Monday, 9 June 2014

ARC REVIEW: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Pub. Date: June 10th 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 400
Readership: Young adult
Genres: dystopia

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.  
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.  
The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?  
Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

It's not often these days that a book has me up into the wee hours turning page after page to find out what happens next and just exactly what the heck is going on. The Murder Complex was one that did. The book had been on my to-read, must have wishlist for a while. It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2014 so I was a little worried it wasn't going to meet up to my expectations. I'm happy to say that I was wrong. From the get-go I was intrigued by Meadow and who this little girl was she was trying to usher out of the water. Why was Meadow so worried? What was going on? Immediately I was hooked.

I'm always a fan of dual POVs but it's especially thrilling when they are done right. The dual POVs really helped shaped the world of The Murder Complex. You had the perspective of Meadow, who grew up in the Shallows with her family and people to take care of and then Zephyr, a Ward, a no one. Or so we think. It helps the reader see the nooks and crannies of the closed in dystopian world that these poor people live in. You see the differences in their lives and the similarities, one of which is how they are all struggling to survive.

Things move fast in this book but not at a ridiculous rate. It is a thriller, so things have to go at a fast pace. Cummings times it all perfectly, weaving rich prose fast action and dialogue. Things get so gripping and fast that I was up till the sun started to shine one night because I had to know what happened next. There are many twists and turns that happen along the way. Some were fairly easy to spot but others were shocking. That is what makes a good thriller: you think the turns and the twists are easy to spot and yes, you spot some, but there are the others that come out of nowhere and hit you like a bus. The ones you never see coming.

I also loved the characters and the way they were developed. There were ones you loved, ones you hated, ones you rooted for and ones you wanted to see fall off of a train. A character doesn't have to be liked to be a good character and there were plenty of those in The Murder Complex. Meadow was such a bad-ass protagonist I wanted more and more of her, even though she was one half of the POVs. It was just great to see such a badass, ruthless character set out to do absolutely anything to protect the ones she loves. Zephyr was great too, even if it took me a few more chapters to warm up to him. By the end I was rooting for him as much as I was rooting for Meadow.

Overall, The Murder Complex is a must-read. It is absolutely gripping from start to finish, with an ending that will leave you pulling your hair out for the next book in the series.

★★★★★ 
I LOVED IT 
*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! 
Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!*

PURCHASE 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

BLOG TOUR: Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki (Interview!)

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win. The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.



THE INTERVIEW


1. If you could live in any Dystopian world, which world would you choose and why?
Oh, this is a tough one! I think it’d be hard to live in any dystopian. Maybe Ann Aguirre’s Razorland Series. At least her characters have the chance to fight back. Her main female is pretty kickass too. Abi- None. I would never want to have to endure any of those places.

2. Did you listen to music while writing or do you find the silence helps more? 
Missy- While music can sometimes inspire me, I like it completely quiet while I write.
Abi- I run on my elliptical so I can close my eyes and let my blasting music take my mind where it wants. So when I write I will listen to the song that inspired that scene for me. Now when it’s a chapter Missy wrote, and it’s my turn to add to it. I usually just have noise in the background. Or I’ll read it and find a song that will help inspire me. It’s funny, I have ADD but I can’t write in dead silence.

3. If you could choose three songs to describe the book, which songs would they be? 
Missy- The three songs that come to mind for me are 1) Linkin Park’s Castle of Glass, Third Eye Blind’s Wounded, and Needtobreathe’s Something Beautiful.
Abi- Kelly Clarkson. Dark Side & Honestly. And the ones Missy already talked about.

4. What were some books or stories that inspired you to write? 
Missy- I’ve always been a bookworm, but writing was mostly a private outlet for me. I didn’t want to write a story until Abi & I started meeting to talk about books we were currently reading.
Abi- We always found something with a book that we read that bothered us. We always agreed on the parts that we would change. So totally joking I said to Missy. “You know the only way we will ever be 100% happy with a book, is if we wrote it.” After that talk I went home and started listening to music and wondering what I would want to write about. And when Branded to came to me, of course Missy loved the idea. We click like that! It’s pretty amazing.

5. What authors do you look up to, currently and in the past? 
Missy- for me, it’s Bodie Thoene and Ann Rinaldi. Their books inspired me when I was a young girl and kept me reading! Currently, I respect all writers… because now I really know how much work it is to be one!!!
Abi- Nicholas Sparks, his story telling blows my mind. And the same as Missy, now that we have gone through the process of writing a novel, you have to respect everyone who tries.

FIND ABI & MISSY: (twitter) (website)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

ARC Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Pub. Date: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Pages: 355
Readership: Young adult
Genres: fantasy, historical

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love 
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Wow. I had heard about The Winner's Curse a while ago but for whatever reason, it wasn't on my radar until I kept seeing everyone talking about it. And I mean everyone. I couldn't ignore it anymore: I read up on the synopsis and read a couple early reviews. I was intrigued. When I got the chance to have my own ARC of it, I jumped.

From all the great reviews I had read, I was really going in with high expectations. Usually, that's not a very good thing but with The Winner's Curse it didn't matter. The book was every bit of amazing as the reviews said, and then some.

Marie created absolutely wonderful characters in this book. Some were easily loved, easily related to and easily hated. Some I was unsure of their motives but liked them anyway and some I just wanted to fall on their sword. Regardless of the type of character they were, there was no one character in this book that was just there. They all had a reason, a place in the story.

I adored Kestrel to bits. At first I was a little unsure of her but that was easily squashed in the first twenty or so pages. She is a girl who knows who she is and what she wants in life and she is such a badass. SUCH a badass. She is cunning, brilliant, clever and not afraid to do what she feels is right. She is also stubborn which is another thing I adored about her. And a little bit blind of her feelings for Arin until the very and and even then... Oh man, I just really loved Kestrel.

I absolutely adored Arin as well. It was hard not to, to be honest. He, like Kestrel, knows who is is and what he wants and will do anything to obtain it. Even through his feelings for Kestrel, he did what he did because he knew he would lose himself had he not. Arin is courageous and has pin-prick focus but he also has a good heart and doesn't like to hurt people just for the sake of it. He is an amazing leader.

The romance! It was so different from the kind of romances one usually sees in these types of fantasies. It had the whole forbidden, star-crossed feel to it but it wasn't overwhelming. Even though, by the end, Kestrel and Arin loved each other very much, they didn't say to hell with everyone else and ran for the hills. In fact, it is the opposite. While they were still trying to look out for each other and love each other, they knew there were bigger things happening and dealt with those things first and foremost. I have to say, this pair is one of my favourites of the year.

All in all, The Winner's Curse was a brilliantly fantastic awesomesauce read. The ending alone made me want to jump in a little blue box and fly off to next year so I can read book two immediately. The plot was fantastic, the pacing was great and the characters were beyond. Even the minor and secondary characters were great. Ronan! Oh boy, I loved me some Ronan. Cheat was the devil. General Trajan is a good father and a great military man. And those are only a few of the minors that were great. Honestly, if I didn't already have a gigantic to-be-read pile, I would be re-reading The Winner's Curse already. Everyone needs to read this brilliantly woven masterpiece.

★★★★★ 
I LOVED IT 
*Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing an ARC for review!!!

PURCHASE 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

(2 GIVEAWAYS!) Marrisa Meyer Signing in Toronto 2.24

Guys! Yesterday I attended the Marssia Meyer event in Toronto and I had a great time. I had planned to get there around 1 or 2 in the afternoon but I was able to snag an early ride and ended up there at 11am instead. So I ended up first in line. Indigo was so impressed Indigo Green Room tweeted a pic of me. Which was pretty cool.

I was pretty bored waiting around for more people to show up so I read a bit and took lots of random pictures.


At around 1 people started showing up, including my girls so I finally had some company! The event was still six hours away but the time honestly flew by. It didn't feel like I had waited for 8 hours at all.

Around 4 o'clock, Marissa showed up! I was chatting with fellow book blogger Siobhan of Coversations of a Reading Addict when she and her husband appeared seemingly out of nowhere. I had a "wait.. what... is it???? IT IS!" moment so for a few seconds I was just gaping. Oops. She brought everyone in line buttons and then she asked who was first in line and I meekly mumbled "me". (Sidenote I get really awkward around people at first. Awkward, quiet and rambly, oh boy.) Then she asked me since when so naturally I said 11 and she was shocked. THEN she handed me an ARC of Cress that had been her husbands! I had no idea what to say so I just meep'd a thanks and then she asked me if I wanted it personalized. At that point I was like "oh boy oh boy, she's talking to me! This author I admire is talking to me!!!" So of course being me I totally rambled and was all "I.. well.. I ... have one?! I do giveaway on blog!?" and she chuckled and was all "aw sweet!". So that's a thing that happened and smh, I need to work on my social skills.

I was really bummed because I was going to show her my Little Red Riding Hood tattoo that I have but I forgot in the moment. (It's not Scarlet based, but it is Grimm original tale based and I thought she would like it.) I said to myself "Ok, I'll do it at the signing!"

When there was about an hour to go before the signing, we were all moved from a line to the seats in front of the stage. Then some cosplayers showed up! I believe the Cress works for Raincoast but I'm not very sure and I didn't see anyone to ask. Anywho! The Cress was fab and the Scarlet was fab.


Right after that, the Indigo peeps played some games with the crowd to get us all warmed up. Like a dumbass, I volunteered to go up there before they told us what we would be volunteering for and I ended up having to dance in front of everyone. God I hope that doesn't end up on YouTube I am like Chandler Bing.

Finally it was time for the event to start!! Marissa was adorable as always. She opened with the story of how she was published and then she talked about fairytales and told us all the Grimm version of Rapunzel. I recorded that and the video should be uploaded to YouTube soon. I'll update the post with the link when it's ready.






As you can see, I took quite a few pictures! I got a new camera and was a bit trigger happy.

Weirdest face ever, I wasn't prepared for the pic yet so my face is half smile, half "oh what??????"




I got even more photos than this but I don't want to spam the post! And here's a cameo by Siobhan getting some books signed.

But now to the good stuff. Giveaways!! Since I do already have an Cress ARC, first up is the ONE OF A KIND ( ;) ) signed copy that was once Marissa's husband's. 

Both giveaways are INTERNATIONAL!



a Rafflecopter giveaway



And now I have signed hardcover copies of Cinder, Scarlet and Cress up for grabs!! I was a part of the wonderful Lunar Chronicles Street Team these past few months thanks to MacTeen and as a thanks, they sent me signed copies! But, as I had attended Marissa's past event in Toronto, I already have copies of each signed. I thought it wouldn't be fair or nice to hold on to and hoard these copies so I want to share them!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 23 February 2014

In My Mailbox #?

Wowza I haven't done one of these in a while. Partly because I've been so busy with school, partly because everything piles up and is Too Much and partly because I'm a bit forgetful. BUT I recently got a brand new shiny camera that I thought, why the heck not?

Now, I'm not going to gather together all of the books I've gotten since my last showcase sunday/imm because that would be crazy. These are just some recent ones!

FOR REVIEW

Thanks to Raincoast Books and Hachette!

BOUGHT


SURPRISE&gift!

Wheee thank you so much MacTeen Books!!! And Raincoast for the stellar pins.

What did you guys get this week?

Monday, 17 February 2014

REVIEW: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi



Pub. Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 408
Readership: Young adult
Genres: science-fiction, dystopia

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.

I'm going to be honest: I have absolutely no idea how I feel about this book. For a year I was eagerly anticipating Ignite Me. I was so very thrilled seeing everyone's ecstatic reactions after they finished it. I quickly snatched up a copy when my local bookstore got it a few days after the release and immediately tore into it. After that, I just became confused.

Juliette was the same old Juliette: growing stronger, braver and more sure of herself as the pages turned. Kenji was the same old amazing Kenji: funny, loyal with a heart of gold. But then Warner entered the picture and after that, Adam. Right away, both felt out of character to me. Warner only slightly but Adam felt like a completely different person. He honestly felt like a pod person for a third of the book. This wasn't the character I fell in love with in Shatter Me and it wasn't the character that I adored in Unravel Me. It felt like he had done a complete 180 and I wasn't sure why. I just couldn't figure it out. I still can't. On the one hand, it almost felt like character assassination, a way to make Juliette and Warner more viable. Adam felt too melodramatic, too ridiculous, for me to take any of what was happening seriously with him. He felt too harsh. He felt like a parody with his over the top brattiness and immaturity which was waved off as "he's going through some stuff". With Warner in the beginning, he felt like stranger to me as well. Not the sector leader we met in Shatter Me and not the boy we grew to love in Unravel Me. As the book went on, I understood why and I like why but at first it's a bunch of confusion and just all around bitterness. All of the horrible things he had done in Shatter Me were rectified. He was made to be a saint among sinners which still has left a sour taste in my mouth.

However, despite my irritation at Adam and Warner's characterization, the plot was great as usual. There was just enough action, just enough intrigue and just enough romance to make it all blend wonderfully together in a way that only Tahereh knows how. We got to see Juliette rise up and become this strong, independent woman. She is a far cry from the scared girl we met in Shatter Me and boy, does she know it. It was great to see Juliette kicking ass as much as she did in Ignite Me. As much as a lot of characters were off, Juliette was spot on.

The ending, though... I felt like the ending was a little too rushed, a little too easy for my liking. When I reached the last 30 pages, there was still so much to be done that I had no idea how on earth it was all going to finish up so fast. I thought hey, maybe there's a secret book four on the way because how the heck is this going to all finish?? But it did and I was left with my head spinning. It all wrapped up into a neat little bow with shiny wrapping paper. A lot of the conclusion felt rushed, like Mafi didn't quite have enough time to flesh things out as she wanted to so this ending happened.

When I say I'm confused and unsure on how I feel about this book, I really mean it. I loved it but at the same time, I'm not quite satisfied with what I read. This final book had so much potential to go sky high but really, all it did was was sizzle out. The first two will remain one of my favourite reads but I'm not sure where Ignite Me will land when I have digested everything.

★★★ 
I LIKED IT

PURCHASE 

Monday, 10 February 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Troop by Nick Cutter (Q&A)

THE TROOP by Nick Cutter

Once a year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder stumbles upon their campsite—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. A horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival with no escape from the elements, the infected . . . or one another. - 

Thank you for stopping by Mr. Cutter! I hope you're well.

1. What was your favourite book as a child?

Where The Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls. It was a real heartbreaker, and still does a number on me to this day.

2. What inspired you to write The Troop? 

I’d written another novel just before starting The Troop, which dealt with two characters as boys. I liked writing that part of the novel, and wanted to write about boys at that age again.

3. Where were you when the idea of The Troop hit you?

I was at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and they had an exhibit on WATER. How we use it as a species, how it’s used around the world … and the things that live in it. There was a tiny little area set off one side of the sprawling exhibit, a dark little room with a video tape running on a loop. A doctor talking about the little creatures who take the villain role in this book … one of those roles, anyway. I was fascinated. That was the novel in its germination.

4. Other than writing, what do you like to do?

You know, judging by the reaction to this book that some readers have had, you’d think I spent my downtime murdering hobos and tossing old people down rickety flights of stairs! And while I do enjoy doing both those things, primarily I spend time with my family, play basketball a few times a week, and read a lot. And sure, sometimes on a rainy Sunday we might murder a hobo as a family—but that’s a little something called BONDING.

5. What are you currently reading?

SHARP OBJECTS, by Gillian Flynn. I, like a billion-squillion other people, was rocked to the core by GONE GIRL, so I’m going back and reading her earlier books. This one may not be quite the same as GONE GIRL, for my money at least, but it’s a helluva good book regardless.


Thank you Simon&Schuster for having me part of the tour!!!!