Darker Still

Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber
Release Date: November 8, 2011
Sourcebooks Fire
ISBN13: 9781402260520

4/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...
Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul.

Okay, first of all, I don't think anyone can deny that this cover isn't drop-dead gorgeous. Plus, after reading such a promising description featuring so many allusions to classical literature, I was dying to read this book. DYING. I love mystical magi cand the supernatural set in a Victorian setting; there's something so dreamy and thrilling about it, don't you think? And Darker Still lives up to these promises to deliver a captiving gothic horror story.

Reasons to Read:
  1. A Victorian Mystery:
    Natalie likes to play detective; that is, she's only playing until she finds herself caught up in something very real, and very frightening. And she's such the perfect character to play this role, and she was so interesting all on her own. She was nothing like I expected (and I mean this in a good way), because she really stands out among YA female protaganists. Yet all of this is wrapped up nicely in a lovely Victorian setting, filled with magic...
  2. Hauntingly creepy:
    I mentioned magic: well, a lot of it is dark magic. And some parts were so twisted, that they send shivers up your body. I kind of wish this book had been released earlier because it is an ideal haunted Halloween read...
  3. Delicious scandal:
    Of course, I wouldn't mind being haunted if Lord Denbury was doing the haunting... and he definitely doesn't mind breaking a few society rules for the era! There's just something about a bona fide gentlemen that gets me all giddy.
Now, I do wish we had gotten to know Lord Denbury a bit more intimately (his character, I mean). And the romance does seem to progress awfully quickly, not quite insta!love, but just bordering on it. But at the same time, I can understand why it would build up suddenly, as both characters recognize something special and unique in each other.

Darker Still is written as diary entires, and I wasn't particularly taken with this. I'm not a fan of books written as diaries or journals, unless there's a reason important to the plot for it. And I didn't see that it was for Darker Still.

BUT I still ended up loving and thoroughly enjoying this book! The characters are delightful, ESPECIALLY Natalie, and I was pleased to have a satisfying ending for one book, with the perfect lead-in to the next one (which I cannot wait for, already. 2012 cannot come soon enough, I mean it doesn't even have a title and I'm anxious for it)! I just want to gush and rave about how beautiful, yet creepy, this book was but I can't because I would HATE to give anything away! Anything at all. ;)

e-galley received from publisher via netGalley in exchange for an honest review; no other compensation was received.

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Guest Post: Potentially Scary Movies based off Books

Wendy from A Cupcake and a Latte is here today for a special Halloween guest post! She's one of my favourite book bloggers, and I'm really excited that I get to share this wonderful post of hers with you today! Enjoy and leave her some comment love please :)

And thank you to Wendy for stopping by!

When Brenna from Ever After Esther approached me about writing what horror novels I'd love to see adapted into film, I couldn't resist including four of my absolute currently favorite spooky novels. So here it is..

My Top Four (Currently) Favorite Horror Novels I'd Love to See Adapted into Film:

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake:

This wonderful new 2011 summer release is, by far, one of my absolute favorite horror novels yet. Though not as gruesome as others out there, Anna Dressed in Blood was a thrilling tale about a Thunder bay Ghost. Anna Koslov, the horribly dubbed Anna Dressed in Blood, lives in a secluded home, tearing apart anyone who dares enter. This is where Cas comes in, a young supernatural hunter who kills anything paranormal and ghostly. This time he's got his eyes set on Anna who's been responsible for several teen murders.

The Wolving Time by Patrick Jennings:

Though the Wolving Time was a heavily religious novel, I couldn't help getting over the complex character that was Lazlo. The overall werewolf aspect in the novel was very strong and solid, and I couldn't help enjoying the constant battle between what is perceived as good and evil. Though not as strong in the gruesome, scare your pants off department, I find that The Wolving Time would make an excellent movie that would intrigue any scary movie lover.

The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine:

The Morganville Vampires happens to be one of my favorite long running vampire series to date. Though incredibly long, with a current total of 11 and another one coming out soon, I've quickly fallen in love with this in depth story. The Morganville vampires follows the story of Claire Danvers, a girl who moves to Morganville to go to college, though she quickly feels unwelcome by a group of girls who target her constantly. After a violent incident with the girls, Claire seeks refuge at Glass House, a home turned dorm owned by Michael Glass. What Claire doesn't know is that Morganville is run by vampires and that their power grows deeper then just the overwhelming threat to drain your blood.

Possess by Gretchen McNeil:

Possess is a brand new YA 2011 release about a girl named Bridget Liu, a 15 year old girl with an unspoken talent to hear the voices of demons. With her fantastic ability she can both communicate with them and banish them, proving to be a very useful trait to the local exorcists who handle demon possession. Though what Bridget doesn't expect to face is a haunting message from the other side, one addressed to her.

What are your top four picks?

Wendy (Mocha) from "A Cupcake and a Latte: YA Reads, Reviews & More!"


In My Mailbox {14}

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, which allows bloggers to share what books they’ve received in the past week. They can be from stores, contests, tours, publishers, libraries, borrowed books from friends, and the list goes
on! It's just a way of showing off the books you received in the past week and making sure they're featured on the blog.

This week I received:

So many exciting things!
  • ARC Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (won in giveaway from Dark Faerie Tales)
  • Touch (Denazen #1) by Jus Accardo (purchased from Amazon)
  • Mockingjay audiobook (purchased from Amazon- I'm going to listen to this one, but my boyfriend already claimed listening to it first! He just finished Hunger Games and wants to get through Catching Fire and Mockingjay ASAP!)
  • Signed Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (purchased from Spencer Hill Press)
  • And all that extra swag (including a Half-Blood guitar pick- so neat!) is from Spencer Hill Press, as well!
  • ARC The Edumacation of Jay Baker  by Jay Clark (from Raincoast Books, TBR January 31, 2012)
  • ARC Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer (from Raincoast Books, TBR January 3, 2012)
  • ARC Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1) by Amanda Hocking (from Raincoast Books, TBR January 24, 2012)
  • ARC Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters #1) by Jessica Shirvington (from Raincoast Books, TBR March 1, 2012)
  • ARC Tempest (Tempest #1) by Julie Cross (from Raincoast Books, TBR January 17, 2012)
  • e-galley of Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (from Entangled Publishing for review)
  • Jenny Pox (The Paranormals #1) by J.L. Bryan (from Amazon Kindle for free!)

Definitely a very exciting week for me! There are so many that I just can't wait to get into- I'm already reading Obsidian and loving it so much! I've already read Touch, but I'm excited to have a physical copy for my shelf! If you haven't read it yet, definitely pick it up!

I also received my Iron Knight Prize Pack from Harlequin Teen which I won in a Twitter giveaway- it was so cool! As you can see, lots of snacks (yummy!), and Iron Knight items: socks, pajama shirt, blanket, and lip chap!

Many thanks to Raincoast Books, Entangled Publishing, Spencer Hill Press, Harlequin Teen and Angela from Dark Faerie Tales!

Make sure to leave me a link to your IMM so I can take a look! :)


Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to Me (Birthday Trilogy #1) by Brian Rowe
Release Date: April 7, 2011

3/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he’s aging a whole year of his life with each passing day!
High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game all on the horizon. That’s what happens to Cameron, a popular pretty boy who's never had to face a day looking anything but perfect.
All Cameron wants to do is go back to normal, but no one, not even the best doctors, can diagnose his condition. When he finds love with a mysterious young woman, however, he realizes his only hope for survival might be with the one person who started his condition in the first place...

After being unsure of what to expect from Happy Birthday to Me, but this is one of those books that proves to you that there are some gems of self-pub books out there. If you're looking for something a little bit outside of the box, and a well-written quick read then this is a good one to look into.
Reasons to Read:

  1. "Beauty and the Beast" minus the Beauty:

    Cameron undergoes some serious growth and character development, which is totally endearing to watch unfold. And similar to the Beast, he needs to learn a very important lesson about himself and how he sees others. With a plot like that, it's completely reminiscent of Beauty & the Beast, even if there isn't any cute, book-loving girls in it (besides the ones actually reading Happy Birthday to Me).
  2. A distinctive story:

    If you've seen Benjamin Button, then it's the same idea but executed in a very different way. One thing I found particularly refreshing about this story was that it was told from the perspective of a completely ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances. But there really isn't anything that special about him... It's creative and stands out among a plethora of YA novels.
I found Cam to be such an interesting character, and there were times when I really wasn't sure what to make of him. But he's definitely the kind that grows on you- and he's flawed, in a realistic kind of way which I appreciate.

Brian Rowe writes well, and the amount of consideration and effort put into this book is evident. If anything, the ending was a bit rushed and the story lacking some overall depth, but thankfully this is the first of a series which will hopefully assist in these areas with further books. I would have loved to have seen a bit more complexity in both the plot and some of the secondary characters, which fell a bit flat, such as Charisma and Wesley. Cam and his parents, on the other hand, were some that were just jumping off the page with their fascinating actions.

Review copy received from author in exchange for my honest review; no other compensation received.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery



Touch (Denazen #1) by Jus Accardo
Release Date: November 1, 2011 (released early as an e-book in October from publisher)
Entangled Publishing
ISBN13: 9781937044459

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads synopsis:
When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.
Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.
Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.
A secret Kale will kill to protect.

After only hearing good things about Touch, I decided to give it a shot and hope for the best.

It. Blew. Me. Away.

In the heart-stopping-can't-put-this-book-down-what's-sleep? kind of way. And I'm calling it, this will make one of my top 2011 books easily.

Reasons to Read:

  1. Stand Out Characters:

    Kale and Dez completely caught me off guard as characters, and I love them for it. They're nothing like I expected, and break out of the common YA-protag mold. Dez has her own distinct voice and sassy attitude, and she's unapologetic about it. I normally don't appreciate the "rebel without a cause" but I really appreciated this about her. She was sarcastic and fierce but it FIT her so perfectly, you know? And Kale is this sexy and innocent all mixed together into one swoon-worthy love interest. He's almost like anti-bad-boy "bad" boy.
  2. Action!:

    Touch is ripe with action scenes; something that the paranormal genre seems to be strangely lacking recently. But these ones are exciting and done so well, that it's painful to put down. Literally painful...
  3. Romance:

    Speaking of pain, the romance in this book is going to leave you begging for more because going too long with it just seems cruel. I don't want to spoil or tease you with anything, but there are a few scenes that are well worth reading the book all on their own... ;) Enjoy!
Jus Accardo writes this story as if this is her masterpiece, and it's done so well that you're well-immersed into the story. Finishing the book felt so jarring, like waking up from one really, really good, really hot dream.

Also, the story is just so cool. It definitely has that X-men vibe, but in more realistic way. You get these people with special powers, but I really appreciated the amount of thought Jus put into the limitations on their powers in particular.

I demand more Denazen books, with more Kale & Dez, more of THOSE scenes (if you've read Touch, you know what I mean. if you haven't, you need to read it to go find out), and fast because this withdrawal period IS NOT FUN. *pouting*

Guys, I can't even express to you how amazing this book was. My review totally doesn't do it justice. You really need to find out for yourself and the GOOD NEWS is that Amazon now has it listed for only $10! And it's available NOW! If I've convinced you to give it a chance, you can buy it from Amazon here.

And, stop by here on November 3rd because I will then be a part of Touch's blog tour and will be hosting an author interview with Jus Accardo!

e-galley was very kindly received from Entangled Publishing via netGalley in exchange for my honest review; no other compensation was received.


Waiting on Wednesday {12}

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...

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I've read some early reviews for Obsidian (glowing ones!) about how good it is. Plus, I kind of like these new alien/superhuman books that have been coming out recently. I'm really excited that this one's coming from Entangled Publishing too, because after reading Touch from them, I think we're going to see a LOT of good YA books from them- something I really enjoy because they tend to read a little bit older than other YA books. And after reading Covenent's Daimon prequel, I already know that Jennifer is a supremely talented writer :)

Goodreads Synopsis:
Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don’t kill him first, that is.

What book are you waiting on this week? Do you have any interest in alien books like this one? Tell me more about it by leaving me a comment :)

Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness
Release Date: May 5, 2008
Walker Children's
ISBN13: 9781406310252

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

I have a confession to make: I’m very prejudice when it comes to picking out books.  I decided to try to break out of this habit when I picked up The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness. 

First of all, let me be the first to say that I was feeling VERY adventurous that day.  When I got to finally reading the book, I was apprehensive.  Needless to say, it was AMAZING.  One of the best books I’ve ever read.

Reasons to Read:
  1. The Plot: 

    The plot of this story really intrigued me.  I mean, a town where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts?  Creepy, and also really original. Then you find out that the town only contains men, which totally ups the creepiness factor by a lot.  The plot disturbed me, scared me, and even made me cry at one point.  It starts off a bit slow, but once you get into it, it’s a roller coaster ride.  Not to mention a killer cliff hanger at the end of it all.
  2. The Suspense:  In the first part of the book you will have no idea what’s going on.  The main character will find out everything that’s going on, but here’s the catch. He won’t tell you.  Half of the time, I was so confused about what was going on.  Things will be revealed later on, though.  I can promise that you won’t be disappointed.
  3. Manchee: 
    Manchee is the most adorable talking dog I have ever read about. He’s so cute and all his little comments on things are hilarious. He gives some insight on what dogs would say if they could talk.  He was one of my favourite characters. It just fits in with the book, TRUST ME.
Overall, despite by apprehension I loved this book.  It tugged at my emotions, and I was dying to know just exactly was going on.  Add in the fascinating characters, and you have a very interesting book. 

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery



Crossed (Matched #2) by Ally Condie
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Penguin: Dutton Juvenile
ISBN13: 9780525423652

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads Synopsis:
In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

So while I liked Matched, I have to say that I simply LOVED Crossed. Crossed made up for all the things I found Matched to be lacking (besides more Xander. There can never be enough Xander).

First of all, I think Ally Condie is a brilliant writer. She really is able to capture ambience with words, and she sets up Crossed with such an atmosphere of lost hope and desparate dreams that it's almost overpowering. And unlike Matched, there's even more action and adventure in Crossed (although I'm not sure I'd quite classify it as being action-packed yet).

But my favourite part about Crossed was Ky. I confess, he has finally grown on me a little bit. In Matched, I barely saw the appeal in Ky over Xander, besides the fact that it was forbidden and therefore appealling. But in Crossed, we finally get to know Ky a bit more and he really is sympathetic. And I have to praise Condie for finally creating a real love triangle; one where both boys are appealing in their own way, and neither one stands out as a total jerk.

Plus, the chapters from Ky's perspective are filled with the most beautiful descriptions of love. He is such a hopeful, strong character and completely atypical from most YA love interests. And this brings up so many questions about what loving someone means; and as Crossed asks, is it better that the person you love be safe or have a choice? It isn't as easy to answer that as you might initially think.

The one thing that can make it difficult to follow along with is that the overlap chronology of the two POVs can make it hard to follow; there were times when it took me a few pages and some rereading to understand that Cassia's chapter began in the middle of the previous Ky chapter.

Regardless, Crossed is the perfect set up for the final book, which I am so incredibly anxious for now!

ARC received from Penguin Canada; no other compensation was received for my review.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Between the Sea and Sky

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Bloomsbury Teen
ISBN13:  9781599904344

3/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren--the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood--a dashing young man named Alandare, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alandare band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship . . . and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air.

I admittedly haven't read very many mermaid books, but this cover is so eye-catching and I'm a big Little Mermaid fan so I figured, why not? Between the Sea and Sky ended up being a nice quick read, altough it ended up feeling more Middle Grade than  YA to me.

Reasons to Read:
  1. Sweet Relationships:
    Esmirine's family was so loving and supportive, and just present in the story, that I loved reading about them. It can be so enjoyable to read about positive family dynamics, and even though Esmirine does end up going on a journey by herself in more of an adult sense, she does so with the support and as much assistance as her family can offer her. Plus, the entire book is set in motion because of the strong attachment and love Esmirine has for her sister. Something I love reading about in books is childhood friendship; there's something so pure and innocent about it. And that is exactly what defines the connection between Esmirine and Alandare. I was so enamoured by their relationship, especially one that was not supported by anyone really.
  2. A Fascinating World:
    I loved the world Jaclyn Dolamore created with her interesting take on mermaids and the Fandarsee (people with wings) and I really would have enjoyed hearing more about it. The relationships between the different races (if I can call them that) were intriguing, as well as their curiousity with each other. It definitely gives the impression and feel of a traditional fairytale world, one where very few things are questioned and you need to accept the world as it is.
I think overall, this was just a really positive book. Kind of like a Disney movie- very happy, positive, with a tidy little ending. But that also means it's lacking an amount of depth and complexity normally found in YA books, which is why it kind of read like a Middle Grade book to me. And to be honest, the relationship between Esmirine and Alandare didn't really feel romantic at all. I could see why they were friends, but it was harder to see its progression as anything romantic.

Like I mentioned at the beginning, it's also a very quick read. Because of its short length, there also isn't time to witness much character development, or even establish a strong connection to the characters. Fast paced, nothing too shocking or dramatic, and the ending is nicely handed to you tied together in a very pretty bow. So don't expect much more from this one in terms of depth, because it really is even lighter and happier than Disney's The Little Mermaid.

I received a finished copy to review from Penguin Canada in exchange for my honest opinion; no other compensation was received. Thank you for providing me with a copy!

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Welcome to another stop on the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader, not a Writer & The Diary of a Bookworm! There are over 400 blogs participating in this one, so make sure you go check out the full list here.

Since I like to have some sort of a theme with my prize for these hops, this time there will be two winners and each will win one book.

One prize is a copy of the fabulous Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel. I just finished reading this book a couple weeks ago, and completely fell in love with it. It's a fantastic YA book, and deserves so much more attention than it's getting and I want to share the love with one of you! It's a fantastic mix of all the good stuff: future world with the charm of the Victorian era, breathtaking romance, with just enough creepy and scary scenes.

The other prize is a book of your choice from The Book Depository, which you can select from the following newly released creepy books( as long as they're available from TBD at the time I select winners):
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
  • Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer by Cecily von Ziegesar
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
  • Envy by Gregg Olsen
Rules are straightforward, same as always, and located at the bottom of the Rafflecopter entry as well as my contest policy page. This one is INTERNATIONAL, as long as The Book Depository ships to you. Make sure you provide an e-mail address you check often in case you win.


In My Mailbox {13}

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren, which allows bloggers to share what books they’ve received in the past week. They can be from stores, contests, tours, publishers, libraries, borrowed books from friends, and the list goes
on! It's just a way of showing off the books you received in the past week and making sure they're featured on the blog.

This week I received:

  • Signed old ARC of Anna & the French Kiss (won in giveaway from Authors are Rockstars)
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (from Scholastic Canada)
  • ARC of Pure by Julianna Baggott (from Katherine @ The Lady Critic's Library! Thank you <3)
  • Rampant by Diana Peterfreund (purchased)
  • A whole bunch of Marianne de Pierres swag for an Angel Arias giveaway on Facebook from Marianne herself! I don't have it pictured here, but there was also a signed bookplate which I've already put in my copy of Burn Bright :)
I was SO excited about my books and swag this week! I really love Marianne de Pierres' Night Creatures series, so I was thrilled to get some signed swag from her :) I'll be giving some of the extra swag away in a giveaway later this year, hopefully!

I picked up Rampant when I went shopping with my papa and sister today, and we stopped in a discount book market. There were SO many cool finds there, but I'd already read most of the ones I was interested in- except for this one! I picked it up for $5 and was a little sad to see a gorgeous hardcover of Nightshade for only $7 when I spent nearly double that!

Katherine sent me Pure after she saw it on my  WoW, and I was already sending her an ARC of A Million Suns, so I guess you could say we did a little trade (which I'm so excited for squeeee!) and imagine my surprise when I opened up a lovely box from Scholastic Canada to find that gorgeous finished copy!

Did you get anything really exciting this week? Please leave a link so I can go visit yours and tell me what you think of the books I got this week! :)

Indigo Holiday 2011 Preview Party

Way back in August, I was lucky enough to be selected off of Twitter to be invited to the Chapters Indigo Fall Preview Party where they highlighted their new Fall lifestyle and home decor items.

So imagine how excited I was when I checked my e-mail one day only to be invited back AGAIN, for their Holiday 2011 Preview Party!

First thing you noticed walking in was that the room had the exact scent of Christmas. Full of pine and spices and snow (yes, snow has a smell. Haven't you ever seen Gilmore Girls?) The lovely people at Indigo have such a knack for setting up the right ambience.

LOOK GUYS! IT'S CHRISTMAS! *dies of excitement*

I love the holidays so much. I'm a Christmas baby, so it's in my blood, but really I was totally in the mood for snow and baking and decorating and shopping and gift wrapping and...

Well, you get the idea.

The food was yummy and prepared by Chef Mark McEwan from his new cookbook (although I wasn't brave enough for the octopus). Neil Pasricha was also a special guest as he discussed is Books of Awesome (including the holiday one). So cool and such a neat idea, I hadn't heard of it before!

There were definitely a lot of neat things, and I can tell you I know where I'll be doing a lot of gift shopping... nearly all of the items they  had set out in the room (except for furniture) are going to be available at Chapters shortly. One thing I love about this is as guests, we were given a totally hands-on look at the items. It's really neat to see how you can use them in your home too.

Just look at these adorable baby items! Some of my favourites there were on this table right here. Can I just say how glad I am that my cousin's having a baby in November? I am going to spoil her so much when she arrives <3

They were also incredibly generous with their gift bags given to every attendee at the end of the night. Heather Reisman was there as well to share some of her picks for new books; and included in every gift bag was one of those books! I'm looking forward to reading The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman soon! They had a good variety of items, including some new toys which are great for kids, a small gift card, and I received another Margaret Atwood book myself. But all the bags were different!

Thank you so much to Chapters Indigo for a lovely evening. I was so pleased to have been invited back again and can't wait to go shopping in the next few weeks!


Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer

Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer by Cecily von Ziegesar
Release Date: October 3, 2011
ISBN13: 9780316185097

3/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Welcome to New York City's Upper East Side, where my friends and I live, go to school, play, and sleep-sometimes with each other. It's a luxe life, but someone's got to live it . . . until they die. So begins Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer, a re-imagined and expanded slasher edition of the first groundbreaking Gossip Girl novel, featuring all new grisly scenes and over-the-top gore by #1 New York Times bestselling author Cecily von Ziegesar.
Just as in the original story, Serena returns from boarding school hoping to make amends with her BFF Blair Waldorf--things just haven't been the same since Nate Archibald came between them. But here's where our dark tale takes a turn: Serena decides that the only way for her to make things right with Blair is to eliminate Nate. If that means killing him, well, c'est la vie. Her attempted murder doesn't go unnoticed by Blair, however, who isn't about to let Serena kill whoever she wants-not when there's Cyrus Rose and Chuck Bass and Titi Coates and everyone else who's ever irritated Blair to get rid of first . . .

Way back in the day, when I was young(er) I read Gossip Girl. All the time. Constantly. I felt like I was always waiting on the new one to come out and I just had to know what was going to happen. And thirteen books, two spin off series, and a TV show later I thought it was over.

Reasons to Read:

  1. Longtime fans:
    Honestly, this book probably won't mean much to you if you aren't already a fan of Gossip Girl (either the books or the TV show). It isn't necessary to have read the books before reading PK, but it will give you a fuller idea of what the changes are between the two books.
  2. A twisted sense of humour:
    This isn't for the faint-hearted. And honestly, I appreciated it because in retrospect after reading that entire series, this book makes a whole lot more sense than the rest do. Serena and Blair are psychotic. Yes, finally. We know the truth.
But fair warning: you won't like this if you don't like extremely gory imagery. Cecily von Ziegesar does NOT shy away from describing the graphic and brutal murders of many of the characters. It's violent, and it's gratiutous. The whole book is like that. And it made me sqirm, and I felt kind of squeemish at times. I mean, eyeballs exploding and eyelids being ripped off with an eyelash curler? Yikes. And that's only TWO of the scenes.

Gossip Girl has always poked fun at itself, but Cecily takes it to a new level with Psycho Killer. I haven't read any of the Quirk books (although I'd like to) and it definitely has a similar vibe to those. This is almost like the special extended edition of Gossip Girl with bonus material where most of the characters are killed off. But SOMEHOW (somehow) it kind of works. I was so sick of Serena and Blair and Nate bouncing back and forth around to each other in the other series, so there was something appealing about this. Because they are not normal teenage girls.

If you're looking for a quirky, disturbing Halloween read, and enjoy slasher films then this might be the one for you. But be warned- it's messy. Very messy.

Review copy received from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for my honest review; no other compensation was received.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Book Club ~ Boys in YA

Okay, let's sit down and have a chat. I know I'm not the only one out there who loves those YA boys and romance. We can't deny that it's a huge part of the buzz surrounding books. So let's talk about it: the fun stuff, the ugly parts, and everything in between.

I really love the passion shown by fellow readers, and I want to see more discussion taking place... even on the little things. And today I'd love to hear your thoughts on those little things, but I want to hear about the big things too. Most importantly, I really want to hear your HONEST thoughts & opinions on this. Please :)

So what I'd like to do is talk a little bit about one of our favourite things about YA books (don't lie, they totally are)... the guys. Because let's be honest, the romance plot can make or break a story. And as shown by the YA Sisterhood Crush Tourney, this is something nearly all readers can get excited about. I've also asked some readers, bloggers, and writers to share their thoughts on this as well.

We all have our favourites- some of us love those kind boy-next-door types (like Cricket Bell from Lola), and some are suckers for the bad boy with a good heart (like Noah Shaw from Mara Dyer). I've seen so many people talk about this, and we all have our reasons. So tell me- who are some of your favourites? Why do you like them? What do you look for in a swoon-worthy romantic interest?

"I think my favourite YA boy of all time so far is Dimitri Belikov in the Vampire Academy series. He was slightly older, but not too much, short dark hair (love that) athletic in a butt kicking way, smart, read books in his spare time, and truly loved the girl so much that he was willing to do anything for her, even when he was "turned". This included training her, protecting her, and staying away from her when needed to make her life better. He was sincere, honest, and mature. I just loved him to pieces! (Still do.) That's what I look for. Reality. Something I would look for in real life. A touch of the tall dark and broody dangerous type, but not overdone like so many others are" - Gwenyth from Rants~N~Scribbles

"Let's see:
Alex Sheathes (Delirium)
Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss)
Seth Morgan (Wicked Lovely)
Marcus Flutie (Sloppy Firsts)
Collectively, these boys make up my ideal male character. They're all smart and value education (and it doesn't hurt that all of them love to read). They try to be compassionate and kind, though they certainly don't always succeed. They're flawed, but they work hard to turn those flaws into strengths.
I tend to gravitate towards YA boys who want to make something of themselves, who have goals and a strong sense of direction towards those goals. Boys who give up everything to follow a girl (and vice versa) won't earn my respect, because a relationship should be between partners and that kind of "sacrifice" only breeds resentment." - Angel from Mermaid Vision Books

"For me, swoonworthy equals being a nice guy. I know bad boys are popular, but I'm all about the nice guys. The thing is, nice doesn't automatically mean one dimensional or boring. You can still be mysterious or have that awesome banter-type of relationship while treating the girl well. That's the most important thing. I like to read about guys who challenge their love interest and make them better people while still letting them make their own decisions. Swoonworthy = protective without being controlling and giving without being a pushover. I love reading about guys who are fiercely loyal, funny, and intelligent." - Ashley from Book Labyrinth

And something else I find interesting, is a discussion on these guys and their relationships with girls. There are some stories out there that have received a lot of criticism for potentially portraying unhealthy (or even abusive) relationships. But what do you think about that? How do you feel about these (potentially) unhealthy relationships in YA books? Do they have a place? What makes these relationships unhealthy (in your opinion)? Are there any books that really bothered you because of the relationship they portrayed?

"And this is where I get pissed. Teaching 15 year old girls that a boy obsessing over them or abusing them or STALKING THEM is romantic is morally wrong. I mean, authors might not think that what they're doing is wrong, but what many are doing through books such as Twilight and Hush, Hush and Fallen is telling impressionable teenagers that these "bad boys" did so much crap to these girls because they were in LOVE with them. Love is not stalking them or controlling them. Love is NOT trying to harm them or making them feel uncomfortable. Love is not preying on the weak. This is not love, and allowing girls to believe that a boy who does this to them is doing it because they love them and care about them is sending a potentially harmful, damaging message to girls.
YA authors need to do a better job of presenting healthy, stable relationships, especially in paranormal romances. Making girls and boys equal instead of conforming to traditional 1950s gender roles should be a step in the right direction, but eliminating anything that could be construed as abuse - emotional or physical - should be mandatory, unless you want to present these relationships as bad ones. Presenting them as good is potentially damaging to girls who are entering that phase in their lives where they are dating and finding out about love." - Anonymous

"I'm very picky when it comes to labeling a YA relationship unhealthy/abusive, mostly because my perspective on them is probably far more different then it is for others. I actually discussed this on a review I'd written earlier this week. I was discussing how thrilled I was to finally read a relationship that contained no emotional or physical abuse, one that was solely built on trust, honesty, and love. It's regrettable, however, that many YA novels tend to lean towards what I describe as emotionally abusive relationships, with characters that withstand inexplicable amounts of emotional turmoil for "love" and the overwhelming use of sexual attraction in order to define a relationship." - Wendy from A Cupcake and a Latte

"Let's draw a line here: I appreciate stories about unhealthy relationships as long as it's clear that the relationship is unhealthy. Sarah Dessen's Dreamland is a wonderful example of that kind of story. I'm a bit iffy about including this one, but there are many who would say that the relationship in Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is a very unhealthy relationship. Authors have to take care not to be flippant or too preachy when they write about abusive relationships.
On a related note, I think the recent trend of insta-love in YA fiction has blurred the lines and made it more difficult for younger readers to see an abusive relationship for what it is. Abuse doesn't just come in bruises. There's verbal and emotional abuse and it's very easy to dismiss those things under the rug of "I just want what's best for you." No, unfortunately, those characters don't want what's best for their "love interest," but what's best for them. It's also easy to disregard the mean things some "bad boys" say because "they're just teasing" or "they don't know how to deal with their feelings." Nope. There's no excuse for being an asshole." - Angel

Or hey, let's talk about love triangles. Because this comes up a lot! Are we sick of them yet? Or are we just looking for the really good love triangles? It seems like books with love triangles are dime a dozen these days. And sometimes, I confess I get sick of them. Sometimes, I'll admit that I love a book a little less if I don't like where the romance seems to be headed. But what about you: are you Team anyone? Do you enjoy love triangles? Do you think they add anything to the story? Do you have a favourite love triangle from YA books?

"I'm terribly sick of love triangles. I strongly feel that they've been over done in the YA genre. However, from time to time, I do come across a love triangle that oddly works for me where it wouldn't work for others. Sadly, love triangles don't always play a part in the story's development and are only added due to popular demand amongst readers or for dramatic effect. Unfortunately, I currently do not have a favorite love triangle." - Wendy

"As for a favourite love triangle, I honestly can't think of any that I actually liked. There were those I didn't mind, like Gale/Katniss/Peeta, because it was clear that Gale and Peeta were in love with two different girls. Katniss-before-the-Games is full of potential and that's what Gale found appealing. He could work with her to bring about the future he thought they both wanted. Peeta may have been infatuated with Katniss as a kid, but it is his experiences with her during the Games that mold them both into completely different people whose only refuge is each other. More importantly, Katniss grew independently of both of them. So in the end, you could say that I'm on Team Character Development. ;)" - Angel

"I'm Team Peeta (Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins), Team Jem (Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare), Team Xander (Matched by Ally Condie)... the list goes on and on. There's usually one guy in a love triangle I hate and one I adore.
I'm completely getting sick of love triangles though. They're all getting the same and it gets to the point where I don't want to read the book when I hear "love triangle". Granted, some are written really well, but most are getting predictable and the stories are getting played out. There's only so much I can take. I don't like reading a book where the heroine spends 99% of the time whining because she doesn't know which guy to choose. It really isn't that difficult of a decision to make, but it always seems to be soooooo difficult in books. And I don't like how it always seems to work out in the end, how the girl always picks the right guy in the end. For once I'd like to see the girl pick the wrong guy and be miserable, just for a change." - Robyn from Robolobolyn's Universe of Books

"No, I’m not sick of love triangles (confession here as the man I’m married to I met through my then at the time boyfriend), but I think they have to be done really well for YA stories to work for me. Not sure what Team annoyed means. What I’d like to see for pushing the boundaries is a triangle that happens but it isn’t written about in a lot of YA stories and that’s a girl-girl-boy relationship or boy-boy-girl relationship. Done right that would be a very interesting read and because today so many teens are much more sexually active and explorative with their sexuality I think it’s time I found that book – or better yet, wrote it!" - Renee Pace

Do you agree or disagree with these answers? Anything you were surprised to see answered here?


Friday Hops ~ October 21

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 blogs, the featured blogs, and then use the list of links to discover new blogs you may not have found yet! It's a great way to connect with new people and if someone stops by, make sure to check out their blog too!

The featured bloggers for this week are Book Savvy Babe and The Bursting Bookshelf!

And this week's question is...

Q: What superhero is your alter-ego?

A: Another tough one. I always find these questions difficult to answer! Batman is my favourite, but to be honest he really isn't my alter ego. And Batwoman/Batgirl are such fakes.

But I've always kind of felt like I identified with Rogue. She just always seems kind of lonely, you know? But tough, all at the same time, in one package.

TGIF at GReads Books

This week's theme is...
Book Blogs That Make You Smile: Pick 5 book blogs you visit often & think others should, too.

1. A Cupcake and a Latte

Wendy is up to date with current book news, and I find my taste in books to be very much in line with hers. So I stalk her. Regularly. And I love it because she's so sweet <3

    2. The Lady Critic's Library

    Katherine is another blogger who I find seems to share similar likes and dislikes as I do in books. She's definitely worth following because of how much attention she pays to the lesser known books! A great place to find other great reads :)

      3. Katie's Book Blog

      Katie is fortunate to have tons of access to some of the best upcoming books- and she's always on top of it. Plus she has some really fun features and special posts unique to her blog.

        4. Xpresso Reads

        Giselle is incredibly active, which is great because it means she has tons of information on hot upcoming books :) Plus she's just a pleasant person to chat with when it comes to books!

        Sorry, but I only read 4 regularly! There are tons of others I check out once in a while but these are the daily ones.

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