Thursday, January 31, 2013

Follow Friday



Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

Q: What is the first thing you would do if you woke up to find yourself in your favorite book?

I have many favourite books, but I think it would be wonderful to wake up in Anna and the French Kiss. I would take a walk around Paris, find some delicious pastries, and hopefully find my own St Clair to kiss under the Eiffel Tower.

Happy Weekend!

The Archived by Victoria Schwab



The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Release Date – January 22, 2013
Publisher Website - Hyperion/Hachette Canada
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -   336 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.  
 Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.  
Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.  
Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.  
In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption .
When I first heard about The Archived I wasn't sure what type of book to expect. It sounded like a plot driven novel, one that might not hold much character development. Luckily, it's a balance between the two.  Detailed world building mixed with character development. It's this balance that makes the story compelling.

The elements that stick out in this story are not the ones you might expect. It's the recognizable and human ones rather than the mystical elements of the archive itself. The pain of losing someone close to you, the guilt of hiding a secret, the start of a new crush. Mac's experiences with moving to a new place, and having to deal with the death of her brother made her someone I rooted for. Her achingly felt pain over the loss of two beloved family members will be relateable to anyone who has lost someone.

Mac's strength comes from hard work and determination. I liked that she wasn't some gifted individual who had everything come easily to her. She had to work for what she wanted, and she had to train hard. Her Da saw something in her, but it was up to her to embrace it and go after what she wanted. Not a bad message to empower girls with.

I was instantly drawn to the Buffy The Vampire Slayer connections. A young girl with a secret who protects the world from danger. It's a story that's been done again and again. Victoria Schwab takes it, embraces it and makes it her own. The world of the Archived, and it's rules, are fresh, and unique. The idea of our lives being kept on record and shelved is an intriguing one. It's a thought provoking premise that made me think of my own ideas about death and what comes next.

I heard that many were wanting to know if there was kissing in this novel. Victoria certainly brings the steamy! The charming, guyliner wearing Wesley and Mac's flirtation is cute, and honest. It's doesn't evolve instantly. It's just this spark that has the potential to grow. I was instantly smitten with Wesley and want more of him. If Victoria wanted to write something from his point of view I would not complain.

Roland, the wise Librarian that Mac has to answer to was fascinating. His patience with Mac, his decision to become a Librarian in the first place, and his intelligence. He seems like someone who has enough backstory for an entire novel of his own. It's these side characters that are so fully developed that add something extra to the novel.
Owen and Mac's interaction engrossed me from the beginning. If a relationship fulfills a very specific need, and you know and recognize this, does that mean you're using the other person? Who are you really hurting more, the other person or yourself? While this particular storyline took a few unexpected turns, the initial questions of need, fulfillment and how deeply we can become enamored with escape were some of my favourite themes I took away from this novel.

Those that despise cliffhangers can rest assured that this novel stands on it's own. It's not the ending that makes you want to beg for a sequel. It's the characters, the world and the unanswered questions. The plot leaves endless possibilities because the world is vast, and the characters so rich and complex.

A story that blends action, romance, and coping with loss into a beautifully written, and plotted novel. Victoria's world is engaging, and unique and it's one I am certainly looking forward to going back into.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Megan Shepherd Interview and Giveaway!


As you could have guessed from my review yesterday I really loved The Madman's Daughter. The lovely Megan Shepherd was kind enough to do an interview for me. Her answers have made me quite curious about the sequel, and I am thrilled to discover she loves tea as much as I do!

I am also giving away a copy, so be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter at the end of the interview

1 Describe The Madman's Daughter in three words.

Madness, mystery, monsters

2 Describe Juliet Moreau in three words.

Complicated, haunted, lonely

3 How would Juliet describe Montgomery and Edward?

Ooh, good question! Montgomery is her father's assistant who she knew as a child. I think in the book Juliet describes him as a "workhorse" because he's a diligent, honest worker and loyal to a fault. And she might add that he's gorgeous :) Edward, a castaway, is literally scarred by his past. Juliet isn't quite sure what to make of Edward, but she's intrigued...

4 Was there a character that surprised you? One that maybe ended up with a larger role than expected?

I found myself surprisingly wrapped up in the lives of two of Doctor Moreau's beast-men. Balthazar is a half-dog, half-bear hybrid who has more humanity than most of the people in the book. And another beast-man, Jaguar, embraces his animal nature while the others strive to act human. For creations from Moreau's laboratory, these were some of the characters that touched me most.

5 What is the strangest thing you did for research?

When I was sixteen, which is the age of the protagonist in the book, I spend a year in Costa Rica. So when I started writing this book I pulled out all my old photos and journals from that time, and tried to remember my early impressions of the jungles and beaches and tropics. Since Moreau's island could be anywhere, I based the jungle atmosphere on my own young experiences.

6 Is there any part of the novel that got cut from the final draft that you really wished could have been kept in because you liked it so much?

I can't answer this question, because there IS a scene I really loved that I cut, but I moved it to the sequel. So it would be a spoiler to tell you :)

7 What is the last novel you read that you enjoyed and would recommend?

I recently went to the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest with my sister, and we missed the ferry and had a few hours to kill, so we checked out Griffin Bay Bookstore in Friday Harbor (our parents are booksellers, so we always visit bookstores on trips.) I'm a big fan of PBS's Downton Abbey, so when I found Natasha Solomon's The House at Tyneford, I knew I'd like it. It's a novel for adults, but it should appeal to YA fans too. Gorgeous setting, great historical detail, and a sweeping romance.

8 If you could go back in time to any time period and any place, where and when would you travel to?

I LOVE this question. It's one of those questions I ask friends all the time when we're sitting around. I'm torn between ancient Egypt, the pre-Columbus Americas, and the roaring 1920s. I'd love to write books set in all those time periods, just so I could do the research!

9 Do you stick to a strict writing schedule (eg, so many words a day, etc?)

I tend to write in very intense bursts that last a few days. So I'll write for 12-14 hours for four or five days, and then burn myself out and take a few days off. I worked at a 9-to-5 job for several years, so my goal is to go back to that schedule, so I can have my evenings and weekends back!

10 What are three things you need while revising?

The great Carrie Ryan showed me a wonderful plot chart that I turned into a big board I carry around with me and stick post-it notes on (see attached) to help with plotting and structure, since I'm a very visual person. I carry that around with me everywhere I write, as well as a second monitor, so I can look between my notes and my draft. And lastly, tea! Lots of tea!

I want to thank Megan for stopping by! I bet you're wanting a copy of The Madman's Daughter for yourself. I am giving away one copy to be shipped via Book Depository. It's open international, just fill out the Rafflecopter below.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd



The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Release Date – January 29, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -   432 pages
My Rating- 4.5/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In the darkest places, even love is deadly.  
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true. 
Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood. 
Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.
This twist on the classic tale of Dr Moreau is dark, lushly descriptive, and chilling. It asks the question of  blood, and if the blood running in your veins can determine who you are. I was engrossed with the story, and it's characters immediately.

The entire novel is atmospheric. The lush, humid island filled with vegetation seems to come to life. The descriptions are so vivid that you can almost feel the humidity pressing on you, and sweat rolling down your own back. The novel is creepy and tension filled throughout. Megan Shepherd infuses the entire novel with a sense of foreboding.

This novel also includes one of the creepiest and stomach turning elements I have encountered in a long time - vivisection. The scene in which we are introduced to this incredibly gruesome technique is only a prelude to dark things to come, but sets the tone masterfully.

Juliet is drawn to the macabre. Operating, blood and experiments excite, rather than repel her. She lives in a constant fear that her father's madness runs through her veins and tries to prove to herself and others that she is nothing like him. I found myself drawn to her, and her inner struggle. She walks a fine line, and the tantalizing descent into perceived madness is always present.

Dr Moreau casts a larger than life presence in Juliet's life. The man we learn about seems charming, driven, and capable of anything in the name of science. His secrets reach all the way from the island to Juliet's life, turning her entire world upside down.

Balthazar, a fascinating character, intrigued me. I wanted to know more about him. His mannerisms, and nature make him startlingly human. His gentle and quiet manner made him easily more humane than some of the completely human characters.

The love triangle is written in such a way that presents each potential love interest with equal standing. It may not be unique, but each of them is engaging in their own right, each is holding back their own secrets, and both are darker than first appearances would indicate. I love that each choice leads to potential issues, and neither guy is what I could consider a "safe" choice. There is more going on with the characters than the romance, and it felt secondary to the plot rather than the main focus of the plot.

A novel that shows blood runs deep, what's inside us can terrify us the most, and some secrets can never stay hidden. A wonderfully written, tension filled read that has left me anticipating the sequel and where Megan Shepherd will take these characters next.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Blogiversary!



It's hard to believe but my blog has hit a pretty amazing milestone. Today is my second blogiversary. I posted my first review two years ago today.

The last two years has been amazing. Filled with great books, learning and finding my way. Most of all it's been about making new friendships with fellow bloggers.

I want to thank everyone who follows my blog. I am seriously honoured that I have any at all, and having over 700 is simply mind blowing to me.

I do want a give a special thank you to all the authors, publishers, and other bloggers who have worked with me over the 2 years, and look forward to much more in the future.

I also wanted to specifically thank a few people

The Ottawa Blogettes (Emile, Katie, Meaghan and Ciara) - thank you ladies for fun bookish talks, book swaps, an epic road trip to Toronto, and lastly for loving books as much as I do.

Christy from The Reader Bee - You've become a true friend, and are a wonderful blogger. I love our chats, and can't wait to have our Magic Mike watch/chat together. It's been awesome getting to know you because of blogging.

Brodie from Eleusinian Mysteries - Our epic Once Upon A Time emails, your amazing comments, and simply the awesomeness that is YOU! It's been amazing getting to know you through blogging.

Kelly from Kellyvision - My BEA book blogger buddy! I can not wait to experience BEA with you again this year! You make the countdown much more exciting and chatting about it with you helps pass the months until it gets here. I love that you plan so far in advance like me! Also, thank you for giving me one of my favourite weekly features.

Evie from Bookish - Thank you for the AMAZING blog design! I can't wait for your design business to really take off. You're one of the sweetest people EVER and I am glad blogging introduced us.

Katherine Longshore, Michelle Hodkin, and Bethany Griffin - Thank you all for being so supportive of my events for your amazing novels. Each of you have earned a place as one of my "MUST READ" favourite authors. The interviews and such mean more to more than you'll ever know. Thank you for writing books that make me fangirl.

As a thank you for my followers I am offering a giveaway. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below.

The prize? I figure I would allow the winner to select from a list of my favourite books.

Choices are

1 The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
2 Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
3 Gilt by Katherine Longshore
4 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
5 Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Good luck and thank you again, so so so much.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New To My Book Closet


It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

There was much fangirling and squealing at the mailbox when my one book of the week showed up.


Tarnish by Katherine Longshore (goodreads)

I will be reading this immediately. I can't wait until closer to the release date, and nor do I want to. Review will be posted during a special week (details coming soon) but expect fangirling once finished. I kind of LOVE Anne Boleyn and I have a feeling that Katherine's portrayal of her is going to be breathtaking.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekly Obsessions


The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas


Look at this cover!! Now take a moment and read the Goodreads synopsis (I'll wait). This novel sounds like it's going to be filled with fun twists and the premise sounds intriguing. My curiosity was piqued when I read it was inspired by a true crime case (it's pretty obvious which one). I can not wait to get my hands on this.

TV

The Following

I was expecting this to be good. What I was not expecting? Kevin Bacon and James Purfoy to have such amazing "chemistry" (for lack of a better term). They play off each other so well. The end scene was straight up intense, and made the show. It had a very Lecter/Starling vibe to it, and I enjoyed every tense second of it.

This show kept me on the edge of my seat and I can only hope it keeps up it's killer pacing for the rest of the season.

MOVIE

Warm Bodies

I was fortunate to see this at an advance screening. I was not sure what to expect, but the movie really surprised me. Funnier than I was expecting, sweet and rather romantic. Nicholas Hoult was super charming as "R". I am dying to read the book now to see if the humour translates the same. The studio gave us these really cute and fun valentines.


OTHER

Ottawa Book Blogger Meet Up

This event is starting to come together, and it's going to be VERY exciting. I can't wait to recap it and am very much looking forward to meeting a bunch of new bloggers.

A Glass of Wine's second blogiversary

My little blog is turning 2 on January 28th. It's pretty crazy that so much has happened in the past two years! Look out for a giveaway to celebrate.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Follow Friday



Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

Q: What is the last book that kept you up late into the night just to finish it?

Gayle Forman's Just One Day. I stayed up late and couldn't stop reading. Also Kristin Halbrook's Nobody But Us kept me up when I got really close to the end. Had to keep reading.

Happy Weekend!

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl



Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Release Date – October 12, 2010
Publisher Website - Little Brown and Company
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  503 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Received from publisher for review**

****SPOILERS FOR BEAUTIFUL CREATURES****

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.   
Sometimes life-ending. 
 Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
Secrets, lies, and loss weave together in the second novel in the Caster Chronicles series. This delightfully, sinfully magical tale has made me fall for it's southern charm, and characters.

I enjoyed the characters in the first novel, and was happy to return to them. Ethan’s friend Link is especially delightful. A true friend who would literally follow Ethan anywhere, and who is brave in his own right. He provides wonderful moments  of humour and contrasts Ethan’s more serious nature perfectly.

I missed Lena in this installment. Her absence is achingly present, and I felt it as strongly as Ethan does. Their love story drives the entire plot, but as much as the first book was Lena’s, the second is all Ethan’s story.  Ethan’s family have secrets of their own, and with Lena pulling away, Ethan takes centre stage.

The love story between Lena and Ethan is deep. Their connection is intense and heightened. I was delighted to gain more insight into their connection and the characters themselves.

The choice of Ethan as narrator really made sense in this instalment. Lena's point of view could have been wonderful, but would have slide into depressing after the events of the first novel. Ethan's weariness, and his almost jaded outlook provide a perfect outlet for this story.

Lena’s Uncle Macon, whose death is still fresh, is still so present. His ghost haunts these pages with Lena’s mourning, and Ravenwood family secrets being revealed. As I adored this character, I was happy to have more about him be revealed.

The fun twists and turns made this novel a page turner. It left me wanting to scream, yell, sigh, and hug people all at various times. I think that fact that I already care so much about these characters speaks volumes about the characterization and the depths the writers have given each of them.

The setting can make or break and novel, and this gothic Southern setting is a hit. I immediately was drawn into the world of not only the Casters, but the South itself. It’s charm, and manners back dropped with it’s cemeteries, and voodoo make for an even more enchanting setting.

My only complaint is that I feel these books are a little drawn out. There is some aspects that could have been edited out to create a sharper, even stronger story.

The Caster Chronicles is story where good and evil aren’t always clear cut,  and where things are never quite what they seem. This second installment has made me want to pick up the third book immediately, and continue Ethan and Lena’s story.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday...Dangerous Girls


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Paradise quickly gets gruesome in this thrilling page-turner with a plot that’s ripped from the headlines and a twist that defies the imagination.  
It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. 
But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love. 
 Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined... 
I know exactly what case this is based on, and it has me intrigued already. The cover is quite eye catching as it looks like a lovely sandy beach until you see the handcuffs buried underneath. I hope it's as twisty as the synopsis claims, because it sounds fantastic.

Expected release date July 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook


Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
Release Date – January 29, 2013
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -   272 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts. 
They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run. 
Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger.... 
When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.
Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending.
Romantic, sensual, dangerous, and raw. Nobody But Us introduces two characters who make mistakes, fall in love, and spiral out of control. At once a look at a young love that is passionate, consuming and intense, and a tale of two desperate people trying to outrun something they can never leave behind.

Zoe and Will are both damaged. Real, broken and honest. They are written, flaws and all, with such realism that you can’t help but become invested in their story.  Kristin Halbrook writes both of them unflinchingly, and doesn’t trivialize their actions. Consequences matter in this heart crushing debut.

Consequences for actions happen in this novel. I’ve seen this compared to Beautiful Disaster. My biggest issues with Beautiful Disaster was that Travis and his behaviour seemed to be showcased as appealing. Will is a loose cannon, and has issues. I never found it showcased in any manner other than realistic. Zoe’s background and circumstances lend themselves to her being involved with Will. Will, underneath it all, is a troubled young man who is trying desperately to find something to cling to. Zoe is a lost girl who lives in a state of constant fear. It's touching and bittersweet that they both are just looking for the place they can be happy.

The events in the novel quickly snowball going from bad to worse. As the novel rushed towards it’s ending I felt battered, bruised, and also protective of Will and Zoe. I wanted to make sure they’d be okay, even though okay stopped being an option a long time ago. Part of me held out hope that it wasn’t heading in the direction the characters seemed determined to bulldoze towards.

A heart wrenching, beautifully tragic story that really does show that not every love story ends with “and they lived happily ever after”. Sometimes the spark of attraction and love ignites rapidly and consumes the couple as it burns.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Shadowhunters and Downworlders by Various


Shadowhunters and Downworlders by Various
Release Date – January 29, 2013
Publisher Website - Smartpop
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  256 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, epic urban fantasy set in a richly imagined world of shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves, fairies, and more, has captured the imaginations and loyalty of hundreds of thousands of YA readers. Originally a trilogy (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass), the series has extended to six titles, plus a prequel trilogy, the Infernal Devices, and a planned sequel series, the Dark Artifices. A feature film is planned for 2013. 
Shadowhunters and Downworlders, edited by Clare (who provides an introduction to the book and to each piece), is a collection of YA authors writing about the series and its world.
As a fan of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series I was immediately intrigued by this collection of essays by other authors about the Shadowhunter world. These thought provoking and insightful essays reminded me how deep Clare’s world goes, and how far reaching the characters, and themes really are. In short, it made me fall in love with the series all over again.

Each essay highlights a different aspect of Clare’s world, characters or the themes found within. Some stood out more than others for me, but each was worthy of reflection and had relevant, and thoughtful points. Each is well researched, not only of the topic itself, but with highly researched examples from the series.

Unhomely Places by Kate Milford

Part love letter to New York City, and partly dedicated to the rush, and exhilaration of finding something new and exciting in your own backyard (so to speak). Using Clary’s eye opening, and jarring thrust into the hidden world of the Shadowhunters as backdrop, Milford recounts the delights, and sometimes unpleasantness of having your surroundings be unfamiliar. 

I found myself inspired to hop on a bus and get off on a street I’ve never walked down before and see what my own city had hidden, and waiting to be discovered.

The Art of War  by Sarah Cross

Art plays a huge part in Clary’s life, even after her introduction to fighting demons. She uses it as a weapon, and this essay illustrates how this talent is not only makes Clary resourceful, but also relatable to those reading the story. 

Sharper Than a Seraph Blade by Diana Peterfreund 

An ode to Jace, and what makes him tick. This one really shed new light on Jace, and allowed me to see a few things I hadn’t really thought of before - namely how much Jace uses his sharp wit as armour.

When Laws Are Made to Be Broken by Robin Wasserman 

The most thought provoking essay out of the bunch. A look at why we follow authority figures. It highlights the difference between allegiance to an institution, and humans. Humans make mistakes and often we are capable of challenging those beliefs. We are more likely to put faith in an intuition with absolute laws and this essay showcases prime examples from the series wonderfully.

Simon Lewis: Jewish, Vampire, Hero by Michelle Hodkin

Capturing the heart and soul of what makes Simon such an intriguing character, Michelle Hodkin hits on exactly why Simon is a true hero.

Using his Jewish heritage, and contrasting his newly obtained vampirism she makes a strong case for why our choices, and actions define who we are, rather than being defined by what we are.

Why the Best Friend Never Gets the Girl by Kami Garcia

Using delightful 80’s movies (particularly John Hughes directed films) Kami Garcia looks at the phenomenon she refers to as the Duckie effect. Her argument is backed up and sadly, the best friend really doesn’t get the girl. I found it interesting that the reverse happens if the character is a girl however. A fun look at romance in various forms that left me wanting to watch many of the movies mentioned. 

Brotherly Love by Kendare Blake

Love, sex and the taboo of it all. Kendare handles the incest plot, and what exactly about Jace and Clary’s romance made you root for them against such odds. An intriguing look at how Clare wove this storyline into the plot, and made it work.

Asking for a Friend by Gwenda Bond

The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices are both filled with friendships, particularly Simon and Clary and their unwavering bond. It's these bonds that tie the storylines together, and this essay reflects on why these friendships may be even more important to the plot than the romances.

(Not) For Illustration Purposes Only  by Rachel Caine 

An informative look at tattoos through history and how they might really hold magical qualities (especially to some religions, backgrounds and cultures). Using the marks of the Shadowhunters as inspiration, Caine looks at what it would mean if tattoos could provide abilities.

The Importance of Being Malec by Sara Ryan

This essay was one of my favourites. It deals with having characters that not only show us mirrors but who allow windows. In essence, characters that not only are familiar to us, and show us some of ourselves, but also ones that allow us a window into the unknown. A thought provoking essay that urges you to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” through literature.

The inclusion of Magnus and Alec and their importance, and popularity are discussed, as is what it means to have them in a series as popular as Clare’s.

Villains, Valentine, and Virtue by Scott Tracey 

The importance of a good villain can not be ignored, and Scott Tracey makes his case for Valentine, and what makes him so captivatingly evil. As Tracey points out, it is Valentine’s all too human (and all to recognizable) side that makes him especially chilling.

Immortality and Its Discontents by Kelly Link and Holly Black 

Holly Black and Kelly Link offer an interesting conversation style essay on immortality, what it means, and how it impacts the characters.

The novels (both series) have immortality woven throughout both, and in some cases it’s a major plot aspect of certain character arcs. It caused me to consider the pros, and ultimately the cons of living forever.

What Does That Deviant Wench Think She’s Doing? Or, Shadowhunters Gone Wild  by Sarah Rees Brennan

Sarah Rees Brennan’s essay is all about Shadowhunters (and Downworlders) behaving badly. Risque relationships, forbidden desires, and accepting our deepest wishes are the take away from this and how whatever those are, it’s okay to embrace them. Acceptance, tolerance, and love…not a bad message to leave off on.

A treat for any fan, especially if you like dissecting and analyzing literature. Michelle Hodkins’ fantastic essay was a stand out for me, but all of them are worth a read. I collection that shows a person’s experience and perspective can influence how they interpret novels, and impact how they view the elements within them.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New To My Book Closet


It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

A small but epic mailbox this week. Only one book but one I am very happy to get my hands on.


The Archived by Victoria Schwab (goodreads)

I will be reading this immediately to review it. I can't wait as I've been hearing amazing things about it.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekly Obsessions


The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

The Retribution of Mara Dyer cover


Stunning isn't even the word. I LOVE this cover. I want to hang this cover on my wall. It's perfect in so many ways. This series has the best covers, and I love that they kept the same scheme (and some photography) for all of them. I am going to be dying to get my hands on this when it's released.

TV

The Following

This new Kevin Williamson show starring Kevin Bacon premieres this Monday night. I can't wait to watch it. If the viral advertising campaign is anything to go by, this show is going to be stellar.

Once Upon A Time...OK, Killian Jones

Yes, he is a villain  He also happens to be complex, so utterly devastatingly heartbroken, suicidal, and totally hot. I obviously don't want him to hook up (hehe) with Emma because he's pretty much a jerk most of the time, but I still ADORE him for the character he is. His love for Milah is crushing and heart wrenching. That last episode KILLED me. I am enjoying his self destructive spiral, and can't want to see what his character does next.

OTHER

My New Blog Look

The lovely Evie from Bookish designed my new blog look. It's pink, girly, flirty and fun. I think it suits me and the blog perfectly. I can not say enough about what an awesome job she did. If you need a blog redesign, be sure to contact her for availability and pricing.

Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle

I have been having a blast putting together this little get together and have already gotten some AMAZING surprises set up for the lovely bloggers who are attending. I can't wait until Feb!

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Follow Friday



Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

Q: Who is your favorite villain from a book?

So many awesome villains to choose from. I think right now it's Warner from Shatter Me. I am equally drawn to and repulsed by him. I think he's complex and fascinating. My favourite villains are the ones that walk those shades of grey, and he does this.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday....Truly Madly Deadly


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


My pick this week is Truly Madly Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Sawyer Dodd has it all. She's a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She's free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by "an admirer" and printed with two simple words: "You're welcome."
Creepy and awesome sounding. The entire premise sends shivers down my spine. The idea of this girl being stalked puts a dangerous twist on this story and I can't wait to unravel all the secrets.

Expected release date July 1, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans
Release Date – January 15, 2013
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  288 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Three levels. Two loves. One choice. Debut novelist, Lenore Appelhans has written a thrilling otherworldly young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2). 
'I pause to look around the hive - all the podlike chambers are lit up as the drones shoot up on memories ... I've wanted to get out of here before, but now the tight quarters start to choke me. There has to be more to death than this.'  
Felicia Ward is dead. Trapped in a stark white afterlife limbo, she spends endless days replaying memories, of her family, friends, boyfriend ... and of the guy who broke her heart. The guy who has just broken into Level 2 to find her. Felicia learns that a rebellion is brewing, and it seems she is the key. Suspended between heaven and earth, she must make a choice. Between two worlds, two lives and two loves.
Level 2 is a story that is filled with many science fiction like elements, and yet is also filled with such vivid emotions that make it read more like a contemporary novel. It's characters are it's heart, and driving force of the story.

I found myself engrossed in these more realistic elements. Felicia's struggle with her relationship with Julian and all the emotions it brings. The enchanting and sweet start to her relationship with Neil. The growing distance between her and her best friend. Her guilt and desire to punish herself for past mistakes. Surrounding all this is the compelling mystery of Felicia's death and the even more mysterious events leading up to it. It's these elements that kept me turning the pages, and engrossed in the story. The writing brings these characters to life effortlessly and the little details that make them feel real are evidently present.

Felicia's story takes place in Level 2. The stark white "in between" that bridges life and whatever comes after it. Days are spent watching memories and everything is surrounded in a fuzzy haze. An intriguing concept, that is mostly well plotted. However, this other aspect, the more science fiction/paranormal part of the novel, didn't resonate as much with me. I found myself wishing I knew more and that it was more developed. Eventually, I found myself wishing that I had more of the characters, and that part of the plot.

I found myself less invested in the rebellion aspect and the overall outcome of Level 2 itself. I cared for the characters, but had a harder time embracing the world they inhabited.

Neil and Julian are the two men in Felicia's life, and afterlife. Each is part of who Felicia is. Julian with his easy charm, and chemical attraction. Neil with his patience, and understanding. Each guy gives Felicia something different. The relationships are built realistically and grow organically within the story. The love triangle is less of a triangle than you might expect, but there is still enough chemistry between Felicia and each guy to make it interesting.

The ending is one that could stand on it's own and yet there are still questions to be explored. Questions that provide more than enough to warrant a sequel. An okay read whose characters resonated, but overall left me wanting more from it.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

City of Bones Read-A-Long Sign Up



Have you read City of Bones already? Or are you a newbie to the Cassandra Clare series? Either way join us for a read-a-long to prepare for the movie in August!

I thought it might be fun to have different groups host a meet up in their city to discuss the book and provide a group recap. I was hoping to have one each month from March until August when the movie comes out. If you are interested in hosting a meet up in your city and are willing to do a recap please email me at aglassofwineblog@gmail.com. Please email me by Feb 17 with which month you might wish to do. Once we have cities and such figured out I will do a post with how to sign up for that.

Sign ups will be open until the end of July and I will have a monthly post where people can link their reviews along with the group meet up recap (hopefully I get enough meet up recaps to do it monthly).

There may be other surprises along the way (things are still be worked out) so I do hope you'll join us!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

A smaller mailbox, but still awesome! I got 2 packages from Penguin Canada this week. A huge thank you to them for these awesome reads!


The Ruining by Anna Collomore (goodreads)
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff (goodreads)

I am part of the Canadian blog tour for The Ruining and I can't wait to read it. I've heard it's creepy.
I read an ARC of Paper Valentine and was pleasantly surprised to find a hardcover in my mailbox. It's really pretty in person.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

The Retribution of Mara Dyer Cover.......Maybe

I stumbled upon this on Goodreads today. Is this the real cover? I hope so. It's STUNNING! I literally squealed while at work and had my co-workers look at me funny. It's breath taking and so so sooooo perfect.

It's my favourite out of the three. I need this REALLY big and hanging on my wall. I can't get over the sheer gorgeousness of these covers, and how well they fit the story.


I can't wait to see what Michelle Hodkin has in store for us come Fall 2013.

What do you think of the cover? Are you as in love with it as I am?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Cover of Amy Plum's Die For Her


I am so excited to read something from Jules' point of view. The Goodreads synopsis makes this sound even better. Add in the gorgeous cover and this is one enovella I am dying to read.

If you haven't hear of HarperTeen Impulse yet, be sure to check them out. It's a division of Harper that will be releasing enovellas as "bridges" between books in some of our favourite series. I am especially looking forward to Bethany Griffin's Glitter and Doom, and Kiera Cass' The Prince (along with Die For Her of course).

MOVIE

Catching Fire First Look


Um...Sam Claflin. Can we just appreciate how perfect he looks in this still? AMAZING. I was a little nervous when I saw the EW cover, but this still.. I.CAN'T.EVEN. I need a trailer so I can see him in action, but so far, I am VERY happy. Also, they totally shot the sugar cube scene. This delights me. It needs to be in the trailer.

TV

Emma and Neal from Once Upon A Time

I recently read some spoilers for Once Upon A Time, and since I am not going to give anything away, all I will say is that they made me immediately watch the episode titled Tallahassee again. I LOVE this couple. They are so adorkable together, and Emma seemed so happy with him before her life got REALLY complicated. Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to when Neal returns (whenever that happens to be!).

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Follow Friday


Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

Q: If you could choose one supernatural being/creature to really exists what would it be and why?

Eeep! So many of them are dangerous and could kill me. I am not sure I would want any of them to actually exist. I say leave them where they belong...in the books we love so much.

If I were forced to choose one, I think it'd be vampires. As long as they were on the Cullen diet that is.

Happy Weekend!

Just One Day by Gayle Forman


Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Release Date – January 8, 2013
Publisher Website - Penguin/Razorbill
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  368 pages
My Rating- ALL THE STARS!
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.
My feelings about Just One Day are going to be hard to put into words. This is probably the hardest review I've had to write. The amount of love I have for this brilliant novel can not adequately be put into words. It is a beautiful love story and a journey of self discovery that resonated deeply with me, and made Just One Day an unputdownable captivating read. beautiful love story and a journey of self discovery that resonated deeply with me, and made Just One Day an unputdownable captivating read.

The character of Allyson resonated deeply with me. I am sure this will be constant refrain, but I identified with her so much. Her need to please those around her (even if it means sacrificing what she wants), her desire for something more, and her wanderlust. Her immediate thought process when on the train with Willem heading to Paris would be similar to my own. I felt drawn into the story because I could relate to her so much.

The flirtation and spark between Willem and Allyson is electric. Softly romantic and understatedly sexy, this novel provides many swoon inducing moments. The chemistry and connection between Willem and Allyson leaps off the page. I felt as devastated as Allyson did when it's discovered Willem has vanished, because I was so invested in their love story.

If you at all have travel lust this book will leave you dreaming of your own European jaunt. I seriously felt envious while reading. It gave me wanderlust badly, and I have been looking at Paris and London vacation ideas ever since. Be prepared, you'll be a little obsessed with travelling after finishing. Gayle Forman's descriptions bring out the little moments that stay with you much longer than the bigger, flashier ones do.

The ending is one that makes me ecstatic that Just One Year isn't far off because I wanted to be inside Willem's head so many time during the novel. I wanted to know what he was thinking and feeling. He's the kind of guy who can make a girl feel like he really sees her.

My favourite quote from the novel actually comes from Willem, and if it's any indication Just One Year is going to be filled with deliciously quotable passages.
'I think you're the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren't even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don't let it show. I think you do things that scare you, and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump of bridges'
This achingly swoon worthy boy that is as much a mystery as he is known to Allyson (and therefore the reader).  He ensnared me with his free spirit and outlook on love, and life.

Another stand out are the secondary characters. In particular Dee. A true friend who becomes Allyson's rock while away at University. He's fantastic, and provides some humour. His outlook, and keen observation skills made him a perfect friend for Allyson during her time of self discovery. I would welcome more of him if he were to pop up in the sequel.

Just One Day is an epic love story that is so much more. The unforgettable story of Allyson and her journey left me stained, and the love story between her and Willem left me breathless. Take the journey and spend a day you won't forget.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday....Beauty

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is Beauty by Nancy Ohlin


Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Looks to kill for... 
Ana is nothing like her glamorous mother, Queen Veda, whose hair is black as ravens and whose lips are red as roses. Alas, Queen Veda loathes anyone whose beauty dares to rival her own—including her daughter. 
And despite Ana’s attempts to be plain to earn her mother’s affection, she’s sent away to the kingdom’s exclusive boarding school. 
At the Academy, Ana is devastated when her only friend abandons her for the popular girls. Isolated and alone, Ana resolves to look like a true princess to earn the acceptance she desires. 
But when she uncovers the dangerous secret that makes all of the girls at the Academy so gorgeous, just how far will Ana go to fit in?
This sounds awesome. I love the Snow White influence, and who doesn't love boarding school stories?! I hope the fairytale element is prevalent throughout the entire story, because it sounds like a great choice for the fairytale kick I've been on recently.

Expected release date May 7, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

*Blog Tour* Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff


Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Release Date – January 8, 2013
Publisher Website - Penguin/Razorbill
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -   368 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**Received from publisher for review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.
Paper Valentine is one of those novels that you dive into thinking it's one thing, and it ends up being something else all together Paper Valentine reads less like a murder mystery and more like a story of acceptance. Hannah is having to accept that her friendships are changing, and she's having to come to terms with Lillian's death. It's a story of growing up, changing, and embracing the things that hurt you so that you come out the other side stronger.

Paper Valentine is my first experience with Brenna Yovanoff's beautiful writing. Everything I have heard is true. It's poetic, lyrical, and simply wonderful. It's her writing that makes the character's feeling seem all the more resonate, and deep.
This is the story of a friendship. A best friendship that is complicated in the way that highschool friendships are. Lillian and Hannah's friendship is written in such a real and honest way. The flaws, and imperfections each character has are reflected in the nature of the friendship. Lillian's haunting feels more like both girls can't let go, and how much they miss each other is clearly evident. Lillian pushes Hannah, and as a result Hannah becomes stronger, and more self assured.

Finnegan Boone, the bad boy who is surprisingly gentle. He's everything Hannah's friends would want her to stay away from, including Lillian. He's also part of Hannah's journey to taking those first steps towards becoming who she is supposed to a. A self that makes decisions based on what she wants, not others. Their relationship felt authentic to the highschool experience. There are no big declarations of love, no grand gestures. Just a simple moment of kindness, and a connection that leads to wanting to spend time together
The murder mystery does provide a creepy backdrop and contrasts well with Lillian's haunting of Hannah. It provides many chills, and truly horrific. The killer does feel a little rushed and out of nowhere. This novel really is more about Hannah and her journey than the murders themselves, and I feel more time should have been spent on that plot. The killer's motivations are terrifying and well plotted, I just wish a certain character would have been more developed. I did enjoy the surprise element was I was expecting the killer to be someone else based on the clues and hints.

A murder mystery that is so much more. A thoughtful story about what it means to loose someone, and how a girl said goodbye to her best friend, got her first kiss and genuinely grew up during a summer of fear and sadness.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Look!

You may have noticed that A Glass of Wine looks a little different now. This lovely blog design is thanks to the equally lovely and super talented Evie from Bookish.

I love this design so much, and I think Evie has done a fantastic job in setting it up.

To celebrate I will be hosting a giveaway! As my computer is still down the giveaway will be up once that is all sorted. Hopefully it'll be fixed tonight.

Be sure to let me know in the comments what you think of the new design. If you are hoping to spruce up your own design I totally recommend Evie. Her contact details are on her blog, but her official design launch is upcoming.

Temporary Hiatus

Hey Everyone,

So my computer decided to stop working last night. As a result the review that I was to post today will not be up. I am going to have the review for tomorrow up and running (Paper Valentine) as I am going to write it on my lunch break at work today.

I hope to have it fixed tonight and that the blog will resume as usual after that.

Thanks!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New To My Book Closet

It's that time of the week again. Time to show you what bookish goodies made their way into my home and book closet (to be saved from the evil book eating cat monster named Aria). This is inspired by the various "mailbox" posts out there (eg. In My Mailbox by The Story Siren, and Stacking the Shelves by Tynga's Reviews).

This week is a big one for bookish goodness. I met with some of the Ottawa blogettes this week and borrowed books from them, and also got a package of awesome from Raincoast Books.


Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (goodreads)
Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (goodreads)
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (goodreads)

Thanks Katie (from Bookishly Yours) for lending these!

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (goodreads)

I got this one from the library after hearing how amazing it is.

Package of awesome from Raincoast included

Unremembered by Jessica Brody (goodreads)
Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington (goodreads)
Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally (goodreads) *not pictured as it was promptly borrowed by another blogger*

Thank you so much to the people at Raincoast. I was so excited to get these.

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Weekly Obsessions

The awesome Kelly at KellyVision started posting a weekly post highlighting whatever she happened to be obsessed with that week. I LOVE this idea, so much in fact that I will be doing it myself every Saturday.

Here are my obsessions this week:

BOOKS

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne



So I saw this cover in the publisher catalog while browsing. I think it's the official cover, but it's not released yet. I couldn't wait to share it though. I LOVE IT! It looks creepy, and awesome. The Goodreads synopsis is also pretty exciting (and shudder inducing)...
Sawyer Dodd has it all. She's a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She's free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by "an admirer" and printed with two simple words: "You're welcome."
I can't wait to read it and I hope it's as good as it sounds.

2013 Novels

Now that 2013 is here I am excited about all the amazing releases to come. 2013 is shaping up to have some of the most fan girl inducing reads. I am already so excited about so many upcoming titles! Clockwork Princess, The Retribution of Mara Dyer, Dance of the Red Death, Isla and the Happily Ever After, Just One Year, and MANY more. Dare I say that 2013 is going to be the BEST year for book lovers?! (This will apply until I say the same thing about 2014).

The Walking Dark by Robin Wasserman

The lovely Brodie at Eleusinian Mysteries brought this book to my attention (Ok, so I stalk her on Goodreads and that's how I found this). It sounds amazing and creepy. I am feeling a creepy trend with books coming up and I LOVE it.

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
They called it the killing day. Twelve people dead, all in the space of a few hours. Five murderers: neighbors, relatives, friends. All of them so normal. All of them seemingly harmless. All of them now dead by their own hand . . . except one. And that one has no answers to offer the shattered town. She doesn't even know why she killed—or whether she'll do it again.

Something is waking in the sleepy town of Oleander's, Kansas—something dark and hungry that lives in the flat earth and the open sky, in the vengeful hearts of upstanding citizens. As the town begins its descent into blood and madness, five survivors of the killing day are the only ones who can stop Oleander from destroying itself. Jule, the outsider at war with the world; West, the golden boy at war with himself; Daniel, desperate for a different life; Cass, who's not sure she deserves a life at all; and Ellie, who believes in sacrifice, fate, and in evil. Ellie, who always goes too far. They have nothing in common. They have nothing left to lose. And they have no way out. Which means they have no choice but to stand and fight, to face the darkness in their town—and in themselves. 
Eeeep! It's a fall release so still quite a bit to wait before reading this one. Thankfully there are many awesome sounding novels coming out this year.

TV


The Following

Now that it is January my thoughts are returning to my shows. Once Upon A Time can not come back fast enough (I miss Killian Jones). Luckily it starts again on Sunday. The other show I am desperate to watch is The Following. Kevin Bacon, Kevin Williamson, and Edgar Allen Poe inspired plot! So excited. I have been hearing how amazing this is, and I fully intend on becoming addicted to this show. January 21st needs to hurry up and get here already.

OTHER

Ottawa Book Blogger Mix and Mingle

I am busy planning a small little get together for the Ottawa bloggers. An afternoon of bookish talk and making connections with other bloggers is always fun, and I am very much look forward to this one. If you happen to be in the area, check out all the details by visiting the sign up post.

City of Bones read-a-long

I am in the midst of planning a read a long for City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I am hoping to make it a little bit different and fun if everything comes together. I should hopefully be able to announce it next week and start sign ups.

So what are you obsessed with this week?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Follow Friday


Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. It's a great way to meet new blogger friends. This weeks question is:

What New Years Blogging or Writing resolution have you placed on yourself??

I never make New Years resolutions. I end up breaking them and I feel horrible about it. I do admire anyone that can stick to them though.

Happy Weekend!

Winter Book Buzz...

The new season is upon us, and I was fortunate to read some of this season's hottest upcoming titles in advance. I have selected a few to highlight as ones that I think everyone is going to be buzzing about once they hit shelves.


The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd - release date of January 29


Atmospheric, brilliantly woven, and characters that resonate. This story is going to blow people away, and it's just getting started. A captivating main character who fears her own darkness, and two potential love interests with dark secrets of their own make for a deliciously intense, and thrilling read.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman - release date of January 8


This novel is so lushly descriptive and beautifully written that you'll immediately want to read it again once you've finished. Willem is sure to be on many swoon worthy lists at the end of 2013, and we haven't even had his narration yet (Just One Year being released fall 2013 is from his view point). This story deeply resonated with me, particularly the main character Allyson. You'll fall in love with Willem and Allyson's love story, and be swept away in the brilliant locations, and vividly real characters.

Be sure to check out both of these titles, as they are must reads. What books are on your Winter 2012 must read list?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

YA2U - Bring Five YA Authors To YOUR City


Have you ever wished that a big YA book tour would make a stop in your hometown? Well, here's your chance for that wish to come true! YA2U is a program that features five award-winning and best-selling authors who are holding a contest to see what city they should visit in an exclusive tour stop!

The authors are collecting votes from January 1 to February 15, and any city in the continental US or any Canadian city that has an international airport can win an exclusive visit from all five authors, including an author panel and book signing! Entering is super easy--and if you help spread the word about the contest, you can also enter win a signed copy of all of their books (TEN signed books in total!)--and the book contest is open internationally!

The authors in the program are



And they want to have an event in your home town! To participate, just got to the YA2U website and let them know what city you want them to come to. And while you're there, help spread the word about the contest and you can be entered to win all of their books--TEN signed books in total! 

Here's why the YA2U Team should come to MY hometown! 

Not only does Ottawa have a lot of fantastic YA book bloggers and fans, but we also rarely get events like this. It would also be my pleasure to introduce the lovely authors to the Canadian treasure known as poutine. 

Why should the YA2U Team come to your hometown? Why not join in the fun today and share with others about this program and your hometown. The more votes your town gets, the closer you are to having your very own personal tour stop! Vote for YOUR town here!

And if you help spread the word, you can also participate in the book giveaway. Tell them that you learned about YA2U from me and we both get extra entries in the contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Altered by Jennifer Rush


Altered by Jennifer Rush
Release Date – January 1, 2013
Publisher Website - Little Brown and Company
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  336 pages
My Rating- 3.5/5
**Received from publisher for review via BEA**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
When you can’t trust yourself, who can you believe? 
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.
When I originally read this was like Dollhouse meets Prison Break I knew I had to read it. Hot guys? Secret agencies? Genetic modification? Secrets? All the elements needed to make me very eager to get my hands on this. This story delivers what the synopsis promises, but the potential for it to be much deeper left me feeling like something was missing.

Nick, Cas, Trev Sam are the young men being held as experiments for a secret project. They’ve been genetically altered, and as a result don’t remember anything of their time prior to being part of this experiment. I enjoyed each of the boys. Cas with his positive outlook, and ability to make everyone smile. Nick with his attitude, and sarcasm. Trav with his love of quotes, and friendship. Sam, the leader, and most reserved of the guys. You easily love their camaraderie, and  see what the draw is for Anna.  Each of these boys is interesting in their own right, and I feel that more of the story should have been devoted to their back stories. I can only hope that the questions I have about them will be answered in subsequent novels. The biggest being what made each of these boys sign up for this experiment in the first place.

Anna is an interesting character herself. I loved that she wasn’t a damsel in distress or clueless about anything. She is fully capable when things start happening and is not a bystander while the boys always save the day. Her story is the one that is followed the most closely, and we learn the most about her, so it was nice to be invested in her story outside of the boys as well.

I found myself wanting more from the plot, more from the characters, and just more in general. At times I felt like the characters did things that were opposite of what I would expect of them, especially towards the end. Sam is a guy that is presented as a leader, and someone who goes in with a plan. I don’t see him, at a crucial moment, deciding to do something major without planning out the attack first.

I found myself continuously surprised by the plot. Certain things I predicted to happen actually ended up going in a different direction all together. It’s almost like the author took normal formulaic story points and deliberately teases them only to have them veer off into something else.

This novel is a quick paced, action packed read that left me turning the pages. While I was left wishing the story had delved a little deeper, I do have hopes that this series will end up being a great one. The build up of the plot, especially the ending, and the author’s ability to surprise leave me hopeful that the sequel will deliver.

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