Monthly Archives: October 2014

River’s Quickie Review #5

18805916Title: Sublime by Christina Lauren (October 14th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Synopsis: When Lucy walks out of a frozen forest, wearing only a silk dress and sandals, she isn’t sure how she got there. But when she sees Colin, she knows for sure that she’s here for him.

Colin has never been captivated by a girl the way he is by Lucy. With each passing day their lives intertwine, and even as Lucy begins to remember more of her life—and her death—neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it is. And when Colin finds a way to physically be with Lucy, taking himself to the brink of death where his reality and Lucy’s overlap, the joy of being together for those brief stolen moments drowns out everything in the outside world. But some lines weren’t meant to be crossed…

River’s Review: Overall I enjoyed this, but I wasn’t sure about the ending. I loved the writing and the setting, but wasn’t really fond of the characters. There were some awkward moments between the two MCs and the whole ‘I’m going to almost kill myself so we can have sex’ part was a bit wtf for me. I understand that they were in love and wanted to be able to touch each other, but man… that was just a bit too much.

But I really am not sure what to make of the ending. 3.5/5 Stars.


21081693Title:  Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks (February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Synopsis: When Tuesday McGillycuddy and her beloved dog, Baxterr, discover that Tuesday’s mother—the famous author Serendipity Smith—has gone missing, they set out on a magical adventure. In their quest to find Serendipity, they discover the mysterious and unpredictable place that stories come from. Here, Tuesday befriends the fearless Vivienne Small, learns to sail an enchanted boat, tangles with an evil pirate, and discovers the truth about her remarkable dog. Along the way, she learns what it means to be a writer and how difficult it can sometimes be to get all the way to The End.

River’s Review: Ah, this book is SO CUTE! Basically anybody who loves reading or writing should read it. It’s a magical story about the magical land where stories are created. Tuesday gets sucked into it when she goes looking for her (world famous novelist) mother. And she takes here cute little dog (doggo!) Baxterr (double rr) with her.

The writing in this is divine. I actually just finished THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR and was finding it difficult to get into something but this was just what I needed.

Seriously, check this out. Even if you aren’t huge into middle grade (I’m not) you’ll love this! 5/5 Stars.


21469068 Title:  I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios(February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Synopsis: If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

River’s Review: This book was difficult to read at times. I will not sugar coat that this book does not sugar coat anything. War, poverty, double standards, alcoholism. It’s all in there, it’s all real, and it’s sometimes difficult to read about.

I think something that I really love bout Demetrois’s writing is that she pushes the envelope, just enough. You feel uncomfortable and question things and just think ‘how can this be real life?’ but it IS. And that’s what this book was about. Her letter at the end almost made me cry because it was just so damn real.

This is the story of a girl who falls in love with a boy. And not his dreamy eyes or his rock hard abs. She falls in love with HIM and all of the pain that followed him home from the war. 5/5 Stars.


Huge thank you to Simon and Schuster BFYR, Henry Holt BFYR, Edelweiss and Netgalley for these books.

Advertisements

Book Ban Check-in #4

All right, so it has been two weeks, and it’s time to chat. First off, I didn’t buy ANY books these past two weeks. Not a single one. The downside? Didn’t read as much as the previous weeks (classes have been mental, so so so crazy). In fact, let’s look at the pathetic number of physical books I read:

B0V9wMHIUAA9TRY

Yeah, only four. I’m a little sad by this as well. If it’s any consolation, I really liked all four books I read? Part of why this number is so low is because I went on a bit of a graphic novel binge at the library and I mostly read those for the last few weeks. If you haven’t read Y: The Last Man and you love Brian K. Vaughn’s other works? Get on that. Such a rewarding and amazing series from start to finish. Also reads some Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi and I am loving where that series is going, and for my exercise routine I finally managed to finish up Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith, which I enjoyed quite a bit and I thought the narrator for the audiobook was pretty fabulous.

Anywho, I made friends with the library. It meant I didn’t do as good a job on the TBR pile. Let’s go through what was read:

Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe – I was a part of the blog tour for this one. Check out my my review!

Batwoman: To Drown the World by by J.H. Williams III, et al. — I LOVE the direction that Batwoman is being taken in. This particular instalment was broken up into various points of view, all on one subject matter and the events leading up to it. Kate Kane seriously doesn’t get enough love and I think she tries so hard to use her best judgement in tough situation. Seriously, I love her, I love her backstory, buuuut… I wanted a bit more from this. I’m looking forward to how the story will advance in volume 3. 4/5 Stars.

The Metro Dogs of Moscow by Rachelle Delaney — LOVED THIS BOOK. Rachelle Delaney has an insane knack for writing animals to BE ANIMALS, yet have a good blend of being animals and having emotions. J.R is such a cutie and it was great to finally read his first adventure (I had read The Circus Dogs of Prague first as part of a blog tour). Also POOR PIE! Poor, poor, Pie. He ran into some heartbreaking troubles in this book. I hope Rachelle writes another book in this series because it’s such a great series for younger readers. 4/5 Stars.

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn  — My first Sharon Shinn book and for sure it won’t be my last. Admittedly, I wasn’t too sure about this book, but overall I enjoyed it. I think Shinn has some beautiful prose that borderlines on purple-ish at times.The female characters were absolutely wonderful in this book, but I oddly didn’t find myself connected to any of the men (in fact, they were pretty dull or too full of themselves for my tastes). I thought how the elements were handled were interesting, though I’m a bit bored with fantasy novels were the elements are the defining aspect to either the characters or the world. Still, I think I’ll definitely be checking out more of her books in the future (especially because I’ve heard Mystic and Rider is fabulous). 3.5/5 Stars.

Ebooks Read:

All three were ARCs this time…

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz — You won’t get to read my review of this book for quite sometime, but if you love gritty, realistic fiction, this one shines. Etta has the perfect voice, she’s got enough troubles, and she felt so real. I’m not going to score this one, you’ll just have to wait for then the review appears! But seriously, ADD IT TO YOUR TBR! I want to read all of Hannah Moskowitz’s books now thanks to this one.

Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger — Not spoiling this one either, but check back on October 27th because that is when the review will be going live.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater — It was perfect, perfect, perfect.

Number of books bought on the ban: 9 (None purchased these last two weeks, I blame Word on the Street for me failing!)

Number of (owned) books read on the ban: 26

Well, the book ban officially ends on November 3rd, so I hope to get more of my own books read within that time. Two more weeks doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but I hope I can make a decent sized dent in the pile. I’m going to try for the month of November to keep cutting back the book purchasing, though it may be hard with the Inspire! Book Fair happening in a few weeks (which I will be there!). Keep cheering me on, I hope to keep the pace going, especially because November is going to be a mess and reading time is definitely going to take a big hit thanks to all the tests and assignments coming up. We shall see! Wish me luck.

Blog Tour – Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe (Review)

17875055Title: Earth & Sky

Author: Megan Crewe

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help–but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.

Huge thank you to Razorbill Canada for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading Earth & Sky. I actually had the pleasure of listening to Megan Crewe read a section of the novel during this year’s Word on the Street, and it was in that moment that I knew I needed to bump this book up on my TBR.

Interestingly, this wasn’t a read that I could devour in one sitting. This book has a lot of build to it, and it does take some time to set up what exactly it wants to do and where it wants to go. Skyler isn’t the most lovable protagonist, but she’s got this awkward charm about her that made it easy for me to connect with her. She’s someone who uses math as a calming mechanism when she’s nervous or uncomfortable (she’s a bit OCD, really). It’s a weird habit, but I do similar things (though in my case, I make up songs when I’m nervous or uncomfortable). Skyler is a very unlikely heroine and that worked well for me. She’s someone with a lot of flaws but is constantly growing and shining throughout the story.

Win, her love interest, I wasn’t as keen on. He’s a likeable guy, but for whatever reason I didn’t find him as intriguing or have the same connection I did with Skyler. He’s really a big plot device for a lot of the story’s movement until you start to understand where he’s coming from and then it all makes sense. However, when he’s being fluffy with Skyler, they were kinda cute in the cotton candy sorta way.

I thought the science fiction elements were done well here, though with a time travel novel, the reader always has to suspense their disbelief in challenging ways, usually resulting in love or hate. For me, I found even if it didn’t always make perfect sense, Crewe makes the story fun, and she takes the reader on a ride through so many different points in history (someone more unexpected than others) and she keeps this rapid pace about it. There’s also tons of action and intrigue for those who need that in their storytelling.

At the end of the day, Earth & Sky is both well written and a crazy fun romp. The only hard part in reviewing this book is the fact that I wanted a bit more of the story (which, may be I shouldn’t complain about since the next book will be out in six months!), but I feel like that every time I seem to start a new trilogy. I really am excited to see where book two takes Skyler and Win next.

banner

Check out the rest of the Tour!

ARC Review – Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

17378508Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Huge thank you to Scholastic and Netgalley for this ARC!

River’s Review: 

ALL THE STARS. ALL THE LOVE. ALL THE ADJECTIVES. EVERYTHING. MY GOD.

I basically need to re-read this when it comes out. Just. omg. The wait for the last book is going to kill me.

GANSEY FANCY FACE!!!!!

Sam’s Review: 

First off, Gansey Fancy Face needs to become a meme or something. When I read that line, I ended up in a giggle fit on public transit. I got some weird looks for it, but WHATEVER.

I think of the three books in this series this one might be my favourite. Gansey and Blue’s romance is so wonderfully established and it keeps growing on me as each book comes out. While Ronan is my favourite character of the group, I loved the balance between Gansey and Blue’s romance and Adam’s circumstances. Adam won a lot of my heart during this book and it was so easy to understand where he was coming from and why he behaves the way he does. Stiefvater does this amazing job of really giving her characters these personal touches that makes them so recognizable and their own that every time I get a new book in this series it always feels so familiar. It’s never me trying to remember what happened last.

And the prose, my goodness the prose. It’s just so gorgeous and it has a methodical flow to it. While the use of all caps at times was a bit weird at first, I didn’t feel like it was as excessive as say, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (let’s face it, no character should strive to be all caps Harry). Everything felt so familiar in this book and what distance provided by the characters was easily made up when the plot started to unravel itself. Characters who I was unsure of in previous books really grew on me (Gray Man in particular).

I love this series and I love this world and these characters. The wait for the next book is going to truly be painful.

Five Spooky Fall Reads

I love fall, and I loved a good scary story. Sometimes, however, I just love books that feel like fall. That make you want to put on a warm blanket, or perhaps, put that nice warm blanket over your head to keep the baddies away. Here’s five fall reads you should definitely check out.

21568690

The Haunting of Heck House by Lesley Livingston & Jonathan Llyr

It’s no secret how much I adore the Wiggins Weird series. They make for the perfect fall reads because they get you into the Halloween spirit. From B-movie references, to playing with b-movie horror formulas, there’s a lot to love. Livingston and Llyr have given us wonderful characters in Cheryl and Tweed, so easy to root for and care about, and their love of horror films can get anyone in the mood for a spooky October.

18689586Through the Woods by Emily Carroll 

This is easily one of the most unique and horrifying graphic novels I’ve read. It’s disjointed and does an amazing job of making the reader feel so uncomfortable as they read on. The artwork in this graphic novel is gorgeous in every sense of the word and for those who don’t mind a little gore, this book will definitely keep you freaked out for a couple of days.

22388931The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter

I loved The Swallow back when I read it in September. Beautifully written, carefully plotted, I found myself so engaged in this haunting portrayal of Toronto.  Polly and Rose are fantastic narrators in this spooky ghost story, and who doesn’t love a more organic feeling chill of a story? READ THIS BOOK. Not only is it a fantastic middle grade novel, but it’s one that you’ll want to wrap yourself into a warm blanket and have a big cup of tea with.

20456560

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

I think if you are a very patient reader, there’s a lot to love about Rooms. Everything about this book is a slow burn (no pun intended) and that’s part of the joy that comes with the story. Everything is gradual, slow, methodical, and it keeps you wondering about the sanity of every person and paranormal being that exists within this house. Definitely a more rewarding read if you stick with it, and again, it’s a book that feels like fall the more you read on.

10893214

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
by Claire Legrand

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is an AMAZING debut novel, and one that I’m so happy I grabbed on a whim. It’s creepiness is so subtle, thoughtful and engaging that what happens in the story will send chills down your spine. I loved everything about this novel, it’s characters, the overall atmosphere. the world. SO SO GOOD.

What are some of your favourite Fall or Halloweenish reads? Let us know in the comments. I always love getting recommendations for these types of books.

ARC Reviews – Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King

17453303Title:  Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

Author: A.S King

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory, who has no plan for what’s next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she’s never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way…until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person’s infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions—and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying.

A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women’s rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she’ll do everything in her power to make sure this one doesn’t come to pass.

Huge thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

Glory O’Brien is this generation’s Daria, and for that I am grateful. Very seldom in YA do we encounter a true misanthrope, one who makes the decisions to disengage from people. Glory is methodical, moody, and someone who is completely misunderstood. Often regarded as hateful or selfish, Glory is an unforgettable character who’s voice is difficult to mesh with on purpose. Personally, I like a challenge and I feel like Glory was a character whom I share some similarity with, but not so much when I was a teen — but as the adult I am today.

Giving yourself to people is hard, especially in this day in age where its so easy to manipulate and hurt others within this vastly socially connected world. It’s so much easier to be judgemental as it is to be open-minded. After Glory and her friend, Ellie ingest bat ashes they are given transmissions of people’s lives and a supposed “history of the future.” Interestingly, you have one girl who believes truth in these transmissions and another who gets the sense that she’s merely tripping on bat ashes and that every vision they see is completely bogus.

King once again crafts so amazing and well thought out characters. Although Glory’s mother had commit suicide when she was four, Darla O’Brien is very much a character in this narrative, and one that haunts throughout. Furthermore we have Ellie who is a terrible, self-absorbed friend and who brings out the worst in others around her and yet she is a completely sympathetic character because she’s surprisingly genuine despite her flaws. I actually loved all the characters in this book, and Glory is going to be a character I feel who is going to be quite hit-or-miss with a lot of readers because of her personality, which is quite extreme. I loved the use of feminism in this book as well, as it wasn’t afraid to explore a variety of issues not often magnified under the lens. Some of the “histories” that Glory recorded were frightening, though sometimes even extreme or ridiculous and yet I always found myself wanting to know more.

I don’t want to spoil much else about this book, but it’s quite fantastic and those who love King’s work will likely enjoy this book. However, I don’t recommend this be someone’s first A.S King book considering her style and I think for some readers Glory might be off=putting. If you’re looking for where to start with A.S King’s books, I always recommend Everybody Sees the Ants as a good introduction. If you like her books and tough issues, then definitely then read this one.

ARC Review – Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

20388087Title: Julia’s House for Lost Creatures

Author: Ben Hatke

Rating: ★★★★★

Huge thank you to First Second and Netgalley for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:
We generally don’t review picture books over on the blog, but I am making an exception because Ben Hatke is a fabulous writer and illustrator. I just recently fell in love with Zita the Spacegirl and when I saw that this was on Netgalley, I immediately grabbed it.

This is a wonderful picture book that has theme we’re all familiar with: tolerance, acceptance, friendship, and working together to create something better. Julia has so much kindness in her heart and it’s something that runs so deep into this very tightly woven story. I feel like this would be such a fun book to read at story time just because it’s charm and appeal is so high.

The artwork in this book? Absolutely stunning. I love the choices in colour and the designs of a lot of the monsters are wonderful and unique. Ben Hatke writes such a sweet, simplistic story that both children and adults can definitely enjoy. Check this book out when it releases in October.