Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Armchair BEA || Author Interaction & More Than Just Words

Author Interactions
Let me be real here, I am absolutely terrible when it comes to meeting famous people. I just lose every perfectly constructed sentence I have ever thought of and turn into a mess.

I think this is probably because I haven't had much opportunity to interact with them. My city is fairly small and the nearest major stop for most tours and events is a 3 hour drive. It's one I make fairly regularly, but we still don't get a lot.

It's probably why I spend most of Comic Expo just watching from afar.

But still, I have managed to brave the queue a time or two... especially when there's books involved.

This year at Expo marked the second time I met Max Brooks. The first time was in 2012. My friend and I barely even had to wait in line! I even managed to tell him how World War Z made me want to be a better writer. He was super pleasant and signed some stuff for us and told us to "take care of each other".

We walked away incredibly pleased that we'd actually managed to speak coherently and like normal people before fangirling like maniacs.

This year, he was back at Expo. In 2012, my friend and I had totally forgotten to bring our copies of World War Z, but we were more prepared this time. We psyched ourselves up in the (short) line.

Brooks, as it turns out, was eavesdropping on us. Because the inscription he put in my friend's book was basically word-for-word about how we were normal people and that we could totally do this and we were cool. It was hilarious.

My inscription looks like this:

Oh my god I can't believe I'm meeting you! OMG! OMG!

"There," he said to me, "now we're both really excited to have met each other."

It was pretty much the best thing ever.

With author interactions becoming more common online, I don't know how this will change things for me. I nearly died when Rainbow Rowell favourited a tweet I'd mentioned her in. So, I feel like I will probably fangirl hard for the foreseeable future.

More Than Just Words
I have been a lover of graphic novels for a long time now. I don't know that I have a lot to add to that Saga, as I see a lot of people have done. It's a great series!
conversation that hasn't already been said. But I will throw a plug out there for

I want to specifically talk about audiobooks today, because this is something totally new for me.

I discovered SYNC two weeks ago after some blog-hopping and decided to give it a go. If you're unfamiliar, it gives you access to two free audiobooks a week during the summer--one YA and one classic. The schedule is posted, so check it out to see if there's anything that catches your eye.

I started listening to this week's YA pick on the weekend. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. The book itself had caught my interest, so I figured why not give the audiobook a try.

It's definitely a different experience, listening with intent. A lot of times I put music on as background--I don't have to be 100% engaged. But audiobooks are different. You have to be paying attention, lest you miss something.

That said, I am enjoying the experience. I'm still focused on the task, but it's a different sort of energy I'm expending as opposed to reading a book myself. I find the narrator of this book--Elizabeth Knowelden--to be easy to listen to. Though sometimes I get a little confused when different characters speak back and forth since I can't see the quotation marks! That, and sometimes it's hard to tell what is to be spoken aloud and what the main character is just thinking to herself.

But still, it's new territory and I'm glad I took the risk. Someone during a Bout of Books chat recommended I try audiobooks to solve the problem of reading in the car. (I can't do it as a passenger, it makes me ill.) With roadtrips in my future, I'm definitely going to have to give it a go!

What do you think about these topics? Let's chat in the comments! And feel free to link me to your ArmchairBEA posts for today as well!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Armchair BEA || Introductions

So BEA (aka Book Expo America) pretty much sounds like a book lover's dream. Except, holy smokes, NYC is super expensive. Thankfully there's Armchair BEA, which offers some of the experience right from the comfort of your own computer.

I'm super glad I found out about this, because truthfully I'd been seething with jealousy every time BEA was mentioned! Let's get into it, shall we?


1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 

I'm Katelynn, a 27-year-old blogging from southern Alberta (Canada). During the days, I can be found teaching grade 8 (Math and Science, mostly).

I started blogging in late December of 2013 after having spent a few weeks immersed in the realm of BookTube. I decided I wanted in, but didn't know if video was quite the right medium for me. Thankfully, I've had blogs in one form or another for quite some time (from Geocities, Angelfire and Pitas to LiveJournal and Tumblr) and felt right at home with Blogger.

2. Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. -- so we can connect more online.

I'm going to cheat and use my header tagline: "A little bit of everything (but mostly books)." Right now I'm almost exclusively books, but I have posted a few baking and music related things before!

As for social media, you can hit me up on Goodreads or Twitter.

3. What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ .

I read primarily on the sci-fi/fantasy side of things. Though these days that seems to include a little bit of everything, including dystopian, post-apocalyptic and paranormal. Still, I have to say, most of my favourite reads have some sort of sci-fi/fantasy element to them. I like the escapism.

I love to read because I love stories. I love all the aspects of storytelling and I love being captivated by characters and worldbuilding and plot.

4. What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?

Singling out a favourite book is so hard. I'm just going to cheat again and link up my Top 10 from 2013!

As for this year, this at least is a little easier. I'm still going to cheat and name two books though!

Reviews here and here!

5. What book would you love to see as a movie?

I have a few for this one...

The first being the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu. I ended up having mixed feelings about this series as a whole, but I think it would translate really well onto the big screen. It would certainly be action packed! (And maybe a film adaptation would fix some of my problems with the series!)

The second is a trilogy I just recently finished and adored: Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I think there would have to be a lot of adapting here to translate everything here well. But it's got that grand epic feel to it, and I'd love to see all the scenery of the various locations on the big screen. (And also Hector, let's be real here.)

Lastly, sneaking in just under the wire is a book I just finished recently: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. I just finished this on Friday and adored it. And since Rithmatics is such a visual medium, I think it would be awesome to see it on the big screen. That and I'm totally prepared to be creeped out by chalklings again!

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to link me to your Armchair BEA posts or just chat about your answers to these questions in the comments!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Review || The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young ★★☆☆☆
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them

I handed this book off to my sister this afternoon having promised she could read it when I was done with it. And the first thing she asked me was, "How was it?"

My reaction was, "Ehhhhh?" and to shrug.

So, I feel like that conveys my reaction to this. Hence the 2-star "it was okay" rating.

The concept is interesting but the execution for the most part fell really flat for me. I felt like the strongest part of the book was the beginning, for me. Getting to know Sloane and James, who their friends are, what they've been through, how they're not allowed to grieve properly for fear of being flagged by The Program. It was actually rather poignant in places. And the real depth of their sorrow came through.

But as things progressed, I never really felt attached to anyone. A lot of the exposition in the middle ends up being a lot of "telling" instead of "showing"... which I understood as a device for the narrative (Sloane is baring all to her psychologist) but it never drew me in.

I found the boys in this book rather problematic as well. James, in the beginning, was fine, but as the book progressed I was really confused by his behaviour. Realm is a complex character, but does some horrific things (to Sloane in particular) and then because of how the narrative is framed (and how the plot device works) he's still portrayed as one of the "good guys". I had a really hard time with that.

It's clear that there's more going on here than meets the eye. Realm's behaviour midway through the book gives that away. But it's frustrating because, as I suppose I should've expected, nothing is really resolved at the end of this book. Yes, it's a duology, and yes, I know the intent of the ending is to make me want to keep reading. But everything is so vague and unclear. And instead of it being compelling it was annoying.

As is the norm with most YA dystopians, our heroes are off to join a secret rebellion group at the end of the novel. They'll probably take down the government or something in The Treatment. But it all feels so... unrealistic. I can suspend my disbelief, but there's a limit.

To be fair, this book didn't go down the way I expected it to. But if you're looking for complexity, you'll not find it here. This is a typical one-dimensional YA tale with little depth. I'll probably pick up book 2, just to find out what the heck is actually going on, but it certainly won't be at the top of my list.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Random Recs || 2009

Books Published in 2009

2009 was an important year for me, because it was the year I graduated from University. It took 5 hard years, but I walked across the stage to collect a BSc (Math) and a BEd (Math Education). And then I promptly took the summer off!

But when fall rolled around, I found myself on the substitute teacher list and suddenly this whole new phase of my life had started.

So here are some important books (to me) from 2009. 

(I didn't actually read any of these in 2009, but shush!)

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Trigger warning: tread super cautiously around this book if you ever have suffered from an eating disorder. This book does not pull any punches and is downright horrifying at times with respect to the toxic logic Lia uses to justify her anorexia. But holy smokes, is it a worthwhile read.

Urban Fantasy/Alternate History
Smart, snappy and hilariously funny, Soulless is everything you'd come to expect from an urban fantasy containing vampires and werewolves and the like.... except it takes place in Victorian London.

Leviathan (Leviathan #1) by Scott Westerfeld
If you like your history with a dash of steampunk and awe inspiring creatures, then look no farther. Westerfeld has re-imagined World War I, pitting Allied beasts against Axis clankers. There are secret identities, harrowing adventures and, of course, the politics of war.

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor & illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo
This is just double trouble here because Taylor's writing is gorgeous and evocative in its own right. But pair that with Di Bartolo's jaw dropping illustrations before each short story and you have a dynamite combination. It's incredible how easily Taylor gets you attached to these characters and their stories in such a short period of time.

What do you think? Have you read any of these? Any other 2009 books to recommend? Let's chat in the comments!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Wrap Up!

Well, that's another wrap! Bout of Books 10.0 was my second go around at this madness, and I loved it just as much this time as I did last time!

Let's see how I did overall:

  • Read 3-4 books ✓ (Completed 3 books and finished ~70% of a 4th!)
  • Read every day 
  • Queue reviews for books completed ✓ (I haven't reviewed Under the Never Sky yet, but since I'm planning to marathon the series, I'll write a series review.)
  • Participate in a few challenges 
  • Participate in at least one Twitter chat 

Books Completed

So basically, I did everything I wanted to! (Except stick to my TBR, but what else is new?)

My total page count for the week ended up being: 1,379 pages! That's an average of 197 pages a day! I'm pretty darn happy with that total!

As always, I'm sad that it's over! There's an impromptu readathon going on this week over on Twitter (hosted by Regan @peruseproject) called #shitIhavetoomanybooks ... So I'm probably going to be all over that! Because that hashtag is my life.

How did your Bout of Books go? Feel free to link me to your wrap up in the comments!

Monday Mix || Flyboy: The EP

Continuing with last week's NaNoWriMo theme, I thought it was fitting that I also posted this next mix.

I made this mix for my best friend for her 2009 novel Flyboy. We were both attempting NaNo for the first time that year and actually living in the same city for the first time in forever. Though she didn't quite make the required word count in November, the novel did eventually get finished.

And I was her biggest cheerleader the whole time.

Flyboy works in a universe where superpowers are a thing that some people have. And our hero comes from a rather prestigious line of heroes. However, his only power is that he can fly. There's no super strength or speed or anything like that. He flies. Period.

Hence the moniker: Flyboy.

He starts off as a sidekick for a well known hero in a small town, but eventually wants to break out on his own. But he can't quite seem to shake the name. And if that's not enough, throw in an over-inquisitive journalist and a supervillain... well, then things are just starting to get interesting.

Here's the mix I made her for the novel. I hope you enjoy!

"Feels like I'm at a 7/11 when a robbery takes place
This is not some random nightmare
See for me, well, this is everyday."

(Tracklist after the cut)

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Series Review || Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson

Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson ★★★★☆
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

I did not expect to enjoy this trilogy as much as I did. This was the first time I'd plowed through a trilogy with one book after the other after the other. Even though the first book The Girl of Fire and Thorns does wrap up its plot loosely at the end, I was still interested in continuing.

And boy, let me tell you, if you get into this one you'll want to have The Bitter Kingdom (book 3) on hand once you finish with The Crown of Embers (book 2). Holy cliffhanger ending, Batman. I threw book 2 a short distance upon reading the final page. I was both so pleased with the suspense of the ending and so ticked that I hadn't brought book 3 with me to pick up immediately.

While I want to do a really thorough review on this series, part of me keeps shying away. Because I really knew next to nothing about this series going in. I'd read the synopsis above at least once, but it hadn't been particularly memorable. And I knew this was YA fantasy. But that was about it.

Because of that, I found that as I was reading book 1 I was constantly being surprised. I'm pretty sure I uttered, "What the hell is even happening?" a few times during the book. And not because it was confusing, but because I literally had no idea what to expect.

Even if I had, truthfully, the books take so many twists and turns I think they'd be hard to predict anyway. There was just the feeling of being swept up in the world that I really appreciated. And marathoning the series in one go really made me feel attached to the cast of characters that inhabited this world.

There was a sense of familiarity about the setting and the characters that settled in for me sometime in book 2. And after that, every time I picked up the books to continue reading, it felt like going back to old friends. And with three books worth of material, the character growth is so wonderful to watch as it unfolds before you.

The series ticks off a lot of boxes of things I enjoy in books. Including action and adventure, but also court politics and intrigue. There were a few major players in the series that I kept waiting to have secret motives and/or turn out to be antagonists. Some of the betrayals and secrets, once they're out, are heart-wrenching and shocking.

I also love an epic journey, and not one of the books in this series disappoints in this regard. There is a lot of on the road/on the run in all the books, and the tension is palpable.

Elisa as a main character and narrator is interesting. At the beginning of the series she is a self-depreciating, silly child. She has to grow up incredibly quickly. By the end of the series, she is a confident and strong major player in world events. It was a pleasure to watch her come into her own.

And another genuine pleasure with respect to the major love interest of the series. I'll not say much, because I really do believe that going in blind is the best way about it, but the only appropriate reaction to him is: swoons. Added to the book boyfriend list, let me tell you. Phew.

Overall, the ratings broke down as follows:
The Girl of Fire and Thorns -- 4 stars
The Crown of Embers -- 4.5 stars
The Bitter Kingdom -- 5 stars

So that rounds the series out as 4.5 stars all together. I am seriously considering purchasing this series. Which, coming from me, is high praise. Though I do buy a lot of books before I read them, I only keep or want to buy a read series if it's exceptional.

I was pleasantly surprised by this series. I laughed, I cried (and not where you might think!). I'd highly recommend giving this a go.

Have you read this trilogy? What did you think? Let's chat in the comments!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Random Recs || Blue Cover

So my little sister briefly had a gig filling it as librarian at the school where I work. Which was awesome because she'd snag books that she knew I wanted to read when they came in. And she was quite the book pusher.

Anyway, this lead to some interesting conversations throughout her time at the school. Including students coming up to her and asking, "What's a good book?" Just like that. No follow-up or anything. It reminded me of this picture.

So with that in mind, here's this week's random recs.

Books With Blue Covers

Wonder by RJ Palacio
This is the charming story of Auggie--a young boy born with a facial deformity. After a multitude of struggles and surgeries, Auggie is ready to take on the world of public school for the first time in his life. The story is heart warming and heart wrenching and not one you're likely to forget.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
If you haven't heard of this by now, I don't know where you've been. But just in case, TFiOS tells the story of Hazel, a teenage girl with cancer. It's another heart warming/wrenching combination that will stick with you for a long time.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Anderson is a wizard with the written word and never shies away from controversial and hard hitting topics. In her latest novel, she weaves a tale of father and daughter, struggling to try to get by despite post-traumatic stress, anxiety and a less than "normal" life up until this point.

Okay, I confess that this is cheating a bit. Because this is book 3 of a trilogy, and that's not entirely fair. But this book was phenomenal. It's everything a conclusion should be. High stakes, epic journeys, love, romance and politics. Give the series a try!

What do you think? Have you read any of these? Any other blue books to recommend? Let's chat in the comments!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Top 10 Tuesday || Books I Almost Put Down

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 books you almost put down, but didn't!

I don't really have 10 for this one, so I'm going to like 5+5... you'll see what I mean in a second.

5 Books I Almost Put Down, But Didn't!

About 50 pages in I just didn't know what I thought of this one. I was considering dropping it, but I decided to give it another 50 pages to change my mind. And boy did it ever. Once things got rolling I started getting really attached. I found myself wondering what the characters were up to when I wasn't reading.

Again, another slow starter for me. I was maybe 70 pages into this one and couldn't understand all the hype and praise. And then Ruby escapes and things take off and I never looked back. Book 3, In the Afterlight, is one of my most anticipated books of the year!

I had desperately rushed off to the library to get this and book 3 in the trilogy before I was finished book 1. But then book 1 sort of tied everything up. And I wasn't sure, even after starting the first few chapters, if I wanted to read it immediately. But again, I got swept up and then couldn't put it down!

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
I read this a long time ago. Back before I'd really rediscovered my love for reading. It took me several months to get through Good Omens, which is ridiculous, because I love this book. But I wasn't always in a reading mood back then, so I was constantly having to come back to it.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
I swear, it's totally an accident that this is the second Gaiman book. And guys, this book is amazing. But it is so dense. I had a hard time with it because it turned into quite a slog. It was worth it, definitely, but that doesn't mean I didn't consider putting it down from time to time.

5 Books I Put Down, But I Want To Pick Up Again
Does that title even make sense?

Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker #1) by Paolo Bacigalupi
I read the first chapter-ish of this one and put it down. Not because it wasn't good, because it was, but because I had something else on my shelf that I wanted to read instead. And I don't juggle more than one book at a time. And then I just never came back. I want to read this soon though.

Evil Genius (Evil Genius #1) by Catherine Jinks
Another one I started and then put down in favour of something else. The beginning was interesting, but it just wasn't captivating. I'd like to give it another try sometime though. But it's not super high priority.

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix
I started the first chapter of this one night, but it was a little more involved than I was expecting. I really liked how it started, though, and I bought the whole trilogy from BookOutlet this year (because hello, those covers are gorgeous). And since I just had a lot of success marathoning a trilogy, I'm really tempted to do the same with this series soon.

The Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb
I read the first few pages of this and then set it aside because it was a little more dense than I'd anticipated. But I really do genuinely enjoy fantasy series, so I'm eager to pick this one up again.

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
I really enjoyed the first handful of pages that I read of this. But I think I picked this up not long after I'd fought with American Gods. And I didn't want a repeat of that struggle. So I decided to put it aside until I was ready to make the commitment. I think this summer I'll try again.

What do you think? Have you read any of these books? What makes you put down a book (or not!)? Let's chat in the comments!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Monday Mix || The End Is Where We Begin

And now for something completely different.

Okay, not so different. But instead of this being a mix based on someone else's novel, this is a mix I made based on one of my novels.

You've probably heard of NaNoWriMo (and if not, where have you been?) but it's an annual writing challenge that asks you to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days in November. I've participated since 2009 and won every year so far!

Now, I love making mixes right? We've been through that already. So it makes sense that I should make some mixes based on my novels, right?

Some of them get done, some of them don't. But they're still fun.

So let me be self indulgent and post this mix.

A little backstory. Written in 2010, the novel was titled Chaotic Neutral and was about spies and espionage. My synopsis from the NaNoWriMo page went something like this:

Arthur is one of Apogee International's most promising young agents. He's accustomed to the flair and high-risk that comes along with being a spy. And he works overtime to keep Sentinel Operations--Apogee's rival agency--from achieving their goals. While Apogee works to bring about change (usually for the better), Sentinel strives to keep the status quo. And though each organization's methods are more than a little questionable, Arthur's always believed that the end justifies the means.

That is, until his latest assignment goes horribly wrong. Arthur finds himself unfairly demoted to the realm of corporate espionage. And for someone who's used to gun fights and explosions, sitting in a cubicle from 9-to-5 is making him understandably antsy.

Especially when he starts questioning not only his employers methods, but his own skills as an agent. Is he just another agent past his prime, been put out to pasture?

But little does he know, he's about to stumble quite unwittingly onto a secret that threatens to unravel everything he's ever worked for. And he'll discover that the ties that bind Apogee and Sentinel together are more sinister than he could have ever imagined.

A story of love, lust, espionage and betrayal. Soundtracked by gun fights, transatlantic flights, split lips and running for your life.

(Tracklist after the cut)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Review || Eon by Alison Goodman

Eon (Eon #1) by Alison Goodman ★★★☆☆
Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye--an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.

If you're craving some good fantasy with unique worldbuilding, than do yourself a favour and pick this up immediately.

After having been on my tbr for some time, I picked Eon up on a whim the other night and found myself having to pace myself so I could enjoy it for longer. The world is rich and complex, full of interesting characters and problems. Seasoned fantasy readers will not be put off by the "info dumping" at the beginning--I found it was well balanced with the plot and kept me interested.

Eon(a) is an interesting character. Weighed down by the pressures and expectations of those around her, she struggles to maintain her boyish facade. She has to form alliances and make decisions with very little experience. And she doesn't always choose correctly.

While none of the major plot points or twists were terribly unpredictable, the narrative still held my interest. Court politics and intrigue are something that I'm very much into, and Eon delivered in that regard--especially with the threats simmering just below the surface.

Eon is also host to some refreshingly different characters. Eon's friend Chart is severely physically disabled--and though many of the supporting cast look down upon him or treat him with contempt, Eon considers him a close friend and does much to support him and his mother later in the book. Eon herself has been crippled and pushes herself through obstacle after obstacle to compete on equal standing next to her able bodied peers. (Though, I will admit it was not as much of a barrier as I would've liked. Eon's disability sort of gets lost in all the other plot related shenanigans and then sort of gets deus ex machina-ed away at the end. Which is disappointing.)

Eon's inner circle consists of a eunuch guard and a transwoman advisor. Both characters are compelling in their own right, especially as you learn more about them. There are a lot of gender politics at play here, not surprisingly, considering one of the main conflicts of the book is Eon's identity. I've seen some reviews that take issues with some of Goodman's more heavy handed approach to some of this, and while I don't disagree with some of the criticisms, I still find it refreshing to see a story in which the main character must embrace her femininity in order to succeed.

All in all, a great read. Though, be warned, this is definitely just the set up. Eon is not a book that stands on its own, and if you enjoy it, you'll want to have the sequel Eona close at hand.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Random Recs || Sports

This week I decided to recommend a few books that have characters that play sports. This was decidedly more difficult than I'd anticipated, so there are only 2 books on the list this week. But they were both books I really enjoyed, so I feel like that makes up for it!

Books With Characters Who Play Sports

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West
I feel like this counts, despite the fact that it's not our main character Addison who is playing sports. But both of the important boys in her life (one in each timeline) play football. So it wouldn't be considered a "sports book" by any means, but the sport itself ends up coming into play pretty significantly for the plot. This was also a book that really surprised me--I hadn't expected to like it as much as I did!

Winger (Winger #1) by Andrew Smith
When I first was thinking about this theme, Winger was the book that immediately came to mind. Ryan Dean's life pretty much revolves around the rugby team (when it doesn't revolve around his hormones). The sport, culture and relationships amongst team members (and members of other teams at the school) are central to the book and its themes. It's also laugh-out-loud funny and heart-wrenching. A deadly combination.

So, what do you think? Have you read any of these books? Do you have other sports-related recommendations to make? Let's chat in the comments!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Series Marathons

So this past month I did something that I've never done before.

I read an entire trilogy--back to back to back. Three books. In a row. Without stopping.

And more surprising than that, without wanting to stop.

When I only have lukewarm feelings towards a series, I'm more willing to set it aside, let it settle for a while, before coming back to the next book. And that makes sense. I need a little space, but I'll be back. And that's fine.

Previously, when I've finished a book in a series that I'm loving it's simultaneously a series in progress. So while I might be dying for the next book, I'm actually physically incapable of continuing it at the current moment.

So, to actually "marathon" a series is new for me.

Saying I've never done it before is not 100% accurate. Because a number of years ago, I worked my way through David Eddings' Belgariad series in a similar fashion. Buy book 1. Read book 1. Buy book 2. Read book 2. And so on.

But that was when I wasn't doing a ton of reading. Like, the whole 5 book series probably took me 2+ months to complete. Whereas now... Well, 2014 is the weirdest reading year of my life because I am just plowing through books. But even still. Before that I probably could've managed it in a month without trying too hard.

So Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy took me by surprise. I was rounding out the last 50 pages of book 1 when I knew--I just knew--that I needed to get the other books. And to my delight, they were in at my library. So I literally took off about half an hour before closing and raced to the library to sign them out.

Now, The Girl of Fire and Thorns ends with its loose ends more or less tied off. This is one of those cases where I assume only the first book had been picked up and Carson had not yet been optioned for a trilogy. Which was fine. But with things wrapped up, I don't know that I would've picked up The Crown of Embers (book 2) if I hadn't already raced out to acquire it.

My reading just doesn't work like that most of the time. I'm typically satisfied with a tied up ending and I can let things sit. Take a break, have some space, and come back later.

But I had been so frantic before the book was over to continue. So I decided to just go for it and give book 2 a try. And I am so glad I did.

And after that "cliffhanger" ending, I was glad book 3 was handy.

There was something about the experience as a whole, though. Being with these characters for so long, so consistently. I really felt attached to the cast. And I really appreciated all the subtle changes, tie ins and character growth that happened. It was like watching it all unfold as it happened--instead of that start/stop sort of thing that comes with reading a series in pieces.

I guess the big question is: Did I like it enough to do it again?

I don't really know. I think it was an interesting enough experiment (if an unintentional one) that I would certainly give it a try with another series. The major problem being that most of the series I'm ready to start are either unfinished or difficult to access. So we'll see how it plays out in the long run.

But still. Something new and different. And I really quite enjoyed it.

How about you? Are you a series marathoner? Let's chat in the comments!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Bout of Books 10.0

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I participated in Bout of Books 9.0 in January and had a blast. So I knew right away that I'd be signing up for this round! This is my sign up/goals/updates post, so check this space as next week progresses!

My Goals

  • Read 3-4 books
  • Read every day
  • Queue reviews for books completed
  • Participate in a few challenges
  • Participate in at least one Twitter chat
Probable reads:

Updates after the jump!

Monday Mix || No Beginning & No End

Okay, you got me. I don't just read a lot of books--I read a lot of fanfic too. And I mean a lot. There was a period through high school and university where I read fanfic exclusively.

Sorry not sorry.

If you think I have a lot of feelings about my ships, you don't even want to know how I feel about alternate universes (AUs for those familiar with the term). There's just something about picking up your favourite characters and plopping them down in a completely different scenario. It's a fun thought experiment.

And, unsurprisingly, one of my favourite fanfic tropes.

So have another Enjolras/Grantaire mix. (I swear this is it for these two after this!)

This one's a modern reincarnation mix. Still sorry not sorry.

(Tracklist, etc after the cut)