Monday, July 30, 2012

Blog Update (And my puppy)

Hey guys!

Just wanted to give you guys a little heads up on what's been happening and why there hasn't been much on the blog as of late. I recently lost my laptop charger on vacation and haven't been able to turn it on for about a week. My laptop is where I write all my reviews, and although I've been using my old computer to try and catch up, it hasn't been going so well. My computer (which is about seven or eight years old) hasn't really responded well to Blogger and has been messing up my posts. 

Good news is: my laptop charger was found. Bad news is: it's in southern Ontario, about seven hours away. It's currently in the mail on it's way here so I should be back up and running blog-wise by mid week. And hopefully I'll be able to post stuff in the meantime. 

Another little tid bit: I'm Blogger of the Month over at the awesome Ontario Blog Squad for just one more day and I did a guest review for Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard. Head on over and check it out!

Hope everyone's having a much less technologically challenged week!

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

P.S. Why, you may ask, is there a picture of a dog on this post? Well, it looked bare to me, and I love showing off my puppy. (That's Eddie, my dog, a couple years ago. The only pictures I have on my super old computer)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Author Love, Zachary Moore, And Team Kilt

Hi everyone!

Today I have a very special blog topic to post about. I'm sure you've all heard about the YA Crush Tourney happening over at the YA Sisterhood Blog (if you haven't go click the link and check it out! It's awesome). One of tomorrow's matches is between Will Herondale, the top seed of the entire tournament, and Zachary Moore, the sexy Scottish lad from the Shade series. Will, and all other Cassandra Clare characters, have been sweeping these tournaments, beating their opponents by thousands of votes. Yeah, THOUSANDS. Now, I can understand why. The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series are great and very popular. I've loved TMI since I was fourteen and consider Jace, last years' Crush Tourney winner, to be extremely swoon-worthy. But, isn't it time to give the underdog a chance? Isn't it time we end the total wipe-out of the other, lesser known crushes? Well, I think so. But I also think that Zachary Moore deserves your vote, regardless of who he's up against.  He's everything and more you could want in a crush. He's melted my heart, made me laugh, smile, tear up, and been a part of a story I love so dearly. 

Now, I have yet to read Shine. Yeah, it's a bit mind-boggling but I have my reasons. One of them being I simply don't want this series to end. I love it too much! I remember picking it up, two years ago right before the Smart Chicks Signing in Brampton. I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I got was an amazing story, one cheer-worthy protagonist, one ghostly rocker, and one smile inducing Scottish boy. 

Haven't heard of Team Kilt? Well, we #TeamKilt members just so happen to be huge fans of the Shade series. We love everything about it, we love talking about it, we love having #TeamKilt chats, and we love men in kilts. I mean, who doesn't? Team Kilt is just such a fun, supportive group to be a part of, and I've loved every mad lib, #SHADEboys chats, blog post, and Nessie in lingerie that's happened.

Another reason to vote for Zach? Well cause of his creator, Jeri Smith-Ready. I don't think you understand how awesome she is (well, you might, but I'm going to tell you why anyways). I actually had the pleasure of meeting her two years ago. I happened to fan-girl and mumble and mentioned her other adult series, in which I share the same name as the protagonist (first time that's every happened), and probably embarrass myself. But she was super welcoming and friendly, with this big smile on her face, which helped (some what) to ease my fan-girl jitters. My friends and I were trying to get our tank-tops signed and we spotted Jeri outside the book store (she'd left the panel early). We went up to her and asked to have her shirt signed and even though she was in a huge hurry (on her way to catch a flight) she still took the time to sign them and thank us for coming. Then there's the online presence she has. Always keeping her fans updated, responding to tweets we send her, participating in online chats, hosting giveaways, sending bookplates, and always being her awesome and fun self. She may say that her fans are amazing but really, she's just an amazing person.

So, now that I've given my reasons for voting Zach...what do you think? Wanna vote? (I'll love you forever) 

How YOU can support Zachary Moore and Team Kilt!

1. VOTE. Vote an every browser, mobile device, and computer you have for Zach. Or, just vote once. Either way, you're awesome! All it takes is three clicks: one on the link, and one on the "Zachary" button" and one on the "Vote" button.

2. Spread the word! Even if you tell just one person, that's another vote that Zach could have. And we need every single one we can get! Tell a friend, or neighbor, or sales clerk, or sports coach, or the person standing next to you in line! We need thousands of votes to win this round. It's all up to us!

3. Spread the word in different ways! You can also post about it on your blog (and you could win prizes!) change your display picture, pin it on Pinterest, retweet the links, anything! Just get the word out that Zachary needs our help!

Links, Links, Links Galore! (To be updated when more links appear!)

Still not convinced to Vote Zach? Or, wanna find out more about him and Team Kilt? Well, here's a list of links that will answer all of your burning questions and curiosities!

Shade (find out more about the book!)
- Goodreads
- Amazon
- Jeri Smith-Ready's Website

Jeri Smith-Ready's Website

Team Kilt (and some giveaways!)
- Shade Boys Tumblr

- Jeri Smith-Ready (the woman who started it all!)
- Zachary Moore (yeah, he has a legit Twitter account)
- Logan Keeley (the other awesome swoon-worthy guy from the Shade series)
- Aura Salvatore (the crazy awesome protagonist)
- Kilt and Keeley (Shade Fansite)
- Fictitious Delicious (Zachary's advocates)

So, at midnight tonight VOTE ZACH! And leave a comment here if you do! I'll give you a big virtual hug!

- Ciara who is lost at midnight  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Title: I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: April 25th, 2006
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 3/5

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love. (Summary from Goodreads)

Well, wasn't that an adorable novel.

I picked up I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You after much persuasion and prodding from my friend Crimson (okay, how many of my reviews have started off like that?). I spotted a deal on Amazon for the box-set of the first three novels, and decided to take a chance and purchase them. Although this first novel wasn't my favorite, I hear it gets much better and I can't wait to read more! I mean, an all-girls school for spies? What's not to love!

This first installment introduces us to the Gallagher Girls. They are brilliant, talented spies-in-training, inside of bubbly teenage girl packages. Cammie, Liz, Bex, and a late edition Macey, are hilarious and sweet, but also clever and creative. What I thought was both well done and intensely funny was the way the girls reacted to every situation. They had regular teenage problems, like wondering if a cute boy liked them, but they solved their problems with spy tactics. While normal girls might Google search the boy or theorize with their friends, the Gallagher Girls used e-mail hacking, surveillance techniques and every gadget imaginable to learn more about him. A little quirk that made this unique story a hilarious one. I wish I was a Gallagher Girl, cause they are seriously awesome.

Cammie and Josh, her non-spy love interest, were really cute together, and I thought it interesting watching her try and balance her "normal" girl appearance with her spy life. 
But, while I did really enjoy the characters and the plot, there was something about the book that bugged me at points. I felt some scenes were a bit childish, and the story dragged at times for me. I felt it needed a bit of a push to get going, although by the end I was definitely hooked.

It was a short and sweet novel, and a series that has a lot of potential to be amazing. And from what I've heard, it goes way beyond amazing. I can't wait to dive back into the world of the Gallagher Girls. Really, who doesn't want to be a spy?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: Amazon | Goodreads | Ally Carter's Website

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (17): Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

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: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 4th, 2012

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures--if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father--and every other witch there--fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series and "Graveminder," comes a brand-new tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one's own destiny.

Did you guys read that summary? Doesn't it sound like awesome sauce in book form? I know it does to me! 

Although I have yet to finish the Wicked Lovely series, or Graveminder for that matter, I have always kept up to date with Melissa Marr. She always seems to come up with interesting, and creative new story ideas that I can't help but be drawn to. I have to say, Carnival of Souls sounds like her best plot yet! Fantasy and reality, dark and light, as well as fate and choices seem to come into play in this novel, making it all the more intriguing! This one looks like it could be spectacular.

One thing I sadly don't think is spectacular...the cover. I love masks, fire, and plain backgrounds, but an angry silver mask with fire behind it? Yeah, not that appealing. With a title like Carnival of Souls I excepted an out-of-this-world cover, but I was pretty disappointed. But, if the story between the covers is awesome, I won't mind at all.

- Ciara who is lost at midnight 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (8)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which bloggers share the books they stacked their shelves with during the week!

Only a small library stack this week, but one I am really excited about! I'm still having camera issues, which have been driving me crazy, so still no picture of my stack. But, I decided to include the cover images of the books since my posts have been looking too bare! So, here is my stack:

Borrowed (Library):
- Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy #1) by Wendy Higgins (So happy about this one! Literally no Chapters in all of Ottawa have had a copy since it's release back in April, so I'm glad my library carried it!)
- Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
- Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) by Andrea Cremer (Still haven't read the first two Nightshade books so no spoilers please!)

What books did you stack your shelves with this week?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release Date: September 29th, 2011
Source: Won (from Emilie's Book World)

My Rating: 5/5

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. (Summary from Goodreads)

I was really excited when I won a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door a few months ago. I absolutely loved Anna and the French Kiss (although, the title is still not my favourite) and I knew that Stephanie Perkins would blow me away with this companion! And, I can safely say, I was swept off my feet by Lola and the Boy Next Door!

I don't think you can truly understand how hilarious this book is until you read it. I found myself laughing out loud more times than I could count and having a smile plastered on my face throughout the entire novel. Perkins is just such a funny, creative writer! And her character of Lola Nolan was absolutely endearing and original.

And man, oh man did I love Lola Nolan. She was just such a pleasure to read about! Narrated in her sweet and funky voice, she amazed me with each turn of the page. And swoon-worthy Cricket was definitely a great addition to the story, especially since he wasn't swoon-worthy in the normal fashion of YA books. Which leads me to one of my favorite things about Stephanie Perkins' novels: imperfections. Both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door were filled with imperfect characters. Each character has their little quirks and flaws that make them all the more lovable. Lola is colorful and bubbly, always decked out in some sort of crazy costume. Cricket is adorably sweet and gawkily tall. Together they play off each other in the most endearing way, making me love them more and more each scene. They are realistic and interesting characters, which just makes the novel all the better.

Lola and the Boy Next Door, despite it's cutesy name, isn't just a cutesy, light novel. It's also a story that tackles real issues with humor and heart. The concept and definition of one's identity and place in the world comes to play a lot in the novel. And I really enjoyed the way it was underlined in the story. It wasn't in-your-face, but still an integral piece of the picture.

Overall, I just want to hug Lola and the Boy Next Door and never let go. It lifted my heart, put a stitch in my side, and made my cheeks ache from smiling so much. This is a novel you want to read. It's one that anyone can and will love. And one that has painted a glittery, quirky little place in my heart.

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: Amazon | Goodreads | Stephanie Perkins' Website

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (16): The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 18th, 2012 

“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.
Summary from Goodreads
The Raven Boys sounds so ridiculously interesting. I get shivers just reading the summary! I'm looking forward to getting to know these obivously complex characters, and starting a new series with such an interesting concept. Combine that with Maggie Stiefvater amazing writing style and this is going to be one heck of a novel. September can't get here fast enough!

Also, that cover! Man, oh man, what a gorgeous cover! I want to hug my computer screen I love it so much.

What books are you waiting for this week?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (7)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which bloggers share the books they stacked their shelves with during the week!

I didn't buy any books this week (trying to abstain until Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong is released at the end of the month) but I did get a nice stack from the library. Also, yesterday, I had a very cool (and unexpected) mail day! Once again though, my camera has desides to be difficult and I can't upload the pictures. I'll try again throughout the day but for now, here's the list!

Borrowed (Library):
- Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
- The Summer of Skinny-Dipping (Summer #1) by Amanda Howells
- Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
- Fated (Soul Seekers #1) by Alyson Noel
- Variant (Variant #1) by Robison Wells
- Timepiece (Hourglass #2) by Myra McEntire
- The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Received for Review:
- (ARC) Rift by Andrea Cremer (I requested a copy online at RazOrbill and was shocked to find it in my mail box yesterday! Thank you, RazOrbill!)

- Thirteen bookmarks (part of The Hunter & The Hunted promotion) from Kelley Armstrong 

What books did you stack your shelves with this week?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Title: I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent #1)
Author: Barry Lyga
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 3rd, 2012
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 5/5

What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could--from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret--could he be more like his father than anyone knows? (Summary from Goodreads)

You know what the sign of a scary book is? When you read twenty-five pages - count em' twenty-five - and you have frightening serial killer nightmares. Barry Lyga, you won. Your book terrified me. And I loved every petrifying bit of it.

I'm a scared-y cat, a sleep-with-a-night-light, jump-at-every-sound, honest to goodness scared-y cat. But something really drew me to I Hunt Killers. As soon as I heard about it, I knew I needed to read it. When I finally got up the courage to start it, I was hooked. The mystery behind the killings and the need to know just exactly what was happening kept me flipping the pages, while cringing at every disturbing detail.

This book has no shortage of horror. I know I may be easily scared, but I can guarantee even fear-mongers will be looking over their shoulders after this one. Barry Lyga obviously did his research because he created one heck of a serial killer in Billy Dent. He also created one amazing character in his son and narrator, Jazz Dent. Although Jazz is, no doubt, a scary teenager, he's also got a lovable side to him. I couldn't help but adore his charm, strength, and ferocity to make more of himself than what he was raised to be. I love a hero with a dark side. It always makes me cheer for them that much more. I also loved the side characters in I Hunt Killers. They brought a light side to this shadowed tale, but were also willing to walk in the dark to help out a friend. 

One of the things that was so impressive about this book was the intricacy of the mystery. There were so many different aspects to it, but Lyga managed to piece it all together with clarity, all the while keeping the reader guessing about who the killer was. Every gruesome detail, while disturbing, had meaning and purpose all leading up to the unveiling of the killer. I will admit, I didn't guess the ending. I had no idea who the killer was, which made the reveal all the better. 

I Hunt Killers left off with so much potential for the sequel, and I cannot wait to find out where it goes. This isn't a series for the faint-of-heart (which makes it odd that I love it) but if you can get passed (or enjoy) the blood and gore you're going to find a story with passion, great characters, and enough fright to keep you up well passed midnight.

Update: after finishing this review last night, I proceeded to have nightmares about being attacked. I blame this book...and Barry Lyga.

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: Amazon | Goodreads | Barry Lyga's Website

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (15): Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts

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: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: September 4th, 2012
In this apocalyptic sequel to Dark Inside"'s "well-balanced, realistic suspense" (Kirkus Reviews"), four teens continue the struggle for survival as they face a world gone mad. Aries, Clementine, Michael, and Mason have survived the first wave of the apocalypse that wiped out most of the world's population and turned many of the rest into murderous Baggers. Now they're hiding out in an abandoned house in Vancouver with a ragtag group of fellow teen survivors, trying to figure out their next move.

Aries is trying to lead, but it's hard to be a leader when there are no easy answers and every move feels wrong. Clementine is desperate to find her brother Heath, but it's impossible to know where he'd be, assuming he's alive. Michael is haunted by the memories of his actions during his harrowing struggle to survive. And Mason is struggling with something far worse: the fear that he may be a danger to his friends.

As the Baggers begin to create a new world order, these four teens will have to trust and rely on each other in order to survive.
(Summary from Goodreads)

I've returned to doing Waiting On Wednesday! I took a two week break because I wanted to concentrate more on reviewing which I was having a bit of trouble with recently. I didn't want my blog to turn into one of those "meme only" ones, so I decided to hold off posting memes and catch up on reviewing. Although I'm still a bit behind, I'm going to start back up with Waiting On Wednesday!

I am so ridiculously pumped for Rage Within. Petrified to read it, but excited nonetheless. Dark Inside is one of my favorite post-apocolyptic books. It's original, terrifying and so unbelievable captivating; one of those books it's just impossible to put down. Dark Inside left off with so much potential and the promise of many hard days to come. The characters, all of with I have a huge attachment to, have a battle in front of them, not just with the Baggers, but with their own evil lurking inside them.

Rage Within is going to scare me silly, have me checking my closet for Baggers, and keep my eyes glued to the page. It's going to be fantastic.

If you haven't read Dark Inside check out my review and see if it's something you'd be interested in! Trust me, it's amazing!

- Ciara who is lost at midnight