Back to the Books Giveaway Hop!

One lucky winner is going to win a book of their choice for this giveaway hop from The Book Depository!

There's just one catch: the book should be related to school.

But that really isn't so hard when you think about it ;) There are so many delicious books out there that may involve a school setting!

I'll list some examples to give you some ideas, but you are NOT limited to these books:

  • Anna and the French Kiss - because maybe a Parisien boarding school is your style?
  • Vampire Academy - or perhaps you're more a fan of the blood sucking type?
  • Gallagher Girls - maybe you'd prefer to be a spy like Ally Carter's characters?
  • Percy Jackson - if school really isn't your style, you might be more of a demi-god camp person?
  • Harry Potter - or you could be a wizard!
  • Shut Out - I JUST read this one and it was fabulous. You can read my review if you're curious, but it's great.
See what I mean? There are SO many books out there, and this is just to give you a taste :)

Okay so the important details:
The book needs to be under $15 from The Book Depository (Canadian dollars. Because, well, I'm Canadian).
This giveaway runs from September 1st to September 7th.
It is open internationally.
Your mandatory entry for this giveaway is to be a follower, but a couple extra entries are available as options.
The rest of the rules are posted on the bottom of the Rafflecopter widget.

There are 306 blogs participating in this- and you can find the total list on the post by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

Good luck!

Shut Out

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Release Date: September 5, 2011

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it's a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy's car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend's attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: she and the other players' girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won't get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don't count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Inspired by Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, critically acclaimed author of The Duff (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) Kody Keplinger adds her own trademark humor in this fresh take on modern teenage romance, rivalry and sexuality.

You know those times when you hear about a book, it has an awesome description, and the cover is great so you're really excited to read it and then you're disappointed by it?

Shut Out isn't one of those books. Not even close!

All of the above things are true, but so is the fact that Shut Out is awesome; so good you'll want to read it over and over and pass it along to all of your friends. Your best girl friends, that is.

Fair warning, right off the bat: this book is about sex. Oh, and more sex.

And I'll confess that I was a wee bit apphrehenisive going into this knowing that it would largely be about, well, sex. And it is about sex. But in a GOOD, healthy way. It's very cute, super funny.

The kind of book where I found myself literally sitting on the couch and laughing out loud at Kody Keplinger's writing. And that doesn't happen very often, pretty much never with me actually. So this is HIGH PRAISE indeed, coming from me at least. But in all honesty, this is such a fun read!

I will say though that the message Keplinger's writing about regarding sex does come across kind of forced at times. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing either! It's an important message, one that the young women in her novel are just starting to discover for themselves. And even better, Shut Out is a great tool to use to bring up this discussion of sex and exactly what it can mean for people. The best part about this is that Keplinger absolutely does not shy away from this, but she tackles it head on. She deals with all the questions that a lot of teens (and particularly teen girls) are dealing with themselves, and shows that there's no shame in talking about sex.

I loved that she accomplished this using such a smart, strong heroine like Lissa who considers respect a trait she's looking for in a boyfriend. She is such an admirable young woman, and even though she isn't perfect and makes mistakes along the way, she's willing to learn from those too. But she doesn't mope around when bad things happen to her. She finds ways to deal with them, and more importantly she tries to find HEALTHY ways to deal with them and health ways to live her life. This is exactly what made Shut Out such a wonderful novel. Keplinger deals with an issue that most people don't want to talk about, and she does it in a responsible way that will hopefully encourage more young women and teens to look for the same kind of resolution that Lissa and her friends found as they embarked on this small little journey of self-discovery.

I was especially pleased to read about Cash, who was such a good guy. He was just so hot and respectful of Lissa, it kind of reminded me of Zac Efron in 17 Again giving his speech in sex-ed class.... Also, I noticed that Cash is scared of fish swimming around and I am too, so we're pretty much soulmates. Right?

Now for my little input at the end of this: as true as it is, I was disheartened by the attitude Lissa felt regarding religion and sex. It wasn't obvious, and it was very subtle, but it came up a few times and I just wanted to touch on the fact that Lissa felt so uncomfortable having a Bible around when they were talking about sex. And that's understandable. But at the same time, I wish it wasn't. I wish more people could be open about this in every context, but particularly a religious one seeing as I'm Christian myself. Yet I'm aware that it's only recently that I've discovered personally that there are other women out there who are completely devoted to their faith yet also willing to acknowledge that their is a right time and place for sex to be enjoyed and that we can be open about being sexual beings. And I really hope that this is something that more people can come to terms with as well. Like I said, this wasn't explicitly dealt with in Shut Out, but I felt that it was also something worth discussing.

Extra special thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada for providing me with a finished copy in advance of the release date to review in exchange for my honest review! No other compensation was received.

Waiting on Wednesday {6}

see this lovely picture? It was made by Lindsay at The Violet Hour. Thank you for sharing it!)

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts weekly "Waiting on Wednesday" for books that haven't been released yet but we are anxious for!

So after reading The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa this week, I've been feeling like I need something a little lighter...you know, to help me recover? ;)

And it almost makes me wish that I had saved Anna and the French Kiss to read until now... or that Lola and the Boy Next Door was out already!

Which means that this week, I am more than just eagerly waiting for Lola to be released already.

I am fervently, enthusiastically, impatiently, keenly awaiting this book! Stephanie Perkins did such a wonderful job with Anna, and I've only heard lovely things about Lola as well from other bloggers and reviewers who've read Lola.

But come on- tell me who ISN'T waiting for Lola? September 29th is still SO far away!

If you haven't read Anna yet, go to your nearest book store and search for it. I mean that. I'm being completely serious now, I'm not even smiling. Anna is an absolute must-read YA chick lit, and Lola is bound to be the next one. So maybe go pre-order Lola while you're at it?

Plus the guy on the cover is just gorgeous. Just don't tell my boyfriend I said that.

Witch Song

Witch Song by Amber Argyle
Release Date: September 1, 2011
Rhemalda Publishing
ISBN13: 9781936850167

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads Synopsis:
The world is changing. Once, Witch Song controlled everything from the winds to the shifting of the seasons--but not anymore. All the Witches are gone, taken captive by a traitor. All but Brusenna. As the echo of their songs fade, the traitor grows stronger. Now she is coming for Brusenna. Her guardian has sworn to protect her, but even he can't stop the Dark Witch. Somehow, Brusenna has to succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find the traitor. Fight her. Defeat her. Because if Brusenna doesn't, there won't be anything left to save.

Witch Song completely caught me off guard by how much I enjoyed it. I'll admit that the cover didn't really draw me in the way others do, but I was enamoured wtih Amber Argyle's creative world and story laced with adventure and love by the end of the book. The world of witches she created in Witch Song is reminiscent of a fairytale, with appropriate pacing and lovely descriptions, and even lovelier characters.

I am such a huge fan of the love story in Witch Song! I really, really enjoyed Senna and Joshen and all the difficulties they faced. And some of the decisions they made were so difficult, but very brave at the same. And I was glad to see that they didn't narrow in so much on their affection for each other to forget the world circumstances around them. The adventure and upcoming battle remains constant as the plot centrepiece, and it really should seeing as the possible destruction of the world is fairly important. Fairly. ;) And there is just enough heartbreak in there to twist your heartstrings a little bit. It doesn't hurt either that Witch Song has one of my favourite kissing scenes ever! My one teensy little annoyance with the love plot was how irrational Senna's jealousy could be at times. I don't mind a little bit of jealousy (because it is natural and understandable at times) but I just didn't see that she had anything to be jealous of- this was something that she had built up entirely in her head, and even if that is the case I tend to roll my eyes at characters when they do this.

As a character, I did not care for Pogg. At all. I've never been a fan of those quirky, eccentric creature sidekicks. I didn't like Dobby in Harry Potter, and I hated Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars. So needless to say, I didn't think Pogg added anything particularly important to the story rather than some extra magical help which could have been fulfilled by some other forgetful secondary character.

I did enjoy the long ending. I'm aware that some people might feel that the ending drags on for too long, but it actually does give the story a proper explanation and allows Argyle to fully flesh out the reasons behind the events which took place in Witch Song. However, there was one problem with the ending, over the obsession with not allowing marriage... well, it just seemed kind of silly to me. Maybe because it's a little too practical for my taste, but it all seemed like a silly show for nothing. That was disappointing.

I received a PDF copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review; no other compensation was received.

...And I loved it so much that I had to buy a signed copy for myself and one to giveaway! I've already contacted the winner of my giveaway, and she has confirmed her prize. So congratulations to Marie! I'll be shipping that out to you shortly :)


Sweet Venom 2 Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to another stop on the Sweet Venom 2 Scavenger Hunt! If you're here for the Sweet Venom 2 Scavenger Hunt from Tera Lynn Childs' blog, then you're at the right place!

And if you don't know what that is... you should really go read Tera's blog to find out (this is also where the entry form is located)! You can find the details of how to participate on her blog.

There are some fantastic prizes for the winners, which are five signed copies of Sweet Venom and a grand prize of a $50.00 bookstore gift card! And the hunt IS open internationally :)

Alright, so now I'll give you what you REALLY came here for... my letter is S! Now scoot along and complete the hunt!


Kindred Reads {2}

You know when you read a book with a plot that you really enjoyed and you wonder what else like it might be out there for you?

This post is for you!

These books contain similar elements, whether it's content, writing, or other themes found in the stories.

If you like...
Legacy by Cayla Kluver
You might want to read...

Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

The plots of Legacy and Aurelia are so similar, they're practically twins. But then again, it isn't really a new idea to have a princess torn between love and royal duty. The execution is simlar as well, and Alera and Aurelia come across as similar kinds of young women. They both have a strong sense of responsibility for their country, and they want to do the right thing...whatever that may be. That being said, where Legacy is rich in description and details Aurelia seems to have more action in it (and its sequel, Exile, is already out).

Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter

While Aurelia and Legacy are both set in a kind of historical fantasy, renaissance-esque world Cleopatra's Moon revolves around the story of Cleopatra's only daughter in the Ancient, Classical world. But it still has a similar feel as her daughter, Cleopatra Selene, struggles to find her place in a kingdom that's quickly crumbling apart and desires to step out of the shadow made by her mother, the ruler of Egypt. You have the same theme of princess trying to fulfill her royal duty, and the political intrigue that make Legacy and Aurelia so enjoyable, but with a smaller dose of love and a bit more historical fact behind it.

Winter's Passage & Summer's Crossing

There are two Iron Fey novellas available as e-books which fit nicely in the series as books 1.5 and 3.5. They don't take long to read, and if you picked them up when they were first available they were free on Kindle (but Winter's Passage is now $2.39 but Summer's Crossing is still free)! Because they're so short, I'm including them both in this review post.

Winter's Passage (The Iron Fey #1.5) by Julie Kagawa
Released: May 20, 2010
Harlequin Teen
ISBN13: 9781426858321

3/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck--Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon--who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.
Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter--a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat....

I didn't realize that Winter's Passage existed until I went to pick up Summer's Crossing.... only to realize I had missed one. And I had meant to read them all in order, sigh. So I picked it up and read through it quickly anyways.

Since I've been reading through the series so quickly, I had a hard time remember which events occurred in which books. But Winter's Passage seemed to have a few flaws in my opinion. There were just a couple things that happened that didn't make any sense.

First of all, how come Meghan was able to use summer glamour here without getting sick? At this point, she's killed Machina and absorbed the iron glamour... right? Am I just missing something? This part just didn't seem to flow with the rest of the series. But I could be completely wrong on this one.

I also didn't see why Ash kissing her would save her from freezing to death. I'm sure it would surprise her- but still, she was passing out from the cold. I just couldn't see how that really made much sense.

I did like being able to read about how Ash and Meghan came to the Unseelie Court and what happened in between books 1 and 2. It felt like a little bit of insider info, which would be enjoyable to those who are fans of the series.

Summer's Crossing (The Iron Fey #3.5) by Julie Kagawa
Released: June 1, 2011
Harlequin Teen
ISBN13: 9781459206403

4/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
A Midsummer's Nightmare? Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Summer Court prankster, King Oberon's right hand, bane of many a faery queen's existence—and secret friend to Prince Ash of the Winter Court. Until one girl's death came between them, and another girl stole both their hearts.

Now Ash has granted one favor too many and someone's come to collect, forcing the prince to a place he cannot go without Puck's help—into the heart of the Summer Court. And Puck faces the ultimate choice—betray Ash and possibly win the girl they both love, or help his former friend turned bitter enemy pull off a deception that no true faery prankster could possibly resist.
I haven't started reading The Iron Knight yet (I start that tonight- yay!) so I can't speak to how well Summer's Crossing fits in between books 3 and 4.

What I can say though, is that Summer's Crossing is a fantastic novella told from Puck's POV; and I'm sure you can imagine how much fun that is to read! I really liked how Kagawa revealed a bit more about Puck's feelings and the inner struggle he seems to be facing at this point in time in regards to the relationship between Ash and Meghan. It really added more depth to his character, being able to see that it isn't always fun and games with him.

It was also neat to see the relationship between Ash and Puck a bit more. I think we get a better sense of how they used to be friends, since most of the other books have been focused on them trying to fight each other constantly. But you can see that there is an underlying trust between them, that isn't found between many Fey at all.


The Iron Queen

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen
ISBN13: 9780373210183

4.5 Stars/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.

The Iron Queen is thoroughly enchanting in every way; Kagawa seems to be able to find every possible heartwrenching method of drawing you even further into her magical fae world.

Remember how I mentioned in my earlier reviews of The Iron King and The Iron Daughter that Meghan kind of bothered me? Yeah, not anymore. Meghan matures beautifully from a girl into a strong young woman. But the progress is natural, and completely justified after everything she's gone through in the previous novels.

And Ash is even more swoonworthy than he ever was before. He's still Ash, and doesn't lose any part of himself that made him so attractive in the beginning, but there's a slight warmth and lightheartedness that wasn't there before. The relationship between Meghan and Ash is still complicated, but plausibly so. Summer and Winter together? It's obviously not going to be easy, and was never expected to be simple.

My biggest pet peeve was that Meghan was so honest about leading Puck on... but continued to do so up until a point. Just... give the poor guy a break already.

I was utterly entrhalled with The Iron Fey world and can I just say how much I adored the faery traditions? Particularly the one between a knight and his lady... sigh. It sounds lovely and truly romantic.

The theme of relationships is evident throughout the series, but particularly at this point in the series. Family, friendship and love are all valued very highly by Kagawa's characters and it's beautiful to see how these various relationships play out as Meghan navigates the Nevernever world. Something I really appreciated was how grave the idea of sex was treated. It comes up as an issue between Ash and Meghan as the sexual tension is building, but it's something they both treat reverently and don't barge into quickly. It really pleased me to see it treated that way, as something of a commitment between two people in a YA book.

The last thing that broke my heart as I was reading it was the revelation of Meghan's father. The thought of losing one's memories is something that completely terrifies me, and I know this was one part that really tugged at my heart strings.

I'm just really glad I waited to read this series until I had a copy of The Iron Knight on hand, because I really don't think I could handle waiting for more after the ending.

The Iron Daughter

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Released: August 1, 2010
Harlequin Teen
ISBN13: 9780373210138

4/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Reading the Iron Daughter was like riding an emotional rollercoaster in a fascinating, dark faerie world created by Kagawa.
I was happy to see that quite a few of the aspects that bothered me about The Iron King began to grow on me in The Iron Daughter; most important of those was Meghan herself.

I have to admit though, that the complexity of Meghan and Ash's relationship is probably as frustrating for the reader as it is for Meghan. Probably because we're forced to listen to her angsty, lovesickness moping around without really doing anything useful or interesting. But at the same time, you can see positive changes begin to take root in her.

Something else I really appreciate is how honest everyone is about Meghan's flaws; particularly where Ash is concerned. Even he points out to her again and again exactly whawt her flaws are, and she's never set up on a pedastal as the perfect girl or perfect character. And the determination and fierce attitude after her heart is broken is admirable, and I'm glad ot see that she does show some sort of strength in the midst of that (even though it seemed to take a while for to get to that point).

I also really enjoyed the bantering and bickering between Puck and Ash- you can easily see that they used to be such good friends at one point in time. They're equally delectable characters, and Meghan's relationship with each of them amounts to one of the best love triangles I've ever seen. It never feels overly drawn out or overplayed to me, and parts of it seem natural (although there is one issue I take with it feeling somewhat forced on Meghan's part in regards to her possible interest in Puck).

Most importantly though, I like how they always maintain perspective of what's really vital and needs to be done, rather than sulking around and fighting like teenagers (even though the Unseelie Court reminded me of highschool). The plot manages to stay central at all times, and the character development continues to be strong proving it to be an enjoyable sequel building up to an even greater interest in the fates of these mesmerizing faeries.


In My Mailbox {7}

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.

So this week I received:

  • Exiled by M.R. Merrick (from author for review)
  • Remembrance by Michelle Madow (from author for review. I received this one a couple weeks ago actually, and forgot to add it here!)
I also got a beautiful signed Near Witch bookmark from Victoria Schwab - thank you SO much!

And thank you to Bethany house, Hachette Book Group, Harpreet, Matthew and Michelle for sending me these books! I can't wait to read all of them! :)

Please feel free to comment and share your IMM with me!


Waiting on Wednesday {5}

see this lovely picture? It was made by Lindsay at The Violet Hour. Thank you for sharing it!)

Jill @ Breaking the Spine hosts weekly "Waiting on Wednesday" for books that haven't been released yet but we are anxious for!
I don't think I realized until sometime during this week how excited I am to read Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano! I really enjoyed reading Wither as well, but you know how sometimes certain books just stick with you? And you may not even realize it until a few weeks later and... you're still thinking about that book you read 2 months ago. Wither was like that for me, and Fever is set to be released on February 21, 2012 which honestly cannot come soon enough! DeStefano's story is a fabulous new post-apocolyptic series which I recommend to all of you who haven't read it yet!
I mean, I just really NEED to know what's going on and what's going to happen and I just love it!

So tell me, are there any books that do this to you??


Witch Song Giveaway!

A while back I was lucky enough to receive an e-book copy of Witch Song by Amber Argyle from Rhemalda Publishing. I wasn't too sure of what to think about it, but it did look like an intriguing read.

But it was soo good, and I loved it so much that I decided to pre-order two more signed copies from Rhemalda. Now unfortunatley, one of those signed copies is for me. But one of them is for one of YOU! Excited yet??

Alright, so giveaway details:
I have one signed copy of Witch Song up for grabs. Contest will close at 12:01 a.m. on August 30th when I will announce the winner later that day along with my review of Witch Song (and I will say that it earned 5 stars from me. It's GOOD).

This book is only open to US/Canada addresses because of shipping- annoying I know, but start September 1st I'm having another international giveaway here. Followed by another one right after that one finishes up.

If you do want to know more about it, I talked a bit about Witch Song in my If You Like... post.

And you can visit Amber Argyle's blog to read the first chapter!
And lastly, the book trailer for you!


Giveaways Galore!

Missy over at Missy's Reads & Reviews is celebrating reaching 1000 followers by  having a huge giveaway with 6 different prize packs! There are also tons of ways to get extra entries, which is nice in a big giveaway like this one :)

You can go learn more about the contest on her blog post, and while you're there make sure to look around and read some of her great reviews!

Missy's Reads & Reviews

P.S. the winner of my Burn Bright giveaway is Megan @ Book Brats and she has been contacted and confirmed her prize! Congratulations, Megan!

Kindred reads {1}

You know when you read a book with a plot that you really enjoyed and you wonder what else like it might be out there for you?

This post is for you!

These books contain similar elements, whether it's content, writing, or other themes found in the stories.

If you like...
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
You might want to consider reading...

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Victoria Schwab has been praised for her lyrical writing and the fairytale atmosphere she created in TNW. Dixon's debut, Entwined, is striking in its own account with magical prose, some eerie twists and undertones, and fairytale vibes. While TNW only seemed to be reminiscent of folklore, Entwined is a more obvious retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but a truly compelling and creative one.

Witch Song by Amber Argyle

Besides the obvious similarity of both Witch Song and TNW being about, well, witches, they also share a story of a young girl on a journey of self-discovery. Both main characters, both Brusenna and Lexi experience some extremely well-paced character development as they mature into young women (and save the world and all that jazz, too).

Are there any other books you find to be similar to any of these? Any books you'd like to see some similar recommendations for?


In My Mailbox {6}

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.

So, you can still see some of my stash from last week's IMM, including Lady of the Rivers which barely made it in the photo so I positioned it nicely in this week's image, too.

  • Signed Bloodspell and swag by Amalie Howard (won in giveaway from author)
  • ARC Legend by Marie Lu (from Penguin Canada)
  • Signed Witch Song by Amber Argyle x2 (purchased. Get excited for a giveaway...)
  • ARC Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (from Harper Collins Canada)
  • Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer (purchased from Amazon)
  • Glimmersong by Jenna Black (purchased from Amazon)
  • Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (from Soho Press for review)
  • Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (purchased from bookstore)
When I picked up Shade, I also bought myself a small present: a Little Mermaid bookmark :) I haven't been using them much but I think I should be, so I decided to try it out as a small investment.

  • Drink, Slay, Love by Sara Beth Durst (from S&S Galley Grab)
  • The Iron Daugter by Julie Kagawa (purchased from Amazon-Kindle)
  • The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (purchased from Amazon-Kindle)
  • Liesel & Po by Lauren Oliver (NetGalley)
  • The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees (NetGalley)
  • Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (NetGalley)
  • Variant by Robison Wells (NetGalley)
  • Firelight by Sophie Jordan (purchased from Amazon-Kindle)
Definitely a good week in terms of books! There are so many of these that I'm excited about- thank you to authors and publishers I received these from!



Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Release Date: August 23, 2011
ISBN13: 9781595143174

5/5 Stars!

Goodreads Synopsis:
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

I have a small disclaimer to add first:
I have never read Vampire Academy. Or anything by Richelle Mead for that matter.

So, Bloodlines was my very first taste of this living and breathing world created by Mead.

Bloodlines didn't disappointed me at all, even though I was wary of reading it since I hadn't read VA and I'm not into vampires that much. But I can happily say that I am HOOKED. I won't speak for those who are VA fans, but for those unfamiliar with VA or Mead, Bloodlines is the perfect introduction. You want to meet this book and be best friends with it.

Sydney was the perfect main character. I don't think I have ever related more to a character than I did with her. Mead writes her story excellently, and I was fascinated by this alchemist trying to fit in, but not fit in too much with vampires who are trying to blend in with humans. I actually enjoyed reading about the alchemists more than the vampires, because it offered such a unique and refreshing perspective.

The relationships in the book are executed to perfection. Your heart literally breaks watching Sydney struggle with the expectations thrust upon her, and in particular the strain between herself and her father. I was annoyed at first when she would obsess over not being small enough until you realize why she feels that why- and then I just melted completely. No one should ever have to go through that, but at times haven't we all felt like no matter what we do it'll never be enough?

Other reviewers have commented that there's no romance in Bloodlines. And... that's pretty much true. Sydney doesn't have a love plot, but that's amazing in and of itself! Bloodlines wants its relationships to develop gradually. With time. I can't remember the last time I read a YA book that did this; which of course means that if it ever actually reaches that point, the romance will just be THAT much better since we've been (im)patiently waiting for it. ;)

And...I don't think I have a single bad thing to say about this book. I truly loved it and I could honestly sit here and rave about it if you'd let me.

HUGE thank you to Penguin Canada for providing me with an ARC for the upcoming Bloodlines blog tour! The tour will be stopping at Esther's Ever After on September 13th!

Descended by Blood

Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace
Release Date: August 26, 2011
Accendo Press

3.5/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Brooke Keller is a high school junior who has never spent much time living in one place. She is finally in a town long enough to almost snag the boy of her dreams, until her life is threatened after killing a fanged man in his attempt to kidnap her. Brooke begins a dangerous journey in an effort to find out who is after her and how to stop them. In a world with powerful and prejudiced vampires, Brooke must tap into the side of her that she never knew existed at the risk of losing her life in order to save it.

Descended by Blood kind of gave me a Twilight love triangle vibe, but without the werewolves. That's just to say that this is a book with a lot of focus on the romance department, and if you enjoy that then this is an interesting, fun read.

Brooke was a great character, and Angeline Kace did a wonderful job peeling back the different layers of her. One of my favourite things about Brooke was that she didn't spend all of her time brooding, and wasn't the typical emo teenage girl. She's bubbly and she's fun! She gets together with her best friend, and they cry and giggle and make you feel all nostalgic for some of your own girl time. But there's some real pain stemming from some very real issues there as well.

In particular, Brooke's relationship with her father was done very well. I like reading about dysfunctional families when they're dealt with properly and given the type of attention they deserve.

Now, I really hated her relationship with Jaren. He really, totally, completely SUCKS. I felt constantly annoyed by him; somehow he's okay with her freakishly killing someone in his house, but as soon as she turns out to be a vampire he bails? Um, no. Killing is (or should be) fairly traumatic. The transitions in atmosphere also weren't really there. One minute every thing would be fine then -BAM- there would be a near death occurence and then they'd just go right back to normal. And reading the action scenes felt a bit lacking for more action described through the writing.

I really like the story behind the book, especially all the vampire politics. The fantasy in it is intriguing too, but I really hope that in the future books the characters will be a bit more serious about the events going on. Mirko is a perfect example of what I would like to see: he's fun and plays around a lot, but he's serious when he needs to be. (Pssst... he's so much better than Jaren!) I didn't see that coming from the other characters too much, which detracted from the story a bit for me. But it's still a good debut from Kace, and for those who enjoy the vampire trend going on right now this one is worth picking up to read.

ARC e-book received from author for me to read and write an honest review on it. Thank you, Angeline!

She also sent me the book trailer, which I'm embedding below for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy! :)


Follow & Friend Friday ~ 08/19

Every Friday,  Parajunkee hosts 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 to follow! And if someone follows you, be kind and follow back! It's a fun way to find new bloggers to read :)

Featured Blogger for this week is Belle Books

Q. If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book?

Okay, confession: for a long time I've had this dream of really making a difference. I study political science for a reason: I'm not sure exactly WHAT I'd do, but I'd love to accomplish something. I wouldn't want to be in something as tragic as The Hunger Games (as much as I love it), because at the same time I don't think I could handle that much tragedy. Same reason I wouldn't want to be in a romance book- I can't handle that emotional rollercoaster ride. Maybe something more like Wither by Lauren DeStefano and Rhine?

Or you know who else I really loved? Sydney from Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. I loved her, because I felt like I related to her so well. Almost like she WAS me. So there you go- an uninteresting fact about me. ;)

P.S. If you're looking for a fabulous new series to get in to, check out my current giveaway for a copy of Marianne de Pierres' Burn Bright (Night Creatures #1)! CLICK HERE

The Iron King

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Released: February 1, 2010
ISBN13: 9780373210084

4/5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Wow, so how come it took me so long to start reading this series?!

The Iron King is an enticing introduction to the world of The Iron Fey. Kagawa's execution is brilliant as she lures both Meghan and her readers in to a frightening, curious world of fae and other fantasy creatures. Nothing is as it seems, and your perception of faeries comes completely undone to become something new and delightfully different. Although Kagawa sticks close to the more traditional idea of faeries than our contemporary idea of Tinker Bell (thankfully)!

The beginning of The Iron King is delightfully creepy, and works well as a set up to the rest of the novel. I really enjoyed reading about Meghan and Puck's friendship; I just really liked Puck as a character, right down to his one liners that were so bad they were funny. He's such a quirky, multi-faceted character! But before you even ask, right now I'm Team Ash simply because I didn't get a romantic vibe from the relationship between Meghan and Puck. Yet. But I haven't finished the series yet, either!

Ash is wonderful in his own way, he's like the antithesis to Puck. And that's probably what makes them both so interesting, is how different they are yet I still love how very real they feel. Everyone in The Iron King is flawed as a character, and that makes them come alive. Now that being said, I actually didn't like Meghan that much. I really disliked her at the beginning because she came across as such a whiny brat complaining about not having one pair of nice jeans. I think she does begin a more mature development as the story progresses though, and hopefully that continues throughout the other books.

One of my favourite things about The Iron King is how illusionary everything felt, as if it was a mirage almost. You can't be too sure of anything, particularly the characters Meghan encounters. There really isn't a clear cut "bad guy" and nothing's entirely black and white. Seriously, talk about depth in a YA novel.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the technology bit yet. It seemed a bit silly as it played out in the first book, but I'm optimistic about it as a theme for the series as a whole. It's definitely a unique and interesting idea.


Ripple by Mandy Hubbard

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard
Released: July 21, 2011
ISBN13: 9781595144232

3.5/4 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

All these new YA books based off mythology are making me swoon with excitement! There are so many out there, based off of different mythological persons, creatures, stories, etc. and they're told in such uniquely different ways.

Ripple is about Lexi, a girl cursed with being a siren. Hubbard does a fantastic job using a popular, current theme and making it her own. Lexi's curse is fascinating and the mythology Hubbard uses is just wonderful.

My disappointment with this book was the pacing and development- it was too fast. Like taking a ride on a runaway train, when you just want to enjoy the scenery. Lexi's romantic relationships unfold so quickly, that they came off forced more than anything (although one of them was understandably so). And Erik as a character was just flat and empty- there was nothing substantial to him, although the idea behind him was enticing. But to be honest, the pacing really took away from the story as a whole and left me wanting much more than was there.

However, Ripple is a book about far more than just a teenage siren with a curse to break. At the root of the story is the tragic and unfortunate death of Lexi's boyfriend, Steven, and how Lexi tries to cope with her grief. The richest relationships in the book were those between Lexi and Cole, and Lexi and Sienna, as they all tried to come to terms with Steven's death and the impact it had on each other.

Furthermore, Hubbard carves out the curse of sirens to cumulate in one large issue for them, as they seem to crave true love beyond anything else. The heartbreak Lexi feels and her desire for something more than the abandonment and deaths surround her is just stunning.

Sienna and Lexi's relationship is a kind of real life friendship, and the consequences of their actions are devastating- but perfectly applied by Hubbard.

Smile - it's Wednesday!

see this lovely picture? It was made by Lindsay at The Violet Hour. Thank you for sharing it!)

Jill @  Breaking the Spine hosts weekly "Waiting on Wednesday" for books that haven't been released yet but we are anxious for!
This week, I'm anxiously awaiting the release of Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi Ashton. I really, really love reading Greek myths retold, or antying with mytholigical elements and this cover is just SO beautiful! One of my favourites that I've seen this year.
Goodreads Synopsis:
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...
MizB @ Should Be Reading hosts WWW Wednesdays... it's super easy to play along and join in!
Just answer these three questions:

What are you currently reading?

Right now, I'm in the middle of the Iron King by Julie Kagawa. I LOVE it, and yes, it has taken me this long to get into the series!

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished reading Ripple by Mandy Hubbard (review will be up today, promise!!) and before that I finally got around to reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (which was sent to me as a gift). So glad I read that one!

What do you think I'll read next?

Well... right now the plan is to read my ARC of Legend by Marie Lu next, and then continue with the Iron Fey series. But my plans always seem to change, haha!

That's it for me this week, but please comment and send me the link to your Wednesday post! I promise to read it (I love seeing what others are sharing!) and try to comment on something :)

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