Wednesday, May 29, 2013

WoW: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

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:
Things you earnestly believe will happen while your parents are away:

1. You will remember to water the azaleas.
2. You will take detailed, accurate messages.
3. You will call your older brother, Denny, if even the slightest thing goes wrong.
4. You and your best friend/bandmate Lukas will win Battle of the Bands.
5. Amid the thrill of victory, Lukas will finally realize you are the girl of his dreams.

Things that actually happen:

1. A stranger calls who says he knew your sister.
2. He says he has her stuff.
3. What stuff? Her stuff.
4. You tell him your parents won’t be able to—
5. Sukey died five years ago; can’t he—
6. You pick up a pen.
7. You scribble down the address.
8. You get on your bike and go.
9. Things . . . get a little crazy after that.*
*also, you fall in love, but not with Lukas.

Both exhilarating and wrenching, Hilary T. Smith’s debut novel captures the messy glory of being alive, as seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd discovers love, loss, chaos, and murder woven into a summer of music, madness, piercing heartbreak, and intoxicating joy.

Another contemporary.  I hope you get to enjoy it May 28th, 2013 (yesterday!).

Happy Reading! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

ARC Review: Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin

Publisher: Atria Books
Publishing Date: May 21st, 2013
Genre: Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 352 pgs
ISBN: 9781476705804
Source: Received from NetGalley for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
The Walker family is good at keeping secrets from the world. They are even better at keeping them from each other.

Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and the perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother. Karen, Max’s mother, is a highly successful criminal lawyer, determined to maintain the façade of effortless excellence she has constructed through the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won’t have as much control, she worries that the façade might soon begin to crumble. Adding to the tension, her husband, Steve, has chosen this moment to stand for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.

The Walkers are hiding something, you see. Max is special. Max is different. Max is intersex. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of his past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? What else are they hiding from Max about his condition and from each other? The deeper Max goes, the more questions emerge about where it all leaves him and what his future holds, especially now that he’s starting to fall head over heels for someone for the first time in his life. Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Will anyone ever want him—desire him— once they know? And the biggest one of all, the question he has to look inside himself to answer: Who is Max Walker, really?

Written by twenty-five-year-old rising star Abigail Tarttelin, Golden Boy is a novel you’ll read in one sitting but will never forget; at once a riveting tale of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity and a coming-of-age story like no other.


My Review: 

This book is unlike anything I have ever read before.  It follows the story of Max, a boy who is actually intersex.  The book starts with a very disturbing scene and it is not for the faint of heart.  It pulls on your heartstrings and you can't help but feel for Max.  He is stuck in this world and while to everyone else he is male but he knows that he has parts for both male and female.  This is something that has not been all that difficult in the past but as Max is coming of age and beginning to explore his sexuality it has become more difficult.  
I loved the author's writing and it is amazing to think that she is only 25 years old.  The writing is mature and well researched.  She writes in a way that you can't help but be empathetic to all the characters (well perhaps not Hunter).  
This book not only focuses on the intersex aspect but also shows how difficult being a teen can be when it comes to dating and relationships with parents and siblings.  It can be a tumultuous time and I can only imagine what growing up with this family "secret" would have been like.  It is something that would be incredibly difficult to deal with.  It would make you question core elements of your identity. 
This novel makes you think about gender and identity.  How much does your gender shape who you areMany people say that gender can be fluid while others argue that gender makes up a large part of who we are and it is a core element to our identity.  I'm not sure which camp I belong to but I can see both sides of the argument.  I can't imagine who I would be if I wasn't female but I don't think that I necessarily fall into every gender role that society tries to prescribe to me.  
I have to say that this is one of my favourite books of the year thus far and I will definitely be pimping this book out to my friends and family.  If you get a chance to read this novel it is definitely worth the read.  You will be hooked from the start to the finish and you will be wishing that there was more to read.  I would rush out and buy this one as soon as you can because I have a feeling this will be a big hit.      

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WoW: And the Mountains Echoed

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:
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.

 Who didn't love The Kite Runner?  This book is by the same author and it's been awhile since he's published a new book.  Can't wait for May 21st, 2013! 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Lust

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's edition is top ten book covers of books I've read.  This one will be difficult because there are so many good covers out there. I've made up my own rules this week and I've come up with 12 covers.   Here are my favourites:

 Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler & Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

 Insurgent by Veronica Roth & The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

 The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan & The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

 Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys & Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

 Scarlet by Marissa Meyer & The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

 Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter & Forgotten by Cathering McKenzie

Monday, May 20, 2013

ARC Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Publisher: William Morrow
Publishing Date: April 30th, 2013
Genre: Adult, Horror
Pages: 689 pgs
ISBN: 9780062200570
Source: Received from Harper Collins Canada for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Charlie Manx burned a man to death in his black 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith, but that’s not the worst of it. Rumor has it that he kidnapped dozens of children, taking them to a place he calls “Christmasland.” The only child ever to escape was a very lucky girl named Victoria McQueen.

Vic has a gift – she can ride her bike through the Shorter Way bridge and she’ll come out the other side wherever she needs to be, even if it’s hundreds of miles away. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her ability; no one would understand.

When Charlie Manx finally dies after years in prison, his body disappears...after the autopsy. The police and media think someone stole it, but Vic knows the truth: Charlie Manx is on the road again...and he has her kid. And this time, Vic McQueen’s going after him...

My Review: 

I was very excited when I heard that Joe Hill had another book coming out and I immediately requested it for review.  I was happy when this shiny book showed up at my doorstep a few weeks later.  I have to first off apologize that this review is going up a little later than I would have liked but my personal life has been a bit of a rollercoaster lately.  Things are on the upswing so I'm glad to be getting a bit of reviewing done again. 
I have read Hill's other two novels (Horns and Heart Shaped Box) and I  quite enjoyed both of them.  They are creepy and imaginative and you can't seem to peel yourself away from them once you start reading.   
I have to say that this novel is just as creepy and just as imaginative as the other two novels I have read.   NOS4A2 follows two different stories that eventually come together in a macabre underworld.  At the beginning of the novel Vic McQueen is a young girl who can find anything that is lost.  All she has to do is travel across a magic bridge with her bike.  Charlie Manx kidnaps children and brings them to a magically scary place he calls Christmasland.  There bad things happen and the children somehow change.  One day Vic McQueen crosses paths with Charlie Manx and somehow survives and gets away.  Charlie Manx never forgets this and without giving too much away he ensures that he crosses paths with McQueen another time.  
I have to admit that the size of this novel is a little daunting.  It is almost 700 pages and at times the story can drag a little.  I did find my mind wandering at times and for this reason I think that some of the story could have been cut down a little.  
That being said, I really did enjoy the world in this novel.  There is a such a disturbing magic in this novel and I wouldn't expect anything less from Hill.  When you read this book you can't help but become immersed in the story because the writing is so descriptive.  You really feel like you are right there in the book.  
As for the characters, I was on the fence about Vic McQueen.  She is endearing when she is younger but as she gets older I begin to feel like she becomes slightly selfish at times.  She is difficult to like at times but in the end I came around to liking her.  
There is no way that anyone could really like Charlie Manx but I did find his character to be fascinating.  He was just so weird and creepy and for some reason I am drawn to that.  
Overall I have to say that I enjoyed the book but I can see how some people may find it to be slightly too long.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WoW: Broken Hearts

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:

When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one.

Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas?

Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong?

Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.

I can't get enough of Sarah Ockler's books and this one looks so cute.  It comes out May 21st, 2013.

Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WoW: Summer Lovin'

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:

Four best friends, five summers of camp memories
The summer we were nine: Emma was branded “Skylar’s friend Emma” by the infamous Adam Loring . . . 
The summer we were ten: Maddie realized she was too far into her lies to think about telling the truth . . . 
The summer we were eleven : Johanna totally freaked out during her first game of Spin the Bottle . . . 
The summer we were twelve : Skylar’s love letters from her boyfriend back home were exciting to all of us—except Skylar . . . 
Our last summer together: Emma and Adam almost kissed. Jo found out Maddie’s secret. Skylar did something unthinkable . . . and whether we knew it then or not, five summers of friendship began to fall apart. 

Three years after the fateful last night of camp, the four of us are coming back to camp for reunion weekend—and for a second chance. Bittersweet, funny, and achingly honest, Five Summers is a story of friendship, love, and growing up that is perfect for fans of Anne Brashares and Judy Blume's Summer Sisters.

I have been on a contemporary kick lately and this looks like another great one!  I can't wait til May 16th, 2013 to be able to pick this one up.

Happy Reading! 

Friday, May 3, 2013

ARC Review: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: April 30th, 2013
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pages: 352 pgs
ISBN: 9780345532749
Source: Received from Edelweiss in advance for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.


My Review: 

When I heard that the actress who played in one of my favourite TV shows growing up was writing a book I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  I mean who doesn't want to read a novel written by Lorelai Gilmore?  For those of you who have been living under a rock who don't know who Lauren Graham is, she played Lorelai Gilmore on The Gilmore Girls and also acts in the TV show Parenthood.  

(Sidenote: As evidenced by above, I am a big fan so you can imagine my surprise when Lauren Graham herself favourited one of my tweets.  I had a major case of fan girling!)

I have to be honest, while I was excited to read this I wasn't sure how good this book would actually be.  I mean if we're being honest, we have all seen an actor or an actress dabble in other things like singing or writing and it doesn't always turn out to be a positive thing.  I am happy to report that this is not the case for Lauren Graham.  She brings a lot of personality to her writing and it flows really well.  From the moment I picked up the book to the time I put it down I couldn't get enough.  
The book follows Franny, an aspiring actress in New York City, trying to make it big in a tough industry.  Some people wondered how similar this novel would be to Graham's actual life and it seems that this book is not autobiographical.  Yes, Graham was an up and coming actress at one time but I think that this is a good case of "write what you know".  
I have to say that I found this book fascinating.  I have never read a fictional book about the movie/TV industry and I quite enjoyed reading something a little different.  
When actors write novels people often assume that there is some sort of ghostwriter involved and anyone reading this novel and who is familiar with Graham as an actress could tell that this is not the case for this novel.  Franny is a little quirky and fun and you can almost hear Graham in this character.  I loved this character so much and if it were possible I'd love to hang out with her one day.  She's an awkward kid at times but she always gives these one liners that she doesn't even realize are funny until people react well to them.  She is pretty endearing and that's what makes reading this book so enjoyable. 
There are a few minor negatives with this book.  I found that at times you could predict what may happen next.  This is not really all that uncommon with this kind of book but I could see how this may turn some people off.  I, for one, don't mind reading something fun and something that ends well.  Overall, I would definitely recommend this novel.     

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WoW: 5th Wave

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:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

This book has been getting a lot of hype lately.  I loved The Passage so I can't wait to see if the hype is worth it.  This book comes out May 7th, 2013.

Happy Reading!