Monday, 31 March 2014

March Wrap Up & April TBR

Well, I feel like I might have been a little over-ambitious in March. This was just an incredibly busy month for  me and though I managed to read a fair bit, my blogging definitely suffered because of it. April is shaping up to be just a busy, so I guess we'll see how this goes!


Winger by Andrew Smith
Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang
These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufmann & Meagan Spooner
Siege and Storm (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo
Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Undead on Arrival by Justin Robinson

(The links go to my review, if applicable, and to Goodreads if not.)

GOODREADS: 25/50 [+8]
ALPHABET: 15/26 [+4]
SERIES: 3 complete [+1]; 5 ongoing [+1]


Murder of Crows (The Others #2) by Anne Bishop
Emerald Green (The Ruby Red #3) by Kerstin Gier
Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin

Setting my sights lower this month, because wow, was I overly ambitious last month! That said, I only missed out on 1 book from last month's TBR and ended up reading two unplanned books! So.

I feel like my ambitious goals put more pressure on me this month, though. I felt a reading slump coming on during the last few weekends and I managed to stave it off. But I think I need to take that as a sign to slow down. (Or maybe just plan less!)

Regardless, I'm at the halfway point for my Goodreads goal for the year, which is kind of crazy. For 3 years I've tried to read 50 books and I've always fallen short. Now, in three short months, I'm halfway there. I'm not even sure how that happened!

Badminton season is in full swing with tournaments and city playdowns, so despite the travelling, I might actually get some more use out of my Kobo this month. We'll see.

How was your March? What books are on your April TBR? Let me know!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Review || Undead on Arrival by Justin Robinson

Undead on Arrival by Justin Robinson ★☆☆☆☆
Glen Novak is a dead man. Unfortunately for the scumbag who killed him, Novak will keep on cracking skulls and breaking bones until he finds the piece of trash that set him up, or is turned into a walking sack of rotten meat. With Undead On Arrival, Justin Robinson gives us a hard boiled zombie tale, and one of the most brutally compellingly examinations of the living dead you’ll ever read.

No Cure. No Hope. No Mercy.

The first chapter of this book was unreal. I thought it was going to turn into a really cool zombie book and I was going to love it. And there are a lot of reasons why I didn't.

To be fair, this is probably more accurately somewhere in 1.5 star range. I didn't particularly like it, but some of it was ok. Which is the division between 1 star and 2 stars, so.

Listen, I get it. I don't mind reading books with swearing or explicit sexual content or super messed up things happening in them. I enjoy morally ambiguous characters and shades of grey and anti-heroes. I understand why your zombie apocalypse book would take the dark and gritty approach.

I really do.

But there is a fine line between doing all of those things because they are necessary for the narrative and being gratuitous about it. This book has no idea where that line is drawn and doesn't particularly seem to care. And instead of enhancing the book, it just made me roll my eyes.

That said, there were a few interesting gems here and there. The worldbuilding has been thought out. It put its own spin on the genre and I think that worked out well for it. There were also some interesting characters who were incidentally not heteronormative. The overall cast was racially diverse. And there were descriptions of people of a variety of body types.

But it was still a cast dominated by men. What little women there were to be had were treated appallingly by the narrative. Their dominant (and generally, only) role was that of sex object. If not that, then as a breeder to carry on the next generation. They were all framed in that context and at one point or another were all called varying denigrating slurs.

I understand that there's a difference between character perspective and author perspective. I do. But at the end of the day, the author is still making intentional choices about how that character acts and interacts with others.

Novak is not a good guy. And I get that too. It's part of what makes him interesting and, at times, compelling. But again, there's the line between necessity and gratuity.

I read this book in about 24 hours because I had a lot of sitting around and waiting going on in my day today. I finished it tonight because I was most of the way through it already. But it wasn't really enjoyable. And I wouldn't recommend you waste your time with it.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Book Tag || Top 2 Books From 6 Genres

I really need to work on posting more. It's just that this month has been crazy busy. So I thought I'd do a book tag to spice things up.

I found this a while ago on booktube and thought I'd give it a go. It was created by Benjaminoftomes and the original video is here.

The gist is to recommend 2 books from each of the 6 genres. I'm going to try to work a little outside the box and do what I can to pick books I haven't already gushed all over the place about. We'll see if that works!


  1. The Darkest Minds Series by Alexandra Bracken
    (Give book 1 a chance to get rolling and I promise you won't regret it. Some of my favourite ensemble dynamics ever come from these books.)
  2. Wool by Hugh Howey
    (While I do think the latter parts of this sort got off track, there was something so unique and different about the Silos. I picked up the first few parts for free or cheap digitally on Amazon...)
Honourable mention to Daniel H. Wilson's Robopocalypse which actually made me terrified to get on an elevator for a while.


  1. Anything by Rainbow Rowell. No, I'm serious.
    (Though I have a special place in my heart for Fangirl.)
  2. Pivot Point by Kasie West
    (This may seem surprising, but I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to. And it was an interesting twist on the predictable YA love triangle set up.)

I don't really read a lot of straight up romance. Unless it's fanfiction. I mean, what.


  1. Cold Magic by Kate Elliott
    (I desperately need to reread this book and continue the series, but I remember just loving it.)
  2. The Belgariad Series by David Eddings
    (A great intro to high-fantasy. Full of all the wonder, magic and tropes you'd expect. And starring an unforgettable cast of characters.)
I feel like this section was harder than it should have been. I need to read some more fantasy stat!


  1. Redshirts by John Scalzi
    (Ridiculously fun and funny. If you even have a passing interest in Star Trek, check this out.)
  2. The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
    (Parallel Earths, speculative fiction, and a dynamite collaboration--what's not to love?)

It was really difficult not to mention Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles here, but I figured you already knew I adored those books!


  1. Daughter of Smoke & Bone Series by Laini Taylor
    (Okay, so maybe this is predictable, but this series is amazing and I am dying waiting for book 3.)
  2. The Raven Cycle Series by Maggie Stiefvater
    (... Again, surprising no one. I love the complexity of this series.)
I don't read a ton of this genre, or at least not much has caught my eye.


  1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    (I'm sorry, it's impossible not to mention this book. I am just so in love with this portrayal of Patroclus. And I just have so many feels.)
  2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
    (This totally took me by surprise. It's not a book I would've picked up on my own, but it came recommended. I really like the epistolary style--it had me thinking in letter format for days!)
Gail Carriger's Soulless and Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan are also highly recommended. But those are more alternate history than true historical, so!

And that's the tag! What do you think? Have you read any of these books? Feel free to hit me up with some of your own recommendations too!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Review || Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★☆
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

This series continues to deliver and I'm sort of ashamed it's taken me so long to pick up this book. Granted, I read the first book Shadow and Bone back in February 2013. And I had to wait on an inter-library loan from the other side of the province to get my hands on this. But still.

It doesn't take long for the action to get rolling in this book. And though it comes in fits and starts after that, the underlying tension never really goes away. I was floored by a twist in the first handful of pages and never really was able to trust the book again. (Which is totally a good thing!)

The Darkling continues to walk this line of sensuality and downright creepiness. And I continued to love every second of it. It gave me the willies.

Mal and Alina's relationship undergoes a lot of changes in this book (not all of them good) and some of the hot and cold left me feeling a little frustrated. Mal, for whatever reason, was just not as likeable in this book as I found him in the first. And, granted, it doesn't help that he's being held up against Sturmhond.

Oh. My. God. You guys. Sturmhond. I have seen bits and pieces of this character mentioned in the skimming and scanning of reviews. And I didn't get it. I wasn't sure how people could be singing the praises of a character that wasn't even in book one.

I'd like to apologize to everyone, because holy hell was I wrong. Sturmhond is everything I love in a character. Morally ambiguous, clever as hell, cunning, witty. His biting wit and sarcasm was brilliantly delivered and I was almost instantly charmed.

And yeah, okay, his presences adds yet another love triangle to the series. But I honestly didn't mind. Because there is so much else going on in the book that those sorts of things naturally fell away after a while. (And it didn't hurt that Sturmhond actually listens when Alina tells him she's not interested.)

The politics and intrigue really take centre stage when the action isn't overwhelming. And there is so much of it going on it's glorious. There's politics with the Ravkan king and princes. The First and Second Armies. The threat of the Darkling still looming. The Apparat and his cult. It's a very delicate balance.

And it's one easily shattered. While I appreciated the suddenness of battle, I was sometimes let down by the resolution. The last battle at the end of this book is particularly guilty of this. It was just kind of disappointing in its resolution.

The book as a whole was good--really good, in fact--but not outstanding. There were still things that left me wanting. And I was never overcoming with the desire to throw the book across the room because I couldn't stand how good it was. (This is one of my criteria for a 5-star book, in case you didn't know.)

But regardless. And excellent sequel to what is shaping up to be an excellent trilogy. I can't wait to see where Ruin and Rising takes us. And I'm particularly intrigued to see how Alina's power and brutality end up shaping her choices further. I can't wait for June!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Review || These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner ★★★★☆
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

This book completely took me by surprise. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It's sort of been on my radar for a while now, but I'd been putting it off--or, at least, it wasn't very high on my priority list.

A lot of people have been describing this as "Titanic-in-space". And, admittedly, I wasn't really super intrigued by the comparison. Hence, the putting it off.

You guys, if that is the only thing holding you back from reading this, do yourself a favour and forget that comparison immediately. And then go out and acquire a copy of this book.

While "Titanic-in-space" isn't inaccurate per se, it completely fails to capture the essence of this book. Yes, we have two young people from different social castes thrust together by circumstance. Yes, the ship they're on goes down. But that all happens relatively quickly in the book.

What the comparison fails to illustrate is the aftermath of all of this. Lilac and Tarver have to learn to work together, live together, survive together. To trust each other. To become dependent on each other. The writing and the mood of this story is just superb. Completely unlike anything I've read in YA sci-fi. 60 pages in, I was muttering to myself, "I am super into this..."

There's this fascinating balance that evolves between Tarver and Lilac as the story progresses. At first, it seem inequitable, because Tarver is the experienced one and Lilac's high society upbringing does her no good. But they have to lean on each other throughout this novel. As we learn more about them, each of them has their own strengths (and their own weaknesses). It was a really refreshing relationship.

And oh, the slow burn. What develops between them is fragile and precarious, but it's tension done so well. I am definitely more of a drawn-out-romance kind of girl and this book just hit all the right notes for me.

The back and forth narrative between the perspectives was well done as well. But what really stood out for me was Tarver's interrogation scenes that prefaced each chapter. Just those few lines of simple dialogue were so well crafted and intriguing.

That said, it wasn't a perfect book for me. The ending, while really cool, seemed a bit anti-climatic upon reflection. After all the building and all the mystery, it was almost disappointing in its resolution.

And then... there are my thoughts on some super spoilers. (Highlight to read.)

I don't know, I think the book almost would've been more compelling for Lilac to have been dead and stay dead. It was a huge blow to me. I was reading at school on my prep and was like, "You can't do this to me! I can't cry over this book at school!" It was just so good. So unexpected.

Though, admittedly, I also have no idea how you'd get Tarver out of this situation without Lilac. Not only was she instrumental in the distress signal, but in Tarver's motivation too. I really liked seeing Tarver slipping into a haze of depression without Lilac--too often I think grief and mourning get brushed aside in YA.

So, I don't know how it all would've worked out, so I understand the choice the authors' made. But still.

Overall, this book was so good. I had no idea what was going to happen to these characters and how this was all going to get resolved. It was the best kind of tantalizing, all around.

If you're into YA sci-fi, definitely check it out.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Fanmix || The Truth Has Made Me Blind

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled book blogging for a fanmix.

But it's a book-related fanmix, so that counts, right?

Back in the land of 2011, when LiveJournal was still a thing I used semi-regularly, I read Feed by Mira Grant. If you're not familiar with Feed, it's a political thriller disguised as a zombie novel featuring journalists. Which makes the title both a snappy pun about journalism and zombies. It was easily one of my favourite books from 2011.

It left me itching to make a fanmix after I finished it, so I posted the following mix on my LJ. I figured I could cross post it here 3 years later because hey, some of you might be interested!

That said, if you haven't read this book, the mix has INCREDIBLE SPOILERS for the end. So. Uh. Yeah.

Hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think.

(Follow the cut for track information, my reasoning behind the song choices and EPIC SPOILERS.)

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Review || Champion by Marie Lu

Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu ★★★☆☆
June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

I. Huh. I really wanted to like this series a lot more than I did.

Now, don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the series as a whole, but it always left me wanting. It never quite delivered, never quite grabbed me. I suppose the combination of the hype and the "inspired by Les Mis" stuff probably set my expectations too high.

As I read, I realized that I could never actually predict the actions of the characters. Despite the fact that we're in both June and Day's heads. Things would happen and part of me would wonder if that was an in character or out of character reaction... only to find I couldn't quite decide. I think the fatal flaw here was despite the dual narratives, they never really felt totally distinct, and Lu relied more on telling rather than showing.

The world building overall fell flat for me. I just never got the sense of scale that I should with a full realized and complex world. This one felt more like just the scratching of the surface--a shallow approximation of a real vibrant world. Now, I know that some of this is probably intentional. After all, the Republic has kept to itself intentionally for propaganda reasons. Which makes sense. But after a glimpse of the Colonies in Prodigy, a trip to Antarctica in this book and references to Africa... it still all felt shallow and incomplete.

Don't get me wrong, the Antarctica thing was super interesting. And I really loved the idea. And the Colonies stance on things continues to be terrifyingly familiar. But these tidbits felt more like throwaway moments to add to the illusion of depth to the world, rather than actually conveying that depth.

(I think about The Lunar Chronicles in contrast. Where there is this sheer sense of scale to the world. It's built and developed and deep and complex. And all that was lacking here.)

Everything also just felt too convenient. The book zooms along at a great pace, but for every new obstacle, the solution seems to come just in time. Yes, there's a sense of urgency and you can understand the desperation of some of the characters--but the stakes never felt high. Despite the fact that they were obviously meant to be. Something about the tone of the book failed to convince me that this was going to turn out as anything other than okay.

Still. I did shed a few tears. There are a few things that always get me, regardless, and I always count crying over a book as a positive thing. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to let me get past the other shortcomings. Champion never really surprised me; and I am always harsher on twists I've guessed in advance when I'm not really loving the book to begin with.

I have conflicted feelings about the epilogue as well. Again, the whole "too convenient" argument bubbles up. I don't know. It had it's positives and negatives.

Overall, a series I liked but never loved. A series I'm glad I read, but not one I'd go out of my way to purchase. Entertaining, but at the end of it, disappointing.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Top 10 Tuesday || Popular Authors I've Never Read

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a new category every week!

This week's topic is Top 10 Popular Author's I've Never Read. I omitted a few notable choices from this list because I don't really ever plan on reading anything by those authors... and I'd rather not cause trouble. So this is my Top 10 "I should really get around to those someday" authors!

I also tried to avoid too much overlap from last week's Top 10 Tuesday, in which I talked about my series TBR. So there are a pile of authors over there that I didn't mention again here.

1. Libba Bray
I own copies of A Great and Terrible Beauty and The Diviners. I don't know what I'm waiting for!

2. Brandon Sanderson
I keep hearing such great things about all his work. I really need to check him out.

3. Orson Scott Card
The Ender's Game and Pathfinder series really intrigue me, but I think they'll be library borrows given Card's atrocious homophobic behaviour.

4. Rick Yancey
The 5th Wave and The Monstromologist are both on my list!

5. Tahereh Mafi
Super late to the party, but I will eventually get on the Shatter Me bandwagon.

6. Richelle Mead
Again, a lot of buzz around the Vampire Academy series--especially given the movie release.

7. Douglas Adams
I own a bind up of Hitchhiker's and I know I'm going to love it. I just am a failure at reading books that are actually on my bookshelf.

8. Veronica Rossi
More amazing things to be said about the Under the Never Sky trilogy. I need to get a copy!

9. Philip Pullman
Despite reading (and loving) fanfic AUs with daemons I have never actually read any Pullman. (I own The Golden Compass too. Oops.)

10. Rae Carson
Another much beloved and hyped series. I need to check it out.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Review || Winger by Andrew Smith

Winger by Andrew Smith ★★★★☆
Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

If you're not a teeny bit in love with this book after that cartoon I don't know what else to tell you.

Littered with adorable cartoons from the main character (courtesy of Sam Bosma) and the undeniably accurate toilet-humour narrative that comes with having a 14 year old protagonist, Winger is an experience from beginning to end.

Ryan Dean is so multifaceted it's hard to describe him. He's crude, crass and perverted. He's brilliant, nerdy and funny. Loyal. Immature. A great friend. A terrible friend. Confident, yet unsure. He's a well rounded human being. And his narrative is occasionally so laugh out loud funny I actually needed a moment to catch my breath. He draws graphs comparing how much brain power he's spending thinking certain thoughts alternating from 'oh god that girl is touching me' to 'I have to pee'. I'm serious.

Smith has capture the voice of a 14 year old boy with perfection. Ryan Dean's story is one about figuring out not only who you are, but who your friends are. It was a captivating ride.

My only complaint centres around the ending of the book. I'm going to hide a few spoilers here in case you want to know my thoughts (highlight to read).

I get that tragedy is abrupt. It was not so much the abruptness of Joey's death that bothered me. I thought that was done quite well. When I read the mini-chapter in which they find his body, I actually had to set the book down for a moment. It was one of those horrible moments where you knew what was coming but so desperately wanted for it to not be true.

That, I thought, was done well. But what I took issue with was how abruptly the rest of the book tapered off to a close. I would've liked to see more coping. Dealing with tragedy and grief. More details of Ryan Dean's self-imposed silence and of his support network. More of him coming together with Chas and Kevin to form a friendly bond. The rugby team at the funeral. More of the consequences and fallout from closing O-Hall. All that.

I get that the book was pushing 450 pages as it was, but I don't know. I think how you deal with that is just as important.

Part of me wonders if that will be dealt with in the apparent sequel that has been announced in the time since I picked up the book. But given that the synopsis says it'll deal with senior year, that doesn't seem too likely.

Regardless of my quibbles, this was a great book. Not a perfect one, but something fun and different to my usual fare. Definitely enjoyable and definitely recommended.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

February Wrap Up & March TBR

I wasn't quite sure how well my reading was going to go down in February, what with it being the shortest month of the year and all. And especially after January's unprecedented progress. But I think I did okay!


Sapphire Blue (The Ruby Red #2) by Kerstin Gier
Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken
Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu
Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu
Vicious by VE Schwab
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West

(The links go to my review, if applicable, and to Goodreads if not.)

GOODREADS: 17/50 [+8]
ALPHABET: 11/26 [+6]
SERIES: 2 complete [+1]; 5 started [+2]

Winger by Andrew Smith
Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu
Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

I actually read all the books on my February TBR. Sweet!

I also discovered the magic of inter-library loans this month. With access to all the libraries in my province, I feel like I'm going to be at the library a lot in the coming year!

I really need to step up my game on the 1 library book = 1 bookshelf book ratio. I'm sort of failing miserably. Also, I haven't touched my Kobo yet, so the ebook reading isn't going that well. Oops.

How was your February? What books are on your March TBR? Let me know!