Thursday, December 30, 2010


The theme for tonight is werewolves and the following are novels that I have either liked for some time or enjoyed recently.

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause: Vivian Gandillon is a 16-year-old werewolf in a new school and a new town after her pack and her family are burned out of their old home. At her new school, Vivian meets Aiden, who is everything she wants: human, gentle and different. Eventually, Vivian must decide whether or not to tell Aiden the truth about herself. And if she does, can she deal with the consequences?

The thing I really love about Annette Curtis Klause is she doesn't write something you'll expect. Blood and Chocolate is not a black and white novel. The novel really makes use of that grey area and works with it really well. Another point is I really liked Vivian. She's strong, she thinks logically and she knows who she is and accepts it. I'm always happy when a female character is less of a weeping mess and more of a smart and collected individual. Really good novel.

And do yourself a favor, do not watch the film loosely based on this book. It is not a good film. I can understand why they did what they did but the movie became more of a joke than anything else.

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce Sisters Rosie and Scarlett March are no stranger to the werewolves that walk upright amongst them. As children, they were attacked by one which left Scarlett with a physical reminder of the event. Together the sisters plan to take their revenge and destroy as many werewolves as they possibly can. Sisters Red is a retelling of the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood.

First off, I love the cover. I adore how the separate images within the cover art fit together to create one image. The second thing that had me interested in this novel was that it's a retelling of a fairy tale. I admit that I am easily sold when there's a pretty cover and the story is fairy tale based.

What I really liked after reading the novel was how powerful Rosie and Scarlett were. The hunter image has always been a very male one so it was interesting to see these young girls step into those shoes. I also liked that this book wasn't solely about the monsters Rosie and Scarlett hunt but about the sisters themselves as individuals and their relationship. Rosie wants to be normal and stop hunting but Scarlett wants to do nothing but hunt. There were some things that irked me about the novel but they were small so overall, I really enjoyed it.

Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls Book One) by Maggie Stiefvater: Grace knows there are wolves in the woods behind her house. The same ones that dragged her off from her backyard during the winter when she was younger and almost killed her. She waits for the time when she can see the wolf with yellow eyes, the one that saved her from the others. At 17, Grace just might get her wish in the form of a wounded boy on her back porch. A boy with yellow eyes.

I love this series. I love the cover art, the alternating point of views and the poetic prose in which the story is told. It's a very atmospheric novel. I remember when I first read it, all I wanted to do was curl up in my room like it was the middle of winter instead of the beginning of fall.

I didn't expect to like the main character Grace. I really had this feeling that she would grate on my nerves the further I got into the novel (and eventually the series) but I still like her. She's very independent, brave and willing to fight until the end. I like that the novel while very time sensitive makes the effort to slow it down in particular moments. It's those moments that I think shine the most in the novels.

The final novel Forever comes out July 12, 2011 and I'm really looking forward to it. Bated breath, crossed fingers, edge of my seat, wishes upon stars and all that.

This is the Linger trailer and the music is done by Maggie herself. Such a multi-talented lady.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Zombies:The Walking Dead

As the title suggests, the theme for tonight is zombies. The earliest memory I have of zombies is this old movie from 1993 called My Boyfriend's Back. I didn't revisit the zombie sub-genre until later with Shaun of the Dead.

In terms of novels, it started with The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore: Put plainly, the series is about Rick Grimes waking up in the hospital alone from a coma to find that the world he left isn't the same one he's returned to. Something happened and now the Dead are walking. The series is about the events after Rick wakes up, the survivors he meets and his survival in a world where the Living is scarce.

What I really love about this series of graphic novels can be found in the introduction written by Robert Kirkman himself. While zombies are in the novel and part of the story, the main focus of the series is the human characters that we meet - the living and survivors. Who they are, their reactions, their decisions and what they become. The human condition is at its core and has been the subject of literature for so long (example: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad) and I don't think it will ever be a boring subject because it continually reinvents itself.

Another point to be made about The Walking Dead series is the art. It's so well done and strong and it compliments the story perfectly. The high school art nerd in me just giggles giddily over it. Oh Rick Grimes, your chiseled jaw is appreciated.

The graphic novel series isn't finished but instead ongoing. Let's enjoy it while we can shall we?

The Walking Dead was also adapted for television recently by AMC (the guys/ladies who brought you Mad Men). I actually rushed home from work that Sunday night of October 31st just to watch it and I wasn't disappointed. I love it just as much as I love the graphic novels. The biggest complaint I've seen so far is that it's a slow moving show and that it needs more zombie action. I think in terms of adaptation, the tv series is trying to stay true to the graphic novels' spirit by focusing it more on the interactions and lives of the human survivors. People see zombies and they think it's going to be a gore fest and when they don't get what they want/expect, they're disappointed. There's more to The Walking Dead than that. I think people just need to shelve their expectations and be a lot more open minded about it.

The series just ended it's first season last weekend and will probably return next year around Halloween. That's, at least, what AMC seems to have promised its audience.

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks: A survival guide for a zombie apocalypse that outlines almost all the possible human and zombie encounters. Words of wisdom that will keep you alive while the undead roam the streets of your neighborhood. "Use your head; cut off theirs."

World War Z by Max Brooks: A more serious turn this time around, this novel acts as a recorded future history of a zombie apocalypse. The facets of this new future is told through several different first-person accounts. People from all walks of life and from different countries sharing their stories and experiences. "Most people don't believe something can happen until it already has. That's not stupidity or weakness, that's just human nature."

So the first of Max Brooks' novels is a parody and a survival guide against zombies. A lot of fun to read and I couldn't stop laughing as I read it. Truly a good novel. The humor is spot on and it's something you'd love to read right after watching Shaun of the Dead for the thousandth time.

The second World War Z is a lot more serious. A fictional history of a zombie apocalypse told through the experiences of various characters. I really enjoyed it but I know not everyone will. It reads a bit like a literary history text and not everyone enjoys that. I still say take it out from the library and give it a try if you're not sure about it.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: Mary's life is governed by simple rules. Listen to the Sisterhood and be careful around the fence at the edge of the village. Beyond that fence protecting the village, the Unconsecrated roam the Forest of Hands of Teeth. But the secrets Mary learns makes her question both rules. Soon chaos engulfs her village when the fence is breached and Mary must decide what to accept and what to fight for.

This novel is the first in a series which is followed by The Dead Tossed Waves (out now) and The Dark and Hollow Places(out spring 2011). This book reminds me greatly of M. Night Shamalan's 'The Village' film because it's about a closed community with an enemy on the outside of its walls. In this novel it's the living dead that roams the forest beyond the fences of the village. The relationships in this book are complicated and intense, which I enjoyed. And I also liked the religious aspect that got thrown into the mix with the Sisterhood and how the people in Mary's village allowed themselves to be controlled by it in order to survive. Overall, a superb book with good descriptions and interesting characters. Thought the novel as a whole flowed really well.

I watched a special on Halloween night all about zombies (in which various authors and filmmakers involved in the genre were featured including Max Brooks) and the one thing that stayed with me is the suggestion that the interest in zombies stems from the belief that everyone has a rotten and dark side. This malevolent nature finds a physical representation in the zombie.

Just some food for thought.

Halloween during the Christmas Holidays

So all assignments are handed in and all exams have been taken. I'm free from the stresses of school for approximately 2 weeks before I must sullenly trudge back. This is also in part, the reason why I haven't posted since October. Things got a little hectic.

And instead of just abandoning my planned Halloween blogs, I'm going to continue them.

My theme for this post is ghosts. That's right, those see through, white sheet wearing and metal chains clanking fiends of the night.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong: Chloe Saunders sees dead people. Yes, like in the films. The problem is, in real life saying you see ghosts gets you a one-way ticket to the psych ward. And at 15, all Chloe wants to do is fit in at school and maybe get a boy to notice her. But when a particularly violent ghost haunts her, she gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. Her seemingly crazed behaviour earns her a trip to Lyle House, a centre for disturbed teens.

At first Chloe is determined to keep her head down. But then her room mate disappears after confessing she has a poltergeist, and some of the other patients also seem to be manifesting paranormal behaviour. Could that be a coincidence? Or is Lyle House not quite what it seems…? Chloe realizes that if she doesn’t uncover the truth, she could be destined for a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital. Or could her fate be even worse…? Can she trust her fellow students, and does she dare reveal her dark secret?

This was the first novel by Kelley Armstrong that I actually attempted to read. She's a Canadian author and I vaguely remember seeing her books around every time I went into the bookstore but I never picked up any of novels before The Summoning. I genuinely love the series. In part that love stems from the creepy and supernatural element but a larger part of my love for this series belongs to the characters. All of them are different and not entirely likable. Yes, there are even times with where I couldn't stand Chloe but I don't thing it's a bad thing. Despite having powers or being affiliated with a type of supernatural creature, at the core they're all human individuals and they have their good days and their bad days.

The confusion of having powers and being different, at least I think, stands as a metaphor for puberty and represents the frustrating and scary elements of growing up. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

Also? The powers they have are pretty awesome and the story carries itself along the three books quite well. And if you have a chance and Kelley Armstrong is doing a signing near you, go to it. I went to the one in my city for the release of The Reckoning and it was a lot of fun. She's really nice and though I kind of wimped out (because I am painfully shy), it was a cool experience.

Important to note that The Summoning, The Awakening and The Reckoning has been released in one large volume. Try wal-mart or your local bookstore and it should be there if you want to buy it for yourself or for someone else as a Christmas present.

A Certain Slant of Light
by Laura Whitcomb: (From Publishers Weekly) Helen, a passionate lover of literature who's been "light" since her death 130 years ago, has spiritually attached herself, invisible, to human hosts for decades. But when she is one day seen by a kindred spirit literally in James, a ghost now inhabiting a teen junkie's form, everything changes. Helen takes over the body of Jenny, the "empty" daughter of strict fundamentalist Christians. As humans, the two ghosts experience new sensations; they navigate contemporary social and romantic mores and also remember more about their own past lives among the living. The intriguing premise and eerie execution of this tale will arrest romance and ghost story fans alike.

First of all, this is such a well written novel. I whimper a little when I think about it because it reminds me of the victorian novels that I've enjoyed in the past. The descriptions and language are so pretty and intense. I guarantee that you won't be able to put this book down and when you do, it'll be because you've finished it. A really good ghost story. Chilling but beautiful. But I must warn readers that this novel does deal with sexual situations. I wouldn't say it's heavily detailed like what most adult women are used to in their romance novels but it may make some individuals uncomfortable. Just a heads up.

The Mediator Series Book 1: Shadowland by Meg Cabot: (From Publishers Weekly)The Mediator series introduces high school sophomore Suze, who, in her words, has "this unfortunate ability to communicate with the dead." As a "mediator," the girl helps ghosts put unresolved issues to rest so they can move on to the next world. When her mother remarries, Suze moves from New York City to California, where she and her three stepbrothers attend a Catholic academy headed by a priest. Conveniently, the priest is also a mediator (the first of her kind that Suze has ever met). During the course of this rather repetitious and intermittently sluggish caper, Suze encounters two ghosts: a handsome young man from the 19th century who haunts her bedroom and a girl who was a student at the academy until she killed herself when Bryce, her boyfriend, broke up with her. As Suze attempts to protect Bryce from the angry apparition's wrath, the ghostly girl grows determined to get revenge on both her former beau and Suze. Suze finally resorts to an exorcism to get rid of her.

If there's one thing in my disorganized and spaztastic life that I can be relied on, it's my love for Meg Cabot. I don't think there's a novel that she's written where I haven't died (and come back) of laughter (her novels have magical laughing healing properties?). I think this was the first series of hers that I read and it's what got me hooked on her novels in the first place.

While Publisher's Weekly says that Suze isn't a realistic/credible character because she's cocky (which is a wrong wrong. I have known cocky people like this.), I think it's one of the things about the series that I really enjoy(besides the ghosts and that oh holy latin american sombrero, batman male character named Jesse). It's good to see a kick ass female character trying to make sense of the cards she's been dealt in life in stead of moping along through life about it. The stories are interesting and sometimes dark, which anyone can enjoy, and most of all funny. Meg Cabot has a gift for creating hilarious situations and I thank her every day for it.

Another story would be The Days of Little Texas by R.A Nelson which I did mention in a past post.

I know that 3 out of 4 of these novels can be viewed as old but I honestly feel like I've been put off from reading anything I don't stumble upon accidentally on my own. It's just there's this trend going about with YA fiction that's a bit unsettling for me. It's proven every time I walk into the bookstore and see a new vampire novel on the shelf in the YA section.

It appears to me that some authors are not writing with an actual original thought but are instead letting the trend guide their writing and their story. The end result is a novel that probably lacks plot and fully defined strong characters. But that's just my opinion and it is up to debate.

Well, that's the end of this post. Stay tuned for the next one which will be posted very soon. Sunday most likely. I already have a theme for it in mind.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October? What does it mean for the reader?

It means novels that deal with the supernatural and every horrible monster you can imagine. Or maybe just with the feeling of being creeped out. October is Halloween month for me. It's not just a day but a month long event that I look forward to every year. Being inspired by my favorite holiday, I will be recommending spooky books all month long.

This entry will deal specifically with vampires. I know, I know. Some of you may be bored to death already of this recurring mythical creature. I can't blame you because it's everywhere and in everything. It probably has its own canned ravioli brand.

But these books I'm about to show you are the first books I ever read about vampires and they continue to be the best bunch I have ever read. So here we go!

Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde (How's that alliteration working out for you, ma'am?) When 16-year-old Kerry helps a young man escape from a group of men who claim he is a vampire, she finds herself faced with some bizarre and dangerous choices.

Oh goodness, where do I begin with this? IT'S SO GOOD. I read it when I was 14 and I've been ordering it from the library once a year ever since. This is the end all and be all of vampire novels for me because Keri? She's pretty awesome. Talk about a character who knows herself. Yes, she makes a few mistakes but she's such a strong individual. One of the things I really liked about the novel and it's also the same thing that infuriated me about the book, was how much it left out. It hinted at a lot but most of it was left ambiguous. I think the novel was trying to keep it on a very huamn level since we're invited more into Keri's life than into anyone elses.

Truly a fantastic novel. I cannot recommend it enough or pay it enough wonderful little compliments. Also to those wondering, it's just one novel. There is no sequel for this novel and there never will be. I found out about that pretty early on since the author addresses it on her website.

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause 16-year-old Zoe is having a really horrible year. Her mother is dying of cancer, her father keeps her from visiting the hospital and her best friend is moving away. Then she meets Simon with his strange silver hair and his uncanny ability to know exactly how she feels. But there's something that isn't quite right about him. Who is Simon and what does he want from Zoe?

I don't know if vampire novels are supposed to make you cry but this one just turned on the waterworks for me. Not ashamed to say it. This book wasn't what I expected, which is to say that I didn't expect it to be so dark. Not a complaint at all. I actually tend to enjoy dark stories a lot more. To be honest, the scariest things that occur in this novel happen to be the smallest things. You'll understand that when you read it. Once again, it's just one novel. No sequels. I think only one was needed to tell this story.

The novel now has a new cover and I've seen it around. It makes me shudder with fear. The artwork is so bad and I do not understand how a publishing company paid a designer to do it. Just because it's short and the author isn't J.K. Rowling doesn't mean you can sell off something less than good. That is someone's novel you have just pasted your half-assed artwork on to.

The artwork above happens to be an earlier and much better edition. That's the artwork I first saw when I picked up the novel.

Demon in my View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Jessica Allodola is a high school senior who pens vampire tales under the pseudonym Ash Night. Because of her funeral clothing and cynical demeanor, Jessica is shunned by her sunnier classmates. No matter, she prefers the company of the undead she creates on her laptop, anyway. But Jessica is shaken when a creature from her novel, the suave vampire Aubrey (who fans will remember from In the Forests of the Night) shows up as a new student at her school. Not knowing whether he plans to seduce or harm her, Jessica plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse with Aubrey as she tries to discover the secret of his existence. As she delves deeper into the midnight world of her own novels, she encounters other supernatural beings, like Fala, an evil Egyptian vampire, and Caryn Smoke, a teenaged good witch. When she finally unearths the shocking truth that explains the tangibility of her imaginary world, Jessica must decide if she loves that dark world enough to leave the light forever.

Now this one is part of a series. DIMV is the second book and the one I like most.

Here's a little list of the books and the order in which they should be read:
1. In the Forests of the Night
2. Demon in My View
3. Shattered Mirror
4. Midnight Predator

This author is 4 years older than I am and when I was younger (before I realized how bad I am at writing) I kind of wanted to be her. She had her first novel published at age 14 which is incredible and something rare. Really respect the hell out of her and this series is both scary and enjoyable. None of her characters are perfect and I cannot tell you how much I like that. To me a main character or supporting character should not have to be. I know it's fiction but come on, let's not make gods out of these people.

*sigh* Alas, the same thing that happened to The Silver Kiss cover has happened to this series. I do not understand it.

But please, do not let the bad artwork deter you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The next Harry Potter...or Twilight?

Since Harry Potter and the Twilight movie series will come to an end in the next two years, Hollywood is striving to give audiences a new reason to head over to their local movie theatres. This is why a lot of the popular young adult fiction novels are having their movie rights bought so quickly.

This small article by Jenny Davies gives us a list of 10 books that could possibly be the next record breaking hit at the box office.

The list includes:
-The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
-The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
-Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
-Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
-Uglies series by Scott Westfield
-Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
-Wake by Lisa McMann
-Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
-Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
-The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Now don't get too excited. These novels all have a chance of being scrapped by the movie studios that now have rights to them. I remember when A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray was all set to be cast and then everything kind of just stopped.

This also leads me to my next point, does a book's fanbase have anything to do with the success of the film adaptation? Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was set up and hoped to be the next Harry Potter but that didn't turn out to be the case.

In my honest opinion, it has a lot more with luck than anything else and you can't recreate luck.

Update on my reading of The Hunger Games

So basically, I am screwed. Read The Hunger Games slowly because school readings take top priority and now that I have finished it, I find myself in a spot of trouble.

1. I'm addicted.
2. I am hold request #245 for Catching Fire at the library. (fate worse than death)

It's going to be a long wait so I'm hoping that I'll either win the lottery or have a stroke of luck during Christmas. Either one would be lovely.

But yes, late to the game but at least I attended the opening ceremonies. I don't want to say too much so as not to ruin the book for other people so I will just say that I really enjoyed it. Loved the pace, didn't feel slow in the least. Really enjoy the setting and the type of world in which the story takes place however horrible and sad it is.

I know the series is being made into a movie. That bit of news hasn't escaped me and I hope it turns out well. Suzanne Collins is apparently writing the screenplay herself which is a nod in their favor at this point.

Looking forward to seeing and reading more of this series.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The long Life of Sherlock Holmes

I don't think I've been so bombarded by an author's work as I have by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance in 1887 and spanned four novels and 56 short stories. It's 2010 and the fascination with the detective and his doctor sidekick has not stopped or rested.

My first memory or real awareness of SH was when I was in elementary school and during my half hour for breakfast, I'd sit and watch a cartoon show called Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century. It was futuristic and dealt with a clone Moriarty and a robot Dr. Watson but I loved it. Some of the episodes were even based off of Doyle's original stories.

I know there were a lot of BBC dramas in respect to SH but I live in Canada so coming into contact with it was next to nonexistant. I feel almost like I've missed out because by what I've been reading, some of those productions were well done and enjoyed by many. Something I also noticed is that Sherlock Holmes never goes away for very long. He comes back bigger and better than ever and sometimes not even by his true name.

For instance in 2004, the tv series House premiered and brought audiences a doctor that cared more for puzzles than for his patients and wonder of wonders; his only true friend is a fellow doctor called Wilson. Moriarty and Irene Adler have even been referenced in the series.

Living in Canada, I spend most of my time watching American programming rather than home grown productions because few Canadian shows live to make it through their first season due to their lack of funding. But there's one show I adore that has kept coming back each year, which is based off a series of mystery novels written by Maureen Jennings. Murdoch Mysteries centers around detective William Murdoch and his adventures in the 1890s. How does it relate to SH? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a character in the show who came to Canada to observe Murdoch as part of his research for a novel he was writing. A novel we eventually find out is about Sherlock Holmes.

In 2009 on Christmas Day, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes was released to mixed reviews. Some liked the new interpretation and some didn't much care for it. I loved it. I own it on DVD. It sits lovingly with the rest of my small DVD collection right by my bed in a cupboard. I liked this version of Holmes because it was a tad more...realistic? Let's face it, he probably wasn't paid well by the police and the era in which he lived in was one of great poverty and new inventions (i.e. The Industrial Revolution). So Sherlock looking smart and sharp and well done in a suit all the time with his drinking and bit of drug habit? Didn't seem likely to me. So yeah, this Sherlock definitely fit with what I'd pictured.

Now in 2010, a tv series named Sherlock has erupted on the scene. A series where we are on a first name basis with these characters: Sherlock and John. One of them is a consulting detective and the other a military doctor - they solve crime. What can I say about this modern adaptation that hasn't already been said? Because it's brilliant. Every minute of it is witty and fun and engaging. Three 90 minute episodes, one case for each.

Do you hear that screaming? Those are the voices all over the world that want more. Preferably now rather than Fall 2011, which is when we'll actually be getting the second series. It has a team of great people behind it like Steven Moffat (He does Doctor Who. New Who. 11th Doctor. Fezzes are cool.) and Mark Gatiss (Wrote Doctor Who novels. Wrote Doctor Who episodes. Acted in a Doctor Who episode.) and it's just such a great addition to the long list. Also, the chemistry between the actors and characters just pull you in. Truly something I think we've been waiting for with Sherlock Holmes.

1887 is when he was born in this world and 123 years later, he's still solving cases with Watson.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I first read Beastly by Alex Flinn a year and a half ago and later bought it as a birthday present to myself. It was hard to find. I actually had to look it up using the store computer and search for a location that carried it. When I did find it, it was one of two copies at a particular location that didn't have a large book collection and mostly carried chapters.indigo's non-book items like stationary, cups and metal water bottles. So I was very very lucky.

I really adore this book because one of the things I always wondered about when I watched Beauty and the Beast is, what happened during those years after the Prince was cursed? Why was he so mean? Why was he destroying furniture? There was suffering and pain there that I wanted to understand and with Beastly we get to read about a version of it.

I didn't even know that the movie was being made until I looked up the author on wikipedia just to check in and see if she had anything new in the works. I'm going to be honest and say that I've been dubious of film adaptations of novels since the release of the movie version of Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I remember being greatly disappointed that the book I so loved had been so thoroughly and utterly destroyed. HUGH DANCY WAS NOT ENOUGH TO DISTRACT ME. I was a kid then but I still cannot watch the Ella Enchanted film without scoffing.

I'm hoping this might be a little different but I'm not entirely sure. First of all, while I have nothing against Vanessa Hudgens, she just doesn't resemble the character Lindy in any way to me. I'm going to give her a chance though. I really will.

Also, Kyle's transformed state (which you can see in the trailer I'll be posting below) is not like it is in the book. And I suppose I had been hoping for fur and claws instead of what I was met with but I will say, it's an interesting interpretation. You don't have to look like an animal to be considered a monster.

One thing that I got really excited about was the fact that Neil Patrick Harris would be in it and playing Will, the blind tutor. That character was one of my favorite things about the book. And I have no doubt that NPH will be stealing the show.

Despite all my apprehension, I'm going to give it a try. I won't completely knock it until I've actually seen it.

Beastly comes out in North America Friday March 18, 2011.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Material for Procrastination

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles: Caleb Becker left Paradise eight months ago, taking with him the secret he promised to take to his grave. If the truth got out, it would ruin everything.

Maggie Armstrong tried to be strong after Caleb broke her heart and disappeared. Somehow, she managed to move on. She’s determined to make a new life for herself.

But then Caleb and Maggie are forced together on a summer trip. They try ignoring their passion for each other, but buried feelings resurface. Caleb must face the truth about the night of Maggie’s accident, or the secret that destroyed their relationship will forever stand between them.

I'll admit, I never even read Leaving Paradise but that's because it's impossible to find in my city and I just do not order things off the internet (I LIVE IN THE DARK AGES). I'm hoping bookstores might stock up on the first novel in the series when this one comes out.

First thing is...I really dislike the cover. I feel like I'm spying on a couple that's making out in the woods. I'm in their personal space and they're in mine. Not cool, dude. And it just feels a little too different from the cover for 'Leaving Paradise'.

Still interested in reading it though. I really enjoyed both 'Perfect Chemistry' and 'Rules of Attraction' so with this novel it's no different.

Release Date: September 1, 2010.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis: 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.

I think the only novels that I have ever read that involved the future and space are the original novels for Doctor Who. So as you can assume I am extremely desperate for futuristic YA fiction. The book cover is beautiful and the description has my attention. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

There's two release dates for this novel. Amazon says one thing and the author herself says quite another. I'll post both until one of them becomes official. January 11, 2011 and March 22, 2011.

So Shelly by Ty Roth: Until now, high school junior, John Keats, has only tiptoed near the edges of the vortex that is schoolmate and literary prodigy, Gordon Byron. That is, until their mutual friend, Shelly, drowns in a sailing accident.

After stealing Shelly's ashes from her wake at Trinity Catholic High School, the boys set a course for the small Lake Erie island where Shelly's body had washed ashore and to where she wished to be returned. It would be one last "so Shelly" romantic quest. At least that's what they think. As they navigate around the obstacles and resist temptations during their odyssey, Keats and Gordon glue together the shattered pieces of Shelly's and their own pasts while attempting to make sense of her tragic and premature end.

John Keats and Gordon Byron? I must confess that I am mainly looking forward to this book for the sole purpose of seeing some of literature's finest authors reborn as imaginary characters. I'm a tad excited about it.

Release Date: February 8, 2011.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Changing Seasons, New Books

A continuation of the other post. Just a tiny disclaimer though before I start, release dates are all subject to change but I will definitely update them whenever I find out that they have, in fact changed. Without much more delay, let's rock this thing!

Girl, Stolen by April Henry: Cheyenne Wilder is dozing in the backseat of the family car while her stepmom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. She wakes up from her nap to realize that the car isn't being driven by her stepmom but by a stranger who has stolen the car.

All Griffin wanted was the car. He didn't mean to take Cheyenne. Things only get worse when Griffin's father realizes that there's money to be made from Cheyenne since she's from a wealthy family.

How will Cheyenne get through it when she's both sick with pneumonia and blind?

So I haven't read the novel like this since Ellen Whittlinger's 'The Long Night of Leo and Bree' and I suppose it's been long overdue. It's going to be an interesting novel, morally questionable characters and all.

Release Date: September 28, 2010.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney: Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

I really love love love the cover art. The blue, yellow and black really compliment each other. I also enjoy its simplicity. The idea of a group of teenagers doling out justice when it's needed intrigues me and I can admire the author for writing a book that deals with a tough subject. I look forward to checking it out.

Release Date: November 2, 2010.

Prom and Prejudice
by Elizabeth Eulberg: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single guy in his spring semester at Pemberly Academy must be in want of a prom date.

After winter break, the girls at very prestigious, very wealthy, girls-only Longbourn Academy are suddenly obsessed with the prom, which they share with the nearby, equally elitist, all-boys Pemberly school. Lizzie Bennett, who attends Longbourn on scholarship, isn't exactly interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance, but less than impressed by Will Darcy, Charles's friend, who's as snobby and pretentious as his friend is nice. He doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. It doesn't help that Charles doesn't seem to be asking Jane to be his prom date, or that Lizzie meets George Wickham, who tells her that Will Darcy sabotaged his scholarship at Pemberly. Clearly Will Darcy is a pompous jerk who looks down on the middle class--so imagine Lizzie's surprise when he asks her to the prom!

Will Lizzie's prejudice and Will's pride keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making?

Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman has to be the only retelling of Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice' that I actually enjoyed. The others I've read haven't really impressed me so I'm hoping this one will be good and do right what the others did wrong.

Release Date: January 1, 2011.

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler: Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.

That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

I'm usually not one for books that involve sports because...well, I hate sports. Watching a game whatever it may be drives me nuts. DID YOU KNOW THAT ONE FOOTBALL GAME IS 4 HOURS LONG? 4 HOURS OF YOUR LIFE THAT YOU CAN'T GET BACK.

Anyway...what I'm interested in here is the injury and the whole healing process the main character will have to deal with. I also can't wait to see how the supporting characters will affect the progression of the story.

Release Date: March 1, 2011.

Stay by Deb Caletti: 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....

I have adored Deb Caletti since her novel 'The Nature of Jade' because her books are always about struggle and hard truths. And this new novel sounds like it could really be good. I feel like more and more young adult fiction authors are tackling those hard issues that no one wants to tell their children about and I think the youth of today (That made me sound extremely old. I'm not.) will benefit from it.

Release Date: April 19, 2011.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Alex Flinn is going to kill me.

I know I just posted about 10 minutes ago but searching through and staring longingly at all the books I want to read yielded a huge discovery. HUGE. LIKE TONY DINOZZO'S EGO HUGE.

So there's this author that I really enjoy called Alex Flinn and she wrote a little book called Beastly which has been made into a movie with Vanessa Anne Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer BLAH BLAH BLAH. The movie doesn't matter right now. That is for another post. My point is she has one new fairy tale retelling coming out in 2011. I am bouncing off the walls with joy over this and it's partially due to the mix of the chocolate chip muffin I devoured earlier and the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack.

Anyway, let me hit you with the covers, descriptions, and release dates.

Cloaked: Johnny’s not your average hero. But a little magic changes everything. There isn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. It all starts with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess. And before Johnny knows it, he is on a mission in the Everglades, with only a flock of swans and a talking fox named Joe to help guide him against the forces of an evil witch.

Apparently, it's supposed to be a mash-up of several well known fairy tales including: The Frog Prince, The Shoemaker and the Elves, and The Six Swans. I am really looking forward to this and I hope that it somehow ties into Beastly.

Release Date: February 8, 2010

Along with the new release, another of Flinn's novels will be given a paperback doppelganger.

A Kiss in Time: Jack is on a European tour mandated by his parents ("What they don't tell you about Europe is how completely lame it is") when he breaks an ancient curse by kissing the slumbering Princess Talia. Instead of rejoicing, she and other awakened members of their magical kingdom are confused and perturbed to find themselves in the 21st century.

In order to escape the wrath of her father, who blames her for causing the curse, Talia flees with Jack to his home in Florida. While acclimating to the modern world-cell phones, television, Jell-o shots-the princess manages to charm everyone she meets and help Jack sort out his life. Alternating between the teenagers' distinctive points of view, Flinn skillfully delineates how their upbringings set them apart while drawing parallels between their family conflicts.

Release Date: April 27, 2010.

My parting words are: if you have never read one of Alex Flinn's novels, you should probably start now because you've been missing out and deprived of some truly fun reading.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Enthusiastic about Polly Shulman

Polly Shulman had a little book of hers called Enthusiasm come out in 2006. I found it in a tiny library in my city.  I took it home, read it, loved it and then bought the paperback edition. So it now sits on my shelf.

Julie's friend Ashleigh can be called excitable since she has a habit of falling in love with things and in the process, dragging Julie along for the ride. While it's certainly never boring, it is starting to get out of hand. Especially, when Ashleigh discovers Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Julie's favorite book. Something she thought she truly had to herself.

Now Ashleigh talks strangely, wears floor length capes and wants to find her own Mr. Darcy by crashing a dance at an all-boys' school. The problem is that when Julie meets Ashleigh's idea of a real life teenage Mr. Darcy, she falls for him herself. What is Julie to do?

What I really enjoyed about Enthusiasm was that it was relatable. The characters could be people you very well know. And who hasn't followed one of their friends into a somewhat disastrous situation? Another thing I appreciated is that it was less of a retelling of Pride and Prejudice and more of a novel about the influence of Jane Ausen's book on young ladies of the world. How the book has inspired a lot of us to have unrealistic expectations about encountering our own Mr. Darcy.

It's also a great novel to introduce to younger readers who haven't even heard of Jane Austen or who find the task a bit unappealing/daunting. Maybe this novel by Shulman will encourage readers to pick it up and give it a chance.


So now it's 2010 and she has another novel out this month called The Grimm Legacy and it sounds amazing. Any book that involves fairy tales and I am all over it like a chocoholic at a chocolate fountain .

Elizabeth has finally found a job and it is at a Circulating Material Repository, a sort of unusual library that specializes in the lending of objects. Things she never thought could be real exist in the lower floors of the repository, all of them beautiful and exciting. But there's one thing the other pages won't discuss, the Grimm Collection. A room that is the most carefully guarded and the most treasured.

So when items from that room start to go missing, Elizabeth is determined to find them and figure out who the thief is.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My History with Cameron Dokey

I think I was 12 years old when I found the first book by Cameron Dokey. The local mall that I lived near used to rent floor space to a book vendor every Christmas.  It was on a table covered in cheap blue cloth that I found Mystery Date: Heart's Desire.

Jeannie buys a pendant from an antiques shop but never expected it was anything more than an old necklace.  The pendant she found can grant the wearer's heart's desire.  It also has the power to awaken the spirits of the dead.

It was a love story.  It had betrayal and mystery.  It involved Egyptian mummies. At the time, I'd had a really intense love for things about ancient Egypt so I never stood a chance.


The thing I liked most about her writing was how vivid her imagination was and even when she was being overly and romantically cheesy, I loved whatever she wrote.  I still do.

It is a true delight reading her novels and if you've never had the chance to before then get on it.  Sharpish.

She has also written other short books over the years, including many novels in the Once Upon a Time Series:

  • The Storyteller's Daughter (A Retelling of The Arabian Nights)
  • Beauty Sleep (A Retelling of Sleeping Beauty)
  • Sunlight and Shadow (A Retelling of The Magic Flute)
  • Golden (A Retelling of Rapunzel)
  • Before Midnight (A Retelling of Cinderella)
  • Belle (A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast)
  • A Wild Orchid (A Retelling of The Ballad of Mulan)
  • Winter's Child (A Retelling of The Snow Queen)
  • The World Above (A Retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk)
Gif made by crazy-tea-lover

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Where I prattle on about R.A. Nelson

It was in 2005 when I walked into the library and discovered a novel by R.A. Nelson. The cover design was simple yet interesting so I flipped to the back cover and read the description. I was intrigued right away and I have been keeping an eye on his books since.

Teach Me by R.A. Nelson is about Carolina "Nine" Livingston who forms a friendship with her English teacher, who she can share ideas with and relate to, but then has that relationship change into something more. It's a journey for Nine through the obsession, the love, the consequences and the unknown.


In this novel, R.A. Nelson writes from the point of view of a female character.  Some readers might be concerned with the level of success a male author would have with this.  Would each line somehow be filled with mockery at the female character's expense?  Would the novel seem haphazardly thrown together?

Nine's voice doesn't even remind me of my brother's high pitched interpretation of what a girl sounds like. The voice feels true and solid.  The story moves quickly and not a sentence is wasted.  It also has a great build-up until the end.

Another thing is that R.A. Nelson doesn't make it easy. There are parts of the book that are truly painful to read because the situations are so uncomfortable. And it's not something I mind at all. For me, it's the books that make you uncomfortable that are worth reading.


Days of Little Texas

This novel is about Ronald Earl (aka Little Texas), a sixteen year old travelling preacher, who moves from place to place spreading the word of God and laying his hands upon the sick to heal them. But though he believes with all his might, he still finds himself in doubt.

One night after a sermon, a girl in a blue dress is brought to him. He lays his hands upon her and when she smiles at him, he feels that he has healed her like all the others. But after that day, he continues to see the girl and she's always wearing the same blue dress. She starts showing up in places she shouldn't be and doing things that no living girl should be able to do.


I really enjoyed this one as well. I expected it to go so many ways, but it kept surprising me with the unexpected.  It is a unique ghost story that really wraps itself in the heat and humidity of the south.   It is incredibly creepy and it was a lot of fun to read.

I've been ranting and raving about it to my friends (who probably don't care) for months now. I don't think I'll ever stop talking about it any time soon. And Ronald Earl?  I have such a great love of this character. He has so many things coming at him all at once and he just keeps on going.

Days of Little Texas is one of those books where you can't quite explain how good it is because every word you use doesn't describe it well enough.

Comes out in Trade Paperback September 14, 2010.


Breathe My Name

This novel is about an decade old secret that Frances Robinson carries with her. When she was young, she used to live with her mother and three sisters in Fireless, a made-up country.

But Fireless changed Frances' mother and took her further and further away from her sanity. So much so that she does something truly awful.  Frances is enough to escape. But now Frances' mother is out of prison.


Again, heavy subject matter (both past trauma and mental illness).

However, this novel was not a completely enjoyable read.  The main character had me emotionally in the beginning, but the more I got to know her the less I liked her.  Towards the end, she becomes so incredibly silly and annoying that it made the book hard to finish.  R.A. Nelson usually gives you great characters and compelling stories.  The story was a bit disappointing in the end.



Emma feels like her life is falling apart. Her epilepsy overshadows every move she makes and has cost her so much. All Emma wants is to live her life freely, but her condition is ruining all her plans. That is until one night on a solitary road, it saves her life.

After the attack, Emma starts to feel strange. Almost better and stronger than she used to be. But a monster out in the dark doesn't like loose ends and it's just waiting until it can tie them up.


It seems he's jumping on the vampire train. I haven't been impressed by many YA vampire novels (Two, I've been impressed by only two) but I'll form an opinion of it when I read it. And so far from the description, it doesn't sound all that bad. I'm excited to dig into it.