Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Here by Denise Grover Swank -Review by Avery

From Goodreads: "Sixteen year old Julia
Phillips buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend Monica in
a car accident. Julia awoke in the hospital with a broken leg, a new
talent for drawing and false memories of the accident, in which she dies
and Monica lives. The doctors attribute this to her head injury, but no
one can explain how a bracelet engraved with her name ended up at the
scene of the accident. A bracelet no one has ever seen before.
Classmate Evan Whittaker paid Julia no attention before the
accident, let alone after. Now suddenly he’s volunteering to tutor her
and offering to drive her home. She can't ignore that his new obsession
started after his two-day disappearance last week and that he wears a
pendant she’s been drawing for months. When the police show up one night looking for Evan, he begs Julia to run with him, convincing her that Monica is still alive. Julia agrees to go, never guessing where he’s really from."

While I was a bit disappointed with the change of pace in Denise's "Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes" (I felt that the novel was going in one direction and during the last bit I felt that it went in an entirely different direction,) I LOVED that that happened in this book. Don't get me wrong, the first half of the book was great, really sweet and cute, but the second half of the book was so engaging, fast-paced and unique (it literally kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it). Now this might sound a bit strange because these books have little in common, but I think that if "Spellbound" by Cara Lynn Shultz, "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis, Imogen Rose's "Portal" series, and "Delirium" by Lauren Oliver were to have a baby- this book would be the end result.

Why this book is so successful is because of the characters- each and every one of them is so well-developed, complex, and frankly likeable. From Julia, a girl who is able to pull herself out of the darkness surrounding her, becoming stronger and stronger with each passing day, to Evan, the boy not afraid to show his emotions and perhaps one of the most hopeless romantics I have ever had the pleasure of reading about before, to Reece, the "bad-boy" of the two, who we cannot help but be drawn to despite the fact that he throws off "playerish" vibes and despite the fact that we know that he is very capable of being breaking our hearts.

Another reason why this book is successful us because it (dare I say it?) has a successful love triangle (which I can assure you is NOT an oxymoron). In my opinion a successful love triangle is one in which the reader cannot choose which character they would like the main character to end up with (as opposed from an unsuccessful love triangle where there isn't any real competition- it is obvious from the get-go who the lead will choose, ie. Clary choosing Jace over Simon) . Both Evan and Reese have such amazing qualities to them and both make Julia a stronger person in their own way that I literally cannot choose between the two of them.

All in all, I have no complaints about this book. Whatsoever. It completely blew away any expectations that I had by tenfold. Therefore I obviously highly recommend it. In my opinion the traditionally published books I mentioned earlier (ie. "Delirium", "Across the Universe", and "Spellbound") have nothing on this book! In fact, I think that I like it just as much, if not more, than the three of them. Combined.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blogger of the Month- March 2012

Here at Ontario Blog Squad we are excited to introduce:

 "Blogger of the Month" 

Each month we will interview and feature a Canadian Blogger and they will also post a review on this blog during their month. 

Our March Blogger is:

1. When and why did you start blogging?

I started my original blog Avery's Book (and Other Fun Stuff) Nook about 4 or 5 years ago-it was literally just a gigantic list of books that I had read (when I say that it was a gigantic list of books I am serious, it didn't have any reviews, Memes, or anything along those lines- NADA). Since high school I have made an effort to record every book that I have read and after loosing multiple pages of those lists I thought that the best course of action for me would be to take my lists online, I'd be less likely to loose them that way (except, you know, if some sort of Apocalypse occurs and we lose all of our technology). ;)

I didn't seriously start book blogging until about a year and a half ago. I had just finished reading the latest book of Rachel Vincent's Shifters series and was on her series discussion board when I saw that one of the moderators had a link in their signature to their book blog, I clicked on it and was amazed- I didn't know that book blogging was a legit dealio! After a few weeks of reading various other blogs I thought, "What the heck? I can do that!".  So yes, that is how Avery's Book Nook came to be. 

2. What's your favourite genre/style of book?

YA paranormal- hands-down. Though, I don't mind YA dystopian/ Apocalyptic (which I seem to have been exclusively reading lately), fantasy, contemporary, etc.

3. What has been a blogging challenge for you?

Time management. When I first started blogging I was admittedly quite obsessed with it (addictive personality? You bet!), I would neglect everything to blog- whether it be school, work, etc. Every free minute I had (or not free) I would be on the computer updating my blog in some way. Over the last couple of months I have taken a step away from blogging. I spend about one day- an entire day- a month day blogging (rather than a few hours a day)- writing reviews and scheduling them for almost 2 months in advance, same with Memes like WoW and OMW, and instead of commenting daily on my frequented blogs, I comment on all of the posts that they have posted in the last week all at once. It's really helped me to have a life outside of blogging and focus my attentions on things (ie. school) that I should be more concerned about.  

4. Are there favourite memes or features that you participate in/ favourite blogs you check out on a regular basis?

I LOVE In My Mailboxes so much! Seriously, Saturdays/ Sundays are hands-down my most favourite day for book blogging because of this Meme. While there admittedly is a bit of jealously involved ;) there is mostly excitement- IMM helps me to discover sooooo many amazing books that I otherwise not know about and it helps me to know what ARCs/ books publishers are starting to distribute (which I can perhaps request or which might just show up in my mailbox).

As for favourite blogs that I check out on a regular basis? Oh gosh, there are a ton, but here are a few of them (sorry for anyone I leave out!): Fiktshun (Rachel is one of my most favourite book people of all time, not only is everything that she posts high quality, but she is also one of the most generous/ friendliest people I have ever had the pleasure of "meeting" before), Supernatural Snark (Jenny is so eloquent in everything she writes- I am jealous), Books and Things (Melissa was one of the very first book bloggers I ever happened across), and A GREAT Read (Jess's blog, like Melissa's, was one of the very first I ever happened across).

Then there are the Canadian Chicks: Rabid Reads (Carmel was the first fellow Canadian book blogger I happened across and she is one of the few blogs that I follow that has a more adult focus, rather than YA), Book Labyrinth (Ashley and I get together every now and again and trade/ talk books), Esther's Ever After (Brenna and I "met" during the YA Sisterhood Heroine Tournament),  and Lost in the Library (Jen and I met at the Maggie Stiefvater book signing in London, Ontario). 

5. How do you organize your bookshelves? 

Oh gosh, bookshelves (AKA the bane of my existence) ;) . Over Christmas I acquired three 3 feet wide by 6 foot tall bookshelves thinking that there would be enough room for my books- and there was, for about a week or so *facepalm*. Last week I got a fourth and it is almost full already (Seriously, I have no idea where these books are coming from- oh wait, I did find a bunch of good deals at Chapters last week). ;) 
 As of right now my bookshelves aren’t all that organized since I am CONSTANTLY moving everything around- the only shelves that seem to remain constant are my 2 shelves of adult books (ie. which contain such series Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series and Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworldseries), my 3-4 shelves of my favourite childhood book series (ie. the Harry Potter series, the Twilight series, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and the Artemis Fowl series), and my shelf dedicated solely to Meg Cabot books (there is nothing better than a back-in-the-day Meg Cabot book in my opinion- she was writing YA before it was cool to write YA- her Mediators series anyone? Or her 1-800-Where-R-U? series?). My TBR pile currently occupies 2 shelves and the remainder of my shelves (about 9- which have books/ series like the Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy, etc.) never seem to sit put. In a perfect world I think I would rank all of my books in order of how much I enjoyed them/ how often I read them. 

6. Favourite review you've written (include a link)

You know, I can't say that this is something I have ever thought of before. I suppose that my favourites (I can't pick just one) would be my review of City of Fallen Angels by Cassie Claire:  (I got this book the release date and read it until I finished it and then posted the review the same day- my goal was to be one of the first bloggers to post a review of it), Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: (which is kinda funny, since it was so difficult to write this review. I stared blankly at my computer screen for hours- I mean, how do you describe perfection? ;) ), and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: (just because whenever I think of this book I get a smile on my face- I was in a bit of a reading slump when I read this book and it lifted me out of said reading slump like no other book ever has before). 

7. What is your biggest book blogger related dream (goal)?

I'm a soon-to-be university grad with a B.A. in bioarchaeological anthropology and for almost as long as I can remember my plan was to continue on with bioarchaeological anthropology and get my  Masters/ Ph.D. in it. But then, this summer, I had an epiphany of sorts and though to myself, "Am I really passionate about anthropology? Do I want to spend the rest of my life digging in the sand of some foreign country for pot sherds or bone fragments?", and the answer was, "Heck no!".

When I asked myself what I was truly passionate about the first thing that came to mind was books. Could I see myself waking up every morning excited to get to work because I got to work with books? You bet (also, I should make note that I was a student assistant at my local library all throughout high school and it was the greatest job I have ever held)! So, instead of applying to grad school for anthropology, I applied to Western's Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program. I received my acceptance letter about 2 months ago and will be starting my masters in September of this year.

So back to the original question, my biggest book blogger related dream would be to be a librarian- though I would be in no way opposed to working for a publisher (I think that reading query letters would be really awesome- imagine happening across the next "BIG THING" in the world of YA, or heck, even a book that you really enjoyed and wanted to share with the world/ seeing a book come to fruition/ working with a ton of awesome book bloggers) or an author (which would require actually writing a book I suppose ;) ).  

Thanks so much Avery! Be sure to visit her blog Avery's Book Nook and check back this month for her review.

If you would like to be Blogger of the Month you can email me - Jen -  librarygal (at) hotmail.ca 
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