Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Secret Lives of People in Love: Stories by Simon Van Booy

The Secret Lives of People in Love is the debut collection of short stories by Simon Van Booy, which I picked up after reading (and loving) his second book, Love Begins in Winter. That's backwards of how I usually do things, but due to availability and wanting to get the books read in time for the book tour, I delved into Van Booy's second collection first. What this meant was that when I went to read The Secret Lives of People in Love, I was expecting the stories to be a certain way, and was surprised to find them quite different, although with the same incredible lyrical beautiful writing present in Love Begins in Winter.

The major difference between the two collections is the length of the stories, while Van Booy's first collection has 19 stories in, his second despite being of a similar length has only 5. The Secret Lives of People in Love contains stories of only 3 pages, with the longest being about 20 pages. What this means most of the time is that while the reader gets a rich look into the lives of the character, it is also a very brief look, in a sense that reminded me very much of Raymond Carver in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (despite their writing styles being extremely different). This flash into an often gray and saddening world is both poetic and tragic in Van Booy's skilled hands.

There are too many stories to discuss each one individually, but overall I enjoyed them although there were definitely a few that didn't have much impact. The collection simply didn't have the consistent power that is present in Love Begins in Winter, perhaps because of the difference in length, meaning that the reader has so much less time to get to know the characters before they vanish. One story that I loved was "Apples" in which a shoemaker plants an orchard of apples in New York City to remember his daughter. Another one that stuck with me was "As Much Below as Up Above" in which a man narrowly escapes death and contemplates the demise of so many of his friends. 

Each story in this book was a soft moment in time, mean to be savoured instead of rushed. Ultimately, The Secret Lives of People in Love is a calm and quiet collection, filled with beauty although not- as I found Van Booy's follow up Love Begins in Winter to be- overwhelmed with it. I'm not always a fan of short stories, but I know that no matter the form I will be certain to pick up whatever Simon Van Booy publishes in the future.

Release Date: May 1st, 2007
Pages: 175
Buy the Book
This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Love Begins in Winter: Stories by Simon Van Booy

I admit I picked up Love Begins in Winter: Stories by Simon Van Booy at the wrong time. What I mean is I picked it up when I was in bed, near sleep, thinking I'd just get a taste of the collection, read one story and fall peacefully asleep. From the very first sentence Van Booy had me hooked, and it didn't matter that what I thought were short stories were in fact near fifty pages in length, I made it through 2 of the 5 before finally being forced to sleep by heavy eyelids despite the fact that I didn't want to put down the book. I felt this way not because Love Begins in Winter is any kind of adventure thriller novel, the only adventure Van Booy delves into are those of the ordinary life and love.

Love Begins in Winter is a collection about meeting strangers, about beginnings, about fresh snow and new love. The title story appears first in the book and centres around an aging cellist who feels alone in the world since the death of his childhood companion. When he meets a woman who also suffered a great loss at a young age, the possibility of new life forms and grows between them. "Love Begins In Winter" was filled with beautiful phrases, word by word Van Booy made me fall in love, phrases such as "Grief is a country where it rains and rains but nothing grows. The dead live somewhere else- wearing the clothes we remember them in." and "Language is like looking at a map of somewhere. Love is living there and surviving on the land."

The second story in the collection was "Tiger Tiger", focuses on a doctor and her boyfriend, a man with parents whose marriage is on unsteady ground. He gives her a book written by their family doctor, and years later she picks it up only to realize the insight it has into her own life and the unexpected nature of love. Some of the excerpts from this book were quite intriguing, for example "Adult fears are idealized to the point where they become too big to fit through the hole they originally came through." Overall, it was probably my least favourite story in the collection though, as I found myself more emotionally distant from it than the other stories.

In the third story, "The Missing Statues", the love comes from a stranger and its impact radiates for years to come as the kindness of a gondolier is never forgotten by the man a young boy grows to be. In "The Coming and Going of Strangers", a boy falls in love with a girl he has never spoken to, a love that has no reason and yet is stronger than anything he has ever felt. The ending of the story was definitely a surprise, but the more I thought about it the more I felt it was perfect.

Love Begins in Winter ends with the story "The City of Windy Trees" in which a man travels to a new country to meet the daughter he never knew, the result of a one-night stand many years ago and the dream he never acknowledged. It is a touching story about redemption and what it feels like to move from a life alone to a life of love. The characters in Van Booy's collection are loners until they find love, although it doesn't always appear in obvious ways.

Ultimately, Love Begins in Winter was a beautiful and powerful collection from an author I will be certain to follow in the future. I already have his first collection of stories and his novel to read and I am excited to delve into more of his poetic writing. Although the title story was certainly my favourite, the others in the collection didn't disappoint my initial expectation. I may have read Love Begins in Winter in summer but it is the beginning of what I am sure will be a long lasting love affair with Simon Van Booy's beautiful prose.

Release Date: May 1st, 2009
Pages: 226
Buy the Book
This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

Sweet Venom 2 Title Hunt

Hi Everyone,

I have the awesome opportunity to be a part of the Sweet Venom 2 Title Hunt. I haven't read the first Sweet Venom yet but I loved the Fins series when I read it recently and am excited for this new exciting series. To be a part of this hunt you can find out more at the Tera Lynn Childs' blog 

My letter is:

Make sure you check out the other blogs on the hunt to figure out the whole title. You'll have the opportunity to win prizes including signed copies of Sweet Venom and a $50 giftcard for a bookstore. And it's open internationally!

Good luck!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson

What if each day you woke up, and all your recent memories had been erased? In Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson, this is exactly what Christine has to deal with. Her brain is able to store new memories, but only for twenty four hours, and when she wakes each day it is with the hope of a child or a young woman, thinking she still has her whole life ahead of her. The man in bed beside her is a stranger, but he says he is her husband. Even the face in the mirror doesn't belong to the person she remembers herself to be. Christine is forced to rely on her husband to learn and relearn who she is, but how can she even know if he is telling her the truth, and not a different truth each day?

Something that was interesting was that the main character of Before I Go To Sleep is actually middle-aged. I don't know how it happens- maybe because I do read a lot of YA as well- but I have gotten used to younger characters lately. Even though those younger characters are closer to my own age, it was refreshing to read a book written from the perspective of a woman who is a bit more mature (even if she doesn't realize it most of the time!)

From page one, I loved Before I Go To Sleep. It's exactly this kind of book that reminds that, when done well, when they are intelligent and well-written and all the right kinds of creepy, I really do love thrillers. Watson takes an interesting and unique premise and weaves a web with so many threads that the twists the novel takes will both thrill and shock the reader. The reader slowly begins to suspect that something isn't quite right, with an eeriness that builds slowly until an ending that you won't see coming. I fully recommend that you pick up Before I Go To Sleep, just be warned you'll be forced to the finish every sentence of Watson's incredible page-turning debut before you can go to sleep yourself.

Release Date: June 14th, 2011
Pages: 360
Buy the Book
Source: ARC from Publisher
Learn More About the Book

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (5)

This meme is hosted at Book Journey. I had another productive reading week although a lot of it was on audio, it allowed me to prepare my plants in the lab and enjoy a couple books at the same time which worked out nicely and made the time go faster. This week I'm planning to catch up on books for upcoming tours so I have plenty of time to write my reviews as I'm pretty behind on that part of the reading and reviewing at the moment.

Last week I finished reading:

Hereafter by Tara Hudson
I listened to this on audiobook and it was alright. The main character Amelia was pretty passive and timid and the whole relationship between a ghost and a human is slightly disturbing, but the book definitely managed to cultivate the creepy and ominous feeling you want out of a ghost story. I'm not entirely sure if I'll read the rest of the trilogy, it depends on if the synopsis for the next book catchers my attention.

Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
I really enjoyed the sequel to Once a Witch, it was a great way to tie up the series (is two book a series?) and MacCullough's visit to the past was really believable. I wished for a little bit more time spent on the ending but otherwise it was a fun and exciting read.

Sharks in the Rivers by Ada Limón
I wanted to read this book of poetry before my Netgalley expired and I'm glad I did. The first half of the book was really lovely but I admit the second half was less so and felt kinda scattered at times.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
I love both these authors so I had high hopes for this book, and I was totally right. Also the amazing thing about listening to this on audio was that Tiny's songs really come to life, literally, it was great hearing them sung instead of just written on a page. I wasn't completely content with how things tied up with one of the Will Graysons and Tiny but that might just be personal preference.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
I've heard great things about the Last Survivors series so I was glad to get a chance to start listening to it. What was really cool about this book is how you actually see the decline of the world following the crash of the meteor into the moon. It's very different than a book like Ashes, Ashes which is also post-apocalyptic but starts after the destruction has already destroyed the planet. I think it's a lot scarier actually experiencing the decline.

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
I was a little surprised to realize this second book involves totally different characters than the first one but it was an interesting perspective into what life was like in New York City during the same time frame. It's written third person (although it follows the main character Alex as he cares for his two younger sisters) which is very different from Miranda's diary in Life As We Knew It which I didn't enjoy quite as much but it was still good.

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Of course I had to listen to the next book in this series (although I did get impatient with the audio and ended up reading half of it with my hard copy), it brings the characters from the first two books together. I'm also glad it's written in diary form as I really enjoyed Miranda's voice in Life As We Knew It and the audiobook is the same narrator. It turns out there's actually a fourth book called The Shade of the Moon being released in 2012.

Wherever You Go by Joan Leegant
This is for an upcoming book tour. The novel is incredibly powerful, beautiful, well written, and absolutely horrifying at the same time. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it and I will definitely want to read more by Leegant in the future.

What I plan to read this week:

Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
An upcoming book tour, plus a Canadian author I hadn't read before but have heard great things about, her novel A Complicated Kindness was actually a summer reading option in high school and I believe this deals with similar issues in the Mennonite community. I'm halfway into this one and really enjoying it so far.

Swing Low by Miriam Toews
Another Toews but this one is actually non-fiction, it is about her father who committed suicide. It's a sad story but it sounds like it will be very moving. My review for this will be up for a book tour in September.

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Another story about a relationship between the dead and the living, but this one intrigues me because it's actually a girl who brings the boy she loves back from the dead but then realizes he's not the same person he was before. I think the twist about the girl trying to understand her powers and knowing she made a mistake bringing her boyfriend back is great.

Frost by Wendy Delsol
I didn't get a chance to read this last week but I'm definitely looking forward to it. I loved Stork so much and this will be a nice escape. Delsol is hilarious and engaging and I'm sure this book will be more of the same.

Along for the Ride
by Sarah Dessen

I thought this would be a cute audiobook to listen to after all the destruction of the Last Survivors series, probably a little more uplifting! It'll only be my second book by Sarah Dessen and she's such a hit in the YA world I figured I had to give it a try. I read Keeping the Moon almost exactly a year ago so it's about time for another one.

The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen

For an upcoming book tour, this novel deals with big issues like infidelity and the death of a child soon after birth and the impact such grief can have on a family. If it's as beautifully written as I expect it to be, I'm sure it will be a very powerful story (although I'm secretly hoping for a happy ending, if one is even possible).

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta focuses on the relationship between two siblings, the narrator Denis and her brother Nik who grew up surrounded by the music scene of Los Angeles in the late seventies and early eighties. Since then, Denise has grown up and gotten a career to help support her and her daughter, Ada. On the other hand, Nik now makes his music in private, obsessively documenting it all and rarely sharing beyond a narrow circle that sometimes includes only Denise. When Ada comes to town looking to make a documentary about Nik, everything that Denise has worked so hard to hide from seems to come pouring out and the result will have consequences they never could have foreseen.

Spiotta's writing is sharp and precise, letting the reader into the obsessive yet vulnerable mind but in the end I remained disconnected from the novel. There was some lovely writing, but in the end I didn't care what happened to the characters and had a difficult time reminding myself to pick up the book again. There may have been sentences that struck me as beautiful when I was reading them, and there were certainly quite a few, but afterwards they vanished from my mind, the story itself slowly evaporating, and I wondered what the point was of such writing if it was impermanent?

What Spiotta does do successfully is let the reader into the mind of what it is like when art is everything, when you are isolated and consumed. In Stone Arabia she writes:
"Ask someone who is truly obsessed why they feel that way. They will sputter, they will feel you are interrogating their private world, they may spout a list of reasons, but ultimately they can’t fully explain it. Obsession has an irrational or subrational heart. It is a bit like falling in love, I imagine."
It was such moments of clarity that resulted in me finishing a novel I may have otherwise abandoned. I must admit that in the end I didn't like Stone Arabia, I couldn't connect to any of the characters, but I also have the suspicion that perhaps that was not the intention of the book after all. Spiotta provides a bit of light for the reader into a dark world that the truly obsessed may inhabit- it's not something enjoyable to read about, but it does provide the core of Stone Arabia, a sometimes intriguing, sometimes disconnected, novel.

Release Date: July 12th, 2011
Pages: 256
Buy the Book
Source: Simon and Schuster Galley Grab

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (August 21st-27th 2011)

This week my mailbox was a little less crazy but just as wonderful. I've been looking forward to some of these (Exposed, for one) for months and it's a great collection: everything from a fairy tale retelling to a novel in verse to a non-fiction table book to poetry to post-apocalyptic fiction. Can't wait to dig into them all.

{For Review}
Glass Boys by Nicole Lundrigan (D&M)
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch (Unsolicited) (Scholastic Canada)
Traveler by Devin Johnson (D&M)
Voyages by Gordon Miller (D&M)
A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan (Random House Canada)
Hourglass by Myra McEntire (Random House Canada)
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus (Random House Canada)

I saw that Sarah Jio, author of Violets of March (which I LOVED- click here for review) and the upcoming The Bungalow had some book plates available to readers on her blog so of course I had to ask for one. She was kind enough to send me two, the second one will be going in my second copy of Violets which is an upcoming Christmas present.

What was in your mailbox this week?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blood & Flowers by Penny Blubaugh

I really shouldn't have picked up Blood & Flowers by Penny Blubaugh. I say that so you realize I was not in any way predisposed to liking it. Sure, it has a weird creepy cover of the sort I tend to be drawn to, but so did Blubaugh's debut Serendipity Market and I did not enjoy it at all. Still, I decided to give this author a second chance with her second book, and I ended up being glad I did.

In Blood & Flowers, a young woman named Persia has run away from her drug-addict parents, finding an unlikely home with the Outlaws, an underground puppet theater group which includes both mortals and fey. The group becomes the family Persia never had, and she even falls in love with an incredible boy. Everything is perfect until an enemy forces the group to flee to the realm of Faerie, a world filled with dangerous magic that is not quite the safe haven the Outlaws had hoped for. Together they hope to defeat their enemy and protect both their right to perform, and their own lives.

Blood & Flowers was definitely a novel I found myself instantly drawn into. It took me awhile to adjust and figure out what was going on with the story, but from the first page I loved the way Blubaugh integrated magic into the world. From the fey and their secret presence in the world to the magical and illegal drinks being brought across from the other realm, Faerie could easily be replaced with a race or religion and the same persecution could be faced believably, making the story both mystical but with an underlying sense of truth to it.

Unlike Serendipity Market, a lot happens in Blood & Flowers- perhaps even too much. The plot moves forward quickly and there is always another threat on the horizon for Persia and her friends. The result is that the novel is far more story and world-based than it is character based, and although the reader gets a small taste of the major character's back-stories it isn't enough to really connect to them. The romance, along with other relationships between characters, also didn't feel that genuine. That said, it was an enjoyable and quick read and although I probably won't pick it up a second time, Blubaugh has definitely won me over in a way her first novel did not and I finished the book honestly surprised but glad that I had enjoyed it.

Overall, Blood & Flowers is an enjoyable novel that takes place in a well-built world and though less attention is paid to character development than plot Blubaugh has written a book that provides a unique and magical escape.

Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Pages: 352
Buy the Book
Source: ARC from Publisher

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The London Train by Tessa Hadley

The London Train by Tessa Hadley is a novel in two parts, subtly connected. The first part tells the story of Paul, a man living in the countryside with his second wife. Soon after his mother dies he learns his daughter from his first marriage has moved out and gone missing. He goes to London in search of her only to find her living in chaos with her lover. At first Paul wants to save her, but then he begins to envy her. In the second portion of The London Train, Cora moves back to Cardiff to escape her marriage, renovating the house she inherited from her parents. While there she gets a telephone call- her husband has gone missing. The two stories are tied together by a chance moment on a London train, a moment that will have grave consequences for both Paul and Cora.

The London Train is a quiet yet eloquent novel, Hadley has a subtle way of describing things that sneaks up on the reader with its beauty. That said, I also found it rather detached and unemotional at times making it difficult to connect with the characters. It is the kind of book who's writing I enjoyed, but I never became fully immersed in the story itself. This may be due to the fact that not a lot actually happens in the novel, The London Train is about the internal changes rather than the external, which means there isn't a lot of plot to get the pages turning quickly. In addition, none of the characters are actually likable, at least not to me, so unless they were going to get a brand new personality (which, I admit, Paul kinda did) I didn't really care about their emotional development. That's not a bad book, it's just a personal preference. Ultimately, Hadley's writing provides a lovely package for the novel The London Train, unfortunately for me, I found myself unsatisfied with what was inside.

Release Date: January 6th,, 2011
Pages: 336
Buy the Book
This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

Lauren Barnholdt is a well-known author of contemporary YA but Sometimes It Happens was the first book I picked up by her. It's the unfortunately realistic story of Hannah, who gets dumped by her cheating boyfriend the last day of her junior year of highschool. Looking for support from her best friend Ava, Hannah is shocked to learn that Ava's decided to work away as a camp counselor for the summer, leaving Hannah all alone. Luckily she's left behind her boyfriend Noah, a friendly guy who gets Hannah a job at the local dinner where he works. There, over the course of the summer Hannah makes two new good friends, Lacey who also works at the dinner, and Noah. But when what Hannah and Noah have grows into something more than friendship, Hannah is forced to begin senior year with a heavy secret and the realization that, sometimes it happens...

The entire premise of Sometimes It Happens, especially because it is told from the perspective of Hannah, the girl who cheats with her best friend's boyfriend, should be immediately repulsive. Shockingly, Barnholdt makes her character so real and human, conflicted and flawed, that even though what Hannah and Noah did was so wrong, the real story is more complicated than that. That said, probably because of the storyline, many of the characters were quite unlikable, including Hannah, Ava and Hannah's ex. The only one I really liked was Lacey, her hypochondriac quirk was a funny touch. The writing style resulted in a genuinely teenage voice, which is theoretically a good thing but in reality mean there were a few too many "like"s and "oh my God"s. The dinner setting was charming in a way that reminded me strongly of the only Sarah Dessen novel I've read, Keeping the Moon, and I have a feeling Barnholdt would be enjoyed by Dessen fans.

Sometimes It Happens didn't completely blow me away, but it did surprise me. The story is initially pretty superficial but Barnholdt does manage to delve into important teen issues like friendship and insecurity. The language bothered me at times but there were many tiny realistic details to the story that made the characters feel like authentic teenagers. I certainly think what Noah and Hannah did was terribly wrong, but the premise makes for an engaging story where you're almost a little scared to turn the page on Hannah's behalf. Although I won't be rereading Sometimes It Happens, Barnholdt has sparked my interest and I will definitely be picking up another book by her in the future.

Release Date:  July 12th 2011
Pages: 312
Buy the Book
Source: Simon and Schuster Galley Grab

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Creep by Jennifer Hillier

Creep by Jennifer Hillier is a novel in a genre I don't read very often- mystery thriller- but the synopsis caught my eye and I decided to try out this debut novel about an obsession gone too far. It is the story of Dr. Sheila Tao, a professor of psychology who has a passionate affair with her much younger graduate student Ethan Wolfe, but when she breaks up when following her engagement to a loving and safe investment banker, Ethan isn't going to just take no for an answer. If Sheila is going to try to reject him, Ethan has just the plan to make her pay, and with a student already having been found dead there may be more than just Sheila's reputation at risk.

As I already mentioned, Creep is definitely a book outside of my normal reading, which consists mainly of literary fiction and YA, but Hillier did manage to keep my attention. She has a thrilling premise and the novel is certainly a page turner so overall I'd consider it a success. I especially enjoyed the last quarter or so of the novel, which is when I found it finally got that creepiness the title promised. Creep is heavy on the sex- Sheila's a recovering sex addict, after all- as well as violence, language, and all those other fun things. Still, I would have been surprised if it wasn't based on the summary.  It did seem to take a little while for the story to get started, and the premise itself wasn't terribly original although Hillier does do her own spin on it.

When it comes to character development, Creep is a bit lacking but it's also not really the main purpose of this genre either (although it's still nice), the purpose is to keep the reader's attention and take them for a thrilling ride, and Hillier certainly manages that. That said, I didn't particularly care about what happened to Sheila, I never actually liked her as a character, but I was interested in finding out how the events would unfold. The mystery is more subtle and it sneaks up on you, as does the storyline. Overall, the characters in Creep are pretty superficial but it definitely manages to live up to its title and Hillier has written a book with plenty of twists, turns and intrigue to satisfy any mystery lover.

Release Date: July 5th  2011
Pages: 357
Buy the Book
Source: Simon and Schuster Galley Grab

Monday, August 22, 2011

Giveaway Winner: Secret Daughter

Congratulations Caryn.

Make sure to check out my ongoing, four winner giveaway, open internationally here.

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard is about two twin girls, separated at birth. Sutton is adopted and raised in a wealthy family, while the other twin, Emma, spends her early years with their flaky mom before being put into foster care. When the novel begins Sutton is dead, and yet she is still on earth and following Emma around, unable to remember how she died, or even how she lived. When Emma sees a video featuring a girl, a girl who appears to be killed and who looks exactly like her, but isn't her, she realizes something is terribly wrong. With nobody to turn to, Emma slides into Sutton life, trying to figure out what happened before the same killer that got her sister, gets her as well.

Although I hadn't read any thing by Sara Shepard before, the television show based on her teenage mystery series, Pretty Little Liars, definitely has me hooked. Unfortunately there are already a billion (or at least 9) books released so when I found out she was releasing a new series, I figured I'd start from scratch. It turns out The Lying Game has also been turned into a television show, so I get to add another guilty addiction to my weekly schedule.

I listened to The Lying Game on audiobook and really enjoyed listening to the narrator, Cassandra Morris. That said, I am undecided about the story itself. Sutton is an incredibly materialistic girl who has done a lot of bad things in her life, but her voice (as the ghost) seems so kind and gentle- is that the true Sutton, or is the real one evil? It's hard to tell and it bothered me.  Present Sutton seemed so much nicer than Past Sutton and I have to wonder how Shepard is going to reconcile the two personalities. I enjoyed most of the other characters though, Emma seemed reasonably conflicted over what was going on and Sutton's friends were so self-adsorbed it was easy to believe they didn't realize she was missing, although I was less convinced that none of her family members would have noticed either. It also felt like it took quite awhile for the story to get started, but there was plenty of intrigue and mystery once it did. In The Lying Game, it seems like everyone is hiding something in a way that makes it absolutely delicious to read about.

This is completely and utterly the first book in a series- already there are two sequels, Never Have I Ever which was just released and Two Truths and a Lie which is coming out in February. Although I am very intrigued to see how things turn out, I have to wonder exactly how many books I will be expected to read in order to learn; if The Lying Game is anything like Pretty Little Liars, than quite a few it seems! I'm conflicted over reading the books as they are released, reading them once the series is done (if ever?) and just tuning into the television show.

Ultimately, The Lying Game is a suspenseful novel packed with intrigue and questions, but lacking in answers, if you can handle the Massive Cliffhanger Ending then there is definitely enough drama to satisfy any craving you might have.

Release Date: December 7th, 2010
Pages: 305
Buy the Book
Source: ARC from Publisher and Audiobook

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (4)

Hosted at Book Journey. I'm really enjoying this meme actually, gives me a great chance to see what kind of reviews I can look forward to on other peoples' blogs as well as keeping me on track with my own reading. I had a productive week, mainly due to a lot of (mermaid) YA but that's okay, sometimes you just need to read something that doesn't make your brain hurt too much! Now to catch up on the corresponding reviews...

Last week I finished reading:
The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow
I expected this to be a lot more intense than it was, Morrow has lovely writing but the story itself was not really that exciting.

Addicted: Notes From the Belly of the Beast edited by Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane
Ten fantastic and powerful true stories about Canadian writers and their addictions struggles, focuses mainly on alcohol but they are incredible and moving.

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
I ended up listening to Lost Voices on audio before reading Ripple, so it was my first mermaid book, and I really enjoyed it. Porter uses lovely language and Luce was a great main character. Be sure to check out my review.

Vital Signs by Tessa McWatt
Not at all what I was expecting, but a powerful book nonetheless. Kinda reminds me of Hisham Matar's Anatomy of a Disappearance meets Lisa Genova's Still Alice in a weird way. That analogy probably only makes sense to me. Anyone?

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard
I actually enjoyed this a surprising amount, unfortunately Hubbard's previous books don't really catch my attention but I'll definitely keep an eye on what she publishes in the future.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
It was the week of the mermaids! I decided to dive into another fishy tale on my TBR list after having the sequel arrive this week. This one is a little bit like the film Aquamarine, but better. It was definitely the least dark of the three- and has the prettiest cover- and I enjoyed all the fish-related puns. Of course, I am also totally in love with Quince.

Stork by Wendy Delsol
My next audio adventure, the sequel to this novel, Frost, is on Netgalley so I figured I'd listen to this one first. Gabrielle Carolina's rave review at The Mod Podge Bookshelf convinced me and I'm glad she did, it's both hilarious and engaging.

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Started on this audiobook after I finished Stork as I spent five hours in the car this weekend giving me a chance to listen to a good dent of it. It didn't completely blow me away but I did enjoy it and look forward to checking out the sequel, Always a Witch.

Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs
I had to dive into the followup after finishing Forgive My Fins. To be honest, it wasn't as good, but I'll definitely be checking out more by Tera Lynn Childs in the future, maybe her new upcoming Sweet Venom trilogy.

What I plan to read this week:

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
I got distracted by mermaids (see above) and as much as I am looking forward to this I need to be in the right mood for a book. Planning to read it this week though, the first paragraph already has me entranced.

Wherever You Go by Joan Leegant
I've been doing an awesome job lately of staying ahead of the book tour game, and this is my most recent tour arrival. I won't be reviewing it till September but I do hope to get a head start on it this week.

There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff
A teenage boy is a neglectful God in this very odd and unusual novel, I haven't read anything by Rosoff before but have heard good things about her novel How I Live Now and her most recent book is supposed to be quite captivating. I guess I'll find out if that's in a good or a bad way this week!

Frost by Wendy Delsol
I loved Stork so I'm excited to dive into its sequel this week, thank you Netgalley! Delsol is hilarious and engaging and I'm sure this book will be more of the same.

Always A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
It'll be a week with many sequels I guess as I definitely plan to read this one to find out what happens to Tamsin and her family. I believe this one takes place almost entirely in the past which intrigues me.

Lark by Tracey Porter
This one reminds me a little of The Lovely Bones and it's short but sounds like it will be quite haunting. It just arrived and I'm very interested to read it.

Hereafter by Tara Hudson
I need a new audiobook to start this week, and although I don't know if I'll finish I figure this is as good a one as any to try, plus it's a recent release and a debut. It's a bit outside my usual genres of reading but I find YA tends to make for better audiobooks as I don't like listening to something that is twenty or thirty hours long. I just hope Hudson doesn't leave it on a terrible cliffhanger like so many first books in a series seem to be these days, I want a complete story! The cover is pretty creepy...

What are you reading this Monday?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (August 14th-20th 2011)

So I am just going to admit upfront that this is kinda ridiculous. Many many surprises. Definitely have a lot to keep me busy for the next couple months now! Very excited to read and review all of these.

{For Review}
Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Once a Witch by Carolym MacCullough  (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Caleb's War by David L. Dudley (ARC) (Unsolicited) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic (ARC) (Unsolicited) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Hound Dog True by Linda Urban (ARC) (Unsolicited) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Outlaw by  Stephen Davies (ARC) (Unsolicited) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer (ARC) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Wherever You Go by Heather Davis (ARC) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Also Known as Rowan Pohi by Ralph Fletcher (ARC) (Unsolicited) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan (ARC) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett (ARC) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Flyaway by Helen Landalf (ARC) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Water Balloon by Audrey Vernick (ARC) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton (Unsolicited) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
In The Forests of the Night by Kersten Hamilton (ARC)  (Unsolicited) (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Those That Wake by Jesse Karp (Thomas Allen & Sons)
Swing Low by Miriam Toews (ARC) (TLC Book Tours)
Irma Voth by Miriam Toews (ARC) (TLC Book Tours)
Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien (ARC) (Macmillan Children's Publishing Group)
The Grief of Others by Leah Hagen Cohen (ARC) (TLC Book Tours)
Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs (ARC) (Harper Collins Canada)
Dead Rules by Randy Russell (ARC) (Harper Collins Canada)
Lark by Tracey Porter (ARC) (Harper Collins Canada)
The Shattering by Karen Healey (ARC) (Unsolicited) (Little Brown, Books For Younger Readers)
Daughters of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (ARC) (Unsolicited) (Little Brown, Books For Younger Readers)
Sanctus by Simon Toyne (ARC) (Unsolicited) (Harper Collins)
The Most Dangerous Things by Laura Lippman (Unsolicited) (Harper Collins)
A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd (Unsolicited) (Harper Collins)

Well... that's it! Have you read any of these books? Which ones do you think I should start with? What was in your mailbox this week?