Friday, 27 September 2013

Mad Musing On 'THE RETURNED' By Jason Mott

The Returned
THE BLURB: Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were.

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time ... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

MAD MUSINGS:  I picked this book up thinking it was going to be a grand adventure horror story.  It wasn't....  While it was an interesting concept - that the dead are all coming 'back to life', and, yes, there was strife and horror elements to it, it ended up being more of an examination of humanity.  Mott describes many different reactions to these 'Returned' people - from blind acceptance, to mass genocide, and they are all exactly what I can believe would happen in similar circumstances.  This global event is told from the eyes of an elderly couple who is suddenly reunited with their previously deceased 8 year old son.  Even though they had discussed what they thought they believed these returned people to be - it was interesting to see how their minds changed when they were actually in the situation themselves.   It makes me wonder what my reaction would be if I were them...... I like to 'think' I'd be in the 'it's-really-my-son' camp.... but.....

I liked the writing style of this book - although the story dragged a little in the middle for me.  It sure had an unexpected ending - and that's what made the difference, for me, about whether I liked the book or not!   What do you think you would do if this happened to you?

Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin for providing this review ARC in exchange of an honest review.

***.5 stars

Friday, 23 August 2013

Mad Musing On: SHADOW, and INK by Amanda Sun

SHADOW (Paper Gods 0.5) BLURB:
 Meet two teens whose worlds are about to change forever in this paranormal Young Adult novella, a prequel to Ink by debut author Amanda Sun…

Katie Greene’s worst nightmare comes true when her mother dies, and she’s devastated to learn that she will have to leave the only home she’s ever known. Desperate to find where she belongs, she must decide if she has what it takes to start a new life across the ocean. 

For Yuu Tomohiro, every day is a nightmare. He struggles to control his strange ability, and keeps everyone at a distance so they won’t get hurt—even his girlfriend, Myu. At night, a shadow haunts his dreams, and a mysterious woman torments him with omens of death and destruction. But these haunting premonitions are only the beginning…

INK (Shadow Gods 1) BLURB:
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn't know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn't prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

MAD MUSINGS:  Can I just take a moment to admire those gorgeous covers?
The novella, SHADOW, was released a few weeks before INK was, but it should really be read as a part of the main story, I think, because things about the main character, Yuu Tomohiro, make a lot more sense that way.  And it also has Katie's back-story in it, which doesn't really go into much detail in the main story.

I thought this was a fresh take on the typical YA story, by Canadian author Amanda Sun.  For one thing, it takes place in modern day Japan, and for another, it doesn't use the typical werewolf/vampire/insert favourite monster-of-the-moment here.  There are other paranormal beings at work in this story.  I was quite taken with the way that Katie was a fish out of water - she moved to a whole new country after losing her mother, and we learn about Japan through her eyes.  I can definitely relate to the things she was feeling in the days after she lost her mother because I felt a lot of those same things after losing my father suddenly at the age of 14.  It made me feel really close to Katie, and therefore to Tomohiro, by default.

I enjoy a good story that makes me want to look up things and places on the internet, and this story definitely peaked my curiosity.  So I thought I'd share some of the beautiful places and other things that I looked up while reading INK.

First of all Shizuoka City, Japan - the setting of the story:

Sunpu Park and Castle, Shizouka, Japan:

Cherry Blossoms During the Cherry Blossom Festival or Hanami:

Toro Iseki - an archaeological ruin in the midst of Shizouka:

The famous Otorii Itsukushima Shrine in Myajima : 

The martial art of kendo:

The goddess Amaterasu and the Kami:

And a famous artist in Japan, Tairo No Yoshitoshi

Did I mention that if you get this book off of i-tunes, you get moving pictures???  Very appropriate for a story about pictures that come to life, right?

What more is there to say, except I give this book 5 stars, and very much look forward to the next book?


Thank you to Harlequin Books and NetGalley for the Arc of this book in exchange of an honest review. 

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Mad Musing On: Gameboard Of The Gods By Richelle Mead

THE BLURB: In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such mega-successes  sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

MAD MUSINGS:  This story just reaffirms how much I adore Richelle's writing.  She creates interesting and unique main characters that I wouldn't normally care about, and makes me love them!    Main case here is the male lead - Justin.... He's what I would call a womanizer when we first meet him.  And Mae is the Ice Princess.... seems like a match made in hell, right?   But these two together bring out the softer side in each other, somehow.  My friend, Sarah, said it the best way to me the other day - Those that love with such great passion can also fight with that same passion.  And we can certainly see how that can be the case here!!   Is it strange that, as I was reading about Justin and Mae, all I could think of was these two? 

Just a little Battlestar Galactica fangirling - nothing to see here.....
That's exactly it, right???  Justin and Mae are exactly Gaius and Six!!  LOL

Anyway..... I know that this story is touted as a sci-fi, but I would call it more of a dystopian story.  And they way the story ended - the next one could go off in any direction! I like that I can't guess it.   There's a lot of mention in this story about different gods from other religions (new and ancient) from around the world. There's one 'god' in particular that pertains to Justin, and we are supposed to wonder who it was.. .  I knew all along who it was, because I just happened to do a bit of research into this particular culture for another book recently and the clues were there right at the start.  But it's still cool how bits and pieces are revealed. 

I look forward to another fascinating series from Richelle Mead.

****1/2 stars


Saturday, 6 April 2013

Mad Musings On: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

The Blurb:
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy

Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.

Mad Musings:

I just need to get this out of the way first thing:

OMG THE EMOTIONAL DRAMA!!! I HAVEN'T CRIED THIS HARD OVER A BOOK IN A VERY LONG TIME (Probably since Clockwork Prince came out.... )  Now where's the Kleenex...?  It's been a couple of weeks since I finished this, and I think I can now put my thoughts into some sort of coherent form down on virtual paper....

Even though this series has what seems to be a typical love triangle,  can anyone ever imagine an outcome that satisfies both teams of shippers quite like Cassandra has done in this series?  It's downright astonishing!!  The twists and turns.... oh my!!  And even though, when we finally do find out what Tessa is and how she came to be.... some may have guessed the what part of the question, but not the how part of it.  Brilliant!   I thought I loved Clare's original series, The Mortal Instruments, but my mantra the last few weeks has been "I think this book has put The Infernal Devices as my favourite of Clare's series - I'm as surprised as you are!"  No doubt this sentiment will last for about as long as the time I finally get to read City of Heavenly Fire..... But anyways.....

I really just can't say enough without giving away spoilers, but I will give this bit of advice:  If you are lucky enough to have a first edition of the real book in your hands and you don't want spoilers, resist, I mean really RESIST looking at that tempting family tree behind the jacket cover.  There are spoilers there - I almost cried when I was foolish enough to do it!  I'm serious!!  Don't do it!

I think I just may do a re-read now.... 

*****5+ stars

Mad Musings On: The Lost Prince (Call Of The Forgotten) By Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #1)

The Blurb: 
Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

Mad Musings:
It was so good to return to The Iron Realm.... sooooo good.  I missed Megan and Ash and Puck.  Although this story isn't really about them.  In this new series we meet Megan's little brother Ethan, all grown up into a surly teenager.  And boy does he have a chip on his shoulder!   It's a good thing he channels that energy through martial arts, or he'd probably explode! (I speak from personal experience here.  This is one of the reasons I also enrolled my son into Kung Fu classes.  He adores it to this day! Anyways....)
 So when this 'bad boy' finally meets a girl he likes and inadvertently has to drag her back into the world he hates so much, one might say it's a life changing experience!  Also, meeting Kierran - who, if you don't already know who he is, I won't tell ;)

I just love the way Julie Kagawa builds her worlds:  in layers, to be slowly revealed one at a time.  She leaves you wanting to know more of the strange and dangerous world of the fae.  I wonder if everyone would be guided by Grimalkin and his unique brand of 'helpfulness' upon entry to the faery world?  Probably not - he wouldn't have that kind of time, and he wouldn't care all that much anyways...

So my only question is, where can we find a glider of our own?  They sound like tremendous fun, just like this book was.

I can't wait to read #2 in the Call of the Forgotten Series: The Iron Traitor.  By the way, that book's cover was recently revealed:

The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2)

This is Kierran, on the cover.  Say it isn't so!!!!  An iron traitor?!?!?  One would hope it would not be from his own choice!!  So I guess I have to wait to find out..... *sigh*

**** 4 stars 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for review purposes. Thank you!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mad Musings On: The Eternity Cure (The Blood Of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)

The Blurb:
Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.

Mad Musings:
Where to start, where to start..... 

I've literally just finished reading, and I still have tears in my eyes.  And I may have just woken up the house with my loud OMG that I just yelled....  But that's ok, they needed to get up anyways.... I need something to distract my brain...

This was an intense and thrilling ride through zombieland, where your enemies become your allies, and the unexpected shows up... well, unexpectedly!   And I had my suspicions that something wasn't quite right with a certain someone who appears out of the blue, and I was sort of right about that, but now I certainly understand why the title of the series is "The Blood of Eden".   And Allie certainly had to learn to be wary of anyone from her past, because maybe her former allies aren't exactly on her side any more either...

And then there's the devious, bad boy character that I can't help but to picture like this:

Get'em, Jackal!  LOL

Sooooo, Um,  Ms Julie Kagawa..... Um, When is the next book coming out??  Because I really need it YESTERDAY!!! 

Oh yeah, first THIS one has to come out ;)

The Eternity Cure is available on April 30th from Harlequin Teen

***** 5 stars

I received this ARC from Harlequin Teen on Netgalley for review purposes :) Thank you!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Mad Musings On: Beautiful Creatures By Kami Garcia And Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I used this book as an experiment of sorts - I wanted to see if watching the movie first would have any impact on whether or not I liked the book.  I did this because I was hearing from other people who love the series how disappointed they were with the movie!   I thought the movie trailer looked great, so I didn't want to go into it jaded.  So my Hubby and I went on a Valentine's date to see this movie on the opening weekend.  We both quite enjoyed it, although I had questions about some of the characters and the plot, which was to be expected.  

Well, not far into reading Beautiful Creatures, I could already see some of the differences, although to me it's minor things like appearances and, yes, the movie peeps combines a couple of characters into one onscreen person.    That happens more than once, as it turns out.  But I can also understand the reasons the movie bigwigs would do that - it makes the story less complicated by having to track fewer characters - keep it to the main people and the main story line!   Of course there's also the omitted scenes from the book that we always cry out "Why didn't they include this in the movie?"  Personally, I would've liked to see the Winter Ball scene - but I guess it doesn't really advance the main story all that much, so it ends up being deleted - maybe it'll show up in deleted scenes, when DVD release time arrives?  Time will tell...

So, about the book.... I really was surprised at how different Book Ethan was from Movie Ethan.  He was so funny in the movie, and not as much in the book.  But it was kind of cool to see the way the guy feels about a new relationship in a YA book for a change.    I mean, for the most part he wasn't even sure she was his girlfriend!  It makes me want to just whisper in his ear "Dude, you're spending all your time with her, kissed several times, and holding hands.... she's definitely a girlfriend YEESH!"

What I'm still confused about with the book, is the ending.  The movie has a totally different ending, which I though was pretty cool, but the book didn't even hint at that.  Where did producers pull that from?  Is it in the next book, Beautiful Darkness?   Well, I suppose I'm just going to have to read that one to find out....

**** 4 stars

**On a personal note, Margaret Stohl was another of the fabulous authors I had the privilege to meet at the Smart Chicks tour last fall.  She was a delight and kept us all laughing with her hilarious antics.  I was really hoping that some of her sense of humour would appear in her writing, and I was not disappointed :)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Mad Musings On: 'The Indigo Spell' By Richelle Mead

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

Being a fan of Richelle Mead, and knowing her writing style, I was all set to read The Indigo Spell: the third book in the Bloodlines series.  I had my cup of tea, box of Kleenex, and Prozac prescription ready to go.  Richelle's #3 books are known to be heartwrenchingly traumatic to the extent that you are thinking about things for weeks afterwards.  For example, after reading Shadow Kiss, #3 of the Vampire Academy series (and the series that this sequel series is based on) , I was screaming at the book and was in a funk for at least a week - that's how much I'd come to love the characters.   And same thing with reading Succubus Dreams (#3 of the Georgia Kincade books).  Soooooo good......  
So I was expecting some really drastic wrench to be thrown down at the end of this book too.   Was I right?  Well, I'm happy to report that the prescription was not necessary this time around *WHEW*  but there were moments that had me squirming in my seat - some of it was good, and some of it was because poor Adrian doesn't seem to catch a break! 

Adriannnnnnnnn........ AD-RI-AAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNN  (Ahem-I just had to get that out)

I-LOVED-THIS-BOOK.  Richelle, you have done it again.  I'm so glad you have given us, the fans, a chance to love Adrian - because it was a really hard choice when he was 'the-one-who-got-away' in Vampire Academy.   Now, we don't have to make that choice.  And Sydney, poor little Sydney.  She's going to be unstoppable and I can't wait to see her kick some major Alchemist butt.... 

And thank you for not making us wait another year for The Fiery Heart ( Bloodlines #4) - waiting for the fall will be torturous enough!  Oh well, at least I'll have Gameboard of the Gods (Richelle's new Age of X series) to fall in love with verrrrry soon. :)

I can't gush about this enough....

***** 5+Stars

Monday, 11 February 2013

Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters Release Date Confirmed

Release day is FEBRUARY 14, 2014!!!!!  Sweeeeeeetttttt.  I know what we are doing for Valentine's Day next year :D   Can't wait to see Dimitri and Rose in action, and meet the rest of the cast......

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mad Musings On: Finale By Becca Fitzpatrick

Finale (Hush, Hush, #4)

Will love conquer all?

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank's absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels - destroying Patch.

Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.

But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.

As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.

Ok I confess, I'm confused..... I loved the first two books in this series sooo much, I thought Nora was just meh, but Patch was something else.  Book 3, Nora was starting to get better for me.... This one?  My thoughts about Nora was, "Gee this girl would not be a good chess player - she never thinks ahead!  She's too impulsive....' And that was immediately followed by "What on Earth does Patch see in her?"  And what on Earth happened to him in this book, anyways?  He just kind of got pushed to the wayside as we watched his so called Raison d'ĂȘtre go thorough some really obvious stuff!   There was the gratuitous kissy parts, of course.  But, unlike in the other books, he wasn't much of a guardian Angel... 

At least this was a storyline that kept me guessing - there's nothing I hate more that figuring everything out for myself before it's revealed in the book.  Some of the 'surprises' in the book, I felt was too much - especially the storyline involving Vee.  I don't think that was necessary to the story at all... and the epilogue seemed kind of forced.  

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that, YES I liked the book, but I'm sad because it could have been so much more.....

*** stars 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Mad Musings on: A Million Suns AND Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

***Yes - this is a double book review, because I read these two back-to-back, and they seem like one book in my head.......

A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)   Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)

Let me get this out of the way first.... *AHEM*


OK-whew that feels better...

The Blurbs: 
A Million Suns: Book two in the heart-stopping Across the Universe trilogy!

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to act on his vision--no more Phydus, no more lies. But when Elder learns shocking news, he and Amy must race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed, all the while dealing with the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In the New York Times bestseller A Million Suns, Beth Revis deepens the mystery with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Shades Of Earth: The final book in the  New York Times bestselling trilogy, perfect for fans of Battlestar Galactica and Prometheus!

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


Mad Musings:  Like I mentioned before - Holy-Tension-Inducing, Batman!  Words fail to describe how much I enjoyed these books, except, Beth Revis - you are genius...

In Book #2, I was on the edge of my seat, and I didn't know where on Earth (heh heh, punny) this story was going.  The murder mystery In Spaaaaaace continues. I was hoping that the title of Book #3 meant that they would eventually find their way to Centari-Earth, but I refused to read the jacket cover so I wouldn't even have a hint of spoilers.  I had a feeling that life aboard Godspeed without the mind altering drugs would turn to chaos, but never did I imagine.... Humanity is humanity, no matter where or when.... And then the twist happened, again!  And it changed the whole story.....

Book #3 starts off seconds from where #2 ends, and we learn that starting a colony on their new planet is not at all what it seems - there are opposing forces working against them. The prices to pay are too high.  I yelled out loud "OMG NO!!!" waaayyy too many times.  I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I mourned.... I could see myself there with the colonists.... I sort of guessed what the ending might be, but I wasn't completely right about that either! (And thank-you for that!) I want to know more!!!  Although I hear that this is the end of the trilogy, Beth Revis has said to me that she is considering a novella of a prequel to Across The Universe, which makes me squeeeeeee, because I kinda want to see how this mission all started. So I look forward to that.  

Speaking of Novellas that Beth Revis wrote, I did read her short e-novella As They Slip Away (ATU #0.5) which takes place on board the Godspeed before Amy wakes up.  I found the background story I learned there to really help me understand the depths of the emotions experienced in the later books.  I recommend reading it after book #1. You can find it here.

*****5 Stars for A Million Suns
*****5 Stars for Shades Of Earth

Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters Cast!!

Ok, I need a little moment for a fan-girly freak out!!  I'm very, VERY excited to see who they've cast for the upcoming movie adaption to Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy.  I have two tiers of favourite books in my head: There's the books-I-adore favs and then there's the BOOKS-I-OBSESS-ON favs.  And Vampire Academy is near the top of that list!  So I was hoping that I would be happy with the casting....

I present, Danila Kozlovskiy as Dimitry , Zoey Deutch as Rose, and Lucy Fry as Lissa

I'm very happy with these picks from the team doing the casting (although, Lucy is not how I pictured Lissa in my head, I'm ok with that)  Just the fact that they've cast a hot Russian actor for our Dimka is enough to give me faith that this is going to be a great movie.  I can't wait for a movie premiere party at my local theater :)

Drop me a word if you are a fan of Vampire Academy too - it's more fun to obsess with other like minded peeps :)  Bring on that love charm scene......

Monday, 28 January 2013

Happy Pride And Prejudice Day!

Yes, let's.

It was 200 years ago today that this beloved classic by Jane Austen was published..... 200 YEARS!!!! Am I the only one who is shocked by this????  I don't know how many times I've watched one of the movies or read the book, or saw or read something that was inspired by this book.  I've been trying to decide which movie version I like the best - was it the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightley and Matthew McFayden?

One of my favourite scenes from the 2005 adaptation.

The 1995 TV series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle?

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy

 Or how about this hilarious Bollywood version?

(Which I watched and was greatly amused, btw...)

Any other ones?  

These are a few of the books that have been inspired by P&P:
Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesAustenland (Austenland, #1)Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1)Twilight (Twilight, #1)
And many many others......

What are your favourites?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Mad Musings On: 'The Raven Boys' by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Slightly Spoilerish!!
 Let me get this out of the way first of all..... I absolutely adore Maggie Stiefvater's books!  Her Linger series was one of my Favourite Finds of 2011, which I ranked right up there with Twilight (that's high praise coming from me) and, shockingly to me, I worshiped The Scorpio Races even more!  So, to say I was anticipating reading The Raven Boys, might be a bit of an understatement.   The fact that I had to wait till after Christmas to read this (because of a no-buying-for-yourself-after-November rule) was driving me nutso....  Was it worth the wait?

YES!  And no.....

I didn't absolutely love it as much as the previous books, but I did still like it a lot.  It was really different than I was expecting it to be (that's a good thing).  I didn't even read what the book was about, only what a few reviewers were saying about it.  I was expecting the boys to be some supernatural type of creature that involved a raven, and there would be a girl, and a love story (or the start of one).  So imagine my surprise when the Raven Boys turned out to be....just regular boys!  From a private school.....  

This is the story of a girl from an unusual family of psychics, who meets a group of boys from Aglionby Academy - of which the school symbol is a raven, thus the 'Raven Boys'.  The boys have a very strong connection to each other, and the leader, Gainsey, has a pretty strange passion.  Our girl, Blue, has been told that the first boy she loves, and kisses, will die.   We are led to believe that it'll be Gainsy, but she seems to develop an attraction to someone else, too.   And, of course, we have to wait for the next book to find out what all the 'kissing and dying' is all about *sigh*  Such build up of a major plot point that isn't resolved..... No kissing, not sure which boy it'll be + one of them has a potentially deadly allergy.... and nothing comes of that either..... yet....

However, the pleasure in this story comes from all the surprises - learning about this unlikely group of friends, and Blue and her family.  The story turned into not one of boy-meets-girl, girl-meets-another-boy= love-triangle.   Rather this is a story about friendship, and the bonds that keep them all together.   There is also a mystery to solve.... and that's where the bit of paranormalcy comes into the story, and sets things up very nicely for a sequel.   There are a few shocking twists thrown in as well.  So will Gainsey and Blue and the boys succeed in their quest?  We must wait to find out.......   

Meanwhile, note to self, look up what the ancient King Glendower legends are all about.....

****1/2 Stars

Monday, 14 January 2013

The Final Twilight Party Has A Date....

It was announced today that the final Twilight movie (Which is Breaking Dawn Part 2, in case you were living under a rock....) is going to be released on March 2 - and that means I am now officially in party planning mode!  How am I going to outdo myself after the last party - the one where I made a wedding cake, and we had champagne, and made feather fascinators..... Ahhhh good times.......

Well, all I know is that right now, my co-host, Sarah, and I are already talking 'baby shower', 'cake pop experiments', 'wine labels', and 'name that vampire'.... and I can't forget about the brainstorming on imprinting... OH YEAH, we are going to do that one way or another!

This is my last chance to have a Twilight party, and I suppose I'm wanting to go out with a bang. Have you ever been to a Twilight party?  What were some of your highlights?  How nuts do you think I am......?

Now please excuse me while I Google 'Twilight party decorations' and see what pops up this time.... (Oh go ahead and do it, you know you're curious now...)

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Mad Musings On: 'Exiled (The Protector #1)' By MR Merrik

Exiled (The Protector, #1)

Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase's birthday, the bloodline stopped. 

Exiled without the Circle's protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle's agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can't do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna — a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret. 

In their attempt to stop them, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle's plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other's life depending on it.

So why did I pick up this book?  Well, it's a combination of a few things - (1) I've heard many great things from my fellow Edmonton Book Bloggers  (2)I know he's a local author (From Red Deer! That's less than 2 hrs away) (3)I have an interest in reading more locally this year, as a personal challenge (4) I started following MR Merrick on twitter, and discovered he has a great sense of humour, similar to mine, and, (5) One day Exiled was a free giveaway on kindle, so I snatched it up!
Well, right away, I liked this story because it is told from a boy's POV - which is different that the usual female author and a female lead character.  It leads me to think I can get my sons, who are 14 and 12 interested in reading it too.  I am always looking for books that will get them to read more (My 14 year old doesn't want to finish Catching Fire because, ya  know, Katniss is a girl)  I think it's rare to find a YA author who is male and writes a male character that could interest teen boys as much as Percy Jackson did for my son.
For myself, I was drawn into the storytelling right away and I kept thinking that there are vague similarities to Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series - things like there's a secret group of demon hunters, the main character lives apart from them,  and there's a 'bad guy' that wants to open a door and let the demons wreck havoc on Earth.... There is, eventually, also a different dimension that is reminiscent of Steven King, or LJ Smith - I can't quite put my finger on it.  But it seemed so real to me.   After I finished reading, I find myself looking forward to Book #2, Shift, and the newly released #3 Release.
**** 4 Stars