Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine

I'm SO excited for this book. I'm not joking when I say I've been waiting on this before it got a cover. Before it got a new title. Before the summary came out. I've been dying to read this since discovering Trish's blog like years ago and reading some of the teasers... guys... *squee*

Something Like Normal
by Trish Doller


A powerful debut novel about a young Marine's return home from Afghanistan and the new life and love he finds while fending off the ghosts of war.

When Travis Stephenson returns home from Afghanistan, his parents are on the brink of divorce, his brother has stolen his girlfriend and his car, and nightmares of his best friend getting killed keep him completely spooked. But when he runs into Harper Gray, a girl who despises him for trashing her reputation with a middle school lie, life actually starts looking up. As Travis and Harper see more of each other, he starts falling for her and a way through the family meltdown, the post-traumatic stress, and the possibility of an interesting future begins to emerge.

His sense of humor, sense of his own strength, and incredible sense of honor make Travis an irresistible and eminently lovable hero in this fantastic and timely debut novel.

Something Like Normal is released June 19, 2012 from Bloomsbury

Contemp. Male POV. Plus he's 19, which is for some reason, is something I love. There are no words to express how much I'm dying to read this book.

ps- I think Trish has the best taste in YA books too. Her list of top YA guys in YA include Ryan (Raw Blue), Jonah (Jellicoe Road) and Brigan (Fire). And so so so many other amazing boys ;)

Add this book on Goodreads!
author website / blog / tumblr

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Totally YA Book Oscars!

My lovelies!!

As you might know, I'm part of a Youtube collab channel called TotallyBooksessed with Harmony, Bailey, Lauren, and Katie, and we are hosting the Book Oscars!! And yes, I really think you should keep on reading and then nominate your favourite books. SERIOUSLY. It is going to be FUNTIMES.

Super duper easy peasy RULES
  • only books published in 2011 are eligible
  • nominations end Nov 30 (in 5 days, so get on it!)
  • no need to follow/subscribe/anything 
  • there will be a final voting round before winners announced the week of Dec 19

I really think you should fill out the form. Really. Plus it'll get your brains turning when you get around to making your best-of lists in December (oh I KNOW you guys are ALL making one, don't even try to pretend otherwise).

The form! Yay!


Have an awesome (and safe!) Friday with hopefully either lots of books or lots of shopping. Or both. And if you tweet/spread the word about this I will love you doubly and send you internet karma.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BR: Graffiti Moon

by Cath Crowley

I think the cover for A Little Wanting Song has completely flooded my blog as of July… hehe). I think I mentioned how much I was dying to read Graffiti Moon.. I think I bordered on physical pain in my need for this book. And GUYS. It’s on NetGalley!!!!

Summary (goodreads)

"Let me make it in time. Let me meet Shadow. The guy who paints in the dark. Paints birds trapped on brick walls and people lost in ghost forests. Paints guys with grass growing from their hearts and girls with buzzing lawn mowers." 

It’s the end of Year 12. Lucy’s looking for Shadow, the graffiti artist everyone talks about.

His work is all over the city, but he is nowhere.

Ed, the last guy she wants to see at the moment, says he knows where to find him. He takes Lucy on an all-night search to places where Shadow’s thoughts about heartbreak and escape echo around the city walls.

But the one thing Lucy can’t see is the one thing that’s right before her eyes

My Expectations: So extraordinarily high it’s kind of unfair to everyone.
Delivery: I bow down to this author, I was not disappointed
Put-down-ability: e-books on the computer isn’t really my thing, but the story was really engaging. 3/10

My Thoughts

Remember how sometimes I freak out and fangirl and go mildly spazz-tic and then ramble on and drown your twitter feed and all that about some book I fall in love with? Hi Graffiti Moon. You’re next.

Sometimes I fall into a review rut where I decide, screw the review. I just want to talk about the book from one book blogger and booklover to the next.

There’s something enchanting about this book. The night comes alive, and twisted into it is the art and the bare souls of these characters that Crowley mercilessly splashed across the pages. Through some incredible dialogue, art, adventures and a Free Love pink VW van, I’m transported into the night and caught up with the story of Lucy and Ed.

And really, this is the time when I realize sophisticated, distinct and smart writing is something I’m not exactly suited for.

Things I Loved About Graffiti Moon

-Lucy. Here’s a protagonist who you can cheer for, who’s authentic and slightly off-center and both idealistic and realistic and it’s just.. I really want to meet her and be her best friend.

-Ed Skye. I think I could go on and on about you and how perfectly imperfect you are as a character and how you have flaws and admirable traits and so many mysteries and sometimes when your art is described, I picture you instead and I’m blown away… again.

I liked how he had hair that was growing without a plan. A smile that came out of nowhere and left the same way. That he was tall enough so I had to look up at him in my dream sequences. I really liked his T-shirts. When he asked me out he was wearing this one with a dog walking a man on a leash. And there was also this space around him. The sort of space you’d queue to get into.

...PEOPLE. A smile that came out of nowhere and left the same way. Come ON, I can't be the only one who is just in LOVE with that line.

-the one-night time frame, yet the pace wasn’t forced. There was never a lull in my attention span.

-the writing. Oh my god, the writing is just to die for. It’s lyrical and poetic and so freaking graceful, it’s full of crescendos and decrescendos and beauty with some rough edges. It's absolutely my favourite thing about Cath Crowley books.

-the art. I absolutely loved the graffiti walls and the way Crowley described it. The writing made the image come alive and it felt like it was moving around in my brain as I was reading the words. It felt more than just ‘art’, it was magical and remarkable.

-Poet: I totally fell for you.

-the backstory with the breaking of the nose :)

-the search for Shadow

-Ed’s mum, a lovely character that doesn’t even make an actual appearance

-Leo and Emma

-Leo and Jazz

-the poems



-the memory bottles

...and some parting quotes:
I should have been straight with her from the start, but it’s too late. No wall I can paint can take us back there. And if I only have five minutes left on the roof of the free-love van with her, then I want to spend them talking to her. Because I’ll miss talking to her tomorrow.

…let me tell him that I don’t care if he doesn’t have a job. Tell him he’s still smart and funny. Tell him that some of my most beautiful glass pieces have cracks running through them and I like them anyways because of the colors.
Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding
Recommended for: seriously?
Acknowledgements: 2.5/5

9.1/10 – because ALASDLKFJAIONEF IT WAS SO AMAZING.. It might be against the norm but I enjoyed A Little Wanting Song a bit more (oh, excuse me as I go fangirl it some more) but Graffiti Moon was incredible as well. I need more Cath Crowley in my life. And you do too.

source: netgalley
author website / twitter

Monday, November 21, 2011

sometimes Book trailers get it Right

I stumbled upon this trailer for A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Sometimes book trailers are flashy. Badly acted. Cheesy. A turn-off.

But I think they got it right with this one. (And yes, the illustrations in the book are just as dark, and gorgeous).

I don't usually post random stuff like this, but why not? :) I love this book, by the way. A Monster Calls was released in September, so you should read it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games trailer (in case you've been living under a rock...

...or under a pile of homework)

that is all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

BR: How To Save a Life

by Sara Zarr

Two reviews in one week! I’m spoiling you guys, aren’t I? This book has only been totally raved about by Nomes from Inkcrush (I love that lady, seriously) so I knew I had to read it.

Summary (goodreads):

Jill MacSweeney just wants everything to go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. You can't lose one family member and simply replace him with a new one, and when her mom decides to adopt a baby, that's exactly what it feels like she's trying to do. And that's decidedly not normal. With her world crumbling around her, can Jill come to embrace a new member of the family?

Mandy Kalinowski knows what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, she knows she wants a better life for her baby. But can giving up a child be as easy as it seems? And will she ever be able to find someone to care for her, too?

My Expectations: I really liked Story of a Girl but disliked Sweethearts by Sara Zarr, but I had high hopes for this one.
Delivery: It was a good read. A solid, enjoyable book but I don’t think I was as emotionally affected as I hoped I would be.
Put-down-ability: 4/10

My Thoughts

How to Save a Life is an emotionally heavy, character-driven contemp that I think had the potential to turn me into a waterfall but just fell slightly flat. It always sucks for me to say that because I recognize the ‘what could’ve been’ but in reality, I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I hoped to, and in turn, I couldn’t commit fully to the story.

Zarr has a serious talent for writing her characters; it’s simply a fact. Both Jill and Mandy were complicated and three-dimensional in their own way, and I’ll admit I wasn’t fond of Mandy at all at the beginning, but in retrospect, it’s what makes her such brilliant character. Zarr understands that not every character needs to be immediately likeable, but when the reader begins to understand and sympathize with the characters, it builds that special bond (if you know what I mean). Jill on the other hand is still grieving and vulnerable, and there was something about her that drew me to her. Her relationships with Dylan (who I seriously adore) and Ravi were fleshed out and convincing, and I especially loved the tentative strings that formed between Jill and Ravi.

While there’s so much to love and admire about these characters, including the complexly caring Mrs. MacSweeny, I just couldn’t take that extra step and fall in love with them. Their stories are tragic, beautiful, heartbreaking, and so many different shades of grey, but I just never felt my own heartstrings tugging or my heartbeat beating faster. Really, I want to just say it’s not you, it’s me. Honestly.

I loved the writing style in the novel, I felt Zarr captured the essence of the two girls and I found the to alternating POVs distinct and extremely well done. There were times when both characters would be frustrating, but other times when I seriously wanted to just give them a hug and hot chocolate-- which in my mind, means the author has done her job :)

Lastly, there’s the plot, and I dunno, maybe it was this part that let me down. I’m trying to find a reason why, but it just comes down to ‘it just didn’t work for me’. What a cop-out, I know, but I found it hard to be invested in the outcome (and the ending, by the way, is… a bit too feel-good). I mean, the motivations are there, I can see the ripple effects of character interactions, and it was interesting… but I was kind of ambivalent throughout.

Okay, I see now that my review is all over the place, and I think when it comes down to it, it's one of the novels where I admire and appreciate a ton of the elements in it, but I just didn't love it for myself. The strongest part of the novel is no doubt, the characters (which in relation to that, Zarr's writing) but I didn't find myself cheering for them or loving them, which I guess means I was disappointed with my lack of reaction.

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: YA contemp fans, don’t miss out.
Acknowledgements: none in ARC

8.3/10 – because for me, it was pretty good but not great. I wish I could say I had a more positive, emotional response but maybe I’m a robot or something, but I recognized the beauty of so many parts of the novel, but didn’t feel personally affected. However, I’ll whole-heartedly say that the characters are well portrayed with exceptional writing, and the plot was interesting, so I have no problem recommending it.

source: publisher
author twitter / website
book webpage

publisher twitter / Facebook

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (12) ~ ontario blogger meet-up edition

hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren!

First, thank you again to ALL the ladies who put together the Ontario Book Blogger meet-up, you're all amazing!!!


Deliciously Sinful by Lilli Feisti
What Comes After by Steve Watkins
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Fever by Lauren DeStefano

What did you get this week? Happy reading, lovlies :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

BR: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series; book I

Since I’ve gotten into a habit of reading a book then waiting ages before thinking “hey, maybe I should probably review this, it might be a good idea” but then realize I don’t really remember anything about the book… here’s a review fresh off the press.

Summary (goodreads)

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Expectations: extremely high, I mean, have you seen the buzz?!?
Delivery: I really wish I liked it more, but it felt like just another paranormal
Put-down-ability: very low at the beginning, very high about 2/3rds of the way through. 5/10

My Thoughts

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was seriously one of the hottest titles around the blogosphere for a while, and this is coming from a girl who’s been primarily absent from the blogosphere for 2 months. I’ve read an abundance of absolutely rave reviews, and despite some trepidation with the paranormal genre, I went into this expecting to fully love it.

Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have had such extreme expectations, because it’s not the first time that it has worked against my favour. I was disappointed because I didn’t love it as much I expected to (partly my fault), and I’ll say it’s a good book with parts I disliked as opposed to a bad book with good moments.

Let’s start with the writing, which I’m sure everyone has already mentioned, is just lovely. It’s graceful and lyrical with some impressive (and maybe some overdone) metaphors that just made the book richer. I thought that the blend of realism, and then the progression towards a more fantastical premise was done really well.

One thing I noticed right away and disliked every time it appeared was that Taylor seemed to dedicate a paragraph to describing the looks of a character. I dunno, maybe I would have liked more subtle introduction to the characters’ physical aspects, but it felt like I was reading along and a concrete wall would come up and describe how omg-beautiful-with-perfect-body-measurements-and-eye-colour the character was, then the story would carry on. This seems like an odd part to point out in a review that should be more about the book but eh, I guess I’m out of practice.

Ooh, but can we comment on the premise? I have to say, at the beginning I thought it was one of the most creative and unique things with the chimaeras and the whole errands/teeth business that was just the perfect mix of mysterious and off-putting. However, I’ll admit as the story progressed and more paranormal twist was added, it was just about average, I thought it had so much potential at the beginning, which might have added to my disappointment. I want to say that looking back at it though, the mythology/premise is actually really interesting (I think I was more bothered by the pacing when I was reading it).

Next up: the characters! I liked Karou’s character the most because she had the most depth and I enjoyed reading about her inner turmoil and questions about who she is. However, I can’t say the same for the Akiva, he just fell into the perfect-and-more-perfect mold. Sure, he has a past (who doesn’t?) but I didn’t really connect with his character.


..who prefers romances to actually be developed instead of based on the insta-attraction-stalker-spark? Me. I still don't get why Karou liked Akiva so much...

***end spoiler***

Favourite character though? Brimstone, that guy is badass.

The pacing was something I also have issues with, and at risk of giving anything away, I’ll just say the I really liked the beginning half because it felt like the drama was just crescendo-ing, secrets were being revealed, lots of action, and I was looking forward to a killer climax. Then there were a lot of… non-action/backstory… and when I say a lot, I mean, a LOT that it felt the whole story’s flow just came to a screeching halt until the last 5 pages. And then cliffie! And I’ll be weird and say that was an awesome cliffie and just might make me continue this series. I want to say more about the ‘plot twist’ but I can’t because it’s too spoilery :p

But when it comes down to it, I just don’t think this is my type of book. I’m really particular about my tastes, and it feels like this book was just trying to do too much in terms of ‘epic romances’ and I just never really liked Epic Romances*. It’s just a personal preference, which is why I’m totally acknowledging that this book will be a favourite for many, just not for me.

Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
Recommended for: paranormal fans
Acknowledgements: forgot to read :/

7.5/10 – because it’s one of those books where I just couldn’t fall in love with. There were moments I liked and parts I appreciated, but as a whole, it just feels like another read that won’t stand out to me in a few months. The writing is great, but I thought just plot-wise, it wasn’t for me. However, don’t just take my word for it, I think you should definitely read it for yourself!

*which is why I seem to love the contemporary genre so much…

source: bookstore
author website / twitter 
series website