Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Guest Post: Jennifer Brown

Today I have the pleasure of having Jennifer Brown, author of the recently released Bitter End, here on the blog. She is here to talk a little about the music behind the book, the music that both inspired her and the music that makes her think of the story and characters she wrote. Here is what she had to say.

I tend to be very inspired by music, so it only makes sense that my writing and music go hand-in-hand. In some ways, my first novel, Hate List, was inspired by the Nickelback song “If Everyone Cared,” and Bitter End is no different, in that there are some songs that really made me think of my novel and vice versa.

Now, this is not to say that these were the songs I was listening to while writing Bitter End. That’s something very different. I’m one of those singalong kind of people, and if a song has words in it that I know, I’m going to spend my brain power singing along. But I can’t write in silence. That’s just too boring. So I end up writing to music that either has no words, or foreign music that I can’t understand. I raid the 99-cent bin at Vintage Stock, looking for African or Chinese or Native American music, or old New Age instrumental music like Ray Lynch, and that’s what I write to every day.

But I do have a playlist that I like to think of as my unofficial Bitter End playlist, which begins with the song that I felt like was my “anchor” song, the song that most defined the story in my mind being the first song, and the others just being songs that reminded me of my characters or the story.

  1. Landslide,” by The Dixie Chicks

  2. Fall for You,” by Secondhand Serenade

  3. Face Down,” by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

  4. Broken,” by Lifehouse’

  5. Learned My Lesson,” by Daughtry

  6. I Would be Stronger than That,” by Faith Hill

  7. A Broken Wing,” by Martina McBride

  8. Falling Away from Me,” by Korn

  9. Sympathetic Character,” by Alanis Morisette

  10. Island,” by Heather Nova

  11. Overcome,” by Within Temptation

  12. Rain on Me,” by Ashanti

  13. The Silence is Broken,” by Damn Yankees

  14. With a Little Help from My Friends,” by The Beatles

  15. Friends Forever,” by Thunderbugs

    The great thing about playlists and novels, though, is that the songs never stop coming. Very often I will hear a song that will remind me of something I’ve written. I could keep adding to my playlist forever! I don’t mind. Not one bit.

 photo signature.png

Saturday, June 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a post where we talk about the books we received during the week either for review, from the bookstore or anywhere else.

With the Canada Post strike still going on, all the books I got this week are ones I bought myself because I currently have no other way of getting books (unless I finally go and get myself a library card). I have also found out that I should not be allowed anywhere near my bookstore when they are having a Buy 3 Get the 4th Free sale, not that that's something that's going to happen any time soon. But anyways, here are the books I got this week.

- Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (Simon & Schuster May 4, 2010) - I've been wanting to read this book since last year but my bookstore never seemed to have a copy in stock. Now I finally have it and look forward to reading it over the summer as it sounds like the perfect summer book.

- Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (Simon & Schuster May 4, 2010) - This is another book that I've been meaning to read for quite some time. I've heard so many good things about it and I finally gave in and bought a copy. I look forward to finding out for myself if it's as good as everyone says it is.

- Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz (Harlequin Teen, June 28, 2011) - My bookstore had this one on the shelves already and I've heard only good things about it so I decided I just couldn't leave it behind.

- Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter (Disney Hyperion June 21, 2011) - I read Heist Society last week and absolutely loved it. I decided I couldn't wait to read the next one so I bought Uncommon Criminals. I've already started it and already I love it.

- Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen (Speak 2004) - Other than this one and Dreamland I own all of Sarah Dessen's other books. I've already read it but it's been quite a while so now that I have it I may be revisiting it in the near future.

- Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (Speak 2004) - Like I said about the previous one, I read Dreamland some years ago when I read all of Sarah Dessen's books but I look forward to being able to re-read it.

- Unwind by Neal Schusterman (Simon & Schuster November 6, 2007) - Until I few days ago I had never heard of this book. But then I read Amelia of Imagination in Focus's review of the book and decided that I just had to read it. I have been loving the dystopians lately and this one sounds like I will really enjoy it.

- Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (Little, Brown June 7, 2010) - I have watched Jackson Pearce's YouTube videos and watched some of her liveshows, yet I haven't actually read any of her books. If on paper she is anything like she is in her videos I have a feeling that I will really enjoy this book.

- Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (EgmontUSA June 14, 2011) - I finished reading Raised by Wolves yesterday and absolutely loved it. When I saw that my bookstore only had one copy of Trial by Fire left I jumped on it and even started reading it while I was still in the store. I can't wait to find out what happens next. Plus, I'm hoping to be able to meet Jennifer Lynn Barnes in October during the Smart Chicks tour.

So that's all that I got this week and I am definitely putting myself on a book buying ban until I read at least a good amount of the books I currently have on my shelves but haven't been read. Hopefully the Canada Post strike ends soon that way I can get the books I have in the mail but until then I still have plenty to read.

Comment below and let me know what you got in your mailbox and I'll come check it out!

 photo signature.png

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston

Title: Once Every Never (Never #1)
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Release Date: July 14, 2011
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of a slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker...but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly has a centuries-old Druid blood curse running through her veins.

Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals int a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, aver an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time--literally--maybe even get a date.

Once Every Never is one of those books I had been looking forward to for the longest time. So you can imagine how excited I was to finally be able to read it. Let me just say that it was even better than I even hoped it would be and I wish there would have been more of it.

Clarinet Reid was most definitely not looking forward to spending her summer in London with her boring archeologist aunt. The only upside to it all was that her best friend Allie was coming to London too. That and Milo, Al’s geeky cousin who has turned into a hot geek since the last time Clare saw him. But soon enough, what Clare had thought would be a boring vacation turns particularly interesting and exciting. Soon enough Clare discovers she can travel back in time when she touches certain objects. Now her vacation is filled with Celtic princesses and hot Druid dudes. But of course it’s not all fun and games when it turns out that certain people want to use Clare’s ability for their own ends. But will Clare be able to save a Celtic princess in the past, all the while keeping her friends safe in the present without changing history too much?

Lesley Livingston is a fantastic writer. This is something I already knew from having read her Wondrous Strange trilogy but it was reinforced with Once Every Never. In this new book, she crafts a story that takes place in two completely different worlds that works perfectly. The time traveling doesn’t feel out of place at all and the two worlds fit together as if they were always meant to be that way. While reading the book I could easily picture the places where the story took place in London having been to many of them. But I could just as easily picture Celtic Britain and the Iceni village as well as imagine myself in some of the places described. That’s how amazing a writer Lesley Livingston is.

Clare was sort of like a reluctant heroine. At first she wasn’t really interested in anything but as the story progressed, she became more and more interested in everything. All of a sudden she was actually paying attention to the information everyone was giving her. But that might have had something to do with Milo and Connal. What was particularly interesting with the characters was how the present day characters fit perfectly with the Celtic princesses and the Druid princes. I could just as easily picture Clare with either Milo or Connal even though the latter has technically been dead for some two thousand odd years. Same goes for having Al and Comorra as Clare’s best friend. It’s not so much that the characters from the past and the present were interchangeable but more that they all felt completely real and I could relate to all of them regardless of the time period they were from.

Once again, Lesley Livingston has proven how great a writer she is with Once Every Never. I strongly recommend everyone reads this book. But be careful, Lesley Livingston’s writing becomes just as addictive as the story she tells. 

 photo signature.png

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of the Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a post where we talk about the books we received during the week either for review, from the bookstore or anywhere else.

This week was a pretty good week for books. I received two for review and bought a few myself. So here's what I got.

For Review:

- Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster August 30, 2011) - This is actually the second book in a series. I haven't read the first but I now have it as well and I look forward to reading both of them. From my understanding of it all it's about zombies and it sounds a little gruesome so I'm excited to try something new.

- Witchlanders by Lena Coakley (Simon & Schuster August 30, 2011) - I haven't really heard anything about this one but from the summary on the back it looks really interesting. From what I gathered it's about witches which isn't something I read about that much so I look forward to reading this one.


- Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster October 5, 2010) - This is the book that comes before Dust and Decay. Like I said above, I really look forward to it and to reading something new and different.

- Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston (Puffin Canada June 14, 2011) - I absolutely loved Lesley Livingston's Wondrous Strange trilogy so I can't wait to read her new book. This one sounds really neat and involves some time travelling so it definitely sounds like it will be a fun read.

- What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (Viking May 10, 2011) - Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors of all time. I have read all of her other books so I can't wait to start reading What Happened to Goodbye and see what wonderful story Sarah Dessen has written.

- Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Margaret K. McElderry June 7, 2011) - I've read and heard all sorts of good things about this one but don't really know much about it other than what the summary says. Though the lovely lady working at Chapters assured me that if I loved Divergent I will also love Blood Red Road. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

That's it for me this week. I do have some books that I won and a R.A.K. from the lovely K of The Lady Critic's Library but unfortunately Canada Post has decided to go on a lock out and no mail is being delivered anywhere across the country. Hopefully it ends soon so I can get my books!

Comment and let me know what you got in your mailbox and I'll come check it out!

 photo signature.png

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 24, 2011
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream Pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program--or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan--or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

Beauty Queens is the first Libba Bray book I’ve read and I am happy to have finally read one of her books. Beauty Queens was funny, witty and all around a great book. I highly enjoyed reading it and even wished it would have been longer.

What could possibly go wrong when a plane full of teenage beauty queens crashes on a deserted island? Just about everything. No one really knows what to do to survive and the girl put in charge thinks they shouldn’t do anything other than continue preparing for the pageant. Except that’s not really going to help them get off the island. But somehow they manage to survive and come together instead of seeing each other as competition. But then pirates show up and while trying to find a way off the island, the group of beauty queens discover there may be a lot more going on than meets the eye.

I don’t think I could have loved this story more. It was everything I expected and that much more. Libba Bray is an absolutely brilliant writer and I am so happy I finally picked up one of her books. The story she wrote had a bit of everything: action, adventure, drama, romance, humor, just to name a few. But even with all those elements thrown together, the story worked perfectly. And who would have thought a story about beauty queens stranded on a desert island would turn out to be so amazing? Let’s just say Libba Bray wrote a story I am not about to forget any time soon.

As much as I love being able to really relate to characters and there not being too many of them, I absolutely loved the cast of characters here. Each girl was unique and brought something different to the story. If I were to relate to one girl more than the others it would be Adina, simply because I felt we had similar personalities. But I loved the others too. I enjoyed seeing Mary Lou get comfortable with her body, the relationship between Jennifer and Sosie develop, as well as Shanti and Nicole come to terms with who they are and just seeing all the girls change and grow. And of course, Taylor was always a great source of entertainment. And don’t even get me started on the pirates and the secret agents. There wasn’t one boring character.

Beauty Queens was an absolutely amazing book. Libba Bray is a fantastic writer and I can’t wait to finally read more of her books and discover this great author.

 photo signature.png

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium (Delirium #1)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 3, 2011
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Dystopians are well on their way to becoming my favorite genre, especially within YA. I had already read Lauren Oliver’s debut Before I Fall and thought it was amazing. Now after having read Delirium, I am even more blown away by this fantastic author and her books.

Lena has always been told that love is dangerous, a disease that can result in destruction. She saw what it did to her mother and then to her sister, but the cure makes it all better. Now Lena is counting down the days until she gets the cure and then start the peaceful life that comes with being cured. But just weeks before Lena was supposed to receive the cure, she meets Alex. Now Lena questions everything she has ever been told about love and a day she was looking for has become one she dreads. But what should Lena do when she realizes she has been lied to her whole life. Will she give up everything she ever wanted all for love?

Lauren Oliver is a phenomenal writer and knows how to write a story that will really move her readers. Delirium was no different. Right from the beginning, I was riding an emotional roller-coaster and it was a ride I didn’t get off of until I read the last page. As for the world without love Oliver created, it was at the same time amazing and terrifying. Personally, I don’t think I would be able to live in a world without love because that means there are basically no other emotions, and for me that’s quite terrifying. And that leaves the ending. I didn’t see it coming and it left me crying like a baby. It was amazing.

I love Lena. She is an amazing character and one that grew and developed in the best way possible. She was a completely different at the end of the book. I loved the way she went from a good girl who followed all the rules to someone who broke out of her chains and stood up for what she believed in. A lot of the change in Lena came from her relationship with Alex. Normally I am opposed to a girl losing her head over a boy but in this case it was just perfect. And Alex was the best boy to do that over. I don’t know how to explain Alex other than to say he was a genuinely good guy and there was never a doubt in my mind that he loved Lena. The relationship between these two made the book for me.

Delirium was absolutely incredible and just reinforces that Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer. I can’t wait to see where she takes the story next in Pandemonium. Waiting until next February will be difficult. 

 photo signature.png

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

For those of you that don't know, Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where book bloggers devote a post to an upcoming book release they are particularly looking forward to reading.


In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

I will read pretty much anything that Cassandra Clare writes. I absolutely adore her Mortal Instruments series and I loved Clockwork Angel, the first book in The Infernal Devices, just as much when I read it last year. Now I can't wait for the release of Clockwork Prince to find out what happens to Tessa, Will and Jem. Cassandra Clare is an amazing writer and I just want more of her writing.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare will be published December 6th, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books.

 photo signature.png

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of the Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. It's a post where we talk about the books we received during the week either for review, from the bookstore or anywhere else.

It's been about a month since I last did an In My Mailbox post but this week I got some pretty amazing books so I thought I would share. I'm really excited about all of them. So here they are:

For Review:

- Wildefire by Karsten Knight (Simon & Schuster July 26, 2011) - I've heard some really amazing things about this book which made me really want to read it. I'm really excited to have received a review copy of it and I can't wait to get started on it.

- Fury by Elizabeth Miles (Simon Pulse August 30, 2011) - I haven't heard too much about this one but the summary makes it sound really interesting. I'm not entirely sure what to expect but I'm happy to have a review copy of it and I can't wait to read it but I'll probably wait until closer to the release date.

- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Simon & Schuster September 27, 2011) - I can't believe I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book. I have heard so many great things about it, especially after it was featured at BEA two weeks ago. The premise sounds great and I cannot wait to jump right in. I just might have to bump it up to the top of my TBR even though it doesn't come out until September.

(Big thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for all three of these books!)


- The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (Harlequin Teen May 24, 2011) - I've heard a lot of great things about this one and I love steampunk novels so this one sounds like I would really enjoy it. Hopefully I'll get a chance to read it soon!

So that's all I got In My Mailbox this week. Comment and let me know what you got in yours!

 photo signature.png

Friday, June 3, 2011

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Title: Angelfire (Angelfire #1)
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: February 15, 2011
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
First there are nightmares.

Every night, Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.

When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Elli's power, and she knows that she can fight creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the Key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream. 

Now she must hunt.

Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives an truths that may be too frightening to remember.

So far this year I have read some fantastic debut novels, and Angelfire has now joined that list. It was a great story packed with action, romance, twists and turns that left me wanting more. I absolutely loved it!

Ever since school started up again, Ellie has been having strange nightmares and can’t seem to focus on anything, especially in school. And as her seventeenth birthday gets closer, Ellie’s nightmares appear to be coming to life. And then there’s Will, the mysterious boy who just seems to appear both in her nightmares and in the real world. Ellie feels a connection to Will, like she’s always known him, but she doesn’t understand just how that could even be possible. But Will just might be the only person who can help Ellie understand what her nightmares mean and how to deal with them when they start coming to life. Ellie definitely needs to trust Will, especially if staying alive is something she wants to do.

Ellie is basically a superhero, but a very reluctant one. I loved that she didn’t immediately believe everything Will was telling her. It was so refreshing not to have a protagonist who believes everything she’s told, there is nothing more that annoys me more than that. Of course that is not the only thing I liked about Ellie, she was a pretty great character. Will was pretty dreamy if you ask me. I loved how loyal he was to Elli and didn’t ever doubt her. The best part though, was seeing the relationship between Ellie and Will develop and blossom. Both struggled with it, but for me that only made it that much better and feel more real.

Courtney Allison Moulton wrote a wonderful story. It kept me guessing the whole way through and never saw what was coming next. Until I read Angelfire, I had never encountered reapers, and I loved finding out about paranormal beings and how their world functions. Though my favorite part of the story was how she weaved in the nightmares and the flashbacks. I didn’t really think much of them at first but they turned out to be an integral part of the story. They really added more depth and I don’t think the story would have worked as well without them.

Angelfire was a great and highly enjoyable read. Courtney Allison Moulton is a fantastic new writer and I can’t wait to read what comes next from her.

 photo signature.png
Related Posts with Thumbnails