Monday, January 30, 2012

Variant by Robison Wells

Variant (Variant, #1)Title: Variant
Author: Robison Wells
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: October 4, 2011
Pages: 373
Series: Variant #1

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.

I read this book in a matter of hours, that's how hooking it was. The mystery of the school grabbed me from the first page, barely releasing me on the final one, making me think about what could happen to the characters next and how their lives would be forever changed. Apart from the brutal cliffhanger, I also enjoyed the characters; they had coherent thought even when they did not seem to at first. The book was set in Benson's point of view, one with recent experience of the outside world, giving him more to base his decisions on than most of the other students had. The setting was a mysterious one, you never knew what the school would throw at you, or rather the people who ran the school would. What was the best part of this book? The way it made you feel for all of it's characters, even those that were opposing the protagonist which can only be credited to the phenomenal writing that wove the story in a fashion of mystery and surprises. The story was paced excellently, never too slow or rushing crucial events, adding to the quality of this book even more. Altogether, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysterious reads or wants to try something unique and new, for those reasons I give Variant a 5/5.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature done by The Story Siren. This week's In My Mailbox is actually a compilation of the last two weeks, during which I went to a book sale, hence the large number of bought books.

For Review:
Bitterblue (The Seven Kingdoms, #3)Everneath (Everneath, #1)Black Heart (Curse Workers, #3)

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Thanks to Penguin Canada)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Thanks to HarperCollins Canada)
Black Heart by Holly Black (Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada)

SwitchedDeadly Cool (Deadly Cool, #1)Under the Never SkyAnna and the French KissGlow (Sky Chasers, #1)Cryer's CrossA Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)

Switched by Amanda Hocking
Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
A Million Suns by Beth Revis

What did you get this week?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard

Never Have I Ever (The Lying Game #2)Title: Never Have I Ever
Author: Sara Shepard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: August 2, 2011
Pages: 309
Series: The Lying Game #2

Sara Shepard, the author of the Pretty Little Liars novels, has followed up those top-selling fictions with an even more artfully knotted series. At its center is a murdered narrator whose long-lost identical twin sister Emma is serving as a stand-in detective to find the killer. In the second episode of their hunt, the pair discovers new clues, but they know that as they search for the killer, he or she is watching their every move, waiting for the right moment to end it all. Editor's recommendation.

This was a book that I was really hoping was a better book than it's predecessor, and I was hugely excited when it was. As a huge fan of Sara's, I was really hoping for more of the mystery and action that she is known for to be in this book. This book was more up to her standards than I found The Lying Game to be, it had that suspense and not knowing who did it feel that makes her books impossible to put down. The characters seemed to change and grow in this book, Emma matured and seemed to mirror her dead twin at times. She was a great character to be protagonist because she had the intelligence to figure out who killed Sutton. I also loved that Emma didn't fall into the temptations of Sutton's world; she kept her head about her and trudged on to find out who offed her sister. Ethan was another character I enjoyed, he was so faithful to Emma, even when she pushed him away. On the writing side of things, this book had much more of the classic Sara Shepard feel to it than The Lying Game did, setting up wonderfully for a third book, with a ending leaving you questioning the events of the entire book. Altogether, I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys a good YA mystery book. I give Never Have I Ever a 4/5 for being a great sequel.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cover Reveal!

Elana Johnson's Possession and Surrender got brand new covers! Personally, I love them and the color they incorporate, while still keeping design aspects from the earlier covers.

What do you think?

Follow Friday

So Follow my Blog Friday is a meme held by Parajunkee and it's where you answer the weekly question and then link yourself and you go and check out other blogs of your interest.

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

I've never enjoyed high fantasy or historical books. I don't know what it is about these two genres that turns me off, but I often cannot stand them, but there have been a few exceptions of course :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, #2)Title: My Soul to Save
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release: December 29, 2009
Pages: 279
Series: Soul Screamers #2

When Kaylee Cavanaugh screams, someone dies.
So when teen pop star Eden croaks onstage and Kaylee doesn't wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can't cry for someone who has no soul.
The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad's ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend's loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls: a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can't possibly understand.
Kaylee can't let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk….

After reading the first book and thinking it was simply OK, I dove into this book with higher hopes, but unfortunately, this book did not live up anywhere near those. I wanted to like the book so much, but it just didn't feel like anything really changed in the character's lives. They went through a massive adventure, but they didn't seem to be all that effected by it. I didn't feel very connected to any of the characters and I really felt that Nash was way too controlling of Kaylee in particular. As for the plot, it moved at a fairly quick pace, but it never really  caught my attention. The writing style was good, one of my favorite parts of the book, filling in the details without leaving much out, but not overloading the reader. The end was one of the better parts, featuring loss, but not much of a cliffhanger. When all was said and done, I will probably try one more book of this series before giving up on it, but until then, I give My Soul to Save a 2.5/5.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)Title: Incarnate
Author: Jodi Meadows
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Release: January 31, 2012
Pages: 384
Series: Newsoul #1
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.

After seeing the cover for Incarnate and reading the synopsis, I knew I would have to read it. When I recieved a copy in the mail, I read it in two days, it took all of my willpower to not read it in one day. I went in with fairly high expectations, the book sounded really good, and it had a gorgeous cover, I can happily say, my expectations were met.

The cover of this book is gorgeous; one of the best I have ever seen. I love how a major element of the book is brought to life on this cover, also the colours almost symbolize Ana's newness to the world, a fresh pallette of colour that only youth can bring. Apart from how the cover is connected to the story, I love how bright this cover is, setting it apart from many Young Adult covers that are very dark. In the eyes of a potential reader, this cover will stand out against other cover because of how bright it is. My favourite aspect of this cover apart from the brightness was the font that the gave an impression of old against the new feel of the colours and cover model.

The characters of this book were very interesting to their situations. Ana, a 'newsoul' or 'nosoul' as some refer to her as, is a social pariah; she represents the greatest fear of an entire population of people who are reincarnated over and over again. I liked Ana because she didn't want to step on toes and upset others, even though they were terrible to her, though she did grow out of it a little, standing up for herself more and more as the book progressed. As for Sam, I found him very elusive to begin with, not revealing much, but there for Ana when no one else was. He proved to have many surprises about him and a great romantic aspect to him as well. On the romantic side of things, there was a great chemistry about the two, teasing the reader tirelessly with small hints of what the relationship could become.

The story was the only part of the book that was a little lackluster. I found it slow to begin with, filling the reader in with all the necessary information for the rest of the story. When the story was finally moving, about a quarter of the way in, it never stopped or slowed leading up to the very excting ending that will leave readers begging for more. The writing of this story was my favourite part, it brought it to life with description and emotions. I very much enjoyed Jodi's style and the way she was able to make me enjoy a fantasy book, even when I don't normally enjoy this genre.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy or alternate world feelings, or just wants a good read. I give this book a 4/5 for being a great start to a new trilogy that I will no doubt be reading more of later on.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blog hop

So Follow my Blog Friday is a meme held by Parajunkee and it's where you answer the weekly question and then link yourself and you go and check out other blogs of your interest.

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on any particular book?

The crazier thing I've ever done to get a book was drive four hours one way to go to a signing just this past fall. It was a very long day by the end and every was pretty worn out, but it was worth it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event held by Jill over at Breaking The Spine! It's all about those books you just can't wait for and are counting down the days till they come out. This week I chose City of Lost Souls.

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5)

In Book 5: City of Lost Souls, the Shadowhunters struggle to piece together their shattered world after a betrayal by one of their own leaves them reeling.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3)Title: Forever
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release: July 12, 2011
Pages: 390
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls #3

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater
In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. InLinger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Well, I finished this series. After planning on giving up, I won a signed copy of Forever. I decided to just finish the series off to be able to say I had and also to see where Sam and Grace's relationship finally went. I am pleased to say that I did enjoy this book more than the previous two by a ton. Character-wise, I enjoyed Cole the most, with Isabel being a close runner up. Cole was intelligent, defying the celebrity stereotype and making a real difference to the characters in the book and the plot. Isabel was my second favorite because she wasn't afraid to say what was on her mind, and she was much more relate-able to me than Grace has ever been. Speaking of Grace and Sam, this time 'round, their relationship made more sense to me. The love felt more mutual than before, but ironically, I didn't like Cole and Isabel's even when I enjoyed their characters more. Between Cole and Isabel, I found the relationship, not just romantic, to not gain much ground or work very well. In terms of other characters, I would have liked to see more variety, but overall I was fairly satisfied with those involved.

The story was my favorite part of this book, there was true danger and a timeline to escape. This created suspense and kept me flicking the pages to see how it all would end. As well, the fact that the multiple points of view really worked was a benefit. The writing style Maggie has is a very interesting one that describes everything in crystal clear detail. Altogether, this was a book that I would recommend to fans of the series or Maggie Steifvater. The conclusion will not disappoint fans of the series, a mix of cliffhanger and happy ending. I give Forever a 4/5 for being a great finale to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview with Claire Merle, Author of The Glimpse

Author of THE GLIMPSE, Faber & Faber, expected release June 2012. 

Claire wrote her first paranormal screenplay at the age of thirteen and named it after a road sign. DANGER ALIVE never made it to the big screen, but she continued to write and daydream her way through school and university, graduated with a BA (Hons) in Film Studies, and spent the next few years working in the British Film Industry. 

Among other things, Claire loves waking early to write, singing loudly in the car, making snowmen and pretending to be someone else. Since leaving the BFI she’s become something of a Romantic Comedy junkie, and now lives in France with her French husband and two young sons.

1)How did you come up with the idea for The Glimpse? 

The fundamental idea came to me around ten years ago. I went to a talk on the state of mental health in the US and heard about the rapidly increasing number of children being prescribed medication such as Ritalin (an addictive amphetamine-like stimulant which the US government classifies alongside cocaine and morphine) for behavioural problems. 

At the time I didn’t have kids, but I found this really disturbing. As I began researching further I knew I’d discovered a subject that I had to write about. I began asking myself what would happen if mental health continued to progress in the direction it is currently headed on. What would the future look like? The Glimpse became my rather disturbing answer! 

2)What was your reaction to finding out you would be published? 

I think I was in mild shock at first. It’s something I’ve worked for and dreamed about for so long that when it happened I didn’t quite know what to think. My agent sent me an email saying ‘Offer Imminent!’. Subsequently, I lay awake half the night anxiously wondering whether that meant I could get excited yet, or not. The following day, when my agent rang to confirm she’d received an ‘official’ offer, it took several hours to sink in. I think I only really began to believe it and get excited once we’d accepted and finalised details! 

3)Did you base any of the characters on people in your life? 

I think attitudes and elements of people that are close to me both consciously and unconsciously entered the book and the characters, but I didn’t purposefully base any specific character on someone I know. 

4)How did you feel when you finished the book? 

That’s a pretty hard question because I finished the book so many times! Firstly, when I was preparing to send it out to agents. Then there were agent revisions, followed by editorial revisions, copy edit revisions… you get the idea. When I finished the editorial revisions I was particularly excited. My editor had asked some tough questions about things she felt weren’t ‘quite there’ yet in the manuscript. Subsequently, I made some big changes to the opening and the ending. She was thrilled with the changes, and I was too because I knew this last big step had made the book that much stronger. 

5)Name three things you cannot live without. 

My family, sunshine, things that make me laugh. 

Thanks for the interview Anna! 

Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)Title: Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: June 7, 2011
Pages: 368
Series: None
2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.

In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.

This is another book I decided to pick up during HarperTeen's eBook sale. I was in the mood for a contemporary book, and so I launched into this one very quickly. I went in expecting a quick read without much of a plot. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that as well as having a great teenage growing up story, it also had some depth in both the plot and characters. The reason I found depth in the characters and plot was because not only did the characters have the freedom of parents, but they also learned the consequences of choices. They didn't simply get everything they wanted without having some drawbacks, increasing the amount this book could be related to. I loved the cover on this book, it tells you that there is a romantic aspect of this book, as well as the mischief involved as shown by the model's smile. The only thing I did not find attractive in this book was the love triangle going with the boy that had barely been in the book. Altogether this was a book I would recommend to anyone who wants a contemporary book with a bit of depth to it. I give Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) a 4/5.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Follow My Book Blog Friday

So Follow my Blog Friday is a meme held by Parajunkee and it's where you answer the weekly question and then link yourself and you go and check out other blogs of your interest.

Q: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

I personally love Marianas Trench and Taylor Swift. Both are very different, but great in different ways. I you are stuck on a band to listen to, give Marianas Trench a try. If you want some good country/ pop, Taylor is your girl.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Thank You Giveaway!

Hey everyone, I would just like to start by thanking all of you who supported Meghan in the Heroine Tourney. We got very far, and for that I cannot thank you enough! To show my adoration for all of you wonderful people, I'm holding an international giveaway as a way of saying thank you for supporting Meghan. Also, I'm tying it in with having 400 followers! Thank you all so much!

The Rules:
-winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen
-must follow my blog (can be through GFC, email or RSS)
-DON'T need to have supported Meghan as this is also a 400 follower giveaway
-International, as long as Book Depository Ships to your country
-must be 13 or older to enter
-simply fill out the form!

The Prize:

A book of your choice from Book Depository up to $10!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature done by The Story Siren.

The Emerald Talisman (Talisman, #1)Beauty Queens

The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos (eBook)
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Top Eleven Books I Cannot Wait for in 2012

I following with the trend of Top Tens, here are the books I cannot wait to read in 2012. These are in no particular order.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Follow Friday

So Follow my Blog Friday is a meme held by Parajunkee and it's where you answer the weekly question and then link yourself and you go and check out other blogs of your interest.

Question of the Week: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many?

Um, well it's a number that I'm not completely comfortable saying. But I will say it is well above 30, aka; NOT GOOD. :) It's one of my blogging/ reading resolutions to bring that number far, far lower.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Busting the Newbie Blues 2012!

When did you start your blog?

I started my blog back in October 2010 and I wish I had gotten into blogging earlier!

Do you ever still feel like a newbie?

At times, but not very much anymore. I feel very established and I've met some great people along the way.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? Did you make any mistakes new bloggers can learn from?

My biggest challenge was learning my style of reviews and sitting down to write them. Now, I can write reviews fairly quickly, but I found it very challenging before. For new reviewers, taking the time on their reviews is crucial to become a better reviewer.

What did you find most discouraging about being a new blogger? How did you deal with this?

Knowing that not many people were seeing my opinion and that I was not reaching many people.

What do you find most encouraging?

The fact that I can tweet some of my favorite authors as well as other bloggers and get their opinions on the books I am reading.

If you could go back in time and speak with your newbie self, what five bits of wisdom would you tell yourself?

I would tell myself:

1)It's ok to have your own opinion, even if it differs from the popular one.
2)Write your reviews sooner after finishing the books!
3)Don't watch the numbers of followers so much, it's not about that.
4)Review for yourself, if you don't enjoy it don't do it.
5)Don't worry about how many comments you get, just write your reviews!!!

What do you like best about the blogs you read? Have you tried to replicate this in your blog?

I love the design of many of the blogs I follow for starters, they aren't too cluttered to read. On a deeper level, I love their reviews and often agree with them.

What do you dislike about blogs you’ve seen? Do you try to avoid this?

My biggest pet peeve is music playing or cluttered sidebars, both drive me nuts so I try to keep my blog as neat as possible.

How did you bring your blog to the attention of so many people?

I tweet a lot and try to participate in a few memes a week without overloading (I'm on a meme break right now).

When and how did you get your first ARC (or first few ARCs)?

I got my first ARC around January 2011. I got it by having a few connections in the book industry who found out I had a blog and referred me to Simon & Schuster Canada, which I consider myself very lucky for.

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