Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 405
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: September 10, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Review:

Rainbow Rowell is quickly becoming a favourite author of mine, her books are always so much fun and they are absolutely adorable! Reading this book it really spoke to me (though I've never written fan fiction, I can still relate to some things with Cath). Cath is a huge fan of this very popular book series and she spends her life writing fan fiction about two of the characters, the problem is that Cath has never grown out of this obsession even though her twin sister has. Now these two are heading off to college and everything changes for Cath.

I will admit there were times throughout the book where I was not a fan of Cath or her sister, I felt that Wren especially was over the top dramatic. It was hard to really see sisters acting like that when they have been so close (but at the same time I understand trying to reinvent yourself in college). I really felt for Cath, whose sister has basically ditched her, in a way her sister is trying to help her out of her shell, but she didn't help all that much. I really connected with Cath on these things, it's hard to get out of your shell (my first year of University was difficult, I went home a lot and didn't really take part in a lot of things, I very much liked my shell and tried to stay there).

I thought this story was so adorable, Cath is absolutely obsessed with Simon Snow (which is very similar to Harry Potter, probably where the idea came from), her life revolves around these books and writing the fan fiction. I have to say I loved that each chapter had quotes from either the Simon Snow books or Cath's fan fiction, it made the story so much more realistic knowing that Rainbow Rowell could probably go out and write those Simon Snow books herself.

There was some cute romance in the book as well, I thought the love interest was really adorable and he was so nice. Levi was a character that I wanted to hug and wanted as my friend, he tries so hard to help get Cath out and have a life. I think the cutest thing was walking her home late at night (how many guys do you find will do that).

Admittedly, there are a few parts where it seems the story would slow and I just wanted things to start happening, but it definitely went along with what real life is like. Life goes by slow at times, there isn't always action, and I think Rainbow really hit it with this book. Cath learns about life away from home and how to grow up. This book was absolutely adorable, Rainbow Rowell has written another amazingly cute and funny story!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards

Publisher: Putnam
Series: Black City #2
Pages: 368
Received: Borrowed from the library

Release Date: June 4, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth.

When Ash can’t bring himself to trade Natalie’s life for those of millions of Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs, where he’d been experimented on and tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze, the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City’s uprising and Ash’s rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash doesn’t like him; it’s clear he’s taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may have feelings for him as well.

But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good—a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

This enthralling sequel to Black City is just as absorbing, delicious and steamy as the first book, leaving readers hungry for the series conclusion.

My Review:

After my hesitation of reading the first book in this series, I really ended up enjoying myself and wanted to continue on with the story. This book picks up right after the first book has ended, and there is a lot more drama happening. I really loved the romance between Ash and Natalie in the first book, and it continues in this book, with them really being there for one another, and you can still feel the love that these two have.

This book brings out the worst in people, Purian Rose is determined to have Rose's Law go through and he will stop at nothing for the vote to be in his favour. I was surprised how dark this book was, and yet I was so drawn to the story, I think this book was even better than the first one! Elizabeth Richards turned everything around with this story, there is more danger and a lot more action throughout this book.

There are so many great new characters in this book as well as old loveable characters from the first book. I really enjoyed some of the new characters, especially Elijah. I found him to be an intriguing character. He has come back to help Natalie because she helped him escape, and yet throughout the whole story it seems that he has a secret. I really wanted to know more about Elijah and his family.

The synopsis makes it seem like there is a love triangle in this book, but I can guarantee that is not what is happening at all. I was really happy to see that, there are some misunderstandings throughout, but nothing to over the top. Honestly, I love the relationship between Ash and Natalie... Richards did a beautiful job of explaining it, and she really makes you feel their love every time they touch.

Elizabeth has created a world in this book that is scary to live in, this is a world where you must conform or fear for what will happen. But even worse is that the fear is hidden away, as a third party reading the book you see what many people miss out on, and I am excited and scared of what Elizabeth Richards will do in the final book of the series. With everything she pulled out in this book I can see things getting even worse before the better things come. This series just seems to get better with each book, and I can see big explosions in book three (and after how this book ended  I am eagerly awaiting that book!) 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 368
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 6, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

"One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride..."

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

My Review:

I was definitely not expecting what I got from this story by the synopsis. I was definitely intrigued, but as I read more into the book it became such a beautiful story about a woman doing everything she could to take back her life. Yangsze Choo has written an incredible and very magical story that I think many people will love.

Li Lan receives a proposal from a very powerful family to become a bride to their son, who has passed away a year ago. The idea of a ghost bride is a very rare thing and Li Lan knows that she wants a real marriage. But after refusing the proposal Li Lan begins to be haunted constantly by the son, and she also falls in love with Tian Bai, the new heir to the family. Li Lan becomes drawn into the world of the afterlife and before she is stuck there she must uncover many secrets of the Lim family as well as her own family line.

I absolutely loved the setting of this story, the descriptions were so real and really brings the readers into the Chinese world. I was really intrigued by the mythology that Yangsze writes, and it's something I am interested in researching more (it's great when a book makes you want to look more into ideas). Yangsze explains how the Chinese handle death and what the family members do to help them cross over. And the dream sequences throughout the book felt very real and I loved being there.

The characters in the book were very real and were people I would be interested to get to know, I really loved Li Lan and her resolve to get to the bottom of the secrets behind the families. As much as I loved Li Lan and following her on her journey as she grows and learns about her family's past, I also loved many of the secondary characters. The most intriguing character was Er Lang, a guardian of Li Lan's, he (like many of the other characters) is someone you are unsure about, the motives are never outright specified, making it difficult to trust anyone that Li Lan comes into contact with.

I was surprised that this is a debut book, it does not feel like one at all, Yangsze really has a beautiful writing style and brings Chinese history to life in The Ghost Bride. This is a hard book to talk about without giving too much away, but the story that Yangsze has written here is very unique. I loved everything about this book down to the ending, with all of it's surprises it was a beautiful book about this girl coming to age in a different culture, and you definitely get a great immersion into that culture.

For more information about Yangsze Choo and The Ghost Bride, check out the Harper Collins Canada website.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Blog Tour: Muse by Mary Novik Guest Post

I am so happy to have Mary Novik here for a guest post to talk more about her new book Muse. You can check out my review here.

Mary Novik's debut novel Conceit, about the daughter of the poet John Donne, was hailed as "a magnificent novel of seventeenth-century London." Chosen as a book of the year by both Quill & Quire and The Globe and Mail, Conceit was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Solange, the heroine of Novik’s new novel Muse, has been called “a stunning fictional creation.” Mary lives in Vancouver and can be found at

The Balancing Act between Fact and Fiction in Muse
By Mary Novik

The inspiration behind my novel Muse is the amazing town of Avignon in France, where the popes resided in the 14th century. I visited it five times to explore the popes’ palace, the city wall, the rivers and canals, and the surviving medieval streets and buildings. I went there to soak up the atmosphere and walk in Solange’s shoes. The late middle ages are so far back in time that facts are scarce and history blurs into poetry and myth. This made the city even more attractive to me, because I could gather many story-strands into a single character, the fictional Solange Le Blanc.

Early on, I decided to tell the story from Solange’s point of view. This was a blessing, because it would have been drudgery to wade through the piles of information about the Avignon popes. Acres of worm-eaten parchment sit in the Vaucluse archives, not to mention the Vatican archives in Rome.

The municipal archives were less intimidating and it was there I sought out medieval maps of Avignon. No two maps put the streets in the same place or called them by the same names. I knew that the Italian poet Francesco Petrarch had lived in the city and fathered two children, so I asked the archivist for birth records. He informed me, sadly, that the records only stretched back to 1500. Far from being disappointed, I felt liberated, because I was free to make Solange the children’s mother.

Because the biographies of Petrarch seldom agreed, I could cherry-pick the ripest facts. He wrote love poems to Laura, whose identity is still a mystery. Was she the married noblewoman Laura de Sade (née de Noves)? Petrarch recorded their meeting, the famed innamoramento, but fudged the date to make it more poetic. Myths have obscured the story from that point forward. Although real, Laura became so removed from fact that she became a legend, like Lady Diana.

Medieval thinking was far from logical. If you crack open a copy of The Golden Legend, you’ll realize that most of the book is preposterous. Even the Avignon popes and cardinals were superstitious and believed in miracles. People accused of sorcery were tortured in horrific ways. This was the sort of information, like the city’s filth and stench, which could swamp the story. To allow readers to suspend their disbelief and empathize with Solange, Muse could not be wedded to the facts. I had to be selective.

This brings up the thorny issue of whether novelists are required to stick to the truth or whether saying it’s fiction is a license to play around with the facts. I try not to cross swords with history since it’s a lot bigger than me. Luckily, most of Muse doesn’t deal with historically-recorded events, but more intimate matters, such as what people said and thought, and whose beds they crawled into in their private hours. This gave me latitude to use the facts that worked, to avoid the ones that didn’t, and to invent a great deal. As Michael Ondaatje said, "Facts breed and what they produce is fiction."

Since Solange was fictional, I could invent freely without flying in the face of known facts. I learned to trust my inner historian, since I’ve read widely in medieval authors like Petrarch, Chaucer, Dante, and Boccaccio. A few times, I got into a sweat dovetailing the dates of Petrarch and Pope Clement VI, but having a fictional heroine gave me wiggle room. I was following Petrarch’s lead, since he once told a friend, “If true facts are lacking, add imaginary ones. Invention in the service of truth is not lying.”

I tried to find a balance between fact and fiction, to create verisimilitude while harnessing the emotional power of fiction. The Globe and Mail review of Muse sums up nicely, “The use of fictional characters interacting with true historical figures is a liberating creative device and as long as the story is executed within the framework of reality, there is generally no expectation from the reader of exact historical veracity.”
When I had trouble writing, I looked at maps, drawings, poems, and letters for inspiration. I fed my muse, searching for quirky facts to inspire me, like the oddball discovery that one of the popes had ordered Petrarch (and his brother Gherardo) to send their sister to his chamber. This was one of the stray facts that opened a secret door in the popes’ palace. Don’t be surprised, when reading Muse, if a fictional person walks through that real door. After all, this is my 14th century, not history’s.

Also, Random House of Canada is giving away 10 copies of Muse, check out the giveaway below! And don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour as well!

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Publisher: Alqonquin Young Readers (Harper Collins)
Pages: 256
Received: Received a copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 20, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this stunning debut, a young Iranian American writer pulls back the curtain on one of the most hidden corners of a much-talked-about culture.

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?

My Review:

This is a beautiful debut book about changing yourself for someone else, and what it can do to you. Sara Farizan takes on a difficult topic in this book, Sahar deals with many secrets, and she thinks that sexual reassignment surgery will give her everything she wants.

Sara does a great job at showing how scary it is to be different in the culture and how hard it is to keep certain aspects of your life secret. I loved the idea of this story, it's something different and absolutely beautiful, it's a story of choosing between being yourself and being with the one you love. Sahar and Nasrin are best friends and over time they have fallen in love, but this type of relationship is forbidden in Iran and people have been put to death so they must keep it secret.

I felt really bad for Sahar, throughout the story it felt that she was being used, and what I think is needed is Nasrin's point of view to see how she felt about everything that was going on. There are some amazing interactions between Sahar and her father and also with her cousin. I loved how their relationships grew over such a short time, and to see that there are people who are there for you.

I really wanted to like the character of Nasrin, but I felt she was selfish and that she was immature a lot of the time. Sahar was an amazing character who wanted to do anything she could to stay with the person she loved most in the world. For such a short book, I loved what Sahar learns about herself and how she grows. I also really enjoyed Sahar's cousin and how he helped her through a lot of things.

This story is very short, and I felt like things happened very quickly, I wish there could have been a little more time to get to know some of the characters. I also would have liked to know a little more about the setting as well, learn a little more about Iranian customs. This is a beautiful story of learning about your true self and really learning when it's best to let go. Though you can tell this is a debut book, you can also see in the writing that Sara Farizan will go far with her writing.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 624
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 20, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Brilliant, haunting, breathtakingly suspenseful, Night Film is a superb literary thriller by The New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster debut Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.

My Review:

This book has a lot of press around it, you can tell it's going to be big... and it is (in size and in story). I finished this book last week and am still reeling over everything that happens. Readers can tell that Marisha Pessl really thought out this story, every last detail is intricate and they all come twist together by the end of the story. Though this is a big read, I found myself engrossed in the story and needing to know what happens next, Pessl really pulls you in and keeps you reading.

This book was chilling, as a reader I felt like I was in the story collecting all this information myself. When something happened to McGrath, I could even feel that at times. It was amazing to be brought so deep into the book that I felt like the mystery was mine to solve. The mystery draws you in and there is a point in the book where you just need to keep going. I think I found myself so taken with the book for the last 100 or so pages that I refused to stop reading. Every little thing that happened made me jump and had me stressed out for McGrath, I could feel my heart in my chest as he got closer to the truth.

I will say that I was a little bit disappointed in the ending of this book. McGrath finds out the truth of what happened, but then the story continues on even more, I felt that it was dragged out too long. There is one point where the story closed perfectly, and the author goes on for another 50 pages or so, at that point I lost interest in the characters.

Other than the drawn out ending, I really enjoyed this book, I loved how so many of Cordova's movies were plotted out for readers because they had such an impact on the story themselves, I almost felt like the movies were more characters with how intricate the details were for them. This was definitely a creepy book that keeps you invested in it's large size. If you're in for a good heart-pounding read than pick this one up!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 336
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: June 25, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A family's loyalty is put to the ultimate test in this haunting and unforgettable debut.

Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn't been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny-the high school wrestling star and Kirsten's older brother. No one knows what to believe-not even those closest to Johnny-but the event unhinges the quiet farming community and pins Kirsten's family beneath the crushing weight of suspicion.

Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives. Tautly written and beautifully evocative, The Mourning Hours is a gripping portrayal of a family straining against extraordinary pressure, and a powerful tale of loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness.

My Review:

Well what is there to say about this book... I read a review on it and I was instantly intrigued with the story, so when I got a copy I knew I needed to read it. The heart of this book is about family relationships, and how one tragedy can unravel so much. This story is told from the perspective of Kristen Hammerstrom, who at the time of the tragedy is nine years old. The story begins with Kristen years later returning home and then we are taken back into the story of what happened.

I really loved the narrative voice of the young Kristen telling the story from her eyes. I felt that seeing everything from a nine-year-old's point of view brought out an interesting take, because she is so young she is very naive about everything that is happening around her. It was interesting to see her thoughts on the situation, instead of the thoughts of her brother, Johnny, who this is actually happening to. She doesn't understand everything that is going on, and yet in a way she notices things that others around her don't.

I think that Paula Treick DeBoard did a great job detailing the family interactions, and how easy it is for something to come in between that and build a wedge for the family members. I loved the dynamic and that not everything is perfect, this is a normal family that have their arguments. Everything changes once Stacy goes missing though, there are more arguments and no one is sure who to trust anymore, this one event tears the family apart.

This book details everything that the Hammarstrom family deals with following Stacy's disappearance, the hurt and the betrayal from such a small community. There is so much tragedy through the story, but you can see where the family really tries to keep it together for one another. I absolutely loved the ending of this book as well, it shows that no matter how long ago something happened, forgiveness is always possible.

I was actually surprised at the ending, I kept going because I needed to know what happened, and it's not what I expected at all. I felt that there was some dragging at places, but the author did a great job outlining the relationship between these two characters and showing us that nothing is as it seems. I ended up really enjoying this book and there were a lot of emotions running around as readers get closer to finding out what happened to Stacy.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288
Received: Received a copy from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 13, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was—that I couldn't stick around—and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.

Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

My Review:

This is my first Matthew Quick book, and I'm so glad I picked this up. Quick has a way of getting into his character's head. I absolutely loved how this story was told, Leonard is a special character and he will always have a place in my heart after reading this book.

The story is told from Leonard's point of view on the day when he plans to kill his former best friend, and then himself. First Leonard spends his day saying goodbye to those who have made an impact on him, and you get to hear the stories of how these people helped change his life. Everything about this book was beautiful and Quick writes in a way that makes you just want to keep reading, getting you that much closer to the truth. And I must say, when you find out the truth of what brought Leonard to this point, it is emotional and heart-wrenching.

All of the secondary characters were interesting, and made such an impact on the story. You can really see why Leonard chose to hold on to these people, even with the little interaction he has with them because of how they make him feel when he is so alone in the world. My favourite character by far was that of Herr Silverman, Leonard's teacher. Herr Silverman is a teacher that really cares about his students and he challenges them, but he goes beyond being a teacher and is there for his students. There aren't a lot of teachers around that will put themselves out there to help a student, but I knew one or two when I was in high school, and Herr Silverman reminded me of that bond.

What I loved even more in this book is that there are little footnotes at the bottom of many pages, I found this really placed you deeper into Leonard's head so that readers could understand him that much more. I felt that this connected me more with Leonard, almost like as a reader I had an inside joke with Leonard.

Though there are a few humorous parts throughout this story (his interactions with his neighbour and the way he tries to imagine his future sometimes), this story was very emotional, and I can see there being a lot of discussion surrounding this book. This is one book I think everyone absolutely needs to read ASAP!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: The Mysterious Plasticity of Trees by Charlotte Noble

Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 208
Received: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: February 16, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A luminous coming-of-age story with a haunting Gothic twist—a work of Fitzgeraldian lyricism that perfectly captures the lives of the young at the frenzied end of the Naughts.

Summer, 2008 -- 21-year-old Tess Morrow feels herself on the verge, working as an intern at Vanity Fair and having casual flings with older men by night. The world, too, is near the edge of a long, intoxicating night, with the heady seductiveness of the Manhattan elite on one side; and on the other, the idyll of the ivory tower, where the young and beautiful pore over books by day, and dance and drink until dawn.

Precocious yet naive, cynical yet tender, Tess's self-discipline is put to the test when she falls for a married filmmaker with dazzling charms. Fleeing his advances, Tess returns to Princeton, determined to make good of her final year; but before long, she finds herself losing grip on everything she cherishes, alone before a world that has changed overnight. And through her struggles with sex, money, career, and friendship, Tess discovers the family secret that finally reveals the truth about herself, in an unexpected and haunting conclusion.

My Review:

I really enjoy coming-of-age stories, and this is one story that I was intrigued by the synopsis. Tess is on her way to college graduation and is trying very hard to find a job for when she finishes school. I have to admit that I was not a fan of Tess's character throughout this book. I felt that Tess's character was overdone, and her life was made out to be a little over the top. I couldn't wrap my head around her choices, I wanted her to make the right decisions. I understand that Tess is at a point in her life where everything is confusing but it was hard to get behind some of the things she does.

I did hope that everything would work out for Tess, you see that she has had a difficult life, losing her mother at a very young age and she was sent to live with her aunt. You can tell that her relationship with her family is off and that she is not treated as one of the family. Her upbringing was difficult and she can tell she is unwanted, so she pushes herself more, and I find that is the reason that she has these casual flings.

I do feel that the timing of the novel was off for me. It seemed that everything went by too quickly and that some things that happened were a little unrealistic. I think that the year that this book takes place in goes by too quickly, and that Tess happens to change overnight. I don't think she really learned anything about herself through her struggles and that made this story difficult to get through.

I really wanted to like Tess's character but everything she did was annoying and I disliked her view on life. She never asked for help, she expected her family to see that she needed something and to offer help. I will say that I enjoyed the ending, and that it showed Tess beginning to get her life together. Though I do think that certain parts of this story were glossed over and I felt that there wasn't resolution to certain things.

I was honestly hoping for a little more from the book and that some things were fleshed out a little more. But the ending cleared up a few questions I had and gave me hope for Tess in the future.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Series: Shadowfell #2
Pages: 416
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: July 9, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Neryn has finally found the rebel group at Shadowfell, and now her task is to seek out the elusive Guardians, vital to her training as a Caller. These four powerful beings have been increasingly at odds with human kind, and Neryn must prove her worth to them. She desperately needs their help to use her gift without compromising herself or the cause of overthrowing the evil King Keldec.

Neryn must journey with the tough and steadfast Tali, who looks on Neryn's love for the double agent Flint as a needless vulnerability. And perhaps it is. What Flint learns from the king will change the battlefield entirely—but in whose favor, no one knows.

My Review:

I absolutely loved Shadowfell when it came out last year, and I have been anxious about what was next for Neryn. Raven Flight was just as amazing as the first book. Juliet Marillier picks up the story right where she left off in the first one, Neryn has now arrived at Shadowfell and is learning about the rebel group and what their plan is. Juliet Marillier did a great job of reminding readers of what happened in the first book, interspersed throughout Raven Flight details are placed reminding you of the previous book.

This book focuses on Neryn, and her journey to learning more about her gift. It is great to see a character grow so much in one book. Neryn journeys to find the different Guardians and have them teach her more about what she needs to do to use her gift perfectly. I love that Neryn is still learning so much about herself in this book and that she is still self conscious about using her gift. Neryn is unsure about what she must do and how exactly her gift works, which is why she must search out the Guardians.

Because of Neryn's special ability she must travel with a protector, and Tali is chosen to go along with her. As these two travel together they learn a lot more about one another, you can see in the beginning that they do not completely like each other, but you see over time that their friendship develops. It was great to see Neryn become close with someone else.

The one disappointing thing for me in this book was that there was not a lot of Flint and Neryn together, I really wanted to see more of these two together after everything that happened in the first book. Their relationship is interesting and you can really see the connection they have with one another. Readers do still get a glimpse at what Flint is up to for the King, and by the end, there is a huge surprise. I'm really excited for the next book to see how everything comes together. I expect big things in the next installment of Shadowfell and I think it will be a great ending to an amazing series!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Review: A Midsummer Night's Scream by R. L. Stine

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 250
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 2, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

The master of horror takes on the master of theater!

Get ready for laughter to turn into screams in R.L. Stine's re-imagining of Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Everyone knows that Mayhem Manor is cursed. After production on the horror film was stopped due to a series of mysterious deaths, it became a Hollywood legend--which makes it perfect for Claire and her family. If they can successfully finish the film, it should be enough to save their ailing movie studio.

Sure, the old haunted house is creepy, and strange stuff has been happening, but this is Claire's chance. Her chance to become the movie star she's always dreamed and her chance to finally convince her friend Jake that she is girlfriend material. Of course, the fact that Jake thinks he's in love with her best friend, Delia, who is crushing hard on Jake's friend Shawn, who insists on following Claire around, could be a problem, but Claire is sure she can figure it out. After all, the course of true love never did run smooth.

But once shooting starts, "creepy and strange" morph into "bloody and deadly," as the lines between film and reality begin to blur...

My Review:

I grew up with R. L. Stine, so anytime I see he has a new book it will be at the top of my list! He has always been a master of horror for young adults, Goosebumps and Fear Street being awesome series that would give me nightmares. R. L. Stine definitely goes back to his roots with this book, but I think it's different for me now that I'm older. Don't get me wrong, this book is still awesome and I enjoyed the story, but I think I would have liked it more at a younger age.

I thought going into this that it was going to be very similar to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream but this book more just takes elements from the play and incorporates it into a completely different story. I will admit that this story did seem like something I've heard of before, years after a film is shut down because of many deaths, a film company decides to recreate the movie, and then strange things begin to happen.

This book has the gore that I would expect from an R. L. Stine story, and a lot of creepy things happen, I was really intrigued with the story and how Shakespeare's play came into effect in this book. I actually found it to be so much fun! And the book went by very fast, the chapters are short and I found that I just had to keep going to see where Stine would take the story.

The one thing in this book that was a little off for me was the romance story. It wasn't believable for me, I felt that it was very round-a-bout and it was one thing that turned me off the story. Claire is in love with her friend Jake, who barely notices her because he is interested in her other friend, Delia, and yet Jake is always off with all these other girls at the same time. I just felt that none of the romance made sense, and that it was just thrown in there to add in that extra part from A Midsummer Night's Dream. I honestly think the story would have been better without the romance.

This book took me back to my childhood and I was always love R. L. Stine, even though it wasn't amazing and I had some issues, but it was a great creepy read, with a lot of gore and violence. If you loved R. L. Stine as a child then I say check out his latest book for a good time.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold

Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 464
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: July 2, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

At once a captivating mystery, a love letter to classic literature, and a sharp-eyed examination of marriage, national bestselling author Elizabeth Joy Arnold brings us a compelling new novel full of suspense, wonder, and surprise, a combination of Diane Setterfield, Eleanor Brown and Gillian Flynn.

After more than twenty years of marriage, Chloe Sinclair comes home one night to find that her husband, Nate, is gone. All he has left behind is a cryptic note explaining that he's returned to their childhood town, a place Chloe never wants to see again. 

While trying to reach Nate, Chloe stumbles upon a notebook tucked inside his antique copy of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." Written in code, the pages contain long-buried secrets from their past, and clues to why he went home after all these years. As Chloe struggles to decipher the notebook's hidden messages, she revisits the seminal moments of their youth: the day she met the enigmatic Sinclair children ane the increasingly dangerous games they played to escape their troubled childhoods; the first time Nate kissed her, camped out on the beach like Robinson Crusoe; and the elaborate plan she and Nate devised, inspired by "Romeo and Juliet, " to break away from his oppressive father. As the reason for Nate's absence comes to light, the truth will forever shatter everything Chloe knows--about her husband, his family, and herself. 

My Review:

The first thing I have to say is that the cover of this book is very deceiving to me, when I first saw it I thought this was going to be a cute book, it reminded me of a Cecelia Ahern type of book. But this book has a dark secret hidden underneath everything that is going on, it is so much more than a love story, there are so many surprises that come out as the story continues on.

It took me some time to understand everything that was happening, the story jumps back and forth from past to present a lot, and in the beginning it was a little confusing. But it was interesting to see Chloe reflect on the events that really changed her life and made her who she is today. Chloe slowly learns that not everything about her life was the truth, and she learns so much more about her husband, Nate by reading this notebook.

I loved that this story is about how literature affected these two characters, Chloe finds this notebook that is written in a code that was used when they were children. The code uses books that they have read and Chloe must relive her childhood to figure out what books to use. I loved that some of the best moments of her childhood is equated with a certain book, it really shows how much stories can affect people, and Arnold really showed that in this story.

The love story between Chloe and Nate is adorable and yet there is such a dark undertone with his family, and readers learn alongside Chloe everything that actually happened. I really felt bad for these children, learning what they went through, it's emotional and I understand why it's not talked about until it's thrown in your face.

The ending took me by surprise, though I realize after that I should have seen it coming, the way the story is told makes you forget about a few things so that you are shocked at the big reveal. Honestly, the ending was difficult for me and I was a little disappointed and yet, it also gives you hope for more for these characters.

All in all I fell in love with this book, as the characters in the book fall in love with literature themselves. They've been through a lot and it shows in the story, and yet you really see the love that grew with Chloe and Nate.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Review: The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence

Publisher: Redhook
Pages: 407
Received: Received a copy from the Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 25, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn't had the easiest childhood.

But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing ...

Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world.

My Review:

This book had a very interesting voice to it, I really enjoyed Alex's narration telling the story of his life and the one thing that really affected him the most. Alex is a very interesting character who has had some bad luck in his life, when Alex is ten he is hit by a meteorite it changes his life from there. Following this event, Alex is interested in learning about science. Alex is very open to learning about what causes meteorites and from there he wants to learn about the brain, because of what happened to me.

I love reading about characters that are unique, like Alex is. He is unique and has a great wealth of information that he is always excited to learn about and share with others. It's always great to read about a character who wants to learn more than is taught, at school he learns theories, and goes home to learn about this background of the people who came up with these things.

When Alex meets Mr. Peterson his life is changed drastically, Mr. Peterson teaches Alex a lot of things and changes his life. Mr. Peterson is the one who introduces Alex to Kurt Vonnegut, and from there, Alex gains a new philosophy of life. This book has made me even more interested in reading Vonnegut, I'm interested to see this idea that he has throughout all his books.

This book is very much about doing what you believe in, and Alex takes full advantage of that. Alex learns a lot about life and what he thinks is the best for everyone around him. I loved the ending, Alex took a journey of a lifetime to help the one person who has taught him so much about life. I don't know if I truly believe what Alex did was really the right thing, but I can see how he believes that it was the best route to take.

This is a unique story, with a great narrator, I really believe that Alex does a sensational job telling the story of one of the most meaningful points of his life and how it has changed him. There is a lot of great humour throughout the story, there is sarcasm and wit, and yet Alex is still so naive about a lot of things in life.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Review: Accidents Happen by Louise Millar

Publisher: Atria
Pages: 400
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through Edelweiss

Release Date: June 25, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:


Kate Parker has weathered unimaginable horrors—her parents died in a traffic accident on her wedding night, and her husband, Hugo, was murdered in a tragic break-in gone wrong. All she has left is her young son, Jack, and determined to make a better future for him, she attempts to pull her life back together. But are she and her son safe?

My Review:

This book was creepy, and very difficult to put down. Kate Parker has had many difficulties in her life, losing her parents and then a few years later her husband is murdered. Anyone going through problems like that so close together would be nervous, and Kate has issues moving away. She wants to keep herself and her son as safe as possible, but it becomes a problem where Kate is not actually living her life anymore.

While reading this book, I felt bad for Jack, seeing what his mother puts him through, it's hard to understand why Kate has gone off the way she does. It's scary to think of someone having their lives revolve around what time is safest to go out, and have so many death statistics running around in their mind all the time.

Kate does realize her problem and she tries to fix it so that she can pull her life together, she tries therapy but she feels that people don't understand her. She eventually meets someone that brings her out of her shell and really helps her begin to change her life. I did feel that some of the things Kate did were a little over the top, I felt that if someone asked me to do some of those things to help change my life that I would be skeptical of them. I felt that with how unsure Kate was of the world, she was very trusting of this person so soon after meeting them.

Honestly though, this book had a great creepy factor to it, Kate has all these things continually happening to her and no one else believes her. And there is an added viewpoint of someone who seems out to get her... who is this person? I did kind of see something coming, but the explanation completely through me for a loop, and it was intriguing.

I did have one issue while reading this, and that was the quick changes in voice from Kate to her son, Jack (there wasn't always a clear definition of who I was following, and the copy I read from did not have anything to distinguish when one voice was over and a new one was starting).

Other than that one small issue (which could have been because it was an advance e-copy), I really enjoyed reading this book and following as Kate tries to pull herself together or risk losing what she has left of her family. And to watch what she does when she finds herself in danger once again.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: Boy Nobody by Allen Zadoff

Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Series: Boy Nobody #1
Pages: 337
Received: Received a copy from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 11, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

They needed the perfect assassin.

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school in a new town under a new name, makes a few friends, and doesn't stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend's family to die-of "natural causes." Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, moving on to the next target.

But when he's assigned to the mayor of New York City, things change. The daughter is unlike anyone he has encountered before; the mayor reminds him of his father. And when memories and questions surface, his handlers at The Program are watching. Because somewhere deep inside, Boy Nobody is somebody: the kid he once was; the teen who wants normal things, like a real home and parents; a young man who wants out. And who just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program's mission.

In this action-packed series debut, author Allen Zadoff pens a page-turning thriller that is as thought-provoking as it is gripping, introducing an utterly original and unforgettable antihero.

My Review:

I was very intrigued with this story, a teenager who has been recruited to be an assassin. Boy Nobody doesn't have a name that the reader knows, every town he is someone different, he becomes close with someone and then does his job and is gone, nobody realizes what he does and he is never remembered.

I was interested right at the opening of this book, readers see "Boy Nobody" at the end of a job and what he actually does. You follow this boy as he receives his new assignment, one that needs be done quick. Once he gets into his assignment, he realizes that things are different for him and he is reminded of his past, and his family.

I have to say this was definitely an action packed story with quite a few twists, and an ending that I did not see coming. I had this one idea of what was going to happen throughout the entire book and then Zadoff completely turned the story around. It was interesting to follow this teenager around and slowly learn how he got into this job and what happened to his family. The idea of a teen being an assassin for "The Program" was intriguing, and  it leads to some interesting things happening to this boy, you know nothing can go smoothly forever, and there are a lot of hiccoughs in this story.

What I really loved was that as "Boy Nobody" got closer to the mayor he remembered his own father more and more. The relationship between the mayor and his daughter is very well done, even though he is someone that has so much media attention, he still makes time for his daughter. I loved their interactions, and how he continually thought about his daughter.

I really felt bad for the main character, he moves from town to town and is always alone. When he meets the mayor and his daughter, that need for family begins to show. What I really want to know more about is "The Program, their background and who actually runs it. I think that will come up more in the next book, and that is something that will definitely keep me reading this series.

Honestly this book was gripping and the ending leaves you wanting to know more about "The Program" and "Boy Nobody".

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Review: Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

Publisher: Bond Street Books
Pages: 320
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: July 9, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

A chilling and intense first novel, this is the story of a solitary young woman drawn into an online world run by a charismatic web guru who entices her into impersonating a glamorous but desperate woman.

When Leila discovers the website Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her own, impressing the website's founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. Leila is thrilled when Adrian asks to meet her, and is flattered when he invites her to be part of "Project Tess."

Tess is a woman Leila might never have met in real life. She is beautiful, urbane, witty, and damaged. As they email, chat, and Skype, Leila becomes enveloped in the world of Tess, learning every single thing she can about this other woman--because soon, Leila will have to become her.

An ingeniously plotted novel of stolen identity, Kiss Me First is brilliantly frightening about the lies we tell--to ourselves, and to others, for good, and for ill.

My Review:

There has been a lot of talk around this book, it sounds creepy and definitely opens your eyes to how creepy the internet can be. Honestly, this book did make me think twice about what goes on out there in cyber space. It's hard to talk about this book without giving away the story but I will try...

KISS ME FIRST follows Leila as she becomes immersed in this new world of the internet, Leila has grown up being very sheltered and really only spends time with her mother. Poor Leila rarely leaves her house and does not have much of an education, she doesn't really know about the real world. Leila finds a different world when she joins Red Pill and from there her whole life changes.

Leila is a very smart person, and she quickly learns new things after joining Red Pill, joining in on philosophical discussions and more. Leila is approached to help this woman, Tess, ease her family and friends into losing her. Leila quickly learns everything about Tess and begins to take over her life.

After reading this book, I am a little creeped out thinking about who is actually on the other end of a conversation I have over the internet. Leila believes that everything she is doing is for the good of Tess, but doesn't really think of how it affects the others she is communicating with. Leila makes this her life, she maps out exactly what she as Tess is doing and starts making stories of the people she meets, though she barely leaves her apartment.

I enjoyed some of the book, but I felt like I was missing out on something at the end of it all. I was thinking there was going to be a little more of a mystery, and it would be wrapped up a little better, I think that after everything that happened, it just seemed that there were still questions left. I do believe that this book did a good job at taking on philosophical issues, and really thinking about different beliefs. But this book also shows how easily someone can be persuaded into doing something when they are so sheltered.

Lottie took on an interesting topic, but I think the story just missed something to really make the story pop and stick out in my mind.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Giveaway: The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti (US/CAN)

I was contacted about helping spread the word about The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti, the book sounds intriguing and I was given the opportunity to share this book with all my readers.

Here is the synopsis of The Almond Tree:

Gifted with a mind that continues to impress the elders in his village, Ichmad Hamid struggles with the knowledge that he can do nothing to save his friends and family. Living on occupied land, his entire village operates in constant fear of losing their homes, jobs, and belongings. But more importantly, they fear losing each other.

On Ichmad’s twelfth birthday, that fear becomes reality. With his father imprisoned, his family’s home and possessions confiscated, and his siblings quickly succumbing to hatred in the face of conflict, Ichmad begins an inspiring journey using his intellect to save his poor and dying family. In doing so he reclaims a love for others that was lost through a childhood rife with violence, and discovers a new hope for the future.

There is also a great book trailer found here: 

Two lucky winners will get a copy of The Almond Tree, check out the giveaway below! 

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 307
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: July 2, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

From an award-winning author comes a wise and tender coming-of-age story about a nine-year-old girl who runs away from her Mississippi home in 1963, befriends a lonely woman suffering loss and abuse, and embarks on a life-changing roadtrip.

The summer of 1963 begins like any other for nine-year-old Starla Claudelle. Born to teenage parents in Mississippi, Starla is being raised by a strict paternal grandmother, Mamie, whose worst fear is that Starla will turn out like her mother. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three, but is convinced that her mother will keep her promise to take Starla and her daddy to Nashville, where her mother hopes to become a famous singer—and that one day her family will be whole and perfect.

When Starla is grounded on the Fourth of July, she sneaks out to see the parade. After getting caught, Starla’s fear that Mamie will make good on her threats and send her to reform school cause her to panic and run away from home. Once out in the country, Starla is offered a ride by a black woman, Eula, who is traveling with a white baby. She happily accepts a ride, with the ultimate goal of reaching her mother in Nashville.

As the two unlikely companions make their long and sometimes dangerous journey, Starla’s eyes are opened to the harsh realities of 1963 southern segregation. Through talks with Eula, reconnecting with her parents, and encountering a series of surprising misadventures, Starla learns to let go of long-held dreams and realizes family is forged from those who will sacrifice all for you, no matter if bound by blood or by the heart.

My Review:

I don't know what it was about the synopsis that stuck out me with this book, but I knew I was intrigued. I love coming of age stories, and I think the idea that this is a coming of age book done in the 1960's in Mississippi really caught my attention. This story is told from the perspective of Starla, a nine-year-old who has run away to find her mother in Nashville.

I will admit that it took me some time to really get into the story, I had some troubles in the beginning because of Starla's voice. Crandall definitely gets the southern voice in here (while reading it I was imagining a very southern country voice). In the beginning I had a hard time understanding everything Starla said, but you quickly become accustomed, it's the way people spoke at the time. I can say that this book would not be what it is if not for the first person narration, you can really see how naive Starla is with a lot of things in life. By using Starla as the narrator Crandall really puts you in the mind of someone growing up in this time with a different view of life.

Starla has had a difficult time for a nine-year-old, she lives with her grandmother who is extremely strict and believes that Starla will turn out like her mother, someone who will throw their life away at the drop of a hat. Starla is convinced that her mother will help her and they can become a family again. Starla decides to run away, and on the way meets with Eula, a black woman who has her own burdens. These two become fast friends on their travels, and their relationship is beautiful.

I loved how Starla and Eula communicated with one another, and that Eula became a surrogate mother for Starla while on the road. Susan Crandall did a beautiful job of bringing out the prejudices of the time, yet at the same time she shows that there are still people who believe in the right thing.

Starla grows up a lot during her travels, and learns what the real world is like. I did feel that some of the situations were over the top and the story was unbelievable at times, and yet I wanted more of these characters. This is one of those books that shows you family is not just about blood, but about the bonds you have with them as well.

I ended up loving this story, and found that through all the emotional parts there was still a little bit of humour. Starla has a temper on her, which is what always gets her in trouble, I love hearing her voice as she tries to keep herself calm. But it was also cute to see Starla try to converse with the adults at some points and she tries to use words she doesn't understand, it made her adorable, and I loved that she was trying.

This book is definitely a great show of those times, and has some amazing characters that I would love to meet myself. This book is not only about Starla growing up and learning about the real world but also for Eula to grow as well. They help each other through troubles on their travels and come to rely on each other despite their skin colour.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: Neptune's Tears by Susan Waggoner

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Series: Timedance #1
Pages: 224
Received: Received a copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: June 25, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

London, 2218 A.D. Seventeen-year-old Zee is an intern empath. She’s focused on her job, poised for a great career—until one day an attractive patient undoes her hard-earned calm. As an empath, she cannot afford such distractions, but neither can she stay away from David, even when she discovers he’s one of a mysterious alien race. As London comes under attack by anarchist bombings, and as Zee struggles to get a handle on her unusually strong psychic abilities, David starts pulling away. Although Zee’s sure he’s attracted to her, David has secrets he cannot share. But it’s too late for Zee. She’s losing her heart to the gray-eyed alien boy, and she’s determined to follow him—no matter how far it may take her.

My Review:

I finished this book a while ago, and I'm still not absolutely sure how I feel about what happened. This book was quite short, and a very fast read, but I feel like the story needed more to it. I can see that this book is meant to be easy-going and it is a good opening to a series, there is background to some of the characters, and definitely a great development to the relationship between Zee and David.

I felt like the romance happened so fast in this book, Zee was cautious in the beginning and then the next minute she's absolutely in love with him and will do anything to be around him. One thing that really got on my nerves while reading this book is the way that David keeps coming back to Zee but telling her that they can't be together (I'm sorry but that attitude really bugs me in my stories), they really need to make a decision!

I did enjoy Zee's character and seeing her perform her empath duties. It was an interesting idea to take the idea of empaths and have them have a career in helping those in hospital care through their pain. Zee is one of the best empaths in her class, and her abilities slowly start to grow throughout the story, she realizes that she is something special. I think I was more interested in that storyline, and I was hoping it would have been fleshed out more, to know more about what kinds of things she could do with her abilities.

The ending of this book really took me by surprise. And to be honest I'm still not completely sure how I feel about it. A part of me was shocked and it makes me interested to see what will actually happen, and yet another part of me felt like it came out of left field, and left me thinking WHAT, WHY? I'm still left wondering how this series will continue and what will happen with Zee and David, but I'm not completely sure I'm invested enough to continue with these characters. I wanted to love them and connect with them more than I did.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Series: The Fury #1
Pages: 688
Received: Received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: July 23, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the creator of the Escape from Furnace series, a ferocious epic of supernatural terror, perfect for Stephen King fans

Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you, if every person you know, every person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage . . . That’s the horrifying reality for Cal, Brick, and Daisy. Friends, family, even moms and dads, are out to get them. Their world has the Fury. It will not rest until they are dead.

In Alexander Gordon Smith’s adrenaline-fueled saga, Cal and the others must uncover the truth about what is happening before it destroys them all. But survival comes at a cost. In their search for answers, what they discover will launch them into battle with an enemy of unimaginable power.

My Review:

Oh my gosh, I do not know what I was expecting from this book, but it was definitely not what I got, and I mean that in a very good way. This book is huge, it clocks in at almost 700 pages, but this book is hard to stop reading. Just looking at the cover I knew this was going to be a creepy book, but what I got was chilling and different. It will be difficult writing this review without giving away too much because I find this will be an easy book to be spoiled.

The story opens up with one person noticing that his family has turned on him, and from there they attempt to kill him. It is creepy to think that these people that you know so well are doing everything to kill you and no matter what you do they keep coming after you. The story is told from many different perspectives, as we meet more characters, their view is also included in the story. Cal, Brick and Daisy are the main protagonists but you do get to see how "The Fury" affects others as well and how it changes them all in different ways.

Everything that happens in this book was so surprising, I wasn't really sure what to think of why "The Fury" comes out in people and what these kids have inside them that make them so special, but I can definitely say I didn't see it coming at all. It's a very slow process for the characters to realize what is so special about them, and they all handle it so differently, some become closer while it tears others apart and makes them turn on one another.

This book gets very disturbing at times with some of the character's actions, and I found myself wanting to put the book down, and yet at the same time I wanted to know what the purpose of these character's were. They are there for a reason, and it accumulates to some very large battle scenes which were very well done. What I really enjoyed was how the characters interacted with one another, you can see that some of them trust easily and begin to bond, while others are very wary and keep back. I have to say that I loved Daisy the most, she is young but she is a very quick learner and becomes the one that knows what is happening even if she can't understand why.

I can see this book being a great gateway into Stephen King books, and even one that fans would enjoy. I am interested to see where the story will go from here. If you are a fan of creepy and supernatural books this one will definitely be for you!


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