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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 – ??

Fire with Fire

 Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn, #2)
by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn… (goodreads.com)

Release date: August 13, 2013

I received the first book in this series at a SimonTeen event prior to BEA last summer. I was very surprised at how much I liked Burn for Burn and I eagerly awaited this sequel.

I read Fire with Fire almost as soon as it showed up at my door. I knew it wasn’t out for a couple of months, but I didn’t care. I was SO EXCITED to have the book in my hands and I had been struggling big time with trying to find a book to read after I’d finished The Virgin CureThankfully this book held my attention and it didn’t make me want to smack anyone. Go, book!

I think the story started rather slow for my liking even though it continues from where the first book ends. It did take me a little while to get into the flow of things and start caring about what each of these three girls were doing. I rather liked their odd-friendship even though they were drawn together by their needs for revenge.

Reeve is… a strange one. I think I’d like a story about him because he seems so conflicted between being a nice guy and the cool, jock guy who doesn’t give a crap about anyone else. I found him the most compelling of the characters this time around and even though the story wasn’t ABOUT him, I sort of felt like there was a lot more depth to his character than the book makes out. It was almost like the authors snuck all these layers into the novel for Reeve. Maybe I was just reading way too much into it, but I swear this guy has a major internal conflict going on and has issues that are making him be the bully, jerk that he is. He needs therapy or someone non-superficial to actually take care of him.

Because of this, my favourite parts of the book were in the swimming pool between Reeve and Lillia – even though she was there for nefarious reasons. I sort of liked seeing the other side of this jerky character.

Whereas I thought Mary was the dull part of the first book, she becomes a lot more interesting and much more of a curiosity in this one. The character I couldn’t connect with this time was Kat (and yet I loved her in the first book!)

But… Mary. Mary! Whoa!

That’s all I’m saying about that.

And the ending of this book pretty much blew my mind. I wasn’t expecting that at all (ok, well until just about the last second when I had the, “What I’m thinking can’t be right…right?” and then lo! It was! What a surprising ending. I am even more excited about the final book now because I want to know WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON, YO!

Lastly, this book post needs to have a shout out to Simon & Schuster Canada because they are awesome. As many of you know (because I mention it all the time) I am not reading much anymore and since I went back to school last September, I have no time to read and stopped accepting review books (although I didn’t really receive that many normally). I happened to comment on an instagram photo that S&S Canada posted about how I was super excited for this book to come out so I could buy it and – wow! – it appeared in my mailbox a day later. What sneaky and surprising folks are there. It just about made my week when this happened. Out of the blue and a total surprise, so thank you to S&S Canada SO VERY MUCH. Such a lovely random act of kindness on their part – and of course I would be reading and blogging about it as soon as possible. This might seem like bragging, but I swear to you I am just voicing my total appreciation for this surprise book in the mail because it really made me happy.

I’m a sap, ok. Just let me have this moment. *GROUP HUG* *sniff*

Burn for Burn Trilogy

  1. Burn for Burn
  2. Fire With Fire 
  3. Ashes to Ashes – 2014

Letting Ana Go

Letting Ana Go
by Anonymous

In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction. She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn’t do anything to make a change.

But there was one thing she could control completely: how much she ate. The less she ate, the better—stronger—she felt.

But it’s a dangerous game, and there is such a thing as going too far…

Her innermost thoughts and feelings are chronicled in the diary she left behind. (goodreads.com)

Release date: June 4, 2013

I have never read Go Ask Alice but I keep meaning to. When I got an email about the possibility of reviewing this book, I said yes. I had just finished my course and, well, it’s a disorder book. I have an addition to disorder books. This one is about anorexia, but it could be about mental illness, depression, cutting, suicide, and I will gobble it up. My soul likes to purge its own demons through literature now rather than act out in real life.

I will tell you, I read this book 2 weeks ago and I am STILL thinking about it. Not because I knew I wanted to write up this post, but because it just stayed with me. I don’t know what the another “Anonymous” books are like, but this one felt like I was reading a real journal. It was written in a way that reminded me of my own diaries when I was a young teen. The narrator’s voice was real and loud in my ears.

Parts of it reminded me of my own summers on the lake, even though this was really nothing like my own life. There was just a feeling…a sense, if you will that brought up so many flashbacks to when I was 13-16 years old. Maybe it’s also because the weather finally warmed up and I always feel nostalgic for my summers on the lake that I no longer have. Don’t know.

All I know is that this novel had a voice that resonated with me and felt so raw and real. I didn’t cry but I just felt everything in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t feel trapped as I normally do with emotionally heavy books, rather I felt…ok. I felt ok while I read this story and felt like I was reading a real girl’s journal and spiral into the unhealthy habits she picked up. I think because I knew what the outcome was going to be – even though I continuously hoped I’d be wrong – I didn’t feel the same sense of panic I normally feel, as I wonder if this kid will make it out alive?

I’m not sure how to explain how this story made me fee, other than it’s still fresh in my mind 2 weeks after reading it. Almost like I’d lived it myself. Like these were my own memories. They are nothing like my memories, but they still felt so real.

I was especially affected by the boyfriend relationship. It’s so rare to see a story where the boyfriend tries so hard to convince his girl that she’s beautiful the way she is and he doesn’t want her hurting herself. It was just such a beautiful and painful part of the book.

This is a book I will keep forever. I think I’d even re-read it, as difficult as it was. There was something about it that just connected with me. It’s heartbreaking that a girl can go from healthy and happy to thinking that she has to be skeletal to be pretty. This book is just so wonderfully written and painful to read, but it’s worth it.

Sever

Sever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy, #3)
by Lauren DeStefano

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain. (goodreads.com)

Release date: February  12, 2013

If you haven’t read the first two books. I’d suggest you bypass this review because it’ll spoil you, unintentionally for the most part, but still. You have been warned. 😉

It is always a bitter sweet moment when an amazing series comes to an end. On one hand, you’ve just finished a wonderful series and you don’t want to face a future without the anticipation of another book down the line. (Much like Harry Potter books and movies…) On the other hand, you’ve managed to complete a series that wrapped up nicely  in three books and you’re not having to suffer through that “Why is this series STILL going on!?” crap that longer series often have. The quality of the books tend to become mediocre and you’re really just sticking with it out of misplaced loyalty or nostalgia for the Series That Once Was and a sense of closure.

So as sad as I am to see The Chemical Garden series come to an end, I am also very happy that it was such an enjoyable ride for three books.

There’s a lot happening in the third and final book of this trilogy. I am sort of happy to report that I didn’t feel nearly as anxious while reading Sever as I did reading Fever. This isn’t a bad thing to me. I don’t really like having panic attacks while reading. Call me crazy. I was actually truly fascinated for most of the book, the parts in Reed’s home. I enjoyed him as a character, all grumpy and rough around the edges, and I loved his dark house full of curiosities. Once more I was moved by Linden and had completely forgotten about Gabriel until he was mentioned out of the blue. I still feel zero connection between Rhine and Gabriel. Zero.  He could have be written out of the story and I wouldn’t have cared.

I loved how the stories from the first two books all sort of tied together in the final one. I loved seeing sides of Madame I hadn’t experienced before. I loved that characters I previously couldn’t stand (Cecily, Madame, Vaughn) became more interesting and in some cases, some of my favourite characters throughout the series.

I am forever grateful to Simon & Schuster Canada for the discovery of this series three years ago. A random, surprise ARC in the mail one year sparked a love affair between myself and The Chemical Garden. It was ALMOST insta-love. ALMOST! But like a real relationship, this series and I grew to know each other better over the course of three books and I can now say with certainly that it is true love. This series is a keeper and I shall always be happy that it graces my bookshelf.

I do want to take a moment to discuss the covers for this series though. The first book, Wither had an amazing cover. It was dark and mysterious and tragic-looking all at once. Fever‘s cover was brighter but still evoked a strong emotional response from me. The cover model still looks broken and unhealthy, as if she’s withering away. But then there’s Sever which just sort of looks like a bad photoshopped mish-mash of STUFF and a happy, healthy Prom Dress Pose model over a horrible green screen. I am actually quite disappointed in this cover and I can assure you that if I didn’t already know how amazing this series was, I’d have not picked the book up in the store.  I think if the green screenesque background has been changed to something else.. a pattern? Wood? Texture? SOMETHING! It might not have looked so cheesy to me. The story between the covers is amazing though, so don’t let it make you think otherwise!

Oh, hey! I just saw this cover on Goodreads and it’s got a darker, moodier background and it really DOES change the look. I like this one a lot better and I’m wondering if that’s how it’s going to look when final copies come out?

Chemical Garden Trilogy

  1. Wither
  2. Fever
  3. Sever

The Blessed

The Blessed (Book 1)
by Tonya Hurley

From the author of the “New York Times” bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a captivating and haunting teen trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy–a boy who believes he is a saint.What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is Beyond Belief. (goodreads.com)

Release date: August 2 UK | September 25 US/Canada

I found out about this book and the SimonTeen event during BEA week. What drew me to it at first was the fact that the covert art looks like Amanda Seyfried.  Then, as all of the authors at the event took their turn on stage to be interviewed by fellow author Jenny Han, I realized that of all the authors there, I really, truly enjoyed Tonya Hurley’s segment the best. She also reminded me a lot of a coworker that I like. I was also fascinated with the topic for the book, because you don’t get many Catholic-based paranormal type stuff out there. And as someone who was raised Catholic (though not nearly as strict as many others), I was insanely curious about The Blessed.

UK edition

I put all my BEA-related books aside, by month, since most of them are Fall/Winter releases. It’s been a difficult fight between my desire and consciousness about not reading them until they are out, or close to being out. Then the other day I saw something on Twitter about a book birthday for The Blessed! Yay! I could read it! I had just finished Seraphina and picked this one up right away. As I was reading I thought, “Weird, I thought this wasn’t out until September.” Turns out I was right. Sort of. The Blessed released in the UK this week (Aug 2) and it’s not out in North America until September 25. Oops. And since this is a book I’d also received randomly from Simon & Schuster Canada for review, I felt a little bad about reading it so early. Though by then I was half-way through, totally invested and freaked out by the story and I didn’t care. Since I was going to read and review this one on my own time from BEA, I thought.. eh.. what the hell! And really, it’s out in the UK (with a gorgeous cover!) and since here in Canada we share a Queen with the UK, then it’s like it’s all good. Right? (And I am sort of torn about the cover, because yes, the UK edition would totally draw my eye more than the US one, but after having read the book – the cover girl has nothing to do with the story. I don’t recall anything about a large back tattoo of roses and thorns. Kind of wondering about that. Hmm.)

I have to admit, I didn’t think this book was going to have anything to do with supernatural/paranormalness. It was just a freaking thriller and suspenseful ride the entire story. I didn’t know what to believe, who to believe (whom?), or what to expect. I am very happy that I read this book in one sitting during a sunny afternoon. I’d have been too chicken to read it at night, in the dark. I’d not sleep well, that’s for sure.

The Blessed is raw and gritty. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, trying to remember that you actually need to breathe to keep living. Your brain will work overtime trying to process what’s going on and what you should be believing. I had no idea what to expect going into this book and I was pleasantly surprised in the end.

My one small disappointment was that I thought this was going to be a stand-alone novel. Silly me. No one publishes stand-alone novels anymore. Why would I be so foolish to think this would be different? Alas, it’s gong to be a series, and I am back to not knowing what to expect for the second book because of the way the first one ended. I am insanely curious once more and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out. (And for the love of gods, publishers! Can we PLEASE start being more creative with series names? I mean, really! I am so sick and tired of the first book always having the same name as the series. Do some sort of all encompassing title type thing.. or if you like the title of the first book as the series name – then RENAME THE FIRST BOOK! This is done in adult fantasy/urban fantasy with NO PROBLEM. Why is this such a difficult thing to figure out? Gah!)

*ahem*

So, yes, I truly enjoyed the gritty, thrilling ride that was The Blessed. I am very happy to have been able to attend that SimonTeen event and get to meet some of the amazing authors that they publish – especially Tonya Hurley. I mean, even Finnegan D Ephelant was starstruck by her. She was kind enough to indulge him (and me) with a photo op.

 Finnegan was quite chuffed to be held by Ms. Hurley. He has shown off this photo to all of his friends. They are jealous.

I will have a give-away for this book coming up! I have two copies of the ARC thanks to BEA and Simon & Schuster Canada. Keep your eyes peeled!

(PS – I only have 37 more books to read in the next week if I want to bring my total up to where I was this time last year. Can I do it? Yeah.. didn’t think so. Ugh.)

The Blessed

  1. The Blessed
  2. TBA