Wolfsbane

I like this cover so much better than the one actually on my book

I borrowed Wolfsbane, the sequel to Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, from the library.

Calla remains a strong character with compelling conflicted emotions and some great new secondary characters are introduced. I was less impressed by the action than I expected because it felt rushed at times, like she needed a battle so she threw one in, but there was not the same mastery for the fights as there was with the internal dialogue.

I went from being team Ren to being team Connor, I still strongly dislike Shay (I realize this will make me unpopular).

The social structure of the Keepers, Guardians and Searchers is fairly intricate and one of the more interesting aspects of the novel for me.

Wasn’t as enthralled as with the last book but I will definitely continue with the series.

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In My Mailbox

IMM is hosted by the Story Siren

Infernal DevicesI won Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter from Angry Robot through Goodreads.

I bought several books in bargain bins in various stores:

  • Rampant: because it has killer unicorns, and that’s just awesome
  • Nightshade: I read a library copy and loved it
  • The Luxe: for the historical reading challenge
  • Under Heaven: because Guy Gavriel Kay is fantastic and one of the nicest author’s I’ve met (even though he teased me about being younger than the book I was getting signed, which was true)
  • Pride & Prejudice & Zombies : just because I’m curious about that whole series of ghoulish remakes

my new books

End of 2010 Survey!

The Perpetual Page Turner is hosting this survey. Go to her blog to link to the responses by tons of bloggers.

White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)1. Best book of 2010? This is hard! Since there are so many great books I’m going to interpret this as: best YA book published in 2010 to narrow it down. Holly Black’s White Cat was pretty incredible. It has action, mystery and suspense, not to mention character depth and all around awesomeness. I’m picking this book because it’s not just something I loved myself, it’s one that I confidently recommended to my younger brother, my mother and my friends. It is very rare that I think a book would appeal to all of them but Holly Black’s writing will be appreciated by a variety of audiences.

Dateable Rules, The: A Guide to the Sexes2. Worst book of 2010? I’m not usually a book basher, but there was this really terrible book I picked up at work. Dateable Rules, The: A Guide to the Sexes was really awful. At first I thought it looked pretty cool, but um no on closer inspection it’s incredibly sexist and makes me angry. According to this book men need to “conquer” and be in power in the relationship, and women need to “learn to shut up”. The fact that I disagreed with the religious nonsense just added to my general dislike of the book.

linger cover art3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?  I was most disappointed with Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I loved Shiver so much that I over-anticipated the sequel. It’s not that it was terrible, it just didn’t live up to the hype in my mind. I’ll still read the next book in the series but my expectations have gone down a few notches.

Generation Dead (Generation Dead, #1)4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? I was most surprised by Generation Dead. I forced myself to read a zombie book (I’m quite squeamish) because I was TRYING to have a zombie night at the library for teens (no one showed up but that’s a different story). I was pleasantly surprised by Daniel Waters! His book is a beautiful social commentary about discrimination, and I found myself loving the zombies and their friends. The book I was dreading turned out to my one of my favourites, and I’ve been recommending it a lot.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010? I have a hard time answering this because I recommend things every day, at work, to friends, on the blog…I’be probably promoted Scaredy Squirrel the most but that’s not YA. My recommendations really depend on how I’m recommending it to.

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset
6. Best series you discovered in 2010? The Hunger Games trilogy! I can’t believe I resisted reading it for so long. Everyone kept telling me to read it and I was like “kids killing each other? Ick!”  because I thought it was just violence for violence’s sake. Once I realized that Collins is critiquing violence, reality tv, and oppressive governments, I was all in. I love dystopia and social commentary. Plus there’s tons of suspenseful action, Katniss kicks butt and Peeta is a sweetie, how could you not love the series?

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? Suzanne Collins, Daniel Waters, Gemma Malley, Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Kim Harrison, Simone Elkeles….

8. Most hilarious read of 2010?  The Feegles in The Wintersmith had me laughing pretty hard.

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?  The Hunger Games trilogy. I read it in 4 days and it would have been less if I didn’t have to wait to get the next book.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? I think it was Linger but I mentioned earlier how that worked out.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?


nightshade cover links to reviewRules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, #2)Sisters Red cover art

12. Most memorable character in 2010?  I was most struck by Cassel from White Cat, Chloe from the Summoning and Haymitch from Hunger Games but so many more characters touched me this year

 13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? I love the Scottish and formal language of The Forest Laird. Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch Three Times was pretty poetic.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010? Most books have a pretty big impact on me, I don’t think I can choose.

 
15. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?  The Hunger GamesI’ve already explained why

 Book Blogging in 2010 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010? To be honest I just started really following any blogs in 2010. Jan 2010 my friend Erin opened my eyes to book blogs and I’ve been eating them up ever since. Some of my favourites are The Green Bean Teen Queen, Forever Young Adult, The Story Siren, Pure Imagination, and YA Bliss. I’ve also been reading Mark Reads  every day and he’s a good one to follow for a specific book but he has less variety.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?  I liked reviewing The Resistance, Generation Dead, and Sisters Red (I have a lot of trouble deciding)

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?  I wrote a post about why sometimes reading formulaic books is reassuring. I unfortunately haven’t had enough people commenting to work up a good discussion between people. It’s something I’d like to have next year.

 4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog? I really enjoy the discussions on the Forever Young Adult blog. They manage to be hilarious but bring up serious issues at the same time. For example their post about resolutions that makes some good points about changes I’d like to see in YA writing/publishing but is laugh out loud funny.

 

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The Ontario Library Association Super Conference was amazing. It was my first conference and I was thrilled just to be on the expo floor getting autographed books, fighting stormtroopers and learning about new technology. That I got to go to informative sessions beyond that blew my mind. I can’t wait for more conferences.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010? This is all really new to me and I’m pretty easily excited, so I have trouble picking a specific moment.

7. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Um I’m gonna go with book trailers, I don’t think I knew about them in 2009 and they are a great way to promote books. I also love my new Kobo.

Lead the pack

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer was an enjoyable read.

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and te very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything-including her own life.

Character

Calla is a strong leading lady. I enjoy that as an alpha female she isn’t hesitant to use her authority when she needs to but she doesn’t oppress her pack and prevent them from being themselves like some of the other pack leaders. She takes her role seriously but not because she likes the power, because she feels she is responsible for her packmates. She is put in horrible situations where those with greater authority than her abuse their power and take sexual advantage of young people (mature subject matter in this book!) and she is torn by her respect for tradition and her own morals. Her hormones are out of control and that’s partly a teen thing and partly a wolf thing.

Ren surprised me, I’m never sure if he is going to kill someone in a jealous rage or be a sweetheart. He’s an interesting character and I’d like to read more about him but I don’t think I’d want to get involved with him personally. However Calla’s a lot stronger than I am and could hold her own better if he lost his temper.

Shay is a bit too cookie cutter for me. Insert cute, mysterious boy you are forbidden to be with here.

Ansel, Calla’s little brother is my favourite character. He’s adorable, supportive, vulnerable, loyal, just a little rebellious and should win a best supporting character award !

Plot

For the most part pretty predictable, but sometimes I’m in the mood for that. The end leaves you hanging and confused about whether everything you predicted that seemed to come true a second ago actually did.

She can control her pack, but not her heart

Love

I really enjoyed:

  • the sexy chemistry between characters. I think I was blushing in the break room reading this
  • the pack dynamics
  • the rebellion, oh how I love when hegemony falls apart in books
  • the minor characters (Ansel, Mason, Neville…)
  • The groping in the middle of a high-speed chase. “run for your life” and feel under my dress, because ya we have time for that
  • Philosophy discussions, Thomas Hobbes being involved

Hate

  • The making out and fighting in the library that for the most part no one notices. If you are with someone you will be killed for being with, jumping them in a public place is not very smart
  • Giant spiders are overdone (Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter…..)

 Aesthetics

I want to start by looking at the gorgeous cover. The image is very striking and to be honest one of the reasons I picked up the book.

The flowers are chosen because of Calla’s name. Only Ren calls her Lily, and the flowers are bloody, making the reader wonder what her arranged marriage with Ren would be like.

The “t” in Nightshade is the symbol for Scion and it drips blood onto the lilies. This brings Shay into her bloody future. Is she risking her life by helping him?

I love the way her white hair takes up more space on the cover than her face. The white windblown hair seems to represent her wolf-self that she states in the book is always there beside her waiting for her to change forms.

Her eye is breathtaking. It’s striking colour captures our eyes immediately. The eye sums up Calla:

  • strong
  • fierce
  • gorgeous
  • predatory

My major problem with the cover is her makeup! It looks beautiful with the eyeliner and eyeshadow emphasizing her wolf eye and the sparkles matching her hair and the flowers. Her lipstick fits well with the rest of the cover’s palett…BUT in the novel Calla makes a point of saying that she does not like to fuss with her appearance. Even when she is being forced to wear dresses instead of jeans and a T-shirt she refuses to wear makeup, even on the fancy occasions where it’s standard to go a little over-board with makeup (balls, weddings….). Calla want’s to appear tough and competent not frivolous and girly. She dislikes that being a mate is such a big part of being an alpha.

Now on the inside of the book I have a problem with the enormous waste of paper! At the end of each chapter there is a blank page, and then a black page with a moon and the chapter number, followed by a blank page and then the beginning of the next chapter.  If you want to use the moon to remind people they are reading about werewolves or to show the passing of time then put it in the big empty space you left anyway at the top of the page of the beginning of chapters. Extensive killing of trees aside, the moons upset me because Calla explains to Shay that the moon has nothing to do with her pack, that’s just a human superstition.