September 30, 2011

Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Release Date: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 322
Series: n/a
Review Source: S&S GalleyGrab

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
All Chelsea wants to do this summer is hang out with her best friend, hone her talents as an ice cream connoisseur, and finally get over Ezra, the boy who broke her heart. But when Chelsea shows up for her summer job at Essex Historical Colonial Village (yes, really), it turns out Ezra’s working there too. Which makes moving on and forgetting Ezra a lot more complicated…even when Chelsea starts falling for someone new.

Maybe Chelsea should have known better than to think that a historical reenactment village could help her escape her past. But with Ezra all too present, and her new crush seeming all too off limits, all Chelsea knows is that she’s got a lot to figure out about love. Because those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it….

My Thoughts:
As a former history major what could be better than a YA novel containing a living history museum? Answer: a YA novel containing two living history museums, where the teen employees take part in a Jellicoe Road-like war against each other: Colonials versus Civil Warriors. Take that and mix it with Leila Sales’ incredible sense of humour, some awesome characters who have depth, and a swoony starcrossed romance, and you have a book that I adore.

This book was just so much fun. All the characters had personality: none of them were just stock characters. I adored the historical aspect, as mentioned. I loved how Chelsea saw history and how she felt about it. All those discussions really drew me in and gave the book some depth. This book is sweet, swoony, sad, and hysterically funny all at the same time. I don't often say "I wholeheartedly recommend it", but yes: I wholeheartedly recommend it. Definitely one of my favourite contemporaries of the year.

The Cover:
It's super cute, but I hate how it has absolutely nothing to do with the book. Like, at all. And I don't think the tagline represents what the book is actually about.


Find Past Perfect by Leila Sales on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

September 27, 2011

Word on the Street Toronto Recap

On Sunday I headed into Toronto with my Mom to attend Word on the Street. I had never been before, so I was pretty excited to see what it was all about. I think we got to Queen's Park at about noon-ish, and the very first booth we saw was from Simon & Schuster Canada. They were selling kids and YA books for $5 hardcovers and $3 paperbacks. I picked up a Deb Caletti book and some Kenneth Oppel buttons. There were some other awesome books at the booth, but it seemed like any of the ones I really loved or was interested in I already owned. They tried to sell me 'Hush, Hush' and I was all "thanks, but no thanks."

Next up was HarperCollins Canada where half the booth was frontlist titles for 20% off and the other half were books for $3 and under. I picked up some Divergent and Delirium temporary tattoos and managed to pick up a Jessica Brody book for $3. This was a fabulous booth with fabulous deals, but the crowd was a real bummer. A lot of people were great, but the majority were incredibly pushy and rude. You really couldn't even get to the table properly to see what they had, and people would cut you off and elbow you. Not so nice! I'm surprised I even managed to get to the front and grab one book.

We wandered around to some more booths and then came across the Harlequin booth where they had a great deal of 3 books for $5. I was hoping they would have the Iron Fey books but they were out of them. They didn't really have a lot of YA books, but I did manage to pick up the 3 Past Midnight books (I scored the last copy of One Hundred Candles that they had). I also got given a (non-YA) chapter sampler signed by 2 of the authors and bought my Mom 4 books (1 was free, actually, and she got 2 of them signed).

At a little after 2:00 we made our way to the 'Remarkable Reads' tent for the Kelley Armstrong Hour. My Mom and I sat down and were talking, and then Zahida (Musings of a YA Reader) gave me a rock star moment by recognizing me from my blog. Yay for blogger encounters!

Before Kelley came on stage we got happy face stickers that we could redeem afterward for cupcakes that had the jewel symbols from the Darkest Powers books on them. Score! ;)

Kelley came on stage and she had lots of goodies (mugs, books, ARCs) to give away to those who could answer trivia questions. Cue me cursing my inability to retain specific details from books unless I’ve read them in the past couple of weeks.

There was a reading of the prologue of The Gathering and Kelley interspersed her trivia questions with Q&A from the audience. Here’s what I remember, in no particular order:

  • after the Darkness Rising trilogy is done Kelley is contracted to write another YA trilogy which will bring the two groups together; of that last trilogy there is guaranteed to be at least one Chloe book (meaning narrated by Chloe, I believe)
  • ‘13’ will be the last of the Women of the Otherworld books for now, but it doesn’t mean she’ll never go back to those characters
  • she has anthologies planned for 2013 - 2015 (I believe, don’t quote me on it) that bring together works from other anthologies (ones about the adult series characters)
  • if she ever leaves anything unresolved it means she’s not done with those characters and she’ll be coming back to them
  • readers should tell her when they want to hear more about specific characters so that she knows; that way maybe she can write short pieces about them
  • she’ll never “soap opera age” a character for the purposes of the story (this was in relation to a question about if she’ll write about the twins when they’re older)
  • a question was asked about why Chloe didn’t end up with Simon; Kelley took an audience poll and only one other person thought Chloe should be with Simon -- Kelley said she intended Chloe to be with Simon because he was the perfect first boyfriend that a mother would love to see her daughter with, but that who the daughter might choose doesn’t automatically line up with that. When she was writing the books Chloe kept on connecting with Derek and having more scenes with him
  • the Nadia Stafford books got shoved to the background because of her focus on the paranormal and YA (because these were/are the big sellers), but she plans to finish off Nadia’s story
  • she’s embarrassed by the title of her vampire short story “Twilight”; it was published when Twilight wasn’t the big thing, but now it looks like a ridiculous title
  • advice for writers and to counter writer's block: just keep writing, keep practising. It's a craft and you keep getting better the more you do of it. Every writer thinks that what they write is crap sometimes, but you can edit crap to make it good. You can't edit a blank page
  • all of her characters have a little bit of her in them so that she can relate to them; Elena is the most like her because they're the same age, they're both writers, from the same area ... the thing of Chloe that is like Kelley is that they both have a stutter, and she gave Chloe the last name Saunders because it was the name of the high school she went to (which I think is awesome because Kelley's high school is in the city where I live)
  • she wrote the Darkest Powers/YA books for her daughters at that age, and now she's writing a middle grade series with Melissa Marr for her son (they both have sons around that age)

After the talk and Q&A were over, Zahida and I headed into the autograph line which was relatively long considering the venue. We had made our way to get in line fairly quickly, and then a few minutes later my Mom came over with a lovely surprise. Kelley had said that the first two people who asked would get the bags that she had used to bring the prizes on stage. One of them had already gone and my Mom went and asked for the other one for me. See, this is why you hang out with your Mom and go places with her even when you're 25. ;)

Kelley signed my Darkest Powers omnibus (yes I totally dragged that honking thing with me to Toronto, haha) and was also giving away very awesome swag, including the cutest bookmarks with chibi Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising characters.

After getting my book signed we headed over to the 'This is Not the Shakespeare Stage' where Lesley Anne Cowan, Alyxandra Harvey, Teresea Toten, and Heather J. Wood were doing their "That's What She Said" program. We missed Lesley Anne's reading and most of Alyxandra's, but we heard all of Teresea and Heather's.

L - R: Sue Carter Flinn from Quill & Quire, Heather, Lesley Anne, Teresa, Alyxandra

It was interesting to hear about Alyxandra's haunted house and Teresa's real life traumas turned into scenes in her books. Plus? Her accent for the aunties was just hilarious. Heather's book about a figure skater turned roller derby girl sounded pretty intriguing as well.

After that was over we headed back around to look at more booths. For some reason I had an inkling I should check out Simon & Schuster's tent again even though it was back at the beginning where we entered the park. My inner voice was spot on because S&S had reduced kids and YA titles to $1! I just couldn't resist the price, so I picked up these lovelies:

We headed back to the 'This is Not the Shakespeare Stage' for Lesley Livingston and Robert J. Sawyer who were doing a sci-fi versus fantasy debate type of thing. The schedule for that tent was behind so we got there in time to catch the end of Catherine Austen's Q&A. She had been talking about dystopias and her new book 'All Good Children'. I got a couple of bookmarks from her and then settled in to hear Robert and Lesley.

Let me say that these two were hilarious, both together and in their individual readings. Rob read a unique piece from his WWW Trilogy which was in the format of an interview between the main character (Caitlin) and Jon Stewart, and it gave a pretty good idea of what the series is about. Lesley read a part from Once Every Never where Clare and Al go to see Al's hot geek of a cousin, Milo, to see if he can help them figure out what's going on (aka can Clare really go back in time?)

Then they staged a little debate, although it was more of an agreement of what sci-fi is versus what fantasy is. They talked about science fiction being things that have to be possible, at least sometime in the future, while fantasy is those things which are not possible. However both genres have to be convincing: science fiction has to convince people and make sense externally in the world of technology and science. Fantasy has to have an internal world structure where there are still rules and theories to stick to. Both Lesley and Rob agreed that they have to be convinced as the author before it can make sense and convince readers. There was also a short discussion based on a question about theories of time travel. There were references to Star Wars and the TARDIS and other ultra-cool and ultra-nerdy things. Rob and Lesley agreed that Star Wars is fantasy masquerading itself as sci-fi because of space ships, etc.

After the reading and discussion Zahida and I lined up to get our newly purchased copies of Once Every Never signed. We had both been wanting it for a while, so it was the perfect opportunity to get a signed copy.

Signed book and pretty, pretty bag star in a very badly lit picture

By the time this was done it was after 6:00 and WOTS was packing up! It was a super long day, but a lottttt of fun! It was super cool that Zahida recognized me because we basically had the same afternoon planned and it gave us an opportunity to hang out.

Thanks to everyone who made WOTS possible, including all the exhibitors, publishers, authors, and even fellow readers and bloggers. Hopefully I'll be able to attend next year as well!

Awesome swag accumulated throughout the day, plus reading buttons I purchased at the WOTS tent

September 26, 2011

Relatively Honest by Molly Ringle

Release Date: September 15, 2011
Publisher: ireadiwrite Publishing
Pages: 195
Series: n/a
Review Source: eBook from author & publisher

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Eighteen year-old womanizer Daniel Revelstoke leaves his native London to study at the University of Oregon, dreaming of seducing one American girl after another. But he soon meets a new kind of woman in classmate Julie French. Her cleverness and resistance land Daniel in love for the first time in his life, to his deep confusion.

However, Julie's long-distance boyfriend and a bizarre family secret stand in Daniel's way to winning her. Since he can't quit obsessing over her, he decides to hide a few truths in order to draw closer to her, hoping that maybe she'll return his love and, when she finds out his devious path, forgive him. It's a gamble, but all's fair in love and college.

My Thoughts:
I definitely enjoyed reading this book which is written from the perspective of university freshman Daniel Revelstoke. Daniel is a bit of an idiot at times, but he’s just charming enough to get away with it, especially with his English slang and mannerisms. Even Daniel’s craziest decisions have the best of intentions, and as readers we can appreciate this fact. I enjoyed reading another book set in university, and I hope that more authors and publishers will continue with this trend.

I actually really liked this book for the most part, but I have to say I wasn’t completely sold on the romance. I believed Daniel’s feelings, but it seemed like we never really got to see Daniel and Julie fall in love. That fact made it more difficult to support their relationship when the crazy plot twist came into play. And oh is this plot twist crazy, let me tell you. You might figure it out or it might catch you off guard, but it definitely makes things interesting. I think it’s definitely something you’ll either accept or have a big problem with. There’s not a lot of in between.

Basically if you’re looking for an interesting contemporary story with older YA characters, then definitely give ‘Relatively Honest’ a chance. Daniel’s narration is amusing and his transition in thought from playboy to man in love was interesting, if not completely realistic.

The Cover:
So it's nothing unique, but I adore simple covers like this! Very cute.

[Strong 3/5]

Find Relatively Honest by Molly Ringle on Goodreads, Amazon Kindle, and All Romance Books.

September 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (29)

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 during the past week:

Bought -- Used Bookstore Finds:

Birthday RAK:


For Review:

**All links lead to Goodreads

September 22, 2011

The Way We Fall - New Cover

You may remember that I posted my review of Megan Crewe's 2012 release "The Way We Fall" back in August. Well I loved the book, but I wasn't totally sold on the cover.

Apparently the publishers weren't either, because as Megan revealed on her blog today, the book has a new official cover:

What do you think?? I kind of love it! The concept of it reminds me a bit of the original Delirium cover, which can never be a bad thing. I think it represents the tone of the book quite well, and it's just interesting to look at. I bet it will be even better in person.

Here's the synopsis for the book:

It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.

You can find "The Way We Fall" on Goodreads; it will be released on January 24, 2012.

Genre Wars: Guest Post by Rhiannon Paille

I'm really excited to be hosting another guest post today, this time from fellow Canadian Rhiannon Paille. Rhiannon has sold her first book "Flame of Surrender" to Coscom Entertainment and it will be released on November 1 of this year.

Rhiannon is here on Book Labyrinth to talk about how she managed to decide what "Flame of Surrender" actually is, since it crosses a lot of different genres.

GENRE WARS! How did you choose?
by Rhiannon Paille

It was tough. Today there are so many categories for books that differ from place to place; it’ll give you a headache. Before I could even decide what genre FLAME OF SURRENDER fit into, I had to read all the descriptions for all the different genres, and then I had to choose which fit my book.

There was more than one that fit, and a few that were applicable though not entirely.

Young Adult: This is a very broad term, and it’s not used everywhere, some places like Amazon have “Teen” sections and so this is just a general slang term which means it’s for people ages 14 & Up.

Fantasy: Another wide term, this means that it likely has something to do with magic and the supernatural. It’s also dominated by medieval times, other worlds and other types of creatures, non human. It stays away from the macabre themes and is usually about quests, conquests or triumphs.
(Flame of Surrender almost fits, except for that last line about the macabre . . .)

High Fantasy: Another wide term that indicates the story is set on another planet, realm or place that is not Earth.
(Flame of Surrender takes place on Avristar, a hidden island on Earth. Almost High Fantasy)

Epic Fantasy: Another wide term that indicates the story revolves around a quest or a journey.
(Flame of Surrender is not Epic Fantasy)

Dark Fantasy: A subgenre of fantasy that deals with characters commonly seen in horror such as vampires, werewolves, or ferrymen.
(Flame of Surrender actually fits this rather well)

Paranormal Romance: A subgenre of Romance, it includes paranormal elements such as: psychic ability, fantasy, magic, science fiction or horror. The main plot revolves around a love story, and the rest adds depth, conflict and tension to the story.
(Flame of Surrender is more a Paranormal Romance than it is a High Fantasy, it fits this genre perfectly)

Dystopia: Dystopia is defined as a society characterized by poverty, or oppression. Most of the time the plot revolves around rectifying what has forced this poverty or oppression. Most stories revolve around changing society, taking down the government, rebuilding, etc. etc.
(Flame of Surrender is a dystopian by default. People are oppressed but they live with it until things have to change.)

Utopian: Opposite to Dystopian. Utopian fiction exists in a perfect world, the ideal place of perfection.
(Flame of Surrender on the outside is Utopian, and on the inside it’s Dystopian. Basically, you can live freely on Avristar if you live by the rules, but test those rules, test that peace, and you’ll find where the oppression lies.)

Contemporary Fantasy: Fantasy that exists in the real world, modern world.

Urban Fantasy: Fantasy that exists in a modern day city.

Historical Fantasy: A subgenre of fantasy that deals with fantasy that exists on Earth during different periods of time.

Steampunk: A subgenre of fantasy that takes from H.G. Wells and Jules Verne of a modern day dominated by an entirely steam powered world.

Cyberpunk: A subgenre of Science Fiction that deals with futuristic technology, robots, and biomechanics.

Post Apocalyptic: Very popular in the zombie books. These ones deal with the after effects of an apocalypse, who’s still alive and how they’re going to survive.

And I think that’s it. If I missed any I’m sorry, but there are genres for everything, and since I fit into so many genres, I thought I would just explain them all . . .

What are your favorite genres to read? Which ones do you steer clear of?

Oh and there's a bio here somewhere and there's a fly in my face *shoos fly away*

Rhi was never a normal girl. She tried, but she couldn’t get rid of the visions, the voices in her head, and the hallucinations. When she was on the edge of crazy someone pulled her back and explained it all. She wasn’t insane. She was psychic, really psychic, too psychic. Her life was an urban fantasy wrapped in a paranormal romance and served with a side of horror. To escape her everyday weirdness she began writing fantasy. She frequents twitter and facebook, but if you really want to get to know her you should visit her site:

Her book FLAME OF SURRENDER (The Ferryman and The Flame #1) Comes out November 1st, 2011. Check it out here:

Thanks so much for sharing all that information about genres, Rhiannon! I know I definitely enjoyed reading about them and seeing where "Flame of Surrender" fits in.

You can follow Rhiannon on Twitter and Facebook, or visit her blog and website. Here is some more information about the first "Ferryman and the Flame" novel:

The boy who follows death meets the girl who could destroy the world.
Krishani thinks he’s doomed until he meets Kaliel, the one girl on the island of Avristar who isn’t afraid of him. She’s unlike the other girls, she swims with merfolk, talks to trees and blooms flowers with her touch. What he doesn’t know is that she’s a flame, one of nine individually hand crafted weapons, hidden in the body of a seemingly harmless girl.

Nobody has fallen in love with a flame until now. She becomes Krishani’s refuge from the dreams of death and the weather abilities he can’t control. Striking down thousand year old trees with lightning isn’t something he tries to do, it just happens. When the Ferryman dies, Krishani knows that he’s the next and that a lifetime of following death is his destiny.

And Kaliel can’t come with him. The Valtanyana are hunting the flames, the safest place for her is Avristar. Krishani can’t bear to leave her, and one innocent mistake grants the Valtanyana access to their mystical island. They’re coming for Kaliel, and they won’t stop until every last living creature on Avristar is dead. She has to choose, hide, face them, or awaken the flame and potentially destroy herself.

Coming November 1st, 2011

September 21, 2011

Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Release Date: September 12, 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Pages: 314
Series: n/a, though it can be seen as a companion book for Princess Ben
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure far beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.

Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true life secret from his family.

Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.

These three passionate souls might just attain their dreams while preserving Montagne from certain destruction, if only they can tolerate each other long enough to come up with a plan. Tough to save the world when you can't even be in the same room together.

Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben. An incredibly creative tale told with diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, even a stage play, all woven together into a grand adventure.

My Thoughts:
This book had a lot of great potential, but it ended up falling flat in a lot of ways. It took me a while to get into it because of all the different characters and perspectives, but eventually the action picked up a bit and I was intrigued. Then something specific happened with two of the characters (which I can’t reveal without being spoiler-y) and I seriously began to resent this book. I kept hoping it might get better, but it really didn’t.

My first major complaint is all the different perspectives. There were just too many characters to keep track of, and the switch to a different format (e.g. letter, memoir, encyclopedia) often cramped the narration style. The two perspectives I really enjoyed were Nonna Ben’s letters and Trudy’s memoir, and it seemed like whenever I was getting really interested in what they had to say I was whisked into another perspective.

I have a hard time finding much of anything positive to say about the book. I didn’t find the characters very interesting: again, I liked Trudy and Nonna Ben, but I pretty much despised Dizzy and Tips, the other main characters, because they were so selfish. There was also the presence of insta-love to the extreme, which was incredibly ridiculous.

The thing is, I think the story had a lot of promise. A more humorous fairy tale type of story sounds utterly appealing, and even the different types of perspectives can be awesome if done well. Instead we’re left reading a choppy story with underdeveloped (and often unlikable) characters. I have to admit that I only finished this book because I got it for review. If it were from the library I probably would have quit half way through, or maybe even sooner.

The Cover:
Meh. I do love how it features the subtitle, though really the cat didn't have a very large part in the book at all, unfortunately.


Find Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

Guest Post at The Shady Glade

Alyssa at The Shady Glade is having a huge blogoversary celebration this month to commemorate her five (!) years of blogging. She's running a whole bunch of great challenges which will culminate in a very fun auction where you can use your entries to bid on prizes.

There are also a whole bunch of great guest posts happening on the blog, one of which happens to be written by me. I'd love it if you would go wish Alyssa a Happy Blogoversary and also check out my post which is about my "Favourite Books Discovered Because of Blogging".

September 20, 2011

Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

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

Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

1. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick: I actually won a copy of this at one point, but I ended up giving it away. From what I've heard of Patch the book doesn't appeal to me at all. Still, I feel like practically every YA blogger has read it.

2. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen: I'm terrible, I know! I've watched so many different adaptations of this, and even read some P&P inspired books, but I haven't read the original. There's no excuse because I have the book on my Kobo.

3. Looking For Alaska by John Green: The only John Green I've read is 'Paper Towns', which I adored, so I'm not sure why I haven't read this one.

4. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl: Well, this is a partial truth. I started reading it and I got about 1/4 of the way but I was SO FREAKING BORED. A very unpopular opinion, I know.

5. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak: I've had this one on my TBR list for so, so long, but I just haven't picked it up for some reason.

6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: This one has been around almost every blog, and I had it on my radar for a long time before the resurgence earlier this year, but I just haven't read it yet.

7. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner: I have no excuse for this one because I bought a copy of the book either earlier this year or late last year. I've heard so many good things about the series!

8. Forever by Judy Blume: I grew up in a semi-conservative Christian household, so even though I basically always chose my own books, I don't think I really ever had the opportunity to be exposed to Judy Blume's works.

9. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce: I never really read much fantasy up until a couple of years ago, but I've heard SUCH good things about Alanna that I will definitely have to read this series at some point.

10. Crank by Ellen Hopkins: I'm just... not really interested, which I know sounds bad. I've heard how powerful these books are, but I just don't like books about drugs and I'm not a big fan of novels in verse either.

I have to say this list was hard for me, because apparently I have very commercial tastes. There are probably some glaring omissions, but these are the ones I could think of, and even then I had to consult some lists.

So, which books haven't you read which you feel everyone else has? I look forward to checking out everyone's lists!


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