Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (5): Authors I Own the Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which bloggers post their "Top Ten" of whatever that week's theme is! This week's theme:


Okay, let me just preface this post by saying, if I love an author I LOVE that author. I will go out and buy all their books, regardless of genre or subject, because I know I will enjoy them. (I also used to have a thing about owning alllll the books from the author I liked. Still kind of do, actually). And, when I was first getting into reading YA (and Adult Urban Fantasy) I kind of stuck to a few authors. I didn't really seem to realize how many there were out there! (Although, in fairness, when I was 14 there were 2.5 shelves with teen books at the bookstore. Now, almost seven years later (WUT), the same bookstore has an entire wall).

10. Maggie Stiefvater (8)
- As many of you know, Maggie Stiefvater is one of my all-time favourite authors. Her stories are creative and fresh and her writing is lyrical and captivating. I own the entire Shiver series (signed, in hardcover. They are a prized possession of mine), plus an ARC of Sinner, Lament & Ballad, The Scorpio Races (ARC) and, of course, the first two books in the Raven Cycle. If Maggie keeps writing, I will keep buying. 

9. Ally Carter (8)
- It's only been in the last two years I've gotten into Ally Carter's books, and I made up for it by buying ALL OF THEM (okay, not all. I'm still missing United We Spy and a couple of her earlier books). I do own the three Heist Society novels, and the first five in her Gallagher Girls series. And I WILL own Embassy Row as soon as I can get it in my anxious little hands. 

8. Cassandra Clare (9)

- Cassie Clare was my favourite author when I was 15, and I've faithfully bought all her books since then. Will I continue? I don't know. I always enjoy them when I read them, safe for one (*coughCityofFallenAngelscough*) and I have a soft spot for her characters. But, I've been a bit put off the series, so we'll see. I own the entire Mortal Instruments series, as well as the Infernal Devices trilogy. (Technically, I also have an ARC of The Bane Chronicles but since it was written by multiple authors, I didn't count it)

7. Zoey Dean (10)

- Readers of Lost at Midnight Reviews? Meet pre-teen Ciara. Pre-teen Ciara? Meet future-you's readers. You see, my reading life as a pre-teen was all about the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella, and The A-List series by Zoey Dean. I was OBSESSED with both, but A-List held a special place in my heart (and still does). It was the first series I ever binge-read, and the first to get me really YA. I didn't know it was YA at the time, but it was great, I loved it, and I just wanted more. I own all ten books in The A-List series and I plan on re-reading them very soon.

6. Scott Westerfeld (13)
- Now, readers, we're going back to earlier teen Ciara. Scott Westerfeld enchanted me at that age. His books were just SO GOOD and so unique and unlike anything I'd ever read before. These books defined the YA section's early days, and if you haven't read anything by him, you are SERIOUSLY missing out. They are, simply put, some of the best books in YA. I own the Uglies trilogy (still missing Extras!) as well as the companion Bogus to Bubbly, the Midnighters trilogy, the Leviathan trilogy, the Peeps duology and an ARC of his new novel Afterworlds (I almost cried when I got that package).
5. Melissa de la Cruz (13)
- Once again, we're taking a trip down teen-Ciara lane! I was a huge fan of the Blue Bloods series at that age, and kept up with it all these years. I also own the Sun-Kissed & Crazy Hot (the 3rd & 4th Au Pairs novels), Angels on Sunset Boulevard, Witches of East End & Serpent's Kiss and, of course, the entire Blue Bloods series (+ Bloody Valentine

4. Rachel Vincent (17)

- Rachel Vincent is one of the authors that changed my reading. I plan on doing a post about how much her books mean to me in the future, but I'll say this for now: I probably wouldn't have read an Adult books if it weren't for her. I picked up Stray thinking it was YA (it said differently on my library's site but I missed it) and although at first I was like "Well, this is different" it quickly became my favourite series. And it's stayed on my favourites list since then. And then she wrote the Soul Screamers series which jumped onto my favourites list with a BANG. There is no subject Rachel Vincent can write about that I won't read a love. Plain and simple. I own all six books in the Shifters series, all seven books in the Soul Screamers series, and all three books in the Unbound series. I also own a signed copy of Stray in French that I won on Rachel Vincent's blog (it was the first time I ever won anything)!

3. Richelle Mead (22)
- (Side note: HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, RICHELLE MEAD! YOU GUYS, GO GET SILVER SHADOWS IT'S SO DANG GOOD). Nobody does THE FEELS like Richelle Mead. Nobody. She can make me laugh one page, cry the next, and mend my heart right after. She is just that good. I have loved all of her books, and I can't wait until I can get more (specifically, I can't wait until I get The Ruby Circle cause GAH I NEED TO KNOW). I own the six books in the Vampire Academy series, the five books (so far) in the Bloodlines series, all six books in the Georgina Kincaid series, three of the four (GAH) Dark Swan books, and two ARCs of her new Age of X series.

2. Rachel Caine (23)
- Oh man, Rachel Caine. You are a brilliant, hilarious woman. I was lucky enough to meet her in person, and she was just as great as her books. She was also kind enough to sign ALL TWENTY-THREE of my books (plus some anthologies) which basically makes her a saint. I own the first eight books of the Morganville Vampires series (although I've read all except the final book), all nine Weather Warden books, all four of the Outcast Season series, Devil's Bargain, and Working Stiff

1. Kelley Armstrong (29)
- And here we are. At the top spot, and it belongs to none other than Kelley Armstrong. This didn't surprise me in the slightest. Kelley Armstrong is another one of those authors on my auto-buy list and one I've been buying for seven years now. She's just such a great writer. I knew she would be number one, and I'm dang happy about it. I don't think I'll ever stop reading her books! I own all thirteen books in the Women of the Otherworld series and the two anthologies Men of the Otherworld and Tales of the Otherworld (+ Angelic, Counterfeit Magic, and Hidden), The Darkest Powers trilogy, The Darkness Rising trilogy, the first two books in the Nadia Stafford series, Omens, Sea of Shadows (ARC), and Loki's Wolves (written with Melissa Marr). All are signed save for Sea of Shadows.

I will also be picking up Visions when it releases next month. Both because it's a Kelley Armstrong book and because I'm in it! (Well, kind of). A few years ago, Kelley asked on Twitter if anyone would loan their name for a dead body in the second Cainsville book (an important dead body). Of course, I volunteered my name and by some miracle she chose it! When I met her last year, she immediately said "Are you the Ciara who won the twitter contest?" I fangirled a bit. She also apologized for how I died so I'm REALLY curious to read this book now!

Woah, that was quite the post! Who are your top authors?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (65): Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

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: Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear #1) by Michael Grant
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 23rd, 2014

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out . . . (Summary from Goodreads)

Guys, the Gone series by Michael Grant is one of my favourites. I remember bringing home the first one from the library, back when I was fourteen. I didn't know what I had gotten myself into. I waited (impatiently) for every single book after that, and loved each of them more and more. They were disturbing, and frightening, and addicting, and oh so good. They all seem long but I can never manage to stop reading them. I still haven't read Light, the final book, because I just can't bear to let this series go. I love it too much. And it solidified everything Michael Grant writes being put on my TBR.

I'm SO EXCITED for Messenger of Fear. It sounds unique and spooky and exactly what I've come to expect from Michael Grant! The description reminds me a bit of The Devouring by Simon Holt, a series I freakin' loved as a young teen. I can't wait to see what Messenger of Fear is all about!

What are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt

Title: Through to You
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Source: ARC Received From Publisher For an Honest Review

My Rating: 3/5

Opposites attract—and then complicate—in this romantic, relatable novel from the author of Two-Way Street and Sometimes It Happens.

It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smolderingly sexy.

Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything.

Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings.

Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…

This is a tough one, guys. It's tough because half of me really enjoyed reading this book. It was fun, and captivating, and romantic, exactly what I expect from a Lauren Barnholdt book. The problem is, the other half of me wasn't impressed or happy with some aspects of the relationship. And it's leaving me very, very conflicted.

It was smooth sailing at the start, though. I loved the quirky way Harper and Penn connected, and you could tell there was chemistry from the start. I was excited to watch this romance bloom and get to know these interesting characters. I loved their first encounter, and really wanted to see how these two very different people would work it all out. My heart-melted in some scenes, and I had quite the smile on my face at the start! Sadly, the middle of their story got a bit jumbled for me, and I started doubting their relationship.  

My problem with Harper and Penn was simple: there wasn't a balance between the couple. Harper kept trying to establish a connection and Penn kept walking away. When I was reading Penn's perspective, I felt sympathy. I could see his pain oozing from every word he thought. He used anger to hide from his tragic circumstances, and it was pretty heart-breaking at points. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into his head, and slowly unraveling what was truly going on. Although I don't think it was entirely fleshed out (particularly his relationship with his father), it was intriguing reading about Penn's life. And here's where another problem comes in. Because it wasn't just Penn's perspective in the novel, but also Harper's. 

At first, Harper kind of got on my nerves. Her voice was a bit too much, and she was kind of repetitive. She grew on me though, and by the end I was a solid supporter of Team Harper. But, by about the middle of the book, I was getting upset about how Penn was treating her. Here's the crutch. If the book was told solely from Harper's perspective, I would not have wanted her and Penn to be together. She kept trying to connect to him and he kept shutting her down. It wasn't balanced. But, because I was also reading Penn's perspective, I understood why he was doing it. Which made me so conflicted. I could see both sides and they left me with different perspectives. I loved that Harper called Penn out on his actions. She didn't just let him get away with it, but pushed him for answers. It didn't always fix the problem and didn't always work, but I was happy she didn't just go with his crazy mood swings. By the end of the novel, I thought they found some semblance of balance, but it was a tough road and one I didn't fully support at times.

I have to say though, on a completely different note, I absolutely adored Anna. Yeah, she was a bit over-the-top, but she was a caring friend, and a brave girl and I really liked her interactions with Harper. I was also a fan of Jackson. Not at first, but I could slowly see where he was coming from, and loved how supportive he was. 

Through to You, despite some of misgivings, had me captivated. I couldn't stop reading! I just really wanted to see Penn and Harper get a happy ending. I was pretty emotionally invested in their well being, and couldn't help but smile when their romance blossomed. I really did enjoy their story, I just wish their relationship wasn't such a run-and-chase one. 

Although there were parts I couldn't quite get behind, I did enjoy reading Through to You. It was light and romantic and interesting and heart-melting. It was a great book for a warm sunny afternoon.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Title: The Art of Lainey
Author: Paula Stokes
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 20th 2014
Source: ARC received from publisher for honest review

My Rating: 4/5

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 from Goodreads)

Just like the relationships in this novel, my relationship with The Art of Lainey started off a bit rocky. I was even considering breaking up with the book at one point because things didn't seem to be working out. I stuck it out though, and I am so dang glad I did. Because The Art of Lainey was adorable, sweet, funny, and swoony and just the kind of summer book I love to fall in love with. 

We didn't always have such a solid connection, though. The opening chapter had me doubting if I was going to even be able to finish. Lainey started off as egotistical and shallow, two characteristics I cannot stand in a person (or character). I knew she was going to progress, but I wasn't sure I cared enough to read on. Slowly but surely though, I started to see her change, and found myself excitedly flipping the pages to see the ultimate outcome. It is enchanting to be able to watch a character grow and change throughout a novel, and I loved getting to watch that in Lainey. She became a character I truly cared for. She grew on me, page by page, until I loved every little bit of her.

The other thing that had me unsure about the book was the initial writing style. The first hundred pages I found to be a bit forced. I could see the effort to connect to the reader and that made me unable to immerse myself in the story. I just couldn't quite get into the writing. But, just like Lainey, the writing improved and I was soon staring at every word just to soak it all in. This progression, both in writing and character, made the book that much more interesting. I could see the changes happening, and couldn't wait to get to the end to see how it would all come together.

And, then there's this kid. His name is Micah and he is twenty shades of awesome. Don't you just love those guys that are genuinely good? And, he may not look like a sweet guy on the outside, but Micah's heart is pure gold. He was witty, and fun, caring, and intriguing. He was a bad boy but one that you can root for (and one you hundred percent ship the girl with)! His scenes with Lainey were delightful and heart-warming. They were both characters I would love to be friends with.

Once I got past the initial rockiness, I had so much fun with The Art of Lainey. I was laughing and smiling and loving it. I think this is going to be one of those books I reread because I just had such a good time reading it! AND, something I absolutely loved was that Lainey was a soccer star! I was a massive tomboy as a child, and soccer was my sport of choice. I played for years and still get a rush anytime I get to be on a soccer field, so I adored reading about Lainey's love of the game. It was really refreshing!

The Art of Lainey was just the kind of book I love to read on those beautiful summer afternoon. The characters were just adorable, and the story was capitvating and fun, full of growth, self-discovery, love, and just a dash of hope. Simply put, a perfect combination.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight) 

Find This Book: Chapters/Indigo | The Book Depository | Goodreads | Paula Stokes' Website

P.S. I was also lucky enough to be a part of The Art of Lainey blog tour! Check out my post