Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (63): Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

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: Razorbill
Release Date: July 29th 2014

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off. (Summary from Goodreads)

Guys, I nearly started crying when I read the summary for this book. I don't know how she does it, but Richelle Mead's books give me FEELINGS like no other. I am absolutely, totally and completely obsessed with these books and I need Silver Shadows in my life as soon as humanly possible. If you haven't read these books (or the Vampire Academy series) you seriously need to get on that. Cause they are all kinds of incredible.

What are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Monday, May 19, 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Hello, all!

Today, Lost at Midnight Reviews is one of the stops on the Canadian The Art of Lainey blog tour!
Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game. 

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be? (Summary provided by tour hosts)

My stop here was supposed to be a review, but there has been a slight change of plans. I had allotted last week to reading Lainey and writing up my thoughts on the novel to have ready for today. Sadly, there was an unexpected death in my family last week and I wasn't able to finish reading. So! I've decided instead to do a post about why I'm excited about The Art of Lainey! Without further ado:


5) It's a summer contemporary.
- Seriously, contemps set in the summer about budding romance and warm sunny weather make me happy like nothing else. So far, The Art of Lainey has had that in spades. (Especially the budding romance part!) There's something special about summer contemps. They always have this hopeful tinge to them, and I can't wait to see if The Art of Lainey does too.

4) Because SOCCER
- Guys, do you know how often I get to read about female soccer players? Oh, yeah, never. It's one of those sports I rarely see in YA and it happens to be my favourite one! I played soccer for the majority of my childhood and still absolutely adore the sport. So, all of Lainey's soccer talk is delightful to me. Makes me want to get outside and play.

3. It's got character progression
- I'll admit, The Art of Lainey took me a good chunk to get into because I was decidedly Not A Fan of Lainey herself. She is pretty materialistic, a quality I simply can't handle. But, I could tell right from the start that she wasn't going to stay that way. There's so much potential for such a fascinating character progression. And, in my opinion, watching a character change and evolve throughout the narrative is one of the best storylines there is. I can see it happening already in The Art of Lainey and I've been enjoying every bit of it.

2. It's got this punk kid named Micah...
- I had heard about him before I started reading, but he pretty much flew off the page when he first appeared. How could he not, considering the mohawk and piercings! But, what has struck me most about Micah so far is his heart. He may joke around and throw out barbs, but there's caring behind his words. He is genuinely a good person, with a nice and attractive bad boy exterior. 

1. Because of the feeeeeels
- Despite having my reservations at the start, The Art of Lainey has seriously picked up and has me completely intrigued. It also has me feeling the swoony feels, which are obviously the best kind. I absolutely cannot wait to see how the relationship between Lainey and Micah progresses and causes me to melt in a pile of swoons. I'm also looking forward to that happy, hopeful feeling you get when things work out like they're supposed to. And, although Lainey can't see it just yet, I have a feeling they're going to work out just fine.

The Art of Lainey has so many things going for it, and I'm so excited to continue reading. What about you guys? Why do YOU want to read The Art of Lainey? Tell me in the comments and be sure to check out the other stops on the tour!

Paula Stokes is half writers, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the word of YA literature. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where she graduated from Washington University and the Goldfarb School of Nursing. When she's not writing, she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. Paula loves interacting with readers! Find her online at or on twitter as @pstokesbooks. 

Follow Paula: Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Goodreads | Pinterest

I want to say a giant thank you to Jessica and Kathy for hosting the tour (and for being so understanding)! Another thank you to Paula Stokes for writing The Art of Lainey and, of course, a huge thank you to HarperCollins Canada for the review copy! 

My review for The Art of Lainey will be up (hopefully) by the end of the week, and I'll be updating this post with the link!

Happy Victoria Day, fellow Canadians! And happy Monday everyone else!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book:  Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Barnes & Noble | Chapters/Indigo | The Book Depository | Left Bank Books (Signed) | Goodreads | HarperCollins Canada  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (62): On the Fence by Kasie West

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which blogger's talk about the books they're most eager for!

This Week's Pick: On the Fence by Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: July 1st, 2014

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

Okay guys, I am a sucker for a good summer book; those beach-y, swoon-worthy, absolutely adorable reads that make me remember all the possibilities summer has to offer. On the Fence sounds exactly like one of those reads, and I am dying to get my hands on it! (I'm also a sucker for a tomboy narrator (as I was a hardcore tomboy as a child) so Charlie sounds epic)

What are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo

Title: In the Shadows
Authors: Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Source: Purchased

My Rating: 4.5/5

From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t. (Summary from Goodreads)

When I first heard about In the Shadows, I was beyond excited. I mean, it's a new Kiersten White book, so obviously I would be jumping for joy! But, it was the concept that seriously intrigued me. A story told in illustrations and writing, in YA? That's pretty much unheard of. I couldn't wait to pick it up and In the Shadows did not disappoint. 

I have to say that, despite my excitement, this book took me a bit to get into. I was mesmerized by the beautiful illustrations and very by the spooky writing, but I wasn't sure how the story was going to work. There waere a lot of characters and different scenes pictured and I wasn't sure how they were all going to fit together. That said, once I found the rhythm (about fifty pages in) I could barely put the book down! I was absolutely fascinated by every aspect of the story. 

I was blown away by Jim Di Bartolo's artwork. I had seen the little sneak peeks that had be posted, but seeing the illustrations in person was just incredible. There was so much detail, so much talent poured into those pages. The vivid scenery was gorgeous. The creepy characters were gorgeous. And the ominous vibe was almost palpable. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the artwork and found myself trying to soak in every detail. They were just simply stunning, and worked perfectly with the written story. 

Now, onto the written story! Seriously, Kiersten White? You are a GEM. A talented, incredible gem. I am constantly wowed by your writing talents and your enchanting storytelling. In the Shadows was another book added to my "awesome" column. That opening chapter was just spooky, and I was dying for more. The writing itself was so fitting of the story, and just simply amazing. I read some lines over and over and ended up bookmarking a bunch of them! And then there was the characters! I think Kiersten White is so talented, not just in In the Shadows but in all of her novels, because of her ability to create distinct and original voices while still maintaining her crazy amazing writing style. From Evie's quirky voice, to Fia's destroyed psyche, to Isadora's creative mind, White delivers again and again fresh and intriguing characters with unique perspectives. In the Shadows is no exception. Minnie obviously stole my heart right away, because who doesn't love a spunky girl? But she wasn't the only stand-out! I was dying to unravel the mystery behind Arthur, felt so much pride in Thom's fierce protectiveness, loved Charles positive attitude in the face of death, and enjoyed Cora's blooming confidence. Each character added so much to the story, and every word had me itching for more!

I was so disappointed when I turned the last page because I didn't want it to end! This book was magical, and I can't wait to go back and read it again and again. Everything came together to create one heck of a book unlike anything I've read before. This book is worth the buy, guys. And I seriously recommend you run to a bookstore and do just that!

I don't normally include book trailers, but I think you guys need a taste of In the Shadows to know exactly the fantastic-ness I'm talking about! Check out the teaser trailer below!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Kiersten White's Website | Jim Di Bartolo's Website 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (61): The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

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: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: June 10th, 2014

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings. 

The book community has been buzzing about this one for ages! The Murder Complex sounds like disturbing, bone-chilling, thrill ride that I seriously need to get my hands on. And that cover! Talk about creepy. I'm really happy that there is just a month left until I can get this bad boy in my hands!

What are you guys waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Unspeakable Blog Tour: Q&A with Caroline Pignat

Hello, lovely people!

Today is the first stop on the blog tour for the new historical YA novel, UNSPEAKABLE by Caroline Pignat! I'm honored to participate in this blog tour, and have an awesome Q&A! Seriously guys, this book sounds so interesting and I cannot wait to read it! Check out the description:

On her first voyage as a stewardess aboard the Empress of Ireland, Ellie is drawn to the solitary fire stoker who stands by the ship’s rail late at night, often writing in a journal.

Jim. Ellie finds it hard to think of his name now. After their wonderful time in Quebec City, that awful night happened. The screams, the bodies, the frigid waters … she tries hard to tell herself that he survived, but it’s hard to believe when so many didn’t. So when Wyatt Steele, journalist at The New York Times asks her for her story, Ellie refuses. But when he shows her Jim’s journal, she jumps at the chance to be able to read it herself, to find some trace of the man she had fallen in love with, or perhaps a clue to what happened to him. There’s only one catch: she will have to tell her story to Steele and he’ll “pay” her by giving her the journal, one page at a time. (Summary from Goodreads)

Doesn't that summary sound so good? Thanks to Penguin Canada, I was able to ask Caroline Pignat a few questions about Unspeakable!

Lost at Midnight: How would you describe your main character Ellie?

Caroline Pignat: Ellie is a victim of her circumstances. Her wealthy childhood made her spoiled. Her secret makes her shameful. And now surviving the recent sinking makes her feel guilty. She has been powerless in all of these situations, but this tragedy forces her to dig deep and find her true self, her true strength. She is smart, creative, and resilient. She has integrity and compassion and ultimately she learns she is the hero of her story, not the victim of someone else’s.

LM: Why did you chose to tell the story of the Empress of Ireland through the perspective of a stewardess?

CP: Because the ship sinks so soon after sailing (9 hours) and so quickly after being struck  (14 minutes) in the middle of the night, it didn’t give me much time to show the ship from a passenger’s point of view. Showing it from a crew member’s POV meant I could refer to previous voyages, I could travel anywhere on the ship, and the loss for them would be even greater. They would have had a greater attachment to the ship itself, a sense of responsibility for the passengers, and would mourn the many crew members and friends that were lost that night. Plus when I read that only one stewardess had survived, I knew I wanted to put Ellie in those circumstances.

LM: Was there any scene in the novel that you found was very difficult to write?

CP: Most of the sinking details and corpse recovery were very hard to research. I kept putting myself into each situation. I imagined what it must have been like to be trapped below as it tilted, knowing I couldn’t get out. Or standing on the hull as she sank looking for my loved ones. Or walking the rows of coffins looking for my missing family. I found all that extremely moving and at times overwhelming. But the writing came fairly easy because I had imagined it so vividly.

If anything, the romance scenes were difficult. :)

Caroline Pignat is the Governor General's Award winning author of the highly acclaimed novels Greener Grass, Wild Gees, Timber Wolf, and Egghead. Her freelance work appears in numerous publications for both children, teens and adults. An experienced and engaging educator, Caroline has taught elementary, intermediate and senior grades and currently teaches Grade 12 Writers Craft. (Summary from author's website)

Thanks for stopping by, Caroline! 

Unspeakable is out TODAY guys! Stop by your local bookstore and grab a copy! Be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour! (I'll be tweeting/updating this post with links!)

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Caroline Pignat's Website

Monday, May 5, 2014

Review: Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Title: Liv, Forever
Author: Amy Talkington
Publisher: Soho Teen
Release Date: March 11th, 2014
Source: Finished copy received from publisher for honest review

My Rating: 3.5/5

When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.

Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.

But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.

Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love. (Summary from Goodreads)

Before I start talking about what's inside the book I have to talk about the stunning case it comes in. The cover of Liv, Forever is one of my absolute favourites. I mean, the scenic landscape, the bold title, and a floating girl?! How could it get any better! It's striking, gorgeous and a stand-out, for sure. 

I hadn't heard anything about this book until I got an email asking if I wanted a copy. And, as soon as I read the description I knew I needed to read it. Because Liv, Forever is narrated by a ghost! A GHOST. How cool is that? It instantly drew me in, but then when I heard it was at a prep school with secret societies I started flailing. Because those are three of my absolute favourite things to read about. The boarding school setting in Liv, Forever was absolutely haunting. The dank passageways, the ornate buildings, and that foreboding forest gave me to chills. As did the perilous issues Liv had to face. It was such a unique idea to have this ghostly narrator, and I really enjoyed getting to read her perspective and the brief perspectives of the other ghostly girls, too. Each chapter added a more and more ominous air to the book until I was at the edge of my seat, waiting for it to all come to a head! Liv, Forever stayed glued to my hands until the very end!
  At the start though, I was slightly put off at the start with the constant art references. I'll be the first to admit I know absolutely nothing about art. It's never really been something that interests me. So, when Liv and Malcolm went into detail about the artists they loved I just kind of stared at the pages in confusion. I had no idea what/who they were talking about, and found myself feeling distanced from their story. That being said, the scenes with Liv physically drawing (especially ON Malcolm) were intriguing, and enjoyable to read.

Speaking of Malcolm, I think if I was a bit younger (back when insta-love made me swoon like nobody's business) I would have been all over him and Liv. But, I think their relationship was a bit too quick for me now. Although, she does die not long after they meet so it's not really their fault either! As characters though, I really liked them both. Liv was an interesting protagonist, not just because of her ghostly status. She was artistic, and caring, and determined, all qualities I admire. Malcolm was thoughtful and angsty, which totally puts him on my swoon list. Together, I really think they clicked. Seriously, those scenes where they were drawing on each other had my heart swelling. I think they were a couple that would definitely work well together, had they had a bit more time to develop their relationship. 

As for the other main character...I really wanted to love Gabe, but I could never bring myself to fully being a fan. He's a misfit, outsider in this blue blood, prep school world, and that combination is usually one of my favourites! But, although there were definitely many moments where I adored the guy, I found him to be a bit too angry and judgmental overall. I totally understand why he was so angry, but it I couldn't help but be a bit put off by it.

I think the reason I couldn't really love this book was just because I felt a sort of disconnect with it. I was never fully committed to the story. Yes, I really wanted to know what happened, and yes, I adored the idea and the setting, but there was always something that held me back from truly loving it. I think it was just a mixture of the writing and the insta-love (which was a pretty big driving force behind Liv and Malcolm's motivations) that diminished my love a bit. That's not to say I didn't like the book, because I really did! 

Overall, Liv, Forever was a haunting, delicious read that I really enjoyed reading. Atmospheric and creepy, diving into this world was an absolute treat!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Amy Talkington's Website