Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting On Wedneday (2) - Black Heart by Holly Black

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!

This week's pick: Black Heart by Holly Black 
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: April 3rd, 2012

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.
But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love. (Summary from Goodreads)

It is known around the Twitterverse that Cassel Sharpe is my book husband. (Seriously. He is mine.) I know that marrying into a crime family probably isn't the best choice, but it's Cassel freakin' Sharpe. I just love that boy. To say I'm excited for this book is a serious understatement. The Curseworkers series is, without a doubt, one of the most creative, and fantastic stories out in the YA world right now. Mysterious and intriguing, filled to the brim with magic and heart, this series has captivated me from the first page. Cassel Sharpe is one of those characters you just root for. After everything he's been thorough, he still gets back up and keeps fighting. 

The series will keep your eyes glued to the page as Black weaves a dark tale, with dashes of hope thrown in. The characters are lovable, the plot enchanting, and it is really just a fantastic read. Check this one out, if you haven't already. You will not regret it.

I just found out the other day that I'm going to get to read Black Heart this weekend! The awesome Emilie over at Emilie's Book World has, once again, offered to lend me the ARC she received, which means I get to read Black Heart a month early! Thanks, Emilie! It has made all the work I have to do this week well worth it! 

What books are you waiting for?

-Ciara who is lost at midnight

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (1)

Hello everyone!

I'm really excited to be participating in the awesome meme In My Mailbox! It's hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren and features books that bloggers have received during the week.

So, since my blog just started, I decided to do a massive IMM, including books that I've received over the last month. I'm also making a huge one because I probably won't be doing many, if any, during March. I'm on a strict "no buying books" ban, hoping to save my money for all the books out in April. 

Here are the books and swag I've gotten recently!

Mom's Thrift Store Buys:





Mom's Thrift Store Buys:

So, my mom really loves to shop at the thrift store. Sometimes, she picks me up books. Although I try to keep my books in the best shape possible, when they cost a dollar, I'm flexible. This week she picked me up:

- Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong (Amazon | Goodreads)
I already own this book, so I'm thinking of having a giveaway in honor of Moonlight Gleam's Women of the Otherworld Reading Challenge. More on that later!

- Ghost Story by Jim Butcher (Amazon | Goodreads)


I want to send a huge THANK YOU to Emilie over at Emilie's Book World. I mentioned on Twitter how excited I was to read Fever by Lauren DeStefano, and Emilie tweeted me that she had an ARC that I could borrow (we live in the same city). I was elated! We met up, shopped around, and she lent me Fever, which I proceeded to finish in a day. So, thanks Emilie! It was really great of you to lend it to me!

- Fever by Lauren DeStefano (Amazon | Goodreads)


- Incarnate by Jodi Medows (Amazon | Goodreads)

- Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Amazon | Goodreads)
- The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Amazon | Goodreads)

- Hourglass by Myra McEntire (Amazon | Goodreads)

- Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Amazon | Goodreads)

- Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins (Amazon | Goodreads)

- Angel: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson (Amazon | Goodreads)

- The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Amazon | Goodreads)

- Witch & Wizard by James Patterson (Amazon | Goodreads)

- Unbroken (Outcast Season #4) by Rachel Caine (Amazon | Goodreads)


- Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Amazon | Goodreads)

Thanks, again, to Emilie for the contest! Can't wait to read Lola!


For the launch of the Lunar Chronicles series, author Marissa Meyer asked everyone to tweet a picture of themselves wearing red shoes. Anyone who did so would get a package of swag! I received a couple bookmarks, a signed bookplate, and some stickers. Thanks, Marrissa!

-Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Amazon | Goodreads)

For the launch of The Way We Fall, author Megan Crewe offered up a signed book plate and a bookmark! Can't wait to read this one! Thanks, Megan!

- The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe (Amazon | Goodreads)

Phew! Well, that was a long post! How were your mailboxes this week?

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

Title: Dark Inside (Dark Inside #1)
Author:  Jeyn Roberts
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: November 1st, 2011
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 5/5

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 everyday 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. (Summary from Amazon)

I finally decided to buy Jeyn Robert’s debut Dark Inside because of Chandra over at Indigo Teen Blog. She wrote a list in December of her Teen Top Ten of 2011, which featured Dark Inside as number ten. I had heard about the novel earlier, but couldn’t decide if I wanted to pick it up or not. I put it on my Christmas list and was excited to see it appear under my tree. When I finally decided to read it, I was absolutely stunned. If you’re on the fence about this one just go to the book store and read the first chapter. I can guarantee that you’ll be walking out with it.

One thing I found very fresh about this book was where it started. Normally in dystopian books, the novel starts out years after the apocalypse has happened after, for the most part, society has re-established itself. Dark Inside instead starts at the apocalypse. The world as we know it ends in the first few chapters. Instead of learning about this whole new world, we see our own be destroyed from four different points of view. It’s pretty shocking, and terrifying. These characters are in the exact situation each of us would be in if the apocalypse happened. They are simply trying to survive in a destroyed world. There are no rules and no guidelines, simply the fierce will to survive. Dark Inside is one of those books that keeps you thinking even after the book is put away. I found myself wondering what would happen if I, just like Aries, were sitting on a bus when it all happens. I started looking at my own life and wondering “could I survive the apocalypse?”. Because this book isn’t about fitting into this new way of living, it’s all about trying to live in a world surrounded by death. It is a frightening book because it doesn’t offer you an escape. In other dystopians, you can think that the world simply couldn’t end up that way, that there would events to make sure that wouldn’t happen in our world. But Dark Inside is our world. It is our world in ruins.

One of the scariest parts of this book is the fact that humanity is destroying itself. The concept that people you love and care about could simply switch off one day and turn against you is one of the scariest parts of this book. The horror that, although natural disasters were the catalyst, it is humans that are destroying our world, drives this book. It's not for the faint of heart, let me tell you. It is very graphic in parts, and utterly disturbing. You will not be able to tear your eyes away.

The characters in this book are fantastic. They are all brave in their own ways, and they all are forced to make impossible decisions. Aries has to be my favourite. She is a firecracker with a fierce will to survive, and unmatched courage. Aries is the person I would hope to be if ever faced with this situation. The rest of the characters have to deal with their own impossible tasks, and stare defiantly into the face of death. I admire them all for it.

Dark Inside will surpass every expectation you have for it. It will scare you out of your mind, question your own will survive, and make you love every second you spend reading it. Simply fantastic. There is no better phrase to describe it.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for its sequel, RAGE WITHIN, out September 2012!

-Ciara who is lost at midnight

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (1) - This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is my first ever Waiting On Wednesday post! I've loved this meme for a long time, and I'm so glad to be participating. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books bloggers are anticipating!

This week's pick: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: June 19th, 2012
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up.
As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life–and death–inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to? (Summary from Courtney Summers' website)

I’m absolutely terrified to read this book.

If you’ve ever read a Courtney Summers book, you’ll know what I’m talking about. They all grab you by the heart and pull you through the story, scarring, warming, breaking, and filling your chest with every moment of those books. They are each a treasure in their own way, and I don’t have a doubt in my mind that this one will be too. The reason I’m scared? Well, this is a zombie book. It is pretty much an unwritten rule that zombie books do not end well. So, combine that with Summers’ ability to make you emotionally invested in the story and you have a recipe for heartache. But I will love every minute of it, because it’s Courtney Summers, and she is just fantastic.

Also, this cover! Is it not beauty wrapped up in a creepy blue package? I certainly think so!

Be sure to watch out for This is Not a Test, out June 19th! And if you haven't read a Courtney Summers book of awesome yet, be sure to check out Cracked Up to Be, Some Girls Are and my favourite Fall For Anything.

-Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: AmazonGoodreads | Courtney Summers' website

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Release Date: March 22nd, 2011
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 5/5

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.
When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out? (Summary from Goodreads)

When I first heard about this book, I had my doubts. Although I loved dystopian books, the plot didn’t sound that interesting to me. It was getting some buzz and I figured I should give it a try. I am so glad I did. From the moment I flipped open the cover I was hooked. Addicted, you could say. I literally read the book until the wee hours of the morning, fell asleep and had a dream about me being the fourth wife of Linden, woke up, grabbed Wither off my bedside table and read it until I was done. It was just that good.

Wither is not a typical dystopian novel. Instead of focusing on a new society, and how the characters have to fight to survive in a destroyed world, it focuses on the people. The story is almost set apart from the dystopian world which really gives way to focus on the characters. The three wives, Cecily, Jenna and the protagonist Rhine each have their own distinct personalities and each have their own way of handling the situation they’re in. Just when I want to slap Cecily across the face for being (in my opinion) idiotic she does or says something that breaks my heart. She’s a lost little girl, who craves love and acceptance more than anything. Jenna angered me sometimes, but I also admire her decisions and her will to live on her own terms. Rhine was defiant in her own way, but sometimes I just wanted her to stand up and scream at the injustice of her situation, but she stayed smart and learned to work with her situation.

I often think the sign of a good book is one that makes me highly emotional and Wither most definitely did that. I was so angry at the situation that the beautiful Rhine found herself in, saddened that the world had become such a horrific place, and warmed by the budding romance and quiet defiance underneath it all. My emotions were completely muddled as well when it came to Linden, Rhine's husband. A part of me hated him, a part felt pity for him and a part liked him. I don’t think he is a bad person, just ignorant. I honestly wanted to hate him, but I simply found it impossible.

The plot itself wasn't action-packed or intense, but instead captivating and mysterious. There wasn’t a moment where I thought about putting it down. I had to unravel the story; I had to see what would happen next. And the writing! I thought Lauren DeStefano's writing style was beautiful. I find that in a lot of YA books nowadays, the writing style doesn’t stick out. That’s not saying that they aren’t good, but sometimes there are those authors that are just a head above, and Lauren DeStefano is one of them. Although I did enjoy the story, the writing made this book what it is: amazing. DeStefano has a poetic edge to her stories, and the words just flow across the page. I got caught up in the tide of it, and let the words sweep me away into a story of deep despair and filled with hope.

If you haven’t read this book yet, go do it. Without a doubt one of my favourite dystopian books, and DeStefano has shot to the top of my favourite authors list.

Be sure to look out for FEVER, out February 21st! And check out the trailer for Wither below!

- Ciara who is lost at midnight

Find this book: Amazon | Goodreads | The Chemical Garden Trilogy

Monday, February 20, 2012

Books Galore

Hey again, guys!

Just a short little post today about my favourite piece of furniture I own: my black bookshelf. I own a total of six bookshelves, and all of them (except for one that is used as a notebook shelf/bedside table) are stuffed with books. My favourite one is my tall black IKEA Billy bookshelf that brings me happiness just by staring at it. The shelves are double stacked, piled with teddy bears and book dolls my best friend made me, covered with cut out pictures and glow-in-the-dark stars. It contains most of my favourite books, and always looks like just one more book will snap its bending shelves. I love it. I have a couple other smaller bookshelves and one that actually sits in the hall outside my room since I can’t fit more furniture in the cluttered space. Here are a couple pictures! (Note: some bookshelves aren't shown due to their extreme messiness)

Here is my favourite (and messy) black bookshelf

Here is my bookshelf that sits outside my room.

One of my smaller black shelves.

My other smaller black shelf.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

And the Clock Strikes Midnight....

Hey all! Welcome to my brand new book review blog, Lost at Midnight Reviews!
This is one of my very first blog posts and my first ever blog! After much encouragement from a couple blogger friends I decided to try my hand at book reviewing. Here on Lost at Midnight Reviews I’ll (mostly) be talking about and reviewing books. I read a lot, particularly YA books with the few occasional adult book thrown in there, and when I’m not reading I’m discussing books. I thought this would be a perfect outlet for my book obsession and for finding more people that love books as much as I do! 
A little background on me to start: My name is Ciara Loader and I am an eighteen-year old aspiring writer and university student whose book collection has taken over her room. Books are stacked on every flat surface available and I’m now up to six bookshelves. I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. My mom always comments that I would sit with complete concentration whenever a story was being read and after would beg for another one. I’ve been making up stories myself for just as long and have some great ones about evil cars and fighting clouds from my childhood. Books are not only my escape from reality, but a way for me to look at the world differently. I love having my views challenged, my realities shaken by the books in which I read. I also love those books that are just plain funny, or cute, that lighten up my mood. Every shape and size of book I love and I hope to spread that joy on this blog.
A few more little facts!
Why “Lost at Midnight? 
I chose the name "Lost at Midnight" for a few reasons. One: I have this weird obsession with the word "midnight". It just sounds really cool, and it is one of my favorite times of the day. I also chose it because it relates to my favorite books. I love to read books late at night, and I find that the best books are the ones that keep me lost in their world until well past midnight. I love getting caught up in a book, having the I-can't-stop-until-I'm-finished-AH moments, and falling asleep with my mind still spinning from the story I was in.
So…how do you say your name (Ciara)? 
Unless you are Irish or know me personally, you probably just said my name wrong. It's okay though! I get it all the time. My name isn't like the singer Ciara (see-AIR-ah) but instead pronounced like Keira (KEER-ah). I come from an Irish family and my parents chose to give me the traditional Irish spelling of my name, hence the common mispronunciation. 
Other interests?
Besides books I have a serious love of hammocks, Converse sneakers, anything sugary, bows, the band Mayday Parade and Dimitri Belikov. 

And I think that’s where I’ll leave it off! If you’ve read my crazy ramblings well thanks! I hope you keep checking out the blog! I want to say a VERY HUGE GI-FREAKIN-NORMOUS THANK YOU to Lucy at Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf and Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads. For all the answered questions, words of encouragement and for both inspiring me with your guyses awesome blogs. I don’t think I could have done it with out you!

Thanks all!
- Ciara who is lost at midnight

(P.S. That's me :D)