Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Taming by Eric Walters and Teresa Toten



Published: January 24th, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Pages: 256
Copy: Courtesy of Netgalley and publisher
Summary: Goodreads


Katie likes to believe she's invisible. It seems much safer than being exposed as she is--shy, poor, awkward. So getting up on stage in the school production of The Taming of the Shrew should be complete torture. But as Katie tells it, something totally unexpected happened when she stepped on stage: "My head exploded. I loved it. Acting hit me like a sucker punch and I loved, loved, loved it! . . . Invisible Katie became visible Katharina."

Evan Cooper is, as they say, another story. He knows just what it takes to get noticed, and he uses every one of the skills he's honed after years of being the new kid. Like tossing the keys to his father's high-end Audi to a kid he's never met, first day of school. "I have insurance for car theft," he explains to a shocked Danny. "And there's a full tank." An abuse of the power that comes with privilege and money? Sure.

But more dangerously, is his romance with Katie another version of the same thing? Or is it the real thing?


I started reading The Taming with absolutely no preconceived notions about it's contents.  I knew it was based around 'that Shakespeare guy's' play The Taming of the Shrew, but other than that I had no idea and  I was absolutely blown away by it!   Walters and Toten have taken a very important social issue (violence and abusive behavior) and have woven it ito an engrossing, wonderful and very moving tale of self discovery.

Told in alternating PoV's it is easy to get right into the heads of the main characters, Evan and Katie.  Katie is a mouse - quiet, shy, scared and invisible.  She does everything she can to fly under the radar.  Evan is her complete opposite in every way - handsome, rich, charismatic, confident, and completely toxic!  When Evan sets his sights on Katie, sparks fly.

To avoid spoilers I won't go into details, but the development of these two characters is superb.  We get into their heads and see the reasons behind their actions.  So much so that it's difficult not to feel sorry for Evan.  While it becomes obvious that he is a product of his envirnment, just as Katie is, there is no excuse for his behaviour, or hers for that matter.  I became very involved in what was going on and there is such a sense of empowerment at the end that I felt like cheering.  Excellent secondary characters, like Travis, Lisa and Josh, round out the story and make it complete.

The Taming is an amazing book that makes its point clearly, without being preachy, and even manages to inject a few snippets from everyone's favourite bard, and from one of his less popular plays no less.

I would highly recommend The Taming for anyone who likes contemporary fiction - and even for those that don't!  Canadians, remember this one for ISU time, but read it anyway, just for the experience, you won't regret it.  I don't know if it's available as a hard copy in the US right now, but I did notice it as an ebook from Amazon, so fire up your ereaders.

Monday, January 30, 2012

City of Lost Souls news


Uhhh....this is so embarassing but WHEN did this come out and have I been living under a rock?  I've been waiting to see the cover of Book #5 for awhile now and just happened across it while browsing the Amazon.ca today.  Looks lovely Ms. Clare.  Can't wait to continue with The Mortal Instruments series!!

Practice Cake by Dalya Moon


Published: October 2011
Pages: 230
ecopy: received for review
Summary: Goodreads

There’s one thing Maddie finds more tempting than red velvet cake: her coworker, Drew. All it takes is one of his sly winks or a playful hip-check by the cooler, and she’s incinerating the cookies. Her boyfriend would not approve.

When a reality TV crew descends upon the bakery, her simple summer job gets even more complicated. Maddie could become the Bakery Network’s next breakout star, if she can handle the heat of being cast as a show villain. Drew has an alternate idea: run away from everything, with him and his sexy tousled hair. She decides to take the leap, but when she finds out Drew’s been hiding a shocking secret, Maddie looks down at her packed suitcase and takes a moment to think. Should she fly off to Australia with a guy she hardly knows, or should she pick up her suitcase and hit him with it?

Chock full of imperfect people behaving badly, Practice Cake is for readers who enjoy a good laugh.


Last year I received a request from Dalya Moon to review her novel Charlie Woodcock is a Minor Niner (review HERE) - it was a wonderful book that I enjoyed very much.  So when she contacted me again to try Practice Cake I jumped at the chance.  Unfortunately life has a way of stepping in and it has taken several months for me to finally get time so read it, and I am SO glad I did.

Maddie, short for Madeline  (like the little cakes) is 18 and has just graduated from high school.  She's smart, sassy, funny and determined to buy a VW Bug.  I loved her character so much.  Ms Moon has a way of writing that captures the essence of her characters.  At 18 we really don't know what we want, but if we're lucky we learn from our mistakes, and that is exactly what Maddie does.  She's pretty without being gorgeous, she has family problems, but they're not overwhelming.  She has a job that isn't glamorous but satisfies her.  In fact, she's one of the most real characters I've read in a while. Maddie's interaction with guys is hilarious, and Drew, Hudson and Brian are all prime examples of the male population in its various forms. Maddie's sister Melanie is loving, but has a seriously flawed love life, her boyfriend is an idiot - albeit a handsome one, and her best friend Jaslene gets jealous of her frequently, but they forgive each other, as friends do. 

A few of my favourite quotes:

p 15 '"It's like a pair of sandals mated with a snake," I said, eliciting a few chuckles from out captive elevator audience. "And these are their shameful offspring."' (Maddie and Jaslene talking about a pair of open-toed boots)

p16 "That's the thing about jealousy.  It's an awful, shameful human emotion, but when it's aimed at you, it's almost a sign you're on the right track.  When I started wearing more skirts and shorts instead of jeans, the hateful looks increased, so I shortened my hems even more.  Now that I was a high school graduate, how was I supposed to know when I looked hot?'

p17 '"Scouting," I said.  I tried to stay cool, but nearly stumbled down the contrete steps, ruining my nice dress with a bloody compound fracture.'

p 32 '"Cute, but I'm in love with him." I pointed to the shelf behind the counter, at the taxidermied squirrel with little black cowboy boots and a tiny pistol.  I wondered if that was the fate awaiting the squirrels in the bakery's ceiling crawlspace.  The exterminator had said there were four or more.  Perhaps they'd be made into little Village People squirrels.

Through all the humour, and there is lots of it, there are some wonderful life lessons to be learned, but the story is never preachy. It pokes fun at life in so many different ways, many of them uniquely Canadian, which I just loved. There's a little bit of underage drinking and some mature situations with some bad language, but none of it is over the top or out of character.  Practice Cake is sad, funny, romantic, funny, real and just plain wonderful to read. I loved every witty minute of it and only wish it had been twice as long, so that I could have seen more of these wonderful characters.

I'm always happpy when I find a Canadian author whose work I really enjoy.  Thank you Ms Moon for the great read.

Addendum:  Dalya's books are available for Kindle on Amazon.com for only $2.99 - at that price you could try them all!

In My Mailbox - January 30th


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 I received an ARC copy of


I know that Curlypow reviewed this title in December but I have yet to read it and it has been in my TBR list for awhile.  Looking forward to something different!  What's in your mailbox this week?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe


Published: January 24, 2011
Publisher: Disney, Hyperion
Pages: 304
Copy: Netgalley and Publisher
Summary: Goodreads

It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.

I was lucky enough to meet Megan Crewe a little while ago at DarkLitFest in Oshawa.  I bought her first book Give up the Ghost at that time and really enjoyed it.  She had mentioned that she had another book/series in the works, so when I saw The Way We Fall available on Netgalley I knew I just had to give it a shot. I was not disappointed.

Written as a series of letters, or diary entries, addressed to a friend who has left the island, The Way We Fall gives a clear picture of what happens to a small community when tragedy strikes.  Kae's first person POV allows us to get inside her head and feel as if we are experiencing things for ourselves.  Ms Crewe manages to clearly paint the break-down of society and shows us how some people fall apart in a crisis, and other people shine.

I realise that I read an ARC and that quotes are not final, but this one illustrates how difficult it is to understand people.

'Maybe the gang thought it'd be fun to destroy a few buildings.  These are people who'll shoot someone just for being sick, after all.  But it seems to me like they're sick too - sick with fear, sick with selfishness.  How can anyone do all the things they do without hating themselves for it?' (p243 from ARC)

'And you know what? As long as they keep their bullets and their fires away from the people I care about, that's all reight with me.' (P246 from ARC)

Gav was an interesting character.  Someone who appears one way, but is in fact completely the opposite.   Just a normal kid who's trying to make a difference any way he can.  I think I'd like to meet him in fact.

'I don't know if I would have opened up to him if I hadn't seen how he acted when the town was falling apart.  I want to believe that we'd have ended up together no matter what, that our feelings go beyond the awful circumstances that've thrown us together, but it's not like either of us can say for sure.' (p280 from ARC - Kae talking of her feelings about Gav)

Sorry, that last one may be a spoiler, but to me it just illustrates that we can be victims of circumstance, and that we never really know how we will react to people or situations. And sometimes people surprise us.

Ms Crewe has written a believable and very moving story about what might possibly happen to any of us, given todays climate. About finding our inner strength and overcoming adversity.  It's scary, in a day to day way, and I really enjoyed it.  I look forward to seeing what happens next to Kae and Gav. Highly recommended for everyone, but especially for those who enjoyed Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It. 

On a side note, there is a sure-fire way to tell a writer is Canadian, and that's when the characters take their shoes off when they go into someone's house -  Canadians eh!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson


Published: November 2011
Publisher: Zondervan
Pages: 302
Copy Provided by: NetGalley
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice.Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.
Review:
Its taken me a little time to write this review and I'm not sure why.  I enjoyed The Merchant's Daughter but it was not what I was expecting.  To be honest, I was expecting a historical romance with a little more emphasis on the "romance".  What I didn't realize until about 1/2 through is that The Merchant's Daughter is christian fiction.  To those of you who are fans of Ms. Dickerson`s work, please forgive my ignorance.  I've worked for a bookstore and recognized the publisher's name as an international Christian media and publishing company.  I have seen their name on many bible publications as well as about 85% of the books in the Christian literature section.  About 1/2 way through, I noticed the publisher's name and realized why the story wasn`t exactly taking the turns I was expecting.

Annabel was sweet, innocent and strong-willed. She stood up for her beliefs and her sense of character was refreshing.   At first I was thinking to myself - is this girl for real - but as the novel progressed, the author built up her role and it was believable.  Lord Ranulf was the right counterpart to her innocence and I often found myself comparing them to The Beauty and the Beast.

Trying new genres is always something I`m open to and I`m glad that I read Ms. Dickerson`s title.  Stepping out of your regular comfort zone is always a nice challenge once in awhile to appreciate different writing styles.  I`m glad I finished this one because I have to admit, it was rather refreshing!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gleeking out

OK, so let's take a little time out for another Gleek post.  I loved the Yes/No episode.  Any others?  What do you think that answer will be for the next installment?  Anyone have any comments?  Found this clip that was so freaking cute, I just had to share.



LOVED THIS.



AND THIS.


Follow Friday


Feature and Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we will answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact.  This weeks question is:

Q: Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

To be perfectly honest, I don't think there is any genre that I don't read at all.  There are one or two that I don't read if I can help it, but when push comes to shove, I'll read anything.  I'm not a huge fan of political thrillers and books about Ireland aren't my favourites (not sure why exactly), but really I like to think that if it's a good book it won't matter to me what the genre is.  Perhaps that's because I work in libraries for a living, and it's hard to recommend books and genres if you haven't read them yourself.  I'm not sure how Christinabean feels, but I think she's much like me on this one.


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, January 26, 2012

Guest Post from Special K: Hallowed (Unearthly 2) by Cynthia Hand


Published: January 17, 2012
Publisher: HaperCollins
Pages: 416
eCopy: NetGalley and Publisher
Summary: GoodReads

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.

I loved Unearthly - I'm not usually one for the mushy-type supernatural romances, but it grabbed me in a good way, especially with the way it stayed true to the different types of angels, and the play the story took off that.

Hallowed I also enjoyed, but less so than Unearthly. The problem is I really dislike Clara and Tucker this time around: maybe I'm just a horrible person that way, but I'd like to believe that love doesn't make you absolutely stupid, and I also have trouble believing in undying-I’ll-risk-the-wrath-of-God love between high school students. They stop having intelligent motives for their actions and reactions - everything is absolutely centered on the other person in this romance - whether it makes sense or not.
So let me rephrase that - I dislike Tucklara. Clucker. However they mash those celebrity couple names, Tuck and Clara deserve one of their own (I’m going with Clucker). Clucker are fine characters when you let them stand alone without the influence of the other looming overhead - it’s together I have an issue.

Moving on. I loved the lore behind the story, and Ms. Hand does a great job in integrating it into her characters and the plot, and giving it to us in reasonable doses and in believable ways. She also writes beautifully, and I can picture everything in my mind fluidly. But if Clucker continues on, without learning any lessons or getting over their swooning, this series is going to begin to lose my interest.


I’m letting my dislike of this romance overshadow how great the story is - the second book of a series often falls into the rut of trying to tie up loose ends from book one and setting up the epic-ness coming in the next books - they don’t get to have any real story of their own. And while Hallowed definitely plays its role as a ‘Book Two’, it still gives us a story that we want to read and enjoy - and you do.

I’d give it two thumbs up and one big toe. The third book will get two thumbs and two big toes if Clucker suddenly realizes that they can’t stand one another. But that’s just my perspective.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, 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 -


While Varen remains a prisoner in the dream-world, Isobel is haunted by his memory. He appears to her in her dreams and soon, even in her waking life. But is she just imagining it? Isobel knows she must find a way back to Varen. She makes plans to go to Baltimore. There, she confronts the figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster—the same dark man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams, calling himself “Reynolds.”
Isobel succeeds in interrupting the Toaster’s ritual and, in doing so, discovers a way to return to the dream-world. Soon, she finds herself swept up in a realm which not only holds remnants of Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world comprised of fear, terror, and anger.
When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. With his mind poisoned by the dream world, he becomes a malevolent force, bent on destroying all—even himself. Now Isobel must face a new adversary, one who also happens to be her greatest love.

I enjoyed Nevermore so much I am really excited to read this one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Musings by Knitwits - Sweet Shawlettes by Jean Moss

Published: January 2012
Publisher: Taunton Press Inc
Pages: 144
e-copy: Netgalley and publisher
Summary: Goodreads

Shawlettes are the new socks! These hugely popular, fashion accessories are worn about the shoulders and meant for showing off. They're not only stylish but these budget-friendly pieces make for perfect portable projects. International knitwear designer Jean Moss knows this best and has pulled together a wonderfully creative collection of 25 knitting patterns for shawlettes, mini-wraps cowls, collars, and more. The garments are grouped by style: Country, Couture, Folk, and Vintage, and feature gorgeous yarns of varying content, including wool, silk, cotton, and sustainable fibers. Knitters of all levels will draw inspiration from the gorgeous four-color photos. Additionally helpful are illustrations, charts, schematics and an appendix with instructions for special stitches. Shawlettes can be endlessly reinterpreted in beautiful ways as this book shows. It's one that will capture knitters' imaginations for years to come.

One of Britain's leading designers, JEAN MOSS is known worldwide for her distinctive couture knits. A writer, gardener, and musician living in York, England, she has created her own collections of handknits for more than 25 years. She's also designed for Rowan Yarns and many international fashion houses including Ralph Lauren, Laura Ashley, and Benetton. She hosts knitters' tours and teaches widely in Europe and North America.



'Sweet Shawlettes' is a fun book that has just about everything in the way of an accessory that can be worn aroung the neck or the shoulders. So what makes this different from all the other knitting books that are around right now.  Well, this one seems to me to be aimed at younger knitters.  There is a little more colour and the designs are just a little more contemporary than those that are usually seen. 

There is a wonderful little capelet with a leopard print, a colourful lacy shawl, a vamp boa, and many other intriguing and colourful designs.  There are some for the beginner and also some more complex designs for those knitters who enjoy a bit of a challenge.  There's even a couple of knitted necklaces for a bit of a change.  'Sweet Shawlettes' would be a wonderful addition to any knitters library.

Monday, January 23, 2012

imm


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.


Once again I have an interesting mix from the library - some a little older this time, but all of them new to the library.  Better late than never I guess!






Then I went to visit Chapters for a few minutes and I came out with this one.  I just couldn't resist.


So much to read and so little time!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Everneath - Brodi Ashton


Published: January 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 384
Copy Provided by: NetGalley
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

Review:
I was happy to have the chance to review this before its publication thanks to the good folks at NetGalley.  I was drawn to the cover as soon as it started making its appearance in some of the blogs I follow.  At first I thought - uh, here we go...another Persephone re-telling...but I REALLY enjoyed this one. 

Ms. Ashton hooked me from the beginning.  I have to admit that I was kinda crushing on Cole a little bit but Jack did win me over in the end.  (I think its the dark, sultry good-looking man candy that sucks me in.)  Jack was persistent and constant in his attention to Nikki.  He didn't push her but was always there when she was ready to talk.  I LOVED that about him.  How come all men can't be that way?  For me, this story wasn't just a Persephone re-telling.  Brodi Ashton added a new and interesting spin to this myth in the form of the "feed".  Nikki surviving the feed and the story behind it added another layer of depth to Everneath.

I have to admit that I blazed through the last 50 pages of so because it was so exciting!  I know I'm jumping around quite a bit in this review but Everneath was just a winner for me.  It was also a nice surprise to see that the author explored other avenues to ensure that the Persephone myth was more complex and unique than other stories.  I feel like there is a trend in Greek myths right now....anyone else feeling that way? 

Looking forward to the second book in the series!  Here's the book trailer -

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Angel Burn by L A Weatherly


Published: May 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 449
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Willow knows she's different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people's dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. she has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself does. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces and that he's one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil.


Angel Burn (also published as 'Angel') was one of those books for me that I really enjoyed, but....
I loved the main premise of this one - that the angels are the bad guys.  I know this has been done before, but to my mind what made this one different is that basically these angels are soul-sucking aliens.  Vampires of the soul really.  There is a certain smarmy, slimyness to them that gave me the shivers. 

What did I think about Willow and Alex, well as individual characters I really enjoyed them.  Willow was strong and confident and handled herself well in a crisis.  Alex was every girls dream - gorgeous, dangerous, mysterious - reminded me a bit of  Sam and Dean in Supernatural, a bit of an amalgamation of the two of them.  My problem arose when Willow and Alex decided they were in love.  The lead up worked fine, but afterwards, it was just too much for me. I'm normally a great fan of romance, but something here just didn't sit right, it was all just too much!  There are some other characters, but really the story is just that of Willow and Alex, and perhaps thats where I had a problem, not enough about the other characters.

Now having said that, it didn't put me off the story line.  Ms Weatherly writes beautifully and it was easy to forget that the book was almost 450 pages long.  It read quickly and was exciting and mysterious in parts, and of course very romantic.  I like the way the book ended, completely finishing this portion of the story, but leaving things wide open for sequels. Speaking of which, Angel Fire came out in October last year, and it looks as if Angel Fever is coming out October this year. Will I read them, yes definitely.  I just hope the romance isn't quite as sweet.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Follow Friday


Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we wil answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact.

This week’s question – What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on any particular book?




Ok, I'm going to be really boring here.  I don't think I've ever done anything really crazy to get my hands on a book - waited for hours and hours to get a book signed, yes.  But really, I don't think any book is that important.  Don't get me wrong, I love my books, but just not to the extent of craziness.  I get enough of that day-to-day.  Not sure what Christinabean might have done though?

Christinabean here.  OK, so I have to admit that I have done some crazy things to get my hands on a book.  The first one off the top of my head is a Twitter contest.  I came across a contest for a signed Melissa de la Cruz title and knew I just had to get my hands on it.  The person who was the 272nd commenter to their contest tweet would win.  So I sat there for the next couple hours tweeting away.  Just random comments and then I started getting original and started complimenting the tweeter.  In the end, there were two of us tweeting like madwomen and I lucked out.  Some people sing for their supper.  I tweet for my books....  :)

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, January 19, 2012

Guest Post from Special K: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


Published: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 409
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

I didn’t expect to like, or even love, this book. But I did. It was beautiful and haunting and heartbreaking, and I'm glad Maggie Stiefvater waited until the story felt right to her and wrote it as it should be (be sure to read her note at the end of the book). It's a departure from the general 'water horse' myth, but it's as real and true (and maybe more so) as any of its tellings in the multiple cultures where water horses make their appearance.

Scorpio Races excels where Shiver/Linger/Forever excelled - the character development (and especially interaction) was stellar, and nothing less than I expected from this writer. But the story grabbed me more than her werewolf tales, and I fell in love with Sean, and rooted for Puck trying to do right without knowing what she’s doing. Most of all I fell in love with Corr, and felt my heart race with Dove. Setting the scene in a small town, where everyone knows everyone, and the interactions are unique but consistent, must have surely been a challenge to write, but Ms. Stiefvater pulls it off flawlessly, and you have distinct reactions to each of the individuals you meet, and how they play off one another.
The setting was also immaculate, set in a place everyone can imagine and in a time outside of an era: it could have been 50 years ago, or 100 years ago. You never can tell. And that only adds to the magic and mystique that literally swirls through the entire novel.
I hate books that make me cry.

But I loved this one.
For a refreshing read, that barely tinges on fantasy, toes the line into historic, and plays with the idea of romance - try The Scorpio Races. It isn’t heavy handed in any of those categories, and is one of the few books I have read that I believe is close to perfection.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  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)

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...


Ahhh....another remake of the story of Persephone, greek queen of the underworld.  I was lucky enough to snag a copy from NetGalley this month.  Look for my review shortly!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fantastic Fairytales - The Pledge by Kimberly Derting


Published: November 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Pages: 323
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.


Ok, so I realise some of you are thinking why has Curlypow put The Pledge in as one of the Fantastic Fairytales, but really I think that Ms Derting has written a marvellous, modern, dystopian fairy tale with a little bit of a fantasy twist.  It has all the best parts of a fairy tale - the wicked queen being one of them.  It's a sort of rags to riches tale with the setting being an almost generic dystopian city.  There are certain hints that the 'queendoms' could be the various no-longer-united States of America - but I freely admit that I could be totally imagining that bit. 

Charlie is a good kid with a gift that she has to hide from everyone, or risk being summarily executed - good incentive right?  She is an affectionate and caring big sister, a great friend and an all round wonderful character.  Her best friend Brook is as shallow as they come, but as the story progresses we see a depth to her character that has been skillfully hidden.  Max, well he's just gorgeous.  I loved the mystery that surrounded him and the way that he tries to protect Charlie. 

This is one of the kind of stories that I really can't tell you more about without giving away major spoilers, but it is exciting, mysterious, romantic and just plain fun.  I loved every minute of it and I'm even sorrier now that I didn't have the chance to finish it when I had access to the ARC.   I'm now waiting impatiently for the second book in the series to come out. A great start to your new series Ms Derting, thank you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In My Mailbox - January 16th


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.

I received rather a motley collection this week, but none of them are too long, so hopefully I should be able to get through 2 or 3 of them at least.






 I was having Blogger issues while putting in these pictures - very frustrating.  However, I am noticing a bit of a trend here towards male protagonists, but it wasn't deliberate.  Perhaps there are just a few more available these days?  What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Same Book, Second Look: Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan


Published: June 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Pages: 387
Copy: Bought
Summary: Goodreads

The Goblin Market has always been the center of Sin’s world. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin’s place is in danger. Thrown out of the Market she loves, Sin is thrown together with brothers Nick and Alan—whom she’s always despised.

Alan has been marked by a magician and is being tortured so that the magicians can get to Nick. As Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see him in a new light—but she and Mae are locked in a fierce rivalry over who will inherit the leadership of the Goblin Market, and a decisive battle with the Aventurine Circle is looming. Mae’s brother, Jamie, is holed up with the magicians, his loyalties in question. And Nick—well, who knows what a demon might do to save his brother? How far will Nick go to save Alan—and what will it cost them all?


First off I have to say how much I LOVED this trilogy.  It is now well up on my list of favourites. I had really enjoyed the first two and went out the day after it was released to get my own copy - then for some strange reason I didn't read it.  Perhaps because Christinabean beat me to it? (Check out her review HERE.) I have so little reading time these days, that it seems foolish to read something and then not review it.  Then a few days ago I started reading Demon's Surrender and found myself totally confused.  It was such a long time since I had read the others that I had almost completely forgotten the story line.  The moral here being, if you haven't already read books 1 and 2, don't start with #3.  You need to read this trilogy from the beginning for it to make much sense.

Thankfully it didn't take too long for it all to come back to me and Ms Brennan's magical story telling captured me completely. It is just so easy to fall into her alternate London and become immersed in the Goblin Market with its myriad different characters. This interchange between Sin, Mae and Nick is priceless - p348

"Mae met her eyes with a level gaze, glanced at Nick, then leaned forward, frowning and suddenly intent, as if Nick was a mathematical equation she was bent on solving.
'What?' Nick said at last. 'Do I have something on my face besides good-looking?'"

That is Mae and Nick in a nutshell, Mae - analytical, focused, absorbed and Nick - careless, blunt, confused, and of course good-looking!

The pictures that develop in my mind of Sin and Nick dancing at the market, or Mae and Alan on the magicians ship, are so clear, I actually found myself imagining it as a  movie and trying to decide who would be best for the characters.  So far I've got Dakota Fanning as Mae - can't you just see her with bright pink hair? - and Eddie Redmayne as Alan.  Not quite sure about the others yet, but I'm working on it!

This time around, Ms Brennan amped up the action even more and I just kept reading faster and faster.  You know when you start to feel your heart race that you have a winner.  Amazing character development, demon possessions, dancing circles, warring magicians, the Goblin Market and so much more, all adding up to an exciting thrill ride with some amazing twists and an extremely satisfying, if surprising, ending.  Things did not work out the way I expected them to and it was wonderful to read.

Thank you Ms Brennan for a very satisfying and enjoyable read.  Now what's next?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Follow - January 13



Friday Follow is a blog hop that was started by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week a different question is posted by our hosts and we wil answer! This is a great opportunity for bloggers to network and interact.

This week’s question –

Question of the Week: Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

Ok, this is where I show my age a bit.  I will listen to a great variety of music.  My favourite station on Sirius radio in the car is the adult contemporary one, but my ipod runs the gamut from classical to contemporary and just about everything in between (except rap - I haven't yet found any that I like).  I'm a huge fan of Keane - just love their stuff - but I also like Josh Groban and Michael Buble.  Then I love Daughtry and Nickelback, but also Il Divo and don't forget Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and Russell Watson and the Backstreet Boys.  See what I mean? I like to think that I'm a fan of good music regardless of genre - same as my book reading.  Who do you listen to?


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, January 12, 2012

Guest Post from Special K: Robopocalypse by Daniel H Wilson



Published: June 7, 2011
Publisher: DoubleDay
Pages: 347
Copy: Purchased
Summary: GoodReads


In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a ‘pacification unit’ go haywire – but most are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites -- at a moment known later as Zero Hour -- humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us…and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.


The hype surrounding this book got to me - I bought a copy within a week of its release. I headed home planning on diving head first into this one (the title and cover also egged me on to bump it to the front of my TBR list, I have to admit - I, like Christinabean, am a cover snob).

Fast forward to that evening, snuggled down in bed, turning to the first page, and...blah. I tried again. And again. And I couldn’t do it. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get past the first pages of this book.
Fast forward again almost 7 months. While I won’t say I couldn’t put it down, after sifting through the starts of many books in my TBR pile, Robopocalypse finally grabbed me again. Having never read any of Mr. Wilson’s other works, but well aware that he holds a Ph.D in robotics from Carnegie Mellon U., I expected a tech- heavy, intricate, robot-centric tale of how robots took over the Earth. Instead, I’m delightfully surprised with a series of interwoven vignettes, telling tales of human ingenuity, survival, and goodness.
The novel is written in a series of glimpses from different characters points of view - the best way to describe it would be to liken it to a soap opera (*shudder*, I know...but stay with me), where you see different stories from different individuals, but they weave together in interesting twists and show you the story from multiple angles, with different takes on the same story and ideas.

We start at the end of the robot war, where a box is discovered that has recorded scenes and information following certain people - we of course then get to read a selection of these tales that have been transcribed for us, and the characters appear multiple times, sometimes as our narrator and in others as a secondary character. We hear from children, mothers, Native Americans, urban couples and more. We see how humans, despite the despicable things we’ve done, are inherently good, how they will do anything to survive with their fellow man, and how our smarts got us in this mess in the first place. Above all, we learn to value life as the amazing gift that it is and it takes a non-living, sentient race to remind us so.

Wilson’s Ph. D lends well to making the robot technology believable without being outlandish - this could be 5 or 50 years in our future, and few people recognize just how close we are to this being our reality. But our author keeps us focused on the human experience in this end-of-the-world tale, and I thank him for it, as I find it’s a novel that tech-heads and human lovers can enjoy side by side.

Great for guys - I mean, it’s robots with slim to no romance; but a word to the wise, the language can be a little strong at times (but what do you expect when robots have taken over the world?!).

Thanks again to Special K for jumping in. This is a title that has been on my TBR list for a while, but I just keep passing over, for unknown reasons.
Curlypow

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine,  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)

 NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

As always, this was a beautiful cover that caught my eye and an interesting story to boot.  I managed to snag a copy from our good friends at NetGalley last month so keep your eyes peeled for a review coming soon!
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