Thursday, February 28, 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: Confess your blogger sins! Is there anything as a newbie blogger that you've done, that as you gained more experience you were like -- oops?

Nothing huge I can think of. I don't think there are any 'mistakes' per say that are horrible. Yes, I really need to comment more but otherwise I think I am doing okay. Blogging is a hobby and fun for me, so learning as I go is all part of the process. I love that it can surprise me still, even after 2 years of being invested.

Happy Weekend!

My Auto Buy Authors

I noticed a bunch of people posting their Top 10 Auto Buy Authors lists this past Tuesday as part of The Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday meme. I didn't take part but still wanted to post my own list because I was so fascinated reading other blogger's lists. If you want to find out more about The Broke and the Bookish's meme (totally seems like fun) stop by their  website for all the details.

Here is my list of authors that I would automatically buy anything that they put out. This was harder than I expected. There are plenty of authors I enjoy, and some of them may make my auto buy list in the future. I was only able to come up with 8 authors who right now no matter what they wrote about I would read it.

1 Michelle Hodkin

I fell in love with her writing, and her characters right from the first book. The second cemented her as a must read for me. Her ability to pull off mind blowing twists, and the emotions she causes me to experience within the pages will keep me coming back for each and every book.

2 JK Rowling

It goes without saying that the Harry Potter series is epic. I also enjoyed The Casual Vacancy, which even though it was so different was just as well written. She's an author I've come to trust, and know that I will be pulled into a story that captures my imagination.

3 Bethany Griffin

A single novel was all it took for me to fall in love with Bethany's writing. Her flawed characters leap off the pages, and her delicious descriptions capture the scene perfectly. I am looking forward to not only Dance of the Red Death, but whatever else she might be writing next.

4 Tahreh Mafi

Her prose. Those two words sum up why after just two novels I will gladly read anything this author writes. Her writing is so beautiful, lyrical, and unique.

5 Katherine Longshore

I was drawn to Katherine's book due to my love of history. Luckily for me I got a well written, well researched debut that I adored. After finishing Tarnish, a novel in which Anne Boleyn truly comes to life, Katherine Longshore has a lifetime auto buy pass. She creates amazingly human characters that you'll swear her books are biographies instead of fiction.

Stephanie Perkins

The perfect book to read as a "pick me up". Funny, sweet, charming, and romantic are the best ways to describe Stephanie's work. It also manages to feel fresh and new. It's the emotional reaction I have to her books that makes me want to immediately add anything she writes to my "to be read" pile.

Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare has created two series that I adore. Her characters are what keeps me coming back. She writes characters that get to you, and you instantly care about. The intricate plots, and how they are woven over two (soon to be three) series is insanely impressive, and the world she created so rich. I will gladly return to the Shadowhunter (or anything else) world for as long as Cassandra Clare wishes to write.

8 Gayle Forman

After reading Just One Year I can safely say that I am in for whatever this author publishes. Her contempory novels have all been huge favourites of mine, and with the characters of Willem and Allyson I have become a life long fan.

I seem to have a lot of authors with just 2 books out. This just proves that when I become addicted to something, it sticks. All of these authors have provided me with a wonderful journey taken with characters I'll never forget.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday....3:59

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 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m. Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo.

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had – and how they just might kill you.
This sounds creepy, and AWESOME. I love the cover as well. September can not come fast enough.

Expected release date September 17, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally

Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally
Release Date – March 1, 2013
Publisher Website - Sourcebooks Fire
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  304 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…
Intense. Provocative. Thought Provoking. Miranda Kenneally’s novels are some of the most real, raw and realistic novels. They capture the roller coaster that the formative teenage years are. They don’t shy away from the complicated, messy and sometimes destructive choices that people can make.

Kate is written to get under your skin. Judgmental, unwavering, and unwilling to acknowledge other perspectives than her own. Her narrow view point ends up isolating her, and tearing a part friendships. Her faith is a huge part of her character, and it defines everything she sees, does and thinks. She has a hard time reconciling how to be a good faithful follower of god, and be part of a world where shades of grey exist.

As a reader I felt pushed away from her, and could feel myself bristle in reaction to her. Her growth eventually led me to a place of acceptance, and hope for a character who came across of self involved. As the character is revealed I slowly started to see the good in her. There are reasons her character was written this way, and the fact that the story still pulls you in shows that the journey is part of the charm of this particular plot.

Her guilt over something she’s done causes her to question herself, her faith, and whether or not she can ever be forgiven for a sin she perceives are unforgivable. I could sympathize with her distress over compromising something she so fully believes in, and could also understand why she saved in the first place.

Her journey is eye opening, life changing one for the character. I appreciated that the changes she made were for herself. The author also didn’t handle these changes lightly. The character doesn’t all of a sudden see things differently. It’s a gradual shift, and even in the end her journey is ongoing.

Matt is the most patient, understanding, and relaxed character in the story. When I was hoping someone would really give Kate a piece of their mind, Matt was supportive, and kind. He opens Kate’s eyes in a way that is both romantic, and natural.

The surprising addition of Parker induced a minor freak out. I really liked Parker and was thrilled to find out the next part of her story. The way that these novels are interconnected adds to the high school ambiance. In a story where so much of the plot examines friendship and what being a good friend really means, Parker's acceptance and willingness to forgive helps Kate on her own self discovery.

Miranda Kenneally’s novels are filled with intense emotions, and achingly real life situations and characters. A main character that brought forth many emotions in me, and a story that is deep, thought provoking read. One that I enjoyed despite the main character

Monday, February 25, 2013

Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Release Date – January 22, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 438 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**borrowed from fellow blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.
Whenever a series ends there is always a bit of hesitation before picking up the final book, at least for me. I am always worried I will end up being disappointed with how it all ends. They are emotional, often draining because you are saying goodbye to a story and characters you've become attached to. Boundless had the very polarizing effect of being both an engaging story while at the same time being everything I hoped it wouldn't be.

This final installment ties in with the previous novels in such a way that everything comes together. Clara, Christian, and Angela’s true purposes come about in a well paced, and executed plot. The story mixed action, romance, and reveals to close out the series showcasing everything that was loved in the previous chapters of this story.

The love triangle is brought to the forefront as Clara has to decide her future. I can appreciate each guy has qualities that make them a solid choice for Clara. Both Tucker and Christian do care for Clara, and she is able to be open and honest with both of them for the most part. Each guy fulfills a different aspect of what she is looking for. I feel Christian fits into her world in a way that Tucker never can, and therefore have been on Team Christian. My favourite part of this triangle is that each guy is given equal time. It is not obvious whom she'll end up with, or what coarse her life will take. It's a true triangle in every sense, and not just there to draw out the plot.

Clara has always been a unique character to me, especially in this genre. She has angelic powers, and the author could be forgiven for making her an immediate force to be reckoned with. Instead, we get an endearing, unsure, but brave young woman. This makes Clara herself more relatable, and her story resonate that much deeper. Clara is trying to find her purpose in life, and struggles with normal teenage fears. It feels less like an angel story and more like a very human journey. It’s her that is the heart of the story, and whom we become invested in as a character.

The ending unraveled in a quite unexpected way. I wanted something very different from the final pages. The ending was, for me, heartbreaking. I will not spoil it, but it did selfishly impact my enjoyment of the overall book.

A fitting wrap up to this trilogy. It is a testament that I was hoping for something completely different, and yet still felt satisfied with the story upon reading the last page. This series will appeal to you if you’re looking for a series that perfectly blends supernatural with very real characters.

Sunday, February 24, 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).

Another awesome week both for my real mailbox and my email inbox with some great eARCs for review.

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren (goodreads)
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (goodreads)

A big thank you to Lindsay from Me on Books who sent me The Moon and More and the awesome Nobody But Us bookmark!

A surprise from Simon and Schuster US showed up at my door. I have been hearing a lot about Beautiful Bastard and it sounds like it could be something different from what I normally read, and hopefully really fun.

The eARCs kindly provided by the publishers/Netgalley/Edelweiss

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa (goodreads)
Reboot by Amy Tintera (goodreads)
Another Little Piece by Karyus Quinn (goodreads)

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 23, 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:


Cover of Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Dying! This cover! Swoon! I kind of love it. It matches the one for Just One Day. Also, did you read the excerpt that was released? No? GO DO IT! Now tell me you're not dying to get your hands on this. Willem may just top my Most Swoon Worthy YA Guys of 2013 post at the end of the year (well maybe 2nd to Noah Shaw). Be sure to add it to your Goodreads as well.

Cover for Radiant Sky by Jocelyn Davies

This series has super pretty covers. I am excited to see how this series will end. Add it to your Goodreads.

Cover for Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone

I love the pretty, dream like quality of these covers. I wasn't expecting a second book in this series, so I am excited as the first one left me with lots of questions. Add it to your Goodreads.


Once Upon A Time

**First a shout out to Brodie who puts up with my Once Upon A Time feelings via epic emails and tweets**

This past Sunday's episode was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. Emotional, amazing, and stunning. The reveals, the reunions, the tears (mainly shed by me). Jennifer Morrison (Emma) did a fantastic job, and Robert Carlyle (Rumple/Mr Gold) was chill inducing. The man deserves tons of awards. The addition of Michael Raymond-James and his true identity was something I have been dying to have happen. The chemistry between all these actors is palpable. #SwanFireFTW

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Follow Friday

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

Q: We always talk about books that WE want. Let's turn it on its head. What books have you given other people lately?

I sent Christy (The Reader Bee) Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, plus pre-ordered her another one. I also sent a whole bunch of people Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for Christmas.

Happy Weekend!

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter 
Release Date – February 26, 2013
Publisher Website - HarlequinTeen
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Provided by publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.
Saying goodbye to a series is often bittersweet. I have a love/hate relationship with final books because as much as they break my heart, they also offer answers to questions that I’ve had since the beginning. The Goddess Inheritance wraps up Aimee Carter’s series with action, tense emotions, and romance.

Nothing ignites excitement for a book quite like a killer cliffhanger. Goddess Interrupted left off with exactly this. Those dying to find out what happens next will be thrilled to learn that the novel dives straight into the plot. The answers that the cliffhanger left us all desperately wanting are delivered quickly, and it was worth the wait.

These gods, goddesses, Titians, and everything in between are this huge, dysfunctional family. The theme of family, forgiveness, and love is such a strong one throughout the entire series. They, like many other families, may not have a perfect relationship but they do care for each other. They may hurt each other at times, but they are there for each other when it’s needed. These family bonds, that have been formed over many years, are something Kate is still getting used to. Aimee Carter flawlessly shows how Kate learns and grows within this environment.

The final battle with Cronus comes with tears, injury, and sadly some goodbyes. Death has a role not just in this novel, but the overall series. The idea of immortal life and what is truly means to have eons stretching before you is a daunting one. Aimee uses the newly immortal to contrast the ageless gods and show that living forever may have just as many pros as cons.

The ending of the novel can only be described as bittersweet. The survivors, while mourning their losses, are taking hopeful steps towards more fulfilling relationships. Getting to see how these characters have grown, especially when factoring in The Goddess Legacy is the true testament of the series. The changes in not just the main characters of Henry and Kate, but all the characters is staggering.

A bittersweet ending to what is a profoundly character driven story. Thank you Aimee for letting us share Henry and Kate’s journey with them to it's wonderful conclusion.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday....The Bone Season

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 The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.  
But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.  
Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.  
The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut. 
I have been wanting to read this since I first heard about it. I can not wait to get my hands on it. I love that this is just the start in what will eventually be a 7 book series. Very excited to see what all the buzz is about.

Expected release date September 2, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Mind Games by Kiersten White
Release Date – February 18, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 256 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**Provided by publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.
In a world where young women are used for their supernatural like abilities Fia and Annie are fighting not just for themseleves but each other. Mind Games is as darkly dangerous as the world it’s characters inhabit. A page turning look at two sisters, and the lengths we will go to for those we love. An unflinchingly look at ulitimate price of sisterly bonds.

Fia’s narration is a steady stream of thoughts that jump around and are often jumbled. This narration flawlessly suits the broken, haunted young woman that Fia is.  Fia also happens to be tenacious, and a survivor. She, however, has a vulnerable side to her that she tries to bury under her attitude and trying to lose herself in oblivion. Her desire for escape using  music and the dance floor felt logical to me. Her guilt is palpable and is such a strong aspect of her character. Every horrific thing she’s had to do to protect Annie eats away at her until she’s so damaged that even her own sister doesn’t recognize her.I predict that some readers may end up disliking Fia. I, however, adored her for all her flaws.

Annie is the more level headed sister. She’s a sharp contrast to the fiery Fia. Annie feels responsible for everything that Fia has done in order to protect her. Her guilt is as much a part of her as Fia’s, but so different because she also carries Fia’s guilt along with her own. The cold truth is that both sisters are willing and capable to be ruthless if it means protecting the other and are not that different when faced with bleak situations.

The relationship between the sisters felt incredibly authentic. They each would tear the world apart to protect the other, and are loyal to the point of destruction. Jealously, and rivalry are infused with realism into their relationship. Guilt, and resentment also plague each sister. The relationship is entangled with emotions that make their bond unshakable, even if at times it would make things easier if they could let go.

The introduction between James and Adam provides some steamy scenes. Each boy has potentially threatening secrets that are beginning to unravel during the course of the novel. These secrets could result in dire consequences for Fia and Annie. I liked the sense of danger that it brought to the story, and that there is the potential for hidden motivations. Trust is not something easily given in the world these characters inhabit and as a reader, it kept me guessing.

Those looking for the lighter tone that I’ve heard is prevalent in Kirsten’s Paranormalcy series will find this new series packs a darker, sharper edge to it than perhaps expected. The ending promises darker secrets, and more twists on what is hopefully the road to Fia and Annie's eventual freedom.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Release Date – February 5, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 461 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis





it's almost

time for war

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.
For me, a story is only as strong as it's characters. Tahereh Mafi has taken her incredibly defined characters and combined them with a page turning plot that makes Unravel Me even more engrossing than Shatter Me.

The characters in this novel seem so authentic and alive because each of them is fundamentally flawed. None of the characters are perfect, or make the right decisions all the time. The "good guys" are capable of wavering, and the “bad guys” may just have some redeemable qualities underneath. Actions, consequences, desires, and upbringing all mold these characters into complex beings that drive the plot.

Juliette’s character fascinates me. Here is a young woman who not only was unintentionally the cause of someone’s death but also has been segregated from everyone for many years. I found her self loathing and inner issues quite understandable for someone who has been through what Juliette has been. Her wonder and aching desire to discover the world that she has been kept from was heart pulling. Her loneliness and desire for human touch is something every human at their core can identify with. Human connections are something everyone needs a base level, and Juliette is no different.

War is almost a character itself in this novel. Tahereh Mafi uses Juliette’s character to show some insightful points. Juliette ponders the soldiers used by the Reestablishment, and how they may not be so different underneath it all. She wonders how many of them are just trying to survive. She’s determined to not kill anyone because they are someone’s family. The soldiers may be fighting for a cause, but doesn't mean they all fully support it, and aren't driven by desperation.

A writer who can make a character so multi-faceted and compelling is someone with rare talent. With the character of Warner this has been done tenfold. He’s layered in a way that characters like him often are not. I think there is still plenty left to be learned about this tormented, often villainous character. Is redemption possible for Warner? Possibly. For me he’s not there yet. It’s going to take a lot for him to redeem himself after the toddler incident of Shatter Me, but my extreme dislike of him has lessened to an understanding. He’s a character that fascinates me as he operates on this fine line and you never know which side he’ll fall on to.

This review would not be complete without mentioning Kenji. A character who became so much more than I expected him to. His sense of humour, and easy banter lead me to assume certain things about him. This novel showed me just how wrong the assumptions were. Brave, loyal and relied upon, Unravel Me's Kenji steps up into a position of prominence and importance. His role going forward is going to be vastly different than expected, and I love that the author was able to surprise me.

Much has been made of the infamous Chapter 62. I have to admit the speech given by a certain character to another character in this chapter is quite swoon worthy. I felt my own knees weaken as this character unexpectedly purged his feelings. The steamy passages are not just limited to this chapter however. I think Tahereh is one of the few authors to actually make me blush because her passages are filled with heightened sexual tension that is masterfully done.

A novel that packs a few surprise twists, and whose final pages left me enthralled with this new direction in the story and for Juliette herself. Tahereh Mafi has created an intense world filled with compelling, flawed characters. It's one I am eager to come back to.

Saturday, February 16, 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).

A huge mailbox this week. I had the Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle as well as some amazing titles arrived in my mailbox.

Perks of Being A Wallflower DVD!!
Boundless by Cynthia Hand (Thanks Katie!) (goodreads)
Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards (goodreads)

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (goodreads)
Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke (goodreads)
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (goodreads)

Takedown by Allison Van Diepen (goodreads)
Poison by Bridget Zinn (goodreads)
The Loop by Shandy Lawson (goodreads)

Huge thank you to Elizabeth Richards for the ARC of Phoenix. I won it via her Facebook page during a contest she had! Super excited to read it.

A huge thank you to all the publishers and bloggers who made the Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle a huge success. Be sure to check out my recap if you haven't already.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Weekly Obsessions

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

Here are my obsessions this week:


Cover for 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

I love the simplicity of this cover, and the slightly creepy vibe that matches the synopsis perfectly. I am loving that the title numbers look exactly like ones on an alarm clock (non digital obviously).

Cover of The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

So pretty! I think everyone immediately loved this based on the response on twitter. After reading the synopsis I am equally excited to read this one.

cover of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Okay so this really has more to do with the name than the cover. I am not partial either way to this cover, but the name...oh the name is PERFECT! The Dream Thieves, for those who have read The Raven Boys, is such a fitting title. I am intrigued and am dying for a synopsis to be released. I can't wait for more Gansey!

Cover of Infinityglass by Myra McEntire

Stunning. I really LOVE this cover. The striking red dress against that pale green wallpaper stands out and each of these covers has such an eye catching pose for the model on the front. I think this is actually my favourite of the three. Add it to Goodreads if haven't already.

Cover of Teardrop by Lauren Kate

The water cascading as her dress is quite pretty. The mystical look to the city behind her piques by interest, especially after reading the synopsis! 'A girl who got her heart broken and cried an entire continent into the sea' leaves me with thoughts of Atlantis.


Once Upon A Time

This Sunday is the episode I have waited a long time for. The one in which we get answers. The one in which   not one but two of my favourite characters are set to return. Also one that will prove my guessing skills correct once again. I am so invested in this show that I literally have a bottle of wine, tissues, and chocolate ready for what is sure to be an emotionally draining episode for me. *Yes, I get too attached to TV/book characters. It's a thing*

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Female Characters in Entertainment Week

I was talking with some of the other Ottawa blogettes and noticed a trend that has made me quite sad.

Female characters, whether in books or on TV, are so often criticized. I feel they are judged much more harshly than their male counterparts. I also think male characters get away with things female characters are criticized for. I am even guilty of this, which lead to me wanting to do something about it.

I want to spread some love to combat all that negativity. So starting the last week of March I am going to be hosting guest posts from various bloggers, authors, etc, about female characters they love. There may be some discussion topics, and I hope it encourages others to express their love of some of the kickass, awesome and amazing female characters out there.

I hope this brings attention to all different kinds of female characters - flawed, sweet, intense, heroine, villain, and some that are in between.

If you would like to be part of this event by contributing a guest post please send me an email ( no later than February 20th.

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Over You by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Release Date –  August 21, 2012
Publisher Website - Harper Collins/Harper Teen
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -   304 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
After the grand explosion of her relationship, seventeen-year-old Max Scott developed what every girl in the history of the world has been waiting for: a way to get over being dumped. Now Max is the go-to guru for heartbroken high-school girls all over NYC. But when her ex unexpectedly shows up in her neighborhood, Max’s carefully controlled world starts to unravel. With her clients’ hearts hanging in the balance, Max will have to do the seemingly impossible: get over him once and for all. 
Brilliant at bringing humor to the trials and tribulations of the lovestruck, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus have crafted a tale that will resonate with any girl who has ever been in love or had her heart broken. It brims with smart observations, features a pitch-perfect teen voice, and will attract fans of Jenny Han, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Barnholdt. Readers are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp spin on breaking up, making up, and getting even.
Everyone's had their heartbroken at some point. What if there was a company who specialized in helping you get over your ex in record time? Over You is a cute, fun, quick read that rivals any romantic comedy out there. It’s a light-hearted look at love, loss and the aftermath.

I loved the entire premise and idea behind Ex, Inc. The company is interesting in theory. It is shown how quickly it could consume someone. I can almost guarantee if something like this existed it would make fortune. Sadly, there is not a sure fire cure for a broken heart, and this is the true message of the novel. Healing happens gradually, and takes time.

Max was, for me, written as older than what she is. I could easily picture her as someone in their early 20’s attending college, rather than 17 and finishing up high school. The freedom she had from her parents, and her characteristics all aged her beyond her years. She is presented as a mature person, and she has dropped out of high school. All this made for a distraction because she felt so much older.

I liked that her insecurities were relatable, and anybody can recall a broken heart of their own. Max’s pain is something that draws you to her character, because we've all been there. Her desire to ease that pain is something we've all wished for. Her character was a balance of self assured while still growing into themselves. She is flawed, and makes mistakes like anyone else.

While Max was presented as much older than her years, the writing skewed a little on the young side. It felt like it was written for the younger end of the YA market, yet the characters were borderline adult. It created a disconnect that prevented me from fully connecting with the story.

Her best friends Zach and Pheobe provide some fun comic relief, and are not afraid to call Max on her hypocrisy. They felt like authentic friends, and I wish they had been developed more.

The secondary characters didn't feel as fleshed out as Max. It made the romance part of the novel harder for me to get invested in. There are some cute moments, but ultimately I wasn't overly rooting for any particular outcome.

A novel that is a good fit with those lazy afternoons of summer spent by the beach or pool. A quick, flirty read that will resonate with anyone who has had their heart broken.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Contest from Gennifer Albin

Want to give your loved one a pretty incredible gift for Valentine's Day? Well Gennifer Albin, author of Crewel (which is amazing by the way) is offering up something pretty unique as a giveaway.

Here are the details straight from Gennifer herself -

The Contest 

Tell me who you want to immortalize in fiction this Valentine's Day. It can be a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, sibling, grandparent, parent, that cute guy at school, your favorite barista—whoever you want to wow this Valentine's Day. 

The Prize

The nominated name will appear as a character in Crewel #3. I won't know who this person is until I see the name. They could be a passing reference or the most important person in the world! As a bonus, I will send you a special signed copy of the page in which the character's name appears for posterity!

The Rules

Contest is opened internationally and will run from February 13, 2013 from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM. The winner will be announced at noon (CST) on Valentine's Day! See rafflecopter entry form for additional legal stuff.

A pretty fantastic way to impress your bookish sweetheart on the most romantic of days if you ask me. So be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter link below. You can find out more details by visiting Gennifer's twitter, and her blog as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Waiting on Wednesday...If I Should Die

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 If I Should Die by Amy Plum

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
I will not lose another person I love.  
I will not let history repeat itself. Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.  
It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him. 
After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me? 
I am dying to see how this ends, especially after the ending of Until I Die. Sad to see this series ending, but excited to see what Amy has in store for us!

Expected release date May 7, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date – February 12, 2013
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy. 
With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them. 
Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain. 
In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered
The ending to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy comes with less of a bang and more of a heart wrenching wind down. It’s focus isn’t on the flashy explosions, or other similar things you might expect. This ending is emotional, and keeps our focus on saying goodbye to the characters we’ve embraced.

Rhine's ability to adapt and her tenacity have never been more apparent than in this novel. Her strength to not give up, even when things seems impossible always impressed me. The fact that she hasn't completely crumbled after the things she's experienced says everything about her character.

I adore Linden. Every single aspect of his character. This novel showcased everything I love about him. His loyalty, his caring nature, and his desire to want to see the good in everyone.

Cecily has grown on me throughout the series. A self centered, immature child has blossomed into a capable, strong young women who is a force to be reckoned with. Her character has grown the most out of everyone. While the difference is teased and hinted at in the second novel, this novel makes it staggeringly evident just how far she’s come.

I felt like I got the answers to questions that had been plaguing me since the first novel. While revealing the fate of the characters is not something I am going to do, I will just say that it is concluded in the only way it really could be. Everything ties together, and while the bow it’s wrapped in might be incomplete, I feel like we got the conclusion needed to say goodbye.

This novel really showcased how much depth Lauren has given her characters. Even the “villains” are humanized. Everyone’s actions are driven by something, and right and wrong blur. Desperation can lead to irrational behaviour, and it’s all in the perspective of the individual.  The characters are what I will take away from this series, because they felt real to me, especially in this concluding installment.

As I closed the book I felt devastated. I felt each and every loss experienced surround me. I am not just talking in this book, but the entire series. At the same time, I felt hopeful. Rhine’s story ultimately comes with a message of living in each moment. There are so many factors, choices, and consequences that can impact our lives, and nothing is guaranteed. Just like Rhine, we can’t take a certain number of years for granted, and as scary as they are risks sometimes need to be taken in order to really live.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle + Giveaway

A group of Ottawa bloggers got together to talk books, and have a fun afternoon. We were joined by the lovely Allison Van Diepen. She was lovely and took the time to answer questions and mingled with all the bloggers.

We discussed love triangles, cover redesigns in the middle of series, books we are excited for, and blogging in general. Ciara from Lost at Midnight reviews was the only one to take photos, so I will link her recap once she has it posted.

I would like to thank all the bloggers that showed up! If you want to check out their websites I have provided links below:

Emilie from Emilie's Book World
Katie from Bookishly Yours
Ciara from Lost at Midnight Reviews
Meaghan from Feeling A Little Bookish
Kelsey from Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf
Stella from Fire Star Books
Ashley from Fire Star Books
Kim from Pingwing’s Bookshelf
Alexandra from the Only Connect
Maria from I Believe In Story
Jessica from Read My Breath Away

I am very much looking forward to meeting up again next year! Thank you again to the all the publishers who made this meeting extra fun by providing awesome gift bags and prizes for the event.

My own gift bag included

Mixed bookmarks and other goodies

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (goodreads)
Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (goodreads)
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (goodreads)

Takedown by Allison Van Diepen (goodreads)
Poison by Bridget Zinn (goodreads)
The Loop by Shandy Lawson (goodreads)

I also have a special giveaway. Since I had extra copies of Allison Van Diepen's new novel Takedown (Advance Reader Copy), I had her sign an extra and am giving it away. Simply fill out the rafflecopter entry form below. OPEN TO US/CANADA ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 9, 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).

I have some pretty awesome books this week! Super excited to start reading Unravel Me. I can't wait to read Chapter 62 for myself, and see what all the craziness is about.

The Program by Suzanne Young (goodreads)
Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald (goodreads)
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (goodreads)

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weekly Obsession

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:


Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

I was extremely lucky to get an ARC of this. I immediately had to devour it. It's everything I hoped it would be and more. Anne Boleyn is such an iconic figure, and Katherine Longshore captures her the way I invision she was - intelligent, quick witted and progressive.

It also has a shiny new cover

While I miss Anne on the cover, this is one just so pretty. There is something about it's simple elegance that stands out. I hear that Gilt's paperback is also getting a new cover to match, so I can't wait to see it! Be sure to add it to your Goodreads shelf.

ARCs for The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The people behind the Bloomsbury twitter tweeted the following picture

Causing me to freak out! This means it is that much closer to me actually reading this. Very excited. I love the simple look of the ARCs too, but do wish they had that awesome cover that was revealed recently. If you haven't checked out the synopsis yet, be sure to check out Goodreads.

The cover of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Not sure what exactly draws me to this cover. It's certainly eye catching, and I love faint vein like lines that can be seen around the title. I don't know a whole lot other than the Goodreads synopsis but it sounds awesome. Very much looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.


Once Upon A Time

It's back!!! I get to watch a new episode this Sunday. I am really looking forward to the following Sunday's episode titled 'Manhattan' but am just glad to have it back. Hiatus are not fun, especially when you are eagerly awaiting some EPIC reveals. Sigh...hurry up next Sunday.


Book Expo America (Children's Author Breakfast)

I immediately purchased a ticket to this when I heard Veronica Roth would be one of the guest speakers. I am looking forward to finding out who the Master of Ceremonies is. May seems both so close and so far away. I am beyond excited.

Ottawa Book Blogger Meet Up

SUNDAY! It is this Sunday! I am pretty excited and can't wait to share my recap on Monday. Everything is almost ready and

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Follow Friday

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

Q: Happy Mardi Gras! If they were throwing the HOTTEST books off of a Mardi Gras float -- what would you do to have them throw to you…?

Um, try to stand out and draw attention to myself would be my best bet. Scream, jump up and down...that sort of thing. I guess it would depend on what book and how badly I wanted it.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday....Born of Illusion

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 Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

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 sĂ©ances, 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? 

Magicians and magic, in these terms, are not something I've read a lot of in novels. It tends to be more of the wizard/actual powers variety rather than tricks and fast reflexes. It's intriguing, and I can't wait to read this one.

Expected release date June 11, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

**BLOG TOUR** The Ruining by Anna Collomore

The Ruining by Anna Collomore
Release Date – February 7, 2013
Publisher Website - Razorbill/Penguin
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 313 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**Received from publisher for review**

 Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door.
All too soon cracks appear in Annie's seemingly perfect world. She's blamed for mistakes she doesn't remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she's always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie's fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play? 
The Ruining is a complex ride through first love, chilling manipulation, and the terrifying depths of insanity.
Dark, twisted and unsettling are how I would describe this intense look at mental illness. A novel that's setting, and atmosphere are everything I could hope for, but whose characters left me wanting something more.

This is a haunting look at a young woman who is unraveling. The mind is an incredibly fragile thing, and this novel showcases what it can be pushed into and how powerful perception is. The most unsettling element is the degree in which this felt plausible, especially for someone with characteristics like Annie.

Annie is the character that we get to know the most, and who has the most development. She comes from a background that is anything but stable, has had devastating things happen to her, and she's already in a fragile state. How deep does her own illness run, how much is caused by what is happening to her? These questions haunt the pages of this novel.

The reveal of what is happening to Annie was easy to guess early on. This books strong point is when it's focused on Annie's insanity. What pushes her there is not really a twist, but is quite well plotted and scarily believable.

Anna Collomore keeps the tension level high for most of the novel. Everything escalates rapidly creating a quick pacing that will make this a rather fast read. The novel really hits it's stride mid way through when everything starts to come together, and the atmosphere is at it's most creepy.

The ending at once felt too tied up, but it also felt like it was not tied up enough. There is a hint of something (too spoilery to be specific) that felt like a nod to Annie's real issues. I wish I could say more, but I will just say that part of it made me think that perhaps Annie's story is not quite done yet. It leaves a unsettled feeling, and perhaps room for a second novel.

While I appreciated the creepy, and obviously well researched, clinical/medical aspects of the novel I felt something was missing. The characters themselves left me a little indifferent. Those interested in novels that mess with your head will find much to enjoy between these pages, but I felt some of novels points stayed at the surface.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Release Date –  February 5, 2013
Publisher Website - Fewiel and Friends/Raincoast Books Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -   454 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. 
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own. 
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Marissa Meyer has done it again. She’s woven an enchanting fairytale that is rich in characters, and detail. She’s taken the Little Red Riding Hood tale and created something fun, and different. Part mystery, and filled with wonderful dialogue. I found myself liking this second instalment even more than Cinder.

Scarlet Benoit is to this novel what Cinder was to the first. She’s our heroine. She’s a spunky, clever, red hoodie wearing firecracker and I adored  her. Her voice is so distinct. Her quirks and habits are completely her own. Comparing her to Cinder is pointless because they are so different.

Wolf with his disheveled good looks(the better to make you swoon with) immediately piqued my interest. This is a character who spends most of the book in shades of grey. Should Scarlet trust him? Should the reader? What are his motives? I love that Marissa doesn’t have an easy answer for us. His character shows that actions speak louder than words, and I am waiting to see what he’ll do next. The mystery mainly revolves around him and what secrets he may be hiding, and unraveling them is part of the charm of this novel.

Another new character is Captain Thorne. Charming, funny, and good-looking. I love him for providing light, humorous moments. I love his banter with Cinder. I predict many readers will fall for this good natured Captain and his many charms.

The characters in the Lunar Chronicles are all amazing. They are written in such a way that each feels authentic and like they have their own voice. It’s the subtle differences that set them apart, and what makes Meyer’s novels so refreshing. Her characters seem like they drive the plot, rather than having the plot happen to them.

Cinder, Kai, and the rest of the beloved characters from the first book are in this novel. It was wonderful to continue on their journey and seeing them interact with new characters shed new light on them. As the plot moves forward, toward what can only be a war, it’s these characters that have me worried about the outcome. I’ve come to care about them, and we are still a long way off from happily ever after.

The way Scarlet and Cinder’s stories finally interconnect shows the amount of plotting, and preparation Marissa Meyer has done. It’s seamless. The ending, where we have a common goal being revealed, sent delightful shivers up my spine. This world is enormous and we are about to follow our beloved characters on a journey to somewhere I am very excited about.

The fun, and endearing tone and feel of the novel appeal to me as well. It really is a nod to the classic fairytales in every sense. They’re mostly feel good books, with lots of action and romance thrown in.

A magical retelling that interweaves with Cinder masterfully. A fairytale that will appeal to many readers, and will sweep you away. If you liked Cinder, I can happily say that you’ll fall in love with Scarlet too.

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