Monday, January 31, 2011

The Long Weekend - Savita Kalhan - Blog Tour Review

Sam knows that he and his friend Lloyd made a colossal mistake when they accepted the ride home. They have ended up in a dark mansion in the middle of nowhere with a man who means to harm them. But Sam doesn't know how to get them out. 
They were trapped, then separated.
Now they are alone.
Will either of them get out alive? 

Title: The Long Weekend
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Andersen Press
Publication Date: October 2, 2008
Format: Softcover
Source: Received from author. Many thanks goes to Savita Kalhan for sending me a copy of her book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This review is also part of the Teen Book Scene blog tour. You can follow along with the tour here
Look for it: Amazon (Kindle Edition), Book Depository
My rating: 5/5

Sam has spent his entire lifetime moving from one place to another, and he doesn't make friends easily. When he is befriended by Lloyd, he could not have been happier. When a vehicle shows up at school late that fateful Friday afternoon, Sam and Lloyd think that it is taking them to a surprise destination courtesy of Lloyd's father. Little do they know that that one car ride and weekend will change them for the rest of their lives. 
The Long Weekend is a harrowing and chilling tale of the dangers that surround us. Particularly the danger that is ever present to those who are most vulnerable, and most trusting--children.  Kalhan deftly weaves a tale that both horrifies and entices the reader to delve further into the book. Sam and Lloyd are two boys. They could be anyone really, and they showcase the needs of any and every child. They aren't "children" per say, but they aren't adults or teenagers either. They are in transition, and their lives, their identities are still being defined. 
Kalhan knows that less is more, and she uses it to her advantage. She gives the reader a glimpse of what is happening in Sam and Lloyd's world, without being overly detailed. That, to me, is more chilling than if she had recounted the trauma received by the boys in explicit detail. 
Sam is such a strong character, and he immediately wormed his way into my heart. He is so courageous and such a good friend to Lloyd, even though they have been friends for such a short time. His trials and thoughts are heartbreakingly believable and the reader will identify with him and want to protect him. 
Lloyd may not have a large role in the novel, but the role he plays is vital, and no less important than Sam's.  His portrayal and characterization is also hauntingly believable. He is such a sweet and happy-go-lucky character at the start of the book, so much so that it hurts to see how he and Sam are treated. Kalhan is a master at creating characters that bring out the most powerful and primal emotions in the reader. 
The villain brings about an overall sense of foreboding once he first enters the scenario. He is sharply defined, and with his characterization, I found that less definitely was more. With his identity and personality largely left up to the imagination at the beginning of the book, it fed into the fears that Sam and Lloyd had, though they may not have had misgivings right away. 
Overall, I found this a haunting, chilling, and realistic portrayal of the dangers that are ever present in our world. Though this read isn't suitable for younger readers, I highly recommend that older teens, as well as adults, read The Long Weekend as it tackles a subject that doesn't get a lot of attention in literature. Kalhan weaves the lives of Sam and Lloyd so tightly together, that readers will want to know what happens to them, all the while hoping that the outcome will be favourable. 

XVI - Julia Karr

Every girl gets one. 
An XVI tattoo on the wrist--sixteen.
They say they're there for protection.

Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay. 
Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help--and he just may hold the key to her past. 
But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure... for Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet. 

Title: XVI
Author: Julia Karr
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: January 6, 2011
Format: ARC
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Vimala from Penguin Canada for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge 
My rating: 4/5

Nina's not like other girls. Most girls her age are looking forward to turning sixteen. Being sixteen means that they will finally be legal, able to have sex. Nina's not so sure she wants to have sex, and she's dreading her sixteenth birthday. Already boys are noticing her, and she doesn't like it. With one blow, Nina's life falls apart around her and she is left to pick up the pieces, all the while questioning everything she thought she knew. Nina's going to need some help figuring out what to do now, while questioning the past, but at least there might be someone who has some answers for her in that regard.
I was intrigued by the synopsis of XVI as it handles the topic of sex in a realistic albeit futuristic atmosphere. Nina is a strong, decisive character, one who doesn't want to succumb to the pressures of those around her. Sex, for her, is something that she regards as special. It's not something that she wants to be party to when she turns sixteen. Especially knowing that once that tattoo is on her wrist, she is fair game, whether she is willing or not. I liked the familial ties that Nina had to her grandparents, and to her sister. They seem to have a strong bond even though her grandfather takes his leg off once in a while--just to keep things entertaining. Nina's friends are also a large part of what I enjoyed about the book. I loved their camaraderie, and how they stood up for Nina when things got scary. They all brought something to the table. 
Though I enjoyed the book, it took me a while to get used to the writing style. Towards the middle though, everything seemed to come together, and I couldn't get enough. 
I will say that readers may be in for a surprise while reading the book as I found myself under extreme emotions at different stages in the book. I can't wait to read the follow up to XVI as I want to know what happens next for Nina, her family, and her friends. I hope she does get the answers she needs. 
All in all, a stimulating and addictive read, XVI may shock some readers as it is set in a not too distant future; and it mirrors certain character traits that are present in today's society. An eye-opener of a read, but one I think that should be read. Fans of the dystopian genre will be sure to enjoy this one. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox -52-

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week.
For Review
1. The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown
2. The Raven's Gift - Don Rearden
3. Tourquai - Tim Davys
4. Don't Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers - Adriana Trigiani
5. Take Me Home - Brian Leung
6. The Oracle of Stamboul - Michael David Lukas
7. Turned - Morgan Rice (e-book, not pictured)
8. The Scavenger's Daughter - Mike McIntyre (e-book, not pictured)
9. Shadow Cat - Reena Jacobs (e-book, not pictured)

Many thanks goes to Bronwyn from Penguin Canada, Mark from HarperCollins, Morgan Rice, Mike McIntyre, and Reena Jacobs for the books I received this week for review. 

1. Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs
2. Night Myst - Yasmine Galenorn
3. Blackveil - Kristen Britain. I have been waiting so long for this book, so when I saw it out a week early at my local book store, I just HAD to get it. You know what I mean, right? ;) I may take this one on vacation with me. Then again, I might have it read before we leave. ;) 

That's what I received in my mailbox this week, what did you get in yours? 


Hi Everyone. I've been slacking on posting winners for the last few giveaways I've had, but all winners have been contacted and books have been sent out. Thank you all for participating in the giveaways and I hope to see you back as there are more giveaways lined up. 

Wintery Goodness Giveaway

1. Alex
2. Audrey
3. A Canadian Girl
4. Taffy
5. Rachel
6. Donnas
These winners have been announced already by Kari on A Good Addiction, I'm just slacking on announcing them myself. Sorry everyone! 

Reading Resolutions Hop Giveaway

Courtney won a pre-ordered copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth
Maria won a pre-ordered copy of Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

The Healing Spell - Kimberley Griffiths Little


Night School - Mari Mancusi


Congratulations everyone! I hope you enjoy the books that you are receiving or have already received! :) 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blog Tour: Fallen Angel - Heather Terrell - Cover Interview

Heather Terrell is here today with a cover interview for her book, Fallen Angel, courtesy of Teen Book Scene. This cover looks absolutely gorgeous, don't you agree? You can follow along with the tour here, or through the banner. 

What was your initial reaction to this cover?

I loved the Fallen Angel cover from the very moment my awesome editor at HarperTeen forwarded it on to me! I think it is really gorgeous – as well as very captivating. I hope the readers do as well!!

Is the cover model how you pictured Ellie to be?

To my surprise, the cover model resembles the Ellie I had fashioned in my own mind. When you are creating a character, you never know whether the reader will envision the character quite the same way you do. But here, the Fallen Angel cover artist definitely captured the Ellie that inhabited my thoughts and words. And not only because the artist got Ellie’s jet black hair and pale eyes just right.

The cover hints at the darkness in the book, but do you think there should have been more light on the cover itself?

I think that the white lettering of the title Fallen Angel – which also has a soft, halo sort of effect around the words – alludes to the lightness that also inhabits the book. And I think that white lettering against the dark backdrop of the cover implies the struggle between the dark and the light that is so central to Fallen Angel.

If you could change one thing about the cover, what would it be?

That’s a really hard question, because I do truly love the cover. That said, if I were to alter anything, I might add some element of Ellie’s true, angelic nature, beyond the wing or feather symbol on the front cover.

Would you like to see Michael or a different character on the cover of book 2, or stick with the girl?

Well, the cover to Fallen Angel’s sequel – which is called Eternity -- is already done. My publisher HarperTeen made the decision to “stick with the girl,” and I think it looks terrific!! Check it out . . . .
That cover is stunning! I love it! Thank you for being here today, Heather! I love the insight you have given on the cover! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Blog Tour: The Vyne - Daniel Walls - Guest Post

Daniel Walls is here today, as part of his book tour for The Vyne courtesy of Teen Book Scene. You can follow along with the tour here, or click on the banner and it will direct you to the tour details. 

Which authors inspire you?

JRR Tolkien set the tone for the genre of fantasy. In my opinion, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is to fantasy as The Bible is to the Christian church.

Naturally JK Rowling is another source of great inspiration as she truly continued to carry the torch of supreme intelligent writing, delicately woven with wit and thrill.

Michael Crichton’s smart and highly conceptual plots would have never been recognized had he not had such a knack for being able to simply tell a story. His writing was always so visual and his stories seemed to advance chronologically in real-time. In some ways I relate to his writing style more than anyone.

I love your answers, Daniel! These authors are all definitely inspiring! Thank you for being here today!

Some more about the book...

For as long as he can remember, Asher has possessed unexplainable abilities, which his widowed father has forced him to keep hidden. But when an elusive girl named Scar enters his village, Asher's life is forever transformed.

Bound by despair, the teens plot to run away. However, when a mystical medallion finds its way into Asher's hands, they soon learn that running is not an option, it's imperative. Asher is thrust into the pursuit of a legendary treasure, believed to possess the power to save the world from the prophesied apocalypse. And the key to unlocking this power lies within the secret of his curse.

While hunted by dark forces, Asher realizes that Scar has secrets of her own; she is not the girl he thought she was. Time is running out as he struggles to find the strength to let go of his feelings and summon the courage to embrace his destiny.

A chilling, heart-wrenching tale of colliding worlds and forbidden love, The Vyne reinvents steampunk-fantasy for a whole new generation.

(Synopsis taken from Fantastic Fiction.)

Sounds good, eh? ;)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blog Tour: Lost on Spirit River - Tommy Batchelor - Author Interview

Last week I had the privilege of reviewing Lost on Spirit River by Tommy Batchelor. Today, I am honoured to have Tommy here with an interview. Thank you for being here,Tommy! You can follow along with the Teen Book Scene tour here. Clicking on the banner will also bring you to the tour details. 

If you were lost in a snowstorm, what three items would you recommend having with you? (Provided you knew there was a chance of being caught in bad weather.) 

1. Wear warm clothing, 2. Waterproof matches, 3. Compass.

What books would Tommy find appealing? Would he lean towards learning more about Native American history after finding shelter in a cave filled with Native American art? 

The First North American Series written by W. Michael and Kathleen Gear is a fact and fiction books on the times and life of the first native American. I would hope each child that discovered ancient painting on walls or an arrow head in their yard, would show a spark for wanting to know about the persons that lived in the area. Who they were, what they did for a living, how they lived, would you want to meet them!

If you could meet a character from any book ever written, which character and book would you choose, and why? 

Harry Potter. Who wouldn’t want to fly on a jet broom and turn your worst bully into a toad, slugs or worse? Harry also had pretty cool friends to help him when he was in a jam.

What would the front page headline of a newspaper say about you? 

Newsflash : New Southern Voice in Children Books.

If you were a tree, which tree would you be, and why?

I think it would be a Poplar tree. It can grow 100 – 120 feet (that’s almost 95 ft. taller than I am) into the sky. It’s limber limbs swing with the wind and are strong enough not to break. The roots dig deep into the earth for a strong handhold. Sort of like real life!

Thank you for those awesome answers, Tommy! I'll have to check out that book series. It sounds interesting! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blog Tour: Artemis the Brave - Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams - Guest Post and Giveaway!

Today, Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams are here with a guest post  as part of their blog tour, through Teen Book Scene, for their recent release Artemis the Brave. I highly enjoyed reading Artemis the Brave, and hope that you will enjoy it too. Stick around for the giveaway as it will be posted below the guest post. If you would like to follow along with the tour, you can either enter through the banner, and it will take you to the tour page, or you can find the link here

If you could be one of the goddess girls, who would you be and why?

Joan: Hi Corrine and thanks for having Suzanne and me at Lost For Words today! Funny you should ask this question. Suzanne created a questionnaire called Which Goddess Girl Are You? (reprinted below). I cannot resist quizzes like this, and I took the quiz thinking I was an Athena. Turns out, I’m a Persephone (with a hint of Athena). Who knew? When I was a tween, I wanted to be an Aphrodite because I longed to feel beautiful and have lots of boys vying for my attention.

Suzanne: I took the quiz, too. I actually turned out to be an Athena, with a hint of Persephone. So you see, Joan and I are perfectly balanced as writing partners. I think I wanted to be more like an Aphrodite when I was a tween, too. Alas, boys never noticed me the way they do Aphrodite. I also lacked her flirting skills!

For those of your readers who can’t get enough of all things goddess, here’s the quiz:

Which Goddess Girl are You?

Your favorite color is:
a. Yellow when I’m happy, black when I’m not.
b. Dark pink, light pink, hot pink, bright pink. PINK!
c. Whatever. As long as it’s comfortable.
d. Ye gods! Why should it matter what color I wear?

Your general outlook on life is:
a. Sunny, but sometimes your mood turns dark, and that’s okay with you.
b. Viewed through the prism of romance. You love to play matchmaker with your friends!
c. Life’s a contest, and you like to compete. You’re very athletic and you also like board games.
d. Intellectual. There’s just so much to learn, and you sop up knowledge like a sponge.

When it comes to boys:
a. You go for the guy who is different and off-beat, and maybe a bit mysterious.
b. Anyone cute catches your eye; you’re an equal-opportunity flirter.
c. Yuck! Who gives a rip about boys?
d. Sure, you notice them, but you’re much too busy with schoolwork and after school activities to concern yourself with boys.

What some people don’t know about you is that deep down:
a. You “dance to a different drummer,” not always liking the same things your friends like.
b. You sometimes worry that other people—especially boys— like you more for your looks than for your other many good qualities.
c. You don’t really dislike boys as much as you claim to.
d. You worry that you’re not as smart as others think you are.

Given an hour or two of free time, you’d rather spend it:
a. Wandering around in a lovely garden or park.
b. Experimenting with make-up and hairstyles.
c. Playing with a pet or doing anything active.
d. Reading a book.

Add up the number of A’s, B’s, C’s, and D’s. If you have more A’s, you’re most like PersephoneB’s, you’re most like Aphrodite, C’s, you’re most like Artemis, D’s, you’re most like Athena. Or you might be a half-and-half mix of two Goddess Girls!

Thank you for being here Joan and Suzanne! I absolutely love this quiz! Of course I had to do the quiz, and I found out that I'm most like Athena. I hope you both have continued success with the series. I'll be looking out for the rest of the books! ;) Yes, I'm addicted to them now! 

For those of you reading the guest post, I want to know who you're most like! Let me know! ;)


Joan and Suzanne have graciously provided a copy of Artemis the Brave to giveaway on Lost For Words. Thank you, Joan and Suzanne!

I'm going to make this a fun one... I want to know which goddess girl you would be. Feel free to answer the quiz in the comments. To enter the giveaway though (and keep your email addresses private) just fill out this form
US only. (Sorry to those of you who are international!)
Winner will be selected through
Giveaway ends February 3, 2011.
Giveaway has ENDED. Thank you to those who participated!
Thank you!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goddess Girls: Artemis the Brave - Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams - Blog Tour Review

Artemis's friends and classmates see her as the most courageous goddessgirl at school. Little do they know that despite her expert archery skills, the smelly Geryon, ring-nosed Minotaurs, and scorpions in Beast-ology class scare her as much as they do anyone else! But what's really bothering her now is that funny feeling she has whenever she looks at Orion. She's never had a crush before. Will she find the courage to talk to Orion, to make him see her as more than a pal, and to ace Beast-ology class? 
Authors Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams put a modern spin on classic myths with the Goddess Girls series. Follow the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged godboys and goddessgirls in the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills. 

Title: Artemis the Brave (Goddess Girls #4)
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Mythology
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication Date: December 7, 2010
Format: Softcover
Source: Received from author courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams, and Teen Book Scene for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. You can follow along with the tour here.
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 4/5

Artemis has always been seen as the most courageous of her friends. They don't know though that she doesn't feel all that brave, and that she is downright scared at times, especially when she has to face some of the creatures in her Beast-ology class. When a new boy relocates to her school, she realizes she has feelings for him. Will she be able to face her fears, ace her class, and let this boy know that she likes him? 
Though this is the fourth book in the Goddess Girls series, you do not need to start at the beginning of the series. I think that each book can be read as a stand-alone. I have to say that I really admired Artemis and I enjoyed how Holub and Williams depicted her. I love the mythical re-imagining that the authors have done in regards to the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus. With this novel we get to see Artemis and her twin Apollo, as well as their goddessgirl and godboy friends. The new boy in school, Orion, adds a twist to the story, as he does some things that he shouldn't particularly be doing. Though the book centers around Artemis and her fears, as well as her crush on Orion; there are some underlying messages that are brought forth, and I agreed wholeheartedly with their sentiments. 
All in all, a cute and fun read. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone looking for an inspiring read. I think many middle grade readers would love this series, and I think they would be able to easily grasp the meaning of the story and apply it to their own situations. I can't wait to read the next one in the series!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lost on Spirit River - Tommy Batchelor - Blog Tour Review

Thirteen-year-old Tony's parents are in the middle of divorce, his mother sends him to his Grandpa's along the banks of the Flint River in Southwestern Georgia. With his younger cousin Kathryn, they set out to look for a Christmas tree for the holidays, along with Grandpa's aging beagle, Sally. The three become lost in a snowstorm, which has not hit Georgia in three hundred years. Finding shelter in a hidden cave, stumbling upon Native American art. Now the adventure begins...
(Synopsis taken from goodreads.)

Title: Lost on Spirit River
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Publisher: Mirror Publishing
Publication Date: November 8, 2010
Format: Softcover
Source: Received from author courtesy of Teen Book Scene. Many thanks goes to Tommy Batchelor and Teen Book Scene for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. You can follow along with the tour here
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 4/5

Tony is spending Christmas in Southwestern Georgia at his grandfather's place. While there, he and his cousin Kathryn head into the woods to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. Little do they know that a surprise winter storm is bearing down on them, and they will have to brave the elements and find shelter in a cave if they hope to survive the storm. While they are waiting out the storm, they decide to explore the cave and stumble upon a veritable treasure trove of Native American art.
Tony is a character that I think many can relate to, his parents are in the middle of getting a divorce, and he's feeling like it's his fault. He doesn't want people to know how he feels so he acts gruff, and tough. Too tough it seems, as he and his cousin Kathryn, as well as their grandfather's dog, Sally, end up getting lost in the woods during a surprise snow storm. He wants to do everything himself, and he wants it done his way. Kathryn humours him as she knows what is going on with him, but she also puts him in his place when he oversteps his bounds. With both of the cousins interacting in a familial way, it's hard not to think of them as siblings. When the storm overtakes them, Kathryn jumps to the forefront as she is more knowledgeable about the layout of the land. Tony doesn't exactly appreciate how she is taking the lead, but throughout their journey, he comes to realize that he doesn't know everything. 
With an engaging plot, and surprises at every turn, I think many will love watching the story unfold. With the added elements of bats, jaguars, and Native American history, the story remains fresh, and those reading along will be rooting for Tony and Kathryn to find their way out of the caves and back home once the storm has passed. 
All in all, a cute and imaginative read. Many young readers will be able to identify with the characters, and will love the adventure that Tony and Kathryn unwittingly embark on.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox -51-

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week.
For Review
1. XVI - Julia Karr
2. Across the Universe - Beth Revis
3. Fly Boy - Eric Walters
4. Subject Seven - James A. Moore
5. We Are Not Eaten By Yaks - C. Alexander London
6. Stranger - Zoe Archer (signed). Won through the Goodreads First Reads program. Thank you!
7. The Vyne - Daniel Walls

Many thanks goes to Vimala from Penguin Canada, Teen Book Scene, and Zoe Archer/Goodreads for the books I received this week for review. 

1. Hexbound - Chloe Neill
2. USA by Rail - John Pitt (Not pictured as my fiance is reading it.)

That's what I received in my mailbox this week, what did you get in yours?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sleepless - Cyn Balog - Blog Tour Review

Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest. 
But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . 
Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves? 

Title: Sleepless
Author: Cyn Balog
Genre: Young Adult 
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought. This review is part of Cyn Balog's blog tour, hosted by Teen Book Scene. Follow along with the tour here.
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository.
My rating: 4/5

Eron DeMarchelle has been a Sandman for the last one hundred years. He has cared for his charges, and is relishing the time when he will be human again. He has a soft spot for Julia, one of his charges, as he has been with her through some terrifying circumstances. He is looking forward to making the change back to being human, but he's also apprehensive, as the new Sandman in training doesn't particularly care for his new charges. Dangers arise and Eron might be the only one able to save Julia. Will he defy authority to save her? 
I really enjoyed the Sandman aspect of the book, and thought it was a unique talent that hasn't been delved into much. Eron is an authentic, and dashing young man. His manners over the last one hundred years have not changed, and he is the same person he was when he first became a Sandman. Immediately, readers are engaged and riveted by his story, and they hope that he will get the happy ending that he deserves. It is easy to see that he cares for his charges, and that he would do anything for them. He is an all around nice guy, and it is interesting to see how he overcomes the obstacles in his path.
We are introduced to Julia, who has just lost her boyfriend. She is flippant, and doesn't stress over anything. It seemed like she doesn't actually allow herself to feel any emotions as she mimicked her boyfriend Griffin's behaviour. Now that circumstances have changed though, she doesn't feel like she can brush things off anymore. She is questioning the way that she reacts to certain circumstances, and throughout, the readers are aware of the feelings that she is battling with. She is an open, and engaging character, that readers will be able to commiserate with fully. 
Griffin, on the other hand, is another story entirely. I didn't particularly like him when he first entered the book, and I was not impressed with him throughout the book. He seemed to be very callous and selfish. I understand that his circumstance needs to be taken into consideration, but I don't agree with what he does, and how he circumvents certain aspects of his new life. What you see is what you get with regards to Griffin's character.
With these three characters being the central focus of the book, it makes for a straightforward read; though there are a few more characters that end up teasing us with potentially different outcomes. 
All in all, a solid read. Sleepless will have you reading late into the night as you read on to see what is going to happen next. I know that I'll be reading more of Balog's work in the future, and I think fans of urban fantasy, and fantasy will enjoy this one. Danger looms, but everyone needs to sleep sooner or later. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Lake of Dreams - Kim Edwards

With revelations as captivating as the deceptions at the heart of her best-selling phenomenon, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards now gives us the story of a woman's homecoming to the lake of her childhood, and the discovery of a secret past that will alter her understanding of her family forever.
At a crossroads in her life, Lucy Jarrett returns home to upstate New York from Japan, only to find herself haunted by her father's unresolved death a decade before. Old longings stirred up by Keegan Fall, a local glass artist who was once her passionate first love, lead her into the unexpected. Late one night, she discovers a collection of curiosities locked in a window seat. As Lucy explores these traces of her lineage--from an heirloom blanket and dusty political tracts to a web of allusions depicted in stained-glass windows, both in her hometown and beyond--a new family history emerges, one that will link her to a unique slice of the suffragette movement, and yield dramatic insights that free her to live her life to its fullest and deepest. 
With surprises at every turn, The Lake of Dreams is an arresting saga in which every element is as carefully placed as a puzzle--one that's sure to enthrall the millions of readers who loved The Memory Keeper's Daughter. 

Title: The Lake of Dreams
Author: Kim Edwards
Genre: Adult Fiction, General Fiction
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Format: ARC
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Bronwyn from Penguin Canada for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
My rating: 4/5

Lucy Jarrett is at a crossroads in her life. She's currently unemployed, feeling like something is missing in her life. When she finds out that her mother has been in an accident, she decides to head back to her childhood home for a visit. Her return home stirs up some memories of the past--of her father's death, and her feelings for her old flame who is now a prominent member of the town. While there, she finds some hidden articles that capture her interest, and she decides to embark on a quest to find out the history behind them. What she doesn't realize is that these articles link her family to the suffragette movement, and that they will also ultimately help her on her own personal journey. 
A captivating, mesmerizing read. Beautifully descriptive, and full of elegant prose, the story unfurls slowly as it captures the readers interest. Lucy is a realistic character, one that I think many can and will identify with. She is lost, at a juncture in her life. She's disillusioned, and frustrated as she feels that she is standing still without a job while her significant other, Yoshi, is happily immersed in a project at his work. When she learns of her mother's accident, she is hesitant at first to head home due to her mother's statements that she is fine, and the unresolved history of her father's death. Yoshi tempts her with the idea that he'll meet up with her and finally meet her mother once his project is wrapped up. With that in mind, she heads back to her childhood home. 
I really enjoyed how Edwards used the hidden letters and the newfound windows to peel back history and give us a glimpse of the suffragette movement, and I also liked how she made it such a personal journey for Lucy. The mystery behind Lucy's father's death, and her newfound relations is revealed at a slow pace, so readers who enjoy a fast-paced read might not enjoy the meandering pace set in The Lake of Dreams. Regardless, I found the read highly enjoyable, and I enjoyed the added tension of Lucy's old flame, Keegan. 
All in all, a gorgeous and descriptive read. From the shores of Japan, to the wilds of upstate New York, the writing is vivid, and exceptional. The history and letters revealed add to the poetic nature of the book. Though I may not have been completely hooked at the beginning due to the slow pacing; I found that I was subtly drawn in, until I couldn't put the book down and I had to find out what happened, and how it affected Lucy and her family. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

In My Mailbox -50-

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren every Sunday. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week.

I've been lax in posting this past week, and I apologize for that. Here's hoping that this coming week will see me posting regularly on the blog! Thank you for bearing with me! :) 

For Review
1. The Kensei - Jon F. Merz
2. The Big Show Stopper - Ken Dalton

Many thanks to Jon F. Merz and Nicole from Tribute Books for the books I received this week for review.

1. Counterfeit Magic - Kelley Armstrong
2. Love Me to Death - Allison Brennan
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 
4. Unearthly - Cynthia Hand
5. Awakened - P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast

That's all for me this week. What did you get in your mailbox? 

Least Wanted - Debbi Mack

Maryland lawyer Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae has two tough cases that quickly turn worse, when both clients-a poor black girl and a white, middle-class man-are accused of murder. Sam discovers the seemingly unrelated matters share an odd link: the seamy world of girl gangs and computer pornography. More people die as the murderers try to keep her from learning all. Sam races to find out the truth and clear her clients before she becomes the next victim.
(Synopsis taken from goodreads.)

Title: Least Wanted
Author: Debbi Mack
Genre: Adult Fiction, Legal Thriller
Publisher: Renegade Press
Publication Date: December 21, 2010
Format: E-book
Source: Received from author. Many thanks goes to Debbi Mack for sending me a copy of her book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Look for it: Amazon (Kindle Edition), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Smashwords.
My rating: 3/5

Sam McRae is a lawyer with a full caseload. When she takes on a court appointed case for a troubled teen, she never expected how it would link up with another, seemingly unrelated case that she is working on. With the bodies piling up, and Sam's life on the line, she'll need to figure out how the cases are connected, and do it fast, before anyone else ends up dead. 
With an eye for legalese and detail, this book is a page-turning thriller. It doesn't show signs of letting up and the questions keep coming. With Sam working on roughly four or five cases at once, it's easy to see that she has a full case-load. The reader is kept up to speed on all of the cases. 
I did struggle with this one however. It was a good read, and it was intriguing. It had me guessing until the very end, but it just didn't wow me. I found that it was overly detailed with the other cases, and that detracted from the two main cases that she was working on. I also wished that we could have heard more about Tina's case at the beginning as her case was mentioned in the first few chapters, but then not again for another sixty to eighty pages as the embezzlement case took precedence. Regardless of my feelings towards that aspect, I have to admit that it was an interesting read.
All in all, a true page-turning legal thriller. Even though it didn't wow me, it is sure to garner fans who enjoy reading the genre. I'll be interested to see what kind of trouble Sam gets into in her future cases. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reading Resolutions Giveaway Hop

New Year's Reading Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you've all had a safe and happy holiday season!
Lori from Pure Imagination, Candace from Candace's Book Blog, and Angela from Reading Angel, have put together this awesome New Year's Reading Resolutions Hop! Thanks ladies! 

Giveaway Rules
There will be two winners. One for each book. The books will be pre-ordered once the winner is selected.
Contest is open internationally through the book depository. 
Giveaway runs from now until January 9, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST.
Please enter through THIS FORM. Comments, while appreciated, will not be counted as entries. 
Following is optional. Thank you for entering the giveaway.
Happy Hopping!