Whimsical Wednesday – National Poetry Month Edition

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Picture Puzzle Piece

One picture puzzle piece

Lyin’ on the sidewalk,

One picture puzzle piece

Soakin’ in the rain.

It might be a button of blue

On the coat of a woman

Who lived in a shoe.

It might be a magical bean

Or a fold in the red

Velvet robe of a queen.

It might be the veil of a bride

Or a bottle with some evil genie inside.

It might be a small tuft of hair

On the big bouncy belly

Of Bobo the Bear.

It might be a bit of the cloak

From the Wicked Witch of the West

As she melted to smoke.

It might be a shadowy trace

Of a tear that runs down an angel’s face.

Nothing has more possibilities

Than one old wet picture puzzle piece.

Shel Silverstein

True North (True Born Trilogy), by L.E. Sterling – 3.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

400 Pages

Synopsis: Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely on the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Marot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of a Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning.

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

I’ve been looking forward to True North since I finished its predecessor, True Born, and although I think it suffers a slight case of the dreaded “sequelitis”, there were still parts I enjoyed. I think my biggest problem was that there just didn’t seem to be as much action in this as there was with the first. After the exciting conclusion in True Born, I assumed that in addiction to more action-packed fight scenes, we’d also get a better picture of Russia and how it differs from Dominion. I was also expecting more information regarding the different societal factions, as well as more revelations about the Fox sisters. While there are some more answers given about Lucy and Margot, they don’t come until near the end, and there is nothing new imparted about the Preachers or the True Borns, which left me a bit frustrated. My last complaint is in regards to Lucy and Jared’s romantic relationship, or rather the lack of one. Jared drove me absolutely up the wall with his hot and cold attitude toward her, and even when he finally explained himself, I just didn’t buy it. He reminded me too much of Edward Cullen in Twilight, (which is a whole other topic for another day). But, there were also some positive aspects to balance the negatives. Lucy, who I really liked in the previous book, continued to grow and find herself here. She was more self-confident and willing to rely on her own instincts even if it meant going against what others were telling her. I have a feeling that she’s truly going to be a force to be reckoned with. There was also a new character named Alistair who I thought was intriguing and likable, and I hope there’s much more about him in the next book. Nolan Storm, the enigmatic leader of the True Borns, came across even more interesting here, and left me wondering what his true motivations are toward Lucy and Margot. Thankfully the action did pick up a little in the second half and the ending was a satisfying set-up for the third book. While True North was a little disappointing, I’m still hopeful that the next book will regain all the excitement that True Born was filled with. 

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About the Author:

L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature–where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit YA novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate. Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt–inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

 

 

 

 

 

Changes

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Hi Everyone. So a few weeks back I had to take a week off due to my ongoing battle with migraines and other health issues. Unfortunately, while I’ve commenced with posting again, my health issues haven’t improved any, so I’m forced to come up with a new plan. I’m still going to be blogging, but it may be a bit more sporadic than every day. I’m finding I just can’t keep up with daily reviews without it taking more of a toll on me. I’ll do my best to keep up with everyone’s posts and as always I thank you all for the wonderful support you’ve all shown me.

Lovely Literary Lines – National Poetry Month

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The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that, the passing there

Has worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that made all the difference.

  • Robert Frost

Castaways – By Jessika Fleck – 4.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for providing and eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Available Now

320 Pages

Synopsis: The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous.

Renowned for it’s infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing.

Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will–their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader–steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home.

The Castaways is a clever novel that is a combination of Mean Girls and Lord of the Flies. As the story begins, Olive Maxi Gagmuehler is being tormented by three high school classmates. A couple of the things they do to her are definitely cringe-worthy, so beware. Everything comes to a head one night when after being once again attacked, at a carnival, Olive runs into a corn maze and suddenly finds herself trapped on an island with teens from different time periods. the only thing they have in common is they were all running away from something or someone, when they landed n this mysterious island. Olive is someone that many teens will relate to, especially if they’re victims of bullying. While she’s clearly terrified of her attackers, she also fights back against her tormenters. Once she’s on The Island, it quickly becomes apparent that this is no oasis of safety. While the teens and two young children in her group are for the most part welcoming, there’s another group that seems determined to wipe them out. But one of the best parts about this story is that nothing and no one is what they seem. Olive is the one constant, and she not only becomes the catalyst for change on the Island, but she goes through a journey of self-discovery that leaves her a stronger person by the end of the book. There were a couple of things that prevented this from being a perfect read for me. While I liked Will, Olive’s love interest, I never really bought into their romance for some reason. I’m not sure if it was just me, but there just didn’t seem to be any sparks. It almost seemed like they were forced together because of the circumstances, rather than there being real emotion behind their relationship. And, there were a couple of plot holes, particularly in regards to Olive’s tormenters that weren’t filled in enough for me. For the most part though, I thought The Castaways was imaginative and unique. It also does a good job at tackling the subject of bullying and sends a strong message that running away is never a positive solution to solving problems. It’s a book that should hold wide appeal for teens and I think it would also make an excellent selection for book discussion groups.  

Defy The Stars (Defy the Stars #1) ~ By Claudia Gray – 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young People for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: April 4th, 2017

512 Pages

Synopsis: Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than machine, and for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

I was a big fan of Claudia Gray’s YA paranormal Evernight series and Defy the Stars, which is set in the year 2295, is about as different a departure as you can get, but it is every bit good, if not even better! To be honest, the first few chapters were a little slow for me and I was thinking “Oh God! How am I going to get through over 500 pages of this?” There’s a lot  of sci-fi technology being introduced, and while I think fans of this genre wouldn’t give it a second thought, for someone like me it slowed the pace down a bit. But then I started getting completely falling for the two main characters Abel and Noemi and from then on, I was completely entranced. Noemi at first comes off as prickly, but she winds up being everything you could want in a heroine. She’s courageous, feisty, loyal, and more than willing to sacrifice herself to save her planet. Abel, definitely starts off as more machine than human and in some ways he appeared to me a sort of space age Pinocchio, but it’s soon apparent that there’s much more to him than meets the eye. He not only develops human emotions, but he displays such a witty sense of humor, that there were several instances that he had me laughing out loud. The relationship between these two go from distrustful enemies, to friends, to the beginnings of a lovely romance. The world-building is breathtaking and combines with very real questions of faith and religion, terrorism, the effects of climate change, colonialism, and the ethics of artificial intelligence and robotic. The ending is a perfect set up for the next book, but it left me wishing that the sequel was coming out now! Defy the Stars is a highly original and beautifully told story that definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it. It will take you on a breathtaking journey across the galaxy, where you’ll discover dark conspiracies, sinister and powerful enemies, and unexpected friends and allies. I highly recommend it for both teens and adults who enjoy an exciting science fiction tale filled with characters you can’t help but fall in love with.  

 

Children’s Book Day (not for kids)

Elaine over at howlinbooks did this, er, howlin’ post yesterday to celebrate International Children’s Book Day!

Howlin Books

In honour of Children’s Book Day today (2nd April) I’ve compiled a list of books inspired by children’s books but for adults. These books are sometimes dark but bound to leave a grin on your face.

The first book, Go the F*ck to Sleep is great but the best way to enjoy it is to listen to the audio recording by Samuel L. Jackson. Look for it on youtube I’m sure it’s there.

Enjoy x

Go the F*ck to Sleep

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Go the Fuck to Sleep is a bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where a few snoozing kitties and cutesy rhymes don’t always send a toddler sailing blissfully off to dreamland. Profane, affectionate, and radically honest, California Book Award-winning author Adam Mansbach’s verses perfectly capture the familiar — and unspoken — tribulations of putting your little angel down for the night. In the process, he…

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Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) ~ By Mark Lawrence – 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Ace for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: April 4th, 2017

432 Pages

Synopsis: I was born for killing–the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Covenant, Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.

And with that beginning I knew I was going to be in for one heck of a ride! Red Sister is the first book I’ve read by Mark Lawrence, which has left me questioning “Why?” The main character, Nona immediately grabbed my heart right from the beginning as she’s waiting to be executed for murder. Once she’s rescued and brought to the convent, she begins training to be a holy and deadly warrior. The nunnery is somewhat similar to those seen in other fantasy series such as The Kingkiller Chronicles, and even Harry Potter. It also was slightly reminiscent of Nevernight, by Jay Kristoff. There’s that connecting theme to all of them that have the main character possibly being a “chosen one” being sent off to some form of boarding school with tough teachers, and bullies, yet also features close friendships being formed. In this book though, this theme takes on a far more darker and sinister tone. The style of writing is evocative and almost lyrical, which further sets it apart from other fantasies. Everything in Red Sister, from the world-building, the magic system, and even the characters themselves, takes the reader on a journey quite unlike any other. I was a little confused in the beginning as far as the way Lawrence’s world actually works, but I wonder now if this was done purposefully. As I kept reading, it seemed as though I was learning alongside Nona. The ending completely blew me away and it’s left me anxiously waiting for the next book. I do need to bring up the absolute brutality in this book, particularly as it relates to children. This complex world that the author has created is unapologetically bloody and violent. The first chapter has  the line:

No child truly believes they’re going to be hanged.

I knew right then there were going to be some stomach-churning moments and I was right. So just beware, particularly if you cringe at violence being directed toward young ones. Otherwise I cannot recommend this highly enough to fans of fantasy. I guarantee that from the very first page you won’t be able to tear yourself away until the end which will leave you gasping!

Lovely Literary Lines ~ National Poetry Month

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I’m Nobody! Who Are You?

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you–Nobody–too?

Then there’s the pair of us!

Don’t tell–they’d advertise you know!

How dreary–to be–Somebody!

How public–like a Frog–

To tell one’s name–the lifelong June–

To an admiring Bog!

~ Emily Dickinson ~