Monday, September 23, 2013

ARC Review: Not a Drop to Drink

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: September 24th, 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Pages:  320 pgs
ISBN: 9780062198501
Source: Received for review from publisher through Edelweiss for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn't leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

My Review: 

This is a novel set in a time when water is a commodity.  In the city the price of water is jacked up and strict population control is underway.  Outside of the city it's every man and woman for themselves.  It is a violent and lonely world and no one knows this better than Lynn.  During the course of the novel Lynn starts off as an island in the sense that she seems to be independent to a fault.  From here she begins allowing people into her world slowly but in the end it proves to be a very good thing overall.  

This book focuses on the world building and I quite enjoyed it. It would be a scary world to live in if the threat of dehydration was a constant.  I think that McGinnis did a great job of setting up her world and taking the readers into her vision of this society.  I also think that Lynn really comes into herself during the novel.  She really grows and learns many new things.  It is interesting to think about how lonely a world would be if you were on your own.  I don't think most people know what this would be like.  We are constantly surrounded by people and for the most part we are trusting of others.  We allow strangers in our space all the time: the bus, the theatre, at a restaurant, etc.  I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be physically alone.  I have to admit when I was reading this book that I thought "Is there really a point to living like this?".  I guess for me, I couldn't imagine a life worth living without human interaction.  I mean all my memories include other people and experiences that I have with them so I can't imagine what it would be like to be solitary.  I mean I enjoy my alone time but there comes a point where you need human interaction. 

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good book. For some reason I wasn't as excited about it while reading as I thought I would be.  For that reason it rates somewhere in the middle.  That's not to say that others won't enjoy it.  I have heard a lot of good hype for this novel and I can definitely see the reason why.  It's different and it gets you thinking. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

ARC Review: 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publishing Date: September 17th, 2013
Genre: YA
Pages: 368 pgs
ISBN: 9780062118813
Source: borrowed from a fellow blogger for review

Summary from Goodreads:
Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo.

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had – and how they just might kill you.

My Review: 

I have always liked the premises for Gretchen McNeil's novels but with her first two novels, I think I expected a lot more from them and ended up being slightly disappointed.  I mean they were good but just meh for me.  When Kathy from A Glass of Wine came back from BEA with this novel, I knew that I really wanted to read it.  For starters, the cover is great.  I love the splash of colour on a mostly black cover.  I also love the alarm clock font of the title.  Secondly, the premise for this story sounded right up my alley.  Every 12 hours at 3:59, Josie sees her doppelganger in her mirror.  Josie is going through some tough times with her boyfriend at home and thinks that pulling a Parent Trap type manoeuver is just the thing to help her out.  The story explores the idea of the grass is always greener while incorporating terrifying creatures that eat humans and alternate dimensions.  

This novel was a hit for me.  I feel like McNeil's writing has improved and her world building was great.  I found that once I picked this book up I wanted to keep reading.  It didn't take me long at all to get into the story and I think that it was a very well-thought out book.  I really liked reading about alternate worlds and it got my mind thinking about what other worlds there might be out there.  Who would I be in one of these worlds? 

I think  that the characters were also well developed.  While, Josie and Jo are supposed to be the same person in different universes, they each have their own personalities that are formed based on the world in which they live.  This is the whole nature vs nurture question.  

Overall, the book was interesting and different.  I quite liked it and I think that it surpasses McNeil's other novels.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WoW: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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:

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

I can't wait to read the final installment of this series.  It comes out October 22nd and I can't wait!!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall Reading List

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

This week the topic is our top ten fall reads. On my list, I have review copies and books that I have put off reading for a little while.  In no particular order, here they are:

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning- Last month, I read the first two books in this series and I'm looking forward to continuing the series. 
Game by Barry Lyga- I have had this on my shelf for a little while now and I figure it's about time. 
 No one Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale- I received this one for review through Edelweiss. 
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano- I really enjoyed the Chemical Garden series so I'm looking forward to seeing what DeStefano has to offer.  Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for this review copy.

 Ru by Kim Thuy- This is my book club pick for October. 
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider- This is my other book club pick for October.  Yes, I am part of 2 book clubs.
 The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon- After hearing so many good things about this book I have to read it ASAP. 
The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine- I'm looking forward to this contemporary novel.
 The Vow by Jessica Martinez- I received this one from Simon & Schuster Canada for review. 
We Are Water by Wally Lamb- I received this one through Edelweiss for review and I can't wait to read this!  I love Wally Lamb. 

Well this is my list.  I'm looking forward to seeing your lists.  Happy Reading! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

ARC Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: September 17th, 2013
Genre: YA
Pages: 448 pgs
ISBN: 9780545424943
Source: borrowed from a fellow blogger for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

My Review: 

*** As this is a sequel this book may contain spoilers.  Proceed at your own risk ***

Well I have put off writing this review for so long because I don't know what words I can use to accurately describe the awesomeness of this book.  I fell in love with this series in the first book The Raven Boys and I thought that the second book can't possibly be as good.  I thought that it would suffer from the second book in a series syndrome where there is a lot of back story, and a bit of filling in the blanks with a lot of unanswered questions.  Second books are useful to build up the plot but sometimes there isn't a lot that happens in them.  I am happy to tell you that this book does not suffer from second book syndrome and in fact, I would say that it is even better than the first book.  
This book centers on Ronan and his family.  At the end of book one we find out that Ronan pulled his raven out of a dream and into the real world.  We learn that this may have been something that was inherited from his family.  Things get very interesting in this novel and I love the world that Stiefvater has created.  Things are creepy, disturbing and magical which helps to make the story come alive when you're reading.  
I also really liked the new insight we get into Blue and her struggle trying to figure out the prophecy.  How horrible would it be if you knew that if you kiss the man you love you will kill him?  She demonstrates a lot of self restraint but she also doesn't allow herself to open up enough for fear that something bad will happen.  
I have to admit though that Adam started rubbing me the wrong way in this novel.  I mean I can relate to wanting to do things on your own and being independent but I also know how to graciously accept help if I need it.  Adam doesn't seem to understand that when there are people in your life that love you, they just want to help you be the best you can be.  He began to really grate on my nerves at times but then other times you caught a glimpse of his vulnerability and I was reminded of why I liked him so much in the first novel. 
Well I'm not sure I'm doing this book justice in explaining why I loved this book but I have to say that this book is definitely on my top ten list of the year.  Now, I have forever to wait until the next book in the series comes out.  Let the waiting begin.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

ARC Review: Wait for You by J. Lynn (aka Jennifer L. Armentrout)

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publishing Date: September 3rd, 2013
Genre: New Adult/Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 384 pgs
ISBN: 9780062294777
Source: borrowed from a fellow blogger for review

Summary from Goodreads:
Some things are worth waiting for...

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago--an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe--please God--make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn't need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she's building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing...

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that's just so... so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet...

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she's has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for...

My Review: 

Well, I will start off by saying that I am not usually into the romance genre of books.  Don't get me wrong, I like a good romance in my novels but I don't usually read books that have romance as the main theme of the novel.  Katie from Bookishly Yours picked this novel up at BEA and thought I would enjoy it so I thought I'd be open and give it a try.  I am glad I did because I ended up quite enjoying the novel.  

 I really liked Avery; she is determined to do what she wants to do but she has a vulnerability to her as well.   She has difficulty letting people in because of a traumatic experience in her past.  When she finally does start letting people in  her life starts looking up.   I found that some of the things that came out of her mouth are things that I would say.  I found that I could relate to her because she is on her own and navigating university independently.  Her parents have turned their back on her and have done something to greatly hurt Avery.  I can see why she'd have trouble letting people in and trusting people to help her out.  

As much as I liked Avery, I have to say that I liked Cam a whole lot more!  I am not one to get crushes on fictional boys but I found myself wanted to meet a real life Cam while reading this.  Man, oh man, this boy knows how to woo and knows how to use sexual tension to his advantage.  He comes across as a player in the beginning but he remains true to Avery despite being shut out time and time again.  This boy is hot, hot, hot.  

As much as I liked the story line I have to admit that there were a few issues for me.  To begin, there were several errors in the writing.  I also found that there were a few cliches used, including one of my most hated- he/she exhaled a breath they didn't even know they were holding.  That being said, if you're looking for a fun, breezy read, then this is the one.  It is a fun story to entertain.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Movie wish list

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish weekly.  This week's edition is top ten books I wish were made into movies.

Now, there are several books that I think would be great movies but I'm always hesitant because most books are better than the movies.  They often change endings, take out key elements, or just overall butcher some of your favourite stories.  I write  my list pretending to that we live in an ideal world that make perfect movie adaptations of books that I love.

Well there they are.  If you haven't read any of these novels then you should go out and read tehm ASAP.  Happy Reading! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

ARC Review: Takedown by Allison van Diepen

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: September 3rd, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 288 pgs
ISBN: 9781442463110
Source: Given to me by the publishers for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:
A teen infiltrates a drug ring to settle a vendetta in this fast-paced novel from the author of Street Pharm and Snitch.Darren took the fall for Diamond Tony, the notorious head of the city’s drug cartel. Two years later, Darren’s finally out of juvie—and determined to get even.

Working as an informant for the police, Darren infiltrates Diamond Tony’s operation. But falling for sweet, innocent Jessica was not part of that plan. She’s a distraction—and a liability. She’s also everything Darren dreamed about while he was locked up, and with her, he has the promise of a fresh start.

When a deadly turf war breaks out between Diamond Tony and the Bloods, Darren gets caught in the crossfire. The cops think he’s playing both sides, and any mistake could be his last. Darren has to stay on his game if he’s going to protect Jessica—and if he’s going to stay alive.

My Review: 

Earlier this year, we held our second annual Ottawa Blogger Meetup and we were pleasantly surprised to have a special guest visitor.  Allison van Diepen is a local area author who writes YA novels.  She really was a very delightful person to talk to and answered many of our questions about being an author and about the publishing world.  I was pretty happy to get a copy of Takedown in my grab bag to read.  Van Diepen shared that this novel was inspired by the television show The Wire.  The novel centers on Darren, fresh out of juvie, is now a civilian informant with the police. Darren deals drugs for a pretty powerful dealer and feeds information to the police about their operation.  Things get a little complicated when a turf war breaks out.  

 It took me a little while to get into this story because it's not something that I would typically read.  That being said, this is the type of story that I usually watch on TV or in movies so once I did get into this story it didn't take me long to read it.  I found myself wanting to more know more about that characters and what was going to happen next.  I quite liked Darren as a character because while he is trying to do the right thing, he finds himself sucked into the world that he is living in.  I think that this novel shows just how difficult it is to grow up in a neighbourhood like this and not get involved in illegal activity.  It's sad that this dark underworld preys on children and gets them in and hooked before they really understand just how dangerous it is.  It makes it very difficult to do the right thing and to keep your nose clean.  

I have to admit that there were a couple things that bothered me a bit about the book.  These are small things but things that bothered me nonetheless.  I wished that the minor characters were a little more developed.  I got little glimpses of the characters but felt like there was a whole lot more that could have been explored there.  I also think that the ending got tied up fairly quickly.  Again these are not things that made me dislike the story; in fact, I quite liked the story and would recommend it.  I really like that this is a novel that would appeal to both male and female readers.  Overall I give this a solid 3.5 stars.