Friday, December 31, 2010

In the New Year....

Just before the holiday break, I was chatting with Melissa at My words and pages on Twitter about blogging resolutions for the New Year. 2010 has been a year filled with (blogging) ups and downs, but mostly gave me much more experience in this great online community. For 2011, I'm looking forward to more reading, "meeting" more great people and blogging lots :-)
I have been a bit neglectful of consistent blogging over the last several months. Though it's been for a good reason, I feel I could do better. I've been tossing around a few ideas in my head that will maybe make next year a more streamlined, entertaining (?), and book filled year.

Meme idea: "Guilty Pleasures" - You know you should be doing something else: house work, taxes, feeding the kids a healthy meal, or in my case, studying for school (on top of all the other things mentioned :-p ) but there's a book that you've been reading that you just can't put down! I want to share my guilty pleasure reading and hear about yours too!

More unique review style, new elements:
1-First impressions- Maybe something interesting about the cover, my initial reaction to the style of writing or where the book starts in a story?

2-Lasting impressions - Will I put this book down but still have part of it stick with me? There are lots of books that I remember certain "scenes" from but of course, not all have a lasting effect.

Reading challenges:
While I've had the intention of getting involved with challenges that are out there in the blogging world, I think it's better just to challenge myself. This year I will attempt to read 5 more books than last year. I will also attempt to read more of the books I've bought and have been totally excited about but are not 'review' books and trust me there are tons of books lying around my place that fit this category :-o

I seriously need to spend some quality time alphabetizing or organizing my books but genre or my mood or whatever, but right now, many are hidden from my view, lol. In order to accomplish this, I'll definitely have to invest in more bookcases....

These are my book blogging resolutions. I have other personal ones that mainly include living healthier and having lots of fun, new experiences with my daughter. How about you? Have you made specific bookish resolutions? Make sure you pop over to Melissa's blog too and share them there.

Hope everyone has a great, productive and happy 2011!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Velocity by Alan Jacobson

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Vanguard Press
Detective Robby Hernandez, Karen Vail’s boyfriend, has vanished into the dense air of a Napa Valley evening. There are no clues to his whereabouts, other than a blood stain and tenuous connections to a vicious serial killer operating in the wine country.

As the task force struggles with Robby’s disappearance, the killer challenges Vail by boldly leaving his high profile victims in public places. Is this offender somehow responsible for Robby’s disappearance? Evidence suggests that he is—but just when Vail and the task force begin to make progress, the FBI orders Vail to return to Quantico to handle a case of vital importance.

Back in Washington, Vail engages covert government operative Hector DeSantos to determine what happened to Robby. It’s a move that backfires when DeSantos’s confidential informants lead them into unforeseen dangers, forcing Vail to face off against powerful foes unlike any she’s ever encountered, threatening her life, her career . . . all that she holds dear.

In a frantic race against time that takes them from the monuments of Washington, D.C., to the wealthy beach enclaves of San Diego and the bright excesses of Las Vegas, shocking truths emerge—truths that will forever change Karen Vail.

Reviewing this book has me in a bit of a quandary. There was so much happening throughout that at times it felt like my head was spinning. The books starts off, apparently, exactly where the last book finished. It would have been hugely helpful to have read the other books before. The other issue it presented was a kind of unreal time frame where the previous Karen Vail books  (4 of them) all seem to have occurred during a very short period of time. It appears Vail was having a pretty crappy month or so, catching serial killers and helping to take down drug cartels all while looking for her missing boyfriend.

Then there was how the book was written. At times, it felt like an instruction manual for all manner of law enforcement. This did help in explaining terms that would be used throughout but at times felt more educational than entertaining. To put a positive spin on this aspect, it adds more credence to the story, making it more like true FBI, DEA, etc. work than the abbreviated versions we see on TV. From the extensive list of acknowledgements, it is easy to see that Alan Jacobson really does his homework.

All of that being said, the book kept my attention. The action maintained a constant pace and really made me want to continute reading. There were so many facets at play and so many characters involved that there was always something happening. I think it was a bit forced in trying to make everything connect in Vail's life...surely one woman can't be that unlucky?! With the ending, I'm not sure if this is the last we see of Karen Vail but by the conclusion I liked the characters involved, with the exception of Hector DeSantos whose 'If I told you, I'd have to kill you' routine leaned towards cheesiness. I would still be interested in reading the previous books to get a better feel for the overall picture.

If you are a fan of Criminal Minds on TV and/or Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series, (which I am, of both) then Velocity has a similar feel. Though a bit overwhelming with information at times, I did enjoy the story overall.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

For all of the Jane Austen fans out there...

I didn't know this (though I am a fan of Jane Austen): her birthday is December 16th...but remember, it isn't polite to ask a girl her age! Well, maybe just this once...Jane would be turning 235 years old this year (if she had managed to survive, vampire like, through the ages). While she isn't here to celebrate with us, it doesn't mean we can't!

In honour of this momentus occasion, Sourcebooks has a special offer for the biggest Austen fans out there. Here's what they have to say:

"Sourcebooks, the world’s leading publisher of Jane Austen fiction, is offering a unique deal to readers who want to celebrate Jane by reading special editions of all six of Austen’s beloved novels in a 21st century format.

Special e-book editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Mansfield Park will be available for free for one day only. These celebratory editions include the full novels, plus the legendary color illustrations of the Brock brothers, originally created to accompany the books in 1898.

In addition to the Jane Austen classics, readers can also enjoy these bestselling Austen-inspired novels. The following bestselling e-books will be free on December 16th in honor of her birthday:

Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken
The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown
The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

Available wherever eBooks are sold."

What do you think, folks? Pretty awesome deal! I've personally read Rebecca Ann Collins and was pleasantly surprised at how well she continued the feel of the original Austen novel. I'm looking forward to reading all of the others too. (Plus, I have it on good authority that I'll be getting a Kobo for Christmas, just don't tell Santa I peeked, k?).

Mark the day on your calendar and lets all celebrate together ;-)

Addendum to the above from Sourcebooks:

"First off let me sincerely apologize for all the confusion regarding the free offer of Jane Austen special edition titles as well as the 10 Austen inspired novels. Please extend this apology to your readers and followers as well.

We have been trying to fix the problem all morning. It takes a lot of cooperation from different parties to make the offer happen and it unfortunately it took some extra time to iron out the kinks.

Let me tell you know that iBooks and Google books currently has everything correct.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony are currently working to get their prices adjusted. They should be correct shortly. will also have our books and the illustrated versions available for free within the next hour!

Because of this confusion we want to celebrate Jane Austen’s birthday an extra day! This offer will be good tomorrow as well.

Again I am sorry for the confusion and thank you for being patient!"

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Fave Blogger's Birthday!

Today is a BIG day for an awesome book blogger: pattepoilue at
One Book Away From Heaven (she's also one of the fab administrators at Book Lovers Inc.). It's her (??) birthday and to celebrate, I have created a little Canadian tribute:

First, there is the music. So, it's not happy birthday but it rocks! Alexis on Fire singing Boiled Frogs (no, there was no connection with the delicacy here, it's just a fave of mine):

Second, I present you with some Canadian hotness:

Third, a party for a book blogger HAS to include books! Here are some, ah, inspirational covers:

And of course, champagne and chocolates (yes, I picked French champagne; it seemed only fitting. And no need to worry about calories from these chocolates ;-) :

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, Caro! All the best; you totally deserve it!

P.S. Did you know that you share a b-day with Ian Somerhalder of Vampire Diaries fame?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, October 2010
Hardcover, 432 pages
ISBN-10: 1416989439
ISBN-13: 9781416989431
Grades: 9 and up

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up. Patch is starting to pull away and Nora can't figure out if it's for her best interest or if his interest has shifted to her arch-enemy Marcie Millar. Not to mention that Nora is haunted by images of her father and she becomes obsessed with finding out what really happened to him that night he left for Portland and never came home.

The farther Nora delves into the mystery of her father's death, the more she comes to question if her Nephilim blood line has something to do with it as well as why she seems to be in danger more than the average girl. Since Patch isn't answering her questions and seems to be standing in her way, she has to start finding the answers on her own. Relying too heavily on the fact that she has a guardian angel puts Nora at risk again and again. But can she really count on Patch or is he hiding secrets darker than she can even imagine?

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick may have been one of my most anticipated sequels for this year. When I read Hush, Hush last year, I fell totally in love with Patch, the fallen angel, bad boy/good guy character. I devoured the book in one sitting and I just assumed with the release of Crescendo I would feel the same way.

I kinda did and I kinda didn''s that for sitting on the fence? I still love Patch, though I think he was in this book far less and was considerably misrepresented throughout (I kept my faith in him the whole time, despite how things were starting to look :-))

Nora, on the other hand....and here's where I need to have a serious talk with this character: Nora, didn't you think that after several times of following your instincts, only to end up in bigger trouble that maybe, just maybe, you should not listen to said instincts?... This girl needed a huge head slap, for sure!

I totally saw who the "bad guy" was early on in the story and I'm usually easily fooled when it comes to mysteries, so that part of the storyline was fairly predictable for me. What will keep my attention with this series comes in the form of some of the other characters introduced in this book and where their stories will take us in Tempest. There is still a lot to be learned about Nora and the gang, which I'm definitely looking forward to.

Crescendo is a book filled with many unanswered questions and is left with a huge cliff-hanger. It is worth the read to catch up on where the characters stand but it's basically a bridge between the first and the third book, as so many middle books seem to be.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Margaret K. McElderry, August 2010
Hardcover, 496 pages
ISBN-10: 1416975861
ISBN-13: 9781416975861
Grades: 9 and up

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I've had the three books that make up the Mortal Instruments series sitting on my shelf for quite some time, patiently waiting for me to pick them up and read them...did I mention that they're all signed too? After having heard so many great things about the series, it's a wonder I haven't touched them yet. But, you know the story, time gets away from you, review copies take priority, etc., etc.

Then came my opportunity to review Clockwork Angel, the first book in the Infernal Devices series,  which gave me a glimpse into this world created by Cassandra Clare. By golly, I loved it! (Yes, I just said by golly, lol)

I wasn't sure about Tessa's character right away. She seemed a bit rigid or cold. As the book progressed, all of the characters grew on me considerably. I have to agree with the general consensus that Will needs a good smack upside the head (as many literary characters do), but what the future unfurling of his story holds has got me in a tizzy...the anticipation may just about kill me!

Clare has developed this whole fantastic, dark, Victorian Era landscape, with a touch of magic that makes the reader wish they could be transported into it. She represents technology as it would have been at the time but with these creatures, these mystical beings manipulating gears and such to fit their grand designs, yet still held in check by the limitations of that particular time. I think Clare has done a wonderful job of piecing it all together. I also think this would play out very well, visually, on the big screen, especially scenes with The Dark Sisters. The Silent Brothers are fairly creepy too...

I was shocked at a few things that occurred in Clockwork Angel. Clare does not hold back in the least, pulling at the heart strings and showing no mercy where some of the more likeable characters are concerned. Want to know what I'm referring to? Read the book! I swear you won't regret it.

The unfortunate part is having to wait until September 2011 for the next book in the series, Clockwork Prince, to be released. In the mean time, I am more encouraged than ever to pull City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass off the shelf and read on about the Nephilim.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545088186
ISBN-13: 978-0545088183

Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver doesn't just want a family. She has one of those, and there's nothing terribly wrong with them apart from bickering grandparents, an image-obsessed mother and a brother she describes simply as Jesus. But there's no natural sense of connection between Bronwen and her family, leaving her with the belief -- and the hope -- that she was switched at birth, that she was never supposed to be Bronwen Oliver but someone else entirely.

When she begins dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she finds herself thoroughly embraced by the loving family she has always wanted and does not hesitate to say yes when Jared proposes on her 18th birhday. Plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her junior year of college become plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her freshman year of college. And a wedding so soon isn't exactly what Bronwen wants. But Jared is. And his family is. Or so she thinks.

Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine who she truly is, and the answer, she discovers, is only partially what she thought it was. She wasn't switched at birth, but she's also not Bronwen Oliver and hasn't been for a very long time.

From the start, this book had a familiar ring to it. I have felt very similar to Bronwen, with parents whose interests were so different from my own that I did not think we were actually related. I also got involved in an engagement at a young age, but this was where our similarities became divided.

Bronwen was an enjoyable charcter, for me. The sarcastic tone of the novel fit well with my own ironic sense of humour. As things begin to snowball out of control for Bronwen, though, this changed. It got a little more serious,and rightfully so. When things have been left unsaid for so long, the time for laughing and joking must eventually be put aside to deal with the more important issues in life.

This book has a bit of an older feel than the usual YA, with the characters being late to teens early twenties. There were some situations that felt wrong to me, for example Bronwen "saving it for marriage" just seems so outdated, but that's just my own personal opinion. Having a daughter myself, I will encourage this theory when the time comes (I dread the day, lol) and will gladly accept the title of "hypocrite", lol.

I did enjoy this book for the most part, it just took a bit of a down turn towards the end. It's definitely worth reading though if you've ever questioned your own identity or if you were switched at birth :-p

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Touchstone, August 2010
Hardcover, 400 pages
ISBN-10: 1439197172
ISBN-13: 9781439197172

Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort never surrenders her belief that her house is the true ruler of England and that she has a great destiny before her. Her ambitions are disappointed when her sainted cousin Henry VI fails to recognize her as a kindred spirit, and she is even more dismayed when he sinks into madness. Her mother mocks her plans, revealing that Margaret will always be burdened with the reputation of her father, one of the most famously incompetent English commanders in France. But worst of all for Margaret is when she discovers that her mother is sending her to a loveless marriage in remote Wales.

Married to a man twice her age, quickly widowed, and a mother at only fourteen, Margaret is determined to turn her lonely life into a triumph. She sets her heart on putting her son on the throne of England regardless of the cost to herself, to England, and even to the little boy. Disregarding rival heirs and the overwhelming power of the York dynasty, she names him Henry, like the king; sends him into exile; and pledges him in marriage to her enemy Elizabeth of York's daughter. As the political tides constantly move and shift, Margaret charts her own way through another loveless marriage, treacherous alliances, and secret plots. She feigns loyalty to the usurper Richard III and even carries his wife's train at her coronation.

Widowed a second time, Margaret marries the ruthless, deceitful Thomas, Lord Stanley, and her fate stands on the knife edge of his will. Gambling her life that he will support her, she then masterminds one of the greatest rebellions of the time—all the while knowing that her son has grown to manhood, recruited an army, and now waits for his opportunity to win the greatest prize.

In a novel of conspiracy, passion, and coldhearted ambition, number one bestselling author Philippa Gregory has brought to life the story of a proud and determined woman who believes that she alone is destined, by her piety and lineage, to shape the course of history.
Had you asked me about The War of the Roses several months ago, I would have described a particularly funny scene from the movie with Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas (you know the the dinner party?). Now, after reading The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory, I see that there was in fact a different War of the Roses.

My only previous experience with Philippa Gregory was reading The Other Boleyn Girl a few years ago, so I had an idea of what to expect. What I wasn't expecting was the humour involved in The Red Queen. Ok, so maybe what I found funny wasn't meant to be but the characterization of this little 9 year old girl, Lady Margaret, thinking she is the next Joan of Arc just struck a chord with me. I could picture the self-sacrificing attitude, the super-holy beliefs of Lady Margaret vividly.

It is this, I think, that draws me most to Gregory's writing. She takes a historical figure, though one not quite as famous as say Richard III or Henry VIII, and gives them life. She makes them a three dimensional figure for us and brings their stories to the forefront instead of the back seat role they have played for centuries. Of course, not all is historically accurate but the richness of the characters make you want to research more of the "real" story (yes, I wiki'd Lady Margaret).

The relationship between Lady Margaret and Lord Stanley was the most interesting part, neither truly knowing whether to trust the other. I could have done without a particular scene involving Jasper Tudor and Lady Margaret, it didn't seem to flow with the rest of the story though it did serve to highlight Margaret's commitment to her cause.

My only regret was that I hadn't read The White Queen first; there were many references to Elizabeth Woodville that I would have understood better if I had. It definitely did not take away from the story at all and I have every intention to go back and read The White Queen...along with the rest of the books in The Tudor series! Overall, The Red Queen is another great work of historical fiction.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review and Guest Post: I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk

ISBN: 9780007875504
ISBN10: 0007875509
On Sale: 28/09/2010
Format: Trade paperback
Pages: 336

Angela is in the city of love -- but romance is taking a nose-dive! When Angela Clark's boyfriend Alex suggests a trip to Paris at the same time as hip fashion mag Belle asks her to write a piece, she jumps at the chance. But even as she's falling for the joie de vivre of Paris, someone's conspiring to sabotage her big break. And when she spots Alex having a tete-a-tete with his ex in a local bar, Angela's dreams of Parisian passion all start crashing down around her. With London and her old life only a train journey away, Angela can't decide if should stay and face the music or run away home!

Thanks to Shannon at Harper Collins Canada, I had the pleasure of reviewing I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk.

Let me start off by admitting, it took me a little while to warm up to the main character, Angela. I thought she was just going to be a name dropping fashionista but as more of her personality was revealed she became this cute, clumsy, real woman. Angela seems to have it all: the rockstar boyfriend who wants to take her to Paris, a successful blog which leads to an opportunity with a famous fashion magazine, and a best friend with connections in the fashion world. Who wouldn't want her life? But from her arrival in Paris, things go amuck.

Using miscommunications and an evil assistant thousands of miles away, Kelk sets the stage for mayhem for poor Angela. While it seemed that some of the scenarios were only randomly placed in the book book for their comedic effect (I did wonder a few times why things had happened) everything wrapped up nicely in the end. The book was full of self-deprecating humor with a particularly British twist (Angela originally hails from London). The use of English vernacular was fun to read...using a British accent in my head while reading, of course.

If you are a fan of chick lit, this makes for an excellent addition to your reading list. Kelk also includes "Angela's Guide to Paris" at the back, if you're fortunate enough to be able to go. Along this vain, I have a virtual tour of Paris posted on The Book Lover's Inc. website here.

Annnndd, as an extra special treat, Lindsey Kelk has provided us with a top ten list! So, direct from the author, here is her list of must haves:

Top 10 items to pack when going on a romantic adventure

Surprise! Your boyfriend is taking you away on a romantic weekend away! What could possibly go wrong? Well, you’d be surprised. I once had a nightmare that Robert Pattinson whisked me away to a cabin in the woods that had no TV, no internet and I hadn’t even packed a book. He had packed a book and proceeded to read it alllllll day. We had quite the row. Haven’t been able to watch Twilight since. I’d say Remember Me but no one saw that anyway, did they?

There is a ridiculous amount of stress involved in a mini-break. If you’re a new couple (or as the world now measures time, post-Bieber), it could be the longest amount of time you’ve spent in each other’s company and therefore a real test. If you’ve been together pre-Beiber, then there’s a lot of pressure on you to Have A Good Time and Reignite The Spark. What follows is a list of things that might not occur to you right away – I’m sort of assuming you’ve got the more obvious basics covered – but should you find yourself in an awkward spot this list should sort you right out.

1. Sexy lingerie, comfy PJs, cashmere wrap
Now, this is a romantic adventure so really, if stockings and suspenders aren’t in your bag, you’re not doing your bit. I’m not saying you have to be trussed up like a turkey all weekend long though, equally important are slouchy PJs for lounging around and super soft wraps, preferably cashmere for snuggling purposes. The key here is to think sensory overload: nothing goes in your suitcase unless it makes you happy – one way or another. Please just note that holey old trackpants are not welcome.

2. Pencil and paper
This kind of trip begs for little love notes, penned to your beloved and left on their pillow just because you missed them while they were in the shower. Or you know, maybe there’s something you’ve been wanting to say or suggest, that you can’t quite say out loud… Nothing gets the pulse racing faster than a handwritten fantasy. And boys, nothing melts the ladies more easily than a little ‘I love you’ that she can keep forever. Fact.

3. Camera
Get your mind out of the gutter, surely you want to take as many arm-outstretched self-portraits as possible on your weekend away? Hopefully you’ll have lots of happy memories and a flick through the photo album on your return home should be all it takes to rekindle the romantic flame. And if it takes a little more than that, well, you’ve got the camera.

4. Walking shoes
Unless it’s a very short trip, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to leave the hotel/cabin/narrow boat (wouldn’t do it for me but you know, different strokes and all that) and there’s nothing sexy about blisters. Fluffy mules aren’t going to help you out when your new man suggests a hike through the woods to a cute country pub, now are they? Actually, I’ve yet to find a way they do help but still. You get points for trying.

5. Books & board games
I’m sure some of you will think this is ridiculous, I mean, it’s a romantic weekend away, who wants to read? But there has to be a bit of respite and personally, I think being comfortable enough to sit quietly with your lover and read a book is very sexy. Alternatively, you could indulge in a hot game of Scrabble – remember, a smart girl is a sexy girl. Unfortunately, a violently aggressive bad loser is not so I’ll pass on this one and just take a book. No Kindles or iPads allowed though, sorry. Ebooks just aren’t as seductive as printed paper.

6. iPod
Firstly, anyone who can go a whole weekend without music is inhuman and secondly, you’ve got to give your man a chance to bust out his sexytimes playlist. If it includes Do Ya Think I’m Sexy or Let’s Get It On, you might want to reconsider your life choices.

7. Chocolate & champagne
If the BF has planned this, there’s every chance he hasn’t paid attention to little things like, the need to eat. So just in case you turn up to an empty cottage kitchen and no shops for miles around, it might be a good idea to pack a couple of snacks. And if he has actually sorted these things out, no one is going to be upset that you’ve brought a box of chocolates, are they?

8. Candles
This is classic ‘mood setting’ ammunition.
Do not, I repeat, do not leave for a romantic getaway without them.
And really, can’t emphasis many times you should check that you have matches. There is nothing more annoying on earth than remembering candles and forgetting matches. Except maybe Justin Bieber.

9. Bubble bath
As far as I’m concerned, the words ‘romantic getaway’ are synonymous with the words ‘soaking tub’. There may or may not have been an incident at a hotel recently with half a bottle of Molton Brown bath soak and a bubble monster that attempted to take over all of Manhattan. This pleased me.

OK, I’ll be the first to admit that there’s nothing necessarily sexy about teabags but bear with me. One of the nicest things a boy ever did for me was sneak out in the morning to buy teabags for when I woke up. So the point isn’t really ‘pack teabags’ but remember to take the little things that make you comfortable. For me, it would be teabags, eye make-up remover and my favourite sweater. These aren’t sexy items but knowing you have them will put you at ease. Of course, if his are porn, poppers and a pet tarantula, you should probably call it quits now.

The only thing missing from the list are the other two books in the series, I Heart New York and I Heart Hollywood. But I totally agree with Lindsey....chocolates and champagne? bubbles? *sigh* I very much need a mini break myself now, I think....

And, yes, I have seen Remember Me.....though it appears I may be the only other person in the world to admit to it, lol. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the post!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Contest! The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason

ISBN: 9780061976278, ISBN10: 006197627X
Imprint: Harper Paperbacks
On Sale: 11/23/2010
Format: Trade PB
Pages: 480
Ages: 18 and Up

From the Publisher:

The daughter of James I, the Princess Elizabeth would not be merely her father's pawn in the royal marriage market.

The court of James I is a dangerous place, with factions led by warring cousins Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon. While Europe seethes with conflict between Protestants and Catholics, James sees himself as a grand peacemaker—and wants to make his mark by trading his children for political treaties.

Henry, Prince of Wales, and his sister, Elizabeth, find themselves far more popular than their distrusted father, a perilous position for a child of a jealous king. When Elizabeth is introduced to one suitor, Frederick, the Elector Palatine, she feels the unexpected possibility of happiness. But her fate is not her own to choose—and when her parents brutally withdraw their support for the union, Elizabeth must take command of her own future, with the help of an unexpected ally, the slave girl Tallie, who seeks her own, very different freedom.

Thanks to Mary at Harper Perennial, I have 3 copies of this stunning book to giveaway (I really am a sucker for the fancy dress). The contest runs from now until Nov.22, 2010. Just fill out the entry below and pass the word on! I will email the winners and they have 48 hours to respond before a new winner would be chosen.

Enter here

Monday, October 4, 2010

The 1st (Annual?) Teen Read Awards

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, I had the pleasure of attending the 1st ever Teen Read Awards, presented by the awesome people at Chapters Indigo Books and Music. After the success of the evening, I'm hoping that this will become an annual event!

The evening was to kick off with a "red carpet" at 6pm. Much to my dismay there was no actual red carpet (how cool would that have been?) but we did get to see the authors slowly streaming into the venue, Six Degrees. To keep the common people amused while waiting in line, Chapters Indigo had a mime, a magician, and a few of their employees asking trivia questions. This was a great way to stave off the chill that had hit Toronto that night.

When the doors were finally opened for the audience, the first thing that caught my eye was the cluster of disco balls (see above). I'm thinking I may find a place at home to put of one of these for myself... Anyway, there was a DJ already working up some musical magic, while finger foods were being brought around. I have honestly never attended a function that offered sushi on one tray, while having mac & cheese and french fries as alternate options. All around, I think the organizer did a great job of catering to every taste...(yes, yes, pun intended). There were lots of giveaways, including signed copies of Darklight by Lesley Livingston and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. They also had a few Kobo readers as giveaways, but I didn't win one of these.

We knew things were about to really get going when the dance crew, Mayhem's Finest, hit the floor. These guys have appeared in videos by Rihanna, Sean Paul, Keisha Chante and many more. They had some great moves but were sadly restricted for room by the number of people in attendance that night. It was a great way to keep the atmosphere pumped.

Though not on the original list of performers, the next act was a pleasant surprise. Emily Osment showed up to sing a few songs. It was nice to see her on her own, away from the Hannah Montana setting.

The hosts for the evening were Jessi Cruickshank and Dan Levy, the former co-hosts of the MTV Canada's show The After Show, among other TV ventures. Did you know Dan Levy is Eugene Levy's son? I thought he looked familiar....(Yes, I had to Google it!)

The first award announced by Jessi and Dan was the Best New Writer category which Lauren Kate won for Fallen.

The next musical act up was Alyssa Reid, a former contestant on YTV's The Next Star. She sang two songs, including If You Are, her newest single to be released.

During the intermission, a dance contest was held. The lucky winner went home with a laptop, sponsored by The Source. My moves are a little rusty, so I didn't even throw my hat in the ring. Maybe next year?!

Richelle Mead was on hand to accept her award for Best Teen Series, which she won for The Vampire Academy.

Other awards were given to Stephenie Meyer for Best Lip Lock (Bella and Edward, of course) which was received by a rep. from Hachette Canada, Best Hottie that went to Jace Wayland from the Mortal Instruments series (Cassie Clare accepted her award by video), and Best Book to Flick went to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which was also accepted by a rep. from the publisher.

Canada's own Kelley Armstrong was also in attendance to accept her award for The Recking in the Best Canadian Read category.

The Best Hero award went to Percy Jackson, which Rick Riordan accepted with a video. In a surprising upset, Alice Milthorpe beat out Lord Voldemort for Best Villain. Michelle Zink also accepted by video. As a fan of Michelle Zink, I do find her Alice character fairly creepy but I'm not sure about pitting her against Voldermort, though I'm very happy she won.

Best All Time Fave went to Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows. Again, this award was received by a publisher representative but J.K. Rowling did send in a letter showing her appreciation for her two wins.

The last musical act for the evening was Alex Lacasse, another alumni of The Next Star. He performed five songs, including his new single, My Girl. And, yes, all the screaming teen girls love him. For someone not, um, quite a teen like myself, I would have liked to clear away to the back of the room but was squished to the stage front, which just looked awkward.

The Evening concluded with the Best Read category which went to Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Suzanne also graced us with a video acceptance of her award.

Overall, it was a well organized, entertaining show. The fact that so many authors were in attendance was great for the people at Chapters Indigo, the city of Toronto and, of course, all of the reader/fans. The only fault I could find was that the authors were segregated from the crowd, in the VIP section, during the event. For those that didn't win an award, we only got to see them if they were creeping down the stairs to watch the musical acts. It seems some popped down after for some pictures, while others headed across the street to the Chapters Indigo at Yonge and Eglinton for more book signings, so not a total loss after all.

It was nice to see so many of the publishers showing their support by attending and all of the authors who took their time to send videos.

Well done Chapters Indigo!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Interview with Alexandra Adornetto, author of Halo

I had the very great pleasure of interviewing Alexandra Adornetto on Monday morning. I was a bit nervous as this was the first telephone/in person interview that I've done. I was quickly reassured by her down to earth, friendly manner and the oh-so-adorable Australian accent. Talking to an "eighteen-year-old phenom", as touted  by her publicist, I wasn't sure what to expect really. Alexandra is a well, but soft-spoken, young lady.

I started by asking where the name of Venus Cove, the fictional town that's the setting of her latest novel, Halo, came from. I thought that she would say it was based on somewhere local to her in Australia, but Alexandra says that Venus Cove is an unidentifiable American town; this was done to reach a wider market which makes sense being her North American debut.

Halo has been distinguished from other teen novels as being a "clean" read. When I asked Alexandra about this she felt it was more a reflection of her upbringing in a Christian household and attending Christian schools than anything intentional on her part. On reading her work, the publisher liked the fresh outlook, again giving Halo a wider appeal. Along this vein, I asked Alexandra how difficult it was for her to write the part of Jake, the "bad-guy" of the story. She told me that with Jake's character, there's more creative license involved. He appears as a teenage boy, the same as Gabriel, but Jake has his underlying dark side. Alexandra said Jake's character, along with the others, will be further developed in the second book of this trilogy, Hades.

On the topic of Hades, Alexandra mentioned she is working on book 2 while touring for Halo. The third title in the series will be Heaven; you have to love the alliteration here! Talk about a trouper though; This young lady is not only dealing with a North American tour but also writing a novel! With Halo coming in at 496 pages, she's no lightweight writer either.

We got onto the subject of more general author questions. I asked her about her writing day. Alexandra insists on complete quiet to write; she used the word "fussy" to describe this aspect of herself. She understands that lots of author's can write in coffee shops, etc. but that's not for her. She offered me an anecdote about kicking her mom out of the study one time for breathing too loud! I questioned her use of a quote from Beyonce at the beginning of Halo and Alexandra says that she finds music can be inspiring for writing....obviously just not while she's writing.

Alexandra isn't a newbie in the world of writing, having her first novel published at the age of 14. In fact, it was a trilogy, also, that she released but they were only available in Australia. I asked, with her break into the world-wide market, if there were any talks of bringing that first trilogy out in North America. She feels that the potential is there, with having had people ask where they could purchase them, but her focus (and that of her publisher here) is on Halo, Hades, and Heaven.

We chatted about her reputed piles of books lying around. I asked if there were particular books which she re-read. Alexandra told me that for YA novels, she basically reads them once and puts them aside, but the re-reads are usually the classics: Pride & Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, etc.

My final question put to Alexandra was: Neighbours or Home and Away? She admitted to watching Neighbours occasionally, but I can imagine having four books published by the age of eighteen that not a lot of time was devoted to watching these long running Australian soaps.

Again, for me this was a great pleasure. Alexandra Adornetto appears to have a good head on her shoulders and the world now within her grasp. I wish her all the best success with Halo and her future endeavors.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

ISBN: 9780061852053
ISBN10: 0061852058
Imprint: Avon
On Sale: 15/03/2010
Format: Paperback
Pages: 432
Price $10.99
Ages: 18 and Up

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .

Of all the books I've read, the "historical romance" genre is usually not high on my list. There is a certain stigma attached to the idea, probably stemming from the number of times I mocked my mom for reading "mush". From this day on, I will mock no more! (Ok, I probably will a little though all in fun but I won't hesitate to delve into another ;-)

Nine Rules... has everything it needs to cook up romance: dashing men, innocent ladies (anxious to lose their innocence), conflict, heartache, and no lack of blush-worthy love scenes. It was a blast to explore Callie's list as she marked each item off.  The "Ride Astride" adventure for Callie was particularly fun to read :-o There was one scene that I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for the author's explanation of the situation but I was sadly left hanging....though my own wicked imagination surely did a decent job of making up for it. There are a few activities on Callie's list that I wouldn't mind trying out myself, given the opportunity (firing a pistol, for one).

There were times when I had to laugh at the predictable cheesiness that popped up but overall I very much enjoyed this book. In fact, I devoured it! Several times I had to close the book and fan myself with it....especially as I sat at my desk, reading at work. Not the ideal place for such steamy reading. And now, like a drug-sick addict (though not quite as dire), I anxiously await the second book from Sarah MacLean due out next month, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson

Product ISBN: 9781402243011
Price: $9.99
Publication Date: September 2010
Format: Paperback

After living in twelve places in eight years, Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Another new home, another new school...Calle knows better than to put down roots. Her song journal keeps her moving to her own soundtrack, bouncing through a world best kept at a distance.

Yet before she knows it, friends creep in-as does an unlikely boy with a secret. Calle is torn over what may be her first chance at love. With all that she's hiding and all that she wants, can she find something lasting beyond music? And will she ever discover why she and her mother have been running in the first place?

I'm a big music fan with fairly eclectic taste, so when I read about this book it seemed something I would really enjoy. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting as far as the music references go, maybe more of the lyrics that were a part of Calle's journey being included/printed but it turned out a bit different from my expectations. It is a melancholy, bitter-sweet story of not one, but several, troubled teens. It may be overly idealistic in the sense that these kids find strength in each other, which I'm not sure would be an accurate portayal of reality but is a nice thought, if it were to happen, for real, struggling teens.

The images Culbertson invokes at times are beautiful, almost poetic: "He's wearing his grandfather's letterman jacket; the wool is old and soft. Light hangs around the edge of his profile, a force field." (page 55 of ARC) and "The empty house a silent animal curled around me..." (page 97 of ARC). I got a bit lost with some of the musical references which may have detracted from my reading. I've heard of Aimee Mann and Cowboy Junkies, among others, but was not familiar with the songs being mentioned. It took me more than half of the book to understand that the chapter titles are song titles because of those I don't know, even if the musicians named are ones I know and like. It does give me something to research now though.

Calle seems the type that is mature for her age because of her experiences yet still quite innocent, no thanks in part to the lack of communication from her mother's end. It's a tricky balance with kids of being honest with them while trying to protect them from the harsh realities out there. In this sense, Songs for a Teenage Nomad struck a very personal chord with me. I'm raising a daughter on my own and she's already full of questions; I'm dreading the teenage years. I thank Culbertson for showing this relationship with an authentic feel and with insights into both points of view.

In the end, I think this books shows us how parental issues affect our kids deeper than we sometimes realize but I walked away with a feeling of hope; that the past can be dealt with in postive ways. The biggest lesson is to actually deal with it all, not run from it. This is a truly moving story.

I got a note along with my ARC of Songs for a Teenage Nomad from Kim Culbertson giving instructions on how to keep a song journal....where certain songs remind you of times in your life. While I'm not going to share my life experiences here, I thought I would share the soundtrack of my life (to date and certainly not inclusive)
My "Life Soundtrack" includes:

Old Love - Eric Clapton
The Flame - Cheap Trick
Father and Son - Cat Stevens
Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying - Fallout Boy
Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off - Panic! At the Disco
The Weakness in Me - Joan Armatrading
Pornostartrek - Ubiquitous Synergy Seekers
Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
My Favourite Mistake - Sheryl Crow
Why'd You Lie - Colin James
Rootless Tree - Damien Rice
Life for Rent - Dido
Black - Pearl Jam
Epic - Faith No More
Heaven - Live

I'd love to hear what songs bring back memories for all of you out there too. Please feel free to share with me!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: Death's Excellent Vacation

235 x 159mm
352 pages
ISBN 9780441018680
03 Aug 2010
Ace trade paper
18 - AND UP
The editors of Wolfsbane and Mistletoe and Many Bloody Returns deliver a new collection-including a never-before-published Sookie Stackhouse story.

New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Katie MacAlister, Jeaniene Frost-plus Lilith Saintcrow, Jeff Abbott, and more-send postcards from the edge of the paranormal world to fans who devoured Wolfsbane and Mistletoe and Many Bloody Returns.

With an all-new Sookie Stackhouse story and twelve other original tales, editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner bring together a stellar collection of tour guides who offer vacations that are frightening, funny, and touching for the fanged, the furry, the demonic, and the grotesque. Learn why it really can be an endless summer-for immortals.

To date, I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with short stories. Some are good, some not so much. That theory held true for me here. I was determined that I would leave the Sookie story in this collection till the end (you know, save the best for last?). But it was the first one up, so I read it and it was alright; just alright.

Once I got to the Jeaniene Frost story though, my mind was opened further to the rest of the book. There were some stories that were witty, some sexy, and some just plain funny....I mean a vampire "pirate" being ambushed and falling for a were-wolfling? (I really liked that one.) There was also one that left me unimpressed; a thinly veiled anti-smoking story that I could see coming a mile away. Who am I kidding? There's was no "thinly veiled" about it; it seemed to be going somewhere good but just ended up predictable and preachy.

I think Death's Excellent Vacation has been a turning point for me. I am more encouraged now to read these types of collections because you can come away a fan of someone new, perhaps an author you may not have heard of before. This is true for me with Jeaniene Frost and Katie MacAlister, for sure. My wish list has just increased by several series worth (and I really couldn't afford to add to it at the moment, but such is life.)

There is some great writing within the pages of Death's Excellent Vacation...and yes, some that you might not like...but for paranormal fans, this is a great book to have for those times when you just can't fit a whole novel in.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Review: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

Punlisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Subformat: Young Adult
Edition: Book II in The Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy
Publish Date:8/1/2010
US/Can Price:$17.99/$21.99
The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.

This is the second book in a series of three, the first being Prophecy of the Sisters, which published last year. Since reading it, I've been dying to get on with the series, but isn't that always the way?

I was dreading that this book would be told from Alice's side of the story, being that she is "The Guardian" in this tale, but happily it is still from Lia's point of view. While it would be interesting from Alice's POV, she is such a scary, complex character, I feel more affinity with Lia.

We pick up here not long after Prophecy ended, where Lia and Sonia have gone to England in a search for the third and fourth keys that are needed to fullfil the prophecy. The thing of it is, when there is a year between books and if you don't read the first book all over again, there are things that are forgotten. The prophecy in this seems a bit complicated at times, so I struggled with the implications of certain actions that happened. Don't get me wrong, I very much love this series still! What I'm getting at, though, is that it is definitely not a stand alone novel. (Also, the lack of remembrance may just be my personal issue :-p )

These books are classic Gothic inspired, complete with doppelgangers (the twins, Lia and Alice), that very much reflect the opposite personalities of each other, with a twist. (You have to read the books to discover the twist) For me, Guardian of the Gate was darker than the first book, which is fitting as we work towards the final battle between good and evil.

I was leery of the introduction of Dimitri in this book. I was a big fan of James in Prophecy and didn't want to like Dimitri at all, but now, like Lia, I'm completely torn! What I love about these books....or am anxious to get to in the the connection with the standing stones in Avebury. I'm a sucker for this aspect of British mythology. It will be interesting to see what Michelle Zink does with all of these elements.

I must now wait patiently for book three of this trilogy, The Beast, which will publish in 2011 to see Lia's choice and how this will all play out in the end....and let me tell you, patience is not one of my strong suits! One thing I know for sure is that I will be reading the entire series all over again once it has been completed.

(Note: You may have seen this review on BookloversInc.; this is indeed my review and has been duplicated here and on the other site as I am a contributor there plaigirism involved :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Review: Sea by Heidi R. Kling

235 x 159mm
336 pages
ISBN 9780399251634
15 Jun 2010
Putnam Juvenile
12 - AND UP years

Still haunted by nightmares of her mother’s death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father’s relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder—something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn’t do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.

But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn’t think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.

A compelling summer romance, Sea marks the arrival of a stunning new voice in YA.
So, initially, I really liked this book. Then as Sienna is traipsing around Indonesia, completely disregarding her father and the local customs, I was irked. This comes from that nagging little voice in my head that belongs to the mom in me. What the heck is this girl thinking, when she's been warned numerous times that to be alone with a boy, even if they are only 15 and 17, means they are "betrothed"? Ok, I've vented on this subject, on to the rest of the book.

What I really enjoyed in Sea was the eye-opening look at the conditions in this area still, years after the tsunami devastated it. I knew there was so much loss at the time of the natural disaster but the struggles still being dealt with by the people and the world-wide efforts to help were something I hadn't thought much about. Kling gives us a peek at what's happening. She truly captures the heartbreaking realities, especially with regards to the orphaned children involved.

While I wanted to wring Sienna's neck a few times, I suppose ultimately she had her heart in the right place and we can all understand the well-meaning but reckless nature of teenagers. She had her own troubles to deal with, also. Though this book is 300 plus pages, I found the short chapters and larger print made it fairly quick to read. If you like stories with a bit of meat but still that feel of first love, then you will enjoy reading Sea.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review: The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031612558X
ISBN-13: 978-0316125581

Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits.

In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself and, above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they know only as "her". As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

I will admit right now that I had stopped reading for several years, while my daughter was young, and only got back into the swing of things with the Twilight series (which I devoured 3 times consecutively). I was curious with the release of Bree Tanner to see where Stephanie Meyer would take us. The "novella" format is one I was also interested in, with it being a joke in the Bridget Jones film as part of discussion with Salman Rushdie, et al. I assumed it was reserved for more proper literary works, but I went with the flow here.

Bree Tanner is a very small part of the Eclipse novel, but I remembered exactly who she was...and of course her ultimate outcome. Having said that, the title is totally fitting for her untimely demise.

Putting all of these elements together, I found that I was just starting to like Bree. If possible, her interaction with Diego was even more innocent than the entire Twilight series (which I thought would be hard to do!). But, despite this, I enjoyed reading it. Bree did not have the training needed to become a well rounded vampire like Bella Swan did, but, to me, her slow realizations of the "truth" were well portayed by Meyer. It was neat to see the character development aspect here. I would recommend this as a light read, and, of course, to any Twi-fan out there that hasn't already read it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blog Update

It has been a while since I've posted anything up on my blog. The summer has been mostly too nice to be planted in front of my computer any more than is necessary, am I right? I've also been busy working on my degree for university and the summer course I chose involved a lot of (dull) reading, so I haven't been able to get into my review books until recently. I even missed my one year blogoversary! I'm slowly getting back into reading for my blog and have the following titles that will post shortly: The Short Second of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer, Sea by Heidi R. Kling, The Cupcake Queen by Heather, and I Now Pronounce You Someone Else by Erin McCahan. Thanks for sticking with me through the lull and welcome to the new followers that have joined over the summer!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blog Tour: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Welcome to today's stop on the blog tour for Linger by Maggie Stiefvater! To celebrate the release of the second book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, I'm re-posting my review and throwing in a few extra tidbits for my readers and.....what do you think about another giveaway? Really, who doesn't love a giveaway? So, read on, check out the book trailer and enjoy :-)

I reviewed Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater earlier this year (click here to read my review) so I was very excited to read the next installment in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. And, fortunately, I was able to do this in advance (I feel very lucky :-)

Linger basically starts off a few months after Shiver. Sam and Grace are getting into the day to day of their lives. It seems Grace is not feeling quite right, but Sam and Grace would rather enjoy the time they have together (because it was almost lost to them) than discuss what may be happening to her.

We get to meet one of the new wolves brought in by Beck towards the end of Shiver. I have to say, I loved the dynamics of the Cole/Isabel dialogues. Linger takes a darker turn with Cole's character and I was impressed with Stiefvater's handling of his "problems". He's definitely an interesting addition to the mix and I can see what impact he could potentially have in the next book.

The story this times is told through the 4 perspectives of Isabel, Cole, Sam, and Grace, which means we get to understand more about Sam (cause through a bunch of Shiver he was a wolf) but we see less of Grace. Sam is a boy after my own heart: he works in a book store, listens to Damien Rice (among others) and quotes sad poetry, as well as writing some pretty emotional song lyrics himself.

Overall, I felt a sense of melancholy reading this story (but not in a bad way, if that's possible, lol.) Maggie Stiefvater gives us a little hope, then seems to dash it away but leaves just enough of a glimmer for the hopeless romantic (like myself) to continue to believe in never-ending love.

I absolutely devoured Linger! For me, Linger was even better than Shiver! I am very anxious now to get my hands on Forever, the final book of the trilogy, but will have to wait (im)patiently until July 2011.

You can also find information about Maggie and her books through these links:

Also, Shiver has been nominated as a Best Read in the 1st annual Indigo Teen Read Awards so, if you are eligible, pop over to to cast your vote!

And now, some good news for my followers....

I have one copy to offer to a lucky Canadian! Please enter your info into the form for your chance to win! Contest open to Canadian mailing addresses only and you must be a follower to enter (I have to be able to verify easily:-) The closing date is August 5th at midnight and the winner wil be drawn August 6th using Good luck to all!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Contest: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Thanks to Harlequin Teen, I'm very excited to offer up 2 copies of The Iron King, book one of the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa to my awesome followers! I have heard nothing but great things about The Iron King and its follow-up, The Iron Daughter. I will be reviewing both books in the near future but until then, take a look at the synopsis, book trailer and bio below (then head on down to the bottom to enter my contest):


In less than twenty-four hours Meghan Chase will be sixteen. Countless stories, songs and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset.

But Meghan suspects that it won’t be that way for her.

After all, Meghan has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined….

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and a pawn in a deadly war.

Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.


Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan Chase has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen.

As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly.

But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.


Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine, she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish and the odd eel.

When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dog trainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.

Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks is at an all-time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian shepherd who is too smart for his own good and the latest addition, a hyperactive papillon puppy.

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