1 Dec 2014

Mini Reviews: December Contemporary Edition

Another installment of mini reviews, featuring three contemporary reads (but one with a twist).

Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

The rundown: Fan Art is a super fluffy LGBT romance about Jamie, who is in love with his best friend Mason. The problem? Jamie's pretty sure Mason's straight, and Mason has a strict 'no dating in high school because what's the point?' rule. Surrounding Jamie are his peers in art class, determined to help get Jamie to come out to Mason and get the two of them together, and his colleagues at the yearbook commitee, debating whether or not to publish an LGBT comic in the school yearbook.
My thoughts: Fan Art is strictly a YA contemporary romance novel, and that's what makes it so great. The fluff is everywhere, and it's adorable. I felt for Jamie the entire way through. I shipped it along with his pals in art. I could not put this adorable little hardcover down. Well, I didn't want to. I read Fan Art in two sittings, as it was very easy and light to get through, which was not a bad thing at all. If you're looking for a light read, a romance, and/or an LGBT read, I highly recommend Fan Art. It just makes you feel so warm and fuzzy. Seriously. So. Adorable.
4/5 stars. Check out Fan Art on Goodreads.

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

The rundown: Sloane and Emily are best friends - really, Sloane is Emily's only friend. But one day Sloane (and her family) disappears without saying where she's going or when she'll be back. All she leaves behind is a list of things she wants Emily to do while she's gone. If conservative, quiet Emily completes everything on the list, then she will find her friend, according to the only note left for her. Without Sloane, Emily is lost. But as she attempts to complete each task on the list, she discovers things about herself - and her friendship with Sloane - that she had never before realised.
My thoughts: This was a really fun read. It took me a while to get through as I was coming out of a reading slump where I hadn't been able to finish any books I'd started, but I finished this one. I questioned Sloane and Emily's friendship, because Sloane seemed like a pretty terrible friend, but not so much that I got annoyed. I really enjoyed the character development, which was really what this book was about to me. It was about Emily finding who she truly was, and that she didn't need Sloane to do that for her. Since You've Been Gone was a fun read, and I enjoyed discovering how Emily got through each number on the list, and made friends along the way. It didn't blow me out of the water, but it didn't have to.
4/5 stars. Since You've Been Gone on Goodreads.

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

The rundown: Three very different girls are tired of how their lives are going. Lillia was wronged by a boy and tries to protect her sister from the same fate, Kat is sick of the rumours being spread about her, aided along by her ex-best friend, and Mary is back to the island they all go to school on, ready to seek revenge on someone from her past. The three girls team up to exact their revenge, but what happens when that revenge is taken too far?
My thoughts: Let me just start off by saying this book is not what I expected. I assumed it would be Mean Girls in book form, but there are several hints in this book that this is more than a realistic YA read. I don't want to spoil it, but one of these girls is hiding something big that aids along in their revenge exacting. This book gets dark, so if you go into it expecting something trivial and light, you will be taken by surprise as I was. I really need to get my hands on books two and three to see the aftermath of their revenge. I was spoiled on one big happening (DO NOT READ THE BACK OF THE NEXT BOOKS BEFORE READING THE PREVIOUS ONES), and damn. This series does not hold anything back. If you like a little something more with your contemporary high school fiction, give this series a shot, because it might just surprise you in a good way. The feel of it reminded me loosely of Stephen King's Carrie.
4/5 stars. Check out the Burn for Burn series on Goodreads.

29 Nov 2014

Mini Reviews: November Edition


It has been far too long since I have posted on here, but sometimes I just want to read books without feeling the need or pressure to review them, hence my disappearance. However, I am currently in the mood to review some books, hence my reappearance. That's the wonder of having a no-strings book review blog. I recently posted a full-length review of a book I finished, but I have a handful of others I've read during my previously unannounced hiatus from here that I'd like to give mention to. Perhaps more reviews will come later, but I cannot allow myself to make any promises. However, here are the three I'm mini-reviewing today:

The Aftermath by Jen Alexander

The Aftermath is a game played by humans living in a futuristic world. The characters? Real human beings. I don't want to spoil too much so I won't go into why people play or how people end up as characters, but I'll say this: the characters do not realise they are that. Except somehow, miraculously, our protagonist does. Slowly, as the book begins revealing, main character Claudia realises she is not in control of her every movement, and as she eventually discovers hints at what is going on, seeks out full control of her own body and an escape.
Not to sound cliche or anything, but fans of The Hunger Games will enjoy this book. The genres are similar, though the details not. I personally loved this book. There were so many times where I felt like I was in the game with the characters. The writing helped me imagine everything perfectly. If there's one thing I love in any genre, but especially in my sci-fi and fantasy, it's great world building, and Jen Alexander did just that with The Aftermath. This one was a page turner, and the little plot twists thrown at you are great. The closer you get to the end, the more suspenseful it gets, and the ending, well. I won't spoil, but my basic reaction was WHY, CLIFF-HANGER, WHY (in a good way, of course). Do I recommend The Aftermath? The game, no. The book, heck yes. I look forward to book two.
4/5 stars.
The Aftermath on Goodreads.

Defy by Sara B. Larson

A land where sorcery is banned, a female forced to disguise herself as a male in order to survive, and a kingdom in corruption. Defy has everything I love in a fantasy debut. Protagonist Alexa is a member of the prince's elite guard, and has sworn her life to protect him (spoiler alert: the prince has the personality of a rotten basket of fruit - or does he). When Alexa and the prince are captured by the kingdom's enemy, both of their secrets risk being revealed just as a common enemy lurks closer.
This book was so great. My kind of fantasy. So many great characters and such a solid plot. There's a love triangle but I have to say, I loved it so much. It was well done and there's nothing wrong with a good love triangle, to be quite honest. I cannot wait to see what the sequel has in store for all of these characters. And just for fair warning, this book gets dark. It's a great 'females rising up from oppression' read as well (to give you an idea of that and the darkness I mentioned: female orphans are forced to be impregnated against their will by males, and their children taken from them to become guards for the kingdom. They're basically broodmares, and just what Alexa is trying to avoid by disguising herself as a male). Book two is out the end of December, and I cannot wait! Fans of Tamora Pierce and Sarah J. Maas will love Defy, guaranteed. Solid 5/5.
Check out Defy on Goodreads.

I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

A little out of my genre comfort zone is this humorous contemporary read. I've Got Your Number is about about-to-be-married Poppy, who is robbed of her phone shortly after losing her engagement ring, and is about to short circuit when she finds a phone in the trash. This phone belongs to a business man's assisstant, who chucked the phone when she up and quit. Poppy, desperate to have some sort of life line (her cell was her life, you understand, her everything!), manages to convince said  uptight and reluctant businessman (Sam Roxton) to allow her to keep the phone until she gets a new one and her ring turns up, with the promise that she will forward all of his emails to him. And she wouldn't dare pry into his personal life, nor he into hers... Full of footnotes, emails, text messages, and some humorous snooping, I've Got Your Number is a hilarious read that I honestly could not put down (I read it in a day. I was on vacation, but still). This is one of those 'chick lit' novels that would make a fantastic rom com film - seriously, I could see it all play out in my head. Although if a film could actually do Kinsella's humour justice, I am not sure. The book was great, and it's a perfect light, funny read. For me it was a break between heavier genres, but I enjoyed it just as much. This book was my introduction to Sophie Kinsella's writing (I'll admit I've seen the Confessions of a Shopaholic movie - it was all right - but have not read the books), and I've her newest, Wedding Night, sitting on my shelf ready to be picked up the next time I'm ready for a break between by fantasy and sci-fi reads. 4.5 stars.
I've Got Your Number on Goodreads.

Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

Title: Atlantia
Author: Ally Condie
Genre: Futuristic Fantasy/Mythos
Format reviewed: hardcover first edition

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

Maybe I'm just super used to series, but everything seemed to be solved pretty quickly. The beginning of the book felt slow to me, but about halfway through it picked up enough that I didn't want to put it down. Had I not been curious as to what exactly was up with Rio's aunt and fellow siren Maire, I might have given up. In the end, I am glad I didn't, because it was a nice story that was enjoyable overall. The writing was good, the characters believable and human, and the romance honest.

In truth, if this book were longer or there were more books, I think I would have enjoyed it more than I did (although that is not to say I did not enjoy Atlantia). I'd have loved more of a chance at world-building, to see more of the Above and how exactly it functioned, and to see how the Below restored itself and how the people Below reacted to everything going on Above and with the sirens. Also the disease many characters had been infected with, Water Lung, I was interested in learning more about. I just wanted more. But not bad for the stand-alone that it was. I'm glad a friend read it before I did and told me it was a stand-alone, because like her I would have expected more than just the one book and would have enjoyed it less. It all does sort of seem to end abruptly, and if you are not expecting it to end when those pages run out, you will be left confused - not being it does not tie up the loose ends, but because it was not what you expected.

What I really liked about Atlantia was Rio's character. She was so human and believable that it made her character and her romance fun to read. I don't want to spoil much for anyone who has not read this yet, but I do like how Rio focused more on what she wanted, and on finding out why her sister went Above, than on her love interest. She was willing to set him aside if need be, to give him up for the bigger picture, which is lacking in many YA (and let's be honest, many books with romance) reads. Not that I want more characters to give up their love interests, but there are times when characters put their new romances in front of things that are more important that make me question the character's sanity - haha. But I do like a little romance in my reads. I loved how understandably selfish she was, but yet selfless at the same time. She was human, she was likeable, and she was honest.

The siren lore was interesting, especially to me, for I'm a big fan of mythology (and writing a siren novel myself). Atlantia was a fun tie-in of multiple genres, those being mythological, fantasy, a little sci-fi, and futuristic. If you are a fan of any or more of those and love stand-alones, I recommend giving Atlantia a shot. If you've read Ally Condie's Matched series, this is quite a different tale. And if you find yourself getting bored, I do suggest sticking it out, as the story does pick up eventually and you get most of the answers to the questions raised earlier, making up for the earlier lull. Everything all unfolds rather quickly towards the end.

Overall, I enjoyed Atlantia. As a stand-alone novel, it was pretty good. I myself would have loved a two or three book series to allow for more world-building and to get to know secondary characters better, but Ally Condie made the story work in a satisfying way in the near three hundred pages. For anyone sick of trilogies and looking for a stand-alone that is not contemporary, Atlantia would make a good choice. This is definitely one you want to pick up knowing it is a lone book to avoid disappointment, and one you want to give a chance past the halfway point.

3.5 stars

Atlantia was published October 28, 2014
Check out Atlantia on Goodreads

21 Mar 2014

Cover Reveal: Absolute Zero (Touch of Frost #2) by Lynn Rush


So I am SUPER STOKED to help reveal the cover for book two of Lynn Rush' Touch of Frost trilogy. I read the first book, Frostbite, this past summer and fell in love with the plot and the characters. I even wrote a review, which you can read here.

And now for what you all presumably clicked here to see:


Just take in all of that amazingness. When I saw the red I was so excited! Georgia!!!
And now the deets:

Title: Absolute Zero
Series: Touch of Frost
Author: Lynn Rush
Release Date: May 2014
Death may be the only way I can live…

The Center is destroyed. Mandy and Georgia have their own place near campus and are ready to start their new lives as college students. All that’s missing is Mandy’s steamy relationship with Zach. His sudden distance and irritability has Mandy wondering…and possibly wandering.

Nate Ashcroft, a beautiful, but mysterious, guy literally falls into Mandy’s life, shattering her already unstable relationship with Zach. When an unknown agency sets its targets on Mandy and Georgia, ugly truths of Mandy’s powers, her parents’ deaths and the people she’s chosen to trust send her life into a tailspin.

One only her death can stop.
I'm so glad May isn't too far away, because I need to get my hands on this beauty. I can't wait to see where this series goes. !!!

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Absolute Zero on Goodreads

11 Mar 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (8): Top Ten All Time Favourite Fantasy Books

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To join in on this weekly meme, visit the blog here)

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it's

Top Ten All Time Favourite Fantasy Books

I chose fantasy as my genre this week because it's my absolute favourite. It's the genre that I've been reading since I was reading picture books (and this TTT I will feature two of those books), and to this day has remained a go-to of mine. So without further ado...

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

For some reason I only own one Munsch book, but I've read them all! This one has always been and will always be my favourite. It's classic Munsch, and features a very clever and out-spoken princess who has a run-in with a dragon. If you haven't read this yet, visit your local library and head to the kids' section and take two minutes to read this gem. It's superb.

The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman

This one is another kid classic I adore. I think it was the pictures that really grabbed me as a youngster, but the story is cute as well. It teaches a few lessons as well and is a great introductory tale to the fantasy genre. The illustrations, too, are truly beautiful.

And for my non-little kid picks...

Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce is going to be featured a few times on this list, because she is my all-time favourite author. Alanna is the first book in this fantastic series, which features a girl who trades places with her twin brother so that she can be a knight (which women are not allowed to do) and her brother can learn magic (something women are expected to do instead of knighthood). A seriously wonderful quartet featuring one of YA's most insiring female characters.

The Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce

Wild Magic, the first in this series, is the first book by Tamora Pierce that I read. It was bought for me or I picked it up because of the horse on the cover (my favourite animal, and I went through a very long phase where I only read Pony Pals and Saddle Club and Thoroughbred books, haha). SO glad I read this one, whatever the reason, because it made me seek out other books by this wonderful author. This one takes place in the same world as Alanna's series did, but features a different main female character and takes place after Alanna's story (but there is mention of Alanna).

Protector of the Small quartet by Tamora Pierce

She's really good for quartets, this author :) First Test is the first in a series featuring my favourite female main character ever, Keladry of Mindelan. This one takes place in the same land as the previous two series, and by Kel's time, knighthood had been open to women for the first time. And she is the first female to step up to the plate. But the males do not make it easy for her. This is my favourite Tamora Pierce series and the first series I read fully by this author (I read The Immortals after, and then Alanna. Oops!)

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

What's a fantasy list without Harry Potter? I don't think I need to say much on why this one is here. It's Harry freakin' Potter!

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

I'm so beyond proud that the author is from my city <3 But I fell in love this this book before I knew this fact. Falling Kingdoms is a genius high fantasy series by pseudonym author Morgan Rhodes (she also writes romance and other YA under Michelle Rowen and she is fantastic). Book 2 is recently out, Rebel Spring (which I've yet to read - ack! But I'll get there). Highly recommended if you like fantasy. The characters are so diverse and very interesting.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

This series features a heroine who was locked up for being an assassin, and freed under the condition that she compete to be the king's champion - which means freedom after serving as the king's personal assassin for a few years. She'll die if she stays locked up, but she hates the king, so while the choice is easy, it's not at all simple. Seriously such a fantastic series. Books one and two are out and you should go read them both right now right now right now :)

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

You may have heard of this one already - the young author's writing has been compared to that of J.K. Rowling - and it is not undeserved. I was a little apprehensive going into this one, because I tend to stick to YA and this one is in the adult fantasy category, but it was fantastic. It's the first of a planned eight-book series, and I an eagerly anticipating the second. It's very different from any fantasy I've read. It's like an AU fantasy that takes in a world where the English monarchy no longer reigns, and clairvoyants are hunted. The protagonist is a clairvoyant herself, and joins a gang of clairvoyants before she's captured (not a spoiler - it's in the blurb), and then spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler :)

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I feel like that's all I have to say, really. Hartman's dragons are quite unique, though. They have the ability to turn human, and I mean, who wouldn't want to be able to be a dragon? I go into this book in more detail in my review, which you can find here.

28 Feb 2014

End of February Book Haul!

February has come to and end, which means my bookshelf is a whole month of book-buying fuller!

It's a big one this month, because the bookstore was having some great deals, plus there were some awesome new releases I could not resist.
Here's what I got this month:

This Star Won't Go Out (Esther Earl), Cress (Marissa Meyer), Ignite Me and Unite Me (Tahereh Mafi), 13 Little Blue Envelopes (Maureen Johnson), Breathe (Sarah Crossan), Cruel Beauty (Rosamund Hodge)

Dreamless (Josephine Angelini), Incarnate (Jodi Meadows), Partials (Dan Wells) 

The Selection Stories (Kiera Cass), Once (Anna Carey),  Arise (Tara Hudson), Spark (Amy Kathleen Ryan)
Arise is a duplicate (oops), so I'll be returning that one to the bookstore. This is what happens when you have so many books AND you work at a bookstore. Sometimes it's hard to remember if you've seen the book on your actual shelf or the shelves at work. Oops :P

 And I picked up the Vampire Academy paperback and MTI box set. I own the first book as a hardcover as well as the sixth, but finding them all in hardcover now is going to be difficult because they are not easily available. I was going to order them from The Book Depository (fab site, by the way. Free worldwide shipping), but figured this is easier. Plus, I like the new cover designs (minus the MTI edition of the first book, but that's okay).

Some more pictures of the box set:

And just for fun, here's something bookish that I bought to add to my bookshelf!

A book clock! I saw this and could not resist! I admit I do still look at the time on my laptop when I'm using it or my phone, but this clock looks so great on my shelf <3 Don't you think?

25 Feb 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (7) Rewind: Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To join in on this weekly meme, visit the blog here)

This week on Top Ten Tuesday it's a REWIND. I've chosen to do a topic I missed out on. This TTT topic was originally done on September 20th, 2011.

Top Ten Books I Feel As Though Everyone Has Read But Me (that I hope to read)

The original meme is just 'top ten books I feel as though everyone has read but me', but I added the 'that I hope to read' because I figured that would be more fun than putting on books I don't want to read. In no particular order...

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

I own this series, at least, but I have yet to get around to reading it. One day I will, likely when I'm on my next post-apocalyptic/dystopian kick, which is bound to be soon.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

One day I will read this series. I've heard of its amazingness, so I will be adding it to my collection.

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Another one I need to get on my bookshelf. I'll likely just wait until the entire series is out at this point. But I've heard good things!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I have seriously heard nothing but good things about this series. I own the first one, at least. Once the third is out I will likely pick these up finally.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Confession: I own all of the published books, but I have only read up to Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse. I'll catch up, I swear! Trying to avoid spoilers for this series is the most difficult thing, so I need to get on it! Hopefully before Blood of Olympus is out, because I just don't think I'll be able to stay mostly spoiler-free after that one.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This might be another one I wait for the whole series to be out. Maybe. I'll see if I can hold out that long.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

I haven't even seen the movie (although I've been told that's not a bad thing), but this series has been out for over ten years. I'm a tad behind with this one, so naturally most people I know have read this one. It's another series I have on my shelf, though, so I'll get there.

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Hey - I've at least read Vampire Academy. And I own the set, so I'll be getting to this one soon.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

The only John Green novel (not counting his short story in Let It Snow) that I've yet to read. It's on my shelf. I'll get there one day.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Another I own but have yet to read.