Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: June 1rst, 2009
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 290 pgs
ISBN: 9780316051590

My Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads
According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

My Review:
As soon as I was finished reading Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler, I went out to my library and found Twenty Boy Summer and started it almost immediately. I was wondering if this book would be a bit disappointing because I had enjoyed Delilah so much but this book did not disappoint in any way. This was a book that I will have to add to my ever-growing list of books that made me ugly-cry well after the book was finished.
I loved everything about this book. I loved the friendship between Anna and Frankie. It was so raw and so real and it brought me back to my days as a teen with my best friend at the time. I loved going on trips together but there was also so much that we were afraid to tell each other. This is the same for Anna and Frankie; Anna hides that she was dating Frankie's brother and Frankie lies to Anna because of her insecurities.
I loved the family dynamics in this novel as well. As close as Anna is to Frankie's family she will never fully be a part of it and I think Anna's mother worried about that when she sent Anna to Zanzibar Bay. Anna is stuck kind of floating because while she is not a part of Frankie's family her grief is very real and she really has no one to talk to about it.
I could not put this book down and it had my emotions on high the entire time I was reading this novel. I kept thinking of how unfair life can be sometimes. I know that this was a novel and therefore not real but things like this happen all the time and it really makes you feel thankful for what you have in life. Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and I think I have found myself a new favourite author.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Playing Hooky

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's edition is the Top Ten Books We'd Play Hooky for if we had Them.  Here is my list:

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: White Horse by Alex Adams

Publisher: Atria
Publishing Date: April 17th, 2012
Genre: Dystopian, Adult
Pages: 292 pgs
ISBN: 9781451642995

Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the President of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species. When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption. Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are not defined by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places. 

My Review:
This book is not for the faint of heart and I would definitely not recommend it if you are the least bit squeamish.  The book is about a medical epidemic that pretty much wipes out most of the earth's population.  It is told by Zoe a 30-year-old who is immune to the disease that has killed almost everyone she knows.  The book bounces back and forth between two different points in time: before the epidemic and after the epidemic.  I have to admit that I really enjoy dystopian type books and this one doesn't disappoint.  The book almost combines the elements of a zombie book with the elements of a plague-type apocalyptic book.  Most people die of the strange disease while others turn into something not quite right.  I really enjoyed Adams' writing style and I couldn't put this book down.  I went through a range of emotions while reading this novel and at times I wanted to just yell at some of the characters.  
As one would expect in a post-apocalypse style book, you meet a wide variety of characters and they are not always good.  The German character in this book that Zoe comes across is pure evil and I couldn't figure out why on earth Zoe put up with him for so long.  This book is most definitely not in the realm of YA and it was nice to read something targeted at adults.  It was grim but at the same time it offers some sort of hope in places.  I quite enjoyed the book and I plan on reading more books by Alex Adams.  Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 
This book was given to me for an honest review from Simon and Schuster Canada. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In My Mailbox (28)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and it allows bloggers to show what they are excited to get for the week.

Well, I've been going a bit crazy with the holds at the library and every week there are more and more books ready for me to pick up.  I don't know exactly what I'm thinking b/c I have a growing pile of books that I have bought on my shelves just yelling at me to read them.  Anyhow, here is what I got this week:

For Review:
Thank you to Shannon at Harper Collins Canada!!!

Both of these are from The Book Depository and I bought them because I received Loss in the mail for review last week.
From the Library:

I read City of Bones last year and figured it's about time to continue the series.

I loved Mary Shelley's Frankenstein so I'm interested to see what Oppel does with the story.

Hmmm... incest.. not sure what I'll think of this one

I liked Vampire Academy so again it's time to continue the series.

I love these new covers and just had to get it.

This book has had a lot of hype and I thought I'd read it.

I like Beth Harbison's books.

I first saw this from April at  Good Books and Good Wine and I have been wanting to read it ever since.

I just finished Hugo Cabret and I wanted to see the new book.
Well that's it for me.  I am curious to see what you all got in your mailboxes. Happy Reading!

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: August 31rst, 2010
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 335 pgs
ISBN: 9780061985843

My Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads: 
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

My Review:
This book has gotten a lot of rave reviews and for that reason when I saw it at the library I snatched it up quickly. It is about a young girl named Evie who works for an agency that captures paranormal creatures. For most of her life she has questioned who she is and where she came from. When a new dangerous paranormal begins killing all of her friends the question of her identity comes into play.
I have to admit that while I didn't hate this novel, I wasn't in love with it like other people have been. I think it may have something to do with the fact that there are so many novels written about paranormals that I think some of it is getting a little old.
On paper I should have liked this book more than I did. It has a kick ass female protagonist and great writing but I ended the book thinking meh. I'm not sure whether or not I will read Supernaturally. I am a bit curious to see what happens with the rest of the series but there are so many other books that I want to read. I guess I will play it by ear and see what happens. Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: September 20th, 2011
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Pages: 358 pgs
ISBN: 9780061962684

My Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
 For the bright young things of 1929, the beautiful days seem endless, filled with romance and heartbreak, adventure and intrigue, friendship and rivalry.

After a month in New York, Cordelia Grey and Letty Larkspur are small-town girls no longer. They spend their afternoons with Astrid Donal at the Greys' lush Long Island estate and their nights in Manhattan's bustling metropolis. But Letty's not content to be a mere socialite. She is ready at last to chase her Broadway dreams - no matter the cost.

Cordelia is still reeling from the death of her father at the hands of Thom Hale, the man she thought she loved. Now she is set to honor Darius Grey's legacy... and take her revenge.

Promised to Cordelia's half brother, Astrid is caught up in a world of dazzling jewels and glittering nights - and the sparkle is blinding. Charlie Grey is a gangster playing a dangerous game; and for Astrid, Cordelia, and Letty, the stakes could be deadly..

My Review: 
This is the second book in the Bright Young Things series and I have to admit that I enjoyed this book even more than the previous book. Where Bright Young Things may have been lacking a little in action and plot this book makes up for it. I love reading about the three girls: Cordelia, Astrid and Letty. My favourite is still Letty and I loved watching her stumble her way through high society in New York City. I love that near the end of the novel she comes into her own and really starts to become more independent.
At times I wanted to yell at Cordelia to get her head out of her ass but I can see how one could get lost in the high life. I did think that she took her friendship with Letty for granted and I kept feeling a bit bad for Letty.
I don't want to say too much because I would hate to give anything major away but I enjoyed this book even more than the first and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Publisher: Harcourt
Publishing Date: February 1rst, 2009
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 351 pgs
ISBN: 9780152063849

My Rating: 3 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

My Review:
I bought this book because I received it's sequel for review from Thomas Allen & Son. It is a book that I have seen on different blogs but it is also a book that I was a little leary of buying/reading. The cover screamed cheesy and I didn't want to read another book that imitated Twilight. Well, they say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover and this is one of those cases. I have to admit to liking this book a little more than I anticipated. While, it is not one of my favourite books, it is a book that I found to be entertaining.
At first, I couldn't get a good read off of Jessica. At times I thought she was a little whiny and she really seemed to play a lot of games when it came to romance. By the end of the book I started liking her and really rooting for the romance between Jessica and Lucius.
I really liked Lucius in this book. While he could be a bit of a dick, he was also so whitty and sarcastic. My favourite parts of the book are when he is writing home to his family. He has such an arrogant air about his at first but over time he softens and you get to see the real him.
Overall, as I said, it is not one of my favourite books but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I did end up enjoying this novel. Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WoW: Thumpin Around

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.

Here is my pick for the week:

I read Bumped by Megan McCafferty and I am looking forward to it's sequel.  Here is a summary from Goodreads:

It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.

This book comes out April 24th and I can't wait to get my hands out it!  

Happy Reading!  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's edition is: Top Ten Books on my To Be Read List. 

I have soooooooo many books that have been sitting on my shelf for some time but here is my list of books that need to be read ASAP:

There isn't much to say about each of these individually except that they've been sitting on my bookshelf calling my name.  I went a bit wild at the library putting holds on different books.  I need to get to the ones that I actually paid for.  I'm looking forward to seeing what you you have on your lists.

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Review: Under my Skin by Charles de Lint

Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Publishing Date: March 6th, 2012
Genre: YA
Pages: 416 pgs
ISBN: 9780670065332

My Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads
For the past six months, something has been happening to young people in Santa Feliz. Week after week, there's news of another teen changing shape, transforming from human to wild animal and back again. The federal government has stepped in, running public service announcements calling for affected youth to turn themselves in for "orientation and training."

Josh Saunders has seen the news reports, but he is still unprepared when it happens to him. One minute he's arguing with his mother's boyfriend and the next, he is looming over the man, blood dripping from his claws—he has transformed into a mountain lion. When he switches back to his human body, he knows his life has changed forever. He has become a Wildling.

Trusting only his best friends Des and Marina with his secret, Josh tries to return to regular living. But an encounter with Elzie, another Wildling, brings him unwanted attention from the authorities. And when an accidental betrayal reveals Josh's secret, his carefully constructed cover is ripped apart, forcing his friends to intervene. They must grudgingly put their trust in others, including other Wildlings—and, most challenging, in each other—if they ever hope to save him.

My Review:
I first heard of this book because a fellow book blogger mentioned she was going to the release party of this book and asked if I wanted to join her. As there are not many book signings or book related activities in Ottawa I jumped at the chance to go. I promptly went to the store and picked up the book and I have to admit was a bit turned off by the cover of this book. Covers are the first thing that a customer is going to see and while they say "don't judge a book by it's cover", I often do. This is one of those covers that I would quite frankly be embarrassed to show in public and while I was reading the novel, I actually took off the dust jacket.
That being said, despite it's horribly cheesy cover, this book was really, really good. It is a book about Wildlings, which are humans who turn into animals. The book is told in two different perspectives: Josh a young boy who can turn into a wildcat and Marina, Josh's best friend, who is secretly living as a wildling. I love reading books from a male perspective and I don't think there are enough books that do it and I was happy to read Josh's parts of the book.
The book is action-packed and I could not put the book down. I think I read this is one evening and I couldn't help but want more when I was finished. I also like the fact that while this is the first book in a series, it doesn't leave you on a ridiculous cliff-hanger. The book is nicely resolved but it also leaves it open to find out more about the characters and the town that they are from.
I loved the way that de Lint weaves First Nations elements into the story. It really makes you think about getting back to your roots without all the distractions that can be found in society. I have always been interested in these elements and so it was nice to see in his novel. Overall, I quite enjoyed all the aspects of this book including the minor characters. It was beautifully written and thought provoking and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

In my Mailbox (27)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren and it allows people a chance to show what books they were excited to find in their mailboxes, libraries or book stores.

This week while I didn't buy anything new, I still ended up with quite a few books.  Here they are:

For Review from Thomas Allen and Sons (Thank you!)
This book is just gorgeous!!!

For those of you participating this is a debut author. 

I've never read any of the books in this series but it looks like I can read this without reading the other... if you know please let me know!

I've been wanting to read this series for a while and this gives me the perfect excuse to pick them up.

Borrowed from the lovely Emilie at Emilie's Book World :

I read the Mockingbirds and I am quite interested to see what happens in this one. 

From the Library:

I just finished Spin and I am participating in the blog tour for her newest novel Forgotten. 

This was an express book which means I have to read in a week but I read it all yesterday and it was pretty decent.

I can't wait to start this one!

I have read the other two books in this novel and I can't wait to see how it ends.

This looks like another great book!

This book is all in verse and I have already finished reading it.  It's pretty cute.

This has been on the best seller list for a while and I think it's about time I read it.

After going to the Charles de Lint signing in Ottawa this week someone recommended this one to me and I picked it up.

This is an audiobook and I featured this book in Waiting on Wednesday.

I've heard mixed reviews on this but I am curious to see how it goes.

I just finished Firefly Lane and I could not put that book down.  Ugly crying also ensued.  
Well, that's what I got in my mailbox this week.  I can't wait to see what you got in yours!