Thursday, 29 December 2011

Top Ten Villains in 2011

I have to admit, this was a tough list to create. While I do love my villains, for some reason they weren't really jumping out at me like the book boyfriends did. There's definitely a varying degree of "evil" in my choices since I like a variety but there are also some similarities. Without further ado...

ALL Villains (the Alchemist, the Lady Premiere, Augusta)
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver

The first thing I have to say is: This is such a fantastic book! The main characters are delightful which only makes it all the more infuriating that the villains are so heartless. Very well done!


Hereafter by Tara Hudson

This is more of a sympathetic villain than the others, I think. While he is pretty twisted, Eli also tugs some heart strings with the explanations of how he got to be the way he is. That is definitely what makes him stand out to me as a villain.


Housemaster Vaughn
Wither by Lauren DeStefano

This was the first person that came to mind when I read the topic. Housemaster Vaughn got to me like no other villain on this list from the very beginning. Every time he's mentioned in the book, I feel revolted. I don't even know what exactly it is about him!


The Murderer
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

I believe this is the only villain to get his own perspective that I've read about. The parts of The Body Finder with the murderer's POV were definitely the darkest of the book and probably a huge part of why it was so intriguing. Kimberly Derting has a way of making this character seem real.


Olivia's Mom - THAT WOMAN...
Clean by Amy Reed

The last thing I want to do is spoil this wonderful book for anyone, but Olivia's mom (that's the mom of one of the kids in rehab) makes me want to bite something. What sort of person does that?! It's just... gah. I can't stand her.


Supernaturally by Kiersten White

Okay, so obviously Reth isn't Chief Villain but I couldn't resist adding him in. He's the strangest combination of lovely and lethal. I'm still hoping to see more of him in Endlessly although I feel Supernaturally explained a great deal.


Firelight/Vanish by Sophie Jordan

This is basically the head of the MC, Jacinda's, people. While I don't think his intentions are completely horrid, he does do things in a way that annoys me. Plus, he's just so creepy!


My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Ahhh, Shayne. She's the best friend of the MC. You might remember that I compared her to Voldemort in my review? She's not actually that bad, it was more just the mood I was in, but I still think she's probably the worst friend to have. Totally selfish.


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I am so torn on this guy! Obviously, he's a manipulative, disgusting man, but he is also very well written by Mafi in that I know where he's coming from. I can see why he has turned out "evil" and I don't even want to blame him for it. I neeeeeed more Warner in the next installment!


The Society/The Officials/The Government/That Creepy Group

This was the year for dystopians and I loved them! One thing they pretty much all have in common is that group that runs the world by making everyone else's life hell. Whether they're closely identified or just a distant, looming threat, I think all of them deserve to be up here.

Who freaked you out in YA this year? Any important ones that I missed?

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Top Ten Book Boyfriends in 2011

THIS LIST WAS TORTURE. I love so many of the fabulous boys in YA... how could I narrow it down to ten? Here I am though, presenting what is more or less my top ten selection. Alphabetical order this time!

Adam Wilde (If I Stay/Where She Went) - He's sweet, funny, confident, the lead singer and guitarist in a band and just my kind of guy all-around.

Akiva (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) - This boy is entrancing and sweet, sharp and stunning.

Alex Sheathes (Delirium) - And then there's... Alex. Alex who laughs, listens, cares and lights Lena's world up like a chain of Christmas lights.

Ash (The Iron Knight) - Distant and moody perhaps, but Ash is a wonderful catch with wits, strength and a heart.

Cricket Bell (Lola and the Boy Next Door) - He's brilliant, awkward, kind and thoughtful. He talks with his hands and has good fashion sense. He is TALL. I dare you to not fall for him!

Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss) - He was wonderful and I totally swooned every time his name appeared on the page. He's more than just a pretty face (although he has that going for him, too). He's sweet, funny and thoughtful... plus, he speaks French.

(I know! I couldn't resist having Stephanie Perkins' characters on here twice. Darn you, swoon-inducer!)

Four (Divergent) - When Tris needed a push in the right direction, Four was there. When she needed someone to let out her frustrations on, he was there.

Lend Pirello (Paranormalcy/Supernaturally) - Lend was a sweetheart... He was just what Evie needed: kind, supportive and comforting.

Noah Shaw (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer) - Noah is supportive, caring and gorgeous. He's on Mara's side before he fully even understands why he needs to be and... he has a British accent.

Tucker Avery (Unearthly) - I fell in love with Tucker before I even knew what was happening. There is just something about that friendly cowboy that I find so endearing. I want more Tucker, please!

FYI: I was feeling pretty unoriginal so I decided to just steal a line or two about the guy from my original review - oh, except for Ash because apparently I didn't have much to say about him in my review of The Iron Knight.

Honourable Mentions:
Marcello (Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren)
Seth (Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr)
Derek (Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong)
Ky (Matched by Ally Condie)


My original list had 19 names so... yeah. This was a little tough for me to put together!

Do any of our book boyfriends match up? :)

Top Ten Covers of 2011

A FULL DAY late this time! Oh well. So here is what I shall do:

a) Post yesterday's post now.
b) Post today's post later today.
c) Actually schedule the other posts so that I am not late. Again.

Aaaaand... break!

Once again, these covers are in no particular order although the first one is probably my favourite :)

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

(If only I liked the book more :( ... )

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

So, interesting story. I own 9 of the 11 (shhh) books listed here - that's everything except The Girl in the Steel Corset and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer* buuuut of those 9, I still haven't read 5. Which, admittedly, isn't so bad, except these are pretty much all books I was totally coveting. Oh well :) There's still time left in 2011 I guess!**

*Oh, and possibly The Iron Knight depending on whether or not the person it is on loan to is ever going to give it back!

**This is what I say to myself when referencing the 2011 Reading Challenge thing over on GR.

"Pshh, still 4 days left and only 5 books to go! Har har, challenge, you are mine!"

(I'm living in high optimism. It's a lovely place.)

SO. What covers made YOUR eyes glaze over in 2011?

Monday, 26 December 2011

Top Ten Books of 2011

Yikes, yikes, yikes! In my typical fashion, I completely spaced out on the fact that TODAY is the day this lovely week-long event (hosted by Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Life Bound by Books, Fiktshun and Two Chicks on Books - like how I slipped that in there?) starts. Anyways, with less than an hour (in my time zone) remaining, I should probably get started!

Update at time of actual post: Um, apparently it takes really long to post something like this even when you've already picked out a list. So I am now a day late! Whoops!

Narrowing down this list to ten was REALLY, REALLY HARD. I have loved so many books this year... 2011 was definitely a good one! In no particular order, I present to you:

The Top Ten Books I've Read in 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
My Review

Okay, I said this was in no particular order but that's a lie. This is definitely my number one for the year. If you haven't yet, reeeeeeaaaad it! I will be sending you subliminal messages! My recommendation will surely reach you! Do yourself a favour and experience the magic!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
My Review/Love Letter

This book is absolutely gorgeous (as is the author, I love herrrr). The writing sparkles, the characters dazzle, the world-building shines and can you tell I'm on a glitter kick?

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
My Review

Stephanie Perkins' words make me melt like chocolate. I am always so happy when I'm her books, I love it! LOLA was even better than ANNA for me which is quite an impressive feat. Definitely one of my favourites of the year!

Divergent by Veronica Roth
My Review

I remember this book pre-release. It seemed to me like everyone was going kind of insane for it but I still wasn't sure if I wanted to buy it. Then I found out the author was coming to a signing literally 5 minutes from me and I just had to. THANK YOU, UNIVERSE! I stayed up way too late reading this book and I loved every minute of it. Plus, bonus: the author is delightful and liked my "tattoo" (Amity written with permanent marker on my arm... Lauren Oliver thought it was an actual tattoo.)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
My Review

Okay, I said Delirium but really, any of Lauren's books can work here. I read all of them this year and each one made it to my favourites. Lauren Oliver is a genius with words and well, everything else in that whole writing area. Looking forward to more more more!

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
My Review

This series... READ. IT! unless you already have, in which case, good for you! It is charming and adventurous with faeries and magic and one of my favourite romances! Ash is in this book! In fact, Ash narrates this book! <3 Just... loved it so much.

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren
My Review

This book has so many great things going for it. The main character is very relatable, which is always important to me, and the plot takes interesting turns. Just the entire concept for me was fun and exciting. Besides, all the battle scenes (swords, hand-to-hand combat, ARCHERY!) excite me.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
My Review

I've always loved fairytales and folklore... all that good stuff. That is what The Near Witch was like for me. With the seriously stunning prose (you guys, I was in awe) and pretty spooky storyline, this definitely makes my top ten of 2011.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
My Review

I adored this book so much. It brought up a million different emotions in me and I just feel like it was one I really connected to. That itself is kind of weird, since I have thankfully never been put in Mia's situation (or anything even close to it). The characters were amazing as well - I loved Mia's family and friends (ADAM).

Red Glove by Holly Black
My Review

I love the Curse Workers series! It's creative and original with characters that come to life when you read about them and stakes that seem to just keep raising. Cassel is an awesome MC and it's nice to read from a male's perspective every once in a while. It's also nice to read from the perspective of someone that comes from a family of cons - how often do you see THAT?

Honourable Mentions
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Matched by Ally Condie
Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

(probably more that I am forgetting)

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas if you celebrate! :)

Friday, 23 December 2011

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Review from Thomas Allen & Son
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
Release Date: October 25, 2011

Perry Stormaire is a normal high school senior– he is busy applying to college and rehearsing with his band –until he agrees to go to the prom with the Lithuanian exchange student who is staying with his family. It turns out that Gobi Zaksauskas is not the mousy teenager that she seems but rather an attractive, confident trained assassin. Instead of going to the prom, Perry finds himself on a wild ride through the streets of New York City as Gobi commandeers the Jaguar his father lent him for the prom in order to take out her targets. Perry learns a lot about himself – and ends up with some amazing material for his college application essays.
If you've been searching for a break from your typical reads, Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is the way to go!

From start to finish, this novel is packed with action and excitement. Images will be shattered, punches will be thrown and bullets will be fired - all in a very short time. This is the kind of book I can totally picture becoming a movie. It's not exactly a complicated plot - more direct lines from Point A to Point B - but it was fun to read nonetheless.

The characters for me were... pretty good. Perry is responsible and good-natured. I liked the genuine effort he made to be a good person. I'm not really quite sure what to make of Gobi. There were things I liked about her personality and things I found a little under-developped. Overall, Perry and Gobi were interesting to read about but not incredibly memorable.

I really liked the inclusion of the college essay questions. I thought they were a creative way to kind of guide what in the following scenes to focus on and besides, they were so interesting! It was definitely cool to see what different universities had asked and the wide range of topics that were explored.

An adventure that is both fast and fun!

Note: While this is technically YA, I would say it's intended for an older audience, perhaps even better suited for adults. Just a thought!

Cover Comments: Hello NYC! Looking nice and bright there. Not quite sure what you're wearing, Gobi, since I distinctly remember the outfits you wore (trust me, you will too) and a brown leather jacket doesn't seem to fit the bill, but whatever.

3 stars

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Cover Reveal: Chosen Ones

Who's ready to see the cover for Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt?

Pretty, isn't it? :) Chosen Ones is slated to be released around April 2012, bur that is subject to change. It's being published by Entangled Publishing and is the first in a YA dystopian series.

For anyone wanting more info on the book itself, here is the official blurb:

What if you were mankind’s last chance at survival?

Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly.

Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she begins work at Templeton, the training facility for newly created Chosen Ones. There, she meets James, a Chosen One whose odd love of music and reading rivals only her own. The attraction between the two is immediate in its intensity—and overwhelming in its danger.

But there is more to the goings-on at Templeton than Tess ever knew, and as the veil is lifted from her eyes, she uncovers a dark underground movement bent not on taking down the Chosen Ones, but the Council itself. Will Tess be able to stand up to those who would oppress her, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?

You can add the book on Goodreads here!

What do you think?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

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:
Graffiti Moon by Cath CrowleyAdd it: Goodreads
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.
I have heard amazing things about this book! It sounds fantastic and I think I'm already fond of oblivious little Lucy ;)

(Also: don't you like the cover makeover this one had for the US release?)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

End of Year Book Survey

So Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner has this book survey going on right now. As soon as I saw the post, I was like, "YES! SURVEY ME!" For some reason, I love love love answering questions in surveys (like those ones on Facebook and stuff? Yeah.) Anywaaaaays, here we are.

You can find the survey HERE!

1. Best Book You Read in 2011?
I am actually prepared for this question! It's being asked all over the place at this time of year and so I've already gone through the horrible process of picking JUST ONE.

I'm going to have to say...
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton! You have no idea how pumped I was to read this book... it seemed like almost everyone adored it and it really sounded like something I would like :(

3. Most Surprising (in a good way!) Book of 2011?
Probably The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I went back and forth with this book before reading it and I had no idea what really to expect. WOW though... I loved it!

4. Book You Recommended To People Most in 2011?
I was pretty adamant that my reader friends read Divergent by Veronica Roth. I even loaned out my signed copy!

5. Best Series You Discovered in 2011?
I think it was probably The Demon's Lexicon series by Sarah Rees Brennan. I LOVE THOSE BOOKS <3 If you haven't started the series yet, you are missing out!

6. Favourite New Authors You Discovered in 2011?
Oh so many... Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman, Laini Taylor, Lauren Oliver... I worship them.

7. Best Book That Was Out of Your Comfort Zone or Was a New Genre For You?
I think it was probably Bumped by Megan McCafferty! This was such a new thing for me but I'm really, really glad I gave it a shot.

Sidenote: I need to read more books that are out of my comfort zone!

8. Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2011?
I think it was probably Divergent by Veronica Roth... I wanted to take this book into the shower with me.

9. Book You Most Anticipated in 2011?
Clockwork Prince! I just got it but I haven't yet started reading. I'll probably save it for winter break.

10. Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2011?

11. Most Memorable Character in 2011?
Ooh, tough question! I think Cassel from the Curse Workers series by Holly Black is incredibly memorable. Also, Sam from Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2011?
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor OR Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. I can't decide!

13. Book that had the Greatest Impact on you in 2011?
I think it was most likely Gayle Forman's novels - If I Stay and Where She Went. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

14. Book You Can't Believe You Waited UNTIL 2011 to Finally Read?
The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan or The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong. WHY, SONIA?

15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder:

"sometimes, love is loud.
 sometimes, love is quiet.

 Always, love is my mom."

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor:

"Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic."

Delirium by Lauren Oliver:

"Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you-sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.”

+ probably many, many more that I can't find at the moment.

16. Book That You Read in 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Be Reread in 2012?
I would love to re-read Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins!

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.)
Either THAT MOMENT in The Demon's Lexicon or THE END of Delirium.

First one: ... what? o.O x5487598345 Then... OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG.
Second one: NOOOOOOO!

Looking Ahead...

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead! Why haven't I read it yet? :(

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?
I'm... supposed to pick... one? Just ONE? *rocks back and forth*

Okay. I'm going to go with... Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. I am also, btw, TERRIFIED to read this book but I have faith in Lauren Oliver who has basically blown my mind with every single book so far.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?

I want to read more! It's always tough to find the balance between reading and All That Other Stuff and next year will undoubtedly be even busier, but I'm determined to find some extra time.

I also hope to do some more blog exploring! I feel like I've seen one billionth of the blogosphere and I'd love to meet all the lovely people out there :) With that, I seriously need to up the number of comments I make.


Phew! That's it!

Just a sidenote: Sorry that the posts have been pretty sparse lately. This is probably the busiest time of year for me in terms of school and other stuff. Plus, there was my birthday! My friends made a glitter pinata and I know you have no idea what I mean by that BUT for anyone curious...

Basically a giant paper mache eyeball was made - painted and with all of the proper veins and everything. They filled the eyeball with TONS of glitter and smashed it over my head. So, the glitter all came raining down on me. This happened like 5 days ago and I am still finding stray pieces of glitter all over me, not to mention my things! So yeah :) It's been a crazy (but great) week.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Add it: Goodreads
Source: Library
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardcover, 398 pages
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I can honestly say that Across the Universe is like nothing I've read before. I mean that in the best way possible!

From the first chapter, you are sucked into this fascinating vortex. Amy is being cryogenically frozen along with her parents and the details are vividly horrifying. It's not exactly a pleasant process and every step is explored with excruciating depth - it's frexing awesome!

This novel is told from alternating points of view which I think was done really well. Amy and Elder have two very distinct voices and because of the insanely different lives the two have led, it was always a refreshing change to step into a new perspective. Amy and Elder both have strong personalities - you see them grow, change and evolve. There are things they know, things they think they know, and things that are completely foreign to them. All of it was handled realistically and, in my opinion, with serious skill.

Although I did guess the villain almost immediately, it didn't take too much away from the story. There are still plenty of smaller twists and one particularly gigantic one at the end (DID NOT see that coming - I'm still reeling!) The entire concept of Across the Universe is extraordinary.

Read this for a novel that I can guarantee will leave you thinking for days!

Cover Comments: This cover was such a huge source of confusion for me when I first saw it. All I could think was, "what the heck are those sparkly pink blobs?!" Then I read a comment talking about how cool the positioning of the faces were or something and I was more like, "OHHHHHHHHHH."

I do love it though! The colours are so vibrant and I like how it matches up with the story.

5 stars

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (30)

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:
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Add it: Goodreads
Putnam Juvenile
Format: Hardcover, 326 pages
Release Date: February 7, 2012
A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Cassandra Clare in this spellbinding fantasy

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

At the risk of sounding like a completely shallow person (I think I say this every week now): THE COVER! IT'S SO PRETTY!

Seriously though.

Cover? Stunning.
Premise? Fantastic.
Sonia? HAPPY.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Even though I suck and probably won't reply until like Friday leave me your WoW links so I can check them out! :)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

In My Mailbox (11)

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.

It's been FOREVER since my last IMM post! Sorry, sorry. It's not because of a lack of books (although there have been less) but just because, well, I'm lazy and my camera is still missing its USB cord. Anyways, these are just the books from this week. Enjoy!

Embrace by Jessica Shrivington
Thanks to Raincoast Books for this one! It sounds fantastic. This ARC doesn't have the pretty final cover that's been appearing all over the blogosphere this week but oh well :) Guess I'll have to wait to see the cover in stores!

Tempest by Julie Cross
Again, thanks to Raincoast Books. I LOVE that cover, and the whole time travel thing is fascinating to me. Hoping this one will surpass my very high expectations!

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
Thomas Allen & Son was so good to me this week! 3 books from them and I wasn't expecting any of them :) Thanks so much! This book sounds... crazy. Totally action-packed, but surprisingly less than 200 pages. Should be fun!

In the Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton
I haven't read the book before this one in the series (Tyger Tyger) but I put it on hold at my library. Hopefully I'll be able to get to both of these soon! I mean... goblins? How can I resist that?

The White Assassin by Hilary Wagner
I'd actually never heard of this series but it sounds great! What really sold me on it is the blurb from Rick Riordan.... I'll have to see if I can get ahold of the first book since my library doesn't carry it.

Thanks so much to Raincoast Books and Thomas Allen! Hope you guys had a great book week too :) Happy reading!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Add it: Goodreads
Source: Won (Inkpop)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 435 pages

In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side. 
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny? 
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
Do you know those books that make you completely lose track of time? The ones that you start, and then realize you've totally plowed through like three hours later? Unearthly is one of those books.

I am so in love with this novel. It has all the elements I need for sparkles and rainbows in my mind: great writing, FABULOUS characters, realistic emotion, vibrant setting... need I go on?

Clara is a marvellous main character in that she's just so normal (mostly). Due to her angel genes, Clara is smarter, faster and stronger than her classmates, but it doesn't make her invincible. She still struggles with making friends and the right choices. She's friendly, funny and can stand up for herself. In short, Clara just rocks.

Then we have the boys: Christian and Tucker. Now, I like Christian. I think he's a nice guy - honourable, kind and just generally nice. He treats Clara well. Tucker, though, is... WOW. Now, maybe like me, you've heard all about this Tucker and how "amazing" he is. When we were first introduced to his character, I was less than impressed. That guy? THAT'S the amazing Tucker? Oh my goodness though. I fell in love with Tucker before I even knew what was happening. There is just something about that friendly cowboy that I find so endearing. I want more Tucker, please! Him and Clara are too adorable.

The angel mythology of this book is stellar. It's all revealed gradually throughout the book and I get the sense that there is a lot more to come, but I did love what little I learned. Clara's mom (half-angel) is the one with all the secrets but she's very tight-lipped and leaves us, for the most part, in the dark. Still though, I'm excited to learn all about the Intangere (full angel), Dimidius (half-angel), Quartarius (quarter angel - like Clara!)... everything!

So in addition to every other person on the planet many readers, Unearthly now comes with my stamp of approval. Read it and be sucked into the land of angels and TUCKER!

Cover Comments: I LOVE IT <3 <3 <3 I know it looks a little washed-out online but in person? It is so beautiful. It's shiny and bright and purple and just so, so lovely. I just hope that the 2nd book looks as good IRL!

5 stars

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (29)

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:
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Add it: Goodreads
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

This book sounds FABULOUS. I love reincarnation and other curious things like that. Harper, you have one heck of a line-up for 2012! Oh, and you make pretty covers. Reaaaaaaally pretty. Like, I-can't-stop-staring-at-this-screen pretty. <3

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Things I Love

Today I'm going to talk about the random things I love in books. These are things that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the actual story, and won't result in me loving or hating a book, but they're always fun to see. (By that, I mean that it's more of a "woah cool!" than a "huh, this is my new favourite book.")

Pretty Covers

I can't even be ashamed about this one (okay, maybe a little) because we ALL do it, don't we? I'm sure there has been one instance where you've picked up a book because you're mesmerized by the cover. Even if you ultimately ended up putting it back on the shelf, that shiny, gorgeous cover made you give it a second glance.

I don't know if there's a pattern to the covers I like. I'm sure there is, I just don't know it. Here are some covers that I loooooooove:

(Well, apparently I have a thing for pretty dresses. I WANT THEM ALLLLLL)

Chapter Titles

I love when a book has actual chapter titles! I feel like so many books nowadays have just "Chapter 1" or a Roman numeral to signify the new chapters. I guess that's fine... just kind of boring. I like being tempted about what's to come in the next chapter. That little bit of foreshadowing, or even if the chapter title just sounds mysterious and exciting, gives me something to look forward to.

Rick Riordan has THE BEST chapter titles in his novels. Examples?
  • I Accidentally Vaporize my Pre-Algebra Teacher
  • I Become Supreme Lord of the Bathroom 
  • A God Buys us Cheeseburgers

Character Names

I'm so nosy. When I'm reading, I want to know everyone's name. I'm not satisfied with "the boy with the purple backback" and "the redhead with braces." I don't particularly care if this person is important to the story or not, but I love knowing their names! This is mostly just because I have kind of an obsession with names. I love looking them up and learning new ones and seeing the different spellings. Reading a book and recognizing characters by that distinctive calling card is fabulous.

(I wanted to scribble in "TELL MEEEEEEE!" but I decided against it.)

Places That Sound Cool

This is mostly with the fantasy genre, but I love locations with interesting-sounding names. Again, this isn't for any real reason, but places with unusual names tend to immediately make me think of a mystical, entrancing place.

I also like places with names that actually MAKE SENSE. For example:

The world is the land of potatoes. Everyone eats potatoes and is shaped like potatoes and they sleep on potato pillows (of course, after having taken off their potato shoes!).

Now, in Latin:

Potato = Potare (I found multiple translations although a lot of online translators didn't even have potato. The horror!)
Land = Solum (Again, multiple translations)

So maybe we should call the place... Potaresolum! Except something better than that

Acknowledgements Sections

I always, always, always read the acknowledgements section. They are usually so full of gratitude, love and just plain happiness (I wrote a book! A BOOK, I SAY!) and it makes me smile to read them. Plus, it's fun to go through the names mentioned and see if I recognize any of them.

Basically, reading the acknowledgements section is like soaking in a warm, comforting bubble bath of LOVE.


What random non-actual-book-related things do YOU love? Are there any that you hate? Let me know in the comments! 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Wherever You Go by Heather Davis
Add it: Goodreads
Source: Thomas Allen & Son (ARC)
Publisher: Harcourt
Release Date: November 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages

Seventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. The fact that she has to spend most of her free time caring for her little sister and Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather doesn’t help. But Holly has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, reach out to help Holly with her grandfather—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. Is his best friend really falling for his girlfriend? 
As Holly wonders whether to open her heart to Jason, the past comes back to haunt her. Her grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side? 
Told from the perspectives of Holly, Jason, and Rob, Wherever You Go is is a poignant story about making peace with the past, opening your heart to love, and finding the courage to move forward into the light.

Wherever You Go packs a heavy punch of emotion. With carefully chosen words and a fantastic set-up, it's no wonder that Heather Davis managed to ensnare me in Holly's world.

This novel is told from 3 different perspectives: Holly, Rob and Jason. This alone would usually be enough to give me something to love but with the 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person, it definitely gave it an edge. The inclusion of Rob in 2nd person was a marvellous idea and it was so interesting to be able to put yourself in the place of a ghost.

Holly's personal story is really the thing that I liked most about this book. Her family is struggling to make ends meet and Holly has so much pressure on her to hold everything together. It is heartbreaking to see her try and balance Rob's death, school, taking care of her little sister, helping with her Alzheimer-stricken grandfather and sorting out the relatively new prescence of Jason in her life. Through of all of it, Holly's strength and kindness shine through.

The emotion conveyed in this novel is pitch-perfect. Rob's journey in particular is an emotional one, as he tries to figure out what exactly he should be doing now that he's left the ranks of the living. There is justifiable confusion in all of the characters and it was a well-paced progression to the places where they could deal with it.

Wherever You Go is remarkably real, even as slight paranormal elements come into play.

Cover Comments: I like it! The ARC I have has really washed-out colours, a lot more than the pictures online. It makes me curious to see what the finished hardcover looks like. Of course, that Laini Taylor blurb does wonders for the cover as well ;)

4.5 stars

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel 

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Blog it Forward
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 470 pages

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

There are quite a few things that make this book the fantastic read that it is. I mean, a) it's like a combination of past and future, with old-fashioned ideals set years after our time, b) there are zombies and c) the main character, Nora, rocks.

I love zombies. I think they're fascinating creatures, no matter how gruesome, and I love the different ways they're being portrayed now. Lia Habel has definitely put a unique spin on them in Dearly, Departed. While the classic I-will-eat-you-now zombies are still very much apart of it, there is also a seperate sector of more sympathetic zombies. These zombies are very much like the humans they once were, save for a few physical disadvantages. I had such a fun time reading about these zombies and it was nice to be surprised along the way by how much I liked them!

Dearly, Departed is told from 5 perspectives, with 2 that I would say are the main ones. All of these storylines tie in well together and it's refreshing to be able to switch into a different character's mindset. Each voice had a distinct tone to it, which helped it from getting overwhelming. Of course, it helped immensely that I found all of the characters so interesting.

Firstly, we have Nora, the MC of this novel. As I said before, there are some more traditional views on how society should function in this novel. A huge part of this has to do with women and their role (in other words, Nora is expected to be a gentle, soft-spoken lady). This is all fine and dandy except... Nora would rather watch war videos than plan tea parties. Nora is stubborn, brave and determined - I loved her.

Along with Nora, there is Bram (AKA Zombie Love Interest) and a whole bunch of other diverse characters. There is some spark to Bram that I can't quite describe - perhaps it's his refreshingly bright outlook on life? All I'll say besides that is that I really did like him, especially with Nora where the pair form a fabulous team. The other characters are memorable and fun, from Pamela - whom I was iffy about at the beginning but was definitely CHEERING ON by the end - to Ren - that geeky boy you just have to love.

Topped off with magnificent writing and some hilarious one-liners, Dearly, Departed is a zombie novel you won't want to miss.

Cover Comments: I like it! It has that Victorian feel but then I think the colour scheme brings out the futuristic side as well. Plus, as my friend pointed out to me, there is a GRAVEYARD in the background, which is all sorts of cool.

4.5 stars