Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler


Published: November 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 356
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present.

Review:

Let's be honest, I don't often read contemporary novels but I couldn't turn this one away because of the author's names and reputations.  I really enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  It should be a requirement reading title for all Jr High school students.  Carolyn Mackler has been on my TBR list for years....(sorry I haven't chipped away enough of my list to hit one of your titles yet Carolyn).  

Dual authored titles are such a hit and miss type of publication.  For The Story of Us though, Asher and Mackler did a fantastic job.  I would love to ask them how they managed to write together and make things so cohesive.  Did Jay write Josh's chapters and did Carolyn write Emma's?  Do the authors live in the same city or did they do everything virtually?

Let's talk characters...Emma and Josh have a wonderful friendship that they have developed over the years until that one fateful day when Josh realizes that his feelings have changed for Emma.  Unfortunately, it is unrequited love.  What a mess (but a common mess, yes?).  Emma and Josh are drawn back together as friends when they discover Facebook on Emma's new computer when they set up AOL.  Facebook gives them a glimpse of their future selves and even changes according to the decisions they make in their present lives as teens.  Can you imagine how your life might change just by making simple choices now?  I loved this idea and how it was executed.  As an adult, I could totally identify with this book because I remember when AOL was on CD and you had to dial up to use the internet.  HOWEVER, I'm not sure how well teens nowadays would relate. I feel that adult fans of the YA contemporary genre will enjoy this title but I would be reluctant to refer this one to a teen at our local branch unless they were very open minded. (Doesn't mean I still didn't love it though!)


Saturday, March 30, 2013

From Ashes by Molly McAdams



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Published: April 16th 2012 (paperback)

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 416
Copy: Publisher via Edelweis
Summary: Goodreads
 


When Cassidy Jameson's best friend Tyler took her to Texas with him when he left for college, she was expecting his cousin, their new roommate, to be a Stetson-wearing cowboy since his family owned a ranch; not this incredibly gorgeous guy with a husky Southern drawl that seemed to make the world stop whenever she looked at him. Because of her past, she's only ever trusted two men in her life, Tyler and her dad whom passed away when she was six. But there's something about Gage that draws her to him in a way she can't explain, only problem? He's always telling Tyler that he doesn't want Cassidy living there and sees her as nothing more than his little sister.

Gage Carson was excited his cousin Tyler was coming to live with, and go to college with him. When he'd called to ask if he could bring his friend Cassi with him, Gage didn't care. Gage had heard about this mysterious friend since they were kids and felt like he already knew her. Nothing would prepare him for watching her jump out of Ty's Jeep though. Not only was Cassi the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen, but there was something about her that within seconds of meeting her, made Gage want to protect her, and make her his. Too bad Tyler made it a point to remind Gage on a daily basis that he was dating her and she was completely off limits.

For a year and a half, Gage and Cassidy dance around their feelings for each other as Tyler continues to keep them apart; until one day Tyler unknowingly pushes her right into Gage's arms. With Tyler unable to keep lying to them, they finally start a relationship both have been craving since their first meeting. But when an accident and disaster sends her back to Tyler and California, will Cassidy be able to come face to face with the demons from her past to live a life she and Gage deserve; or will the fact that she once again ran to Tyler be the final push that ends Cassidy and Gage for good?


REVIEW

I had very mixed feeling about From Ashes.  I did finish the book, but to be honest, I'm not sure why, because I don't think I really enjoyed it. I think it's supposed to be an uplifting story about a girl being able to overcome a very seriously awful childhood and finding true love, unfortunately I just kept getting mad at the characters. 

Sometimes it felt a bit like being an observer at a train wreck.  You know it's terrible, but you can't help but look, or in this case, keep reading.  I seriously cannot believe that Tyler thought it was alright to not tell anyone about the daily abuse Cassi is suffering from.  On several occasion I actually harboured thoughts of violence towards him.  And, his obsessive, controlling, lying behavior when they get to Texas - aaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!

Gage, well on the face of it, he seems like such a nice guy - everyone's perfect ideal.  But why would he constantly accept what Tyler is telling him Cassi feels without questioning her about it. For that matter, why does Cassi always accept what Tyler says Gage is saying.  Then, after Tyler has effectively kept them apart for the better part of 2 years by being an absolutely bastard, they go and forgive him.  Maybe I'm just a less forgiving person than Cassi and Gage, but I wouldn't have wanted to have anything to do with him. 

Cassi upset me because she seemed to be a bit of a doormat occasionally.  Why did she let herself be treated that way? I didn't understand it.  Ok, I'm trying not to put too many spoilers in here, because I really am curious to see what other people felt about this book.  As I said, I did finish it, then I sat back and thought 'Wow, I can't believe I just read all of that.'  Is that a sign of a good book? Maybe it is.  I still find myself thinking about it, just not in a good way.  Have you read it yet?  Tell me what you think.

Friday, March 29, 2013

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 –


Q: Tell us about the most emotional scene you’ve ever read in a book – and how did you react?

There was this book that I picked up on a whim - The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg (It had such a pretty cover).  The thing is, it captured first heartbreak so perfectly.  The feelings of falling and wanting someone to understand your anger and your pain, your hurt and your fears.  I remember crying at some point in the book when the main character came to understand why she was 

where she was.  It was a lightbulb moment.  Well done Ms. Rothenberg.  Good on you for making me cry like a baby.  :)

- Christinabean

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, March 28, 2013

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay


Published: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 448
Copy: Publisher via Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Review

The Sea of Tranquility blew me away.  It was so unexpected I just sat in my seat when I finished it and thought Wow!  I wanted to go back to the beginning and start reading it all over again.  I had actually decided a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to read it.  You know what it's like - we have so many arcs to read that some of them have to go and I had decided this was one of them.  Then I hit the wrong title on my Ipad and started reading without realising which book it was and I Could. Not. Stop.

There is an intensity in the way Ms Millay writes that just captured my attention immediately and I was completely hooked.  Part of the appeal I think was that not all of my questions were answered straight away.  We know that something dreadful has happened to Nastya, but we are handed only tidbits of information at a time.  This allows the reader to really get inside the character and to feel her pain without ever really understanding it.  She is crippled by it and struggles to get through every day with only thoughts of revenge to keep her going.

'I live in a world without magic or miracles.  A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you.  A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck.  I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.' (P36 - from arc)

Josh's pain is more easy to relate to because we find out the reasons for it more quickly.  We can sympathise with his emotions and feel for him.  I found myself feeling protective of him - a little like the way he feels about Nastya.  Their attraction is of course inevitable, but never feels forced or contrived.  They are two tortured souls who have to find each other.

'....she's back to wandering around my garage again.  Studying.  I feel like grabbing my crotch and checking to see if my balls are still there, because I think they may be in her pocket and I need to get them back.'  (p135 from arc)

The story is not just about Nastya and Josh - a lot of what I liked was the emotional growth of Drew.  We realise very early on that there is much more to him than his playboy image and I enjoyed following his arc in the story. Clay is another character that I felt I connected with on several levels, but to be honest every one of them felt real.  I would seriously love to go to Sunday dinner at the Leighton's house.

The Sea of Tranquility was an emotional powerhouse of a novel that sucked me in from start to finish and left me feeling wrung out, yet satisfied with the conclusion.  A wonderful, wonderful book that offers up the beauty of second chances and convinces you they should be taken.  Read it and love it.


Foot note: Mark this one as an ISU possibility. There is more than enough in it to fit the bill.. I do realise that the quotes are from the arc and may change.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - March 27

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


This is one of Curlypow's favorite series and I just had to make sure it made our WOW post.  Sadly, this is the last book of the Gone series.  I have to admit that I bowed out after book #2 or 3 but I'd still be interested in seeing how and if these teens ever make it out of the FAYZ.  Curlypow, maybe you can give me a summary once it's all over?  Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Musings by Knitwits



 
Published: September 2012
Publisher: Lark Crafts
Copy: Library
Pages: 128
Summary: Goodreads


Sometimes the simplest accessories are the most stylish. That's true of the 30 delightful items in Crochet Boutique. Crocheters will love this fashion-forward collection, with such projects as hats, scarves, shawls, trendy bags, a laptop cover, a granny-square pillow, and a lovely shell afghan. With a short basics section, irresistible photography, and an informative stitch guide, Crochet Boutique is simply indispensable!

This book came across the counter at work a few weeks ago, and while I generally prefer knitting to crochet I was intrigued and took it home for a look.  I am so glad I did.  It is full of these super easy scarves, cowls, hats and bags that are crocheted with huge hooks and thick yarn.  Cowls are very much in style right now and this book is right there with several to choose from.  I'm serious when I say they are simple, and I'm sure several of them could be done in just a few hours.  The basic crochet instructions are at the back and this is very definitely a beginners book.

So, even though we are now all looking forward to a lovely warm summer, take a look at this beautiful book and think about getting a head start on next years cold weather.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Stacking the Shelves



Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received.

Not a lot of traffic for me this week but I did pick up this one from the library

 
and I ordered this one from Amazon
 
 
Can't wait to read them.
 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shout Out to Indies The Wild Boys by Travis Heerman




Young Adult title. One sixteen-year-old girl versus a plague of beasts. Can a sixteen-year-old girl stem the tide of a lycanthropocalypse? When three younger boys show up on Mia's doorstep, naked and on the run, she is drawn into a shadow world where a series of strange disappearances heralds a slowly spreading plague of lycanthropy. Mia must save the three orphaned boys from their brutal Alpha, a man-beast who believes humans are food. A war is brewing for the top of the food chain. Mia doesn't know it yet, but she holds the key to the future of the human race.






The Paperback Princesses asked Travis why he chose to write The Wild Boys for the YA market:

I was developing the story for The Wild Boys over a year or two, there was never any question that this story would be for young adults.  The idea came from a dream that my wife had. She told me about the dream, of meeting three boys along a wooden bike path, boys that were on the run, and somehow she knew that they were werewolves. We discussed other details as well, and she told me, "You need to write that story!"
So from that initial kernel of idea, I developed the story, and the main character, Mia. The story felt to me from the very beginning that this would be a story for young adults. I have a number of novel projects I'm developing at any given time, most of which are for adult readers, but since this one was clearly YA, it was only a matter of choosing to enter the YA market.
The YA market is what will breathe new life into the publishing industry. Readers started out with Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter, of course, are the adult readers now, or in the near future. Some of the best writing out there is showing up in the YA field. I'm a particular fan of Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels and J.K. Rowling.  I recently took on the role of step-parent. Introducing a child to Harry Potter for the first time, and watching her imagination--and her reading ability--blossom because of it has been inspirational for me.

If readers love The Wild Boys, there is no question that I have more stories to tell in that universe.
Author Bio
Freelance writer, novelist, award-winning screenwriter, poker player, poet, biker, roustabout, Travis Heermann is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and the author of the Heart of the Ronin and Rogues of the Black Fury, plus short fiction pieces in anthologies and magazines such as Weird Tales, Historical Lovecraft, and Shivers VII. As a freelance writer, he has produced a metric ton of role-playing game work both in print and online, including Legend of Five Rings, d20 System, and the MMORPG, EVE Online. His most recent novel, The Wild Boys, was released in December, 2012, from Damnation Books.

He enjoys cycling, martial arts, torturing young minds with otherworldly ideas, and zombies. He has three long-cherished dreams: a produced screenplay, a NYT best-seller, and a seat in the World Series of Poker.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Altered by Jennifer Rush



Published: January 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown books for young children
Pages: 323
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them.

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

What's not to love about Altered?  We have one girl, Anna, and not one, not two, not even three guys.  No, we have four hot guys.   Some girls have all the luck!  There's Trev, who is the 'friend'. Cas who is a bit of a trickster. Nick who is very definitely the bad boy ( and my personal favourite), and then there is Sam - the brooding leader of the group.  I tell you, there is enough testosterone in the bunch to keep you going for weeks.

We have secret government offices - with secret labs, secret experiments, secret secrets and lots of bad guys. You get my drift?  Then the boys escape said secret lab with Anna in tow and the fun really begins.  I was convinced that I knew what was coming in the story, but I got a bit of a shock when things took a very unexpected twist.

While I loved the characters of the four boys I have to admit to occasionally being a little frustrated with Anna.  Sometimes she seemed awfully na├»ve and trusting when I felt she should have known to be more wary, but on the whole I was able to get over that and just enjoy the story.  Final decision, a fun, taut mystery that was interesting to unravel.  Bring on the next one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

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 –

Q: What is your guilty pleasure as far as reading? Is it a genre, or is it a certain type of book?

I LOVE books that are scary and have some kind of macabre twist.  I was happily impressed by the Anna Dressed in Blood series.  A little bit of romance, a who lot of suspense and plenty of action.  It makes you want to hide under the covers and read! 
- Christinabean

 
I just had to add in here that my guilty pleasure is much more guilty than Christinabean's.  I read when I should be doing housework - all the time.  I look at the dust, look at the book I'm reading, and pick the book 99 times out of a hundred.  I just can't help myself.  Then I run around like a mad thing and do my housework in 10 mins.  So if you ever drop by unannounced, accept my apologies in advance - if you don't run your fingers along my shelves, you'll never notice they haven't been dusted in ????? weeks! - Curlypow

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, March 21, 2013

The Prey by Andrew Fukada


Published: January 2012
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 304
Copy Provided by: Bought
Summary: by Goodreads

Summary:
For Gene and the remaining humans—or hepers—death is just a heartbeat away. On the run and hunted by society, they must find a way to survive in The Vast... and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. But they’re not the only things following Gene. He’s haunted by the girl he left behind and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side.

When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found—and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other... if they can only stay alive.
Review:
Fukada continues his fast-paced thriller with the same intensity as book #1 The Hunt.  The book literally begins right where things stopped last book on the river with vamps in hot pursuit.  Their desire to devour these hepers is so creepy!  The extreme lengths they go to in order to beat the sun is startlingly cunning and extreme.  

One of the things that I found so interesting about The Prey is how Fukada incorporated a bit of Chinese history into his story.   Being an East Asian Studies student, I learned much about the ancient art of foot binding.  It sounds very similar to what was done to the women living in this civilization.  Tiny feet were beautified and large feet were considered manly and ugly.  He doesn't go into a lot of detail but the pregnant women in this society certainly had the same characteristics of women in ancient China.  A small foot was revered (also called a lotus foot) but debilitating to a woman.  It would prevent much hard labour and could also prevent a young woman from running away from her husband.  

There were so many twists and unexpected turns in this novel that I cannot divulge them all.  I often feel like I'm reading "outside of the box" with this author because just when you think you know what is going on, he throws you for a loop and takes you in another direction.   That Andrew Fukada is a tricky game changer....but always entertaining.  

Prey was so intense that it only took me a short time to devour.  It definitely did not have second book boredom and the ending will leave you wanting more answers.  Move this one to the top of your TBR list. I LOVED it!

p.s.
At one point in time, Gene uses a hang glider as wings to escape a group of vampires in hot pursuit.  Oh the irony of a dark bat-shaped creature escaping a bunch of blood suckers through the air!  

Don't forget to enter our Spring Cleaning giveaway!  We are giving away 4 great reads!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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

Is it any surprise that the continuation of my favorite series would be in today's WOW post?  (Well, ok.  I consider The Infernal Devices and Mortal Instruments to be the same series). 

For those of you who are oblivious to the best series in the world - 

Summary (by Goodreads)

Danger intensifies for the Shadowhunters as the New York Timesbestselling Infernal Devices trilogy comes to a close.

If the only way to save the world was to destroy what you loved most, would you do it?

The clock is ticking. Everyone must choose.

Passion. Power. Secrets. Enchantment.

Danger closes in around the Shadowhunters in the final installment of the bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.



Spring Cleaning Giveaway - March 20 - 25


Welcome to the Paperback Princesses!

We are not just offering your ONE giveaway but TWO (do your happy dance now).

Here are the rules -

You must be a GFC follower
You must have a Canada or USA mailing address.  (Sorry international peeps. We love you but it is just too much money to send stuff your way)
Easy peasy?

Can you earn more entries?  Of course!  You can follow us on twitter and/or tweet!

So on this leg of the blog hop we have both cleared out our shelves.  (Well, ok we made space for a couple more books.  Clearing our shelves would be EXTREME book weeding).

Here's what Curlypow is offering up -



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's what Christinabean is offering up (much more random than Curlypow)




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Like what you see and want to win more books?  Please visit the other blogs participating in the hop -




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fantastic Fairytales

OK, I have to confess that I haven't had the chance to read either of these yet, since I just downloaded them yesterday, but I can't wait.  Has anyone read them yet?  What did you think?  Both were published in 2011 by Allen and Unwin.



A dozen of the most exciting and unique writers for young people have chosen fairytales as starting points for their own original stories, in this surprising and spellbinding two-volume collection

Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), Rosie Borella, Isobelle Carmody, Richard Harland (Worldshaker), Margaret Mahy (The Seven Chinese Brothers), and Martine Murray (Henrietta There's No One Better) have taken inspiration from stories that have shaped us all, tales like "Beauty and the Beast," "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," and "The Snow Queen." This collection carries universal themes of envy and desire, deception and abandonment, courage and sacrifice. Characters are enchanted, they transgress, they yearn, they hunger, they hate, and, sometimes, they kill. Some of the stories inhabit a traditional fairytale world, while others are set in the distant future. Some are set in the present and some in an alternative present. The stories offer no prescription for living or moral advice and none belong in a nursery. Open the covers and submit to their enchantment.



In this companion to The Wilful Eye, six much-loved writers - Catherine Bateson, Victor Kelleher, Cate Kennedy, Maureen McCarthy, Nan McNab and Kate Thompson - give fresh voice to age-old stories of abandonment, desire and entrapment.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stacking the Shelves



Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received.



 
Curlypow here.  Great stash from the library this week.  Now if I can just decide between laundry and reading - tough decision, right!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr



 
Published: February 1st, 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Pages: 432
Copy: Publisher via Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads
 
An Epic Medieval Saga Fantasy Readers Will Love

In the backwater village of Callowford, Errol Stone's search for a drink is interrupted by a church messenger who arrives with urgent missives for the hermit priest in the hills. Desperate for coin, Errol volunteers to deliver them but soon finds himself hunted by deadly assassins. Forced to flee with the priest and a small band of travelers, Errol soon learns he's joined a quest that could change the fate of his kingdom.
Protected for millennia by the heirs of the first king, the kingdom's dynasty is near an end and a new king must be selected. As tension and danger mount, Errol must leave behind his drunkenness and grief, learn to fight, and come to know his God in order to survive a journey to discover his destiny.


A Cast of stones was a wonderful trip back to traditional fantasy.  The vaguely historical or perhaps medieval setting was rich in detail.  Nasty, unknown and particularly smelly creatures rear their ugly heads and like to eat people's faces off.  There is a hint of magic, but not too much.  In short, A Cast of Stones has it all.  What it doesn't have though, is romance, or at least only a smidgeon of a hint of a possibility of a romance, so if you are expecting/hoping for some, you'll be disappointed.

The world building and character development in A Cast of Stones is absolutely stellar.  At the beginning, the main character Errol is really rather an unlikeable young man - he's 18.  But, as the story progresses, he grows into a young man with purpose and conviction.  Which is all the more admirable when you realise he is being manipulated at every turn.  We find out the reasons for his original behavior eventually though, and I did become much more sympathetic.

There is a complex set of minor characters, Cruk, Luis, Martin, Liam and others who seem initially to have Errol's welfare in mind, but really they just use him shamelessly when they discover his ability and how useful he can be to them. Several twists within the plot keep the story going at a good pace and I never felt that the story slowed down.

To be honest, the only reason I could see that this is designated as YA is the age of the main protagonist, but it is perfectly suitable for YA's and is a wonderful example of the fantasy genre.  By the end of the book it is obvious that there is a lot more to discover about this world and it's people and I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next book, which I think is The Hero's Lot (July '13) and the third The Staff and The Sword (Feb '14).  An absolute must-read for fantasy fans.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Salvation by Anne Osterlund


Published: January 10th, 2013
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 288
Copy:  Library
Summary: Goodreads


A smart, unexpected romance from an award-winning author.

Salvador Resendez--Salva to his friends--appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He's student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.

Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she's also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.

Popular guy and bookish girl--the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever--because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.

Then tragedy strikes--and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth's love be enough to save him?

Thoughtful and romantic, this is a beautifully written story about following your heart and fulfilling your potential.

Review

I had a serious love/hate relationship with Ms Osterlund's newest book Salvation.  I loved the story, the pacing, the characters, the romance and I hated the fact that it made me cry.  Twice at least - and I hate crying when I'm reading.  I can't see to read!

OK, silliness over.  Salvation was a wonderful book to read.  The characters seemed very real - flawed yet convincing in their actions.  None of the characters came from money, which added a slightly different flavour to the story that I enjoyed.  There was no trying to be someone you're not, just trying to be the best and make the best out of the circumstances that have been dealt to you.

Salva and Beth have an interesting relationship and I enjoyed seeing Beth help Salva realise his full potential, and conquer his demons.  His guilt over his mother was very affecting.  Something else I enjoyed were the secondary characters.  Pepe, Tosa, Char, Luka and Nalani all had important, if minor, roles to play and over the course of the novel we get to know them, not just as Salva and Beth's friends.

Favourite part of the book - Romeo and Juliet's death scene in the cafeteria - best ever.  Followed closely by the mock trial.  You have to read the book to catch the significance of both these events, but they were perfect and helped to illustrate life in high school in all its glory.

Salvation is a serious step outside Ms Osterlund's previous comfort zone  - Aurelia and Exile are fantasy and Academy 7 is SF - but it worked well and she has proved that she can conquer any genre.  Final decision - a lovely contemporary romance that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend, but grab the kleenex, you'll need them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

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 – Q: Activity! Hopefully warm weather for most of us is here soon…so tell us about your favorite outdoor reading spot. Or take a picture.

Curlypow here - this is an easy one to answer.  I love to sit out on my front porch, with a little bit of shade, a comfy chair and a cold drink of something, even if it's only water.  I can read and watch the world go by at the same time.  Since I live on a fairly quiet street I get a lot of reading done with little interruption.  I can't wait.  What about you?  Where is your favourite spot?

Christinabean here - We have an old rickety picnic table in the backyard that I like to lay down on.  I bring out an old blanket or towel (fewer slivers that way) and read with the sun warming my back.  Unfortunately, it feels like it is a long ways away...-20 today...how I miss summer!!

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, March 14, 2013

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead


Published: February 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 432
Copy Provided by: Bought
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.


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

Review:

Firstly, let me get this off my chest...ITS ABOUT TIME!!!  Whew, now that that's over, let's review, shall we?

So I ran out to get this one on release day at my local Chapters during my lunch hour.  I scoured the store but couldn't find it so I spoke to a salesperson who said their new arrivals had been shipped late and were still in the back.  I actually asked if they could crack open one of the boxes for me.  New release fever.  Have you had it before?  Symptoms may include dry mouth, dizziness and bloodshot eyes.  Reading while walking back to work is hazardous.  People, please don't try to use escalators while reading....

Reading a Richelle Mead book for me is like sitting down with an old friend and catching up over a fantastic meal.  We chat a bit and then we gossip and review every little thing that has happened since our last get-together.  If I had had the time, I would have re-read Bloodlines and The Golden Lily to get reacquainted with Sydney, Adrian, Jill and the rest of the gang.  However, Ms. Mead does an excellent job of re-capping what happened in her last two titles and re-establishing relationships you had forgotten about.  I LOVE it when authors do this well.  It saves me at least 300 pages of re-reading previous titles.  

Bloodlines would be in my top YA book series of all time.  The Mortal Instruments (all books) takes the top spot and Vampire Academy takes #2.  Speaking of Mortal Instruments, the movie is coming out this fall.  CAN'T WAIT FOR THAT!!  In book to movie news, my #2 series is also in production.  I have been keeping my eye on what is happening with the Vampire Academy movie and 2014 can't come soon enough for me.  Some of my favourite series being made into movies (Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures, Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy).  Zoey Deutch (Emily in Beautiful Creatures) will be playing Rose Hathaway in Vampire Academy (can you say skyrocketing to fame?)  
 
So let's have a chat about Indigo Spell.  Sydney is torn in all sorts of directions in this book.  She is exploring her magical side, being hunted down by witch, discovers the truth about her Alchemist background and has found a new friend (or foe?) in Marcus Finch (ex-Alchemist).  It is a good thing this gal is smart because she is also attending school.  How does she juggle it all?  With a little help from her friends, a teacher and a very forgiving dorm mother.  The Indigo Spell is an excellent continuation in Sydney's story.  She grows a lot in this book and I'm happy to see her opening up to new ideas.  As always, she has her wits about her (usually) and though she may seem very conservative and boring, her life is anything but.  I love how she is coming out of her shell.

Mead.  It rhymes with Read.  As in, support your local bookstore, buy it and get your nose in a book.  


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Poison by Bridget Zinn

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)

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Years ago, Curlypow convinced me to read Graceling, even though I'm not a huge fan of fantasy.   I loved the strong heroine.  I've pegged Poison on my TBR list as it sounds like a similar protagonist.  Can't wait to read it!




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Let's Hear It for the Boys

As a Junior Press Officer for the British government, Jake is sent to cover a "non-story"—a demonstration against the construction of a laboratory on the supposed site of an ancient fairy ring. But what Jake sees there is shocking and terrifying and leads him to investigate a clandestine organization—the Order of Malichea. And then sinister things start happening: Jake is "accidentally" pushed, almost falling under a tube train; Lauren, Jake’s girlfriend, has all her notes on the Order stolen; and then Jake returns home to find a dead body in his flat and is accused of murder. Who is trying to scare Jake? Is it the British government? Or other, more sinister agencies? Either way, Jake and Lauren must fight for their lives . . .







Set during the final 24 hours before the armistice at 11 a.m. on 11th November 1918, the story follows a German storm trooper, an American airman and a British Tommy. Their destinies converge during the death throes of the first ever conflict to spread across the globe. War becomes incredibly personal as nationality and geography cease to matter to each of these teenagers on the Western Front, and friendship becomes the defining aspect of their encounter. But who will live and who will die before the end of the day?





I thought these two sounded like good choices for the boys this month.  Let us know in the comments if you've read them or heard about them. - Curlypow

Monday, March 11, 2013

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves allows us to share the books we have added to our collections - physical, virtual, borrowed, bought or received.
 
I picked this one up from the library this week.  What's on your shelf?
 
 
 
We would also like to add CONGRATULATIONS to Na, who was the winner of our
Nobody/Every Other Day Giveaway


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rise by Andrea Cremer


Published: January 2013
Publisher: Philomel
Pages: 432
Copy Provided by: Bought
Summary: By Goodreads

Summary:

The sequel to Rift and the prequel to the New York Times bestselling novel Nightshade.

Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.

Richly sensual and full of magic, action and danger, Andrea Cremer's fifth book set in the Nightshade world is an edge-of-your-seat page turner.

Review:

I devoured this title as soon as it came out and after it was done?  Well, I felt like I should stand up, clap loudly, wolf whistle and say BRAVO!!  ENCORE!! ENCORE!!  I LOVED this title!!

Andrea Cremer delivers (once again) with a highly imaginative second book in the prequel series to Nightshade.  If you like fantasy, historical fiction and the supernatural, you'll enjoy this series.  To give you an example - Bosque (a supernatural being who, for the moment, takes on the body of a human man) conjures a tunnel of fire to summon wolves (with fire for fur) who leave charred paw prints in their path.  I had a full vision of this in my head because Ms. Cremer is descriptive to the core and her words were like the paintbrush to the canvas in my mind.  She painted a world that was thrilling and packed with adventure and love.  The story is too hard to dismantle and review without giving things away but I'll tell you this, it will leave you saying - 

Dear Miss Cremer, 

Will you please hurry up and publish Book #3?

Your loyal fan, 
(insert name here)

One tiny warning is that there is implied sexuality and things get a little steamy so you might want to consider this title for a more mature reading audience.  

Ok, here's my last bit of praise - 
Attention to all you book to movie producers - YOU NEED TO PUT THIS UP ON THE BIG SCREEN PRONTO.  

Stop what you're doing and go out and get this book series.  Bask in its awesomeness.  Nuff said.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hating Heidi Foster by Jeffrey Blount


Published: October 2012
Publisher: Alluvion press
Pages: 120
Copy Provided by: Publisher
Summary: Goodreads

Summary:

Mae McBride and Heidi Foster were the very best of friends. Tied at the hip from early elementary school, their relationship was the stuff of storybooks, legendary even, in the minds of their high school classmates.

Unshakable. 

That is, until Mae's father died while saving Heidi's life. When Mae finds out, she blames Heidi. She blames her father for putting Heidi ahead of her. She blames her friends for taking Heidi’s side. She begins to unravel amid that blame and her uncontrollable and atypical anger.

At the same time Heidi is beset by guilt, falls into depression and stops eating properly; wasting away physically and emotionally while waiting for Mae to let her back into the friendship she misses so dearly. 

Mae, consumed by her hatred of Heidi, the confusion regarding her father’s motives, the perceived desertion of her friends and her mother’s grief, loses more and more of herself.

What could possibly bring these two old friends back to each other? A miracle?

Hating Heidi Foster, is a young adult novel about the place of honor true friendships hold in our lives. It is about suffering and loss and the ethics of grief. It is about a deep and painful conflict, the bright light of selflessness and sacrifice and the love that rights the ship and carries us safely to port.

Review:

When I was in school, this would have been FANTASTIC for a book report or ISU.  

Growing up and hitting puberty, your emotions are heightened and so palpable.  Extreme conditions do nothing but heighten this and exagerate when you are feeling.  Mae goes through a plethora of emotions and seems to fly from one extreme to another.  She is looking to blame someone and often you strike out at those closest to you.  Surely hormones are partly to blame for how she is treating her best friend.  She blames Heidi for surviving the fire (while her father did not) and the anger is the only thing she can hold onto to try and keep her father's memory alive. 
 
This book was gut-wrenching and it has taken me so long to write a review because I could feel the impact of the story but couldn't find the words for it.  Don't let the length of this title fool you, it is 120 pages of raw emotion.  I hate to say this but I read chapter by chapter on the train while traveling to work and I couldn't read any more than that because I found my eyes tearing up every single chapter.  The anger Mae feels towards her friend for taking the life of her father is all-consuming and licks away at everything good in her life.  It was heart breaking to see how much she turned against her friends and even people in her family in dealing with her father's death.  Ever so slowly, she comes out of her self-destructive behavior and learns to grieve in a better way, letting others in and talking things out.

There were a few things in this book which bothered me in the beginning.  Mae used a lot of terms for her parents that I don't hear very often as an adult or hear from teenagers.  Mummy, Daddy, Gran Gran, all of these names felt very childish to me.  I think I stopped calling my father Daddy when I was about 12.  It started to bother me in the beginning of the book because I felt that it should be geared towards a younger audience.  As the title progressed, I found that it mirrored Mae's maturity and how she was still more of a child than an adult.  This labels to identify her family reflected her innocence and reminded me that she was still a young girl.
 
The second thing that bothered me a bit in this title was referencing pop culture in terms of today's music.  To me, this is a huge pet peeve only because it can date a title so quickly.  Mae talked about the Spice Girls (90s band for those of you too young to remember).

Despite these two complaints, I found myself enjoying Hating Heidi Foster.  Mr. Blount has done an excellent job of understanding the emotional termoil of a young girl during a time of grief and created a book that every school should have on their shelves. 
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