Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tour Stop: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines (Bloodlines (Mead))
Hardcover, 432 pages

Released: August 23, 2011

Publisher: Razorbill

Other places to find the book:
Add it to Goodreads.com
The first book in Richelle Mead's brand-new teen fiction series - set in the same world as Vampire Academy.

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.
My Rating: 4 / 5

My Thoughts:

As a big fan of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, let's just say I was ecstatic when I heard about this new series. If you have not read the Vampire Academy books, besides changing that, I would suggest you have a peak at the Vampire Academy wiki to read up on the characters as it may seem overwhelming at first.

This is the story of Sydney, an alchemist who helped Rose escape from prison and is now living with the consequences..no one trusts her. She is excited to find out that they need her help and she is not being sent away to reform school. In an attempt to keep the Moroi Queen's half-sister safe, Sydney is assigned to watch over Jill. They pose as sisters at a boarding school in California, hiding and expecting nothing to be happening in this town. Surprise...people are being killed and it appears to be the work of a vampire or even a vampire hunter (do they exist?).

While I did find the middle section a tad long but believe me when I tell you the ending is to die for! I hate to compare but this was like Holly Black's White Cat/Red Glove for me...book one is full of world building but the ending is perfect and leaves you eager for the next book right away. I loved how it ends, in a teaser way as opposed to cliffhanger. 
 I literally had a huge smile at the end and said "darn you Richelle!" A blowout start to a new series, I need the next book now!

Buy the book:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox - August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren where we show what books have found a new home with us!

Circle of Fire swag from a Twitter win, thanks @ProphecyPress and Michelle Zink! Michelle is seriously the best, she is super sweet and a pleasure to chat with. I'm a little sad that this series is over, but can't wait for her new book A Temptation of Angels which is set for release in March.

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs - Kathy came to Toronto as part of her book tour last week, this is her latest book in the Temperance Brennan series! For those that may not know, this is the series in which the TV show Bones is based on.

What goodies did you get this week?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Do You Think (5) : The Good, The Bad and The... Fake?

When I started blogging, I was reluctant to post the not so hot reviews. I'm generally a glass is half full person so talking bad about something isn't my thing. I have never felt any pressure from publishers to provide anything but an honest review, but I'm sure there are some who may feel they 'owe' the publishers something. My first priority though is being honest to my readers, that way if I really like something, they know it!  What cemented my feelings on posting a negative review was a post by BookNet Canada after a technology conference earlier this year.
Apparently, 75% to 80% of shoppers read online reviews. And, surprisingly, research has shown that “a negative review converts more effectively to a sale than a positive review.” This is because although customers like reading reviews but they don’t always agree with them. They read them for information more than opinion.
I recently read a review from a fellow book blogger who hated a book which I loved. They saw the author create a world using gender roles which victimized a woman. I instead took that world as a given and focused on how the character reacted to being in such a position. Needless to say, our personalities play a big role in how we see the world...and books! We all have different views and I love being able to see them, not just the filtered (AKA good) ones.

I only post reviews for books I've read, so the rare book that I could not finish would not get a review at all. I feel this is fair as how can one write a review if they don't know the entire story. Last Friday, the NYT posted an article on fake reviews.
Mr. Pinch’s interviews with more than a hundred of Amazon’s highest-ranked reviewers found that only a few ever wrote anything critical. As one reviewer put it, “I prefer to praise the ones I love, not damn the ones I did not!”
The fact that just about all the top reviewers in his study said they got free books and other material from publishers and others soliciting good notices may have also had something to do with it.
I was surprised to see people are paid for their positive opinion, but would this be a person you would trust to follow? Is this similar to only posting the good reviews on a blog, skewing the data so that you only see the positive? The negative, which does and should exist, gets thrown to the wayside... but should it?

Which leads me to another issue which Victoria Schwab brought to light. I have often wondered why books have ratings when the ARC's are not even available, heck I've even seen an author's work in progress, which hasn't even been sold to a publisher, rated! I am a frequent user of Goodreads.com and love seeing the ratings for books. When I'm in-store and see a good deal on a book, my first thought is "hmm, I wonder how it's rated on GR?" to see if it's worth buying or if it's on clearance for a reason. It really bothers me that people can ruin a rating based solely on their desire (or lack of) to read a book or worse because "ohhhh, the cover is so pretty!".  Things like this make Goodreads ratings lose their integrity and, sadly, Goodreads is not seeing this as an issue. Please take a minute to see this  post by Victoria where she talks about her Goodreads.com issue. I must say I love the idea of a separate interest level rating! The power of the people is strong, just look at what happened with Rick Yancey and his Monstrumologist series last week. Let's tell Goodreads what the readers want!! (**pumps fist**)

We can't be expected to love everything and let's face it, not everything published is good. So let's talk reviews...
Do you post reviews on books you didn't care for? If not, what holds you back? Do you think that bad reviews also generate interest in a book? Do Goodreads.com ratings matter to you?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The winners of my Bookdepository.com book of their choice are


The winner of my ONE DAY prize pack is:


Please check your inboxes, emails have been sent out.

Thanks to everyone for celebrating my 2nd Blogoversary with me! It was fun to read all the favorites everyone had this past year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Fury (Fury (Hardcover - Trilogy))
Hardcover, 352 pages

To Be Released: August 30, 2011

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Other places to find the book:
Add it to Goodreads.com
Sometimes sorry isn't enough....
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.
My Rating: 3.5 / 5

My Thoughts:

(I have included spoilers below but have warned you just before it starts so be prepared!)

Every year Zach hosts a party right before the school winter break, and this year strange things happen which set the stage for what is to come. First the party goers find out about a student suicide, then Em hooks up with Zach (her best friend, Gabby's, boyfriend) and finally Chase bumps into someone new girl on the way home.

Although initially shocking, Em going after Zach when Gabby is away works for this story. Gabby's actions don't make you feel that she is truly in love, this is just a high school relationship after all, and Em truly believes that her and Zach where meant to be. This is where my enjoyment of the storyline ends though.

I've come to the conclusion that making people act in a way that conflicts with their previous behaviour is a hard thing to do right. I love the idea of fate but am not sure how easy that is to write about. I adore character driven stories so having someone act out of character isn't easy to swallow for me. In this case, I had an issue with Chase. Although I did like him, he had his faults. He tries so hard to show he fits in and sadly prowls for girls who get a bit tipsy at parties. Now I know Ty is a fury but he pines for her after just meeting her and doesn't mind her seeing the 'real' him so quickly! There were also two instances where I was seeing the story go in one direction but it never took off. (****SPOLIER ALERT***) This happened when Chase drinks something given to him by Ty and when she paints both Chase and herself with red paint. Did the drink have some power that made Chase bonded to her? Not in the case, but I would have totally bought that! Although the pictures taken during the red paint instance were used against him, I thought they would have been used for a different reason, with the red paint looking like blood. I can she now that it was used to foreshadow, but for me it fell flat of it's potential.(***end spoiler***)

There were three furies and really three people making teenager mistakes. I kept waiting for the one that really deserved a smack in the face (Zach) to get his turn, I just wish it had come up sooner then the clifffhanger ending. I enjoyed the story, it had me eager to get to the end, but sorry guys it had too many gaps in the storyline for me to say it was a great book.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox - August 21, 2011

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren where we show what books have found a new home with us!

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday - I love murder mysteries but have to admit I discovered this book because of  it's beautiful cover!
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon - I'm a huge fan of fate, add in the "darkly handsome Adam DeRĂ­s" and I was sold!
Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - "Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one." In addition to fate, I'm a sucker for struggles with destiny...and from what I've heard, the world building is amazing.

Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey -the third (and NOT final) book in the Monstrumologist series.
Variant by Robison Wells - Two people at Harper said this was full of win (they did the same for Divergent), also liking that this is a male protagonist!
Goliath by Scott Westerfeld - the final book in the Leviathan trilogy, I can't wait! I am fascinated by the artwork and have already snuck a peak :D

A few classics to add to my collection. Sadly, when I was putting the books on my shelf (I'm going to read them 'one day' LOL) I realized I already have the same Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hyde! I must make a list of what I have already then see about exchanging this one.

What goodies did you get this week?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Do You Think (4) : Book Trailers...Do You Watch Them?

Earlier this week I read an article in the Toronto Star titled Video Trailers Sell Literature to the Internet Generation and now am curious how effective you think book trailers are. I may have only watched a handful myself and now wonder if I am the odd man out here. 

For me, I like the idea of reading the synopsis of a book and visualizing the story as I read it, but with a book trailer my view of the characters or the world is given to me. I have loved books forever and while growing up the Internet was, well, not so big yet (though I spend way too much time online now!). Do people have the desire to SEE things for instant gratification or is this a way to connect with those people who may not be a regular book reader? I think trailers would make an impact on my son, who loves video games. I'm just not sure how he would come across them online so that he watches one since, honestly, he is more likely to Google game cheats then books. *sigh*

So lovely readers, how effective are book trailers? Do you seek them out or faithfully watch them? What do you like about them? How do you normally find a book to read (word of mouth, a book site, displays at a book store etc.)?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

The Near Witch
Hardcover, 288 pages

Released: August 2, 2011

Publisher: Hyperion Books CH

ISBN: 9781423137870

Other places to find the book:
Add it to Goodreads
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.
Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

My Rating: 5 / 5

My Thoughts:

I am all for stories about witches, add in the nothing but glowing reviews and I knew I HAD to read this book! Lexi lives in the village of Near. Hundreds of years ago, a child was found dead in the local witch's garden, causing the town to create a council which exists to this day. It is also the reason the town dislikes strangers. When a child goes missing the same night a stranger was seen, all blame is placed on the stranger and the council makes it their mission to find him (and hopefully the missing children?). But Lexi, who takes after her tracking father, makes it her own mission to find the children and the real truth.

From the first line, I was taken aback by the beauty of Schwab's writing. "It starts with a crack, a sputter and spark. The match hisses to life." I almost wish I read this outside by the fire at night roasting marshmallows with friends, it truly read like a story you would share. The cast of characters were perfect,  I love seeing strong heroines. You had Lexi, the determined girl, her mother silently supporting her, two old witches providing some answers, her Uncle and council ignorant and bull-headed, and the stranger Cole a little bit broken. My favorite by far though, was the how Schwab made the wind come to life!

A truly magical story, I highly recommend you read The Near Witch. But set aside a few hours as this will be consumed all in one sitting. A brilliant debut that left me eager to read more from Schwab.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

In My Mailbox - August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren where we show what books have found a new home with us!

This week I got :

Virals by Kathy Reichs (I love her Temperance Brennan books so hoping to enjoy her first foray into YA)

Crossed by Ally Condie (Matched ended on such a cliffhanger, I need to know what happened to Cassia and Ky)

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer (the final book of a trilogy I am loving)

Legacy by Katherine Webb (I am a sucker for books that deal with family secrets)

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (now if you follow my blog you will know I am not for dark books, but this has touched so many people and if the message is that powerful, I'm all for it!)

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (by one of my favorite authors, I can't wait to read this!)

Thanks to Scholastic Canada and Harper Collins. A huge thanks to Penguin Canada for a great night Wednesday and hosting the YA focus group. I met some fabulous bloggers! **waves Hi to Nicole, JennBrennaGwenythErinJackie and Bronwyn!**

What goodies did you get this week?

I also have two great giveaways going on this week:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Giveaway and Interview with David Nicholls, Author of One Day

If you are anything like me and enjoy a realistic love story with broken characters, ONE DAY is for you! It will make you laugh and cry, so be prepared with a box of kleenex.  If you haven't read my review, you can check it out here.

I recently had the chance, along with a few other bloggers, to chat with David Nicholls . It was the chance of a lifetime as I absolutely loved One Day! Not only did David write the book, he also wrote the screenplay. I've already set a 'date' with my BF, Jackie, to see this movie which comes out next week (August 19th).

For the movie, I thought finding the right chemistry between the actors would be critical. This is a love story after all, that takes place over twenty years. Also, Dexter's character growth is phenomenal. He isn't the nicest guy for a while and yet somehow in the story you still fall for him and are able to overlook his faults. Here's David's reponse:

We had to find two people who could age up and age down convincingly, two people who seemed to complement each other, two people who seemed to have a kind of spark and an attraction. Often with movies, there's a constant question through the whole writing process, which is are they sympathetic, are they likeable. Dexter in particular does some pretty harsh things and behaves quite badly in the course of the film. And I think in casting Dexter, we wanted someone who wouldn't kind of compromise on that bad behavior, but who would be comprehensible and forgivable and redeemable, who had a kind of a charm even at the lowest points. And I think Jim (Sturgess) gets that really beautifully.

Since the story takes place over twenty years, I was curious about how to show that in the movie. I am not normally one to love many pop culture references but it seemed that maybe this was the way to do it? The first day we meet Em & Dex is July 15, 1988 , but when reading the book, I felt it was more a timeless story and we just see the characters grow over the twenty years. Here's what David had to say:

There are a few of those. Definitely fashion. Weirdly, I have much stronger memories of the late '80s than I do of the early '90s, I think because I was at University. And at University, you are particularly aware of your cultural tastes and your image and that you were very keen to make a statement. So, I found '88 much easier to conjure up than '93. It took me a while to track down when I got my first mobile phone and in exactly what year.

I definitely wanted to get some of the fashion in and also some of the politics and the critical issues of the day. But, the two things that I made a conscious decision not to include were the death of Princess Diana, which obviously was a huge landmark in British culture, and 9/11, which there's a fleeting reference to a bomb attack in London. But, I couldn't find a plausible, useful way to make that part of the narrative. So, I wanted the politics and the cultural background to be correct, but I also wanted it to be the background, for it to be just the stage on which the characters perform rather than the prime subject matter.
Well David, you sure did a great job on achieving this in the book, now I can't wait to see ONE DAY on the big screen.

 Thanks so much to Big Honcho Media and Focus Features for making this possible.
One of my readers will win a great One Day prize pack, courtesy of Focus Features....

One (1) winner will receive:
·         Copy of the movie-tie in edition paperback book
·         Clear cosmetic case
·         Necklace
·         Moleskin Journal

Prizing value: $30.95
Giveaway provided by Focus Features

To enter leave a comment telling me your favorite fictional couple and fill in the ONE DAY contest form below.

In Theatres August 19

Official website          http://experienceoneday.com
Facebook                    http://www.facebook.com/OneDayMovie

Download the One Day Reader’s Guide

Enter the GoodReads “One Day Summer Reads” Sweepstakes

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vote for Zach - Team Kilt!

Ok, guys we've reached the end of the First Annual Summer Crushin' tournament & Zachary is in the running!

Now we are up against some tough competition...Jace Wayland!  I do love Jace but I think Zach is more real so that is why my vote goes for him. My reasons for  knowing Zach can win this, he's:

  • a hottie
  • not just good looking, he's smart too
  • Scottish - an accent and kilt, need I say more?
  • there's no evil in him ;)

Now for some incentives:

If Zachary gets 5,000 votes: Jeri will write lyrics to "Forever," the song Logan sings to Aura in her sleep the night before his testimony near the end of Shade. (*sigh*)

If Zachary gets 10,000 votes, Jeri will list every Team Kilt member's name in the acknowledgments of SHINE. (To be a member of Team Kilt, you just have to vote for him and let her know. Send Jeri an e-mail with the subject line #TeamKilt)

And the best one: if Zachary wins, we finally get to see what's under the kilt!!! But not until he's 18, when SHINE comes out. ;-P Jeri will also fly to Minneapolis for a booksigning and get-together with Amy, Jen, and any Team Kilt member who can join her...how cool is that??!

Here are some more reasons to vote for Zach

(thanks @neri0724 from In The Name of Books for making this button!)

Now go on and Vote for Zach here!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In My Mailbox - August 7, 2011

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren where we show what books have found a new home with us!

This week I got :
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab - I have heard way too many amazing things about this book, I must read this soon!

Shade and Shift by Jeri Smith-Ready - I LOVE, LOVE LOVE this series and if you like paranormal, with ghosts, a mystery and some romance then you will too. Oh and music!!! These are very special copies of the book I will cherish forever.

Not in picture but I also won a cookbook Make It Tonight from http://raymentsreadingsrantsandramblings.blogspot.com. Thanks Jen, I need all the help I can get!

I was part of the blog tour for Jeri and on the Pre-Shifter team and our team annoted copies of Shade & Shift (plus an ARC of Shine, the 3rd book, when it's ready)!!! See all those coloured stickies in the books...each one has a note about something on that page. Did you know Jeri has the word Magenta in nearly every book she writes?

In case you missed it a few days ago, I celebrated 2 years of blogging! I have a contest to win one of two books from book depo, click here to enter :D

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blogoversary Celebration Time!

The best thing about book blogging (besides the books of course) is the people! I am so honoured to be a part of such a great group. Thank you for stopping by and for sharing your love of books with me.  From my exploding TBR piles to the friendships made along the way ... things would not be the same without you!

***Passes around virtual cake with Smarties (the Canadian candy coated chocolate kind)***

I want to give back to my readers, my thank you for stopping buy and feeding my bookish addiction! Since it is my second blogoversary, there will be TWO winners of a book of your choice from Book Depository (Max $15 value). It is open internationally, assuming Book Depository ships to you.

To enter, please leave a comment below sharing your TWO favorite read this past year, then fill out the form below. I do ask that you be a follower to enter as this is a celebration of sharing and I hope to see you back again! Spreading the word is not necessary, but for those that do, have a special prize for you! Since I live and breathe chocolate, I will send one winner & a box of yummy Smarties (those colourful chocolates in the picture above), simply leave me a link in the comments!

To start it off, my two favorite reads this year were:

We'll Always Have Summer

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han - The last book of Belly, Conrad & Jeremiah *sniff*

Check out my review here!

Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book 2)
Red Glove by Holly Black - Where Holly makes you fall in love with a con-man and self-described jerk :D

Check out my review here!