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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (9): Post-Apocalyptic Reads

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking The Spine in which an upcoming, eagerly anticipated release is highlighted on the blog.

Due to time constraints, I am only going to be taking part in this meme once a month. Each month, I'll post a compilation of books that I'm "waiting on" that fall under a theme.

This month, I'm "waiting on" Post-Apocalyptic books:

Title: Ashes, Ashes
Author: Jo Treggiari
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: June 1, 2011 (No more waiting!)

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

Title: Ashfall
Author: Mike Mullin
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Date: October 11, 2011

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

Title: Dark Inside
Author: Jeyn Roberts
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date: November 2011

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies. 
Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd. 
Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

I love the post-apocalyptic genre. Yes, they can be incredibly depressing, but there's is something so inspiring about the characters' tale of survival through intense and epic events. My favourite post-apocalyptic book is definitely The Road by Cormac McCarthy (which just so happens to be the first review I ever wrote for this blog). I strongly urge anyone who hasn't read The Road yet to do so ASAP.

How about you? Are you waiting on any of these Post-Apocalyptic reads? Are there upcoming Post-Apocalyptic books that aren't included here that you feel I should know about?

Review: City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: April 5, 2011
Pages: 424
Source: For Review from Simon and Schuster Canada (Thank you!)
Rating: 4.5 Stars

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. 
Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

In short: In this latest installment to The Mortal Instruments Series, City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare features the return of our favourite characters but now with new troubles, consequences, and villains that are not to be missed!
I was so excited for this long awaited return to one of my favourite series! Oh, how I missed the intense action scenes, the witty dialogue, and above all, the characters. I have grown extremely fond of the characters in The Mortal Instruments Series over the years. As I mentioned in my Clockwork Angel review, Cassandra Clare excels at creating characters that all have unique personalities and all have their own side stories. There is not one character who falls flat in this series and I honestly care about all of them and their futures. Simon lovers, like me, will especially enjoy this latest installment as he receives a major emphasis in the story this time around.

The beginning of City of Fallen Angels was a little slow for me and I had a bit of trouble returning to the world. But once I did, it was like I had never left these characters whom I adore so much. It was such a relief to feel this way because I had initially had my doubts about the continuation of a series that started off as only a trilogy. Could Clare create a new and unique plot and new trials and tribulations for our favourite characters, and not have it seem manufactured and forced? Turns out that yes, she most certainly can!

Speaking of new trials and tribulations for our favourite characters, boy, did Clare ever provide us with some doozies! I felt so bad for some of the things the characters have to go through. Poor Simon, hasn't he been through enough change in his life to deal with? Poor Jace and Clary, will they ever get to have their happy ever after? Well, not if Clare has anything to say about it. She has proven time and time again that she is evil and has no problems with playing with her readers' emotions. And no where is this more evident than in the jaw dropping cliffhanger that she leaves us with! Argh!

Overall, City of Fallen Angels is an amazing addition to an amazing series. It was so cool to read this book and then return to my list of Top 10 Questions to be Resolved in TMI Cycle 2. Clare whet my appetite by answering a handful of my questions while still leaving a few of them to be resolved in either City of Lost Souls (to be released in 2012) or City of Heavenly Fire (to be released in 2013). I simply cannot wait!

Other Reviews:
Avery's Book Nook
Poetry to Prose
Supernatural Snark

Stalk the author (not for serious):
Fansite - MortalInstruments.net
Fansite - Mundie Moms

*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge

Monday, May 30, 2011

Muggle Monday (9)

It's time for Muggle Monday, in which I post a quote, a video, or a significant piece of news from the Harry Potter franchise. This is somewhat inspired by the Mundane Monday posts by The Mundie Moms.

But let's be real as to why I made up this meme: I just want the opportunity to post something about Harry Potter.

It's been about three and a half months since I did a Muggle Monday post. I've missed it! I hope to do Muggle Monday once a week at least until Deathly Hallows Part II is released.

Speaking of which, the last movie is coming out in a month and a half (July 15th)! I cannot even tell you guys how much I am dreading this day. It's going to be the end of an era for me (no exaggeration). How can one sum up over a decade of this Harry Potter Experience? Well, Empire Magazine asked the Harry Potter actors to sum up their HP Experience in one word:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Publisher: Random Books
Published: October 26, 2010
Pages: 272
Source: For Review from Random Books (Thank you!)
Rating: 4 Stars - I Loved It!

“I’ve left some clues for you. 
If you want them, turn the page. 
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” 

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

In short: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan is a hilarious and delightfully random read.
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares was a very quick read, both in terms of page numbers and how quickly the plot and dialogue flowed. It follows Dash and Lily, strangers turned potential love interests, as they pass a red notebook filled with challenges back and forth at Christmastime. The chapters alternate points of view between Dash and Lily, written by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, respectively.

The high point of this book for me was definitely the humour. The characters end up in various hilarious and random situations that must have involved a lot of creativity on the part of the authors. The dialogue was also incredibly sharp and witty. Even small details, easily overlooked by someone reading too quickly, like movie titles and website comment names, were thoughtfully created and wholly hilarious.

Some people may be turned off by the extreme caricatures that are Dash and Lily but I found I was able to enjoy them for what they were. That is to say, they were not realistic personalities. Dash was excessively verbose and Lily was very Luna Lovegood-esque. However, I thought their personalities worked for this type of novel. A ridiculous, silly plot requires ridiculous, silly characters to match.

I also loved how this book was like a love letter to New York. During the time that the notebook was being passed back and forth, Dash and Lily visit numerous places that I made sure to try and fit in during my recent trip to New York. From Max Brenner, the famous chocolate shop where I bought a chocolate syringe (exactly as it sounds: a syringe filled with liquid chocolate), to the Make-Your-Own-Muppet Department at FAO Schwarz, the famous toy store. And of course, I just had to visit The Strand, the famous book store which boasts 18 miles of books, and was exactly as described in the book, complete with the bookish hipsters who work there.

My one major complaint that I had was the timing of events with some of the alternating chapters. During some sections of the book, Dash's chapter would occur on a certain day, while the following Lily chapter would occur the day prior, making the sequence of events a bit confusing. I would have preferred the chapters to flow chronologically.

Overall, I enjoyed myself immensely while reading Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. It is the first of the Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's collaborations that I've read (the others being Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist and Naomi & Eli's No Kiss List). I definitely plan on reading more from these authors.

Other Reviews:
Brush Up On Your Reading
The Slowest Bookworm
Stalking the Bookshelves

Stalk the Authors (not for serious):
Rachel Cohn's Website
Rachel Cohn's Twitter
David Levithan's Website
David Levithan's Goodreads

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Possession ARC Giveaway

I'm back! With a giveaway! This time I'm giving away an ARC of Possession by Elana Johnson, one of the newest YA dystopian novels, set to be released June 7, 2011 by Simon and Schuster.

1. International
2. Ends June 9, 2011 at Midnight EST
3. You must be 13 years or older to enter
4. The winner will be announced on the blog and will have 48 hours to respond.

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MIA for just a bit longer


I felt I really needed to start off this post with that. I mean, I've been gone so long. Is anyone still around? Unfortunately, I need to prolong my hiatus just a little bit longer. I've received a great research opportunity at a Marine Sciences Centre on the Pacific Coast in which I will get to frolic along the beach and play with crabs and anemones and the like. It should be fun but it means extending my blog hiatus until the last week of May. I am so very sorry about this. I hope to be back in full force when I return though I am a bit worried I'll have a hard time getting back into the habit of blogging after being gone so long. I hope it'll be a smooth transition. See you then!