October 30, 2010

The Agency #2: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee

Release Date: August 10, 2010
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 352
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
This is another colourful, action-packed Victorian detective novel about the exploits of agent Mary Quinn. At a young age, Mary Quinn is rescued from the gallows and taken to Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls. The school turns out to be a front for a private detective agency. At age 17, Mary takes on her first case (A Spy in the House). In this, the second book of the series, Mary Quinn sets out to uncover the truth behind a suspicious death at St. Stephen's Tower, better known as the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. The accident occurred after hours in a highly public part of town and despite the presence of night watchmen. Mary, disguised as Mark Quinn, becomes a builder's assistant to find out the truth about the body at the tower.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this second book in The Agency series by Y.S. Lee. I’m not the biggest fan of mysteries (though I do enjoy books with mysteries in them, if that makes sense) OR historical fiction, yet I really like this series. I think what draws me into them is the character of Mary. Mary is so stuck because of her gender and her race, yet she finds ways to rise above it. She’s feisty, and even when she’s feeling badly about herself, she somehow goes against the grain and stands up for herself, proving others wrong. I enjoyed the mystery in this book a lot more than the first one, and I thought it had a bit more action to it. Most of all, though, I have to say I enjoy the relationship between Mary and James, and I was thrilled that he was a main part of the book. Without that relationship I don’t think I would like the books as much, because James really brings out Mary’s personality. I would definitely suggest giving these books a shot, and don’t let the length scare you off, because once you get started in them, it’s easy to read the whole book in a couple of days.


Find The Agency #2: The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

October 27, 2010

Future Reads (1)

Future Reads is a new feature on Book Labyrinth, where I'll post about books coming out in the near (or not so near!) future and why I want to read them. I hope you'll discover something you want to read as well! (All title links will take you to Goodreads)

Matched by Ally Condie
Release Date:
November 30, 2010

This is the dystopia that everyone has been talking about, and I, for one, cannot wait to read it! I think it will draw a lot of comparisons with 'Delirium' (Lauren Oliver) once that book is out, so I'm interested in comparing the two.

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Release Date:
December 1, 2010

I only recently read Twenty Boy Summer, but I wish I had read it sooner. I'm pretty sure Sarah Ockler uses magic to write, because her words get put together so flawlessly. I fully expect this one to be just as lovely and heartbreaking as her first novel.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Release Date:
December 2, 2010

Well, this one has been hyped by every blogger and their mother. What can I say?? Their hype has worked, and I absolutely cannot wait to read it! I've been looking for a perfect YA romance, and I think this one will work splendidly.

The Book of Spells (a Private prequel) by Kate Brian
Release Date:
December 21, 2010

I was a bit skeptical when I first heard of this book. I thought "do even my beloved Private books have to be dragged into the YA paranormal genre??" ... but I'm willing to give it a chance, because I'm pretty sure Kate Brian (aka Kieran Scott) could write absolutely anything and make me love it.

Real Live Boyfriends (Ruby Oliver #4) by E. Lockart
Release Date:
December 28, 2010

Who is more lovely, hilarious, and neurotic than Roo? These books are amazing: they totally crack me up.

I hope you've enjoyed these future reads! What not yet released books are you looking forward to?

October 25, 2010

The DUFF by Kopy Keplinger

Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 288
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

My Thoughts:
*This review contains spoilers; mainly alluding to events, but I wanted to be sure and warn everyone*
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book. I had heard it described as racy, sexy, important, and a whole lot more. I knew that practically everyone loved it, and in some ways I can see why. Bianca is the perfect teenage voice: she’s snarky, cynical, and intelligent. I actually expected her to be a lot more cynical than what she was, based off reading people’s reviews. I found the side characters to be interesting and, for the most part, well thought out. Even the message of the book was a good one, although I would have liked it spelled out in more obvious terms while still lessening references to being “the Duff”: no matter how you try to own that term, it’s horribly degrading.

I’m a cheesy romantic, so I have to say that I was satisfied by the Happily Ever After ending, though I do think it might set a dangerous precedent. Bianca and Wesley’s relationship worried me, because as much as I enjoyed their banter, I don’t think the ending was very realistic. I’m glad Bianca was able to learn things about herself, but I think she did it in a very irresponsible and dangerous way. I would have liked more discussion about possible consequences, besides just having the pregnancy scare passed off onto Vikki. And let’s face it, most “man whore” guys are not going to turn into a loving boyfriend. Maybe I’m just getting too old or something, but it seemed like it sent the wrong message. I also don’t normally read books that have a lot of sexual content or swearing, so for me personally those are downsides, though I read it knowing what the book was about, so I tried not to let it bother me too much. Overall, I think most people would enjoy this book, or at least relate to Bianca’s voice or the theme in some way, which is what makes it a great, quick read, but it definitely wasn't my type of book.


Find The DUFF by Kody Keplinger on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

October 23, 2010

YA Spooktacular - "Darkness" Part 4 + Trick

Hi everyone, and welcome to Book Labyrinth's part in the YA Spooktacular, hosted by the lovely Danielle & Khelsea.

The YA Spooktacular is an awesome Halloween event which is comprised of two spooky YA stories. And if you thought that reading the stories was awesome, then you'll be thrilled to enter for the chance to win 1 of 2 great prize packs!

View the Twitter hashtag #YAspooktacular and follow the links in this post for more information. The stories will continue until the 28th, with prize pack details going up on the host blogs on the 29th.

- Comment on EVERY post in a story to be eligible for the grand prize pack.
- You can enter for BOTH stories.
- Yes, this is international! =D
- Enter the Trick or Treats for extra entries or chances to win (these Treats are U.S. only).
- When the stories are complete, fill out the entry form(s) on the host blog in order to be eligible to win -- you have until October 31st.
- Winners will be selected at random.

And now, for the story...

--Click on the banner to read from the beginning--

Part 4: written by Chad Kallauner

They were waiting to envelop Anna like a midnight fog and steal her away for eternity, away from him and his spellbound desire.

The darker ones, horrendous, unholy fiends, weren't capable of Jeremy's overwhelming passion and admiration for such a lovely creature as she, a creature whose long auburn hair, creamy complexion, and faint orchid scent never failed to ignite a raging wildfire in his chest and throughout his being. No. They craved but one thing—her blood.

Their insatiable appetites were the rusty scythes that severed emotion and reason. It left them as the untamed, crimson-eyed beasts that they were, completely unlike Jeremy.

Or so he tried to believe.

Those beasts saw and knew everything. Anna's passionate willingness to hide in the shadows, and the naivete that allowed Jeremy to hold her in his strong, gentle arms did not go unseen.

He arrived at the cobblestone path on the outskirts of the city, the path that led through the trees to the decrepit wrought-iron gates of the cemetery. The glare of the city lights was suffocated by the thick tangle of oak branches that hid the collection of ancient headstones and statues from the side street. Only the moonlight in the cloudless sky illuminated the crumbling cherubs and Gothic crosses in the sprawling grounds.

Overgrown weeds and grass lapped at Jeremy's calves like ripples in a black lake as he made his way into the cemetery.


It was her, his dear Anna. A wave of emotion overcame him, a tidal wave of lust and longing that toppled him with ease. He welcomed the refreshing tide. But another kind of lust dug into his essence like shards of glass; this yearning made him stop cold, made him afraid.

The lust for blood.

Want to read more?
You can read Part 5 at
Once Upon A Review.

Book Labyrinth is also home to a TRICK, which will get you extra entries into the contest.

Click on the button to fill out the form & follow the YA Spooktacular bloggers (the list can be find here) to receive your extra entries.

Would you like to follow the other story for more spooky fun & more chances to win? Click on the button below to read 'A Soul Laid Bare' from the beginning.

Any questions? Feel free to ask here, or contact our hosts on Twitter ( @daniellebunner OR @onceuponareview ). Thanks for visiting Book Labyrinth! =)

October 21, 2010

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Release Date: August 1, 2010
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 359
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

My Thoughts:
‘The Iron Daughter’ was everything I expected it to be: it was entertaining, exciting, and full of action. I thought it was a perfect companion to the first book, while still bringing in new elements. As my previous reviews of this series have stated, I’m not sure I get the romance between Meghan and Ash. I still don’t exactly buy how they “fell in love,” however I do think there were a lot of great moments between the two of them in this book. I believed in their relationship more, and I could understand Meghan’s feelings. However, I am also a huge fan of Puck, so I was glad that he was present in this book for a long period of time. In some ways I felt like this book was only there to set up the plot for the next book, yet at the same time a lot of interesting things happened. Julie Kagawa has created an intriguing faery world which is populated by villains, allies, and many characters inbetween. The ending was something I completely didn’t expect, and left me wanting even more. If you liked the first book, or even if you haven’t picked up this series yet, I would definitely recommend it!


Find The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

October 19, 2010

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Release Date: June 8, 2010
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 432
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

My Thoughts:
'Raised by Wolves' is a very interesting take on the werewolf novel, as it's protagonist is Bryn, a human girl who was (as the title indicates) raised by wolves. I liked this book, but not as much as I wanted to. Perhaps it's because I don't typically read paranormal fantasy, but I wasn't able to fully immerse myself in the story. I liked Bryn, and I liked her more and more as I got to know her character and her motivations better. The place where the story lost me a bit was the connection between Bryn and Chase, and how it effected everyone around them. I'm skeptical of anything that makes people the centre of each other's world, and shuts out everything else, and even though this is the pack mentality, I had problems with what it meant for Bryn and her independence. Some of the more minor characters fell a bit flat to me, which is always a disappointment. However, there are a lot of great things about this book. There's action as well as introspection, and it does address the issue of independence versus having someone be dominant over you. I think fans of the typical paranormal romance would really enjoy 'Raised by Wolves,' as the writing style is very strong but accessible, and it involves a well developed main character, and also has a bit of a romantic aspect.


Find Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

October 16, 2010

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Release Date: March 1, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 336
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.

My Thoughts:
First of all, can I comment on how gorgeous this cover is? The flower is this amazing shade of blue, and even though it’s sort of ominous, it reminds me of my blog design. That being said, I really adored this book. I went into it a bit tentatively just because of the “paranormal” label it has, but I was so happy to find I enjoyed it and connected with the main character, Violet. Violet has the horrible (but useful) ability to sense the bodies of those who have been murdered, as well as the ability to sense those who have killed before. This sounds completely disturbing, and while the book has tons of action and creepy scenes (how about reading some short chapters from the POV of the killer? VERY creepy!!), don’t be put off by this subject matter. The book reminded me of the TV show ‘Criminal Minds’ in a lot of ways, in that you get into the head of the “unsub”, but you’re on the side of good, wanting Violet to find this creep.

Now, let me also comment on Violet’s best friend Jay. I’ve heard that pretty much everyone is in love with him, and I have to join those ranks. However, I found him a lot more appealing in the first part of the book. I guess I felt like everything happened so quickly in the second half of the book that we didn’t get to experience his personality as much. Jay is a great love interest, and one that I think is a good example for teen girls to aspire to date. He’s kind and respectful, and he’s protective of Violet, yet it’s clear that she’s still her own person. I really enjoyed this book, and I think people who are usually turned off by books with protagonists who have “powers” would appreciate ‘The Body Finder’ as well. It’s a sweet book that’s also steamy, and a typical love story mixed with a mystery that’s quite dark and creepy at times. I would absolutely recommend this book.


Find The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

October 13, 2010

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Release Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 374
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. He has no recollection of his parents, his home, or how he got where he is. His memory is black. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade, a large expanse enclosed by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning, for as long as they could remember, the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night, they’ve closed tight. Every thirty days a new boy is delivered in the lift. And no one wants to be stuck in the maze after dark.

The Gladers were expecting Thomas’s arrival. But the next day, a girl arrives in the lift—the first girl ever to arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. The Gladers have always been convinced that if they can solve the maze that surrounds the Glade, they might be able to find their way home . . . wherever that may be. But it’s looking more and more as if the maze is unsolvable.

And something about the girl’s arrival is starting to make Thomas feel different. Something is telling him that he just might have some answers—if he can only find a way to retrieve the dark secrets locked within his own mind.

My Thoughts:
I had been hearing about this book for a very long time, and I kept meaning to read it, but for some reason it never happened. It was finally a book talk in my readers’ advisory class which made me put it on hold at the library. I’ve heard a lot of comparisons of this to 'The Hunger Games' series, which definitely puts it in stiff competition, but I have to say, I was hooked by 'The Maze Runner' right from the very beginning. Dashner weaves a narrative which makes you extremely curious about the maze, the inhabitants of the Glade, and about what exactly is going on. Even in the idyllic glade there is a foreboding sense behind all the secrecy, and the maze appears almost as a separate character itself, beckoning to Thomas and the reader.

‘The Maze Runner’ is filled with both action and quieter moments of contemplation, as Thomas tries to solve the maze and remember who he is. As the book comes to a close the tension increases, and you’re left with a sense of disbelief, even if you had seen the ending coming the whole time. This book is truly amazing and captivating, and I highly recommend it to fans of science fiction and dystopias, and definitely to those readers who enjoyed ‘The Hunger Games’ or similar works. The 2nd book in this series, The Scorch Trials, came out on October 12 (Tuesday!!), and I can't wait to read it.


Find The Maze Runner by James Dashner on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

October 11, 2010

The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan

Release Date: October 4, 2010
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pages: 336
Review Source: NetGalley ARC

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Lena has lived her whole life near the beach—walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves—the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman—with a silvery tail.

Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life …

My Thoughts:
You may have noticed that I tagged this post with both “fantasy” and “realistic”, and that was no mistake. The remarkable thing about this book is that despite the inclusion of mermaids it feels a lot like a realistic, contemporary YA novel for the first three quarters of the book. I really enjoyed this unique feel, so I was disappointed when the mermaid world became the main focus of the story, and the “human world” was left behind.

Perhaps I would have been able to accept the book more if Lena had been a more consistently likeable protagonist. I guess this is realistic, as no one is perfect all the time, but I got annoyed at several decisions she made, especially one which was very selfish and hurtful to those around her. In fact, Lena seemed very out of touch with other people, except for with her little brother Cole, who she cared deeply about. I definitely enjoyed reading about their relationship, as it showed a kinder side of Lena.

I deeply enjoyed the first part of this book, and I was very excited to see where it would go. Unfortunately, the ending fell flat. The part leading up to the epilogue seemed random and had a completely different tone from the rest of the book. The ending lacked real depth and emotion, which were things I appreciated in the first part. I would still recommend this book, especially if you don’t mind a slower paced read, but I wouldn't suggest putting it at the top of your TBR pile.


Find The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca


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