Sunday, 13 January 2013

Blogspiration (15)

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.

2 simple things to live by... I'm always learning and discovering what makes me happy and I hope it's something that I'll continue to do. Your time is too valuable to hate what you're spending it on.
(also: (half of) this is my future university's slogan!)
Hope everyone has a great week ahead of them! <3

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Underworld by Meg Cabot

Underworld (Abandon Trilogy #2)Underworld by Meg Cabot

Add to: Goodreads
Source: ARC gifted by Sarah at Workaday Reads (thank you!)
Publisher: Point
Format: Hardcover, 318 pages
Release Day: May 8, 2012

Note: Spoilers (minor) for Book 1 in summary, but not review!

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn't dead.

Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.

Her captor, John Hayden, claims it's for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they've come back as Furies, intent on vengeance... on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there... and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.

And unless Pierce is careful, this time there'll be no escape.

While I really enjoyed the first novel in this series Abandon, the sequel fell flat for me.

I don't think I've ever been a reader that required a lot of 'action' in a novel to feel interested (although I do love those types of books too!) but for the better part of my reading of Underworld... I was bored. The things that were happening just didn't feel important enough to me. There was no sense of urgency and I felt like it was just dragging. I like to see plot progression in a series and in this case, I just don't feel like it was moved forward very much.

The characters in this novel, Pierce and John, were just okay for me. On one hand, I had a strong sense of who they were which is always good but on the other... I didn't really like those characters. The thing that I'd liked so much about Pierce in Abandon, her kindness and caring personality, kind of backfired a bit in this book. I could understand her need to 'take care' of John but then I feel like parts of their relationship were unhealthy and, frankly, kind of scary!

Despite the above points, there were a few things that I enjoyed about Underworld. The writing was what I've come to expect from Meg Cabot: easy flow that makes for a nice read. I also enjoyed some of the side characters (Mr. Smith, you're still cool!) but overall, this wasn't a read for me.

Cover Comments: I do love this cover. It's kind of reflective/shiny on the ARC and the swirls... they're still pretty! Plus, love the dark blue cover.

2.5 Golden Crowns

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

SpeechlessSpeechless by Hannah Harrington

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Ontario Blogger Meet-Up
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Release Date: August 28, 2012

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself.

Hannah Harrington breathes new life and urgency into this classic cautionary tale.

Chelsea Knot makes a mistake... one that changes her entire life. Although she doesn't start off as the most likeable character, I could never bring myself to hate Chelsea. There's this spark of innate goodness in her and watching it grow as the novel progressed was one of my favourite aspects of the book. Chelsea's not the most selfless person in the world but when it counts, she stands up for what she knows to be right and that was so refreshing to read.

The secondary characters -- Asha, Sam, Andy, Lou, Dex and Noah -- that Chelsea gets to know were so bright and colourful. Harrington strikes a perfect balance with letting them shine and allowing the main character room to grow on her own.

I've heard from other readers that this novel and Hannah Harrington's debut were emotionally-charged reads but I didn't really see it until I started reading myself. I cried, I laughed and I hugged the book to my chest upon completion -- I can give no higher compliment ;)

The issues in Speechless aren't presented subtly and the impact that they leave is a big one. I loved the portrayal of these sensitive and hugely important topics and would recommend it to anyone.

First Words: AHHHH I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!! *clings*

Cover Comments: I'm so so so fascinated by the choice to use a blank white cover! I would be so curious to see how that impacted sales. I saw it in the bookstore and it definitely does stand out. What do you think of the choice to keep it simple?

5 Golden Crowns!
First one of 2013! That sure didn't take long...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (53)

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.

The Art of WishingThe Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

Add to: Goodreads
Publisher: Dial BFYR
Format: Hardcover, 314 pages
Release Date: March 21, 2013

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie's ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn't know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else's hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie -- he's also a sophomore at Margo's high school, and he's on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.
Got this posted with one minute to spare...
But yes, this book! I can't wait to read it. I've never read a genie book before (and only know of a couple anyway) and it sounds exciting! Because even though I've NEVER SEEN ALADDIN (I've seen like everything else!!) genies sound fun and mysterious and awesome.
What are you counting down the days for?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Kiss Me Deadly anthology

Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal LoveKiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Gifted by Tiff from Mostly YA Lit (thank you! <3)
Publisher: Running Press Teens
Format: Paperback, 430 pages
Release Date: August 3, 2010

For those who thirst for accounts of paranormal romance, Trisha Telep has compiled some of the most thrilling takes of forbidden love in this collection. First crushes and last rites; dark spells and bright magic; forbidden lovers and enchanted beings -- and always, always the hungry games of desire. Pucker up for a darkly sweet collection of ghosts, shape shifters, fairies, unicorns, vampires, and demons in tales from today's biggest writers of the paranormal persuasion.
I've written down a couple of notes on each story so here's a snapshot of my thoughts.

The Assassin's Apprentice by Michelle Zink

This story was a bit of a disappointing start to the anthology for me. The aspect of the main character Rose dealing with the loss of her family was probably my favourite one but I didn't care much at all for the romance. Granted, this IS a short story but the sudden love story didn't hold my attention. I did think the ending was sweet though, it's a nice conclusion. Overall, it was an okay story.

Errant by Diana Peterfreund

I loved this story! The dual POVs worked very well... It was interesting to see the pre-conceived notions that both girls started off with evolve as the story progressed. All of the characters were well-developed and I liked the relationships presented, especially between the girls and with the unicorn. I'm so much more interested in reading the Killer Unicorn books now; the mythology was awesome.

The Spirit Jar by Karen Mahoney

This story was a lot of fun... spooky and dramatic! I also really liked the romantic aspect. It was executed very well and it felt compelling and believable to me. A lot of this had to do with the characters of Moth and Adam who were great but also the mythology. I wouldn't mind reading more on this story! And woohoo, now I'll be able to!

Lost by Justine Musk

This story had a very interesting concept! I just wish it was a bit longer so that I could have seen certain elements further explored. There was a cool twist (by 'twist' I mean total point of the story that I msised) and it was a nice 'oooh!' moment. Overall, well-written.

The Spy Who Never Grew Up by Sarah Rees Brennan

SRB can do no wrong. This was an absolutely delightful twist on Peter Pan. It was just so fun and imaginative! I loved the humour that was always present in the story and the character of Peter Pan was a great way to channel it. The story features brilliant pacing and storytelling and is just heaps and heaps of fun.

Dungeons of Langeais by Becca Fitzpatrick

Pretty creepy! No really. It freaked me the heck out. This wasn't helped by the fact that I just re-watched that Criminal Minds episode with the rats in the basement and then there were RATS IN THE BASEMENT. I was also kind of confused about the characters as I tried to relate it back to Hush, Hush (my memory is fuzzy). But then I went online and felt pretty stupid since it's pretty obvious, haha. All in all though, I wasn't really feeling this story.

Behind the Red Door by Caitlin Kittredge

To tell you the truth, I was hating this story when I started off. It talks about Southern kids drinking slushies with vodka and I was like yawn yawn yawn. But then... bam. BAM. Easily the most freaky story in the anthology. I'm not sure how much I 'liked' it but it was definitely a good and scary ghost tale.

Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan

This is a nice backstory to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. If you ever felt curious about Sister Tabitha and her life before the events of the novel, this is the story for you! The emotions came through loud and clear and I really enjoyed (appreciated?) the conflicting feelings that Tabitha felt. One thing though... So okay, I've read Carrie Ryan's series and her short story in the Enthralled anthology and while I've really liked them all, I want to read something BESIDES ZOMBIES now.

Familiar by Michelle Rowen

Aww, I loved this story! It was so adorable and reading it gave me the biggest smile. I was impressed with the character development for a short story especially since it manages to remain relatively light-hearted. I mean really though... witches!! How could I not love this? So fun. (And whaaat? Michelle Rowen is Morgan Rhodes? I so didn't know this!)

Fearless by Rachel Vincent

I must read the Soul Screamers series. This was a great story and I thought the writing was excellent. I really enjoyed the romance between Sabine and Nash and just the overall feel of the story. This is my second short story from Rachel Vincent and it's a huge push to actually read a full novel (especially since I have 3 sitting on my shelf...).

Vermillion by Daniel Marks

I wanted to like this story but I just found it long and confusing to tell the truth. I thought a couple times about DNFing it because it just couldn't hold my attention. There was this rivalry (intense rivalry!) between characters that had just met and it just seemed so random to me, I couldn't understand or appreciate it.

The Hounds of Ulster by Maggie Stiefvater

I loved this one! I just read Lament about a month ago and it was great to jump back into the faerie world. It had that same whimsical feel and was as well-written as I hoped it would be. There was a twist in this one that had me re-reading about five times to make sure I'd gotten it right and I loved that.

Many Happy Returns by Daniel Waters

Oh, this story was so sad. The author does a nice job of showing different reactions that a lot of characters had to the same event so kudos for that. It was written well enough but I just don't think it was my kind of story. I liked it but didn't love it.

Conclusion? I need to read more anthologies!

4 Golden Crowns!

Cover Comments: Ehhh, it's alright. I like the font!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Welcome to 2013

I hope 2013 is everything you hope it will be. Happy New Year!