Friday Hops ~ 09/30

Every Friday,  Parajunkee and Alison Can Read host Follow my Book Blog Friday! So welcome to another stop on this hop!

It's fairly simple- follow the hosting blog, the feature blog, and then use the links to discover new blogs! And if someone follows you, be kind and follow back! It's a fun way to find new bloggers to read and make new connections :)

Featured Bloggers for this week are The Bookaholic and Starcrossed!

Q. What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character?

I'm really hesitant to pick one, because I tend to be kind of afraid that they'll mess it up! Seriously, it's only recently that I've begun to calm down over The Hunger Games and I'm doing my best to stay optimistic, because to be honest I've liked what they've done so far. Even though the casting was questionable at first.

I'm kind of tempted to say Delirium by Lauren Oliver because I think it could be done really well, and if you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I'm just crazy about Delirium. But I'd be terrified that they'd ruin it. And I can't think of any actors I'd love to see in those roles.

Another book series I'd love to see made into a movie is Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls. I think that one could be a lot of fun, but I could see someone like Amanda Seyfried playing Cammie. I think she has the sort of look, and not only is she a talented actress but she kind of has that same light and quirky feel that Cammie has.


Waiting on Wednesday {8}

see this lovely picture? It was made by Lindsay at The Violet Hour. Thank you so much for letting others use it!

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts this weekly meme where we can share a book that we are so excited for and are anxiously awaiting their upcoming release!

This week my WoW pick is...

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

Guys, you have no idea how excited I am for this book. NO IDEA!

I actually read Clockwork Angel when it first came out, but that was before I had read any of The Mortal Instruments books! Clockwork Angel is what actually began my love affair with Cassandra Clare's books.

As much as I love Jace, I am rather partial to Jem, Will and Tessa... I just have a soft spot for paranormal set in Victorian era. I did go back and get all caught up on TMI, but ID will forever be my favourite of Clare's two Shadowhunter series.

Does anyone else love Infernal Devices as much as I do? :) What was your WoW pick this week? Also- any thoughts on Jem vs. Will and who should end up with Tessa??

And yes- I have already had this book pre-ordered for a while. December is far, far too far away :( Please, someone tell me that you feel my pain! All I can say is that it's a good thing I don't have any exams in Decmeber this year because I'm going to be a little busy with Will... ahem, I mean Clockwork Prince.

One more reason to pre-order: Book Depository has it available for pre-order for such a good price- just under $15 and free shipping.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Crossover Authors

A couple of months ago I was contacted by HarperCollins Canada about doing a special post for the release of Sara Shepard's new book: Everything We Ever Wanted, and since I was such a fan of her and the Pretty Little Liar books I am ecstatic to be a part of it!

While my actual review of Everything We Ever Wanted will be posted on the actual release date of the book, in anticipation of it I'm doing a special post to highlight some extremely talented authors that have done an excellent job of genre blending and crossing over to different types of books.

Because while Sara Shepard is best known for her success with Pretty Little Liars, Everything We Ever Wanted is definitely adult fiction. And there are so many other authors that do the same thing, and it's incredible to realize just how talented they are for doing so, because it isn't easy.

Sara ShepardShepard's Pretty Little Liars series has done so well that she's written nearly a dozen books in it (number 12 is to be released in 2014), and it now has its own spin off show. On the rise of this success, it seems appropriate that she'd try something a little bit different from what she's been doing for a few years now- and I will give a small tidbit of my review about Everything We Ever Wanted, which is that it struck me as containing some of the elements which made Pretty Little Liars popular and enjoyable, but she carries it over in such a way that those readers who've grown up since reading PLL will enjoy her new book for the similar ideas, although they're expressed in a very different way.

So without further ado, my lovely list of 5 other authors (besides Sara Shepard) who can bring out both the child AND adult in you:
  1. Lauren OliverAs well known as she is for her Young Adult novels Before I Fall and Delirium, Oliver is also the author of a new middle grade book titled Liesl & Po (which really is as good as her previous books, just written for a different audience)
  2. Suzanne Collins Because yes, while she's best known for her outstanding Hunger Games series, Collins also wrote the Underland series which is a Middle Grade story about an 11 year old boy.
  3. Marianne de Pierresde Pierres is an Australian author who has previously written adult fiction novels, until the first of her Night Creatures trilogy was released in early 2011 (so far, it hasn't been released in North America yet) as her YA debut- and it is personally one of my new favourites! You can tell she has her roots in adult fiction though, since parts of it do come across as darker than the typical North American YA releases.
  4. M.J. Putney (a.k.a. Mary Jo Putney) While Putney is extremely well-known for her romance novels, she took the pen name M.J. for her YA debut, Dark Mirror, in order to help keep the two separate.
  5. Richelle MeadOne of the most well known contemporary writers, Mead is currently the author of four rather involved series; two of which are adult fiction, and two of which are written primarily for a young adult audience. All of which have done extremely well, proving that you don't need to stasy within one narrow genre to be a successful writer.
Now, these are just some authors that have crossed over into writing different genres. And they've done an excellent job of proving there's no need to limit yourself as an author- let those creative juices flow! Branch out, try new things! I'm sure this is something we'll be seeing more of in the future, since there does appear to be a lot of overlap in readers from adult to young adult to middle grade books.

How do you, as a reader, feel about authors who crossover or blend genres? Do you think it can be done well? Is it something you appreciate in an author?

And for any of you who are writers- have you written books which could target various age groups? Did you find it difficult?

Any other authors you can think of who've tried this? Did they succeed, in your opinion?

Liesl & Po

Liesl & Po by  Lauren Oliver
Release Date: October 4, 2011
ISBN13:  9780062014511

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.
That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable
Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.

It's a rare occurrence that I read Middle Grade books, but I made an exception for Lauren Oliver's upcoming Liesl & Po (only because I love her writing THAT much. Seriously, I've written two posts about it: one on Delirium and one on Liesl & Po even). And... I think I might be hooked on Middle Grade fiction again. I haven't read it in years, but I suppose I'd just forgotten how much appeal there was in it; I think it's a genre that has widespread appeal, in the same way that Young Adult books do.

Liesl & Po is yet another utterly enchanting story from Lauren Oliver. I think it's official now- she just doesn't disappoint with her books. Yet again, Lauren uncovers a level of depth which I believe is uncommon among most other contemporary authors. Similar to her other stories, tree are heavier topics dealt with in Liesl & Po, such as the ideas of life, death and even grief. And she NAILS it!

Her writing is exquisite, and actually reads in a way that's closer to prose than it is to just another novel. It truly reads like a traditional fairytale (including some creepy and depressing story elements), in the same way that I praised Victoria Schwab's The Near Witch for the same style of writing.

Oh, and did I mention the illustrations are beautiful? I only saw the ARC illustrations from the e-book version, but I'm confident they're going to be even more stunning in the finished copies.

And even though this is a Middle Grade book, Lauren doesn't shy away from including some deeply touching moments. My favourite moment (non-spoilery!) is when Will daydreams that someone will call him useful, rather than useless, one day............ wow. It's the way he says, but it hit me so hard. And Mo is one of my absolute favourite characters- and I so wish he had a story of his own! He's the kind of man that deserves one all to himself.

I really don't think it will matter whether you're an adult or teen just looking for your next fabulous read, or a parent looking for a book to share with their child, but I don't think this is one to disappoint.

e-galley received from publisher through netGalley in exchange for my honest review- no other compensation was received.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Grace for the Good Girl

Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life by Emily P. Freeman
Released: September 1, 2011
Revell/Bethany House
ISBN13: 9780800719845

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Many of us believe that we are saved by grace—but for too many, that's the last time grace defines our life. Instead of clinging to grace, we strive for good and believe that the Christian life means hard work and a sweet disposition. As good girls, we focus on the things we can handle, our disciplined lives, and our unshakable good moods. When we fail to measure up to our own impossible standards, we hide behind our good girl masks, determined to keep our weakness a secret.
In Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman invites women to let go of the try-hard life and realize that in Christ we are free to receive from him rather than constantly try to achieve for him. With an open hand and a whimsical style, Emily uncovers the truth about the hiding, encouraging women to move from hiding behind girl-made masks and do-good performances to a life hidden with Christ in God.

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while now, you'll know that while I mostly read YA I also branch out at times. I am Christian, so once in a while those books include Christian fiction or non-fiction books. Grace for the Good Girl is a Christian non-fiction book.

Words completely fail me for this book. I have no clue how to convey to those of you who may be interested in this book, exactly what it means to me. I will say that when I was only halfway through the book that I went onto Amazon and ordered eleven more copies. ELEVEN. Why would I want eleven more copies of a book I already have? Because I couldn't count 6 people off the top of my head who I felt would love this as much as I love it. And it's the kind of book I want to have extra copies on hand, just in case I come across other people who are interested in it. And by the time the books arrived, I already knew of two other people who I was going to give copies too. THAT'S HOW MUCH I LOVE IT.

Maybe this book just came to me at the right time. Because I can tell you, I needed to hear what Emily had to share. I needed reminders of the promises God has given to us in the Bible. And I needed someone to meet me head-on and be honest with me; it's okay to be scared. It's okay to not have everything put together all neatly. Frankly, it's okay to be a bit of a mess. And I don't have to be pretend to be perfect because everything will be okay.

Well, thank goodness. If you're like me, you need to hear this. In between all of the school work and house work and relationships with those I care about and church involvement and professional school applications... well what else is there? And what if I don't measure up? Emily has something to share with us then:

That's okay. You don't have to all of this on your own.

And that's where I breathe a loud, exhaustive sigh of relief.

This book isn't going to be for everyone; but when it comes to those of Christian faith, I think it is going to have widespread appeal. Emily is so honest and encouraging, and it's perfect for those "normal" people who don't have anything drastic or exciting to share in their testimony. And for those who might have something a little more unique in their story? Well, it's for you too. I know it was definitely for me. And if only one person finds this book and decides to read it and finds something uplifting in it... well, then my job is done. I'm satisfied.

In fact, I'm going to pick it up and read it all over again. One chapter at a time, just the way I read through it before. I want to answer every question, I want to commit verses shared to memory because the last thing I want to do is finish reading this, put it on my shelf, walk away and forget.

I can't thank Emily enough for being the messenger and having the bravery to write this. And thank you so much to Graf-Martin for providing me with a review copy. This one's a winner.

Break out the road maps, find a place to go with your girlfriends and get together for a weekend. Challenge each other and open up to each other. Break through those masks! Curl on a sofa infront of a fireplace or a beach with this book, friends like sisters, and some hot chocolate. You won't regret it.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Kindred Reads {6}

Kindred Reads is my weekly feature where I recommend similar books. There's a mix of popular books, and fairly unknown authors and indie books as well. This is something that I personally wish I saw more of; after reading a book I enjoy, I often want to read similar books but they can be hard to discover!
These books contain similar elements, whether it's content, writing style, or other themes found in the stories. They are always books which I have read, and clicking on the title of the book will take you to my review of that book.

If you like...Drink, Slay, Love by Sara Beth Durst

If you haven't read Drink, Slay, Love then you should go pick it up ASAP. Because this one is definitely a must-read for YA lovers; especially if you enjoy paranormal. The description of this book sounds ridiculous and it is, but in a GOOD way. It's a fairly new release, so I know not too many people may have read it yet which is why I'm including this short description. The thing about the 3 books for this week's post is that they all have extremely different settings, but I think they have a similar feel to them while reading; humour, that is.

You might want to read...

Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

An enchanting story of two teenage girls coerced into making a deal with Hades. It includes elements of the Hades/Persephone myth, along with other small details of Greek mythology. But what makes this book is the humour that goes along with it. It is FABULOUS. Full of snark and hilarious outcomes for these two girls, who are both as stubborn as can be; similar to Pearl in Drink, Slay, Love.

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

If you're more of a fan of contemporary fiction, then Shut Out is definitely for you. Kody Keplinger writes in such a funny and likeable tone, that it's hard not to buy into this book. It's one of those few books that I found myself actually laughing out loud as I was reading it, even though it dealt (appropriately) with a more serious issue. Even though the three of these books deal with different settings and issues, they all seem to do so in the same vein of each other and I think they compliment each other quite well.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Banned Books Giveaway Hop!

Welcome to my stop on the Banned Books Giveaway Hop! This is hosted by I Read Banned Books & I am a Reader, not a Writer. You can see the entire list of participating blogs here.

I loved Banned Books Week because of the discussions it generates; is it okay to banned books? Should there be limitations on it? Should it be left up to the parents alone?

I have an interesting take on this based off my personal experience. I went to a private, Christian elementary school (and I loved every year of it- I wouldn't trade it for anything) HOWEVER one thing I disagreed with were how many things were banned at school. My family took a rather opposite approach and encouraged me to make decisions myself, and tried to guide me into making wise decisions. But they were ultimatley my decisions. I was permitted to pick out my own books, and while I know I read some things that would have been better if I had been a bit older, there are no regrets. I started reading Tamora Pierce when I was 11, but I'd grown up reading books about fairytales and mythology (and most of those stories include sex, but not in a graphic nature). I don't regret the decisions I made, but I did find many of the school's decisions on which things (such as books) to ban to be somewhat ignorant. I still do.

I'm not opposed to keeping some things out of reach for younger children and teens for a time, provided there are justifiable reasons and proper explanation of such reasons. And I know this is just my take, but I'm really curious to hear what your opinion is. So part of this giveaway will include you sharing that, whatever it may be!

I want to encourage open, friendly discussion. I don't want to see nasty comments, which will be deleted if posted along with your giveaway entry. That includes being rude to other people. You're more than welcome to agree or disagree with others, however.

Giveaway is international!

And the prizes are awesome :) they include both banned/challenged books.

One winner will get to choose one of the following from The Book Depository:

I (yet again) profess my love for all that is Lauren Oliver

In case you missed my previous post all about Delirium (not exactly a review, but more of a marriage proposal. To the book, not Lauren. She's already taken), you may not realize just how much I adore her books (err.. I suppose that's book since I've only read Delirium all the way through. But I've read snippets of Before I Fall and am just starting Liesl & Po right now, quite literally now, and I'm convinced I'll always love her brilliant, breathtaking writing. But I digress...).

This is just more proof of that.

Liesl & Po is Lauren Oliver's first Middle Grade book - which is fabulous, because now even MORE readers can be introduced to her writing, and at a younger age! It's set to be released on October 4, 2011 (which is SO SOON, GUYS!) and here's what's really exciting: the website for Liesl and Po was just launched yesterday! And it is so, so cool. The design and graphics of it fit right along with the look of the book, and it all just meshes together into something really, really awesome. She's been giving away pretty ARCs of Liesl & Po on her blog for a few months now, and the packaging is so neat! Love it! But now, here's another way to experience the book before it comes out, just in time to get you excited for its release!

It includes some info on the characters and author, as well as some special features like the book trailer, an interview with Lauren, graphics to share, and the official Liesl & Po song with lyrics. I'm a firm believer that every book should have its own song, by the way. Anyway, there's a discussion guide and excerpt for those of you who are interested in getting to know more about the book itself. :)

So please, go check it out and definitely consider picking up Liesl & Po- and if you don't take my word for it, just go read all those advance reviews that praise it.


Waiting on Wednesday {7}

see this lovely picture? It was made by Lindsay at The Violet Hour. Thank you so much for letting others use it!

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts this weekly meme where we can share a book that we are so excited for and are anxiously awaiting their upcoming release!

This week my WoW pick is...

The Gathering Storm (Katerina Alexandrovna #1) by Robin Bridges

TBR: January 10, 2012

I've always loved reading stories set in Russia, ever since I became fascinated by the Romanovs at a young age. Now, I'm just intrigued by the entire country and its history. So when I heard about this upcoming release from Delacorte Books for Young Readers, I knew I would HAVE to read it. It sounds like a mix of historical fiction and paranormal, which sounds just perfect for me! This is probably my top TBR book for January 2012!



Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
Released: June 8, 2011
ISBN13: 9780738723198

4/5 Stars 

Goodreads Synopsis:

 Sirenz is such a refreshing and light book to read, but most of all, it's just so much FUN. I'd been eyeing it for so long before I finally got my hands on a copy (which I won from Katharine at The Lady Critic; and best of all it's SIGNED, which is perfect because I LOVED it so much), but a small part of me was worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations.

I love reading retellings of myths and fairytales just about more than reading any other kinds of books; they've always been some of my favourites. And if there's a Greek myth inspired  YA book out there, well then I just have to read it. Greek mythology is a passion of mine, and something that I've studied academically a bit as well. So I'm fairly familiar with it, although I'm not someone who's particularly picky about details as long as the right themes and feeling come across.

And Sirenz lives up to that. If you've ever seen a really great production of a Shakesperean comedy, you'll understand why I think Sirenz is such a wonderful mythical inspired book. A GOOD Shakesperean comedy won't come across as stuffy and formal, even with difficult old English language, but instead it will immerse you in the story and the words will come alive for you with a proper understanding of the ambience Shakespeare wanted to convey. Similarily, Bennardo and Zaman successfully capture the humour and wit which is often a vital part of Greek stories as well. The divine tricks and plots aren't left out either, and make for one interesting time for Shar and Meg.

Speaking of Shar and Meg, I was so pleased to see that the two POVs in this story sounded different, and they accurately came across as two different people. I have to admit that I wasn't the biggest fan of Meg (I kind of thought she was a bit of a jerk with the whole Jeremy thing), I adored Shar! She continually surprised me in the book, and ended up being more complex when I feared she'd end up being nothing more than a flat stereotype. I want to be BFFs for her and fight over shoes with her. And get into trouble with her in a deal with Hades. But I did appreciate that there wasn't any inane, angsty teen drama over typical YA book things (i.e. boys). However, there was plenty of petty inter-god drama. I liked that, that's always fun.
Sirenz is a fun book, and it's light and humourous. I'm not going to pretend that it's something it's not, which is a deep, heartwrenching story that'll change your world and blow your mind. It isn't. But it's a perfect book to read inbetween those kinds of books, because of how refreshing and just plain FUN it is. That isn't to say that it doesn't have it's touching moments either; Sirenz has a lot to say about friendships and loyalty, and I was so pleased how that played out in the book. Plus, I heard that Shar and Meg are bound to get in even more trouble with some upcoming sequels.... SQUEEE! I cannot WAIT for those! And I sincerely hope they contain even more hot guys (gods or mortals).

Indigo Love of Reading: Adopt a School

Here's something neat I just discovered about a week ago, and decided to get involved with:

From September 11th to October 1st, Chapters Indigo has partnered with schools ALL OVER CANADA who are in need of books in their libraries and classrooms.

There are underfunded schools in just about every community, and one where I'm from so I decided to participate buy buying some books for these schools (well, some of those books were for a school up North, but that was because it was the only school from one of the Territories represented).

It's super easy to do- you can either donate money ($12 = 1 book!) directly to the fund, OR purchase a $25 e-gift card through the site which also = 1 book!

Please, please consider donating if you love books as much as I do and you can spare as little as $12 to do so. And even if you can't, please help spread the word! The adopt a school program runs until October 1, 2011 but the Love of Reading program will still be running in its own way.

You can head on over to the website to see what it's all about and make the donation directly, if you're interested.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! <3


Kindred Reads {5}

Kindred Reads is my weekly feature where I recommend similar books. There's a mix of popular books, and fairly unknown authors and indie books as well. This is something that I personally wish I saw more of; after reading a book I enjoy, I often want to read similar books but they can be hard to discover!

These books contain similar elements, whether it's content, writing style, or other themes found in the stories. They are always books which I have read, and clicking on the title of the book will take you to my review of that book (if I have reviewed it) or to Goodreads (if I have not reviewed the book).

If you liked...
The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

You might want to read...

Exiled (Volume 1) by M.R. Merrick

Okay, so there aren't any Shadowhunters... but there is a totally hot main character GUY who's supposed to hunt demons and meets a badass female witch. And together, they're a part of an adventure to stop a really evil guy. Sounds familiar, right? Exiled is self-published but it is awesome, and you can just look it up to see all the rave reviews it's getting. Extremely well done, and Merrick writes some incredible and exciting action scenes. He's wonderfully talented, and has written something to help tide us over while we wait for Clockwork Prince and City of Lost Souls to be released.

Daimon/Half-Blood (Covenant series) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I confess that I've only read Daimon (so far!) since Half-Blood isn't released until mid-October, but I'm confident from reading the prequel to the first book in the new Covenant series that it's going to be good (plus, I've been heard good things from people who've read ARCs of it). Similar idea to Exiled and MI that there's a demon hunter (girl, this time) who's fallen on some hard times and is just starting to unravel all the mysteries that have been hidden from her for years. More hot guys, more action, and more scary bad guys... what more are we looking for?


In My Mailbox {9}

Since I kind of missed a couple weeks to update my IMM posts (due to the hectic nature of starting my last year of undergrad... eeeek), this week is going to include everything I've received in the last 2/3 weeks.

  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver Special Edition (purchased from TBD because I wanted one for my bookshelf, rather than just Kindle)
  • signed Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (I already have an ARC, but I loved it so much I ordered a signed one too)
  • There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones (received from Thomas Nelson for review. SO excited for this one!)
  • Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkes (purchased from Amazon)
  • Chain Reaction by Simone Elkes (purchased from Amazon)
  • Hunger Games audiobook (purchased from Amazon - not pictured here because my boyfriend is borrowing it!)
And I have quite a few e-books over the past few weeks.. I ALWAYS forget to post them because they're just on my Kindle rather than sitting on my bookshelf!
  • ARC of Destined by Jessie Harrell (I won this on a Facebook giveaway- thanks Jessie!)
  • Caressed by Moonlight by Amanda Greene (won from Niina @ For the Love of Reading - thank you Niina and Amanda!)
  • Blood Rights by Kristen Painter (from publisher on netGalley)
  • Every Other day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (from publisher on netGalley)
  • Variant by Robison Wells (from publisher on netGalley)
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell (from publisher on netGalley)
  • Prized by Caragh O'Brien (from publisher on netGalley)
Did you get anything good this week? What are you most looking forward to reading from your IMM this week? :)


Friday Hops ~ 09/16

Every Friday,  Parajunkee and Alison Can Read host Follow my Book Blog Friday! So welcome to another stop on this hop!

It's fairly simple- follow the hosting blog, the feature blog, and then use the links to discover new blogs! And if someone follows you, be kind and follow back! It's a fun way to find new bloggers to read and make new connections :)

Featured Bloggers for this week are Librarian Mouse and Alaskan Book Cafe!

Q. It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?

A: Something full of magic. In particular, I'm thinking Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted/Fairest world. I think that would be so much fun, and such a wonderful place! And if you haven't read any of her books, definitely pick them up and give them a chance!

And Crazy-for-Books hosts another awesome weekend book hop which starts today!

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question is As a book blogger, how do you introduce yourself in your profile?

This is actually something I need to update! I give a little bit of information about me and why I started blogging, but I'd like to explain a bit more about myself so that people have a better idea of where I'm coming from. I like to include a bit of personal background information like my age and interests, and explain why I'm interested in blogging and what you can hope to see from me in the future.

And last, but not least, there's TGIF at Greads.

This Friday's Question:

Book Disappointments: Have you ever come across a book you were so stoked to read, but it failed miserably in your eyes? 

Oh, definitely. There are always some of those, which is unfortunate, but it happens. For me, this book was Ever by Gail Carson Levine. I love ALL of her other books, and while Ever was different from her other ones it just fell flat for me. I didn't love the story, and the characters seemed kind of dry.


Eyes in the Mirror

Eyes in the Mirror by Julia B. Mayer
Released: August
Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN13: 9781402240409

3/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

Every teen girl fantasizes about having a double and best friend rolled into one-an alter ego with whom she can trade places, allowing her to disappear. Samara is a troubled and lonely adolescent, prone to cutting, who desperately craves both intimacy and escape from her unfulfilled life...until she meets her reflection, Dee, the seeming answer to all her problems.
With dual and dueling points of view, Eyes in the Mirror provides a perspective on one girl's life never before seen in YA fiction: her own and from her freer, wilder reflection.

Eyes in the Mirror ended up being nothing like I expected. At all.

I was expecting more of a psychological storyline, but apparently I should have taken the description a bit more literally than I did. Which ends up with the book being an extremely unique, creative vaguely contemporary fantasy story.

I was so pleased to see Julia Mayer tackling such difficult issues head on; and she captured the emotions and struggles with self-mutilation perfectly. Self-mutilation (and cutting in particular) can be treated as such a taboo and touchy subject, that few properly deal with it and it's particularly difficult to convey but Mayer accomplishes this beautifully. The background and descriptions of this are poignant and quite moving.
As well, Mayer writes the story from two points of view, which are the complete opposite of one another and yet she does this quite well. Samara and Dee come across as two very different people, and Mayer writes them with different voices. However, there were times at first when it was difficult to understand the chronology while trying to follow the two POV because of where they would overlap. As confusing as this could be, it also lended a better well-rounded understanding of the events taking place and it became easy to see how two girls could view the same action very differently.

I found some of the dialogue to be somewhat awkward and forced, but that was only occasionally throughout the book. It didn't take away from the overall theme or ambience of reading the book as a whole. What I found challenging was trying to figure out what there was to take away from the book at the end of it, besides the contrast between the two differing perspectives. The beginning was strong, but the ending felt like it was lacking in a satisfying culmination of events. To be honest, I simply failed to see what all the drama was worth in the end since many of the issues remained unsolved. I just wasn't convinced that everything was okay, but perhaps that's my need for a neat little ending where I feel like everything's been tied up nicely.

Parts of it were just so unbelievable, in particular the very premise that the novel was based on, yet none of the characteres questioned the events going on. They simply accepted it and tried to move on, ignoring the bizarre events occuring. And while I enjoy reading about strange, fanciful stories I like to hear more explanation of what's going on and why that's happening.

I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.

As well, Julia and Sourcebooks were kind enough to set me up with a small interview with her to go along with my review!

What motivated you to write Eyes in the Mirror?

I originally wrote Eyes in the Mirror as a short story when I was about 12. I was actually having trouble sleeping because the story kept running through my head and I knew it wouldn’t stop until I wrote it down. I started the book that came from the story when I saw a poster in my public high school (Bard High School Early College) advertising a novel writing program at 826NYC. I went to a coffee shop right after school, sat down and started writing.

What’s the most important thing you want readers to take away from Eyes in the Mirror?

The most important thing about this story for me has always been the dual perspectives. Eyes in the Mirror is the same story told from two points of view. I’ve always found it fascinating that two people, even really good friends, can view the same situations so differently and that’s what I really tried to get at in the book. I hate the idea of a friendship ending because two people with opposite perspectives and approaches each thought they were doing the right thing in a situation. I hope Eyes in the Mirror can inspire even one person to really look at a situation from someone else’s perspective.

Do you have any tips for writers?

The first and biggest piece of advice I can give is the simplest: WRITE!!!! Don’t listen to all of the “buts” in your head. Even if you don’t have a specific idea, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard if that’s your preference) and see what comes out. When I started Eyes in the Mirror I had no clue how it was going to end. Sit down and write- you’d be amazed at all the ideas swirling around. Which brings me to the next piece of advice: don’t delete/throw away anything. No matter how bad a draft seems in the moment, you might want it later. Better to create a folder for pieces you think you’ll never ever use than to lose something you might really want later. I also think it’s critical to listen to your characters. There are times where what I had plotted out just isn’t how a character would really react. Don’t get scared if your characters are controlling your story- they may bring it somewhere amazing.

Are you working on anything else right now?

I’m working on a couple of short stories but nothing I’m ready to share quite yet. I’m also starting to think about a sequel to Eyes in the Mirror. There are a few loose ends I’d like to tie up and a few side plots I’d really like to delve into. The next step for me is figuring out where a sequel would pick up.

What are some of your favourite books and who are some of your favourite authors?

My all time favorite book is 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. There are also companion short story books if you enjoy that. I loved Catch-22 and A Confederacy of Dunces, both classics. I am a huge YA fan so a lot of my favorite authors are YA authors. Megan McCafferty, who wrote the Jessica Darling series (which starts with Sloppy Firsts) is definitely one of them. I also love Dan Ehrenhaft’s writing (10 Things to Do Before I Die is FANTASTIC!), and the book The Turning by Helen Ellis. I could go on forever, but those are definitely at the top of my lists. I think all of these books are really character driven, which is what I love about them.

Thank you so much for taking part in an interview on my blog, Julia! I really appreciate your thoughtful answers and further insight into Eyes in the Mirror. She's really very sweet, and you can find her on Twitter, too!


Kindred Reads {4}

Kindred Reads is my weekly feature where I recommend similar books. There's a mix of popular books, and fairly unknown authors and indie books as well. This is something that I personally wish I saw more of; after reading a book I enjoy, I often want to read similar books but they can be hard to discover!

These books contain similar elements, whether it's content, writing style, or other themes found in the stories. They are always books which I have read, and I will link to their review if I've reviewed them.

If you like...
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

You might want to read...

Under the Stars by Rebecca A. Rogers

Way back in July, I won a signed advanced copy of Under the Stars by Rebecca A. Rogers who is a self-pubbed indie author. I was thrilled to have won it (because the description sounded great), and I loved reading it even more!

Similar to Across the Universe, Under the Stars is a YA sci fi novel, but doesn't read like a total sci fi with confusing slang and books filled with man-eating aliens (not that all sci fi is bad, as I enjoy it). But Under the Stars is more like a book in a sci fi setting. And it's also filled with political intrigue, and a heroine thrown into a terrible situation.

You can read my five star review here.

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

A Long, Long Sleep is one of those books that tends to fly under the radar... and I have no clue why. This is a phenomenal book, also featuring a heroine who's been in a stasis sleep for... well, a long time. It has roots in the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty, but that's about it. The problem for Rose is that she's accidently been in a state of stasis for 50 years. And the world as she knows it is gone, and she's alone. Similar enough to Amy's situation in AtU, but they remain very different stories. The awesome thing about all three of these books is that they feature incredibly strong heroines, who are rather unexpected given the circumstances.

I HIGHLY recommend this to YA readers: and you can also read my five star review of it here, if you would like to know more.

Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? Any others you can think of that you'd add to this list? Are there any other books you'd like me to feature in my "If you like..." post one day?

Delirium Winners!

Last week I posted about Delirium by Lauren Oliver and how much I adore it, along with the opportunity for some of you to win a copy of it as well.

I was totally blown away by your responses- I'm so happy to see that a few of you were so excited to read it! I've chosen five people to win copies of the special edition, and I hope all of you enjoy it as much as I did!

and Bethanie!

I'm just about to send an e-mail to each of you, and remember that you have 48 hours to respond! Congratulations!

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