Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Published: June 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 404
Copy Provided by: NetGalley
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Review:


I was feeling iffy about this title until it turned around at 80 pages in.  I was pleasantly surprised with the turn of events and felt like a kid addicted to candy.  I just wanted to learn more about the characters and find out what was going to happen next.

Overall I enjoyed the story but there were a few things that were thrown in which didn't seem to work for me.  I found myself questioning many things throughout the book.  Why characters acted in a certain way, I had questions about Amelia's abilities and I felt like I was always looking for more of a background story.  I have not read anything else by Tara Hudson so I see her as a new author.  Please don't get me wrong though.  Writing is a craft that you have to work on and sometimes it is not your first book that is successful but subsequent series or titles afterwards.  Ms. Hudson had a good story outline but it wasn't coming together smoothly for me.

As a debut title, Hereafter was decent but I felt that Ms Hudson could work on more subtle character development and story-building.  I just had too many unanswered questions.  I see that this will be a trilogy with #2 entitled Arise and #3 as Elegy.  I'm not sure if I'll continue with them as I would have been satisfied if it were not to be turned into a series.

Let's discuss this for a minute.  Is it just me or does everything seem to be coming in groups of 3 now?  I think the last stellar stand-alone book I read was Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.  I don't think I've read any others since then.  I hope this isn't the end to the stand-alones...



Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Blog Hop - July 29th

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

Each week, participating blogs are asked questions to post and answer on their websites.

This week’s question –  “Highlight one book you have received this week (for review, from the library, purchased at the store, etc.) that you can’t wait to dig into!”


For me, that would have to be 'Supernaturally' by Kiersten White.  This is the follow-up novel to 'Paranormalcy'  I follow Kiersten's blog and she has to be one of the funniest writers around.  She has me in hoots most of the time with her self-deprecating humour.  I'd love to meet her one day.  If Supernaturally is even half as much fun as Paranormalcy, it will be well worth the purchase price.



Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.


But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

So much for normal.



Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spy glass by Maria Snyder



Published: August 2010
Publisher: Mira
Pages: 424
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

After siphoning her own blood magic in the showdown at Hubal, Opal Cowan has lost her powers. She can no longer create glass magic. More, she's immune to the effects of magic. Opal is now an outsider looking in, spying through the glass on those with the powers she once had, powers that make a difference in the world.



Until spying through the glass becomes her new power. Suddenly, the beautiful pieces she makes flash in the presence of magic. And then she discovers that someone has st olen some of her blood—and that finding it might let her regain her powers. Or learn if they're lost forever…

Spy Glass is the third and final book in Ms Snyders' second trilogy.  I have been a great fan of hers since I red her first trilogy (Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study) and for me, this second trilogy did not disappoint.    The review for the first book Storm Glass is here, and for Sea Glass is here.

What more can I tell you about the series?  I'm glad I'm not Opal!  That poor girl, she just can't seem to catch a break.  Every time I think things are going to settle down a bit for her, something else happens.  I do enjoy the fact that she seems to learn from her experiences, though.  She builds on her knowledge and is learning to accept what happens to her.  She has some difficult decisions to make and for the most part I agreed with them.  Opal is one of those people who inspire loyalty, without knowing that she's doing it.  Some of her friends are amazing - Ari, Janko, Nic and Eve are hilarious, yet capable and provide a bit of lighter humour.  Valek is a scary character, but not in an evil way.  (Check him out in the first trilogy). And Opal's mother - wow, don't disappoint her, or you'll really get the silent treatment.

There's lot's of mystery and adventure with a lovely helping of confusing, but ultimately satisfying, romance and lots of magic, or lack of it.  I think you might just have to read the book to understand that last comment!  Seriously, this is a wonderful series for fantasy fans, with a little bit of everything for everyone and a whole lot of wonderful storytelling.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (July 27th) - The Last Echo by Kimberley Derting


Published; April 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins

Violet kept her morbid ability to sense dead bodies a secret from everyone except her family and her childhood-best-friend-turned-boyfriend, Jay Heaton. That is until forensic psychologist Sara Priest discovered Violet’s talent and invited her to use her gift to track down murderers. Now, as she works with an eclectic group of individuals—including mysterious and dangerously attractive Rafe—it’s Violet’s job to help those who have been murdered by bringing their killers to justice. When Violet discovers the body of a college girl killed by “the girlfriend collector” she is determined to solve the case. But now the serial killer is on the lookout for a new “relationship” and Violet may have caught his eye....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Musings by Knitwits - A is for Apron by Nathalie Mornu



Published: May 2008
Publisher: Lark Books
Pages: 144
Copy: My own
Summary: Goodreads


A is for adorable and amazingly irresistible and incredibly attractive: who would have imagined that the apron, that charming and nostalgic symbol of domesticity, would become today’s must-have home accessory? But it most certainly is, as stitchers and crafters flock to these creative canvases as the perfect vehicle for showcasing fabulous fabric, simple embellishments, an...moreA is for adorable and amazingly irresistible and incredibly attractive: who would have imagined that the apron, that charming and nostalgic symbol of domesticity, would become today’s must-have home accessory? But it most certainly is, as stitchers and crafters flock to these creative canvases as the perfect vehicle for showcasing fabulous fabric, simple embellishments, and novel ideas. These ingenious projects—from ultra-feminine and vintage chic to whimsical color-play—include waist and bib aprons, pinafores, smocks, cobblers, and even something for the pint-sized cook. All of the projects are photographed in a playful style. And templates, sewing basics, and quick and easy projects for sprucing up store-bought aprons and whipping up aprons from recycled materials are here too!

Attention sewers, the humble apron is back, with bells on.  I've always thought it a pity that pretty aprons have gone out of style, but I've noticed in the last little while that perhaps there has been a bit of a revival.  Certainly there are so many beautiful cotton fabrics available that it seems a shame not to use them to make something simple and practical. 

Most of the 25 different designs in this books are suitable for a beginner sewer and all of them are gorgeous.  There are half aprons and full ones and even a couple for kids.  These would make amazing Christmas gifts for the women in your family, and while you're at it you could make one for yourself.  Wear them in the kitchen, wear them in the garden, or wear them as a new fashion accessory.  Wherever you decide to wear your apron, have fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

To Weed Or Not To Weed? That Is The Question

Christinabean and I having been having a hectic week, what with her moving and me at a family funeral, so we haven't had much time for reading and reviewing. But I did have some thoughts I wanted to share with you, and these concern weeding.  No, I'm not talking about the garden type of weeding, I'm talking about weeding books.

Those of you who are involved in the library world will know what I'm talking about, but for those of you who aren't familiar with the term, it basically means throwing out the old to make room for the new.  Some people find this really easy to do with books, and I will admit that at work I have no problem at all.  At home though, that is a whole different ball game.

I have ten bookcases (yep, that's 10) and they are all full.  Many of them with books in double rows and stacked vertically so I can fit more in - know what I mean?  One of those bookcases has all my embroidery books, but apart from a couple of other shelves, the rest are all my fiction.  Every now and again I pull a few older titles out, if I know I'm not going to read them again, but it's like parting with your children - only worse (the kids keep coming back!).

My husband has finally put his foot down and has said 'no more bookshelves'.  I don't think it's fair myself - I don't tell him no more tools - but I have to admit that my books take up a lot more room than his tools do.  So my problem is this.  If I want to keep buying new books I have to get rid of some of the old ones.  I'm practically in tears at the thought of it.  I have been taking a few copies in to work to sell on the book cart, but it is soooooooooo difficult. I even bought an e-reader so that I wouldn't have to buy so many hard copies, but now, if I read an e-arc that I really enjoy I go out and buy myself a copy to keep - yeah, yeah, I know, don't say it!

So I would like your advice.  At what point do you decide it's ok to part with a book.  Is it age, condition, relevance or some other secret formula that I haven't yet worked out?  I know I have to be strong, and I reckon that if I haven't re-read something in ten years, I probably won't, but at the same time I know that 2 months afer I get rid of them I'll decide I want to read them again.  As I said - to weed, or not to weed, that is the question?  HELP!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Blog Hop - July 22

Book Blogger Hop


In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

Each week, participating blogs are asked questions to post and answer on their websites.

This week’s question –

What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?

I find that science fiction and fantasy are the hardest genres for me to get into.  Fantasy has always been hard for me to get into (maybe I just don't have a good imagination?) until recently.  I'm finding more fantasy that I can identify with.  Science Fiction is a genre that I just can't seem to wrap my head around . I know that Curlypow is a big fan but not so much for me....

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini


Published: May 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 496
ecopy: Courtesy of Netgalley and publisher
Summary: Goodreads

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.



As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.


Over the years many epic stories have been written about starcrossed lovers.  Romeo and Juliet are probably the most famous.  We have Tristan and Isolde - my personal favourite, and then there's the story of Helen and Paris, or as she is more commonly known - Helen of Troy.  Starcrossed is Josephine Angelini's take on the latter, and what a fantastic take it is.

Ms Angelini has written a story about the children (x times removed) of Gods and Goddesses,known as scions, and tells how they are fated to relive the stories of their famous ancestors.  These scions, or demi-gods are born with the powers of their ancestors as well.  The thing is, everyone knows about their powers, except Helen. 

I absolutely loved the first meeting between Helen and Lucas.  It is so different from the normal storyline and so original.  Sorry, no can tell, 'cos that would be a spoiler, but you'll love it.  As the story progresses we realize just what a disadvantage Helen is labouring under because she has grown up unaware of her powers and heritage.  Helen's best friend Claire reminded me a little of Chloe's role with Clark Kent (closet Smallville fan here!)  Claire seems to accept Helen whatever she does and is a true friend.  I loved her spunk and determination - she's such a little fire cracker.

There are some absolutely wonderful family dynamics going on with Lucas and his numerous cousins and siblings, each one channeling a different God or Goddess, and each with their own unique powers and background. But the fun comes when someone from a different 'Family' arrives on the scene and no-one is really safe.

Ms Angelini weaves a wonderful and mesmerising tale full of excitement and mystery and a beautiful love story that you think you know about, but may'be not. I loved every minute of it.  I'm sure you will too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (July 20th) - Hallowed by Cynthia Hand



Release date: January 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike.

Hallowed is book #2 in the Unearthly series!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fantastic Fairytales - Just Ella and Ella Enchanted

Although these two titles are usually found in the junior section at the library, both are well worth looking for and reading if you are a fairytale fan.  Most of you will have heard of the first, if only because of the movie, but some of you may not be aware of the other. I read both of them shortly after they were published and they have remained favourites.

Published: January 1997
Publisher: Scholastic
Summary: Goodreads

1997At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: "Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally." When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella's life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you'll ever read.



Gail Carson Levine's examination of traditional female roles in fairy tales takes some satisfying twists and deviations from the original. Ella is bound by obedience against her will, and takes matters in her own hands with ambition and verve. Her relationship with the prince is balanced and based on humor and mutual respect; in fact, it is she who ultimately rescues him. Ella Enchanted has won many well-deserved awards, including a Newbery Honor.

Ever wondered what happens after Cinderella gets the prince - find out in this one:

Published: September 1999
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Summary: Goodreads

It's a familiar story: In spite of the obstacles put in her way by her wicked stepmother, Ella goes to the ball, sweeps Prince Charming off his feet, and is chosen to be his bride. Now she's comfortably ensconced in the palace, awaiting marriage to the man of her dreams. It's happily ever after time, right?



Wrong! Life for Ella has become an endless round of lessons and restrictions; even worse, Prince Charming turns out to be more like Prince Boring. Why can't she talk with him the way she can with Jed, her earnest young tutor?


Slowly, Ella comes to realize she doesn't want the life she fought so hard to win. But breaking her engagement proves more difficult -- and dangerous -- than escaping her stepmother's tyranny.


If you haven't already, give them a try.  I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

Monday, July 18, 2011

In My Mailbox - July 18

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren (http://www.thestorysiren.com) in which bloggers post about the books they have received for the week.  Books may be won, taken out from the library or bought from a store.
I had a few great ones this week from the library.  Unfortunately, since I'm in the middle of a big move, I don't think I'll be able to get to them...

I was lucky enough to win the following two titles as well -



What's in your mailbox?


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Everlasting by Alyson Noel

Published: St Martin's Griffin
Publisher: June 2011
Pages: 336
Copy Provided by: Won
Summary:  Goodreads

Summary:
Everlasting is the sixth and final installment of the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. Ever and Damen have spent centuries facing down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears-all in the hope of being together forever. Now in Everlasting, their destiny is finally within reach.

Will they be united-or torn apart forever? Readers will finally discover the truth in this anxiously awaited conclusion!

Review:

This was the last book in the Immortal Series and I have to admit that I was pleased with the ending.  Noel wrapped up the series just as it should and addressed questions about Ever and Damon's prevous lives as well as what happened in the Shadowland.
I have been reading some fairly negative reviews about this title lately and it is interesting because some bloggers feel that this story is all about Ever getting it on with Damon.  This really bothers me because it's like saying that Memoirs of a Geisha is about an Asian hooker.  Everlasting for me was about Ever learning to connect with her soul in a spiritual way;  seeing how her life fits into a much larger puzzle.  I enjoyed how Noel combined Damon's actions with karma in future lives.  Overall it was an interesting way to wrap things up and I enjoyed the story.

If you are interested in continuing with Alyson's series, you might want to check out her spinoff with Riley in Radiance. It is a middle school title but continues with Riley Bloom's afterlife/

One last thing about Alyson Noel...Curlypow and I had the opportunity to meet her at the Smart Chicks Kick it Tour last fall in Toronto and I have to say, she is SOOO nice and down to earth.  For me, when you meet an author who is genuine with their fans, their books are so much more appealing!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Exile by Anne Osterlund


Published: April 2011
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 295
Copy: Bought
Summary: Goodreads

Crown princess Aurelia is a survivor. She survived attempted assassination. She survived the king's rejection. She survived her mother's abandonment. And now, in exile, she must survive her kingdom-from hostile crowds to raw frontier to desert sands. But even as unknown assailants track Aurelia and expedition guide Robert, she knows what her greatest risk is: falling in love

This is the third book that I have read by Anne Osterlund, and for me, they just keep getting better and better. Exile is the follow-up to Aurelia (Read my review here), and continues the story of princess Aurelia and her childhood friend Robert.  I loved Aurelia, it was full of wonderful characters and in Exile we get to know them a little better.  Having been exiled after the death of her father, Aurelia is trying to put her finger on the pulse of her people by visiting different areas of the country and trying to find out what life is really like for them, and in the process she grows as both a person and a princess. 

Her ongoing relationship with Robert was both charming and frustrating. Looking from the outside in on a romance in progress is fun and I really enjoyed the way these two find each other in the midst of all that is going on. They are both so sure of themselves and at the same time so unsure of their feelings.  Robert is such a noble person - altho' at times I was saying to myself, 'just kiss her already!' 

The uncertainty of whom they could put their trust in kept things tense and I found myself racing through pages to find out what would happen next.  At one of their stops, Aurelia comes face to face with someone from her past and this throws her into extreme confusion.  Sorry, can't say whom, because that would be a spoiler, but her acceptance of the situation and realization that she has to move on was well done.

'She had survived.  And somehow, in the process, the chasm within her own chest had healed, if not filled' (page 116)

Once again Ms Osterlund treats us to mystery and adventure, with sword fights, treachery, chases and romance in spades.  I'm really hoping that she is already in the process of writing #3, because I really want to see how Aurelia handles her treacherous step-mother and sister  (what wonderful behind-the-scenes baddies they were).

For anyone who enjoyed Graceling, or Fire, you will love this series, and if you haven't already tried it you're in for a wonderful treat.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Blog Hop - July 14

Book Blogger Hop


In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop (http://www.crazy-for-books.com) is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

Each week, participating blogs are asked questions to post and answer on their websites.

This week’s question –

How/Where do you get your books?  Do you buy them or go to the library?  Is there a certain website that you use like Paperbackswap?

We tend to borrow most of our books from the library since we both work at the library and see all of the new titles coming in.  However, we both give in sometimes and go on book buying binges.  Right now Curlypow is holding a ton of my TBR pile books that I just can't get to.  One of my favourite places to go is http://www.bookcloseouts.com/.  It is a Canadian company and shipping is reasonable.  The biggest thing for me is that there is NO CUSTOMS charges.  They have great deals on scratch and dent titles (sometimes 70 or 90% off) and also carry some autographed books.  Right now, all pocket books are 25% off.  Check it out and let me know when it becomes your new 'go to' bookstore....

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Christinabean's Friday Finds - July 15th


Welcome back to Christinabean's Friday Finds.  Here are some new titles that are coming out in the future.  Three of them are #2 titles in a book series A Million Suns, The Golden Lily and Perception. The Future of Us is a collaborative effort from Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.  What's really cool about this cover is it's Matrix-y (yeah, I made that word up) look in binary code.



So let's chat for a minute shall we?  Do any of you like watching book trailers?  I have to say that I love book trailers just like I love movie trailers. They really do influence me as to whether I will read a novel or not.  Yes, yes I admit.  Not only do I judge a book by its cover but also by it's trailer.  Marketing...it really does work on me.  So for all of you authors out there, I think it really is a good idea to invest in a good videographer to promote your title.  One of the best book trailers that I've seen is The Karma Club by Jessica Brody.  This trailer just really worked for her book (for me) and I wanted to read it right away.  Have you seen any outstanding book trailers lately?

Ok, so we've discussed book trailers but let's talk websites, shall we?  When I find a book I enjoy, I often want to find out more about the author.  Working for a library and responsible for outreach, I am also looking to see how to contact the author for author visits, tours and skype interviews.  Please, please (authors) put up some kind of contact information or bio.  Making it easy to reach you means that as fans, teachers and professionals we can promote your material and tell more people about your great reads.  I'm not saying to put up things that are too personal (to encourage stalking) but by all means, make sure you make it easy for us to follow you on Facebook, Twitter or on your personal blog.  Keep your fans engaged too by updating regularly and even offering up short stories or fun things about your characters or series.  Fan love this....now onto something a bit more pressing...

Pottermania!!

So I have to ask, how many of our lovely followers went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter last night?  I would have loved to go but I'm afraid I'm no spring chicken anymore...instead,I looked for videos on Youtube...

First, need a refresher?


Check out this video on Snape...


Another video to make you cry....


Doesn't this just make you want to run to a box office now and watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2??  It's like saying goodbye to an old friend....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest Post: Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Yet another of our colleagues has stepped up to the plate and agreed to deliver a guest post for us.  We hope you enjoy Pither's take on the latest volume by Carrie Ryan.  Thanks Pither, it was a good choice.



Published: March 2011
Publisher: Delacourte
Pages: 377
Summary: Goodreads

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.


Annah's world stopped that day, and she's been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn't feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.

But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?
 
 
From the very start Carrie Ryan's book "Dark and Hollow Places," the third and final instalment in her Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy, had me hooked. I'll freely admit I went into the series thinking 'eww, zombies!' Fairies, pile 'em on. Werewolves, more please. Vampires, why not.? Angels, where do I sign up? But flesh-eating zombies? Wasn't going to touch that with a barge pole. Curlypow was insistent though, so I reluctantly picked up the first, "The Forest of Hands and Teeth," and loved it. Ryan's got a very engaging style that just draws you in, keeping all the seething angsty teenage emotion nicely balanced with action going on in the wider world.

So, somewhat sheepishly, I found myself devouring (no pun intended) the first one, and eagerly chowing down on the second. When the third came in for me on OverDrive, I was more than pleased! Somewhat because I felt I'd gotten my hands on a book that I thought would be cool enough for the Princesses and their readers, but mainly because I wanted to find out what the hell was going to happen to end the trilogy. And really, closet Catcher fan here. Elias is great an' all, but I'm very much Team Catcher.

Bottom line was I thoroughly enjoyed it. The setting was more gritty and urban compared to her previous books; we're in the Dark City now, having left the Forest behind. We're no longer getting hints about the state of the outside world, you're introduced to it in all its shocking and dark reality. You're quite a way down the road in that little handbasket.

There were excellent action scenes that I can't help feeling would be great to see on the big screen, but I think my favourite as always with Ryan's works was the emotions and depths of character. I started out not liking Annah, but ended up doing my little fist-pumping end-zone dance for her. I loved seeing the layers getting peeled back, seeing that secretly noble core coming to light. I truly came to admire her by the end, that finding the hidden strength within yourself when all you want to do is curl up and let the rest of the world wash over you. At the heart of it she's a true survivor, and I think her entire character could be summed up by one of her mental musings:

"And if I've learned anything surviving on my own it's that I can take another step. That's all I have to promise myself: one more step, and then I can worry about the one after that." (page 276)

Another of my favourite quotes, and there were many, was when Ryan sneaks some morality and Machiavelli under the radar:

"Does the fact that we ended up here and now with little hope mean that everything that came before was meaningless? The rise and fall of empires? The families and wars and loss and growth and knowledge and striving for something better? Is it always about the end and not about the beginning? Is it always about the conclusion and not about the path to it?" (page 272)

Along with all the tasty characters, there's loads of the angsty teen love we just lap up. The love triangles (sometimes squares), the hidden looks, the tormented wonderings, those moments that make you clasp your hands beneath your chin with big shiny eyes. Ryan takes it above the spinning hearts and twinkly stars though, and we see that Annah is truly terrified of letting go, of actually trusting and depending on someone. It's not just about two teens meeting and falling in love, it's about all the messy crap and painful misunderstandings that go along with it.

At several points I couldn't help but wonder how it would end, how it could possibly end. I envisioned this nuclear bomb type explosion and fading to black, complete with a little 'fin' in the middle of the screen. I found the ending satisfying, if a little pat, but hey, I like that type of ending. Some threads were tied up nicely, but others were left to dangle, leaving enough gaps so you're just not quite sure how things end, or even leaving the window cracked for another series.

I will plaster on one huge caveat: this is a book for mature YA readers. This world is pretty damn mean and gritty, and there are several mature situations. Sexual assault occurs ("two women on an island full of brutal Recruiters was bound to lead to trouble," page 140) and there's some brutal scenes of mob violence and abuses of authority. Sometimes it's implied, other times it's put out there in all its horrifying glory. Not a book for the faint of heart of those of delicate sensibilities.

Overall, fantastic book, loved it. I think my favourite part was the postcard though. I found it intriguing how it played quite significant roles in all three of the books. It's got my vote for best supporting role by a piece of stationery.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine (http://breakingthespine.blogspot.com) , that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating or books that are in our TBR pile.  This week’s “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is


Summary (by Goodreads)

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater

In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Maggie is coming to Toronto!  More specifically she is coming to the Oshawa Chapters this coming Saturday July 16th!  Will you be there?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Let's Hear It for the Boys - Worldshaker by Richard Harland


Published: April 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 388
Summary: Goodreads


Col lives on the Upper Decks of the juggernaut Worldshaker, a mobile city as big as a mountain. He has been chosen as next Supreme Commander - but then a girl, Filthy, escapes from Below and appears in his cabin. "Don't let 'em take me!" she begs.



Will he hand her over, or will he break all the rules? Col's safe, elite world is about to fall apart as he learns the terrible truth about the nature of his society in this steampunk novel by Richard Harland.


Richard Harland is the author of many fantasy, horror and science fiction novels for young readers, including the Eddon and Vail series, the Heaven and Earth trilogy, and the Wolf Kingdom quartet (winner of the Aurealis Award.) He lives in Australia. Visit him at richardharland.net.


I was at Chapters the other day when this title popped up in front of me.  The blurb on the book states:

" A page-turning, pulse-pounding read." - Kirkus Reviews
"Harland's steampunk alternate history is filled with oppression, class struggle, and war, showing their devastation on a personal level through Col's privileged eyes ... the writing is sharp and the story fast-paced." - Publishers Weekly

I haven't had a chance to read the copy I picked up yet, but it looked like a great suggestion for guys.  I'll post a review once I've had the chance to read it, but in the meantime if anyone else has, let us know what you thought.  It sounds a little like a cross between 'Across the Universe' and Inside Out'. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Saying goodbye to Harry

Just a quick post to share something Harry Potter related.  This video made me cry.  I'm going to miss you Harry...  :(

In My Mailbox - July11th

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren (http://www.thestorysiren.com) in which bloggers post about the books they have received for the week.  Books may be won, taken out from the library or bought from a store.
This week I was fortunate enough to get some interesting books in the mail and from the library.  These two were from the library -



These two were won from Fictionall THANK YOU!!


And last but not least, this new Ellen Hopkins adult title is from Simon and Shuster Canada.  Thank you!

What's in your mailbox?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare


Published: April 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry
Pages: 474
Copy Provided by: Simon and Shuster Canada
Summary: Goodreads

Summary: 

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.


Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.
 
Review:
 
I had waited for this title for so long and was lucky enough to get a copy from Simon and Shuster Canada (THANK YOU!!).  It was such a nice surprise to receive it in the mail.  Unfortunately, life happens and I got busy and wasn't able to dedicate enough time to finish reading it until now.

I absolutely adored the first 3 books in the Mortal Instruments series.  In fact, it is one of my favourite series and when it was announced Clare was writing more books + the trilogy prequel, I couldn't have been happier.  Meeting Cassandra and Holly at a book signing earlier this year was also a bonus.  These two writers feed off each other with their energy and their enthusiasm for writing.

In classic Cassie Clare style, COFA delivered wit, intrigue, and had all the elements I was looking for in a great series.  The problem is, topping the first three books was nearly impossible and I think my expectations have been so high coming into this one.  Don't get me wrong, COFA still has all of the elements I was looking for, it just didn't seem to be as fast-moving as the first 3 books.  I am anticipating that City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire will pick up the momentum and carry the storyline to be just as incredible as the first three.

**May contain some spoilers**

COFA opened up a different side of our favourite characters which is something I enjoyed.  Simon became a bit of a player as his new vampire status attracted the affection of two leading ladies.  (For some reason when I picture Simon, I always see him as being friends with Xander from Buffy...anyone else see this?) It was good to see his character develop.  We also got to see more background on Isabelle.  Izzy has seemed so cold in the past but COFA gave her more depth and sensitivity.  Of course Jace and Clary's relationship also developed.  Jace still continues to be my #1 character (sorry Will).  I just LOVE how conceited and sarcastic he can be and then when it comes to his feelings for Clary he just melts down and shows his vulnerability...speaking of which, guess what came out earlier this week? 

In some copies of COFA was a letter to Clary from Jace.  You can no longer buy the actual letter but you can read it on Cassandra Clare's blog. Sigh...like I need another book boyfriend....
 
I always find it hard to review titles that are so involved in a series without giving spoilers.  If you haven't read the Mortal Instruments series, you are really missing out.  No seriously.  I am a huge supporter of the Vampire Academy.  I'm sure you have heard me rant about how everyone needs to read the series.  This is another series that you just should not miss out on.  Actually, it should come BEFORE you read Vampire Academy, it is THAT fabulous.  Need some convincing?  Let's check out some of my favourite quotes from the book -

pg. 120
"I can see why you like it here...There's a thin layer of nerd all over everything."
- Simon

Pg. 133
"You can't have two fathers."
"Sure you can," Simon said.  "Who says you can't?  We can buy you one fo those books they have for little kids.  Timmy Has Two DadsI.  Except I don't think they have one called Timmy Has Two Dads and One of Them Was Evil.  That part you're going to have to work through on your own."

Pg. 141
"I think I'm better than everyone else.  An opinion that has been backed up with ample evidence."
- Jace

Pg. 152
"A flock of birds rose, cawing, from the nearby trees.  Simon remembered a rhyme his mother used to recite to him, about magpies.  You were supposed to count them and say: one for sorrow, two for mirth, three for a wedding, four for a birth, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret that's never been told."
 (I love this quote...)

Page 162
"Love is a contradiction"
- Jace

pg. 317
"Dudes," he said (Jordan), "do not follow other dudes to the bathroom."Isabelle sighed.  "Latent homosexual panic will do you in every time."

Pg 385
"You love each other - anyone can see that, looking at you - that kind of love that can burn down the world or raise it up in glory."
- Lilith to Jace

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari


Published: June 1st, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 341
Copy: Purchased
Summary: Goodreads


A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.


Does anyone know why the title of this book is significant? Some interpretations of the old nursery rhyme 'Ring around the roses,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes, ashes,
We all fall down.
say that it came about during the great plague.  There are many different interpretations, but for the purposes of the book 'Ashes, Ashes' that one obviously seems the most significant.  Why, because the story is about the aftermath of serious global warming and a devastating outbreak of small pox, that kills 99% of the population.  Since I happen to be one of the people who is convinced this is how the world as we know it will end - with some kind of lethal disease -  I found this book particularly interesting.
 
This new post-apocalyptic story centres around Lucy, whom I found to be one of the most real characters I've read about in a while.  She is alone, scared and absolutely determined to survive, on her own if need be.  There is an interesting description of her trying to skin a turtle to make soup - it had me smiling and cringing at the same time.  If you're hungry enough, you'll try anything, right?
 
Ms Treggiari writes very descriptively and I found it easy to picture the scenes of devastation in my mind -
 
'She watched the mist swirl around her feet like a net. It reminded her of a nightmare, glue or quicksand trapping her as she tried to run.  She looked back.  The grove was in shadow.  The salt-poisoned pines looked like skeletal fingers.  The mudflats were as barren and pocked as the surface of the moon.   And still she would rather have been back there than walking across this bridge, the sound of their boots muffled yet loud in the silence.  There was a soft, strangling quality to the air.  It felt heavy and dank, and it suffocated her like a tangle of blankets wrapped around her head.' (page 260)
 
Can't you just feel it? When Aidan enters the picture it is a forgone conclusion that there is going to be some romance, but it didn't quite follow the normal pattern. Inevitable, yes, but not hurried or forced.  I enjoyed all the secondary characters, who each have their own very distinct personalities, Grammalie Rose and Sammy being two of my favourites.  There were not too many stereotypes, which was refreshing.
 
Ms Treggiari manages to keep the tension throughout the entire book, so that even when there are good days, which are few, there is still that feeling in the pit of your stomach - the one that tells you something bad is coming.  Very tense exciting and full of surprises, Ashes, Ashes  was a great read for me, and I'm sure other post-apocalyptic fans will agree.  I'm just wondering why I hadn't heard anything about it before I saw it in the book store.  Very glad I bought it and even though everything tied up nicely and it appears to be a stand-alone, I'm seriously hoping there will be a follow-up to this one.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Christinabean's Friday Finds


So I came across some interesting things these past two weeks...

New books coming out -


I loved The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead..can't wait for this one!

Drew Barrymore is going to direct the book to film version of Heist Society!  I love Drew and I can't wait to see how it turns out. 

Only another week until Harry Potter comes out. I'm pretty sad to see it all end but it has been a fantastic ride.  Have you seen the trailer below?  It was new to me this week.  Don't watch it if you don't want spoilers on Gringott's bank!  Is anyone going to the midnight showing?



As many of you know, this is the last of the Harry Potter movies.  The North American release is next week and yesterday was London's premiere.  A very emotional set of speeches was released today to the rest of the world from Daniel, Emma, Rupert and JK Rowling.  It made me cry...



On a happier note, have you seen this parody of the Hunger Games to Brittney Spears music?



What did you discover this week?

Friday Blog Hop - July 8th

Book Blogger Hop


In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and find new book-related blogs that we may be missing out on! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

Each week, participating blogs are asked questions to post and answer on their websites.

This week’s question –

Well, it's not even a question at all!  We need to promote another book blog's giveaway.  The one that I'm promoting is by the Book Faery.  She is celebrating a massive achievement - 1200 follower giveaway!  Check out the link!

Welcome to the Paperback Princesses! Make yourself at home, take a look around our blog and let us know what you think in the comments section. We would love to hear what you have to say about our posts. We often try to comment on your comments as well so feel free to start a conversation! Since there are two of us running the show, we always have a variety of titles and event postings. Be sure to check out our own personal meme page. Check out Fantastic Fairytales, Let's Hear it for the Boys, In Case you Missed it and a few others. We try to not only focus on new YA books but also great titles from the past.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest Double Take - Wildefire by Karsten Knight


Publication date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Copy: Arc courtesy of Simon and Schuster
Summary: Goodreads

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

Our co-worker Kiley very kindly agreed to join us again for another guest post, and this time I thought I'd join her with a Double Take.  Hope you like the two different perspectives on the same book.

Kiley's Take

What to say about Wildefire?

I always enjoy a strong female protagonist – many times the YA books I don’t get into are the ones with weak-willed, boy-crazy, damsel-in-distress types. Ashline Wilde is none of those, although she happens to have a little bit of a weakness for the beautiful-but-totally-not-right-for-her boys. Add in some mythological plotlines, and we should have a winner. Right?

Almost. Karsten Knight has something, although I’m not sure what that something is yet – maybe it’s Ashline, or maybe it’s how he’s approached the gods-and-goddesses thing. But the story is a little disjointed and has some gaping holes, in both the plot and characters. A story like this needs depth of character, strong characters to uphold their superpowers, and create strong motives for action – but none of that is there. Characters do things that could make sense – if we had known that character a little (or a lot) better. There’s a great example in the book, but since it’s an ARC I’m going to avoid quotes and spoilers. There are some great twists, but again, they lose their effect because we just don’t have anything beyond the surface. To me it read a little like a rough draft – I’m sure the story and actions of the characters make complete sense to the author, but he forgot to fill us (his readers) in on the details.

I’ll read any following books (but probably won’t rush out to buy them), hoping that maybe we will get the depth of character and story this book is crying out for – I really do want to like this book. For now, give it a try if you’re fans of Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix or Rick Riordan. Katsa and Katniss fans might also appreciate Ashline, but Knight doesn’t quite reach the caliber of their stories. One thumb up with a squinched-up face for Wildefire.

Curlypow's Take

I will  admit to agreeing with Kiley in the beginning.  I wasn't feeling the characters completely - it felt as if something was missing.  Ashline is definitely a strong character, but sometimes her strength just felt like aggression and I'm not altogether fond of aggressive people.

Then I got past the halfway mark and I felt myself becoming engaged with the characters and I was understanding them a little more.  Perhaps it was when the reader finds out exactly which gods and goddesses these kids are reincarnations of? I'm not sure exactly, but I found myself remembering some of my classical education and facts that I had thought forgotten were resurfacing in my mind. This seemed to make it easier to connect with the character and their various idiosyncracies. Wildfire is quite a violent story, and Ash's sister Eve is a real nasty character. Don't you just love the play on names tho'? Ash - with fire smoldering inside her - very funny.

One thing that I had right at the end was that 'AHA' moment.  What a major twist!  Can't tell you what it is as that would be a spoiler, but it suddenly put the whole story in perspecive for me and I am now truly looking forward to the second book to find out where the story is going to go. I haven't spoken to Kiley yet, but I'll be really interested to see if she picked up on the twist. It's a brilliant set-up for book #2, which I'm assuming we'll see sometime in 2012.

Final response from me - slow to start and hard to get into, but well worth hanging on. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (July 6) - Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers



Luc Cain was born and raised in Hell, but he isn’t feeling as demonic as usual lately—thanks to Frannie Cavanaugh and the unique power she never realized she had. But you can’t desert Hell without consequences, and suddenly Frannie and Luc find themselves targeted by the same demons who used to be Luc’s allies.


Left with few options, Frannie and Luc accept the protection of Heaven and one of its most powerful angels, Gabe. Unfortunately, Luc isn’t the only one affected by Frannie, and it isn’t long before Gabe realizes that being around her is too…tempting. Rather than risk losing his wings, he leaves Frannie and Luc under the protection of her recently-acquired guardian angel.

Which would be fine, but Gabe is barely out the door before an assortment of demons appears—and they’re not leaving without dragging Luc back to Hell with them. Hell won’t give up and Heaven won’t give in. Frannie’s guardian exercises all the power he has to keep them away, but the demons are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell’s grasp.

And not everyone will get out of it alive.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Winners!



First of all, a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated on our One Year Blogversary and the Canada Day Blog Hop.  We were stunned at the number of entries!  A special thank you goes out to our hosts of the Canada Day Blog Hop - Aislynn from  Aislynn from Knit, Purl, Stitch, Read and Cook and Chrystal from Snowdrop Dreams of Books.  Thank you so much ladies for putting it all together!  So onto our winners...

Congratulations to our One Year Blogversary winner -

SpadesHighReads

We've emailed you and you have 72 hours to get back to us with your mailing address or we will have to draw another name!

Congratulations to our Canada Day Blog Hop winners -

Emilie wins Wolfsbane

Bron wins Demon's Surrender

Each winner has been emailed and needs to respond to us within 72 hours with their full name so we can mail our your prizes!

Thanks for entering!  Stay tuned for more giveaways (we're feeling generous this summer...)

In Case you Missed it - What Happened to Cass McBride by Gail Giles

Published: May 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Pages: 240
Copy Obtained by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
Kyle Kirby has planned a cruel and unusual revenge on Cass McBride, the most popular girl in school, for the death of his brother David. He digs a hole. Drugs Cass. Kidnaps her. Puts her in a box-underground. He buries her alive. But Kyle makes a fatal error: Cass knows the power of words. She uses fear as her weapon to keep her nemesis talking - and to keep herself breathing during the most harrowing 48 hours of her life.

Review:
A colleague referred this book to me and I thought I'd give it a shot. I wouldn't have normally chosen it just because I'm a cover snob but now as I look at it, the cover actually depicts Cass stuck in a box.  What Happened to Cass McBride is a rather quick read and fairly intense.

The author draws out a plethora of emotions with this one and I suspect if you enjoy reading Elizabeth Scott titles, you would also enjoy this one. One of the things that I really enjoyed with this title is that it gave me food for thought. Like Thirteen Reasons Why, it leaves you wondering how your behaviour impacts the lives of others. There are consequences in trying to manipulate others and when you avoid taking the high road.

This would make a great novel study for someone who is a reluctant reader (both for guys and girls). There are tons of themes to interpret - anywhere from dynamic relationships and the breakdown of family structure to suicide, peer pressure, popularity and grief.  

Net Galley Book Challenge


We love NetGalley and are going to join the @Red House Books.  For the month of July, Curlypow and i are going to read as many NetGalley titles as we can.  What a great idea this is!  So I have to be completely honest and admit that I find it hard to keep up with my NetGalley titles when I have so many other goodies from the library and that are tangible but this is such an awesome service for bloggers!  Want to join in the fun?  Check out Red House Books post for challenge details!


Monday, July 4, 2011

In my Mailbox - July 4th



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren  in which bloggers post about the books they have received for the week. Books may be won, taken out from the library or bought from a store.


So this week was a little thin on the book front
 



Oh and I forgot, Christinabean passed along the ARC of Wildefire


That's it for my mailbox this week, how about yours?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Department 19 by Will Hill



Published: March 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 540
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Jamie Carpenter's life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein's monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.



Department 19 takes us through history, across Europe, and beyond—from the cobbled streets of Victorian London to prohibition-era New York, from the icy wastes of Arctic Russia to the treacherous mountains of Transylvania. Part modern thriller, part classic horror, it's packed with mystery, mayhem, and a level of suspense that makes a Darren Shan novel look like a romantic comedy.


What a wonderful and enjoyable book this was to read.  This is Will Hill's debut novel and appears to be the first in a a 'major new series' according to the blurb at the back of the book.  I personally could not be happier.

Many of you will be thinking it's just another vampire book - but this is a vampire book written for guys that girls will also enjoy, not the other way around.  Filled with blood, gore and numerous flying body parts, there is enough mayhem in Department 19 to satisfy even the bloodthirstiest of readers.  Department 19 is full of mystery and adventure, with a dash of espionage just to sweeten the deal. 

The characters were full and interesting and many of them rather surprising.One of my favourites is Frankenstein - yep, the monster himself - and he is so well written he's almost loveable.  How about this quote from him about Mary Shelley

'Frankenstein looked away.  "That miserable little girl," he said quietly, almost to himself.  "She gave my pain to the world as entertainment." (page 124)

Any lovers of Frankenstein will appreciate that comment!  There are other literary characters in evidence as well, including Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker.  The story is loosely based on the premise that the story of Dracula is real, as are all the characters, and there are some wonderful flashbacks which illuminate certain events in history  that help to rationalize what is taking place 'now'.  There are some wonderful weapons in evidence throughout, my favourite being the T-bone - which is used often with great effect.

'"Why T-Bone?" asked Jamie. "Because it's like a stake - but bigger." '(page 168)

The main protagonist is Jamie Carpenter, and I found it very easy to identify with him.  The reader easily understands his personal growth throughout the book and his leadership qualities seem very plausible and real. 

'He was sizteen years old and miserably, crushingly lonely.' (page 23)

There is a lot going on in the book, but it was easy to follow along and there was nothing that didn't make sense to me.  I never did identify the traitor, really - so I was as surprised as Jamie when he was revealed, which was a nice change.  Usually I can work out who they are, but not this time. Its a long, fairly involved story that read very quickly, with numerous twists and turns to keep the action going.  I have no hesitation in recommending this one, especially for guys, but really for anyone who loves a good adventure story.  Try it out for yourselves.

Don't forget to enter our birthday givaway Blogversary which is still open until midnight tonight.
There was an error in this gadget