May 31, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness - May Wrap-Up

RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) is an amazing feature hosted each month by Isalys and Vanessa at Book Soulmates. Click the banner above to find out more information.


May was the first month I received anything from RAK, so needless to say I was very excited and touched.

Cherie sent me a copy of 'City of Bones' & Cassie sent me the first three (!) of the Mortal Instruments books.

I feel bad about getting a double! I will definitely have to do a giveaway for it within the next little while.

The lovely Sara also sent me a couple of books from my must-have pile, but they haven't arrived yet. If Canada Post cooperates I should have them within the next couple of weeks, but either way I will post about those books in June's wrap-up post.

I'm so touched by people's generosity, and I'm excited for June's list to come around, because I will definitely be sending out a book or two.

Top Ten Beach Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books That Should Be In A Beach Bag
Your perfect beach reads!

My list is a combination of books that have beach settings and simply books that are perfect to read while relaxing on the beach.

1. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park -- Though this takes place during the academic year it is a perfect book to dive into during the summer. This is a book that has a bit of everything, but I dare you not to fall in love with the romance.

2. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson -- This book epitomizes summer as it takes you along on a road trip across the United States. Some tough issues are addressed, but I absolutely love the slowly developing romance between Amy and Roger.

3. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler -- Amazing beach setting in a brilliant debut novel. It's absolutely gut wrenching at times, but then also funny and sweet. I really adore this one and it's definitely on my summer 'to re-read' list.

4. Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell -- An absolutely hilarious novel that chronicles the travels of Vassar Spore through Southeast Asia. Let's just say that an uptight germaphobe overachiever does not mix well with world travel. Despite all the insanely funny antics this is also a story with an incredible amount of heart.

5. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen -- This is one of my favourite Dessen books, and I loved revisiting the beach town of Colby. The connection between Eli and Auden is amazing.

6. Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber -- The first in the 'Death By' trilogy, this volume features a remote tropical island, a very cute boy, and - oh yes - a murder to solve. A very fun read with a mystery that is intriguing and thrilling.

7. Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker -- This book? Don't judge it by its cover. While the book is a perfectly fun and awesome summer read, it's actually centred around the music scene in Austin.

8. Getting Lost With Boys by Hailey Abbott -- Another road trip novel! This was always my favourite of Hailey's 'Boy' books. Light and fluffy and perfect for summer.

9. Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton -- A summer beach setting and a perfectly sweet, but realistic, story about first love.

10. Cruel Summer by Alyson Noel -- Colby starts off as a bit of a brat, but as she spends her summer in Greece she begins to accept herself and the things that have happened in her life. There's a cute romance, and I really enjoyed the setting.

Which books are you taking in your beach bag this summer? I can't wait to check them out.

May 30, 2011

Interview with Tammara Webber

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing new author Tammara Webber, who recently published her first YA novel Between the Lines.

About Tammara Webber:
When people ask me how I remember being a teenager so clearly, I tell them that I married my high school love. (Well, the last one, anyway.) Through this relationship, I still connect to the excitement and confusion of that stage of first loves and defining yourself and figuring out your connections to everything and everyone else. When my children were young, I began building each of them a personal library—holiday and birthday gifts always included a stack of books. My oldest was 13 or so when I first wandered into the young adult section and fell in love with what I found there. It’s where I belong as a writer.


If you had to describe Between the Lines’ premise in a tweet (140 characters or less), what would you say?

Four actors, one film set: Emma wants to be normal. Reid wants whatever fame can get him. Brooke wants revenge. Who knows what Graham wants?

What kind of process did you go through to create the cover?

Shutterstock photos, MS Paint, several hours and a few tears. Oh and also sending a batch email to nearly everyone I know asking What do you think of this font? How about this one? And this one? Also, I was corrected on how to pronounce ‘serif.’ (It’s like sheriff, btw, in case you ever need to know.)

Who was your favourite character to create in Between the Lines?

Unexpectedly, Reid, who’s modeled in part after who my husband was when we met. He and I were close friends for a year before we started going out, and he was never going to be accused of being a nice guy. I got detailed descriptions of shocking things he and his friends did that he’d have never told me if he knew we’d end up together. He was basically a non-celeb version of Reid.

Which character trait of Emma’s do you admire the most? What about Graham, Reid, and Brooke?

I want to answer this one, but I feel like it’d give too much away.

Fair enough! Definitely don't want to be spoilery. =)

How do you use social media to connect with readers? How important do you think this is?

I established a blog years ago, which has at times grown cobwebs, and changed addresses a year or so ago. I’ve used FB for a little while, too, but thus far I’ve used FB primarily to connect with friends. I joined Goodreads because I’m also a voracious reader, and I love reading reviews and writing my own. Twitter is the only media platform I’ve established as a writer to make myself available to readers on whatever platform they want to connect. I’m willing to use any or all of these to connect with readers, if they want to connect with me.

What are some of your favourite recent YA novels?

Off the top of my head, the books I’ve read recently (not necessarily published recently) which really struck me as amazing were: Split (Avasthi) and The Sky is Everywhere (Nelson). I also loved Finnikin of the Rock (Marchetta) and Where She Went (Forman).

'The Sky is Everywhere' is definitely one of my favourites! And Melina Marchetta? Love her!

What are 3 random facts about you that you’d like to share?

1) I was that girl in high school who people thought was snobby until they met me and realized I was just really shy. (Or they never met me and they still think I was snobby.)

2) When someone tells me I can’t do something a certain way, it makes me want to do it that way, just to show them I can.

3) The first actual book I attempted to write (I was 19) was a historical romance novel. I ended up bailing on it at a little over 100 pages. The experience left me with a yearning to tell stories, way too much knowledge about Vikings, an island called Lindisfarne and the year 793.

What can readers expect from you next?

I intended Between the Lines to have a sort of love triangle, but not for it to end with me feeling sad for the loser. (Actually, I don’t call it a triangle when everyone isn’t connected. Geometrically, it’s more like a love line with three points. To me, Bella/ Edward/ Jacob – one girl, two unconnected guys - wasn’t a triangle, but Belly/ Jeremiah/ Conrad – one girl, two brothers - was.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah—I was unexpectedly intrigued by the leftover guy. So he’s getting another shot in the sequel. I completed the initial draft last month, and my critique partners (who have their own stuff to work on) and beta readers are working with me now on revisions and edits. Depending on how much ripping and tearing they recommend, I hope to have it out by October 2011.

Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Tammara! I, for one, am intrigued to see what's next for [name redacted]. ;)

Find Tammara on the web:
- A Room of my Own (Blog)
- Goodreads
- Twitter

You can buy 'Between the Lines' for Kindle or Nook and find it on Goodreads here.

May 29, 2011

Books For Thought (3)

Books For Thought is a weekly feature at La Femme Readers where Eleni posts a book-related discussion question.

This week's question is...
When you are called a nerd for loving books, how do you feel?

Well, I don't think I've been called a nerd in a negative way since, like, 9th grade or something, so that's a plus. And the people who think I'm a nerd for reading so much? Probably not worth my time. But I really wanted to answer this question because it reminded me of an awesome video/quote from John Green:

"Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. We don’t have to be like, ‘Oh yeah that purse is okay’ or like, ‘Yeah, I like that band’s early stuff.’ Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself-love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they're saying is, 'You like stuff', which is just not a good insult at all, like 'You are just too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness'."

So please, call me a nerd.

In My Mailbox (17) + Indie Author Month

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

Here's what I received this week:

For Review:

Over at The YA Fairy the month of June is Indie Author Month. I'm going to be participating in that by reviewing the following featured titles. Thanks to the authors for providing eBooks for review!

**All links lead to Goodreads

May 28, 2011

Accent Vlog!

And now for something completely different... my very first vlog!

1. Sorry about the lighting/glare -- I tried from several angles and that was actually the best.

2. After watching this back I realized I didn't really need to mention where I'm from. I'm pretty sure the massive amounts of hockey paraphernalia in the background speaks for itself (yes, I'm totally aware the Leafs suck, haha, but I'm pretty sure my Dad would've disowned me if I cheered for any other team -- and I'm only partially kidding ;)).

3. Apparently I lisp weirdly while reading out loud (?).

4. Do I have an accent?? Watching this back I think I actually do sound different than the typical American accent, but I'm not sure. I'm so curious what you think.

Accent Vlog Instructions

- Where are you from?

- Do you think you have an accent?

Read this list of words:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

The questions:
- What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
- What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
- What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
- What do you call gym shoes?
- What do you say to address a group of people?
- What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
- What do you call your grandparents?
- What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
- What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
- What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

- Read a short passage from a book

May 27, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Release Date: April 12, 2011
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 259
Series: Razorland #1
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My Thoughts:
When I was reading this book I kept thinking: ‘This is like The Hunger Games meets Divergent meets The Maze Runner meets The Dark and Hollow Places’. I don’t think the book quite lives up to the quality of those novels, but a lot of the aspects were quite similar. I have a few problems with the book, which I’ll get to in a minute, but basically I want to say that this is well worth a read. It’s not that long of a book, but it’s incredibly action-packed. I really couldn’t put it down, I was just so involved in the story and trying to figure out what would happen next.

Where the book goes a bit wrong, I thought, is world development. As readers we’re just supposed to accept what happens in the book and how the world was built, but I had a lot of questions. It seemed a bit unrealistic that no one had questioned the authority of the Enclave successfully or that no one had escaped to ground level before, considering how relatively easily it occurred. I didn’t understand why the Enclave had all these oppressive policies, or why the communities were so enclosed. I also would have liked a better explanation for the Freaks: what they were, where they came from, etc. There’s only so much you can explain away through your character’s ignorance of the world around them. The fire scene that led to the ending of the book was also quite unbelievable, I thought. I won’t comment further, because it would wreck the ending, but of everything that was the one thing I had the hardest time accepting.

What I want to point out is that despite all these flaws I thought ‘Enclave’ was an incredibly interesting read. Deuce was likable enough, and Fade was quite a lovely character as well. Maybe I was just looking for a good entertaining story when I read this one, but I really liked it. I think when you can make a story enjoyable enough to suspend disbelief over all those elements I listed above, you’re doing a good job. Is this book as good as the books I mentioned in the first paragraph? No, definitely not. But is it a fun read-alike? Absolutely. If you’re looking for more dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories after reading all the most popular titles, this is well worth checking out.


Find Enclave by Ann Aguirre on Goodreads, Book Depository, &

Armchair BEA: Blogging & Social Networking

This post is part of my week-long participation in Armchair BEA 2011.

Today’s topic is blogging about blogging, which... is pretty broad. There are lot of different directions this topic can go in, but I thought I would focus in on social networking. I took a social software and libraries class in library school, so I definitely have a lot of thoughts about (and interest in) social networking.

The first thing I want to talk about is Twitter, because Twitter seems to be key in promoting your blog and especially in connecting to other bloggers. Definitely some of the best blogger connections I’ve made have been through Twitter. I’ve also received review book opportunities from being on Twitter. Twitter is a lot of fun, and it is a great source of information about giveaways, upcoming books, etc. There are so many benefits to being on Twitter, but there are also some downsides (or maybe not downsides, but precautions you should take).

You have to realize that when you’re on Twitter as a blogger everything is public (unless you have your tweets set to private, of course, but most bloggers don’t). You might want to think twice before you post really personal information (and I don’t mean just basic Web safety things like your full name and address – you know the kinds of information I mean, right?). Your professional contacts could potentially see anything you post on Twitter, so you probably want your Twitter account to remain relatively professional. This doesn’t mean you need to be boring, but keeping your content at a PG-13(ish) level? Probably a good idea. Do you want your mother to view what you’re posting on Twitter? No? Well, then you probably shouldn’t post it at all. Heck, the Library of Congress is archiving all public tweets. Do you want future generations to see what you’re posting? (Scary thought, right?) Just be intelligent and realize how public everything is. If you have a book blog and you link your blog to your Twitter account then you’re not just tweeting for fun: it’s part of the way you’re presenting yourself to fellow bloggers, authors, publishers, etc.

Another thing I view as social networking is comments. Everyone loves comments, right? I know sometimes commenting can be a drag when you’re seeing reviews for the same books over and over again, or when you’re busy. But commenting really can be simple. If you’re reading a post, why not comment on it? You might be shy or think you don’t have a lot to add to the conversation, but I bet any blogger will tell you that every comment they receive means something to them (minus those “Nice review! Visit my blog [URL here]” comments, because they suck).

I visit the blog of every person who visits my site (minus those people I just referenced - although sometimes I visit them too) and I leave a comment on at least one recent post even if I don’t end up following them in Google Reader. I do this because I appreciate comments so much, and I want to return the favour. You could call this a mutually beneficial relationship, or maybe it’s just reciprocal... I’m not sure, but I know that I think comments are a very important way to connect to other bloggers and to get to know their personalities and preferences.

Blogs are, of course, a form of social software themselves, so I think the whole concept of blogging lends itself well to connecting in other ways. Do you have any rules you try to follow when using social networking sites like Twitter? What are your favourite ways to combine blogging and social networking?

May 26, 2011

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Release Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 304
Series: n/a
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.

Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn.

My Thoughts:
The cover of this book promises “a swashbuckling tale of magic, romance, and pirates,” but I’m afraid it failed to deliver (except the pirates: there are definitely tons of those!). ‘Steel’ is a perfectly good adventure story. In fact, for a historical tale about life of a pirate ship it was incredibly enjoyable. There were a few interesting points made about the pirating lifestyle, and some action sequences and swordfights were, indeed, swashbuckling.

Where I thought this book lacked was the magic and the romance. On the magic end of things we have Jill dragged into the past because she brings a broken sword tip into the ocean. She proceeds to take part in a real live pirate adventure until certain things are brought back into balance. The sword has some magical properties and there’s that bit of time travel, but that’s where the magic/fantasy angle ends. As for the romance, there... really wasn’t any. It’s not that every book needs to have romance, and in fact I think this book would have been fine without any romance at all. What irked me is that I was promised romance right on the cover, and the book failed to deliver. Sure, there’s a cute friendship between Jill and Henry, and near the end of the book it attempts to be something more. Having their relationship be anything more than a friendship just didn’t really seem necessary, and if either the author or the publisher wanted romance to be a big draw for the book it should have been a lot bigger of a plot line right from the beginning.

Jill was a likable enough character. I enjoyed her fencing ability and her strength, both physical strength and her strength of character. Henry was sweet, and there were lots of supporting characters who, while only being very tiny bit players, held their own. I definitely didn’t dislike this book, I just think the story would have worked better as a middle grade adventure story, rather than a YA fantasy adventure.


Find Steel by Carrie Vaughn on Goodreads, Book Depository, &

Armchair BEA: Relationships

This post is part of my week-long participation in Armchair BEA 2011.

When I think about blogging relationships the first thing that comes to find is connecting with other bloggers. To me that’s the most exciting part about book blogging. That’s the whole reason why Armchair BEA works. We might not be in the same city (heck, we’re all over the world), but we can still connect and form relationships through our blogs. The whole reason I started my blog was to connect into the book blogging community. I had been following blogs for a long time, and I could see the camaraderie between bloggers. I love reading book reviews and discussion posts, and I wanted to be a bigger part of that. That’s why my favourite part of blogging is the community itself.

Most of us probably have friends or family members who enjoy reading, but no one quite gets the book addiction like a fellow book blogger. No one else would understand how EXCITING it is when your favourite author’s new release comes out or, even better, when you get to attend a certain signing or reading. Authors are like our rock stars, and we can freely admit that, because we know there are other people out there who understand.

I love getting comments on my posts so much, and I love seeing the same people return again and again. I think I’ll talk more about that tomorrow for the ‘Blogging About Blogging’ topic, but even those relationships that consist solely of comments can become special and important. Since I’ve been blogging I’ve been able to find so many new blogs to follow, and one of my favourite aspects of this is discovering fellow Canadian (especially Ontarian) book bloggers. I haven’t been able to meet any of them in person yet, but hopefully that might happen if I can attend some bookish events in Toronto this fall.

So how have I found all these awesome people? Various ways, I suppose. A lot of people I’ve followed after seeing them around Twitter. I also find blogs through participating in the ‘In My Mailbox’ meme, or even just by seeing people’s comments on another blog I follow. Of course giveaways are another way of finding blogs. It’s always awesome when you follow through a link for a giveaway and happen upon this ultra cool blog where the person has similar reading taste as you and posts lots of cool content.

I guess this post is more of a vague love letter to the blogging community than a post about a specific blogging relationship I have, but to me, the whole book blogging community is just amazing. It’s made up of such a huge variety of people from all over, yet we all have this common interest that we love. I don’t want to get all sappy (okay, I think I already have), but I think book bloggers are some pretty amazing people for the most part. It seems so rare to be able to “meet” such friendly and awesome people online, and I’m so glad I’m a part of it all.

May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA: Blogger Interview

This post is part of my week-long participation in Armchair BEA 2011.


Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Jacinda and Jasmine from The Reading Housewives of Indiana.

What inspired you to start blogging?
I, Jacinda, was reading and following blogs for about a year before I actually started the blog with my sister. I always thought blogging sounded nice, but I was way to nervous to start my own. Many people I talked to on Twitter thought I was already a blogger, but of course I wasn't. In December of 2010, but sister kept telling me I needed to start a book blog. I told her the only way I would start a blog was if she were to do it with me. In January of 2011, The Reading Housewives of Indiana was born.

What is one piece of blogging advice you wish you had known when you started?
BLOG FOR YOU! Blog about what you would want to read. You'll be more comfortable with blogging if you write reviews or anything else if you'd want to read it yourself. Also, try not to let what any other bloggers or authors say upset you. This one is a tough to get past, because we put so much time and effort into blogging and when someone says something hurtful, it can be hard not to let it bother you.

You recently co-hosted Sarah Dessen Week on your blog. If you had to pick one favourite of her books, which would it be?
Jacinda: The Truth About Forever for the story, but my favorite boy in all of her books would have to be Dexter from This Lullaby.
Jasmine: This Lullaby...It's the only one I've read. :)

What is your favourite type of book or genre to read and review?
Jacinda: I read mainly young adult books. I do read an occasional adult paranormal/urban fantasy or a romance novel. I really enjoy contemporary and dysopian.
Jasmine: I only have read YA so far...I can't think of an adult book that I've read. Haha. I usually stick to more paranormal YA, but I do have some favorite contemporary and dystopian as well!

If you could be BFFs with any fictional character, who would you pick?
Jacinda: Sophie from the Hex Hall series. Sophie is hilarious and fun to be around, so I know she'd always be there when I needed a pick me up. I have a feeling Jasmine might want to chose the same character. Sorry Jasmine!
Jasmine: I was thinking about picking Sophie, but I knew Jacinda would pick her! :) I would probably have to say Evie from Paranormalcy...She's so funny and witty. I think we'd get along just great!

What do you do when you’re not blogging? What are some of your hobbies/interests?
Jacinda: When I'm not blogging, I'm dealing with my husband, 2 kids, and 3 pets. Even without blogging, I feel like I have enough to do since my kids are fairly young, 3 & 4. I enjoy baking, but without the clean-up. I do an occasional craft project and I enjoy watching sports whenever I get the chance and going to baseball games. GO WHITE SOX!
Jasmine: That's a good question...I really enjoy spending time with my husband. We like watching movies--when we can decide on one. :) I also love to swim, even though I don't get to do it often! I used to play softball and would really love to get back into it!

What is something that most people would be surprised to learn about you?
Jacinda: I’m afraid of heights to the point where I will not stay in a hotel room above the 7th floor or drive in mountains unless it’s at night and I cannot tell I'm in the mountains. I dislike milk and anything banana or coconut flavored so I’m limited on my cocktail choices.
Jasmine: Even though right now I'm a housewife and don't get out much, I'd LOVE to travel the world. My dream would be to at least visit every continent once...Well, maybe not Antarctica. :)

I know it’s tough, but what are your Top 5 Favourite Books? (They can be all-time faves, recent faves, or a mixture.)
Jacinda: Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols, Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott, and I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan
Jasmine: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Anna and the French Kiss, Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Thanks so much for answering my questions, ladies! It seems that we have very similar taste in books. =)

You can also check out eclectic/eccentric today, where Trisha will be posting an interview featuring moi. I had a lot of fun answering her questions!

May 24, 2011

Armchair BEA: 2011 Favourites

This post is part of my week-long participation in Armchair BEA 2011.

Since there are zillions of awesome books still to come out this year and next, and I don't want to seethe in jealousy at all the awesome reads that people at BEA are picking up, I thought I would focus on the awesome-ness that I have read. Here are just a few of the great books I've read so far this year, both new releases for 2011 and some "older" books that I've enjoyed.

Favourite 2011 Releases

Divergent by Veronica Roth: This book made my favourite covers, favourite heroines, AND my book boyfriends shelves on Goodreads. Plus if you follow any YA book blogs at all you've probably been tripping over positive reviews for this one. Let me tell you, they don't lie.

The Liar Society by Lisa & Laura Roecker: Speaking of liars... I swear this is the book version of Veronica Mars. For serious. And I don't make that comparison lightly. You're welcome in advance. [My Review]

Where She Went by Gayle Forman: Oh, Adam. You're an emo rocker who makes a lot of stupid decisions, but you love Mia SO MUCH that it breaks my heart. Seriously, if you haven't picked up 'If I Stay' or this one, you are missing out big time. Gayle's writing is breathtaking. [My Review]

Favourite "Older" Books Read in 2011

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: This book is "HOLY CRAP" amazing. If you haven't read it, go read it now. Seriously, you won't regret it. It easily made its way on to my favourite books ever list. [My Review]

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead: Please ignore the hideous covers and focus on the books, which are amazingly well written. I am not a vampire fan at all, but these books are totally engaging, filled with some of my favourite characters ever. [My Series Spotlight]

Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong: Really enjoyable characters and fast-paced storylines. There's nothing particularly original about the plot, but Kelley makes it all her own. I really fell in love with the characters, and I loved how action-packed the books were.

So, fellow Armchair-ers, what books are your 2011 favourites? I can't wait to get some book recs, as well as check out which titles you're looking forward to yet this year.

May 23, 2011

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Release Date: September 1, 2008
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 419
Series: n/a
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

My Thoughts:
I think this might be one of the best books I’ve ever read. I can easily place it within my new favourites, and probably also within my favourites of all time. I know I definitely need to own a copy ASAP so I can bug everyone I know to read it. Since library school I’ve paid a bit more attention to award winning books, but I don’t necessarily pick them up. It's a bit different with YA, but award winners bring to mind boring literature that’s way above my head. Well this is not at all the case with Jellicoe Road, in case you were having doubts. I’ve read so many gushing reviews of this book, and I wasn’t sure how it could possibly live up to them. I trained myself as I started reading: “Don’t get your hopes up. Don’t expect something amazing.” Well maybe it’s good that I did do that, but either way I came out of this with hope soaring within me. It’s almost implausible that a book so wrapped up with themes of grief could leave me with so much hope, yet that’s the beauty of Marchetta’s story. She takes simplistic actions and emotions and shakes them up, intertwining two slightly parallel stories, creating something absolutely breathtaking.

If you enjoy straightforward stories with a clean narrative this might not be the book for you. Melina Marchetta does not give you outright answers: she makes you work a bit to figure out what exactly has gone on. This is not to say that you need to be a detective to work everything out. If you have patience and some common sense you should be able to figure out the connection between the two stories written within these pages, in fact, sometimes figuring things out before Taylor, the main character, does herself. ‘Jellicoe Road’ is not quite as confusing as some people make it out to be. It’s disjointed and poetic, and sometimes you may be frustrated with the jumping around, but the way the story is told is so rewarding I can’t imagine it any other way. Even right now I’m having a hard time pinpointing what exactly about this novel is so amazing, probably because I don’t think it’s just one thing. It’s the writing, the characters, the overarching message... everything comes together so wonderfully to tell a story that will probably make you both laugh and cry. I hope I have convinced you to pick up this book, because I don’t think that you’ll regret it. Some final words: Jonah Griggs = amazing. Just trust me on that one.


Find Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta on Goodreads, Book Depository, &

Armchair BEA: Introduction

This post is part of my week-long participation in Armchair BEA 2011.

Introducing Me

Hello everyone! I am so excited to take part in Armchair BEA for the first time. For those who don’t know me, I’m Ashley and I’m from Southwestern Ontario, Canada. I’ve been blogging on Book Labyrinth for about 9 months now. In some ways I can’t believe it’s been that long, and in others I feel like I’ve been blogging for forever. Besides on the blog, you can also find me on Twitter and Goodreads.

I graduated from library school at the end of last year, and I’m still hoping to find a library job. In the meantime I’ve been taking some certificate classes online and doing a little bit of part-time administrative work. When I’m not reading you can probably find me watching TV. Yes, I’m a TV addict! You can check out this post to read about some of my favourites.

Book Labyrinth focuses on Young Adult fiction. I’ve always like YA, but I think I read even more of it now in my mid-20s than I did when I was a teenager. To me YA epitomizes good fiction… there are relatable (and generally likeable) main protagonists, fast pacing, and interesting plotlines. I also like how YA encompasses all the different genres. My favourite books are usually contemporary romance or dystopian, but I also read paranormal books, science fiction, fantasy, etc. The YA market is way more open to cross-genre books, which is something that I find interesting and exciting.

Armchair BEA seemed like a great opportunity to connect with other bloggers who couldn’t be in New York for actual BEA but who still wanted to network. My goals for this week are to participate in some great discussions about book blogging and to do a lot of blog hopping to “meet” some new bloggers.

Thanks so much for visiting Book Labyrinth, and I hope that we all have a great Armchair BEA experience!


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