Fiction Friday Round-Up – May 22nd, 2015

Here are some books I’ve been reading/finishing over the past week or so. Please click the links for full reviews!

  • The Blooming Goddess Trilogy – Tellulah Darling: “I really enjoyed this series: it was fluffy at times but still had a strong plot. The writing was funny and compelling, and if you like contemporary takes on Greek mythology, you’ll love Sophie’s world.”
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertali: “I loved this book. It’s a character-driven novel, so the plot is relatively simple, but in this case, it worked because I enjoyed getting to know Simon and the world around him.”
  • The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley: “Flavia’s personal journey is what makes this book my favourite, and I can’t wait to get started on her next adventure.”

This week, I attended the book launch for Sarah Henstra’s fabulous debut, Mad Miss Mimic. Read my recap here!

Because it was #IreadYA week, you can see some of the YA books that I’m excited about here!

What have you read recently?

Until next week, happy reading!

#IreadYA 2015

It’s that glorious time of year again – it’s #IReadYA week! A campaign brought to us by Scholastic’s This is Teen, #IReadYA week is all about celebrating those of us who read – and love – young adult books.
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Last year, I broke down some of my favourite authors/series, this year I decided I would talk about some of the more recent YA adventures I’ve been on. There are actually different discussion topics for each day posted on the Scholastic website, but I was not paying attention, so I’m doing things my own way!

MY TWO NEW FAVOURITE TRILOGIES

I talk about these books so much on my blog, you probably already know what I’m going to say:

Every series – Ellie Marney

One word: Mycroft. For him alone, you should read these books. Also Watts, who is an incredibly strong female protagonist (she grew up on a farm, solves crimes, and plays roller derby!). Their chemistry is redonk, and the mysteries are so well written. Wattscroft forever!

The Dispossessed series – Page Morgan

Sexy, brooding gargoyles and late 1800’s Paris. What more could you ask for? Notable for being one of the only series where I was actually perplexed re: the outcome of the love triangle (I’m so happy with the way it turned out, but I was legitimately torn for a while there i.e. during the entire second book).

OUTSTANDING DEBUT

Mad Miss Mimic – Sarah Henstra

I love me a good strong Victorian heroine. This was well written, well researched, and, well, I loved it. I also attended the launch yesterday, which was super cute and so my style (tea sandwiches! Lots of sweet treats! Fun cocktails!).

DISCUSSION STARTER

When Everything Feels Like the Movies – Raziel Reid

This has been making waves in the Canadian literary scene because stuffy adults don’t think this much attention should be paid to something so “graphic”, but the message at the end is so important, and if it gets the LGBTQ conversation going, then it should win EVERY AWARD.

GORGEOUS COVER, GORGEOUS PROSE

Magonia – Maria Dahvana Headley

I didn’t review this one even though I read an ARC months ago (it was before I was actively reviewing ARCs), but the Neil Gaiman-esque prose is lovely, the cover is magnificent, and the story was unique and compelling.

GRAPHIC NOVEL

Nimona – Noelle Stevenson

Granted, I’m pretty obsessed with Nimona right now, but talk about strong female protagonists! From her bold hairstyles to her butt-kicking fighting technique (“I’M A SHARK”), Nimona is a pretty great role model – even if she is technically a villain.

UNRELIABLE HEROINES

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

I wasn’t as impressed with this book as everyone else seemed to be (it got so many glowing reviews), but Cady’s narrative keeps you guessing, even when you think you’ve figured it out (or, like me, you accidentally spoiled the ending for yourself).

YA FROM A MOSTLY MG AUTHOR

Why We Broke Up – Daniel Handler

While it did tend to ramble on for a while, Min’s account of her intense and turbulent relationship with Ed can be a bit of a tearjerker. It’s also a beautifully designed book, so for that alone, I’d recommend it.

ON MY TBR

Here are 2 books on my “TO BE READ” list that I’m really excited for:

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertali

I read the first page and was hooked in an instant, so you know it’s going to be a great read. Plus it’s been getting excellent buzz from bloggers that I tend to agree with, so I’m fairly certain I’ll enjoy it.

Also a good contender for a “discussion starter”, from what I’ve heard.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

I’ve wanted to read this for a while (I even own a copy), but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Pretty covers, angels, demons – sounds amazing.

What are some of your favourite YA books (in general, or that you’ve read recently)?

Fiction Friday Round-Up – March 27, 2015

It was another three book week! Yay books! Click the links for full reviews!

  • What We Hide – Marthe Jocelyn: “I was most interested in Robbie/Luke’s story, but the problem with multiple POVs is that you start to get into one story and then you’re constantly interrupted by other people’s stories, which can be annoying.”
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley: “There’s also just something hilarious about an eleven year old being obsessed with poisons in the 1950’s.”
  • We Were Liars – E. Lockhart: “I generally like contemporary YA…but snotty privileged people aren’t really my thing. Turns out, snotty privileged people weren’t really the Liars’ thing either.”

Until next week…happy reading!

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

wewereliarsA beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

For some reason that I don’t completely understand, every time I see this title, I think of the Taking Back Sunday song, “We Were Younger Then”.

Before I start my review, let me admit three things:

1) Upon starting this book, all I could think about were those episodes of Gossip Girl where they went to the Hamptons: you know, people wearing a lot of white and basically acting like pretentious tools.

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2) I accidentally spoiled the ending for myself because I was flipping ahead to see how many “parts” there were, and I read a very crucial sentence. I was totally that kid who read the end of the book when I was only halfway through, just to make sure it was going to be worth it.

3) In this case, it was worth it. It was this very crucial sentence that made me want to finish reading this book. Not that I would have abandoned it because it was just starting to get good when I spoiled it, but it was the kick in the pants I needed to really get into the story.

This book has been garnering rave reviews from pretty much everyone, so when I found a copy, I decided to give it a try. I generally like contemporary YA (and I think I’ve been reading more contemporary than anything else recently), but snotty privileged people aren’t really my thing.

Turns out, snotty privileged people weren’t really the Liars’ thing either.

I really liked Cadence’s “fairy tales” about the three favoured daughters. It added a touch of whimsy, but it also sometimes felt ominous, especially if you consider how creepy most of the original Grimm stories were.

I also liked how it was written: the choppy, fragmented sentences, especially when Cady was struggling to remember what happened. It evoked her hesitation, her uncertainty and, ultimately, her guilt and grief. And while I’m not normally a fan of over-the-top descriptions, there was something oddly beautiful about her metaphors for her migraine-level headaches.

Maybe it’s because I had a headache when I was reading the last half, so I could totally relate to the “it feels like someone’s sawing my brain open” feeling.

There is also a massive twist at the end (you know, the “crucial sentence” I mentioned earlier), which I probably wouldn’t have seen coming if I hadn’t spoiled it for myself

I probably talk about this one particular episode of Scrubs too much, but it’s really relevant this time. So I’m just going to leave this clip here and you can work out for yourself how it relates to We Were Liars.