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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Perfect Ruin (Early Review!)

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles, #1)
by Lauren DeStefano

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan’s older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose. (goodreads.com)

Release date: October 1, 2013

(No spoilers. But read at your own risk.)

This book doesn’t come out for two months but I couldn’t help myself and read it early. I have been struggling horribly with reading lately and when this ARC arrived  on my doorstep (this time I knew it was coming) I picked it up with a mixed feeling of dread and anticipation.

You see, I absotively adored Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy and discovered that series thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada when a surprise ARC of the first book showed up one day. Since then I devoured each and every book in that series and lamented the year-long waits between instalments.

So when I saw that there was a new series by this author about to be published I jumped up and down and waved my hand frantically and danced excitedly about the possibilities that could come from a new series by an author I had grown to love.

But of course the fear of not loving a new series by an author you already love from another series is always LOOMING overhead as you fret over opening the book to the first page. What if it’s horrible? What if it’s exactly like the previous series and completely unoriginal. What if it’s sheer drivel?

What if…? What if…?! OMG WHAT IF…!??!

But you know what? All my fears were laid to rest pretty quickly as I read. I admit, I wasn’t certain right off the bat. I had to get my head around this new world and its rules and mythology but it became quickly apparent that this was a book that I was going to be able to finish in a normal amount of time (for me; therefore a few hours) and I wasn’t going to toss it aside with a big, dramatic sigh and wish that the world would just offer me some originality!

Lauren DeStefano delivers with originality. And awesome world-building. And wonderfully likable characters. (There is totally a word for that that I can’t think of. Sympathetic characters? Empathetic characters? Something better than “likable” anyhow. That is way too bland a word for what I mean.)

I was in awe of the world in the Chemical Garden trilogy and I am yet again in awe of the world in the Internment Chronicles. I enjoyed Morgan as a protagonist and I extremely enjoyed her voice in the novel.

One of the aspects of the book I loved the most was the relationship between Pen and Thomas. I don’t know why, but they were such a delight to read. Their banter, dialogue, interaction, everything. I loved them dearly in this story. They were such an enjoyable bonus to an already stellar story. I was always smiling when I would read their dialogue. Always.

Although I didn’t have the same amount of terror and anxiety while reading this book as I did with DeStefano’s first series, I found that she can really create a wonderfully, creepy and deep dystopian world. Her imagination is astounding and her ability to capture these ideas and put them down in words so well-crafted that I can visualize everything in such great detail is just…breathtaking.

My only negative comment about this series is that I read the book two months before it’s due to be published and now I have to wait even longer for the next book to come out. Likely, it’s not even written yet. It doesn’t even have a title on Goodreads and – OMG! Goodreads lists it as due out in 2015.

TWENTY FIFTEEN.

That’s not even next year. *flails*

I will have to survive with other epic books like the final book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy and the third book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. It’ll be hard, but I’ll do my best to make it through the rough days ahead.

And BONUS points to Lauren DeStefano (and/or the publisher?) for creating not one, but TWO series that have names other than that of the first book.

The Internment Chronicles

  1. Perfect Ruin
  2. TBA – 2015???
  3. TBA – ??

A Bad Day For Voodoo

A Bad Day for Voodoo
by Jeff Strand

When your best friend is just a tiny bit psychotic, you should never actually believe him when he says, “Trust me. This is gonna be awesome.”

Of course, you probably wouldn’t believe a voodoo doll could work either. Or that it could cause someone’s leg to blow clean off with one quick prick. But I’ve seen it. It can happen.

And when there’s suddenly a doll of YOU floating around out there—a doll that could be snatched by a Rottweiler and torn to shreds, or a gang of thugs ready to torch it, or any random family of cannibals (really, do you need the danger here spelled out for you?)—well, you know that’s just gonna be a really bad day …(goodreads.com)

I received my copy of A Bad Day for Voodoo from Sourcebooks last October as part of their Halloween give-away promotion and I gave away a copy of this book and others to one lucky reader. I am sad to say that this book sat on my TBR for so long before I picked it up. I get into these comfort zone phases and I don’t want to read anything outside of that zone. This book scared me because I was pretty sure it would be Outside The Zone.

Of course now I’m in a phase where any and every book I pick up just annoys the hell out of me and I feel like everything is just so unoriginal. Does that ever happen to you? I have a plethora of books hanging around my house that are half-started and left behind because I just can’t connect with them.

Cue this book.

This book, with its ever so obvious Outside The Zone-ness and I hoped that it would be what I would need in order to actually complete a book from start to finish. And I had just come off the disappointing read of A Discover of Witches and I wanted something that wouldn’t have anything to do with silly women pining over vampires that treat them like property.

I will say this loud and clear, in bold, so you know I mean business.

I have not enjoyed a book this much in a long time. It made me laugh. A lot. Out loud. Over and over again.

I had so much fun reading this book. Sure, it’s pretty ridiculous a lot of the time but it’s hilarious the entire read through. It’s a perfect comedic horror story. If it can go wrong, it will but you will probably burst out laughing while taking the bus to work in the morning and then have to put the book away so the other passengers stop giving you dirty looks.

This book was fun and rather creepy (OMG, that house with the Basers. I was freaking out with that creepy family. *shudder*) and I laughed. I read the book over lunch breaks. I tried reading it on the bus, but public laughter aside, I still get rather bus sick so that didn’t work so well. I didn’t even want to work because I was enjoying the book so much. It gave me a nice escape from the office during a particularly brutal week both in the office and personally.

My gods, there’s even an intermission in the story and I nearly fell off the couch when I turned the page and saw that.

Jeff Strand has an amazing sense of humour and it is very obvious in the writing of this novel. He also has some creepy stuff going on in his brain since he is also a horror writer. I believe this is his first book for teens.

I really wasn’t expecting the voodoo doll to work the way it did and the first time Tyler tries out the doll on his teacher – well, the results took me by surprise and again, I laughed out loud. The book just became way more fun from there on.

I will warn you, this book is complete humour and it can get pretty corny and you have to reeeallllyyy suspend your beliefs as things happen. It doesn’t stop. There’s no moment when you think, “well, it can’t get any worse than this” because it will and you will giggle and think “Holy cow! This is all so ridiculous, but I love it!”

I don’t know why the foolishness of the book didn’t bother me. Sometimes  I find stories this far-fetched a little over the top, but maybe I just needed this much humour in my life and I have to say that Strand’s writing was really engaging. I find he writes humour very well and I think a lot of that was why I enjoyed the book so much.

So if you need a pick-me-up and you feel like reading something that will make you laugh and wonder if any of the characters will make it to the end alive – I highly recommend A Bad Day for Voodoo. 🙂

The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds (Book 1)
by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. (goodreads.com)

Sometimes you read a book and it takes over your life. You go through the motions of every day routine, but all you can think about is that book and how you’d much rather be doing nothing except reading it and living in it. That was me with The Darkest Minds and that hook came right from the first page.

I hadn’t really even read the summary before I started the book. I picked up an ARC at BEA in June 2012 only because I knew I had loved the author’s fantasy debut, and I was curious about other books she was writing. I thought this would be some sort of paranormal love story, but I was way off. There’s something immensely gripping in the way that Bracken writes this novel. I could physically hear the words in my ears and see the images like they were real, right in front of my face. I was desperate to know more about Ruby and what the heck everything was all about.

The story twists and turns like there’s no tomorrow and it always kept me guessing. I did figure out a couple of the twists but I honestly said “Huh, I wasn’t expecting that” out loud at least once. Either way, I was sincerely enjoying the ride I was on.

And a ride it was, too. Much of this book is a road trip of sorts, with obstacles thrown in the way and a bunch of background told in story format or in memories. I grew to love all the characters that traveled in Black Betty, the mini-van. My image of Chubs was nothing like his description (which always caught me off guard when it was written and I had to wrestle my imagination back into what was on the page from what it had already created) but other than that, I loved these kids deeply.

Now that I think about it, there are three distinct parts to the book and they could easily have been separated by those little blank pages that say “Part I”, “Part II” and “Part III”. Each part of that story had it’s own mystery and surprises and scares and emotions.

There’s just so much I want to say about this book, but if you haven’t read it, I don’t want to ruin it for you. This was just an epic read for me and I am so happy I picked it up and devoted some time to it. Heck, I even brought it on the bus with me and made myself bus sick, just to read MORE!!

The day after I finished it, I brought it into work and handed it to a friend of mine and told her “You! Read this! Now!” I only hope she loves it as much as I did.

There are three books listed on Goodreads for this series. I don’t know how the sequel can keep the pace of this first book, so I am nervous about it, but I am also chomping at the bit to get that book in my hands. December seems so very, very far away. I have no Disney Hyperion contacts, so my getting an ARC of the sequel doesn’t seem to be likely. I shall have to suffer like the mere mortal readers do. heh (This is not me fishing for an ARC hook-up by the way. It’s my lamenting the fact that I have to wait almost a YEAR for the sequel. :))

The Darkest Minds 

  1. The Darkest Minds
  2. Never Fade
  3. untitled – 2014

 

Blood Storm

Blood Storm (Lharmell, #2)
by Rhiannon Hart

The rain wanted to be ocean; the ice in the mountain caps wanted freedom. I never knew that water held such longing. The clouds above my head rumbled like a growling wolf, impatient to release their burden. I held the rain there a moment longer. I turned to Renata, heard her gasp and knew my eyes glowed blue.

I spoke a single word. ‘Rain.’

In the Second Book of Lharmell, Zeraphina and Rodden must travel across the sea to find the elusive ingredients that will help them to win the coming battle against the Lharmellin – but shadows from Rodden’s dark past may come back to haunt him. And while she learns to harness her new abilities, Zeraphina still fights the hunger that makes her crave the north – not to mention avoiding her mother, who wants to see her wayward daughter married to a prince at all costs. (goodreads.com)

Oh, look! A blog post about a BOOK! What a novel concept for this blog.

So.

I have something VERY EXCITING to tell you all. Ready? Ready? WELL! Rhiannon Hart’s Lharmell YA Fantasy series is now available OUTSIDE OF AUSTRALIA!! *dances* You have no idea how exciting this is. It is EXCITING! I told you all in January how much I loved the first book in this series, Blood Song and I was broken hearted that I was missing the release of the sequel Blood Storm because it was only in Australia and it was too expensive for me to buy with shipping. Well, both of these books are now available in Canada, the US and the UK as eBooks.

And you all know how I feel about eBooks, they are even worse than hard covers, but boyo did I go out and BUY Blood Storm the SECOND Rhiannon told me about this. I can now say that I have officially completed my first ever eBook read and THE ENDING OF THIS BOOK NEARLY KILLED ME! OMG! *flails*

And as worried as I am about sequels not living up to the first books, I can honestly say that I loved Blood Storm even more than Blood Song. There’s this entire part of the novel that takes place on a ship as they cross the sea and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF THIS SCENE, or chapters, or event, or whatever you want to call it. I simply adored it. There’s something so wonderful about the banter and relationship between Zeraphina and Rodden.

And if I want to be honest, I might have a bit of a crush on Rodden and it’s rare that a literary character can make me swoon.

Now, the problem with reading an eBook (ok, well, ONE of the problems, anyhow) is that I can’t tell how much book I have left while I am reading. Not on the one I have anyhow. It’s not like a real book where you have a visual clue as to how many pages you have left and when you might get to the end of the book. So when I got to the end of the story and I realized what just happened and then I realized how much I was NOT going to get ANY resolution to WHAT JUST  HAPPENED until the THIRD BOOK was out… well, I nearly yelled out loud on the BUS on the way home last night. I kid you not. Normally I travel with my husband, but he was working from home yesterday and so I was all alone, and for once I was able to read on the bus without barfing. (Side note – I think I might possibly be able to read on my Kobo on the bus without motion sickness. Maybe? This entire book I had no problems, yet I can’t even read my iPhone screen for texting without getting sick. Interesting.) Anyhow, once I realized that I just went from the last page of the story to the author’s acknowledgments  I gasped out loud and almost yelled “NO!!” but I caught myself just in time. Instead, I opened up my iPhone and tweeted to Rhiannon to express my GAHHHHH-ness.

And I have to commend Rhiannon as well for remembering to feed her characters this time. There was much feasting and ample questing food – within the first 25% of the book, too! Go, Rhiannon!

Also… I want a Brant.

So, my readers. I might be lacking in a couple of blog posts for books that I read (will have one for Polterheist, the 5th Ester Diamond book, soon!) but I wanted to post about this one because of the two astounding bits of news surrounding it. 1) It’s available internationally finally and 2) I bought and read an ENTIRE eBook.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!

To celebrate the international releases Rhiannon is going to give away one eBook copy of the book! Er.. or of Blood Song? Hmm, I need to reread my email before I write up my second post with the giveaway info. Heh. STAY TUNED!

Books of Lharmell

  1. Blood Song
  2. Blood Storm
  3. Blood Queen – 2013

The Books of Elsewhere Vol 3

The Second Spy (The Books of Elsewhere Vol. 3)
by Jacqueline West

In Olive’s third adventure, what lurks below the house could be as dangerous as what’s hidden inside . . .

Some terrifying things have happened to Olive in the old stone house, but none as scary as starting junior high. Or so she thinks. When she plummets through a hole in her backyard, though, she realizes two things that may change her mind: First, the wicked Annabelle McMartin is back. Second, there’s a secret underground that unlocks not one but two of Elsewhere’s biggest, most powerful, most dangerous forces yet. But with the house’s guardian cats acting suspicious, her best friend threatening to move away, and her ally Morton starting to rebel, Olive isn’t sure where to turn. Will she figure it out in time? Or will she be lured into Elsewhere, and trapped there for good? (goodreads.com)

I think that this third book of Elsewhere is my all-time favourite in this series so far! Once I started reading it I could not put it down at all. I bought this latest book, whereas the first two were review copies from Penguin Canada. Actually, I pre-ordered this book because I knew I would want it. So glad I did!

The Second Spy is at times very creepy and scary, but in a family friendly way (if I can explain it that way). I was creeped out at times, but just because I could easily put myself into 12-year old Olive’s shoes and be totally afraid of things that go bump in the night. I mean, think about it. Never knowing when Annabelle is going to strike. Not knowing where she is, when she’s obviously been watching you. Not knowing whom to trust be it human, cat, or painting. And I am easily freaked out by scary things that happen at night, when you’re supposed to be all safe and tucked into bed. I had so much trouble sleeping as a kid, and one of my Scare Triggers is reading about something making noise in the middle of the night. Olive is MUCH braver than I am because she actually gets OUT OF BED and INVESTIGATES!

Gah!

Also scary? Starting Junior High. Scarier? Starting Junior High and forgetting you’re still wearing your ruffly pink pyjama pants with penguins all over them. Oh, Olive. *shudder*

There’s a lot going on in this third book and it makes for a captivating read. I really didn’t want the book to be over because I was so caught up in the action. Olive is slightly less annoying in this book than in the second, although she does still have that “I know what I’m doing, so I’ll do it anyway, regardless of your advice.” and rather than just listen to a couple of people who are trying to talk to her and explain things she’s jumped to conclusions about, she runs away… but then again she’s just a kid and her reactions and actions are realistic. I just have to keep reading and remind myself that just because I HATE that kind of personality doesn’t mean I hate Olive because she’s being written that way.

Some VERY interesting and exciting revelations are made in The Second Spy and with this new information I just cannot wait for the next book. There is very obviously going to be a next book and I’m expecting it to be a doozy!

The sheer brilliance of imagination in this series would have enchanted me to no end if these books were out when I was younger. Heck, I wish I could go back in time and give 11-12 year old me copies of these books and just make 11-12 year old me SO HAPPY. If you haven’t picked up this Middle Grade magical, mystery series yet and you call yourself a MG fan, then WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Also, if you have younger kids who love magic, mystery and adventure, I say pick these books up immediately. They are fantastically written and fun and scary (in a good way) and magical and just so full of imagination.

Things you will want after reading The Books of Elsewhere: talking cats, magical paint, magical glasses that can let you enter paintings.

Trust me.

The Books of Elsewhere

  1. The Shadows
  2. Spellbound
  3. The Second Spy
  4. TBA