Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: A Breath of Eyre


Goodreads Description: 


Emma Townsend has always believed in stories—the ones she reads voraciously, and the ones she creates in her head. Perhaps it’s because she feels like an outsider at her exclusive prep school, or because her stepmother doesn’t come close to filling the void left by her mother’s death. And her only romantic prospect—apart from a crush on her English teacher—is Gray Newman, a long-time friend who just adds to Emma’s confusion. But escape soon arrives in an old leather-bound copy of Jane Eyre… 

Reading of Jane’s isolation sparks a deep sense of kinship. Then fate takes things a leap further when a lightning storm catapults Emma right into Jane’s body and her nineteenth-century world. As governess at Thornfield, Emma has a sense of belonging she’s never known—and an attraction to the brooding Mr. Rochester. Now, moving between her two realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own…


This one sounds really good! Release: April 2012

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Tagged by Mara Purnhagen



Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 208
Source: Publisher



Kate Morgan is the police chief's daughter, her best friend Lan is Vietnamese and together they are trying to get through the daily duty of High school. Lan and Kate arrive at Cleary High, and notice giant gorillas' spray painted on the school building. Mysteriously these gorillas begin appearing all over town and in different states. These painting spark a debate in Kate's history class, what is art? Are these painting considered art or vandalism? Kate is not sure who is behind these paintings but she is confident there is more to the painting than what people are assuming. Kate begins her own investigation. 

Throughout the novel many characters emerge. Tiffany, a popular girl in school is consumed with planning her 16th birthday party. Eli, Kate's coworker and potential new boyfriend. Lan has a crush on one friend however, she unexpectantly begins dating another boy. 

Tagged was a great read! This book really drew me in. Mara Prunhagen is a debut novelist in 2010. I have heard quite a few bloggers mention this book. I do recommend this book for a light, entertaining read. If you are looking for a quick read, go ahead and pick up this book. You will be wondering what is your definition of art...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay


Publisher: Knopf Canada
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
(not released in the US until 2012)






Ami McKay has done it again, a phenomenal book that is sure to be a bestseller. While many readers loved her first novel The Birth House, McKay completely shifts gears in The Virgin Cure and proves herself to be a extraordinary writer once again. The main character Moth lives with her mother in the tenements of lower Manhattan in the late nineteenth century. Her father named her and took off shortly after when she was three years old. Her mother was never able to have Moth respond to any other name, and as a result the name stuck. By the age of twelve, Moth has lived in misery. Her mother keeps her distance, and Moth has had to provide her own food and keep herself safe. When life seems bleak, it only gets worst for Moth when her mother sells her to become a service maid. Her life is about to spiral out of control and Moth has no time to let reality sink in. While Moth is amused by the lives of the rich, her intrigue is quickly swept away when she becomes a victim of abuse. Mrs. Wentworth becomes cruel, and crazed. Moth enlists the help of a friend, and is able to escape and go home. When she knocks on her apartment door and realizes that her mother is no longer living there, Moth is beyond hurt, knowing her mother never had any intentions of seeing her again. She simply sold her to the highest bidder, and ran off. Now, Moth has to use her survival skills once again and get herself off the streets. Ultimately, Moth ends up living in a brothel and becomes Miss Everett’s newest student. She caters to gentlemen who pay for companions who are “willing and clean.” If Moth wants a place to live, she must follow the rules and play along.

The Virgin Cure is sure to please many types of readers. Although it is mostly a historical fiction read, it goes beyond the historical facts. McKay explores the dilapidated tenements of New York, and uncovers a shady past while depicting strong, independent-minded women. Women who have little control over their circumstances but hold strong to the little independence that still remains. Choices can always be made, but consequences ensue. Moth befriends Sadie, a female doctor who initially tends to her when she comes to the brothel and tried to steer Moth in a different direction, at the very least she tries to educated Moth on the misconceptions of “Virgins” and their ability to cure syphilis in men. McKay immerses her readers into her fictional world, and includes quotes, news articles, magazines, advertisements, and journals from the time period. This story is not a pleasant read, depicting poverty stricken women with little options, but the setting is not overpowering. Underlining is the story of the struggle for survival and dreams of a possible brighter future.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

In My Mailbox

I had a good week this week, and I started to receive some review books for my 2012 Debut Adult Fiction Authors challenge. If you read debut novels from adult fiction authors, and want to sign up...you can do so here. I didn't get much Young Adult Fiction this week, but I have tons that I still need to read. 


Review Books:



A Walk Across the Sun by Corban Addison (2012 Debut Adult Fiction Author)



The Carpenter by Matt Lennox  (2012 Debut Adult Fiction Author)




Ebooks Bought:






Friday, November 25, 2011

Review: I am Nujood Ali Aged 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui



Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Pages: 176
Source: Personal Copy


Nujood, is an innocent little girl who stood up to the unknown and almost impossible. She may have lived in poverty, but poverty didn't make her unhappy. She was a very happy child until her world literally changed around her. While many young girls were in school and playing with children their own age, Nujood had a much different reality. Her father agreed to marry her to a man three times her age. Without preparation or warning, in a matter of weeks she was married, sent to live with her husbands family and she was repeatedly raped and beaten by her husband. Her mother-in-law had no sympathy for her, she tried to assist her son in molding the perfect wife. She was told by her mother-in-law and mother that she must endure. A wife does not question her husband. A woman does as she is told. If a man wants a successful marriage, he is warned to marry a nine year old. Nujood took measures into her own hands. She vowed to get divorced and return to her family, she wanted to take her niqab off and resume life as a ten year old. She left her house one morning to buy bread for her family, and never returned that evening. She searched for the local court house, and sought help. She stood in the crowded courthouse scared, frustrated, and determined. The initial reaction from the judge was shock. Once she was able convinced them of her situation, the court system promised to help her. This little memoir is eye opening, and shocking. A must read!


This memoir is simple, yet powerful. I must say that I think this should not only be categorized as a memoir, due to the simple language and age of the narrator, this memoir should also be characterized as Young Adult. The memoir is not an in depth account of her life, it lacks many details. However, the narrator is ten years old. I wouldn't say this book is poorly written, I think it is important to understand that this book was written from Nujood's perspective. As a ten year old, many details about her life were hidden from her. Many family secrets were not shared with her, and I think her innocence shines through when we understand that many family details are not known to her. When her sister and brother-in-law disappear, she is not aware of their affair. She has no idea what happened to them, she has no idea why her sister is so unhappy. Nujood is a little girl, and little girls are not burdened with secrets. Nujood was thrown into the role of wife. It appears that this is common in certain areas, and Nujood was determined, and courageous. A ten year old seeking a divorce was unheard of. Nujood played a very important role in woman's rights. She should be praised, and her story told. I encourage others to read this story.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review: The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley



Goodreads Description:

When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realize that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards.

I did not finish this one. I had a very hard time getting into the story, and didn't feel like picking it back up every time I put it down. I was about 200 pages in, and I couldn't read anymore...The more I forced myself to read it, the more I didn't feel like reading it. I don't read a lot of time travel, and I think this had a lot to do with it. I loved The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley, and I expected to fall in love with this one as well. I had a hard time connecting with the main character, and couldn't really enjoy the other characters either. Most people seemed to have loved this one, and I really want to try and read this one another time when I'm in the mood for it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Born Wicked



Goodreads Description:

A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Cassandra Clare in this spellbinding fantasy 

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. 

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. 

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.




I've always had a thing for witches. I read The Secret Circle series by L J Smith in high school, and loved anything about witches ever since!


Release Date: February 2012

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review: Matched by Ally Condie



Publisher: Speak
Pages: 400
Source: Personal Copy
Cassia always accepted what was predetermined to be best for her, trusting fully in the government’s system, she accepted what she was told and never questioned anything. Statistics and probability determine practically everything including careers, children, and partners. All of life’s major decisions are made for each citizen. Nutritional needs, and fitness are also determined. Life has been going rather smoothly for Cassia, and  on her seventeenth birthday, she attends her match banquet. Nervous, and excited, she can’t wait to see who she will spend the rest of her life with. At the end of the night she will receive a silver box, with a microchip explaining all about her future partner. Cassia anticipates a content life with whomever the government chooses. Looking at her parents successful marriage, she has very little fears. When her best friend is announced to be her match, she is elated. Matches are usually not made with someone in your district. Xander knows everything about her and what little fears she had dissipates. Life seems perfect, until her microchip malfunctions and Xander does not appear on her card. Cassia is shocked to see Ky, and aberration appear on her card. Cassia won’t accept the official’s explanation that it was a mistake, or perhaps a joke that Ky appeared on her card. 
I really enjoyed Matched and can’t wait to read Crossed. While I initially saw many similarities to The Giver by Lois Lowry, Matched built a world that quickly had me caught up in the characters. I really liked Cassia’s character, she began as a respectful obedient girl and slowly transformed into a someone who began to question her surroundings. Her life seemed perfect but not is all that it seems. Her own parents are not as up front as she would like to believe. The tensions that built up in the book had me absorbed in the story. I loved Cassia’s grandfather, and I felt so sad with the society’s treatment of the elderly. The story was very well written and flowed easily. I would like to see a little more character depth and I’m hoping to see more of this in Crossed. I was really surprised that I liked it as much as I did, because the first few chapters had me comparing the worlds with The Giver. Once the story began to take shape, I was able to forget the similarities. Matched is a thought provoking, dystopian read. A book that raises important questions, about what it means to have the perfect life with no free will. The ending was very unexpected for me and I quickly bought Crossed, and have every intention to read it soon. If your wondering if this one is worth the read, it really is. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys






Publisher: Philomel
Pages: 344
Source: Personal Copy
Category: Young Adult/Historical


Lina, a child artist knows that something is brewing in her world, she can feel her parents constant unease. Her father is quick to snap at her, her mother seems worried. However, nothing prepared her for the night the NKVD came knocking on their door, forcing Lina, her younger brother Jonas, and mother Elena out the door. Her father was no where to be seen, and no one would explain where he was. Lina and her family were quickly rushed out the door, loaded into a truck with other confused neighbours. These victims unknown to them were labeled political prisoners. A long, tortuous journey takes a turn for the worst when they are loaded into cattle cars with very little food or water traveling for weeks. Lina was terrified, perplexed and furious. Her mother was calm, collected and strategic. Her brother matured in the matter of days. Life as she knew it would never be the same.

If you’re looking for an amazing read, a book you put down but can’t stop thinking about...pick this one up. The book trailer alone will leave you desperate to get your hands on this one. This emotional page-turner uncovers a new Holocaust/World War II story, Ruta Sepetys introduces her readers to Stalin’s reign of terror. Hitlers horrors are widely told, but the atrocities of Stalin not so much. Ruta Sepetys gives these victims a voice. I love the variety of characters in this book, even in the worst of times personalities are distinct. I was constantly in awe of the perseverance of certain characters. The group of captives band together when given nothing to survive on. There are those who are resourceful, those who are desperate, and those who have given up. I really don’t want to give too much details about this one, I think it’s really important to read this book and be carried on the journey yourself. I would read the words, and not want to stop because I was afraid of how it would end. Long after I closed the book, I was left wondering and realizing how true some of these stories were. I know this book is categorized as Young Adult, but honestly don’t let that discourage you from reading it. This is a book for everyone. This book had the same impact on me as “Night” by Eli Weisel.

Please...do yourself a favor...read it!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

In My Mailbox

I'm really excited about the two review books that I received this week:






Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (I'm hoping to start the series soon)



Here are the ebooks that I purchased this week:




I'm hosting a challenge for 2012!


The 2012 Adult Fiction Debut Author Challenge


This challenge is for anyone who intends to read/spotlight 2012 Adult Fiction Debut Novels. This challenge was inspired by The Young Adult Debut author challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


If you're interested, please check out the sign up page.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb


Publisher: Harper Perennial 
Pages: 248 
Source: Publisher 
 


"Crazy Heart" is a beautifully crafted story about a flawed man with a dream. A dream he once attained but has since squandered. This is a story about a talented, washed up, country musician known as "Bad", "Bad" he will always be known as until he dies. He plans to reveal his name on his tombstone and not a minute before. Bad Blake was once a superstar, he had all the fame and money he ever wanted. He's know fifty-seven and just getting by. He's on the road in his pickup, playing small bars, the occasional bowling alley, his money is all gone but everyone still knows him as a great country musician. Bad has had four failed marriages. His only son was taken away by his ex-wife and Bad hasn't spoken to him in over twenty years. The booze and country music lifestyle was too irresistible. He was always at home for a few day, then on the road for a few months. Finally, Bad is offered a great gig, opening for the legendary Tommy Sweet, the man he helped get started. The man he had open for him. The tables have turned and Bad is reluctant to take the opportunity. Bad's life seems to be going nowhere, until he meets a young writer named Jean Craddock. His love for Jean makes him want to be a better man. However, his dependence on the alcohol threatens his future. 


I admit, I'm a country music fan. I grew up listening to country music and I know who Hank Williams, George Jones and Kenny Rogers are. I really enjoyed this book. This is the story of country music before the glamor. I felt sorry for Bad but I also knew it was a lot of his own doings. I wanted him to succeed and be on top again. The story was very well written, and I had no idea that Jeff Bridges won an academy award. I had no expectations for this book, and I was very surprised by the story. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did, a great read. 

FYI: The ending for the Crazy Heart movie is completely different. I preferred the book.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: Stones by William Bell






Publisher: Seal Books
Pages: 288
Source: Personal Copy


On the brink of adulthood trapped in high school, Garnet is waiting for his life to begin. Garnet is uncertain if he should finish school or drop out. His father supports his goals, his mother does not. Determined to be a furniture carpenter, he sees no use in continuing school. School is no longer a priority for him, and he begins to casually attend classes. Garnet feels awkward and uncomfortable among his peers, often shunned by the opposite sex and detests the idea of love at first site. That is until a new girl named Raphaella transfers to his school. Confident and beautiful, Garnet cannot stop thinking about her. Raphaella does not seem interested in befriending Garnet, until he offers to help her out with the local play. Together they stumble upon a hundred and fifty year old murder centered around an old, abandoned African Methodist church nearby. Haunted by a Haitian woman, Garnet and Raphaella are horrified to uncover her tragic past. Afraid to be shunned and not believed, they keep this secret to themselves and they begin to bond. 

My first William Bell Ya novel was "The Blue Helmet." William Bell is a Canadian Young Adult writer. As soon as I finished it, I was in search for my next William Bell book. Bell's writing is vivid, the plot builds steadily and each story is original. I do admit, I thought "The Blue Helmet" was more enjoyable. This book will appeal to many types of readers. If you're looking for a fast, enjoyable read this would be a good choice. I do know, this will not be my last Bell novel. Quick, enjoyable, coming of age reads.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2012 Debut Adult Fiction Authors Challenge



What is this challenge about?


This challenge is for anyone who intends to read/spotlight 2012 Adult Fiction Debut Novels. This challenge was inspired by The Young Adult Debut author challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.



1. Challenge will run from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.

2. Once the challenge has begun, each month there will be a post with a Mr. Linky, please come and add your link.

3. You may link your review, guest post or interview. The goal is to spotlight these 2012 debut authors, and get the word out about their debut books.

4. Please sign up for the Challenge using the linky (If you do not have a blog, you may use the comment section).

5. You do not have to choose your books ahead of time.


If you would be so kind, please spread the word about this challenge by creating a post on your blog/website and link back to this sign up page.


Levels:

Gold: 10+ Reviews, Interviews and/or Guest Posts
Silver: 6-9 Reviews, Interviews and/or Guest Posts
Bronze: 1-5 Reviews, Interviews and/or Guest Posts

Waiting on Wednesday: Enshadowed



Goodreads Description:

While Varen remains a prisoner in the dream-world, Isobel is haunted by his memory. He appears to her in her dreams and soon, even in her waking life. But is she just imagining it? Isobel knows she must find a way back to Varen. She makes plans to go to Baltimore. There, she confronts the figure known throughout the world as the Poe Toaster—the same dark man who once appeared to Isobel in her dreams, calling himself “Reynolds.”
Isobel succeeds in interrupting the Toaster’s ritual and, in doing so, discovers a way to return to the dream-world. Soon, she finds herself swept up in a realm which not only holds remnants of Poe’s presence, but has also now taken on the characteristics of Varen’s innermost self. It is a dark world comprised of fear, terror, and anger.
When Isobel once more encounters Varen, she finds him changed. With his mind poisoned by the dream world, he becomes a malevolent force, bent on destroying all—even himself. Now Isobel must face a new adversary, one who also happens to be her greatest love.


I haven't read Nevermore yet, but I've heard nothing but good things about it. I'll have to read it soon, and I've already added this one to my wishlist. Isn't the cover nice? Released: August 2012

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry




Publisher: Ember
Pages: 208

Source: Personal Copy





Jonas lives in a world that he initially believes to be perfect. His world consists of “sameness “among individuals, everyone follows the commands, and everything is in order. Each child is given equal opportunities, and the society functions as a whole. Each child’s is given equal opportunity; birthed by birth mothers who are chosen for the task. A child is given their name upon adoption, a name chosen by the government. Before adoption they are raised by “nurtures” and referred to by a number. Parents are to request a child, and the government must approve. At the age of seven, a child is given a front-button jacket, by eight; a child is no longer allowed to have a comfort object, by nine they are issued a bicycle, at twelve they’re selected for their future occupations. When Jonas is skipped during the selection process he doesn’t understand what could have happened. The government never makes mistakes, and everyone notices that Jonas’s number was not called. He is shocked to find out that he will be the new “Receiver,” a job that is given to only one person. An honorable position that he finds out is most painful. The Receiver is chosen by the current Giver and must apprentice. As the Giver passes on memories to Jonas, he becomes the sole person to remember. These memories are to be given to one person who is to warn against past mistakes. The Giver is very knowledgeable and the community is saved from the burden of horrific historical mistakes. The Giver begins to feel lightened, while Jonas begins to have a heavy burden cast upon him. Jonas must remain brave and courageous but he is beginning to question how his society is run.





The Giver was a very good read, but it is not my favorite. I really liked the concept of the book, but it didn’t feel as if the world was built well enough for me. The book was short, but felt like it dragged on in sections. I think it is definitely a book you will need to read on your own. At this point I’ve read a lot of dystopian novels, and this particular book didn’t live up to my expectations. I think it would have been better had I read it when I was younger, and these current Young Adult dystopian novels weren’t around. I think the book brings up relevant issues, and leaves room for a lot of discussion. I do think this book would appeal more to younger audience, possible pre-teens. The world is less complex but written to cause readers to think. I do find this world, very similar to Matched by Ally Condie. I really enjoyed Matched but the similarities were hard to ignore. I’ll have to discuss this further when I review Matched.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman

Publisher: Revell
Pages: 505
Source: Publisher



A Heart Revealed shifts gears as Katie and Luke are happily married, and the couple are dealing with Katie’s independence and Luke’s role as a husband. Katie is headstrong and doesn’t reveal to Luke that she still plans to attend law school until after the rings are placed on their fingers. When Katie’s secret is revealed, Luke is hurt and angry, Katie has everything already planned out and he was the last to know- the honeymoon period is short lived and Luke begins to sleep on the couch. Tensions are high, and Katie wonders what her future will hold. At the heart of the story is Emma Malloy, an innocent woman who has been left by her abusive husband. Her husband Rory has done the unthinkable scaring her face for life when he threw a pan of grease at her. Since the incident he’s ran off with another woman and Emma had fled Ireland for the States and the O’Connor family are among the first people she meets. It has been ten years, and her wounds emotional and physical wounds are healing. Emma manages the department store and proves to be a reliable, responsible and caring person. While she has started her life over, Emma remains married and intends to uphold her marriage vows. Katie’s brother Sean has declared that he will never marry, and when he loses his job- Sean and Emma begin working together. Emma is encouraged to leave Rory by many, but her own personal convictions leave her confused, and guilty.



Julie Lessman is without a doubt a fantastic storyteller. This book is the second book in the Wind of Change series, the first being “A Hope Undaunted.” The setting takes place during the depression and times are tough. I fell in love with the first book and it will remain one of my favorite books. I had very high expectations for this book because I loved the first one so much. I was a little disappointed but I greatly enjoyed this one as well. My issue is that my favorite characters were no longer front-row center anymore. While Katie and Luke do remain with the book, Emma and Sean take precedence. I kept holding out for more details of Katie and Luke. There were many subplots and characters in this book, and it was a little hard to keep them all organized. I think this one could be read as a standalone, but it would be best to read the first book. The overall theme of the book is forgiveness, and faith. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series. When a series focus’ on different characters but the same characters reappear, I tend to like book 1 and 3. I think I have more time to adjust to the change of characters and move on from those I left behind. I think Julie Lessman is a great writer, and I look forward to her upcoming reads.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

 
Publisher: Scholastic 
Pages: 534 
Source: Personal Copy  

Meggie has been raised by her father Mortimer (Mo), a bookbinder, lover of all books. Meggie shares her father's great love of books. Mo have been running away from a long time, he's trying to escape a dangerous man named Capricorn. One moment Capricorn was a character in a book, suddenly him and two other characters were standing in Mo's living room. Yes, characters from a book called Inkheart... Mo has the magical ability to read characters and objects out of books. Meggie has no idea of his ability, she was very young when Capricorn, Dustfinger and Basta arrived. Her father has tried to protect her and has chosen to tell her nothing of these events. Mortimer is quite evasive, and when asked refuses to answer many questions, including what happened to her mother Teresa. Meggie is aware that her mother is alive, where exactly is she, she has no idea. Honestly, she doesn't miss her because she has no recollection of her. 

Capricorn is a dangerous, frightful and heartless character. He's been searching for Mo for years, and he plans to force Mo to use his ability for his own advantage. Of course, this is not a good thing. He wants Mo to retrieve a faceless executioner named Shadow also from Inkheart. Once Dustfinger arrives at their home during the night forcing them to uproot once again, Mo has no choice but to start answering some of Meggie's questions. Dustfinger is pulled in both directions. He wants to go back into the world of Inkheart, Mo has no idea how to send him back and Capricorn has the last copy of Inkheart. Dustfinger is on the fence about who to help since both have something that he needs and he's mostly looking out for himself. There's a lot going on in the novel, but it is very well written. I really don't want to give any spoilers away. You'll have to read it for yourself. 

The characters in Inkheart are very original, and well developed. This book is simply a book for book lovers. Although, it was very long and at times I wished it was shorter I did really enjoy it. I would recommend it, and since it's a trilogy I plan to continue the series. It is an excellent fantasy novel. During our book club discussion it seemed that there were mixed reviews. Some were wanting to continue the series, others were not. This was my first novel by Cornelia Funke, and I will be looking out for more of her books.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Debut Author Challenge for Adult Fiction


I was looking for a challenge that challenged readers to read debut Adult Fiction authors. Kristi at The Story Siren does an amazing job showcasing the 2012 debut authors for YA and Middle Grade authors. Often I find myself unaware that an author is a debut author until I see all the buzz. I wasn't able to find a challenge like this, and thought I might host a challenge for 2012.

Would any of you be interested in signing up?

Even possibly helping me host the challenge or help put together lists for 2012 authors?

If you're interesting in assisting me with the challenge please email me at:
MrsQBookAddict@gmail.com


Review: The Agency: A Spy in the House by Y S Lee



Publisher: Candlewick
Pages: 352
Source: Personal Copy

The first novel in the Agency series sets up a fascinating story about a young girl given a second chance at life. Orphan Mary Quinn is sentenced to death when her life takes a turn for the worst, and she is forced to steal as a means of survival. The loss of both her parents leaves her with no place to go, and no one to turn to, when she is arrested she must accept her punishment of death by hanging. At the last minute Mary is rescued from the noose and whisked away to an “all girl’s” boarding school where she remained until an unusual offer was given to her. A secret agency hiding within the school walls, under the pretense of school advisors- seek Mary to become one of their newest spies.  At the age of seventeen she is sent to live in a smuggler’s household as his daughter’s paid companion, she must gain information and report back to the agency.  Mary doesn’t sit idly, and she takes it upon herself to investigate further putting herself in danger.  Soon Mary is in deeper than she should be, and forced to align herself with an unlikely ally.

I’m very proud to state that Y.S Lee is a Canadian author! I’ve wanted to read these books for awhile, and I was so excited to find out that the author is Canadian. A Spy in the House was a great read, full of mystery, great characters and cleverly plotted clues. While Mary has been schooled as a Victorian lady she doesn’t always fit the mold. She is a quick witted, feisty and independent character vowing to never marry.  Character and plot development were very well done. Lee did a great job keeping her characters in the Victorian period and not modernizing them. I love the dialogue between James and Mary.  I thought the plot was very original, Victorian women working as undercover spies.  I don’t read much mystery, and especially not Young Adult mystery but this one was great. I will be picking up the next books in the series as well. The Agency is fast paced, detailed, and enthralling. I think this one is great for both adults and young adults. Filled a little romance, and a great mystery.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Cinder



Goodreads Description:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.






The cover really caught my attention, and I'm really curious about this one. 


Release Date: January 2012

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: Beautiful People by Wendy Holden


Publisher: Sourcebooks 
Pages: 410 
Source: Publisher 


Wendy Holden's Beautiful People is a fun, witty, story about the trial and tribulations of the acting industry. There are those who are famous for their love of acting, and those who are actors because of their love for being famous. Darcy, a young British struggling actress receives a call from a Los Angeles agent wanting to put her in the next big movie. Reluctant at first, her agent convinces her that this is be the best thing for her. Once she has enough money, she will be able to pick and choose the roles she wants. At this point in her life she needs to take what she can get. While she is in Los Angeles, the newspapers turn up with photos of her boyfriend. Her boyfriend, kissing Belle Murphy, Hollywood's size zero starlet. Belle was the hottest star a year ago. After her recent million dollar movie flopped, afraid to be forgotten, she adopts an African baby to gain publicity. However, the paparazzi lost interest quick and now she is stuck with a crying infant. She has a nanny but she refuses to pay her. Belle will do anything to stay in the public's eye. She loves being famous, acting not so much... 


This book is very hard for me to review. There are many secondary characters, that are all tied together by the end of the book. There are many, many secondary characters and for that reason I had a hard time with my synopsis. The two characters I was mostly interested in was Belle and Darcy. Belle's nanny Emma was also a favourite of mine. Her character has a 'Nanny Diary' feel and I really enjoyed reading her storyline. This is a chunky novel, and I did enjoy it. However, near the end I just wanted it to be over. I wanted to find out what happened to all the characters, and wanted to move on. I think the writing was great, and I will read more from Wendy Holden. British humour is great but the length ruined the book for me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Review: As Long As The Rivers Flow by James Bartleman






Publisher: Vintage Canada
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher



At the age of six years old, Martha boarded a float plane all alone and left for residential school. Frightened and traumatized by the float plane, her journey was just beginning, her screams were heard by no one. The moment she arrive at the residential school sincere affection would no longer be shown to her. Children were to obey or be physically abused. Her language was no longer to be spoken or severe consequences would ensue. Stripped of all her clothes, she was showered by the nuns and sprayed with lice powder. Martha was to assimilate, and she would have no say in the matter. She soon began to understand that she was powerless. When the priest took a liking to Martha, she was summoned by the nuns and forced to visit the priest for her “special lessons.” This continued until Martha became a teenager, and he lost interest.  Martha would attend residential school for ten years. Over the course of her education, Martha had moments of laughter and joy,  and she forgave the nuns when she realized that they were victims too, doing what they were told and taught not to questions their chain of command. In her final years of school, Martha appeared calm and resigned. She returned home and would be scolded for not trying to hang on to her language. Years of estrangement would take a toll on mother and daughter and Martha had a lot of resentment for her mother who refused to hear her stories.  Her father had passed on, and he remained a memory. Martha left school with a high school education, and emotional wounds so deep they would never fully heal. When the school closed its doors for good, the trauma had already been done. 
As Long as the Rivers Flow is a poignant, powerful read. Novels about the Native American experience is lacking from literature, and I jumped at the chance to read this one. As a Native American, and someone who has had family attend residential schools this book is close to my heart, and one that I’ve already begun to circle around my family. Many times stories are meant to help preserve historical facts and teach lessons. Bartleman does an amazing job portraying the Native experience in a straight forward literary manner. The book is not filled with many descriptions, it is more about storytelling. It reminds readers that this atrocity is not as far back as some are led to believe. The residential schools hurt more than just the children, many parents were left behind and didn’t know how to interact with their children when they came home for the summer months or when school was complete. Communication between the school and parents were lacking. Many times parents would learn that their child passed away when all the other children returned and their child did not. Children would learn their parents had died when they returned home. Children were forced to assimilate and leave behind their language, further distancing themselves from their parents. Many parents couldn’t bare to hear about the abuse in schools because they were powerless to stop it. 


The aftermath of residential schools has impacted generations of people and it is still a very relevant topic today. Children who were never shown affection have a hard time being affectionate towards their own children. Many students had no idea how to be parents themselves when the time came. Teenagers were sent home with an education, but no jobs on the reserve leaving them feel useless. Many parents who sent their children to the residential schools honestly thought that they were helping their children, the government promised better lives for the children and poor parents were given monetary compensation. Parents didn’t have much choice, and the monetary compensations were needed. 
I was very happy to read that James Bartleman was Ontario’s first Native Lieutenant-governor. His debut novel will remain on my list of recommendations. At times the story does feels rushed, but there is no denying that this is a great piece of literature. The theme is always the same, the idea of survival. I did learn some new things about my culture in this novel, and I rushed out to research the topics and discuss with my family. That always makes me feel appreciative, I’m never going to be finished learning about my culture. I do want to remind readers that it’s important to remember that not all Native children’s experiences were horrible, you will find some survivors who believe the experience was positive but these are few and far between. 




Thank you for reading my review, and I will step off my soapbox now. My university experience involved a lot of research on this topic. It is a topic that emotionally drains me but I know how important it is not to let the memory fade.