Thursday, 28 February 2013

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)Fire by Kristin Cashore

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Library
Publisher: Dial Books
Format: Hardcover, 461 pages
Release Date: October 5, 2009

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.
With the same excellent plotting and concrete characters as her debut novel Graceling, Kristin Cashore has completely won me over with Fire.

I'm just going to come right out and say it: I loved Fire more than I did Graceling. And if you remember at all my feelings for the latter, that's saying quite a bit. Fire was a novel that I wanted to simultaneously stretch out for as long as possible and devour as quick as I could. It pulled emotions out of me for its characters and set my heart racing with the plot. Just... amazing.

Fire was a beautifully-done character. There was a palpable vulnerability to her that highlighted so many points of her character and I just genuinely liked her. She was an essentially good person fighting so many outside factors outside of her control and watching her journey as she comes to accept herself and her situation is gratifying.

Prince Brigan... ahh. I thought from the beginning of the novel that I knew exactly how the relationship between him and Fire would pan out but as the book carried on, I realized I had no idea the depth it would have. The things they said to each other and the way they treated each other was anything but superficial and I gladly cheered them on!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: fantasy is my favourite genre. The way that Cashore crafts her world is well thought-out and a pleasure to read. Fire is a lengthy read but I didn't feel bored or disinterested at any point. Whether through more physical adventures or just emotional journeys, Kristin Cashore keeps the plot moving at a steady pace.

Highly recommended.

5 Golden Crowns!

Cover Comments: I LOVE this cover! A bow and arrow gets me every time and the cover scheme is great for the story.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cover Reveal: The Fiery Heart

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4)

Add to: Goodreads
Publisher: Razorbill Penguin
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: November 19, 2013

Who's ready for The Fiery Heart? I AM!!! I couldn't be more excited, just thinking about it gets me giddy! I'm not sure if I'll be reviewing The Indigo Spell just because I might be repeating a lot of what I've already said in other reviews for the series but I may change my mind. Would any of you care to see a review?

But back to the cover! Red/orange for fire... see, I get it ;) Sydney's looking so much more fierce than at the beginning of the series which totally matches up with her progress in the novel. Go Sydney! What do you think of the cover?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Yay lists! This week's topic is Top Ten Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List. And, okay, this is kind of a tricky one because I say auto-buy but then I just don't really read Adult and so I probably wouldn't buy after all... but... I would try!

J.K. Rowling
I know this is a shocking one so hopefully your hearts have recovered. But yeah, Queen Rowling is an obvious auto-buy.

Cassandra Clare
I'm not immune to the 'when will these freaking Shadowhunter books end???' feeling but I CAN'T HELP IT. I will read as many as Cassie will write, dammit!

Stephanie Perkins
Because these books are almost guaranteed to have ALL the cute boys.

Sarah Rees Brennan
I may be going a bit overboard on the SRB praise lately but I LOVE HERRR <3 and I am convinced that everything she writes will be excellent!

Tamora Pierce
Admittedly, I haven't yet read the Beka Cooper series but after reading her other 5000 books, I think I've proved my loyalty?

Lauren Oliver
I'm behind on Lauren's books but I just love them SO much! Her writing is gorgeous and that would translate to any genre, I'm assuming.

Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen books in the summer was such a tradition growing up! I still really enjoy her books.

John Green
YAY JOHN GREEN! Nerdfighters unite!

Kristin Cashore
I haven't even read Bitterblue yet but I'd be happy to try out any and every book that Kristin writes!

Tahereh Mafi 
I love Tahereh's style in the Shatter Me series and I'm really curious to see how/if that would change in a different world! Because obviously, Juliette's situation is not a universal one.

So many ladies! WOOT WOOT!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The Wrap-Up List by Steven Arntson

The Wrap-Up ListThe Wrap-Up List by Steven Arntson

Add to: Goodreads
Source: c/o Thomas Allen & Son (thank you! <3)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Release Date: January 8, 2013

In this modern-day suburban town, one percent of all fatalities come about in the most peculiar way. Deaths—eight-foot-tall, silver-gray creatures—send a letter (“Dear So-and-So, your days are numbered”) to whomever is chosen for a departure, telling them to wrap up their lives and do the things they always wanted to do before they have to “depart.” When sixteen-year-old Gabriela receives her notice, she is, of course devastated. Will she kiss her crush Sylvester before it’s too late?
Friendship, first love, and fantasy artfully mesh in this magically realistic world that ultimately celebrates life.
Steven Arntson skillfully manoeuvres the topics of death and friendship in this relatively light-hearted supernatural read.

Gabriela has received notification that she is going to "depart" (die) in one week. Before this happens, she has been generously provided the opportunity to write up a list of the things she hopes to accomplish before her death and hopefully figure out a way to escape it. Gabriela's voice shines in this first-person novel with sharp wit and dark humour.

Despite the morbid concept, The Wrap-Up List is actually a refreshingly light read. Gabriela's final days are filled with family, friends and laughter rather than despair at her impending doom. Her wrap-up list, the list of things she'd like to accomplish before passing, was wonderful and I loved how much she discovered about herself and the people she loved in the process of trying to fulfil it.

The supporting cast of characters is a diverse and wonderful group of people, all there to support Gabriela and each other in their own special way. It's clear to see the unique place each holds in Gabriela's life and a nice change to see that they actually have their own lives as well. The fact that these characters have their own concerns independent of their friend is a welcome plot point in my eyes.

Despite the inventive concept, The Wrap-Up List is a novel you will find both easy to believe and easy to read.

Cover Comments: I love that the wrap-up list is featured so plainly. It certainly managed to get my attention!

4 Golden Crowns!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Family in YA

Hi! So, where I live, today is a holiday. More specifically, it's Family Day! At home, we've been sitting around and enjoying each others' company with some good movies (Harry Potter, Toy Story, etc.) and a good few games of Scrabble. I wanted to continue the family spirit on the blog as well so here I am!
I haven't made it a secret that I think family importance in YA is like the BEST THING EVER. So today I thought I'd share a couple of books which I think emphasize this and hopefully you'll have some for me as well!

Storm (Elemental, #1)The Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer

The Merrick brothers are just fantastic. I find the complicated, messy relationships in it just fascinating and also so realistic. They drive each other to their extremes but at the end of the day, they care so strongly for one another. 

The Demon's Lexicon series and Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Family isn't always biological and Nick and Alan have such a touching, tenuous relationship. Kami's relationship with her parents and brothers in Unspoken makes me so happy just because they're so NORMAL. In my opinion, relationships are what SRB does best.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The Lonely Hearts ClubIf you ask me, what made Mia's situation so heartbreaking was the fact that she had such an AMAZING family life. Not to say that it was perfect, because it wasn't, but the bonds in Mia's life were so well-written and emotionally-charged. Reading about teens that want to hang out with their parents never fails to make me smile.

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

Not only were Penny's parents super cool, they were also so supportive of Penny! It was really, really fantastic to see the way that they stood by their daughter through what she was going through.


Being an (obviously) very, very incomplete list, I'm hoping that you can add to it! What are some of your favourite YA reads that have a familial element to them? It can be fundamental to the storyline or just there. Any suggestions?

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3)Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Ontario Blogger Meet-up
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: February 12, 2013

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.
Lauren DeStefano returns with her signature prose in this finale to the beautifully-crafted Chemical Garden trilogy.

I have really, really enjoyed this series since starting it nearly two years ago and it's one that I will be sad to see go. Lauren DeStefano's gorgeous writing has made it so easy to be transported into her world and the characters glow with depth and vibrancy. However, I must say that I'm a bit conflicted in my feelings for this last book.

For over half of the book, I was loving it. We're introduced to a new setting and the plot carries on from the last book with great momentum, revealing new twists and answering old questions. I was also coming to appreciate Linden and Cecily more than I had in the past as they grew into stronger characters capable of independent thought. Thankfully, this was something that continued for the entirety of the book -- I am so Team Cecily after this book!

But then, something changed for me. I don't know if it was just one twist too many or I wasn't keeping up well enough to understand the new things the plot was throwing at me but I just feel like we veered off course. And I'm fine with the author shaking things up a bit but it just threw me for a loop. I'm still not exactly sure what was going on, both with the plot and with Rhine.

Toward the end of the book though, things seemed to settle. It was a fitting conclusion to this excellent series and managed to provide satisfaction in tying up the loose ends without an unbelievable type of perfection. I'm content with where things stand at the end of this novel.

Overall, a very well-written conclusion to the Chemical Garden trilogy.

Cover Comments: Apparently a lot of people hate this cover? I don't know, I like it! I wish that Rhine's hair was a bit more unruly like in the first cover (I mean, they mention it enough times in the book) and maybe the colour is a bit shocking, but overall, I think it's fitting. The assortment of objects on the floor make sense and even Rhine's posture fits the image I have of her in this book (make of that what you will, haha).

4 Golden Crowns!

Blogspiration (16)

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

Source: French by Design
So, as you may or may not know, this is the final week of Blogspiration.
Now, obviously, this is a sad moment for me (and everyone, I'm sure) but instead of focusing on that, I'd just like to take this time to thank all of you so much for making it what it has been.
To Kristin and Sarah: you are both brilliant, talented, hard-working ladies and I am SO glad that you decided to team up to host this meme. Every week that I've participated has been one in which I've left inspired, motivated and touched in some way. You can bet that I'll be clicking back to old Blogspiration posts months from now. Thanks to everyone for sharing a bit of inspiration with me! :)
In celebration of the last week of Blogspiration, I wanted to select something important. This particular quote has always spoken to me and hopefully it will to you as well. For what it's worth, I think you're all fantastic people already sharing your brilliance with the world.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Post of Pretty (aka coverlust in action)

Hi guys! I've noticed a whole slew of gorgeous covers in the past few days and so thought I'd share just a few in case you'd missed any. Enjoy!

Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)The Chaos of Stars
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
Infinityglass (Hourglass, #3)Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Infinityglass by Myra McEntire
Teardrop by Lauren Kate

All links lead to Goodreads.

I see fields of blue... Seriously guys, what's with all of the blue?! Not that I'm complaining (at all!) because I think all of these covers are stunning, but wow. New trend for 2013 or has it always been like this? Anyway, hope you like these beauties as much as I do!

Which one is your favourite? Which recently-released covers have I missed?

(and Happy Valentine's Day! <3 I hope you find your Adrian/Dimitri/Jace/Noah/Adam/Akiva/Magnus/Ren/Shay/Nick/Seth/Gabriel/_________! Unless you already have them... in which case, I hope you get to eat lots of chocolate.)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (54)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine so that (this is me paraphrasing) we can all FREAK OUT TOGETHER about some rocking upcoming books. Warning: extreme fangirling may occur.

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Add to: Goodreads
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Release Date: February 26, 2013

"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
For some reason, this book just struck me with WANT as soon as I saw it. (This may or may not have been influenced by that cover that I adore to pieces.) I love the simplicity of a novel just about love and trying to make it work in high school. Sounds like a good time! Plus, Gayle Forman blurbed it. I must read it.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Hunting Lila (Lila, #1)Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Traded with Chloe
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback, 318 pages
Release Date: August 5, 2011

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever.
After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.
In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone—there are others out there just like her—people with special powers—and her mother’s killer is one of them…

Most of my feelings for this book can be summed up in one word: ADDICTING. I'd heard a LOT about this book before reading it (*cough*Brodie*cough*) so to say that it had expectations to match up to is an understatement. The proof is in the bags under my eyes though -- any book that can keep me up until 2 AM is a winner.

I'll be honest, I wasn't sure how well Lila and I were going to click in the beginning. Her voice came across as a bit over-dramatic and she seemed eye-roll-worthy in the love department, two things that I generally have a tough time dealing with in YA after my years of over-exposure to Fanfiction. But then... it didn't even matter. I got so swept into the story myself, so attached and charmed by the characters, that I couldn't fault Lila for feeling the way that she did.

Sarah Alderson has a serious aptitude for romance writing. I fell hard and fast for the relationship between Lila and Alex, two characters that I came to adore both individually and as a pair. The attraction and connection between them sizzled and I look forward to more of the same in the sequel.

Along with the romance came heart-pounding action; a winning combination. I was perched on the edge of my chair for the entire time I was reading and I didn't put it down once. The way in which Sarah writes about Lila's power and the events of the novel were so easy to visualize. Reading the novel was so much more than the typical reading experience, I really felt like it gave me a more intimate look at what was going on.

Relatable characters, swoon-worthy romance and heart-stopping action? This had better be on your reading list.

Cover Comments: I like it! I think it gives an idea of the high stakes action you can expect in the book (because she's... not stationary?) and the tagline is great.

4.5 Golden Crowns

Monday, 11 February 2013

Blog Tour: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimée Carter

GoddessInheritance horizontal

Welcome to the next stop on The Goddess Inheritance blog tour! I am thrilled to be a part of this event, hosted by the eternally amazing Kismet Book Touring team. Today I'll be sharing some of my favourite quotes from the series, but first, here's a summary of the upcoming The Goddess Inheritance (note: spoilers for the previous books in the series are present!):

The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test, #3)
Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.
During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.
In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.
With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.
Even if it costs her eternity.

Amongst many other things, one of my favourite aspects of the Goddess Test series is the beautiful writing. Today I'll be sharing some of my absolute favourite quotes from the series. Hope you enjoy!

The Goddess Test

“I care," he said in a trembling voice. "I care so much that I do not know how to tell you without it seeming inconsequential compared to how I feel. Even if I am distant at times and seem as if I do not want to be with you, it is only because this scares me, too.”

“Sometimes we misjudge what is possible and what is not.”

“I don’t need to be introduced to society. Society and I have gotten by without knowing each other for years, thank you very much.”

Goddess Interrupted

“It is supposed to be the truth." He stared at me and my breath caught in my throat. "If I were a better man, I would be able to show you the love and affection you deserve. As I am not, I can only offer you what I'm capable of giving. But I assure you, just because I do not show it, doesn't mean I do not feel it.”

“Being with Henry doesn't mean you have to give up who you are. Henry doesn't define you.”

"Being brave doesn’t mean never being afraid, you know. It means going for it anyway because you know it’s the right thing to do… How do you know until you try?"

The Goddess Inheritance

“Sadness doesn't equal weakness, sweetheart. If anything, it shows the love you have inside of you, and nothing stronger in this world exists.”

“I don't need to be ancient to be worth something.”



Enter with the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win any one copy of a book in the Goddess Test series! All entries will also be counted toward the grand prize of a Kindle Paperwhite skinned in the gorgeous and lush The Goddess Inheritance cover art! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other tour stops!

Monday, January 28th - Harlequin Paranormal Blog
Wednesday, January 30th - Alison Can Read
Friday, February 1st - Mundie Moms
Monday, February 4th - Soul Unsung
Wednesday, February 6th - Starry Eyed Revue
Friday, February 8th - Two Chicks on Books
Monday, February 11th - The Story Queen
Tuesday, February 12th - Simply Infatuated
Wednesday, February 13th - Me, My Shelf and I
Friday, February 15th - IB Blogging

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Add to: Goodreads
Source: c/o Raincoast Books (thank you! <3)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Hardcover, 464 pages
Release Date: February 5, 2013

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.
As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Readers who enjoyed Cinder will fall right back into the rich fairytale world while newcomers are sure to discover a new favourite.
One of the things that I came to appreciate the most about Marissa Meyer's debut novel Cinder was the fact the fact that 'Cinderella' was about 1000x more awesome than her traditional counterpart. Well, ladies and gentlemen, meet Scarlet Benoit, the red-hoodie-wearing, gun-wielding girl that sticks to her beliefs and won't take 'no' for an answer on her quest to find her beloved grandmère.

While definitely a thick read, the pages flew by as I read through it. There's an abundance of action and tension from the intersecting storylines and the stakes just kept raising (that ending!!). Meyer handles the almost overwhelmingly meaty plot with skill. Scarlet is definitely a change from the more quiet and reserved Cinder but I found her just as likeable. While her tendency to jump into situations without thinking could have turned out more annoying under different circumstances, it was a lot less frustrating given the crazy situations the characters were constantly in.

And speaking of characters... We're introduced to two new (and fabulous!) ones: Wolf and Thorne. I thought Thorne was hilarious and I thoroughly enjoyed every chance I got to read about him. I quite enjoyed Wolf's presence as well but I can't help feel as though I'm not as in love with him as I should be. I mean, he was great, but not quite up to Kai-level for me just yet ;)

With the same excellent world-building that hooked me on the series in the first place, Marissa Meyer delivers in the sequel to Cinder. Now as long as the next book gives me some proper Cinder/Kai interaction, I'll be happy! (But really... Please? I'm not above begging...)

Cover Comments: I love it! Nice and simple, but still eye-catching. I wonder, will Cress feature hair?

5 Golden Crowns!