Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Goodbye Canada!

I don't often blog about my personal life. This time, I will definitely make an exception. Especially because it's something that interrupts my blogging...

I'M GOING TO KENYA!!

As part of my placements for my teaching program, we had the option to apply to go to Kenya or Ecuador to teach for 3 weeks. I applied and was one of 25 students chosen to go to Emori Joi Primary School in Kenya.

I leave on February 4, 2012. Wait, did I spell that right? I believe it's spelled S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y. I am so excited. It's kind of surreal right now, but I know it'll sink in when I'm on the plane.

For the 3 weeks we're going to be doing a lot of stuff. We fly from Toronto to Amsterdam to Nairobi and will stay there for the night before traveling out to the Me to We camp where we will be staying. We'll be teaching local Kenyan children in their school, and also be participating in various cultural experiences while we're there. The first weekend we'll be going on a Safari and the second will either be an excursion to the nearest market or a hike. We teach from February 8 to February 22. Our last day of teaching also happens to be my birthday! We'll head back to Nairobi the next day and go to the market there, before leaving for home. It's going to be a whirlwind of an experience! The worst part is going to be the 24 hours of travel time both there and back. But I'm okay with that!

Clearly, this means I'll be MIA from blogging for 3 weeks. I have a lot of packing and stuff to do before leaving on Saturday, so I won't have many posts planned. And even then, it might be a couple Waiting on Wednesdays. Just be prepared for a lack of activity over here.

I hope you all have a wonderful month! I'll definitely write up something special about my experience to post when I get back.

Must Read Monday (9)

Fans of Fiction
Must Read Monday is a new meme hosted by Jenna at Fans of Fiction. The idea is to create an acrostic poem about a book in the chosen category of the week.
This week’s category: Favourite self-published book

Summer camp is definitely not Riley's
Idea of fun, especially since she's a
XV-year-old city girl. Her parents are

Making her attend camp
Only so they can divorce with her
Out of the way.
Now she's being bullied,

She's homesick, and
Unfortunately has been bitten by a
Monster - a werewolf. Riley
Must find a way to
Escape the monster within her before it
Ruins her chances at a normal life.

This week I chose S.M. Reine's debut novel, Six Moon Summer. This is a really great book and series. I actually liked the second book, All Hallows' Moon, more than the first, but I chose to use the first so I didn't have to worry about spoilers. Reine's writing is really great. The way she writes the transformations from human to wolf are incredibly descriptive, that it hurt me when reading sometimes. If you're a fan of werewolf stories, like I am, I definitely recommend this one!

Read my review here.
Find it on Goodreads here.
Visit S.M. Reine here.
Six Moon Summer is currently on sale for $0.99 USD on Amazon! I highly recommend picking it up!

Feel free to try out this meme! It's a new way to introduce blog followers to new books.

Monday, January 30, 2012

In My Mailbox (36)




In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that gives bloggers a chance to share what books they've received in the last week. It's hosted by The Story Siren and you can find out more info about it here.



Stopped in a the bookstore again this week! Picked up a few 2012 YA debuts that I'm excited to read and count towards the 2012 Debut Author Challenge. My lovely dog was nice enough to help me showcase what I got:

Bought:
The Lover's Dictionary by David Leviathan {Goodreads | Book Depository}
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi {Goodreads | Book Depository}
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight {Goodreads | Book Depository}

Received from RAK:
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout {Goodreads | Book Depository}

So excited for these books! I had to travel to a different Chapters to get them, because my local Chapters apparently has recently decided to have crappy selection... They just don't have a lot of the new books coming out, especially debuts. I also decided to pick up THE LOVER'S DICTIONARY since it just won an Alex Award.

I'm so happy to have HALF-BLOOD!! I've read it and it's amazing. I got it from RAK from the lovely Cassay at Vamps, Weres, and Cassay Oh My!. BIG THANKS CASSAY!! I'm super excited to reread it and can't wait for PURE!

What did you get this week?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Review: Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Title: Beautiful Chaos
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown
Publish Date: October 18, 2011
Genre: YA, paranormal
Pages: 518
Series: The Caster Chronicles
1. Beautiful Creatures (review)
2. Beautiful Darkness (review)
3. Beautiful Chaos
4. Untitled (expected pub Oct 2012)

**WARNING: SPOILERS**
Synopsis:
Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What - or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.


This title is the most fitting title ever. Like, ever ever. There is so much chaos in this book it’s ridiculous. It’s 500+ pages of disaster, destruction, confusion, heartbreak, end of the world events and so on! It’s hard to put down because you want to find out what will be thrown at our beloved characters next, but you also want to figure out the answers to the burning questions in the novel.

BEAUTIFUL CHAOS is a fantastic third novel. I didn’t enjoy the second one as much as I would have hoped (check out my review to see why). Thankfully, this third book was so much better. I think this one was much more fast paced than book 2, and that made a big difference for me. There was always something happening, or I was waiting with bated breath for something to happen. The plot moved forward really well.

The characters were the same ones that we’ve come to love (or hate) over the last two books. Amma was very different in this book because she’s kind of going off her rockers. She’s not cooking as much or reading cards; there’s something bothering her, causing her to lose faith. Link is still awesome, but his ego is now amplified because he’s Linkubus. And Ridley is going bonkers after losing her powers. She can’t stand being a mortal. Poor Ethan is falling apart at the seams. He’s losing memories, doesn’t like his favourite foods anymore, and is haunted by something (someone) in his dreams. Plus, he’s too afraid to tell anyone. Besides, it’s not like anyone else is doing very well either.

In BEAUTIFUL CHAOS, the Mortal and Caster worlds collide. Event after event occurs and forces our team of characters to fear not only for themselves, but for the town they call home. And oh my, does it ever end on a cliffhanger! I can’t wait to find out the title of the 4th and final book in the Caster Chronicles, and see the cover. And then, of course, I can’t wait until October for it to come out!

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (40)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away, so that you don't ruin the book for others)
Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR list is they like your teasers!

I just started reading Jocelyn Davies' debut novel, A Beautiful Dark, on the weekend. I devoured the first half and can't wait to finish it. Here's my teaser this week:





I felt a sharp twist of pain as my ankle buckled and snapped beneath me, and I went down.
I'd gone from calculated control to being completely helpless in the blink of an eye.





To give you more context, Skye was skiing. I hope that gets you a bit more interested!

I'm loving this book! I started it on Sunday and read the whole way home from the cottage. It's a really quick read and the story is interesting. Definitely not the same as any other angel stories I've read. You can probably expect me to finish and review it soon!

Feel free to share your teasers. I'd love to see what you're reading!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Must Read Monday (8)

Fans of Fiction
Must Read Monday is a new meme hosted by Jenna at Fans of Fiction. The idea is to create an acrostic poem about a book in the chosen category of the week.
This week’s category: An amazing controversial/banned book


When his parents
Are killed in a
Terrible car accident, Jacob
Escapes the pain of
Reality by hopping on a circus train.

Full of loss and sorrow, he
Opts to join the circus and
Receives the position of vet to the

Exotic animals. While
Labouring through the Depression, they acquire an
Elephant, believing it will save their
Poor show from collapsing. With a
Hateful ring-leader,
And untimely love, this
Novel will
Teach you the
Secrets of love and trust.

Water for Elephants is one adult novel that I absolutely love. I'm not sure why it's banned/challenged other than what it says in Books Challenged or Banned in 2010-2011 by Robert P. Doyle, which states that a parent at a high school complained about it's sexual content. It's not really a teen book, especially because of the violence towards animals, but the sexual content isn't that strong. I doubt my acrostic made that much of an impression, but it's an amazing book that I definitely recommend!

Find it on Goodreads here.
Visit Sara Gruen here.


Feel free to try out this meme! It's a new way to introduce blog followers to new books.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Judging a Book by Its Cover (4)

I do Judging a Book by Its Cover randomly, when I collect several book covers that I think are worthy of being judged as awesome! You can see all my Judging a Book by Its Cover posts here.

Links will direct you to the corresponding Goodreads pages.







What do you think of these covers? Which ones are you most anticipating? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (48)





"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating!





This week I'm waiting on two books, both of which are written by 2012 debut authors!



Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Publication date: January 31, 2012

Synopsis:
NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

NOSOUL
Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are suspicious and afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

HEART
Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.


Why I want it: Debut Author. Awesome Cover. I've heard that Ana is a kickass heroine. And that Sam is adorable because he's so wise, but still young-looking.


The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker
Publication date: February 1, 2012

Synopsis:
3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world.

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation... and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.

When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?


Why I want it: Debut Author again. Dystopian. I need to read some zombie books. And I love the idea of being stuck somewhere and venturing out to find something new.

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (39)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away, so that you don't ruin the book for others)
Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR list is they like your teasers!

I'm really excited to be reading the second book in The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa called The Iron Daughter. I'm reading it on my Kobo and am just two chapters in. Here's my teaser this week:

**Warning: Spoilers**




Voices rose around me as the ranks of Unseelie fey parted like waves. I couldn't move. I was rooted to the spot, my heart pounding in my chest as the lean, dangerous form of Prince Ash strode into the chamber.




This is Meghan's first time seeing Ash since she was brought to the Winter Court at the end of The Iron King. Poor Meghan. But also, poor Ash. I know he's probably dying inside :(. But I'm excited to read more! Read my review of book 1, The Iron King, here.

Feel free to share links to your teasers! I'd love to see what you're reading.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Must Read Monday (7)

Fans of Fiction
Must Read Monday is a new meme hosted by Jenna at Fans of Fiction. The idea is to create an acrostic poem about a book in the chosen category of the week.
This week’s category: A book with a wonderful ending


Thisby is an island
Haunted by
Evil, flesh-eating water horses. The

Season of Fall brings the
Capaill uisce
Out of the ocean.
Racers catch and train the
Predatory horses
In an attempt to win money and
Overall bragging rights. Native

Residents on Thisby, Puck Connolly
And Sean Kendrick race for their own
Complicated reasons.
Except there can only be one winner.
So let the races begin.

This is probably my favourite acrostic that I've written for this meme. When I decided to write about Maggie Stiefvater's first stand-alone novel, THE SCORPIO RACES, the whole thing just came to me and it was really easy to write. I'm so happy it actually turned out well! I chose this because Maggie's novels tend to be open-ended and the reader can make their own conclusions about the future of the characters. And so, in my mind, the ending is beyond fantastic and definitely a happily-ever-after. I hope you like it :). Let me know in the comments.

Read my review here.
Find it on Goodreads here.
Visit Maggie Stiefvater here.

Feel free to try out this meme! It's a new way to introduce blog followers to new books.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In My Mailbox (35)




In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that gives bloggers a chance to share what books they've received in the last week. It's hosted by The Story Siren and you can find out more info about it here.



Check out what I got in my mailbox this week:

Borrowed
Ashfall by Mike Mullin {Goodreads | Book Depository}

For Review
Ravenstroke (Universe Unbound #2) by Augusta Blythe {Goodreads}
In the Shadow of the Moonlight: The Awakening by J.J. Bidell {Goodreads}
Thanks to the authors for the ebook review copies!

Gifted
I also got this super cute bookmark from my friend as a late Christmas present. I totally love it. And it's totally me. So cute.

I've been wanting to read Ashfall for a long time, so my friend graciously lent it to me, even though we both know I'm buried under books to read. Still, I hope I get to it soon. She really enjoyed it.
Ravenstroke is the sequel to Winterborne, a self-published paranormal story that I really enjoyed. I'm interested to see where it goes next. (See my review of Winterborne here.
In the Shadow of the Moonlight intrigues me. The main character apparently turns into a panther, and it's originally a German novel that's been translated to English. I'm interested in seeing what this book is all about.

What did you get this week?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publish Date: August 31, 2010
Genre: YA, paranomal
Pages: 160 (ebook)
Series: Paranormalcy
1. Paranormalcy
2. Supernaturally (July 26, 2011)
3. Endlessly (July 24, 2012)
Synopsis:
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.


From the first page I could tell this wasn’t going to be a dry paranormal love story. I could tell right off the bat that Evie was going to be a fun MC. She’s witty and sarcastic and doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap, not even from the vampires and other paranormals she “bags and tags” as part of her job with the IPCA. When a paranormal breaks into the IPCA, and no one knows what he is, Evie is opened up to a whole new side of IPCA, paranormals, and herself.

The characters in this book were really well written. I highly enjoyed Lend. He was honest and different, and really good for Evie. And I deeply loathed Reth. He was really creepy. Scary faerie man. I couldn’t help but feel a connection to the other characters like Raquel and Lish, even Jacques. They were all written so distinctly from one another that they seemed genuine.

The story was pretty exciting throughout. I read it on my Kobo and was surprised at how fast I made my way through it. I read the second half in a day because I didn’t want to put it down. I was really curious the whole time to figure out who was killing the paranormals. There were never and concrete clues that made me able to even make a guess! And then stuff got really complicated, and Evie became totally unsure of who she is and what she was supposed to do. Lend really seemed to be a great support to her the whole time. And she was great for Lend, because she can see “the real him” and doesn’t pass any judgements.

I didn’t absolutely love this book, but I did enjoy it. I especially enjoyed the characters. It’s just, looking back, it didn’t really stick in my mind. I had trouble thinking of things to say in this review. Like there wasn’t a lot I really wanted to share. Except that Evie is a good MC. I’m interested to see what’s going to happen in the next book, Supernaturally. The synopsis has me intrigued!

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (38)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
DO NOT INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away, so that you don't ruin the book for others)
Share the title and author so that other participants can add the book to their TBR list is they like your teasers!

I got Beautiful Chaos, the third book in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl for Christmas, and that's the book I'm reading now! Here's my teaser from it:




Link pushed open the heavy stone door, and light flooded into the Tunnel. We were behind some old building, the door etched into the chipped brick. The air was thick and sticky with the distinct stench of beer and seat. "Where the hell are we?"




Beautiful Chaos is currently full of just that, chaos. There is some crazy stuff going on! Poor Ethan's world seems to falling apart around him. I really want to know what's going to happen because the situation in Gatlin seems pretty bleak right now.

Feel free to share links to your teasers. I'd love to see what you're reading!

Monday, January 9, 2012

In My Mailbox (34)




In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that gives bloggers a chance to share what books they've received in the last week. It's hosted by The Story Siren and you can find out more info about it here.



I was at the bookstore again this week (obviously) and wasn't intending to get anything, but of course I walked out with one book in my arms. My mom also picked up a gift for me last time she was at Costco!

Bought
Eve by Anna Carey {Goodreads | Book Depository}
Gifted
The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset by Suzanne Collins {Goodreads | Book Depository}

I've already read the first two books in The Hunger Games Trilogy. See my review for THG here and for Catching Fire here. I'm about to get to Mockingjay. I hear it's pretty crazy.
EVE is one dystopian that caught my eye a while ago. I'm really excited to read it.

What did you get this week?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Review: Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Title: Awaken
Author: Katie Kacvinsky
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: May 23, 2011
Genre: YA, dystopian
Pages: 309
Series: Awaken
1. Awaken
2. Middle Ground (expected pub Fall 2012)
Synopsis:
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.


I thought more of this book was going to take place with the main character behind a computer screen, but there was actually a lot of the “real world” as well. Maddie’s father is the creator of Digital School (DS) which enables kids to attend school 100% on their computers. On top of that, people can get food delivered to their front door, use virtual reality to go on dates, go for runs on the treadmill, be a part of social groups around the world, and more. No one sees the point to leaving their house anymore. Why would they? It has been deemed unsafe because of all the school shootings and bombings that were happening.

It was great that we got to see this story through Maddie’s eyes. She goes through so many changes throughout this book, it’s really inspiring. It shows you that people can change and even make a difference. Justin really is the best character, though. He’s been raised as a rebel to DS. He shows Maddie the benefits of living in the real world. He constantly has inspirational, thought-provoking things to say to Maddie to help her crack out of her shell. He’s a really complex character, too. He’s pretty much the leader of the rebels and takes this responsibility very seriously. He won’t think of himself. Ever. So Maddie gets frustrated with him when she starts falling for him.

The story is eye-opening. It’s kind of scary because if you really think about it, this dystopian world isn’t that farfetched. It could happen. People could pull away and spend their lives on the computer. Never leave their houses. Live beside the same people for 15 years and never meet. And the fact that Justin spent the whole book showing and convincing Maddie of the great things the real world has that the virtual one doesn’t really showed me as a reader how great some things are. Things we take for granted. Like watching the sun set. Touching people. Using body language in communication. It kind of makes you want to put down your smartphone and go camping. Or go to a bar where life is happening. Seriously.

AWAKEN is an amazing book that really opens your eyes to the technology around you and how it is too easy to become dependent on technology and neglect face-to-face human interactions. I'm excited to see where Katie takes Maddie and Justin's story next. Definitely recommend it to everyone.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (47)





"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating!





This week I'm waiting on:

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver
Publication Date: February 28, 2012

**WARNING: SPOILERS**

Synopsis:
I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
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.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.


Why I want it: Delirium was one of my favourite reads of 2011. It was that kind of book that I kept thinking about for weeks after finishing it. To me, that's a sign of a good book. I've already heard amazing things about this and am so excited to read it. I can't wait to see where Lauren takes Lena's story!

What upcoming releases are you looking forward to?