Friday, 30 March 2012

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy and Roger's Epic DetourAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Won (paperback)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover, 344 pages
Release Date: May 4, 2010

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

This book is one that sneaked up on me. I went into it with the praises of so many bloggers ringing in my ears but I just wasn't feeling it at the start. Amy's life situation is tough (it does kind of suck!) but I had some trouble connecting to her character immediately. Soon enough though, I felt myself falling deeper in love for this gem of a road trip novel.

This is going to sound really dorky but I feel like I went on a big adventure with this book. When Amy and Roger first started taking the detours from their set itinerary, I got kind of panicked and the rule-follower in me was all, Amy, no! You can't! Then it just got so fun and so interesting and so personal that I couldn't really find it in myself to care much. I wanted them to take more detours if it meant extending their trip just a day longer because I was so invested in Amy and Roger.

Although it's Amy that is dealing with the brunt of the emotional pain after the loss of her father, Roger is not exactly living in a happy-go-lucky paradise. Both of these characters come so far in the course of the novel and that, to me, was the best part of the novel. That they are able to find comfort and strength in each other only makes their relationship all the more sweet.

Despite the darker side to Amy and Roger lives in the time of the novel, the journey they take is one filled with laughter and good times. An awesome soundtrack, a substantial amount of sugar and the bright personalities of the two main characters and all of the people they meet just make this such an enjoyable read. When the impressionable places they visit are added... let's just say it tips the scales in favour of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour.

A heartwarming story with plenty to make you laugh and think.

Cover Comments: Aww, it's cute! Anything with Amy and Roger together is enough to make me smile :)

4.5 stars

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Interview with Aimee Agresti + Giveaway!

I recently read Illuminate by Aimee Agresti and I FELL IN LOVE. You can read my 5 Reasons You Should Read It here or you can just read this interview and see if you're not at least intrigued. Without further ado, here is Aimee Agresti!

What can readers expect from Illuminate? What's it about?
Hi! Thanks so much for having me! Well, on the surface, ILLUMINATE is about a teen angel-in-training, who's forced to battle a pack of soul-stealing devils and ends up falling in love with one (of course!) But, there's so much more to it! I like to think what it's really about is a girl learning to have confidence in herself.

The Lexington Hotel, where most of the book takes place, is described with such breathtaking detail. How did you go about planning that out?
Thank you! I've always loved Chicago's wild history -- the Prohibition era, Capone and his gangster pals, and those amazing tunnels that ran beneath the city. I thought it would be tons of fun to resurrect the Lexington Hotel, which is no longer standing, and create a whole new world there. I did a lot of peeking into the hotel's past, looking at pictures, and I kept the façade and certain parts of it, but then I gave myself plenty of creative license to modernize it, make some fun changes and really make it my own!

You find out that you've been forced to choose a book and live in that world forever. Which book do you pick?
What a great question! I'd love to live in the world of Alice in Wonderland. That's always been a favorite of mine, it's just so wild and whimsical!

Which is easier for you to write -- dialogue or description?
Dialogue comes much easier to me than description, which might seem surprising since there's so much description in this book! But as a reader, I really love and appreciate descriptive writing, that's what truly makes me feel the world of whatever book I may be reading. It can make a book powerful and let it get in your head in the way that only a book can. So as a writer, it's important for me to push myself to do it well.

Who's your absolute favourite YA fictional boyfriend?
Oooh, this is fun. Let's see, I love Brendan Salinger of SPELLBOUND and SPELLCASTER by Cara Lynn Shultz. He's tall, dark and handsome, brooding, so sweetly protective of Emma, and just all-around dreamy. Sigh!

Illuminate deals with a struggle between good and evil. Can we expect to see this is a continuing trend in the next two books of the trilogy? (Please, feel free to reveal anything at all about Book 2 -- I can't wait!)
You'll definitely be seeing more good vs. evil in the next two books of the Gilded Wings trilogy! I'm polishing up Book Two now and all I'll say is that the gang heads to New Orleans to take on some new devils. Oh, and we haven't seen the last of Lucian! Stay tuned and check for updates on!


Aimee's description of Illuminate is spot-on (and I guess she would know, being the author and all...) Haven grows so much and behind the whole soul trading business, it really is just a story about a girl discovering the awesome in herself. And oooh, Brendan <3 He's so sweet.


Thanks to the absolutely AMAZING people at Thomas Allen & Son, I have FIVE copies of Illuminate to give away. Here are some guidelines:
  • Open only to CANADIAN RESIDENTS (or if you have a Canadian address, that's cool) - sorry, everyone else!
  • You have one week to claim your prize or I'm giving it away to someone else.
  • Um. Have fun. And good luck! (Although I'm wishing everyone good luck, so I don't know how much good that does you)

There's a Rafflecopter form below (it won out over Google Docs on Twitter). I hope you can see it.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Thomas Allen & Son for review
Publisher: Harcourt
Format: Hardcover, 534 pages
Release Date: March 6, 2012

Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.

As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel?

Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew.
5 Reasons Why You Should Read Illuminate

1. You'll feel like you know the MC, Haven, from the very start.
Maybe you do know a Haven! You probably do. She starts off shy and bright but then you can see her confidence start to grow and soar throughout the book. She'll do things she never thought herself capable of and you'll cheer her on because she is so easy to connect with. Haven made some pretty good calls and I loved having her as my guide through this wonderful novel.

2. There are 534 pages to devour!
I get that for non-readers, this is probably more of a negative, but for me? Let the cheering commence! I'm pretty greedy when it comes to books - I just want more, more, more. With such a lengthy read, I was worried that my mind would wander, but it never did. Although the action doesn't start until later on in the book, the first portion will keep you well entertained with the characters and setting. Even just the set-up is fun!

3. The Lexington Hotel... it is gorgeous!
I'm not really a setting person so when I notice and comment on it, it's usually pretty notable. The Lexington Hotel, where the book takes place, has an amazingly vibrant atmosphere. There are such intricate details describing sections of the hotels and I really felt like I had been transported there. Plus, there are these hidden nooks and crannies which made me feel like I was on some kind of treasure hunt.

4. The suspense will grab you, slowly but surely.
So the whole situation behind the Lexington Hotel is kind of a creepy one. Haven sneaks in on some pretty freaky things and there is this almost tangible wrongness in the air amidst the gorgeous people working at the hotel. Even a lot is revealed in the summary, the tension and suspense still builds until you're desperately flipping pages for more.

5. The Two Ls <3
Oh, sigh. Lance and Lucian. Who will you pick? Lucian is almost irresistable with his charms and confidence while Lance is someone that you can always count on to be there right by your side. Personally, I'm definitely Team Lance, but I can see that I'm in the minority. Whichever type you go for, I'm sure one of these boys will win you over.

Are you convinced?

Cover Comments: It's absolutely gorgeous. I love the shimmer in the background and the swirly kind of lighting around the title. Haven's looking good (in her RED DRESS!) and I love the shadow of a wing in the place of a fully grown one.

5 stars

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for an interview with the lovely Aimee Agresti and a giveaway for Canadian residents!

Monday, 26 March 2012

The Hunger Games Movie

Spoiler-free Review!

So yesterday, something BIG happened...

I got ready on time!

No, actually, that's not it. I mean, I did, but believe it or not, something even MORE IMPORTANT happened. I finally saw The Hunger Games!

AND IT WAS AMAZING. MY MIND IS BLOWN. I'm going to try my best to articulate my thoughts in a clear, rational way but don't be surprised if a lot of key smashing occurs instead.

First up, major props to the cast. I thought every single one of them did a fantastic job but there was one character in particular that I thought was exceptional. I'm talking, of course, about the lovely Jennifer Lawrence or, as she is known in the movie, Katniss Everdeen.
Source: Telegraph

I already knew that Jennifer understood Katniss' character perfectly from the numerous interviews I've read but I wasn't sure that she would be able to pull it off on-screen. She did. Every single scene whether it was happy, humorous, sad or bone-chilling was just nailed. I am so impressed with the way she embodied Katniss.

Then, there was the rest of the cast. Amazing!

Source: Wikia

Peeta was adorable: sweet and charming, just like I wanted. Although Gale didn't have too many scenes, he still portrayed the strong, confident hunter. Both boys were able to capture the feelings they had for Katniss in a few seconds and I am just so pleased with the end result.

Then, of course, there were the other characters like Effie and Cinna, Haymitch and Rue. EVERYONE WAS SO GOOD OMG. Sorry I don't have time to go over each and every single one but I LOVED THEM AAAAAAAALL.

I love Katniss, Haymitch and Effie in this picture LOL. They all had such great chemistry.

Hungerg 001.jpg

Then besides the characters, there were so many things I loved.

The Capitol fashion was completely ridiculous (see Effie!) but so fun and colourful too. I think I snorted every time the camera flashed to the audience in the Capitol.

Seneca Crane was AWESOME and I loved the technology used to work the games. I really appreciated the constant flipping back between the Games and the TV broadcasting which emphasized the whole point of it.

Check out that beard!

Source: zap2it

I think this may be my favourite book-to-movie adaptation of all time. (Except Lord of the Rings. You can't beat LotR.) It stayed close to the book and left in what I thought were the most important points. Is it time for Catching Fire yet? BECAUSE FAKSFHKSAFHSAKFH, I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you seen The Hunger Games yet? What did you think?

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Blogspiration (1)

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.
Okay... is anyone really surprised that my post is a Hufflepuff-centric one? I haven't really made it a secret that I am a Hufflepuff and I'm immensely proud of my house.

I feel like Hufflepuff gets overlooked. We're accepting and will take people of all types, so I guess people take that to mean that Hufflepuffs are the "leftovers" and the "losers." So not true.

I have always wanted to be a Hufflepuff because their qualities are the ones I value most: kindness, loyalty and compassion. Okay, sure, it's great to be brave and smart and ambitious. If that's what's the most important to you, I'm certainly not against it!

For me, being a Hufflepuff has always meant putting kindness first. It means that being an understanding, non-judgemental person is more important than being an intelligent one. It means that you stick by what you believe in, even if you're made fun of for it. I'm hard-working. I'm fair. I'm tolerant. I'm a particularly good finder! (haha, no I'm not actually... but forget that)

So that is why I proudly wave my Hufflepuff banner. BADGER PRIDE!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa

Winter's Passage (Iron Fey, #1.5)Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Online library loan
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: e-book, 59 pages
Release Date: June 1, 2010

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck--Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon--who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter--a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat....
So, funny story. I actually did read this book when it first came out, contrary to what I had been thinking when I started reading it again a few days ago. It wasn't until I got to the end of the book and the "ancient, powerful hunter" was revealed that I went, "oh! I have read this!" Is that because this book is lame and forgettable?

A million times no.

I think it's probably just that I feel like ALL of Julie Kagawa's work is brilliant and engaging so I ignored the signs that everything was sounding a little too familiar. Winter's Passage is a brilliant edition to the Iron Fey series.

Since Winter's Passage is set between The Iron King and The Iron Daughter, I had to adjust to going backwards on Meghan's character from the completely awesome, scene-owning girl I had grown used to from The Iron Queen. Fortunately, Meghan was shown in mostly a good light and I loved the compassion and resilience she displayed.

Oh, Ash. As much as I love Puck, I'm glad that he wasn't in this novella because it means we got so much more time with the Ice Prince! It's heart-achingly clear from this read that Ash's feelings for Meghan are developing rapidly and watching them get closer was perfect and had me beaming on every page. I want to re-read this whole series!

Then, of course, there was Kagawa's signature adventure style. Winter's Passage plunges straight into an exciting, fast-paced chase back to Tir Na Nog (Fairyland!) and there isn't a moment of boredom. I loved the looming threat of the Hunter and when he was finally introduced, I was hanging on to every word. Talk about making the most of 59 pages!

A must-read for fans of The Iron Fey series.

Cover Comments: I love the wolf eyes! I didn't really understand it before reading but now that I have, it's perfect.

Wait! There's more!

I've literally JUST seen on Julie Kagawa's blog that this novella along with Summer's Crossing and a new novella (eeee!) entitled Iron's Prophecy PLUS some super special additional content - like the first chapter of the new Iron Fey book - will be published in print! This sure to be amazing anthology will be called The Iron Legends and will be out from Harlequin Teen on August 28th.


Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (39)

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:
In HonorIn Honor by Jessi Kirby
Add it: Goodreads
Publisher: S&S BFYR
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Honor receives her brother's last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn't. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

Oooh, a contemporary that sounds awesome! :) Not to say that they don't usually because I LOVE contemporary fiction... I just don't read nearly enough of it. I can't wait to read this novel. Strong emotions, a road trip and maybe even a little romance? BRING IT.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Interview with Kristen Simmons

I am absolutely thrilled today to welcome to the blog Kristen Simmons, author of Article 5. If you were here last week, you may have seen my gushing review -- I loved this book! If you haven't yet read it, I hope this convinces you to do so! I know I would have been ;) Actually, maybe I have time to squeeze in a re-read....

Could you give us a brief description of what to expect in Article 5? What's it about?
Sure! Here's the writeup from the book jacket:

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statues.

There are no more police -- instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior -- instead, there are arrests, trials and maybe worse. People who get arrested don't usually come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs -- like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes -- and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statues. And what's worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings... the only boy Ember has ever loved.

What was the inspiration behind your book?
The wheels for A5 actually started spinning several years ago, when I went to the local bookstore and came across a group of people who were protesting the release of a children's book. It got me thinking: of course they had the right to protest whatever they liked, but what if they succeeded? What if they were able to ban a book from a major seller on the grounds that it was against someone’s beliefs? And what if it didn’t stop at books? What else could you ban based on its perceived offensive nature? This led to bigger questions – what other freedoms could we lose if someone found them offensive? What if the Bill of Rights was dissolved? What rules would be implemented in their place? It all sort of fell into place from there.

Article 5 deals with some heavy subject matter and the characters go through their share of traumatic experiences. Do you think your work as a mental health therapist helped with some of the journeys you created?
I've learned a lot from my career, but perhaps the most important thing is the incredible tenacity of the human spirit. In the mental health field we often see people at their most difficult moments. Our job is to help them rise up, reclaim their strength. Witnessing someone recover after they've stumbled is the kind of thing that changes the way you look at the world.

When I write, I'm aware of the mental health of my characters -- they've been through some traumatic things, and as a result, are dealing with some pretty hefty emotional consequences. Things that anyone might feel after experiencing what Chase and Ember have. But they're resilient. Like with anyone struggling with a hardship, there is hope, as long as they can learn to trust and support each other.

I understand that you were in the marching band in high school... that's awesome! Do you think any of those skills were transferable to writing?
Of course! Music reaches us on a level little else does. It spurs creativity, gets us thinking about things differently. I don't have any proof of that, but I bet you a cup of tea it's true! Plus, I had so much fun in marching band - the camaraderie, the discipline, learning to deal with how other people viewed me because of it - they're all experiences I wouldn't trade for anything.

Are there novels that you would recommend to fans of Article 5?
I'm part of the Apocalypsies, which is a group of 2012 YA debut authors, and ALL of their books are going to be fantastic. I mean, some really intriguing, exciting stuff is coming down the line this year! Read them all!

And finally -- because I have to ask -- Twilight or Harry Potter? (Don't worry, this is a totally safe place! No curses will be thrown.)
Don't make me choose! I actually love them both! Twilight for the romance and tension and Harry Potter because, come on, it's Harry Potter! I so wish I lived in his world!!! (Perhaps minus Voldemort)

Thanks for letting me visit Sonia! This was fun!


Find Kristen:


Anyone still here? No? I can't say I blame you! Intriguing concept? Realistic, resilient characters? It sounds about right. I definitely recommend this one to everyone! Thanks so much to Kristen for being here today!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

In My Mailbox (18)

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.


So you know the last few weeks have been kind of slow book-wise for me? NOT THIS TIME! Canadian publishers, I love you <3 These actually all came on the same day which was crazy but hey, I'm not complaining.

(I found my camera! And the charger! YAY!)

Croak by Gina Damico - This one was pitched as snarky and funny which totally sounds like my kind of read. The cover is so shiny.

Dead Is A Battlefield by Marlene Perez - Ahh, this sounds really good... too bad it's the 6th book in a series I haven't yet started! I'll have to see whether I'm going to start the series from the beginning or just pass the book along to someone else.

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti - I've already finished this one and it is SO GOOD. Stay tuned for an interview with the author and giveaway for Canadian residents.

Loss by Jackie Morse Kessler - Another series I have yet to start! I've been interesting in beginning it for a while though so hopefully I'll be able to soon. This one is also veeery shiny.

Fever by Lauren DeStefano - I loved Wither when I read it last year and so I have been dying to get my hands on this sequel. I've read some awesome reviews already and I'm eager to get back to this fascinating world. I can't wait to get started!

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze - I can't wait to get started on this! + seriously, Galaxy Craze is the coolest name EVER.

Revived by Cat Patrick - WOO! I'm so glad that this is here -- the premise sounds amazing and I've heard great things about Cat Patrick's debut novel (which I will get to... eventually...)

The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith - I really loved Jennifer's novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and even though this is completely different, I'm still pumped! I love MGs like this one :)

So that's my haul for this week! An enormous thank you to Thomas Allen & Sons, Hachette Book Group Canada and my library. 

I hope you had a wonderful week! Happy reading!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Raincoast Books for review
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover, 364 pages
Release Date: January 31, 2012

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

Standing at the top of its genre, Article 5 presents a compelling, emotional read that you won't want to miss.

The action begins to unfold from the minute this book is opened. The oppression and brutality of the new world is almost startling to read and I don't think I got quite used to it at any point while reading. That being said, it did feel remarkably realistic for a country ruled by violence and fear. There's something to be said about the fact that Kristen Simmons does not gloss over the harshness and yet still manages to evoke such hopeful feelings in me.

Those hopeful feelings were mostly thanks to Ember and Chase, the leading characters. Ember is everything I could hope for in a protagonist. She's strong in the face of danger and can stand her ground but still has that vulnerable side that's just desperate to find her mom safe and sound. Through all of the hardships Ember goes through, she remains resilient and gets only increasingly brave.

Right by her side for a good deal of the action is Chase, Ember's childhood sweetheart. Chase has been through his own share of traumatic experiences and is hardened because of them. That's why it's even sweeter seeing him with Ember where he's perhaps just a little softer, but it's a change that's noticeable. Watching Chase and Ember chip away at the wall that has come between them is a struggle (these two are way too good at keeping their emotions buried) but so definitely worth it.

This is the kind of book that you won't be able to put down. With constant action and characters that manage to worm their way into your heart, you'll want to keep reading until you've finished. At which point, of course, you'll lament the fact that you don't have the second book waiting for you to read. Article 5 kept me up late and had me thinking about it for days after - that's what I consider the mark of an excellent book.

Cover Comment: I don't have too much to say about this one. I think it fits the story reasonably well and it's cool to see Chase rocking that army wear. Nice!

5 stars

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Goddess Interrupted by Aimée Carter

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)Goddess Interrupted by Aimée Carter

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Release Date: March 27, 2012

Kate Winters has won immortality.

But if she wants a life in the Underworld with Henry, she’ll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

For the longest time, I've seen reviews popping up for Goddess Interrupted that didn't find it as good a novel as the first book of the series. I started reading with those reviews in mind and I was pretty nervous! Needlessly nervous, I can now say. If anything, I enjoyed Goddess Interrupted even more than The Goddess Test.

Aimée Carter has ramped up the tension and suspense in this sequel. There are high stakes involved and I for one couldn't put the book down. Some major drama arrives right before Kate can be crowned Queen of the Underworld but the groundwork for the emotional turmoil the characters will go through is set up even before that.

Kate and Henry are both certainly characters with their sets of issues and those are apparent throughout the book. There's Kate, who is feeling self-conscious and unsure of herself for basically the entire book and there's Henry who seriously needs a lesson or two on showing proper affection. There were times when I wanted to grab them both by the shoulders and shake them out of it but I also really understood where they were coming from. Just the fact that Carter was able to shake up my emotions so much says a lot about her skill as a writer in my mind.

Just as in The Goddess Test, I loved the Greek mythology aspects of the novel. I'm such a sucker for mythology and even though this series portrays a very light version, the exploration of the Underworld and the Gods/Goddesses was one of my favourite things about the book.

Ending on another jaw-dropping cliffhanger, Goddess Interrupted is a fantastic sequel.

Cover Comments: Nothing EXTRAORDINARY! but it's pretty enough.

4 stars

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

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:
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Add it: Goodreads
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Format: Hardcover, 305 pages
Release Date: May 8, 2012
It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past - and hers?

This sounds so great. I love fairy tales and I'm always up for a new take on one. AND the main character and her sisters are named after the days of the week. Awesome, right?

What are you waiting on this beautiful Wednesday?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

In My Mailbox (17)

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 week of just one book. Again though, it's a fantastic book so I don't really mind ;)
I read this last night and this morning and I loved it. It's amazingly intense, fast-paced and gripping. My review should be up soon!
A big thanks to Crystal from Raincoast Books for this one :)

Friday, 9 March 2012

Remembrance by Michelle Madow

Remembrance by Michelle Madow

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Author for review
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Format: Paperback, 314 pages
Release Date: July 27, 2011

Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet.

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's high school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, fighting fate isn't going to be easy.

Based on the music video for Taylor Swift's "Love Story," Remembrance is easily an enjoyable read.

Lizzie is a fairly regular high school student when we're introduced to her at the beginning of the book. There have been some problems with her boyfriend, Jeremy, but for the most part, things are going well. I had trouble connecting with Lizzie as a character, personally. She is clearly unhappy in her relationship with Jeremy based on the careless, insensitive things he says and does and yet she never does anything about it. I spent most of the book hoping that she would just end it, regardless of how he "used to be" before being made co-captain of the soccer team.

Drew was also kind of weird for me. He had his moments of sweetness where a bright personality shined but then he was also a complete jerk at other points. His motives are explained in the novel but his erratic behaviour still doesn't really add up for me.

Despite the problems I had with the characters (all of the characters) I was still able to enjoy the romance. It's easy and quick -- something that can put a smile on your face, if nothing else. There's the insta love factor too which was something that I kind of just had to let go while reading.

The flashes to the past in Remembrance were probably my favourite part of the book. There aren't many and huge revelations don't come until near the end, but I thought they were integrated well into the story and just intriguing in general. There were a surprising amount of Jane Austen references which I thought was pretty interesting even though I've... never read Jane Austen. I wish there had been more of a focus on the reincarnation but I can see why it might have been seen as unnecessary too.

All in all, I liked the book even though I had a few issues with it.

Cover Comments: The mask is obviously the focal point of the cover and I like that. It reminds me a lot of the original "Love Story" video actually, and seeing as that was my original basis for wanting to read the book, I like that aspect.

3 stars

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (37)

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:
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Add it: Goodreads
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover, 525 pages
Release Date: May 1, 2012
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

MAY 1st. So close yet so far...

I LOVED Divergent and the wait for Insurgent is killing me! I want to read more about Tris and Four and their completely, 100% addicting story. I am trying really, really hard to avoid teasers for this one because I don't want to torture myself even more. This from a girl who used to read the back of the book before the beginning is saying something ;)

Plus, the cover is totally repping Amity which, DUH, is the coolest faction out there.

What are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and MeThe Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Penguin Canada for review
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Format: Hardcover, 375 pages
Release Date: February 21, 2012

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

Although the idea of heartbreak is nothing unheard of, the concept of actually having your heart split into two pieces after love goes wrong is a new one. Jess Rothenberg explores exactly this though and manages to pull it off spectacularly.

When I first heard of what The Catastrophic History of You and Me was about, I was mega excited. This is such a crazy, unique idea and I was jumping with anticipation at how it would be executed. Once Brie dies, she has to go through the five stages of grief until she ultimately accepts her fate. The book is basically divided into sections by stage but instead of just having 'stage: anger' and all of a sudden Brie consumed with burning rage, it all connects into a believable, enthralling story line.

The pacing is excellent as Brie explores the afterlife as well as the life she has left behind. And oh, the things she is missing! There is secret after betrayal after shocking revelation thrown out and it really keeps you guessing about what will happen next. The reasons for and the aftermath of Brie's death are not simple and reading to find out about them is a seriously enjoyable experience.

This book is funny and touching and sad and so many other things that are made of win. Reading it is really an emotional rollercoaster that you take with Brie and by the end of the book, I felt a connection to a number of the characters, all of which are so multi-layered and complex.

Take Brie for example. There are all these quirks about her that make her very endearing -- her love for Disney movies, the Your Mom Jokes she passes with Patrick, the sincere affection she has for her little brother. She wasn't a characters whose choices I always agreed with (that thing in the Anger stage - I was kind of ready to smack her!) but I could see where she was coming from and understand her. Then there's PATRICK, who is dreamy in that 80s way of his. He was supportive, helpful and funny and I thought his scenes with Brie were the best. Especially when he made the cheesy cheese nicknames (Cheeto, String Cheese, you get the idea) because tell me, who didn't love them?


Cover Comments: What an awesome dress. I really like this cover. I think you can see the whole afterlife thing playing a role and it's pulled off in a way that reflects the story. The only thing that bugs me about this cover is the fact that Brie isn't wearing her necklace! It's such a huge symbol in the story to me but then nothing is featured. Oh well :) Still pretty.

4.5 stars

Monday, 5 March 2012


Fangirl as defined by Urban Dictionary: A rabid breed of human female who is obsessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. (We don't discriminate.)

So, in other words...


Here in the Land of Awesome AKA The YA Blogosphere, people don't usually give you weird looks when you start squealing and screaming and ALL CAPS-ing your excitement for something to do with...

a book (again.)

In real life, most of my friends have gotten used to it but I still sometimes get the 'please shut up now, we don't care' look when I start to gush about my favourite books or a particular swoony lead I read about. APPARENTLY some people do not break into incoherent gushy rambling when the name 'Etienne St. Clair' is brought up.


I know. I didn't believe it either.

So, yeah. The YA Blogosphere? It's kind of magical to me.

How much is too much though? Is there a limit on how far you can go in your love for Noah Shaw? Are people going to want to throw a shoe at you if you mention Jace's golden locks one more time?

Yes and no.

I think I'm pretty resistant to the 'OMG HIS EYES ARE BLUE LIKE THE SKY, HOW UNIQUE!!!!!' Twitter updates when people are reading a book, just like I don't think I've ever been annoyed that someone was constantly talking about their favourite series (how hypocritical would that be for like HP? LOL). Enthusiasm in general is usually pretty appreciated and well-received in the YA community, I find.

In a review, the only thing that I ever really sigh over is too much time spent summarizing the events of the book. I want feelings and thoughts and opinions, not a revised retelling of what happens. If there's a bit of that, great! Just not for the whole thing, please, or it becomes kind of pointless. The other extreme is kind of just no reviewing and a whole lot of squealing over the protagonist's sparkly boyfriend. That's totally cool with me. If you are hopelessly in love with Sir Curly Hair, I want to hear about it! Actually, reading how infatuated you are with a character/plot device/ending/setting/etc. is probably just going to get me MOAAAARRR excited to read the book so I say go for it.

You can expect me, at least, to be loudly daydreaming about a certain Jem Carstairs for a looong time to come.

Feel free to join me.

What are your thoughts on fangirling? What do you like to shout your love for over the rooftops?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

In My Mailbox (16)

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.
Just one book this week but I'm SO EXCITED to have it. A huge thanks to Penguin Canada for sending over...

The Catastrophic History of You and Me

I started this yesterday -- I'm not very far, just starting the denial stage -- but I really like it so far! Brie's pretty easy to relate to and I can see the humour that everyone keeps mentioning. Now I just need to be properly introduced to Patrick and all will be well ;)

Anything exciting in your mailbox?

Friday, 2 March 2012

Waiting on... Friday?

Hi everyone!

This post is really more than just the title says... It's kind of a jumbled mix of random things I wanted to share, so please, bear with me.

(Or, you know, be entertained by this GIF instead... up to you)

The Book Wanting!

So, the book that I'm waiting on this week?

Of PoseidonOf Poseidon by Anna Banks

Add it: Goodreads
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Hardcover, 324 pages
Release Date: May 22, 2012

Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.

What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom. Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.
GIMME GIMME GIMME!!! *grabby hands* I'm so intrigued by water creatures and luckily, it seems like I'm not the only one. There are a bunch of books from under the sea coming out this year and I can't waaaait.

The Pretty New Cover!

Reached (Matched, #3)

Is it not gorgeous? I've loved all of the covers for this series -- they're simple yet still so elegant-looking -- and I really like this one too. The whole transition from in the bubble to smashing the bubble to out of the bubble... wooooo, Cassia! Of course, I have yet to read Crossed, despite owning it, but that's a tale for another time.

The Shameless Endorsing!

My friend May (as she is known on the web) has started a blog! Woohoo! It's a writing blog, not a book blog, but since they seem to go hand-in-hand sometimes, I thought I'd share :) I would love for you to check it out if you have the chance.

May is... amazing. She's kind of crazy and talks about writing 97% of the day and when she gets excited about something, she's kind of an unstoppable force but I love her. She is without a doubt the most sincerely sweet person you will ever meet and she's just awesome in general.

Oh, and I like her writing. So obviously I'll be stalking her blog.... Hope to see you there!

(Ah, right, the actual blog. You can find it HERE: Strung By Words. It's all shiny and brand-new.)

(Obviously this was a totally non-biased viewpoint though....)

The Obligatory Explanation!

I feel like I've been absent lately. Not just from posting but from commenting and just interacting in general. I'm sorry. I really do miss it. Talking to you guys is, without a doubt, my favourite part of blogging.

Recently, I've been sick and in a very serious relationship with my blanket and multiple boxes of tissues. I'm hopeful that we're on the verge of a break-up but... I'm pretty irresistable.

I won't even get started on my school work because I would really rather not think about the 2 tests, 2 presentations and 1 project I have due for Monday. Spring Break is coming up (so soon!) though so I'll be able to catch up on talking to all of you lovely people then :)


And so ends the LONGEST BLOG POST EVER. Wow.