Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: January 2nd, 2012
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4/5

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it
I'm not the best when it comes to forgiveness.

I have a bit of a tendency to hold a grudge. Not my best personality trait, I'll admit, and one that has gotten me into trouble a few times recently. I do forgive, but it just takes me a bit longer than some people.

Why am I talking about forgiveness? Well, a book I thought would just be a cutesy, comedic novel turned into a journey to let go of anger, to embrace change, and maybe find your soul-mate.

I had been hearing amazing things about The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight since its release in January. Everyone was calling it adorable and fantastic, so I knew I had to check it out. I started and finished it just the other day and, I have to say, it was just as great as everyone said it was. 

At first, I wasn't a huge fan of Hadley. Mostly because of her unfortunate name. There was a boy named Hadley in my elementary school that used to chase me around, try to kiss me, and was one of the most obnoxious people I've ever had to deal with. Once I got past the association, I started to like her. I felt angry on her behalf when she spoke of her father's abandonment, and smiled to myself constantly during her banter with Oliver. And Oliver. Oh, I'm a sucker for a pretty boy with an accent. The mystery surrounding his return to London, and his constant humor had me flipping the page to read more. Hadley and Oliver's dialogue seemed very natural and endearing, and their relationship, although formed quickly, seemed solid and heart-warming.

The idea of forgiveness, something both Hadley and Oliver struggled with added an extra element to the story. It wasn't just about a chance meeting, and a romance that bloomed from it. It was two people suffering the consequences of other people's actions, and finding it in their heart to move on. It made me realize the mistakes of others don't have to define my own life, and that holding on to a grudge doesn't hurt anyone more than myself.

I will say, I found the writing slightly repetitive. Hadley often had the same internal monologue over and over, just with minor rephrasing. I understood the importance of it, but I think it was adequately covered the first few times. I also wasn't a huge fan of the third person writing. I felt it didn't fit the story at some points, but that's more of a personal preference.

Overall, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was everything I hoped it would be, and more. Witty, fun, romantic, with just the right amount of heart, this book was great, and one I would recommend.

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: Amazon | Goodreads | The Book Depository

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Women of the Otherworld Mini-Challenge #1

Hello, book-a-lovin' peeps!

Today, I'm going to be participating in the first "Mini-Challenge" for The Women of the Otherworld Reading Challenge hosted by the lovely Lucy over at Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf! I posted about the challenge earlier, but I haven't had time to participate yet, due to this lovely thing called school. Now that I'm on summer vacation *cue cheering* I'm going to try and catch up.

For this first "Mini-Challenge", Lucy has asked participants to take a picture of all the books they own written by Kelley Armstrong, be it her novels, short stories, or anthologies. 

So, let me say this up front: I'm a bit of a Kelley Armstrong fanatic. Although I don't own everything she's ever published, I've read the vast majority (yay, library!) and own a significant amount. Without further ado, here is the collection:

My Darkest Powers/Darkest Rising collection. I haven't bought The Calling yet!

My entire WOTOW collection (include anthologies and Sub. Press novellas)

Nadia Stafford series

Kelley Armstrong anthologies

Kelley Armstrong swag AND WOTOW Primer!

Inside the Primer, note the signature!

My entire Kelley Armstrong collection

There you have it! My entire collection. I own almost all her published novels (except for The Calling), although in lots of different formats. I started buying The Women of the Otherworld series before they were re-released in Canada, so I have a mix of new and old covers. I actually got both of my Nadia Stafford books at the thrift store, which was just fantastic. I also bought all three of her Subterranean Press novellas, which I am ridiculously happy about (two days after I ordered Angelic, it was sold out). The Otherworld Primer is something I feel very lucky to have. Many people don't know about it, since the series isn't being made into a comic anymore. I ordered the primer the day I found out about it, and although the comic was cancelled (as far as I know) they did print and send out the primer (which I love!) I have also been lucky enough to attend two Kelley Armstrong signings, so all except for one of my books is signed. AND I'm going to a third signing in September, so my entire collection will soon be complete!

Thinking about reading The Women of the Otherworld series? Why not join the challenge! It's a fun, laid-back reading challenge to get people into the series! All the details are here.

That's all for now! How's your Kelley Armstrong collection?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: September 27th, 2011
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4.5/5
Summary from Goodreads:
Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.
There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.
She's wrong.

I've always been slightly afraid of mirrors. You know in horror movies were people look away from the mirror then look back and the knife-wielding axe-murderer whatever is standing behind them? Yeah, that has made me very scared of mirrors.

So has this book.

I was literally shaking when I read it, and kept ducking and hiding from mirrors for days afterwards! I'm sorry, but seeing dead friends in mirrors instead of yourself? Yeah, it was terrifying. It was probably not my best idea to stay up 'til two reading but I couldn't help myself! I needed to know what happened! A midnight read at its finest.

I was absolutely hooked from the first page. That letter! Wow! What a grab. Actually, I could say I was hooked from the cover cause, um, yeah, one of the best covers I've ever seen. One question I heard about the cover, which made me love it that much more, was "Is the boy on the cover saving her, or pulling her under?" Every time I look at the cover I can't help but shiver.

The story itself was shudder-inducing (in a good way). Watching the main character, Mara Dyer, slowly slip into madness was engrossing while terrifying. Her visions had me cowering from the pages, while flipping them faster to read more. The flashbacks of the incident, the constant nightmares, and Mara's attempt to survive it all kept the story moving, and kept my heart-pounding.

Mara Dyer is not your typical heroine, and I loved that about her. She's dark, haunted, and scary in her own right. She's a bit of a tragic heroine; one fatal flaw could bring her all down. Which is fantastic (in a literary sense. I'm sure it's not so fantastic for Mara). A lot of books have strong female leads that have you cheering and rooting for their success. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer has a protagonist that has you staring in horror, yet fascinated by her every decision. I have to say, this series has a lot of potential. And the dark heroine of Mara is one to watch out for.

I have to also mention Noah Shaw. Although I found the beginning of their relationship slightly typical (by YA book standards), I adored him. I can't help but love a sarcastic hottie, with a sweet side. I mean really, who can!

I don't want to give away anything, so I'm going to put a big SPOILER ALERT right here (although, it's not really a huge spoiler, but if you don't want any, don't read this paragraph) but there was one thing that irked me about the book. I didn't like the supernatural element that was thrown in at the end. I liked the more contemporary, although a bit paranormal, style it was taking. But the end! Oh the end. Let's just say I NEED to have The Evolution of Mara Dyer in my yesterday.

If you're looking for a scary thrill-ride, pick up The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. It'll have you cowering in a corner, while gluing your eyes to the page.
The cover of The Evolution of Mara Dyer was just released and my goodness is it gorgeous! As stunning and as deeply haunting as the first. Makes me wonder what's going to happen in the second book!

-Ciara who is lost at midnight  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (8): Rebel Heart by Moira Young

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!

Publisher: Random House
Release Date: October 30th, 2012

WARNING: Summary (from Goodreads) contains spoilers for Blood Red Road
The Tonton have been defeated. Lugh has been rescued.
The heartstone has brought Saba and Jack together.
Now, Saba and her family head west to meet him and start a new life. All should be well.
But shadows of the dead are stalking Saba.
And another kind of shadow is creeping over the dustlands.
Then a messenger shows up.
With news of Jack.

Not too much of a description at this point, but if it's anything like Blood Red Road it's sure to be fantastic. Blood Red Road was one of the most interesting dystopians I've ever read. There wasn't a new society filled with cool-technology and corrupted government. Instead, it was set in the dustlands, a wide expanse of nothingness. The way it was written was unique as well and took some getting used to (I'm a crazy grammar freak. I love commas and punctuation and editing everything, so reading a book with slang, minimal punctuation and lots of incorrect sentences drove me slightly bonkers) but once I found a rhythm, it added the perfect atmosphere to the novel.

Although I've wanted to read it for a while, I actually picked up Blood Red Road because of my book club (I'll be talking more about that in the coming weeks). One thing that was mentioned about the book has always stuck with me. One of the women said, and I paraphrase "Blood Red Road is realistic. If we went through an apocalypse our world would probably look like this."

I'm really excited to see where Rebel Heart goes. There's a lot of possibilities and potential to this world, and the characters have a lot of things going for them. I can't wait to dive back into Saba and Jack's witty banter, and this desolate world with so many secrets. I just hope it doesn't break my heart! (I have a feeling it's going to)

What do you think? Is Blood Red Road a realistic dystopian? If you haven't read it, thinking of checking it out? What's your Waiting on Wednesday pick?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren, in which bloggers post about the books they got during the week!

I'm going on another book ban. Seriously, my bank account is yelling at me. I am only buying one more book this month, cause May is going to bankrupt me. Anyways, I manage to snag some fantastic deals this week because my local Salvation Army was having a huge book sale. All books under $1 were ten books for $5! I couldn't help myself! Here are the books!


- Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding
- As Lie the Dead by Kelly Meding
- Another Kind of Dead by Kelly Meding
- Wrong Side of Dead by Kelly Meding
- One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost
Note: I technically already own this book. I'm a huge Night Huntress series fan and picked up One Grave at a Time days after it came out. And I lost it. I have no clue how, but it disappeared and I've been really upset about it since (ask my friend Crimson. On random occasions I will tweet her something along the lines of "I'M SO HEARTBROKEN! I NEED BONES" every couple of months). Much to my surprise, and delight, I found a copy for only 99 cents! Made my day!

- The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

- Sins of the Angels by Linda Poitevin (I've heard a couple people talking about this one so I figured I might as well check it out!)

- I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga (not part of the bargain, just a book I've been meaning to pick up!) 

That's it for this week! What was in your mailbox?

-Ciara who is lost at midnight

Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

Title: My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers #2)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: December 29th, 2009
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4.5/5

When Kaylee Cavanaugh screams, someone dies.

So when teen pop star Eden croaks onstage and Kaylee doesn’t wail, she knows something is dead wrong. She can’t cry for someone who has no soul.

The last thing Kaylee needs right now is to be skipping school, breaking her dad’s ironclad curfew and putting her too-hot-to-be-real boyfriend’s loyalty to the test. But starry-eyed teens are trading their souls: a flickering lifetime of fame and fortune in exchange for eternity in the Netherworld—a consequence they can’t possibly understand.
Kaylee can’t let that happen, even if trying to save their souls means putting her own at risk...
(Side note: I apologize for the lack of reviews here on the blog recently. I've been battling this very weird tiredness which has had me sleeping all day, or not being able to sleep at all. I'm also in the middle of exams so I'm trying to juggle studying and blogging and it's becoming difficult. Once I'm done exams (Nine days from now!) I will be back on track!)

I love to re-read books. I know a lot of people who never do, but I adore it. I find you notice so many more things the second (or third, or forth, etc.) time around than you do the first and it often really adds to the story. Characters are seen in a different light, actions take on entirely different meanings, and little hints are finally noticed. In the case of My Soul to Save, it made me like the characters AND the plot line that much more.

Now, I liked My Soul to Save the first time around, but it wasn't as amazing as My Soul to Take. I thought the plot was a bit out there, and I was still very frustrated with Kaylee. This time I have to say, I really saw where the plot was heading, and my respect for Kaylee was definitely more than previously. Since I don't want to give out any spoilers for future books, I can't really say what I noticed about the plot, just that it plays a role in the next few novels. One thing about the plot I was really excited to notice is the "greed" element. A little while back, Rachel Vincent wrote a blog post (WARNING: The post contains spoilers for the series) about how each book was based on a seven deadly sin. My Soul to Take was vanity, and My Soul to Save was greed. I could definitely see where Vincent took that idea, and how she threaded it through each characters story line. Really fun to read about!

I also have to say, I was really proud of Kaylee. My first time reading it, I was always aggravated by her decisions and just her personality in general. This time, I could see where she was coming from and although she didn't always make the smartest choices, she made them with the best of intentions. 

I also loved getting to see Tod's flawed side. His sarcastic attitude and casual smirk took a backseat to his raw emotions in this book. I think it was fantastic to see a different side of him, and really added to his character.

Overall, My Soul to Save grabbed me, even reading it a second time. I was pulled into the fight to save Addison's soul, Kaylee's unrelenting courage to do just that, and all the emotion turmoil that this quest entailed. It was a ride, a heart-breaker, and just generally a fantastic book. Make sure to check out Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series, if you haven't already. Mythical creatures, heart-breaking characters, and kissing (lots of it) all wrapped up in one delicious series!

If it sounds good to you, why not make it even better and take part in the Soul Screamers Reading Challenge! It's a bit late into it, but it's very easy to catch up! These books will not let you go until you're finished!

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: Amazon | Goodreads | Rachel Vincent's website

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren, in which bloggers post about the books they got during the week!

Here are the books I picked up this week! (A few more than planned!) Apologies for the lack of pictures this week. I couldn't find my camera and the pictures on my phone were not formatting right.

- Moon Called by Patrica Briggs (Goodreads)
- Soulless by Christopher Golden (got on bargain!) (Goodreads)
- Fear by Michael Grant (Goodreads)
- Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (Goodreads)

Borrowed (Library):
- Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins (Goodreads)
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Goodreads)
- Last Breath by Rachel Caine (Goodreads)

I'm so happy with the books I picked up this week. I've already read and loved both Fear and Last Breath! They were fantastic. What's in your mailbox this week?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (7): Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!

This week's pick: Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 1st, 2012 

Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.
As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced that she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart. (Summary from Jeri Smith-Ready's website)
Okay, it's time for me to gush like a crazy fan-girl, because I love everything about this series. The story, the characters, the writing, the concept, the author, and of course, the amazing group called Team Kilt all come together to make one of the best combinations in the world. I'm going to be terribly sad that this amazing series is coming to an end, but I know Shine is going to be one heck of a book. 

The reason I first picked up Shade was because Jeri Smith-Ready was going to be at a signing I was attending later in the year (2010). I read Wicked Game, one of her adult novels, first and absolutely adored it (I knew I was going to love it when, on the first page, the main character clarified "It's KEER-ah, not see-AIR-ah"). I purchased Shade not long after, and loved it even more. Such an interesting and original concept. Such fantastic characters (the only books in which I can truly say I can't choose between the guys), and such a fantastic (Irish) author. Pick up this book! You will love it. Seriously, I kid not, you will LOVE IT. The entire trilogy will even be out in paperback for the May 1st release of Shine!

For fans of the series, make sure to check out, the Shade fansite which is always up to date with information! They're planning an exciting Team Kilt Con, which sounds amazing! Too bad I live in Canada making it a little difficult to attend. 

Also, the website above is doing a fantastic pre-order giveaway! Just pre-order the book and win fantastic prizes!

Check out the Shine trailer below! Only a couple more weeks!

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: Jeri Smith-Ready's wesbite | Amazon | Goodreads

Monday, April 2, 2012

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release Date: October 16th, 2008
My Rating: 5/5

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. 

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew. (Summary from John Green's website)
Crying at work was not something I planned for that day, but it happened anyway. I flipped to the last page of Paper Towns and couldn't stop the tears from falling from my eyes. Even re-reading this book, it managed to reach into my heart and tug parts of me I like to keep hidden.

The first time I read this book, it connected to me completely. I have never been happy with the city I live in and have been plotting to escape since childhood. At the time of reading this book, I was working hard in my senior year of high school so I could receive a great scholarship, and finally leave. Besides being hilarious, this book made me feel vindicated about my desperate need for escape. 

The second time reading it, my connection changed. Because this time when I had read it, my life had taken a completely different route. My hard work got me a scholarship, but I still could not afford to go to a university in a different city. Two of the most important people in my life had walked out of it, and left serious damage in their wake. I had lost my desire to leave, because I could not even picture how it was possible anymore. I was in a completely different situation than I thought I would be just months before, and one that I was not happy with. I picked up Paper Towns, and it, once again, helped me with all the problems I was dealing with. This time around, the idea of people's judgements of you was at the forefront. I could completely understand the idea of being placed in an impossible box, a box other people created for you, a box I never wanted to be in, and one that people could not accept you stepping out of. There was a pivotal conversation in the book which gave me so much insight into what I was going through at the time. I finally felt like all my feelings were put into eloquent words spoken from a boy who had to face the same reality I did. We imagine people a certain way, but that's a distorted reality, and one that is imposed on us daily. I can't be who everyone wants me to be, but I can be myself. And if that isn't enough for certain people, then they aren't meant to be in my life. Tough thing to accept, and something I'm still coming to terms with.

The book itself was just fantastic. The only way to understand how amazing it is is to read it. The characters are realistic, hilarious, stunning in their truthfulness, and will become a part of you. John Green has a way of telling you your most broken thoughts, making you look at them squarely, and telling you how to handle them. This book had me crying of laughter, and smiling like crazy. It had me re-evaluating myself, and changed my out-look on life. If that isn't the sign of a fantastic book, I don't know what is.

I had to include a quote from the book because it is simply everything that I learned, felt, and realized from Paper Towns.

"It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and constantly misimagined."

As a little bonus to the review, I made a mini-playlist. The book had me thinking about going on a road trip, so I made a playlist of the songs that make me think of those montage-driving moments (there's 48 songs, but here's only 19 (for my almost age!)). I linked the songs to YouTube so anyone can listen to them. The name of my playlist? Escape from the Paper Towns:

1. New York (Saint in the City) - The Academy Is...
2. Summer of '69 - Bryan Adams
3. We Are Young - Fun.
4. Lucky Street - Go Radio
5. So Far Away (Bonus Track) - Mayday Parade
6. I Woke Up in a Car - Something Corporate
7. The Space Between - Valencia
8. Where Did You Go? - Valencia
9. Vagabond - Wolfmother
10. Take this to Heart - Mayday Parade
11.The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
12. Middle of Nowhere - Hot Hot Heat
13. Radar Love - Golden Earring
14. Ready to Go (Get Me Out of My Mind) - Panic! At the Disco
15. So, In This Hour... - The Rocket Summer
16. Days Like Masquerades - The Academy Is...
17. Jaime All Over - Mayday Parade
18. Toasted Skin - The Academy Is... (could not find on YouTube)
19. Hurricane - Something Corporate

**There could be swear words or inappropriate images in the video. I didn't make them, so I don't know. :)

As a final note, I've included a picture of my senior yearbook. Why? Well, I just so happened to quote a line from Paper Towns, one that gives me hope even in those dark times.


- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Summer Book Lovin'

Hey everyone!

My post today is all about one of my favorite types of books: Summer Books. Now, to me, summer books are those light, fun, sometimes heart-warming, sometimes heart-breaking books that make you crave warm sunshine, and lapping waves. This year, my summer is longer than it's ever been. Since I'm in university, I end school in April, and because I've chosen to take a year off I don't return to school for sixteen months. Which is a crazy long summer for me to read books during. Here is a list of summer books (and authors) I plan on checking out this summer. 

1. We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

This book has been out for almost a year now, but because I bought the first two in paperback, I chose to wait to read it until I could buy it to match. I'm excited/nervous to see what Belly finally decides!

2. Author: Alyson Noel

I've been an Alyson Noel fan ever since I first read Evermore. She has a few books I consider to be summer books and I'm looking forward to reading them.

3. Author: Maureen Johnson

Maureen Johnson is one of the most hilarious people I know of (seriously, go follow her on Twitter) and I loved her 13 Little Blue Envelopes books. She has a few others which fit the summer books bill, and will probably contain tons of laughs. What's not to love?

4. Author: Sarah Dessen

Although she has way too many books for me to read this summer (unless I wanted to ONLY read her books), Sarah Dessen is on my list because her novels are what I picture when I think "summer books".

5. Au Pairs by Melissa de la Cruz

So, I read the first Au Pairs book about three years ago and I really liked it. The books are all about the beach, cute boys, and learning about life, the ideal book to read on a hot summer day.

That's all I have for now! How do you feel about summer books? Love them? Hate them? Have any great ones to suggest?

-Ciara who is lost at midnight

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren, in which bloggers post about the books they got during the week!

I haven't done an IMM in a few weeks because I didn't really buy any books. I'm still trying to cut back both because I'm broke and because my TBR pile is already out of control! I did find a couple of baraign books which I just couldn't resist. Here are the books I picked up over the last couple of weeks!


- Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (Goodreads)
- Turn Coat by Jim Butcher (Goodreads)
- Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (Goodreads)


- Falling in Love with English Boys by Melissa Jensen (Thanks to Emilie at Emilie's Book World!) (Goodreads)


I received a surprise in the mail the other day! Michelle Zink, author of the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy and the new book A Temptation of Angels, sent me a postcard. It was really exciting! Thanks, Michelle! 

That's it for now! How was your mailbox?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight