Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Jane Austen Academy

The Jane Austen Academy


Author: Cecilia Gray
Publisher: Gray Life, LLC
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis


The Jane Austen Academy books are a series that follows the young students at an elite private school- called the Jane Austen Academy. Each story is told from the view point of a different heroine with appearances from the other girls as well!

To make this series even better, they are all retellings of Jane Austen books!

Titles are: Fall for You, So Into You, When I'm With You, Suddenly You, Only With You

My Thoughts


At first I was going to review each book separately because that is generally how I do it. But then I started to read them. And I couldn't stop.

There was that magical element about these books that hooked me the instant I started reading them. The girls are all so different and each have their own story but at the same time they are all part of a bigger whole. The characters are quirky and real, all with unique personalities that tie back to their old time counterparts in Jane Austen's books. Also them boys are pretty great. I enjoyed the books told from a female perspective but at the same time the male students and characters where seamlessly woven into it all making it an amazing read.

I always was sad when I had to leave a character behind because their book was finished. I grew to love them and just wanted what was best for them. But then inevitably I found myself falling for the main character of the next book, who was different from the ones who came before her but that just made me love her for her.

The storylines are superb. There is something about Gray's writing that just has the quality that makes wish that her stories would never end. As soon as I finished one book I immediately wanted to start the next and I dreaded the day when they would be over. I also loved how the stories were retellings of Jane Austen books in a modern setting but the plot wasn't copy and pasted with things updated to be more modern. They were full of twists and turns with a bit of unique spice to an old favourite story.

These books are ones that I will definitely be revisiting (possibly after I read all the Jane Austen stories) because they made the story come alive in my head in a way that doesn't always happen with retellings.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Gone Girl

Gone Girl


By: Gillian Flynne
Published:  April 22, 2014 (originally published Jan. 2012)
Publisher: Broadway Books
Source: Bought
My Rating: ???

Synopsis

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?  (from Goodreads)


My Thoughts


So I'd heard a fair amount of hype about this book before I decided to buy. When I did buy it I wasn't even really sure what the exact storyline was but I thought I would give it a try. I will say that I did have the plot slightly spoiled for me because I'd seen several references to Taylor Swift "gone girl"-ing herself in her newest video Blank Space.

I will say that I didn't find any of the characters very likable. I mean Nick is an asshole and Amy's just off her rocker. They don't really have many likable characteristics but I was still very engaged with the story because I really needed to know what happened.  It was extremely well written (almost scarily so), if it wasn't so well written Flynn would not have been able to pull off this crazy story. In a way Gone Girl reminds me of the books I had to read for English class that were absolutely crazy (Heart of Darkness or the Stranger- anyone?) but at the same time I actually wanted to finished it because I just needed to know.

There is just something there that grabs you and draws you right into the story, I felt so involved with it at times. I can't say really either way that I loved it or hated it- I think my brain just needs a lot of time to process the story and all that happened in it. Because I whole lot of things happened! It was very twisty and turning and had me holding my breath!

While it did keep me interested and engaged I feel like this book is the kind that I would be perfectly happy borrowing from the library, read it and then never read it again.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I Own A Lot of Books From

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors that I Own 

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme created by and featured at The Broke and Bookish blog

1. Tamora Pierce

I own a grand total of 29 books by Tamora Pierce. Chances are if she's written it- I own it! I have all her Tortall books as well as her Circle books and the various standalones and anthologies that she has written or is part of. The infographic below is just a few of her books I own.





2. Lucy Maude Montgomery

Again I own an impressive 19 books by LM Montgomery who is best known for her Anne of Green Gables series. I own several of her other series and standalones as well. Several of them I bought from the used bookstore so they all have matching covers and a very nice price!

3. J.K Rowling

Obviously I have all the Harry Potter books, plus the Harry Potter textbooks, Casual Vacancy and both her books written under her Robert Galbraith pseudonym. All together these add up to 12 books. I didn't count multiples either because my family owns several copies of each book.


4. Cassandra Clare

I have 11 Cassandra Clare books- the entire Mortal Instrument series, The Infernal Devices and the Shadowhunter Codex. I'm thinking however that this may be the max number of Clare's books that I will own.


5. Rick Riordan

Unfortunately I do not have all of Riordan's  books but I do own 9 of them! I still need to catch up on the Kane Chronicles and the Son of Neptune books. I need to get on buying them because I love them!


6. Scott Westerfeld

With his Leviathan series being my favourite I own 7 Scott Westerfeld books. 


From here the numbers decline sharply and they aren't nearly as impressive but I own 3+ books by John Green, Garth Nix, Jodi Meadows, Rae Carson, Louisa May Alcott, JRR Tolkien and others but I am too lazy to go walk around the house to my room to check! 

I should also point out that these are just books that I own- my family owns books that I have read by authors (such as Elizabeth Peters and Anne McCaffrey) where we have A LOT of them. But those aren't MY books!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Lunar Chronicles

The Lunar Chronicles


So the Lunar Chronicles is a series by Marissa Meyer. Currently the First three books are out: Cinder, Scarlet and Cress. Two more books, Winter and Fairest are to join the series in the years to come.
Meyer has taken the old classic fairy tales and spun them into a new rich world. 

I saw Cinder several times in a book store and never picked it up until friends of mine mentioned how much they loved it (they may have even given me my copy? I can't exactly remember). 

But I recently bought Cress to read and so I needed to brush up on the storyline and characters in order to get the full experience. My mom is also a huge fan of the books and is super mad at me for getting her interested in them before the entire series is out (she likes to binge read them all at once!) Since I read all three recently I thought that I would make one master post with mini reviews of each book, so that they will all be in one place. But just a warning- there may be spoilers in the reviews! So only scroll down if you have read the book I am writing about.



Synopsis

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Thoughts

First off I am insanely jealous of Cinder because she is so tech savvy. Sometimes its amazing that I have managed to turn my computer on at all! Cinder is pretty unique in that it is set in an Asian country (the Eastern Commonwealth) which in my reading experience is a rare thing.

I loved the complexity and development of the characters, Cinder is so relatable and I can understand where she is coming from- even though I am not a cyborg living in a plague ridden world. It breaks my heart every time I read this book when I see the horrible treatment of Cinder, by the other people and even by her own family. With the exception of Peony and her 'faulty' android Iko, Cinder has no one. And her step mother is all sorts of creepy, mean, evilness. She is bad enough but then Cinder also has to deal with Levana who is that sort of evil characters (like Umbridge) who just gives you the heeby jeebies. She is one of those villains who just makes you want to scream WHY?! because they are evil simply because they can be. Just thinking about her makes me shiver.

The plot is so intricate and I absolutely loved finding out how things connect later on and just bouncing in my chair yelling when I figured out how A relates to B. That is probably one of my favourite things to do and this book (and series) made me do it!

Another aspect that I loved of Cinder and her world is the mix of science/technology and magic. Even the magic can be explained through some science. There is not nearly enough science in YA books and so Cinder made me cheer with its science. But it's not dry science- it's the sort of science where you think- oh I see how that might work (Especially coming from me- even though I'm not a bio kind of girl). It reminds me of that Thor quote "Your ancestors called it magic, you call it science". How the Lunars manipulate bioelectric energy would be considered magic in our world but to Cinder and the people of her Earth it is science but still has a mystical edge to it.

So basically this book is incredible and I was super sad when it ended and I had to wait for Scarlet. It will definitely be on my list of books to re-read!

Scarlet



Synopsis


Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling instalment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner

My Thoughts  

I mentioned in my Cinder thoughts that I loved when the story unfolded and you discovered how people, places etc. where connected. And Scarlet upped the level even more than Cinder. YIPPEE since I love this! It's obvious in Scarlet that Meyer had a plan when she wrote these books because there are too many connections for her to have just randomly decided to do it. I look forward to finding out what else is a part of the tangly interconnected spider web.

I don't want to say too much about Scarlet (the book) because I feel like I might accidentally give off major Cinder or Scarlet spoilers. Let's just say that a new host of very attractive (and somewhat scary) characters are introduced (*cough* Thorne and Wolf *cough*). The stakes are higher than ever (Levana is pretty much the evil queen/wishes to be overlord of the entire universe) and the story draws you in even deeper. The characters are developed more, the story is fast paced but mysterious and engaging. Really just loved this book too.

I haven't read too many books with multiple POV so it was interesting to see how Meyer pulled it off in both Scarlet and Cress. At times did feel like I wanted to know what had become of a certain character/group RIGHT NOW but part of the magic of storytelling is having to wait to discover what happens- that moment of silence after a dramatic event where every reader is silently screaming WHAT?!?!. That is the best moment.

Cress



Synopsis


In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company.

My Thoughts


Cress brought the introduction of even more characters. Including sweet, naive little Cress. The poor girl has been stuck in a satellite that orbits earth for most of her life, with nothing but some net screens (like a computer) for company. I used to think that I wanted to have super long hair but after reading Cress I've decided against it. She rolls over her hair with a chair, trips on it, gets it stuck or stepped on... (in case you were wondering Cress is based on Rapunzel, Cinder on Cinderella and Scarlet on Little Red Riding Hood)

Cress picks up where Scarlet left off which was essentially a very crazy chaotic situation. There were even more POV written in (see previous complaint about this) but overall I thought it was handled well. It brings together even more of the loose ends throughout the story but at the same time leaves the reader with even more questions. Cress was definitely the book that made me want to throw it across the room most because my poor babies have to go through so much. Why can't they just be allowed to live happily ever after?!?
There were some major twists and events that occurred in Cress 

*possible Spoilers*

Thorne anyone?!? THORNE!!! And Winter??? (she's nuts but just ahhhh). But it was also a bit frustrating to see the characters because they don't really have the best brains in their heads. Seriously, I'm not much older than some of them, and I'm not really trained in espionage or taking down evil dictators but even I knew that there plan was a little bit stupid. (It was. And it's a good thing someone told them).

I agree with my mom about these books- they would definitely be the kind of story that you would want to read all at once, in a row because I do not want to have to wait to find out what happens to all the characters and whether or not the Earth is in control of an evil dictator! But I have to wait
So if I had to sum it all up in one sentence I would say- Fantastic, incredible, amazing! GO BUY THEM NOW!

(Also I have linked each title to the book's Goodreads page so you can check it out there)


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass



By: Sarah J Maas
Published: May 7th 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Bought
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world


My Thoughts


I was super hesitant to read Throne of Glass because I had been told by several people that it was a fantastic book. Recently the books that I have read that are surrounded by a lot of hype, haven't lived up to it for me. So I was a bit scared to try this one!

But I bought it and had it on my pile to read and one of my friends from university read it and recommended it to me. At that point in time we had discovered that we both loved the exact same books so I decided to trust her judgement- and I am glad that I did!

Sarah J Maas writes a complete and intricate story in Throne of Glass.  Ever since I read my first Tamora Pierce book I have loved to read stories about women who are fighters or go against their societies ideas of what women should do. That was one of the things that initially drew me to Celaena and her characters as a master assassin (and the youngest in the country!).  But at the same time Celaena wasn't always a super stoic,  'strong' character. She had her moments of weakness and her moments where she was just the young girl that she is (dressing up for the ball, staring in her mirror). There were moments where I wanted to give Celaena a smack on the head because she was so full of herself- even though she couldn't go on a morning run without throwing up her breakfast. Obviously she had been the best fighter out there but she spent a year at a death prison. Come on girl- you have to realize that you're not in the same shape you used to be!

I also understand all the fangirling about Chaol (although his name reminds me of one of the names for Hell in the Bible...). What is it about captain of the guards that is so attractive? Hector from Rae Carson's Girl of Fire and Thorns series is also a super sweet, nice, kind, strong altogether lovable dude like Chaol. Maybe they are related. Maybe that's part of their job description!

At the same time the plot was so complex and full- I just loved it! If Maas had written a story with just one of the major plot drivers (assassins competition or the other thing) Throne of Glass would have been a good book. Instead she masterfully combined and wove together both aspects of the plot.  Even though I was reluctant to pick this book up I was even more reluctant to put it down once I started reading it!

So I would recommend this book (and series!) to Tamora Pierce fans, readers of high fantasy and people looking for some awesome girl representation!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TTT- Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Characters I'd Want With Me on a Deserted Island


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke & The Bookish. Each week they host a different top ten topic.

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

 Because we all know that Harry and Ron wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for her. Plus she would probably have some hand things in that magical bag of hers!


2. Sam (Incarnate)

Because he would probably have as many instruments as he could stuff (carefully) into his carryon so we could have some evening entertainment. Plus he's super cute!


3.  Jo March (Little Women)

Because she wouldn't mind walking through the jungle to find a good camp spot. Plus she probably knows all sorts of games and interesting camping skills that we could use


4. Kel (Protector of the Small)

Because she could fight off all the wild animals and protect us. Plus she definitely knows how to set up camp, build a fire etc. She would be in charge of our exercise program


5. Daine (Wild Mage)

Because Daine could help us find animals and learn if there were any dangerous ones on the island. And she would have a darking or two with her and then we could all have one for easy communication


6. Katniss (Hunger Games)

Because she would be able to hunt whatever animals were on the island and teach all of us non-hunters how to build traps so that we wouldn't starve to death


7. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Because he would be the voice of reason in the group if anyone decided to go all Lord of the Flies. With him we would be a shining example of humanity building a community on an island


8. Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings)

Because Sam really knows how to cook potatoes and he'd be in charge of turning the game/roots that Katniss helps us gather- into real food. Plus he is the sweetest little guy who would do anything that he could to help us thrive and survive.


9. Hedwig (Harry Potter)

Because she could help us scout the island plus if we decided we wanted off of the island she could send a message to someone to come and get us!


10. Lena (Raisin in the Sun)


Because she would be our mother figure- comforting us if we were afraid but at the same time not taking any gaff. Her and Atticus would be the Mother and Father of our community!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly

Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly



By: Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Tremblay 
Published: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
Source: Netgalley 
My Rating: 3 out of 5


SYNOPSIS
Things Mary doesn't want to fall into: the river, high school, her mother's life.

Things Mary does kind of want to fall into: love, the sky.

This is the story of a girl who sees a boy float away one fine day. This is the story of the girl
who reaches up for that boy with her hand and with her heart. This is the story of a girl who
takes on the army to save a town, who goes toe-to-toe with a mad scientist, who has to fight a plague to save her family. This is the story of a girl who would give anything to get to babysit her baby brother one more time. If she could just find him.


It's all up in the air for now, though, and falling fast. . . .


MY THOUGHTS

Within the first few paragraphs of this book I found myself agreeing and nodding along with Mary. So I was pretty hopeful that it would be a good book. And it was interesting... but also kind of weird and disjointed at times

The biggest problem I had with this book is the treatment of Mary's mental illness - specifically anxiety. There were frequent mentions of how she didn't want to go on 'zombie pills' so she would deal with it herself. I understand that the authors may have been trying to create a character or set up how the reader views her. But this is not the message that we need to be sending young people. We need to be telling them that it is okay to get help, that there is NOTHING wrong with taking medication for mental illnesses. There should be no shame in it. And this bpok doesn't really send that message.

Now aside from that it wasn't a bad book. It was a bit juvenile at times for my liking but it was bad in that sense. I found Floating Boy to be a bit simple and juvenile but that probably isn't too much of a stretch given his background history.
I couldn't wait to find out what was happening to Floating Boy (yes that is his name) and to figure out how Mary and her friends would get themselves out of the situation. (Especially against those crazy Claremonts!)

This is another book that isn't particularly long (this comes from a fantasy reader where books can be 700 pages!). It is a surprising and unique story that I would recommend to younger YA readers or those who like a more childish* protagonist. This book is for people who enjoy sci-fi and semi-apocalyptic stories of small towns in chaos. 
*it should be noted that I do not see childish as a negative term. It simply refers to one who is child-like in manner or actions.

So mark down October 21st on your calendars and check out Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly at your local bookstore!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Fall For You

Fall for You



By: Cecilia Gray
Published: February 10th, 2012
Publisher: Gray Life, LLC
Source: Kobo Store
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Synopsis

It's obvious that Dante thinks he's way too good for Lizzie. And Lizzie knows Dante is a snob with a gift for pushing her buttons. But things are changing fast this year at the Academy. And when Lizzie's quest to stop those changes blows up in her face, taking her oldest friendship with it, she has nowhere else to turn but to Dante, with his killer blue eyes, his crazy-sexy smile, and his secrets... Secrets Lizzie can't seem to leave alone, no matter how hard she tries...


My Thoughts

I am a sucker for boarding school books, the classics and re-tellings. So you can probably imagine my joy at discovering an entire series with these three elements!

I had actually originally requested on of the books on Netgalley and got approved. In the lovely email from the publisher they informed me that it was a series and where I could find the others (Thanks for that!)
I really enjoyed this book. One of the things I love about re-tellings is trying to guess which character corresponds to the classical character. Some of them stumped me at first (I don't remember a Dante in Pride and Prejudice?!?) But I think I figured out most of them by the end.

I loved headstrong Lizzie and her sweet friend Ellie- plus how she came to have a change of heart about some of the characters that she was set on hating. It was very interesting to see the dynamics of such a classic shifted into a modern day private school. I also was a fan of how well thought out the specific details were (ie why the school is called The Jane Austen Academy)- it was super neat to see!

One thing I would change about this book is the cover. I loved it so much but on  a store the cover wouldn't have drawn me to it so I probably would never pick it up. And there is so much potential for the cover- I have a billion ideas!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Elizabeth the Queen

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of A Modern Monarch



By: Sally Bedell Smith
Published: January 10th, 2012
Publisher: Random House
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5 

Synopsis


From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.


My Thoughts

I have always been fascinated by the Queen and the royal family. When William and Kate got married I had just arrived home from an overnight flight from Cuba and then I made popcorn and watched their wedding (it was 4 am).

I enjoyed the biographical parts of the books- things like what age she met Phillip and what age she became a mother or the Queen. It was pretty interesting to me because I knew a lot about her but not so much of the specifics. I can't imagine trying to raise young children and run a country and the Commonwealth! 

But I didn't like how America-centric it was. The Queen would take a thirteen day trip to Canada, and stay in Chicago for a day but the entire Chicago trip would be laid on by what she did every hour. But there was no mention of what she did on her Canadian trips. Almost all the American presidents were mentioned but only one Canadian one was. 

Given that the Queen considers Canada to be her home and that it was the second country in the Commonwealth (behind the UK), it would have been nice to see more of that aspect. 

At times it was also fairly gossipy and tabloidy. I get that the Queen and her family have had their fair share of drama but I think that the author portrayed certain aspects as too dramatic, and tried to skew the images of certain people in one direction. 

So the stories and characterization should be taken with a grain of salt- but the facts and timeline are done nicely!

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

TTT- Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR List


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke & The Bookish. Each week they host a different top ten topic. 

I have a huge pile to read this summer but I have narrowed it down to the books I want to read (or re-read) that I physically own (paper or ebook- so just not counting review books)


1. Throne of Glass


2. Darkest Minds

3. Everneath


4. Avalon


5. These Broken Stars


6. Vimy (reread)


7. The Promise of Amazing


8. Game of Throne series


9. Harry Potter (reread)

My first Harry Potter book has the odd brown-bearded wizard!

10.  Tale of Two Cities


And I am also hoping to get a bit further in Les Miserables but there is no guarantee that will happen!



Monday, 16 June 2014

Dog Gone, Back Soon

Dog Gone, Back Soon



By: Nick Trout
Publisher: Hachette Books
Source: Netgalley | Thanks to Hachette Books! |
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis

When Dr. Cyrus Mills returned home after inheriting his estranged father's veterinary practice, The Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the last thing he wanted was to stay in Eden Falls, Vermont, a moment longer than absolutely necessary. However, the previously reclusive veterinarian pathologist quickly found that he actually enjoyed treating animals and getting to know the eccentric residents of the tiny provincial town-especially an alluring waitress named Amy.  (more on Goodreads)

My Thoughts


This was a nice quick read that was pretty fun to read. I have loved animals since I was a tiny, little girl and so it was fun to find a book that focused on a vet and his animal practice. I definitely would have enjoyed more though. More in depth discovery and exploration of characters, motives etc. But in terms of short, lighter read I thought that it was well done.

The storyline was pretty simple and not all that unpredictable (besides from the vet diagnoses- I couldn't guess those!). At times it felt pretty disjointed- like I was missing a page or two from the story. This is also the second book by the author about the main character Cyrus Mills so perhaps if I had read the other one first it would have made more sense to me.  I really loved that it was set in a small town because as someone who grew up in a small community it was nice to see. That part of the story was definitely very well written!

The characters were fairly shallow in my opinion. They had the makings of being great, deep and complex characters but I think Trout didn't take it quite far enough. Cyrus in particular would have been fascinating to have been explored more. Trout wrote him fairly well but I just kept finding myself wanting more!

This book was a nice light read but didn't grab me as well as I thought it could have. I would recommend it to animal lovers, people looking for lighter short reads or are interested in books with a small town dynamic.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Book to Film: TFIOS

The Fault In Our Stars Movie


As most people probably know by now John Green's critically acclaimed novel The Fault in Our Stars, which tells the story of two teenagers with cancer, has been made into a movie. So many readers (both young and old) have fallen in love with Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster. You might even say that they "fell in love the way you fall asleep, slowly at first and then all at once".

I was lucky enough to get to go to the movie the weekend it come out. I was even luckier to go with my best friend of 14 years! :)

The Book

My thoughts on the book can be found in the this review. For some more specific thoughts on my feelings about Augustus and Isaac's friendship go here.

The Movie

Some quick movie specs: The movie is approximately 125 minutes long and had a 12 million dollar budget (which is apparently relatively low?!?).

I really enjoyed this movie. I was a huge fan of the book and was pretty worried about how it might turn out because the past few book to movie adaptations to recieve a lot of hype have been very disappointing to me as a book reader. I was aware that John Green was very proud of the movie and that he thought it was very true to the book so I was hoping that this would be true. And it was. 

At first when I heard the casting news I was sort of feeling unsure about it.  I'd seen Shailene Woodley in The Descendants and Divergent and while I enjoyed both performances I couldn't really she her as Hazel. I'd only seen Ansel in Divergent and I didn't particularly like his character and I couldn't see past the whole brother-sister in Divergent and then love interests in TFIOS





But Shailene was stunning. As I watched the movie she wasn't an actress playing a character, she WAS Hazel. And that was beautiful!
And Ansel became Augustus Waters and I can't imagine anyone else but them as Hazel and Gus. SO kudos to the casting directors because they made this movie happen in my mind!

I loved the how they portrayed the story, how there were moments of Hazel talking in her head and how well that was portrayed, how it was easy to see what Augustus and Hazel were texting. I thought the music was okay (half the time I couldn't understand the lyrics but...)

The thing that frustrated me about this movie was the amount of publicity it got. By the time I watched the movie I felt like I had seen the majority of the beginning and most of the important/iconic scenes from the beginning. It got to a point where I just stopped watching the new 'exclusives' because I wanted the movie to be a suprise. (Yes I knew the storyline already but I wanted to see it acted outside my head for the first time all at once, instead of the little snippets). And I feel like there was also sooo much hype about crying at the movie that it actually kept my tears in check? I mean, I cried but not as much as I thought I would. 

This is what I imagined I'd be:

But I was more this
But I still really, really enjoyed it!

Have you seen the movie? Any thoughts that were similar/different from mine? Leave them in the comments!


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Peeking at the Shelves

Taking A Look at Numbers


In the book community there is a lot of talk about women authors, and women YA authors in particular. In media however it is the male authors that are represented as being ground-breaking and creating their own genre (refering to the made up genre of "Green" after John Green which he himself disagrees with)


So for fun I thought I would take a look at my bookshelves and do a little analysis on them. I'm going to split it up into two posts- my favourites bookshelf and then my other bookshelf (I like the ones on that shelf too). It should be noted that my Favourites Bookshelf is smaller so it doesn't contain all my favourite books. Its mostly organized that way because then my mom can easily find the books I recommend to others!


This post will be all about my Favourites Bookshelf


The first thing I decided to look at was the gender distribution of the authors on this self. And the results where no surprise to me.


Of the thirty on my shelf 5 were male- making up 17%
and 25 were female- making up the remaining 83%.
Of the 128 books on the shelf- 112 were written by women and 16 were written by men. 
Men authors are: John Green, Scott Westerfeld, JRR Tolkien, Jay Asher and Garth Nix.
Women authors are: Louisa May Alcott, Rae Carson, Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, Gail Carson Levine, Marie Lu, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Diana Peterfreund, Tamora Pierce, Veronica Rossi, Veronica Roth, JK Rowling, Kathryn Stockett, Elizabeth Wein, Jodi Meadows, Kat Zhang, Kiersten White, Harper Lee, Marissa Meyer, Kelley Armstrong, , Sarah J Maas, Miriam Foster, Brodi Ashton, Alex Bracken and Jane Austen

Of the 128 books I would consider 12 to be non YA but some of them fit into multiple categories but they ALL have teenage or young adult characters in them. 

Another thing I decided to look at was the most owned author which was the author(s) that I have multiple books of. Here were the results:
All four of the authors with the biggest number of books are women. I own ever Tamora Pierce book (5 quartets, 2 trilogies and others), all the Harry Potter books by Rowling (including the Hogwarts textbooks), all the Shadowhunter books by Cassie Clare and all the Anne of Green Gables books by LM Montgomery. (I actually have quite a few of her books but some of them are on my other shelf. If I had to guess I'd say that I have about 10 more)

Just for contrast I decided to look at the male authors on this shelf. It goes as followed:
The male authors on my shelf have significantly fewer books. One of the John Green books is co-authored, I have the four Tolkien LOTR books, The Abhorsen Chronicles by Garth Nix (and I think I have another book of his on another shelf), the Leviathon series by Westerfeld (I have Uglies on another self) and just one book by the fifth male author. 

Interesting given that the media makes it seem like male author are THE BE ALL END ALL of YA. And I'm not saying that they aren't good and even great authors. I'm saying that there are amazing women authors who get ignored because well, they are female. 

So I'm going to continue loving my female YA authors and recommending them far and wide, because we need some good female representation. (I'll still read man books though) Plus all my favourite authors are women and they write the kind of books that I just HAVE to share with everyone. 



  

Monday, 9 June 2014

We Are The Goldens

We Are The Goldens


By: Dana Reinhardt
Published: May 27th, 2014
Publisher: Random House Children's 
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it

My Thoughts

I requested a copy of this book on Netgalley and was given the chance to review this book. This in no way affected my opinion of the novel.

We Are The Goldens is one of the only books that I have read that is written in second person. I actually thought it was pulled off pretty well because it made it seem like the book was Nell talking to or writing a letter to her sister. In this respect I thought that it was a good move by the author to use second person- it was a big risk that paid off!

The book is pretty short and because of this, most of the story line and hard topics aren't delved into very deeply. I definitely would have liked to see more exploration of the relationship between the characters, especially Nell and Felix. I feel like their friendship went way deeper than the book made it seem and I would have enjoyed more of it.

Its pretty obvious from the beginning what Layla's secret is but I felt like it never really developed from their. It stayed stagnant and didn't seem to be as grave as it should have been. So I would have liked to see more done their. But for a book that is so short, I guess not everything could be explored deeply!

So overall I thought it was an okay book. I probably wouldn't read it again unless I was looking for a very short, quick read. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Perks of Having Bookish Friends

Bookish Friends Are the Best!


Ever since I was little, I have been absolutely blessed to have friends who love to read as much as I do. In fact some of my friendships were made because of our mutual love for books.

Pretty much everyone of my friends loves to read. My best friend since kindergarten is possibly the exception- but with the right book she does love it. She posted the TFIOS trailer on my wall suggesting that we go see it together (we like to have movie dates) and I agreed but only if she read the book first. Conveniently I got her the book a week later for her birthday. Later we started making plans to get tickets and I reminded her that she needed to read the book first and she told me that she had read it in EIGHT HOURS!! I was so excited that she loved it enough to read it so fast! 

Another one of my long time friends is a huge book lover and we share our favourite authors (JK Rowling and Tamora Pierce). We oftentimes get in arguments about who introduced who to which author. (She thinks that she introduced me to Tamora Pierce but I think that I had already read her books when I met her). Either way, we decided to stop hating each other and instead become friends. We both went through a phase where we absolutely loved the Sisters Grimm books and we used to obsess over the latest book. 

The best thing way to make a bookish friend is to start talking about books. You'll discover which most loved books in common, and then you'll talk about your favourite quotes and when you both love the same quote, you pretty much know that a friendship is destined to happen. (This is how I met one of my friends in junior high- we both loved Harry Potter and our favourite quote was "I'm going to bed before either of you think of another clever idea to get us killed-or worst- expelled")

In high school I moved to a new school system, which was super scary, so for the first few weeks books were my only friends. But then I met some amazing girls in band, and what do you know- they loved to read! At lunch times we would talk about our favourite books, and share the latest book that we had read. For Christmas and birthdays we would get each other books. (We would even swap lists of books that we already owned so that we didn't buy each other a book we already had). We recently started putting little notes in the books we give each other so that we can keep track of them (ie. Merry Christmas! 2013 from ____) 

Then in university, I made a friend, and after talking we discovered that we both loved to read and shared similar book interests. Pretty much from that moment on, I knew that we would have to be friends! We shared books that we loved, and gave each other recommendations. I lent her a book and later in the week my friend admitted that she had finished it in a day. 
I read a quote once (in a Tamora Pierce book) about how mutual love of books can create amazing friendships and that is so true. It always gives you something to talk about, whether its a book you've all read or a book you want your friends to read. Plus then you can all get together and just have reading parties! 

My bookish friends have always been the best of friends, and I honestly don't know what I would do without them. Books cemented our friendships and then they become so much more. So go out and talk to someone about books- you never know what might happen!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

TTT- Book Friendships

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Books About Friendship



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke & The Bookish. Each week they host a different top ten topic. 

I chose to take this topic a little differently so I am going to look at my Top Ten Book Friendships (and friend groups). Because I think that the heroes friends are the people who support them through their journey but are oftentimes less noticed than the 'main hero'. In their own way, these friend pairings are all heroes! Plus I'm only going to do 5 because I'm already two days late!

In no particular order (except number one- it is my favourite friendship until I die, also number two is tied. But the others are all tied below those two)

1. Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Will and Jem are parabati- which is Shadowhunter word for two warriors who have been joined together. Their souls are entwined forever until one of the partner dies. Jem and Will have an unusually strong bond and I just love them togther so much. Each provides exactly what the other needs, and they always know, better than anyone else, just what to do. (I would share one of my favourite Will/Jem quotes but its a tad bit spoilery- so read the book instead!)

2. Harry, Ron and Hermione from The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Oh the Golden Trio... 
As a child (and now an adult) the Golden Trio means a lot to me. It is an example of true friendship, all three characters have their moments of weakness and struggle but then the other two will offer a helping hand. None of them would have survived, if they didn't have the others to lean on. (Also the boys would not have lasted long without Hermione! But they help keep her grounded)

3. Augustus Waters and Isaac from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

A lot of the fovus in TFIOS is on the love story between Hazel and Gus. But I think there is another love story in this book- the love that Gus and Isaac share as best friends. *SPOILERS* At Gus' mock funeral (yes he is pretentious) in Isaac's eulogy he says that when the top scientist come to him in the future with robot eyes so he can see, he'll turn them down because he doesn't want to see a world without Augustus Waters... how's that for ultimate friendship?

4. Anne of Green Gables and Diana Barry from The Anne of Green Gables Series by LM Montgomery

These two characters are the dearest of bosom friends. When I was little I always wanted what Anne called a bosom friend (and now I have more than one!) but these two remain friends even though they take such different paths. That is something I love about their friendship- they aren't exactly the same but they make it work soooo well

5. Sam and Stef from the Incarnate Series by Jodi Meadows

These two boys (and sometimes girls) are born into new bodies when they die. But they have maintained their friendship through a thousand years of reincarnation, where one may be born as the other is about to die. Talk about devotion to a friend! They are cute and sassy and always know what the other needs, although sometimes they can be a little bit blind when it comes to things about the two of them...

Hope you enjoyed my post two days late! I wasn't organized and started writing it on Tuesday but then I had to work so it just didn't happen!