Archive | April, 2012

All These Things I’ve Done – Gabrielle Zevin

5 Apr

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city’s most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.’s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she’s to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight–at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

Okay, I don’t think I could handle it if chocolate were banned. I mean, seriously. The coffee I could do without (though I’m sure the hubs would be a joy to live with) but chocolate? No freaking way.

This book had such a unique premise that I was really hoping to fall hopelessly in love with it. But I didn’t. I didn’t hate it but I had an issue and for me it’s a big one. The pacing in All These Things I’ve Done?  It was way, way off for me.

Okay, so, I LOVED the parts about her mafia family and the chocolate poisoning and such. But sandwiched in between was the romancey stuff. It just seemed like in the middle of the book there was a shift from the mystery of the poisoning to the smoochy part and then back to the mystery again. I found it jarring and quite noticeable. I would have much preferred if the mafia stuff stayed the main focus and the romance part was woven in better.  It’s not that I didn’t like the romance stuff, it’s just that it kinda stopped everything else that was happening. And yes, I realize that when teens fall in love (or anyone for that matter) that pretty much everything else is at a stand-still for a while.  I just found it jarring, is all.

But still, I did enjoy the book and really loved the prohibition throwback and the tone of the book.  Even though it made me crave chocolate like nobody’s business.

Hemlock – Kathleen Peacock

3 Apr

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer:

A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boy-friend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.

It’s, you see, I just, this book… gah!!!!!!! I have so much flipping LOVE for this book that I’m a bit of a blabbering mess trying to write this review. Even more so than normal. If I could, I’d give each of you a copy of Hemlock, a day where you don’t have to do anything, some great tea, chocolate and a cozy blanket and tell you TO READ IT. And you would. In one fell swoop. Because when I sat down to read Hemlock, I did nothing else until I was finished. But this is a review blog and I’m not a millionaire, so let me try to explain why I have so much love for this book. But first I have to thank the folks at HarperCollins Canada for the review copy. And for not serving me with a peace bond. I kinda pestered them for the last six months about getting my grubbies on an ARC of Hemlock. :D

Lately I’ve been very meh about paranormal YA books. I think I had just read so many of them that I kind of burnt out on the genre. They were all blurring together and I was having a hard time differentiating one from another. Then Hemlock landed on my door and it pretty much kicked me in the ass. It made me excited about the genre again.

Kathleen’s writing style is just beautiful. It’s detailed without going overboard, flowery where it needs to be, straightforward in other parts. From the first page her writing flows and just keeps flowing until the last word. Which, in my opinion, came way too fast.

The story was tight and had just enough twists and turns to keep me happy without making it seem like they were just put in willy-nilly to make things more dramatic. There were a couple “HOLY HELL!” moments and they were absolutely delicious. I mean I was all like, “WHA?? OMG!!!!”.

Mac is just a great, well rounded character. Actually, they all are. And the Trackers? EVIL. But fascinating. Yups. There’s just something about a burly group of psychotics with access to weaponry that adds a super WTF element to a book. Would it make me sadistic if I said I think they may have been my favorite part of Hemlock?

There’s also some romance, but it’s not all mushy-gooshy. I actually really liked it. It was real and it added to the story, rather than being a separate element. It didn’t feel like it was just shoved in because the book needed some romance, you know?

So yeah, in case you couldn’t guess, I absolutely LOVED Hemlock. It’s one of my favorite reads so far this year (if not THE favorite read) and I know it will be one of my go-to books for when I want to read something awesome. And I cannot wait until the second book comes out. Wonder if Kathleen needs a beta reader……..

Q&A with author Kathleen Peacock – Hemlock Blog Tour

2 Apr

I first “met” Kathleen about a year or so ago on Twitter. Besides being one of my favorite authors (yes, Kathleen, you have made it on my polite stalking list!) she’s one of my favorite all around people. So I’m tickled pink to have her on the blog today for a little Q&A. And make sure to pop back in tomorrow for what is sure to be an incohesive and babbling review of Kathleen’s debut novel, Hemlock. (So much LOVE for this book. SO. MUCH.)

Lavender Lines: Heya! Thanks so much for popping by the blog and chatting. I promise I won’t make the questions too intrusive. :)

Kathleen: No problem! I… hey… wait a sec… why do you want my social insurance number? Who told you I had mono when I was in college? WHERE DID QUESTION NUMBER SEVEN COME FROM?! Number ten is just… inappropriate. The truth? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

*ahem*

LL: How close did the finished version of Hemlock look to what you had envisioned when you set out to write it?

K: There were some fairly substantial changes. Hemlock was, quite literally, my first book, and there was a huge learning curve and more than one revision. Some plotlines, characters, and settings from my original draft were moved to book two and the characters were all aged down a year (the original story took place the summer/fall after graduation).

LL: Writing or editing: which do you find harder?

K: Option C: Plotting. Followed by Option D: Pacing (which probably comes under editing).

LL: Coffee or tea?

K: Neither. Roll up the Rim won’t ensnare me!

LL:  What books are currently on your nightstand?

K: Right now? I was trying to read Paradise Lost by John Milton (one of my New Year’s resolutions), but I got distracted by revisions. The last two books I read were The Guardians by Andrew Pyper (which was deliciously creepy) and Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (which was even more amazing than the pre-ARC/edited version I had read). Some books in my TBR pile/on my Kobo are: Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst, Slatwater Vampires by Kirsty Eagar, and Bossypants by Tina Fey. I’ve also got an audio book of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America by David Hajdu on my iPod.

LL: So, I found Hemlock totally, absolutely squee-worthy. What’s the last squee-worthy book you read?

K: Awww. *blush*

Since it was a re-read, it’s probably cheating for me to say Incarnate, right? Incarnate out of the equation, I’d say Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I finally got around to reading it a few months ago, and it totally swept me off my feet and enchanted me.

LL: Merci Kathleen, for answering these hard-hitting questions. :)

K: Bienvenue!

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