Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

February 1st, 2011
480 pages (Hardcover)
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
 What took me so long to pick up this freakin' book?!?!

Instantly I related to Lena.  She felt mediocre next to Hana, but was afraid to step out of line.  She had been taught to be one way, and was scared to embrace another way of life.  And I do not blame her.  I would have been that same.  I need that extra push to step out of my comfort zone.

And Alex!  Oh god, that romance was almost disgustingly cute.  Ah, first loves, not that I would actually know...

Overall, I really liked it.  Medicalization is one of my favourite topics.  It amazes me how anything can be turned into a disease.  So you say you feel sad today?  Here's some anti-depressants.  It's part of the reason I want to get into the pharmaceutical industry.  I hate how there is big money in medicating life.

Anyways, good thing I have Pandemonium right here.  Expect that review to be up soon!

Much love, Samantha

Top Ten Tuesday: Future Classics?

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

This weeks topic is... 
Top Ten Books Written in the Past 10 Years that I Hope People Are Still Reading in 30 Years.

While trying to come up with my ten books, I kept looking over at my bookshelf, and my eyes kept landing on my copy of Anna Karenina.  Leo Tolstoy, why did you have to write it way back in the late 1800s?  Does it count that  my copy was printed in 2003?  No?  Okay.

  1. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins: Really, I could have put any of her books here.  I choose Impulse because it's my favourite.  They're so real and beautifully written.
  2. Wintergirls by Louise Halse Anderson: Again, reality in beautiful writing.
  3. The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs: I'm sorry but the guy read the ENTIRE Encyclopedia Britannica and wrote a book about it.  He belongs on every list ever.
  4. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell: We had to read this the summer before my first year of University.  I read it again when I was about to drop out, and chose to stay.
  5. Sherrilynn Kenyon?: My mom told me to add this.  I didn't question it.  She's written over 20 books for just one of her series (not including shorts) and still kicking.  I guess that's impressive.
  6. The Black Dagger Brotherhood Novels by J.R. Ward:  I love them so they go on the list.  
  7. Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Novels:  She just makes such a great world to escape to.  I'd hate for future generations to miss out on that.
  8. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: Okay, I'm cheating on this one.  I haven't read it.  Don't judge, it's on my TBR.  I feel safe saying that need it needs to be on TBRs 30 years from now, too.
  9. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead: Again, the future needs a badass, Russian god and I nominate Dimitri for that role.
  10. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling:  Okay, time for another confession.  I've only read to the 4th book. And only seen parts of a couple of the movies.  I'm just not into it!  But a phenomenon like Harry Potter likely belongs on here.
Okay, that was easier than expected.  Leave me a comment so I can check out your Top Ten Tuesday!

Much love, Samantha

Book Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Published April 24th, 2012 by Balzer + Bray
445 pages (Hardcover)

Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.
From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.  (From GoodReads)

So, I read this book in less than 12 hours.  I may be a fast reader, but this is impressive for me.

I guess you can say I kind of loved this book.  And I'm going to list why...

  1. Genre.  It's a great change of pace from the vampire and dystopian novels I keep reading.  Sometimes, this can lead to a disappointment.  Or it can be awesome.  This book was the latter.
  2. Janelle.  She's a well rounded character that I would love to be like.  Determined and true to herself.  A little reckless.  Caring.  
  3. Alex.  I want a friend like him!  I mean, I have some amazing friends, but honestly, none of them quite understand me the way Alex gets Janelle.  And, having grown up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, my friends all lived a good 15 minute drive away.  I guess I've always just wanted that best friend that lived next door and could get me in an instant.  Yeah...
  4. FBI.  Books + Secret Agents = A happy Sam.  This part of me has always wanted to work for the FBI.  Probably the only thing I don't like about being Canadian is that our secret intelligence agencies suck in comparison.
  5. The Ending.  I haven't cried over a book in a long time.  Oh god, I need a sequel.  NOW!
Definitely recommend this book.  This is a hard review to write without spoilers.  I've already text a bunch of people to read it.  

Much love, Samantha


Coffee Talk #2: Dancing Queen

I'm on the right.  One of my all-time favourite photos,
taken backstage at my last show.
The three of us in this photo had danced together for all of my 11 years.
Fact about me: I did Ballet for 11 years.

I love it to death.  Dance became my life.  I struggled through my high school years, and nights spent at the studio somehow made everything better.  I suck with words, and the movement became a way to express myself freely.

I went to a small studio in the next town over.  It's a place where you can come and dance and be accepted, regardless of whether you fit the dancer mould or not.  I never have, and never will, fit that mould.  Yet I always felt like I belonged there.  Hell, I missed my senior PROM for my recital!

I had some great roles over the years.  In my first recital, I was Charlie Chaplin (moustache and all).  I played a crow in The Wizard of Oz, a candlestick in Beauty and the Beast, a Lost Boy in Peter Pan, among many other miscellaneous parts.  My biggest role was Drosselmeier in The Nutcracker.  I was always stronger at my jumps than my turns, and managed to consistantly score typically male roles, not that I ever would have traded them for anything.

One of my most treasured memories is my last dance: the Finale in a show we called rTunes (our spoof on an iTunes playlist).  The song was "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John.  I was front and centre.  I had never felt as important as I did in that moment.  Four of us graduated that year.  Three of us had been dancing together for all of my 11 years.  I was last to get my flowers (thanks for that, alphabetical order).

My dance teacher and I hugging as I received my graduation flowers.

Since May 2010, I have missed dancing with a passion.  I still dance recreationally, but it has never been the same.  However, dance is something that I will never give up.

This weekend is my old studios annual recital, called "Get Inspired".  Tomorrow, I get to go watch my cousin step onto the stage one last time, and receive her flowers.  And I will likely cry just as much as I did when that was me.  Maybe more.

Much love, Samantha


Book Review: When Blood Calls by J.K. Beck

Publication Date: August 31st, 2010
Published By: Bantam
388 pages (Mass Market Paperback)
Attorney Sara Constantine is thrilled with her promotion—until she finds out that she must now prosecute vampires and werewolves. The first defendant she’ll be trying to put away? Lucius Dragos, the sexy stranger with whom she recently shared an explosive night of ecstasy.

When Lucius kisses a beautiful woman sitting next to him at the bar, he’s hoping only to avoid the perceptive gaze of the man he’s planning to kill. But what starts as a simple kiss ignites into an all-consuming passion. Charged with murder, Luke knows that Sara is determined to see him locked away—unless he can convince her that he’s not a monster. And that might mean making the ultimate sacrifice.  (From GoodReads)
 I can sum this book up in one word:  Meh.

That's really all there is to say.  I just don't understand how a book that mixes the paranormal with a legal drama could be so dull.  Even the sex was boring!  Seriously, I'm actually struggling to find words right now to express my disappointment.

It wasn't all bad.  The character of Ryan Doyle was actually pretty entertaining.  If the whole book had been about him, you'd have had me sold.  And Tasha had this Dru a la Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel going on that I liked.  Waiting for those two to pop in and out of the story is likely what kept me going.

Overall, I was disappointed.  Sorry, but that's about it.  I will not be continuing on in the series.

Much love, Samantha


Book Review: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Published June 7th, 2011 by HarperTeen
368 pages (Hardcover)

2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house - parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have. 
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn't jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe "opportunity" isn't the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and, um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them. 
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time. (From GoodReads)
I have a love/hate for books like this.  I love them because they make me laugh.  I hate them because they make me feel like I wasted my high school years.  
However, despite feeling like I need to repeat my high school experience and get it right this time, I loved this book.  I would call this a great beach read.  It was fast-paced and witty.  I'm usually not a fan of flashbacks, but the writing style of this book made it work.  If you have a few hours to simply lounge around in the sun, pick up this book.
And don't get me started on the ending!  I thought I had it all figured out (I was kinda right), but there are a couple of extra tidbits added in that just pull everything together wonderfully.
When I finished it, I actually had a little freak-out and hoped there was a sequel (which there isn't and there should be!)  I wanted more!  SO much more!  I want more Hudson!
In summary, read this.  Yup.
Much love, Samantha


Top Ten Tuesday: Non-Book Websites

Not mine.  Found on Tumblr.  If I knew who to give credit to, I would.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish!

And this is my first one!

And it's not about books?

Well, it makes sense.  Bloggers typically know there way around the internet I guess.

So here we go... my top ten non-book related websites (in no particular order)

  1. My University Page where I submit stuff, check emails, all that school related junk.
  2. Facebook (no explaination required?)
  3. Tumblr is actually addicting.  I am constantly checking my dash.
  4. Twitter (have I hit all the social media outlets yet?)
  5. College Fashion - just because I always dress in jeans and a T doesn't mean I know nothing about fashion.
  6. I Waste So Much Time, the 2nd most used studying avoidance site
  7. TSN because I'm a sports nut...
  8. NHL.com ... and hockey is my favourite sport
  9. YouTube where I watch too many beauty and kitten videos.
  10. Texts From Last Night is the ultimate procrastination tool.
Much love, Samantha


Book Review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Published February 7th, 2012 by Atom
376 pages (Hardcover)

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim. 
Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive. 
If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers. (From GoodReads)

Let me start by saying that this book definitely lived up to all the hype.  Like seriously.

It started out a bit complicated and difficult for me to grasp, but once it got going, I don't think I put it down!

I loved Perry from the second he was introduced as wearing leather pants and no shirt.  It's like Veronica Rossi knew exactly what I like in men.  Aria grew on me through the novel.  I really wanted to like her, but it took me a while to get there.  Attachment to the characters is really important to me.  I enjoyed how the chapters flipped between our two main characters.  It's great to see the perspective from both sides, especially when they come form such different backgrounds and lifestyles.  It helps the reading understand the world so much better!

In the end, whether you like dystopian novels or not, you gotta read this book.

Much love, Samantha


Coffee Talk #1: Uhm... Why Book Blogging?

Every Saturday, I am going to post a Coffee Talk blog!

And what is Coffee Talk you may ask?  Well, I figured my book ramblings would be nicely accompanied by other ramblings from my life.  And coffee needed to be incorporated.  After all, this is Reading-AndCoffee...

Next question: why am I rambling about books and coffee and such in the first place?

You see, it all started one day when this badger...

Kidding... Sorta...

Just over a week ago, I sat the book I was reading down (I think it was City of Lost Souls) and went to bed.  But as I was lying in bed, I kept thinking about the book and how I just wanted to talk about it with someone.  I mean, a lot of my friends read, but none of them read anywhere close to as much as I do.  And it all just clicked in my mind.

So I woke up that next morning and started this blog.  I mean... why not?

My friends didn't quite understand.  They all kinda looked at me like I had lost it.  The conversation then drifted into a discussion of how to get Samantha out of the house more often.  Sorry, but I like books.  And I get out enough!  Maybe... okay, I could definitely get out more, but it doesn't change anything.

And that is the story of my blog.  Yeah, the badger story would have been more exciting, but such is life.

Much love, Samantha
Ps.  Badgers are actually mean bastards and should never be trusted!


Book Review: Black Dawn by Rachel Caine

Check it out on GoodReads here !

One of my favourite things is discovering a new series that no one else seems to have heard of.  I'm kind of a hipster like that.  The Morganville Vampires have been one of my personal little secrets.

The series is set in the fictional town of Morganville, Texas, which (unknown to the outside world) is run by vampires.  And these aren't your sparkly vampires... they would kill you if they had the chance!  The novels follow Claire Danvers, newcomer to the town, and her life-long resident friends, Shane, Eve and Michael.  Note that Black Dawn is book 12 in the series, and I definately recommend starting from the beginning!

I think Black Dawn has been my favourite.  Great action with some unexpected twists, and, as always, good love stories.  The way Rachel Caine has developed the characters over the course of the series makes connecting with each of them so easy.  I love this series!  I love this book!  November cannot come soon enough!

And is it too much to ask to just let Claire and Shane be happy for a little bit?!?!

Much love, Samantha

Book Review: 40 Things I Want To Tell You by Alice Kuipers

Check it out on GoodReads here !

I probably should have seen the big plot twist coming, but I really didn't.

I have really mixed feelings about this book.  On one hand, it's discussing a very real issue in our society, which is great.  However, I spent the majority of the book wanting to punch Bird in the face.  As a character, she just annoyed me so much.

I was conflicted on the writing style as well.  I like the Top Tips that pop up throughout (I'm gonna make the Flan), and the integration of the advice column was good.  But the same things seemed to be happening over and over again.  At one point it felt like I kept reading the same page multiple times.

Overall, if you prefer real-life over the paranormal trend, check this book out!

Much love, Samantha


Book Review: Covet by J.R. Ward

Check it out on GoodReads here !

I always like when authors have two (or more) series of novels, set in a similar world.  I really like making the little interconnections between the stories.  A good example of this is Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices.  If you've read bot sets, you get the little things.  J.R. Ward does that here, in the first of her Fallen Angels novels.  As a HUGE fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, I was purposefully looking for those links (Red Sox Cap).

But that was about the only thing I enjoyed about this book.

I understand that Ward was trying to set up her new series and such, but this book was ridiculously slow.  Seriously, I had to force my way through it.  None of the characters intrigued me and the plot was slow and kind of confusing at times.

This book came off a recommendation from my Mom, and when I complained to her, she told me to read the next one, Crave, anyway.  Apparently they get better now that the basics have been covered.

So, reluctantly, I will read the next one.  Expect a review in the near future.

Much love, Samantha


Happy Mother's Day to my Biggest Inspiration

To all the mother's out there, I hope you have an amazing day!

My mother means the world to me.  Without her, who knows who I would be?  She taught me to read and love books.  Most of the books I read are because she recommends them.  She introduced me to coffee is probably to blame for my caffeine dependency.  She taught me to be kind, to treat others as I would want to be, and to fight for the things I believe in.  She taught me that it is okay to have obsessions, so long as they don't hurt anyone or put me in jail.  She pushed me to be all I can be, even if I fought her all the way.  She's been my therapist.  She's been my chauffeur.  She has cooked and cleaned and worked her butt off to keep me happy (mostly through books).  She has shown me that love is possible.  She's been married to my dad for almost 24 years, and raised three wonderful kids (okay, maybe I'm a little biased on the "wonderful" part).

I love you Mom.  Always have.  Always will.  But we need a new picture.  That one is almost two years old now...

Much love, Samantha

Book Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Check it out on GoodReads here !

Okay... uhm... wow!  Let me start by saying that I am a long-time fan of Cassandra Clare.  I think I start the Mortal Instruments series just after City of Ashes (Book Two) was released.  She just has a way with words that sucks you straight into her world and refuses to let you loose.

City of Lost Souls was no different.  I once again found myself trapped in her book.  My mom kept making fun of my facial expressions as I was reading.  Sorry, couldn't help it.  I'm a sucker for witty characters, and there is no shortage of those here!  
"I noticed the Fair Folk often say "perhaps" when there is a truth they want to hide," Clary said.  "It keeps you from having to give a straight answer." 
"Perhaps so," said the Queen with an amused smile."'Mayhap' is a good word too," Alec suggested."Also 'perchance,'" Izzy said."I see nothing wrong with 'maybe,'" said Simon.  "A little modern, but the gist of the idea comes across."  (page 35)
Whenever someone says to me, "Hey, Sam, can you recommend me a good book?", I send them straight to the Mortal Instruments, which has everything you could want in a YA novel.  Romance, mystery, humour, vampires, faeries, werewolves, warlocks, demons and angels, this list goes on and on.  Yet Cassandra Clare makes it all balance out and work perfectly!

So if you're looking at this blog, and have yet to read this series, what are you waiting for?!  I promise, you'll love it!

Much love, Samantha
PS.  I don't think this is too spoiler-y, but I have to let my theory be know... I am convinced that Brother Zachariah is Will, not Jem like most of Tumblr seems to think.