Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (48): The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton

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! 

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 25th, 2013

Fans of Neil Gaiman's American Gods and Holly Black's The Curse Workers will embrace this richly drawn, Norse-mythology-infused alternate world: the United States of Asgard.

Seventeen-year-old Soren Bearskin is trying to escape the past. His father, a famed warrior, lost himself to the battle-frenzy and killed thirteen innocent people. Soren cannot deny that berserking is in his blood--the fevers, insomnia, and occasional feelings of uncontrollable rage haunt him. So he tries to remain calm and detached from everyone at Sanctus Sigurd's Academy. But that's hard to do when a popular, beautiful girl like Astrid Glyn tells Soren she dreams of him. That's not all Astrid dreams of--the daughter of a renowned prophetess, Astrid is coming into her own inherited abilities.

When Baldur, son of Odin and one of the most popular gods in the country, goes missing, Astrid sees where he is and convinces Soren to join her on a road trip that will take them to find not only a lost god, but also who they are beyond the legacy of their parents and everything they've been told they have to be.

Although I haven't read any books from Tessa Gratton in the past, when I heard about The Lost Sun I knew I had to read it. I usually ten to shy away from high fantasy (which it sounds to be a bit like) but I was just so intrigued by this summary! I really want to dive right into this new and interesting world and find more about Soren. I sense a lot more to this story, and I'm looking forward to seeing if I'm right.

I'll be keeping an eye out for The Lost Sun! I think it's one to watch!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)  

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Opal (Lux #3)
Author:  Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: December 11th 2012
Source: Purchased 

My Rating: 5/5

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it.

This. Freakin. Book. UGH.

I mean, way to rip my heart to tiny little bits, Jennifer Armentrout. After I put down this book (and closed my dropped jaw) I just sat and stared at the wall. I couldn't process all the overwhelming feels I had! For days afterward, I kept wanting to read more Katy and Daemon and was heartbroken that I had to wait until August for the next one! This series simply keeps getting better and better. 

One thing that really drew me to this series (besides the enormous amount of praise) was the fact that it's about aliens. There aren't too many books about aliens out there, and none as cool as the Luxen. They're literally aliens made of light. How awesome sauce is that? In Opal, there were enemies abound for these crazy creatures. I never knew who to trust or what was going to happen. The book was glued to my hands because I could simply not stop until I knew how this was all going to play out!

Opal was also a pretty emotional book. All the characters had to deal with the final events in Onyx and how it affected their lives and relationships. I kind of wanted to just reach in and give them all a hug. They really needed it. I was heartbroken for them, and kept hoping they could work everything out. I loved the dynamic this group have developed and I was itching to get it back.

Throughout the novel, I felt on edge. I had been told by many people that this book was both fantastic and utterly heart-breaking. I could tell from the beginning that something big was in the works and was waiting for the moment when it would all fall apart. And when it did, well, let's just say I was certainly not ready for it. I may have gotten misty eyed. I may have shook the book. And maybe, just maybe, my heart still hurts just thinking about it. (Seriously, like, can I have Origin now?)

The best part, in my opinion, of this series is the relationship between Katy and Daemon. It is so enjoyable to read about, and the two of them are a great couple. In Opal, their relationship was tested, strengthened, and brought to a whole new level. They just work. They always are encouraging each other to do better and are stronger when they are together. I love their banter back and forth. It never fails to make me smile. I also really loved how caring they were in this book. You could see that all these tough times have pushed them closer together. Daemon melted my heart, and Katy did me proud. I don't think I would love this series as much as I do if it weren't for these two fantastic characters.

Opal was simply one of those books I couldn't help but love. That gave me THE FEELS in every way possible and simply made me want more. Just writing this review is making me want to read it again! If you're looking for a book that will rock your socks in the very best way, look at the Lux series!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Jennifer L. Armentrout's Website 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday (47): When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

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: When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: June 4th, 2013

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died. (Summary from Goodreads)

This book sounds powerful. It sounds like on of those books that marks a place in your heart. That makes you smile through the tears. I really cannot wait for this book and hope it lives up to my expectations. It seems like just the kind of book I will love.

Also, look at that cover. This is one of my favorite covers ever. The sun! The shadowed face! The summery feel! The font! Ah! I just want to hug it and hold it and make it be my life. I can't wait for a pretty hardcover copy. This is one of those books I will have to own.

What are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title: Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 31st, 2012
Source: Borrowed

My Rating: 4/5

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Pushing the Limits was one of those books that I've been meaning to read since its release. I knew I was going to adore it, but I never felt like it was the right time to read it. Finally, in the midst of a contemporary kick, I picked it up and devoured it. Pushing the Limits held my heart in its hand and demanded I not stop reading until I had read every last bit of it. It was a fantastic contemporary, and one that had me doing a lot of thinking.

As an only child, I am constantly fascinated by sibling relationships. It's something I've never experienced and am always curious as to how they work. Some of my favorite scenes were with Noah and his two younger brothers. It was heart-wrenching watching this separated family, and Noah's desperation to be in their lives ripped me to bits. I liked seeing the softer side to this bad boy, and it gave depth to what could have been a typical character.

Echo was not your standard protagonist. She was an introvert, haunted by past events she cannot remember. I really liked watching her grow and become a stronger person throughout the novel. I enjoyed her narration and her relationship with Noah. The two of them had me wanting to hug the book. They were sweet together. They made each other better. They were there for each other. They were a realistic, and heart-melting couple that I absolutely loved. 

Forgiveness was a central theme in this novel. It's a theme I always have trouble with, because I am one of those people that find it hard to forgive. In novels where I only have 300 plus pages in order to forgive these people, I find it nearly impossible. I think Katie McGarry really did well with this theme though. She showed the power of forgiveness through Echo and her family, and learning to compromise through Noah. Pushing the Limits was a lot about growing up, about accepting yourself, and forgiving the people who have wronged you. It broke my heart in two, and patched it up again. It made for a fantastic storyline, and one heck of a book.

The only real issue I had with this book was the way mental health was portrayed. I'm pretty nit-picky about it and I had a hard time swallowing some of the things that were said. For me, the way Echo and Noah reacted to her label of "depressed" could almost be described as disdainful. Like it was the worst thing for her to be thought as mentally ill. I think it could have been a jumping off point to talk about removing the stigma of mental illness, about seeking help for those suffering, but instead it was hush-hushed a bit too much for me. I don't think that was the intention, but I'm pretty particular about that topic. Again, I will emphasize that I'm very sensitive about how it is portrayed so my opinion may not be the reality.

I think my other issue with it were Echo's friends. They were horrible. I know, it's kind of supposed to be that way, but even her supposed "best friend" wasn't there for her, in my opinion, when she needed it the most. They kept pushing her to fit into this box. They were so concerned with status and the social hierarchy it was maddening. I wanted to shake some sense, some compassion into them. On the other hand, I adored Noah's friends. Beth and Isaiah were both completely messed up characters (which we all know I love) but they were still solid friends. They cared about each other, and about Noah, and wanted what was best. I liked getting to see all the different dynamics, and watching the friendships evolve. It was an interesting, although at times aggravating, part of the novel.

Overall, I adored Pushing the Limits. It was a great, original contemporary with powerful characters and a plot line that will stay with me for a long while. I cannot wait to read more from Katie McGarry! If you're looking for a great book, pick up Pushing the Limits.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Katie McGarry's Website 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: October 1st, 2012
Source: Borrowed ARC

My Rating: 3/5

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

I really, really wanted to like this book but I could tell almost right away that it was going to fall short. It's companion novel Catching Jordan, was smart and heart-warming, but Stealing Parker lacked the spark of its predecessor. The story itself lacked warmth and humor, and did not live up to the potential the concept presented.

Reading a book about female athletes makes me so so happy. I adore sports, and played them a lot when I was younger. Although baseball is probably my least favorite sport, I was really looking forward to reading about the team dynamics and sports enthusiasm. And while that was an awesome part of the book, it was few and far between. Instead, the focus was on Parker's home life and her relationship with her older coach. I think I would have enjoyed that part of the story had it been done right, but instead I found the majority of it unrealistic and predictable.   

I think the real thing this book was missing was the heart of Catching Jordan. I found Jordan to be such a passionate character, and I loved her desire to push the boundaries set before her. She was not content to just sit back and hope for the best, but wanted to earn respect and pride. Unlike Jordan, Parker was a very flat character. She mostly let things happen to her and never really did anything. Her situation was different than Jordan's but there was so much opportunity for growth and, in the end, I wasn't entirely sold on the new Parker. She said a lot but I find that actions, be them purposeful or unconscious, speak much more about a character than their words. Parker was going through a crisis, no doubt, and I can't fault her for not responding to it well, but she didn't do anything to change her situation either. By the end of the book, I was proud of where she ended up but I don't feel as if it was genuine. She seemed as if she was put there rather than working her way there.

The whole plot itself I found pretty formulaic. I wasn't looking for twists and turns, but I felt like the whole book was just going through the motions. There was no power behind it. This book could have had some fantastic messages about self-discovery, about being your own person, but it lacked the passion to really drive home the point.

On the positive note, Miranda Kenneally really knows how to write great love interests. I mean, I was swooning all over the place because of Will. He was so sweet, earnest, and fun. The kind of guy I would just love to hang out with. His scene with Parker were enjoyable, and they seemed to bring out the best in each other.

I think, overall, I just expected more from Stealing Parker. More heart, better characters, and a story that would have made me smile. I'm a bit disappointed with this one, but I do look forward to the next companion novels. The heart is there, I think it was just missing in this installment.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Miranda Kenneally's Website

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (24)

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!

Hi guys! So, I've been meaning to post a Stacking the Shelves for awhile...but with the whole laptop breaking, random illness, and general stress-ness of the last few weeks, it kind of got lost in the shuffle. Hopefully I'll be back in blogging gear soon enough! For now, here's my stack for the last few weeks.


- Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls #4) by Ally Carter
- Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- Sweet Peril (Sweet Evil #2) by Wendy Higgins
- This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen 


- (SIGNED) 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
I was so utterly shocked to find a package from the amazing Nova Ren Suma in my mailbox last week. In the package there was a signed copy of 17 & Gone along with some bookmarks and a thank-you card. I don't think I can properly say how much this meant to me. I seriously cried when I read it all. So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Nova, for being such a fantastic author and beautiful human being. :)

Received for Review:

- The Uprising (The Forsaken #2) by Lisa M. Stasse
- Life's a Witch (Life's a Witch #2) by Brittany Geragotelis
I was pretty surprised to receive these two ARCs in the mail, but I'm so so excited to read them! Huge thank you goes out to Simon & Schuster Canada!
- The School of Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani
Got this one from work! Thanks to Vikki from Harper for sending them into the store! 


- Hemlock and Thornhill swag from Kathleen Peacock (won it via Twitter contest)
Thanks a ton for the swag, Kathleen! It's all so pretty!
- 17 & Gone and Imaginary Girls swag (Thanks again, Nova!)


- Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga (Thank you, Kathy!)
- The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave #1) by Rick Yancey (Thank you, Emilie!)
- The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook (Thanks, Meaghan!)


If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my crazy excited tweets about some of the new music I got. One of my favorite bands of all time, Fall Out Boy, released a new album (which I LOVE) and I couldn't be more happy! Here's my CD haul over the last little while.
- Save Rock and Roll - Fall Out Boy
Not pictured here because my parents borrowed it to download :D
- Paramore - Paramore
- All The Little Lights - Passenger
- My Head Is An Animal - Of Monsters and Men

What did your shelves look like this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Books of 2013, Part 5: May

Hello, all!

How it got to be May, I have no idea! But, I am loving this warm and sunny weather! A new month means new books, and May seems to have a ton of awesome ones. Here's my list of my most anticipated!

May 7th

- Fall of Night (Morganville Vampires #14) by Rachel Caine: I love the Morganville Vampires series and am always eagerly anticipating the next installement!
- If I Should Die (Revenants #3) by Amy Plum: Although I haven't read the second one, this is a series I've been keeping my eye on!
- Invisibility by David Levithan & Andrea Cremer: Sounds adorable, and a perfect spring book!
- Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl: Love the idea, and hoping I love the book just as much!

- The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller: Looks to be a cute and fun read.
- Loki's Wolves (The Blackwell Pages #1) by K. A. Armstrong & M. A. Marr: I normally don't read MG but I'll read anything KA writes, and this book sounds fantastic!
- The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey: With everyone raving about this one, I can't wait to see what all the hype is about for myself!
- Doll Bones by Holly Black: Again, not a regular MG reader but this one sounds creepy and awesome.

May 14th

- Golden by Jessi Kirby: I have been eagerly anticipating this one and am so so happy it's coming out soon!
- The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston: Sounds like a very interesting book and one I'm ready to dive right into.
- School Spirits (School Spirits #1) by Rachel Hawkins: It's a Hex Hall spin-off series. I mean really, need I say more?

May 21st

- Transparent by Natalie Whipple: This one looks very original and awesome! Hoping it'll live up to my expectations.

May 28th

- Spirit (Elementals #3) by Brigid Kemmerer: I'm such a fan of the Elementals series, and really can't wait for Hunter's story!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Title: Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society #2)
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: June 21st, 2011
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4.5/5

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules. (Summary from Goodreads)

Can I just say how awesome this series is? Two books in and I basically want to hug these books whenever I look at them. They bring me such joy! Uncommon Criminals was the perfect follow up to the mischeious Heist Society! Filled with heart, witty characters and just the right amount of daring, Uncommon Criminals was excellent!

I think I said this in my review of Heist Society, but I seriously love the concept of these books. I mean,  a band of misfit teenage art thieves stealing priceless pieces and returning them to their rightful owners? How is that not going to be a fantastic story! On top of an awesome concept, it's written by the fantastic Ally Carter! Really, what's not to love! 

I don't think I've ever read about kids as crafty as these ones. This rag-tag group of thieves just makes me so, unabashedly happy. I love the dynamic between them all. The inside jokes they casually throw at each other, and the easy way they all interact. It's heart-warming and simply great reading material! They all have different and distinct personalities and all have their certain roles in each heist. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with and I cannot wait to read more about them!

The heist in Uncommon Criminals was so intriguing. The curse of the Cleopatra Emerald added a layer of mystery, and a bit of foreboding to the story. I had faith in Kat and the crew though, and adored watching them scheme and con their way through this difficult mystery. I particularly liked this case because of the family history behind it. We got to find out more about the mysterious Uncle Eddie, and the black spot on his history of heisting. It all built up to one fantastic conclusion that had me cheering out loud and declaring Katarina Bishop one heck of an awesome gal.

Kat herself was going through a bit of a growing period in the novel, and I loved getting that extra side of her. She was still her brilliant self, just maybe a little bit softer. I don't think a review of any Heist Society novel would be complete without a little Hale gushing. Hale is kind of ridiculously awesome. He never fails to make me smile, and make my heart all warm and fuzzy. He is charismatic, charming, and funny. I adore him to bits. His faith in Kat and their teamwork is one of the best parts in the book.

Ally Carter is such a smart writer. Cute, fun books often have just okay writing, but the writing in Uncommon Criminals is superb. Carter writes with talent and with intelligence. I never once questioned how this amazing group of kids could case and rob these highly secured places. It was all so realistic, so well thought-out, I couldn't help but be impressed. I loved all the quirky heist names, the on-going jokes, and the simple banter between the characters was fabulous. Ally Carter is purely and simply a great writer.

Overall, I loved Uncommon Criminals. I mean, how could I not! If you want a fun, addictive read get your hands on a Heist Society book!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Ally Carter's Website

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I'm back! (Well, hopefully)

I missed you! (Taken from my dear Fall Out Boy's FB page)

Hello, my dear blog *hugs*! Hello my awesome sauce readers *OPENS ARMS FOR GIANT GROUP HUG!*

Oh, man. I've missed this.

You may have noticed a lack of...well...anything on the blog in the last little while. My troublesome laptop is officially bust. It's been dead for the last two weeks which has left it pretty much impossible for me to blog. *cue the sad face* Finally, though, I have a brand new, shiny, silvery laptop! *hugs laptop* It still needs a name, and a lot of getting used to, but so far it's been pretty awesome. And, it's allowed me to start blogging again!
On top of all this laptop dramarama, I'm pretty sick. Haven't been able to get a clear answer to what's been going on, but it's basically caused me to spend much of my time curled up in a ball in bed. Hopefully though, it'll all get cleared up soon and I'll be back to my dear blog which I have missed immensely.

So, to sum up this rather small post: I'm back! It may take me a bit of time to get the posts up, but they're coming! Thanks for being awesome and sticking with me through this craziness!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)