The Rivals - Daisy Whitney

Usually, I review a book immediately after I finish it, but this one slipped through the cracks for some reason.  It wasn't until I saw that Magan @ Rather Be Reading had picked up a copy at the library that I realized that I'd also read the book, but hadn't posted a review!  Not that it means the book is unmemorable -- I've just had a busy past few weeks, and it slipped my mind.

For those who haven't read The Mockingbirds yet, STOP READING NOW!  This book picks up where the first one left off, at the beginning of Alex's senior year, as she prepares to lead the Mockingbirds.  The storyline centres around a similar plot line as the first book, the research and trial of a crime at the school, except that Alex gets to experience from the Mockingbirds' side, rather than as the victim.  Drug abuse is running rampant at Themis Academy.  It's a unique case, since there really isn't a "victim" as the students are using this drug to improve their academic ability and, therefore, bolster the school's reputation.  The trial takes an unexpected turn when Alex realizes that it's hard to be on the judging side of the coin when her own friends are under suspicion.

I won't spoil anything else (and everything that I've shared so far is on the dust jacket!) but this book is on par with the first in the series.  Alex is a likeable character and I found myself eagerly reading through the story, anxious to find out what would happen next and if it would all work out okay.  If you liked The Mockingbirds, then you'll definitely enjoy the next installment in the series!
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Tune in Tuesday [8] - July 31

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by GReads. Time for one more wonderful My Teen Years post before we bid a fond farewell to the month of July -- how are we halfway through summer already?!?

The Sign by Ace of Base -- I first heard this song on Tarzan Dan's Hit List on YTV.  This song IS Grade 7.  I forgot how awesome, and totally 90s this video is too -- hilarious!

Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer -- words cannot express how much I love the movie She's All That.  I watched and rewatched my VHS copy until it was worn out.  As a shy and nerdy teen, I dreamed of finding someone that would see me for who I really was, rather than the glasses, braces and the books that I hid behind.  So Rachel Leigh Cook's journey in this movie was the dream that I had for myself, and hearing this song always makes me think of her walking down the stairs in that red dress. *sigh*
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Top Ten Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With For 24 Hours

It's Tuesday, and time for another wonderful Top Ten Tuesday bookish list -- hosted, as always, by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is characters that I'd like to switch places with for a day... it seems to be a list of either a) people whose viewpoint I would love to witness or b) people that do cool things that I aspire to do as well.

1. Astrid in White Oleander
Not because of the experiences that she had, but because of her artistic skills.  I've always wished that I could draw like she does.

2. Hermione in Harry Potter
What I would give for the chance to go to Hogwarts, if only for just a day!

3. Ada in The Poisonwood Bible
I love the way that Ada sees the world, and I would just love to view the world through her eyes.

4. Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars
With the story being told from Hazel's perspective, it would be amazing to see things from Augustus' perspective -- he was such a wonderful character.

5. August in Wonder
Funny how these two characters have almost identical names, and both are ones with whom I'd like to switch places.  In Wonder, you really get inside August's head and see the world through his eyes, but I still think it would be eye-opening to actually live as him for a day.

6. Bastion in The Neverending Story
Umm.. he gets to LIVE inside a book that NEVER ENDS.  'Nuff said.

7. Stargirl in Stargirl
Stargirl has such amazing self-confidence -- it would be incredible to walk a mile in her shoes.

8. Isabelle in City of Bones, et al.
How much fun would it be to be a Shadowhunter for a day?  Not to mention a gorgeous Shadowhunter with amazing fashion sense?

9.  Ella in Ella Enchanted
Another fun, feisty heroine who has to do anything she's been ordered to do -- this could be a fun day!

10. Carrie in Summer and the City
There's something about Carrie in this book that reminds me of myself, especially during those moments when I wanted to move to New York City and write for Cosmopolitan magazine.

And that's it for my list -- who would YOU like to be for a day?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by to visit!
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TGIF [10] - July 27

Happy Friday Everyone!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads. This week's question is: Christmas in July: If Santa were to come down your chimney in the middle of summer, which books would you want him to leave for you under the tree?

There is nothing better than planning a Christmas book wish list.  My husband and I always exchange books at Christmas -- since we know that's what we both love, and it's also a tribute to where we met, and got engaged (not on the same day!): in the aisles of a bookstore.  Someday I will post the whole story, but here's the short version: boy walks into bookstore, looking for a book about cats.  Girl is working in the children's section of same bookstore, and is immediately charmed by boy.  Boy returns to bookstore repeatedly for the next six months, to look for another book, pick up a magazine, and to see if the girl is working.  Finally, he works up the nerve to ask her out for coffee ... and they live happily ever after!

The majority of the books on my wishlist are ones that haven't been published yet (such as Lauren Oliver's upcoming releases, one middle grade and one adult novel, or J.K. Rowling's adult novel -- so excited for that one!)  Although I can dream that Santa would someone obtain me a copy of these yet unpublished books, I'll be a little more realistic, and go with a book that will be appearing in my mailbox in August.  One of my bestest friends in the whole wide world is the editor of this collection and this has been a labour of love for her over the past few years.  I am SO excited to own a copy of this book and I imagine that it's going to be a beautiful addition to my coffee table, a book to sit and savour with a steaming mug of something yummy.  Oh, the title you ask?  It's called Moments that Speak: Stories and Images of Connectedness.  Here's the summary for the book:

What are the moments that connect us?
What are the moments that change us?

This book celebrates personal stories and images of transformative connection gathered from around the world. Some speak to unexpected connections between people that cross boundaries of social division and crisis. Others speak to profound personal experiences of connection with the natural or spiritual world. Every moment is unique, and all speak to a message of hope: the power of a single moment of connection to affect great change at a time in which great change—at every level—is needed.

The book features contributions by Wangari Maathai, David Suzuki, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and Leonardo Boff, as well as many other moving stories and images of connection contributed by people all over the world.

Indulge me a in one final moment of shamelessly plugging my friend's accomplishments: you can purchase a copy via Stylus Publishers here.
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Tune in Tuesday [8] - July 24

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by GReads.  I can't BELIEVE that I forgot to post last Tuesday, especially since this month's theme is My Teen Years, which is the perfect excuse to relive the best of the 90s!

Clumsy by Our Lady Peace -- I just love Raine Maida's voice; it's so unique.  Plus, he's Canadian, eh?  This is one of their earlier songs, and one of the reasons that I became a fan of the band.

Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden -- I LOVED this band (and still do!) and listened to both of their CDs on repeat for days on end.  I wish that I had been able to see them in concert and still hope that, one day, they'll do a reunion concert.  I'd forgotten how much I love the music video until today -- remember when music videos used to tell stories?

Gettin Jiggy Wit It by Will Smith -- I must have listened to Big Willie Style hundreds of times, seriously.  This song has always been one of my all-time favourites.  I will still crank this song in the car, especially with my sunroof open!  It recently brightened my morning when I got stuck in traffic and realized that I was going to be late for work.  A little Will Smith on the iPod and suddenly it didn't even matter!  My hubby wasn't so keen on having this song on our wedding playlist at first, but he loved it once he saw my jiggy dance moves =)
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The Next Best Thing - Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is definitely one of my "comfort read" authors -- an author whose books I can always depend on for a wholesome good read.  The Next Best Thing was no exception.  It's the story of Ruth Saunders, whose parents died in a car crash when Ruth was little, leaving Ruth scarred both physically and emotionally, and Ruth is subsequently raised by her spunky and loveable grandmother.  During Ruth's extensive surgeries to rebuild her face, her and her grandma bond over television shows like the Golden Girls, and Ruth grows up to be a writer, determined to make it in Hollywood.  Both Ruth and Grandma pack their bags for the glitz and glamour of the city, and Ruth attempts to make it in a world that prizes physical appearance over all else, and what ensues is a story that is beautiful and heartwarming.

The Next Best Thing is the perfect summer read.  It's lighthearted, but has its heartfelt moments that make it a worthwhile read.  Jennifer Weiner's writing perfectly balanced throughout the book, mixing in humour and moments that will make your throat close up as you blink back the tears.  Highly recommended -- and I just love it when a well-loved author lives up to her previous work and never disappoints!
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TGIF [9] - July 20

Happy Friday Everyone!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads.  This week's topic is: Throwback TGIF: Pick a previous question you posted on your blog in the past & revisit your answer. Has it changed since then?  Since I haven't been participating in TGIF for that long, I thought I'd cheat a little and choose a TGIF question that I've missed along the way...

Required Reading: Which book from your school days 
do you remember reading & enjoying? Is there a book published now 
that you'd like to see in today's curriculum for kids?
Most of the books that I read for school are ones that I don't remember loving or disliking.  As an avid reader (my nose was ALWAYS in a book), I loved English class and would eagerly read any book for any novel study.  I liked them all, but no book stuck with me as much as To Kill a Mockingbird.  Most of the novel studies that I'd done in school were assigned by the teacher, and the only time we'd had free choice was when we did an individual book report.  My Grade 10 English teacher gave us a list of novels to choose from and then assigned us a reader's response journal with super fun writing topics, so we could all read different novels, but still do the same assignment.  I picked To Kill a Mockingbird and then ended up off school for a few days with a cold.  I remember curling up on the couch with the book, completely ignoring the daytime TV that I could usually indulge in while I was at home and both parents were at work, and instead lost myself in the story.  The book is, to this day, still one of my absolute favourites.  Although I'd like to reread it at some point, I'm a little nervous to see what I'll think of it as an adult, in case the magic isn't there the second time.

I'm going to shamelessly plug R.J. Palacio's Wonder (for more gushing, feel free to read my full review here).  I am incredibly passionate about anti-bullying and it breaks my heart whenever I hear about a child being bullied in school.  I fully believe that, if this book were to be required reading at school, no one would even be able to consider bullying anyone else.  August's story touches the reader so completely and profoundly that words can scarcely describe the impact that is felt after savouring the final pages of this novel.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.  NOW.

What was your favourite required reading in school?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by to visit!  

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Top Ten Books For People Who Like Harry Potter

It's Tuesday, and time for another wonderful Top Ten Tuesday bookish list -- hosted, as always, by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is picking a book, then recommending ten similar books for people who loved that first book.  I used to work in a bookstore, and one of the most common questions that I'd hear was, "My son/daughter/niece/etc LOVED Harry Potter -- can you recommend that he/she will love just as much?"  And while it's almost impossible to find a book that can equal the spectacular wonder of the world of Harry Potter (seriously, how could you ever top it?), here are some books that I thought were equally wonderful reads ... on their own merits.

1. The Neverending Story - Michael Ende
This book is one of my top favourites of all time, and words can scarcely express how much I love this story.  It really has it all: from adventure, to friendship and everything in between.

2. The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
The entire His Dark Materials series is wonderful, but this book specifically stands out because I don't think I was fully prepared for just how wonderful it would really be until I dove into the story.  I loved every moment of the book, and even got one of the worst sunburns of my life while reading this on the beach -- completely forgot to put on more sunscreen while I was lost in Lyra's world!

3. Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
This book is long, and many have critiqued it for going on and on and on when it could have been shorter.  Personally, if I'm lost in a book, then I'm perfectly content if it just keeps going -- the last Harry Potter book could have been 2,000 pages and I still would've thought it was too short!

4. The Eyes of the Dragon - Stephen King
You may see this one on the list and think Harry Potter and Stephen King, no way!  But hear me out.  King wrote this book for his eleven year old daughter because he asked her if she'd read any of his writing and she told him no because his books were too scary.  So he asked her what type of book she likes best.  Her response?  A story with dragons and princes and castles.  And Eyes of the Dragon was born.

5. Silverwing - Kenneth Oppel
This series is gold.  Pure gold.  I had no idea that a bat could be so human-like, but I found myself forgetting that the characters were bats because they had such amazing lives and personalities.

6.  Magyk - Angie Sage
I haven't read the rest of this series yet, but I really enjoyed the first book.  I had that same youthful fantasy feel that the first Harry Potter book did, but also a sense of the book being a part of a larger story that had yet to unfold.

7. A Spell for Chameleon - Piers Anthony
This book is the first in the Xanth series, which I devoured long before Harry Potter was even published.  This was one of my first forays into the genre of fantasy, and adult literature actually, and I loved every minute of the series.

8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum
Since we're on the topic of childhood favourites, this one was definitely on the top of my list.  I must have read each book in the series at least five times, and I loved them all (well, except the Wheelies; they still scare me, even today).

9. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
I'm five books into the six part series and wishing that it would never end.  That's like Harry Potter, right?  Plus, I love the magic (Magnus!) and every other thing about the Shadowhunter world.

10. The Tale of Despereaux - Kate di Camillo
I struggled with which book to choose as the final book on this list, until I looked over at my bookshelf and saw this one.  This book is one of my all-time favourites and I have read it in one sitting, and then read and reread it over and over again.  If you haven't yet read this book, you must.

Well, there you have it -- my top ten books for people who like Harry Potter.  Thoughts? Comments?  Suggestions of other books that I might like?  Leave a comment below -- and include a link to your post and I'll stop by and visit!
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City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare

I'd seen mixed reviews of this book on Goodreads, so I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the book and started to read.  Sometimes, I think that no expectations are the best way to go -- since you can't have your high expectations tarnished.

First of all, my criticisms of the book.  In a series, the author usually has to do a fairly substantial re-cap of the previous events of the series will make sense, but this book didn't do a very good job of recapping past events.  I read City of Fallen Angels over two years ago and have very little recollection of what actually happened in the book (like I do with every book -- it's like book amnesia or something).  Although I remember the characters, I did struggle with trying to piece together their previous adventures in order to make sense of the current story, which is something that Cassandra Clare could have woven into the story to make it easier for the reader to follow along.

The second thing that irked me was the pacing of the book.  There were certain parts where I found myself unable to tear my eyes from the page, determined to just read one more chapter before I head off to bed.  Then, a few pages later, the pace would completely slow down and I'd have to force myself to read until the end of the chapter (I have a hard time putting a bookmark in and walking away mid-chapter).  I think that the book would have been much better if the pacing had remained consistent throughout the book -- not necessarily breakneck speed throughout, but at least keeping the reader's interest throughout the slower parts of the storyline.

With that being said, I still enjoyed the book immensely.  I've invested so much time and energy (not to mention thousands of pages) in these characters' lives and stories that I know that, no matter what the reviews are, I'll still end up enjoying the book.  Although I still think that she needs to write a spin-off book about Magnus -- his character is SO interesting, and I just want to know more!  I also loved how much more developed Simon was in this book, and I was happy with his happy ending.  Just one more installment to go in 2014 (I think?) -- I'm looking forward to seeing how this whole epic storyline comes to a conclusion.
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TGIF [8] - July 13

Happy Friday Everyone! It's Friday the 13th -- but I'm not much of a superstitious person, so I don't usually worry too much about these things.  Full moons, on the other hand, almost always guarantee a particularly nutty work week, and this week has been NO exception.  Thank goodness I have today off work in order to head to my hometown to see the Tragically Hip in concert -- so excited!  The sun is shining, it's freakin' hot and therefore the perfect weather for a ferry ride!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads.  This week's topic is: Quotes That Make You Swoon: What are some of the most swoon-worthy quotes you've experienced in a book?

I LOVE book quotes -- I have a notebook that I use to jot down quotes that make my heart beat a little faster.  Over the past couple of years, I've been devouring books faster than I can keep up with my little quote notebook, so most of the quotes are from books that I read years ago.  With that being said, here's a little sampling from its pages -- the quotes are quite diverse, but I love them all.

And we loved with a love that was more than a love.
~ Edgar Allan Poe, "Annabel Lee"

People just wanted to be loved.  That was the thing about words, they were clear and specific -- chair, eye, stone -- but when you talked about feelings, words were too stiff, they were this and not that, they couldn't include all the meanings.  In defining, they always left something out.
Janet Fitch, White Oleander

Stories are light.
~ Gregor in the Jailer in Kate di Camillo's Tale of Despereaux

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.
~ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Are there any quotes on my list that made your heart sing too?  Please leave me a comment, and a link to your TGIF post and I'll stop by to visit!  Hope that you all have a wonderful weekend!
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WWW - July 11

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

W...W...W...Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
I'm still reading Cassandra Clare's City of Lost Souls.  It took a little while to get back into the story and remember who's who.  Now that I'm almost finished (just the epilogue left to go), I'm a little sad that I have to wait until 2014 for the last installment of the story.

What did you recently finish reading?
I had to think about this one for a while, since it was a while ago that I finished a book.  Finally, I remembered that it was Living Dead Girl (not too impressive).

What do you think you'll read next?
I'll be back on the library book train for a little while, since Kiersten White's Supernaturally, Daisy Whitney's The Rivals and Jennifer Weiner's The Next Best Thing all just came in at the library -- woo hoo!  Three very different books to enjoy -- and I have an Island-bound ferry trip this weekend too!

What about you?  What are you reading?  What did you recently finish?  And what are you looking forward to reading?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll come visit!
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Top Ten Unread Books on My Bookshelf

It's Tuesday (well, for another couple of hours at least) and time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish.  I've been off the computer and out of the blogging zone for the past few days, but lost in the world of City of Lost Souls.  It's been a while since I've been captivated enough by a book to step away from the computer for a while, but since the sun has FINALLY made its summer appearance on the We(s)t Coast, it's been pretty nice to have some outdoor reading time too!

This week is a freebie week and I have chosen to look at the dustiest end of my TBR list -- those books that I bought YEARS ago that, sadly, sit on my shelf unread in amongst the pile of shiny new books.  In no particular order, here goes...

1. The Robber Bride - Margaret Atwood
I LOVE Margaret Atwood.  Love her.  A coworker recommended this book to me when I worked at Bolen Books and I'm pretty sure I've owned it since then.  But have I read it yet?  Most certainly not.

2. The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella
I've read everything else she's written, including all the Shopaholic books and her other stand-alones.  But this one's been sitting on my shelf for years, just waiting.

3. The Other Boleyn Girl - Phillipa Gregory
I love historical fiction, even though I haven't read much of it.  I honestly can't even remember who recommended this book to me, but I picked up a copy and it's been sitting on my shelf ever since.  And it's supposed to be a really, really good story too.

4. We Were the Mulvaneys - Joyce Carol Oates
I read, and loved, Foxfire in university, and heard that this book was unbelievable.  Plus, Oprah put her sticker on the front and she always puts her sticker on the good books.  AND the description makes it sound like a heartbreaking story, which almost guarantees that I'll love it.

5. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
In my defense, this isn't MY book, it's my husband's copy.  He read it and loved it, and has been encouraging me to read it for a few years now.

6. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
I think that I need to go on a "big books that I've been putting off" binge.  The last few years, I've been more focused on how many books I've read per year (darn you, Goodreads challenges!).  Maybe next year I can aim for page numbers, and knock some of these unread monsters off my TBR list.  This one came highly recommended by one of my best friends -- and sits near Shantaram, recommended to me recently by my boss. *sigh*

7. Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry
This is another one that my hubby read and loved, and has been pestering me to read it since we first moved in together ... seven years ago.

8. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
This is another one that was recommended to me by a former bookstore coworker, but I still haven't read it.  I LOVED Haroun & the Sea of Stories though, so I'm sure that I'll enjoy this one too.

9. Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
I feel like this book has made an appearance on another list or two, and this is the next book for my TBR Intervention.

10. Tess of the d'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy
I worked one summer in upstate New York and one of my colleagues, who was studying English, raved about this book.  I picked up a copy but, after studying so many classics in university, I still haven't quite motivated myself to read one for pleasure.  But I should, I really, really should.

And that's my Top Ten Tuesday post for this week -- a little more adult than my usual YA fare, but it's good to mix things up every now and then, right?  Please feel free to leave me a link to your post in the comments and I'll stop by to visit!
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Tune in Tuesday [7] - July 10

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by GReads.  This month's theme for Tune in Tuesday is "What were you listening to when you were a teenager?"  This week, I'm choosing two VERY different songs that I still love today for equally different reasons.

The first is "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls.  This song perfectly encapsulates my junior high years, and brings back memories of myself and four friends dressing up as the Spice Girls (I was Scary Spice, due to my unruly curly hair).  On another occasion, my friends and I decided that we were the Spice Girls that didn't make the final cut -- I can't remember what most of our names were, but I do recall that I was Cinnamon Spice, due to my passion for cinnamon gum.  Oh the wackiness of teenage imaginations!

The second song is Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know."  Is there any other song that more perfectly sums up teenage angst?  (Well, my husband would argue that Nirvana also does, but Kurt Cobain's angst was a) a little before my teen years and b) male so Nirvana therefore doesn't count).  I have still been known to blast this song in the car and sing at the top of my lungs ... before realizing that the person in the car next to me is staring open-mouthed.  (Seriously, true story).

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TGIF [7] - July 6

Happy Friday Everyone!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads.  This week's topic is: Comfort Reads: Which books do you go to for comfort & familiarity?  Is there a type of book you seek out when you're needing that extra bit of comfort in your life?

Hmm... comfort reads is a tough one.  I'm not much of a re-reader (although I'd love to be, but I always find that I'm reading books off my TBR list instead, which grows steadily longer by the day).  But there are some writers that I can always go back to for a guaranteed good read when I'm in need.

Jodi Picoult.  I find that I can't read too many of her books in succession, because the storylines become predictable, yet this is good because I still have several unread books on my shelves.  She's written some of my favourite novels, including Nineteen Minutes.

Sarah Dessen.  Unfortunately, I've read all of her books, but whenever a new one comes out I know that I'm guaranteed to have a great read on my hands.

Lauren Oliver. Again, I've already read all of her books, but each one has captivated my heart and transported me to another place and time.  She's such a beautiful writer that I know I will fall in love with every one of her books.

I could keep going and going, but I'll leave it at three for today.  Which books are YOUR comfort reads?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!
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WWW - July 4

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

W...W...W...Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
I just started Cassandra Clare's City of Lost Souls.  As mentioned in my Living Dead Girl review, I needed something happy!  So far it's pretty good -- there's always something comforting about returning to much loved characters.  While reading the prologue, I sighed happily and said "Oh Simon, how I missed you!"

What did you recently finish reading?
I spent last weekend lost in Kiersten White's Paranormalcy, which I loved.  Check out my review here.

What do you think you'll read next?
Hmm... it depends.  I currently have no books out from the library (shocker, I know!) so I'm enjoying a chance to read some long overdue books off my own shelves!  Maybe Insurgent?  Or, if I'm totally hooked on Shadowhunters after CoLS, I might polish off Clockwork Prince.

What about you?  What are you reading?  What did you recently finish?  And what are you looking forward to reading?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll come visit!
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Tune in Tuesday [7] - July 3

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by GReads. Today I'm going to share with you one of my current favourite songs -- with another little story.  My hubby is sometimes up earlier than me on the weekends, because our cat wakes him up for breakfast.  He'll get up, go out for coffee (hot chocolate for me) and then come home and play this song to wake me up.  Such a wonderful, amazing man and I am so blessed to have him in my life!

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Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott

I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around this one. I think that the Goodreads summary says it best: This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

This is a book that I wish I could forget having read, because it seriously gave me the creeps. I almost put it down mid-way through the book, but then kept going because there were only 70ish pages left, and I had to make sure that "Alice" would be okay. Although I've read, and loved, Emma Donoghue's Room, this book wasn't really similar to Jack's story. Perhaps Alice's voice lacked Jack's childlike innocence and his way of seeing the world, and was just too sad for me. But regardless, this is not a happy book and it's just really sad, and depressing. I need to read something happy now!
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Paranormalcy - Kiersten White

I first heard of this book at Into the Morning Reads, when I saw her post about casting her favourite characters from a variety of different books into one new story (see her full post here; it's awesome).  I'd read, and loved, a couple of the books referenced in the post and, since Jenny and I are total book twins, I just knew that I'd love the others.  So I put Paranormalcy on hold at the library.

It was a rainy Saturday morning, and I curled up with this book and a mug of hot chocolate (courtesy of my lovely hubby, who'd already braved the rain that morning -- is he awesome or what?).  Suddenly, it was 1:30 in the afternoon, and I was still in my PJs, but loving every moment in the book.  Fortunately, (or unfortunately?) the weather stayed rainy and miserable all weekend, and I was able to savour every moment of Evie's adventures as the book catupulted me towards a satisfying conclusion.  And THEN, I found out that it's not over yet -- there's more to the story!  I like a series where the book can end, rather than a cliffhanger, but still let the story continue on, as Evie and Lend obviously have much more world-saving to accomplish.

One of the things that charmed me in this book is the fact that Kiersten White has woven together a variety of paranormals into one seamless story.  Seriously, this book has it all: vampires, werewolves, faeries, shapeshifters and more.  And while there were a few little tiny things that irritated me (such as naming each one of Raquel's sighs in italics), on the whole the story was well-paced, the characters were perfectly developed and it was just a really GOOD story.  I'm looking forward to reading the next one for sure!
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Some Girls Are - Courtney Summers

First of all, I must say a sincere thank you to Magan @ Rather Be Reading for recommending this book to me.  When I picked this book up from the library, I was already excited to read it because A) I trust Magan's recommendations and B) I saw a little maple leaf sticker on the spine of the book ... the author's Canadian!  Yeah!  So I figured that this review would make the best Canada Day post -- Happy Canada Day Everyone!

Some Girls Are is an INTENSE book, and not a story to be read lightly.  Regina is part of the Fearsome Fivesome, a group of five girls at school that are only popular because everyone's afraid to cross them.  Then, after a near-rape at a party, Regina is tossed from the group and her life becomes a nightmare.  The only friendship that she tries to forge is with Michael, an outcast who lives on the edge of the social circles of high school because Regina put him there, at her former best friend's urging.  Suddenly, Regina realizes that the only people that could be her new friends are the social outcasts, and the reason that these people are social outcasts is because of the way that Regina and her former friends behaved.  What ensues is a gut-wrenching story of a girl who used to be on the top, but is now on the bottom, and has to figure out why her life has turned out the way it did.

This book deals with bullying in a very real way, but the one criticism that I had of the book is that Regina isn't a terribly likeable person.  After having read Before I Fall, which is also told through the eyes of a bully who is learning the errors of her ways, I found myself comparing Regina's character to Samantha's journey.  I realize that no author's writing can quite compare to Lauren Oliver, because she's a freakin' literary GODDESS, but still, I found my mind wandering a little.

Regardless, this is still a book that I would recommend.  It's a tough read and it'll definitely tear at your heart ... a lot ... but it's good.  It's really, really good.  I will definitely be heading off on a Ms. Summers reading expedition now, just as Magan predicted!

P.S. If you've read this one, and enjoyed it, I would also highly recommend Carrie Mac's The Beckoners.  It's also a Canadian writer, and it's one of the most gut-wrenching books on the topic of bullying that I've ever read.  My review on Goodreads says: OMG. One of the best books I've ever read. Broke my heart, made me cry and, when it was all over, I wanted to start again.  Plus, I also happen to know the talented man who designed the cover (he was a former coworker).  Which is pretty cool.
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