Friday, June 29, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (99)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

It's summer!! If I'm right when I'm typing this, I will have finished my last Storytime for the summer and I will be anxiously awaiting a really cool thing that I'm not going to mention for fear of jinxing. So how about something completely fun and bubblegum-y.



(Love You Like a Love Song by Selena Gomez and the Scene.)

Because you know you like this song at least a little ;) And if you don't, you have to admit the video is really cute. Aso it's really fun to sing. When no one's listening, if your singing abilities are like mine :P

So. Whatcha listening to?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (120)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler - To be released November 13th, 2012

Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth. Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time. But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out. Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire? When one of Wren's friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.”

What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Because it sounds freaking awesome. Also I'm not sure if Wren is a girl or a guy and I find that intriguing. Plus, hecka gorgeous cover!


The Falconer by Elizabeth May - To be released in 2013

Humans will be the hunted. Love will be tested. Vengeance will be had.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

18-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron was destined to a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s society events — until a faery killed her mother.

Now, between the seeming endless parties and boring dances, Aileana has a new hobby: she secretly slaughters the fae who prey on humans in the city’s dark alleyways.

Determined to find the faery who murdered her mother, vengeance has become Aileana's life. . . so she never anticipated her growing attraction to the magnetic Kiaran MacKay, the faery who trained her to kill his own kind. Or that there was a world beyond hers, filled with secrets that affect her past and have the potential to destroy her present.

But when her own world is about revenge, and when she holds Kiaran’s fate in her hands, how far is Aileana prepared to go for retribution?

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Edinburgh, fae and HOT sounding guy. What else more could a girl ask for?

This isn't the final cover but the final hasn't been announced yet so I figured this was better than nothing, right?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, June 25, 2012

YA Review: Human.4

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster

(Also called 0.4 in I think the UK, but the only Kindle Edition I can find is called that, too, and it's only 6 bucks so, hey, who cares about the difference, really?)

Published: March 8th, 2011 by EgmontUSA, and January 3rd, 2011 by Egmont UK. I think.
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Binding: ARC
Page Count: 232 in my ARC but it might vary in the finished copies.
Part of a series? YES. The sequel will be called 1.4 in the UK or The Future We Left Behind in the US and it was out in May in the UK and will be out November in the US.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.

Review: This book freaked. Me. Out. I haven't been freaked out by a book like this in I don't know how long. It wasn't the something's-going-to-jump-out-at-you scary but a slow-building level of pure creepiness. It was weird and creepy and freaky and really, really good.

Plot: *points at summary* Spoilers, you know.

Characters: There were basically four main characters in Human.4. Two adults, and two teenagers, all four of whom were hypnotised. The book was narrated by Kyle who was pretty much just your average fifteen (and a half) year old boy. Granted, it was one that was having really weird things happening to him, but he was still pretty much a normal kid.

The other teenager, Lilly, who was hypnotized, I didn't think that I liked her at first. I thought she was a bit of a jerk, but that turned out to be how she dealt with the fear of the strange situation they woke up to. And then I felt kind of bad about judging her XD The funny thing, though, was that I did feel like maybe her character wasn't explored as much it could have been. It's kind of weird how the difference is between male-narrated YA books and female-narrated YA books about that, huh?

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: There wasn't really anything bad that I could point out.

PG-13 stuff: A bit of language, but not a ton. Like I said, though, creepy as heck.

Cover comments: Okay. Can we please talk about this cover for a minute? There are little tentacle thingies growing out of his HAND. That is fa-reaking disturbing.

And I love it. I think it fits the tone of the book perfectly, I love the colour tone of the whole cover, and I think it would be very friendly towards boys who are a bit shy towards the normal trend of YA book covers. Which sounds weird. But, basically, I read it today and bought a copy today for my 18 year old cousin for next Christmas because I think he'll like it and the cover won't embarass him. (Also there was a sweet deal for the paperback on Book Depository.)

Conclusion: Did I mention that this is told as though tapes were found in the future by the author and that there are little extras throughout the book, like definitions of things that they wouldn't know then? I think that's awesome and really fun, but also makes it just that little bit creepier. You know? I read Human.4 in just a few hours and I very much recommend this one. Can't wait for the sequel! Four out of five roses.


Sorry this is a bit short!!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (98)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

This week's song might be a bit different than the usual music around here, but run with it, okay?



(What A Good Boy by Barenaked Ladies.)

Oh, if you didn't know this, Barenaked Ladies sing the Big Bang Theory theme song.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (119)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Blind Spot by Laura Ellen - To be released October 23rd, 2012

There’s none so blind as they that won’t see.

Seventeen-year-old Tricia Farni’s body floated to the surface of Alaska’s Birch River six months after the night she disappeared. The night Roz Hart had a fight with her. The night Roz can’t remember. Roz, who struggles with macular degeneration, is used to assembling fragments to make sense of the world around her. But this time it’s her memory that needs piecing together—to clear her name . . . to find a murderer. This unflinchingly emotional novel is written in the powerful first-person voice of a legally blind teen who just wants to be like everyone else.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: First of all, Alaska. Books set in Alaska are just awesome. (Except for in winter when it's colder where I live than IN Alaska. Then that's just not fair.) Second, legally blind main character. You don't see that much as far as I know. (But see Charlie's Point of View because it's a really good book. Totally random but good.) Third, murder!! Murder is always fun... in books.


Never Let You Go by Emma Carlson Berne - To be released December 4th, 2012

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. . .

You always want what you can’t have.

Megan never meant to hurt her best friend Anna. She made a mistake, and she’s spent all year trying to regain Anna’s trust. So when Anna invites her to spend the summer on her uncle’s farm, Megan is excited…and relieved. The past is finally behind them.

On the farm, Anna quickly falls for Jordan, a rugged summer-hand. Megan and Jordan have their own spark, but Megan’s betrayed Anna once before and she’s not about to do it again.

Still, the more time that Megan and Jordan spend together, the harder it is to deny their chemistry. But Anna doesn’t like to be ignored—and she doesn’t forgive and forget. What started out as the perfect summer is about to take a very dark turn….

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Farm! And also it sounds kind of creepy and I like creepy sometimes.

So what are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, June 18, 2012

YA Review: The False Princess

I have this thign I do where I'll put off reading a book and then feel guilty about putting it off so I'll put it off more and then I'll feel more guilty about it so - you get my point, right? It's not one of my best qualities and I really shouldn't do it.

But I did with this one. I stuck it next to my bed and didn't read it because there were so many books I had to read and ZOMG my to-read pile was going to kill me in my sleep aaaand... I get into these ruts sometimes. Honestly, the best way for me to get out of them is to read a bunch of books I don't *have* to read and relax.

This got really long but basically I'm trying to say that the length of time between me getting this book and reading it/writing the review are absolutely unrelated to its quality. Okay? Okay. Let's move on to the review now!

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neil

Published: January 25th, 2011 by EgmontUSA
Genre: YA Fiction
Binding: ARC (I really suck at this blogging thing...)
Page Count: 318 but I have an ARC and it could be slightly different in the finished copy
Part of a series? No, it's a standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

Review: I went into this one with slightly mixed feelings because of how long I put it off (see above ramblings) but by, like, the second page, I knew I was going to like it. The first chapter was really, really strong and I love that. It was the kind of first chapter  that makes you want to keep reading. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised how good this one was. It was one of the most fun books I've read in a while. Not that it was crazy lighted hearted (I actually had moments where I almost teared up but that might just have been me being weird), but the book had false princesses and magic and romance and it was just so good.

Plot: This would be spoiler-city if I said much more than what's in the summary so I'm going to skip it so I won't ruins thing for you guys.

Characters: Okay, for the sake of this review and my sanity, I'm going to call the MC of the book (the false princess herself) Sinda, since that's how she ends up identifying for most of the book besides the very beginning. Otherwise it'll end up REALLY confusing.

Sinda as a princess was kind of impressive. She says on the second page that she, "knew four modern languages well, bits and pieces of six others, and enough of five ancient tongues to at lease recognize them." Like I said, impressive. But then, when she found out who she really was, she became like a hundred times more interesting. She was prickly and stubborn sometimes which, you know, sometimes made want to smack her a bit but was interesting which is good! She also became strong and brave and independent and really awesome.

Her best friend, Kiernan, he was a hottie. What? He was and Sinda thought so too, so it's completely important that I mention it. He was also totally loyal to her which was awesome. But, also awesome, was that he wasn't doing the saving in the book. Sinda was not a damsel in distress needing to be rescued. Kiernan was her partner, her ally, and her friend, but not her knight in shining armor. And that was great.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc: The book didn't say at first when it was set, but there were a few things in the book that made me think it was set in or around the 1160s or 70s. I actually wish it had said when it was set specifically, but that might have changed in the final version.

With that time setting in mind, though... they didn't always seem to talk like they were in the twelfth century. I'm not some great historical fiction buff, but it threw me sometimes. It wasn't very often, though, just a few times in the book where something didn't feel right.

PG-13 stuff: Possibly some scary moments, but other than that, I didn't notice any language and the content seemed to me like it would probably be appropriate for younger kids reading up who aren't ready for "darker" stuff.

Cover comments: My ARC has a different cover. This post has a picture of the cover I have. I have to say, I think I like the final cover better. Because of the purple, but also I like that you could think of the cover as the idea is her past self is in the locket and her present self is still incomplete. Uh. But I'm possibly over-thinking this a bit.

Conclusion: Pleasantly surprised! The False Princess was a very enjoyable book with really good characters. And personally, I'm a bit of a sucker for a lost princess lot (ala Tangled or Sleeping Beauty). I definitely recommend it. Four out of five roses.


Other notes:

- The note is written with horrible grammar so I'm not going to copy it verbatim, but basically the gist was that I liked Sinda not being a princess better than when she was one and the magic was cool.

- The first two times Kiernan sees Sinda after she's been gone, he hugs her. There was a gap of time between the two times, but he hugs her both times. And the way he hugs her is just... kind of really awesome.

That's about it!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (97)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

I've done one post with a song from this band before but I figured it wouldn't hurt to do another. Some of you might be new or not paying attention, right? ;) Hmm, but which one?

Oh, I know!



(Closer by Anberlin.)

I like the energy of this song. Whatcha think, dear readers?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (118)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Dark Star by Bethany Frenette - To be released October 23rd, 2012

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it’s hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she’s lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human—something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn’t fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers—livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person’s memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers’ next move. But Leon, her mother’s bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won’t let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything—and everyone—she loves.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Because I read the blurb like five times and I still have very little idea what's going on, but I am INTRIGUED. And superhereos! You can't say you're not interested too.


Velveteen by Daniel Marks - To be released October 9th by Random House Children's Books

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven. It's gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what's really on her mind.

Bonesaw.

Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It'll be brutal . . . and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen's obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she's willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can't help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: For one thing, she's named Velveteen and I want to know why. It's not exactly your average name. Also I have this thing for murdering people in my own books *cough* so... this is kind of exactly my thing ;)

So, dear readers, what are you waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, June 11, 2012

YA Review: Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow

Published: December 28th, 2010 aka I suck as a reviewer
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction (more details about this in the review)
Binding: ARC
Page Count: 309 in my copy
Part of a series? Nope.
Amazon link.

Summary (from goodreads): Frances has one job in life. To get into Berkeley and become a doctor so that her mother's ambitions for her will be realized. And Frances doesn't think there's anything wrong with that - until the day she accidentally steps into a speech class.


Frances turns out to be a natural at debate and public speaking. But to win in competition, Frances needs to say things she really believes - and to hide what she's doing from her mother. And once Frances steps out beyond her narrowly prescribed life, she begins to question many things about the way she is raised. Frances knows she must be obedient to her mother, who has sacrificed so much for her education. But how much is Frances living out the life her mother wants her to have, instead of the life that's right for Frances?

Review: I quite liked this one. Two quick things before I say more. First, I'm going to call this contemporary even though it was set in a year from August 1989 to August(ish) 1990 because that didn't seem like the main focus of the book. You pretty much could have changed that to 2009-2010 and very little would change besides maybe the one mention of a New Kids on the Block poster. (Although you never know.)

Second, I would like to put out there that I am hard to impress when it comes to contemporary fiction. I'm a hard sell on it. It's just a personal bias that I try not to let sway my reviews because it's... not exactly fair, is it? It's like me going on a cheese factory tour and complaining about all the cheese.

Bitter Melon didn't make me cry, it didn't rip out my emotions, stomp them in the dust and leave me sobbing in a corner - and that's okay. Frances' story was told effectively without that and honestly after the last book that actually made me sob and kinda broke me for a night, I needed something that didn't. But of course, your mileage may vary, and it's really not a bad thing. The writing was solid, it had a good plot, complex characters, and I read it in just a few hours ago.

Plot: *points* Go look up there at the summary and you'll be good. It wasn't a terribly complex plot. Not weak, but it was more of a character-driven book. (Insert obligatory statement about how character-driven books can be completely and utterly awesome and a non-complex plot doesn't equal a weak plot.)

Characters: Like I said, more of a character-driven plot. It was largely about Frances' relationship with her mother. There was a romance (and smoochin', which always makes me happy because I'm a hopeless romantic when it comes to books) but it wasn't as big a part of the book as Frances and her mother.

Frances was interesting. I liked her and everything but I kinda... wanted to know more about her. A year passes in the book, though, and for some reason, I'm not a huge fan of that. I guess her voice was a bit removed. Which is odd considering the book was in first person present tense, but that's the best explanation I can come up with. Make sense?

As for her mother... the woman was insane. She was abusive and sabotaged Frances while at the same time expecting her to be perfect. Ugh. I did not like her at all.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: Like I said, a bit removed in the voice. That's what I'm realizing now looking back at it and my notes and stuff. It's sometimes hard to connect with her and I like to connect with characters.

PG-13 stuff: Some language and like I said, her mother was abusive. There might be some eating disorder triggers so this might be one to avoid if that's something you don't like to read in your fiction.

Cover comments: I adore the cover. Totally gorgeous. There was another cover at one point that was a flower in a black background (you can see it in this post) but I like this one way better.

Conclusion: While it didn't knock me out of the water, Bitter Melon was a solid, enjoyable book that is well worth reading and that I enjoyed. Three and a half out of four roses and very much recommended.


Other notes:

I didn't take many but have you actually seen a bitter melon? It's a funky looking plant.

That's it!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (96)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

When I was looking for a song for this week's post, I swore up and down that I'd already posted about this one, but when I searched my blog posts, I didn't find anything. So apologies if I did, yay if I didn't.



(All I Ever Wanted by The Airborne Toxic Event.)

This is a book song for me, too, so. What do you guys think? What are you listening to this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (117)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Through to You by Emily Hainsworth - To be released October 2nd, 2012

Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.

The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day.

As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Because we've acknowledged that I enjoy books that make me cry and I suspect this one will. Possibly quite a bit. Also, yay for male-narrated YA books!


Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini - To be released October 30th, 2012

Life altering mistakes are meant to alter lives…

When Elliot dies for the third time, she knows this is her last shot. There are no fourth-timers in this afterlife, so one more chance is all she has to get things right. But before she can move on to her next life, Elliot will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed… and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the mistakes of her past, Elliot must earn the forgiveness of her best friend and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: First of all, her name is cool. Second, I have this thing for reincarnation love stories. Just one of the facets of my personality. Like a diamond!

Um. Anyways. I love the sound of this one but is anyone else not in love with the cover? Or do I just have bird issues? (Could be that.)

What are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (95)


Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

This is a totally random song. Blame KT. But, honestly, it's totally fun.



(Make Me Wanna Die by The Pretty Reckless.)

What do you guys think?

Peace and cookies,
Laina