Sunday, September 30, 2012

All Covered Up: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

On Wednesday, the cover of Gayle Forman's new novel Just One Day was revealed over at EW's Shelf Life! The reveal included a description and excerpt! Check out the cover below:

Sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey has always followed the rules. Laid-back 20-year-old Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter has never been given too many rules to follow, so he just makes them up as he goes along. But when the two first meet in England at an underground performance of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, there’s an undeniable spark. As they spend just one day together in Paris, that spark bursts into a flame of love, or so it seems to Allyson, anyhow, until the following morning, when she wakes up to discover that Willem has disappeared without a trace. Over the next year, Allyson is forced to come to terms with the narrow confines of the life that has been built for her, and, haltingly at first, through Shakespeare, through travel, and through looking for Willem, to break free of those confines. (Summary from EW Shelf Life)

I'm a HUGE fan of If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman and I've been desperate to pick up her new novel! Her story telling is stunning and beautiful and her characters are so realistic. These novels make you have all the FEELINGS, and that's exactly what I look for in contemporary books. After reading the description of Just One Day I'm even more excited to read it! Travel! Shakespeare! Romance! What else could a girl ask for? The cover itself isn't my favorite but I think it captures the atmosphere of the book well (I'm just not a fan of faces on books). This is going to be one heck of a book!

Just One Day is out January 8th, 2013 from Dutton!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Heist Society by Ally Carter

Title: Heist Society (Heist Society #1)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: February 9th, 2010
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 5/5 

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way. (Summary from Goodreads)

Goodness gracious, this was an awesome book. I have heard amazingly good things about Ally Carter books, and picked up Heist Society on these recommendations. I kept putting off reading it, not for any real reason, and now I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner! This was one of the most fun books I've ever read, not to mention it was hilarious.

A story about teenage art thieves. Well, I can't say I've ever read one until now. Heist Society follows Katerina Bishop as she re-enters the family business to save her wrongly-accused father. A very interesting and intelligent concept. Ally Carter obviously put a lot of work and thought into this novel. I mean, I wouldn't even know where to start when it comes to stealing a painting, let alone have a ridiculously complex plan to do just that! It was detailed, and intriguing and I absolutely loved it. I also adore the protagonist herself, Katerina Bishop. She was brilliant, sarcastic, strong, and capable and I loved her for it. She was determined to save her father and would stop at nothing to do it. My kind of gal! Throw in a couple of teenage trouble makers, some clever mobsters, and lots of priceless art and you have one crazy adventure!

Now, I think it's time for some swooning over Hale. Cause, my goodness that boy is full of amazingness. He is hilarious, so sweet, brilliant and a bit cocky but in the best way. I couldn't help but smile every time Hale was involved because he was just so much fun! And he sure had some very swoon-worthy moments. Him and Kat make a fantastic team, both in thievery and in personality. I'm really excited to see what mishaps they get into next.

I know this was a bit of a short review, but that's simply because I read it awhile ago. If I had written this review sooner (which I planned on but, you know, I was lazy) I could probably write an essay on it. It was just awesome. This is going to be one wicked series. And I'm very excited to dive right in.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads | Ally Carter's Website 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (24): Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

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: Gates of Paradise (Blue Bloods #7) by Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: January 15th, 2013

Watch out for the explosive finale in the Blue Bloods series.
The seventh and final novel in the epic saga.

All your questions answered. . . All the mysteries explained. . . Friends reunited. . . Hearts broken. . . Will Bliss return with the Hellhounds? Will Schuyler save the Blue Bloods? Who will live? Who will die? (Summary from Goodreads)

Okay, gorgeous cover alert! The covers for the Blue Bloods series are always artistic and beautiful and this one is no exception! Something I love about them is the city skyline at the bottom edge. Stunning and so classy. And all seven books match (which is not a common thing)!

Now, on to the story. I just adore the Blue Bloods series. It's a new and original take on vampires, and each book has captivated me. The last novel, Lost in Time was a nail-bitter and quite possibly my favorite of the series. I am desperate to get Gates of Paradise, to finally see how it all ends! Luckily, we only have to wait a few short months! This is going to be heart-stopping, and I'm too excited!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

Title: My Soul to Keep (Soul Screamers #3)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: June 1st, 2010
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 5/5

Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them.Until something does.Demon breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked.And so is someone else…
I always think the sign of a good book is one that doesn't let you put it down. That grabs you, commands your attention, and never lets you forget about them. I think the sign of a fantastic book is one that does all of those things, even when you've already read it. My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent is one of those novels.

My Soul to Keep, the third novel in the Soul Screamers series, explores something that can be even more disturbing and dangerous than the Netherworld: the powerful force of addiction. Kaylee has to face down her fair share of twisted monsters in this installment, but she also has to feel the impact of drug addiction. Kaylee has to make some heart-breaking decisions, and revelations and I really think she grows as a character in this novel. I remember my first time reading My Soul to Keep it was a huge turning point for me. I respected Kaylee immensely, and was so proud of her strength and determination. This time, I think that pride was increased tenfold. Kaylee tries to save everyone, and often gets that thrown back in her face. But she keeps fighting and keeps moving forward and I think that's very noble. And something that I love in a character.

As for the other characters in the series, my opinions of them only increased, be that in like or dislike. Nash, well, I never liked him and this book just made my opinion plummet. Tod stole an even bigger place in my heart than ever before, and I enjoyed seeing the fierce, protective, and lost sides of him. Emma was her typical awesome self, and I adore her more and more with each passing novel.

Going back to the plot, addiction is an extremely destructive force in life and that's really showcased in My Soul to Keep. I liked that Rachel Vincent brought in a very real issue, in an otherwordly setting. It was a game-changer, and something I really enjoyed reading (in the "this is so awful but interesting" kind of way). One of the reason I love Rachel Vincent books is that she isn't afraid to do what the story demands, even if it's heart-breaking. And this book really was. But I loved every bit of it.

My Soul to Keep was the best Soul Screamers novel to date! I was completely enthralled by the plot, heart-broken by the characters, and captivated by Rachel Vincent's amazing imagination. This series is so original and intriguing. I love it with all my soul *wink*.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon |The Book Depository | Goodreads | Rachel Vincent's Website

Sunday, September 23, 2012

All Covered Up: Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Today, I'm going to be featuring the gorgeous cover for Boundless, the final novel in the Unearthly trilogy. Check it out!

The past few years held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner ever could have anticipated. Yet through the dizzying high of first love to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she could no longer deny was that she was never meant to have a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seemed like the best option, so she’s headed back to California—and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must choose her fate once and for all. (Summary from Goodreads)

Whoever designs YA covers has been doing an amazing job of it. I feel like I'm becoming repetitive, but the cover of Boundless is gorgeous! Subtly detailed with a bit of a foreboding edge to it in the storm clouds, I think it fits the atmosphere very well. The story has a dark edge to it, as well as hope and light and I think it's featured well in this cover. The girl looks similar to how I picture Clara and I absolutely love her dress. I also adore the wash of pink which I find to be a bit uncommon in YA books! The font that is used on the cover is magical, and I honestly love the title! Another bonus? This cover matches the first two in every way I mentioned, including being gorgeous!

I have to say, I'm pretty excited to read Boundless! I've liked both of the previous novels, and am really looking forward to seeing how it wraps up. And getting a chance to stare at the cover in person!

Boundless is out January 22nd, 2013 from HarperTeen!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (14)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which bloggers share the books they stacked their shelves with during the week!

This week, I was extremely lucky. Not only was I able to attend the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour in Montreal last weekend, but I got to meet amazing bloggers! I only purchased one book but I ended up receiving fourteen other books! Yeah, I have a huge stack of books to add to my shelf this week. Check it out! 

- Vampire Diaries: The Return, Vol.3 Midnight by L. J. Smith
- Bad Girls Don't Die (Bad Girls Don't Die #1) by Katie Alender
- L. A. Candy (L.A. Candy #1) by Lauren Conrad
- The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella)
- Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
- Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry #1) by Simone Elkeles (I'm so happy I got a copy of this! Been going back and forth on buying it for a year!)
- Witch Eyes (Witch Eyes #1) by Scott Tracey
- Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
- Halo (Halo #1) by Alexandra Adornetto
- Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
- The Luxe (The Luxe #1) by Anna Godbersen
- Splendor (The Luxe #4) by Anna Godbersen
- Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand

- Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

HUGE HUGE thank you to Lucy from Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf for the amazing gifts above the the prize! It was so generous and I'm really thankful! You are awesome!

- Beautiful Chaos (Beautiful Chaos #3) by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia (purchased for the Smart Chicks Signing!) 

- Black Dawn bookmarks
- Morganville tattoos
- Morganville identification cards
- Beautiful Creatures bookmarks
- Beautiful Redemption bracelet
- Texas Gothic bookmark
- Carnival of Souls card
- Smart Chicks flyer
(Thanks to all the Smart Chicks and Chapters Pointe-Claire for the swag!)

Phew! *wipes forehead* That was a lot of stuff! What did you stack your shelf with this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Friday, September 21, 2012

All Covered Up: Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

Today on All Covered Up, I'm going to be featuring the stunningly gorgeous cover of Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff. Check it out!

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record.  The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one.  Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders?  Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets.  She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between. (Summary from Goodreads)

The cover of this novel drew me in immediately. It is so stunningly intricate! The first thing my eye was drawn to was the punch of red in the heart, and the gorgeous detail within it. Then the girl herself with the paper cutout dress and heart shaped hair ribbon stark black against the pale forest background. And I love that the forest is also detailed, along with the rest of the landscape! I have a feeling I'm just going to be staring at this cover for hours on end! It is simply gorgeous!

And, it looks like the pages within this artistic cover will be stunning as well! I haven't read any books by Brenna Yovanoff but I've heard lots of good things! And, I mean, did you read that description? Sounds like a very chilling tale. And one I can't wait to read!

Paper Valentine is out January 8th, 2013 from Razorbill!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Women of the Otherworld Challenge (2): Stolen

Title: Stolen (Women of the Otherworld #2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Random House Canada
Release Date: December 24th, 2002
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4/5

Even though she's the world's only female werewolf, Elena Michaels is just a regular girl at heart -- with larger than normal appetites. She sticks to three feasts a day, loves long runs in the moonlight, and has a lover who is unbelievable frustrating yet all the more sexy for his dark side. Like every regular girl, she certainly doesn't believe in witches. Then again, when two small, ridiculously feminine women manage to hurl her against a wall, and then save her from the hunters on her tail, Elena realizes that maybe there are more things in heaven and earth than she's dreamt of.

Vampires, demons, shamans, witches -- in Stolen they all exist, and they're all under attack. An obsessed tycoon with a sick curiosity is well on his way to amassing a private collection of supernaturals, and plans to harness their powers for himself -- even if it means killing them. For Elena, kidnapped and imprisoned deep underground, separated from her Pack, unable to tell her friends from her enemies, choosing the right allies is a matter of life and death. (Summary from Goodreads)
(Note: This is an ADULT book. I don't usually review adult books on the blog, but I'm making an exception solely for the Women of the Otherworld Challenge)

Man, these books are addicting. I know that I read them each in a day the first time around, but what I forgot was the pull these books have! Every time I put Stolen down I was drawn to pick it right back up again! I may have known what would happen next, but I was captivated nonetheless. Kelley Armstrong, you are one amazing author.

Stolen introduces readers to the real Otherworld, which is populated with much more than just werewolves. Witches, necromancers, half-demons, sorcerers, shamans, and even vampires all exist in this story, and it throws Elena and the Pack for a bit of a loop. I really liked that Armstrong added all these supernatural races to the mix, and enjoyed learning about them in this novel. 

I remember being a bit disappointed with Stolen the first time I read it because there wasn't enough Clay (hey, what can I say, I love that Southern drawl!). This time, I really loved being able to learn more about Elena, and see her develop as a character. I enjoyed watching her stand up for herself, and keep her head together (for the most part) when in such an intense situation. I loved that she was calculating and strong, always looking for a way out of her peridcament instead of just accepting her fate. I felt myself being more passionately angry over what Elena was subjected through at the hands of these twisted scientists, and warped mogul. I just kept waiting for the tables to be turned on them, and hoped Elena would be the one to do it. 

As I said earlier, I loved that Kelley Armstrong added in a whole range of other supernaturals, but I wasn't a huge fan of Paige the first time around. I found her to be very bossy and irritating and she just generally rubbed me the wrong way. My, how my view of her has changed because this time reading it, I adored her. Yes, she was still over-bearing and haughty but at the same time she was fierce and rebellious. I could see how strong and passionate she was about being a witch and doing the right thing, which made me really love her. I also happened to adore small and defiant Savannah, who despite being twelve, never seemed to back down.

Stolen was the amazing, action-packed follow-up that I had been hoping for and much more. I loved the new characters, passionately hated the villains, and had an awesome protagonist to root for. Another amazing installment in one of my all-time favorite series!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads | Kelley Armstrong's Website

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Everlasting by Alyson Noel

Title: Everlasting (Evermore #6)
Author: Alyson Noel
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: June 4th, 2011
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 3.5/5

Everlasting is the sixth and final installment of the epic love story that has enchanted readers across the world. Ever and Damen have spent centuries facing down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears-all in the hope of being together forever. Now in Everlasting, their destiny is finally within reach.

Will they be united-or torn apart forever? Readers will finally discover the truth in this anxiously awaited conclusion! (Summary from Goodreads)

I remember when my eye first caught the gorgeous cover of Evermore. I was just getting into reading teen lit, and I was absolutely entranced by this series. My love faltered a bit near the middle, but re-surged once again by the end. I waited awhile to read Everlasting but I wish I hadn't. This was a surprising, but fitting end to the series, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

I was really shocked about the direction this novel took. If I expected the complete glamorization of immortality, I was sorely mistaken. And I kind of loved it. I mean, think about it. Would you really want to live forever? Would you want to have life almost pass you buy and just be stuck in place? I'm sure it would be awesome at first. But, forever is an extremely long time. And in reality, it would be more of a curse than a dream. And I kind of loved that Everlasting talked about that. I'm usually not a fan of karmic ideas, but I think it fit well with the themes and ideas of the series. 

Ever and Damen. Oh, I really do adore them. I've continued to read this series because I have such faith in their relationship. I mean, it's spanned centuries! But, they just seem to click together. They have their issues, both seperately and as a couple, but they also have this unbreakable bond and a willingness to make it work even through the hardships. Ever can sometimes be irritating, but in this last installement I was really proud of her determination. She knew what she had to do and was going to fight to make sure she fixed all the wrongs that had been made. I also liked seeing this uncertain side of Damen. Usually so sure and put together, getting to see a different Damen was an added bonus in this final installment. Together, they are a fantastic duo, and I'll miss reading about their adventures.

My problem with book is ironic. Because, although I appreciated that this novel didn't follow the typical conventions I expected, I wasn't a huge fan of that way it did go. I think that's a personal perspective though, since it's the idea that bothered me. I loved the idea of questioning immortality, but not exactly the direction those questions took. Now, that sounds kind of complicated, and that's probably because I still feel muddled about it. The same things that made me enjoy the novel also detracted from it. I don't really like picture perfect, and I felt a lot of the novel was (or, it was implied that it would be) although, not in the way I expected. At the same time, after six books I wanted to see Ever and Damen be happy together. So, yeah. I was pretty conflicted about the whole thing. One thing I know for sure: I'm going to really miss Romy and Rayne.

Overall, Everlasting was exactly the end that this series needed, even if I didn't see it coming. It was fun, engaging, and filled with passion. Things I love in a series, and things I'm glad to see in Everlasting. I'll miss the awesome duo, Summerland and all the amazing things that I have loved while reading the Evermore series! A great end, and a beautiful series.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads | Alyson Noel's Website

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (23): Asunder by Jodi Meadows

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: Asunder (Newsoul #2) by Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Release Date: January 29th, 2013

*WARNING: Plot summary contains spoilers for book one!*
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Incarnate trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy. (Summary from Goodreads)

I was entirely enchanted by Incarnate when I picked it up earlier this year and the spell it cast has lingered to this day. Jodi Meadows created a beautiful novel that was full of magic and wonder contrasted with hatred and exclusion. And I happen to love it. I cannot wait to be immersed once again in this fantastical story, and find out what happens to these amazing characters *cue the swooning over Sam*! 

Also, the cover of Asunder? Beautiful! And apparently very symbolic which is always a great touch!

In other news, I've recently joined Team Incarnate, so expect some exciting Incarnate/Asunder themed posts in the coming months!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Source: ARC (Borrowed from Kathy)

My Rating: 5/5

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before. (Summary from Goodreads)

I knew this was going to be a stunner but I was not prepared for the amazingness of The Raven Boys. It sailed past my every expectation and has sky-rocketed on to my all-time favorites list. This was a beautiful, alluring, captivating book, and I still can’t get over it. I want to read it over and over, to be lost in this story and never find my way out.

I find that I focus my reviews on either characters or plot, even if I love both. I always seem to love one more than the other. But, The Raven Boys is different. Because the plot was honestly so creative and enthralling and the characters were some I completely connected with. I just want to gush on endlessly about this book. There was nothing I didn’t love.

Maggie Stiefvater creates enchanting characters in all her books and The Raven Boys is no exception. I have said it once, and I’ll no doubt say it tons of times: I adore broken characters and The Raven Boys are as fractured as they come. They have so much depth, and heart and I can’t help but love every piece of them. The Raven Boys were a broken bunch and they were beautiful, stunning people, each held together by a dream and a seemingly unbreakable bond.

My view of Adam varied throughout the book, but overall I was definitely a fan. He was a very sweet, complex character and one I kept cheering for. I loved his determination, and passion, although I was slightly frustrated by his pride. At the same time, I knew my frustration was simply an outsider’s perspective, and that being in his situation would give me a much different opinion. Ronan is...well, he's Ronan. A haunted soul whose dark past seems embedded in every move he makes. I think he could seem a bit off-putting to some readers, but I loved him with abandon. I want to know more about him, to peel back his armour and see what lies beneath. Noah was a mysterious character. He had a shy, calming personality, and something magical about him that I was fascinated with. I wanted to know his story, and what his role in the ley line hunt truly was.

But of all the characters, Gansey captivated me the most. Gansey. Oh my Gansey.

Gansey was also the character I connected with the most. Constantly searching for more, hoping to find a nugget of magic and beauty in this world. I’ve always been the kind of person that wants to know, to learn as much as I can, and to find some sense of meaning and purpose in this world. Watching Gansey on his quest to find the ancient king, to find something more to life, and to fulfill his desperate purpose was both heart-breaking and enchanting. When he was explaining his quest I felt fascinated. I clung to every word he said, and even found myself researching the historical tops online (I have to see those Nazca Lines for myself one day). I wanted to join him on his journey to find Glendower and the meaning of the ley lines. I felt myself utterly obsessed with it, just like him. I could also see that part in Gansey that was just broken, and I wanted to desperately to help him fix it. To help him complete his quest and stand right next to him as he unlocked the secrets he was desperate to know. I don’t think I’ve felt just a deep connection to a character in a long while, and it was honestly amazing. Gansey is everything I’ve always wanted in a character, and I’m so happy to have read about him.

Then, of course, there’s Blue. Her fascinating home life and strange power kept me intrigued through the book. As did the prophecy that seemed to be woven into most of her life. I loved her determination and enthrallment with the magical ley lines. She wasn’t a protagonist that was going to just stand back and watch the scene, but rather dive in and be a part of the action, which was great to read about.

This wasn't an unputdownable book. I set The Raven Boys aside, hung out with friends, watched Masterchef, and went along with my life. But, each and every time I picked up that book I was welcomed back with open arms. I slipped right back into the story with no sense of time in between readings. And the story was brilliant. I loved the idea of the ley lines (which I’ve heard of before, but not in so much detail), the quest for Glendower, the theme of the ravens woven in and every other magical aspect of the story. I wanted to immerse myself in this world, because I was so captivated by it. Maybe it’s just my pure love of myths and legends, but this story was just beautiful to me.

Maggie Stiefvater has a way of turning simple phrases into extraordinary prose. I was amazed, as I always am, but her pure talent when it comes to writing. The words flowed together so well, I found myself sitting back stunned at points. I love amazing writing, and Maggie Stiefvater never disappoints.

As a final note since really, I could go on for days, this is one heck of a gorgeous cover. If you see it up close, the Raven is made of brush strokes, which just adds to the beauty. It’s probably one of my favourite covers this year.

If you love…well, if you love all things amazing in books you’ll love The Raven Boys. It is a purely beautiful novel, and I can’t wait to read it again and again. I don't think I've done this book justice with my review. Read it. It's the best way to see for yourself what I've tried to convey with my jumbled thoughts.

Also, for my fellow team members: #TeamGanseyForEver

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Goodreads | Maggie Stiefvater's Site

Monday, September 17, 2012

Smart Chicks Kick It Tour: Recap!

Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend a stop on the third and final Smart Chicks Kick it tour! It was in Montreal, at Chapters Pointe-Claire and it was a fantastic day.

Emilie and I (photo cred to Emilie!)
The day of the signing, I woke up in a panic. I had dreams all night that I didn't get a spot, that I forgot my books, my camera, etc. and all I wanted to do when I woke up was be in Montreal. Yeah, it was 8:30 a.m. and the store wasn't even open so that was impossible. I spent the next two hours frantically running around the house, trying to get my parents to get ready faster, and make sure I had everything all prepared for the signing. At 10:30, my dad, myself, and the wonderful Emilie from Emilie's Book World, loaded into the van and set off for Chapter Pointe-Claire! The two hour drive consisted of Emilie and I gabbing about books non-stop and my dad shaking his head at us. Just as we were about ten minutes from the store, I got a text from Lucy at Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf saying there was lots of people already at the store, and no seats left. *Cue the nightmare flashbacks and ensuing panic*. I may have started hyperventilating and and nervously fidgeting. Emilie couldn't stop laughing. When we finally got the the store I practically dived out of the van, and was met with the one and only Lucy! Lucy and I have been chatting on the Chapters Community and Twitter for about three years so it was amazing to finally meet in person! She had a huge bag of books for me, and led us over to meet the other bloggers at the event!

Lucy and I!

The Bloggers! (Top: Stephanie from Tynga's Review, myself, Cindy
from Tynga's reviews, Cindy from Cindy's Love of Books)
(Bottom: Emilie from Emilie's Book World, Lucy from Moonlight Gleam's
Bookshelf, AH from Bad Ass Book Reviews)
While we were waiting for the event to start, the emcee (I believe his name was Mathieu) kept the crowd energized with his trivia questions and constant cheers. Three of the bloggers (myself included!) won a $5 giftcard for answering one of the questions (my answer was "The Edison Group"). Time seemed to flyby and then it was time for the authors!

My camera kinda sucks, and I was on the floor so yeah...poor quality!

The authors were all really charismatic and so much fun! They started off with great introductions, including Margaret Stohl trying to say "Smart Chicks" in French and instead said the smart chickens. Introductions were followed by general questions and a lightening round in which they made Rosemary Clement-Moore run around since she was the newbie Smart Chick. There were many interesting questions, and creative answers to things like "what was the wildest thing you've ever done", "which characters of yours are you in love with", and "what are the three things you couldn't live without" (common two responses: family and caffeine). Some swag and books were given away, including an ARC of Bitter Blood by Rachel Caine which I nearly died when I saw it. After lots of laughs, it was time to begin the signing!

Photo cred to the Indigo Green Room twitter account!

Rosemary Clement-Moore was the first author in the line, and she was such a sweetheart! I'm usually so nervous and can't seem to find words to say to the authors, but she was so friendly that I was able to push aside my fear and have an actual conversation! From there I went to Melissa de la Cruz, whom I chatted with about the Au Pairs novels and my desperation for The Gates of Paradise. Next was Melissa Marr where I gushed about my love for the Smart Chicks Tour! Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl were next, and they were too funny! They took pictures of my Smart Chicks shirt, saying how much they loved it! After them, I got in the longer line for Rachel Caine.

Myself and Rosemary Clement-Moore!

Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl and moi!

If you know me well, you'll know how much I love Rachel Caine. Her Morganville, Weather Warden, and Outcast Season series are some of my favorites, and I've always wanted to meet her. When I found out she was going to be at the Smart Chicks signing, I nearly fainted! I couldn't believe I was going to finally get the opportunity to meet one of my all time favorite authors! When I finally got to the front of the line, I gushed about her books, and how excited I was to finally meet her! She was so kind and funny, telling me about her once signing 5,000 books, and that Firestorm, my favorite of her Weather Warden series, was also one of her favorite books to write. I ended up in her line four different times, due to the signing limit, and by the last turn she called me a "doll" and thanked me for coming. (Side note: huge thanks to Emilie and Cindy who went in line twice for me as well!)

Rachel Caine!!
Last but definetly not least was the Kelley Armstrong line, which was by far the longest. I met up with Lucy to get my book signed with her, and we chatted about how amazing all the authors and the signing was. I was really excited to meet and talk to Kelley Armstrong for the third time, because she is always so easy to talk with and amazing to her fans. We talked about Hidden and Angelic, her hard-to-get novellas which I have copies of, and then she got to my name. A couple months back, Kelley had an impormptu Twitter contest to have your name in her next book! I tweeted her my name, and she ended up choosing it! I was extactic! At the signing, she told me how she's been writing my name all the time and that I really wasn't going to like how I died. Oh, did I mention that my name is the name of an important corpse in her Omens and Shadows series? Yeah...I'm still really excited!

Kelley Armstrong and I! I really love this picture!

After the signing, all the bloggers waited so we could get a big group shot with the authors! A huge, huge thank you to the authors for taking the time to stick around and hang out with us crazy book fanatics! 

Bloggers and authors!

Authors, Bloggers and emcee Mathieu!

We stuck around a bit long to chat with the authors and some of the staff, then headed out. We went to a bookstore nearby, said goodbye to the lovely bloggers then Emilie and I grabbed Subway and waited for my dad to pick us up. I pretty much crashed when we got home, but not before my mom saw my four bags of books and nearly fainted. What can I say, I'm a book addict.

Overall, it was one of the best signings I've ever been to, and I couldn't have asked for anything more. Huge thanks go out to the staff of Chapters Pointe-Claire who were extremely accommodating and helpful. Also big thanks to the authors for taking time to chat with us, sign all our mass amounts of books, and for just generally being awesome people. Last, I want to say thanks to the bloggers I met. You were all so much fun to chat with, and I hope to see you guys again soon!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (13)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews in which bloggers share the books they stacked their shelves with during the week!

I wasn't planning on doing a StS post this week, since I wasn't going to pick up any books! But, some of the Ottawa Blogger gals and I got together last weekend and, of course, a book exchange ensued. As did a fight for one of the most coveted books this year. I also recieved a late birthday present from a family friend, as well as borrowed some of her DVDs.

I'm actually at the Smart Chicks Kick It tour in Montreal today, so I'll probably be picking up a book (or two), which I'll feature next week. For now, here's my stack!

- (ARC) Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
- (ARC) Origin by Jessica Khoury
- (ARC) Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
- Watch Me by Lauren Barnholdt
- One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt (huge thanks to Katie for lending me these two books! I can't wait to check them out!
- (ARC) The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) by Michelle Hodkin (The most coveted book of the meet-up! Huge thanks to Kathy for letting all of us borrow it!)

Borrowed (DVD):
- Sherlock Season 1 & 2 (usually I don't feature DVDs but I had to in this case. I love this BBC show and was so excited to borrow it from my awesome friend! It is brilliant)

- Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (big thanks to Kathy (again!) over at A Glass of Wine! I won her 500 follower giveaway! Masque looks gorgeous on my shelf!)

- Chapters Giftcard
- Travel Notebook (isn't it beautiful! Can't wait to write about my travels this October!)

Well, I had an awesome stack this week! How about you?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

All Covered Up: With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent

Today the cover was revealed for the seventh and final Soul Screamers novel, With All My Soul. I absolutely, totally and completely love it. It fits in perfectly with all the other novels, something I really appreciate in a series. The cover has an ethereal edge to it, and it’s also just plain gorgeous. According to Rachel Vincent, the dress on the cover actually appears in the novel, which I think it is a great touch. With All My Soul is looking to be one of the best in the series, (it’s theme is wrath, so there will no doubt be some revenge and heart-break!) and I’m sure I’ll love every page of it.

I have to admit, I got a little teary eyed when I saw this cover. Not because of how it looked, but because of what it means. The last Soul Screamers novel. I started reading the Soul Screamers series right when they came out. Like, I ran to the bookstore the day My Soul to Take came out and spend the rest of the day reading it in my basement. Then began the countdown for the next book. You could say, I’m a bit of a Rachel Vincent fan. Her adult series Shifters was the first adult book I ever read, and that series remains my favorite to this day. I have loved every novel, and short story I’ve ever read by her (and I’m pretty sure I’ve read them all) and I am so excited for all the novels to come. The Soul Screamers series is near and dear to my heart, and the characters feel like family. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye (if I’m crying just looking at the cover, you know I’m going to be a mess reading With All My Soul), but I’m sure it’ll end on a high note.

If you haven’t read any Soul Screamers novels I HIGHLY recommend them. Great premise, fantastic characters, and just about everything else you could ask in a series.

With All My Soul is out April 1st, 2013 from Harlequin Teen! 

Also, Team Tod for Afterlife. Just so we’re clear.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (22): Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

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: Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 5th, 2013

tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.
Guys, I freakin' love Shatter Me. It was one of my favorite reads last year and I can't help myself from gushing about it. I want to steal Tahereh Mafi's talent for writing because its simply superb. Her words are captivating, and poetic. They drag you into the story and demand your attention. And I love it.

I have been looking forward to Unravel Me since turning the last page of Shatter Me! I'm desperate to dive back into this world, and to be enchanted by the writing once more. I can tell it's going to be spectacular and I'm beyond excited!

The wait killing you? I'm in the same boat! Luckily, Tahereh Mafi has a short story out this October called Destory Me from Warner's point of view! Now that could be interesting!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Title: Never Eighteen
Author: Megan Bostic
Publisher: HMH Children's Books
Release Date: January 17th, 2012
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4.5/5

Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life. Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go. But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.

I read a review on this book awhile back and knew I had to check it out. It seemed to be one of those books that punches you straight in the heart, and leaves a mark for a long time to come. And it was. It most definitely was.

Although you expect the flow of events, when they happen they stun you. I remember sitting on my back porch with tears pouring down my face as I read the tragic and moving story of one Austin Parker. I love to be inspired by books, and I felt that with Never Eighteen. Watching the journey made by Austin to try and help all the broken people in his life was heart-warming, and heart-breaking. He was trying to give life to those around him, because he himself didn't have a chance to live. Each person that entered the story left their own impact, be it with their stories or their lost will to live. And each time, Austin, the boy marked for death, tried to mend the broken pieces. Not everyone let him, not everyone embraced his message, but I think that was just right.

What I really liked about Never Eighteen is that it didn't focus on the illness. It wasn't a tragic story about death, but an uplifting story about the beauty of life. Austin was surrounded by death but determined to live life to the fullest, and to make sure everyone else did the same. I felt invested in the story, but I didn't know how much until I felt myself breaking down along with everyone else. I wanted this boy to get a chance to grow up, to see the world, to live a life he so greatly deserved. But, what he did in his short time was moving, and was exactly what he wanted.

The only reason I couldn't give Never Eighteen five stars is because of the writing. This is a debut novel, which usually isn't a writer's strongest work. I felt the writing to be a bit too simple, and didn't wow me like I expected. The story made up for it, but the writing itself slightly detracted from my overall love.

This was a tiny book but it left a huge hole in my heart. A life and death story that lifted me up, while breaking my heart. A great read, and one I won't soon forget.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Goodreads | Megan Bostic's Website