Thursday, 29 September 2011

Book Review: The Restorer

My name is Amelia Gray. I'm a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I've always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.
It started with the discovery of a young woman's brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I've been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims—lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I've vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

I haven't really read any adult fiction for a while now, so when I saw The Restorer at the library I decided to pick up a copy after hearing so many wonderful things about it from other bloggers! I'm not usually a lover of mystery/crime/suspense novels, but The Restorer has certainly changed my mind! I fell head over heels into this book within the first couple of chapters! Perhaps it was the added touch of the paranormal and romance that made me enjoy this book more than I usually do for crime stories, but I absolutely adored it! The Restorer kept me up reading way past my bedtime, and was the cause of many tired mornings trying to wake up for school.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the fact that the relationships between the various characters seemed very real. Rather than rushing the potential romance between Devlin and Amelia, it is slowly developed, adding not only tension, but a natural progression to the novel. I also loved the fact that Amanda Stevens decided to give her main character the ability to see ghosts. While many other books have utilized the whole "I can see dead people" thing before, I think the fact that it was put into the setting of a murder case really added a new twist. Amanda Stevens' writing was also superb, and the flow of her prose often made me feel more like I was watching a movie rather than reading a book. She ended each chapter with the perfect hook to leave me wanting more!

While I absolutely adored this novel, there were one thing that I was a little picky about. This by no means spoils the book, and I just had to comment on it cause it was bugging me so much! In the novel one of the characters has a relative who was investigated as a suspect for a similar murder in the past. Nevertheless, said character is allowed to join in the current investigation and help to exhume the bodies. Can you say conflict of interest? I'm pretty sure in the real world anyone connected to someone who is a potential suspect is not allowed to touch the evidence! That was the one thing I kept thinking about over and over again! I suppose in fiction authors can get away with something like that. 

Despite this minor flaw I still loved everything about The Restorer , and I am desperate to read the next book in the series, The Kingdom, which is set to be released in April 2012! I'm really looking forward to finding out what happens to Amelia and Devlin next! 

Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dovekeepers

In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic historical event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary, bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.

I first heard about The Dovekeepers from my friend Chelsey's blog, and to say I'm intrigued by it is an understatement! I love books that have a historical setting, and the time period for this novel is certainly interesting! I've actually heard about what happened at Masada before thanks to a very thrilling episode of Destination Truth (I'm secretly in love with Josh Gates!). Apparently, after holding out on the Romans for months, Masada became the site of one of the worlds largest mass suicides (and is now haunted...according to Josh Gates!). The tragedy of Masada has me really curious as to how Hoffman plans to weave this tale. The Dovekeepers hits store shelves October 4th, and I'm definitely going to be in line to pick up a copy! If anything, check out the Destination Truth episode about gave me the chills! Here is a link to a clip from the episode!  

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Top 10 Tuesday: Books that I'd like to re-read

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Due to my massive line up of books on my to-read list, it is very rarely that I find the time to re-read a book that I have loved in the past. In a perfect world, I'd be able to read everything I want, and still have time to enjoy my favourites over and over again! Anyways, here are my top ten books that I'd like to re-read sometime in the future. I already have read Pride and Predjudice and Anne of Green Gables numerous times, but they are my two all time favourite books so I always have a craving to re-read them!  The picture of each book is linked to its Goodreads page for the summary, so just click on it to find out more! 


Monday, 26 September 2011

TV Review: The IT Crowd

Despite the fact that tons of amazing new shows started up this past month, I couldn't help but turn back to this slightly older TV show for some good laughs over the weekend. Currently preparing for its fifth season, The IT Crowd is a British comedy focusing on the IT department of Reynhom industries. Moss and Roy are two tech geeks who spend the majority of their day trying to do as little work as possible. When their new manager, Jen, enters the department they are shocked to discover that despite what her resume may say, she knows absolutely nothing about computers! In exchange for helping them to improve their social standing in the office, Roy and Moss agree to keep Jen's secret about her lack of tech expertise. What results is a whole lot of funny situations!

In many ways The IT Crowd reminds me a lot of the original BBC version of The Office...and I suppose that makes sense considering its from the same producer! With a unique cast of characters that you can't help but love and laugh at, The IT Crowd will quickly become a favourite with those who have a quirky sense of humour. Moss is by far my favourite character! He is like a slightly less paranoid version of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. In a way, I suppose The IT Crowd is actually a close relative to the Big Bang Theory through its similar focus on socially inept characters with a love for everything nerdy.

Overall, although I've only watched the first two series of this show (there are only 6 episodes per season), it has quickly become one of my favourite comedies! If the first episode of the second season alone! It is by far one of my favourites! If that one doesn't make you laugh, then I guess The IT Crowd just isn't for you. I would recommend this show to fans of British comedies, and those who have seen and enjoyed the BBC version of The Office! Here is a clip from one of the episodes below...

Friday, 23 September 2011

Book Review: Nevermore

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look. 

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. 

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

With school getting a little crazy this past week (yay 5 assignments due in the second week of school!), Nevermore was the perfect way to unwind at the end of each homework filled night. This dark romance/fantasy was both unique and thrilling, and there were many nights where I stayed up much later then I should have in order to find out what happens next. Kelly Creagh has this talent where she seems to end almost every chapter in a mini cliffhanger to keep her readers hanging on!

There were many things that I loved about this book, the first of it being its focus on Edgar Allen Poe. As an English graduate I treasure every literary reference I can find in  novels, and I especially enjoyed the fact that the author actually incorporated passages of Poe's writing  into the text. I think this helped to really create the overall mood of death and despair in the novel. I also loved the characters which Creagh created. They were well written, especially the villains! The anger and hate I held for Brad and Pinfeathers only goes to show that they played their respective roles as bad guys really well! Readers also can't help but like Isobel and Varen (anagram for Raven!?) as they try to form a relationship that no one else around them approves of. I really appreciated the fact that Varen was a different kind of love interest for once. Sure he had the typical brooding mystery going on around him, but readers discover that there's a lot more to this goth then meets the eye! 

If there was one thing that I didn't enjoy about Nevermore it would be the fact that readers are left with little to no answers at the end of book and a giant cliffhanger! I'm dying to find out what happens next, and who Reynolds is, and what exactly is going on with this dream world! Thankfully the sequel is coming out in August 2012, and I expect to hopefully receive the answers to my questions then! Overall Nevermore was a fast paced read that kept me going until I reached the last page! 

Rating: 4 Stars

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Artist Alley: Bobby Chiu

Artist Alley is a weekly meme that I have started in order to highlight some of the fantastic artists and cartoonists that I have come across during either Fan Expo or my hours spent of browsing the internet!

I first met Bobby Chiu last year at Fan Expo, and was super excited when I got to see his artwork on display in Toronto again this past summer. Bobby Chiu is one of the artists working for Imaginism Studios, a group of independent artists who specialize in movie pre-production and children's books. If I remember correctly, Bobby actually got to work on the pre-production of Burton's movie Alice in Wonderland! What I love about his drawings is their imagination and fantasy like elements. Here are a few of my favourites below (my boyfriend actually bought a print of the first one because he loved it so much!). You can check out more of Bobby Chiu's work on the Imaginism Studios website!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Touch of Power

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos. 

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...

I'm super excited for this book to come out! The synopsis just has me dying to get my hands on a copy and start reading! I mean healing powers? Rogues? A plague stricken prince? Sign me up!! I'm really hoping that there is a love plot in there somewhere as well...perhaps with this enigmatic leader of the rogues? I'd rather take a rogue over a prince any day! Anyways, I really wish this book was coming out sooner then December 20th...but then again that is the perfect time for it to become a Christmas gift! ;)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Memoirs That Everyone Should Read!!

Ever since I read the Diary of Anne Frank as a little girl, I have had a great appreciation for memoirs and autobiographies. While I may spend the majority of my time reading paranormal and dystopian novels, there is nothing I truly enjoy more then a true story. Although I haven't had the chance to read or review any memoirs lately, I thought that I would share a couple of my all time favourites with you here! Each of the titles are linked to their respective summaries on Goodreads.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This memoir absolutely blew me out of the water! Jeannette Walls describes her nomad childhood growing up in poverty. Despite the lack of initiative on the part of her parents, and the numerous occasions in which they disappoint her, Jeannette nevertheless discusses her family with love. The writing in this memoir was poignant and beautiful! I remember being shocked, thrilled, and even breaking down into tears at one point while reading! This is definitely a moving story which I highly recommend!  

Growing up I was obsessed with watching the old tv show Little House on the Prairie. Nellie, the 'prairie bitch' was my least favourite character to say the least....that is until I read this memoir! Alison Arngrim's autobiography really opened my eyes to her personality beyond the role of Nellie Olson. Who knew that Nellie Olson was actually played by someone who was chronically shy! I was also unaware of her family connections in Hollywood: her mother was the voice actresses for Casper and Gumby, and her father the agent of Liberace! Most of all, however, I couldn't believe the struggles that she went through as a child! Her open discussion of her sexual abuse was extremely moving. I would highly recommend this book to every fan of Little House (if only to learn more about the show behind the scenes!). 

The White Masai by Corrine Hoffman

The White Masai tells the story of a European vacationing in Kenya who falls in love with a Masai warrior and agrees to marry him. Moving away from everything that she knows, Corrine Hoffman reveals what it was like living with her husband's tribe in the African wilderness. The cultural differences, struggles, and triumphs of this story are unlike any romance you've read before...and best of all... it's not fiction! While the ending is no where close to being a fairy tale, the adventure in this memoir kept me on the edge of my seat. I would recommend this read to those with an interest in travel, Africa, or readers who just enjoy a unique love story! 

I'm hesitant to call Anne Frank's diary a memoir or an autobiography as it is neither of those things. It is quite simply, the diary of a young girl. While I'm sure the majority of the world knows the tragic story of Anne Frank, actually reading her own words is an experience in itself. Anne's story made me laugh and cry, and really put a face for me to the tragedy of World War II. This is definitely a book that everyone should read at least once before they die. I've read it at least three times now, and as depressing as it may be, it really puts life into perspective for its readers. 

Sunday, 18 September 2011

100 Follower Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Karen at Book Light Graveyard for being the lucky winner of my 100 follower giveaway! Her top three choices were Austenland, The Girl in the Steel Corset, and The False Princess, so I'll be mailing off a copy of one of those books to her from the Book Depository very shortly! Thank you to the many people who entered! I wish I could give all of my followers a free book, but alas my student budget barely supports my own reading habit!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Last Chance for 100 Follower Giveaway!

Hey everyone :)
Just a reminder that today is the last chance to enter my 100 follower giveaway! The winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon and will have their choice of any book that I have reviewed so far on my blog! If you haven't already entered, click the link provided on my giveaway page, or in the box on the right hand side under my About Me profile information. Here are some of the prizes that you can choose from below! Good luck! :)

Friday, 16 September 2011

Book Review: The Maze Runner

Imagine waking up one day in total darkness, unsure of where you are and unable to remember anything about yourself except your first name. You're in a bizarre place devoid of adults called the Glade. The Glade is an enclosed structure with a jail, a graveyard, a slaughterhouse, living quarters, and gardens. And no way out. Outside the Glade is the Maze, and every day some of the kids -- the Runners -- venture into the labyrinth, trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit from this hellish place. So far, no one has figured it out. And not all of the Runners return from their daily exertions, victims of the maniacal Grievers, part animal, part mechanical killing machines.

Thomas is the newest arrival to the Glade in this Truman-meets-Lord of the Flies tale. A motley crew of half a dozen kids is all he has to guide him in this strange world. As soon as he arrives, unusual things begin to happen, and the others grow suspicious of him. Though the Maze seems somehow familiar to Thomas, he's unable to make sense of the place, despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner. What is this place, and does Thomas hold the key to finding a way out?

There was a lot of hype surrounding this book. I was recommended to read it by a number of people who told me that it was pretty much the male version of The Hunger Games series. With such high expectations, I suppose it was inevitable that I would be somewhat disappointed by James Dashner's The Maze Runner.  There were a lot of things that annoyed me about this book, the first one being the style of narration. It seems to me that the majority of the books that I have been reading lately have been from the first-person perspective. I really enjoy this point of view because I think it allows readers to draw a deeper connection to the characters. The Maze Runner threw me in a bit of a loop, however, as it was written in third person. It took me a while to get use to this narration style, and really made it difficult for me to sympathize with Thomas, Chuck, and the others.

Another thing that made this book difficult for me to enjoy was the pace of the plot. I'm sure many people who have read The Maze Runner would say that it was action packed and thrilling, but I found it quite slow and awkward. There were several times I just wanted to stop reading and move onto another book. It wasn't until about Chapter 45 that I felt the book really picked up its pace for me. While I'll admit that the ending of the novel was quite unexpected and exciting, it took me a long time to get to that point. The interest set up by the epilogue is probably the only reason I may read the following books in this series. 

That isn't to say that The Maze Runner was a completely horrible book. I did enjoy certain aspects of the novel, such as the authors creativity in naming the characters after historical figures, like Albert Einstein. The setting of the novel was also pretty creative, as I would never have imagined putting characters in a maze before! Overall, the general popularity of The Maze Runner series means that this is definitely a book that a lot of people have read and enjoyed. The fact that I didn't personally fall in love with it shouldn't diminish the  novel's general celebration. My own recommendation, however, would be to borrow The Maze Runner from the library before you consider purchasing any of the books in the series.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Worlds of Fantasy

I'm sure many of you have probably seen this picture before, but I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago when my cousin posted it to my Facebook wall. I immediately fell in love! This one road sign pretty much sums up every place I have ever dreamed of going to since I was a child! Diagon Alley, the Hobbit's Shire, Mr. McGregor's Garden, all of these wonderful settings have at one time felt like home as I snuggled in with my book at night.

That got me to thinking about some of the many other places I have dreamed of going to because of books that aren't already included in this picture. How about The Hundred Acre Woods? Or Neverland? Green Gables, Redwall, Wonderland, Camelot, Whoville, the list goes on and on!

It's funny how settings often find as much a place in the heart of readers as the original book itself. After all, would The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe be just as good without the magic of Narnia? Can you just place the same characters in any old setting and get the same story? I don't think so! The type of world which the author creates is the determining factor in the path which the characters and plot will take. In a way, the setting becomes a character in itself through the awe and enchantment that it elicits from its readers. Just consider the fact alone that Universal Studios has recreated the wizarding world of Harry Potter so that fans can walk the streets of Hogsmeade or the halls of Hogwarts!

Anyways, I guess the whole purpose of this post was to show my appreciation for the worlds of magic and mystery which authors have created for centuries. I often overlook the importance which the setting plays in my overall enjoyment of a book, but it is almost always one of the most important things for an author to consider during the writing process.

What are some of your favourite settings in fiction?  I'm now seriously considering creating a road sign of my own like the one in the picture to stick in my backyard....

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Springsweet

It’s a long way from Baltimore to Oklahoma Territory. But Zora Stewart will go any distance to put the tragic events of her sixteenth summer behind her. So this city girl heads to the tiny frontier town of West Glory to help her young widowed aunt keep her homestead going. 

When another Baltimorean shows up in West Glory, Zora couldn’t be more surprised. Theo de la Croix made the long trip out west hoping to court Zora, whom he has long admired from afar. 

But Zora has developed an attraction to a rather less respectable fellow: Emerson Birch, a rough-mannered young "sooner" whose fertile land is coveted. 

As Zora begins to suspect that there may be more than luck behind Emerson’s good land, she discovers an extraordinary, astonishing power of her own: the ability to sense water under the parched earth. When her aunt hires her out as a "springsweet" to advise other settlers where to dig their wells, Zora feels the burden of holding the key to something so essential to survival in this unforgiving land. 

Even more, she finds herself longing for love the way the prairie thirsts for water. Maybe, in the wildness of the territories, Zora can finally move beyond simply surviving and start living.

I won't lie...the first thing that drew me to this book was its gorgeous cover! I almost want to frame it it's so pretty! After glancing at the plot description, however, I realized that this novel looks like it is exactly the kind of book I would love to dig into and read. I absolutely adore love stories...and even more so love stories that are set in the past! My mom got me addicted to Little House on the Prairie as a kid, so I usually enjoy anything set in frontier towns or the West. For those reasons I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of The Springsweet in April!  

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Book Titles and Bacon??

So I have finally broken down and created a Twitter account. After hearing about Twitter all the time on TV and in popular culture my curiosity finally got the better of me! For those of you who live in the States, it may seem odd to you that I have not joined the world of Twitter sooner. This may be a weird theory on my part, but I don't think Twitter has really become as popular with Canadians. Maybe it's just my small city, but I can count the number of people I know on one hand who use Twitter on a daily basis....

Nevertheless, I have fallen in love with a lot of the quirky and funny things that you can come across in the Twitter world. While browsing through some tweets the other day I came across the funniest topic trend ever: #Replacebooktitleswithbacon. Yes, you read that right! Replace book titles with bacon! I spent the next hour giggling to myself in my room over the hundreds of hilarious possibilities that could occur from such an occurrence! Here are some of my personal favourites below....

"What To Expect When You're Expecting Bacon"

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Bacon"

"The Girl With the Bacon Tattoo"

"Sisterhood of the Bacon Pants"

"Willy Wonka and the Bacon Factory"

"The Bacon of Dorian Gray"

"Confessions of an English Bacon Eater"

"Percy Jackson and the Bacon Thief"

"Anna and the French Bacon"

"We'll Always Have Bacon"

"The Curious Incident of the Bacon in the Nighttime"

"A Bacon Grows in Brookyln"

I need to stop now or else my list will be non-stop and take up half of my blog! Hopefully you guys found this as amusing as I did and don't think that I am officially crazy now! So basically I am pretty excited about my Twitter account now simply for the joy it gives me through Bacon. What do you guys think about Bacon Books? Do you have any other ideas for book titles or some favourite changes??

Monday, 12 September 2011

Book Review: Love Story

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment? 

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

When it comes to reading I adore nothing better then a perfect love story. Sure I enjoy books that focus on adventure, supernatural beings, and mystery, but there is something about a good romance that makes me sigh in happiness as I reach the last page. Jennifer Echols' newest YA novel, the well titled Love Story, was just the kind of heartwarming tale of infatuation that I needed to get me through the slump of heading back to school this past Tuesday. Ironically,  the story even begins with Erin's first day of college in New York! Perfect timing if you ask me!

There were a lot of wonderful things I truly enjoyed about this story. Jennifer Echols writing had a great flow to it, and I found myself in awe of her sentence structure and general creativeness on several occasions. The characters she created were also easy to love, although somewhat static at times. I did not, however, find her main female character annoying at all, which is a rare occurrence in a lot of YA novels! Although I didn't always agree with some of the decisions that she made, I couldn't help but root for Erin to get the happy ending that she deserved. 

My absolute favourite thing about Love Story, however, was the creative writing assignments by both Erin and Hunter which were placed throughout the novel itself. Having taken (and loved) a creative writing class in the past, I couldn't help but feel like I was sitting around discussing my fellow classmates short stories along with the rest of the characters. I really appreciated the depth and meaning that Echols put behind the stories that her characters wrote, especially the one by Hunter about the physical and emotional distance between himself and Erin in his work entitled "The Space Between." While Erin might have misinterpreted it's meaning, I'm sure most readers will quickly grasp its deeper connotations.

Nevertheless, Love Story was not without its faults. One of the things that did bug me about this novel was the fact that there was a lot of "he loves me...he hates me...he loves me" going on. I know its pretty standard in most love stories to create some conflict by having the main characters get into several arguments that potentially ruin their relationship forever, but I got tired of it after a while. The ending also wasn't as perfect as I had hoped it would be. *Small Spoiler Alert* Readers are left wondering whether or not Hunter and Erin actually will get back together...although its implied that they will. Erin's relationship with her grandmother is also left unresolved, which happened to be one of the big side stories occurring throughout the book! *End of Spoiler Alert* I suppose Jennifer Echols was assuming that the majority of her readers would be optimistic and automatically assume that only good things will come to the characters in the future.  

Overall, Love Story is a great book if you are looking for something light to give you a mental break from the grind of daily life. While Love Story wasn't perfect, the positive things in the story well overshadowed any of the negative ones I happened to come across in my reading. This is the first novel that I have read by Jennifer Echols, and I definitely plan on checking out her other books in the time to come! 

Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, 9 September 2011

Follow Friday (3)

Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.
This week's question is:
Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story? If so, which one? 

Hmmm.... For some reason the very first thing that popped into my head was Linden from Lauren DeStefano's book Wither. While he is not really the main villain of the story, the fact that he marries Rhine against her will sets him up to have villainous tendencies. As the novel goes on, however, readers learn more about Linden and his past, and I'm assuming that most would come to sympathize with his position (at least I did). I couldn't help but feel sorry for Linden and the tragedies he has had to go through. It's not really his fault that his father is the biggest dick in the world! While its pretty obvious that Rhine is destined to have a romantic relationship with Gabriel, I couldn't help but wish she would run away with Linden instead. I found Gabriel's character flat and static, but Linden's ability to open up to Rhine really made me root for him in the end!

PS. If you haven't already then enter my 100 Follower giveaway for your chance to win your choice of any book that I have reviewed here on the site! :) Contest ends next Saturday!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Artist Alley (2): Lauren Rowlands

Artist Alley is a weekly meme that I have started in order to highlight some of the fantastic artists and cartoonists that I have come across during either Fan Expo or my hours spent of browsing the internet!

One of the things I loved about Lauren Rowlands at Fan Expo was her use of popular culture in a lot of her cartoons and sketches. Maybe it's the nerd in me... but I can't help but giggle at all of the witty drawings she has come up with below. Lauren Rowlands has a blog right here on Blogger called Larn Draws (of which I am now a follower)... so if you like what you see go check it out for some more great cartoons!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Book Review: We'll Always Have Summer

It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.

With my summer coming to a close, what better book to finish my whirlwind of reading but Jenny Han's We'll Always Have Summer. I'm so happy that I found out about this series from one of my fellow bloggers, Yaseena from Sweet Unrest, as I fell head over heels in love with each book! 

We'll Always Have Summer picks up right where the second book left off, and immediately threw me back into the emotional roller coaster that is Belly's life. One of the things that I have loved most about these books is the fact that readers get to continually see how the characters have developed and matured over time. In We'll Always Have Summer, it is especially evident that Belly has changed a lot from her early days at Cousins Beach. Sure she can still be a little bit annoying and daft at times, but thankfully she is no longer a spoiled little girl. Conrad and Jere too have changed significantly throughout the books. After Conrad broke Belly's heart in It's Not Summer Without You, I never thought that I would ever like him again, but his narration in this novel really changed my mind by allowing readers to see things from his perspective for once. 

The plot of this last book was especially heart wrenching for me as a reader. I don't want to say too much about what happens in order to avoid spoilers, but I realized how emotionally connected I had become to the characters based on the amount of times throughout the story I found myself feeling like I was going to cry. The ending was a little bittersweet for me, but Jenny Han's conclusion was necessary to bring some sort of closing to the other characters.  Overall, We'll Always Have Summer was the perfect ending to a pretty much perfect series. My only wish is that there were more books to come as I'm dying to read more about Belly, Jere, Conrad, and life at Cousins Beach. Perhaps a spin-off series with their children?? I could only hope!

Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, 3 September 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

It has been about a month since I last did an In My Mailbox posting... but that's mainly because I've been trying to get through some books that have been sitting on my shelf for a while! This past week, however, I went a little bit book crazy as I prepare to move up to London to do my Masters. While in theory I should be saving my money for rent and groceries, I figured that books to keep me company while I settle in to a new city were worth the investment! Here's what I got...

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
This book was actually a going away gift from some of my amazing friends! They surprised me by putting a whole basket of goodies together to help me prepare for my move. Obviously they know me pretty well by deciding to supply me with a book! Can't wait to dig into this one!

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
One of the first things I did after I moved my stuff into my new house was go check out the local library! I got set up with a card (which was free since I was a student...yay!), and browsed around the shelves for a bit. I was super excited to discover what a great Young Adult section they had, which was stocked full of several books that had just recently been published! I was especially surprised to see a copy of We'll Always Have Summer considering that I have been on the waiting list for it at my home library for over a month now! I couldn't resist reading it... so I checked it out and stayed up for the past two nights reading it!
Love Story by Jennifer Echols
I've been dying to read this book after I read a bunch of reviews from other bloggers online! I finally picked up a copy while at Coles this week... along with the rest of the books listed below. I have yet to read a book by Jennifer Echols... but I hear that they are usually pretty good... so I hope that it lives up to my expectations! Based on the synopsis it sounds like a perfect back to school book!

Room by Emma Donoghue
An old friend of mine who now works at Coles told me that if I did not read Room and absolutely fall in love with it then I was officially crazy. How could I resist a challenge like that? I know Room has been on bestseller lists for ages now... but I never really had any interest in it until now. I decided to trust my friend's opinion and pick up a copy to try!

I actually bought a third book but I can't for the life of me remember what it is! How sad and pathetic is that!? I brought it up with me to my new house (where I'm not at right now) and I'm drawing a complete blank! All I remember is that it is a YA book that I've been wanting to read for a while now... Oh well! Guess I'll have a nice surprise when I check out my bookshelf after I return this week!

100 Followers Giveaway!!

So I woke up this morning and was super surprised/excited to discover that my blog has surpassed the 100 follower mark! When I started this blog back in April I never expected to gain such a large following (especially within such a short time frame!) and I am so grateful to each and every one of my followers! Thank you so much for all of the comments you guys give me on my postings, your support, and most importantly... for sticking around! 

In order to show my gratitude I've decided to do a small giveaway for all of my followers! The contest is open to those in both Canada and the US. Winners can choose to win a copy of any book that I have reviewed on the website (check here to see the list). In case the Book Depository is out of stock of a certain title, please provide me with your top three choices in order from most preferred. Contest ends September 17th!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Follow Friday (2)

Q: If you could change the ending of any book (or series), which book would you choose? Why and to what?

This was an easy decision for me! Those who have read my review of Mockingjay know how disappointed and upset I was about the ending to the page turning Hunger Games series. I can't even begin to express how terrible it was in my opinion! I definitely think that Suzanne Collins could have easily added another chapter in order to heal the broken bridge between Katniss and Peeta a little bit better. *Spoiler Alert* As the ending stands right now I find it hard to believe that Katniss married Peeta after all. Although this was something I was hoping for the entire time, it felt like Katniss settled for Peeta rather than actually fell in love with him (especially considering they spent the majority of the novel not even talking to each other). For once I really hope that the movie version of Mockingjay really Hollywoodizes (not a real word but just go with it lol) the ending so that it flows a little bit better! 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Artist Alley: Postscript Comic

A few days ago I mentioned how I spent last weekend in Toronto at Fan Expo and came across tons of new artists that captured both my heart and appreciation. Not being able to resist sharing them with you all, I decided to start this meme displaying upcoming artists and their amazing works! Without further ado... here is my first pick!

PostScript Comic tells the story of fairy tales after the 'happily ever after.' Designed by artist Graham Moogk-Soulis, a History grad student at the University of Waterloo, these comics provide witty stories about some of popular culture's favourite fairy tale characters. Not only does Graham utilize elements of fairy tales, but also history and mythology, which is most noticeable in the naming of many of his characters. Graham's comics are posted bi-weekly to his website, and follow somewhat of a story arc... so it's always good to start at the beginning! Here are some of my personal favourites below...