Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (116)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox - To be released September 8th, 2012

When Charlotte comes to after being pushed onto the subway tracks, she is informed by a group of teenage girls that she is dead…they all are. Meet the Dead Girls Detective Agency. With the support of these dynamic girls—including fashionable Lorna, who can’t wait to find out if the devil actually wears Prada, and nerdy Nancy, who insists on staying in limbo to help out other girls—Charlotte follows leads and tracks down clues to solve her own murder. With plenty of juicy mysteries and some pretty cute guys, readers are sure to fall in love with this fun and suspenseful page-turner!

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Because I love the idea of a girl solving her own murder. Like that isn't epic. Also it amuses me that I heard about this one while I was reading a book called The Dead Kid Detective Agency.


Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan - To be released September 2012

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Because "Sorry-in-the-Vale." Everything else - cute boys, mysterious family, imaginary freaking friend, gorgeous cover, that's all icing. The cake is totally Sorry-in-the-Vale.

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, May 28, 2012

YA Review: Across the Universe

Before I type this, I want to tell you all something about the review. I'm going to be using the back blurb because I like it better than goodreads. But it has more details and if you want to avoid them, I'll understand and you can skip that part. So, goodreads link here. There will be more details in the one below, but I'll put a bunch of space after it before I start the review part so you can scroll. Everyone good with that?

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Published: January 11th, 2011
Genre: YA Science Fiction. (Not dystopian, in my opinion.)
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 398
Part of a series: Yes and that is killing me inside because I don't have book 2 yet and I can't get the third one any time soon because I do not have that kind of power and 20FREAKING13 PEOPLE! *cough* I mean, yes.
Amazon link. (The paperback is only 10 bucks when I'm typing this. And, hello, 400 page book. Not a bad deal.)

Summary (from the back of the book): Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger abord the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends - and planet - behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously uplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

Someone tried to murder her.

Now, Amy is caught inside a tiny world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's 2312 passengars have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest's rebellious teenage-heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship's cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.




(See, I told you I was putting spaces between the summary and the review.)





Review: You guys. YOU GUYS. I have so MANY FEELINGS about this book and I'm SO glad I have a blog where I can talk about this kind of thing because if I didn't, I would explode because my bestie who just read Across the Universe and A Million Suns, too, went to be and I still have all these FEELINGS.

First of all, the darn thing sucked me in like quicksand. Honestly, I was just going to read for a little bit. For a few minutes, maybe, until my mom got home and I had to help make dinner and stuff. I didn't even have that much time. I thought. Then the next thing I knew, it was six hours later and I had read a 400 page book with barely a break for air. You know, besides tweeting and that one time where I got lost on Youtube for ten minutes. That happens to other people, right?

Beth Revis' writing is at time blunt, completely without sugar-coating in moments that I can't imagine writing about. The scene where Amy and her parents are being frozen was heartbreaking, crystal clear with details and emotions and... it was amazing. And it was the opening scene. No pulling punches in this book. Not that anything was done for shock value, mind you. It was more like, "Here are the facts. What are you going to do about them?"

Plot: I don't want to spoil anything for you guys that skipped reading the longer blurb. (Handy how that works out for me who hates writing this part of the review, huh?) So let's just say that the plot was incredible. I was shocked at almost everything in the book and I'd like to think I'm hard to surprise.

Characters: Something that is really neat about Across the Universe was that it was told from both Amy and Elder's POV, alternating every other chapter. Both are first person present tense if you're wondering. If you're like me and you forget to read the chapter headers that SAY who's narrating which chapter, it's confusing for a minute, but just realize that they do alternate and you'll be fine.

Amy was... oh, she was awesome. In the first chapter (it's not a spoiler if it's in the first chapter, okay?), she finds out that the ship's launch has been delayed a year - after she's already been cryo frozen. She thinks, when it's too late to go back, "I want my year back." And even after a heck of an opening chapter, the kind that grabs you by the heartstrings and clings tight, who can't understand that kind of pain?

What I really liked about her was that she was normal. She wasn't Supergirl. She wasn't perfect. She was scared and angry and normal. When the setting of the book is a spaceship 300 years in the future, it's a sharp contrast that is seriously cool.

Elder... well, he was not normal. (And yes, he was hot. Like whoa.) But he was interesting, too, and having him narrating made the book a lot more than just Amy's story. But I will not say another word about him because the most interesting things about him, plot-wise, are total spoilers. So I'll give you a quote instead:
pg. 38
          I bet when Eldest posed for his portrait, he was reveling in the one thing I can't stand about life aboard the ship: the perfect evenness of everything.
          And that's why I'll never be as good an Eldest as he is.
          Because I like a little chaos.

As for the rest of the characters, it was fascinating thinking about just how people would react or change in this situation and I think Beth Revis does a fantastic job with that.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: It ended and I don't have all three. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

PG-13 stuff: Very little language. Some, not a ton. Many of the character use "frex" instead of... you know, but other than that, there's not a ton language-wise. For other stuff... it's for older/mature readers. I personally have no issues with anything in it.

Cover comments: I'm using the paperback cover because that's what I read but I liked the hardcover better. It's totally smexy, right? (Also, have you seen the German cover? It's very similar but not quite the same. Interesting, huh?) The paperback is fine. I was thinking my cousin might like this book and if I buy it for him, I'll probably try to buy the paperback because the hardcover is kinda pink and he is a dude, but I like the hardcover better myself.

Also, I don't think the paperback is super eye-catching. I didn't recognize it on the new book shelf at the library at first. (I'm really near-sighted, mind you, and couldn't read the title from where I was.) Like I said, it's fine, though. I like that the clothes the girl is wearing on the cover don't scream twenty-first century.

Conclusion: Did you guys ever see that Disney movie Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century or read the book This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danziger (which, zomg, has a cute new cover!!!) or... heck, Wall-E, even? Did you like those? You'll like this. Never read or seen any of those? You'll like this. Did you find my blog looking for book report information (shame on you! Do your own homework!)? Read this. You'll like it. At least, I really, really hope you will because I loved it. Four and a half roses.


Other notes:

- Amy called the thing she was cryo frozen (cryofrozen? cryo-frozen?) in her Snow White coffin. I thought it was a lot like Sleeping Beauty. Which, oddly, sometimes last year I tweeted about wanting to read a Sleeping Beauty book about a girl frozen into the "23rd and a half century". Weird, huh?
- "Holy crudnuts."
- A song played while I was reading this and it seemed to fit really well. Miserabile Visu by Anberlin. (Linked to youtube.)
- "Ahh!"

That's it! Oh, also, Happy Victoria Day!!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Trees

Okay, I have a question for you guys. Have you guys heard of a book called Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore? It comes out May 29th.

Something is really bothering me about the cover, though.


And it's this: I swear I've seen those trees before and I can't figure out where! It's not even that they seem familiar but I SWEAR I've seen those exact trees on another cover. I thought it might be this one:


(Dark Companion by Marta Acosta, July 2012)

But they aren't the same trees.

And I don't know why but it's kind of really bothering me that I can't think of the book that Angel Eyes' cover reminds me of XD So does anyone know if Angel Eyes' cover has a tree stock image that's been used on another book and if so, just what that book is?

Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (94)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

You may or may not know this about me but I kinda love movies that most people would say are for kids. Disney and the like. One of my favourites that isn't Disney is Anastasia. Awesome music, great characters, romance, all those good things, you know? (And as far as I'm concerned, that's how it really happened because history can suck it.) Seriously, I've seen this movie SO many times. I once had this dream that was like a post-Apocolyptic Anastasia/Zombies.

That was probably the result of watching Anastasia after a The Walking Dead marathon but if anyone actually wants to write that book, dude, I'd read it in a heartbeat.

Anyways. Here's a song from that movie I love:



(Once Upon a December by Liz Calloway.)

Are there any songs from movies that you guys love to listen to on their own? I adore the Coraline soundtrack as well.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (115)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter - To be release September 25th, 2012

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Well, the title to start with. I'm a big Alice in Wonderland fan. But also I've really liked everything of Gena Showalter's that I've read.

Next up:

Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery - To be released September 2012

Bryce remembers it like it was yesterday. The scent of chlorine. The blinding crack and flash of pain. Blood in the water.

When she wakes up in the hospital, all Bryce can think of is her disastrous Olympic diving trial. But everything is different now. Bryce still feels seventeen, so how can her little sister be seventeen, too? Life went on without her while Bryce lay in a coma for five years. Her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college. Her parents barely speak. And everything she once dreamed of doing—winning a gold medal, traveling the world, falling in love—seems beyond her reach.

But Bryce has changed too, in seemingly impossible ways. She knows things she shouldn’t. Things that happened while she was asleep. Things that haven’t even happened yet. During one luminous summer, as she comes to understand that her dreams have changed forever, Bryce learns to see life for what it truly is: extraordinary.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: I read this book once upon a time by Joan Lowery Nixon called The Other Side of Dark about a girl who woke up from a coma after five years. There wasn't a paranormal twist but the memory of it has stuck with me with ages and makes me even more interested in this one. Also, Anything But Ordinary makes this song get stuck in my head. Also, Bryce is a cool name.

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, May 21, 2012

Things I've Read Recently (3)

If you're new here, Things I've Read Recently are basically mini-reviews. Sometimes it'll be because I didn't have that much to say about a book, or it wasn't the main focus of this blog (like the romance novels I love) or that the books are overdue from the library and I desperately need to return them.

So here are a few more books I've read recently and my thoughts:

Dumb Luck by Lesley Choyce

Published: October 15th, 2011 by Red Deer Press
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Page count: Goodreads says 214 but I forgot to check my copy before I returned it.
Part of a series: Nope, don't think so.
Amazon link.

Summary (from the publisher's website): As he approaches his 18th birthday, Brandon DeWolf knows he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He failed a grade in an undistinguished school career, and is contemplating spending two more years in school when most of his friends will be graduating at the end of the academic year. He tends to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, has no real ambitions, and seems to be at a dead end. Among the few happy moments of his life are the ones he spends with his good friend Kayla, a girl he's known from childhood, another misfit.

Two days before his birthday, however, everything changes for Brandon. First of all he falls out of a tree - and survives intact. On his birthday, savouring his lucky break, he picks up a lottery ticket, and discovers he's won three million dollars. Suddenly everyone's his good friend, and his parents - a discontented frequently squabbling pair - rejoice in anticipating all that this sudden bonanza will buy them. The school's hottest girl becomes Brandon's coach in this new unaccustomed life he has to adapt to. His old friend Kayla realizes their friendship is withering, and Brandon doesn't have the capacity to do much about that.

Plunged into a world that is completely new to him - and without any real moral compass to follow - Brandon flounders and eventually is brought down in disgrace, spending a night in jail after being caught drinking and driving. There is no happy ending for Brandon, just a solemn understanding that he cannot recover his old life and needs to find the integrity to map out a new one.

Thoughts: Okay, first of all, this is not the cover I read. Which I know is a small thing but it bothers me that this one doesn't match the one I read. So. Go look at amazon or the publisher's website to make me feel better. :P

I had some issues with this one. The largest one was that he won three million dollars, right? So a couple days after he claims it, he basically goes to the bank and in his bank account is three million dollars, right?

Except... that's not how it works. Lottery winnings are taxed like any income. And you pay more if you take a lump sum than if you take payments (like twenty-five grand a year or whatever it is you choose). Either way, you wouldn't get the three million. The taxes are why those dream houses people win can end up bankrupting you. And I know, suspension of disbelief and all that, but I think there's a line when suspension of disbelief doesn't apply and that line was crossed when a.) it was a contemporary book and b.) you can google this stuff!!

So I had a problem with that and... maybe it just wasn't completely my kind of book, but I found it a tad bit predictable. You guys might like this one more than me if contemporary is more your thing. It just didn't completely do it for me. But, hey, Canadian author! So check it out. But I'd probably give it a three and a half roses out of four.

Next up:

The Dead Kid Detective Agency by Evan Munday

Published: September 1st, 2011 by ECW Press
Genre: Upper middle-grade to lower-YA paranormal mystery. (Is that a genre? It should be.)
Binding: Paperback
Page count: 292 of book, 318 with extras
Part of a series: Yes, but there's not a cliffhanger or anything.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Thirteen-year-old October Schwartz is new in town, short on friends and the child of a clinically depressed science teacher. Naturally, she spends most of her free time in the Sticksville Cemetery, which just happens to border her backyard. And that cemetary just happens to be the home of five dead teenagers who quickly become October's best friends.

When Sticksville Central High School’s beloved French teacher dies in a suspicious car accident, October enlists the aid of her dead friends to figure out why. Using October's smarts and the dead kid's abilities to walk through walls and stuff, they form the Dead Kid's Detective Agency solving Sticksville's most mysterious mysteries.

Soon October and the five dead kids find themselves in the middle of a nefarious murder plot - thick with car chases, cafeteria fights, sociopathic math teachers, and real estate appointments - and a zany adventure that could uncover the truth a forty-year-old explosion.

Thoughts: I liked this one. It wasn't perfect, but it was solid and good. How about we do the things that bothered me first just to get them out of the way? Okay? Okay.

So the book starts out in third person past tense, right? (He said, she said.) Present day and all. Then there's a first person present tense (I say, I am) diary entry from 1968 by some guy we've never heard of before, then the second chapter is first person past tense from October's POV.

Are you a little bit confused right now? So was I. It's confusing at first. And it takes FOREVER for us to find out who the heck is telling the third person chapters, plus the font changing between them was hard on my eyes. Personally I liked the first person ones better. The voice seemed better in those ones. But it wasn't a huge deal and I adjusted to it after a bit.

The other thing that bothered me a lot and I don't know why was that October was 13 and it was set in the present day, but she mentions her dad singing along to 60s songs he knew and embarrassing her. I'm 19 and my mom was born in 1965. (Don't tell her I said that or I'll die.) Buuuuut she was probably exaggerating and I'm nit-picking, which is my issue, not the book's.

Things I liked: October's voice is freaking hilarious. Here's a passage that cracked me up:
pg. 42
For the uninitiated, curling is a winter sport played on an ice surface that combines the fast-paced action of shuffleboard with the innate thrill of cleaning your house. That said, curling can occasionally be a very exciting and competitive sport to play, but spectators of curling should keep in mind that the appearance of the Zamboni machine should be regarded as the absolute height of excitement in any game.
Like, how funny is that??

October was a great character, the ghosts were really neat, the mystery was good - and I didn't guess who dun it - and I did enjoy this one quite a bit. Oh, and there were illustrations scattered throughout which is cool, plus it's Canadian. I'd read the sequel. Four roses out of five.


dancergirl by Carol M. Tanzman

Published: November 15th, 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Thriller (That's not one I type very often but it totally fits, right? Right.)
Binding: Paperback
Page count: 248
Part of a series: Yes, but from what I can tell from reading the sequel's summary on Goodreads, they work as standalones, too. I think it's about completely different characters.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Ever feel like someone's watching you? Me, too. But lately it's been happening in my room.
When I'm alone.

A friend posted a video of me dancing online, and now I'm no longer Alicia Ruffino. I'm dancergirl. And suddenly it's like me against the world—everyone's got opinions.

My admirers want more, the haters hate, my best friend Jacy— - even he's acting weird. And some stalker isn't content to just watch anymore.

Ali. Dancergirl. Whatever you know me as, however you've seen me online, I've trained my whole life to be the best dancer I can be. But if someone watching has their way, I could lose way more than just my love of dancing. I could lose my life.

Thoughts: I don't know what I was expecting when I grabbed this one. Mostly it was new and I tend to steal most of the new books at the library because the whole new book thing doesn't happen that often when it comes to YA books. I was pretty much expecting your basic, did something stupid, ruined your reputation, date the popular guy, realize your best friend is in love with you and that you're better off just being yourself, plot. You know the ones, right?

Not. What. I. Got. There was a stalker!!!!! (Not that stalkers are a good thing. But it was exciting! There wasn't just a ruined reputation at stake; there was actual danger!)

Ali is not always the most likeable character. She can be a bit of an idiot, honestly. She was underage but drank and smoked pot (and you guys know how I feel about that) and made REALLY stupid choices sometimes (especially when she wasn't sober which kinda proves my point there). But she was also really, really interesting, especially the dancing stuff. I know next to nothing about dancing of any kind, mind you (I know the hokey-pokey and that's about it) but it was fascinating to read about.

The other characters were good. I adored her best friend and I only barely managed to guess who the stalker was. And honestly, I had two people I thought it might be.

One thing that bothered me isn't actually about the book. Ali's mother was born in Puerto Rico, and her father was, "a mixture of Italian, African-American, and, he claimed, a bit of Cherokee." Ali herself says she has a "mixed-salad heritage". Now do me a favour and scroll up to check out the cover again. I'll wait.

*waits*

Do you think the face on the cover looks like the girl in the book? Anyways. No judging a book by its cover, right? Right. Just by reviews, especially mine because I'm that awesome. Okay, seriously now, this one was a solid four and a half out of five roses. Recommended.

(Also, the title is supposed to have a lowercase D. It isn't a typo by me, honest!)

Okay, I have two more books to read today or I'm going to go bankrupt paying my overdue fees and I'm hoping for a mini-review of one of them and a full of the other, so... peace, tweeples!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (93)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

So last week, I talked about a song a ton of people have heard but a lot of people probably don't care if they admit to liking. This song... I'm just putting it out there, but you know this song. If you're like me, you probably don't want to admit it.

So. Here's a compromise.



(What Makes You Beautiful covered by Boyce Avenue.)

I think his voice is absolutely gorgeous, but what do you guys think?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (114)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Silver by Talia Vance - To be released September 8th, 2012

Beauty is pointless when no one's looking.

Brianna Paxton has been invisible to guys since the eighth grade. She’s pretty enough, it’s just that no one bothers to look. There’s almost nothing that can’t be explained with science, and Brianna has a theory: she’s missing the pheromone that attracts people to one another. Brianna’s theory is shot to hell in one frozen, silver moment, when time stops and Blake Williams not only sees her, he recognizes something inside her that she’s been hiding from even herself.

Before Brianna fully understands who and what she is, she accidentally binds her soul to Blake. Forced to find a way to reconcile forbidden love and her bloody heritage, Brianna discovers that there's nothing pointless about her, and Blake may be in the most danger of all.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: I think it sounds different. And different is awesome. I like reading a book summary and thinking that I haven't read anything that sounds like it before.

Ten by Gretchen McNeil - To be released September 18th, 2012

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off the from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Once upon a time, I was a very odd child who read way too many RL Stine and Christopher Pike books. People were ALWAYS dying in those or about to be killed or being threatened by lunatics. This warped me in ways most of you will never know and thus, I have a feeling this book will be exactly my cup of tea.

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shiny Fun Stuff

So! Remember yesterday when I said The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab comes out in paperback today? Well, today is today! Which means you can buy this:


Shiny Pretty Thing at all your usual places like Amazon, Book Depository, the like, and save about 4 dollars which, hey, saving money is always awesome. PLUS if you buy the paperback, you'll get to read the first chapter of Victoria's new book, The Archived, which doesn't come out til January 2013. It'll be in the back of the paperback. Which means I will be extremely jealous of you, also.

So. Remember my review yesterday when I said there'd be news here? (If you don't remember that - Dory??) Anyways, you can read it here and you might notice I didn't quite tell you if it was a series or say that much about Cole?

Well, this is why.

Today, there is a free story releasing here on Disney*Hyperion's website. It's called The Ash-Born Boy. So, what is that?

Well, this is what Victoria had to say about it:

There's one question I get asked more than any other.


Who was Cole, before he came to Near?


For those who've yet to read The Near Witch, there is a stranger that comes to Near. His name is not Cole. The main character, Lexi, gives him that name when he refuses to tell her his, when he refuses to tell her anything about his life before setting foot in her village. Over the course of the book we learn pieces of his past, but so much of it is never told.

So. The Ash-Born Boy. You can read it right here. If you've read The Near Witch, Victoria says that it's guaranteed to change the way you see Cole. (I'm saving it for a reward for when I'm done writing this post.) But if you haven't read The Near Witch, she says it won't spoil anything, so go ahead and read it either way, okay?

And if you want to read The Near Witch first, don't worry! Cole's story will stay up on Disney*Hyperion's website and if it ever comes down, Victoria will carve out a spot on her own website for it. It will always be somewhere and it will always be somewhere.

Now, what are you waiting for? Help Victoria celebrate today by taking a look at The Ash-Born Boy and go check out the paperback of The Near Witch because it's seriously an awesome book.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, May 14, 2012

YA Review: The Near Witch

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Published: August 2nd, 2011 by Hyperion Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
Binding: Hardcover (but the paperback comes out tomorrow!)
Page Count: 282 in my hardcover
Part of a series: Sort of. *is mysterious* I'll say more tomorrow!
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen.
The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi's need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Review: You guys. You guys. Do you know how good this book was? I got so lost in it that I had a folded really oddly under my ribs and I kept ignoring it "just until the end of this chapter" until 3 chapters later I realized how sore my ribs were. It was that good.

The Near Witch has a bit of a dark Gail Carson Levine fairy tale vibe. But think more Hansel and Gretal (that story is ca-reepy, even the modern version, is it not???) than Cinderella. And it does it fantastically.

Plot: Basically, hot guy shows up in the town of Near, kids start to disappear, everybody goes all mob mentality because small towns suck like that sometimes, and then things get scary and fun and really, really good. Got it? Awesome.

Characters: Lexi was freaking awesome. She was smart and capable and independent and it drove me bonkers that so many people wouldn't listen to her just because she was a girl. I loved how stubborn she was and how protective she was of her little sister, Wren.

One thing I liked a lot was that Lexi's mother wasn't a member of the Useless Mother Club (*cough*Katniss'smother*cough*). She was sort of emotionally out of it, but she wasn't relying on Lexi to support their family which we all know is one of my biggest pet peeves. (*cough*Katniss'smother*cough*) I'm quite impressed by that, frankly. And, to be fair, the book was from Lexi's first person POV (present tense, by the way, and done extremely well) so there was a bias and she realizes that her mother is trying more towards the end of the book.

Okay. Now. Cole (the boy who seems to fade like smoke from the summary). He was freaking hot. (Smoking hot, even. Yes? No? Okay.) And his story was... ah, I have no words to say how much I liked his character. So here's a passage of him and Lexi that I loved instead:
"What are you doing?" he asks, and I can hear the amusement at the edge of his voice. It's a wonderful sound. He brings his fingers to my outstretched arms, lowering my hands. The way he touches me, it's as if he thinks either I'll break, or that I'll hurt him. As quickly as the touch is there, it's gone, and leaves me wondering if his fingers ever met my skin, or if they only came close enough for me to imagine they did.
*happy sigh*

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: It ended *sniffles*

PG-13 stuff: No language. Some smooching and some scary moments, but I think a lot of younger readers reading up might be just fine reading it.

Cover comments: I think the cover is absolutely gorgeous. And she has a head! The book also has a really beautiful landscape photo on the back.

Conclusion: The Near Witch was serously awesome. The romance was adorable and not over the top, the characters were complex and three dimensional and it was just... a delicious read. (Get it? Delicious? Witches? Hansel and Gretal? Okay, okay, I'll stop punning now.) Four and a half roses and highly recommended.


Other Notes:

- I basically said this in the review, but I have a note that says, "Smoky boy sounds hot." It was actually my first note... anyways, that's the difference between me and Lexi. She names him Cole because he won't tell her his name. (This is only 50 pages in so it's not really a spoiler, honest.) Me, I would have called him Smoky 'cause I'm sarcastic like that.

- This is a bit short but it's only because my wrist is sore and typing kind of hurts. I've been typing this whole thing with a chunk of ice under my wrist because ouch. It's not a reflection on how awesome the book was. Got it? Good.

Okay, now, there's going to be news tomorrow. So watch this space for that. Because it'll be sweet.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (92)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

Happy Friday! TGIF and all that. Hey, 92 is the year I was born! That's probably exciting to no one except me. Moving on!

You've probably heard Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, right? I mean, the YouTube video has a million views so you've probably heard it and quite possibly are quite sick of it. (I'm not, so no bashing.)

I've known about her since Canadian Idol and I've actually mentioned her song Mittens on here before, but the song I'm going to talk about is this one:



(Curiosity by Carly Rae Jepsen.)

I think this one is just as catchy and fun as Call Me Maybe. What do you guys think?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (113)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Starling by Lesley Livington - To be released August 15th, 2012

Mason Starling is a champion fencer for Gosforth Academy, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Until now. When a ferocious storm rips through Manhattan and unleashes terrifying creatures onto Gosforth’s campus, Mason barely escapes alive. Without help from the mysterious stranger who appeared in the midst of the storm, she might not have made it at all. But now, in the aftermath, Mason’s life begins to spin dramatically, mystically out of control, and the only one who seems able to help her is the stranger who can remember nothing but his name: Fennrys Wolf.

As Mason and Fenn uncover more about Fenn’s past and the strange events that surround them, they realize that Mason’s family — and its dark allegiance to the ancient Norse gods — is at the center of everything. A predetermined fate seems to be closing in on Mason, but is it possible to change one’s destiny?

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Because Norse mythology is awesome! And Mason is a cool name for a girl :D (But one thing - honestly, what sixteen or seventeen year old girl LOOKS like that?????)

The Dark Light by Sara Walsh - To be released August 28th, 2012

Mysterious lights have flickered above Crownsville for as long as Mia can remember. And as far as she’s concerned, that’s about the only interesting thing to happen in her small town.

That is, until Sol arrives. Mia’s not one to fall for just any guy, but she can’t get intense Sol—or the brilliant tattoo on his back—out of her mind.

Then Mia’s brother goes missing, and Mia’s convinced that Sol knows more than he’s sharing. But getting closer to Sol means reevaluating everything she once believed to be true. Because Sol’s not who Mia thought he was—and neither is she.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Because the cover is hot. I mean, it sounds awesome and everything but holy heck, that cover is sweet. Sah-wheet. *drools*

So, um. *shakes self* What are you guys waiting on?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, May 7, 2012

YA Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Hey, look, a review! I know, I'm as shocked as you all ;)

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Published: May 1st, 2011 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 322 in my paperback copy
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon link.

Summary (from the back of the book 'cause the goodreads one is a bit longer): Harper Scott's older sister, June, took her own lift a wek before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June's ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going - California.

Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession... and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper's just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might just be exactly what Harper needs. Except... Jake's keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down - again.

Review: Let me start out by saying - this is a BAD book to read while you're wearing makeup. I bawled like a baby reading this. I looked like a freaking raccoon and trust me, that is not a good look. But this was definitely a good book. It was an *awesome* book. I read it all in pretty much one day and the only reason I stopped at the end for a couple minutes because I knew things were about to get sadder and I couldn't handle it all at once. Because I'm a wimp like that.

Then I started bawling to my best friend how she's never ever ever allowed to die but that's another story.

Plot: You read the summary, right? Dead sister, ashes, road trip, best friend, cute boy, California. Got it? Good. Why do I even have this section? :P

Characters: Harper was one of my favourite characters ever. She cursed (a lot), and smoked (which I don't like as a rule - I live with a smoker and let me say, it is not an attractive habit - but it was realistic for her character and people DO smoke) and made really dumb decisions (which is also realistic considering, hello, her sister just killed herself) and I just adored her.

Let's get this out of the way: Jake. Holy heck, that boy was hot. And I know I shouldn't objectify and there were totally other things about him that were awesome - music love, a van named Joplin, plus he could be a total sweetie - but yeah. He was crazy hot.

Laney was an awesome character, too. Only a best friend would agree to go along with your craziness like that. Trust me. I come up with a lot of crazy things that mine won't do :P

There were great side characters, too, except for her aunt. Oh, how I hated her aunt. That woman - ugh. I'm sure she meant well and all, but man, I hated her so much.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: It made me cry. A lot. A LOT. For like five chapters.

PG-13 stuff: Cursing, drinking, smoking, adult situations, brief nudity. You name it, basically. But it was realistic and not glorified and felt necessary to the book. I didn't have a problem with any of it even though Harper was only sixteen. You might, but I didn't and I'm kinda picky about this stuff.

Cover comments: I actually like the paperback cover more than the hardcover cover. It's a lot more eye-catching to my personal tastes. I just had to grab it at the library and not just because it was new and I knew that it was new because I always notice when there are new YA books because it doesn't happen that often. I think I've actually seen the stock photo of this before. It just seems familiar. Anyone else?

Anyways, I think it's gorgeous and I like that the focus isn't the girl, really.

Conclusion: In case you can't tell (I mean, it has been a while since I've written an actual review), I adored Saving June. It was sad and sweet and sometimes funny in really random spots that I wasn't expecting at all but really appreciated. I really honestly have no words for this book. I'm not the gushy type by nature and it's hard for me to explain how much I loved it. So just go read it yourself and find out how good it is, okay? Okay. Four and a half roses.


Other notes:

Um. Most of them are either spoiler-y or innappropriate, so... that's all, folks!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (91)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

Hey! Long time no see on a Friday around these here parts. Mostly because I ran out of these posts a while ago and never got around to writing more because I am a lazy, lazy person. But here's one now!



(Elongo by Bedouin Soundclash.)

So what are you guys listening to this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (112)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This isn't really themed, but if you want to try to come up with one, go ahead.

Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price - To be released June 2012

While at a clinic receiving treatment for anorexia, Zoe is instructed to write letters. Through letters, she tells her mother and brother about the clinic; the doctors, the food, her struggle to get better. But she tells her best friend Elise about the strange goings on around her, the shady relationships, the dark mysteries. When the lights go out, the place turns into someplace else.

While her mother and brother write back, their letters filled with cheerful encouragement—Zoe’s letters to Elise remain unanswered. As Zoe struggles to understand why her best friend would cut her off, she must unravel the secrets that surround her in the clinic.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Well, it'd probably make me cry and we all need that sometimes, don't we?

Also, how cool is this cover? I'd really like to see this one in real life.

Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos - To be released October 16th, 2012

When Micah disappears from home, his sister Rachel decides to secretly take matters into her own hands. Armed with Micah's best friend Tyler, she travels from the hazy, lazy suburbs of Southern California to the seedy side of San Diego's beach communities following the clues that Micah left behind. As each lead arrives at a dead end, she is left to piece together the puzzle that is her brother's life. And the sketchy characters Rachel and Tyler encounter make Rachel wonder if she can reach Micah before it’s too late.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want to read this: Well, if I'm crying already, I might as well some more, right? :P

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina