Sunday, February 27, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (13)

IMM is hosted every week by the excellent Kristi over at The Story Siren. :)

Okay, so this is a mix of books I got this past week and the week before. If you're on Twitter or you saw my last post, you'll know I broke my ankle on the 19th. Surgery was had on the 22nd, and now I'm at home with a foot I can't put any weight on for at least 6 weeks. Fun.

This is my bag of library books, now due back in 2 weeks. Hmmm, better get reading soon. ;)

Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole
Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Borrowed from library:
Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr (e-book)
Sleepless by Cyn Balog
Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
Stargazer and Hourglass by Claudia Gray
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Fade and Gone by Lisa McMann
Shadowland and Dark Flame by Alyson Noel

From the S&S Galley Grab newsletter:
Red Glove by Holly Black

From NetGalley & HarlequinTeen for review (my first ever accepted request on NetGalley):
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

I sure do have a lot of books to read. And I want to save The Goddess Test for last. It sounds so awesome, I love Greek mythology.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Me on A Bit of a Hiatus

I'm sorry, faithful blog readers, but the posts might have to stop for a little while.

Saturday afternoon (the 19th), I took a bit of a tumble and most likely broke my ankle. It's all wrapped up in a soft cast now, and on Monday I go see an orthopedic surgeon about possible surgery on Tuesday.


This is what my left foot & lower leg looks like right now. Sideways, of course. It's probably best that I can't see what the skin looks like underneath. It looked so weird yesterday, clearly out of place and throbbing. Ewww.

I'll still be hanging around on Twitter, not sure how much, but the blogging might have to stop for a little. Of course, this means time for reading and making review notes, but who knows when that'll actually go up.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Me on Mercury

Title: Mercury
Author: Hope Larson
Release Date: January 5, 2010
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (S&S imprint)
Pages: 240 (Paperback)

This is the first time I'm reviewing a graphic novel, so hopefully it won't suck.

First I'll explain why I borrowed this book from the library and will probably one day buy my own copy of it. Yes, I'll admit that one of the reasons I wanted to read this is because Hope Larson is married to Brian Lee O'Malley, the cartoonist/artist/creator of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels. I really enjoyed Scott Pilgrim, and it seemed to create a desire to read more graphic novels.

Another reason I wanted to read this was because I read the summary and thought it sounded mysterious and magical and, even though I hated this subject in high school, a little Canadian historical. Don't cringe, our history isn't that odd. ;) And I had no idea there was a gold rush in Nova Scotia.

The book alternates in point of view between Josey, a girl who's family recently discovered gold on their Nova Scotia farm in 1859, and Tara, a girl who's house recently burned down in 2009. A stranger named Asa Curry has dropped by Josey's family home, claiming he found gold on their land, and offers to help her father mine it and make a fortune. Tara is going back to school after being home-schooled by her mother, who's off in Alberta working on the oil sands, and is staying with her aunt and uncle after losing everything she had in the house fire. Tara is Josey's descendant, connected by possibly more than just blood and family. The magical realism was haunting, weaved into the story to connect the past and the present. It was an interesting mix of magic and romance and history and self-discovery.

Josey was delightfully innocent and old-fashioned, falling instantly in love with a charming stranger, and Tara was angry and brash and upset with her mother while slowly finding a place in the giant social mess of high school. Both girls have their secrets, their hopes and dreams, and discover they have to struggle to make them a reality.

It's clear when Hope Larson is telling either Josey's or Tara's story: the colour of the page around the panels changes from black (Josey) to white (Tara). I didn't have a problem with it, sometimes the switch seemed a bit abrupt, like there was more to be read during that time period, but everything was connected.

The artwork is amazing. I love how Larson draws people and buildings and backgrounds and little details, and it's all in black and white. I think it would be gorgeous in full colour. And that's all I'm saying on the visual aspect, I'm by no means an artist, and so I don't really think I can judge it by any means. All I know is what I like, and I love the artwork.

There were Canadian references, like loonies and double doubles and kilometres, but there are explanations. And I'm not from Nova Scotia. It's on the east coast and I'm all the way over on the west coast. Things are a little different, but no giant 'what the heck is that' moments.

If you're looking to test the graphic novel waters and you like black and white, magical realism, YA involving teen girls, little snippits of history in a small isolated area, then I would recommend Mercury.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (14)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted every week by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Tris and Izzie
Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 272 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

A modern retelling of the German legend "Tristan and Isolde", "Tris and Izzy", is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until-- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school.

Light, contemporary romantic fantasy for teens.
(Unofficial description)

Holy freaking crap. The cover, to start, is gorgeous. The story sounds amazing. I know the basics of the legend, and I really hope that it really is a light, contemporary romantic fantasy. There's so much potential for total ruin and danger and heartbreak. After reading Delirium this week, I'm not sure if I could take any more heartbreak. ;) I know, this doesn't come out until October, but if you've read my review (and feel free to if you haven't) you'll understand that I'll be reading Delirium again before the end of the year.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Me on Delirium

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 441 (Hardcover)

This is another book in a string of YA dystopian romances that's gotten tons and tons of positive hype as well as knowledge that there will be a book two and three in the series to follow, to be released in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Lauren Oliver's debut Before I Fall came out in March 2010, but Delirium is my first time reading a book by the author.

In Lena's world, love is a disease that is cured once you turn eighteen. Afterward, you don't have to worry about catching it and are able to lead a healthy and productive life. Ever since she was young, Lena has counted down the days until her procedure. It will be a life without pain, a life carefully measured out, a life that's safe and predictable. A happy life.

But, with ninety-five days to go before she turns eighteen, Lena falls in love.

I found it to be an amazing concept, the idea of love being a horrible and deadly disease that everyone must be cured of. If you think about it, love is a disease. It can distract us, make us feel strange, pull us away from tasks. The idea of being cured does feel strange, through.

While being a dystopian YA where the controlling government reminded me of Ally Condie's Matched, I didn't have a problem with it. Teens rebel against authority, it's probably coded into their genetic makeup, and it's so likely that teens will rebel against an authoritarian government with spies and codes and rules upon rules and restrictions on music and literature and certain types of relationships. This government was so cold, so controlling, so heartless. The fact that the book is set in Portland, Maine, a recognizable city in a currently big and important country, made reading it just a little creepy.

Lena seems like such a reluctant heroine. Constantly running, running from her past, her memories, running towards her birthday and the procedure. There's no escaping any of it, but she still runs, hoping to reach the day when her pain will end and she can be happy again. Then there's Alex, friendly and mysterious Alex, who gives Lena a new reason to keep running.

There's one character I have to talk about who I loved more than the others. Lena's little cousin, Grace. I love Gracie. There's totally something else going on with her. I just know there's a reason why she won't talk, and I hope she appears in the next two books.

When I reached the final page and read the words that take us out of Delirium and into Pandemonium, I thought of those who have fought, fought with everything they had, every single inch of them, fought for love. Fought for love and never gave up, using the strength and courage of their convictions. Fought for love and died. As I type this, I can feel the tears building in my eyes, hear the racing of my heart in my chest. I can't remember the last time I read a book, any book of any genre, that's had me this close to actual tears. That says so much about Lauren Oliver, about her writing, her story, her characters, and the message that's woven into every single word on every single page.

Love can hurt us, ruin us, kill us, but it can also save us. It can fill us with so much happiness and bright light we feel like we're about to burst. Pain. Isolation. Death. None of it matters when it comes face to face with love. It weakens us, but it can also make us so much stronger then we were before.

And it's not just romantic love. It's all kinds of love. The love parents have for their children, the love friends and siblings have for each other, the love of poetry and books and music and movies and art and running. The love we have for freedom, for life and hopes and dreams, for a future where we can be happy.

My heart breaks for those who cannot love as they want to, those who were in the past and are now in the present kept from loving as they want to. To be kept from love, to be told that you cannot love because it's not normal or right or correct or proper, has the ability to crush the soul. If this world Lauren Oliver writes of ever becomes reality, if amor deliria nervosa must be cured for the good of us all, I will head off into the Wilds and you are welcome to join me.

This book is amazingly powerful, amazingly haunting and beautiful and mysterious and gorgeous and thoughtful. The prose was lyrical and powerful, heartfelt and heart-wrenching, moving and passionate. Delirium will be a book that stays with me for years to come.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is hosted every week by Kristi over at The Story Siren. :)

It's been a slow week, book wise. For some reason I can't seem to get into the books I got at the library earlier this month. I think I'm going to move to the hardcovers and leave the paperbacks until the end.

Won on Twitter (big props go to @IndigoTeenBlog and @HarperCollinsCA)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Got from the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab and through a link Lisa Schroeder posted on Twitter on (I think) Thursday:
The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder (e-galley)

Both of these are on my review list, but the review for The Day Before will go up closer to the release date, which I think is at the end of June (I looked, it's June 28).

Have people who've signed up for the S&S Galley Grab gotten the February newsletter? I missed the January one and figured the February one would appear at the beginning of the month, but it didn't. Does anyone know when to expect it? I'm thinking maybe the 14th or 15th. At the time of this post going up, I haven't checked my mail yet to see if it's there.

What did you guys get this week? :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (13)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted every week over at Breaking the Spine. Hi, Jill. :)

Title: The Magnolia League
Author: Katie Crouch
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 368

On Goodreads:

After the death of her free-spirited mother, sixteen-year-old Alex Lee must leave her home in northern California to live with her wealthy grandmother in Savannah, Georgia. By birth, Alex is a rightful, if unwilling, member of the Magnolia League, Savannah's long-standing debutante society. She quickly discovers that the Magnolias have made a pact with a legendary hoodoo family, the Buzzards. The Magnolias enjoy youth, beauty and power. But at what price?

As in her popular adult novels, Crouch's poignant and humorous voice shines in this seductively atmospheric story about girls growing up in a magical Southern city.

I just heard about this book yesterday (Tuesday) and there's something about it that just sparked something in my brain and made me go, 'holy crap, this book looks awesome, I so want it.' Which doesn't happen a lot. Well, it happened when I first read about Mandy Hubbard's Ripple, and all of Lili St. Crow's Strange Angels books, and Andrea Cremer's Nightshade and Wolfsbane. Okay, so it happens a little. ;) It just sounds so weird and interesting.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Me on Across the Universe

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Pages: 398 (Hardcover)

It's been a while since I read science fiction that I really enjoyed. Yes, I said science fiction. Like the cover didn't give it away. ;) I've missed science fiction. When I was younger I'd watch Star Trek: TNG and Star Wars, then Andromeda and Farscape and Stargate. Our house was a sci-fi house. But in book form, I don't know, I don't think I found any I really grabbed hold of and enjoyed.

Enter 2011 and this YA novel by debut author Beth Revis.

The hype surrounding this book was huge, like the current hype for Lauren Oliver's Delirium or Lauren DeStefano's Wither, or last year with Ally Condie's Matched or Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss. When hype is this big and positive, there's often a little cringe here and there and you wonder if the book really is that good.

Amy is frozen in some kind of deep space deep sleep capsule for her journey to a new Earth with her parents. She has a 300 year sleep coming her way, but for some reason, is woken 50 years early and nearly dies. Now awake and unable to be put back to sleep with her parents, she meets Elder, someone the same age as her, and the next leader for the people created to take care of the ship as it makes its 300 year journey. But questions arise, like who tried to kill Amy, and what other secrets are floating around the ship Godspeed.

The world building was amazing. Beth Revis has created such a dystopic and claustrophobic world on the spaceship. Certain people for certain jobs. Meek and submissive workers that don't question anything that seems out of place. Records erased and history altered. One man in charge, controlling everything, experimenting on the ship's crew and residents to create a stronger but more submissive worker. It's a creepy spaceship.

Amy's fear and confusion and 21st century ideals and morals are recognizable but totally alien to the people on the ship. While she speaks of individuality, of rights, of freedom, everyone else goes about their work, obeying the rules that Eldest has set out, the rules that have always existed. Unfortunately, Amy is the wrench thrown into the machine that is the Godspeed and its society, someone different, someone who objects and protests and questions the rules.

Elder is drawn to Amy, possibly because of the difference in their appearances, possibly because of her views on how Eldest is controlling everything when others deserve truth and freedom. Already vulnerable because of how Eldest keeps him in the dark about certain areas and aspects of the ship, Amy is proof that Eldest lies to him, that Elder isn't being taught everything he needs to know to one day be Eldest.

There's so much in this book. What is truth? What is real? What does it mean to be human? What do secrets hold? Who should be in power? Should people look and act and be different from others? Who are we? Who are we meant to be? Can we change? What does the future hold? Will humanity survive?

Across the Universe was chilling, claustrophobic and closed off while floating through the vast expanse that is outer space, controlling, but so compelling. It might scare away some readers who aren't fans of science fiction, but hopefully they can look past that and focus on the human element, the human story, the story of Amy and Elder.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Me on In My Mailbox (11)

IMM is hosted every week by Kristi at The Story Siren.

So many books this week, but that's because I went to the library. :) Hooray for libraries. Some were requested holds and some I found browsing the shelves of YA books at the big giant library downtown that's appeared in some movies filmed in downtown Vancouver. I found Inside Out browsing the shelves like how I found Past Midnight when I borrowed it, and it was a fluke because I'd search the library database and it wasn't there. They sort some of the paperback YA books weird sometimes. 3 books are listed as 'young adult paperback' instead of the author and title.

And no pictures of the actual books until I find my SD card. Maybe I should start vlogging my IMM's.

Borrowed from the library:
Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony (ebook)
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell
Evernight by Claudia Gray
Shadow of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne
Need by Carrie Jones
Mercury by Hope Larson
Firespell by Chloe Neill
Blue Moon by Alyson Noel
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Still keeping an eye out for books to arrive in the mail. I love mail books. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (12)

 Waiting on Wednesday is hosted every week by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 356 (Hardcover)

From Goodreads:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Okay, the cover is gorgeous. The girl, the hair, the dress, even the little bird. I will admit, the book premise sounds a little iffy, teen girls forced to marry grown men in polygamous ceremonies. Personally, I'm against it, but sure, when you die when you hit 20 or 25, you're really running out of options in terms of creating the next generation. Plus, it seems to be the year of the dystopia, and I'm willing to give the book a try. :)