February 28, 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Happy Pandemonium Release Day!!!!!

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Published by Harpercollins February 28 2012
Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher


I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, 

pushing aside thoughts of Alex, 

pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school, 




like Raven taught me to do.

The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

My thoughts:

  It's not often that I like a sequel as much as the first in the series, but Pandemonium is exceptional.  It was more than I hoped it would be. Lena is now in the Wilds....grieving for her loss and trying to survive. We meet a few new characters in this book and out of them all, Raven is my favourite. She's hardened by the life she has been forced to lead, but I really felt she took on a wonderful maternal role in the story and finally Lena had a woman she could connect with even if it wasn't her 'real' mother. I'm not sure how I feel about Julian yet. I need more time to process his role in Lena's life, and I'm not ready to let go of Alex. There were shocking moments in the book that I could not have predicted and of course the last page left me gasping.... (don't read ahead though!!!) 

I've had my copy since Sept, but I waited to read it. I have to admit that I was hesitant to because I loved Delirium so very much. Today was the day I planned to read it with my tea and blanket in my favourite reading chair. I opened the pages and disappeared happy to be within Lena's story. Not her world. Her world scares me I guess as it would anyone, but I felt comforted and settled between the lines of her story like I was visiting a friend. I love Lauren's writing style. She has a gift with words and I often end up reading paragraphs out loud so I can get the full impact of their meaning.

"Grief is like sinking, like being buried. I am in water the tawny color of kicked up dirt. Every breath is full of choking. There is nothing to hold on to, no sides, no way to to claw myself up. There is nothing to do but let go."

"That is what hatred is. It will feed you and at the same time turn you to rot. It is hard and deep and angular, a system of blockades. It is everything and total."

I could almost quote the whole book because it is page after page of masterful and vivid writing. I was sad when it ended, and I can not wait for more. Highly Recommended. 

Aside from being an incredible author one of my favourite things about Lauren is her beautiful singing voice...see clip below.

Find reviews of Lauren's other books here:

Liesl & Po

February 25, 2012

Book Review: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

Published September 27 2011 by Little Brown & Co.
Reviewed from personal copy


   Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. 
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. 
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out. 
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Thoughts

   I wasn't sure throughout this book who to "cheer" for. Usually the good guys and the bad guys are easy to spot and although I rooted for Karou (the protagonist) I didn't have a clue which side she was truly on. I think that's one of the things I loved about this book. I was kept guessing...and after reading it...I'm still guessing.

We know there are two sides The Seraph and the Chimera. They are at war behind the scenes, in another place not visible to humans. Each side thinks they are right, each side only remembers war as a way of life. Both sides contain aspects of good and evil and Karou is surrounded by choices she must make that seem to effect everyone. I adored Karou but my favourite character is Brimstone. Everything about him...his appearance, mannerisms, his occupation make you think of evil, but he cares for Karou like a father and I loved him for it. 

I loved The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, though I'll admit that it was a slow start for me. It is a complicated and intertwined story and  If it hadn't been for a number of friends raving about it, I might not have continued reading. I am grateful that I did as it ended up being an exceptional read. It also served as a good reminder that some books are meant to be "digested" slowly, the different parts savoured as they come together in the end. Highly Recommended.

February 22, 2012

Book Review: Bewitching by Alex Flinn (Guest Post)

Bewitching by Alex Flinn
Published by Harperteen Feb 14 2012
Reviewed From ARC provided by the publisher


Bewitching can be a beast. . . . 
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t. 
I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age. 
You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out. 
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it. 
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching

My guest "poster" today is wonderful 11 year old Mikenna. She is my friends daughter and a HUGE fan of the author Alex Flinn. 

Here are her thoughts on Bewitching:

I liked Bewitching because it had numerous stories in it and it had numerous points of view. Kendra told her story and then told the reason why she wrote the book. She's trying to figure out whether or not she should help a girl named Emma who also shares her story. Kendra states reasons why she shouldn't help Emma because of times where she tried to help others but it turned out disastrous. 
I think Bewitching is really clever because it's about a character from a previous book. I like how it tied a whole bunch of fairytales together , though they were a bit twisted so you had to figure out what they were. 

I never knew a book or an author like this could exist, but I'm really glad they do. They keep me reading 24/7. :)

February 13, 2012

Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Everneath (Everneath, #1)
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Published by Balzer & Bray -January 24th 2012
Reviewed from ARC provided by the publisher


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.

My Thoughts:

I love reading mythology. I find the elements of a traditional myth fascinating and I'm often drawn to books that include aspects of mythology when choosing a book to read.  I found Brodi Ashton's original take on several stories from Greek and Egyptian Mythology compelling and Everneath was an enjoyable as well as addictive read from cover to cover.

Let's talk Cole. I know that he is the "villian" in this tale. He wants to drag Nikki back with him, but I don't know if I've ever read about a "hotter" more "charismatic" villian before. I would have had an incredibly hard time refusing the attention of this guy even if it meant losing my heart.
Let's talk Jack. Sweet, sensitive, protective and completely in love with Nikki, I think I might have just found my new book "boyfriend".

The author proves herself to be a skilled storyteller as time weaves back and forth and we uncover more of Nikki's past and present. The twists and turns in the book make it unpredictable and I found the fact that I was kept guessing throughout the book, refreshing. I'm looking forward to the next book (and more Cole and Jack) :) Recommended.

February 5, 2012

Adult Book Review: The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

The Virgin Cure

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
Published by Knopf Canada October 2011
Reviewed from personal copy

"I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart." So begins The Virgin Cure, a novel set in the tenements of lower Manhattan in the year 1871. As a young child, Moth's father smiled, tipped his hat and walked away from her forever. The summer she turned twelve, her mother sold her as a servant to a wealthy woman, with no intention of ever seeing her again.

These betrayals lead Moth to the wild, murky world of the Bowery, filled with house-thieves, pickpockets, beggars, sideshow freaks and prostitutes, where eventually she meets Miss Everett, the owner of a brothel simply known as "The Infant School." Miss Everett caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for companions who are "willing and clean," and the most desirable of them all are young virgins like Moth.

Through the friendship of Dr. Sadie, a female physician, Moth learns to question and observe the world around her, where her new friends are falling prey to the myth of the "virgin cure"--that deflowering a "fresh maid" can heal the incurable and tainted. She knows the law will not protect her, that polite society ignores her, and still she dreams of answering to no one but herself. There's a high price for such independence, though, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.

My Thoughts:

      In The Virgin Cure we meet Moth. A young girl thrust into the world of cruelty much too soon. I adored her. I wanted to lift her out of the book and take care of her, protect her and give her the care her mother never did. I am fascinated by the time period in this story, the role of women, the power of men, its amazing how far we've come in our society, but it's also clear there is still a long way to go. I loved that the character Dr. Sadie was based on a relative of Ami's, and that it was family history that inspired the book. I now find myself researching that period in time (recommendations welcome) I'm reading anything I can find on it. It's a testament to the book itself that it has inspired new interest in me. 
     I am a huge fan of Ami McKay. The Birth House (her other novel) is one of my all time favourites and being that it's found in the "adult" section of the library that is saying a lot. I've been waiting for this, her second novel for what seems like forever, but for an author of Ami's talent it's worth the wait. She is a skilled story teller. Her words are like magic on the page, and I often found myself re-reading line after line so I could soak up and savour the beauty in each and every word.  Highly Recommended.

February 4, 2012

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends January 3rd 2012
Reviewed from ARC provided by the publisher.


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. 

My Thoughts

Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles Series. It's an original retelling of a traditional favourite (Cinderella) and it stands out as a fabulous read.  The buzz for Cinder is quickly gaining steam and I can see why. Meyer, creates a beloved character in Cinder- a cyborg who is ostracised from society because of her differences and seen as her stepmothers property instead of someone to be valued. 

  When I think about the "classic" Cinderella, I think of someone wistful, sweet and meek. I loved that Cinder was feisty, stood up for herself whenever she could, and fought against being bullied-even if she didn't win. 

   If I had one issue it was the books predictability. I knew in under 100 pages how the rest of the story for this book would play out. I think there might have been too much foreshadowing in the beginning. However, I don't feel like that deterred from the overall enjoyment of the book at all. I wanted more, especially after that cliffhanger ending. I can not wait for the next one!. Marissa Meyer, please write fast! Definitely recommended.

Macmillan Audio was kind enough to provide the clip below of Cinder on Audio...click to listen to an excerpt. 

February 1, 2012

Uncover January Winner

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Here are the covers - uncovered...


And the winner of the random draw is. . . 


Allie I've sent you an email, please respond within 48 hours with your book choice from one of the titles above. Congrats!

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Published by Dutton Janaury 12 2012
Reviewed from library copy (though I've bought 2 copies since)


Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
This is not a review. I can't review it. This was my first journey into the genius of John Green and I don't ever want to come back. Perhaps I found this book so meaningful because of my mom's journey with cancer last year. Perhaps, it's the way he turns a phrase, or can make the saddest moments seem lighter with witty insight. What ever the reason, I clutched this book to my chest after reading it...heaved a great big sigh, cried, and then went back to the beginning and read it again. It was just that good.