Saturday, July 24, 2010

Contest Time!

Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: February 1, 2010
Format: Trade Paperback ($11.99 CDN) 
Age Group: Young Adult 
Contest Details: Scroll past the book trailer for details

From the Publisher: 

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny--one she could never have imagined...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth--that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face...and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Book Trailer:

Contest Details: 

-  Treat the faery creature in you to something magical and mysterious
   with a $25 Visa Gift Card and a copy of The Iron King!
-  Contest open to United States and Canadian mailing addresses
-  Start date July 24th - August 6th
-  Must be a new or old follower of The Book Guru
-  Must fill out the form below

Review: Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

Title: Wondrous Strange (Click here to browse inside this book)
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Harpercollins
Published: December 23, 2008 
Format: Mass Market Paperbound ($17.99 CDN)
Age Group: Young Adult 
Series: Wondrous Stranage, Darklight & (unnamed 3rd novel)
Copy: Provided by Harpercollins Canada 

From the Publisher: 

Kelley Winslow is living her dream. Seventeen years old, she has moved to New York City and started to work with a theatre company. Sure, she’s only an understudy for the Avalon Players, a third-tier repertory company so far off- Broadway it might as well be in Hoboken, but things are looking up—the lead has broken her ankle and Kelley’s about to step into the role of Titania the Faerie Queen in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Faeries are far more real than Kelley thinks, though, and a chance encounter in Central Park with a handsome young man named Sonny Flannery plunges her into an adventure she could never have imagined. 

Sonny is a Janus Guard, charged by Auberon, the King of Winter, with watching over the gate into the land of Faerie, which lies within Central Park. For Sonny, the pretty, young actress is an enigma. Strong and willful, she sparks against his senses like a firecracker, and he can’t get her out of his mind. As Hallowe’en approaches and the Samhain Gate opens, Sonny and Kelley find themselves drawn to each other—and into a terrible plot that could spell disaster for both New York and Faerie alike. 

My Review:

I picked up Wondrous Strange many times while browsing the shelves at Chapters but never could commit to buying the book for reasons I can't remember. This was one of four novels sent to me by Harpercollins Canada and one of the many books I read on my vacation.  To say the least I am now kicking myself in the pants for not picking up Wondrous Strange sooner! 

In Wondrous Strange Lesley Livingston has created dynamic, endearing and genuine characters that by the end of the book felt like old friends and hated enemies.  Her writing and dialogue seemed effortless and while the story itself was not as dark as many of my favorite faery books I found this to be refreshing.  I enjoyed the variety of mythical characters that were included in this story which appear to be very well researched.  I feel Lesley Livingston did an excellent job weaving mythical characters in a new and modern way that will appeal to fantasy addicts and faery enthusiasts. 

The story of Kelley's history and parentage is creative and full of surprises and the plot twists continue to the very end of the story.  The book takes place in New York and while I have never been all that interested in visiting the renowned city, after wandering through Central Park with Kelly as the author describes various monuments and later with Sonny as he works to protect the gates of faery I have changed my mind.  If ever I get the opportunity to visit Central Park I am sure I will be unable to resist looking for faeries around every tree and under every bridge.

This review wouldn't be complete without mentioning the chemistry filled relationship that develops after a chance encounter in Central park between handsome Sonny Flannery and Kelley Winslow.  It won't take long for you to fall a little bit in love with Sonny and by the end of the novel when they are both risking everything they have and everything they have ever known to be together you'll be gripping the pages with white knuckles in suspense and anticipation. 

If you enjoy young adult fiction I highly recommend you add this book to your summer reading list.  If you have previously read the works of Melissa Marr and Holly Black then I guarantee you will love Wondrous Strange. Darklight, the second book in the planned trilogy is already available and I am sure after reading the first novel you will be as eager as me to get your hands on a copy! 

My Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The BIG List of Time Travel Books



Da Vinci Time Travel Series by Susan Squires
1. Time For Eternity
2. A Twist in Time
3. The Mists of Time


    Masters of Time Series by Brenda Joyce (Guru Recommended)
    1. Dark Seduction 
    2. Dark Rival 
    3. Dark Embrace 
    4. Dark Victory 
    5. Dark Lover


      Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon (Guru Recommended)
      2. Dragonfly in Amber
      3. Voyager
      4. The Drums of Autumn 
      5. The Fiery Cross 
      6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes 
      7. An Echo in the Bone

        Pine Creek Highlander Series by Janet Chapman
        1. Charming the Highlander
        2. Loving the Highlander
        3. Wedding the Highlander
        4. Tempting the Highlander
        5. Only with a Highlander 
        6. Secrets of the Highlander


          The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
          The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

          Young Adult


          Time Quintet Series by Madeleine L'Engle (Guru Recommended)
          1. A Wrinkle in Time
          2. A Wind in the Door
          3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet
          4. Many Waters
          5. An Acceptable Time

            Tuesday, July 20, 2010

            Review: Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

            Title: Radiant Shadows (Click here to browse inside the book)
            Author: Melissa Marr
            Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
            Published: April 10, 2010
            Format: Hardcover ($18.99 CDN)
            Age Group: Young Adult
            Copy: Provided by Harpercollins
            Extra: Click here for the official Wicked Lovely fan site
            Purchase: Click here to purchase this novel 

            From the Publishers: 

            Hunger for nourishment.
            Hunger for touch.
            Hunger to belong.
            Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.
            Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.

            Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans-and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?

            Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger, and sinister intrigue combine in the penultimate volume of Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series.

            My Review: 

            I have long been a fan of Melissa Marr and my initial love for young adult "faery tales" began after reading the first novel in the series Wicked Lovely.  Over the years I have been very interested in faery mythology and one particular myth I have always been fascinated with is the Wild Hunt so when I began to read this novel and discovered that Ani is the half mortal half faery child of the leader of the Wild Hunt I was hooked. 

            Of all the protagonists in the Wicked Lovely series I enjoyed reading about Ani the most.  I love how her vulnerabilities and insecurities are balanced with inner strength, a courageous attitude and a great love for family.  Ani's love interest in this novel Devlin also happens to be an assisin for the High Queen Sorcha and is the brother of both Sorcha and her "evil" twin sister Bananach.  You learn early on in the novel that Sorcha ordered Devlin to kill Ani and the suspense of waiting for that information to become known to Ani and my interest in understanding why Sorcha ordered the kill in the first place held me captive and on edge throughout the novel.  While I enjoyed the pace and emotional connection between Ani and Devlin I was left with the impression that Devlin was much older then her.  At times I feel that a relationship can seem inauthentic when a young protagonists in a novel falls for a man who although may have been their age when they died or were created are now centuries older in maturity due to life experience (such as Devlin or Edward from Twilight). While Devlin did give me the impression of being older then Ani I still felt that they are well matched and I enjoyed reading the progression of their relationship and how they coped with the unusual and serendipitous circumstances of their meeting.

            Additionally I found the plot of this novel to be incredibly creative and entertaining and I was fully immersed and captivated by the story from beginning to end.  The novel was filled with action, passion, emotion, creativity and clever characters.  Radiant Shadows fully met my expectations and at times exceeded them and I think fans of the Wicked Lovely series will not be disappointed.  Whether or not you are a young adult if you haven't yet read this series and are a fan the fantasy genre this novel should be at the top of your "to read" list

            My Rating: 4/5

            Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead Official Cover Release

            Last Sacrifice Cover Release!

            I can't decide if I more then like it or less then like it.  What do you think?

            Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
            Release Date: December 7, 2010

            Sunday, July 11, 2010

            Review: Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

            Title: Strange Angels Book 1 (click here for the official Strange Angels web site)
            Author: Lili St. Crow
            Publisher: Razorbill Books (A division of the Penguin Young Reader Group)
            Published: May 19, 2009
            Format: Trade Paperback ($12.50 CDN)
            Age Group: Young Adult
            Copy: Provided by the Penguin Group/Razorbill

            From the Publisher: 

            Dru Anderson has been “strange” for as long as she can remember. She travels from town to town with her father, hunting the things that go bump in the night and eat the unwary. It’s a weird life, but a good one–until it all explodes and a zombie busts into her new house.

            Alone, terrified, and trapped in an icy town, Dru’s going to need every inch of her wit and training to stay alive. Can she trust the boy who is just a little too adult–and just happens to get bit by a werwulf? Or the strange blue-eyed boy who tells her she’s heir to a long-forgotten power? Can she even trust her own instincts?

            Because Dru is not the first in her family to be killed by the darkness of the Real World. The monsters have decided to hunt back–and now Dru has to figure out who to trust, who to fight, and when to run. And not incidentally, she has to figure out how she’s going to get out of this alive.
            And she has to do it by sundown, or it’s all over…

            My Review:

            An unexpected package came in the mail yesterday that contained a book I had not requested called Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow.  Thank you very much to Penguin for sending me this thrilling and suspenseful paranormal young adult novel! 

            What stood out to me the most about both the protagonist Dru Anderson and the supporting cast was how genuine the characters were written.  Dru is a young woman who has been raised to track and fight paranormal creatures alongside her father but when he goes missing and a zombie shows up at her door Dru has nothing but her training to help her survive. Taking into consideration her upbringing, the multiple losses she has endured, her age, and the challenges she faces Dru's kick-ass, hard-as-nails personality is believable.  Despite her tough exterior throughout the novel Dru still shows her vulnerable side with such raw honesty that I became easily captivated by her character. 

            St. Crow's writing is very descriptive and there is a lot of inner dialogue but I found that in this case it enhanced my ability to make a deeper connection with Dru.  Some readers have stated that St. Crow's descriptions are a little overkill but I enjoy "wordy" writers as long as their descriptions serve a purpose to enhance the plot or the character development.

            On the front cover of the novel Richelle Mead, author of the Vampire Academy series, describes Strange Angels as, "Dark, dangerous, and sexy" and while I agree that the novel is both dark and dangerous I didn't in any way feel the book was sexy and I am so glad that it wasn't!  This novel is so action packed and takes place within a small time frame there isn't much of a chance for romance to develop.  What does develop between the main characters is trust, honesty, and true friendship.  So many paranormal young adult novels appear to rush their characters into romantic relationships that within the context of the plot doesn't often seem realistic.  The focus of this novel is on survival not romance.

            Part of what kept me captivated by this novel was that as the story progressed the author revealed to Dru and the reader some of the unanswered questions about Dru's past and about the "real world" that she lives in.  I like a novel that doesn't give it all up in the beginning but keeps you reading long after your eyes are tired because the answers you seek may just be a page away.

            If your hooked on the paranormal genre and are looking for a slightly different twist to the usual suspects (vampires, werewolves, etc) then I recommend this book to you!  The second novel in the Strange Angels series Betrayals is already out and the third installment titled Jealousy will be released on July 29th.  I hope you read these books soon so you can count down the next 17 days and 23 hours with me!

            My Rating:

            Friday, July 9, 2010

            Happy Holidays To Me!

            Sorry for the lack of posting laity.  Well I am not to sorry I have been lounging it up by the lake or at my in laws pool!  Needless to say there is a lack of internet at both these places so my reviews are a little behind.  Next week I am heading on official holidays so you won't be hearing from me for the next 9 days but the good news is I have been reading A LOT of books so there will be review after review coming soon.  Last week I finished reading Naamah's Curse by Jacqueline Carey.  If you haven't read anything by Jacqueline Carey and are looking to try something new outside the paranormal genre this series is amazing.  She is an incredible writer and a very talented story teller. All of the books in both of her series take you on an epic adventure filled with mystery, suspense, romance and quite a bit of naughityness. I'll save the rest of my gushing for my full review!  I can't name the many books I am going to be reading on my holidays but I look forward to bringing you reviews on a wide variety of new releases and popular novels within the next two weeks!  Thank you so much to the wonderful publishing companies for sending me so many wonderful new novels and as always thank you to my readers for helping make this book lover's blog a success!

            Happy Holidays!

            Thursday, July 1, 2010

            Happy Canada Day & Giveaway Winner

            Happy Canada Day!

            So it was my intention to do more posts this past week celebrating Canada Day but work, reading and life got in the way.  Regardless the giveaway for girlSpoken is over today and the winner is Carina, a teacher from Toronto Canada!  She is also a blogger and you can find her at Reading Through Life.

            Despite the craziness of the G20 and the implementation of the HST (Grrrr taxes) I am very proud to be a Canadian and I look forward to watching the fireworks tonight at the lake.  Hope you all have 
            a wonderful day!