March 31, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Release Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 398
Review Source: Won from Amber @ Down the Rabbit Hole

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My Thoughts:
I could probably sum up my thoughts by saying that this was another book with intense hype, and another one that failed to impress me. One of the main problems I had with the book was its pace. The book was incredibly long, yet I’m positive that all that happened could have been told in a story 2/3 of the size, if not smaller. The pace was so slow, so that even though I generally sped through the book, it was frustrating to me to have to read so long for events to occur.

Another problem I had with the book is that I didn’t really find any of the characters to be that likeable. I felt incredibly (incredibly!) bad for Amy, but there was nothing about her that made me like her that much. And then there’s Elder who just... I have no idea. My final response to him is that he skeeves me out. He’s been brainwashed by the man who raised him, and the society on the ship has customs that are incredibly out there compared to our standards, and somehow he’s still generally a decent guy, which I give him credit for. However, you can’t ignore the fact that there wasn’t much behind his feelings for Amy other than simple lust. He was attracted to her, and because of that he somehow thought he owned her.

The one character who I found absolutely brilliant was Harley. He was so interesting and sweet, and he brought a lightness to the book that didn’t exist elsewhere, and without giving anything away, that was completely ruined. Besides Harley the one other positive of this book was that it made me think a lot while I was reading it. I thought about how individuals and societies could be brainwashed, what it takes to be a good leader, and what it would mean to be trapped in a completely foreign world. But some beautiful descriptions and food for thought don’t make up for the complete genre confusion this book has. I think it just tries to be too many things. It’s not really a complete dystopian, the murder mystery aspect fails to be compelling after the first little bit, and the romance aspect that's so played up? Well, that’s almost entirely lacking.

I realize I sound completely harsh, I just hate how when I came to the end of this book I felt completely empty. It’s taken me so long to write this review, because I ended up not really caring at all about the events of the book or what might happen next. The only thing I wanted was for Amy to have a happy life with her family and to be reunited with all the people she misses on earth which, unless something incredibly wacky happens, can obviously not occur. In that way I give Beth Revis absolute credit for making me feel something so deep for her character, but it was to the detriment of my enjoyment of the book. Some people might enjoy the feelings of complete desolation and hopelessness that the book creates, but personally I just felt depressed and disappointed.


Find Across the Universe by Beth Revis on Goodreads, Book Depository, &

March 30, 2011

Guest Post & Giveaway from Karen Metcalf

About Karen Metcalf:
There’s a phrase in the South: “telling stories”, which means telling lies. Growing up, Karen Metcalf told a lot of stories, which wasn’t always a good thing.

She was raised on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where she spent most of her time reading science fiction and horror. She continues to explore those worlds through her writing, today.

Karen is 23 years old, and lives in Tucson, Arizona


I had the pleasure of reviewing Karen Metcalf's novella 'In the Storm' (you can read my review here!), and Karen was also kind enough to write up a guest post about libraries. I can tell you now that you'll love this story. Here it is --

My Favorite Library

Well, this is gonna make my mom cry!

I think it’s pretty much safe to say that reading runs in my family. My parents both enjoyed it, and shared that with their kids. My brother, sister, and I spent a lot of time in bookstores and libraries. However, I never knew anyone who read as much as my Grandma Hilda.

She is actually included in the dedication page of In the Storm. Growing up in a very small town, there was a teeny tiny library right down the road from her house. She took us there every summer. It was just the coolest place ever. I remember the shelves were built into the walls, almost in a circle; all displaying children’s books. There weren’t many regular shelves on the floor, so when you walked in, you were in a cocoon of books. As a kid, this was so magical. This was my favorite library, and we spent countless hours there. Unfortunately, I think a hurricane did away with it.

So the county relocated the library to the high school. This was a quite a distance away for my grandmother, and she didn’t like to drive too much. So the librarians started to bring her books. Huge bags of like 20+ books a week. I was so amazed by this! I thought there was no way she could read all of those in a week. But every time I saw her (if she wasn’t engrossed in her other “stories”- Soap Operas) her nose was in a book. They were all over her house. As we got older, she started to get them by mail from book clubs, and she shared them with us (especially “that Stephen King fellow”. She hated horror novels!). I would always leave her house with an arm-load. Grandma Hilda’s became the new library.

Unfortunately, her library closed in 2008 catching us all by surprise, and I would give anything to visit just one more time. I miss her so very much. Her's was, is, and will always be my favorite library in the world.

I can’t wait to make one of my own one day to share with my own kids and grandkids.

Find Karen on the web:
Facebook Author Page
In The Storm Fan page


Two lucky readers will win an eBook (epub, mobi, or pdf) of Karen's novella 'In The Storm'.

Simply leave a comment here (with a valid email address!) to enter.

Edited to add: I forgot to set a date for the giveaway to end on. So... you have a week (until April 6 at midnight EST) to enter. =)

In the Storm by Karen Metcalf

Release Date: February 15, 2011
Publisher: Vagabondage Press
Pages: 88
Review Source: eARC from author

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Abandoned by the world around her, Carly believes she is fated to a life of torment at the hands of her stepfather and is desperate for an escape. When she can bear the abuse no longer and gives in to a thunderous rage, she suddenly finds herself in an unfamiliar, yet beautiful, storm world. This limbo between dimensions appears to be her private sanctuary, but it may just be her purgatory.

No one escapes fate without sacrifice, but is the price more than Carly is willing to pay?

My Thoughts:
In the beginning I was confused about what exactly was actually happening in this book, but it was okay, somehow, because the main character, Carly, was confused as well. What’s so great about this novella is that in a short period of time you really grow to care about Carly and her little brother, Mitchell. You want Carly to find out answers about this strange storm world she’s been transported to, but you also desperately want her and Mitchell to be able to escape the abuse of their stepfather. It’s so horrific to me that people have to live with abuse. The sad reality is that most people don’t have a storm world to escape to, and it makes me wonder what their escape is. However, even a storm world is no guarantee of everything going right, and I liked how this was dealt with in the story, even though it was heartbreaking.

I would definitely recommend that you check out this novella. The writing is so incredibly lovely; I would definitely describe it as atmospheric or evocative. You could really imagine what the storm world was like, and I loved that. The whole book is a very emotional, worthwhile read. While I found the ending to be predictable, it was still very satisfying. With so much horror in Carly’s life I can only hope that her ending remains happy.


Find In the Storm by Karen Metcalf on Goodreads & buy it from the Vagabondage Press Bookstore (epub, mobi, & pdf), or for Kindle and Nook.

P.S. Be sure to check out the Guest Post & Giveaway from Karen Metcalf here.

March 29, 2011

Books For Thought (2)

Books For Thought is a weekly feature at La Femme Readers where Eleni posts a book-related discussion question.

This week's question is...
If books didn't exist, what would be your other hobby?

I'm sure the first reaction for all of us is "WHAT? Nooooooooo!" Screams of anguish, etc. Also, without books my chosen career path would also be gone, unless libraries still existed as information centres for documents and community centres for programming.

A world without books is a scary place, but assuming that TV shows and movies still existed, I would probably watch more of those than I already do. (I know, right? Is this even possible? I watch so much TV.)

I would probably listen to more music, too, because music is another type of storytelling. And I'd likely do more cross stitch than I do currently, because I like doing that, but I can't do that AND read, unless it's an audio book, which I'm not a big fan of.

So what other hobbies would you focus on if books didn't exist?

March 28, 2011

Stay by Deb Caletti

Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 352
Review Source: eARC from S&S GalleyGrab

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is—and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.

Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

My Thoughts:
This book is absolutely brilliant. It was so heartwrenching, and it is beautifully written, full of flowing language that is ripe with metaphors. Let’s put it this way: I wrote out a couple of quotes from this book that I found particularly beautiful and meaningful, and I NEVER do that. This book deals with a seriously tough issue, and while it broke my heart, it also put it back together. This book is filled with such deep emotions: terror, grief, happiness, and hope all mingle together to create something beautiful and atmospheric.

I hope that this book with reinforce the message to girls that they should never have to put up with abusive, controlling guys. Ladies, you are amazing and worthwhile, and if something bad is happening to you, it is NOT your fault. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I adored the new love interest, Finn. Why I think his character is so important is because his presence allows Clara to see how a guy should treat a girl. Finn protects and treasures Clara, and he allows her to be herself. It was awesome to see this normal, steadfast guy be held up as the ideal for a change. Romantic relationships are not the only important ones in the book, however. The relationship between Clara and her Dad was amazing. I love it when parents are actually present in YA books, and you could tell how much Clara’s dad loved her. He was an important part of the story, and he desperately wanted to protect his daughter.

This book made me think about starting over. For a moment I felt like Clara and her Dad ran away from their problems, but I realized that within their new reality they found ways to deal with their issues. They didn’t so much as run away as they found a new and better life for themselves, and it was beautiful to see true happiness in their lives after they dealt with so much. This is a truly gorgeous book, and I cannot recommend it any more highly. Be sure and check this one out, because I doubt you will be disappointed.


Find Stay by Deb Caletti on Goodreads, Book Depository, &

March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is designed to put new books on people's radars, and encourage blogger interaction.

Here's what I received this week:



For Review:

**All links lead to Goodreads (minus 'Flat-Out Love' which doesn't have a page yet)

March 25, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Release Date: November 30, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 366
Review Source: Library

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My Thoughts:
I tried so hard not to go into this one with high expectations, but with it being one of the most hyped books of last year, it was difficult to do. I’m not sure if it was the hype, or it just wasn’t necessarily the book for me, but I didn’t totally fall in love with 'Matched'. Part of this may also have to do with the inevitable comparisons with Lauren Oliver’s ‘Delirium.’ The two books deal with similar issues, and I have to say I did find myself comparing them. Unfortunately for ‘Matched’, ‘Delirium’ wins out big time. I just didn’t get the same heartwrenching feel from ‘Matched’ as I did with ‘Delirium’.

This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy ‘Matched’ at all, because I did. The society that Ally Condie has created is incredibly interesting, and I liked all the details that she came up with to frame this restrictive world. I also loved Cassia’s spirit. She was so brave, despite the world that she grew up in, and I just wanted to whisk her out of the story and put her somewhere where she had the ability to make all the choices she wished she could make.

Overall, I did like ‘Matched’, probably enough to pick up the 2nd book in the trilogy. It’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of YA dystopian stories, but it was definitely not my favourite of the genre. Mainly I just found the story to be incredibly slow paced, and in a very vibrant and interesting world where I was itching for things to happen, I thought the slowness was to the detriment of the story.


Find Matched by Ally Condie on Goodreads, Book Depository, &

March 23, 2011

Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting

Release Date: February 15, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 368
Review Source: Library eBook

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

My Thoughts:
This is another great book by Kimberly Derting, although I didn’t find it as creepy as the first book, unfortunately. It was more obvious, at least to me, who the guilty party was, so it took some of the fun out of the book. However, I still deeply enjoyed reading this book, and I thought the other perspective and how it was framed was very interesting.

Violet and Jay are an amazing couple, probably one of my favourites in new YA books. It’s refreshing to see such chemistry, but also a deeper connection based off of friendship and caring. I really love the romance aspect of these books, especially because that aspect manages to be amazing, even though it isn’t the biggest focus of the story. I thought some of the drama between Jay and Violet in this book was a bit 'whatever' -- there were overreactions on both sides, and characters acting unreasonably. That brought my enjoyment level down a bit, though not to a huge degree.

The FBI angle of this story was pretty darn cool, even though it reminded me of the 1-800-Missing series (Meg Cabot). Either way, it was a new angle for the series, allowing the reader to imagine Violet’s future beyond just this case. It was interesting, too, to wonder about other people are out there with abilities similar to Violet’s. Everyone seems to adore the addition of Rafe into the story, and I did like him well enough, but I just kept imagining what problems he might cause in the future for Violet and Jay -- but hey, maybe Kimberly Derting will surprise me and not go in that direction. It would definitely be refreshing.

Bottom line: if you liked the first book, you’ll definitely enjoy this one as well. Violet’s ability is really a blessing and a curse, and Kimberly Derting has done an amazing job describing the echoes and their effect on Violet. I would highly recommend the first book in this series, and while this one didn’t completely wow me, it was still a great reading experience.


Find Desires of the Dead by Kimberly Derting on Goodreads, Book Depository, &

March 21, 2011

Books For Thought (1)

Books For Thought is a weekly feature at La Femme Readers where each Monday Eleni posts a book-related question up for discussion.

This week's question is...
Which book would make a great TV Show?

I suppose in order for a book to be a good TV show it needs to either be a series or something high concept, because otherwise the plot of the book would run out within a few episodes. There are a lot of books I could see being great movies, but a great TV show would take a little something extra.

Here are some suggestions:

Private series by Kate Brian -- these books have already been turned into webisodes, so there's obviously a production value to them. They would really be perfect for a CW series, though. There are plenty of characters, and there are so many crazy happenings in each book that you would definitely be able to make a series out of them.

Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter -- this is a book series AND it's high concept; I dare you to tell me that boarding school for spies doesn't sound like a cool TV show.

Ruby Oliver books by E. Lockhart -- It would be easy to draw these books out into a series, what with all the different boys and scenarios that play out. Plus couldn't you just see Ruby writing a blog or making vlogs, and having either the videos or voiceover as a main style of the series?

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead -- So I guess these ones are becoming a movie series, but each book could easily be a season of TV. More time with Rose, Adrian, Lissa, Dimitri, Christian, etc? Yes please!

So I guess my suggestions all turned out to be book series.

What do you think? Which of your favourite TV series would you like to see on the small screen?

March 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is designed to put new books on people's radars, and encourage blogger interaction.

Here's what I received this week:

Cinder decided she wanted to be a part of IMM this week. ;)



For Review:
  • Dreamwalk - Sarah MacManus (eBook from author)

**All links lead to Goodreads

I'm psyched to finally own 'Heist Society' ... I love Ally's books, and this one was a bargain book at Coles with another 20% off because it's a teen book, and all children's & teens books are 20% off right now.

I decided I had to buy 'Liar Society' because my library doesn't have it in, and I was able to buy that one with a nice 50% off coupon at the Kobo store. Win! I'm reading it right now, and it's so great so far. It's completely like the book version of Veronica Mars.

March 17, 2011

Book Blogger Hop (4)

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly feature hosted by Jennifer @ Crazy For Books. It is designed in the spirit of Twitter's Follow Friday, allowing readers and book bloggers to connect with one another.

This week's question: Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?

There are very few times when I read more than one book. An exception would be if I decide to pick up something non-fiction (a rare occurrence, I must say), then I would read a fiction at the same time, depending on what mood I was in. But yah, generally I focus on only one book -- I don't like to confuse plot lines and characters, and I like being invested in one story at a time. That's why I also read book series in a row if several (or all) of the books are released.


P.S. If you're a TV lover, come check out my TV Favourites post where I discuss some of my favourite shows and why I like them. I'd love to hear more from people about what they look for in their favourite shows.

Some TV Favourites

Today is Talk About TV Thursday! Okay, I just made that up, but it works, right?

While this is a book blog, I think it's important to acknowledge that books aren't the only medium that tell a great story. I'm a movie fan as well, but in terms of media entertainment, I have to say that TV is where my heart is. My favourite type of book is one where we get a long, uninterrupted view of a character and insight into their life, so it's no surprise that I enjoy television, where episodes and even seasons are taken to show us progression in relationships and character development.

When it comes down to it, I think that a good story is a good story, no matter what way it's told. I've really enjoyed the posts I've seen on other people's blogs where they discuss their favourite TV shows, so I thought I would take a crack at it.

Here are five of my favourite shows, some currently on the air and some that are (sadly) finished. If you knew how much TV I watch, you would realize how hard it was for me to narrow it down to only five.

Being Erica

I absolutely have to give props to the show that convinced me that Canadian TV could be good. Being Erica is funny, smart, and sweet. The adorable and genius Erin Karpluk plays Erica, a woman who goes to therapy to deal with her regrets, only to find out that her doctor can send her back in time to literally relive and change her past. First of all, this is a genius concept, and seeing all the different versions of Erica from the past is awesome, and often times quite humourous. You also get to learn some great lessons as you watch Erica deal with some seriously tough things in her past, including the death of her brother, Leo. The best part is that none of this is saccharine. You will seriously feel for Erica and care about her and her family and friends.


Friday Night Lights

This is quite possibly the most real show I've ever watched. What I mean is that these characters feel like real people. They have problems and they deal with them like in real life. Nothing is sugar coated here: it's just not fake. Yes, it's a "football show", but not really. Do you think I care about football? No, I seriously could care less. But this show makes you care about the people of Dillon, Texas. It's about the community, centralized around the Taylor family. If you're looking for real emotion and true to life characters that you will fall deeply in love with, look no further. I couldn't recommend this show more highly.


Mad Men

AMC's tagline is "Story Matters Here", and the truth is, I think it really does. Mad Men is brilliant not only because of the time period and the style, but because it tells a great story. What really makes the show, though, is all the characters. Don Draper is this insane guy... I'm pretty sure he's not at all likeable, but he's magnetic. All of the actors on this show are amazing, making their moments on screen shine. This is definitely a slower paced show, which might not appeal to everyone, but there is absolute brilliance in all the silent moments.



How much do I love Merlin? So, so much. I totally fangirled it to everyone I knew after I started watching it and offered to lend my S1 DVD out to people: that's how much. The show strays quite far from the traditional Arthurian mythology in a lot of ways, but it always manages to sneak in those familiar characters and plot twists. The relationship between Merlin and Arthur (whether you want to be pervy about it or not) is absolutely brilliant, as is Merlin's with his mentor, Gaius. The show portrays a Camelot where King Uther Pendragon has outlawed magic. Obviously this is a problem for Merlin and those like him. There's definitely an epic quality to this show, and it deals with a lot of awesome mythology and legend, while still being focused on the characters.


Veronica Mars

I dare you to name a teen character as awesome as Veronica Mars. She's clever, hilarious, loyal, and tough as nails. But as Wallace knows, she's also a marshmallow. This show faltered in places, but it still always had heart. You could describe this is a teen detective show, but it's just so much better than that. This is another show filled with amazing characters. If you're into fandoms at all, no doubt you've heard of LoVe (Logan/Veronica)... I've gone back and forth with my love for LoVe, but believe me, you want to experience the epicness of their relationship. And what about Daddy Mars? He is one of the coolest TV dads ever, I swear. I absolutely adore the father/daughter relationship that Enrico Colantoni and Kristen Bell portray.


I mentioned how tough that was to narrow down, right? Well, let me list some honourable mentions: Alias, Criminal Minds, Everwood, Felicity, Modern Family, Roswell, & The Vampire Diaries.

As you can tell, just like with my favourite books, my favourite TV shows are generally character driven ones that also happen to feature some great plot lines.

So, what say you?

I'd love to hear about your favourite shows, past or current. What things you look for in a TV show? Are they at all similar to what you look for in a good book?

March 15, 2011

The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins

Release Date: June 1, 2010
Publisher: NAL Trade/Penguin Group
Pages: 384
Review Source: Publisher, for honest review

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Ireland, 1959: Young Christy Hurley is a Pavee gypsy, traveling with his father and extended family from town to town, carrying all their worldly possessions in their wagons. Christy carries with him a burden of guilt as well, haunted by the story of his mother's death in childbirth. The peripatetic life is the only one Christy has ever known, but when his grandfather dies, everything changes. His father decides to settle down temporarily in a town where Christy and his cousin can attend mass and receive proper schooling. But they are still treated as outsiders.

As Christy's exposure to a different life causes him to question who he is and where he belongs, the answer may lie with an old newspaper photograph and a long-buried family secret that could change his life forever...

My Thoughts:
This book was a little bit outside my comfort zone, as it is adult historical fiction, though it does have YA appeal. At first it was hard to get into because of the language used. The story takes place in 1950s Ireland, and the dialect spoken isn’t proper English. I was able to get used to it eventually, and I think it added to the story and helps you understand the characters more thoroughly, but it was a tough go at first.

The story had a lot of intricacies to it, and the novel features a bit of everything: puppy love, mystery, and even a bit of comedy. The book truly is a coming of age story for Christy, a young boy who wants nothing more than a permanent home and some structure to his life. However, Christy’s character develops and grows, and he comes to find that the life he’s been leading is the one that he truly desires.

While this book has a bit of a slower pace to it, it was still enjoyable. The writing style was engaging enough while still telling a quieter story, and the ending was perfect. If you enjoy historical fiction definitely give this one a shot.


Find The Outside Boy by Jeanine Cummins on Goodreads, Book Depository, &


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