Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Many Have You Read?

Last October, Scholastic began, a social network site designed for booklovers. Users are asked to create their own Bookprint of the five books that helped shape who they are. To date, the site has 15,000 users and over 200 Names You Know contributing (ranging from presidents to actors to famous athletes), here are the results so far!

The 10 most influential books picked by adults:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. The Holy Bible
3. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
7. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
8. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
9. The Giver by Lois Lowry
10. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

The 10 most influential books picked by kids:

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
6. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
7. Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
9. The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
10. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

There are two books listed in the adult list that I have yet to enjoy: Gone with the Wind which is my mom's favorite and I have seen the movie numerous times, I even had a family dog named Ashley (yes, he was a boy too) and The Giver. It looks like I must change this soon!! How many have you read from these lists?

Don't forget to join in and create your own Bookprints at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Foreman

Hardcover, 264 pages

Released: April 5, 2011

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

ISBN13: 9780525422945
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future–and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

My Rating: 5 /5

My Thoughts:

This is Adam's story, three years after Mia left. He is now dating a hot celebrity and living his dream as a rockstar but it is clear as day that the wound Mia left has not healed. By chance Adam is in town the night Mia is headlining at Carnegie Hall, he buys a ticket, sits at back and listens. After the show, Mia sends an usher to invite Adam backstage. Adam has so many questions for Mia. Will he finally get the closure he needs?

I must admit I was nervous for this followup as If I Stay was such a powerful read, how could you top that? I love that is was told from Adam's perspective, revealing that an alternate view of what happened three years ago. I knew Where She Went hit me just as hard when I began convincing myself that I'd be OK with Mia and Adam reuniting OR going their separate ways, I was that emotionally invested in this story.

This was one of my favorite quotes of Adam "Mia's smile is melting chocolate. It's a kick-ass guitar solo. It's everything good in this world". (Page 239 of ARC) Can we clone this guy, true love or what?

Be prepare with Kleenex as once again Gayle Foreman shows us what love can do. With music, love and a rockstar with a big heart, Where She Went is full of win!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Hardcover, 288 pages

Released: March 22, 2011

Publisher: Bantam

ISBN13: 9780553807226
The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Chased the Moon welcomes you to her newest locale: Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.

My Rating: 5 / 5

My Thoughts:

The worlds that Sarah Addison Allen creates are always so beautiful. I love that it's not only the characters but the atmosphere that pulls you in! In The Peach Keeper, Willa & Paxton are brought together when Paxton's project to restore the historic Blue Ridge Madam, once owned by Willa's family, hits a snag and bones are found buried beneath a peach tree. The body is traced back to 1936 when the Woman's Society Club was formed and Willa's family moved out...coincidence?

I adored every character in this novel, from the seeming average Willa (who has more then meets the eye), the socialite Paxton (who has yet to move out and lives in the family guest house, never really done what she wanted to do but rather is living a life that depends on parental approval), the grandmothers (with the key to the mystery) and of course the guys, Colin and Sebastian. The growth in characters is phenomenal. Add in the family secrets, prominent vs average family and love and I was hooked.

The Peach Keeper is one of those books that after turning the last page you let out a sigh of happiness, it's that good. A beautiful story of finding oneself, friendship, sacrifice, secrets and love, this is the perfect summer read.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Dystopian Tour 2011

For the past few months I had been counting the days to this event. On Tuesday night, I had a chance to meet two NY Times Best Selling authors. This was my BEA day I will make it there! Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall was a top pick in 2010 and I was enamoured by the first book of her love dystopian trilogy, Delirium, released earlier this year. I had just finished Veronica Roth's adrenaline pumping Divergent. I enjoyed seeing Roth's main character, Tris, step outside her comfort zone and really giving it all she had!

The event began with a Q&A from Ajay Fry, the host of InnerSPACE and which was also being filmed, to air on last night's episode at 11 PM. Here's a little bit of what went down:

Lauren talked about being influenced by Gabriel Garcia Marquez's idea that all great books are about love or death. She mixed that thought with the swine flu epidemic we were dealing with at the time, because when you really look at love you will see that it has a lot of symptoms in common with diseases. (I loved seeing these included in the book because it really is freaky to look at it this way. ) For Veronica, it all started with a vision of someone launching themselves off a roof and her wondering what would make a person do that. She was studying psychology at the time, in particular, the concept of using stimuli to remove fear and from there she thought that courage would bind the people together, then the rest of the story emerged.

"You can't drive a story forward without characters", according to Lauren Oliver. Characters are the key to making the story work. From a readers perspective, I found it interesting when Lauren admitted to writing not only for readers, but in helping her in a journey to get someplace. I had never really thought of it that way before. Veronica actually began writing Divergent from a male perspective, but it just didn't fit, so when she found Tris' voice, she knew she had it right.

And what do Lauren & Veronica think of ebooks? Both don't see it as a threat. As long as stories are being told, the medium doesn't matter. Veronica is like me and still wants to hold the books, so as long as we are still around, hard copies will be too. I wonder if Lauren was onto something when she mentioned ebooks becoming the norm and hard copies being available as special editions? Only time will tell.

Thanks so much to HarperCollins, Indigo, Lauren & Veronica for a fabulous night. For those of you in and around the Toronto area, tonight is the last stop for the tour. Head on over to Chapters Brampton at 7PM!

You'll have to trust me on this, from L-R is my bestie & fellow book blogger Jackie from My Ever Expanding Library, Lauren Oliver, Veronica Roth and moi! A special thanks goes to Jordan for being the photographer for the evening!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Hardcover, 487 pages

Released: May 3, 2011

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

ISBN13: 9780062024022

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

My Rating: 4 / 5

My Thoughts:

Beatrice has a huge decision to make...stay in the faction that she grew up in, the one she tries so hard to fit into, or select another. The inconclusive test results aren't much a help and only add more confusion as she is told not to say anything...what does being Divergent mean though?

Beatrice, or Tris as she later calls herself, see's a world completely different then what she's used to and wants to prove that she belongs (she's short and a girl, let me tell you the faction takes no pity on that!). Along the way she discovers more about herself, how love can change you and and a plot that puts her old faction in danger. It is an extreme view of society, than again it is a dystopian after all. Although well meaning originally, you can see how harmful it is to focus one one aspect as the five factions do. Life is all about balance and this shows you why. As I love character driven stories, the one thing I found weak here was any emotion for Tris. With all the action overpowering her transformation through extreme choices, I didn't feel much for her on a personal level.

Full of non-stop, adrenaline pumping action, Divergent will suck you in and take you for the ride of your life. I read outside my comfort zone of cutesy stories and now am hoping some of Tris' braveness will rub off. I must admit, I doubt I would have even made it onto the train to even begin the initiation LOL.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my write up from The Dystopian Tour stop last night in Toronto with Veronica Roth and Lauren Oliver!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Dystopian Tour hits Toronto This Week

I've been counting the days, to this and tomorrow can't come soon enough! This week Torontonians have not one but three opportunities to experience the Dystopian Tour 2011. I am planning on heading to Yorkdale right after work with my bestie & fellow book blogger Jackie from My Ever Expanding Library.

Anyone else as excited as me for this? Are you planning on hitting up one of these stops? Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Hardcover, 336 pages

Released: April 26, 2011

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

ISBN: 9780061962745
When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

My Rating: 4 / 5

My Thoughts:
This a book for those days when you need to laugh at the world. I would have given this 5 stars but found the start awkward as I went in only remembering the basic premise of the story before diving in. The story beings in the thick of things so it took me about 40-50 pages for I really got hooked, understood the world and felt anything for the characters. Why were the girls together, what the heck is Babies R U, why the veil? These are things that left me confused at the start. So what kept me going you ask? The humor! Once the world & characters fell into place, the book was on fire. I was in their mindset which at first is hard to grasp (teens being approached to have babies, how they view sex etc.) To give you an idea of how much I loved it, I came home & locked myself in the bathroom to escape from disruptions so I could finish the book! I must also say that the music the kids listen too was catchy and way to funny, I could totally picture the teens singing along!

A quirky dystopian, Bumped is a unique take on what would happen if adults became infertile. Full of humor, lots of twists and turns, characters trying to find themselves (they are teens after all), McCafferty's story is a refreshing take on what is normally a serious dystopian genre.

Here's a sneak peak at what silliness you can find inside:
I watched them swap MyTurnTees, share tubes of You Glow Girl! stretch mark remover, and share bag after bag of Big Belly Jellies. I watched them bond with each other because they were forbidden to bond with their bumps.(from ARC page 118)
I have to say, when an author can make you chuckle then gasp (in that order) at the passing of a mucus plug, she is mega talented in my books. Give me the next book, this was such a fun ride.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Meg Cabot in Toronto Next Week!

I was excited to find out that Meg has a stop in Toronto promoting her newest novel, Abandon. As a lover of mythology, I am eager to spend this weekend devouring this modern tale of Hades & Persephone.

I hope to see you there!


About the book:

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

Hardcover, 375 pages

Released: May 3, 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN13: 9780061668098
Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

My Rating: 4 / 5

My Thoughts:

The third book in the Wings series, Illusions starts of with Laurel back at high school in the human world and surprise, surprise, Tamani shows up as a foreign exchange student! Spells made me Team Tamani, so I was so curious how this was was going to play out. Although I enjoyed this book, I have to admit that partway I was getting tired of the David/Tam love triangle...both boys pining over Laurel but her being ignorant to David's jealousy issues. With what was happening, it is fair to say that David had reasons to feel this way so Laurel annoyed me. I can justify Tamani's undying love as part of his nature but come on David! A majority of this book deals with Laurels conflict over David/Tamani.

Ms. Pike rounds out this storyline with the possibility of danger from the other foreign exchange student, Yuki, the mysterious Klea and disappearing Trolls. Not much is finalized here but hints at what is to come next. The ending is a major cliffhanger and I think we will get back to more action next year in what is supposed to be the last book in the series. Seeing the fae world in Spells captivated me, I am crossing my fingers we get to see more of that too!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Contest Winners!

It's so fun when you get to start of the dreaded Monday morning knowing you are making someone's day/week/month telling them they've won your blog contest...this morning I got to make THREE people happy!

The winners from my SHIFT tour stop are:

Jamie (signed copy of SHIFT plus button) and Katie (copy of SHIFT)

I had a great time discovering so new-to-me Canadian talent in the responses to my CCBC membership contest. The winner is:


All winners have been contacted by email & have 24 hrs to respond. Thanks to everyone who played along, I hope you had fun too, happy Monday!!!