January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's designed to put new books on people's radars, and encourage blogger interaction.

Here's what I received this week:



**All links lead to Goodreads

Anyone get anything exciting this week? Can't wait to find out!

P.S. Be sure to enter my 'First Ever' giveaway.

P.P.S. This is my 80th post! Pretty cool, eh?

More 'You Killed Wesley Payne' + Giveaway!!

You may remember that just a little while ago I posted a review for a book which has an ultra cool looking cover -- "You Killed Wesley Payne", written by Sean Beaudoin.

You Killled Wesley Payne-cover

Here's the book synopsis if you forget what it's about:

He’s come to do a job.

A job that involves a body.

A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn’t whether Dalton’s going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he’s gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of “The Body” before it solves him.

Sean Beaudoin (Going Nowhere Faster, Fade to Blue) evokes the distinctive voices of legendary crime/noir authors Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson with a little bit of Mean Girls and Heathers throw in in for good measure. It’ll tease you, please you, and never ever leave you. Actually, that’s not true. It’s only a book. One that’s going to suck you in, spit you out, and make you shake hands with the devil. Probably.

Sounds pretty good, right? You may also remember that the book wasn't my normal style, but I really found it enjoyable despite that fact. You can also check out the book trailer --

& the book's website at http://www.youkilledwesleypayne.com -- it has all kinds of information on the book, as well as a cool option where you can read an excerpt of the book just for tweeting or sharing on Facebook.

I also have some exciting news... to celebrate the release of 'You Killed Wesley Payne' on February 1, Blog Reach Solutions is giving away an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Sean's first novel, 'Going Nowhere Faster'.

Giveaway Details:
- 1 winner will receive the book direct from BRS
- Contest runs from January 30 - February 6 at midnight
- Winner will have 3 days to respond to my email, otherwise a new winner will be selected
- US/Canada only

To enter, fill out THIS FORM.

Comments and promotion are appreciated, and I hope you'll check out 'You Killed Wesley Payne'.

January 28, 2011

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein

Release Date: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 336
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Lady Catherine is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite court maidens—until her forbidden romance with Sir Walter Ralegh is discovered. In a bitter twist of irony, the jealous queen banishes Cate to Ralegh's colony of Roanoke, in the New World. Ralegh pledges to come for Cate, but as the months stretch out, Cate begins to doubt his promise and his love. Instead it is Manteo, a Croatoan Indian, whom the colonists—and Cate—increasingly turn to. Yet just as Cate's longings for England and Ralegh fade and she discovers a new love in Manteo, Ralegh will finally set sail for the New World.

Seamlessly weaving together fact with fiction, Lisa Klein's newest historical drama is an engrossing tale of adventure and forbidden love—kindled by one of the most famous mysteries in American history: the fate of the settlers at Roanoke, who disappeared without a trace forty years before the Pilgrims would set foot in Plymouth.

My Thoughts:
‘Cate of the Lost Colony’ is a hard book to describe. It’s a love story, but not really. It’s definitely a survival story, yet the beginning of the novel takes place within the cushy court of Queen Elizabeth I. The book even offers different narrative points of view. The main story of the novel is told by Lady Catherine Archer, or Cate, but we also get to hear from Sir Walter Ralegh and a native named Manteo, making the perspective of the novel even more rich and full.

I thought this book was so lovely because of the vivid historical details. I adored how Lisa Klein mainly used real historical figures to populate the pages of her novel. While their motivations and personalities may not be exactly accurate, seeing these real people as characters and having real events take place within the fictional story gave it an immense amount of authenticity. As a history major during my undergrad I was fascinated with the unsolved mystery of the Roanoke, or Lost, Colony, so I really enjoyed reading a fictional account of the story. Klein has given us a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who made up this colony, offering her own reasons and explanations for what happened to the settlers of Roanoke.

Along with all the historical details, Klein has created a strong and likable female heroine in Cate. This novel is as much a coming of age story as it is a survival tale, and I became quite invested in Cate’s story, hoping it would have a happy ending. I would recommend this to history geeks like myself and fans of historical YA in particular because of all the rich details that Klein presents on the pages of this book. If you like period books that are full of as much adventure as they are personal reflection and heart, no doubt you will appreciate this book.


Find Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

January 27, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Today I want to take the time to thank not just one person, but the two amazing people who thought of me last week and awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award. Many thanks go out to Aimee from A Book Dork & Sarah from Mistress of the Library. I still find it so cool that people check out my blog, let alone that they would recognize my blog as great.

The rules of this award are to share 7 things about yourself, and then pass the award on to bloggers you think are great, letting them know you've passed the award on to them. I know a lot of people get uptight about awards and the restraints of accepting them, so what I'm going to do is share the 7 things, and then just make a short list of some awesome blogs I think you should definitely check out.

7 Things About Me:

1. I'm left handed, even though neither of my parents are. I love being left handed, and for some reason I take great pride in it, even though it means that nearly everything in the world inconveniences me.

2. My grandparents on my Mom's side were born in Holland, and I LOVE Dutch candy and pastries. I desperately want to visit Holland and meet all my relatives there.

3. Before going into library school I can honestly say I didn't really know everything that a librarian does. I just knew I loved books/reading, and that I also enjoyed organization and research. Turns out the program was a perfect fit for me -- thank goodness.

4. I'm a huge history geek, but I prefer watching documentaries or listening to lectures about it. I've only picked up 1 or 2 non-fiction historical books since finishing my undergrad (specialization in history).

5. I discover more and more every time I meet a dog how much of a cat person I am. I like dogs, but I LOVE cats. They're so hilarious and snarky and condescending, and they just know how awesome they are. My Mom & I have two cats, Cinder & Tatum:

6. I think I read more YA now than I did when I was an actual teenager, possibly because I think the best YA has been coming out over the past 5 years. Sarah Dessen and Meg Cabot are two exceptions to this, as I've been reading them since high school.

7. Besides reading/blogging I don't really have many hobbies. I can cross stitch, and that's about it. I'm a total homebody, and I would rather just sit at home and watch way too much TV (Vampire Diaries tonight, anyone? I'm so there).

And now for the awesome bloggers. Here are just a few examples of the great blogs that I really enjoy reading:

'First Ever' Giveaway -- Hunger Games bookmarks

Hi everyone, and welcome to...

Yes, it's giveaway time! I wanted to celebrate a few different things: being done my Master's, almost 6 months of blogging, over 100 followers, and, most importantly, I just wanted to celebrate the awesome book blogging community.

I figured that giving away something bookish was appropriate, so I picked up these very cool Hunger Games bookmarks:

The details are simple:
- 3 winners, 1 bookmark each
- Open internationally
- You can enter up until February 3rd at midnight
- The winners will be emailed by me and will have 3 days to respond with their address before I pick a new winner

To enter, fill out THIS FORM 

Comments and promotion are appreciated. =)

January 26, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

Release Date: March 7, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pages: 304
Review Source: NetGalley for honest review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

My Thoughts:
I fell into this story quickly, appreciating it mainly as a historical novel, with rich details described in flowing prose. The paranormal aspect of the story isn’t immediately evident, which I actually liked. The book is about the extraordinary gift that Amelia has, but it is also about her life in Baltimore as she tries to find a husband. As I’ve previously mentioned, I like books where the paranormal aspect isn’t the only driving force behind the book, and this seems to be the case for ‘The Vespertine’. However, without sounding contradictory, as much as I appreciate paranormal elements being the background of a story, I would have liked some more speculation about where Amelia’s gift came from, or how it connected with Nathaniel’s.

I found Amelia to be generally likable; she was actually quite a refreshing character, as I thought she actually could have been from the late 19th century, instead of being a totally modern minded protagonist like a lot of historical novels feature. The novel centres around the relationship between Amelia and Nathaniel, a man too low socially to be considered for marriage, but who Amelia immediately adores. I usually hate books that contain love/obsession at first sight, and it did bother me a bit in this book, but not as much as usual. Perhaps because of the historical time period I could understand the relationship progressing so quickly.

While I didn’t love ‘The Vespertine,’ I did enjoy it, and I think most fans of historical and paranormal YA would appreciate what it has to offer. The novel has a sequel coming out next year, and while there are some questions left unanswered (like some that I mentioned above), the ending is satisfying enough for those who don’t like to get bogged down in series. Overall, I would definitely recommend this one, especially for the lovely gothic feel that the atmospheric prose brings about.


Find The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

January 19, 2011

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Release Date: November 2, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 332
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it.

My Thoughts:
'The Mockingbirds' is an absolutely lovely novel, which probably sounds like an odd way to describe a book that deals with such a serious and heinous subject as date rape. However, Daisy Whitney has written the book in such a way that it is so much more than an issue novel. Her characters feel like real people, both good and bad. Alex is an interesting, layered character from whom it's easy to feel sympathy for and relate to.

Though 'The Mockingbirds' is more than an issue novel, it deals with those issues quite interestingly, presenting messages without making them seem preachy. The book goes beyond just the issue of rape and discusses matters of truth, memory, and, most of all, justice. I love how Whitney managed to include all this weighty material without making the book feel like a lesson, and how she was even able to write humorous and romantic aspects into the story.

If you enjoy contemporaries that deal with serious issues while still retaining a hopeful tone, then you're sure to enjoy 'The Mockingbirds'. I know I really did, and I'm so glad that I was exposed to so many positive reviews which convinced me to pick this one up.


Find The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Mom (!!!), who supposedly reads this blog but tells me she "keeps forgetting to check it". ;)

January 17, 2011

One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen

Release Date: February 15, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 218
Review Source: eARC from NetGalley for honest review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
It’s taken a long time for Charlotte Silver to feel like a normal teenager. But now that she’s settled in a new school, where she’s made friends who know about her parent’s infamous paranormal investigations, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with the popular Harris Abbott? After all, it’s not as if Noah is anything more than a friend.

But Charlotte’s new life takes a disturbing detour when Harris takes her to a party where they play a game called One Hundred Candles. It all seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until the spirits supposedly unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now, Charlotte, her friends and her family are in very real danger, and the door that she’s opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.

My Thoughts:
I thought this was a great book, and I enjoyed it as much as I did the first book in the series (read my review here). Mara Purnhagen does a perfect job of combining supernatural suspense with normal contemporary issues, like having crushes, dating, and dealing with fighting parents. I think I mostly like these books because Charlotte is such a lovely character. Considering her parents are paranormal/ghost debunkers, she is refreshingly normal. Her voice is the perfect mixture of strength and teenage insecurity, and she's smart without being a nerd cliche.

I really love the characters of Noah and Avery, so I wish they had been more three dimensional in this book as well. I still enjoyed the scenes with them, but they definitely felt more like background characters. Noah in particular is such a great guy, so I wish his personality had shone through a bit more. Nevertheless, Purnhagen has again written a great and spooky book that has encounters with spirits and things from beyond without making it too scary, which is great for those of us who are the type of people who don't like scary movies. The end of this book is action packed, and while most of the book's storyline gets wrapped up by the end, you're also left wanting more and wondering about one of the book's characters. This is a great second book in this new series, and I wish these books got more attention, because they definitely deserve it.


Find One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's designed to put new books on people's radars, and encourage blogger interaction.

Here's what I received this week:



  • Wither - Lauren DeStefano (not pictured)

**All links lead to Goodreads

Sooo, it's pretty clear that I went on a bit of book buying binge... Most of the books are from Book Closeouts since they always have good prices and there was free shipping up until Dec. 31st (and yes, I only got them this week, even though I live a couple of hours from their warehouse).

I'm happy to say that I now own all the Princess Diaries books, every Sarah Dessen book (I've had the 'How to Deal' bind-up since it came out, but not those books individually), AND all the Georgia Nicholson books.

Can't wait to see what everyone else has picked up this week! <3

January 14, 2011

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Release Date: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 240
Review Source: eARC from Galley Grab for honest review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic.

Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him?

The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating... and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly —and deadly— local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

My Thoughts:
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. 'Cryer's Cross' was an interesting paranormal story, one that felt original compared to most books out there right now. The idea of the story is quite creepy and devastating, and the way it is described by McMann is atmospheric, making the reader feel like a part of the tale. At first I found the book hard to get into because of it being written in 3rd person present tense. I guess this is a stylistic choice, but I didn't really think it was necessary. In fact, it impeded my enjoyment of the story at first, but thankfully I was able to dive into the story and become engrossed with the characters after 40 pages or so.

I think I would have liked it if the story was flushed out a bit more in certain areas, and for the background explanation for the events in Cryer's Cross to be more detailed or revealed little by little. This is my one big disappointment with the book: the story behind the desk seemed a bit like a campfire story that we've all heard before. I can't really say more without giving away the story, and I don't want to do that, because 'Cryer's Cross' still provides a satisfying reading experience. The whole book has an uneasy feel to it, and as a reader you're never sure who's telling the truth or what is really going on. 'Cryer's Cross' is an eerie read that is emotional and intense at times, and is one that will keep you up late at night trying to guess the real culprit behind the disappearances in Cryer's Cross.


Find Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

January 12, 2011

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

Release Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368
Review Source: ARC for honest review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.

Sean Beaudoin (Going Nowhere Faster, Fade to Blue) evokes the distinctive voices of legendary crime/noir authors Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson with a little bit of Mean Girls and Heathers throwin in for good measure. This smart, slick, and alluring detective novel that will tease you, thrill you, and suck you in.

My Thoughts:
Do you enjoy reading about hard boiled detectives or watching noir films? If so, you will definitely get a kick out of 'You Killed Wesley Payne'. This detective/mystery novel features a teenage sleuth who aims to be like his favourite fictional detective. The novel features many things typical to crime fiction, and it provides a good story while also satirizing the genre.

This isn't my typical type of read, and I never would have picked it up if I wasn't reviewing it, but I'm glad I did. I was hoping the book would be a bit like the TV show Veronica Mars, and it really wasn't, but it featured some similar themes. The book is quite humorous in a wry way, and I quite liked the protagonist, Dalton Rev. However, there are so many characters in the book, and keeping the rest of them and their cliques straight was a bit of a nightmare. The clique index and chart contained within the book almost made it worse, because it was information overload right from the beginning. There were more than a couple of times where I felt like I was missing something, like this was the 2nd book in a series and I just didn't know about it, but that wasn't the case.

For older teen readers who don't mind violence, sexual references, and creative swearing, this is quite the original novel, and I would definitely recommend it, especially to boys and people who are fans of hard boiled detective characters. The book is a throwback to crime fiction of the 1960s while also providing its own unique perspective. 'You Killed Wesley Payne' is not my style of book, but I still found the reading experience interesting, and I appreciate its originality, when most YA coming out right now is paranormal in nature.


Find You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca

January 10, 2011

Everlasting by Angie Frazier

Release Date: June 1, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 336
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most.

Beautifully written and feverishly paced, Everlasting is an unforgettable journey of passion, secrecy, and adventure.

My Thoughts:
I have a bit of a case of mixed feelings toward this one. I really loved the main character, Camille, and the chemistry between her and Oscar, especially at the beginning, was amazing. I even loved the magical adventure aspect of it, though I wish there were more background on what exactly Umandu was. I was really enjoying the book, but then the tone of it, or at least the speed of it, seemed to change. I kept getting closer to the end of the book and thinking "how are all these plot lines going to get resolved??". It turns out that there's a sequel to this book, which explains some of that away, except... all within the last 50 pages or so the big adventure gets wrapped up, when I felt like it was barely starting. I guess I feel sad because there was so much potential for the last part of the journey to be a book all by itself.

Again, I feel conflicted. I wish the last part of the book had been at a slower pace, because the treasure hunt feel of searching for Umandu was really enjoyable. I loved the characters and the adventure, but it just seemed like it was over with so quickly. I would definitely recommend this to fans of historical YA, especially those who like a light brush of fantasy in their reading. I feel like this was a worthwhile read because despite my issues with the pacing of the book, I'm almost positive that I will be reading Book 2. Camille is a lovely character, and her determination and passion made this a very enjoyable read over all.


Find Everlasting by Angie Frazier on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.ca


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...