Monday, December 31, 2012

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Release Date –  December 18, 2012
Publisher Website -  Disney/Hyperion
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 496 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**Received from publisher for review via BEA**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. 
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. 
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. 
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
The Darkest Minds seemed to have anything I would love in a novel ; teenagers with super powers, rebel groups, and creepy sounding rehabilitation camps. It easily sounded like an action packed, engrossing read that I was eager to pick up. While this novel had it’s moments, and starts off (and ends) strong, I found myself struggling with the middle of the novel.

It wasn't until I had finished that I realized why I didn't connect with it. The plot at the beginning and end is quick paced, and filled with urgency. It is uneven with the much slower middle that this bookends. The middle feels like you’re experiencing the same thing over and over, with little modifications. It makes for a strangely paced read that didn't hold my attention the way it could have.

The world that Alexandra Bracken has created is scarily easy to imagine in terms of the decimated landscape. Even though teenagers are dying, others are being sent off to camps, and the world is crumbling, the population is trying to keep it together. It’s not a fully destroyed society which to me felt more logical. Goods and services are insanely priced, and things aren’t kept in proper condition but there are still some jobs, and things are struggling to be as normal as possible under the circumstances. It’s this that infuses some hope in an otherwise bleak story.

Sadly, as strong as this world is built, it’s the main component to the story that felt underdeveloped to me. The reason these teenagers are dying, and the why behind these new abilities. It’s never hinted at, discussed, or clarified. It felt strange to me to not have the why be a major plot point in a story like this, or at least part of the back story if it was going to focus on something else.

The novel is filled with political propaganda, rebel groups, and plots. It’s easy to see where these very strong and dangerous teens could strike fear into the government, and why people would want to use them for their own desires. Determining what is the right coarse of action, even if it may not directly benefit yourself, is something these characters are having to figure out while navigating this unfamiliar world. This aspect is beautifully done, and one of the most strong points in the writing.
The characters are what made me stick with the story, even when the plot didn’t captivate me. The main character, Ruby, was hit and miss for me. The enigma that is Ruby frustrated me as much as I sympathized with her.. A young girl who barely knows herself, and as a reader we aren’t really let in either. Her character development is fantastic in the second half, but it takes patience to get there. I understood her loneliness and need to keep people at arms length because of what she could do.

The easy mannered Liam, the adorable Zu, and the fiercely loyal Chubs come into Ruby’s life suddenly and like an explosion, turn her life upside down. Liam with his easy smile, heart, and leadership qualities will make many girls swoon. I appreciated that he was developed, and that the attraction that grows between he and Ruby fault authentic. Zu and Chubs were hands down my favourite. The damaged little girl who doesn’t talk, and the intelligent young man who sees more than he lets on. These two characters helped save the novel for me.

The ‘mysterious leader’ of East River is as intriguing as the synopsis hints at. Powers that rival Ruby’s own, and motivations that are shrouded in hidden agendas. It quickly becomes clear that Ruby and her friends are in over their heads, and this is where the story starts to pick up the pace. Barreling towards a much more dynamic ending filled with action, twists, and much needed character development. It leaves the story off on a high note, and one that insures I will be back for the sequel.

I can see a lot of people LOVING this but I, sadly, wished for more. A promising start to a series that failed to completely win me over in book one. A strong second half has left me eager to find out more and pick up the sequel.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

New To My Book Closet

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

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

I received a few bookish things as gifts this year and freaked out about all of them.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (goodreads)

This made my Best of 2012 list, and I had borrowed the copy I read from a fellow blogger (Thanks Meaghan) and am very happy to have my own copy now.


Kobo Mini

I have resisted getting an e-reader for so long. I much prefer to read the actual book. I pretty much relented due to having to read eARCs on my computer (very uncomfortable). Also, with all these novellas that are only being released in electronic format, it gave me the perfect excuse to jump in. I so far love it, but can't see myself giving up purchasing physical copies.

Book Expo America pass (not pictured)

I got this a little early but it was a Christmas gift. Very excited to be going again in 2013!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Weekly Obsessions

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

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

The Goodreads synopsis reads
Romeo and Juliet are gone. Will love live on? Despite the glooming peace that's settled on Verona after the recent tragedy, Montagues and Capulets are brawling in the streets. Faced with more bloody battles, Prince Escalus concludes that the only way to truly marry the fortunes of these two families is to literally marry them together. Everyone is skeptical, but none more so than the pair selected, for the most eligible Montague bachelor is Benvolio, Romeo's best friend, still anguished by the loss of his companions, and the chosen Capulet maid is Juliet's older cousin Rosaline, the girl Romeo first loved and whose refusal of Romeo's affection paved the way for bloodshed. Contrary to their late cousins, there's no love lost between Benvolio and Rosaline, yet they forge a bond to end the renewed feud not only to escape their forced betrothal, but to save their lives and the city of Verona itself.
I love the sound of this. I always wondered what came next after finishing Romeo and Juliet. I was always curious about how each of the families reacted and what resulted out of the tragic ending. I love the idea of a sequel of sorts, and can't wait to get my hands on this.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Paperback Edition

I received an email just before Christmas notifying me that my blog name would be in the paperback edition of Cinder! Major fangirling happened. Here is the image sent to me by the lovely people at Macmillian. I have added a helpful red arrow to show where my blog name appears. Super excited to eventually have a copy of this and very happy to be included.


OTHER

Kobo Mini 

I received an awesome Christmas present this year, an e-reader. It's a Kobo Mini and I LOVE it. So far I've only browsed the features and such, but I am looking forward to reading a book on it next week. Nothing beats the feel of a real book, but it'll come in handy for my eARCs.

David's Tea

If you haven't tried any tea from David's Tea yet, you are MISSING OUT! They have really awesome flavours. I am currently addicted to Cocomint Cream, and just fell in love with Santa's Secret.

Book Expo America

So one of my gifts this Christmas was my pass to BEA in 2013. I got it a little early, but I am SO EXCITED to be going again this year. Let the countdown begin.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Follow Friday


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

Q: What book do you think everyone should read? If you could gift the entire population with one book?

I am going to have to cheat and say a series. Harry Potter. It's one of those series that literally has something for everyone, and is just magical.

Happy Weekend!

Ottawa Book Blogger Mix and Mingle 2013 Sign Up


Last year some of the Ottawa bloggers got together for a little networking, book talk, and fun. We are doing the same thing this year, and this is the official announcement and sign up.

It's a fun afternoon of book chat, and a great chance to meet some fellow bloggers, so I hope anyone in the area will join us.

Planning is underway and we do need final numbers for a reservation, and there may be some prizes, and fun little games.

If you would like to join us the date is February 10th, 2013 and we're meeting at 1 pm! The place is to be determined as we have to wait to see what numbers we have first, but we are thinking of a restaurant so we can grab lunch.

Please email aglassofwineblog@gmail.com with OTTAWA BLOGGER MIX AND MINGLE in the subject line (so I can find it easily) by January 15. Please include your name, your blog name and a link to your blog.

The date of January 15th is firm as we will be planning and booking things at that point. Unfortunately we will not able to accommodate late sign ups. Please be sure to email by the cut off!

Looking forward to meeting everyone, and hope you can make it!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday.......Still Star-Crossed

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 Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Romeo and Juliet are gone. Will love live on? Despite the glooming peace that's settled on Verona after the recent tragedy, Montagues and Capulets are brawling in the streets. Faced with more bloody battles, Prince Escalus concludes that the only way to truly marry the fortunes of these two families is to literally marry them together. Everyone is skeptical, but none more so than the pair selected, for the most eligible Montague bachelor is Benvolio, Romeo's best friend, still anguished by the loss of his companions, and the chosen Capulet maid is Juliet's older cousin Rosaline, the girl Romeo first loved and whose refusal of Romeo's affection paved the way for bloodshed. Contrary to their late cousins, there's no love lost between Benvolio and Rosaline, yet they forge a bond to end the renewed feud not only to escape their forced betrothal, but to save their lives and the city of Verona itself.
This sounds awesome. I love Romeo and Juliet retellings, and this isn't so much that as a sequel. Who hasn't wondered what came after Romeo and Juliet's tragic ending. I love the thought of Rosaline and Benvolio not exactly being smitten with each other. This has some serious potentional, and I can't wait to read it.

Expected release date July 9, 2013

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas


Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season.

I hope you are all enjoying time with your loved ones, and that Santa left you a bunch of exciting books to read.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Best of 2012 Questionnaire

Here is a brief questionnaire I filled out. Most of the questions I grabbed from the questionnaire I saw Kelly at KellyVision post last year.

1. Favourite books of 2012.
YA dystopian: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
YA paranormal: The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
YA contemporary: Just One Day by Gayle Forman


2. Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2012.

Gone Girl. I wasn't prepared to love it as much as I did. It surprised me with the twists and turns, and how engrossed I became with it.

3. Book you recommended most in 2012.

Gone Girl, Masque of the Red Death and Tiger Lily

4. Best series you discovered in 2012.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (I read both Cinder and Scarlet this year, and loved both).

5. Favorite new authors you discovered.

Gillian Flynn, Bethany Griffin, and Katherine Longshore.

6. Book you anticipated most.

Easily The Evolution of Mara Dyer. After that cliffhanger of The Unbecoming I was desperate for it.

7. Favorite cover.

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

8. Most beautifully written book

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson or Just One Day by Gayle Forman.

9. Book you can’t believe you waited so long to read.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

10. Biggest WTF moment

Ah...it's a spoiler, but it happens in Gone Girl. Pretty much the entire book when it comes to Gone Girl.

11. Book that had the biggest impact

Just One Day by Gayle Forman. Deeply connected with the main character, and this book made me feel so many things.

12 Book that made you cry the most

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

13. Best YA hottie

Noah Shaw. Always.

Favourites

1. Female character

Scarlet from Marissa Meyer's Scarlet OR Allyson from Just One Day by Gayle Forman

2. Male character

Noah Shaw

3. Love triangle

Araby/Will/Elliott from Masque of the Red Death

4. Kissing scene

Any of the Mara/Noah make outs in The Evolution of Mara Dyer

5. Favourite passage or quote

SO MANY, so I will just share 5 from books I read this year.

1. 'I'll walk forever with stories inside me that the people I love the most can never hear' - The Evolution of Mara Dyer

2. 'We accept the love we think we deserve' - Perk Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

3. 'I am beautiful, fake, shallow, incognito' -  Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

4. 'I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once' - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

5. 'I think you're the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren't even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don't let it show. I think you do things that scare you, and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump of bridges' - Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Book blogs

1. Favorite review that you wrote

I am really proud of my Masque of the Red Death review and my Gone Girl review.

2. Best event that you participated in

Book Expo America

3. Best moment of book blogging

Getting to meet the lovely Ottawa blogettes, and hanging out with bookish people at Book Expo.

4. Most popular post on your blog

My Crewel review and my reveal of the cover for Tarnish by Katherine Longshore both have gotten a lot of page views this past year.

5. Reading challenges or goals

Just the Goodreads reading challenge. I read the 125 books I challenged myself with.

Looking ahead

1. Number one priority in 2013

I say this every year, but commenting more on blogs. I am horrible at it.

2. Book you are most anticipating

Early half of 2013 - Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Later half of 2013 - Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin and Just One Year by Gayle Forman

3. Hopes in reading/blogging in 2013

Just to read as many fantastic novels as I did this year. 2013 looks to have some STELLAR novels coming out, and I am very much looking forward to Clockwork Princess breaking my heart.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

New To My Book Closet

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

This post is an early Christmas present mailbox.

The lovely Christy from The Reader Bee sent me an awesome Christmas gift! I was really surprised to find it in my mailbox, and can not thank her enough. The journal is perfect. I squealed when I opened it. I have been hearing lots about Easy, and can't wait to read it for myself.


Easy by Tammara Webber (goodreads)

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekly Obsessions

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

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

This book! I had such a deep and personal reaction to this book, and especially the main character. Willem is totally swoon worthy, and EVERYONE will be gushing about this one when it's released. It made the plane ride to Florida so much better!

Cover for Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay


I have always loved the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. This twist on the classic tale sounds amazing, and that cover...well it's simply beautiful. The red and black combination is a favourite of mine. Check out the Goodreads synopsis for more details.

Cover for Of Triton by Anna Banks



Pretty steamy right? I love the underwater kiss, and the little bubbles look like sparkles (or diamonds) floating around them. All around a pretty hot cover. Add it to your Goodreads (beware of spoilers for the first book though!).

TV

Bates Motel trailer



This looks really good. I am loving everything I have seen so far. I am a little apprehensive about the fact that they have moved this into current times though. I thought it was a straight prequel where they showed how Norman became the man we see in Psycho.  However, this still sounds like it'll be fantastic. The acting looks solid, and it seems well cast. I have high hopes for this, and can't wait to watch it in March.

OTHER

Disney World

The trip was fantastic. I can't wait to go again. If you missed my recap and want to see photos, I have a post written up already.


So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Follow Friday


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

Q: What have you learned from book blogging that you didn't know before about the publishing industry?

So much! First I had no clue that publishers have various imprints. I had never hear of advance reader copies before blogging, and the whole entire marketing process was something I never really paid attention.

Long story short, I learned that a lot of work goes into the release and creation of a book. Much more than I though initially.

Happy Weekend!

My Top Ten Books of 2012

The end of 2012 is just around the corner, and with that comes a bunch of "Best" list. I offer my own best list today. The top ten books I read in 2012.

These are in no particular order, because asking me to select my favourite from this list would really be torture. It was hard enough to keep this list to ten choices.

1. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Steamy, sexy, and filled with Noah Shaw deliciousness. A creepy and brilliant look at a potential descent into madness. Wonderfully written with humour, scares, and STEAMY romance. 
My love affair with this series is well known. I adore Mara, Noah, and of course, the amazing Michelle for writing them.
2. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
 Yes I am teasing, but Oh My Swoon! Willem and Allyson's story had me feeling every emotion, and left me aching for more. This is easily 2013's MUST READ and more than meets expectations.
The beautiful writing, the connection I felt to Allyson, and the utter romance of this fantastic contemporary left me wanting to read Just One Year...immediately.
3. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
One of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. It made my heart hurt, and yet was filled with so much wonder. 
Getting to know the girl with the crow feather and her Peter was one of the highlights of my reading year, made all the more poignant because my love for this novel caught me by surprise. 
4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
If I were to choose one word to describe Gone Girl that word would be twisted. Stunning reveals, an inciting game, and an uncomfortable look at falling out of love (just in the most extremely twisted way).  
Flawed characters that seem disturbingly real, and writing that makes you fly through the pages faster that you are capable of turning them. This one will keep you up late into the night, and leave you gasping at it's sad, yet unavoidable, ending.  
5.  Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
A darkly decadent read where even the air you breath can kill you. Swoon worthy guys, a flawed heroine, and the seductive Debauchery Club are all stand outs in this amazingly written novel.
The dual notion of glitz and glamour back dropped against a stark decimated city make for a compelling dynamic. I fell for this one in chapter one, and couldn't stop reading.
6. Gilt by Katherine Longshore
Tudor court glamour meets high school mean girls in this engrossing historical novel. Catherine Howard paid the ultimate price for her youthful mistakes. This portrayal paints her in a much different, and more realistic feeling light. This novel feels relevant because it shows friendships, and their complexity haven't changed over the years.
7 The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Magic meets realism in this heart grabbing novel. Blue, and her Raven Boys will work their way into your heart until you care deeply about each of them.
Maggie's writing is fantastic, but her characters draw you in and that is why it's on my list. 
8 Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Another must read when it comes out. I adored Cinder, but Scarlet surpassed all my expectations. Ruggedly swoon worthy Wolf grabbed my attention immediately, and  I adored the feisty Scarlet. The mixing of Cinder's story with Scarlet's journey is done flawlessly, and the fairytale elements I loved in Cinder are just as present in Scarlet. 
9 Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
One of the best witch stories I've ever read. A mixture of romance, suspense, and a hint of the magical storm to come leaves you under this novel's spell.
The writing flows quickly, and the characters are captivating. The witchcraft mythology that is being built has be eager to learn more. With all of this going for it, it's the bond between the sister's that shines the most. A story of sisterly love, sacrifice, jealously, and perhaps betrayal. 
10 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This novel left me a crying mess on my couch by the end. I believe that this will make many lists this year, and it really is one of the best of the year.
Hazel and Augustus' story stays with you long after you've finished. With humour, heart, and tears it's an emotional reminder to love as deeply as possible, and to live each second to the fullest
I do have a few others that I REALLY enjoyed this year as well, and this list was seriously torture to whittle down, but those are the ones that I think impacted me the most. What novels made your Best List this year? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday.... Of Beast and Beauty

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 Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret... 
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city's vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds. 
Isra wants to help the city's Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan's enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe. 
As secrets are revealed and Isra's sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.
The cover is gorgeous, and this sounds amazing. I love the twist on the classic story that this seems to have, and have high hopes this will be a great read.

Expected release date July 23, 2013

Monday, December 17, 2012

Disney World Vacation 2012

This post is a little different, and a little more personal than I normally do.

I was gone all last week on vacation to Florida! I went with my sister and her family to Disney World. Getting to introduce my nieces to one of my favourite places on earth was awesome. The little munchkins had a fantastic time, and I am so glad they got to experience it at a young age.

Disney World really is magical, and it makes me feel like a kid again every single time I go. I am going to share some of my photos, and do a bit of a recap post today, and the bookish posts will resume tomorrow.

One of the highlights for me was getting to see the new Fantasyland area. The inclusion of both Prince Eric (The Little Mermaid) and Prince Adam's castles (Beauty and the Beast) is amazing, and both are so well done! The Be Our Guest Restaurant is stunning and the food is excellent. The Forbidden West Wing area of the restaurant was by far my favourite, and it immediately brings the feel of the movie to life.

I am looking forward to the new Snow White ride in 2014 and the little bit I saw while there looks great already.

I discovered that a trip to Disney with young children really is quite different from going with adults. We got a lot less done, but seeing it with them was amazing. I am already wanting to go back, and hope to do so in 2014.

On to some of my favourite pictures:


Cinderella's Castle At Night


Lumiere and Belle in the new Enchanted Tales with Belle Attraction


I just love this photo of my niece Kenadie. 


Avery on the Carousel


Brooklynn on the Carousel 


Kenadie on the Carousel


Brooklynn and Kenadie in their new sweaters


The entrance to the Be Our Guest Restaurant (which happens to be Prince Adam's castle)


LOVED this place! Stunning and yummy food


Prince Eric's castle


Rapunzel's tower. So excited to see what this is going to be!

Thanks for putting up with this post! :) Bookish things resume tomorrow! If you have ever been to Disney World (or Land) let me know your favourite ride/attraction/etc in the comments.

Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes Guest Post

Magic plays a huge part in Falling Kingdoms. A fantasy novel I happened to really enjoy. If you missed my review, do take a moment and see what I thought.


Today I have the author, Morgan Rhodes, stopping by to tell us about the magic in this spell binding novel!

The magic in Falling Kingdoms

Magic in the land of Mytica (comprised of the kingdoms of icy Limeros, dying Paelsia, and affluent Auranos)—and in the entire world of Falling Kingdoms—has seemingly faded away to nothing but silly stories told to children. For a millennium, there’s been no tangible proof shown to the masses that magic is real and not only myth.
This magic is called elementia, which is elemental magic—fire, air, earth, and water. There are those who consider themselves witches, able to mildly channel one or two elements. Witches are rumored to be the offspring of Watchers, immortal beings who live in a place called the Sanctuary, which is set apart from the mortal world. These mortal witches can strengthen their magic with blood sacrifice—the larger the sacrifice, the greater their power will be…for a short time.
There is now a prophecy of a sorceress reborn, the likes not seen for a thousand years. A powerful being who can easily channel all four elements to use at her whim.
And there is also the legend of the Kindred—four crystals that contain the very essence of elementia. Both Watchers and mortals (those who believe in such tales) are on the hunt for this omnipotent source of magic and power.
Thank you to Razobill Canada for setting up the fantastic blog tour (you rock Jacquelynne) and to Morgan Rhodes for stopping by. Be sure to check out Falling Kingdoms!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New To My Book Closet....sort of

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).

This week's mailbox is something a little different. I do not have any new books to show, but I do have other goodies.

I went to Disney World this past week, and am going to show off the one present I got myself while there. My favourite part of the trip was getting to see the new Fantasyland area. The Beauty and the Beast area is stunning. From Belle's village (complete with Maurice's home, and Gaston's Tavern), to Prince Adam's castle (aka the Beast) the detail is amazing. I will be offering a full recap on Tuesday but I picked up a wine glass in one of the new shops next to the beyond awe inspiring Be Our Guest restaurant. 

While I was away I received my first Christmas card of the season! It was from the lovely Lindsay from Me on Books. It's super cute, and I hope mine to her actually gets to her before Christmas. 


I am off to recover from my vacation! The blog resumes regular schedule on Monday with a guest post! Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes - BLOG TOUR



Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Release Date – December 11, 2012
Publisher Website - Razorbill
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 412 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Received from publisher for review via BEA**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power--brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined: 
Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct. 
Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished--and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making. 
Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past--and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. 
Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword... 
The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
Are you a fantasy newbie? If so Falling Kingdoms may just be a great starting point. A novel filled with war, violence, sweeping landscapes, and magic. It offers a little something for everyone, and does so against a fantastically built world, with enough back story to keep the pages turning. The title is accurate as each Kingdom is crumbling in different ways, and as they fall it creates an atmosphere made for war, rebellion and political agendas.

The setting is described in intricate detail. Each of the kingdoms are vastly different, and easy to visualize. Along with this, the author keeps the pacing tightly controlled. She drops reveals, and hints when she needs to. This detail, along with the ability to weave each of the three kingdom plot points together believably, is something that really stood out in the novel.

There are a lot of characters in this story. Each Kingdom has a central cast and I thought at first it was going to get complicated. Luckily, we follow a core few through their stories, and the author allows us to get to know each of them enough to become invested in each. The focus is less on the characters, and more on the plot. It’s character development comes from events impact them, and what those outcomes mean for their futures.

With a plentiful cast the author has leeway to have casualties. This novel is filled with violence, war, and fights. People die. Lots of them. Maybe even characters wouldn't expect. This kept me ‘on my toes’ so to speak, because it solidified the fact that nobody is safe in this series. There are enough characters that it is a real possibility for one (or more) of the main characters to be killed. It leaves an element of suspense that otherwise might not be there.

I am most intrigued by Magnus. The prince of . A enigma whose motivations are laced with longing for someone he can’t have. A hardening of his heart makes him lethal, but his true nature is still being unveiled. A character who you want to spend more time with, you can’t help but long for more of him.

A epic fantasy in the truest sense, Falling Kingdoms has a little something for everyone. Romance, war, fight scenes, and political agendas leading up to a fantastic starting point for the sequel. Overall, it was a novel that surprised me. I enjoyed it much more than I expected to, and am looking forward to more.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Real Mermaids Love The Holidays Tour Stop

As the holidays approach we get invited to parties, and other festive events. A large part of those events are the yummy treats you get to try.

Jade, from the Real Mermaids series is stopping by the blog today with a fantastic recipe for Peanut Butter S'more Bites!


Real Mermaids Festive Treats  
Hi everyone! Jade here from Real Mermaids
One of my favourite things about the upcoming holidays is the great treats we get to make and share. I love food so much, in fact, that I included a recipe for some of my favourite snacks in each of the Real Mermaids books.
My friend Cori and I thought we’d experiment a bit and ‘holiday-ize’ each recipe for you! 
In my upcoming book, Real Mermaids Don’t Need High Heels (out Feb 1st, 2013), my cutie friend Luke came up with a genius campfire treat he called Peanut Butter Cup S’mores. Here’s a cookie version my friend Rachel shared with me, which I think would be PERFECT around a crackling fireplace (indoors!).
Peanut Butter S’more Bites 
Beat together: 
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg 
Then add: 
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
Drop into mini muffin tins and bake for 8 minutes at 350F. Remove from oven, place 3 mini marshmallows on top and return to oven for 1 minute. Cool. Drizzle with melted chocolate and try not to lick your fingers... 
Happy treats and have a great holiday, everyone! 
Love, 
Jade
This sounds REALLY yummy and I am looking forward to making them over the holiday season.

May your holidays be filled with lots of yummy treats. Be sure to find other stops on the blog tour as there are two other recipes that you can collect - Candy Cane Covered Popcorn, and Chocolate Mug Cake.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday....Phoenix

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 Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards

**SPOILERS FOR BLACK CITY**


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Weeks after his crucifixion and rebirth as Phoenix, Ash Fisher believes his troubles are far behind him. He and Natalie are engaged and life seems good. But his happiness is short-lived when he receives a threatening visit from Purian Rose, who gives Ash an ultimatum: vote in favor of Rose’s Law permanently relegating Darklings to the wrong side of the wall or Natalie will be killed. 
The decision seems obvious to Ash; he must save Natalie. But when Ash learns about The Tenth, a new and deadly concentration camp where the Darklings would be sent, the choice doesn’t seem so simple. Unable to ignore his conscience, Ash votes against Rose’s Law, signing Natalie’s death warrant and putting a troubled nation back into the throes of bloody battle.
I enjoyed Black City quite a bit and am looking forward to this sequel. Ash is pretty swoon worthy and after the ending of Black City I am dying to find out what happens next.

Expected release date June 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Books I Want Made Into A Movie (or TV Show)....




I made a list of these awhile ago. That list still applies, however I've read some amazing books lately. Books that I would LOVE to see turned into a movie. Some of my previous choices have even made it onto this list again (Let’s consider those books that MUST be turned into a movie).

Here are the 10 books I would want to see made into a movie (or TV show) right now…..

1 The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series by Kenneth Oppel

A dark, adventure filled plot that would translate into an action packed movie. The characters and the entire plot gave me the same feeling as when I read Harry Potter - almost like it was made to be turned into a movie.

2 The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin

This series has quickly become one of my favourites. The insane twists would play out amazingly on screen. The steamy romance between Noah and Mara would require chemistry between the two actors to portray accurately, but I would love to see it come to life.

3 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

With many twists and turns that would make an incredible movie. A tense look at a messed up relationship, Gone Girl would play out wonderfully with the right actors. Luckily this one is in the early stages of being adapted for the big screen, and I can't wait.

4 The Infernal Devices Series by Cassandra Clare

Now that The Mortal Instruments is on it's way to becoming a huge hit at the box office, I immediately thought this should become a movie. I would love to see Jem, Tessa and Will brought to life. I would love for the same director, team to be involved with this one as well. The historical aspect also makes it appealing for adaptation.

5 Immortal City by Scott Speer

While reading this book, I could see the potential for a TV show or movie. It read like it was made to be a CW show. The crime noir feel would translate really well. The glitz and glamour of Hollywood contrasted with the darker side of Los Angeles would also be striking on screen.

6 Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

I would love to see the setting of this come to life. The Debauchery Club would be electric. The fashion, the scenery, and characters could be visually stunning if done the right way. It has the potential to be one of the most beautifully shot movies with the right director as well.

7 From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer

This reminded me a lot of those fun 80's teen romantic comedies. A teenaged spin on the popular Hangover movies, with a coming of age element dealing with saying goodbye to highschool. A fun cast of characters would also play out well on screen.

8 Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This has to be a movie. My request for this one? Joss Whedon as director. He would do wonderful things with this genre and these characters.

9 Black City by Elizabeth Richards

The world of Black City would look amazing on screen. The heavy political aspect of the novel would allow for lots of tension and action. The sensual nature of the Darklings, and Ash in particular would provide the romance element. My only request is Ezra Miller for Ash!

10 Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

This novel is begging to be turned into a movie. Romance, action, and shades of the X-Men series assures that this will be a hit with movie goers. I only hope that Tahereh's beautiful writing style comes across cinematically as well as it does in the novel.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Best of 2012 - Top 5 Swoon Worthy Guys


As the end of the year comes near I thought it might be fun to do some Best of 2012 lists. These won't be every day, and so far I only have two planed.

This list is all about the guys. I am going to list my top 5 most swoon worthy guys of 2012.

1 Noah from The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Noah made my list last year, and is on it again this year. His British accent, disheveled appearance, and how much he loves Mara all make him a strong contender for most swoon worthy book guy of 2012.

2 Will from Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Tattoos can be sexy, and Will makes them work. His heart of gold, and rugged appearance, and tousled hair make him pretty swoon worthy.

3 Ash from Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Sensual, and seductive describes Ash perfectly. A little bit bad, but caring underneath make him a perfect addition to this list.

4 Wolf from Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

While I think the other new character, Carswell Thorne, will win over a majority of people and be on a lot of 2013 lists, Wolf won my heart. He's a conflicted character and those are always the most appealing.

5 Willem from Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Since this book isn't out, and I don't want to spoil anything I am going to keep this brief. He is going to be on a lot of these lists next year after this book is released! Trust me. He's very swoon worthy.

So there are my top 5 most swoon worthy guys for this year. Who would make your list? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

New To My Book Closet

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

This week's mailbox is filled with awesome titles.

I was lucky and won Lindsay (from Me on Books)'s 2 year blogiversary giveaway. I selected Immortal City by Scott Speer. I also borrowed Spark by Brigid Kemmerer from Emilie (from Emilie's Book World).


Immortal City by Scott Speer (goodreads)
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer (goodreads)

I also received an eARC for review from Netgalley and SmartPop.



Shadowhunters and Downworlders by various authors (goodreads)

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Weekly Obsessions

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

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Cover for Antigoddess by Kendare Blake


I really like this cover. It's simple, and yet very striking. The offset of the dark colours with the white feather adn that splash of red really pop out. Super excited to read this one as the synopsis sounds amazing too!

TV

I Hunt Killers TV Show

ABC Family, the network behind the Pretty Little Liars TV show, are adapting Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers. I am very excited, and can't wait to see how they cast as Jasper. For more info, Hollywood Crush has the details.

OTHER

DisneyWorld

I will most likely be on my way to Disney when you read this post (well possibly, I leave at 7 am on Saturday). I am going to be gone for a week, but the blog will continue as normal (some what normal anyways). If you are curious, the blog will look as follows for the week that I am gone -

Sun Dec 9 - New To My Book Closet
Mon Dec 10 - Best of 2012 - Top 5 Swoon Worthy Book Guys
Tues Dec 11 - My Top Ten Books I want turned into movies
Wed Dec 12 - Waiting on Wednesday selection for the week
Thur Dec 13 - Real Mermaids Love the Holidays Blog Tour Stop
Fri Dec 14 - Day off on the blog
Sat Dec 15 - Falling Kingdoms Blog Tour stop

I will be back on Sunday and the blog will resume regular schedule from there.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Follow Friday


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

Q: Activity! Who do you want to be? If you could choose any character from a book. What do you think that character looks like and what do you have in common?

Hermoine from Harry Potter. She's a book nerd. She tends to follow rules. She doesn't apologize for her nerdy tendencies, she embraces them.

As for what she looks like - well Emma Watson is the image I have in my head now, as she did a fantastic job portraying her.

Happy Weekend!

2013 Must Reads


With 2012 coming to it's rapidly approaching end my thoughts are beginning to turn to the amazing 2013 releases. There are so many novels I am looking forward to. I decided to share my top 15, because selecting just 10 was not happening.

My Top 15 2013 Must Reads

1 The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
3 Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
4 Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
5 The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon 
6 Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
7 Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
8 The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
9 Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
10 Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood
11 Endless Knight by Kresley Cole
12 Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
13 Night Film by Marisha Pessl
14 Just One Day by Gayle Forman
15 Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

There are more, but these are my top 15 right now. 2013 is shaping up to be a fantastic reading year already!

What 2013 releases are you most looking forward to?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday...Icons

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 Icons by Margaret Stohl


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Your heart beats only with their permission. 
Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting. 
Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid. 
She's different. She survived. Why? 
When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador's privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn't a coincidence. It's a conspiracy. 
Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths
Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts -- in order to save the future.
This sounds really interesting and like it could be awesome. I have high hopes for this series, and can't wait to read it.

Expected release date May 7, 2013

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia


Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
Release Date – December 1, 2009
Publisher Website - Little Brown and Company
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 563 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Purchased**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
 
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever. 
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. 
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
Southern Gothic mixes with paranormal in this magical tale of witches, curses and small towns. A slow, unraveling story that allows the characters to breathe.

The start of this novel starts off a little slow. A gradual build up leads to an intense finale. The pacing of the novel felt a little off as a result. I felt it could have easily been shortened and still told the same story. The plot points are well planned out and flow rather nicely, it’s just getting to each moment that drags on a little too long.

The Caster mythology and back story was well developed, and the weaving of the past with the present was nicely done. I found myself getting irritated, however, that nobody would talk to each other. Everyone is keeping secrets and it’s always for someone else’s ‘own good’. I loved the varying strengths and abilities of the Casters as it made for some interesting dynamics between the characters.

I haven’t read many novels with male narrators, so was pleasantly surprised to see this was from Ethan’s point of view, not Lena’s. Ethan is quite soft spoken, and seems like your every day, average teenager living in a small town. His aching desire for something more resonated with me. His need to escape his town and what he sees as his futures if he stays, made him feel different from everyone else.

Lena was surprising. From her clunky necklace, to her off beat fashion sense, she felt like a different kind of protagonist. She is dealing with something monumental, and I think her melt down is well earned. To feel like you don’t have a choice in your own future would be pretty devastating, and waiting for it to happen would be even worse. The things you see coming and feel powerless to change are the most maddening.

The romance between Lena and Ethan was rather sweet. I like that while there is an instant connection, the build up between them is anything but rushed. The relationship, with awkward ‘will you be my girlfriend’ talk and all, felt authentically real, and natural.

The secondary characters are my favourite. The are the ones that felt “larger than life” and stood out for me. Ridley with her bad girl ways and lollipop made for an intriguing antagonist for Lena. A character that fully embraces her sex appeal and flaunts it. Her motivations and actions are complex which made her character I wanted to know more about. I also loved Lena’s Uncle Macon Ravenwood. An intelligent, interesting character, who immediately draws your interest from the moment he enters the story. His love for Lena, and what he was willing to sacrifice for her, made me love him even more.

Magic, romance, and some unpredictable plot twists made this a fun read. While I wished it had been tightened up a bit, it’s a wonderful start to a different kind of witch story.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Secret Santa Giveaway 2.0


Tis the season! It is that time of year when everything feels all warm and fuzzy and curling up with a good book and a hot drink is heaven.

I am going to be doing my yearly giveaway, but with a twist. In the spirit of the winter blues, and making the holiday joy last as long as possible, the giveway will require some patience.

I am going to select one winner to send a surprise book (from a list they provide me). There is one catch though - it has to be a pre-order. I don't know about you but come Jan/Feb I feel a little run down. The holiday season is past, and the cold winter can feel really long. I wanted to help with this by sending you a lovely pick me up right when it's needed. :) Think of it as a delayed holiday present.

The prize also comes with another surprise (something to go along with the winter theme) and that will ship at the same time.

Now, how to enter you might be asking. That's easy. Simply fill out the rafflecopter below.

The giveaway is international, but Book Depository must ship to you. You must be of legal age to enter or have parental consent to do so.

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Sunday, December 2, 2012

New To My Book Closet

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

This week's mailbox is an e-arc I received for review. Huge thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for the chance to review this title.


Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black (goodreads)

The cover is awesome and it sounds like a spooky, intense read. I am looking forward to read it and reviewing closer to publication date.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekly Obsessions

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

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Title for the sequel to Poision Princess by Kresley Cole

I enjoyed Poision Princess so much. I am really looking forward to finding out more about Death. He seems like a intriguing and possibly swoon worthy character. Kresley managed to make a pulse pounding story out of the Tarot cards and I am excited the sequel already has a title.....Endless Knight!

Super excited about the Oct 2013 release date and I can not wait to get my hands on it.

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

I stumbled upon this accidently the other day and am quite intrigued. The Goodreads synopsis states
A psychological literary thriller in which a young New York filmmaker sets out to investigate the apparent suicide of Ashley Cordova, daughter of a famous and reclusive movie director
Doesn't it sound awesome? I have a feeling there is more to Ashley Cordova's death than seen at first glance. It says it comes out in Feb of 2013, so hopefully I will be reading it soon.

Cover of Star Cursed, sequel to Born Wicked


I LOVED Born Wicked. I am dying to get my hands on Star Cursed. While I am sad about the change in covers, this one is just as pretty.

TV

Bates Motel

A TV show that is a prequel to the iconic movie Psycho. A teenage Norman Bates and the beginning of the twisted relationship he has with his mother. Freddie Highmore plays Norman and I have been hearing his performance is chilling. Entertainment Weekly has two exclusive teasers, and I am in love already. I can't wait until this airs.

OTHER

DisneyWorld

1 week until I introduce my most favourite little people in the whole world to the magic that is Disney World. This week is going to feel super long as I just want to get on the plane and leave already!

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Follow Friday!


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

Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

Noah Shaw! He is from The Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin.

He looks like Max Irons.


Happy Weekend!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins


Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Release Date – March 2, 2012
Publisher Website –  Hyperion
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 336 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Borrowed from another blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.  
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. 
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
After a love spell that goes WAY wrong (think obsession instead of smitten) Sophie is dragged off to a super exclusive reform school for all naughty witches, faeries, and the like. I was instantly pulled into the world of Hex Hall and it's secrets.

The plot for Hex Hall is not overly unique. It’s rather a mash up of other stories,  however, the delightfully enjoyable characters, and tone of the story make it feel fresh. The back story of the Prodigium and their connection to angels was a intriguing twist. The history of the school, and the Prodigium is fascinating and was one of my favourite parts of the story.

This story really is all about the characters, and your enjoyment of them will impact how you feel about the novel. Luckily, these characters are mostly funny, endearing and interesting.

Sophie is a lot of fun. An awkward teen witch, who is a little clueless when it comes to her ancestry and background, finds herself a little over her head at Hex Hall. Dealing with classic mean girls, a crush on the hottest boy in school, and unfair teachers made Sophie’s high school experience instantly recognizable to many readers.

I enjoyed Jenna a lot. Hex Hall’s resident vampire who is more Pretty in Pink than Gothic Dracula. I loved the friendship that develops between her and Sophie. Unlikely friends and roommates, their friendship some how works, and they were actually good friends to each other.

I liked the 'getting to know each other' aspect of Archer and Sophie’s budding relationship. I found myself wishing that I knew more about Archer. I hope his back story and more character traits are delved into during the next novel. He is presented as a good looking, funny, self assured guy, but otherwise he is a mystery. I do, however, like his banter with Sophie and found them cute together. Cal, a warlock with a healing touch, has already grabbed my interest as well. I expect both these boys to have a much bigger presence in the subsequent novels.

The ending is a bit of a twist, but one that isn't completely unexpected. The consequences of the reveal and how it impacts the characters is what interests me. I expect it is going to wide reaching repercussions.

A fun, almost light, read that took me by surprise. A little predictable, but it’s the characters that shine in this quick, breezy read.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday...Tarnish

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 Tarnish by Katherine Longshore


Here is the Goodreads synopsis 
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court—and to convince the whole court they’re lovers—she accepts. Before long, Anne’s popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice—but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart’s desire and the chance to make history
I loved the first this "series" (really more companion novels) and I fangirl just a little bit over Anne Boleyn. I think this is going to be AMAZING! I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Expected release date June 18, 2013

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Speechless by Hannah Harrington


Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Release Date – August 28, 2012
Publisher Website –  HarlequinTeen
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 288 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Obtained from the Ontario Blogger Meetup**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.
Can you keep a secret? For Chelsea Knot the answer has always been no. Her gossip fuelled ways come to a screeching halt when her spilling a secret causes someone to almost be killed. Speechless is a thought provoking novel that is timely and timeless in it’s message.

A horrific hate crime happens after Chelsea sees something and decides to spread the gossip. Horrified by the actions her words caused she decides to take a vow of silence.  Her character was someone who has to earn the reader’s forgiveness while forgiving herself. She was your classic mean girl, and she did not stop to think her actions could hurt others. Her growth is slow, but realistic with her not changing in an instant.

The premise of this novel caught my eye immediately. I found the idea of taking a vow of silence really unique. It’s not something I have stumbled across often. It’s used effectively in this novel to showcase how much you learn when you stop and listen. Chelsea grows as a person purely from taking the time to really get to know herself, and who she might actually be. The desire to fit in while in high school is often consuming, and standing up for something can be the bravest thing someone does.

Hannah Harrington’s first novel, Saving June, was infused with average, real characters. Speechless follows this example. The characters are easily imagined as real and that allows the story to resonate that much more. Asha, Sam, Andy are so wonderfully written and developed. There is a scene between Andy and Chelsea in the later part of the novel that is heart breaking and uplifting all at once. It’s those moments where the characters really shine.

The romance between Chelsea and Sam is rather sweet. This is the opposite of instant love. This is a foundation and friendship being built that becomes more. She, during a time when everyone is blaming her for what happened, finds real friendships with those who should be the most angry at her. The kindness offered to her by Sam, Asha and even Andy is one of the most touching things in this novel.

Speechless is a novel I would highly recommend be in every high school. A timely message of acceptance and finding yourself, it shows that one person can make a difference, all they have to do is find their voice.

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