Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo



Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date – May 17, 2013 
Publisher Website -  Raincoast Books Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  356 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**Borrowed from fellow blogger**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.
Darkness and light come together to create a perfect blend of grey. Shadow and Bone exists in such a colour. It’s characters are a mix of both heroic and villainous behaviour and even the brightest light can be tempted by the darkness.

This novel wavered between a 3.5 and 4 for me. I was captivated by the magical aspect of it, the darkness that haunts the pages, and it’s set up for future installments. However, I found the novel moved a little slowly. It crept along and it made the pacing feel off. The ending was rapid and filled with reveals, game changing moments, and what I had been hoping for the rest of the novel. I left me intrigued for what is to come.

Alina fascinated me. She's strong, much stronger than she gives herself credit for, and yet so unsure. She is thrust into a world she never expected to be part of from her humble orphan origins. I liked that she wasn't sure where she fit in, and what her power may mean. She grows, and becomes more self reliant as the story goes on and yet, her character never becomes something unexpected. Often characters who start out average and have this great purpose instilled upon them change and become different characters. Some hard lessons are learned, and it does change her character in ways I am hoping will be fully explored in any sequels, but she is still manages to remain Alina.

The Darkling loomed over everything. I had heard so much hype about him, and how I was going to fall in love with him…well….perhaps it was a case of over hype because that didn't happen. I disliked him immensely. He was nice enough to Alina, at first, and when it suited his needs. I am pretty sure the ending decimates any and all goodwill he may have earned. He may be charismatic, but darkness surrounds everything he does. I can see where he is a perhaps a compelling villain, but he is totally someone I love to dislike.

Mal is a true and loyal friend. The type of friend who you fall in love with even it it means loving from afar. It’s obvious why Alina wants something more than friendship from him. Their bond is something that is built due to shared experiences, and relying on each other from a young age. It’s believable that they would form a strong attachment to each other. 

The fantasy elements are quite well done. The way darkness is in every aspect of the novel from the Darkling, to the Shadow Fold leaves a lingering eeriness. Every single person in the story has been touched by darkness. It's interesting that light plays an equally large part in the story, and it creates a hope that it can chase away the darkness, even if things seem bleak.

Nothing is more terrifying than a character doing something evil for what they consider righteous reasons. The novel looks at what someone will do for power, and how that power can corrupt something that started out in good intentions. It’s all in the way you view something, and someone whose been driven to darkness can take things to the extreme, as they say absolute power can corrupt absolutely. 

I enjoyed this novel, but found myself not as immersed as I wanted to be. I know that there will be those who love it (and there are) and it is certainly an engaging story. I think this was a case of me going in with too high expectations. A fine debut that teases the darkness in all of us, and one that certainly has me interested in seeing where the next novel leads.

Saturday, April 27, 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). 

So much excitement this week! I have a bunch of fantastic things in my mailbox.

First, and the most exciting arrival is my new Kobo Aura HD. Thanks to the lovely Laura at Kobo Canada I am getting to test out the new device. I will be posting a review on it once I have had the chance to really test it out. It's sleek and a fantastic reading experience so far.


Oh, and I also love the brown colour I got!

With the Kobo I also got to pick an ebook to load into it. I chose....


Before I Go To Sleep by S.J Watson (goodreads)

I've been hearing amazing this about this, and when it was selected as the Harper Collins Fan Choice book as part of their 50 Book Pledge I knew I had to finally read it. Excited to start it.

I also borrowed....


Goddess by Josephine Angelini (goodreads)

I read this one already and LOVED it. Expect a review later, but it's a fitting end to the series.

That's it for me. Be sure to leave a link to your mailbox so I can stop by.

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, April 26, 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:

TV

 Season Finales

All my shows are ending for the season in the next month or so. I always love/hate this time of year. So many amazing storylines/jaw droppers/craziness going on, but it also means couple breakups/deaths/other unfortunate things happening to my beloved characters. I am anxiously awaiting the finale for Once Upon A Time especially. Side note to Brodie....expect panicky tweets. #Neverland #SecondStarToTheRight

MOVIE

The Bling Ring Trailer

My take away from this trailer? Emma Watson is amazing. Go ahead, watch it. I'll wait.



Emma Watson's delivery of the line "I want to rob" is perfect. I love her as an actress and I think she seems great in this role. I can't wait to see this movie. I also got an advance reader copy of the book written by Nancy Jo Sales. Super excited to read it.

OTHER

Kobo Aura HD

Thanks to the lovely people at Kobo I am going to be reviewing the new Kobo Aura HD. I got it delivered and have started using it. I love it so far. The crisp, clean look of the device is great. The screen is clear and provides an excellent reading experience. I may just end up loving reading ebooks yet.

Book Expo Planning

Eeeep! Book Expo quickly approaching (not fast enough!) and I am in full planning mode. Kelly from KellyVision, Emilie from Emilie's Book World and Jessica from Read My Breath Away are also attending so we've been chatting about schedules, and things to do in NYC. Emilie and I will be rooming together so expect tweets and other fun stuff while we are gone. My Friday is going to be intense as so many authors I want to see are all signing at the same time. I am going to have to make some tough choices (book blogger problems, I know) but am SO SO SO excited to do it. I love being around bookish people!

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young



The Program by Suzanne Young
Release Date – April 30, 2013
Publisher Website -  Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  416 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
 In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
The Program is at once both a thoughtful look at suicide, and mental illness, and it's also a commentary on the pharmaceutical industry itself. The story was both achingly honest, and filled with gripping moments.  It’s a story that surprised me with the depths in which it made me feel. The romance made me fall under it’s spell, and it’s insightful premise left me with much to ponder.

The romance between Sloane and James is realistic, and so raw. They are both there for each other when needed. They are each other’s rock, and someone to lean on when they feel the tide swell up. In this uncertain, scary epidemic they are a light that keeps the darkness away. I think many readers will fall for James right along with Sloane.

Sloane is a perfect narrator for this type of story. An average teenager dealing with the loss of her brother, and the emotional turmoil that is being a teenager. She's much stronger than even she gives herself credit for.

Roger is one of the most vile, disgusting characters I’ve encountered in a novel. Completely infuriating, I wanted to so badly inflict harm on him. I felt his greasy, slimy demeanor was handled masterfully, and his character does certainly have a place in the story.

Realm is a charismatic guy Sloane meets while in The Program. I left the novel not really sure how I felt about him, and his place in Sloane's life. I think he'll be a major player in what's to come. He's certainly charming, and takes care of Sloane when she's at her most vulnerable.

Emotions are the most dangerous thing in Sloane’s world. The littlest thing can get you flagged and sent to The Program. Paranoia is running rampant, and parents are desperate to save their children from this epidemic. Part of life is experiencing the ups and downs. Feeling all of these emotions is one of the most beautiful parts about being human. While I absolutely think some people require help in dealing with things and there are severe illnesses out there, I felt The Program shows what happens when you take it too far. The ability to mourn, and feel emotions you need to in order to say goodbye to someone you love. The ability to feel the heartbreak of breaking up with someone. These are all strong, and sad emotions, but having them can actually help you heal. The Program takes this away. It also takes the highs as well - the rush of new love, the joy of a new birth.We need to experience both and sometimes we forget how strong the human brain really is.

The use of pills in this novel was a nice commentary on how dangerous relying on them alone can be. Treatment should be more than medication as using it by itself may not treat the underlying issue. It combined with other treatments could be more successful in helping those who need it. I know there is much discussion about whether or not doctors over prescribe pills in some countries, but this novel takes a hard look at some of the negative and positive aspects of this aspect of treatment.

The novel left me with a desire to know more about the suicide epidemic that appears to be growing. I want to know how and when it started. The details are vague and  I am hoping the next book will clear up some of the questions. I am anxious to learn more about The Program itself as well, as the novel left a clear indication that there is more going on underneath it's already sinister surface.

The ending leads up to what may be a different direction for the next novels. The Program may remove memories, but the emotions behind them linger. It gives me hope for these characters and the potential futures, however, it’s obvious the fight is far from over.

A heart touching, approach to metal health and suicide where every emotion is dangerous. A novel that will hopefully get discussions going, and left just enough to tease you with to come back for more.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tudor Tuesdays Tarnish Edition Kick Off Annoucement


You may remember Tudor Tuesdays from last year around this time to celebrate the release of Gilt by Katherine Longshore. Once again I am hosting, along with some other amazing bloggers, a weekly lead up to  the release of Katherine's newest Tudor novel, Tarnish.


You can expect giveaways, teasers, and some behind the scenes inspiration from Katherine.

The full list of blog tour stops can be found below

May 7th - Emilie @ Emilie's Book World **Paperback of Gilt kick off**
May 14th - Katie @ BlookGirl
May 21st - Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf
May 28th - My tour stop
June 4th - Kelly @ Belle of the Literati
June 11th - Jessica @ Read My Breath Away 

I hope you'll stop by and get excited about Anne Boleyn's story. I've read Tarnish and it's simply amazing. Those of you who love historical fiction are in a treat come June!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Loop by Shandy Lawson




The Loop by Shandy Lawson
Release Date – April 30, 2013
Publisher Website -  Hyperion/Hachette Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  208 pages
My Rating- 2.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Ben and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal days—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself. With each failure, they return to the beginning of their end, a wild road trip that brings them to the scene of their own murders and into the hands of the man destined to kill them.

As time circles back on itself, events become more deeply ingrained, more inescapable for the two kids trapped inside the loop. The closer they come to breaking out, the tighter fate’s clutches seem to grip them. They devise a desperate plan to break free and survive the days ahead, but what if Ben and Maggie’s only shot at not dying is surviving apart?
Ever read a novel that has a fantastic sounding premise but doesn’t quite live up to the potential? For me, The Loop fits this perfectly. It sounded, from the synopsis, like it would have everything a fast paced, thrilling read should. However, I ended up not enjoying this as much as I would hope.

For a novel that is dealing with something as intricate and complex as time loops, I felt there was not enough explanation. The main character is presented with the idea that time loops exist and immediately believes it. There is no scientific explanation given and it’s barely dealt with in any way. I feel the story would have benefited from a longer novel that fleshed out this part of the story.

It also felt like we didn't get to 'know' the characters beyond a very surface level. The story is so quick that there is not really time for development or change within the characters. It focuses more on the action than building the characters. I am a character driven reader, and I have a hard time becoming invested in the story if I am not also invested it the characters. I wasn’t able to feel ‘connected’ to them, and therefore the outcome didn’t matter as much for me.

The romance also felt rushed. I get that they had a connection, but their memories of each other are hazy at best. Ben barely remembers anything other than a feeling of déjà vu. Maggie recalls more, but it’s still fuzzy at it's strongest. I felt their instant trust and attraction to be a little quick for me to be fully invested in the romance.

The killer was also barely fleshed out. His motivation behind the killing is believable however, and would have been interesting if fully realized. Everything in the novel had potential, but I feel it wasn't fully realized.

This novel was sadly not for me. I wished it had fleshed things out as the story idea itself has a lot of promise.  I polished this one off because of it’s short length, but in the end it was that exact length that perhaps impacted my enjoyment. I urge you to check out other reviews and determine if this one might be for you.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa



Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
Release Date – April 30, 2013
Publisher Website -  HarlequinTeen
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  446 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

***Small Spoilers***

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.
The Eternity Cure has it all -vampires, romance, and intense action. You may think you’ve read this before, but you’d be wrong. Julie Kagawa takes the vampire story and owns it. After reading The Immortal Rules, I knew this series was going to be epic and Eternity Cure showed me how right I was. 

Julie Kagawa’s characters are the heart of her novels. Heros and villains are both so layered and lines are blurred often within the two. They are capable of both heroic and cowardly acts and this makes them compelling. Her development in this novel especially is wonderful.

Allie is one of my favourite female characters. Kick ass, intelligent and capable are how I would describe her. Her desire to be a ‘better monster’ is admirable, and that sliver of humanity that keeps her grounded makes her character more compelling. She’s not perfect, and has quite a bit of self doubt, but she’s loyal, and tries to do the right thing.

Allie’s desperate need to find her sire, Kanin, drives her. She feels responsible for him and wants nothing more than to protect him from Sarren. She’s not prepared for what she ends up finding. A new strain of Red Lung that threatens vampires. The novel presents a likely scenario of the entire population becoming extinct, humans and vampires alike. It creates a ticking clock that makes the pages tense. 

Jackal surprised me in this installment. Dangerous, selfish, and dastardly in the first novel, he presented a different side in this one. I’ve seen comparisons to Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I have to admit they are spot on. He’s clearly influenced by him,  his sarcastic sense of humour especially. He is a fun character, that I found myself enjoying this time around in a way that was most unexpected….even when he was at his worst.

I was delighted to see Zeke again. The human who weakens Allie’s cold exterior and brings out the humanity in her. The romance in this novel is so well done. Electric, swoon worthy and subtly sexy. A romance where each of them knows the other fully. Every weakness,  every strength and the ugly parts underneath. They get each other and they are a match in the most star crossed sense.

Allie’s remaining human tie, Sticks, makes an appearance in the most unexpected way. His return into Allie’s life came as shock due to the manner in which it happens. His attitude, however, is unsurprising. After his hurtful reaction to Allie’s vampire transformation it was clear that Sticks was not someone Allie could count on. Hurt feelings can linger, and resentment can grow and fester. Those in the sudden position to administer what they consider payback can be dangerous. 

Everyone knows that Julie Kagawa can tell a story and suck you in. Her Blood of Eden series may just be her best one yet. Fraught with excitement, danger, and high stakes the pacing is impeccable. This novel had my feelings jumping all over the place, and finally tore them out in the last 10-15 pages. All the more crushing, and heart stopping due to the wait for the next novel.

The ending of this novel left me breathless with so many theories of what is going to happen next. An ambiguous ending for one of our characters left me full of speculation for what could be in store for them.  This is a vampire series that one of the best in it’s genre. Daring, intense, and with fantastic characters. 

Saturday, April 20, 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). 

Lots of exciting things this week!


First for review I received two books from Random House Canada

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly (Goodreads)
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham (Goodreads)

I have heard Just What Kind Of Mother Are You has been compared to Gone Girl (which I loved) so I am eager to start this one. Someday, Someday, Maybe sounds really cute. I am looking forward to a fun contemporary to end off the month with.

I borrowed from Emilie (Emilie's Book World) the following

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Goodreads)
Friday Night Lights Season One

I keep hearing  how amazing Eleanor and Park is so I had to borrow it from Emilie and read it for myself. Hoping to fit it in soon.

I kept hearing how amazing Friday Night Lights is, and it's true. Every amazing thing you've heard is true. I adore Riggins, and Matt. The coach and his family. The entire team. The series surprised me by making me teary in the first episode, and actually caring about the outcome of a football game. #ClearEyesFullHeartsCantLose

Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Weekly Obsessions


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

Here are my obsessions this week:

TV

Friday Night Lights

So Emilie (from Emilie's Book World) and Katie (from Bookishly Yours) have been telling me how amazing this show is. EVERYONE has been telling me to watch it. Finally gave in and started it. It really surprised me, and  I am now addicted. LOVE Tim Riggins, and Matt Saracen especially. I will be devouring the rest of this series immediately.

MOVIE

Romeo and Juliet trailer

I love this play so much. I love that they decided to do a straight adaptation and not modernize it. I adore Baz Luhrmann's version, but have a soft spot for the classic. All I have to say about this trailer is - Ed Westwick as Tybalt. I love that they ended it with one of my favourite lines
"Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun."
Now all we need is for an official release date for North America and I will be happy.



OTHER

Book Expo America

With the event just about a month away I am getting antsy for a schedule. I would love one to start planning and make the tough choices about which autograph sessions to attend. I am beyond excited about this year as it seems to have a fantastic line up of authors and events.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, April 18, 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: If you could hang out with any author (living) who would it be and what would you want to do?

Easy. I bet she'll show up a lot too. JK Rowling. I would love to ask her a bunch of questions about writing, and the characters I love so much.

Happy Weekend!

The Elite by Kiera Cass


    
The Elite by Kiera Cass
Release Date – April 23, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.
A prince, pretty dresses, and the chance to become royalty. Many would think America Singer has it pretty good as part of The Selection. As The Elite quickly shows palace life is not at all what it appears. The rebel forces are increasing their pressure and things are taking a sinister turn as the competition intensifies.

The love triangle in this novel is heating up. It was the main focus of book one, and romance is heavily featured in book two. I see a connection with both guys, but I also feel that America’s character is not sure what she wants, never mind who she wants. She enjoys the company of each suitor, but I had a harder time feeling that she cared for either of them deeply enough to choose them.

Maxon, whom I really liked in this first novel, melted me in this novel. There is a pivotal scene towards the end of the novel where we make a discovery about Maxon’s upbringing that devastated me. He has had an insanely rigid upbringing, and being a Prince does not mean a perfect family environment.

Perhaps I missed it, or just don’t recall it being so predominant, but I didn't think Maxon’s father was so…intimidating. He’s much more involved in every aspect of Maxon’s life than I anticipated. I finished this novel with a completely different opinion of him than I originally had. I delighted in the more sinister feel to his character, and took much enjoyment in disliking him.

Marlee, the sweet girl who becomes friends with America in the first novel, is just as important to story in this novel. It is hinted that she has a secret in The Selection, and it all unravels in The Elite. Her secret has a profound affect on America. There is a haunting scene that shows not only the power and strength of love, but how horrible some current laws truly are. Change needs to happen, and you can't help but want America to promote those changes. I flinched for the entire scene and still shudder when I think about it.  

The rebels storyline grows more interesting with each novel in this series. I hope it is the main focus of the third novel. The reveals behind what the rebels could be looking for, and how society got the way we see it currently in America’s story, raise plenty of questions.  It’s this part of the story that has the most potential and had my mind whirling with theories.

The Selection itself is still going on, and there is more than just America vying for Maxon and the crown. The Elite shows that there is true competition for Maxon's heart, and ultimately American's indecisiveness could allow her to miss out on something she really wants. It comes back to the changes in her character. She was forceful, and knew what she wanted in the first book. She is confused, unsure, and scared in this one. The decision could be taken out of her hands, and it reminded me of how important it is to take those risks for what you really want.

I compared the last book to a cupcake because it was big on the romance and pretty dresses, this novel  is darker, and more dangerous. The tone is definitely changing which each twist, and revelation. I could feel the heartbreak catching up with our character, and am fully prepared to be crushed by the finale.

The ending, while not a cliffhanger per say, it does leave you wanting to grab the next book. The stakes are higher, and America’s heart, and to whom it belongs, may be the least of what Kiera Cass has in store for the third book.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday.... Thornhill


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 Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Mac can’t lose another friend. Even if he doesn’t want to be found.

The ripple effect caused by Mac’s best friend Amy’s murder has driven Mac’s new love, Kyle, to leave Hemlock and disappear from her life forever. But Mac knows that Kyle plans to enroll in a rehabilitation camp, where he can live with other werewolves. She refuses to accept his decision, especially since the camps are rumored to be tortuous. So she sets out in search of Kyle with a barely sober Jason—and Amy’s all-seeing ghost—in tow.

Clues lead Mac to find Kyle in a werewolf den in Colorado—but their reunion is cut short by a Tracker raid. Now Mac and Kyle are trapped inside the electric fences of Thornhill, a camp for young werewolves. As she devises an escape plan, Mac uncovers dangerous secrets buried within the walls of Thornhill—and realizes that the risk to the people she loves is greater than ever before.
After the first book in this series, Hemlock, I was dying to get my hands on the second. The synopsis sounds amazing, and I am very much looking forward to more of Mac's story.

Expected release date - September 10, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer



Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer
Release Date – April 23, 2013
Publisher Website - Razorbill
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Life turned upside down for Maddy Montgomery when she found out she was half-Angel and was catapulted into the scene of flashbulbs, paparazzi, and the fervent adulation that comes with being in the celebrity Angel world. She's trying to juggle her ordinary life—high school, family, friends—with the intense demands of being in the public eye as heartthrob Angel Jackson Godspeed's girlfriend.

And now Maddy must face the most difficult choice of her life. She's been offered the chance to become a Guardian. This means entering into dangerous and high stakes training, with no guarantee that she can succeed. But more than that, it would mean leaving her mortal life behind—forever—and allying with the Angels at a time when their relationship with humans is heading for war. . . .
Glitz, glamour, and betrayal take center stage in this sequel to Immortal City. Agenda driven characters, and an intriguing political tone are back dropped against the glittering Hollywood skyline.

The crime noir tone and feel I loved so much in book one shifts a bit in the sequel. This novel focuses more on the glitz and glamorous side of Hollywood. We see how seductive the spotlight can be, and how easy it is to get caught up in the current when you’re the next big thing.

Maddy’s life has changed greatly from the one she knew. She’s now not only Jackson’s girlfriend, but half angel. Her life is thrust into the spotlight. The changes in Maddy's character are expected, and obvious. Her moral compass is still one of the strongest in the series. Her belief that protecting those who need it, regardless of background or financial means, is a defining trait for her. However, she is tempted by the celebrity aspect of the Angel's lives. The adoration is addictive, and it's easy to see how she could fall under it's spell.

Jackson’s character arc surprised me in this novel. He takes a path I should have seen coming, but I was not prepared for the lengths in which he was willing to go. He is devastated by loosing the ability to fly. His grit and determination to regain his strength is admirable. He isn't used to be the 'hottest Angel' and falling from grace is tough on the proud Jackson. Seeing this side to him, an unsure of where his fits, and slowly defeated side, was much different than the Jackson I was anticipating. It's another layer to a character that seemed too perfect in the first one. His character, among others, shows that even Angels make mistakes, and that nobody is perfect.

The political side to this novel was, by far, my favourite part. A war is brewing between angel and humans and as the story goes on the pressure intensifies. The unease many felt in the first novel over how the Angels run their protection for pay service is heightened in this one. Agendas are revealed, sometimes coming as a shock. It all leads up to a final choice Maddy has to make - will she stand with the humans or embrace her Angel side? The answer is more complicated than Maddy, or I,  expected. I like that she was conflicted, and at times disappointed in those around her. The build up to the war is gradual, until the pressure pops and everything moves at a rapid pace. It’s where Scott Speer’s writing stands out in this sequel.

One of my favourite parts of Immortal City was the character of Detective Sylvester. I could almost envision him an trench coat. He reads like someone straight out of the old Hollywood movies. His role in this installment is equally important. I love that he is played as intelligent, hard working and capable. Often in novels the detectives/police are portrayed as either clueless or everything comes too easily for them. This feels more realistic in how he gathers evidence, sifts through things, and takes the time to verify his information.

The ending, of course, left me wanting to read the third novel immediately. Things have gotten more complicated and I can’t wait to see what is next for Maddy, Jacks, and the rest. The tension has hit it’s breaking point, and I feel that we are in for an explosive finale…if indeed this is only a trilogy.

A novel I enjoyed for it’s political aspects, and characters, but left me missing what I truly loved from the first book. - that gritty, noir feel that haunted it’s pages. Fans of angels, and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood will devour this series.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Game by Barry Lyga



Game by Barry Lyga
Release Date – April 16, 2013
Publisher Website - Little Brown
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  528 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

**SPOILERS FOR I HUNT KILLERS (Book 1)**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Billy grinned. “Oh, New York,” he whispered. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.
Everything I loved about I Hunt Killers is back in Game. The spine tingling shivers, chills, and suspense. An intense and wild game leaves Jazz chasing a killer through the busy streets of New York City. The stakes are higher, and this time, Jazz and the police, don’t know the rules.

Nature versus nature. Jazz has both working against him. His struggle to prove, not just himself but to everyone, that he is nothing like his father carries over from the first novel. I stand by my previous statement - Jazz is charming, but he also manages to send shivers down my spine. Billy’s influence can not be denied, but how deep it runs is something Jazz has yet to determine. I love the entire concept of upbringing AND genetics factoring into who you become. The novel gives us an insight into someone who has been severely traumatized, and is struggling with the aftermath.

Howie, Jazz’s best friend, provides the comic relief that is definitely needed. I had such a soft spot for him, even in the first book. He’s such an amazingly loyal friend to Jazz. A true friend. A friend that accepts Jazz for who he is, flaws and all. Howie’s fragility made me worry about him more than any other character. It’s rather poetic that Barry Lyga decided to make Jazz’s best friend so vulnerable with the amount of death that surrounds him.

Connie officially become one of my favourite female characters in this novel. She’s confident without being conceited  determined, and fierce. A true match for someone like Jazz. She’s not afraid to stand up to him, and for him. She takes center stage in a way I was not expecting, and I found myself surprised at how much I enjoyed her.

Jazz dreams shift in this novel. Gone are the flashes of a knife carving flesh. Instead Jazz’s dreams are of touching skin, and rapid breaths. His fear that sex could be his trigger, and his initial attraction to Connie plague him throughout this entire novel. Part of me wondered if Jazz was molested as a child and we might be seeing flashbacks, another part of me thought perhaps it’s just his teenage boy hormones kicking into overdrive. It will be fascinating to see where this leads, and if the two dreams are at all connected.

The clever unraveling of the plot, and the reveal of what twisted game this novel gets it’s title from is a thrilling ride. Twists are plentiful and things we thought were true may turn out to be much different under the harsh light of day. It all comes to back to nature versus nature, and some revelations may not have the impact you’d hope.

The word cliff-hanger is thrown around a lot, especially with young adult novels. This ending, I feel, may be one of the cruelest (and heart stopping) endings in a novel. You’re left gasping and scrambling for the next page only to realize that there aren't anymore. It’s going to be a long wait to find out the consequences of the events in this installment. I am just happy that there will be more Jazz in the future.

A taunt, scary thrill ride that left me with shivers. Jazz is a chillingly disarming narrator whose easy smile masks a conflicted interior. I can not wait to curl up with the next installment and allow Barry Lyga to prevent me getting any sleep - both from staying up late to finish reading, and being haunted by it’s pages long after.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New To My Book Closet


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

No books this week, but I did get quite a bit of bookish goodies.

Kathleen Peacock, Kristin Halbrook, and Katherine Longshore all sent me some fantastic swag. There is a giveaway going on for Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook including some swag, and Tudor Tuesdays will feature some giveaways as well.

Thank you to the authors who sent these goodies my way. It's always nice to get them, and I can't wait to share in giveaways.



Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weekly Obsessions


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

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

The Bane Chronicles: What Really Happened in Peru cover


Those of you who know me are probably well aware that I love Cassandra Clare's two series. I especially love a certain warlock. I was ecstatic when I heard that she was going to be releasing some e-novellas staring Magnus, and that they would be released in 'hard copy' format once all the e-novellas have been released. The cover of the first one has been released and I LOVE IT!

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Read the Goodreads synopsis of this novel and tell me you don't want to read it. Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn?! It is officially one of my 'must reads' of 2014. I am looking forward to more information coming out about this one soon.

MOVIE

City of Bones Trailer # 2

There is so much I could say about this trailer. Robert Sheehan is PERFECT as Simon. This trailer shows exactly what I wanted to see from him. I was happy with the little I saw of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine.



Oh and that BRIEF glimpse of Magnus? NOT ENOUGH! Godfrey Gao certainly looks the part - I want to see him act. Overall it seems like they've done a pretty great job with turning these books into a movie. August needs to hurry up and get here so I can go see it.

OTHER

My birthday cake

My birthday 'party' was last weekend. I just had some cake and watched Once Upon A Time.

Every year I get a cake made and this year I decided it was going to be Peter Pan decorated! I thought it was awesome, and Peter Pan's story has long been one of my favourites.


So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, April 11, 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: We are about to see a lot of posts & tweets about reader conventions, RT, BEA, ALA and many more are starting soon. Which one would you love to attend? Where and why?

I am attending BEA this year, and it's my third year going. I would love to attend RT one year. It sounds like a fun time!

Happy Weekend!

Kristin Halbrook Interview and Giveaway


You may remember I reviewed this awesome book Nobody But Us a little while back. I really liked it and felt it deserved some extra attention. Today I have the author, Kristin Halbrook, stopping by for an interview and a fun giveaway!


1 Describe Nobody But Us in three words

Hopeful, lovers, tragic

2 What three words would Zoe use to describe Will?

Desperate, hot-headed, caretaker

3 Did you research anything specific while writing Nobody But Us?

I did! I researched a lot of maps and also drove some of the path Will and Zoe drive to make the trip as authentic as possible. I also researched state-specific programs for foster care youth and the process of becoming a ward of the state for several states. I researched the current state of shop classed in high school curriculums for my German translator and even types of cars for Will to drive. I love research.

4 Now that your first book has been out for awhile, what would you say was the biggest surprise of release week for you?

That it was rather anticlimactic. And even more so, a relief to get past. There was so much to do beforehand that I felt like I was being twirled in a million directions. Once NOBODY BUT US released, I was able to let go, to let the book be out in the world, knowing there was nothing I could do to change it.

5 What is the last book you read that you'd recommend to others?

I recently finished Sarah Skilton's BRUISED, which I loved. Fantastic writing and raw characters with real hurts to overcome. It's a book about trusting yourself and trusting those who love you and want the best for you. The themes of gender equity particularly spoke to me.

6 Who is the first person that gets to read your writing?

My beta readers--all members of YA Highway. Sometimes it's just snippets of work that get posted in the group, while other times I'm sending partial or full manuscripts for critique. They're the most amazing group of readers!

7 What three items do you need while revising?

Great editorial notes, stretches of silence AND a playlist, and espresso.

8 If you could go back in time to any time period and any place, where and when would you travel to? 

Oooh, tough one. I like the modern era a whole lot. I like indoor plumbing and laptops and not being thrown into insane asylums because I'm a woman with an opinion. The sobering realities of living as a woman in the past overcome the romantic notions of pretty dresses and such, for me. Having said that, I'd fancy a trip to Minoan Crete, a society that appeared to be as egalitarian and fascinating as any in human history.

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Now that you've checked out Kristin's interview, be sure to enter the giveway by using the Rafflecopter form below.

There are 3 winners in total
1 prize - a copy of Nobody But Us and a swag pack
2 prize - Nobody But Us swag pack
3 prize - Nobody But Us swag pack
Good luck to everyone. It is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday.... Just One Year


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 Just One Year by Gayle Forman


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Can you fall in love in just one day? Can you become a new person? How about in just one year? In JUST ONE DAY and its companion novel JUST ONE YEAR, sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey and easygoing actor Willem De Ruiter are about to find out against a guidebook-worthy array of foreign backdrops. Equal parts romance, coming-of-age-tale, mystery and travel romp (with settings that span from England’s Stratford upon Avon to Paris to Amsterdam to India’s Bollywood) JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR show how in looking for someone else, you just might wind up finding yourself. 
I loved Just One Day and can't wait to read Willem's side of the story. The wait for this one has seemed long, even though they are being released quite close together.


Expected release date October 15, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight



Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
Release Date – April 2, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins Canada
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader 
Pages -  384 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A stunning debut novel in which a single mother reconstructs her teenaged daughter's life, sifting through her emails, texts, and social media to piece together the shocking truth about the last days of her life.

Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can't believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who's never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate's faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead.

Seemingly unable to cope with what she'd done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school's roof in an act of "spontaneous" suicide. At least that's the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text:

She didn't jump.

Sifting through Amelia's emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate is determined to learn the heartbreaking truth about why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day-and why she died.

Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious bullies. It's about how well a parent ever really knows a child and how far one mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save
Getting the devastating call that something has happened to your child has got to be every parent’s worst nightmare. Even worse would be finding out, when it’s too late, that maybe you maybe didn’t know your child has well as you thought.

Kate’s world is rocked when she learns her daughter has been accused of cheating, only to have it destroyed when she arrives to the news that her daughter committed suicide. Guilt plagues Kate for most of the novel. She feels she wasn’t around enough, and begins to feel like she might be responsible for what happened. Her drive to find out what happened to her daughter felt achingly real. I can see any parent being haunted by the why in a situation like this.

Amelia's high school experience starts out as a pretty typical one. She’s not overly popular, but has a group of people she talks to and a best friend whom she spends most of her time with. She’s smart, and studious. She shies away from getting involved with most things outside of school however. Her high school experience takes a drastic turn when she begins a ‘friendship’ with some girls that she never expected to be involved with. High school can be cruel, and Amelia learns this first hand. 

I liked Amelia’s voice. It rang true to her character. A little unsure of herself, but ultimately stronger than she knew. She holds up much better than many would under increasingly devastating circumstances. As her world gets increasingly hurtful and stressing I wanted her to reach out. Sadly, like a lot of teenagers she lacks the confidence to find her voice.

Her relationship with her mother was well developed. The push/pull of wanting freedom and missing her mother was so realistic to someone in Amelia’s situation. The guilt Kate carries from not being around more is a catalyst for many of that character’s decisions that it became a predominant part of her character.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the story. The way it unravels reminds me of a puzzle. You’re given these pieces, and they all fit to form a picture, but you don’t a basis to put them together. As each piece is revealed it the image gets less murky until what it is becomes obvious. I liked pacing, and how it was presented. The little things you didn’t think mattered until all of a sudden they did, the huge ones that felt inconsequential when the truth is revealed. I think some may guess the ending prior to the unveiling, but it’s the journey to that ending is that so unexpected.

There are many layers to Amelia’s story. Sifting through all of the reasons she could have ended up on that roof the day she died, to the eventual truth, is as twisty as the novel itself. Was it suicide? An accident? Or perhaps something more sinister? There are things that point to each of these potential scenarios. Being presented with so many plausible scenarios, and reasons behind Amelia’s death, made the story feel like it had the potential to be unpredictable. 

This brings us to the ending itself. I was not overly satisfied with the ending. It wrapped things up, and was certainly not what I was expecting. However, after the amazing build up it felt like the ending fizzled out. It’s a plausible and, for me, surprising ending but one that other may enjoy more than I did. 

A twisty read that many will devour and love. I enjoyed it’s tense pacing, and great characters, but sadly felt unsatisfied with it’s ending. An otherwise enjoyable read that I think will heat up beaches this summer.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Jane Austen Goes To Hollywood by Abby McDonald



Jane Austen Goes To Hollywood by Abby McDonald
Release Date – April 19, 2013
Publisher Website - Candlewick Press
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Abby McDonald gives L.A. the Jane Austen treatment in this contemporary take on Sense and Sensibility.

Hallie and Grace Weston have never exactly seen life eye to eye. So when their father dies and leaves everything to his new wife, forcing the girls to pack up and leave San Francisco for a relative’s house in shiny Beverly Hills, the two sisters take to their changing lot in typically different styles. Shy, responsible Grace manages to make friends with an upbeat, enterprising girl named Palmer but still yearns for her old life — and the maybe-almost-crush she left behind. Meanwhile, drama queen Hallie is throwing herself headlong into life — and love — in L.A., spending every second with gorgeous musician Dakota and warding off the attention of brooding vet Brandon. But is Hallie blinded by the stars in her eyes? And is Grace doomed to forever hug the sidelines?
I adore Jane Austen. I especially have a thing for remakes/modernized versions of her work. While I admit my favourite novel by her is Pride and Prejudice. I do, however, enjoy Sense and Sensibility as well. This take on Sense and Sensibility will delight both people familiar with the story, and those who have yet to read the classic tale.

This novel is quite funny, and charming. It surprised me a little as I was expecting a fluffy read. It is, but it’s characters also have a lot of heart that is sometimes missing in this genre.

The author obviously loves the source material. She took care to pay respect to it, while still making it her own. The transferring of the plot points and characteristics of the characters into a modern setting is done seamlessly. Thought was put into the choices when making the “updates” and more importantly they make sense.

Hallie and Grace are quite different. Hallie is the outgoing, passionate actress, and Grace is the more studious, mature sister. The story is told in dual narrative and gave each character a chance to shine. While I am probably more like Grace personality wise, I was drawn to Hallie’s character a little bit more. She was reckless, impulsive, but took chances for what she wanted. I spent much of the novel wishing I could tell Grace to let loose, go after the things that make her happy. She was a little too selfless.

Portia, Hallie and Grace’s step-mother, was so much fun to dislike. She’s selfish and vile. Her motivations were clear right from the moment we meet her, and it made rooting for the Weston sister’s that much easier.

The inclusion of a witty postscript at the end of the novel delighted me. It provided a fantastic closure to the novel and the characters within it. The humorous heart of the novel really comes through here, and it may be one of my favourite parts of the story. Another little note - do not read the postscript first. Enjoy it after you’ve taken the journey with the characters. It’ll be much more satisfying that way.

Fans of Jane Austen will find much to smile over in this twist on her classic novel. A humorous, and light read that I feel would be served best by reading when you’re in the mood for this type of novel.

Saturday, April 6, 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). 

My mailbox is AWESOME this week thanks to my birthday weekend.


Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (Goodreads)
Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons (Goodreads)
Siege and Story by Leigh Bardugo (Goodreads)
Once Upon A Time Season One!!!!

Christy (The Reader Bee) being the sweet person that she is sent me Article 5 and Breaking Point as a birthday gift.

Siege and Storm was provided by Raincoast Books for review. Super excited to start this one.

My favourite TV show right now is Once Upon A Time. I have season one thanks to my friend Nicole and I intend to watch it again this summer.

Since it is my birthday weekend I am also going to include a picture of my awesome Peter Pan inspired cake that I had to celebrate.


Happy Weekend and Happy Reading!

Weekly Obsessions


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

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Fall Books

So many amazing sounding books are coming out in the fall! The publisher catalogs have been pining and wanting so many amazing titles. It almost makes me wish we were already past the summer months....almost. I also can't wait for beach reading weather!

TV

Bates Motel

This show has surprised me. Super creepy and well acted. Freddie Highmore especially is stealing the show as Norman Bates.


OTHER

My Birthday Weekend

My birthday was on April 3rd. I am celebrating (sort of) this weekend by going to a movie and having some cake. I normally get my birthday cake from the same place, and they always do a fantastic job. Last year's Masque of the Red Death cake was amazing, and this year it'll be Peter Pan. Excited to share photos after tonight! They'll go up on my Twitter tonight, but there will also be a blog post next week.

Book Expo America















A sneak peek at the list of authors who will be signing at Book Expo was released this week! If you haven't seen the list it and are going to BEA, do check it out.

So many amazing authors that I want to see - Samantha Shannon, Kendare Blake, Alexandra Coutts, Gretchen McNeil, Victoria Schwab, Richelle Mead, and Jenny Han are high on my list of signings to make it to. I can't wait for the official schedule to be out so I can start planning.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, April 4, 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: Have you ever read a book that you thought you would hate -- ? Did you end up hating it? Did you end up loving it? Or would you never do that?

There has to be something about the book that makes me want to pick it up. I have read books that are not what I would normally read, but something about them intrigued me. It could be a review from a fellow blogger, something in the synopsis, or just something I heard about the book. I can't see myself picking up something I had no desire in reading. There are too many books out there to not read what you are drawn to.

Happy Weekend!

This Is What Happy Looks Like By Jennifer E Smith



This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith
Release Date – April 2, 2013
Publisher Website - Hachette/Poppy
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 
An email address typed incorrectly. Something so common but has the power to change everything. It ends up changing the lives of both Ellie and Graham by allowing them to meet.. The premise of the story intrigued me immediately. There is something about getting to know someone via email that can allow a different connection. People are often more willing to type something than say it face to face. In this case, a deeper connection is developed because each person can truly be themselves. Graham doesn't have to wonder if Ellie’s interested because he is famous. Ellie is free to open up without any insecurities getting in the way.

Jennifer E Smith’s writing flows nicely. I found myself reading this one rather quickly due to the pacing. I finished it in one day, and it’s mainly due to the way the novel progressed. I simply had to keep reading.

Ellie and her mother moved to small town to escape after their lives were turned upside down. Her mother wants nothing more than to leave the past where it belongs, and move forward. Due to the situation Ellie has been ingrained with the importance of avoiding the media spotlight at all cost. Falling in love with the latest Hollywood “It” boy was not part of that plan. It’s this obstacle that makes their stolen moments even sweeter. Graham wants to be out of the spotlight just as much as Ellie needs to be.

The relationship between Ellie and her mother was nice to see in a YA novel. Often the parents are missing, or not part of the story. Ellie’s mother is very much part of the story. Her experiences lead the way to obstacles, and haunt Ellie’s decisions. I liked that while it seemed Ellie and her mom were friends, it felt like a parent/child relationship as well.

Graham is not your typical Hollywood hunk. A young actor on the brink of super stardom, and every teenage girl's dream guy. Regularly on the cover of tabloid magazines, his life is open to invasion. Graham’s personality was different than I was expecting. He was much more down to earth and less “Hollywood” than I anticipated. He’s simply a young man who got discovered, caught a lucky break, and is riding that wave to what his manger hopes is the next level of fame. He’s opinionated, and I loved that he went against what his manger wanted (and was therefore expected of him).

The romance is, of course, off the charts adorable. It had me grinning, and left me with a smile long after I had finished the book. It’s a light, breezy read that is exactly what is needed after a more intense read. It leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. Jennifer E Smith writes romance without it being too sweet. It’s the perfect blend of realistic mixed with the idealized version one expects in a Hollywood movie.

An excellent summer beach time read that will leave you wishing for your own accidental romance. A charming look at love, family, and what can happen if you just open yourself up to new experiences and allow fate to lead the way.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday.... Night Film


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 Night Film by Marisha Pessl


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The critically acclaimed author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which People hailed as a "blockbuster debut," returns with a brilliant, breathtakingly suspenseful literary thriller, Night Film.

On a damp October night, beautiful, young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her death is ruled a suicide, but veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding her death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of Ashley's father: cult horror film director Stanislas Cordova. Rumored to be shuttered away in a remote Adirondack estate, Cordova remains an enigma. Though much has been written about his unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself. With the help of two strangers, McGrath is slowly drawn into Cordova's eerie, hypnotic world as he pieces together the answers: What really happened to Ashley? Who is Cordova? And once we face our deepest fears-what lies on the other side?

Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.
So I have been pining for this since it first came to my attention. I LOVE the sound of this, and hope it's just as twisty and insane as it sounds. I think perhaps this might be the big adult hit of 2013. It comes out just in time to be the last summer beach read before September..... can not wait.

Expected release date August 20, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Blaze by Laurie Boyle Crompton




Blaze by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Release Date – February 1, 2013
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  309 pages
My Rating- 2.5/5
**Obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She's desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark's feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her "sext" photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now..
This review is a weird one for me. There are parts of this book I really enjoyed, and other parts that I couldn’t get into at all. The writing is fine, and the characters were certainly believable. I kept going back and forth between a 2.5 and a 3 star rating, and ultimately had to go with my original feeling.

There is no other reason other than this book was simply not for me. I was disconnected from the story, the characters, and it impacted my overall enjoyment. The writing lends itself perfectly to the quirky vibe of the story, and was enjoyable. I would try other novels by this author as I think perhaps it was this particular book was not a good match with me.

Blaze is a fairly typical teenager girl with a fairly typical teenage problem - highschool rumours, and the unfortunate realization that the guy you were into is a bit of a jerk. She’s comic book obsessed, and I loved her geeky traits. She seemed nice enough, a little too trusting, but a good friend and older sister.  She seemed to have two sides to her though. This tough confident side, and the meek, unsure side. She wavered  and couldn’t make up her mind until things had already gone too far. I know plenty of people like this, so it was believable, but her personality seemed at odds sometimes.

Mark, the charming heart breaker. He seemed fine at first, but since you know, even before it happens, that it won’t end well it was easy to dislike him immediately. I can see where Blaze, an inexperienced girl with a crush, could be taken in by someone like Mark.

Communication is such a large part of the story. Communicating what you really want, and not taking things at face value. These are all things that we hopefully learn to do as we grow older. Blaze is given an eye opening lesson the hard way. She realizes that all the other people who get gossiped about may not be what everyone says they are.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen worse friends than the ones Blaze has. One of them proceeds to take a sexy picture of Blaze without her permission, and text it to Mark. Blaze gets upset, but not nearly as much as she deserves to. It’s a huge breech of trust and friendship and is just awful. Worst. Friends. Ever.

This novel really could be a ‘how to’ manual for making wrong decisions. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it had been presented another way. Blaze made me want to shake her, and explain to her why her actions were not a good idea. From hooking up with Mark, right up to her revenge plan it snowballed until I felt second hand embarrassment for her.

I adored Josh, Blaze’s younger brother. He’s smart, caring, and a voice of reason. It’s too bad Blaze doesn’t listen to his many warnings about his seemingly perfect coach. The brother/sister relationship is perfectly written and was one of my favourite parts of the novel.

Quentin, who in my opinion is the true love interest in the novel, is a sweet comic book shop worker who catches Blaze’s eye. Their banter is fun, and flirty. It contrasts the earlier interaction with Mark, showing just what a true connection is like.

While I didn’t love it, there is still a lot here to enjoy. I am sure others will devour it and hope for a sequel. In the end it was more of a disconnect with me, and the fact that perhaps I am not the right reader for this book.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare



Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Release Date – March 19, 2013
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  568 pages
My Rating- 5/5
**Purchased**

**Slight Spoilers! Read Only If You've Read Clockwork Princess (just in case)**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy

Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?

Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.

A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.
Saying goodbye to a beloved series is hard. It’s even harder when the last book in the series doesn’t end in a fitting manner. I am happy to say that Clockwork Princess not only provided an immensely enjoyable read but ended the series in the most perfect, achingly beautiful, and heart crushing way.

Finding out what exactly Tessa’s background is provided a satisfying answer that illuminates other things. Smaller questions like the origins of Isabelle’s ruby necklace, and Church’s migration to New York are also answered. It’s these little overlaps that make both the Mortal Instruments, and Infernal Devices that much richer.

The romance is what a lot of people will talk about, and yes, it is swoon worthy and sigh inducing. I, however, find the bond between Will and Jem just as touching. These parabati care about each other in a way that is true, and tangible. From the moment Will agrees to train with Jem theirs is a friendship that saves each other. It’s never been more evident than in this chapter of their story exactly what being a parabati means, and the scars it can leave.

The triangle of Will, Jem and Tessa is unique. I’ve never read a triangle where all three members cared so much about each other. Each of them puts the happiness of the other two above everything. If this were a different kind of novel I would have no problem with all three of them heading off into the sunset together. Regardless of what “team” you may support I think you’ll come away with the novel contented with the ending. I feel it could not have ended any other way. The feelings of all involved are so unselfish, and so understand that it is almost crushing. They are each willing to sacrifice their own happiness if it means the other two would find it for themselves.

Tessa’s decisions are not easy ones, but ultimately the decisions she makes are hers. She chooses what will make her happy. She chooses love, embracing all that comes with it. The entire notion of love is such a large part of this series. The ups, downs, heartbreak, giddiness, and rush that comes with it. Choosing to try again after crushing loss, and believing that love can bring you happiness is an admirable quality and one of the many reasons I adore Tessa as a character.

In my opinion there can never be enough Magnus Bane in these novels. I felt this one did not have as much of him as I would have liked. However, his time with Tessa is especially poignant and shows the toll being immortal can take on someone. Tessa and Magnus will both see many loved ones age and die, and this is something Magnus is already coming to terms with. It made me look at his relationship with Alec in a new light. It made it seem like opening their hearts to someone mortal, even if just as friendship, was a act of bravery. To know that you would eventually lose them, but still choose to love, instead of protecting yourself is not only brave, but admirable.

Much will be said about the epilogue and I have a feeling it'll be polarizing. I foresee it being a love or hate scenario. I also think it'll come down to which 'team' you are on. I, personally, feel at peace with it, simply because of how it ties the series together. Loving different people at various times in your life is possible. You love them in different ways, but the act of moving on doesn't diminish the previous love.

A fitting, bittersweet ending to a series that I have fallen in love with. The characters touched me, and while it tore my heart to shreds, it had the only possible outcome for everyone involved. It answered the questions I had, and left the characters in a place that even if it wasn’t what I wanted for them, it was one I could understand and be content with.

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