical teenager girl. She was very likable. Her family consists of her mom and sister. She has a pretty decent relationship with both of them; her and her sister fight like most sisters do. I liked that her mother was very involved, and actually cared where her daughters were. When things start to get weird, Amy doesn’t hide it from her mother, but instead includes her as much as she can. I think as a reader that Amy is relatable because she gets as excited as I do about books.

Alexander Banks - the dashing hero from the Otherworld series. He is focused (a little too much maybe), a little aloof, with a touch of sarcasm. He’s old fashioned which does make him quite sweet. His relationship with Amy when they meet is cute, and even though Amy knows quite a bit about him from the novels, doesn’t progress at an unreasonable pace. They actually go on dates! It was funny seeing him learn about new things that did not exist in his world.

The other characters are just as great- Amy’s friends, the other characters we briefly meet from the Otherworld, and the kindly librarian that Amy befriends.

This book is a gigantic love letter to all those readers who crush on book hotties, and who have wanted to visit a world created by very talented writers. If you have ever had book crush you’ll enjoy this fun, cute story.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Release Date – August 16, 2007
Publisher – Razorbill
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 332
My Rating- 9.5 /10
Obtained - purchased

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

This is a series that I have heard so much about. I am not really sure why I haven’t read it already, but I am really glad I decided to.

Richelle’s writing is the type that will pull you in. It makes you want to keep reading. I was instantly attached to these characters and the world they live in. The twists and reveals kept me guessing and turning the pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen next.

I found the premise of two different types of vampires really unique, and interesting. It made for a different spin on the typical vampire tale. The difference between the two being born vampires (Moroi) vs. made vampires (Strigoi). It provided a nice political side to the story that I hope is continued in the next books.

The characters we are introduced to during the novel are well developed, and complex.

I enjoyed Rose Hathaway a lot. She’s brave, strong, hard working, and capable. She has some sassiness, and sexuality to her which is refreshing to see. She doesn’t shy away from being tough and being feminine at the same time. She provided a lot of the humour in the novel, and some of her quotes are now among my favourites.

Lissa was very sweet, devoted to doing what her family would want her to, loyal, and strong in her own way. She is a Vampire Princess and the stress of what is expected of her is evident throughout the book.

The relationship between Rose and Lissa was one of my favourite things about this book. They have a true friendship that is built on mutual respect, loyalty and genuine affection for each other. I am curious to see how deep the bond between the two girls will go in the subsequent books. I have a feeling we are just scratching the surface of the connection they now share.

No story would be complete without some romance and it is delivered in this book in the form of two pretty awesome love interests. Dimitri and Christian. Dimitri is Rose’s teacher. The chemistry between them literally burns through the pages. It’s delicious. I couldn’t wait for them to give in and FINALLY kiss. Christian seems really sweet, and definitely wants to protect Lissa as well. I am curious to see how their relationship will change after the ending of this book.

Now that I have finally given in and read book one of this series my only regret is that I do not have book two ready and waiting for me to read. If you haven’t started this series yet, do so immediately.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In My Mailbox

This is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome Kristi at The Story Siren. It gives us a chance to showcase the books we got during the week.

I got 2 books from the library this week

The Vampire Stalker by Allison van Diepen (goodreads)
Hourglass by Myra McEntire (goodreads)

I also received a nice surprise in the mail this week. A big thanks to Maureen Johnson for this awesome button!

What books did you get this week? Leave me a comment and I will check it out.

Happy reading everyone!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Follow Friday/Blog Hops

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

Q. Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?).

The first Harry Potter book. It renewed my love of reading and I am forever thankful for it. JK Rowling created something really magical, and I can't wait to see what she does next.

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy For Books. It's a great way to meet new people and friends around the blogworld!

Q “What is the one ARC you would love to get your hands on right now?”

There is one that I gladly do almost anything (keyword is ALMOST) for. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I loved Anna and the French Kiss so much and have been waiting very impatiently to read LOLA.

Happy weekend and Happy reading!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Movie Magic

I am sure everyone has experienced this - you’re reading a book and you can picture the characters and the world so vividly that you’re dying to see it made into a movie.

I thought with all the excitement about the Hunger Games and Mortal Instruments movies I would highlight some books that have yet to hit the big screen… but I sure hope they do.

Some of these have already been optioned for a movie (and hopefully one will be made) others I have heard nothing about. I am going to try not to give any spoilers for the books that are on my list, while still giving you an example of why I want to see it on the big screen.

1. Shatter Me

This novel is amazing and filled with moments I want to see on the big screen. The ending is so epic, and made me so excited for the next book. There is a scene in the book that involves a young child that would make my physically ill to see on screen, but that shows the power of that scene. The hot romance would play out wonderfully if the cast had great chemistry.

2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

The accident would be intense to see on the big screen. The paranormal element would provide some great movie moments, and the sexy chemistry between Noah and Mara would ignite the screen.

3. Starcrossed

The fight scenes, the “dream sequences” and the beautiful island scenery are just some of the highlights I would be looking forward to. The scene where Helen and Lucas are fighting and they dent the earth would be the most insane movie moment.

4. Vampire Academy

The action alone in this book would make an fantastic movie. Getting to see the school would also be a huge movie moment for fans. I have only read one book, but already I can see the appeal of a movie. The training scenes, the ball when the Princess visits, and heart pounding end would be my “must sees”.

5. Delirium

The landscape and seeing this whole area fenced in to keep out the infection would be interesting. The first time Lena sees Alex (the scene with the cows) sticks out in my head for some reason as a great moment. If it could be shown properly seeing how everyone acts once they have the procedure would give me chills.

6. Wither

The house that Rhine lives in after becoming a Bride and the all futuristic gadgets and illusions would be on the top of my wish list for this movie. That house is so detailed that it would be fun to see it realized in a movie.

7. Die For Me -

The setting of Paris would make it visually pleasing. The sword fight scenes, and that romantic end scene would leave everyone dying to go to Paris and find their own Vincent.

8 Divergent

The whole world Veronica Roth has created begs to be made into a movie. The scene where Tris jumps off the building not knowing what awaits her at the bottom would be my most wanted scene. I would love the complicated, intense relationship between her and Four as well. Getting to see where the Dauntless live as that area was so detailed.

9. The Iron Fey Series

Getting to see the NeverNever and the Summer and Winter Courts would be amazing. I can already visualize the Winter Court and it would be stunning on screen. The magic, romance, and epic fight scenes would make this one visually captivating movie.

I am sure there are tons of books I am not thinking of right now. What is the book you hope they make into a movie?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday....Fever by Lauren DeStefano

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 Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but danger is never far behind.

Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary.

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever.

I loved Wither and I am so excited to see what is next for Rhine. I am curious to see how the items on the cover will fit into the story.

Expected release date - February 21st 2012

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places By Carrie Ryan

***spoilers for Dead Tossed Waves***

The Dark and Hollow Places By Carrie Ryan
Release Date – March 22, 2011
Publisher – Delacorte
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 374
My Rating- 8/10
Obtained - from the library

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.
Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?

We leave Gabry just after she’s discovered that she has a twin sister. Her and Catcher have started off to try to find her. Carrie Ryan jumps right in and we are introduced to Gabry’s twin Annah and Dark City where she lives.

As always, I enjoyed Carrie Ryan’s writing style. I do find her book start off slower, and the end leaves you gasping and rushing to finish. This was no exception. I think this was the best novel out of the series. The story was well paced, well written and the plot just flowed in a way that made it impossible to put down.

I was pleasantly surprised by Annah. She did not have the issues I felt were in Mary and Gabry. Annah is strong after having to care for herself. She is more capable of making decisions and trying to come up with plans. She is more focused on getting to safety than other distractions.

Catcher remains the guy in the series that I adore. Conflicted, intense, and so wanting to be loved. He really goes through a lot and the character development when it comes to him is so well written.

Gabry ended up growing on me during this novel. She was different from the Gabry we meet in Dead Tossed Waves. The relationship between her and Annah is one of my favourite things in the books. I realy enjoyed seeing them interact and grow with each other as the story progressed.

This book introduced us to the darker side of what people can revert to in situations like this. You are left with little supplies, hardly any people and everyone is scared. These circumstances are perfect for people to take advantage of others, and for cruelty to come out in those that have it in them. I was quite disgusted by some of the characters in this book, and they were the humans instead of the zombies.

There is still wiggle room for other books in this series, I felt that the way we leave the characters was the best ending for them. It leaves you understanding the realities of the world these characters live in while providing you with enough hope to wish for the survivor’s happiness and well being.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Goddess Test Winner......

I have chosen the winner for the signed copy of The Goddess Test by the lovely Aimee Carter. The Winner is..........

Evie from Bookish

I emailed Evie with the good news, and her reply was simply the cutest. She's so sweet. She also happens to have a fantastic blog so take a moment and visit her.

Thank you to everyone that entered. I have a giveaway coming up in September to celebrate not only my 6 month blog birthday but also the release of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, so check back for that.

Between by Jessica Warman

Between by Jessica Warman
Release Date – August 2, 2011
Publisher – Bloomsbury
Pages - 464
My Rating- 8/10
Obtained - at BEA for an honest review

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Elizabeth Valchar --- pretty, popular and rich --- wakes up the morning after her 18th birthday on the yacht where she’d been celebrating with her closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, she finds her own drowned body is hitting the side of the boat. Liz is dead. She has no memory of what happened to her, and can only observe in horror the fallout of her death.

She’s also soon joined by Alex Berg, a quiet boy from her high school who was killed by a hit-and-run driver. The two keep each other company, floating in and out of memories and trying to piece together the details of what happened to each of them.

In her regular life, Liz was a runner. It wasn’t abnormal for her to run 8-10 miles per day. But as memories from closer to her death begin to surface, Liz finds that she’d been running much more than normal, and that she’d all but stopped eating. Liz’s mother, who died when Liz was nine, had battled with anorexia as well, and those around her worried that Liz was following in her mother’s footsteps. But something more sinister was consuming Liz from the inside out...

When we meet Liz she’s already dead. She’s drown while celebrating her 18th birthday. She was the popular girl, the type of girl that always had perfect clothes and makeup. She’s not thrilled to be dead and even less happy that she can’t remember anything about what happened to her.

The premise of this novel reminded me a little of The Lovely Bones, while they do have some things in common they are quite different.

The fact that Liz can not remember much is a great way to introduce the back story of these characters. As Liz is recalling details of her life, and the events that led up to her death the reader is also able to discover them along with her. This means we only have as much information as Liz does, and it works for this type of story.

The writing style in this book is easy to read, and simple. I did find myself having to be extra aware of when events were taking place. The flashbacks and mixed in with things that are currently happening and it’s easy to get a little lost.

The characters are wonderfully written. I ended up really liking Liz. She was the type of girl that I would have not like in high school, but through her story we see how confused, damaged and how different she wished things could be. She grows as a character as she pieces her life together.

The other main character in the book Alex was wonderful. He was considered a “loser” by Liz and her friends. They barely noticed him when he was alive and attended high school with them. He was very sweet, forgiving, and just a nice guy. I liked the friendship that began to happen between he and Liz during the course of their time together. Alex, at the time of the story, has been dead for about a year. When Liz dies he greets her and together they begin to piece together what happened to both of them.

This leads me to the twists in the story. There were some twists that I did not see coming. Things are connected in ways that I didn’t even begin to guess at. I liked the murder mystery aspect of the book as we never really know (until the end that is) what happened that night on the boat. Did Liz fall? Was she murdered? Was it an accident? I love a good mystery and while I could sense certain things, I never fully guessed what happened.

The other characters in the book were as well developed as the main two. I especially liked Liz’s boyfriend Richie. Liz’s father was heartbreaking to read about. Getting to see him go through the grief of losing his daughter, and knowing that he also lost his wife really made you feel for him.

I recommend this book if you are in the mood for a decent mystery, and a more serious novel. There is a thread of hope throughout the novel, but it is a more emotional read.

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