Sunday, 28 October 2012

Blogspiration (12)

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.
Credo ne carma, credo che si riceve ciò che si è dato.
Se vivrete nel modo giusto, il karma si prenderà cura di voi.
Source: storminsideus

Friday, 26 October 2012

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
Publisher: Random House
Format: Hardcover, 370 pages
Release Date: September 11, 2012

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

Sarah Rees Brennan was always a favourite author of mine from her Demon's Lexicon series, but now? After this book? I'll read anything she ever writes... period. It was that good.

Kami Glass was a wonderful protagonist. She was so loud and determined, never hesitant to go after what she wanted. Her character leaped off the pages at me and I really felt like we were friends! Jared was amazing as well. I don't normally go for the brooding, gloomy type but something about Jared's character clicked with me. Seeing him from Kami's mind as the 'imaginary friend' gave him another layer and a depth that just resonated with me.

The writing itself is magnificent. The humour is spot-on and it wasn't uncommon to see me laughing my head off (in public places) at it. I wouldn't hesitate to hang out with any of these characters or visit Sorry-in-the-Vale. Such an atmospheric setting!

And then... the plot. Seriously, this book did no wrong in my opinion and the storyline is definitely included in that! There's a balance in the tones of the novel that make it fun, spooky, hilarious and exciting all at once.

So, here's the deal. I love a lot of books. Perhaps I'm just easy to please and uncritical but whatever the case, the fact remains. The books that I honestly and truly adore, the books that I can feel in my soul and reduce me to ripping up paper to calm my emotions* are a bit more rare. Unspoken is one of those books.

Cover Comments: I love this. I really wish that there were more illustrated book covers because it just... works.

* true story. this ending... it buuuuuurns!

5 Golden Crowns!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cover Correction (3)

Cover Correction is a semi-regular feature I do over on the blog to spotlight some recent (or maybe even old) cover changes to series. Some changes I hate and some changes I love, so I love to be able to talk about some of these!

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Fury (The Fury Trilogy, #1)Fury (The Fury Trilogy #1)

Okay, so I know that the original cover had almost everyone freaking out with how pretty it was (or at least that's how I remember it!) but I was never too huge a fan. The hair is beautiful and everything but... that posture. I can't get over the slouching, it is seriously distracting to me every time I look at the cover! I like the expression on the girl's face for the new cover... it screams 'revenge' to me. Although I will say that I prefer the old tagline: "Sometimes sorry isn't enough."

Preferred: New


The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You & MeThe Catastrophic History of You and MeThe Catastrophic History of You and Me

Whew! Three covers and in all honesty, none that I really dislike. The first (pre-pub) was definitely eye-catching and very unique. I was a little sad that they changed it to the second (hardcover) but not really because it's so pretty! I love the way that they've edited Brie's body to really make it seem like she's dead. The new paperback isn't something that I would normally go for but it really reminds me of Patrick! I like the classic look to it. This one's a tough one but there's a definite winner for me.

Preferred: Hardcover (middle)


Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)

*sniff* I KNEW this would happen to me! Born Wicked has what I think is one of the prettiest covers EVER and the thought that the rest of the series will be different is kind of sad. BUT, in all fairness, the paperback is pretty great as well. It totally gives off that witch vibe whereas the original doesn't really tell you much. But... still! Look at that gorgeous, stunning, perfect first one <3 Ah well. The publisher knows best :) I hope that the paperback gets tons more people to check out the series because it is fabulous!

Preferred: Original

Thoughts? I want to hear them! Leave a comment and let me know what you think about these cover changes.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Borrowed
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Paperback, 453 pages
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.

Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

While I found Sweet Evil entertaining and original, I was stopped from totally loving it because of the characters and some all too convenient plot details.

The characters in this novel felt a little too cookie-cutter for me. There's Anna (the "good girl" with eeevil temptations) and Kai (the "bad boy" with a "good heart"). There were plenty of moments that I was still able to read the book and enjoy the situations the characters were in but there was also an unfortunate number of times where my annoyance with the characters clouded that enjoyment.

And it was unfortunate because the mythology was so COOL! The Nephilim are the children of Dukes of Sin with the mission to corrupt as much of humanity as possible. I mean, really... how unique and potentially awesome is that? I think Wendy Higgins did a great job at exploring some of the possibilities of this situation while still leaving room for plenty more.

I must say though, some of the thrill that the concept gave me was lost with the annoyance I felt at the romance and some of the other plot points. A lot of things that happened in the novel seemed to be thrown in for no particular reason (other than maybe to give the characters some time to obsess over each other). All of the big problems were solved so easily. Perhaps with more of a struggle on the road to victory, I would have appreciated the characters' efforts more.

Recommended if you're looking for the classic paranormal romance with a unique mythology!

Cover Comments: You know that classic image of the popular kids whispering mean comments about the less popular ones and making no secret of their mockery? YEAH. That's what I can't help but think when I see their poses. I like the background pictures of the trees and the fog though! So spooky.

3 Golden Crowns!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A Thank You (ft. Voldemort)

I'm sure you've noticed that this month has been pretty sparse with posting. It's been busy and I've been home a lot less than I normally am but for the most part, the reason for my absence has mostly just been an emotional thing.

Look, don't get me wrong. I love blogging and reading and talking about books with every corner of my heart, but sometimes I just don't feel like it. And sometimes it has nothing to do with blogging at all and I just don't feel like doing anything but sleeping and sleeping and did I mention sleeping.

But then, do you know that feeling where you're just so miserable and hug-deprived that you have to reach for a book? That moment when you start a book and can just forget about everything else that's going on in your head? That's why I read. And I'm sure there are tons of bloggers that feel the exact same way and that's why I blog. I love that I can talk about books that I love and books that I hate, tweet about politics and my obsession with Aussie accents and even make whiny, rambling posts like this. I have never ever ever been part of a community that is so generous and kind and supportive. A lot of drama happens maybe but I can honestly say that there has never been a moment where I've completely forgotten the amazing parts of this world.

I hope you know that whenever I'm having a bad day, the thought of people actually reading this blog makes me smile. I hope you know that every time I read a comment* from one of you, it brightens my day. Thank you for sticking with me and letting me into your head a little bit as well.

A special note to commenters: I can't even say how much it means to me... You guys are amongst the smartest, funniest people I know. Thank you for being my friends :)

Source: Anne Frey
Of course, no post is complete without a creepy Voldemort hug! Do you see the depth of my appreciation?! EVIL OVERLORD HUGS FOR EEEEEEVERYBODY!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Spark (Elemental, #2)Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Add to: Goodreads
Source: From publisher for review
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Format: Paperback, 345 pages
Release Date: August 28, 2012

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.
Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.
Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it.
More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake -- this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.
Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.
The fuse is lit…

5 Reasons Why You Should Read Spark

1. hot boys
2. hot boys
3. hot boys
4. hot boys
5. hot boys

Alright, fine, there's more than that. But don't tell me that doesn't draw you in ;)

1. Loved the characters in Storm? Well here they get EVEN BETTER!
I fell hard for the characters in Storm but even so, my love for them somehow reached even higher levels in the sequel! Many of them seem a lot more complex to me now than they did when I first started the series and I think that brings more of a sort of appreciation from me. I am so, so invested in these characters. One that I particularly LOVED in Spark was Hunter. I liked him in the previous book but there was nothing to make me love him. In Spark? Problem solved.

2. Meet Gabriel Merrick, the most wonderfully complex character ever.
Oh my goodness, this boy. There are about seven thousand layers to Gabriel... he is remarkably like a real person. He misunderstands things, speaks out of turn and loses his temper easily. He doesn't make it easy for people to help him. And yet, it is SO CLEAR that he's trying to do the best that he can. There are so many fears and insecurities underneath the surface of Gabriel and all of them co-exist amongst the most beautiful, genuine and caring parts of him. I love love love love love loooooooove his character!

3. E-M-O-T-I-O-N
I cried and I laughed while reading this -- for me, this is generally a good sign! Brigid Kemmerer has this ability to get right under your skin with her words and make you feel emotions for the things that seem so insignificant. The changing POVs in this story (Gabriel and Layne, who, by the way, is FABULOUS) worked flawlessly and really maximized the emotional connection that I had to the story. Also with the emotion? The romance. I could FEEL the chemistry between Gabriel and Layne.

4. Brigid doesn't skirt around the tough stuff
Just like in the previous novel of the series, there is some focus on a very serious issue. Bullying is a prevalent topic in the novel and I found it very well-written. It honestly broke my heart to see some of the things that were going on in the school and it's hard not to feel the horror and disgust that they actually do happen.  

5. Family <3
I have probably said it enough times to make you all sick but I LOVE FAMILY STORYLINES. The Merrick brothers don't seem like the most perfect family in this book but oh, it killed me to watch them. All of their interactions seem so personal and charged with a dozen different emotions. Just as with the individual characters, the dynamics of this family unit are layered and complicated and I wouldn't have it any other way. Well, okay, maybe I'd be up for a nice big group hug every now and again.

(bonus: hot boys!)

So basically: This author needs to be on your to-read list if she's not already. The Merrick brother await you!

Cover Comments: Hellooooo Gabriel!

5 Golden Crowns!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Blogspiration (11)

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

Source: observando
The only thing stopping me is myself.

Well, that, and my acceptance letter to Hogwarts. I mean, REALLY. Haven't I waited long enough?!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Add to: Goodreads
Source: NetGalley - thank you HT! <3
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: July 31, 2012

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.
Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
At first glance, it's easy to mistake Pushing the Limits for another one of those 'issue' books about troubled teens falling in love. Please don't make that mistake. While the novel certainly goes in that direction, the story of Echo and Noah is much deeper and much more powerful than just that.

Told in alternating points of view, I found Pushing the Limits' main strength in its characterization. Echo and Noah were both such complex, layered individuals. Reading their respective pasts didn't feel like a venture into melodramatic territory but rather like a journey into understanding characters made up of devastating and realistic pasts. It was beautiful and heart-warming to watch as Echo and Noah learned to tackle their problems and change for the better.

The romantic aspect of the book is a fairly prominent one and I really enjoyed reading it. Noah isn't the typical 'bad boy' that I expected him to be. The character that I expected to be broody and surly was so obviously and deeply caring and protective toward his family (and eventually Echo) -- my heart melted. That's not to say though that Noah didn't have plenty of teenage boy moments (one more comment about Echo's body and I was going to throw something at him!). He and Echo had chemistry off the charts... if you're into a lot of sexy moments, there 'ya go!

Katie McGarry will have you on the edge of your seat, crossing your fingers and anxiously reading to see how Echo and Noah overcome the obstacles in their paths. Their journey toward healing isn't an easy one but it's portrayed realistically every step of the way.

I don't normally find myself comparing books but I will say that if you enjoyed Perfect Chemistry, I'm pretty confident that you'll like this one as well!

Cover Comments: I don't really have strong feelings for this one either way. There is quite a bit of that going on in the book! ;)

4 Golden Crowns!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (52)

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

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Add it: Goodreads
Publisher: Random House BfYR
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: 2013


I NEVER do this. I don't use books for WoW that don't have covers, page numbers, release dates or summaries because:

a) there are so many books that do and they just... look nicer on the blog... (never let it be said that I am not a shallow person, friends)

b) why would I drive myself crazy like that?

Answer to b): Sarah. Rees. Brennan. Unspoken drove me (and countless others if Twitter is any indication) insane. I am going out of my mind with want for this book and a lack of cover or summary will not deter me! As long as Kami and Jared are present SRB is writing, I WILL HAPPILY DEVOUR IT. You are missing out big time if you skip over this author. BIG TIMEEEEE.

So yeah. Untold. I'm currently working on an evil plan to hijack Sarah's brain but, in the meantime, this'll have to do.

What are you desperately waiting for?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Purchased
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover, 409 pages
Release Date: October 18, 2011

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

There are some books that I want to make everyone read. I want to climb to the top of a skyscraper and scream out my recommendation to all the unfortunate passer-bys. Then there are some books where I get to the end of the last page and want nothing more than to hug the book for all it's worth. Somehow, The Scorpio Races made me feel a bit of both.

Puck and Sean are both such brilliant characters that it's hard for me to imagine they don't really exist somewhere. The entire story shines with so much life and energy that I was fully anticipating hearing about The Races on the news someday when I was reading. 'Killer water horses' was what initally drew me into this read but I ended up staying for so much more than that.

Puck and Sean, Sean and Puck. I don't which of the two I prefer which is an odd thing for me. On one hand, we have Puck, who is so determined and tenacious. I adored Puck. There was so much uncertainty and vulnerability in her but all of it was covered in a veil of courage and strength. And Sean! He's a lot more quiet than I'd anticipated but it's a deliberate, careful kind of quiet. I grew to love him so much throughout the course of the book.

The island of Thisby is bursting to the seams with character. The entire book was just so atmospheric... I really felt like I'd been transported to Thisby.

I don't think I've come close to conveying how deeply I loved The Scorpio Races. Let me just say this: It was brilliant, I loved it. The end.

Cover Comments: I actually really like this cover. It has that older, classic feel to it and I think it works really well for the book.

5 Golden Crowns!

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Add it: Goodreads
Source: Won from Inkpop!
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover, 359 pages
Release Date: April 12, 2011

Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.
Until now.
Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.
In The Gathering , New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong brings all the supernatural thrills from her wildly successful Darkest Powers series to Darkness Rising, her scorching hot new trilogy.
Exciting new paranormal creatures and a strong cast of characters liven up the seemingly normal town of Salmon Creek in Kelley Armstrong's latest YA series.

There were a couple of huge things that made me want to read this book. First, I'm a big fan of Kelley Armstrong's other YA series, The Darkest Powers (oh Chloe and Derek!). Second, this book is set in CANADA! Never mind that I've never been to that side of the country but my national pride wouldn't let me skip this book!

One of my absolute favourite things about Kelley Armstrong's series is her characters. Although they aren't all immediate favourites (hi Derek) I still feel something for them straight from the start. It takes no time at all for each character to leave their mark on me and willingly or not, I'm invested in their story. The Gathering was no exception. I immediately fell for the main character, Maya, who leads this story so well with courage, confidence and a great sense of humour. The secondary characters were wonderful additions as well and I especially loved Daniel and Maya's parents!

Although this is probably the smallest town I've read about (it has less than 200 inhabitants!), Salmon Creek is definitely not what it looks like at first glance. It's owned by a medical research company and all of the people in the town work for it. There were some great possible plot points for later on being suggested and I can't wait to explore the whole mystery further! Aside from that, the town itself was stunning. The lush and exotic environment was described so well and I wanted nothing more than to zoom away to the forest and observe some cougars!*

So, did I enjoy The Gathering? Absolutely! However, I do think it very much has that 'first novel' feel to it. There's a lot of set-up being done for the next books and it made the novel feel slow at parts. It definitely speeds up toward the end but there were moments that the plot felt a bit underwhelming. Still, definitely a great start to the series!


Cover Comments: I kind of struggle for what to say about covers with faces. Like, I guess she has a suitable face? She's very pretty? I don't know! Um... I like the blue!

* Apparently 'cougar' is the Canadian equivalent of 'mountain lion'?! I did not know that! 'Puma' is also a synonym. Am I the only one that didn't know this??

4 Golden Crowns!