Thursday, February 28, 2013

All Covered Up: Descendant by Lesley Livingston

Hello all you awesome people!

I haven't done an All Covered Up in a little while, even though there have been an insane amount of covers released! Some of them gorgeous, some not so much, but all of them are making me even more excited for the books they cover.

Recently, the cover and title announcement for the second book in the Starling series written by the fantastic (and Canadian!) Lesley Livingston was released! And without further ado...

Fennrys drew his sword, sank into a crouch, and readied himself for the fight, the kill . . .
for the wave of blood-red battle madness that would carry him forward.

Because Fenn would be damned if he let Mason down again.

The last thing Mason Starling remembers is the train crossing a bridge. An explosion . . . a blinding light . . . then darkness. Now she is alone, stranded in Asgard—the realm of Norse legend—and the only way for her to get home is to find the Spear of Odin, a powerful relic left behind by vanished gods.
The Fennrys Wolf knows all about Asgard. He was once trapped there. And he’ll do whatever it takes to find the girl who’s stolen his heart and bring her back—even if it means a treacherous descent into the Underworld. But time is running out, and Fenn knows something Mason doesn’t: If she takes up the Spear, she’ll set in motion a terrible prophecy. And she won’t just return to her world . . . she’ll destroy it.
In this pulse-pounding sequel to Starling, Lesley Livingston delivers another electrifying blend of nonstop action and undeniable romance that will leave readers breathless.
Now, admittedly, I haven't read Starling yet but I know it'll be fantastic and hilarious, just like every other Lesley Livingston book. And I can't wait to dive right in!

What do you guys think of the cover and title? Make sure to stop by Lesley Livingston's blog for a giveaway for Starling and/or Descendant! 

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (38): With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent

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: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: March 19th, 2013

What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has....

I'm going to try and get through the post without crying. I really am. I cannot believe the Soul Screamers series is coming to a close. I literally got the first book the day it came out, and spent the summer afternoon devouring the entire thing. I was a huge Rachel Vincent fan before Soul Screamers (due to my undying love for the Shifters series) so when I found out she was writing a YA series I flipped out. And it was even better than I could have ever expected. Getting to watch these amazing characters grow, change, love, and become these strong people has just been such a joy. The series just gets better and better every book and I'm going to be insanely broken-hearted to see it all end. I'm going to miss the characters, miss the world, and miss my dear Tod Hudson. I know With All My Soul will blow me away, and I cannot wait until it is in my hands. Although, considering I'm already getting teary by just thinking about this book, I'm going to be a sobbing mess when I actually read this book.

Also, this cover? Like WOW. It is simply gorgeous. One of my favorite covers ever. I love it to bits. 

Rachel Vincent: thank you for writing such an amazing series (well, so many amazing series). YOU ROCK.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

P.S. #TeamTodForAfterlife 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chapters Pinecrest YA Book Club!

Hi all! 

So I announced last week that I was hoping to start up a YA book club at my work and I'm happy to confirm it's happening! I have got lots of details for you, so here they are!

The Chapters Pinecrest YA Book Club (Awesome, for short)
When: Wednesday, March 27th
Where: Chapters Pinecrest, 2735 Iris Street, Ottawa
Time: 7:30pm
Who: Why, you awesome people, of course! There will be a SIGN-UP SHEET with a limit of 15 people though (due to the space constraint)! But, if there's lots of interest, there is a possibility we can have it moved in the future to accommodate more people. 
What: Well, what book are we reading? We will be reading....The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard

MARCH PICK: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

YAY! I hope you guys are as excited as I am. There will be a sign-up sheet located at the store. Just stop by and ask for me (or say "The girl with the blue hair" they'll know who you're talking about) or Jane and mention the YA book club! Pick up a copy of the book while you're here! AND what you epic people can do (if you're bloggers like me) is post about the book club on your blog! We want to spread the word as much as possible, so if you can do that I will send you a giant virtual hug! (And maybe bring candy to the meet-up, cause yum)

So, get reading and be ready for lots of crazy fun and book talk! If you have any questions feel free to email me at bookslostatmidnight@gmail.com.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Spark (Elementals #2)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Release Date: August 28th, 2012
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 3.5/5

Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own...

If you read my review of Storm, you'll know I absolutely loved it. It was addicting, intriguing, and had some seriously hot boys in it. The idea was something I'd always been interested in, and it was really well done. Spark, I sadly have to say, I just didn't enjoy as much as Storm. I really really wanted to love it, and parts of it I did adore. But, there were lots of things I had issues with, and I just couldn't give it five stars.

The concept was still brilliant. Seriously, I have always said the most amazing super power would be being able to control the elements. And Brigid Kemmerer really does well exploring the concept. In Spark, the focus was less on the brothers and being Elementals and more on Gabriel's control and the romance between him and Layne. And I think that's where I found faults.

Oddly enough, the thing I liked least about Spark was the romance. When it started, all I could think about was how cliche it was. I mean, the hot jock guy falls for the shy nerdy girl? It's in countless stories. Sometimes, it works. Other times, it feels a bit forced and I felt like this fell into the "forced" category. I didn't really care for Layne that much. She just made no impression on me whatsoever. The only time I really though "Yes, good job Layne!" was when she threw out a witty one-liner at her bullies (which, seriously rocked). Otherwise, I just simply didn't feel invested in her as a character. I think one of the issues was Becca. I loved Becca. She was so fierce, funny, and such a great and interesting character. I loved her narration and her romance with Chris. In comparison, Layne just felt flat. 

Gabriel, on the other hand, was anything but dull. I have adored all of the Merrick brothers and Gabriel always had me intriguied. What was behind all that anger? How much had his parent's death affected him? I wanted to dive right into this head and Spark did not disappoint there. It was fascinating watching him come into his own, to watch him control such a wild element. There was so much to his character, I just kept wanting to know more. The best part for me (although it wasn't a huge part) was the interactions between the Merrick brothers. In this book, we got to see a lot more of Michael than the previous novel. I loved getting a new outlook on the oldest brother, and watching him open up to Gabriel. All the brothers have gone through so much, and even though they fight (a lot) they're always there for each other. As an only child, I love to see what sibling relationships are like, and I think Brigid Kemmerer really captures the ups and downs of family life.

I feel like this book was setting up for something big. Some epic battle or plot line to come in future books. I hope said books contain lots more brotherly bonding, elemental shenanigans and more character exploration. 

Although I wasn't a fan of Spark, I'm still a lover of the series. It's got so much going for it and I can't wait until Spirit is in my hands! If you haven't read them, I give the series I giant thumbs-up. It's a series to get addicted to, and you will as soon as you read page one!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters | Goodreads | Brigid Kemmerer's Website

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Attention Ottawa YA Lovers!

Hi, everyone!

As some of you may know, I am an employee at Chapters. I absolutely adore my job, and have so much fun recommending books. When my manager asked me to take part in the adult book club we run, it got me thinking. There used to be a YA book club I attended at the Chapters (way before I worked there) but it had fallen apart about a year into it. It was really fun though, and I loved having a monthly outlet for my crazy book ramblings. So, I mentioned I'd love to start one up again to my manager and she said it was a fantastic idea! But, since I want to make sure this book club works (time-wise) for the most amount of people I need your help!

In the comments below, I would love if you guys could tell me what evening(s) (during the week) work best for you. And, if you have a pick, what book you'd like to read. I'll be picking the first month's title but I would love to hear what you guys are into reading! I have to book the room off ASAP, so I'll need to have your answers in by Saturday night!

The things I know for sure about the YA Book Club are as followed:
- It'll be held at the Chapters Pinecrest location (2735 Iris Street)
- Since the conference room only can hold about 15 people there WILL be a sign up sheet. I know a few of you don't live close to the location so I'll see what I can do about signing you up myself (but if you can make it in to sign-up, it would be appreciated)! And, if we get lots of interest, we'll look into moving it to accommodate more people!
- It'll be run by yours truly and will focus solely on YA titles
- It's going to be an awesomely good time!

I'll keep you guys all updated about the book pick, when there will be a sign-up sheet, and what day we'll have the meetings on and all the other info in the coming weeks. For now, if you can comment about your availability, I would love you forever!

Hope you guys can make it, and happy reading!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Waiting On Wednesday (37): Every Never After by Lesley Livingston

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: Razorbill Canada
Release Date: March 12th, 2013

It's happening again!

Despite their vow to each other at the end of Once Every Never, best friends Clare and Allie once more find themselves in trouble—and travelling in time. Indulging in a low-key vacation at Glastonbury Tor, taking part in an archaeological dig while soaking up the sights of summertime England, the girls have promised each other: no time travel shenanigans; no involvement with dangerous Druids or villainous museum thieves; and definitely no weirdness about the fact that Clare is now seriously dating Milo, Allie's super-genius hottie cousin!

But when Allie makes an unexpected discovery at the dig site—a skull—the grisly artifact sends her spiralling back in time to a Roman encampment besieged by rampaging Celts. Caught between the Legions and the war band, Allie is rescued from certain death by Marcus, a young Roman soldier with a secret. As she struggles to survive in the past, Clare and Milo race desperately against time in the present to bring Allie home...before she loses her head OR her heart.

Have you guys ever read a Lesley Livingston book? If you answered yes *offers virtual high-five*. If the answer is no I fully give you permission to stop reading this and run to your nearest book store to pick up one of her books! *waits*

Humor, heart, and hot nerds. I mean really, what more could a girl ask for? Once Every Never was such a treat to read. I adored every bit of it! I'm extra excited for its sequel Every Never After because it's switching the focus to the amazing Allie! She was such a stand-out character for me, and I can't wait to see how she takes on the leading role. And I can't wait to get another dose of the delightful Clare, and the huggable Milo. This book is going to rock (just like every other Lesley Livingston book) and I can't wait to have it!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 
 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's My One Year Blogoversary! *throws confetti*

Adorbs.

So, today is the day! It is officially my one year blogoversary! *does a happy dance* I cannot believe it's already been a year and I'm so insanely happy to have made it this far. I was planning on doing a bigger build up but life got in the way. So, instead, I wanted to talk about my favorite part of this crazy blogging experience: you.

Yup, you read that right. YOU are my favorite thing about blogging. You guys who are reading this post right now, be it your first time at my blog or your tenth. You awesome, supportive, and fantastic group of people make all the fist-shaking, head-desking frustration of reviewing worth it. Even one comment makes my day just a little bit brighter. And when I get those really heart-felt ones, well, I want to get all teary. I never expected blogging to bring me this much joy and I'm really thankful for it.

I had a plan for my blogoversary, and although I scrapped it because I was simply not ready I wanted to say this. I'm really grateful for blogging and for everyone that's ever supported me in it. I really needed this, and every time I thought it wasn't very good, I would get messages of encouragement that pushed me to keep going. So, thank you for that. 

A little thank-you to my good friends who are such a supportive bunch. Lots of my friends don't read, but they've checked out my blog and sent me things like "it's so cool you're doing this!" and which make me smile. You guys rock. *sends out squishy huggles* 

One thing I've really loved about blogging was meeting tons of AH-MAZING bloggers out there. Seriously, you guys are just simply some of the best people I've ever met. Avery, Giselle, Ardo, Jen, Christa, Andrea, Michele, Ashley (and lots more!) you guys have absolutely rocked my socks and I'm so glad to get to chat with you all. To my fellow Team Tod For Afterlife members and Gansey lovers Chandra and Liz. I have loved all our excited, gushing talks about our favourite Reaper and that crazy Raven Boy. You two make blogging and Twitter so much fun, and I cannot wait until we get to meet up and chat in person this March. Thanks to Lucy for all the enthusiastic messages, constant support, and being one crazy awesome person. And to every single one of you that I've ever chatted with: thank you. Every single tweet, comment, or email makes me want to hug my laptop. 

Also, to all the authors out there who commented, followed, responded, and retweeted anything I sent out: you have no idea how much that means to me. Your books have inspired me and brought me more joy than I could ever express. And truly THANK YOU for doing what you do, and for being so kind to a little blogger like me. It would take me ages to talk about all the authors I love, but seriously you guys are fantabulous. I do want to thank a couple though. Thanks to Jeri Smith-Ready for creating the amazing Shade series, and being such a dedicated author. I'm so proud to be a part of Team Kilt and to have had many of chats with you. I also want to thank Lesley Livingston for pointing at me and saying "Trinity College sweater!" and giving me a hug. I was seriously petrified there and you made me feel a million times better. To Jodi Meadows and Kiersten White for the crazy twitter conversations (and for writing insanely amazing books) and to Nova Ren Suma for being so enthused about being on my blog! In particular, I want to thank Courtney Summers. Your books are honest to goodness beautiful and have had a huge impact on me (more than I can probably ever say). So thank you for being an awesome writer, for being so insanely kind (and for recognizing me!) when we met, and for being really responsive to all my crazy tweets. It means so so much to me.

To the awesome Ottawa Bloggers: thanks for being so welcoming to this newbie blogger (guess I can't call myself that anymore, huh?) To Emilie for inviting me to meet up and borrow Fever this time last year and all those times we gushed about Logan Quinn and Adrian. To Katie because we hardly agree on anything (especially music) but we always manage to have awesome chats. To Meaghan for all our funny texts including those, shall we say, not entirely coherent ones and being so much fun to be around. And to Kathy for all your enthusiasm and knowledge and for all the awesome books you've lent me haha!

And, saving the long-winded one for the end: to my bestest bestie Crimson. Can you believe it's over four years since we started talking? I was trying to figure out an exact date but couldn't find it (although, I did find that we 283 pages of notes on the Chapters community o.O). Since then, we've discovered our twin-ness, our love of swooning horses, our hatred of poor grammar (and our amusement at calling each other out on it), our confused feeling when we don't talk for more than a day, "the face", and how amusing it is to type in ALL CAPS LOCK at each other (side note: LOTR is still better than HP). But, one of the things I want to thank you for most is being your "pocket Crimson" self all those times I really needed it. For listening when we barely knew each other and for telling me I would be okay all those times when I didn't think I would be. I will forever be grateful for that. Even though we've only met in person that one time (and we both were insanely awkward turtles) I consider you to be one of my very best friends. And I'm super proud that I got to be your very first reader (and stake my claim on Miles from the get go). So yup, thank you. And to make this a little bit lighter: have you sent out a query today, Crimson? :D

And finally, to every single person that has ever clicked on my blog: thank you. I really truly appreciate it. *HUGGLES FOR YOU ALL*

P.S. I'm really lucky to get to share my blogoversary with the release date of one of my favorite books MIND GAMES by Kiersten White! You guys neeeeeed to pick this book up. It's spectacular! Read why here!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Title: Mind Games
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 19th, 2013
Source: Borrowed ARC

My Rating: 5/5

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

Um, holy cow. Like HOLY COW. THIS BOOK. 

Look, I knew I would like this book. It has a great concept, I adore Kiersten White, and it just sounds like the kind of book I would like. But, I didn't expect this. I didn't expect it to sky-rocket onto my all-time favorites list. I didn't except the characters to blow me away. I didn't expect to love it THIS MUCH. But I do, I seriously, truly, genuinely love this book. It is absolutely brilliant.

If you're thinking that this is going to be similar to Paranormalcy you are dead wrong (not that that would be a bad thing. That series rocks something fierce). This book is dark, disturbed and twisted and my goodness was it awesome. There's a bit of a foreboding air about the novel. I constantly felt on edge, waiting for everything to come crashing down.

I've said this time and time again and you'll no doubt hear it from me a million times more but I love broken, messed up characters. And Mind Games is chalk full of them. From an accidental assassin, to a blind seer, to a not-so prodigal son, the characters in this book have broken hearts and fierce wills. 

Can I just gush about my love for Fia? What a superb character! What a brilliant, beautiful, broken character. She absolutely blew me away. I felt like she reached right into my chest and stole my heart from me. She was unflinchingly honest, almost daring me to try and ignore her. She commanded the page and she moved me to tears. She was fierce firecracker, willing to push herself to the limit to help those she cared about. Entering her dark and twisted mind was a scary place and one I desperately wanted to fill with hope. One of the things I thought was so brilliant about this book was how Fia was portrayed. I have read so many books about strong female characters, fighting the good fight. About girls kicking butt with no thought about it. And that's okay. Because that makes sense for those characters. They are never completely unaffected by their actions, but it usually is not the main focal point. It's not such a huge thing. But in Mind Games, the things Fia has done, the things she's been forced to do, have permanently scarred her. She can't brush it off, she can't forget it. It pounds into her head, it breaks her down, it destroys her from the inside out. But still she fights. She still tries to do the right thing. She tries to survive in this world that has taken almost everything from her.

Her sister Annie I had mixed feelings about. I blamed her for what was going on with Fia and it infuriated me. I knew it was irrational. I knew that but it didn't stop me from being so angry with her. I wanted her to step up. To protect and help her sister. And I knew she tried to help, she tried to be strong, but it just wasn't enough. I hope to see her progress in the next installment, to really come into her own. I think I could grow to like her, and I really want to.

And with such an unconventional book, we have to have one of the most unconventional love interests. As soon as James popped onto the page, I was fascinated. Behind the confident face was a boy cracked to pieces. A boy who loved a girl just as destroyed as he was. James was complex, intriguing, captivating, and one of the most interesting characters I've read about in awhile. His banter with Fia gripped my heart, and loved them the most when they were together.

The writing at times was really frantic. Kiersten White really showed Fia's desperate and distraught state and made the reader feel exactly what Fia was feeling. My eyes were jumping across the page and my head was filling up with her destroyed voice. I couldn't pull my eyes away from the words, even as they were ripping me apart. I was so caught up in the world, and so entranced by the characters. This book absolutely messed with my mind, and I love it more than I can possibly say.

I hope you give this book a chance. I hope you love it as much as I do. It's without a doubt one of my favorite books ever. I can't wait to have my own copy and read it again and again.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters | Goodreads | Kiersten White's Website

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (21)


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!

Okay, I've been meaning to post this particular Stacking the Shelves for about three weeks now. I've been way too lazy though, and never feel like getting all my books together to take a pic. So, I just keep adding to the list, not posting it, and now I haven't done a Stacking the Shelves post since late December! I've been trying to cut back on buying books, unless they're the new releases I've been looking forward to anyways. I've surprisingly done a good job (considering I work at bookstore and am surrounded by books I want daily) and have been saving lots of money! I've been a bit behind, blogging-wise and I'm slowly working my way through my backlog of reviews. I'm getting there, it just might take me a bit of time. Anyways, here's my lovely haul for the last little while.

Bought:

Gates of Paradise (Blue Bloods #7) by Melissa de la Cruz
Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi 
Asunder (Incarnate #2) by Jodi Meadows

Borrowed:
*Some books aren't pictured since I forgot*
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse #1) by Jackie Morse Kessler
(Thank you Meaghan for all the awesome books! <3)
(Thanks to Katie for dropping it off and Kathy for leading it out!)
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
(Thanks Katie!)

Received For Review:

The Program (Program #1) by Suzanne Young (Thank you a ton, Simon & Schuster Canada!)

Won:

Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand (Thank you, Epic Reads!)

Gifted (Thank you Crim!)

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

I'd also like to introduce you all to Barnaby Thatcher Worthington who is a goat-unicorn and will likely be popping up on the blog and Twitter time and again. (He is very dignified).


I also listed off the books I got, and re-capped the awesome Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle over here so be sure to check that out!

Well, that is my haul for the last month or so!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle!

On Sunday, a lot of planning and anticipation all came together for the Ottawa Blogger Mix and Mingle! I've been looking forward to this day for a while now, and it was just as fun as I thought it would be!

Meaghan looking pretty!

The five of us hosts (Kathy, Meaghan, Katie, Emilie and me) met up about an hour before the event to put the goodie bags and present together! We gabbed about books and did a mini-swap then hauled all the crazy bags into the car. The event was being held at KS on the Keys, a yummy restaurant in the east end of town.

Allison Van Diepen chatting with bloggers
There were eleven gals that attended the event and it ending up being a ton of fun. We had lots of bookish discussions, some gushing over The Indigo Spell (okay, maybe that was just Katie, Emilie and I) and even a few prizes! We were joined by the lovely author Allison Van Diepen and she answered some of our questions about publishing and book covers! We also got ARCs of her new book Takedown (which she graciously signed!) and I'm really excited to read it! After lunch there was a quiz that took place and I awesomely won a prize! Admittedly, I had seen one of the prizes and knew exactly which bag I wanted to get (I didn't know the questions beforehand though) so I didn't hesitate when picking a prize. It was a pretty Hunger Games shirt. I love it to bits. The other four prize bags included a few ARCs and some swag and went to very worthy winners. After all the competition it was time for a book swap! I got a few really awesome ones from the swap and I can't wait to dive right into read them. After that, a few of us went to Chapters for some more book talk then it was off to our respective homes to relax.

The bloggers!
Well, I got to relax for a few hours and then it was off to a staff bowling party. I killed the first round (and won against my team YAY!) and then totally failed the second round. It was tons of fun to hang out with my awesome co-workers though! They put on a great event. And I was also repping Team Dean. Cause yes.

Team Dean FTW

After the party, I practically collapsed at home but not before going absolutely CRAZY when Fun. and Mumford & Sons won Grammys! I've been listening to the former for about three years now and it's been amazing to see them come this far!

I took a picture of me since none were taken at the event!

I want to say a huge THANK YOU to all the bloggers that came out to the event! Jessica, Kim, Kelsey, Alexandra, Stella & Ashely you guys were all so great! I hope to see you all again in the very near future! And thanks to all the publishers that provided the ARCs and swag! And of course to Allison Van Diepen for taking the time to chat with us crazy bloggers!

So, here's a pic of all the awesomeness I got!




Goodie Bag:
Takedown by Allison van Diepen
The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland
The Loop by Shandy Lawson
Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
Poison by Bridget Zinn
Pretty Little Liars lipchap
Fancy Nancy pencil
Divergent and Vampire Diaries tattoos
Various bookmarks

Book Swap/Borrow:
Nobody But Us by Kirstin Halbrook
Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress
Article 5 (Article 5 #1) by Kristen Simmons
Under My Skin (Wildlings #1) by Charles de Lint
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

All in all, it was an awesome event and I can't wait to meet up with these gals again!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beautiful Creatures Series Challenge: EXTRA Challenge + Giveaway Details!


Well, hi all!

As some of you may know, tomorrow the Beautiful Creatures movie comes out! I was lucky enough to get advanced screening tickets last week and guys, the movie rocked. Different from the books but a good movie in its own right. And Ethan was absolutely perfect! Adorable, sweet and funny, I loved him to bits. I know a lot of you are going to see the movie, and if you are, I have an extra little challenge for you!

The Extra Challenge!
- To review the Beautiful Creatures movie sometime between February 14th - April 11th (when the entire challenge is over)


Simple, right? Now, if you don't plan on seeing the movie THAT'S FINE. This is just an extra challenge and you can still be entered into the giveaway! I know, that's the part you've been waiting for, right? Well, I did promise a giveaway at the end of this challenge!

The Finer Details
- You MUST be a participant in the Beautiful Creatures Series Challenge to enter. 
- You MUST have reviewed at least one of the books to be qualified.
- You will get one entry for every review you've done, plus an extra for completing the challenge and/or the extra challenge.
- Giveaway runs from February 14th - April 11th
- The Prize: a book worth $10 or less from The Book Depository.
- Open internationally/wherever The Book Depository ships to.

Even if you signed up for the Challenge but have yet to review, you actually have almost two months to get at least the first book done! Tons of time to be entered to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
So get yourselves a-reading! The Challenge is almost over!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beautiful Creatures Series Challenge (4): Beautiful Redemption + UPDATE


Well guys. It is official. I am failing at my own challenge. 

I know some of you guys are struggling too. Life gets hectic! Other books come out! It's hard to keep up (especially since these books are long). Which is why I have decided that from March 12th - April 11th we are going to have a catch-up month! Yup, I am extending the challenge an extra month so if you are a bit behind (like me) we can take the extra time to catch-up. If you're on target: YOU ROCK. Seriously, you do. Keep it up. Here's the info and sign-up for the final-ish month! And remember, if you read any of the BC books this month, link the reviews up here as well!

*Warning: Summary contains spoilers for previous books!*

Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?
Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.
Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.

Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.

Be sure to check the blog TOMORROW for an extra challenge and details about the giveaway I am hosting!


- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Title: Just One Day (Just One Day #1)
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: January 8th, 2013
Source: Borrowed ARC (Thanks, Kathy!)

My Rating: 5/5

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon! (Summary from Goodreads)

I will be honest. It took me a little while to start this book simply because I was afraid. I was afraid this book would have me in a ball of tears. I was afraid that I had hyped it up too much in my head and it wouldn't live up to Where She Went. I was afraid that this book would carve a little hole in my heart and ache for years to come. And you know what? I did cry. It did live up to the hype. And it has left a stain on my heart I doubt will ever let go. And it was, without a doubt, more beautiful and impacting than I could have asked for.

You have to understand, this book is what I've always wanted to do. This is book is what I did do in a sense, when I traveled to Ireland back in October. To get away from the world, to redefine yourself, to live the life you choose. I connected completely with Allyson because I was exactly like she was. And just like Allyson, I went traveling and it opened up a door in my heart I didn't know I had shut. It is an honest to goodness beautiful experience, and reading about Allyson reminded me just how important my own trip was to me.

I love to witness growth in a character and Allyson transformed before my eyes. She was a beautiful, dynamic young girl who pushed herself beyond the limits people had set for her. From her adventure in Paris, to learning to live life for herself, Allyson amazed me. And then there was Willem. Gorgeous, poetic, Willem. He was the kind of guy to change your world. And he definitely did that with Allyson. The banter and chemistry between the two of them had my heart on a string. I loved reading about them evolving together and almost daring each other to break out of their molds. Another of the things I really enjoyed about Just One Day was all the little bits of Shakespeare. I'm such an English geek so Willem preforming Twelfth Night had me swooning like nothing else. 

Setting the novel in Paris was perfect. Paris is a city rich with history, coated in romantic ideals, and filled with possibility. It's a place anyone could reinvent themselves, and a place riddled with opportunity. Gayle Forman effortless described this gorgeous city and transported me to it. Once I finished, I felt like hopping on a plane straight for Paris so I could experience the wonder myself. I have never been there before, but Forman's writing made me feel like I left a part of my heart there. Which brings me to my next (and most abstract) thought. There's something more here. Something big hidden within the pages of the story. Behind the ink and paper, tucked neatly inside this book is hope. The hope that you can change your life and you can do the things you've always dreamed of. This precious hope burrows into your heart, and makes Just One Day an unforgettable book.

When I finally flipped that last page I burst into tears. Then I started laughing and smiling so wide my cheeks hurt. This book broke my heart then sewed it right back together. Gayle Forman destroyed any doubts I had about this new book. It was more than I could have imagined and I loved it with abandon. This book will enchant you. This book will blow you away. And this book will make you believe beautiful things can happen in just one day.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon / Chapters / Goodreads / Gayle Formans Website

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (36): Requiem by Lauren Oliver

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: HarperTeen
Release Date: March 5th, 2013


Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

This book makes me nervous. I'm always weary (and excited) to read the last book in a series. Endings are really hard to do, and I'm always worried that the big finale will really be a big flop. For Requiem, my fear is doubled. I wasn't a Pandemonium fan (you can read all about why here) but I absolutely LOVED Delirium. I adored the concept, characters, the writing, and the overall stunning beauty of what it means to love. Although the beginning of Pandemonium and many parts throughout were well done, I felt it undermined the message explored in Delirium

Now, in saying all of that, I'm really looking forward to reading Requiem. Lauren Oliver is an undoubtedly talented writer, and I'm ready to dive back into this shocking world she has created. I hope it'll restore my faith in this series, and I know that it'll be one heck of a story. 

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Series Catch-Up Challenge: Month 2!


Hey guys!

We're on to month two of the Series Catch-Up Challenge! So far, I've caught up on two series, which is less than I was hoping, but it's a start. Let's see how much we can get done this month! Add your review links below!

And if you haven't signed up for the challenge yet, what are you waiting for? There's no minimum number to read and everyone has a series to catch up on! SIGN UP HERE!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

 

Books of 2013, Part 2: February

Hello you fantastic people!

So, it's the beginning of one of my most anticipated months of the year! February has some of the biggest releases and I'm absolutely dying to get my hands on them! I mean, Unravel Me? THE INDIGO SPELL?! I can hardly think about anything else! It's also my one year blogoversary! I can't believe it's already been a year! I'll be having a little celebration and I hope you guys stop by! Now, onto the new releases!

February 5th

- Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer - I've already read this one, but it's not to be missed!
- Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi - Been waiting since November 2011 and I'm absolutely desperate to get this book. DESPERATE.


- House Rules (Chicagoland Vampires # 7) by Chloe Neill - Oh, Chicagoland Vampires. How you rock my socks. Merit and Ethan are just so much awesomeness it's hard to handle.
- Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3) by Ally Carter - Although I've yet to read the second novel in the Heist Society series, I'm looking forward to reading them both!

February 12th


- Sever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #3) by Lauren DeStefano - I have a copy of this on my bookshelf and man, am I pumped to read it. I have loved The Chemical Garden Trilogy and I'm going to be broken-hearted to see it end.
- Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison - Sounds like a really interesting story that I'm looking forward to checking out!
- The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead - CAN I HAZ NOW. LIKE NOW. I can barely function knowing this is almost mine. Oh, Richelle Mead. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME?

February 19th

- Mind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White - I've read this one as well and guys, it's brilliant. Seriously, completely brilliant. I'll be posting my review soon but this is not one to miss.
- Shards & Ashes edited by Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong - I'm not a huge fan of anthologies but when the author list is this insanely amazing, I can't help but be excited.

February 26th
- Dualed (Dualed #1) by Elsie Chapman - As I said in my Waiting On Wednesday pick, this book could be fantastic. I'm pretty excited to see if it is!