Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Nine Lives of Chloe King to be a TV Series!!

So I discovered a week ago that one of my favourite YA series from a few years back has become a television series that will be premiering on ABC family June 14th after Pretty Little Liars!! The Nine Lives of Chloe King is a story about a girl who discovers that she belongs to an ancient race which possesses cat-like abilities such as enhanced hearing, agility, and retractable claws (very Wolverine meets Cat Woman). Unfortunately, a group of humans known as The Order have made it their vocation to track down and kill members of Chloe's race. The Nine Lives of Chloe King is packed full of action, humour, and of course an intense love triangle!

Having watched the trailer for the show on Youtube about ten times already, I am both excited and skeptical about how ABC plans on adapting this much loved book. I'm not sure I exactly like who they have chosen to play Chloe at the moment as her acting seems a little fake to me, but I'm hoping that my mind will be changed when I actually sit down to watch the full first episode. And out of curiosity was anyone else kind of disgusted by Chloe's claws too? For some reason when I read the book I did not picture them that way at all...more like Wolverine I suppose.

Anyways, I am really excited to see where this new tv series goes, and how faithful they stay to the book series. While I remember what happens in the first novel, my memory is kind of fuzzy regarding the second and third ones. I guess I'll have to re-read them sometime in the next two weeks before the show starts!

So what do you guys think of The Nine Lives of Chloe King? Have you read the books? Do you think the tv series looks good? I'm interested to hear what you have to say! :) 

Monday, 30 May 2011

Book Review: White Cat

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

How can I possibly put into words how amazing White Cat is?!? While I found the first three chapters a little slow due to the need of background information, I was immediately hooked by everything that followed!  I absolutely loved the world which Holly Black created, where part of the population, called Curse Workers, have the power to change everything from your luck to your memories just by touching you with their hands. The plot itself also blew me away! With all of the cons going on throughout the novel there were so many twists and turns that I never knew what to expect next!

Not only was the plot gripping, but also the unique cast of characters. Cassel is the bad boy with a heart of gold that almost every girl dreams about. Sam fills the role of trustworthy sidekick perfectly with help from Danika along the way. Out of all of the characters though I think Cassel's brothers, Philip and Barron, were the ones who were the best portrayed. The novel constantly has you guessing whether they are good or bad, and their personalities are probably the ones that are the most developed overall. The ending of White Cat had me particularly interested in how Philip and Barron will end up in the next book in the series.

I inhaled White Cat is about a day and a half, and I am already highly anticipating reading Red Glove! White Cat was so good that it comes with one of my highest recommendations! There were no copies available at my local library, but I think it was well worth the ten dollars I paid for it at Chapters! If you enjoy paranormal YA novels then White Cat is definitely for you!

Rating: 5 Stars

Book Review: The False Princess

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

While both the plotline and gorgeous cover of Elis O'Neal's YA novel, The False Princess, first drew me to reading this book, I ultimately found myself disappointed by the overall story. Although I appreciated this reverse on the typical tale where a young girl discovers herself to be a long lost princess, the tedious dialogues and predictability of The False Princess often tested my patience as a reader. There were several times I considered simply returning this novel to the library, but my hope that the ending might surprise and astound me gave me the motivation to keep reading.

Now I probably sound like I'm tearing this poor book apart, and I'm sure there are many people out there who have read and enjoyed The False Princess, but in my own personal opinion there were simply too many things that annoyed me about this particular novel. The number one thing that got on my nerves as the story went on was Sinda's repetitious thoughts and conversations. She would often state the same thing over and over again in three different ways before finally allowing the plot to move forward a little bit. While I'm sure this repetition was meant to display Sinda's unease as a character, it happened in so many different occasions within the novel that I was tempted to skip whole pages in order to get to her final decision.

If there was one good thing that surprised me about this novel it was a slight twist in the plot about halfway through, which caught me slightly off guard. After this turn in the plot, however, I found the outcome of The False Princess pretty easy to predict, and discovered all of my assumptions to be true when I got to the end of the book. Unlike a lot of recent YA fiction, which has the tendency to appeal to adults and teens alike, I think that perhaps The False Princess would be much more enjoyed by readers solely between the ages of 12-16. In general, if The False Princess is a book that you have been thinking about reading, I would suggest picking up a copy from your local library rather than spending your hard earned cash at the bookstore.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Sunday, 29 May 2011

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren :)

This was a pretty slow week for me in terms of getting any books. The only one I managed to pick up was Holly Black's White Cat, which I caved in and purchased at Chapters after discovering that my local library did not carry a copy. I've been dying to read this book for months now, and despite the fact that I was already reading The False Princess at the time, I started reading White Cat as soon as I got home! It was so good I finished reading it the next day! Needless to say it is an amazing book and well worth the $10.00 I paid for it! I'll be posting my review of White Cat sometime this week :)

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Over 50 followers!?!

I can't seem to believe my eyes! Somewhere between Thursday and this afternoon my blog broke the 50 follower mark! When I first started Browsing Bookshelves only two short months ago I never expected to get over 3 followers, let alone 51! While I know that many bloggers out there have much more than 50 people following their blogs, I can't help but feel both excited and honoured for having so many wonderful individuals take the time to see what little old me has to say.

So, I guess the whole point of this short post is to say thank you to all of my fellow bloggers out there who have made the decision to follow me so far! I really appreciate all of your support and the encouraging comments that I receive on many of my postings! I know many bloggers do giveaways when they reach certain milestones such as this. At the moment, I don't have anything really worth doing a giveaway for, but when I do I will certainly post about it right away!

Love you all,


Friday, 27 May 2011

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden.

Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do

After reading so many YA novels lately I had a craving to switch back to some adult fiction for a while. Although my dad's old copy of Fahrenheit 451 has been sitting on our family bookshelf for at least ten years, I have sadly never given myself the opportunity to read it until now. Considering that I have been gorging myself with so much of the new dystopian fiction coming out lately, it seemed only right to return to some of the classic novels which really formed the framework for the genre.

In many ways the world which Fahrenheit 451 creates is that of my deepest and darkest nightmares. A world where books are not only banned but confiscated and burned is one that I shudder to imagine. The greatest irony I found was the fact that it is firemen, the very people who in today's society prevent fires, that are given this task of censorship through the igniting of flames.

Not only is Fahrenheit 451 ironic, but it is overflowing with both rich symbolism and conversation. One of my favourite symbolisms in the book is that of the phoenix. The phoenix's connection to the image of fire through its tendency to die by burning and be reborn from its ashes is extremely effective at demonstrating humanity's constant cycle of death and resurrection. According to one of the characters named Granger, the symbolism of the phoenix is tied to man's ability to learn from his mistakes so that he does not repeat history.

One of my all time favourite scenes from Fahrenheit 451, however, is the one in which Granger reveals to Montag that his group, along with others throughout the country, carry various works of literature in their minds, so that when humanity is prepared to accept books again, they may be transcribed back onto paper:
"Would you like, someday, Montag, to read Plato's Republic?"  
"Of course!"
"I am Plato's Republic. Like to read Marcus Aurelius? Mr. Simmons is Marcus."
"How do you do?" said Mr. Simmons.
"Hello," said Montag.
"I want you to meet Jonathan Swift, the author of that evil political book, Gulliver's Travels! And this other fellow is Charles Darwin, and this one is Schopenhauer, and this one is Einstein, and this one here at my elbow is Mr. Albert Schweitzer, a very kind philosopher indeed. Here we all are, Montag. Aristophanes and Mahatma Gandi and Guatama Buddha and Confucius and Thomas Love Peacock and Thomas Jefferson and Mr. Lincoln, if you please. We are also Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."
I found this scene to be somewhat heartwarming through the idea that men and women can become repositories for the books which they carry in their mind. If the world ever came to something like Ray Bradbury describes in his novel, I would like to imagine that such an underground of photographic memory would indeed exist to help preserve the knowledge of books for future generations.

Overall, I think that Fahrenheit 451 is a novel which all lovers of books should read. Its ideas about censorship and literature are both powerful and thought evoking. I find it very hard to give a rating to classics such as Fahrenheit 451, due to the value which they are given in the literary world, but if I were to rate this novel I would give it a solid 5 stars!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Ripple

Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she’s ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?

I believe that I first heard about Mandy Hubbard's novel Ripple from The Story Siren a few weeks back. I've never read a book where the main character was a mermaid or a siren before, so the plot line intrigued me right away! With the increasing release of mermaid related stories, it seems to me like they might just be the next biggest genre (not the right word I'm looking for...but close enough!), especially with the memaid love interest incorporated in the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie! Ripple is set to be released July 21st, so at least the wait won't be too long!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Book Review: In the Shadow of the Lamp

It's 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher. Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she's falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm? A love story to savor, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes imagining of the woman who became known as "the lady with the lamp."

One of the initial things that led me towards reading Susanne Dunlap's recent novel, In the Shadow of the Lamp, was its distinct historical setting during the Crimean War of the Victorian period. In fact, it is the Crimean War which inspired one of my favourite poems by Tennyson, "The Charge of the Light Brigade!" In terms of historical detailing and authenticity, I think it is very apparent that Susanne Dunlap put a lot of effort into researching not only the figure of Florence Nightingale (who was a real nurse), but  the conditions faced by doctors and soldiers on the front lines as well. I also appreciated the fact that besides the main character Molly, many of the names of the nurses in the novel were taken from those who actually travelled with Florence Nightingale to Scutari.

When it came to the actual plot of this novel, however, I didn't find it overly exciting. While I appreciated the historical detailing, I found Molly's relationships with both Will and Dr. Maclean to be frustrating! Throughout the entire novel she admits to having strong feelings for one of the men and not the other. Despite these feelings she ends marrying the man she thinks of as just a friend! Her relationship with the man she actually seems to love (who shall remain nameless to keep from spoiling it for those of you who may read it), seemed to depict them as destined for each other! Instead, her marrying of the other man is justified by the author's writing that deep down inside Molly had loved him secretly all along.

This sudden change of heart seemed like a bit of a cop out in my opinion, and I mulled over this ending for two days before writing this review. While in some ways I would agree that Susanne Dunlap's decision to perhaps not follow the perfect relationship track is to be commended for its stand against Hollywood endings, it somewhat disappointed me as a reader. Nevertheless, despite all of these criticisms that I have been throwing at In the Shadow of the Lamp, I did enjoy my time spent reading it. Although I wouldn't say that it is an amazing read, this novel is certainly something to consider if you are a lover of historical fiction.

Rating: 3 Stars

PS. Random interesting fact.....
The title of this book confused me for some time, as Molly is never referred to as carrying a lamp, so the whole time I was reading I was bewildered about why this novel was called In the Shadow of the Lamp. It turns out that in The Times, Florence Nightingale was nicknamed 'The Lady with the Lamp,' and so the title of this novel reflects Molly's time spent living and learning from this significant figure in Victorian nursing!  

Sunday, 22 May 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In the Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap

I picked this book up at the library after seeing it come up on a lot of blogs a couple of weeks ago. I haven't read a historical novel in a while now, so I'm excited for a slight change of pace! The fact that its set in the Victorian period is a huge bonus in my opinion!

Matched by Ally Condie

While I was at the library this week I was also happy to discover that my hold on Matched had finally come in! As I've probably repeated a million times on this blog already, I am a lover of dystopians, so I have been dying to get my hands on a copy of Matched. I've heard mixed reviews about this novel, so I'm trying to stay extra neutral going into reading this one....

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

I have heard amazing things about Secret Daughter, and it has been on my to-read list for a while now! Like In the Shadow of the Lamp and Matched, I picked up a copy of this novel during my weekly trip to the library. I've been reading a lot of YA novels lately, so it will be nice to return to some adult fiction again for a bit.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Book Review: The Iron Daughter

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

In The Iron Daughter, Julie Kagawa returns readers to magical world of the fey, where the appearence of a new Iron King threatens to detroy both the Seelie and Unseelie courts. One of my favourite things about this sequel to The Iron King was the comeback of some of its lovable characters like Grimalkin, Puck, and of course Prince Ash. Not only does The Iron Daughter bring back characters from the first novel, but also introduces some new ones which will quickly steal any readers heart, such as poor Charles the musician.

In a lot of the other reviews for this book that I have read online, readers have stated that they found the second book in the Iron Fey series to be even better than the first. Unlike these reviewers, I am somewhat hesitant to immediatly agree to this statement.  Although I did enjoy The Iron Daughter very much, I didn't find it quite as gripping as The Iron King. The ending definatly threw me in a huge loop, however, and I will be absolutely reading the third book to find out what happens next!

In general, I would most definatly recommend this book, especially to those who have read and enjoyed The Iron King! You will without question relish this return to the faerie world, although I wouldn't put your hopes up that it is absolutley better than the first novel.

Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, 20 May 2011

I got to meet Veronica Roth and Lauren Oliver!!

So as the title of this posting so subtly claims, I had 
Veronica Roth and I
the amazing opportunity to meet Veronica Roth (author of Divergent) and Lauren Oliver (author of Delirium) when they stopped by the Chapters in Brampton last night as part of their Dystopian book tour! Needless to say I was ecstatic! I’ve only ever met one other author in person before, which was Jean Little back when I was 11 years old.

Both Veronica and Lauren discussed their upcoming projects, shared their experiences in the publishing world, and gave us an opportunity for some questions and answers. At one point, they even performed some of their hidden talents for the crowd that was gathered, which included Lauren Oliver singing songs from The Little Mermaid and Veronica Roth making a giant paper hat!

As I’m sure some of you might be interested in what both Lauren and Veronica discussed last night I’ve attempted to condense part of their conversation into the following points below:
- Lauren Oliver has already finished writing the sequel to Delirium and is currently halfway through the final book in the trilogy.
- Veronica Roth is currently editing her rough draft of the sequel to Divergent, which should be published in May of 2012.
- Delirium is currently in production to be turned into a movie! They have already formed a script and will begin working on casting soon! Her novel, Before I Fall, has also had the rights to be turned into a film sold to Fox 2000.
- Divergent also has plans to be turned into a movie! The rights to the book were sold to Summit Entertainment about a week ago!
- *Spoiler Alert* - After being worn down by a group of girls in the crowd who wanted to know if Alex would live or die, Lauren Oliver let it slip that readers won’t know about what happens to him until the last chapter of the second book!

Lauren Oliver and I
Both authors were really interesting to listen to, especially when conversation turned to their individual writing techniques and styles. While Lauren admitted that she cannot write without going through an intense outlining process, Veronica stated that she tends to write as the ideas come to her mind. Interestingly enough, I found out that Lauren Oliver actually wrote her first novel, Before I Fall, on her blackberry each day while taking the subway home! Although Lauren and Veronica’s styles and methods of writing are different, they both recognized that in order to become a good writer, writing has to become an aspect of your daily life. This is something that I completely agree with, and is one of the main reasons that I started this blog to begin with!

Tom and I waiting to get my books signed
Overall, the book signing was a complete success in my opinion! Everyone in the crowd really seemed to enjoy everything that Lauren and Veronica talked about, and even my poor boyfriend (who I guilted into driving me the hour and a half journey) admitted to having a good time. The only bad thing about going last night was that it intensified my anxiety to read the next books after Divergent and Delirium, which won’t be available for at least a year! Oh well, at least I now have my signed copies sitting in a place of honour on my bookshelf to read again if the anticipation becomes too much! 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl in the Steel Corset

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine
In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.

I know that quite a few people in the past have brought up The Girl in the Steel Corset as part of their Waiting on Wednesday posts, but as the release of this novel draws nearer (May 24th), I can't help but take the opportunity to write about it myself!

The first thing that immediately drew me to this book was the absolute stunning beauty of the cover! I almost feel like framing it and hanging it up in my room! From reading the synopsis of the plot, however, The Girl in the Steel Corset appears to be more than just a book with a pretty cover. The idea of a band of misfits with special abilities who are attempting to destroy evil automatons sounds pretty kickass to me! Ever since taking a steampunk related English course last semester I've loved everything to do with Neo-Victorianism, and this novel appears to be overflowing with steampunk goodness! Needless to say, I will be picking up my copy of The Girl in the Steel Corset as soon as it comes out!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Book Review: The Goose Girl

Goodreads Synopsis
She can whisper to horses and communicate with birds, but the crown princess Ani has a difficult time finding her place in the royal family and measuring up to her imperial mother. When she is shipped off to a neighboring kingdom as a bride, her scheming entourage mounts a bloody mutiny to replace her with a jealous lady-in-waiting, Selia, and to allow an inner circle of guards more power in the new land. Barely escaping with her life, Ani disguises herself as a goose girl and wanders on the royal estate. Does she have the pluck to reclaim her rightful place? Get ready for a fine adventure tale full of danger, suspense, surprising twists, and a satisfying conclusion.

I first read Shannon Hale's YA novel, The Goose Girl, about five years ago back in high school. I remember absolutely devouring it at the time, but since then the details of the plot had become foggy in my mind. It is very rarely that I read a book more than once, but my recollection of how much I enjoyed reading it the first time around motivated me to purchase a copy of my own and read The Goose Girl once again.

Needless to say, The Goose Girl was just as enchanting and heartwarming as I remember it being all those years ago! I found the magical world which Shannon Hale created through the weaving of folklore and fairytales to be quite delightful and enthralling! The Goose Girl is based on an original tale by the Brothers Grimm, but is reborn through Hale's own creativity and imagination. I especially enjoyed the depiction of three types of rare gifts in the novel: the gift of people speaking, the gift of animal speaking, and the gift of elemental speaking. It is quite obvious from the beginning of the novel that Ani possesses the gift of speaking to animals, but an interesting twist awaits readers at the end!

Not only did I enjoy the folkloric aspects of The Goose Girl, but also Shannon Hale's depiction of Ani's struggle from an unconfident crown princess to a fearless goose girl. Readers are almost guaranteed to feel sympathy for her initial helplessness, but will eventually revel in her ability to overcome every obstacle that comes in her way. I think the author did a good job of trying to keep her characters as realistic as possible, while adding a hint of magic at the same time. 

Having finished reading The Goose Girl,  I was happy to discover that this is actually the first novel in a series of four books which are set in the realm of Bayern! If I had known that years ago I'm sure I would have read the entire series by now! While the subsequent books do not focus on Ani as the main character, they do incorporate many of the main characters from The Goose Girl. Although I think I would miss reading Ani's perspective, I'm interested to see what the rest of the books in the series have in store! 

Rating: 4 Stars

Monday, 16 May 2011

Book Review: Divergent

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
After anxiously awaiting the release of Divergent, and reading so many good reviews about it from those lucky enough to get an ARC copy, I was thrilled to finally get my hands on this amazing debut novel by Veronica Roth! I began reading Divergent early Saturday morning at my job, and would have literally finished the whole novel in one sitting if it hadn't been for the fact that I actually had work to do at work (who would have thought!).

One of the main things that I enjoyed most about this novel was the world which Veronica Roth created. While the separation into factions reminded me a lot of the sorting hat from Harry Potter, the focus on a dystopian Chicago made the story unique. I loved the detail and unique characteristics used to describe each faction, often leading me to wonder which one I would choose if I had been placed in Beatrice's position. 

Probably due to the fact that the novel focused mainly on the Dauntless, their faction quickly became my favourite. I loved their thrill seeking ways, and the focus they placed on overcoming their fears in order to make themselves stronger. Due to his mysterious nature and tough guy attitude, Four also quickly became my favourite character! I think Veronica Roth did an amazing job adding different levels to his personality to shape him into more than just the average player in Divergent's plot. 

Before reading Divergent, I came across many literary reviews which stated that this new trilogy was set up to rival that of The Hunger Games.  As The Hunger Games is one of my favourite YA series, I took these comments with a grain of salt. I was happy to discover, however, that Divergent lived up to its reputation as an amazing novel, and is indeed just as good (if not better) than The Hunger Games in its own way.

That isn't to say that Divergent and The Hunger Games are similar, but their position within the rising popularity of dystopian novels makes some comparison in terms of quality necessary. I have read many dystopian novels, and it seems as if many recent writers are often cranking them out to meet the current demands of the reading population. Divergent, however, is a novel which makes the dystopian genre proud, and like the The Hunger Games trilogy, is sure to become one of the main novels which other dystopian novels in the future will be compared to. 

The ending of this novel left me wanting more, and I will anxiously be awaiting the release of the second book in this series! Divergent comes with one of my highest recommendations, and I suggest you get a copy of your own ASAP!

Rating:  An easy 5 stars

Sunday, 15 May 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

Divergent by Victoria Roth
After months of anxiously awaiting the release of Divergent I finally cashed my latest paycheck and went down to Chapters to buy myself a copy! The girl on cash was really excited when she saw that I was purchasing it, and was quick to inform me about how much she loved reading it. I started reading it Saturday at work, and have found it extremely difficult to put down! In all likeliness I'll be posting a review of Divergent within the next couple of days!

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Ever since I finished reading the first novel in the Iron Fey series, The Iron King, I have anxiously been awaiting an opportunity to read the sequel. I picked up a copy of this book at the library, and will most likely begin devouring it as soon as I finish reading Divergent!

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
When I was at the library this week I also managed to pick up a copy of The False Princess. This book first interested me after I read an excellent review by someone else on Blogger (sorry I don't remember which blog!). It sounds like its a mixture of the Prince and the Pauper with The Goose Girl, so I'm excited to see what happens!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Book Review: Delirium

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 governments 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.

I am a lover of dystopian novels, and so when I first heard about Delirium it was a given that I would read it! My friend Jackie from The Garden Oasis (who just started her own blog! Go check it out!), generously supplied me with a copy for my birthday, and I immediatly began reading it the next day!

I loved the overall premise of this book! The idea of a world where everyone must undergo a surgery to remove their ability to love was really intriguing. When it came to the execution of the idea, I thought Lauren Oliver did an okay job. While her dystopian world was interesting, it fell a little short in my opinion compared to other great novels like The Hunger Games.

Nevertheless, I really did enjoy Delirium, especially the inner turmoil of the characters, which I believe Lauren Oliver delivered perfectly! While it took me a while to get into the novel, once I hit the middle of Delirium I found it difficult to put down! The ending was especially gripping, with a dramatic cliffhanger which will definatly motivate me to read the sequel when it comes out!

In general, I would recommend fellow lovers of dystopian novels to give Delirium a try. For those who are unfamiliar with the dystopian genre, Delirium would also be a good place to start! I'm sorry if this review isn't as detailed as usual, but I've started reading two other books since I finished reading Delirium, and my overall thoughts on the book are not as fresh in my mind. Goes to show that I need to keep up to date on my book reviewing and not fall behind!

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Review: Happy Ever After

Parker Brown turned the quartet's childhood game of Wedding Day into their dream jobs. And now she's the face of Vows—the one who meets every bride's demands; keeps every event on schedule; and brings Emma's romantic flowers, Laurel's delicious treats, and Mac's stunning photgraphy together in one glorious package. She knows how to make dreams come true... 

Mechanic Malcom Kavanaugh loves figuring out how things work, and Parker Brown—with her mile-long legs—is no exception. But as a good friend to Parker's brother, Mal knows that moving from minor flirtation to major hookup is a serious step. 

 Parker's business risks have always paid off, but now she'll have to take the chance of a lifetime... with her heart.

I read the first three novels in Nora Roberts' series "The Bride Quartet" about a year ago, and decided to finally give the fourth book a try when I saw it at the library last week. I'm not sure if my reading tastes have changed a lot over the past year, or if the first three novels in the series were just better written than this last one, but I actually found Happy Ever After a struggle to get through. 

The biggest thing that bothered me about this book was that the characters and overall plot just seemed really false and almost staged to me. The conversations in the novel also really aggrevated me! The constant meetings between the girls to discuss cakes, flower arrangements, and photography became really tedious and annoying at times. While this should be expected considering the fact that the title of the series is "Bride Quartet," I think that this focus on the wedding organization of the novel  was even more pronouced in this last novel than the first three. Ultimatly, it felt to me like Parker's job as a wedding planner overshadowed the romance of the novel.

Indeed, not only did I find the writing style of the novel difficult to become absorbed in, but also what was supposed to be the romantic connection between Parker and Malcolm.  Unlike the first couple of novels in this series, I thought that the chemistry between Parker and Malcolm  kind of fell flat. Perhaps this was because the romance between them was already initiated  in the third book, as the tension leading up to their relationship in Happy Ever After  seemed non existent.

Overall, would I recommend reading this book? For those of you familiar with the Bride Quartet series, perhaps you will enjoy Happy Ever After more than I did, otherwise I would suggest skipping over this book entirely!

Rating: 2 Stars

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Glow

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine :)

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

I actually first heard about Glow from reading someone else's Waiting on Wednesday post last week (sorry I can't remember exactly which blog it was!). When I was reading the description it almost sounded like the plot to a movie, and I was immediatly intrigued! In a way, the synopsis kind of reminded me of a cross between the Disney movie Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. I have also mentioned several times before on my blog how much I love dystopian novels, making me even more excited for this story!  Although the growing trend in dystopian novels recently has caused a lot of really bad ones to be written in an attempt to make money, I don't think Glow is one of those. I guess I'll have to wait until September 27th however to find out!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Movie Review: Adaptation of Something Borrowed

When it comes to adaptations of my favourite novels, I am often a hard viewer to please. I can't even begin to count the number of times I have left the movie theatre disappointed and angered over the changes or omissions to the plot made in the decision process by the director. As a result, when I first heard that Emily Giffin's novel Something Borrowed was being adapted into film, I was excited but also wary.

When I went to the theatre last night to see the movie with some of my friends, I was happy to discover that director Luke Greenfield had done an excellent job at interpreting Something Borrowed to the big screen! While I haven't read the novel in years, the plot of the film seemed to follow that of the novel very closely (at least from what I can remember!). I also loved how Emily Giffin herself had a cameo role in the film as an extra reading her own book on a bench!

Some critics I've read online have made the point that those who are not familiar with the novel may have a difficult time understanding the complex relationship between Rachel, Darcy, and Dex. While I can kind of see their point at some parts of the film, one of my friends who went with me has never read Something Borrowed and still enjoyed the movie.

Other more harsh critics who have said that Something Borrowed was neither romantic or comedic were also far from the mark. Although some parts of the drama between Dex and Rachel seemed a little slow at times, this was quickly remedied by the comedic relief provided through the characters of Ethan and Marcus.

The casting of Something Borrowed, was in fact the best aspect of the overall film! In my opinion, John Krasinski stole the show as Ethan! I really hope that they decide to film the second novel, just so that I can see him in that role again! Steve Howey from the television show Reba was also hilarious as Marcus. While his character was more comedic then I remember him being in the novel, I didn't mind because he was just so funny!

Overall I really enjoyed this adaptation of Something Borrowed! I think the critics may have been a little more harsh on this film then they needed to be, and that some of the low ratings it has recived should be ignored by those who are fans of the novel. My fingers are crossed that Something Blue will soon be in production!

Rating 4/5 Stars

Friday, 6 May 2011

Book Review: Catching Fire

Goodreads Synposis
Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the annual competition described in Hunger Games, but the aftermath leaves these victors with no sense of triumph. Instead, they have become the poster boys for a rebellion that they never planned to lead. That new, unwanted status puts them in the bull's-eye for merciless revenge by The Capitol.

Wow. As in the case of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins' second book in the series, Catching Fire, blew me out of the water! Catching Fire quickly picks up on the intensity and passion of the plot and characters  right where The Hunger Games left off. I tried to pace myself a little better on this novel so that I could prolong my enjoyment of it, but I still couldn't stop myself from racing to the end after two days of self restraint.

While I expected a rebellion to arise within this novel after the ending of the first book, I was suprised by the direction that Catching Fire actually ended up taking. *Spoiler Alert* Never in my wildest dreams did I expect Katniss and Peeta to end up back in the arena fighting in the Hunger Games! While I enjoyed the use of the arena in the first novel, I had mixed emotions about Collins' decision to bring the characters back there again. On the one hand it made sense in order to demonstrate the wrath of President Snow, but on the other hand it felt like I was simply reading the first novel again. I suppose I was hoping to see Katniss involved more within the rebellion, but after the ending of Catching Fire I'm sure that this will come in the third novel.

Despite my mixed feelings regarding the inclusion of the actual Hunger Games within Catching Fire, I still loved this novel! Suzanne Collins kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and the intensity of the love triangle continues to drive me crazy! Peeta? Gale? I often feel as conflicted as Katniss while I'm reading! I will definatly be picking up a copy of the final book in the series, Mockingjay, on my next trip to Chapters!

Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (4): Shattered Souls

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine :)

Goodreads Synposis
Lenzi hears voices. She also sees visions--gravestones, floods, a gorgeous guy with steel gray eyes. She knows she must be going crazy, just like her dad did. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't do anything to help, and the voices just keep getting louder, the visions more intense. But when Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, everything makes sense. 
Sort of. 
He tells Lenzi that she's a reincarnated Speaker--someone who can talk to lost souls and help them move on--and that he has been her Protector for centuries. But instead of embracing her abilities, Lenzi struggles between her life as the girlfriend of a sexy musician and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. Yet time is running out; a malevolent spirit has been trying to destroy Lenzi for ages, and he will surely kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon. Her choices are clear: Destiny or normalcy. Alden or Zak. Life or death.

I found out about Shattered Souls on The Story Siren's most recent IMM posting, and immediately fell in love with both the plot and the gorgeous cover! I absolutely adore YA paranormal novels, so this one seems right up my alley! I've read a couple of reviews of it on Goodreads, and it seems like most people who have been lucky enough to get an advanced copy are loving this debut novel by Mary Lindsey! Unfortunately, it isn't set to be published until December 8th, 2011, so I'll have quite some time to drool over it before I can get my hands on a copy. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to pick up an ARC copy somewhere....Anyways, I'm excited for this novel and can't wait to see if the reviews that I have read of the book meet my own expectations!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Book Review: The Iron King

Goodreads Synposis
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth—that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

The Iron King far surpassed my reading expectations! I loved it from the moment I read the first page, and found myself speeding through the chapters in anticipation of the ending. Julie Kagawa's plot was both thrilling and innovative, and I really enjoyed the ways in which she intertwined classic myths about faeries with the technology of today. In many ways this book reminded me a lot of the recent television series that has come on the Showcase channel called Lost Girl, (which is also amazing) and deals with ancient faeries living in the human world as well.  

The characters in this novel were by far my favourite part! I adored Puck and his mischevous nature, and Grimalkin reminded me of the Chesire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. I also loved the dark, mysterious and defiant characteristics of Ash, and the way readers were left wondering whether or not he was a threat or an aid to Meghan's mission.

For most books that I read I usually end up having at least one or two critical comments about it in my review, but for this novel nothing came to my immediate mind. Perhaps I was so enraptured by the story that any little flaws faded into the background, or maybe The Iron King is just that good! Either way I'm at a loss of words when it comes to thinking about anything that really bugged me about this novel.

In general, I loved loved loved The Iron King and I am highly anxious to start the next book in the series to see what happens next! I sense a potential love triangle in the future, and I am desperate to see how that is handled by the author! Thank goodness that the next two novels have already been released or else I think the anticipation would kill me! If you haven't already read this series then I highly recommened you get started now!

Rating: 5 Stars

Sunday, 1 May 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren :)

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My birthday was this past Wednesday, and so I treated myself to a mini book spree! I've been dying to read Catching Fire ever since I finished reading The Hunger Games, and plan on devouring this one as soon as I've finished the book I'm on now!

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The Goose Girl was another birthday gift to myself! I read it years ago as a teenager and remember loving it so much that I felt the need to buy a copy of my own and read it again! Shannon Hale is by far one of my favourite authors, and I think the cover art on this book is stunning!

Anne of Green Gables Box Set by L.M. Montgomery
Ever since I was a little kid I have LOVED Anne of Green Gables! It is one of the very few books that I have read more than twice! When I saw this box set at Chapters a couple of weeks ago I ran home and hinted to my brother a couple of times that it would be a good gift idea for me....and I guess the hinting worked because I unwrapped it on my birthday! I can't wait to read this classic again as well as the last three books in the series, which I have never had a chance to experience yet!