Archive | September, 2011

Smokin’ Seventeen – Janet Evanovich

21 Sep

I love Stephanie Plum. I really do. She’s one of my favorite literary characters and the inspiration for the heroine of my YA urban fantasy series.  She just so much FUN! Seriously. I love her to death. And the whole love triangle with her, Morelli and Ranger? While I usually gag at the mere hint of a love triangle, this one has grown on me. It may be the fact that seventeen books in I still have no idea who she’s going to choose (although I’ve recently declared myself teamRanger).

Smokin’ Seventeen has what I’ve come to love and expect from a Stephanie Plum book: crazy skips, cars being destroyed, outrgareuous outfits on Lula, laugh out loud funny shit from Grandma Mazure and a lot of junk food (seriously, healthy eating while reading one of these books is near impossible. I wanted donuts and fried chicken the whole freaking time. Oh and upside down pineapple cake, whatever the hell THAT is). With all that wacky goodness, you’d think I’d LOVE this book right? Well, there was just one teeny, tiny problem.

See, there’s always a larger mystery in these books. And I NEVER figure out what’s going on or who the bad guy is. Except in this case I knew from the get-go and that was disappointing to me. And for the first time in seventeen books I thought Stephanie was pretty dumb.

So, yeah, I didn’t love Smokin’ Seventeen, but I sure liked it a lot. And I know I will continue reading these books until Evanovich runs out of numbers.

Virtual chocolate donuts with sprinkles to the fine folks at Random House Canada for the review copy.


Fury – Elizabeth Miles

19 Sep

Creepy, creepy, CREEPY! Fury was so creepy, and, yeah, scary, that I was bundled up in a sweater and wrapped in a blanket while I read it. With all the lights on. Constantly checking over my shoulder. For realz. And it was wonderful. I’m so happy that Simon and Schuster Canada sent me an ARC.

I LOVE when paranormal books cross over to horror. And Fury totally did that. You got the sense from the beginning that something wasn’t right, was drastically wrong and that things weren’t going to end well. There would be no last minute flury of rainbows and cupcakes, no. Things were going to end BAD.  And I was totally okay with that.

Miles holds nothing back in Fury. The readers aren’t coddled so that they’ll walk away feeling all bubbly and light. I love these kinds of books. Where, at anytime, someone can die or lose everything. Where you think you know what’s going to happen, but of course, you don’t. It’s awesome. Like Fury was.

Em and Chance, the two main characters, were far from perfect. So, when shit starts to happen to them, there’s this moment of, “So what? Maybe they kinda deserve it.” I found I struggled throughout, bouncing back and forth between “No, they don’t” and “Yes, they do.” Which, to me, is part of the brilliance of Fury. Way to make the reader struggle with moral issues. Just like the characters do.

The ending took me completely by surprise, but in a good way. Can’t wait to read the sequel. And I hope the publication of Fury sees a return to YA horror. Cuz I dig it.

Close Your Eyes – Amanda Eyre Ward

15 Sep

So, a month or so ago, Random House New York was tweeting about a #secretbook. Always the nosey one, I asked about it and was offered a copy for review with the promise that I would love it. A book junkie like me isn’t going to say no and a few days later Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward landed in my mailbox. I was in a major reading slump and almost didn’t start reading it. Deemed a “Literary Mystery” I felt that in my current state of mind I wouldn’t get ten pages in. But I picked it up anyway and started reading it. I finished it the next day. Not only did I absolutely adore it, it booted me out of my reading slump. A double win for sure.

This was such an honestly written book. The dialogue just blew me away. I mean, the characters didn’t always make sense, their speech wasn’t necessarily linear. You know, kinda like real people talk. It just made the story pop for me. Close Your Eyes is also an amazing example of show, don’t tell. I mean, as I read the book I was beyond impressed by her ability to make me realize something without spelling it out.

I also loved how the story had several parts and at first it seemed that there was no logical way that they would weave together. But when they did? I wasn’t shocked as much as I was like “Ah, why didn’t I see that?”. And there were serious heart string tugging moments. I usually don’t find that I get emotionally involved a lot with mysteries, but Close Your Eyes had me so drawn in emotionally that I felt like I was living the story along with the characters.

Forever – Maggie Stiefvater

13 Sep

It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with the first two books in this series. I LOVE THEM and recommend them to everyone ( have you read Shiver and Linger yet? No? Why the heck not? READ THEM!!!!!!) so of course it makes sense that I’ve love Forever, the third and final book in Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series. And while I loved it, yes, I didn’t love it as much as I loved Shiver and Linger.

Now before you all yell “WHAT? HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE IT AS MUCH AS THE FIRST TWO????” Let me explain. It was totally, 100% a case of  “It’s me, not you.”

I think because I was so enamored of the first two books that I held back a bit when reading Forever. I know, weird, eh? But that’s me. I knew I was going to be upset and devastated that the series was over. I loved these characters and I knew that regardless of how the series ended, I’d want more. So, to stop a major depression where all I did was sit around, mumble “Cole, Sam” and eat chocolate by the pound, I didn’t allow myself to open up  100% to the story.

Okay, now that’ I’ve explained myself, let’s chat about the book, kk? Despite my above ramble, I did love it. Maggie just has a way with words that makes my heart melt and my breath catch in my throat. I’m usually not one for flowery descriptions (totally not meant as a bad thing guys) but Maggie’s prose, totally and completely beautiful, sucked me right in.

While I enjoyed the Grace/Sam storyline, it was the Isabel/Cole parts of the book and their relationship that did me in. There are both so imperfect and so damaged and so perfect for each other that I found myself really wanting more of them and more FOR them. I honestly think my version of Heaven is Isabel and Cole getting there own series.

When Forever ended (kinda abruptly, my only complaint) I found that it was Isabel and Cole that I was curious about. And it was them that I knew I was really going to miss the most. They truly came into their own in this book.

Forever was a great ending to an amazing trilogy. I think fans are going to be very happy with it. I know I was.

I may have yelled out I LOVE YOU SCHOLASTIC CANADA!!! when the review ARC landed in my mailbox. 🙂

Blogoversary winners!!!

12 Sep

Yes folks, I have FINALLY chosen my blogoversary winners!!! All winners have been notified and have gotten back to me. Here’s the list. Congrats all!

Blogoversary #1 Darlene

Blogoversary #2 Martina

Blogoversary # 3  Martina

Blogoversary # 4  Laurie Lamb

Blogoversary #5   Sheryl

Blogoversary #6  Erin

Blogoversary #7  Karen

Blogoversary #8  Jody

Blogoversary #9  Cait  and Brit

Blogoversary winners to come …..

2 Sep

So, folks, I’ll be away for a few days while I head to Quebec for a family funeral. I’ll be back late Tuesday and will be announcing all of the blogoversary winners in one fell swoop on Wednesday. So….. ignore all the deadlines. If you see a giveaway you want to enter but the deadline is over, well, screw it. It’s my blogoversary and I’ll change the rules if I want to. All giveaways will be open until 11:59 pm EST, Sept 7th.

And because I love you all so much, I may have another surprise giveaway up my sleeves. All those entered in the other giveaways will be entered in this one.  🙂


Final blogoversary giveaway – Lauren Oliver swag

2 Sep

This giveaway starts with a wee bit of an apology. See way back in November I had the chance to read Lauren Oliver‘s Delirium. And it freaking blew me away. It was one of the best and most absorbing dystopian YA novels I have ever read. When I finished I was basically a puddle of emotional goo. While this may sound like a bad thing, it’s actually an amazing thing. Sometimes you just need to reach that level of emotional attachment with a story and its characters.  (If you haven’t read Delirium, you need to, right now. So stop reading this post and go out and buy it. I’ll still be here when you get back.)

So Lauren was nice enough to send me some swag to giveaway. A gorgeous Delirium tote, some signed bookplates and signed Before I Fall bookmarks. (If you haven’t read Before I Fall, you need to read it, too.) It arrived, I squeed over it, and then promptly forgot about it. I know, I know, bad blogger, bad fan, bad Colleen. I discovered it in my no longer used office last week and nearly had a coronary. Since I requested it and never gave it away, it kinda seemed like I was hoarding swag. Which is so NOT the case. I’m just absent minded.

So, Lauren, if you are reading this, you did not get swindled by a swag-hungry, half-assed blogger. I heart you and your books. I don’t heart my lack of memory and organizational skills.

Okay, the giveaway. This will be a multiple winner one and will be international. One winner will win the tote and some signed stuff. The second winner will win some signed stuff. I’d have pictures, but my laptop is a bit wonky right now. But trust me, this is killer stuff.  To enter just comment below and um, well, just say hi. Or tell me something funny. Whatevs. Open until Sept 5th, 11:59 EST.

Blogoversary giveaway # 8 – Sinking Deeper

2 Sep

This giveaway is for a signed copy of the hilarious Sinking Deeper by Steve Vernon. I seriously LOVED this book.

When I read the blurb on the back of the book, I thought “OK, this is probably going to make me chuckle a time or two.” But it had me guffawing all the way through. It was seriously THAT funny. Roland was a great character and I loved his voice. But for me, it was all about his grandfather, Angus. This was one cool, weird, freaky dude. I just instantly fell in love with him.

While the plot was far-fetched, it was oh-so believable at the same time. Maybe it’s because I’m a Maritimer myself, but if I saw this book as a news story I’d be like, “Uh-huh. Fake sea monster. Wonder what they were into when they thought that up?”

There were also some sentimental (not sappy. NEVER sappy) moments in the story that added a nice balance to the funny. So while I did laugh my ass off, there were parts of Sinking Deeper that may have brought a tear to my eye.

This was just a really great, unbelievably entertaining book.  And now one of you lucky Canadians gets your own signed copy thanks to the fine folks at Nimbus. Just comment below and let me know of a mythical creature that you’re either fascinated with or scared witless by. Contest closes Sept. 4th, 11:59 EST.

Blogoversary # 7 – When the Hero Comes Home anthology

1 Sep

This giveaway is international folks! Whoot!!!!!!! Up for grabs is a copy of When the Hero Comes Home, a wicked cool anthology of sci-fi/fantasy awesomeness. It’s being donated by JM Frey, one of my favorite people on line EVER. She’s also on my “authors I HAVE to meet or I’ll die” list.

To enter, just comment below and tell me about a hero in your life. Or how you’d welcome a hero home. Contest opened until Sept 3rd, 11:59 EST.