Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Musings by Knitwits - Big Buy Cooking

Published: Feb 2010
Publisher: Taunton Press
Pages: 192
Copy provided by: Netgalley
Summary: Goodreads

Buy a delicious ingredient in bulk, save money, and cook delicious meals. It’s not as easy as it sounds--if you want to make creative dishes and use all the food you buy. With the expertise of Fine Cooking you can do both. This cookbook is not about cooking to stock your freezer, spending hours on the weekend cooking for the week, eating the same leftovers all week, or developing a new way to think about shopping for food. Food Lover’s Guide to Big Buy Cooking is about cooking great-tasting food for every night of the week and features 75 inventive recipes from 25 bulk food items readily available in warehouse clubs and supermarkets. While Food Lover’s Guide to Big Buy Cooking focuses on how to cook exciting, reliable recipes and make the most of the featured ingredient, the added benefit is keeping costs down thanks to purchasing in bulk and then using it all. Accompanied by step-by-step instructions, helpful hints and tips, and full-color photographs, these original recipes will take your cooking to new levels.


This book has beautiful pictures. I think my mouth was watering as I flipped through the pages. I find this to be incredibly important as I am not a great cook. Sure I can cook easy recipes but I need guidance and reassurance that I’m doing the right thing. Photos of what a dish is supposed to look like is always good for me to compare it to what is happening in my pot. I think that makes me more of a visual learner.

Another thing that I like about this book are the easy to read instructions. Each chapter has it's own table of contents. Unfortunately, the one thing that stops me from purchasing this title is that many of the ingredients required (such as pine nuts, roasted red peppers, capers etc) are not items I normally purchase for our home pantry. I might be more likely to try one or two recipes so I would take this title out of the library but it wouldn't be one I would purchase.

Big Buy Cooking is great for those shopping at Costco or Sam's club who see something they'd like to buy but are afraid of purchasing too much of an ingredient. What do you do with the excess? Do you have pine nuts, roasted red peppers, capers, feta and brie at home? Maybe this is the book for you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

In My Mailbox - Nov. 29th

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.

This is my selection this week from the library:

Published: Sept. 2010
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

It's taken until now for me to get this title from the library. I'm really looking forward to reading it. Zombies - what fun!

Published: Nov. 2010
Publisher: Putnum Juvenile
Princesses and Pegusus's( or is it Pegusii). Could be a great combination1

Published: Sept. 2009
Publisher: Simon Pulse
I had an interesting chat with author Amanda Marrone about the cover of this book. I'll tell you about it when I do the review.

I also picked up Dust City by Richard Paul Weston and Give up the Ghost by Megan Crewe, at Darklit Fest on Saturday. See my post HERE. Now if I could just find the time to read some of these great books, I'd be really happy.

Christinabean here. Nice haul Curlypow! I only have a few to add to this post.

First of all, I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of The Candidates by Inara Scott. I follow her on Twitter and she had a spontaneous contest. I love Twitter sometimes...second up in the mailbox was Volume 1 of The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine and a cool vampire bookmark. Volume one includes Glass Houses and The Dead Girls' Dance. I won this from a Halloween giveaway contest run by That's Swell! Thanks Julie!

What's in your mailbox this week?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ist Annual Darklit Fest of Durham

Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend some of Darklit Fest of Durham, which was held at the Oshawa library. I was there with two friends and we particularly wanted to hear the panel on Putting YA in the Graveyard:writng supernatural teen fiction and to meet Kelley Armstrong, who was the guest of honour.We didn't get there until 2.00 pm as the YA panel was the one that really interested us but there were lots of other great things going on. If you are at all interested in what you missed, check out THIS LINK to the festival home page.

Participating on the YA panel were Kelley Armstrong, Megan Crewe and Robert Paul Weston, and Joel Sutherland (who writes for younger readers) was the moderator. (Unfortunately, Lesley Livingstone had to cancel.) I could write an essay on the questions asked and answers given, but I'll just say that it was very interesting listening to three successful authors discuss their take on the trends in YA publishing today. Just before the panel, each author did a short reading from their novels.

Published April 2011 by Harper Collins

Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can’t find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred people, and her school has only sixty-eight students—for every grade from kindergarten to twelve. Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya's determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya's home, and they won’t go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. It doesn't help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret—and he's interested in one special part of Maya's anatomy: Her paw-print birthmark.

Published Sept 2009 by Henry Holt

Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over "breathers". Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school. But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees. As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad — and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it’s time to give the living another chance...

Published September 2010 by Razorbill

Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?
His son, that's who.
Ever since his father's arrest for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood, teen wolf Henry Whelp has kept a low profile in a Home for Wayward Wolves . . . until a murder at the Home leads Henry to believe his father may have been framed.
Now, with the help of his kleptomaniac roommate, Jack, and a daring she-wolf named Fiona, Henry will have to venture deep into the heart of Dust City; a rundown, gritty metropolis where fairydust is craved by everyone and controlled by a dangerous mob of Water Nixies and their crime boss leader, Skinner. Can Henry solve the mystery of his family's sinister past? Or, like his father before him, is he destined for life as a big bad wolf?

Kelley, as guest of honour, did a reading from The Gathering, and answered some questions by herself at the end of the session. Lots of questions and answers that we've heard before, but this one stood out.

Q Is there any genre or subject that you would like to write about that you haven't yet tried?

A Werewolf Western!

Isn't that a hoot. There were several publishers there for the 'Pitch' sessions earlier in the day, and it was really funny when one of them spoke up and said if Kelley wanted to write a werewolf western, they would publish it. Who knows what we might see in Kelley's future!

I came home with signed copies of Dust City and Give up the Ghost, so look for reviews of those in the near(ish) future, and as soon as I can lay my hands on a copy of The Gathering, you'll see that review as well. All in all a fun afternoon, and I got to have lunch with friends into the bargain. What more could you ask?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How many have you read?

I was checking back on folks who had hopped by our site - thank you all - and I landed here at Dog-eared & Bookmarked and where I found this list. Being a book list kind of person, I just had to check it out and you can see my results below.

How well read are you?
The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.Instructions:• Copy this list.• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.• Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.• Tag other book nerds.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

I'm not sure if I'm proud or embarrassed to admit that I've read 67 of them. Not sure if that makes me well-read, or just a geek! You'll also notice that a lot of the ones I haven't read are more modern ones - I'm sure there's something significant in that fact, but I'm not sure what it is.

How many have you read?

A Hare in the Elephant Trunk by Jan L Coates

Published: 2010
Publisher: Fitzhenry and Whiteside
# pages: 274
Copy provided by: Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Summary: Fitzhenry and Whiteside


When civil war strikes Jacob Deng's Southern Sudanese village, seven-year-old Jacob embarks on a seemingly endless journey that tests his courage and determination. His wise mama tells him that he must one day go to school to seek answers and help carve a better future for his people. Wadeng is a Dinka word meaning "look to the future, it will be better; follow your dreams", and it, along with his precious "Mama stone", becomes Jacob's talisman of hope, helping him remain strong on his seven-year search for a place of refuge.
Jacob and his young friends are confronted with war, starvation, dehydration, raging rivers, crocodile and lion attacks, and the evil Majok - the constant thorn in Jacob's side - as they struggle to survive on their own. As the boys work and grow together as a family, surviving in harsh conditions, against the odds, Jacob's boyhood desire to become a soldier wanes. Gradually, he comes to the realization that fighting doesn't improve anything and begins to embrace his mother's belief in education as the road to peace and stability. Inspired by the real life experiences of a Lost Boy of Sudan, this novel is about an extraordinary journey of courage, perseverance, and hope.

This review is the first that we have been approached to give. The book is a little different from ones that we normally review, but actually fits in well with our ISU group. There is none of the usual teen angst, or supernatural highjinks. It's more a book about hardship and perseverance. Thank you Fitzhenry and Whiteside for the opportunity.

A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk is a thought provoking and heart-wrenching book made all the more poignant when you realise that, although the book is fiction, it is in fact based on a true story. Jacob is one of the 'Lost Boys of Sudan', who spent his formative years, from the age of 7, wandering across the wilderness and living in refugee camps, guided only by the memory of his mother.

Jacob's strength of character is almost unfathomable. His struggles and hardships seem insurmountable, but against all odds he survives - one of only a few. His unwavering ambition to get to school and his memory of his mother is what keeps him going. This isn't a book about war. It's a book about what happens to innocents affected by war.

Ms Coates has told a story that more people should be aware of and has written it in a way that manages to keep hope alive, through unbelievable adversity. Think about our lives from the age of 7 onwards, then read this book. You probably won't want to - but you should!

If you are at all interested in finding out more about Jacob's story, check out his web site HERE. 40% of the proceeds from the online sales of this book are being donated to his charity.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Blog Hop - November 26th

Book Blogger Hop

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

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

This week’s question –
This week's question comes from Sarah who blogs at Writer, Reader, Dreamer:

"What is your favorite book cover?"

Ohhh....this is a hard one to answers.  There are so many book covers that I LOVE right now.  Honestly though, if I had to choose. I think it would be the artwork from Lauren Kate's series - Fallen.

There just seems to be something to hauntingly beautiful and familiar in these book covers.  It matches the mood/theme of the story perfectly.  Tynga from Tynga's Reviews came across the artist's work a few months ago on the Deviantart website.  Great find Tynga!  Which picture do you think will be used for Book #3?

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.

We're now in our final few days of the

You have from now until November 28th at midnight EST to enter.  This contest is open to the USA and Canada.  You must be a follower to enter and for every 25 new followers we get, we will add another signed book and winner to the pot.  Currently we have 3 books to giveaway but we're not far away from adding another title.  You can get 2 entries just for being a follower but for tweeting or spreading the word in another way (don't forget links), you can earn additional entries.  Heck, I even gave you a tweet to copy and paste!  So what are you waiting for?  Go enter!  I need to clear these books off my bookshelf and make room for more.  :D

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Same Book, Second Look - Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Published: August 2010
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Pages: 310
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish.

Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?

Review:Infinite Days has the potential to be such a great series but to be honest, I really had trouble identifying with Lenah. I agree with Curlypow in her initial review about Lenah being unconvincing as a character with 600 years "life" experience and be a brutal killing machine with no remorse for her actions. I feel that the idea for this character was great but there definitely needed to be more character development. Don't get me wrong, I feel that the author did a good job of creating the storyline. I like how the author would flip back and forth between her current day self and previous vampire life. It just wasn't developed enough to convince me.

**possible spoiler**A big beef I had during this book was the rate in which Lenah fell for Justin. It was like they were starting to fall for each other a little and then all of a sudden they were deeply in love and spending all of their time together. I was not convinced of their relationship or it's authenticity. I wanted to be, but I wasn't.And then there's Tony (Curlypow's favorite character). Poor, poor Tony. We see it time and time again...Simon from The Mortal Instruments, Jem from Clockwork Angel (feel free to jump in anytime with other examples)...I think we should just create an "I just want to be friends" list of guys who have had to take the backseat when it comes to a girl friend.**end possible spoiler**

My favourite quote in this book -
Pg. 154
"It is always the intent that matters."

Ultimately, I still found this to be an enjoyable read but I wouldn't necessarily rush out to purchase a copy for myself. I will read Book 2 of the series (from our library) as I am curious to see if things have improved and to continue with the storyline but I believe Curlypow decided to pass on it. Stolen Nights (pictured below) comes out March 15, 2011.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Summary (by Goodreads):

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Celebrity authors

Hi everyone! Here's just a random post about something that I've been noticing lately...

Reality television has been around for a while now and I think it's interesting how people use their fame and extend it trying new things in the spotlight. I don't fault anyone for doing it. I just think it is interesting how we can all be chameleons with our careers.

For instance, Lauren Conrad (otherwise known as LC from Laguna Beach) ended up with a spinoff series called The Hills and then went on to design her own clothing label, is a rep for Mark (Avon cosmetics) and now has her own book series based loosely on her experience on set.

Hilary Duff, also known as Lizzie McGuire got her start on the Disney channel as a popular childstar, went on to make movies as a teenager, turned into a rockstar with several popular songs and recently married a professional hockey player. She has just written her first book - Elixir.

Now there is Nicole Richie, ironically the woman who started a family with Joel Madden (Hilary Duff's ex-boyfriend). She is/was/ ex/current BFFs with Paris Hilton (I can't keep up), starred in a reality television series called the Simple Life and has written a couple novels.

So to be honest, I know that these were in my mailbox several weeks ago and I haven't been able to get into the books because I just found other titles much more interesting at the time. Have you read any of these novels and what did you think of the storyline? Plot? Were they worthwhile? Do these "celebrity authors" do justice to this craft or should they stick to a different career path?

Author signing, Toronto - Suzanne Collins

I learned two very valuable lessons on Saturday when I went to the final stop on Suzanne Collins Mockingjay tour, which was held at the Indigo book store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.

1. When driving on the 401 without GPS, and you only think you know where you are going - BAD IDEA. It took me 20 mins to get back onto the 401 and going in the right direction!

2. Author signings are boring when you go on your own and you have no-one to talk to. I missed you Christinabean.

My wonderful friend and colleague, Christinabean, won a ticket to this event from the 'Indigo Green Room'. (Thank you Jeremy Cammy) Unfortunately, she was not able to attend and she let me go in her place - on the understanding that it was her copy of 'Mockingjay' that got stamped by Ms Collins. Small sacrifice on my part! When I arrived I met up with Jennifer Shannon, Marketing Manager for Chapters - you've heard us speak of Jennifer before - and I received my ticket from her. I am reliably informed that she tweeted my picture (above) and with Ms Collins (below). Thank you so much Jen. One of these days I really must get a twitter account and drag myself into the modern world!

After lining up for 90 mins, this was my view while Suzanne did her readings from Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Just a little disappointing to say the least. Especially as my view while I was waiting was from the top of the stairs and I could see everything. We were told to scrunch up together just before the event started and I lost my great view. C'est la vie!

This is a slightly better view of Ms Collins. She has injured her wrist and is unable to sign the books, so she has a specially made Mockingjay stamp, with her signature, that she uses on each book. I book only per person, and only 250 tickets given out.

About 3 minutes before I got to the head of the line, I found out that the two girls waiting on either side of me had both been at the Cassandra Clare and Holly Black event at the Queensway and Christinabean and I had actually pulled out their names to win tickets for the event.

Here are the lovely Julia and Kylie. Thank you for posing for me. No they had not met each other before this.

Unfortunately the photo of myself and Ms Collins is so bad that I refuse to let it be seen by the general public. I don't think of myself as being a vain person, but there are just some photos that should be burned! Christinabean says this one that Jennifer tweeted is really good, so I decided to put it in instead. This was a very short event when compared to the others that we have been to, with only readings from the books and no Q & A, or chatting, but I'm still very glad I went.

Monday, November 22, 2010

In My Mailbox - Curlypow Nov. 22nd

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.

This is my library haul this week - I was very good, or bad I guess, depending on how you look at it, and I didn't buy any new books. My TBR pile is just too big to add to with more purchases right now. I'm looking forward to these ones, though. 'Betraying season' is the follow-up to Bewitching Seasong which was a lot of fun. 'Mischief of the Mistletoe' is 7th in the Pink Carnation series. You can check out the post HERE. 'Gentlemen' - don't know anything about it. Not even sure why I put it on hold, so we'll see what it's like when I start it. That's it for this week. What's in your mailbox?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Published: October 2010
Publisher: Philomel Books
# Pages: 452
Copy Provided by: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

In 'Nightshade' Ms Cremer has written a complex and multi-layered story set in a wholly believable world. She has also populated it with multi-faceted characters that you can't help but become attached to. I very quickly became absorbed in the story of Calla, Ren and Shay and all of their friends and pack mates. Calla and Ren are strong and vibrant, and fit well in the world that Ms. Cremer has set up for them. Shay is the 'unknown' factor. Pivotal to the mystery that is at the heart of the story.

There is a major OMG moment about half-way through the book, which had me turning pages at a rapid rate from then on. I sort of guessed what was coming, but at the same time, so many new puzzles were thrown in that the ending came as a huge shock - although on hindsight I am convinced that I should have seen it coming, but I didn't - not really! Ok, if that just sounded confusing, I'm sorry. This book is exciting! It's full of twists and turns and yet at the same time seems very straight forward. The amazing world that has been created became very real and the characters were so believable. It is a completely new world with Guardians, Keepers and Searchers - good fighting evil - and you're never quite sure who is who and which is which. It is small town urban fantasy, and it works, in just about every way. It's new and different and well worth reading. I'm certain you won't be disappointed with this one.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cassandra Clare and Holly Black Author Signing

When Christinabean and I got to Chapters for this signing, we had learned our lesson. We got there early and plunked ourselves in a seat. We then took turns going to get books, snacks, bathroom breaks etc. It was so much better waiting when you have a seat! We had a lovely surprise when Jennifer Shannon, the Marketing Director for Chapters, Central Canada, called on the two of us to go up and help with the draw for tickets to the Suzanne Collins signing on Nov. 20. We were both gobsmacked (yes I know it's an odd word, but it fits the bill!) to say the least. We had met Jennifer when we were at the Smart Chicks signing. Thank you so much, Jennifer, it was lots of fun - we felt as if we had made it to the 'big time'.

When CC and HB finally came out for the signing, only a very few minutes late, they did readings from their books 'City of Fallen Angels' and 'White Cat'. CC did ask anyone who was recording with their cell phones to stop, and my memory is not that good, so I can't give you any previews, sorry.

After the readings they told us some stories. Cassie Clare talked about her visit with Sarah Rees Brennan to Europe taking pictures of Victorian architecture for the book, only to realize too late that she had taken a photo of a nude man cooking his breakfast - Paparazzi here we come!

Holly Black told a wonderful story about research for the book -specifically what it would be like to be tied up in the trunk of a car. So she was! Only to realize that the car was a hatch-back and everyone could see into the back window! Holly's advice is that if this should ever happen to you, be sure to ask for a neck pillow!

HB mentioned that White Cat is inspired by a fairytale called 'The White Cat' and she went on to describe the story in hilarious detail. I can't begin to explain it to you, but if you are interested HERE is a link to the tale from Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book. She also mentioned that she is very interested in characters with their moral compasses off point, which is ably illustrated in this new book.

Cassie Clare brought her award from the Chapters 2010 Teen Read Awards. Jace won for Best Hottie. I'm sure she was just accepting on his behalf. He must have been off killing demons or something. It is a great big heavy glass award and she says it's great for deterring muggers.

Earlier we fans had submitted questions for the two to answer and this is just a sample of their replies -

Q & A
CC - If you could pit any of your characters against other characters from another book, who would it be? - Dumbledore and Magnus (what a great duel that would be!)

HB - Do you have any plans to continue writing the Spiderwick Chronicles? - No, not at the moment but she would not be adverse to the idea. Talk to Tony.

CC - Let's discuss Magnus' sexuality. Is he gay or bisexual? - He is bi.

HB - How do you come up with such original names? - She takes a familiar name and a word that she likes and combines them. (I'm quoting here) She "mushes them together".

CC - In regards to Magnus, how far will Alex and Magnus' relationship go? - Camille will return in City of Fallen Angels book 4.

CC - Will you write more Shadowhunter books after Book 6? - Book 6 is the end but she does have ideas for the Shadowhunter series in different worlds. It would be a totally new trilogy and Mortal Instruments characters may have walk on parts. She would like to work on a ton of other projects outside of the Shadowhunter series.

CC - Why was Church blue? - Actually, Church is not literally blue, he is a blue persian cat. Cassandra spent much of her time writing at Holly's house and Fizgig (Holly's blue persian cat) is silvery blue so she thought she would write him into the book.

CC- Do you know what the novels will be like before you write? - When pitching, you have a completed ending and you know where to start but often the middle changes as you write.

HB - White Cat is a very different story from the rest of your novels, was it difficult to write? -Holly wrote White Cat from a male perspective and in first person which was hard.

CC - Are Will and Jace related? - They share the same last name and there are 5 generations between them.

Both - If you weren't writing, what would you be doing? HB - would be a teen librarian (yea!!) CC - would be a reporter.

Best quote of the evening - Cassandra Clare said "Writers are fascinated with weird things. This is what we do."

As you can see, the line up to meet both authors was extremely long! This is only part of the line (the front part). All in all Christinabean and I had a fantastic evening, and because we were at the front of the signing line (well about 20th anyway) we even had time to go out for dinner afterwards.

When will the next signing be - that would be today, 1:00 - Suzanne Collins, injured hand and all. This is a ticketed event and we could only get one ticket. So I get to go, on the condition that I get Christinabean's book stamped. Oh the sacrifices I make! I'll tell you all about it next week. That is of course assuming that I don't get lost on the way. I won't have Christinabeans trusty GPS to give me directions.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Blog Hop - November 19th

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

This weeks question is

"Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!"

Here in Canada it's not actually Thanksgiving - that was last month, but I'm happy to answer anyway. I'm really most thankful for the continued good health of my family. One of my kids had a major health scare a couple of years ago and it suddenly put everything into perspective - you have to be healthy to enjoy everything else.

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.

I must encourage you also to enter our

Smart Chicks Kick It Aftermath Signed Book bash

Yep, we're giving away signed books. For every 25 followers we get, we add another signed book and another winner! The contest is open to Canadian and American residents and runs until the end of the month. You must be a Google follower to qualify (although extra entries can be earned as well). We're at 3 books and counting. Happy Hopping!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's the Beginning of the End!

Have you ever been waiting excitedly for something to happen, but at the same time you don't want it to, because then it will be over? That's how I feel about the release tomorrow of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. It's the beginning of the end!

I have read all of the the books at least twice, and listened to them all once. The characters have become friends, almost like family in some cases. I've recommended the books to countless kids and adults. Had many conversations debating the merits of one spell over another and why this character did that instead of the other. I have laughed and cried, shivered and shaked (!), moaned, groaned, ooe'd and aahh'd. In short, I have loved every page of all 7 books.

But, all good things must come to an end, and with the opening of DH1 tomorrow, the end has definitely begun. I'm not really sorry. In fact, part of me is quite glad it's all going to be over soon. Harry Potter will be around for years to come and new generations of kids will thrill to the words of J K Rowling. I will continue to recommend the books to all and sundry. But I am ready to move on to something else. What that will be, I have no idea, but I look forward to it.

It's been a good ride Harry. Thank you.

Same Book, Second Look - Clockwork Angel

Published: August 2010
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry
Pages: 479
Copy Provided by: Purchased
Summary: Goodreads

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all. 


It took me a long time to read this book and I'm not even sure why! It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2010 (along with Mockingjay) and I just couldn't find a big enough block of time to sit down and read it properly. Curlypow has already done a review of Clockwork Angel. You can read it here.

So let me tell you, Cassie Clare certainly didn't let The Mortal Instruments fans down with this one. It jumps right in with an action packed sequence as you try to figure out what the heck is going on with Tessa and her kidnappers. One of the things that I did enjoy was how they talked a bit more about the Institute and you learned about the people running it. To be honest, I did not find the story to be as exciting as The Mortal Instruments but I am certainly interested in seeing what Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess have in store and I did still enjoy the read. It was highly entertaining and well worth reading.

Because it is such a complicated novel, I'd like to share a few of my favourite quotes instead of commenting on more of the storyline -

Tessa remembering a comment by Aunt Harriet
Page 64
"...you could know a man not by what his friends said about him, but how he treated his servants."

Will commenting on Agatha's cooking
Page 86
"I intend to marry Agatha myself. She may be a thousand years old, but she makes an incomparable jam tart. Beauty fades, but cooking is eternal."

Page 87
"One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."

Like The Mortal Instruments, we have our heroine (Tessa), the troubled bad boy (Will) and the friend (Jem). The similarities end there though as these are completely different characters and their relationships are also very intricate and different from Clary, Jace and Simon. For instance, Will and Jem like the same girl but they are also involved in a close friendship whereas Jace and Simon were rivals but did not know each other well. Tessa seems to be more academically intelligent than Clary whereas I felt that Clary was more street-smart. It would be interesting to see what would happen if all 6 of them met up for coffee. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for THAT conversation!

When you do finally get a chance to read this one, make sure you have a nice comfy chair, a good block of time and a large cup of your favorite hot beverage 'cause it's worth reading from cover to cover. In fact, I think I may just do that before the year is up...read it one more time (with feeling)!

On a final note, if you have read the story and are up to date on all of Cassie Clare's books, just out of curiosity, are you fan of Will, Jace, Simon or Jem. Personally I'm a fan of Jace...but to be honest, I think I might be slightly influenced by the Mortal Instruments book covers....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Update on Smart Chicks Signed Book Giveaway!

Thank you to all of our followers so far in November! I'm happy to announce that we are adding yet another signed Smart Chicks book to our giveaway - Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr!! Keep spreading the word! There are only 2 weeks left to enter. We are now up to 3 winners!! You can enter

Contest is open to USA and Canada and only until November 28th. You must be a follower to enter!

Waiting on Wednesday - Night Star by Alyson Noel

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):

In this installment, Ever and Damen face down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears—all in the hope of being together forever. Night Star is guaranteed to mesmerize fans and leave them breathlessly awaiting the sixth and final book!

Night Star came out yesterday, November 16th! 

I am really looking forward to this final installment of The Immortals Series. As much as I have enjoyed it, I do think it is time to wrap things up. I hope that Ever finally starts to act a bit more mature and she and Damen work things out together as a team. No more lying or hiding things. He's your soulmate! Learn to trust him. Haven...now the whole idea of her and Ever fighting because of layer upon layer of misunderstandings and miscommunication is sad. Lesson here - be honest and upfront with your friends. Real friends are supportive. Ooops! Sorry, am I ranting again?

Don't forget to enter our SIGNED SMART CHICKS BOOK GIVEAWAY! We are well on our way to adding another book to the pile!  You must be a follower to enter and it is open to the USA and Canada.  Contest ends on November 28th!!  You can earn extra entries by tweeting or adding sidebar links.   Good luck!  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fantastic Fairytales - Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

What's old is new again. You see it when you look at fashion, trends, even toys. Why not books? Before books, tales were told orally and Fairytales were one of the first forms of storytelling. Modified with each retelling, you may find one of your favorite fairytales is now modernized and has a special twist. Here's this month's favourite to add to your list.

Audio release: June 2010
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Audio provided by: library and Overdrive
Summary: Goodreads

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris-- the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead. Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax-- but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they've worked for. Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

Another wonderful book to listen to. There's something about Southern accents on audio that are just very effective to listen to. They evoke an ambience that is somehow missing when reading from a page in a book.

Sisters Red is a modern interpretation - a very loose interpretation - of the fairytale, 'Little Red Riding Hood' This is definitely not one of the sanitised versions of the fairytale - not by a long shot. It is a gritty, violent and extremely bloody retelling that doesn't pull any punches, so if you are a bit squeamish - don't bother. That said, there is also a very sweet love story that is a complete contrast to all the blood and gore.

Scarlet and Rosie are sisters left orphaned by the 'Big Bad Wolf' or fenris, otherwise known as werewolf, and as a result have become hunters on a mission - to rid the world of fenris in any way they can. Usually with a hatchet on Scarlet's part and several knives on Rosie's. They are helped in their quest by fellow hunter and friend, Silas. Scarlet is such a tortured character that it was almost painful to listen sometimes. I would be sympathetic one minute and ready to shoot her the next. She is so focused on killing fenris that she doesn't know how to live a normal life. It was absolutely tragic. Rosie, the younger sister was lovely. She was a wonderful mix of strength and beauty and I loved her. Her relationship with Scarlet is very strong, but as the story progresses several things happen to test that.

Silas is a wonderful friend and great hunter, but he is not as focused on the hunt as the sisters. He is of course the love interest, but I'm not going to tell you which sister he ends up with. You'll have to read, or listen yourself. I really enjoyed the complexities of this novel and there is a huge twist that I did not see coming. Great fun to listen to.

Christinabean tells me that Ms Pearce has another book coming out in June 2011, called 'Sweetly' which will be a retelling of Hansel and Gretel. If it's even half as good as 'Sisters Red' cracked fairytale fans are in for a real sweet treat! (no pun intended). I did a bit of hunting and came up with this cover for 'Sweetly'. Isn't it superb?

Monday, November 15, 2010

In My Mailbox - Nov. 15th

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.

Here's my latest stash:

It always happens. You get nothing decent for weeks, then all the good stuff arrives at once. I'm still trying to work my way through last weeks loot - very slowly - and now I get some more good ones that I've been waiting for, forever! I don't even think I'm going to find the time to read 'The Passage' or 'Wicked Appetite' both definitely non-YA books. Most absolutely a case of 'Too many books, not enough time'

Christinabean here. I also received quite a few this week that I'm looking forward to reading. I agree with Curlypow that sometimes it's a case of Too many books and not enough time. This is where I often find myself reading the first 50 pages and then deciding if it is worthwhile (for now) to continue or put the item back on hold. Here's my library haul for the week...

What's in your mailbox? And do you find that you borrow more books from the library or do you purchase them?