Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review: Between by Jessica Warman

Title/Author: Between, Jessica Warman
Publication date: August 2nd 2011

Publisher: Walker and Company

Source: My library

Rating: 4/5 running shoes

I knew I was going to like this book. I've read one of her other books before and that was what made me want to read this one. I just like that way she writes.

Here's the back description for you guys:

Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family's yacht, where she'd been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. Critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman brings readers along on a roller-coaster ride of a mystery, one that is also a heartbreaking character study, a touching romance, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.

What really made me go wow was how complex her characters were. And she showed it throughout the whole book. They didn't just do one thing, they all had layers that slowly got peeled back as you read. Actually to me, it felt like the main character Elizabeth Valchar was two people. She was a bitch who wasn't trying to be a bitch with problems while she was alive and guilty and compassionate when she was dead. It was an interesting way to go. But I liked it alot. My favourite character, layers and all, was Richie. It amazed me how he loved Liz so much from start to finish and how he wasnt your usual drug dealer. He was a very unusual character and I loved him for it. I kind of wish there was more of him in the book. I also liked Alex. His whole story just made my heart throb with compassion. But in my heart he doesn't compare to Richie aha.

It was slow going when Liz an Alex were just watching people, but those chapters were the ones that allowed you to put together your own conclusion whether it be right or wrong. I've mentioned it before but thats what I love about mystery books (yes I am calling this a mystery book), its no fun when the clues are so obviously pointing to a conclusion. I did have my guess from the very start at who would be the murderer and I was right aha. (Who honestly thought Liz dying was an accident? Come on people, there would be no story if it was an accident) Something felt off about said murdering character and I just didnt trust them.

Any who. I very much liked the irony in the book. And all the plot twists that made it ironic (no one else has to find it ironic aha, that might just be me). There were a few I could see coming, but for the most part I was pleasantly surprised. By the end of the book I wanted to face palm myself because there were so many clues that I didn't get at the time. And then when all was done I sat in stunned silence for a minute because everything was just stunning aha.

The ending made me smile though. It was a great ending for a great book. And im glad I have read it. The whole book was sad but there were happy parts that carried you through. This will be staying in my shelf for a long while.

Anyways I recommend this book to girls that like mystery and suspense and heart break books. If you're looking for action don't come here. Honesty though, this book would be awesome for that rainy day where you don't mind feeling a little depressed but with hope pouring out of your finger tips and giggling when you read the sweet moments (I'm not the only one who gets that feeling right?).

Dont be afraid to email me or Liz (bad grammar... Muahahahaha), we would love to hear from you :)

-Meg :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review: Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Title/Author: Crewel, Gennifer Albin

Publication Date: October 16th 2012 

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Source: My library

Rating: 5/5 looms

Its been awhile... I am sorry for this but Liz and I have been very busy with exams and the new school term. We hope we didn't lose you guys.

Anyways today's book is Crewel by Gennifer Albin, which you can see above. And here is the back description: 

Enter a tangled world of secrets and intrigue where a girl controls other’s destinies, but not her own
Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die.
But Adelice is forced to into this powerful group, and she must learn to navigate the dangerous politics at play. Caught in a web of lies and forbidden romance, she must unravel the sinister truth behind her own unspeakable power. Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it—or destroy it.

It was absolutely stunning and amazing. I dont know how I'm going to live till the next book comes out aha. It was just beautiful and unique. Probably one of the most unique books I have ever read. The characters were captivating, the plot was interesting and mind blowing, the setting was out of this world almost literally (if you read it you will get that joke hopefully aha) and it was written so well. Props to you Gennifer Albin, you're an awesome/amazing/creative/astounding/extraordinary/fantastic writer. I was speechless after I finished it.

I think my favourite parts of this book were the twists that I didn't see coming and the feelings between Adelice and her lover aha. They were so real. And even when things got complicated Adelice didn't do anything too stupid like main girls in other books. I liked that she was rebellious but not  hard core rebellious where the whole book readers are yelling at it going 'you're being extremely stupid right now!' It was very refreshing like a nice big glass of cold water. 

There were acouple of parts where I was like how is this possible? And what the flip just happened? (But of course its a fantasy/supernatural/dystopian story so nothing has to be possible aha...) but that's probably because I'm sick and can barely remember how to pour cereal correctly...  Anyways after reading like a paragraph after the part where I was confused, I would totally get it and be freaking out and jumping up and down in my seat with excitement. I just have to mention I was on Adelice's lovers team the whole time aha. And I love him. Just saying. 

The ending was perfect. There's no other way to describe it. It wasn't really a cliff hanger but it left you wondering what the hell was going to happen next. It left me with many many questions which I'm sure will be answered in the next book. But till then I will be pulling my hair out coming up with solutions to everything. Which I don't mind doing when it is a very good book aha.

I recommend you all read this. To me it seemed alittle more tuned towards girls but I'm sure guys could enjoy it as well. It's just one of those books you can't put down and end up reading till 4am in the morning on a school night... Aha

Right now the expected release date for the second book, Altered, is: October 29th 2013
So read it. After you read this one.

It was lovely writing for you all again and there will be more reviews to come because I am on vacation and brought 6 books with me...
Dont be afraid to email Liz and or I with suggestions or books we should review or even if you want to talk.

- Meg ;)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Front CoverTitle/Author: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (translated by Anthea Bell)

Publication Date: October 30, 2012

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Source: My bookshelf

Rating: 5 of 5 gargoyles

Finding a book written about other cultures isn't too difficult to come by these days. Let's face it: A lot of our favourite main characters are jetting from one country to another at the drop of a hat. Finding a young adult book directly translated from another language, however, seems rather rare to me. Not only is the translation seamless, but the story is absolutely fabulous, with dashing young men, remarkable adventures and a somewhat naive main character.
Gwen's life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she's been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean. At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he's very warm indeed; the next he's freezing cold. Gwen's not sure what's going on there, but she's pretty much destined to find out. (from Google Books)
Time-travellers? Seriously? No vampires, or zombies, or werewolves? This... this is WONDERFUL! Don't get me wrong, I adore a good vamp book, but this book is like a breath of fresh air! Set in England, this book from German author Kerstin Gier takes you all over the place and back, literally. Gwen and her gorgeous kind-of boyfriend/love interest, Gideon (swoon!) travel into the past daily. This makes for excellent interactions between the two characters, and gives you insight into who the characters really are.

As for the characters... Oh my goodness, they are perfect! Gwen is one of the best main characters OF ALL TIME, what with her witty comebacks, slightly dumb persona and a completely innocent outlook on life. For those of you that have read "Confessions of a Shopaholic", Gwen can be likened to a non-shopaholic Becky Bloomwood. And Gideon, well, he's just a slightly crazy but nonetheless perfect love interest. Is he stable, is he insane, does he love her, will he shut up? He's as far from normal as it gets, and that's what makes him such a lovable character. Also, who can forget Lesley? She's slightly nerdy, but very cool, and plays her role as a best friend/sidekick well.

I will tell you this book isn't completely serious. There are certainly some somber parts, but the majority of the book is very playful and full of life. Before reading this book, I actually looked at the cover and said "Yeah, this looks like a fun read..." but clearly I got my just dessert. It really is a lighthearted book, and it really is deliciously good.

All in all, Kerstin Gier has created perfection with Sapphire Blue. Bear in mind this is the second book in the series, which all started with Ruby Red a year or two ago. The follow through between the two books is superb as well, so be sure to pick up both if you decide to read them, which you should. I love this series, and I'm going to be eagerly awaiting the third book which comes out in the summer, I believe. Let me know what you think if you do decide to read them!

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 7, 2013

(Almost) Weekly Wednesday: Music for Those Snowy Days

Hi friends!

It's that time of year again. The time for snow and hot chocolate and blankets and snuggling. One of my favourite things to get me in the winter time mood (next to reading, of course) is listening to music. So, for your enjoyment, I'm making you a playlist of songs to listen to next time your roof is covered in snow (or the wind is colder, if you don't have snow where you live).

Elizabeth's Super Amazing Wintertime (or Anytime) Playlist

  1. Take a Chance on Me by ABBA (I'm listening to this right now!)
  2. Best for Last by Adele (such a good getting-over-you song)
  3. Don't You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia (strange band, I know, but don't judge)
  4. Beam Me Up by P!nk
  5. Ride by Lana Del Rey (kinda depressing, but her voice is so GOOD!)
  6. Home by Phillip Phillips
  7. Lady Marmalade by Various Artists (an oldie but a goodie!)
  8. Ho Hey by The Lumineers
  9. Wanted by Hunter Hayes (this is country music, but it's so precious and great for cuddling through the cold)
  10. You're Beautiful by James Blunt
Meg's Playlist That Liz Probably Does Not Know Is On This Post ;D

1. Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
2. Ho Hey by The Lumineers  
(We're twins! -Liz)
3. Stars and Satellites by Dan Griffin
4. Wax and Wire by Loch Lomond                 11. Little Lion Man covered by Tonight Alive
5. Build You Up by Kim Taylor                                   ENJOY
6. All I Want by Kodaline
7. Maps by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
8. Close Watch by Agnes Obel
9. Sometimes by Sound Of Guns
10. Misery Business by Paramore 

***Liz would like to point out that she does in fact know Meg's playlist is on here, but she's being kind and allowing it to stay :)
**** Thanks girlfriend!! -Meg

Now look, a lot of you might be looking at this playlist thinking "Oh, yuck! Those are horrible songs!" (or, "Wow, those girls are out of their tree) and maybe they are. To me, good music is any songs that make me feel (or as you Tumblr folk say "Have all the feels", right?), which is similar to my opinion of books. Hopefully, though, you find a song worth sharing on my (and Meg's, apparently) playlist(s), and I wish you the best over the winter season!

Using Too Many Parentheses So You Don't Have To,
Liz and Meg

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: Moonglass by Jessi Kirbi

Title/Author: Moonglass by Jessi Kirbi

Publication Date: May 3, 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Source: My bookshelf

Rating: 4 of 5 pieces of red seaglass (specific, yes. Crucial, absolutely)

I, like Meg, love finding a good book on the bargain shelf at the bookstore. Being the cheap couponer I am, find them for less than five dollars is perfect. Therefore, finding this book was like a dream come true.

Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.
Oh snap! Isn't that compelling? Family secrets alway draw me right in because I can relate to them, as can most people. Anna and I were pretty similar in that respect, but otherwise, we were completely different people, and I can dig that.

When I first started reading about Anna, I have to admit that she made me a little uneasy. She seemed kind of like a... flirt. She was laying herself out on the beach in her bikini and making eyes at all the lifeguards. That probably doesn't bother most people, but I'm kind of a prude. After getting past the initial reading about such a character, however, I didn't mind her. In fact, her confidence made her a more likable character. Same with her bestie, Ashley. There was no way that you are a sane person and didn't like Ashley.

“Anna: Ash, I don't have anything planned with my Mother... She's dead.

Ashley: What?

Anna: She died when I was seven. She drowned. It's just my Dad and me. I didn't tell you before because I just wanted a fresh start here, because before I moved, everybody knew about it and... I'm sorry.

Ashley: ....... You're like a Disney Princess!”

This book is a little slow, and it takes a while to get to the nitty gritty. The conflict in this book was also very internal, as well. I personally didn't mind those aspects, because they lead to deep self-discoveries and all that jazz, but if you don't usually like that, you probably won't like it in this book either.

Overall, I loved this book! The story was good, the characters were really well developed, and the writing was very well done. It is a contemporary young adult novel, so unfortunately for some of you, no giant vampires come jumping out the water to suck the sparkles out of everybody's legs.Not that that's ever happened, of course, but... Well, you catch my drift.

Happy Reading!

**SIDENOTE: I've been MIA recently, and I have to apologize for that. On top of the holidays, I've also been moving and I've barely had time to think, let alone write a review about books that I've been able to squeeze some reading time into. Anyways, I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. Happy Holidays!**

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Review: Smile of the Viper by Harry Dunn

Title/author: Smile of the Viper, Harry Dunn

Publication date: September 3 2012

Publisher: Caffeine Nights Publishing

Source: My library (now aha)

Rating: 4/5 Packs of cocaine

First off, Thank you Harry Dunn for sending Liz and I your book. We could not appreciate it more.

To get a taste of the book, here is the back description:

London private investigator Jack Barclay is on the trail of financier Tom Stanton who has disappeared with 1million of clients' money, leaving his desperate wife and children behind. Stanton's Parisian mistress, Danielle, is also involved with the boss of a drug smuggling cartel and Stanton is seduced into laundering money for them. When 4million of drugs cash goes missing and Tom is the suspect, he and Danielle go on the run. The stakes are raised with the kidnapping of Stanton's daughter, and Jack finds himself in a race to find Stanton before the mob do. As he hunts him down, he uncovers a nightmare world of torture, betrayal and murder, putting his own life in danger. Jack quickly realises those who enter the netherworld of the Russian mafia may not get out alive.

'I am glad I read this book'. That was my second thought when I finished Smile of the Viper. My first thought was 'Holy flip! This was the best ending ever!' while I was laughing my ass off. I don't know if it was meant to be hilarious but it was.

Now it took me a bit to get into the book, but as soon as I was in, I was hooked. I didn't like Jill (Tom's wife) for a couple of chapters because I felt like she was a whiner and couldn't do anything for herself even though there was no real reason for me to think that. But after a couple of chapters I felt sympathy for her. It wasn't her fault that her husband was a jerk. I felt sympathy for Jack since the start because of how lonely he was but it faded away as the plot started to thicken and action arose. 

When the plot thickened I was a bit confused at first but as soon as I figured out what was happening it was  awesome. Pieces were clicking into place every chapter it seemed like because of how fast I was reading the book. I liked that the story was told from more then just Jack's camera. Instead of following Jack the whole time, you got to follow the kidnappers, the viper, and Jill. I found this allowed me to make assumptions and conclusions on my own which made me enjoy the story more, even if they were wrong. 

What amazed me the most about this story was how complex the crime was. It took me a couple of times of going through everything in my head before I could see how everything linked together. It was insane.  Also it was nice to see that Jack ran into problems, that he wasn't all knowing. Jack ran into dead ends and had to circle back and look over everything again and again. If I was a investigator I would have said 'Flip it, I'm going to stay in Mexico and have a vacation' and I probably would have been lying in a sun chair while Tom drove right by.

Anyways the one part that is still confusing me is when Tom's time is up and his daughter is suppose to get an unwanted manicure (sorry can't remember the exact words). I'm not sure if she did or didn't get one because at one point she said her fingers hurt but if she would have gotten the mobs type of manicure then she probably wouldn't have been able to use her hands at all...

Back to the ending aha. It was probably my favourite part of the book. What happens at the end I found really ironic and funny. I'm grinning right now thinking about it. But other then finding it hilarious I also found that it was a good conclusion to the book. But I did wonder if there could be another book with Jack coming along. And if there is, I definitely would read it.

Overall the book was awesome. It had a great crime, and the characters seemed like real people. It kept me wondering till the end and it wasn't all serious like I thought it might be. There wasn't any romance for Jack... which was great! I wasn't looking for a good romance from this. Even though through the story I thought Jack and Jill (their names made me laugh) might hook up.

I hope you enjoyed my review of Smile of the Viper, be sure to check it out if you love a good crime novel.

- Meg

P.S. Happy Holidays everyone!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Love and Prayers for Connecticut

Sometimes, the harsh reality of the world kicks you right in the pants.

I had what I thought was a bad day. Nothing seemed to go right from the moment I woke up, and I came home sulking and complaining.

Then, I read about the shooting in Connecticut. Suddenly my day didn't seem so bad.

At least I was able to come home at the end of the day.
At least I didn't say goodbye to my mom for the last time this morning.
At least I'm still alive.

Those 20-plus elementary students in Newtown, Connecticut can't say the same. Nor can the seven-plus staff members who also died.

Look, I have five little siblings, four of which are under the age of eight. They are elementary students here in Canada, and I cannot imagine never seeing them again. I can't begin to fathom watching them run off to school and not seeing their chubby, precious little faces again. Jnfortunately, this is the reality of the families of those lost today in the school shooting. The most disgusting part is that their murderer isn't a fellow student. It's a grown man who killed his mother, a teacher at the school, before proceeding to murder her students.

We are the future. By "we" I mean my generation, the ones that are in school or just graduating from it. Is there no hope for us? To have one of our fellow people murder defenseless school children is unbelievable. Disturbing. Horrendous. Why, we're living in our own horror movie! Is that any way to live? To fear going to an institution of learning because there's a possible threat on our lives?

This world is a disgusting place. To lose your children, so close to the holiday season no less, must be heartbreaking. I urge each and every one of you to try to make a difference in this place we have to live it. We may not be able to reverse the damage done, but balance it out with acts of kindness in our own communities. Who knows what type of people we're inspiring at the end of the day.

I send my prayers to Connecticut and the families affected by this horrible attack on innocent people. I hope all of you can do the same, and take a moment tonight before bed to have a moment of silence for the lives lost. I know I will be.

Love and Prayers,
Elizabeth (and Meg, of course)