Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WoW: 17 & Gone

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.

Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And… is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

With complexity and richness, Nova Ren Suma serves up a beautiful, visual, fresh interpretation of what it means to be lost.
 Well this sounds like a great novel.  I have seen a lot of hype for this novel and I'm interested to see if it lives up to the hype.  It comes out March 21st 2013. 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Autobuy

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's edition is about authors we would put on our auto-buy lists.  For me, I think I have waaaayyy too many to list but I will break it down with 5 from the adult genre and 5 from the YA genre.  Here is my list:

                        JK Rowling: Is there really a need to explain this?  And bonus she now counts for both
                         adult, middle grade and YA

                         Sarah Ockler: Simply put, she is one of my favourite YA contemporary writers.  Twenty
                         Boy Summer might have destroyed me 

Jodi Picoult: This woman knows how to write.  If you don't believe me I dare you to pick one of her books and get through it without bawling.

Lauren Oliver: Oh, Lauren, I am anxiously awaiting the final installment to the Delirium trilogy.

Marian Keyes: This adult contemporary writer doesn't get nearly the amount of credit she deserves.  Her books are witty and I eat them up like candy.

Marissa Meyer: I have LOVED Cinder and Scarlet and I can't wait for more from this YA writer.  I am absolutely excited that I get to meet her in a week and half!!!

Lisa Genova: She writes the most interesting stories.  Her stories usually have some sort of neurological aspect to them and they are both fascinating and scary at the same time.

Gayle Forman: Oh man, this woman knows how to suck you in!  I just finished Just One Day and can't wait for Just One Year.

Sophie Kinsella: This author writes the most hilarious books.  I am more fond of her stand alones as opposed to her Shopaholic series but I will read anything she writes.

Kelley Armstrong: Another adult and YA author.  Her words just suck me in and keep me entertained the whole way through.

Which authors would you automatically buy novels from? 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Faze Supergirl/Breathless Reads Event

A lovely sign at our table

Emilie and I FREEZING!
Well, yesterday I wrote about our Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle and today I am here to write about another event I was fortunate enough to attend.  A few weeks ago Emilie from Emilie's Book World tweeted me to say that Breathless Reads was coming to Toronto and that it was on a Sunday.  It just so happened that it was also the weekend of Family Day and thus a long weekend for me.  After calling my dad and successfully procuring a free hotel room for one night I tweeted back to say that I was in.  We have been to a few events together and I was looking forward to spending some more time with Emilie.  We got up at the ass crack of dawn on Saturday morning and left Ottawa at 8am.  After a Starbucks run, and several Taylor Swift songs we arrived at the Sheraton in downtown Toronto.  We spent our day shopping at the Eaton Center and swiming in the snow.  Yes, you heard me correctly, we swam outside while it was snowing.  The Sheraton has the most amazing pool; it is heated and half of it is indoors while half of it is outdoors.  You just swim under a small opening and then you are outside.  Anyhow I digress.

Notice inside- ppl frantically trying to get shit done before the event
After watching several movies, we woke up, enjoyed a free breakfast and got ready to go to the event that we came to the city for.  We made our way to the Toronto Opera House on Queen St. and when we arrived at 1:15 we were surprised to see a line up already starting outside.  I think that perhaps I should mention that it was -27 degrees outside.  I seriously failed when I packed my mittens in my bag and left them in my car.  The event was supposed to start at 2pm and as it got closer to 2pm the line up grew longer and longer.  All the while, we could see people frantically trying to get things finished inside the building.  At one table several people were cutting decals and pasting them on cookies and there were several others milling around watching.  I'm not going to lie after waiting in the cold (did I mention it was -27 out?!?) for 45 minutes it was a little infuriating watching people prepare for an event that was supposed to start in a few minutes.  At 2pm, we all thought that we must be going inside now.  Well, no... we were greeting through a window by the same people scrambling around to get things done with a message that we had to wait another 5 minutes.  Well, those 5 minutes stretched to 15 and at 2:15 (an hour after we arrived) we were being let into the building.

Michele and I- the old timers escaped from the old age home :)
We were let in slowly but surely and once we got in I could see that this event was definitely not meant for someone in my age demographic.  Now to the event planners' credit I am 30 and the event was listed for girls 13-24 so it really wasn't supposed to be aimed at me.  That being said, I feel like book bloggers were encouraged to come and it was sold to us as a Breathless Reads event.  The day seemed to be centered mostly on the musical acts that were there.  They had Brendn, Jesse Giddings and Eleven Past One all performing.  Now, I only stayed for Brendn but he seemed to be a hit with all the young girls.  As for me, let's just say it's not necessarily my style of music.  It got very awkward when he called a young girl on stage to serenade her and then seemed to forget all about her while he sang a cover song of Neyo.  After that he proceeded to ask her to put lip gloss on him and then he kissed her cheek.  It was all very strange but again, I think I am aging myself a bit.

All the bloggers
The birthday girl- Morgan Rhodes
Throughout the whole thing I may have been asking my what the fuck is going on.  It was a very strange event for me and I thought that it wasn't geared towards the authors at all.  I think that if I was a 13 year old girl I would have loved it.  I don't think I would have enjoyed it if I was over the age of 18 though and 18 may be pushing it.  In planning the next event I think that they should rethink the age range.  The one thing that made this event so much fun though was meeting up with all the Toronto bloggers that I have been chatting with over Twitter for quite some time.  The entire time we may have been making hilarious tweets and making sarcastic comments.  It was fun to joke around as we waited for the authors to come down from the VIP section upstairs.

Adrienne Kress
Jessica Spotswood and I
After Brendn (need I point out that he seems to be missing a vowel in his name), they announced that the authors would be signing books soon.  We were happy to discover that we were all standing very close to the table where the authors would be signing their books.  I was excited to meet Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms), Jessica Spotswood (Born Wicked), Beth Revis (Across the Universe) and Adrienne Kress (The Friday Society).  Originally Andrea Cremer was scheduled to be there but at the last minute she was unable to and so Adrienne filled in for her.  I am such an awkward kid at these events because I never know what to say to the authors.  I want to tell them what I loved and what drove me crazy about their books but I never end up saying half the things I want to because I'm just so star struck.  I smile and thank them for writing such amazing stories and that's about it.  I always think of something clever to say afterwards though which is a little too late.  This time I was awestruck especially when Beth Revis told me she loved my necklace.  All the authors just seemed so nice.  I want to thank Penguin Canada for bringing these great authors to Toronto!  While the Faze event was a tad bit disorganized, I do not blame Penguin for this one bit.  After meeting such talented authors, a few of us decided that we had seen what we came to see and we then booked it to the nearest pub for a well deserved beer.
Beth Revis and I

It was so nice to hang out with Michele (Just a Lil Lost), Andrea (Cozy up with a Good Read), Wendy (Cupcake and a Latte) and Emilie (Emilie's Book World) in a quieter more age friendly environment.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner and chatted about the event and other such things.  After that it was time to head back to Ottawa.  I can't wait for the next Toronto event to hang out with these lovely ladies again.  Thanks for a great time despite such random occurances!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle

Me with my large bag of books
Well this is a little late but I figure better late than never.    After many weeks of planning and waiting in anticipation on the 10th of February we had our Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle.  There is already a group of us that meet up regularly and while we do see each other quite often we had agreed to an annual event open to all Ottawa bloggers.  We weren't sure how many other people would join us but we were surprised to have a few new people come to the meet up. 

Goody Bags!
The day started nice and early.  I got up, got pretty and headed over to pick up Kathy (A Glass of Wine) and all the goody bags that the lovely publishers graciously set us up with.  After that we met with Katie (Bookishly Yours) and Ciara (Lost at Midnight Reviews) at Emilie's (Emilie's Book World) house.  There we frantically tried to get all the goody bags organized and all the prizes set up.  We also put together a little gift for our special guest.  When we were done there we headed over to KS on the Keys (a great little restaurant in the South Keys area that serves anything you can think of but has THE best pizza!).  We had a whole area of the restaurant ready for us and we set up all the goody bags at the tables. 

A view of the table
This is when our new bookish friends started showing up.  We were lucky enough to meet these lovely ladies:
Kelsey from Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf
Stella from Fire Star Books
Ashley from Fire Star Books
Kim from Pingwing’s Bookshelf
Alexandra from the Only Connect
Maria from I Believe In Story
Jessica from Read My Breath Away

In anticipation of the event I had begun chatting with a few of these ladies before the event via Twitter.  I just love how Twitter brings together so many people.  We enjoyed our lunch while discussing many bookish topics.  We argued about the need for love triangles in our books, the excessive cover changes made throughout a series and our love of reading.

The lovely Allison van Diepen and other Ottawa bloggers
We were lucky enough to have a special guest as well.   The lovely Allison van Diepen (author of Takedown, The Oracle of Dating, The Raven and several other novels) was able to join us at the restaurant.  She really gave us some good insight into the publishing world.  She told us how she has no real say in what the covers are like but that she is quite happy with her newest cover.  We also discussed the lack of bookish events in the Ottawa area.  As a blogger, I know that I am always having to travel to Toronto for these events and it would be nice to have some of the bigger names come to Ottawa.  I didn't realize that for an author living in Ottawa this could also be slightly discouraging.  Overall I really enjoyed getting to know all the ladies and I am hoping to meet up with some of them again soon. 

After lunch we had a book exchange.  We essentially took over another table of the restaurant, put our books down and went to town.  Including my goody bag and the swap I made out like a bandit; here are the books I received:

The Goody Bag:
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley
Invisibility by Andrea Cremer & David Levithan
Wasteland by Susan Kim & Lawrence Klavan
Creeps by Darren Hynes
Poison by Bridget Zinn
Loop by Shandy Lawson
Takedown by Allison van Diepen

Book Exchange:
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff (borrowed by Kathy)
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Blaze by Laurie Boyle Crompton
The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks
You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin (borrowed from Ciara)
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

 Overall it was a wonderful day and I can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WoW: Requiem

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.

Summary from Goodreads:

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

I can't wait to finally see how Oliver ends this series!  The wait is toooooo long but it's out March 5th, 2013.

Happy Reading!


Monday, February 18, 2013

ARC Review: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Publisher: Atria
Publishing Date: February 26th, 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Pages: 480 pgs
ISBN: 9781439102763
Source: ARC given to me from Simon & Schuster Canada for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Sage Singer, who befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone favorite retired teacher and Little League coach and they strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?

My Review: 

 I love, love, LOVE Jodi Picoult!  I know that her books can sometimes be a little formulaic in the sense that they are usually told from more than one perspective and there is also usually a legal component and a moral dilemmaI say if things aren't broken then there is no reason to fix them.  Obviously Picoult's books are widely popular and her formula is working.  The thing I love about her novels are that they always leave me questioning my morals and what I would do in certain situations.  They make me look within and question things that I always thought I had firm opinions on.  This book is no different and I honestly think this one may be the best Picoult book yet.  This novel is about a young woman named Sage who is of Jewish descent, who makes an unlikely friend in a 90 year old man at a grief counseling group.  After forming a friendship this elderly man confesses that he was once a Nazi in the Holocaust and was posted at one of the most brutal concentration camps in history, Auschwitz.  Sage is unsure how to proceed, considering her grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.  The tale weaves together the stories of Sage, her grandmother and her new friend the Nazi.  
We all have certain buzzwords that make us read a story and the Holocaust is one of mine.  I don't know exactly what that means.  Perhaps it makes me a little sick but I really enjoy reading about this time period.  I think it's because even though all these horrible things were happening all around you did catch glimpses of just how kind and loving people can be.  Within these horrible, unimaginable stories from the past, whether fictional or historical, there is a sense of survival, a sense of banding together and a sense of agency.   
This story is no different. The sense of agency really shows in this novel.  While there wasn't a lot of choice in some of the situations, the characters found a way to survive and ways to help their friends.  Without giving too much away I can think of two examples.  Both take place when Sage's grandmother is telling her story of surviving the Holocaust.  The first is that Sage's grandmother helped her best friend to have a little more food and a little more heat in the middle of winter.  While working in the office of an SS officer, she would sneak her friend into the office when the SS officer was our running errands.  This really helped her friend and gave her friend a little hope.  
The second is when the SS officer saves Sage's grandmother from being killed.  While still maintaining the facade of being in charge, he orders Sage's grandmother to the infirmary when he knew a high ranking SS officer was visiting the concentration camp.  This high ranking officer was known to kill all Jewish people in certain high ranking positions at the camp.  He moved Sage's grandmother to save her.  
I really like how Picoult is able humanize the face of a man, who others would describe as a monster.  Don't get me wrong, I do not think that what any of the Nazis did was alright.  In fact it was worse than alright; however I do think that a few of the men in the SS joined because they thought they had no other choice.  It was either join or be killed.   Again, there were many monsters during this horrible time in history.  There were also many people who allowed things to go on and did nothing to help the situation.  This may have been because they were scared or because they weren't sure what to do but the fact remains that they did nothing to help.  
Anyhow, I digress; back to the book.  Picoult is able to to once again surprise me.  She can create characters like no other.  She develops each and every character intricately, including the secondary characters.  I ate this book up like candy and I couldn't say anything bad about this book.  Kudos Jodi for writing about a topic that is not only heartbreaking  but also written about often.  She brings a new question to the topic and she does so beautifully.  Go out and get a copy of this novel as soon as you can.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Publisher: Razorbill
Publishing Date: January 15th, 2013
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Pages: 369 pgs
ISBN: 9781595143990
Source: borrowed from the library

Summary from Goodreads:
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


My Review: 

What do you say about the end of a series. It is nice to have a conclusion but it is also bittersweet because now I won't know what happens to the characters after the book ends. This is exactly how I feel about it: 

The world that Revis weaves is really interesting. Thus far in the series we have only really known the world on the ship and this novel takes us to the new Earth-like planet that Amy and Elder and hoping to call home. This novel was pretty good but for some reason I didn't connect to it as much as the other two. Now this could have something to do with the fact that while I listened to Across the Universe and A Million Suns on audiobook and I actually read this one. The audio books for the first two books were very well done with two different narrators. I feel a little bit like I should have listened to the audio of Shades of Earth but alas I did not.

This is not to say that I didn't enjoy the book because I did but I just had a more difficult time connecting with Amy and Elder. I found myself to be super frustrated with Amy's dad, who is woken up from the cryochamber once they land on the planet. Amy's dad wakes up and immediately takes control without even asking Amy what has happened in his absence. It's like he swoops in and pushes Amy out of the job of adviser and back into the job of child. As you can imagine this doesn't go very well and I just wanted to shake this man and say stop and listen!

Anyhow, I did enjoy this book and I'm sad to see the series end but I'm happy with the way it does end. I like how Revis questions the idea of colonizing things and how dangerous it can be when we don't sit down and listen. It also brings about the idea of how dangerous messing around with genetics can be. Good work Revis, I look forward to reading more from you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WoW: The Storyteller

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.

Summary from Goodreads:
Sage Singer, who befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone favorite retired teacher and Little League coach and they strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?

Jodi Picoult has yet to steer me wrong and this story just sounds amazing!!  I can't wait for February 26th to get here! 

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

ARC Review: Beta by Rachel Cohn

Publisher: Hyperion
Publishing Date: October 16th, 2012
Genre: YA Dystopian
Pages: 331 pgs
ISBN: 9781423157199
Source: ARC borrowed from fellow blogger for honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.
Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island's workers--soulless clones like Elysia--are immune to.
At first, Elysia's life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island's flawless exterior, there is an under-current of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care--so why are overpowering sensations cloud-ing Elysia's mind?
If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi-ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.
The first in a dazzlingly original science fiction series from best-selling author Rachel Cohn, "Beta "is a haunting, unforgettable story of courage and love in a cor-rupted world. Praise for Beta "A terrific premise that is equally well executed...Readers can only hope [the sequel] will be as thrilling as this series kickoff."--Los Angles Times


My Review: 

Hmm... I'm not sure what to think of this one.  I did enjoy reading this novel because the concept and the writing is great.  It is about a clone who lives with a family as a sort-of replacement for their daughter.  In this dystopian/sci-fi novel, the world is post apocalyspe and the characters live on an island that is meant to be heaven for those that can afford it.  While these people are rich and pay for clones to do their dirty work, there seems to be something missing for them.  Regardless of one's surroundings there will always be problems.  The main character, Elysia is a clone that is trying to do her best to be a companion but she starts to begin feeling emotions that she was told she shouldn't.  She tries to keep things to herself but she begins to notice that things are not quite right and it is getting more and more difficult to keep this to herself.  The reason I say that I'm not sure what to think of this novel is because it is another series.  I have so many series on the go that it is hard to keep track of them.  I don't think I'd mind if things seem to be slightly wrapped up at the end of the book but this book kind of just ends on a serious cliffhanger.  I have to admit that this has been driving me a little bananas lately.  Can I please just have one book that wraps up in a single book.  If you want to make it a series then great but please wrap things up slightly instead of leaving me hanging.  I realize that it is a marketing ploy.  I mean you get someone hooked and then they just have to pick up the next book.  That is really my only problem with this novel.  There are a few gritty parts to this novel and I really liked that.  It doesn't try to sugar coat things but it presents things in a raw manner.  Kudos to Cohn for being able to that because it is not an easy thing to write about uncomfortable things.  I also quite liked Elysia's character.  I wasn't sure about it at first because she was a clone and a little stiff in the beginning.  As Elysia grows, you are able to peel back a few of her layers and you end up really liking her.  I am looking forward to finding out what happens in the next novel but as I say I am a little irked by the cliffhanger.