August 31, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Tokyo Heist and The Academie

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

This week's picks:

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Goodreads' description:

"Sixteen-year-old Violet loves reading manga and wearing scarves made from kimono fabric, so she’s thrilled that her father’s new painting commission means a summer trip to Japan. But what starts as an exotic vacation quickly turns into a dangerous treasure hunt. Her father’s client, the wealthy Yamada family, is the victim of a high-profile art robbery. Someone has stolen van Gogh sketches from the Yamadas’ Seattle mansion, and is holding them hostage until the Yamadas can produce the corresponding van Gogh painting. The problem is that nobody knows where this painting is hidden, and until they find it, all of their lives are in danger. Violet’s search for the missing van Gogh takes her from the Seattle Art Museum, to the yakuza-infested streets of Tokyo, to a secluded inn in Kyoto. As the mystery deepens, Violet’s not sure whom she can trust. But she knows one thing: she has to find the painting and the criminals—before it’s too late."

I've been anticipating this one since its early days when it was called The Frame Game! Set a book in Japan and you'll pique my interest. Add a mystery involving an art heist? Sold. 

The Academie by Susanne Dunlap

"Eliza Monroe-daughter of the future president of the United States-is devastated when her mother decides to send her to boarding school outside of Paris. But the young American teen is quickly reconciled to the idea when-ooh, la-la!-she discovers who her fellow pupils will be: Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte; and Caroline Bonaparte, youngest sister of the famous French general. It doesn't take long for Eliza to figure out that the two French girls are mortal enemies-and that she's about to get caught in the middle of their schemes.

Loosely drawn from history, Eliza Monroe's imagined coming of age provides a scintillating glimpse into the lives, loves, and hopes of three young women during one of the most volatile periods in French history."

I keep hearing great things about Susanne Dunlap's books, but I don't think I've actually read any of them yet! I must remedy that. The Napoleonic time in French history has been done a fair bit, but I think seeing its effects on girls at a boarding school could provide a different angle. Also, love the colour and style of her dress (although the cover unfortunately does fall victim to the girl-missing-the-top-half-of-her-head phenomenon).

What books are you waiting for?

August 30, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: My Fall TBR List

This fabulous meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week it's the books on our fall to-be-read list.

Almost all of these have already been published, but I still need to actually get around to reading them!

1.) The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab — I've heard so many positive things about this one — in fact, I don't think I've seen a single outright negative review. A ghostly fairy tale with romance? Sign me up.

2.) Supernaturally by Kiersten White — I read Paranormalcy last year and really enjoyed it, so I'll definitely be picking up the sequel.

3.) Abandon by Meg Cabot — I've seen mixed reactions to this one, but I've enjoyed other Meg Cabot books and I am interested in seeing what she does with a darker tone/theme.

4.) Nightspell by Leah Cypess — Really loved Mistwood, so I'm hopeful I'll also like this companion novel.

5.) A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young — once again, I've heard a lot of great things about this one. Paranormal angel books have been done a lot now, but the premise of A Need So Beautiful makes me think that it'll be a bit different.

6.) Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar — I've ordered this one and it should be arriving soon! It's received rave reviews from a bunch of Aussie bloggers and comes highly recommended, so I have high hopes.

7.) Crossed by Ally Condie — I'm looking forward to seeing where Condie takes Cassia's story in this sequel to Matched.

8.) What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty — I'm not normally big on reading adult fiction, but this one's written by Jaclyn Moriarty's sister, and I adore some of Jaclyn Moriarty's novels. And Nomes from inkcrush has recommended it. Plus, it may work for my "Read Outside Your Comfort Zone" challenge! Speaking of which...

9.) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead —Why have I still not read this? I don't know, it's for my challenge and I hear lots of awesome things about it and I even own the 3rd and 4th in the series.

10.) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys —This one's supposed to be amazing and heartbreaking and it's sitting on my shelf (like, literally) so I must get to it!

Are any of these on your fall tbr lists? Which should I bump up to the top?

August 29, 2011

Psychtember Authors!

Psychtember is starting up in just a few days, so I thought I'd let you guys know which authors will be dropping by for interviews/guest posts! Here's the line-up of authors I know for sure will be participating:

Jackie Morse Kessler (Hunger)
Janet Ruth Young (The Babysitter Murders)
Tabitha Suzuma (Forbidden)
Adele Griffin (Tighter)
Amy Reed (Clean)
Mary O'Connell (The Sharp Time)
Chelsea Swiggett (Rae)
Jessica Martinez (Virtuosity)
Daisy Whitney (The Mockingbirds)
Katrina Kittle (Reasons to Be Happy)

I'm still working on interviews for some of these authors, so if you guys have any questions for them, feel free to voice them in the comments! I can't guarantee that your question will be included in an interview, but it might :)

August 28, 2011

In My Mailbox (35)

In this meme, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, we share the books we've received, bought or taken out from the library.

For review:

The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell – thanks to the author!


I had a Groupon to use up for a local bookstore.

Young Sherlock Holmes: Red Leech by Andrew Lane — this is the second in the Young Sherlock Holmes series, and I haven't read the first, but it was on sale and it's the UK edition. So I got it anyway :D

The Host by Stephenie Meyer — I've read this one already and really enjoyed it, so I wanted my own copy.

From the library:

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
Jersey Tomatoes Are The Best by Maria Padian

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer
The Twin's Daughter by Laurie Baratz-Logsted
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

And just a reminder that Psychtember is coming up in just a few days! For reviews of some of the books you've been seeing popping up in my mailbox, guest posts, author interviews, and giveaways, make sure to tune in during September!

August 25, 2011

Kiss, Marry, Kill: The Chronicles of Prydain

This is a regular feature on my blog. Here's how it works: you take a book, choose 3 guy characters from the book, and then the other person has to pick one to kiss, one to marry, and one to kill.

This week: the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. If you haven't read these yet, what are you still doing here? Get your hands on The Book of Three immediately.

The choices:

1.) Prince Gwydion

2.) Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper

3.) Fflewddur Fflam

Who do you kiss, who do you marry, and who do you kill? And as always, if you'd like to join up and do your own, feel free to mention it in the comments or leave a link to your post there :)

August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Butterfly Clues and In Honor

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

This week's picks:

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison

Goodreads' description:

"Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death."

The psychological aspects of this one really intrigue me – I'm very interested to see how this obsessive collecting of Lo's affects things. The underworld sounds gritty...such a pretty title for such a dark-sounding novel! The cover is simple but unsettling at the same time, with all that blood...

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Goodreads' description:

"Honor receives her brother's last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn's celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn's last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn's best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn't seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn. . . and ruggedly good looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn't. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?"

I haven't read Jessi Kirby's Moonglass yet, but I've heard so many good things about it. This book sounds like it incorporates the fun and excitement of a roadtrip with more serious issues and character growth. And I'm always a sucker for a hate-turned-to-love romance! 

What books are you waiting for? 

August 23, 2011

Haunting Violet: A Snapshot

I've decided to try a new format for some of my reviews. My "In A Nutshell" ones were getting out of hand, and were becoming so long that they should have been entitled "In a (Coco)nutshell". Since the original purpose of those was to allow myself to write some shorter reviews, I thought I'd try that again, with a different format. So, I'm starting "snapshot" reviews! These loosely use the metaphor of taking a photo, as you can see below.

While I'll be keeping the formats of my "In A Nutshell" and standard reviews, I'll likely be changing the names to fit with this photography theme. So adios to the no-longer-relevant "In A Nutshell" title!

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

The subject: a girl grappling with newfound supernatural powers and hints of a murder.

The setting: 1872 England. The Gothic atmosphere is delicious, though it seems to rely somewhat on references to other novels and stereotypes of the period.

Shutter speed: Pretty slow, since many clues need to be gathered and there is some repetition, but the ghosts and romance do liven things up. And I was kept guessing the whole way through about the identity of the villain.

What's in the background? A mother-daughter relationship fraying at the seams. There's also a nice juxtaposition of the mother's role as a charlatan and her daughter's true gift of gabbing with the ghosts. 

Zoom in on: the Violet and Colin relationship! The brewing romance is sweet, but I could have done with a bit more of it, really...I must admit I kept flipping the pages hoping for a glimpse of Colin.

Anything out of focus? If you're going to refer to Jane Eyre in your Gothic novel, please do it accurately. The red room is not at Thornfield Hall — it's at Gateshead. Mr. Rochester is not generally considered handsome. And Jane never runs away from the church, either before or after hearing the news of his dead wife. She is at the inn when she finds out, actually. I have to wonder, has Alyxandra Harvey ever read any part of Jane Eyre?

And the ending fell flat for me. While for the most part I did enjoy how the paranormal element was incorporated into the climactic scene, I was disappointed by the actual "whodunit" reveal, which seemed cliche and anti-climactic, with an overly simple (and boring) explanation. I would have liked a scarier villain who wasn't overcome quite so easily, too.

Ready? Say... "Murder!"

Click! 3.5 shooting stars.

August 22, 2011

Back to the Stacks winner!

The randomly selected winner of my Back to the Stacks giveaway is...

Aylee has 72 hours to reply to my e-mail before I select another winner. Congrats Aylee, and thanks to everyone else who entered!

Edited: I've now heard back from the winner!

In My Mailbox (34)

In this meme, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, we share the books we've received, bought or taken out from the library.

I had a fabulous mailbox week this week!

For review:

These are all in connection with Psychtember, which is coming up very soon!

Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories, edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones (thanks to HarperCollins Canada!)
Reasons to Be Happy by Katrina Kittle (thanks to Sourcebooks!)
Clean by Amy Reed and Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada!)
Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala and The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle (thanks to HarperCollins, and Ashley from Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing for shipping them from the US to Canada!)


Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (adult) — thanks very much to my sister!

Also, my mom picked up a bunch of library discards for me, which were only 10 cents each:

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
The Peacock Spring by Rumer Godden
Target by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson
The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston
Quid Pro Quo by Vicki Grant
A Friend at Midnight by Caroline B. Cooney
Destination Unexpected (short stories) edited by Donald R. Gallo
Lady Ilena, Way of the Warrior by Patricia Malone


The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (adult)
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (adult)
A Brief Chapter In My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt


Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott (thanks to the author!)

From the library:

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
Amandine by Adele Griffin
Tenderness by Robert Cormier
After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates

August 20, 2011

Back to the Stacks Giveaway-a-Thon!

Andrea at Loud Words and Sounds and Kyleigh at Can't Find a Bookmark are hosting a "Back to the Stacks Giveaway-a-Thon," since September is coming, which means it's back to school for a lot of bloggers. Amid all the textbooks you're going to want to read something for fun, too! There's a giveaway posted each hour today from 8 am to 8 pm CDT on various participating blogs (check out the hosts' blog posts here and here for the details), and all giveaways are ending on Sunday, Aug. 21st at 12 noon CDT. I'm happy to participate with a giveaway for a YA book of the winner's choice under $10 CAD from the Book Depository!


- You must be 13 or older to enter.
- Open internationally, as long as the Book Depository ships to your country. (Check this list to make sure.)
- One entry per person.
- Tweeting and/or following are not required, but are always much appreciated!
- Ends Sunday (Aug. 21st) at 12 noon CDT.
- The winner will be selected randomly and contacted by e-mail. 

This giveaway is now closed.

August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: A Witch in Winter and Second Chance Summer

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

This week's picks:

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

From Goodreads:

"Anna Winterson doesn't know she's a witch and would probably mock you for believing in magic, but after moving to the small town of Winter with her father, she learns more than she ever wanted to about power. When Anna meets Seth, she is smitten, but when she enchants him to love her, she unwittingly amplifies a deadly conflict between two witch clans and splits her own heart in two. She wants to love Seth, to let him love her – but if it is her magic that's controlling his passion, then she is as monstrous as the witch clan who are trying to use her amazing powers for their own gain."

Witch stories seem to be coming back into vogue in YA! I like that there's this 'love enchantment' spin on the romance in this one. Apparently the author's done research into witchcraft legends, too, so I'm interested to see how that informs the magical side of things.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

From Goodreads:

"Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it's stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven't actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is suddenly around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he's much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they've ever been before. But all of them very aware that they're battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

I'm getting the feeling that Morgan Matson likes to write books about summer! I enjoyed Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and this next book of hers also sounds like it blends together a nice balance of light and dark emotion. Really pretty cover, too, with the scripted font and sunrise (or sunset?) reflection going on.

What books are you waiting for?

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