March 29, 2012

Random Stuff

So I seem to have not really scheduled posts for this week, but I kind of figured "oh well". We all need a break sometimes, right?

But I do like having posts, and I do like having discussions/random posts, even though I don't usually post a lot of them. So lack of scheduled posts = time for some randomness.

The Hunger Games movie
So good, am I right?? I mean, everyone under the sun is making whole posts about this, with far more awesome and coherent thoughts than I could share, so I won't say much, but... yah, just very good for the most part. I went with my Mom and we bought VIP so we could have reserved seats, and I'm gladddd because after we got out of the movie the lines for the next regular shows were INSANE.

Mirror, Mirror movie
I got to attend a pre-screening of this last Saturday morning and it was cute for the most part. It was family oriented/humour-filled, like the preview showed, but with enough action to keep things interesting. I didn't love it, but I did like it. It did, however, make me even more excited about Lily Collins as Clary. She's such a good actress, and I think she's perfect to pull off sweet and tough at the same time, and she's good in both romantic and action scenes.

Jellicoe Road
I'm re-reading Jellicoe Road right now and totally falling in love with it all over again. I've had it before where I loveddd a book and then re-reading it I was a bit disappointed, but with Jellicoe it is not the case at all. I guess there's a reason why I easily placed it in my top favourite books, if not favourite books ever, upon reading it for the first time. Yah. Just SO MUCH LOVE for this book.

March 24, 2012

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 327
Series: Hex Hall
Review Source: For review from Hachette Book Group Canada (@HBGCanada)

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

My Thoughts:
There is a lot to like about this book and about this series, especially when you consider the characters. Sophie is adorable, punchy, sarcastic, and strong. I think she's relatable, despite her great power, because she's kind of like an every girl and someone to aspire to all wrapped up in one person. She feels things we all feel, but then she makes the choice to rise above and do what is brave and right.

The thing about this volume of the series is that there is a lot happening, almost too much so. The book has a frenetic pace to it, where it seems like greater details are glossed over. The romance aspect isn't really my favourite either, because the love triangle is just kind of strange. See, Cal is awesome and sweet and I totally dig him, but does it ever really feel like he has a chance with Sophie? Sophie and Archer are together with real feelings, so what's the point of having Cal as a third wheel? I understand Cal liking Sophie, but from Sophie's POV the more-than-friendship feelings seem almost forced.

I know this was supposed to be a trilogy, but I'd be surprised if there weren't more Hex Hall books after this. It felt like there were too many loose ends at the end of the book, especially with new characters who had been introduced without any resolution to their stories. The series just doesn't feel done, so I'm interested to know if more books are (or have been?) announced. I really liked the humour of the first two books, and thankfully that does continue in this one. Plot-wise I don't think this book is as strong as the previous two, but it's still very enjoyable. I like Sophie as a character, and if there were more books I would definitely be interested in reading further in the series.

ETA: I just found out there will be a Hex Hall spin-off. (See here, also). Makes sense, I think!

The Cover:
It's not my favourite (doesn't the girl look scary thin?!), but I do enjoy the continued theme from the previous covers.


Find Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

March 22, 2012

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Release Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 367
Series: The Violet Eden Chapters
Review Source: ARC from Raincoast Books

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…

Look for the sequels ENTICED in September 2012 and EMBLAZE in March 2013!

My Thoughts:
I was so hoping I would appreciate this book, but in the end it left a bad taste in my mouth. In the beginning I was really excited about it. The writing was strong and the characters were interesting. I loved the dynamic between Violet and Lincoln and I couldn’t wait to see where it went. Then came the big paranormal reveal, and everything sort of went downhill from there. Just a warning, this review might be more spoilerly than my usual ones, because I feel like I have to reveal a bit more to explain my problems with the book. So step away now if you don’t want to read spoilers!

So, we have our main character Violet. Everyone has been describing her as such a strong heroine, but I just didn’t see it. I think she tried to have some kind of control over her life, but she wasn’t very successful. She had a lot to deal with, but instead of actually, you know, dealing with it she tried to sweep it under the rug. Violet is so upset that she can’t have a normal life, yet she decides to spend all her time with an exiled angel. Not sure of the logic on that one. And not only does she spend time with him, she decides to date him as well, although I really don’t know when that decision was made. It just seemed to randomly happen, and I was completely lost. Violet claims to love one guy but when things go crazy she decides to have sex with the other guy. Oh, and she thinks about the other guy while doing it. At this point I just felt like throwing my book across the room.

This book is obviously about a love triangle. Despite all the other angel and Grigori mythology going on (which was actually interesting, and pretty well done), the love triangle takes most of the book’s focus. But of course it couldn’t be two guys who are actually decent. No, first we have Lincoln who is a good guy, but who because he’s Violet’s Grigori partner can’t actually be with her (why?? I didn’t feel like this was explained at all, except that it was Forbidden). And of course Lincoln also lied to Violet for 2 years about her real identity, so maybe he's not actually the best guy ever. And then there’s Phoenix who I can’t even begin to describe, and not in a good way. He’s the aforementioned exile, and he can control emotions. He is absolutely disgusting. He uses his seduction techniques to force himself on Violet, but then because he has the strength to pull away, Violet somehow feels bad for him. I just... I don’t even understand the whole dynamic. Basically, Phoenix disgusted me, and Violet’s reactions to him disgusted me as well, perhaps even more so.

As I mentioned, the mythology aspect was pretty well done. I was interested in the history of the Grigori and watching Violet try and figure out her powers. I just wish the love triangle hadn’t taken over, so perhaps we could have learned more background in the first book. Where the book ended up was interesting, though fairly predictable. It made me a little bit less angry with the book’s events, but not enough to feel that favourably toward it. I don’t like things that mess with your head, and this whole book was full of what I will very maturely refer to as WTFery. Honestly, there were things that just made me so confused and others that made me so angry. I have a feeling this book will appeal to fans of the Fallen books or Hush, Hush and maybe even Twilight. In other words: not me. Plenty of people seemed to really adore this one, and I can absolutely appreciate the writing style (for a debut? awesome!), but the actual plot and characters turned me off way too much to be a fan.

The Cover:
I reallllly like the colour and the smoke and even the feathers. I think it could have been more interesting, but it's still pretty cool.


Find Embrace by Jessica Shirvington on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

March 20, 2012

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Pages: 288
Series: n/a
Review Source: eBook for review from author/publicist

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny.

Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it.

Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…

My Thoughts:
Omiword this book is funny. So, so funny. Like, it would be impossible to overestimate how many times this book made me giggle. As in when I was talking to my Mom I read some paragraphs aloud because they made me snicker so much, and when I was reading it during lunch at work I thought people would give me weird looks because I was literally laughing out loud. Kelsey is just so sarcastic and true to life. She's an adorable narrator who just seems like a real girl in grade nine, wanting to be mature and have new experiences, but still a bit naive about high school and the world.

I think this book contains a perfect combination of introspection, everyday life, family, friends, and a bit of romance. I could go on and on, but really I just think this is a great contemp novel. It has the balance of all those great aspects, and it's a perfect read to cheer you up because of the humour and how much fun it was to read. Definitely recommended.

The Cover:
It's cute, I really like the design.


Find Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

March 19, 2012

The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee

Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 373
Series: The Agency
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Get steeped in suspense, romance, and high Victorian intrigue as Mary goes undercover at Buckingham Palace - and learns a startling secret at the Tower of London.

Queen Victoria has a little problem: there's a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quickwitted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father. Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary's onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family? Hoist on your waders for Mary's most personal case yet, where the stakes couldn't be higher - and she has everything to lose.

My Thoughts:
I almost feel like this book is such a fun and interesting read that it should speak for itself. However, I’ll attempt to explain why I like this series so much. This volume of The Agency series features several interconnected mysteries that centre around Buckingham Palace, royal intrigue, and the Queen. As if that doesn’t sound awesome enough, Y.S. Lee also knows how to write fabulous characters.

Mary is one of the best historical characters I can think of. Granted, I don’t read a ton of historical books, but of the ones I’ve read Mary definitely sticks out the most. Heck, she even stands out amongst heroines from all genres. Mary is so strong, intelligent, and self-aware, but she’s also funny and feminine. She doesn’t let her strength get in the way of who she is as a person or as a woman. And can we please talk about her chemistry with James? They have a connection that just leaps of the page, and their banter is beyond adorable. James is such a lovely character as well, accepting and respecting Mary’s strengths, and appreciating her because of (not in spite of) who she is.

Basically this is an amazing series that always includes an interesting mystery (one that’s intriguing but doesn’t get bogged down in having to keep track of every little detail), great characters, and an amazing setting (being a PhD in the Victorian time period, Y.S. Lee knows how to include just the right amount of real-life details). I think these books just keep getting better, and after the way this book ended I was extremely excited to find out that there would be more books to come in the series.

The Cover:


Find The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

March 18, 2012

In My Mailbox (39)

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.

So keep in mind that I haven't done any IMM posts for 2012 at all, so this is basically what I've been collecting since January. There are probably a few more that I forgot to include, as well as eBooks, but considering the amount of books this is mostly just going to be an IMM in pictures. Let me know if you can't read a title and are curious and I'll get you the Goodreads link.


For Review:

From Razorbill/Penguin Canada:

From Prometheus Books/Pyr:

From Hachette Book Group Canada:

From Raincoast Books:

March 16, 2012

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 378
Series: Delirium
Review Source: ARC from HarperCollins Canada

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

My Thoughts:
So if you look at my initial reaction on Goodreads, it was this: "Holy moly, so freaking good!" And yah, I could basically sum up my review with that statement. I was blown away with how amazing this sequel to 'Delirum' was. It's filled with heart pounding emotion, and I absolutely flew through the pages in order to discover what would happen next.

This is a good 2nd book in a series. It's clear that this is a bridge story for the trilogy, but there's still a lot going on. You get to explore what happens to Lena in the wild and what's happening with uprisings of resistance against the Cure. There are new characters introduced who you quickly care for, while still aching along with Lena at the loss of Alex, Hanna, and Grace.

Despite my adoration for this book I'm not entirely sure the way it was told was necessary. We get to experience "Now" (Lena's present) and "Then" (Lena when she first came into the wild), going back and forth between the two during the book. The thing is, the way it was put together was quite wonderful, with parallels going on between the two times, but it was also really frustrating. I think it probably could have been told in a linear fashion and nothing would have been lacking. Still, that's really my only complaint about the book.

'Pandemonium' ended exactly how I expected it to right from the beginning, but getting to that point had my stomach in knots. The ending will leave you freaking out and dying for the third book, just like 'Delirium' did for the second book. Lauren Oliver is an incredible storyteller with a gift for crafting words and characters that you can't help but fall in love with.

The Cover:
Well... visually the colours are pretty, though I don't really get it. Like random flowers in fall colours mean the Wild? I dunno. But mostly I just wish it matched my Delirium HC. :'(


Find Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.

You can also read the first chapter and view Canadian buy links on Harper Collins Canada.


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