August 30, 2012

Book Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not A Test by Courtney Summers
Published by St. Martins Griffin June 2012
Pages: 323
Source: Borrowed from library


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

My Thoughts:

   I finished reading This is Not A Test a week ago and I still haven’t fully recovered. So much more than a ‘zombie’ book, it was hard to read for reasons that I did not expect. Usually characters in Zombie novels are running from death, not toward it, and as the story continues we learn that Sloane’s home life is scarier than most apocalyptic fiction. It was interesting that though Sloane had given up on living she turns out to be the one with the most courage….is it that she has nothing left to lose? There were so many pages filled with stand out, beautifully crafted writing:

One of My favourite scenes:

“The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don’t tell you about how you can share your deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it’s like there’s nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you’d be crushed under the weight of it. They don’t tell you how you will float through days. You autopilot, here but not really here, sleepwalking, and then every so often you are awake.
The next moment that matters turns out to be this one:    “Do you need anything?”

Not overly gory as zombie books go, but disturbing and intense just the same. Take complex characters and throw them into a life or death situation and it becomes a book that is impossible to put down. I couldn’t wait to get back to read this everyday and when I wasn’t reading it I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  This was my first Courtney Summers book but it won’t be my last.

August 29, 2012

Bookish Confessions

I'm a little late to the Top Ten Tuesday party and couldn't post yesterday. 
I loved the topic so much though that I thought I'd just post today...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the fabulous The Broke and The Bookish.
This week's theme: 
Top Ten Bookish Confessions

My List:

  1. If I put a book down in the middle of reading..chances are unless I am LOVING it or I LOVE the author... I won't pick it back up again. 
  2. I organize my books  alphabetically by series... if they are stand alones, then I organize them by colour. I have two shelves reserved for my absolute favourite books...any guesses as to what's on those shelves?
  3. I face out books on my shelves too..I love covers.
  4. I re-read the Hunger Games, the first 3 books in the Twilight Saga, at least two from the Harry Potter Series, and Sense and Sensibility every year.
  5. I fix shelves, re-pyramid tables, and face out my favourite books when I visit Chapters.... every time I visit Chapters.
  6. I also help customers find books in the kids and teen sections in any book store..... can't help it
  7. I do not lend out my books unless you are a super close amazing friend...and I can trust the book will come back in perfect condition
  8. If I get an ARC of a book and I love it ...I still buy the hard cover when it comes out...and occasionally the paperback as well so that I can support the author.
  9. I do not read the back of books or the inside jacket copy until after I have read the book...sometimes they give too much away
  10. I do not write in my books, dog ear my book pages, or crack the spines. If it's a hard cover I take the dust jacket off before I read it.....
Do we have anything similar? When I look at the list it makes me feel a bit neurotic:)

August 28, 2012

Review & Blog Tour: Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts

I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of the Rage Within Blog Tour:
Jeyn Roberts
Rage Within by Jeyn Roberts
Published by September 4th 2012 by Simon & Schuster 
Pages: 384
Source: ARC provided by the publisher


      Aries, Clementine, Michael, and Mason have survived the first wave of the apocalypse that wiped out most of the world’s population and turned many of the rest into murderous Baggers. Now they’re hiding out in an abandoned house in Vancouver with a ragtag group of fellow teen survivors, trying to figure out their next move.
     Aries is trying to lead, but it’s hard to be a leader when there are no easy answers and every move feels wrong. Clementine is desperate to find her brother Heath, but it’s impossible to know where he’d be, assuming he’s alive. Michael is haunted by the memories of his actions during his harrowing struggle to survive. And Mason is struggling with something far worse: the fear that he may be a danger to his friends.
     As the Baggers begin to create a new world order, these four teens will have to trust and rely on each other in order to survive.

My Thoughts:

This was good. I mean really good. I enjoyed the Dark Inside. It was creepy, and disturbing, but Rage Within takes the “creep” factor to a whole new level. We learn much more about the origin of the Baggers in this novel and I loved the twist of how they came to be… completely unexpected. The story is narrated in a similar way to the first, with the four main characters alternating the voice in the novel. This format works with a book like this and I enjoyed reading the different perspectives of the characters throughout. If there is one thing I’ve learned from reading apocalyptic fiction it’s that I would simply not survive for very long. The way these teens, band together and survive is incredible. They way they find hope and the strength to carry on in the midst of disaster is more than admirable. Fast paced, chilling, and an interesting exploration of character; the Rage Within was what I hoped for and more. Recommended.

I am  happy to welcome CLEMENTINE; one of my favourite characters from this series for interview on the blog:

1. Do you think there is anything that would have prepared you for what has happened in the world?

I don’t know. How do you really get prepared for that? They don't really teach stuff like that in high school. It would have been nice to have a heads up about the town hall tho. Maybe then I could have warned everyone or at least gotten Mom and Dad out of town.

2.What have you learned, what advice would you give to other survivors?

Be careful with who you trust. I know, that’s almost impossible unless you plan on living all by yourself. I was alone in the beginning and I hated it. Life has been better since hooking up with Michael and the others. But at the same time, you’ve got to be careful. Baggers are sneaky and they are everywhere.

3. What is the first thing you will say to Heath when you find him?

 I think about that all the time to be honest. I don’t know. So much time has passed and I’ve changed a lot. I guess I’ll tell him about Mom and Dad. At least he’ll know what happened to them. After that, I don’t know. I think I just want to hug him.

4. Do you have any hope for the future? What do you think it will look like?

I do have hope for the future. Mason says we have to fight and I agree. There will come a time when we have to stand up to the Baggers and take back our world. We have to show them that we’re not just slaves and we’re not afraid. I think we could do a lot of good with the world once the Baggers are gone. Maybe everyone could join together and form a smaller community. It’s strange to see all those empty buildings.
Maybe everyone could start over on an island. I like that idea. It would be peaceful and quiet. It would be nice to live in a place where we could grow a vegetable garden. I’m good with things like that. No Baggers. Everyone working together to make our new life a real one.

Thank you Clementine!

About the Author:

Jeyn Roberts (pronounced Jen - the Y is silent)grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and started writing at an early age, having her first story published when she was 16 in a middle-grade anthology called LET ME TELL YOU. 

When she was 21, she moved to Vancouver with dreams of being a rock star, graduating from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Writing and Psychology. For the next few years she played in an alternative/punk band called Missing Mile before moving to England where she received her MA from the prestigious Creative Writing graduate course at Bath Spa University. Jeyn is a former singer, songwriter, actress, bicycle courier and tree planter. 
An avid traveler, she’s been around the world, most recently, teaching high school in South Korea. 
A lover of animals, Jeyn volunteers regularly with helping abandoned and abused animals, especially cats.

Learn more about Rage Within.
Follow Jeyn Roberts' blog.
Like Jeyn Roberts on Facebook.
Follow @JeynRoberts on Twitter.

Aug 27 – Blog tour kick off at
Aug 28 – Lost in the Library blog - Q&A with Clementine
Aug 29 – Escaping One Book at a Time blog - Q&A with Michael
Aug 30 – The Bursting Bookshelf - Q&A with Mason
Aug 31 – Book Nerd - Q&A with Aries

Simon & Schuster has generously provided an ARC of Rage Within for one lucky reader!
Leave a comment on this blog post telling me one skill you would need to survive an Apocalypse; as well as your email address. Entrants must be 13+, Canada only. 
Winner will be chosen at random on September  2nd 2012 and announced here.

How would you survive?

August 24, 2012

Why I Would Not Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

I have been on an Apocalyptic/zombie reading kick lately, and if it’s done one thing, it’s brought to light that I would have absolutely no chance of survival….Actually, this post could be titled “Why I Would Not Survive Any Type of Apocalypse”

  1. I don’t run. I honestly, don’t run. I probably couldn’t make it around the block..also run = sweat. I don’t sweat either.
  2. I have a weak stomach. Zombies are gross and I would probably throw up before I could get away.
  3. Apocalypse's in general, usually mean food shortages… I do not function with low blood sugar. It makes me tired and weepy, so I would probably faint, or cry or both before I could get away.
  4. I have no basic survival skills- I don’t know how to make a fire, or build a shelter..also, I hate dirt.
  5. I don’t know how to fish, or hunt, or “gather”
  6. also… I don’t garden. I try, but the vegetables apparently need regular watering, and weeding.
  7. I have no fighting skills. No Martial Arts or Kick boxing… not even Tai Chi.
  8. I have no weapons, and If I did I wouldn’t know how to use them.
  9. I am too trusting. I would probably trust the wrong person and they would throw me to the zombies as bait, or as a decoy.
  10. I like my house and my bed, and my TV and my computer and all the comforts of home. How could I  leave? I’d stay and eventually they’d find me….
What about you? Would you have what it takes to survive?
Here are a few of my favourite Zombie/Apocalyptic Reads:
The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1) The Dead-Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #2) The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #3) This is Not a Test Dark Inside (Dark Inside, #1)Rage Within (Dark Inside, #2) The Enemy (The Enemy, #1)Zombies Vs. Unicorns

August 23, 2012

Review: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Published by Harper Teen May 2012
Source: Reviewed from copy borrowed from the library


What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?
This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tender-hearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but Anna, the ultimate good girl, has always had the advantage of her angel side to balance the darkness within. It isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

My Thoughts:

 I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked this up. I thought I had enough of reading about fallen angels…. soooo not the case with this book. I’m not a fan of the cover but I love the title “Sweet Evil” because it speaks to the possible sides in all of us and the author Wendy Higgins does a phenomenal job depicting the inner struggle.
 Anna is different. She remembers every detail of her life, even right back to her birth. She can tell what people are feeling by their “auras”, but she has spent her life up to now, wondering why. Until she meets Kaidan Rowe. A dreamy, bad boy with all the right moves, she’s as drawn to him as he is to her, and he knows exactly what Anna is. These two have amazing chemistry together, and Kaidan might be one of my new favourite “book boyfriends” (le sigh)
  Aside from the yummy guy, the story centers on Anna as she tries to figure out her purpose. Just like us, she struggles with good and evil, in herself and in the world. I love books that surprise me. I expected to read this as an “escapism” read but it was much more. There were many moments where I unexpectedly paused to reflect on the meaning of the words, Anna’s situation and how it could be interpreted and relevant for my life. Recommended, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

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August 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday–Favourite Books I’ve Read During My Blog’s Lifespan

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fab Broke and the Bookish.
Each week we are invited to post a top ten list about a variety of book related topics.

This week’s list:
Top Ten Favourite Books I’ve Read Since My Blog Began

This is a challenging list to create.
I’ve been blogging for 2 1/2 years and I’ve read A LOT of books in that time…..
Be sure to check out the reviews to see why these are my favourites.

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay – Review
Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Review
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting – Review
Divergent by Veronica Roth –Review
The Fault in our Stars by John Green – Review
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater –Review
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate –Review
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern –Review
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas –Review
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky –not one I could review…..
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi -Review
If I Stay by Gayle Forman -Review

What’s on your list? Do we have any in common?

August 20, 2012

Grim by Anna Waggener -Book Review

Today I’m thrilled to welcome a new guest poster on my blog. 
Daphne is 15, an avid reader and one of my favourite teens ever.
She has great taste in books!! Welcome Daphne!!!

Grim by Anna Waggener
Published June 2012
Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher

   When Erika wakes up after a horrific car crash, she finds herself somewhere between earth and heaven, between life and death. She doesn't want to accept help from Jeremiah, who she's not sure she can trust, even as she finds herself drawn to him, following him into a grim city of souls. She's not sure who wants to help her and who wants to hurt her. And she's desperate to get back to her children. 
Shawn's never thought about having to shoulder the responsibility of caring for his young sister Megan and his reckless older sister. And he never imagined that the three of them would find themselves in a haunted wood, sometimes chased, sometimes assisted, never sure where they're headed.

Daphne’s Thoughts:

   GRIM by Anna Waggener, is an incredible book combining myths and legends to produce a truly vicious world where the dead live. Pulled in by its twists, turns, and unsaid truths, the reader will be driven to finish this book with bated breath. Waggener creates a vivid scenario with a cast of authentic characters, bewitching and readily identifiable. The novel weaves a haunting tale by interspersing intriguing nuggets of the past within an unfolding storyline. GRIM is both enchanting and horrifying in turns. The reader will be forced to contemplate the events within its pages long after the last page is turned, eagerly anticipating her next novel.

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August 16, 2012

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead–Book Review

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Published by Random House Children’s Books
August 7th 2012
Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher


When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer's first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

My Thoughts:

I have to begin by saying that Rebecca Stead is an incredibly talented author. I would read anything by her. She crafts memorable stories and her characters come to life. I loved the twists and unexpected turns in this book.  It’s geared towards the middle grades but still relevant for teens and adults. Liar & Spy tells the story of Georges (silent s) as he moves into an apartment after his dad has been “downsized” at work. There, he begins an unpredictable and at times frustrating friendship with Safer.
Georges is named after famed painter Georges Seurat. Seurat was a pointillist and  created Masterpieces using only dots of colour. The author used this brilliantly as she highlighted the contrast between seeing what is right in front of you, and seeing the big picture throughout the book:

(Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884)

I also have to comment on the messages that went back and forth between Georges and his mom through the Scrabble tiles… I loved this aspect so much.

Liar &Spy has so much heart as we watch these boys cope with their lives in seemingly different ways. Touching on themes of bullying, perseverance, overcoming fears, risk taking and family; to say I was moved by this book would be an understatement. Fans of Rebecca Stead’s award winning novel “When You Reach Me” will fall in love with this one as well.

Highly Recommended, This is one to buy for your reading shelf at home. It would also make a great read aloud for a family to share together.

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order for Kobo

August 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday–Book Romances That Would Make it in the Real World


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fabulous Broke and the Bookish.

Each week we post our Top Ten on a variety of book related topics.
This week’s theme: Book Romances that Would Make it in the Real World

My List:

Violet & Jay from The Body Finder Series by Kimberly Derting : If you have not read this series yet, you are missing out.  Violet and Jay were childhood friends until they finally expressed their feelings for each other. Jay is supportive, good looking, kind, brave and all the girls have eyes for him. They work so well as a couple.

Kate &Vincent from The Revenants series by Amy Plum – Even though Vincent fights the urge to die for others, and every now and then doesn’t exist, these two are committed.

Puck & Sean from Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – Loved this book, loved these characters…destined to be together in my books.

Celia & Marco from The Night Circus  by Erin Morgenstern– What wouldn’t these two do for love?

Dash & Lily from Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan – It all started with a little red notebook…

Eleanor & Edward from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – It took so long for these two to get together, they better stay together for life

Hermione and Ron from the Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling – a relationship based on friendship is always a wonderful way to begin. I loved watching Hermione and Ron fall in love.

This list proved more difficult to create than I thought. Perhaps it's because many of the couples I read about go through so much together...perhaps it's because I read a lot of Dystopian fiction which doesn't always have a happy ending:)
I do believe in Happy Endings though, and that you can find one true love. The theme of this week's Top Ten Tuesday was in honour of Jamie's (Broke and the Bookish/Perpetual Page Turner) upcoming wedding.

A toast to love and laughter, and happily ever after.

Jamie, I wish you the happiest of happily ever afters! Much love and congrats.

August 13, 2012

Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston–Book Review

Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston
Published by Penguin Canada July 2011
Source: Personal Copy

Clarinet Reid is a pretty typical teenager. On the surface. She’s smart, but a bit of a slacker; outgoing, but just a little insecure; not exactly a mischief-maker, but trouble tends to find her wherever she goes. Also? She unwittingly carries a centuries-old Druid Blood Curse running through her veins.
Now, with a single thoughtless act, what started off as the Summer Vacation in Dullsville suddenly spirals into a deadly race to find a stolen artifact, avert an explosive catastrophe, save a Celtic warrior princess, right a dreadful wrong that happened centuries before Clare was even born, and if there’s still time, literally, maybe even get a date.
This is the kind of adventure that happens to a girl once every never.

My Thoughts:

  I adore Lesley Livingston’s writing style, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Lesley in person you know how hilariously funny she is. Her sense of humour is found through out the book in the voices of Clare and her best friend…Allie.   Spending her Summer in England, Clare (short for Clarinet) discovers she is a part of a century old curse and travels through time to where the Celtic Druids were at war with the invading Romans.
I found the scenes that centred around this time in history fascinating and immediately starting researching the name Boudicca and Celtic Druids when I finished. For me as a reader, that is a sign of a great read. One that inspires you to read more about it…one that takes you to different places.
Clare is a great character. She’s clever, a little snarky and just “girly” enough.  Her and Al (Allie) make a fabulous pair and it’s great how they stick together no matter what. I have to say that the love interests in this story weren’t too shabby either. Celtic Warrior Connal with his rippling muscles and bravery was a great contrast to the good looking but “brainy” Milo. Hmmm… who to choose?

I really enjoyed Once Every Never and was thrilled to find out that Lesley is working on a follow-up.

For more information about Lesley and her books check out
 or Follow her Facebook Page

August 9, 2012

Epic Fantasy: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury August 7th 2012
Reviewed from ARC provided by the publisher

After serving out a year of hard labour in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


  This is a book I just wanted to sit inside and soak in. It has all the things I look for in a great read; amazing world building, strong character development, swoon worthy love interests and a kick-ass protagonist. Sarah Maas is a talented story teller, the book came alive for me and I did not want this story to end. Celaena is a complex and driven character. A perfect combination of strength and love, though she’s been taught to be a ruthless assassin, she has a softer side and doesn’t loose the girl within. (also a bookworm..-loved that)
  While reading I kept saying to my husband… why can’t I be more like her? He of course asked why I would want to be a ruthless assassin :) It’s not that I want to become an assassin, (maybe if my library gig doesn’t work out) but I would like to be stronger, (and maybe even a little kick-ass). Celaena  knows herself, she accepts her fears and moves to face them. She recognizes fears and strengths in others as well. She’s uses the pain of her past to propel and motivate her to move forward. She has quickly become one of my favourite book characters (ever) and I can not wait to read more of her story. I can not wait to place this book in the hands of every teen and adult I know.

Highly Recommended. One to buy so you can re-read over and over again.

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August 6, 2012

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington : Book Review, Guest Post

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington
Published by Sourcebooks Fire 2011
Reviewed by Donna
from ARC provided by the Publisher

    It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…” 
Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before. 
Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her. 
A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…

Special thanks to my friend Donna for guest posting today: Here are her thoughts:

     I must admit that I approached this book with some trepidation. I am sure that many readers can relate to the feeling of saturation when it comes to certain genres or themes. Therefore, when I learned that this novel was about angels, I performed a very large eye roll, and opened the pages....

    I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Jessica Shrivington has created an engrossing story rich with spiritual and angelic lore, based on religious and cultural history that most readers will recognize. Believable dialogue and character development add to the novel's attraction.

This story features Violet Eden, a young girl raised solely by her father when her mother dies in childbirth. Fiercely independent and artistically talented, Vi has surrounded herself with a few choice friends, particularly Lincoln, an older guy who starts out simply her self-defence trainer, but turns into a devoted and treasured confidante. Upon her seventeenth birthday, Violet experiences several unique occurrences: she is given a mysterious letter and bracelet from her mother, she begins to have vivid and confusing dreams and she has discovered unusual markings on her wrists. When Lincoln and his mysterious friend, Griffin, reveal that she is half-human and half-angel, Violet is faced with shock and fear as she learns that an angelic battle between good and evil forces are playing out on earth. She learns that she must make a decision of whether to embrace her angelic powers and become a part of this war, or deny her destiny and live her life in constant danger.

   The theme of good versus evil is personified in the relationships that Violet experiences. While Lincoln represents good, Violet is approached by another angel named Phoenix. Shrivington creates a realistic storyline in Violet's sexual awakening in Vi's exploration of her physical and emotional attraction to these men. The character of Violet is at is best here, as a typical 17-year old's reactions to romantic love is portrayed with all the insecurities and impulsive actions to which readers are sure to relate. Shrivington handles this love triangle with ease.

   The last part of the novel describes Violet's decision to "embrace", an act that is fraught with physical danger and permanence. When Violet learns that she is spiritually paired with Lincoln, she faces an uncertain future. I eagerly anticipate the next novel and I highly recommend this book to fans of the genre.

August 3, 2012

The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner: Review and Blog Tour

Hi! Thanks for stopping by the blog for my stop on the blog tour for:
When Aaron gets a job at a funeral home, he surprisingly takes to it. But there are dark secrets hidden in Aaron’s subconscious.
He experiences dangerous bouts of sleepwalking and recurring dreams he can’t explain: a lifeless hand, a lipsticked mouth, a man,
a gun... Can he piece the clues together and figure out the truth of his past?

My Thoughts:
     I’m not sure where to begin. Wow. Just wow. This book evoked such emotion in me. The writing is dark, raw and powerful and I was completely transported into the life of this boy named Aaron. As much as this book is about “the dead”, and his job at the funeral home, the story really touches on humanity,  and those who seemingly come in to our lives right when we need them, even if we don’t recognize it at the time. The relationship between Mr. Barton (Aaron’s boss) and Aaron was a wonder to watch unfold. This man’s faith in a boy he barely knew, his  belief in Aaron’s potential was inspiring. If only everyone could have a Mr. Barton in their lives. 
I wrote down a few stand out quotes from the book. Scot Gardner has a way with words and they seem to speak the truth of the moment. These two quotes really stood out for me:

pg. 94  “Hold on, don’t skip all the good bits, I thought. Don’t dream me a life without the romance. Let me do the colouring in myself”

pg. 171 “When somebody reaches out the way Skye had, I’ll have the guts to take their hand and my world will be a different place I know it”

While reading the The Dead I Know, I was  reminded of how I felt reading Perks of a Being a Wallflower. It makes me feel blessed to be a reader, when I have the opportunity to escape inside a book like this; a book that I feel has changed my views about myself, the world and my place in it. Highly recommended.

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I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to ask Scot a few questions:


First Scot , I have to say that I was completely and utterly blown away by the Dead I Know. What a powerful book. I only hope my review and these questions even come close to doing it justice.
Thanks Jen, glad you enjoyed it.

1. I have to ask about your inspiration for the book-What inspired you? Did Aaron’s character come to you first or the story?

I’ve had an unusual relationship with death. My godparents are funeral directors in Victoria, Australia and as kids we were never sheltered from the realities of the business of death. Having said that, the character of Aaron was alive and well in my head before I’d connected him to the setting of a funeral home. He was inspired by a kid I knew who’d lost everything and everyone from his life due to war in Africa. His resilience haunts me still.

2. Mam’s character hit close to home for me as I have a grandmother with Alzheimer’s, she too was a brilliant woman; Have you had anyone in your life with Dementia?

My wife’s mum suffered Alzheimer’s. She lived with us for two years before she needed more care than we could provide. As a storyteller, watching her in decline made me realise that story is everything. Stories are what hold our fragile inner worlds together and if you take the stories away—like Dementia does—people become photocopies of themselves. There was some grace in my mother-in-law’s decline, too—she loved without complication, without expectation, without the hurt she’d hung on to all her life. And there were some funny things, too—she tried to open a can of beetroot with an axe because she couldn’t find a can opener. She lives on in the character of Mam.

3. Mr. Barton was my favourite character (aside from Aaron of course) His patience, understanding, and support makes him the ultimate hero in my eyes. A mentor and father figure many would love to have. Did you have someone in your life that stood by you no matter what?

John Barton is a synthesis of a number of good men in my life. My godfather, Kevin the funeral director, is a kind and loving man who epitomises grace under pressure and has stuck his neck out for me time and again. My dad, Jim, is compassionate and forthright and has loved me and stood by me through the rough and tumble of a creative life. My first boss, Stewie, is in there, too. Gruff and practical when he needed to be, he shared everything he knew about life in three-second bites of conversation. As a young bloke, that was gold for me.

4. Themes of perseverance, courage, the simple act of holding on and reaching out when things seem at their bleakest sang out to me, is there any “one” thing you hope readers will take with them after reading your book?

If I had a catchphrase I’d engrave on a pen to imbue itself into everything I write, it would distil to a single word. Hope.

Thank you so much for your time, and for writing this amazing novel.

Pleasure is mine. Thanks for your insightful questions.

About Scot Gardner:
Scot Gardner has written several critically acclaimed novels for young adults. His debut novel, One Dead Seagull, was followed by White Ute Dreaming, a powerful story of first love, mates, and a yellow dog. His third novel, Burning Eddy, was shortlisted for the CBC Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Young Adults. Gravity was also shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in 2007. The Dead I Know was published by Allen & Unwin in Australia in 2011; it is the first Scot Gardner novel to be published in Canada.

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