Saturday, June 30, 2012

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a great event that Book Chick City runs every Saturday. It's where you list all of the books that you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. I thought that this was a fantabulous idea so I thought I would join in!

Title: "Prophecy"
Author: Ellen Oh
Release Date: January 2, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen

From Goodreads: "The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"My Life in Black and White" by Natasha Friend

Release Date: June 28th, 2012
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (Razorbill)
Pages: 304

From Goodreads: "What if you lost the thing that made you who you are?

Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi's face goes through a windshield. Now she's not sure what's worse: the scars she'll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she's much more than just a pretty face."

This is the sort of book that reminds me that I really must expand my reading horizons, that I shouldn't always go directly to paranormal/ fantasy reads, that every now and again I should veer off and pick up a contemporary read.

 While there was many things that I enjoyed about this book, a unique and gripping storyline, a storyline that plays on the emotions of its readers and the likes of, my most favourite part was Lexi herself. I find that in the vast majority of books I read the main characters never learn, they constantly make the same mistake over and over again, they are stubborn and pigheaded through and through, however I didn't find that the case with Lexi whatsoever- she actually grew throughout the book, becoming a much better person than she had been before her accident. And as result I think that she is a true role model and someone that you can learn a lot from. I can admit with no problem that she is a much better person than myself- I doubt that had I been in her circumstances that I would have been so forgiving.

Furthermore, I thought that Lexi's sister, Ruthie, was one of the best secondary characters I have read of in a very long time. Unlike the vast majority of secondary characters I have read of, who are mere fillers, Ruthie actually made a difference/ impacted the storyline (plus, her personality totally rocked and reminds me of a lot of my close friends).

That being said,  I wasn't entirely satisfied by this book, I was a but disappointed with the ending- I didn't find that it was quite as strong as the first 3/4 of the book. I found that it was a tad rushed and I thought that the epilogue was extremely flat (which I find surprising as I am the sort of person who NEEDS an epilogue). Furthermore, I wish that Theo had played a larger role in the book (seriously, I would take Theo over Ryan any day of the week).

All in all, I think that this is a wonderful coming-of-age/ recovering-from-a-traumatic-event type of story and a story that appeals to all YA readers no matter their genre preference. I am very curious to see what Natasha has in store for us next (and whether she intends for this to be a series).

Rating: 8/10

I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating...

Title: "Altered"
Author: Jennifer Rush
Release Date: January 2, 2013

From Goodreads: "When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe?

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. 

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities. 

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Books That Made Me Cry

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. They created this feature because as I quote, "... we are particularly quite found of lists".
Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers on their blog as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This week's topic is actually Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life, but again I've decided to go in a different direction (when I tried to think of characters who remind me of people I know in real life I could only come up with one character/ person... :/ ). Therefore this week I've decided to go with the topic of Top Ten Books That Made Me Cry

I am kinda silly when it comes to books, while I most certainly cry from sad stuff I also cry from super cute/ happy/ exciting.... So basically anything (I blame it on being a hormonal young adult ;) ). It is not uncommon when I read for my parents to look over at me and say, "Oh gosh, here she goes again!" 

"If I Stay"/ "Where She Went" by Gayle Forman: These books are the most recent books that have made me cry. And boy did they ever. I was a wreck when I read about the car accident through Mia's eyes, I was a wreck when Mia's brother's fate was revealed, I was a wreck when her grandfather had a heart-to-heart with her when she was unconscious and I was OBVIOUSLY a wreck when I read of Adam's proclamation to leave. In "Where She Went" I was more so a wreck at the rawness and realness of the book (seriously, Adam may very well be the most angsty boy I have ever read before- move aside Jace Wayland!).

"Anna and the French Kiss"/ "Lola and the Boy Next Door" by Stephanie Perkins: On the one hand I cried during "Anna" when I read about Etienne's somewhat difficult life due to a douchy dad, but on the other hand, I cried because all of the cuteness- same with "Lola and the Boy Next Door". It is by far the cutest book I have ever read (in fact, I just finished rereading it on Sunday and I am halfway through rereading it again)- Cricket is just so good.

"The Body Finder" by Kimberly Derting: Again, this book made me cry not because I found it to be sad, but because I found it to be so CUTE. Like believing Cricket to be so good, I also think that Jay is. I was looking forward to Violet and Jay getting together for SO LONG and when they finally did, I couldn't handle it. My dad and I had gone out for the day and I literally sobbed the entire way home after reading this book.

"Bloodlines" by Richelle Mead: So you might think that I cried during this book when we found out about Jill/ Adrian's fate. Ad you would be wrong. Believe it or not, but I actually cried from the last line of the book, "Dimitri Belikov had arrived." I was RIDICULOUSLY excited when I saw that Dimitri was going to play some role in "The Golden Lily", so excited that I could contain my tears (what can I say? I LOVE Dimitri, him and Rose are by far one of my most favourite fictional characters/ couples). And now that I think about it, I was also with my dad as I read this book (poor guy). I started "SQUEE-ing". Loudly. And crying, causing him to swerve into the wrong lane.

"Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater: The first time that I finished reading this book my sister and I had just arrived at the mall for a day of shopping and I totally had to walk around the mall all red-faced/ puffy-eyed after reading this book- like "Bloodlines", it was the last line of this book that really got to me.

"If I Die" by Rachel Vincent: I think that why I cried from this book was because I admittedly didn't really have any expectations of it going into it (I wasn't the worlds biggest fan of the first two books and I was just starting to come around to it with books three and four) and it completely BLEW. ME. AWAY. The thing that I had been waiting for since the first book happened. Oh, and I suppose that I probably also shed some tears for when that other thing that involved Kaylee happened (because I, unlike many, had not expected that whatsoever).

"Hard Bitten" by Chloe Neill: I don't think it possible to not cry from the ending of this book- I mean, CHLOE NEILL RIPPED OUT OUR HEARTS AND TOTALLY STOMPED ON THEM. Seriously, with  only a few pages left to the book you think to yourself, "Oh my gosh! Everything that I hoped for is going to happen- there isn't enough time for anything bad to happen!" And you'd totally be wrong. The worst of the worst happens.

"Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi: I think that it was the crossed out words in this book that really got to me. Juliette was just so real, raw and genuine, that you couldn't help but feel for her for the shoddy hand she had been dealt. And then when everything surrounding Adam was revealed? I. Was. A. Puddle. It was hands down one of the most romantic things I have ever read before.

Monday, June 25, 2012

ARC Review: "Between the Lines" by Samantha van Leer and Jodi Picoult

Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse

From Goodreads: "What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale." 

I must admit that I really quite enjoyed this book, despite feeling conflicted by a number of different things. I think that I enjoyed it so much was because of outside factors influencing my opinion of it (after having read a number of heavy dystopians it was nice to read a lighter/ fluffier read).

One of the things that I can't help but wonder is whether this book would have been published had her mother not been world-renown author Jodi Picoult/ had her name attached to it. Overall I found everything about this book to be quite young and juvenile (I would personally recommend this book more so to MG readers than YA readers)- from the writing, to the characters themselves, to the clipart circa 1995 graphics contained within it (though I do believe the hand-drawn illustrations were beautiful and brought something to the book).

From a writing standpoint I have read numerous breathtaking written books by young authors (ie. authors under the age of 20) and I am afraid that this is not one of them (as mentioned, I found the language to be too juvenile and everything, from the plot to the characters, was quite underdeveloped or too melodramatic). But from the story itself standpoint I do think that it is an interesting concept- I think that all of us have at one point or another wondered what our favourite characters do when we close the book or how they would be in real life (not unlike how we fantasize what it would be like to be locked in a store/ mall without any adult supervision a la Emmy Laybourne's "Momument 14" or what our toys do when we go to bed a la "Toy Story"), so I found it nice that someone actually gave those fantasies of ours a voice.

All in all, despite my complaints I do think that Samantha Van Leer should be commended for penning a novel at such a young age, it is an arduous task that few her age (or heck, people even a decade or more older than her) would be able to accomplish. I am very curious to see whether she continues to pursue a writing career in the future.

Rating: 8/10

I received this book from the publisher to read and review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Stacking the Shelves

To support my fellow Canadian bloggers I have decided to participate in Stacking the Shelves created by Tygna over at Tygna's Reviews. As Tygna writes, "Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!" 

-"Radiant Shadows" by Melissa Marr (I couldn't pass this up with it only being $5.99!)
-"Forgiven" by Jana Oliver (I read this the other day and my review will be going up in August or September)
-"If I Stay" and "Where She Went" by Gayle Forman (After feeling like I was the last person on earth to read this book I decided to get a copy. Literally 5 minutes after finishing this I ran out and bought the second book in the series, "Where She Went", which I then also devoured in a few hours. My reviews of these will also be going up sometime in August or September) 

For Review 
-"The Lost Girl" by Sangu Mandanna 

***Last week I graduated with my B.A. and my family ended up throwing me a surprise party! They invited a ton of friends and family- including Ashley over at Book Labyrinth- and I received a few Chapters gift cards which I used to buy the books in this weeks STS. So special thanks to all of those people who support my book buying addiction! ;)

And just for funsies here is a pic of my sister and I at my convocation. Yes my diploma is HUGE. And I'll have another one next year after I finish my Masters in Library and Information Sciences(!!!) which I start in September (which I chose so that I can basically be surrounded in books for the rest of my life ;) ).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a great event that Book Chick City runs every Saturday. It's where you list all of the books that you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. I thought that this was a fantabulous idea so I thought I would join in!

Title: "Mind Games"
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 19, 2013

From Goodreads: "In a world where psychics and mind-readers are the ultimate tools in corporate espionage, two teen girls try to save themselves and their future."

Friday, June 22, 2012

"Moonlight Mayhem" Blog Tour w/ Giveaway!‏

Today I am excited to have author Sherry Soule on the blog to tell us a bit about her new book "Moonlight Mayhem"! 

This giveaway is open internationally! So let’s tell the blogging world!
Hi everyone, I’m Sherry Soule—waving from Castro Valley, California, where it gets foggy even during the summer months. But even with the fog burning off by afternoon, I’m relaxing on the sofa and blabbering on Twitter about my life-long obsession with books.
It’s a real honor to be a guest today as part of my Moonlight Mayhem Blog Tour this summer and meet all these awesome booklovers.
My tour has a great response and it is nice seeing the familiar names in the comments box at each stop. For those of you who haven’t heard of my epic Moonlight Mayhem blog tour it’s not too late to join the fun!

To celebrate the release of author, Sherry Soule’s newest paranormal novel, MOONLIGHT MAYHEM, the second book in the epic Spellbound Series, take this super fun quiz to discover which paranormal pet you’re fated to own, and score a Kindle or Nook version of the first book in this unforgettable YA series, BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN!

Must heroes need a sidekick, and if fate smiles upon you, then you’ll have a paranormal pet watching your back. But which one best suits YOU?

Take this quiz and be sure to check the bottom of the post for the details regarding this random giveaway.

What size pet would you prefer?
a)    Small
b)    Medium
c)    Large
d)    Gigantic

Do you mind a pet that might shed?
a)    Loose fur? I’m cool with that
b)    Rough scales are acceptable
c)    Transparent coat? No biggie
d)    Shedding pelt—ain’t a problem

How would you like your pet to greet people at the door?
a)    Rub their ankles and purr
b)    Spitting and growling
c)    Bark and sniff hand
d)    Snarling and howling

How much protection would you like to have?
a)    Minimum – docile and fluffy
b)    Moderate – Vicious yet cuddly
c)    Extreme - Invisible but deadly
d)    Tremendous - Bite anyone who messes with me

What would you like to feed your new pet?
a)    Tuna and bowl of milk
b)    Human emotions—fear, anger, lust, vengeance
c)    Nothing
d)    Chew on skeleton bones—they make a tasty snack

Where will your pet sleep?
a)    On my lap
b)    Hiding in the shadows
c)    Never sleeps
d)    Curled up in a cozy cave

What type of toys would your pet like most?
a)    Mice and squeaky toys
b)    Stuffed dinosaurs or dragons
c)    Chase balls and fetch newspapers
d)    None. Does not play well with others

If you answered...

Mostly a's: Your pet is a cat! Witch’s has used familiars for years to help increase the power of their spells. Cute and helpful!

Mostly b's: Your pet would be a Shade! These affectionate creatures are a cross between a puppy and a dragon. Small but fierce!

Mostly c's: Your supernatural pet is a ghost dog! These creatures are often dubbed hellhounds, too, and they are vicious animals. Muscular and opaque!

Mostly d's: Your pet is a ferocious lycan! These were-creatures make impressive guard dogs. Clever and scary!


Otherworldly Creatures. Dazzling Magic. Fiery Romance.
Shiloh Ravenwolf thought she was getting used to the strange events in Whispering Pines, until the full moon brings another surge of supernatural threats to her coastal town. Ferocious wolves, deadly necromancers, and shambling zombies have descended upon the neighborhood, so Shiloh needs to gain control of her magical abilities—fast!
It sucks that she has a crippling fear of the dark, which for a demon hunter can be an epic problem.
When her classmates are attacked by a mysterious creature and her father is murdered, Shiloh vows vengeance. Forcing her phobias aside, she forms an unlikely coven of supernaturally gifted teens to help her eradicate this menace. Except that's not all Shiloh has to worry about. She’s battling a different monster within herself and struggling not to become the very thing she fights: evil.
But with demon blood inside her—anything can happen…

Moonlight Mayhem is the second novel in the unforgettably epic Spellbound series
By Sherry Soule

Where you can find author, Sherry Soule online:
Official Spellbound Series Universe:
Twitter @WriterSherry:
Awesome Book Trailers/YouTube:

Random winner will be picked on Thursday June 18th, 2012 and be posted at the top of this quiz, please check back on that day to find out if you’re the lucky winner.

Giveaway details for a Kindle or Nook of BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN:
1.) You must comment with your quiz results
2.) Be a follower of Sherry’s blog
3.) Be a follower of this blog
4.) Follow Sherry us both on Twitter
Good luck!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Surrender" by Elana Johnson

Release Date: June 1, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 480

From Goodreads: Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque...."

In my review of "Possession" by Elana Johnson, the first book in her "Possession" series, I noted that on multiple occasions I was EXTREMELY confused by exactly what was going on in the novel, for a number of different reason- constantly changing relationships, lack of context/ explanation, and the likes of. However, I did not find that to be the case WHATSOEVER with this book. Everything in this book was so beautifully described, well executed and the likes of- it becomes evident that Elana has grown tremendously as an author since she penned her debut.

That being said, I must admit that when I first started reading this book I had A LOT of difficulties differentiating between the narrators of this book and of "Possession", I felt that Raine and Gunner were essentially Vi and Jag 2.0. Vi and Raine had the same sort of "I don't give a freck" attitude, had many of the same mannerisms and used a lot of similar slang (despite having lived in cities that were almost entirely removed from one another). However, as the book progressed I found myself less and less bothered by this as I felt that the characters started to come into their own.

Furthermore, I also really enjoyed Gunner and Raine's relationship. In my opinion it seemed much more natural and much less forced than Vi and Jag's relationship (as I made note in my review of "Possession" Jag's and Vi's relationship is BY FAR one of the biggest instances of insta-love I have ever encountered before)- I have realized that I prefer seeing a relationship slowly, but surely, come into being rather than feeling that it came out of left field or was to 'in my face'.

All in all, I am EXTREMELY glad that I decided to stick with this series as I believe this book to be better in every way than "Possession" was. This series is quickly becoming one of my more favourite dystopian/ post-apocalyptic series, surpassing other such series as Ally Condie's "Matched" series and Moira Young's "Blood Red Road"- I cannot wait to see what Elana has in store for us (and the gang) next!

Rating: 10/10

I received this book from the publisher to read and review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating...

Title: "Adaptation"
Author: Malinda Lo
Release Date: September 18, 2012

From Goodreads: "Reese and David don’t remember what happened to them after a bird flew into their headlights on the Extraterrestrial Highway--not the resulting car accident and certainly not a bit of the 21 days of care at the military hospital in Nevada. It’s a good thing, the doctors and colonels tell them, that they crashed on a military base, but they won’t tell Reese and David what the extent of their injuries were, or how they were healed. They do tell them they’re not going home, though, until they sign a confidentiality agreement. 

When they get home, Reese can’t help but find everything a little weird. Worldwide bird strikes resulting in plane crashes have grounded air travel, David won’t talk to her, and she could swear she’s seen her military doctors around the neighborhood. It’s only when she meets Amber Grey that things in her life begin to really fall apart, and the mysteries of the bird strikes, the military, and her own treatment come together. Reese realizes that she must find out what they did to her in that hospital, but her search for the truth threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret. 

What if we aren’t alone in the universe? What if the alien is inside us?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. They created this feature because as I quote, "... we are particularly quite found of lists". 

Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers on their blog as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So... Some of the books included on this list are books that are being released sometime this summer that I CANNOT wait to read, others are books that I have had on my TBR pile FOREVER that I am hoping to FINALLY getting around to reading.

"Before I Wake" by Rachel Vincent: "If I Die" was hands-down the best book that I read in 2011 and therefore I CANNOT wait to get my hands on this book (only a few more short days)! Seriously though, I am so looking forward to seeing how Tod, Kaylee and the gang (actually, who cares about the gang? If I could just read about Kaylee and Tod I would be happy as a clam) react to the huge revelations/ craziness that ensued at the end of "IID".

Endlessly" by  Kiersten White: I am really looking forward to seeing how Kiersten wraps up her debut series with this book. Like "If I Die" there were a TON of revelations brought to light in the earlier book, "Supernaturally", and therefore I am beyond excited to see how Evie responds to them. Plus, I feel that it has been far too long since I last read about Lend.

"Biting Cold" by Chloe Neill: I am really looking forward to this book because, believe it or not, it's my first roadtrip book! I mean, Merit and Ethan on the road together with all of that sexual tension contained within one teeny tiny car? Can you think of anything better?

"Defiance" by C.J. Redwine: So I have actually had an ARC of this for a few months ago, but I still have yet to read it *hides in shame*. I've held off on reading it for so long because I want to do so closer to the release date. And guess what?!? The release date is soon. Or soon-ish. August 28th!

"Onyx" by Jennifer L. Armentrout: So I've actually already read this, over a month ago but I included it on here because A) I want to reread it sometime this summer because it was *that* amazing and B) I can't wait for its release to see what y'all think of it. Blogs, Twitter feeds, and the likes of are going to BLOW UP when this book is finally released and it is totally going to put JLA more on the map than she already is!

"Shine" by Jeri Smith-Ready: The last month or so I have been reading almost strictly books for review. Every three or four books from publishers/ authors that I read I reward myself with a "me" book, well, the time has almost come around for me to read a "me" book (after finishing "The Unnaturalists" by Tiffany Trent and "Wake" by Amanda Hocking) and this is going to be that book! I've heard such great things about it, especially from Ashley over at Book Labyrinth.

"The Demon Trapper's Daughter" series by Jana Oliver: I first read "The Demon Trappers Daughter" last year and promptly went out and bought the sequel "Soul Thief" but I never got around to reading it. Well, almost a year has past and the third book in the series, "Forgiven", has now been released and I think that it is about time that I get around to reading it (seriously, I don't know I have survived almost a year without knowing whether Beck and Riley FINALLY get together).

"The Game of Thrones" series by G. R. R. Martin: After watching the first season of "TGoT" I made a vow that I wouldn't watch the second season until I had read the books (yep, I am kinda kicking myself for having made that vow now- have you seen the size of these books?!?). Hopefully I can get through the first two books and then indulge myself in some Joffrey (JK! Could you imagine?) Jon Snow!

"Pandemonium" by Lauren Oliver: This is another book that I seem to have had forever but have yet to have gotten around to reading (and like with the Beck/ Riley thing I am super surprised that I have been able to survive the past year and a half without knowing whether Alex survives or not!).

"If I Stay" by Gayle Forman: I seriously feel like the last person on earth to has yet to have read this book- therefore I am going to rectify the situation! I ordered it the other day and hopefully it will come today!

"The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater: Yep, I have no excuse for having not read this like the other books... ;)

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Possession" by Elana Johnson

Release Date: June 7, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
 Pages: 416

From Goodreads: "Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play." 

This book's biggest weakness was also it's biggest strength- because I never fully understood what was going on I found myself all the more engaged and intrigued, wanting to figure out what was going on by piecing together its rather haphazard components.

I never fully understood what was going on in this book for a number of different reasons- one being that author Elana Johnson continuously made reference to various things (usually technology, but also people/ occupations, and places) without explaining what/ who they are/ without giving us the proper context (almost as if she believes that stickers, tech, thinkers, etc. are everyday/ common occurrences).

Another reason why I had difficulties comprehending this book was due to the almost complete lack of world-building (I have read numerous dystopians lately and this is BY FAR the least developed of all of them).  I think (?) that the world within this book is divided into a few sectors of peope/ locations- the Goodlands where 'goodies' live, brainwashed people who full abide by the laws of their government, the Badlands where 'baddies' live, those people who possess 'freer' will (RE: they are not entirely free from their government- they are not brainwashed on a daily basis), the outlying districts such as Seaside where political asylum seekers are allowed to thrive and Freedom, the capital city which is the most rigid and controlled of them all. But then again... I could be mistaken as there are various elements I don't understand- like, what exactly are the treaties? If Vi fit into the category of aslyum seeker than why was she still obtained in Seaside? Also, I would have LOVED some explanation as to how this world came into being.

Additionally I was irked by both main characters, Vi and Jag. They are BY FAR the most contradictory characters I have ever encountered before and together HANDS DOWN the most dysfunctional couple. I actually feel as if I am suffering from whiplash from their relationship constantly volleying back and forth from a love one to a hate one (BTW by forewarned, this book has one of the biggest cases of insta-love that I have ever encountered before- within a week of meeting one another they are declaring their undying love for one another despite Vi already having a predetermined life partner who she also loves).

That being said, I found Vi and Jay (okay, more so Jay than Vi) to be utterly charming/ swoon-worthy (which I know to be quite ridiculous as A. he is a huge jerk and B. has few redeeming qualities). I thought that all things aside they were quite fun and entertaining characters and they brought a smile to my face when few characters as of late have.

As mentioned, the convoluted-ness of this book was also its biggest strength- as while reading this book I kept thinking to myself, "Maybe in the next chapter everything will be revealed? Oh, it isn't? Well, maybe the next chapter!" (BTW it wasn't). Perhaps what was the best thing about this book though (and I know that I am going to sound totally contradictory, not unlike Vi and Jay) is that despite having very little idea about what this book is about, I don't regret reading it in the slightest, nor do I feel that I wasted my time in doing so. This book is quite unlike anything I have ever read before and I do hope to one day understand it in its entirety. Until then I will continue on with this series.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, June 16, 2012

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a great event that Book Chick City runs every Saturday. It's where you list all of the books that you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. I thought that this was a fantabulous idea so I thought I would join in!

Title: "Dualed"
Author: Elsie Chapman
Release Date: February 28th, 2013
Publisher: Random House

From Goodreads: "Would you live through the ultimate test of survival?

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Girl Meets Boy" by Kelly Milner Halls

Release Date: December 28th, 2011
Publisher: Chronicle Books (Raincoast Books)
Pages: 204

From Goodreads: "What do guys and girls really think? Twelve of the most dynamic and engaging YA authors writing today team up for this one-of-a-kind collection of "he said/she said" stories-he tells it from the guy's point of view, she tells it from the girl's. These are stories of love and heartbreak. There's the good-looking jock who falls for a dangerous girl, and the flipside, the toxic girl who never learned to be loved; the basketball star and the artistic (and shorter) boy she never knew she wanted; the gay boy looking for love online and the girl who could help make it happen. Each story in this unforgettable collection teaches us that relationships are complicated-because there are two sides to every story."

I jumped at the chance to read and review this book when it was offered- everything about it screamed "PERFECT" to me, from the cover, to the author list, to the theme, to the fact that each story was told from two POVs, the male characters POV and the female characters POV- as those who know me have come to learn I LOVE reading stories from male's POV (especially retellings of my favourite books, like Jace's POV of The Greenhouse Scene in "CoB", Daemon's POV of the dirty, sexy couch scene from "Obsidian", and heck, even Edward's POV in "Midnight Sun"). However, as I soon came to learn, this book was far from perfect.

While I don't have a problem with there being sex in a YA book I must admit that I did have a problem with the authors portraying the teenagers in a very stereotypical light- that they ONLY EVER have sex on their minds. As someone who not that long ago was a teenager I know this to be untrue. Yes, while some teenagers do have sex on their minds 24/7, the large majority do not (especially teenagers the same age as the characters in this book- 17 and 18 year olds who have larger concerns on their minds, graduation, post-secondary school, etc. than getting laid).

Furthermore, I found many of the stories to be tasteless (admittedly I was thinking that the stories would be not unlike Stephanie Perkin's "Anna and the French Kiss" and "Lola and the Boy Next Door" in the romance-department, fun and flirty stories which were tastefully done, but alas they were anything but)- going into a bit more detail than I had been expecting.

That being said, I did appreciate that the characters occupied a wide range of ethnicities and religions- from Rafi a Muslim individual in an interracial relationship with small-town Kerry, to Native American teens Wanda and Bobby, to African American Ruffina and your all-American, boy-next-door Sean. Furthermore, a wide spectrum of sexual orientations were also included within this book- gay, straight, transgender, etc.- many of which I personally haven't seen in YA books before.  

I took notes on each individual story as I read the book and they are as follows:

"Love or Something Like It" by Chris Crutcher/ "Some Things Never Change" by Kelly Milner Halls 
Rating: 4/10
This was by far my least favourite story in the anthology. I found it to be overtly sexual, bordering on tasteless/ tactless. I think that the authors wanted to sympathize for Wanda and all that she had experienced in her life, but I couldn't, primarily because I found that her and John showed very little redeemable characteristics (this story deals with mature/ heavy themes including rape and molestation). 

"Falling Down to See the Moon" by Joseph Bruchac/ "Mooning Over Broken Stars" by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Rating: 6/10
This story was okay, but quite unmemorable (in fact as I write this review I have to skim the story to remind myself what it was about, despite only having read the book a day or two ago). The best part about the book was that it wasn't a damsel-in-distress story, but a don-in-distress story.

"Want to Meet" by James Howe/ "Meeting for Real" by Ellen Whittlinger
Rating: 9/10
Now THIS is the type of story that I had been hoping for! It was so cute and made my heart happy. It was totally unconventional and unexpected, but I couldn't have asked for anything better. I'd love to see this expanded into a full length novel. 

"No Clue, AKA Sean" by Rita Williams-Garcia/ "Sean and Raffina" by Terry Trueman
Cute tale of acceptance. Nothing more, nothing less.
Rating: 7/10

"Mouths of the Ganges" by Terry Davis/ "Mars at Night" by Rebecca Fjelland Davis 
RatingL 6.5/10
Another tale of acceptance, however I found this to be MUCH less memorable than the previous story (and at times too long, after all, these are supposed to be short stories).

"Launchpad to Neptune" by Sara Ryan and Randy Powell 
Rating: 8/10
TOTALLY unexpected, it made me a double take- I really enjoyed it. Like "Want to Meet"/ "Meeting for Real" I'd love to know more about these characters.

All in all, while I REALLY wanted to like this book, if not love it, I didn't- unfortunately the all-inclusive story lines and a few good stories here and there were unable to outweigh the at times tasteless story lines of many of these stories.

Overall Rating: 6/10

I received this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating...

Title: "House Rules"
Author: Chloe Neill
Release Date:  February 5, 2013

From Goodreads: "In a city full of vampires, trouble never sleeps.

At the tender age of 27, Merit became a sword-wielding vampire. Since then, she’s become the protector of her House, watched Chicago nearly burn to the ground, and seen her Master fall and rise. Now she’ll see her mettle—and her metal —tested like never before.

It started with two . . . Two rogues vanishing without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their house in peril, Merit and her Master, the centuries old Ethan Sullivan, must race to stop the disappearances. But as they untangle a web of secret alliances and ancient evils, they realize their foe is more familiar, and more powerful, than they could have ever imagined."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"The Golden Lily" by Richelle Mead

Release Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 418

From Goodreads: "The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students--children of the wealthy and powerful--carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher."

I don't believe it possible to do this book justice in a review/ write an eloquent review- therefore excuse me for a moment while I have an epic fan-girl moment. OMFG! MY HEART, IT WAS SO HAPPY WHILE READING THIS BOOK. Seriously though, this book was without a doubt the best book of 2012 that I have read (prior to reading this book I was in a 7-8 star book slump, but this book, well, if I could give it more than 10 stars I could AND it once again gave me hope for the future of YA books) and this book was without a doubt one of the best sequels I have EVER read before- no second book slump for this series! While Richelle's "Vampire Academy" series is one of my most favourite series of all time I must admit that I liked this book more than at least half of the books in that series.

In Richelle's "Vampire Academy" series I was such a DIE-HARD Dimitri fan- so much so that Adrian didn't even register on my radar (well, I suppose that he did in the sense that I found him to be a HUGE annoyance, not unlike one of those flies that always buzzes about but you can't actually see or an itch that can't be scratched), however in "Bloodlines", the first book in this spin-off series, I I started to really appreciate and actually like Adrian. And in this book? My love for him was completely and totally solidified- I think that he may very well give Dimitri a run for his money.

Furthermore, I also really liked Sydney in this book (whereas in "Vampire Academy" I gave very little thought to her)- I love that she is truly growing as a person as this series progresses, coming into her own mentally, physically, and emotionally, and that she learns from her mistakes. 

That being said, my biggest complaint was that I found the storyline to be fairly obvious- I was able to figure out all of the various mysteries well before (upwards of hundreds of pages) they were revealed (for instance, the significance of tattoos, the identity of the vampire hunters, Jill's apparent crush on Sydney, etc.). I personally LOVE being taken by surprised by storylines and I was quite saddened that that wasn't the case whatsoever with this book (and in all honesty, I am very likely the worst foreshadower EVER, so if even *I* was able to foreshadow the vast majority of this book, it stands to reason that it was fairly obvious). 

All in all, I HIGHLY recommend this book- I literally cannot say enough good things about it, it has everything (and more) that you could ever want in a book- a strong heroine, an utterly swoon-worthy male character, one of the most adorable *potential* romances of all time IMO, great secondary characters, and the likes of. I eagerly impatiently wait to see what Richelle has in store for us (and the gang) in the third book of this series!

Rating: 10/10

I received this book from the publisher to read and review. I was not compensated in any way for said review.

Memorable lines from book:

"If you ask her, she'll claim that it was the staking and decapitation. But I'm sure it was the Zen wisdom that won her in the end" (pg. 24).

"This is the most messed-up thing I've ever seen. And the most beautiful" (pg. 66).

"Is he cute?" 
I glanced at the clock. It was time for me to meet my study group. "Gee, maybe I should just send you a picture to review?" 
"Yes, please. And a full background check and life history" (pg, 73).

"Really?" I asked. "You'd give up drinking to go see your dad?" 
"Well, not permanently," he said. "That'd be ridiculous. But maybe I could switch to something cheaper for a while. Like... slushes. Do you know how much I love those? Cherry, especially" (pg. 101).

"Sage," he said. "What are you wearing?" 
I sighed and looked down at the dress. "I know, it's red. Don't start. I'm tired of hearing about it." 
"Funny," he said. "I don't think I could ever get tired of looking at it" (pg. 235).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Take Two: "Bloodlines" by Richelle Mead

We all do it, we read a book and we make an initial impression of it, whether it is a positive or negative impression it doesn't matter- just the fact that we make one matters. And sometimes the impression that we make can very well be impacted by factors outside of the book (ie. our mood while reading the book, other books we were reading at the time, etc.). We then reread the book (which I don't know about y'all, but I am totally a rereader) and notice things we didn't see the first time around, come to understand those characters who bothered us the first time around or just come away from the book with a totally different idea of how we feel about it. As mentioned, I am a rereader sort of person, whether I reread a book right after my initial time reading it, or months, if not years later, well, I don't think that really matters, what I think matters is that with time something about that book hooks us, reels us in, and forces us to once again pick it up. I thought that it would be interesting if I were to reread some books that I have previously read and/or reviewed to see if my initial impression of the book has changed, hence this new little feature I like to call "Take Two".

You can find my original review of "Bloodlines" HERE. 

From Goodreads: "The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood."

If possible I enjoyed reading this book even more than I did the first time- I think that why I did was because unlike the first time I read this book I took the time to really savor it (whereas admittedly the first time I read it I most likely rushed through it because I JUST HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN). In taking the time to read this book I think that I came to understand the characters better than I had previously- from the mains, Adrian and Sydney, to the secondary characters, Jill, Eddie, Trey, and the likes of. 

Furthermore, I picked up on a lot of little hints here and there within the plot which I had missed the first time around which allowed me to not only better guesstimate what was going to happen at the end of this book (because I had admittedly forgotten almost the entire plot of this book since I had last read it), but which also allowed me to better guesstimate what was to happen in the second book of this series, "The Golden Lily" (seriously, A LOT of little things in this book that you might not give a second glance to play MAJOR roles in "The Golden Lily"- so keep your eyes out for them *Nudge, nudge, wink, wink*).

Also, I was flabbergasted the second time reading this book by the number of small storylines in this book- there are A LOT. I think that it is a testament to author Richelle Mead that the reader doesn't even pick up on all of the various overarching storylines because they are all seamlessly woven into one another (as opposed to a few being more glaringly obvious than others, etc.).

All in all, I am super glad to have enjoyed this book just as much the second time around than the first (because, as some of your may be have noticed, this is typically that is not the case- a lot of the time I find myself being more disenchanted by a book the second time reading it)- this book (not to mention series) is one that I know that I will continue to pick up time and time again for basically forever.

Rating: 10/10

Memorable lines from the book: 

"You're okay. For a human." 
I almost laughed. "Thanks." 
"You can say it too, you know." 
I walked over to Latte and paused. "Say what?" 
"That I'm okay... for a vampire," he explained (145)." 

"... you're okay for an irreverent boy with occasional moments of brilliance" (145).

"Because Jet sounds badass" (219).

'I was no better at reading people than I had been ten seconds ago, but in that moment, I suddenly gained a flash of understanding into the mystery that was Adrian Ivashkov. People didn't believe in him very often. They had low expectations of him, so he did as well. Even Eddie had sort of written him off, He's Adrian. As though there was nothing to be done for it. 

I also suddenly realized that, as unlikely as it seemed, Adrian and I had a lot in common. Both of us were constantly boxed in by other's expectations. It didn't matter that people expected everything of me and nothing of him. We were still the same, both of us constantly trying to break out of the lines that others had defined for us and be our own person. Adrian Ivanshkov- flippant, vampire party boy- was more like me than anyone else I knew" (282).

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