Friday, December 31, 2010

What To Look Forward To In 2011

I still can't believe that today is the last day of 2010! Have you made any New Years resolutions? I think mine is going to be to be more organized and not sweat the small stuff :) Have a blast tonight, I'm so happy to say sayonara 2010 & hello 2011!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to make a little blog announcement...The eclectic reader in me is dying to come out more! The kid in me is still alive and kicking but I found I missed out on sharing so many great adult titles by having the blog focus on YA this year. I hope you enjoy the new look next year with lots of YA, historical fiction and a dash of good old adult fiction.

Wishing you all the best in 2011, bring it on :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of 2010

There were so many fabulous books in 2010. Thanks to the Debut Author Challenge, I found many amazing new authors and was surprised that half of my Best of list is made up of debuts!!!

My Best of list is in no particular order, I hope you enjoy! What were your favorites that I missed? If you also made a top reads list, leave me the link :)

Sea by Heidi R. Kling

Simply beautiful is what comes to mind every time I think of this book!

My Review

Goodreads Link

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Phenomenal writing, you can't help but feel part of the story & hope for a better outcome!

My Review

Goodreads Link

Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Looking back at my review, I think I loved this one so much! A great fun story that left me speechless I guess LOL

My Review

Goodreads Link

It's Not Summer Without You (Summer #2) by Jenny Han

For the romantic - ahhhhhh Jerimiah <3

My Review

Goodreads Link

Heist Society (Heisty Society #1) by Ally Carter

Non-stop action and girl power!

My Review

Goodreads Link

She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

Filled with characters you love to hate and one swoon-worthy Jake!

My Review

Goodreads Link

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) by Kody Keplinger

One of the sexist YA books I've read, I smile everytime I think of this one!

My Review

Goodreads Link

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Travel back in time to the French Revolution!

My Review

Goodreads Link

Nightshade (Nightshade #1) by Andrea Cremer

What happens when you're eyes are opened to a whole new world and you question the only life you've ever known!

My Review

Goodreads link

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

This one still haunts me...I'm still not sure what to think of Ty!!!

My Review

Goodreads Link

YA Historical Fiction Challenge

Thanks to Sab for hosting this challenge. As I love historical fiction and YA, this is the perfect match. Oddly enough, I don't normally mix the two so this should be fun!

My book list:
  1. Timeless (Timeless #1) by Alexandra Monir (click for review)
  2. Deadly by Julie Chibbaro (TBR)
  3. Strings Attached by Judy Blundell (TBR)
  4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (TBR)
  5. Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston
  6. Ingenue (Flappers #2) by Jillian Larkin
  7. Fateful by Claudia Gray
  8. Beautiful Days (Bright Young Things #2) by Anna Godbersen
  9. ?
  10. ?

It's never too late to join in! This challenge runs for all of 2011, you can find more about the challenge here

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Hardcover, 454 pages

Released: October 19, 2010

Publisher: Philomel

ISBN13: 9780399254826

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

My Rating: 5 / 5

My Thoughts:

Having been all paranormaled out this year, I was hesitant to read Nightshade, but with rave reviews I had to see for myself...and yes, it lived up to the hype. I'd have to say I was taken in from page one, with my love for the book ranking right up there with Vampire Academy! There was so much to love about Nightshade: wolves (my soft spot) and pack interaction, the ultra-sexy love triangle, the lore and magic.

I adore character-driven plots and this one was a fun ride. Calla has never questioned her life, she is part of a pack, a soon to be alpha and knows her role. But the moment she saves a hiker being attacked, her life changes. Shay, whom she meets later, turns her life upside down and opens her eyes to another world of possibilities. I loved the internal struggle: should she keep living the life she has only ever known & follow her destiny OR can she become her own person & make her own choices? Calla isn't the only one trying to figure out who she is, so is Shay, a human who is thrown into the picture thanks to his Uncle who unbeknownst to him, is high up in the ranks. Andrea plays with the reader, giving Calla two great guys to chose from, albeit quite different. The Ren (her chosen Alpha mate) vs. Shay dilemma is still a toss up for me. Andrea also goes out of her way to ensure, although alpha, Ren has many layers to him which is a huge plus in my books. Shay, well he just seems dreamy & innocent (though I am waiting for the curve ball in book two!).

The, I can't wait to learn more! Do the Keepers use the Guardians for good OR are the Searchers really the good guys? What exactly are they guarding? As you can see I am pulled in hoook, line and sinker. Although left with many questions, I didn't feel let down at the cliffhanger ending, just eager to continue what I hope to be a long series :) I'm adding this one to my top 10 list of 2010!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

This was such a great challenge for me last year. It was because of this challenge that I discovered a number of great new talented authors and many made it onto my Top 10 books of 2010. It was a no-brainer that I am joining it again!

My reading list:
  1. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal (TBR)
  2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis (click for review)
  3. Timeless by Alexandra Monir (click for review)
  4. Clarity by Kim Harrington (click for review)
  5. Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbarb (reading now)
  6. Wither by Laren DeStefano (click for review)
  7. Hourglass by Myra McEntire (TBR)
  8. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (TBR)
  9. Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
  10. ?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: The Candidates (Delacroix Academy #1) by Inara Scott

Hardcover, 293 pages

Released: August 24,2010

Publisher: Hyperion Book CH

ISBN13: 9781423116363

Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden.

But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.

And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.
My Rating: 4 / 5

My Thoughts:

The main character Dancia has just been invited to join a prestigious boarding school - on full scholarship. What she see's at school are students who excel at one thing or another, she doesn't understand is why they chose her. She's not rich, always tried to make herself invisable & her grades are just average....welll sort of, she does have a super power she can't control.

Being a YA book at a boarding school, you have to expect a love triangle. My heart goes out to the mysterious bad boy, Jack but sadly, Dancia is too infatuated with Cam. Dancia's choices are a tad frustrating but being all of 14 & pursued by the hottie class president of the school, I can cut her some slack. She has been taken from here sheltered life & thrown right into a world she never could have imagined, so in all fairness, I probably wouldn't have believed all the signs either.

I knew coming into this book that it was part of a series so expected to have way more questions then answers. Being book one, there is a lot of building of characters, relationships and the plot is just being developed - but boy, it's going to be a fun ride! I can't wait to see how it all plays out: Is the school really and truly only looking to enhance the supernatural skills for the good of the world? Is Cam really the good preppy guy OR is he brainwashed and totally clueless of the schools ulterior motives? Can Jack be saved before he goes to the dark side or is he already there?

Do you like supernatural powers & conspiracies, boarding schools, shows like Heros and X-Men? If so, this series is perfect for you.

Everyone's a winner today!

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway last week. Congrats to NICOLE on winning a copy of The King's Daughter!!!

So how is everyone a winner today you ask? Well in celebration of Jane Austen's 235rd birthday Sourcebooks has graciously offered up FREE ebooks! Here are the details:

Sourcebooks, the world’s leading publisher of Jane Austen fiction, is offering a unique deal to readers who want to celebrate Jane by reading special editions of all six of Austen’s beloved novels in a 21st century format.

Special e-book editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Mansfield Park will be available for free for one day only. These celebratory editions include the full novels, plus the legendary color illustrations of the Brock brothers, originally created to accompany the books in 1898.

In addition to the Jane Austen classics, readers can also enjoy these bestselling Austen-inspired novels. The following bestselling e-books will be free on December 16th in honor of her birthday:

Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken
The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown
The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

Available wherever eBooks are sold.
So head on over to your favourite online bookstore & start downloading!

Edit: there was a little bug this morning, so if you tried & couldn't find them they should all be working soon! Sourcebooks has also extended the free downloads to run two days now, today & tomorrow :)

Stores to visit: iBooks, Google Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

Hardcover, 389 pages

Released: October 12th 2010

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN13: 9780061962660
The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star…

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.

My Rating: 4.5 / 5

My Thoughts:

Why haven't I read more roaring 20's books???!! I love this time, full of lavish parties & dressing to the nines, the carefree attitude...I can go on & on.

Bright Young Things is really about the journey of three young girls. Cordelia, looking for her father, Letty in search of fame and Astrid who SEEMS to have it all. As Cordelia & Letty leave their small town of Ohio for New York City,in search of their dreams, they quickly discover there's more then meets the eye. What I loved most about book was the characters, they were so very different and not one stood out. This was all about childhood innocence and growing up quickly, with each girl's journey taking them on a different path.

If you like a fun, quick read that will transport you back in time, this is the perfect read. Finished in one sitting, this one made me wish I was there enjoying the moments too. Now if only there wasn't that ending, leaving me hanging for another year until book two!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review & Giveaway: The King's Daughter by Christie Dickason

Paperback, 512 pages

Released: November 23rd 2010

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks

ISBN13: 9780061976278
The court of James I is a volatile place, with factions led by warring cousins Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon. Europe is seething with conflict between Protestants and Catholics. James sees himself as a grand peacemaker—and what better way to make his mark than to use his children in marriage negotiations?

Into this court come Henry, Prince of Wales, and his sister Elizabeth. Their louche father is so distrusted that soon they are far more popular than he is: an impossibly dangerous position for a child of the king. Then Elizabeth is introduced to Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine. He’s shy but they understand one another. She decides he will be her husband—but her parents change their minds. Brutally denied their support, how can Elizabeth forge her own future?

At once a love story, a tale of international politics and a tremendous evocation of England at a time of great change, this is a enthralling novel to thrill all lovers of fine historical fiction.

My Rating: 4 /5

My Thoughts:
This is the story of Elizabeth, Daughter of King James I. Having lived a sheltered childhood being brought up away from court and her family, she is desperate for knowledge. It is when she returns to court that she realizes her place, as a female heir, is to be used for political gain. Her father ensures she knows that he is the one to decide whom she shall marry - even if it's the devil!

Christie tries to stick as much as possible to historical facts and it is obvious that she has thoroughly researched this time period. James I is cold and is very obsessive about his safety, going so far as to keep his own children separated from each other. Henry, the eldest son, is headstrong & loved by all, his love for his sister was so strong - it is heartbreaking at the end. Baby Charles is weak and spoiled. Robert Cecil & Francis Bacon add to the political struggle taking place at the time - Robert wanting whats best for England, Francis wanting what was best for him.

To add a little more fun to the plot, Christie creates a fictional character named Thalia. As Elizabeth's mother is emotionally detached, having no interest in her children, she sends Elizabeth a welcome gift instead upon her return to court...a slave named Thalia. It is through this fictional character, that Elizabeth learns many secrets of court, including creating the list of possible suitors (Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine being one of them). Although a little slow at times in the middle, I did enjoy watching Elizabeth flourish & ultimately fight for what she wanted. It took a bit of work, but Elizabeth and Frederick play King James to ensure a marriage takes place. As I enjoy my happily ever after, this book is proof that true love can prevail!

Thanks to Harper, I have an opportunity to giveaway a copy of The King's Daughter to one lucky reader! Please fill in the form below. Open to Canadian or US residents only.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Released: November 30, 2010

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Hardcover, 366 pages

ISBN13: 9780525423645

Literary award: Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of the Year for Fiction (2010)
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My Rating: 4 / 5

My Thoughts:

If you are a regular blog reader, you'll know that I love my stories to be Happily Ever After. When I think dystopian, I picture a colourless world full of hopelessness. The buzz about Matched and it's stunning (and colourful) cover caught my eye & had me curious...can I do dystopian?

From page one, I knew this wasn't going to be that sad, dreary world I had anticipated. Reading Matched reminded me of watching the movie The Truman Show, people are living in what is attempted to be a perfect world with big brother watching you. Meals are planned, your marriage, job and even death are all determined for you. The Society has good intentions, but in the end they've taken away free will & what it means to be human. This is what the main character, Cassia, slowly discovers as she is introduced to the world through Ky's eyes.

I found the characters a bit harder to connect to (having no opportunity to be themselves has it's draw backs, though I have a feeling this will not be an issue in book two). What did stand out for me was the overall big picture...what would I do? Being a rule follower, not liking change but also being emotional has me torn. Would I follow my heart & risk everything OR stick with what I've always known? I'm looking forward to learning more about Cassia, Ky and Xander in the next book, maybe I'll be more courageous then ;)