Monday, May 31, 2010

The Reckoning, book 8 of Canadian Author Month.

I'm sitting here, this 29 degree, 31st day of May 2010, in Toronto, ready to wrap up my very enjoyable Canadian Author Month.  I've just finished book 8 and despite some turmoil at work and the loss of a dearly beloved pet I've covered all the books I intended, met one of the authors, emailed with three more, and hope I've inspired you to consider checking some of them out as well.  I can assure you, we have many JK Rowling/Stephanie Meyer/Rick Riordan caliber authors of our own out here who are very worth your reading time.

So on to The Reckoning!!  Be advised, as before, the content is inevitably going to contain spoilers for those of you who haven't gotten to The Summoning or The Awakening yet, so move ahead with caution (or save this review for when you've caught up!).
If book 1 is primarily about being captured, and book 2 is about being on the run, then book three is about plotting revenge with the rebel group.  Now that I've finished the arc it looks to me, in retrospect, like acts in a play.  Kelley has written this book, as the others, with the type of finesse you'd expect from an already successful author who has many books under her belt already.  But by the last 20 pages I was freaking out thinking, wait..isn't this a trilogy???? How can she possibly wrap this up??!  
The exciting news?  There's more; the even more exciting news?  This series, and this world is carrying on into a new trilogy, about kids from one of the Edison Groups other experiments. 
I, of course, discovered this while madly fishing around on Kelley's website after finishing The Reckoning (after a bad experience on an authors site I don't touch author sites until after I've finished the book), wondering if this had turned into one of those more than three type trilogies.  There I found a sub site for Chloe filled with fun stuff one of which was Kelley talking about the new series and Chloe's ending
"Those who have read The Reckoning know that there were several minor plot threads left unfinished.  This is a good indication that I’m not done with Chloe and the others.  The Darkest Powers trilogy told the story of their first adventure together.  I’m hoping I’ll have the chance to write more!" 
Yay!! I love great big sprawling fantasy series'.

In this same sub site you can find some short stories and a novella that tie into the first trilogy told from either Derek's or Simon and Tori's perspectives.  I haven't gotten to them yet but I'm very excited!

So to summarize, loved the book (you will too if you like either of the first two at all).  The love story finally came all out which was a tad disappointing, though gratifying that it wasn't your average girl meets gorgeous guy, surprise, surprise he actually likes her too type.  The action and reveals keep coming and the ending is exciting in that too be continued way.  I thoroughly enjoy the evil scientist organisation, and I can't wait for Kelley Armstrong to dive into it even more in the next trilogy.

If you liked the books as much as me, you might want to check out Kelley's tour schedule (she was a great speaker when I saw her last month), on it you'll also see two classes she's teaching this summer which sound uber exciting for aspiring writers.

The Reckoning, by Kelley Armstrong
Published by Harper Collins, April 2010

See these sites for more reviews:
Tales of the Ravenous Reader
The Story Siren
Books By Their Cover

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A weekend filled with exciting book adventures

After a couple of weeks of bad news and sad happenings my luck finally turned and some good started trickling through again. YAY!

Thursday night I headed out to the Supernatural Tour to see Lesley Livingston, and check out two authors I hadn't previously heard of, Kim Harrison and Aprillynn Pike.  It was a cooking hot 30 + degree day, at the end of a week of intense and continual heat and I was feeling a little melty and still not in a sociable mood, but all the same I headed up to Indigo Yorkdale with one good friend and one new friend (yay book blog friends!). 
Boy was I glad I'd made the effort.
The talk and question and answer was interesting, the readings piqued my interest in both Aprillynn Pikes series and Kim Harrison's books, and Lesley Livingston was a joy to meet again now that I'd read her books.  She is absolutely lovely; it is so much fun to meet authors whose work you enjoy and be able to chat about everything from where you bought your glasses to the launch of their next book. 

The three bonuses?  Lesley would like me and my two friends to come out to her book launch for book three (she tattled on the title but swore us to secrecy...but I can tell you it's exciting!), she told me I'd managed to get a 1st edition of Wondrous Strange in the American only hardcover version (if you have the black end papered hard cover you  have a 1st edition too), and last but not least there was a fun swag bag with makeup, a magazine, and some tattoos for the books talked about.

My Canadian Author contest winner was Canadian Author Karen Bass! Congratulations Karen.  Lesley was excited to be signing a book for a fellow Canadian Author.

Then on Friday my contest win from Lenore, over at Presenting Lenore arrived.  A bubble pack filled with two signed books, Tricks and Before I Fall, as well as a cool assortment of bookmarks, and other fun book swag.

Finally, on Friday, after the arrival of Lenore's package I was gripping about still not having any banner art from my artistic hubby (while showing him Lenore's hubbies art on her business card). And Surprise! he'd been working on some AMAZING art for me in secret!!  Lets just say everyone will be insanely jealous when its finished and I can post it.

So although my weekend didn't involve the very exciting BEA (Book Expo America) down in New York, as it did for so many other book blogers, it did pretty well all the same in the exciting book event category.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ode to my best friend

People will tell you that dogs are mans best friend.  Well Topaz hated dogs, but loved me, and trust me when I say, nobody has ever had a dog that bested her in the best friend department.

Shortly after turning 15, I was able to get my much anticipated first cat. I had desperately wanted one from the time I could talk (which mystified my mom who was a dog person and who didn't think she would even like cats).  She thought we'd shop around a little and day dreamed about how nice a white cat would look with the decor.  So we took a road trip to a farm just outside of Saskatoon, to see a woman who breed Persians and horses, and to meet her litter of three month old kittens.  Topaz was love at first sight, a tiny little white fluff ball who had only been handled for two hours in her three months, scared out of her mind, semi-feral and hiding at the back of the carrier after her similarly terrified siblings made a run for it to hide under the couch.  She was an odd eye, white Persian, meaning she had one beautiful sky blue eye and one yellow eye and long pure white fur.
Needless to say my mom's shopping around theory didn't work and we went home with her that very night. 

She was a terrible first cat.  Petrified of people she had to be constantly dragged out from under furniture and any hidy hole she could manage.  She found an open cold air duct in the basement days after getting her and crawled under the sub-flooring giving us a 14 hour scare that found me locked in my bedroom trying to talk her out while my mom and grandpa fretted upstairs.  She would make mad escapes outside to run laps around the house (she was an indoor cat) and she managed to grab some ribbon off a valentines gift one year and ate it (nearly killing herself in the process!). 
I was glibly unaware of how poorly I'd chosen and just mauled her until she realized I might be worth hanging out with once in awhile.

Boy, did my patience and persistence pay off.  Topaz became my dedicated companion, she snuggled me constantly (only me mind you).  She waited patiently in the window around homecoming time every day, and my mom reported she started to pace and worry if I was late at all.  She slept with me every night, curled up against my face.  She crawled up and licked of my tears when I was upset.  She gave me endless adoring looks that promised she would be my fan forever no matter what I did.  And she was.

People often ask how I met my hubby, well I met him at a housewarming party, but the important part of the story is when later that day he came over to my apartment Topaz gave me her enthusiastic approval and officially picked him.  She was, up until that point, largely unimpressed by anyone but me, and would wander into my closet and take a nap whenever people came over.  But that day she trotted out, walked up to him and jumped in his lap to snuggle as I sat there stunned.  "Cats like me" he said.
We often joked he and Topaz were the couple and I was just the human who came along with the package.

We had many adventures together, she moved from Saskatoon to Toronto with me, she flew back and forth every time I flew and she drove and camped every time I did.  And she loved every minute, especially the camping! She has tolerated huge numbers of cats trooping through the house, not only the other two I eventually adopted but also the 14 fosters we've adopted out over the past three years for Annex Cat Rescue.  She was always gracious about sharing her home and our love with them.

More than anything else I'll miss Topaz's unquestioning loyalty.  She loved me so totally, no matter if I was sick, grumpy, healthy, happy, single or mooning over someone, despite working late or not working at all.  I could always come home and expect a demanding little meow to be picked up and loved.

In memory of her I've denoted Fridays, Feline Fridays on this blog.  Every Friday I'm going to talk about cats, either in literature or in shelters, and hopefully I'll eventually inspire someone to make the decision to adopt the love of their life, and Topaz and I can share how great it is with others.

To my beloved Topals.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Awakening, Book 7 In my all Canadian month of reading

I'm loving this series more and more as I dig my way into the story.  But if your currently reading book 1 or just about to read book 1, I would strongly advise not reading this review as even the most cursory info on what it's about will present some spoilers.

The Awakening picks up moments after The Summoning leaves off, in the hospital that isn't what it seemed as Chole's aunt Lauren was taking her.  Out of the pot and into the fire, as they say!  Book two starts to shed light on what Chole and the others are exactly and why there are people who want them drugged up or dead.  But as she makes these discoveries it becomes increasingly clear that as impossible as it seems, escape is her only option if she wants to live to see 16.

The Awakening was an absorbing read, the perfect distraction to a less than stellar couple of weeks for me.  I often find it hard to read when I'm in the middle of upsetting personal events, previously only Tamora Pierce or Tolken have gotten me through deaths of loved ones, but these books are continuing to be the perfect therapy for me. 

Again, although there's hints at a possible romantic entanglement, Kelley Armstrong stays focused on the key story and the difficulties of being on the run when you're not even legal to drive, keeping the story far fresher than if it fell into the usual love focus.  I really liked that the first book was largely about being trapped and that the second is largely about being on the run, and I appreciated the short time lapse the two books cover; it gives the story a sense of urgency completely separate from the events occurring in the books. 

Two books in, I can safely say this is a strong series going somewhere super interesting and worth you're reading effort.

The Awakening, The Darkest Powers Book 2, by Kelley Armstrong
Published by Harper Collins, March 2010

For more reviews see these sites:
Story Siren
Ink and Paper
Books By Their Cover

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Less than 24 hours until the end of the Wondrous Strange/Darklight signed book contest!

Odd are still in your favour!  You have until noon tomorrow to comment on this posting with your fav Canadian authors.  I'll be getting the book personalised just for you, how many times have you had that oppurtunity!

The Summoning, book 6 of the May long amazing Canadian author focus!

I've rarely been as creeped out as I was after reading the first chapter of Kelley Armstrong's first book in the Darkest Powers series.  I read it in bed before going to sleep and it even gave me nightmares.
But what an appetite wetter!  I plowed through The Summoning in a mere 3 days even including my time off fussing over and nursing a sick kitty.

Chole has recently turned 15, is your average arts student and doesn't anticipate any earth shattering changes in her life any time soon.  But minutes after starting her first menstrual period she is suddenly being chased down by mangled people, and strapped to a gurney bound for a mental hospital.  Talk about having a bad day in High School.
After a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, Chole finds herself in a small group home called Lyle House with 5 other teenagers.  While working through her issues, she starts to uncover some disturbing truths about herself which will lead to a whole world of trouble if she accepts them.  Necromancer is not the career of choice for most teenagers after all.

A little bit of Heroes (while it was still good), a little bit of the best of X-Men, and a little bit of classic creepy Stephen King, The Summoning was one of the most unusual YA books I've read this year.  It was fabulously good, edge of your seat kind of stuff containing some truly horrifying scenes, but the best part?  No required love story.  Seriously.  Can you believe it? I almost can't and I've just finished it.  There is the tiniest hint of something possible, maybe, but no focused love story.  Honestly what publisher had that epiphany? Girls will read books without love stories? God Bless them!

With a twist ending that will have you racing to the store to pick up book two, make sure you put the Darkest Powers series up at the top of your summer reading list.

The Summoning, by Kelley Armstrong
Published by Harper Collins, March 2009

For more reviews see these sites:
Persnickety Snark
The Story Siren

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fishtailing, Book 5 in Canadian Authors Month

Let me just start by saying I haven't read poetry (outside of books with a smidgen here or there, largely as chapter headers), since my University days; which, according to my resume, is starting to be some time ago.  I wouldn't say I don't enjoy it, but I don't actively look for it.   So when Coteau books sent me Fishtailing and I realised it was a collection of poetry making up a story, I was intrigued but not enough to bump it to the top of the pile.
Don't make my mistake!

Beautifully written, Wendy Phillips manages to capture the emotional turmoil of four very different teenagers who come together with an explosive ending.  Natalie, battling with deep childhood scars, Miguel a refugee who has experienced horrors beyond anything anyone around him can understand, Tricia, trying to find her place in the world, and Kyle struggling with secret dreams and desires.

The poems, interspersed with commentaries and memos from their English teacher Mrs Farr and their counselor Ms Nishi, although notably more accomplished then I remember anyone being in highschool, still manage to capture the turbulent emotions and sense of not belonging but wanting to I remember so well.  Mrs. Farr's ignorant commentaries on the teenagers attempts to be honest about their problems through the poetry are clear reminders of similarly blind teachers at my Highschool. 
As a good student I had several teachers make derogatory comments about other students to me (some of them my friends) that even at the time I found shocking and surprising.  Mrs. Farr sounds so like them in her notes it was as if she was plucked from my own Teenage experience.

A really great read, I highly recommend Fishtailing as the counterpoint to the average persons to-be-read pile.  And for those faint of heart people who think they can't wade their way through poetry, I assure you, it reads just as smoothly as your regular reading, no cole notes required!

Fishtailing, by Wendy Phillips
Published by Coteau Books, April 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Red Pyramid

As good as promised, I wrapped up The Red Pyramid last night, and boy oh boy, was it ever fun!

I'm totally headed to Brooklyn and I totally choose Bast!! (let me know your decision when you finish).
I'm with Rick here, I think Bast's my favorite God in this and in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

Fast paced, funny and filled with the kinds of lovable characters Rick Riordan is so masterful at rendering, I'll swear on my book blogging honour that if you liked Percy Jackson and the Olympians you're going to love The Red Pyramid

Sadie and Carter, although totally different from Percy are lovable on their own terms, and I wouldn't be able to pick a favorite between the two of them.  As were the Egyptian Gods which I enjoyed, it would have been boring to have a rehash of the Greek Gods in Egyptian costumes after all.  The Greek gods had a few sly references which introduced the idea of  these various cultures coinciding in today's world which I thought was cool.  Though we're in big trouble if all the worlds ancient gods are all having their own internal mythological struggles every day.  Not that I couldn't use some excitement mind you.

Rick formatted this book with a new spin, a supposed recording made by both Sadie and Carter, the story switches from one point of view to the other which can be very humorous.  I liked getting the opportunity to hear both of their voices and was impressed by how well he was able to write from a 12 year old girls perspective.

To me Rick has officially proved he is a masterful story teller, not a one-off kind of fellow. I think a lot of writers could learn by his example, he has proven that being an author is a job you work at just as tirelessly at as an average run-of-the-mill 9-5 job. He has written one fabulous series, beautifully executed from start to finish and it looks like he'll be building another with the Kane series; that coupled with his every 6 month publication plan has only put me in deeper awe of him than I was already.

The Red Pyramid,The Kane Chronicles, Book 1, By Rick Riordan
Published by Hyperion Books, May 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Postless week

Funny how life can really interfere with your life.  I could give you a list of excuses for not posting in the past week but suffice it to say that in the past few days it has been largely due to my eldest cat being sick.  Nothing is scarier than when your nearly 17 year old cat gets really sick, the perfect proof is I've completely stopped reading.  I take my book everywhere with me, but I never open it up, to preoccupied.
But I will stop bumming you out.
The good news is that I'm a mere 60 pages from the end of The Red Pyramid, and its wonderfully fantastic.  Hopefully I'll have a quiet, unconcerned night tonight and finish it off so I can post on it tomorrow.  If I don't finish it soon I think the Hubby may requisition it for his own reading.

Best chapter title ever: Men ask for direction and other signs of the Apocalypse.

My May contest for a signed copy of Wondrous Strange or Darklight signed just for you, is still WIDE open.  You have until next week to enter and right now your odds are 100% in your favour!  Just head over here: Lesley Livingston signed book contest; don't make me cry over how unpopular I am.

Finally, with just under two weeks left to my Canadian Author month I am hoping to read and review the following before May wraps up:
Fishtailing, By Wendy Phillips
The Awakening, The Summoning and The Reckoning, By Kelley Armstrong.

Wish me and Topaz luck!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Timothy and the Dragons Gate, Book 4 in Canadian Authors Month

For my fourth Canadian author I chose Adrienne Kress, who, amusingly enough, turns out to be an old school friends-fiance's-cousin.  Apparently, contrary to popular belief, the world is so small I may just fall off the edge one of these days.

Oddly I had trouble getting a hold of her first book, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, but it didn't appear they were related so I grabbed the first copy of Timothy and the Dragon's Gate I could find and got down to reading.  And what an entertaining few days it has been!  Adrienne has this wonderfully funny, tongue and cheek way of writing, that not only completely suits her intended audience but was thoroughly entertaining for me as well, and clearly I am not 11.  Though maybe not that clearly as you can't actually see me.

Timothy is a troublemaker.  He's been expelled from every school in the city, so his dad takes him to work with him (at a total loss what to do with him other than that); where one thing leads to another and pretty soon he's embroiled in the biggest bit of trouble he's ever managed.  Mr Shen is a dragon, trapped in a man's body, who's a slave to whomever has possession of his key. The plan is to get Mr Shen to China, to the Dragon's Gate where they can release him from his bondage after all these years but with Pirates, Ninjas, Shaolin Monks, some crazy black cabs, a Teacher and his Parents in the way, it could be somewhat tricky. 

Turns out this book was linked up to Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, but it was easily read independently so no worries if you too have trouble getting your hands on it first.  As I mentioned, Adrienne's brand of humor is really enjoyable, a mix of the staccato laughs an 11 year old would love mixed with a certain amount of the world weariness only an adult writer would be able to provide.  Although most 11 year olds might not realize it yet, the practicalities of getting a job as a Ninja after finishing Ninja school can be challenging, and the little blurb Adrienne casually throws in about that particular problem had me laughing out loud.  What I also really loved was how this didn't stop Adrienne's particular Ninja, she still went on to a professional living. I'm a big fan of leaving practicalities until such a point in life they can't be avoided, if you want to be a Ninja when you grow up, then by all means you should do it (I might still do it, as long as I don't discover I'm a really rich faeire princess first).

A super read that makes me wish I had someone little to read it out loud with (not my own of course, just a cute borrowed one off the street. The non-lippy version I can give away when they get too demanding or exhausting.)

Timothy and the Dragon's Gate, by Adrienne Kress
Published by Weinstein Books, January 2009

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Wonderful Mr Riordan and The Red Pyramid

So this weekend, despite a sudden cold streak, a terrible fit of allergies and a general lack of wanting to leave my couch or the blankets I was wrapped up in on it, I ventured to the northern most hemisphere of what's still considered non-suburbia Toronto, to Yorkdale Mall.  There I joined an enormous snaking line of children and parents, every bit as excited as the 9-13 year olds surrounding me, to meet the charming Rick Riordan; author of my beloved Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

After reading Rick's earlier post about the 1000 people at Politics and Prose in Washington (it took him a mere 4 hours to sign all those books!) I was a little concerned about our line up.  This was his first and only Canadian stop on any of his previous or current tours so it had the potential to be really, really crazy.  The hubby and I decided we would leave the house two hours before the signing, half an hour to drive up, and an hour and a half in line.  Well, we should have anticipated the 15-20 minutes wandering around the store looking for the end of the biggest line I've ever seen in a bookstore! hahahahah. 

Turns out the first arrivals were there half an hour prior to opening at 9:30am and one of them had driven 7 hours to get there!  Some of the kids had  purchased The Red Pyramid that morning and were more than half way done from waiting all day.  We were lucky enough to end up in line behind the loveliest mom and daughter, with whom we chatted away and had enough fun that the hour + in line seemed to go by in a blink.  Needless to say, I think I was actually the oldest person lining up and not accompanying a child.  It reminded me of all the midnight releases of Harry Potter, inevitably we always ended up with some entertaining parents  laughing away the time until we could get our books.

Shortly after 4pm Rick hit the stage, and for a fellow who's been busy, busy, busy since last Tuesday he was all smiles and good energy for our crowd.  He chatted a bit about writing and made a few exciting announcements, then kindly answered a handful of questions from the audience.  Within 20 minutes he was hardcore signing books, chatting up those of us who could get over shyness and ask questions (I almost didn't do it, but figured if the 9 yearolds could then obviously I should be able to handle it). 

What a gracious man! he had a huge line up and still he signed every book brought to him, and let me just say, some kids had brought everything he'd written and then some!

So to the announcements! 
-The Heroes of Olympus (the new camp half blood series) has a firm publishing date now, October 12th.  And further to that, Rick let the crowd know he intends to publish twice a year, one The Kane Chronicles book in the spring and one The Heroes of Olympus book in the fall.  Because he "knows we're all dying waiting and that's as fast as he can possibly write."  He plans to write for those dates for the next 4 years!  I can't even imagine how challenging that will be.
-Currently Rick plans to have three The Kane Chronicles books, but, if at the end of three he still has a lot to say then he is not adverse to doing more.
-The Heroes of Olympus will have lots of the characters you loved in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series as well as the new characters.

Finally some interesting Tidbits he shared in the Q&A:
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians story stemmed from his one son, who was struggling in school and was really only enjoying the Greek Mythology he was learning.  So at night Rick was making up this story for him, and he enjoyed it so much he told his dad he should write it down.
-The Kane Chronicles stemmed from a question from one of his fans on tour, who asked if he would ever write about any of the other gods from mythology.  He thought about it and realised the only other popular mythology unit he taught was the Egyptian one (which was actually more popular than the Greek one).  And so he started researching the Egyptian mythology and realised there was loads of cool stuff.
-Of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, his favorite was The Last Olympian (mine too!) he loved writing all the big fight scenes and wrapping up the story.
-His favorite Greek gods are Athena (because she's really handy and gets things done), and Poseidon (because he thought control over the Ocean would be really amazing).
-His favorite Egyptian god is Bast (the cat one) because he loves cats (yay! me too Rick, me too)
-Finally I asked him if it was hard to write so clearly about New York City since he was born and raised in Texas.  He said he's always travelled to New York quite a bit for publishing and that if he was a God  he'd pick New York as his base.

So, if you find out Rick is making a stop in or near your hometown during this tour, I highly reccomend you head out to meet him.  He's worth the wait!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Back to Canadian Author Month!

My absoloute favorite part so far in Timothy and the Dragon's Gate?  This commentary on the job market out of school by Adrienne Kress:

    "Emily dear, it isn't that we aren't proud of you.  We really are.  But be serious for a second.  What sort of career can you expect from being a ninja?  her mother asked, taking a sip of tea.
    "This is insane!" Emily turned to the TV Repairman. (blogers note, her Ninja teacher) "There are plenty of things I could do as a ninja, aren't there?"
    "Well..." said the TV Repairman in his carefull English. "Not really.  Ninja's really aren't all that hot right now.  I guess you could teach."

I laughed for five minutes straight at least.
Go Canadian Authors!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Sisters Grimm: The Inside Story

In the acknowledgments at the beginning of this, book 8 in the series, Michael Buckley comments that it was the hardest of all to write.  And once I was reading it I could see why.  The Inside Story starts off with Daphne and Sabrina, lost in a fairy tale in the book of Everafter.  Puck, Mirror, Pinocchio and their baby brother are nowhere to be seen, and Sabrina is being plagued by indecision and small panic attacks from Mirrors evil revelation.  If Puck hadn't appeared by the end of the chapter I might have been cruelly disappointed by book 8, but he did!  And between him and Daphne they kept up the amusing banter that always has me laughing out loud and quickly recouped the story for me.

Puck, oh of the greatest 11ish boys on earth...or at least in the realm of story characters.  No seriously, I drive the hubby mad wanting to read all of Pucks lines to him.  He kills me!  For instance, wanting to keep the headless horseman's smelly rotten head for his mantelpiece, obviously it would be a conversation piece.  Particularly funny in The Inside Story, is Puck's determination that marrying Sabrina won't be that bad, everyone needs a wifely slave, and he spends most of the book planning the wedding, a very Pucktastic wedding (as Daphne would say). 

A slower book than The Everafter War, I still enjoyed it thoroughly (I did cruise through it in two days after all), though I noticed it had a definite added sparkle once Granny Relda showed up towards the end; I hadn't realised I'd been missing her up until that point.  For a story which branches off from the majority of its usual characters, as well as it's usual location it's no wonder Michael  Buckley found it hard to write, but he did a great job.  

Now my only worry is the to be concluded at the end!

The Sisters Grimm:The Inside Story, by Michael Buckley
Published by Amulet Books, May 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A BIG month for meeting and greeting authors in Toronto, and Lesley Livingston contest

Well it's as if Lesley Livingston read my mind!  Hours after my latest post, Darklight, went up, she posted on her blog about her Supernatural evening on May 27th.  There are three nights (the 27th being the T-dot night), and include her as well as authors Kim Harrison and Aprilynne Pike.  So it looks like I'll have a signed copy of either Wondrous Strange or Darklight up for grabs to tie Canadian Author off nicely. Details below on how to enter.

Also, yesterday was The Red Pyramid's big release day! For those of you interested in meeting the talented Mr Riordan, his tour dates can be found on his calendar.  For those of you in the GTA, Yorkdale mall is once again the Indigo to go to, this time on Saturday May 8th at 4pm!  I plan on being there so I hope to see you!

Contest Details:
Leave a comment on this post about your favorite Canadian author to be eligible for the draw. Note to facebook users, make sure your comment is left here on the actual blog and not on either the facebook fan page or the facebook network blog page.  I will ship anywhere in Canada or the United States.  Please make sure to leave your email with the comment so I can contact the winner. Good luck!
PS- Contest draws May 26th so that I can have Lesley personalise the inscription for you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Darklight Review, Book 3 in Canadian Author Month

The plot thickens to the gummy consistency of taffy in the second book of the Wondrous Strange series, Darklight.  Seriously, how's it all going to work out in the end? I'm dying to know!

Sonny and Kelley are thrown into the position of impossible star crossed lovers by a number of things outside of their control.  The big one has to be the whole race issue, but the different worlds they are forced to occupy by the Wild Hunt situation doesn't do much to help.  Add into the mix a surprising Daddy discovery for Sonny and it's looking pretty grim that these two cute kids might make it work.

In a genre where the love story has become a virtual prerequisite to writing anything successful, it's nice to see someone broach it with some different twists.  I especially liked the moments where Sonny or Kelley questioned how well they knew each other,  which, lets face it, would likely happen under the circumstances.  After all, as sticky sweet as it is for two teenagers to fall into unquestionable, life or death, passionate love, instantly (Twilight anyone?) it is refreshing to think that even soul mates can still question the sanity of falling passionately, unquestionably in love instantly.

Like the title implies, Darklight is a much darker story than Wondrous Strange, with Kelley struggling against her ominous left over powers, and Sonny forced to hunt down and kill the remaining faeries of the Wild Hunt.  The Janus guard are also developing some serious problems internally as more rifts in the Central Park gate begin to show up.  But Lesley still manages to imbue Darklight with what is beginning to look like her trademark humor, introducing some great laugh out loud moments despite the mounting tragedies.  Every-bit the page turner Wondrous Strange was, Darklight promises to climax into a very exciting conclusion if part three turns out to be the end.

Darklight, by Lesley Livingston
Published by HarperTeen, December 2009

For more reviews of this book, visit:
The Story Siren
Tales of the Ravenous Reader
Books By Their Cover

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wondrous Strange on a Faerie filled Beltane

Beltane, the Celtic holiday, was Saturday and I decided to participate in a Faerie filled way. So I cracked open my brand new copy of Wondrous Strange and sat outside in the sunshine wearing my tinkerbell necklace (Hey I got it when I was born, just like Kelley's Shamrock...maybe I am a Faerie Princess!).

Lesley Livingston has created a vibrant and heady series here (if the first book is any indication), its full of real world charm and otherworld wildness. Kelley is 17, newly arrived in New York City and ready to become an actress. She has scored an understudy part in a small theatre groups production of Midsummer’s Night Dream and is minding her own business when she becomes wholly swept up in the beautiful but dangerous politics of the Faerie world. Throw in a handsome Irish changeling and this will be one Halloween she's not likely to soon forget (whoa, you had me at Irish Lesley).

Talk about home grown talent, this is Lesley Livingston's first foray into writing and she's written a first part to a series potentially every bit as enjoyable and colourful as the The Mortal Instruments trilogy and definitely surpassing Twilight in plot (so far). An excellent addition to the paranormal genre of YA, I especially enjoyed the fact she went with the little used Faerie, a subgroup of the genre previously only largely filled by the much darker Holly Black (very exciting news was I picked up the The Poison Eaters while in New York as well, yay Faerie), but I was disappointed to see's match up her books with Need (this is a substantially stronger story when you compare first book to first book, keep in mind I haven't read Captivate yet or Darklight). I hope her Canadian status doesn't keep her out of the spotlight; this book deserves all the hoopla that her American counterparts seem to kick up.

Wondrous Strange, By Lesley Livingston
Published by Harpers Teen, September 2009

For more reviews of this book:
The Story Siren
Books By Their Cover

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rainy sunday's

Yesterday I went on a great long walk with the Hubby and made sure to stop at Chapters to rectify my one big New York book shopping mistake....I bought the new Sisters Grimm book, The Inside Story.  Released yesterday, the light minty book is all kinds of pretty with a fantastic cover picture.  And it looks like it'll break my Canadian Author Month for a few days (I just can't have it sitting there and NOT read it!). 

Speaking of which, Summer of Fire has inspired me to make May my Canadian Author month.  As previously mentioned there will two blips the first being Sisters Grimm and the second being Rick Riordans new book The Red Pyramid , coming out in two days (tuesday May 4th, mark your calendars!).  The Canadian authors I have lined up so far are: Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange , and Darklight), Adrienne Kress (Timothy and the Dragon's Gate), and Kelley Armstrong  (the Darkest Powers series) and Wendy Phillips (Fishtailing).  I've finished Wondrous Strange, and will be posting on it tomorrow, and am currently flipping my way through Darklight at an alarming rate (seriously... these books are hard to put down).  Yay Canuks!

Finally, my good news for the day came from Lenore over at Presenting Lenore.  Turns out I won her things I learned in Bologna contest, meaning I'll soon be the proud owner of signed copies of Before I Fall and Tricks!  I've been eyeing up Before I Fall for awhile now so it's super exciting news, but lets be honest, any legit email that begins with you've won is pretty much going to make anyone's day (not so much with the constant spam you've won emails though, ugh).

So I hope my rainy sunday finds you somewhere comfortable, whatever the weather where you are, and makes you think about possible Canadian Authors you enjoy or would like to read.  Please share!