Archive | December, 2009

Review: Secret Society by Tom Dobly

14 Dec

HarperCollins, 2009

Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone. . . .

An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The scion of one of New York’s wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.

They didn’t ask to be Society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything—even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they’re forced to get on the nape of their necks. Once they’re part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It’s all perfect—until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo.

From HarperCollins website

With the premise, this could have been an amazing book. I love stories where dissimilar people have to come together to help each other through either hard times or a mystery. Secret Society had intrigue, solid characters and a plot that could have been spectacular. And for the most part it lived up to my expectations.

And then it did something that I hate:  it kinda crapped out on the ending. I always feel cheated when a good book jumps  the shark at the very end, and that’s what I feel this one did. Instead of venturing out on a limb, the author chose a pretty cheesy and expected ending.

I’m not saying it had to pull of a Sixth Sense kind of surprise ending or anything, but I was left feeling very meh about the book once I finished it.

Browse inside Secret Society.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for providing a review copy of Secret Society.


My faves of 2009

14 Dec

I swore I wasn’t going to do a best of 2009 list. Honestly? I find a lot of them stuffy and pretentious and more times than not I’ve never heard of any of the books on the list.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do one. There were a few books this past year that I loved so much, I wanted one last chance to gush about them before 2010 hits. I won’t be telling you about the social impact of each book, or how it defines or changes literature forever. You’ll be hearing about a few books that knocked my socks off for the shear enjoyment of their story and characters.

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Buchanan
For those of you who have visited my site before, or know me, it’s no big shock that I’m listing this as one of my fave books of the year. I had never read historical fiction before and never had any desire to. But then I had the opportunity to read and review Cathy’s book and once I started, I didn’t stop until I was finished. And then I sat on the couch for a good hour, unable to move.

This is a story about family, love, friendship, hardship, courage and loss and you would be doing your heart, mind and soul a huge injustice if you didn’t read it.

The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan
I would just like to thank these two for FINALLY putting the bite back into vampires. This book was scary, plausible and deliciously brutal in it’s depiction of vampires as mindless blood-sucking victims of a virus. The first in a trilogy, I am anxiously awaiting the release of the other two. And they will be read much in the same way as the first: lights on full, hands gripping book, ears open to every sound.

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
One word describes this book:quirky. Each and every character in this book was beautifully dysfunctional, as were all the relationships. And I have never read a book that used wordplay as wonderfully as this one. And a tortoise as one of the main characters? How could I not love this book?


14 Dec

A few weeks back over on Twitter, GalleySmith asked around if anyone would be interested in a readathon centered around book series. Immiediately a bunch of us went YES!, and SeriesPalooza was born.

This is a very low-key reading challenge that starts today and goes until Sunday. All you have to do is read books from series. It can be all the same series or books from different series you’ve been meaning to read.

I was planning on using SeriesPalooza as a way to unwind after the big move. But seeing as the big move isn’t until Sunday (ain’t life great sometimes?) I’ve had to cut down on my reading list.

I am hoping to get two whole books read! Yes, folks, that’s two books. Since I have been averaging about one book every two weeks, two books is a lot right now. And here are my choices:

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden.
This is the first in Marsden’s Tomorrow series, which was highly recommended by several people on Twitter.

Extras by Scott Westerield
This is the fourth and final in Westerfeld’s Uglies series. I read the first three earlier this year but never got around to reading the final book, probably because it takes place after the first three with a new slew of characters.

Getting soft in my old age?

12 Dec

I hate romance books. With a passion. If I pick up a book and find out that it is heavy on the romance, I’ll stop reading it. Give it away. Throw it away. I just don’t do romance.

Then I picked up a book by Alyson Noel called Evermoore. The back sounded interesting and while there was a bit of a romantic lean, I didn’t think it would be too much.

Yeah, this book was HEAVY on the romance. AND the ooshy kind. Deep stares, soul mate talk, instant I’ll-die-without-you attraction.

I should have hated it the moment the main characters Ever and Damen met eyes. But I didn’t. Nope. Instead I devoured the book in one night when I should have been painting. And then I did something even worse: I ran out to the bookstore the next day and bought the second in the series.

The second book, Blue Moon, was even mushier that the first. But yet again I found myself reading it in one sitting. And loving it. And ordering the next book a-la hardcover.

Shadowland has been sitting on my desk for about a week, mocking me. I’m dying to read it, but also a bit scared. Because if I also love it, then my personality has had a major shift. Or maybe I’m getting sentimental as I get older. Either way, it’s a bit freaky.

If you ever find me wandering the Harlequin section of the bookstore, eyes glazed over and hands clenched romantically over my heart, please call 911. Trust me, it’s an emergency.

Cherry Mischievous’s Christmas Hamper Giveaway

12 Dec

Okay, I love book giveaways. In fact, you could even say that I was addicted to them. I just love the thought of getting a book in the mail that I didn’t have to pay for. (No, I’m not cheap – much anyway.)

When I came across the Christmas Hamper Giveaway over at Cherry Mischievous’s site I thought it was a great idea. She’s filling a hamper full of cool books and the winners get to pick a book (or several books) out of the hamper.

Of course I entered. Once I stop drooling over the books in the hamper so far. The contests closes December 31st and more books could be added until then.

AND it’s an international contests, which is great for us book-loving Canucks.

Review: The Amanda Project: Book 1: invisible I by Stella Lennon and Melissa Kantor

11 Dec

HarperTeen, 2009

Amanda Valentino changed everything.

Callie Leary has exactly one thing, and one thing only, in common with Nia Rivera and Hal Bennett: They were each chosen by Amanda to be her guide. When Amanda arrived at Endeavor High, she told Callie she moves around a lot and always picks one person to help her navigate the choppy waters of a new school. Why did Amanda lie?

Following a course that they suspect Amanda deliberately plotted, Callie, Nia, and Hal piece together some cryptic clues. But they find more questions than answers and quickly realize that before they can figure out what happened to Amanda—the girl who changed their lives—they’ll need to solve the most important mystery of all: Who is Amanda Valentino?

From HarperCollins website

This was a book that didn’t necessarily wow be from the get-go, but once I got into it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. After the first two chapters or so, I was riveted and drawn into the mystery of Amanda and her disappearance. There was also a side mystery surrounding an aspect of Callie’s life and I am dying to know more about that, along with who Amanda really was.

Once I did get into it, it was a quick read that left me wanting to immediately read the second book to find out what happens next.

The Amanda Project is an interactive series with it’s very own website where you can go and find out more clues about Amanda, where she disappeared to and who she really is.

Browse inside The Amanda Project.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for providing a review copy of The Amanda Project: invisible I.

Writers write, right?

11 Dec

I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer. Ever since I was in grade 6 and my best friend and I sat down to write a “novel” about the boys we liked. (It turned out to be 7 hand written pages of crap, but hey, it was my crap.)

About a year and a half ago, I decided to quite the 9 to 5 life and try my hand at a career in freelance writing. As soon as I sat down and started looking for work, I was hooked. It was like I had finally slipped into the right skin. I was doing something that I loved.

But, you know, life is kinda funny. The past few months I have been doing minimal writing to keep afloat, which means that the projects closest to my heart (my blog and my books) have kinda taken the hardest hit.

As a result, when I run into people and they ask me what I’m up to (career wise) I find myself hesitating to say I’m a writer. Because writers write, right? And if I haven’t been writing, do I still get the honor of calling myself a writer?

I’ve thought about it a lot, and yes, I think I still do get to call myself a writer. Because whether I am actively writing or not, I’m a writer. It isn’t something I do, it’s something I am.

Review: Snap by Carol Snow

10 Dec

HarperTeen, 2009

Madison uses her camera and her love of photography to deal with the crappy summer she is having. Instead of being somewhere amazing, she was stuck in Sandyland , because of a job her father had to take.

While looking at a picture she had taken, Maddy notices a woman in the shot – a woman she knew wasn’t there when the picture was taken. When Maddy finds out that the woman is dead, she’s freaked out. When it happens again, she is more than freaked out- she’s scared.

Snap had a nice mix of teen romance, teen angst and the supernatural. It was an enjoyable book and the characters were both believable and likable. I did find Maddy a wee bit whiny and some of the situation in the book were hard to swallow, particularly the end, which got a little new-agey and preachy. While I didn’t love this book, I did like it and would recommend it, though not highly.

Browse inside Snap.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for providing a review copy of Snap.

My first challenge failure

10 Dec

So back in September I signed up for my very first book challenge, Clear Off Your Shelves Challenge over at S. Krishsna’s blog. I was very excited about it and honestly thought I could do it. My goal was that for the months of October and November, 50% of the books I read would be books that had been kicking around for more than 6 months.

Then I bought a house. And packed all my books away thinking that we were moving in the first week of October. Well, here we in the first week of December and we still haven’t moved it. And my books are still packed away somewhere.

So I kinda failed the challenge. In fact, for the two months I think I only read about 6 books, which is my normal amount for a week to two weeks.

But I’m glad I signed up and will be giving other challenges a try in the new year.

Once I unpack my books.

Dear publishers;

10 Dec

sometimes I suck. Lately I have been sucking bigtime. Not only am I behind on reading review copies you have so generously sent to me, I am behind on posting finished reviews. I could blame the time of year, the renos at the new house and stress, but really, it boils down to one thing: me. Moi. Myself. And the fact that sometimes I get overwhelmed and flake off on things. Like this blog and my review writing.

But from here on out I will be a good, little book blogger. I will finish books in a timely manner and post reviews. And until I am all caught up I will neither request more books for review or buy more books.