Thursday, 30 June 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Source: Net Galley eARC
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.
I started reading Spellbound with little to no expectations but pleasantly discovered that it was a cute, charming and quick read.

I really liked the main character, Emma. I thought she seemed normal with a healthy amount of spunk (you can never have too much spunk, guys... well, maybe). The deciding factor for me with Emma was the fact that she stood up - a little blindly, perhaps - for the people she loved. She wasn't afraid of confrontation and I really found myself cheering her on as she took on the bad guys. My favourite character, regardless, remains to be Ashley, Emma's cousin. Can you say adorable?

The plot, overall, was nothing unheard of. A lot of the elements have definitely been used before, but I think they worked for the story at hand. One thing I really liked was the mythology aspect (the curse). I could see the characters working through to discover what the visions and such really meant for them at a pace that made sense and I just genuinely found myself interested in it.

I thought Cara did a fantastic job with the climax onwards of this story. I was stunned with one event and then, all of a sudden, the plot sped up like crazy. Towards the end, I was racing through the pages to see what would happen to Emma and Brendan (whom I didn't really get to speak of, but I did like!). The whole experience of the novel was kind of like one of those roller coasters where you slowly inch your way up to the top, feeling pretty comfortable, and then, suddenly, go crashing down unexpectedly, feeling thrilled the whole time. 

All in all, a great read! Thanks to Harlequin Teen for the chance to read this novel early.

Cover Comments: I like it a lot actually! I can actually pinpoint where all of those things fall directly in the story which I really appreciate. The font that was used for the main title is really interesting, too - I like how whirly it is.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (14)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. The purpose of the event is to spotlight the upcoming releases that readers are most looking forward to.

This week, I've chosen...

Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray

Publisher: Poppy (Hardcover)
Release Date: July 5, 2011

Meet Ophelia: a blonde, beautiful high-school senior and long-time girlfriend of Prince Hamlet of Denmark. Her life is dominated not only by her boyfriend's fame and his overbearing family, but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go. As the devastatingly handsome Hamlet spirals into madness after the mysterious death of his father, the King, Ophelia rides out his crazy roller coaster life, and lives to tell about it. In live television interviews, of course.
Passion, romance, drama, humor, and tragedy intertwine in this compulsively readable debut novel, told by a strong-willed, modern-day Ophelia.
This one sounds like fun. I've read a bunch of modern day Shakespeares and really enjoy them. Modern day Hamlet spiralling into madness and then telling about it on TV? I'd go for that. I'm not overly impressed with the cover, but it's okay. I prefer to be interested in the story anyway!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave a comment and let me know!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

Source: S&S Galley Grab
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 320

Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.
Hello, book that I love. I loved you... a lot. More than I expected to, in fact. Thank you for being wonderful.

The Day Before is the first novel that I've ever read in verse. I was intrigued by the concept but nervous that I wouldn't be able to get into it. I need not have worried though because Lisa's writing is gorgeous and easy to get into. I could feel the emotion and I loved the imagery - fantastic job all around.

We start off the book not really knowing much about what's going on and you can kind of just have to go with it. Soon after, bits and pieces of text start to appear that unveil the mystery at hand through flashbacks. I really don't want to give anything away because half the magic of this book was just discovering it along the way but, guys, it broke my heart. I can fully appreciate why Amber needs to head down to the beach to just clear her head and enjoy the sunshine.

The characters, to me, were incredibly likeable. There was just something about them that I can't quite put my finger on that made me root for them, despite the fact that I had no idea why I needed to be cheering them on. Both Amber and Cade are struggling with something deep yet they're so real and relatable. Amber is a quirky drummer with a love for jelly beans and Cade is a charming guy that likes jellyfish and good movies.

The overall feeling from this book is just about two teenagers looking for an escape from their lives. Just one day, the last day, where they can experience freedom and love and hope. A spectacular novel.

Cover Comments: My neck hurts from craning my head. Seriously though, I really like this cover. The colours are vibrant and I can really imagine Amber just lying there... thinking... about Ican'ttellyousorrygoreadthebook.  

Sunday, 26 June 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren which gives bloggers a chance to share the books, swag, etc. that they've received each week.

Another large haul this week because of the gap from last time because of my hiatus status. I've been lucky to get a couple of things delivered by DHL during the postal strike but it's still delayed a few books. Fingers crossed that our mail is back next week!

So, no real picture this time because I'm at my cottage right now. I made a collage on paint for you though that only took... oh, 3.5 million years.

Review Books (both from S&S Galley Grab)

Clean by Amy Reed - I've read Amy's other book and I really liked it. This one sounds like another great emotional journey. Excited to start it!

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann - DID YOU SEE THAT BLURB?? "The Hunger Games Meets Harry Potter." I will read it and devour it and love it forever (I hope). This looks like something my sister would enjoy as well :) I love some good MG and Lisa McMann's books have been great so far.

Library Books

Across the Universe by Beth Revis - I was so excited that this one finally came in! It sounds really interesting and mostly everyone I know that's read it has loved it. It's not really my typical read but I have a good feeling nonetheless.

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton - I've started this one and I really like it so far. Lots of fighting and Will is pretty spectacular.

Clarity by Kim Harrington - Another one I've checked out because of good recommendations.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima - I actually got this one before but I had to return it before I could read it. I loaned it out to a friend though (loaned a loan?) and despite how picky she normally is, she said it was good.

Red Glove by Holly Black - I neeeeed to read this one after finishing White Cat. NEED TO!

Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski - This book sounds cute, fun and the author is Canadian. Win.

Won (aka I enter too many contests)

So, a while back, I won an Inkpop challenge (for commenting, not writing) and I was supposed to get Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini as well as 3 other books of my choice from the Harper catalogue. Starcrossed came in a while back but the others only just arrived. I chose...

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong - I love Kelley's other series (reviews here, here and here) and so I'm super eager to delve back into the world.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White which I've already read and loved (review here) aaaand I'm starting to sound like a self-promotion ad. Oh well. The links are there for you to click if you want to.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand is soooo pretty and shiny and purple <3 I've heard the story is pretty fantastic, too!    

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray was won from Irish at Ticket to Anywhere. This books looks awesome - hilarious, insightful and refreshing. I wish I didn't have so many books to read before it!

The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver (+ swag) - I believe I won this one from a giveaway hop... could be wrong though. It's from Karen at For What It's Worth and it's signed! So excited, so thank you very much to Karen :)

Free Stuff!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is a free audio book that's available for a limited time at Audio Book Sync until the 29th of this month. I've only listened to Part 1 of 9 so far but I'm really enjoying the experience of my first audio book so far!


That's it. Tadaaaaaa! If you actually read through all of that, I'm amazed. Give yourself a complimentary pat on the back (uh-huh, I'm lame). I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has gotten over the week!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha

Source: Borrowed from a friend
Publisher: Putnam (Penguin)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 393
Sometimes it's easy to forget the things that make us smile. With a 24/7 news cycle reporting that the polar ice caps are melting, hurricanes are swirling in the seas, wars are heating up around the world, and the job market is in a deep freeze, it's tempting to feel that the world is falling apart. But awesome things are all around us-sometimes we just need someone to point them out. 

The Book of Awesome reminds us that the best things in life are free (yes, your grandma was right). With laugh-out-loud observations from award- winning comedy writer Neil Pasricha, The Book of Awesome is filled with smile-inducing moments on every page that make you feel like a kid looking at the world for the first time. Read it and you'll remember all the things there are to feel good about.

Ha. Hahahaha. The Book of Awesome is AWESOME! Alright, so, admittedly, that was a really lame joke but it in no way reflects the humour in the book!

Are you feeling down? Are you being bogged down with something in your life? Are you just searching for something to make you smile? Then, you need this book. I realize that I sound like an annoying informercial right now but it really was a delightful book.

It's not the typical kind of book that I read. Each item on the list has up to a few pages of explanation or back story and it really is just essentially a list of awesome things. The feeling I got when reading this book was great. It was impossible to stop a smile from forming and I found myself going "YES! That is totally awesome!" or "I love that, too!" every few pages.

I think it's remarkable for a person to notice all the little things (because really, "fixing electronics by smacking them" is nothing life-changing) in life that can just make you so happy, even if it's only for a few brief moments. So, thank you, Neil Pasricha for being so AWESOME!

Cover Comments: It's... awesome. Simple yet eye-catching. Plus, I'm a sucker for rainbow patterns.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Guess Who's Back? *insert evil laugh*

So yeah, I'm back! :) I actually just finished up my last exam about an hour ago and right now, I'm pretty much feeling like this:

Okay, so I'm not Justin Bieber. BUT my dance moves... never mind.

I actually didn't realize that I had a post scheduled for today so when I opened up my inbox to see comments, I did a bit of a double-take. I have sooooo many reviews to type up. Glad to be back! Hope I haven't missed too much :) I'm off to celebrate another finished year of high school.

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Source: Library
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 287

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.  
Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s (very crooked) history—and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.
Heist Society was a marvellously enchanting novel. With mystery, humour and just general fun, Ally Carter wrote a story that entranced me from page one and left me eager for more.

Kat was a really interesting character. I truly never expected to sympathize with a thief (even one just born into the 'business') but I found myself really connecting with Kat. For someone skilled in stealing valuable, high-security items, Kat was remarkably normal. I actually liked the whole crew in Heist Society. I thought they worked well together and all had their unique set of quirks. I must say, Hale was my favourite (sorry, Kat!).

The plot of this book moves along quickly, making it an exciting, action-packed ride. It kept me guessing until the end and the pages that showed the days 'til deadline were wonderful. Towards the end, I was literally vibrating in my seat with excitement, shouting out at everyone that could hear me "oh my gosh, only 2 days left - WHAT NOW?"

All in all, a delightful read that kept me hooked and entertained.  

Cover Comments: What's not to love? I think it seriously represents the appeal the book had for me - the mysterious, unique, fun vibe. Pretty font as well!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Temporary Hiatus

Alright, guys, I'm sorry. I really didn't want to have to do this but...

So, the week after next, a little event called my long, painful, drawn-out death exams will begin. I think I'm actually more stressed out about the projects, assignments, presentations, and last-minute tests because "Oh dear! Exams are coming? Well, class, you don't look bogged down enough! Better add FIFTEEN NEW ASSIGNMENTS DUE TOMORROW for you because I'm sure your other teachers are throwing parties every class! Woot!"

So, as you can see, I'm freaking out a bit.

I should be back to normal by the end of this month but until then, I won't be posting. I'll probably still be around on Twitter (@thestoryqueen) so if you really need to talk to me about something, there's that.

Other than that, thanks for everything and I'll see you soon!

OH. I almost forgot. Do you see that follower widget? Do you see the number on that follower widget? It says 101. As in MORE THAN 100. As in you guys are the best and if I could, I would buy you all unicorns covered in sparkles. 

A huge thank you to everyone that reads, follows, subscribes and comments on my blog. You have no idea how much all of your support means to me. 

Thank you. 

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (13)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. The purpose of the event is to spotlight the upcoming releases that readers are most looking forward to.

This week, I've chosen...

Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby

Publisher: Speak
Release Date: June 9, 2011 (Tomorrow!)

While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day?
This book sounds like the cutest story ever. Fairy-slaying and cute boys - all in one! Plus, I love that cover. Seems like the perfect outfit for some good ol' fairy-slaying ;) Oh, and since the release date is tomorrow, there isn't even much waiting that we have to do!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Source: Library
Publisher: Egmont
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 418

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

Raised by Wolves was a truly excellent novel that kept me flipping pages until the very end.

The main character, Bryn, was a wonderful protagonist. She is sassy and clever, brave and fierce. Honestly, I found myself forgetting multiple times that she was fifteen - the same age as me. Bryn, like any other person, is shaped and sculpted because of her experiences. In this case, Bryn has, as the title reveals, been raised by wolves. She is constantly surrounded by them and she fights hard not to fall into the typical hierarchy and submit to her superiors.

Raised by Wolves is a novel where I can say that I genuinely liked most, if not all, of the supporting characters a lot. Plus, since most of the characters were wolves, I loved that they actually acted like wolves. I mean, I'm all for creative license with mythical creatures but it was nice to just see the wolf dynamic shine through in this book. The characters were protective, possessive and just generally wolfish.

To be honest, the reason I liked this book isn't because of the romance. Don't get me wrong, I thought Chase was a very decent guy and I like him so far, it just didn't dominate for me. I loved that. There was enough going on with Bryn's search for independance and growth as a person, not to mention the mysterious threat looming over their heads, that I didn't want the romance to overshadow anything. I was much more interested in the relationship between Bryn and Callum, who fascinates me. The way he balanced between a father figure and a pack alpha never ceased to intrigue me.

Overall, Raised by Wolves is definitely a book I think you should read. I could go on about it a lot more but I'll leave you with the little that I have mentioned. Happy reading!

Cover Comments: I like it! It has the feel of a werewolf book with the dark tones and full moon and the font is pretty. Plus, there are trees! As you might know, I'm a little obsessed with pictures of trees.

Monday, 6 June 2011

WSJ, I disagree.

I wasn't going to do this. Seriously, I wasn't.

So, as you should know by now (really, it's everywhere!) the Wall Street Journal published an "article" on Saturday that provoked some pretty strong reactions from YA readers. I won't recap the article just because I think it's a lot better if you and read it for yourself. Basically though, the article in question is entitled Darkness Too Visible: Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea? I think that says it all.
I was talking to a friend yesterday on Facebook and I shared the link with her. She shared her opinion on it with me and I just wanted (with her permission, of course) to post it for your viewing enjoyment. Here we go:
I wonder if the writer of that realized how ridiculous it was while they were writing it. I mean, I'll admit; the only book I've read that they mentioned was "The Hunger Games," but still. These books weren't written to scar readers; they were written to educate people on how some of this really happens and how they can try to better it or help someone who is going through it. It's not as if someone who writes a book about someone cutting is trying to make readers cut themselves; they write it to show the emotional suffering a person is going through and how people around them can help, and/or maybe even prevent this kind of stuff from happening.
Novels are written to enrich a person's mind, and these novels were written to show this kind of stuff happens in society. And what's more is that the older generation is constantly complaining about how the younger generation doesn't read books enough anymore. If it gets this kind of reaction to books, what are we supposed to do? Ignore that these kinds of things happen to people? Society isn't picture perfect and never will be. We can try to help it as much as we can, but we need to educate ourselves on these issues. And how else are we going to do that without reading? The article said itself, there's some "ghastly stuff" on the Internet.

Another thing; this is supposed to count as journalism? Journalism is supposed to be written from an unbiased perspective - this seemed pretty biased to me.

That's it. Now comes my part. 


Okay, first of all, this woman couldn't find anything but "vampires and suicide and self-mutilation" on the shelves? Really. You cannot expect me to believe that this bookstore didn't stock any light contemporary suited for a thirteen-year-old. If that's what you want your children reading, great! Give them Meg Cabot or Ally Carter - both wonderful authors with wonderful books.

This whole argument about how things in the past were so much better than they are now because books like ones today didn't exist makes no sense to me. People were always being murdered and raped, teenagers always suffered from depression and anxiety and eating disorders. The only thing that has changed is that now these people have more means of support and comfort - by this, of course, I mean novels. 
Books that go into the darker topics help people every day by showing them that they are not alone in their struggles and that maybe, someday, everything will be okay. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we can rise above the challenges we face - however big or small.

I am a teenager. That does not mean I am ignorant or impressionable enough to kill someone because the main character in a book is a murderer.

I am young. I can think intelligently and formulate my own opinions and viewpoints. Please don't talk down to me like I don't understand.

This whole article just felt so condescending to me. Let's not disregard the value of the books that were mentioned.

The real thing (one of them, anyways) that gets to me though, is the bundle of comments made against Scars by Cheryl Rainfield. Please do not go against this book - you have no idea how powerful it was to me when I first read it. Not because I'd been through anything remotely similar - my life is wonderful and I am so, so lucky to have the family I do - but because that's the kind of novel it is. It's the book that makes you step outside your sheltered little bubble and think and want to do something. It was my first venture into novels like that and I am so glad I decided to pick it up.

Has the author of this article done any research at all? I was shocked and angry to read what she had to say about this book because it isn't some made-up nonsense designed to haunt readers' every waking moment. It is all based on the suffering Cheryl Rainfield went through as a child and teenager. That "horribly scarred forearm" on the cover belongs to the author. Obviously, she has not written this book to "trigger a sufferer's relapse." These books are written for the complete opposite!
The thing is that the world isn't sunshine and daisies. Is it so ridiculous to have books focusing on rape when 1 in 4 women in North America are sexually assaulted sometime in their life? 17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest. 83% of disable women are sexually assaulted.* These statistics are horrible and scary but true. Isn't it important that these people have as many ways of possible overcoming these struggles as possible? I think so.

In regards to banning books, I get it. People want to protect children and shield them from the books that can terrify and harm them. I have no problem with that! Do it for your children. Sit down with your children and tell your children what they can and cannot read. Have an open discussion about it! Don't tell other people's kids what to read and what not to read though. You can parent your children, and your next-door-neighbour can parent theirs.

Oh, and the suggested reads on the sidebar - WHY IS THAT DIVIDED BY GENDER? I feel like I've stepped into a time machine.  


The statistics used in this post were found on this website.
* The last two stats are for women in Canada.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren which gives bloggers a chance to share the books, swag, etc. that they've received each week.

I feel like there should be some dramatic music playing right now as I venture into my very first IMM. I kind of obsessively like to check out other people's IMM posts so I've finally decided to do one of my own.

So, yesterday morning, my mailbox exploded (well, for me, anyways). My dad comes into the house with like a million brown packages with my name stamped across them and I like was like "YAY! HAPPY FACE!" Here's what I got:

(Sorry for the weird quality. It was really blurry since I took it with my iPod and then I had to brighten it to make it visible. Clearly my editing skills could use some practice.)

My horrible editing skills aside, ISN'T THIS AWESOME? I know that for some people, this is nothing, but I thought it was fabulous. Don't be expecting something this cool every week, guys.

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting is a book that I got from the library. I really loved The Body Finder so I was thrilled that this one came in!

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney was gifted to me as a R.A.K. from Ann over at Annabell's Book Nook. Thanks, Ann! I didn't know what you were sending me but I love it and I'm so excited to start reading.

White Cat by Holly Black was also gifted to me through the R.A.K. program. This one came from Memrie whose blog can be found right over here. I loved White Cat and it's fantastic to finally have my own copy. Thanks so much to Memrie!

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick is another library loan. I have been dying to read this one ever since I finished Hush, Hush so I'm glad that I'll finally get a chance to do so.

Entwined by Heather Dixon is a book that I won as part of a big prize pack from Elaina over at New Reading Mania. I love the original story this book is based on and the cover is stunning. This one will be proudly displayed on my shelf!

Die For Me by Amy Plum is another part of that prize pack I was talking about. I've heard such good things about this one so I'm really excited to dive into it. Thanks, Elaina!

Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins is the last book from the Elaina's prize pack. Have I mentioned how much I love this girl? I haven't read Hex Hall yet but I've heard nothing but praise. I actually gave it to a friend for her birthday so I may have to steal it back to read it now ;)

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain is yet another library book (I think I have 30-something out right now). I haven't heard too much about this one other than it focuses on werewolves but that enough makes me want to read it so, hopefully I like it!

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell (thank you, library) looks like some really good historical fiction. I don't read too much historical but I've generally enjoyed the ones I have read. I've also read some really positive reviews by people I trust about The Vespertine so I'm interested to see what it's about (because I really have no idea at the moment).

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson - yeah, I still haven't read this one. It was actually supposed to have been taken away from the holds shelf and shipped off to another location because I took too long to get it but for some reason or another, it was left behind. I don't mind! I can't wait to read this one. The premise sounds awesome and I already love Maureen from Twitter (WSJ, anyone?).

(Not pictured e-books)
Summer's Crossing by Julie Kagawa - What do I even need to say? I haven't read this yet but WHEN I DO..! I can't wait for more Puck!

Legacy by Cayla Cluver is an e-galley that I got through Net Galley. Again, this one in historical, and it looks wonderful! I haven't heard too much about it but once I read the summary, I knew it was something I would be interested in.

So, that's all the books I got this week but I did receive some swag.

Cari over at Cari's Book Blog was having a random Twitter trivia and giveaway session and I managed to score that awesome The Body Finder tote bag. All I knew when I won was that I would be getting a tote bag - when I opened the package (or rather, my little sister did, thanks very much, Anita) I'll admit that I screamed a little.

Finally, a while back, I won a bookmark based on The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter from Marissa at Novels on the Run and it is PRETTY. Thanks, Marissa!

C'est la fin.

What'd you get in your mailbox?
Let me know because I wasn't really kidding when I said I stalk people to see what books they get each week. Don't worry though - I'm a friendly stalker! That leaves comments! Sometimes!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Need by Carrie Jones

Need by Carrie Jones

Source: Library
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 306

Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.

She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you'd have to fear.

Need is a novel that started off a little predictable to me but ultimately turned out to be something that I enjoyed reading. I liked the second half of the book a lot more than the first, so I have high hopes for the sequel!

So, I'll start off with the main character, Zara. I liked her, she seems like the kind of girl I'd want to hang out with. She collects phobia names like you wouldn't believe (more on that later) and spends her free time writing out urgent action letters for Amnesty International. The only real problem I had with Zara, and other characters as well, was that I felt like there was so much more to her character that could be explored and was just left untouched.

Zara's (step)father has just died and although we're told that she is inconsolably upset about this, I couldn't feel her anguish or pain at it. It is something that is supposed to have died down, but still. I know that if it was my dad, I wouldn't be getting over it that quickly. I think that's the main issue I had with this novel. I wanted to know more about everything - the characters, the pixies, the weres - all of it.

One of the coolest things for me in this book were the phobias. Essentially, the phobias make up the chapter titles and frequently make their way into Zara's thoughts. She obsessively memorizes them and being the huge nerd I am, I found it pretty awesome to read through them all and go tell other people about them (they didn't care, but thanks for asking).

Like I said earlier, the second half of the book was a lot better for me. The pacing was quicker and I felt like it started getting really interesting. I did end up liking the book in the end, I just felt like it had the potential to be better. Hopefully the second book will do the concept justice!

Cover Comments: I don't know... when I saw it online, I thought it looked really pretty. The physical copy I had looked a little weird though. It might have just been the library copy though, which was pretty old and worn. It bugs me that it's a shot of Zara's neck! When I see necks on covers, I automatically think "vampires," not pixies and weres. I do like the sparkle though (seriously, someone should just do a plain black cover with words and sparkles and I will be pleased).

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Booking Through Thursday (10)

This week's Booking Through Thursday question is...
Do you read book reviews? Whose do you trust? Do they affect your reading habits? Your buying habits?
Of course I read book reviews! I love seeing how other people feel about a book and knowing the specific details that made them love (or not love) a book. I trust... a lot of people. There are a lot of blogs that I read regularly. As for my reading and buying habits: in a way. I don't think it's ever really just one review that makes me rush out and buy a book, but if I see that a lot of people love it and post reviews that make me excited for it, I'm a lot more likely to go buy that book than one that I've heard nothing (good) about. If I see a book that someone I trust really loves though (even if they're the only one!) I'll usually put it on hold at the library.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (12)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. The purpose of the event is to spotlight the upcoming releases that readers are most looking forward to.

This week, I've chosen...

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won't want to miss.
I haven't read a lot of ghost stories, at all. It's not because I don't like them - the opportunity has just never presented itself. Hereafter looks like a really interesting story and I've already read many positive reviews. Plus, that cover is just gorgeous. I love the combination of blue and yellow and how they made Amelia's body look.

What are you waiting on this very sunny Wednesday?

Cover Revealed: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Earlier today, Julie Kagawa revealed the cover for her upcoming novel, The Iron Knight on her blog. Just in case you missed the reveal, here is the final cover!

The Iron Knight will be released October 25th by Harlequin.

WOAH. *sigh* Wow. *sigh* This is definitely a cover that induces 'wow's and sighs - I lovelovelove it! I love the blues that were used and the fonts and the swirls... it's all so pretty. I think this is my favourite cover for Julie's books yet - and that's saying quite a bit! Kudos to the art department over at Harlequin - keep doing what you're doing!

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie

Source: Library
Publisher: Dutton
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 366

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
Oh, dystopians! I don't see myself getting tired of you for a very long time. Matched turned out to be just the read I was hoping for with likeable characters, interesting relationships between them and that crucial focus on how a person chooses to live their life.

Cassia is a character that I easily connected with and although I didn't agree with all of her decisions, I still respected what she tried to accomplish. I really liked the fresh dynamic between the two love interests, Xander and Ky. There is an ocean of love triangles out there right now, but I liked that Xander and Ky weren't friends, per se, but kind of challenged each other in a way that makes you wonder what exactly they are.

Something that stands out for me, especially towards the end, was how much I liked Cassia's family. It's no secret that I like families that stick together and protect each other. Cassia's family does exactly this. They all do what they think is the best for the family and I found it interesting how different that sometimes was.

Ally Condie has a beautiful writing style. It was easy for me to lose myself in the story and just go where it took me. It's not a very action-packed story at all, which is something that may be a problem for other readers. Personally, I didn't mind at all. The story was interesting enough to me even when it wasn't full of high tension, edge-of-your-seat goodness.

To sum it all up, Matched was a story that I really enjoyed. The wait for Crossed is on!

Cover Comments: I really love it. It's simple and pretty, and the symbolism of Cassia trapped in a bubble is glaringly obvious.