Friday, April 30, 2010

Amazingness On A Stage - FP Friday



Phone Calls From a Rock Star

Written by: RockFan



I can remember reading this when it was still posted online and it was the gate-way drug to the other amazing books that this writer has written – especially the ones in this particular series. What I really love about her books is that so many of them relate back to each other though you don’t necessarily have to read them in order (though it is beneficial) and you can read them as stand alones (though you never just want to read one).

This one in particular was one of my favourites and I would love to read the re-writes just to see how much more amazing it has become. It is really saddening that it has been taken down from FictionPress in order to be edited. But it’s absolutely amazing that it has been picked up by a publishing company and I can’t wait to see it in print and in stores!

The characters of this book are lifelike, though the exact situations aren’t your normal day-to-day life. Still, the way that it’s written, the reality that’s placed within the story, makes it so that you feel as though everything that’s happening could really be happening out there. As a reader you’re able to truly feel what the characters are feeling and with them you go on this journey of self-discovery and love.

In short, this is amazing and I’m giving it an 8/10. When you’re able to get your hands on a hard copy of the book I highly suggest that you do. I know I’ll get a copy as soon as I can.


Poster altered by me from a picture taken from somewhere on the internet (such a while ago that I can’t give proper credit. Sorry!).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

According to Me


Top 10 Book Series


Over at Random Ramblings there are Top Ten lists featured every week and this was one that caught my eye. The specific link to this one is here and you can see what other people’s top tens are in this category.

It was so difficult to choose just ten series – my top ten no less – but here they are in no significant order… though they sort of are.


10. Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
It’s a classic, really, which is why it made the list. While I did enjoy the entire series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will forever be my favourite.

9. Undead series – MaryJanice Davidson
The first books are the better in the series. I admit that I stopped reading when they changed the amazingly fun covers to the crappy monotonous ones.

8. Southern Vampires – Charlaine Harris
I started reading this series shortly after the first book was published and way before the HBO series.

7. Uglies – Scott Westerfeld
This is an amazing series, though the fourth book I could have done without.

6. Sweet Valley – Francine Pascal
These books, especially the “SV Twins” books, were my childhood and I am always on the look-out for the few that are missing from my collection.

5. Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling
These books will live on longer than the western civilization.

4. Secrets of the Unicorn Queen – Various Authors
I was captivated by these books when I was in elementary school and have in recent years found somewhere where I could read them online. I only wish that there were more…

3. Women of the Underworld – Kelley Armstrong
Some of these books I liked more than the others, but I can’t wait for the new one about Savannah to come out!

2. Shifter series – Rachel Vincent
The love-triangle that has been present in the last two books makes me cry with want for the final book to come out this fall.

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians – Rick Riordan
I LOVE these books, though I’m a little hesitant about there being a spin-off type series coming out soon.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wish List Wednesday – A.I vs. Humans: The Finale



Wired

Written by: Robin Wasserman

Released: September 14, 2010 by Simon Pulse



So the last book wasn’t all that great, but I still can’t wait to see how this entire series is going to end. Plus, this cover (as long as this is going to be the final cover) looks absolutely phenomenal. It looks as though it’s the same two actors as the second novel but with the addition of a third guy. September cannot come fast enough

Snob Squad: The Prequel



Charmed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Pretty Committee
The Clique Prequel


Written by: Lisi Harrison

Released: October 27, 2009 by Poppy, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company


Summary: Once upon a time, in Westchester and Orlando, there were four betas just waiting for their alpha. It took a miracle to bring the Pretty Committee together--or rather, a New Years Eve party. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it just cliques. This special deluxe hardcover novella tells the outrageous story of how The Clique got together.



I originally wanted to get the second novel in the Clique series from my library but it wasn’t there so I got this one; the prequel to the entire series.

I wasn’t as taken with this book as I was the original, but it wasn’t horrible. It brought in some stuff that was mentioned in the first book, like the silver microphone charm, but the way that it was described didn’t mesh with how it was first introduced. In the first book, the microphone was stated as being bought where as in this book the microphone was a gift that later ends up being re-gifted. Still, it was interesting to see how the four main girls came together and how Claire was before she moved and went to OCD.

Side-note: OCD is a crazy acronym for a school.

Overall, though this book was a fun, easy read, it wasn’t as entertaining as the first – something that I hope doesn’t transfer to the other books in the series as well. I’m giving this book a 4.5/10.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Loser and the Loner



The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl

Written by: Barry Lyga

Released: September 6, 2010 by Houghton Mifflin


Summary: Fanboy has never had it good, but lately his sophomore year is turning out to be its own special hell. The bullies have made him their favourite target, his best (and only) friend seems headed for the dark side (sports and popularity), and his pregnant mother and the step-fascist are eagerly awaiting the birth of the alien life form known as Fanboy’s new little brother or sister.
Fanboy, though, has a secret: a graphic novel he’s been working on without telling anyone, a graphic novel that he is convinced will lead to publication, fame, and—most important of all—a way out of the crappy little town he lives in and all the people that make it hell for him.
When Fanboy meets Kyra, a.k.a. Goth Girl, he finds an outrageous, cynical girl who shares his love of comics as well as his hatred for jocks and bullies. Fanboy can’t resist someone who actually seems to understand him, and soon he finds himself willing to heed her advice—to ignore or crush anyone who stands in his way.



I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like this book but something made me pick it up at the library anyways. I mean, it sounded intriguing with the title and the summary was just vague enough that I was still left wondering. I have to admit, though, that I did enjoy reading this. The take on life was one that completely lived in the grey areas and it was interesting to see how the characters changed and evolved within the eyes of Donnie (AKA Fanboy).

Actually, it’s rather interesting; Fanboy’s character is almost never referred to as his actual name and it took me a while to even find mention of it in the book and even then it was his mother saying it. This makes sense to me though; unless you have a many friends, why would someone say your name for a specific reason. If one of very few people is going to talk to you, they wouldn’t need to really speak your name. A simple ‘dude’ or, as it is in this book ‘Fanboy’ would more than suffice.

I greatly enjoyed Kyra’s character (Goth Girl) because she was just so raw. I was wondering throughout the entire book exactly what her deal was and what her traumatic past was. I think that I let my imagination draw too many insane conclusions but the way that she is written allows for that to happen; allows so that almost anything could be the answer.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and I almost read it all in one sitting. It captivated me as a reader and it was real enough that I could feel what was going on. I’m giving this book a rating of 8/10.

Monday, April 26, 2010

BBC 100 - Part 2


Part two of the BBC top 100 list (books 26-50) where the BBC think that people are idiots and don't read amazing books. Then again, I suppose that there are people out there who only read one author, one genre, or those trashy romance novels in the red or purple covers... Still, making an assumption that people have only read six books on this entire list?


26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
Such an amazing book that is so imaginative. Pretty good for a drug-addled brain to come up with.

30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
I couldn’t make it through this when I had to read it for class.

31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
Amazing series.

34. Emma - Jane Austen
On my bookshelf.

35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
See above book.

36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
By far my favourite of the series. But isn't having this book on here when the entire series is listed above a little redundant?

37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Such an amazing book. It was so descriptive and colourful and so lovely.

40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
A children’s classic.

41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
A book that I haven’t gotten around to yet.

42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Bookshelf.

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marque

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
So I didn’t know that the movie Simon Birch was done from this book… I might just have to get this from the library. I really did like the movie even though it was so sad.

45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
So good. My favourite book in the series.

47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
I hated this book. With a passion. But the death of Piggy in the movie made my entire class laugh. Rocks are not supposed to bounce off a person’s head when they’re that big.

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan




So that's another 6 1/2 books, which brings my grand total to 15 1/2 books. I think that the BBC needs to re-think their numbers.

Movie Monday - Modern Day Super Hero



Kick Ass

Released: April 16, 2010

Written by: Matthew Vauhan & Jane Goldman based upon the comic book by Mark Miller & John Romlita Jr.

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Rating: R


Summary: Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan with a few friends and who lives alone with his father. His life is not very difficult and his personal trials not that overwhelming. However, one day he makes the simple decision to become a super-hero even though he has no powers or training.



First and foremost, this movie isn’t for the feint of heart. Not only is the language worse than you would hear from a sailor, the violence is extremely graphic and the situations extreme. I, of course, loved this movie. I mean, come on, Nicholas Cage as a crazy “super hero” vigilante cannot be topped.

The one really amazing thing about this movie was that I never at any time wondered when it was going to be over. I was enthralled with the entirety of it and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. My friend who I saw the movie with… not so much. She hid her face a lot of the movie when things got a little too intense. Then again, it makes sense since I have to drag her to horror movies that give her nightmares after.

Still, this movie was nothing that I expected it to be. Maybe that was from the lack of advertising that I saw that depicted the movie as nothing more than a comedy. I definitely wasn’t expecting so see people beaten within an inch of life, burned to death, or taken out by various weapons including a bazooka; although the bazooka bits were rather funny. In fact, I found myself laughing out loud at several points within this movie whether it was genuinely funny or the specific way that a person was taken out. But hey, I laugh during horror movies too, so what’s that to go on really?

I thought that the idea behind this movie was rather genius. It’s one thing to create real super heroes or make movies about the X-Men, Spiderman or Batman – already established crime fighters – but to take someone normal without crazy financial backing or actual super powers, throw them in a scuba suit, and have them fight for the little people is something no one else has ever done before. Ok, that’s a bit of a lie since there was Zorro… but he doesn’t really count.

The casting in this movie was phenomenal too. The only person I though wasn’t cast right was Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Red Mist/Chris D’Amico (better known as McLovin from the Superbad movie), but I think that’s because I find him annoying period. Everyone else was amazing and right on the character that they were portraying.

Overall, I loved this movie and I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so that I can buy it. I have never been one of those people who pays multiple times to see something in theatres… what a waste of money. Anyways, I’m giving this movie a well deserved 10/10. It’s absolutely brilliant.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Double Take – Book Covers



A friend of mine and I were in Wal-Mart before a movie and we were checking out the table of books that was in the middle of one of the aisles when I came across the newly re-released Kelley Armstrong books with their new covers – covers which I am fully against though they are rather pretty. But why must people mess with the original and screw up the formatting of the books not to mention the size. Then they don’t match on the bookshelf.

Anyways, I came across the new cover of No Humans Involved and I couldn’t get it out of my mind that I had seen it somewhere else on another books. And then I realized that it was the exact same, aside from the lack of colour, as the Bree Despain novel cover of The Dark Divine.

This got me thinking: Is this even allowed? And if even if it is, why would an author want basically the same cover as another author? I know that if it were me, I would want something original and different to display what my book contains.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Little Mermaid



Sirena

Written by: Donna Jo Napoli

Released: September 1, 1998 by Scholastic Inc.


Summary: In Donna Jo Napoli's beautiful prose, the tragic love story between a mermaid and a mortal comes to life for young readers. When Sirena meets Philoctetes, Hercules' friend, she falls in love. But the young warrior must return home to fight the Trojan War and leave his magical love behind.




I loved how this book incorporated Greek stories (like the Rick Riordan books do) into the actual story which is a little but Little Mermaid. The history behind how mermaids came to be was interesting as was how they would become immortal.

The romance of the novel was bittersweet just like then ending but at the same time I don’t think that it would have worked the same way, nor would it have been so beautiful. It was nice to read about how the love between Sirena and Philoctetes grew as they spent their years on their island and how they made their relationship work for them. I don’t think that it would have worked if it wasn’t just the two of them secluded on their island either. I think that prejudices would have then interfered and come between them.

The plot was simple and to the point; mermaid falls in love with sailor, sailor falls in love with mermaid, they live together in their romance until something forces them apart but their love lives on. The secondary characters had few appearances but they helped move along the story and sometimes interfered as well. Basically they were the parts that caused any friction.

I thought that Sirena as a mermaid was the smartest out there. She seemed to not be swayed by the pack and was able to place herself apart from the mob mentality that persisted with all the other sea creatures. She seemed to be the only one who was actually capable of having true feelings that weren’t derived from the want to only become immortal.

One thing that I really didn’t care for with this book was the fact that it was written in prose. I don’t know why but it just always takes me so much longer to get into a book and a character when it’s written like that. However, it was beautifully written and I did enjoy it once I got the hang of read it like that.

Overall, I’m giving this book a 6/10. While I did enjoy it, nothing really happened.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Please Stop Talking


I know that today is Friday and it’s supposed to be my weekly post featuring a piece of online fiction, but the story that I wanted to feature was taken down from FictionPress and I can’t find it anywhere.

So, since that happened – and it’s really too bad. If you can find someone who has a copy (or locate the original author) it was called Behind the Cameras and it was FANTASTIC – I’ve decided to forgo this week’s post and just post a book review. My guess is that the online story was plagiarized somewhere and the original author decided to take down the original so that it wouldn’t happen again. Or maybe they’re trying to get it published. It was one of the best online stories that I have ever read.


Say the Word

Written by: Jeannine Garsee

Released: March 17, 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books


Summary: Dredging up the past can knock the present right off balance.

The world expects perfection from seventeen-year-old Shawna Gallagher, and for the most part, that’s what they get. She dates the right boys, gets good grades, and follows her father’s every rule. But when her estranged lesbian mother dies, it’s more than perfect Shawna can take.
Suddenly, anger from being abandoned ten years ago is resurfacing along with Shawna’s embarrassment over her mother’s other family. As she confronts family secrets and questions from the past, Shawna realizes there’s a difference between doing the perfect thing and doing the right thing.



This was just one of those books that I couldn’t get into and I’m not entirely sure why. I admit that I didn’t like the main character Shawna and her multiple personalities – I’m pretty sure that she was schizophrenic – and the way that she addressed these different personalities was weird.

I did like how the main focus at the beginning, in the few chapters that I read, was how she dealt with her mom suddenly coming out and moving to live with her girlfriend. I think that the issue of parents suddenly realizing their true selves is an amazing issue to tackle with young adult novels because of the stigma that can be placed upon their children by their community. I completely am against the horrible feelings and attitudes that people express towards those in the GLBT community and their loved ones. Sexuality is something that I believe doesn’t define a person solely for who or what they are.

I almost wish that I had tried to read further with this book but I was just not in the mind-set to push myself to read something that isn’t clicking with me. I think that this might be a book that I will take out from the library at a different time and perhaps then reading it won’t seem like a chore. I do think that this book has the potential to be a really great read.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Red and White Roses



Tender Morsels

Written by: Margo Lanagan

Released: October 14, 2008 by Random House Children’s Books


Summary: Tender Morsels is a dark and vivid story, set in two worlds and worrying at the border between them. Liga lives modestly in her own personal heaven, a world given to her in exchange for her earthly life. Her two daughters grow up in this soft place, protected from the violence that once harmed their mother. But the real world cannot be denied forever-magicked men and wild bears break down the borders of Liga’s refuge. Now, having known Heaven, how will these three women survive in a world where beauty and brutality lie side by side?






This book was not only hard to get into but it was incredibly disturbing at parts, overly graphic, and morbid. Add to the top of that that with the annoying trait of having multiple first-person perspectives where the transfer was anything but obvious or smooth at times, and you have this book.

That being said, I’m not entirely sure what to think about this book. While I enjoyed how it played with the Snow White and Rose Red fairy tale with just a hint of Beauty and the Beast – quite amazingly well actually – it was hard to get into the rhythm, which made reading it a stop-and-go venture. Seriously, it took me well over a week to finish reading it and I read several books in-between. I think it had something to do with the language – though beautifully written – the way that the townspeople spoke and how it was translated to the page; Babby should be baby and mebbe is maybe and there are so many more.

I also wouldn’t classify this as a YA book… or at least it’s an older YA book not meant for the twelve-year-olds who are venturing into the YA world. Stress on the Adult in YA. The content consists of bestiality, incest, rape, abortion, abuse, and death in such vivid, though somehow alluding, detail that it’s a little disturbing to read.

The ending was a little disappointing to me but wasn’t at the same time. I was happy that Branza found someone who she could love in the real world but I was sad that Liga didn’t have the same sort of happy ending. I suppose that the ending just oozed contentment for everyone though not necessarily satisfaction.

The characters were easy to love – whey they were characters that you were meant to love – and easy to hate if that’s what the intention was. They were well crafted and realistic with their flaws.

Overall, I did enjoy reading the book though it was a little difficult at times. I might read it again later and I would definitely recommend it to someone if this was the type of story that they were looking for; though I would definitely give some warnings before-hand.

I’m going to give this book a 7/10.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - The Magic of Water



The Mermaid’s Mirror

Written by: L.K. Madigan

Released: October 4, 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children


Summary: Lena has lived her whole life near the beach – walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves – the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman – with a silvery tail.

Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life …



I found this book through Goodreads and it really interested me. Not only is the cover gorgeous, but the summary really sounds interesting. Plus, I really like mermaids and the theology and mythology behind them is always interesting.

I’ll definitely be looking out for this on in stores and in the library!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BBC 100 - Part 1


Apparently the BBC thinks that people are illiterate and unable to read books that aren’t complete trash. Ok, so maybe that’s not what they think exactly but they do apparently believe that the vast majority of the population hasn’t read more than 6 books from this list that they complied of great works of fiction according to them.

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to post this list in four parts (25 books per post), bold the books that I have personally read, and make comments on whatever books catch my fancy.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Though not my favourite classic, I love Mr. Darcy.

2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
I am never going to read these books. I hate Tolkien’s writing style and couldn’t even make it through The Hobbit. But I do own the books.

3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
One of those books that I had to read in class that I never really paid attention to. I think that I should really re-read it soon though.

4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
Love, but I have still yet read the last book. I think I just don’t want it to end.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6. The Bible
Years of Catholic grade school had me reading the entirety of the New Testament and parts of the Old.

7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Another classic that I need to re-read for refreshing purposes.

8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
I liked the first and the other two are on my reading pile.

10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11. Little Women - Louisa May AlcottI love this book.

12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
I have a copy on my bookshelf but I’ve not gotten around to reading it yet.

13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
I took a Shakespeare class in second year.

15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
See above at 2.

17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
Another book that is sitting unread on my shelf.

20. Middlemarch - George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
I really want to read this but I haven’t gotten around to getting my hands on a copy.

22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
I’ve heard good things about this book and I think that it’s one I want to check out in the future.




HA! Take that BBC. Only 1/4 of the way through the list and I have surpassed your expectations!

Stay tuned for the rest of the list.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Movie Monday - Fountain of Love



When in Rome

Released: January 29, 2010

Written by: David Diamond & David Weissman

Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson

Rating: PG-13


Summary: Beth is a hard working career woman whose last relationship says that she puts her work above him so he left her. When he tells her he found another career woman and is willing to stick it out with her and is engaged to her, Beth feels that there is no one for her.
And when she goes to Rome to attend her sister's impromptu wedding and after meeting the best man, Nick she’s attracted to him but after seeing him with another woman, she gets drunk and goes into the famed Fountain of Love and takes some coins thrown by people looking for love.
When she goes back to New York, four men start coming onto her, and Nick keeps calling her asking her out. She later learns that what she did – is a no-no. It seems legend says that if you take a coin out of the fountain the person who threw it will fall in love with who took the coin.
So she has to find a way to break the curse. And she wonders if Nick whom she likes is with her cause he wants to or is he under the spell.





I saw this movie back when it first came out as a girl’s night out movie. I admit that I was drawn because I was a huge fan of the television show Veronica Mars and Kristin Bell starred in both.

This movie wasn’t that bad; for a girl’s night it wasn’t a horrible choice though it would have been a better date night pick. It was a nice romantic comedy that made me laugh out loud a few times. I have to say that Danny DeVito and Anjelica Huston were phenomenal.

The concept was simple and sweet – take some coins from a fountain of love and strange people fall in love with you from the magic of it all – simple. The idea that you can never truly be sure of love, now that was a nice touch to the overall romance arc.

Overall, this wasn’t a horrible movie but it wasn’t fantastic. It was average. A nice time, though not necessarily worth the money spent, and would be a good rental choice (May 2010) and I’m going to give it a 5/10.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We Dig, Dig, Dig



Holes

Written by: Louis Sachar

Released: December 1, 1998 by Granta Books


Summary: Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats.
Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boy’s detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep.
It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment-and redemption.




This was one of those books from childhood that I never got around to reading because I didn’t think that it would be interesting. Even after I saw the movie when it first came out, I didn’t think that the book could be that great. Happily, I came across it at the library for the last time and I caved in and after actually reading this book, I have to admit that it wasn’t all that bad.

It wasn’t as if I was missing out on anything, though, but by reading it I checked one more book off my list and I found out what everyone was raving about at the time. But I admit that it wasn’t a bad read and I read it in one sitting… ok I fell asleep in the middle, but that’s because I was tired.

Anyways, I enjoyed the character of Stanley “Caveman” Yelnats (quite a good idea for a name too) and it was nice to see him go from whiney to less whiney. I really liked the character of Zero though. I found him interesting and mysterious. It was like you could never fully figure him out. The rest of the characters… I admit that I couldn’t really keep them straight, at least when it came to the other boys in Stanley’s cabin.

The plot in this book was entertaining and easy to follow. I enjoyed how there were flashback paragraphs to fill the reader in on the historical back-story on how the “curse” began and what lead up to the lake drying up. I think that it was written in the ideal way and that if the layout had been different, the entire book would have had a different vibe to it. It also wouldn’t have appealed to as many people then and would have been a little all over the place.

Compared to the movie, I believe that I liked the book better but the movie really did help in picturing some of the characters. Sigourney Weaver as the Warden was the perfect casting in my opinion.

Overall, I’m giving this book a 5/10. Though I’m glad that I finally got around to reading it, I’m more than happy that I borrowed it from the library. Still, any young relatives of mine are going to get the recommendation to read this at least once – I really think that it would appeal better to a slightly younger audience.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Snob Squad: The First



The Clique

Written by: Lisi Harrison

Released: May 5, 2004 by Little, Brown and Company


Summary: The social minefields most privileged middle-school girls drive the over-the-top drama in this addictive new book, set in suburban New York City’s Westchester County.
Massie Block: With her glossy brunette bob and Whitestrip smile, Massie is the uncontested ruler of The Clique and the rest of the social scene at Octavian Country Day, an exclusive private school in Westchester, New York.
Dylan Marvil: Massie’s second in command who divides her time between sucking up to Massie and sucking down Atkins shakes to try to get rid of the extra fifteen pounds that won’t seem to leave her hips alone.
Alicia Rivera: As sneaky as she is beautiful, Alicia floats easily under adult radar because she seems so “sweet”. Would love to take Massie's throne one day. Just might do it.
Kristen Gregory: She’s been dying to fit in ever since her parents went broke. She’s smart, hardworking and will insult you to tears faster than you can say “scholarship kid”.
And then there’s Claire Lyons, the new girl in two-year old GAP overalls from Florida, who is clearly not Clique material. The only problem is that Claire’s family is staying in the guest house on the Blocks'' massive estate while they look for a new home! Claire’s future looks worse than a bad Prada knockoff. But with a little luck and a lot of scheming, Claire might just come up smelling like Chanel Mademoiselle....






I read this book in one sitting, which wasn’t hard since it’s rather short and entertaining. I admit that I had seen the movie a while ago when I stumbled across it online, and the fact that I enjoyed the movie (as silly as it was), prompted me to pick this book up at the library today. I liked how it was an easy, simple, no-brain read, that kept me reading it right up until the end.

Character-wise, I have to say that I only really enjoyed Massie, Claire and Kristen, though I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe I just related more to them than the others. Whatever the reason, I thought that the characters were all well-thought and well written though completely snarky and mean at times. I guess I just didn’t have to deal with cliques to that degree while in grade school.

The plot was simple and it sets up the characters well for the rest of the series – at least I can only assume that the series get better thanks to this book. This definitely wasn’t a book where a lot happened, but I can see where more is able to happen now in the 12 (13 next year) + books that follow it.

All together, I think that this is a solid 5.5/10 with room for improvement as the books develop. I enjoyed reading it and I kind of can’t wait to see what else unfolds with the rest.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Legends, Hunters and Werewolves – Oh My! - FP Friday



A Forbidden Love

Written by: Haybell

Rated: T


Summary: Life is totally unfair sometimes. I have to pick between three gorgeous werewolf alphas, one of which will end up being my mate for life. I have to choose one to save my village. Did I mention that I had to become a werewolf too? Well I do. Great...



I read this back in January and though it has its grammatical and tense problems, the story itself was lovely and the first chapter was enough to get me curious to read the remainder.

At the time, I posted a few reviews on the site and quoting myself, “plot-wise, I enjoyed this. There were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting though there were several plot holes – like people suddenly being gone from the conversation and not really explained why, and it would have made more sense to have the hunter from the end be mentioned even just in passing before he suddenly showed up”.

I also had some other writing advice to make things flow better since the author was contemplating attempting to get it published. Anyways, this is a bit ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with the main character being sent away from home to appease an arrangement that her father had made. It was its own fairy tale-ish story, though, with a touch of mystery, supernatural, and romance. As a reader you are drawn in to the wonderment on which Paige, the main character, will choose to marry. Each suitor has his own attractive qualities and it’s a real nail-biter.

One of the real draws – for me anyways – to this story was not only the supernatural romance but the fact that it is complete and there’s an accompanying story already over (currently) 27 chapters and 104,193 words. It’s always nice to read a story that is complete so that you’re not waiting for the next updates; this is the one drawback to reading things online.

In the end, I think that I am going to give this a 6/10 – the grammatical and plot holes made the rating lower. I really do think that with work this could be absolutely amazing and a great read on-line with who knows what possibilities in the future. However, there are two chapters newly posted (as of this review) that are revisions under a new name. I believe that this is something that I am going to check out soon. From the summary, it sounds like a lot of work has gone into it and that it’s going to be pretty good!

Image taken from here and altered by me for use as a title photo.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So Not-Average Princess



Princess Ben

Written by: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Released: April 8, 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Summary: Benevolence is not your typical princess and Princess Ben is certainly not your typical fairy tale.
With her parents lost to unknown assassins, Princess Ben ends up under the thumb of the conniving Queen Sophia, who is intent on marrying her off to the first available specimen of imbecilic manhood. Starved and miserable, locked in the castles highest tower, Ben stumbles upon a mysterious enchanted room. So begins her secret education in the magical arts: mastering an obstinate flying broomstick, furtively emptying the castle pantries, setting her hair on fire . . .
But Ben’s private adventures are soon overwhelmed by a mortal threat facing the castle and indeed the entire country. Can Princess Ben save her kingdom from annihilation and herself from permanent enslavement?





This was a book that I greatly enjoyed. I liked how it incorporated different fairy tales in passing while creating its own unique tale of magic and mayhem. The setting was gorgeous, the plot interesting, and the characters were well-thought and real. I also found myself laughing out loud at several occasions.

Princess Ben was an enigma to me though. Sure, she was an easy character to like and one that was easy to follow, but I couldn’t help but not think of her as “fat” when that was what the book was going for. I was picturing her as average but surrounded by women who were border-line anorexic, and maybe with a little baby fat that had yet to fall away. I suppose I also didn’t quite understand why she was so difficult as times as well when things seemed to be done only to help her along in life. However, she was funny and ingenious; the dragon bit had me laughing for a long time.

I thought that the romance was a little lacking, but that it only aided the story. The way that it was written – the struggle, the denial, the pure unwanting – made things seem more real than if they fell in love at first sight. That doesn’t mean that I liked Prince Florian. I also felt rather sorry for Queen Regent Sophia; she just seemed so sad underneath everything but it was a sadness that had been there for quite some time. My guess would be unrequited love with her childhood goat herd boy.

All together this was a fun, easy read that I greatly enjoyed. I’m giving it an 8/10 for being creative, hilarious, and fairy tale perfect.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - One Bad-Ass Cinderella



Queen of Glass

Written by: Sarah J. Maas



I am so excited about this book that I don’t think that I can put it into words. I remember reading this in the early 2000s when it was still being posted on FictionPress and I fell in love with it then. So, of course, I was slightly heart-broken when it was taken down but that has eased since I found out that it’s going to be PUBLISHED for real. By Bloomsbury USA. As in I can physically touch a book that contains the most original and amazing Cinderella-inspired story ever.

I don’t think that I have ever felt excitement over a book like I do this one; I mean, I’m practically giddy and when I first found out through Goodread my jaw dropped and I did a little happy dance. But then I controlled myself and checked Ms. Maas’ livejournal to confirm only to give another little happy dance. So, of course, this decided the fact that this book should be the first I add as my first ever Wish List Wednesday even though it’s not slated for release until next year as a multi-book series. I think the count was at 4 books to cover the entirety of the story. That’s some serious Cinderella amazingness.

The whole concept of the book is just so phenomenal too; “Cinderella” is an assassin who falls for the prince. There’s a castle made of glass and there are fairies, sea-voyages, romance, a character that’s more ‘Cinderella’ than the main “Cinderella”… That’s a little confusing, I know, but it’s been a few years since I even though about it and more since then since I actually read it so you’ll have to forgive me for the lack of details. Point is, it’s AMAZING from what I remember and it can only get better when I re-read it in a year or so.

I only wish that there were a cover to go along with it but that will come with time.



Image found on the internet and the script was added by me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Soul Screamer: The Prequel



My Soul to Lose

Written by: Rachel Vincent

Released: July 1, 2009


Summary: Kaylee Cavanaugh's trip to the mall ends with a brutal panic attack and a brainscrambling shriek she can't stop. Her secret fear is exposed. It's the worst day of her life.
Until she wakes up in the psychiatric unit.
But the hospital isn't a safe place for Kaylee, and getting out won't be easy because everyone thinks she's crazy. Everyone except Lydia, who has a secret of her own...



So I recently found out that there was an online prequel to Rachel Vincent’s amazing new YA series and since I’ve read the first book, the second is on my to-read pile, and I’m greatly anticipating the third, I figured that this would be great to read too. So I downloaded the pdf file and read the 40-odd pages that were this prequel.

It was amazing.

It was great to have a bit of insight to events that were only glazed over in the first book and to see how Kaylee was before the first book. It also gave a bit more information on the supernatural world and what exists in this particular series. And, you see the beginnings of the relationship between Kaylee’s aunt and uncle and how they know more than they’re letting on.

One thing I wish was different was that Lydia was a larger character and that you really get to know her more. Everything else though was amazing. The turmoil of being in an institution was something that the reader could feel and the way that it was described made you think that things like this could really be happening.

Overall I’m giving this novella a 7/10 and it can be found in the link above to read online. Trust me, if you like the series, it’s definitely something that you should read. And if you’ve never read the books, check it out because it’s great!

On a side note, isn't the cover gorgeous?



Summary and photo taken from here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sherlock Mouse



The Great Mouse Detective

First Released: July 2, 1986, re-released on VHS in 1992, re-released on DVD in 2010

Written by: Peter Young & Vance Gerry (plus nine other writers) based on the book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone

Directed by: Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, and John Musker

Rating: G



Summary: In Victorian London, England, a little mouse girl's toymaker father is abducted by a peg-legged bat. She enlists the aid of Basil of Baker Street, the rodent world's answer to Sherlock Holmes. The case expands as Basil uncovers the crime's link to a plot against the Crown itself.




So, since it’s being re-released on DVD tomorrow, I thought that I would dive into my childhood and review this Disney movie.

I remember that I watched this movie all the time. I think that the appeal was the talking animals, but the action and adventure always made it fun to watch. Plus, it was funny, and at the time I was in a major Disney phase. I loved the characters and the villain (a giant rat with his bat side-kick) was truly kid-scary.

I’m giving this movie a 7/10 for childhood memories. It was a good film then and I imagine that if I watch it now, later in life, it would still be entertaining.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Question of Books


I have been seriously lacking in the last few days on reading due to some travelling so I don’t have a review for today. Instead I’ve ‘stolen’ this meme from here since it’s all about books and I thought that it was interesting when I first read it. So I’ve written my own answers, and it was a little difficult at times to adhere to the rules, but I did it.

Tuesday it will be back to regular book reviews (Monday being all things movies) so enjoy this break in our regular reviewing!


Rules: No two answers can be the same book. All books must be fiction.





1. Book next to your bed right now:
Next to my bed there are a whole pile of books but ON my bed is Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock since I’m about to start reading it.

2. Favourite series:
Right now, my favourite series is definitely Percy Jackson and the Olympians and I still have the last book to read.

3. Favourite book:
Tough question… probably Peter Pan. I have read that book so many times and I love it every time that I read it.

4. The one book you would have with you if stranded on a desert island:
Hmmm… Well, Lord of the Flies would be good for survival techniques but I think that I would rather something entertaining and long to read so I would have to go with the Narnia series. Are series allowed?

5. Book/series you would take with you on a long flight:
Something that would pass the time and keep me occupied. I have to go with anything by Juliet Marillier since her novels are long, beautifully written and immensely enjoyable.

6. Worst book you were made to read in school:
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler. I hate that book with a passion and its ending still bugs me.

7. Book that everyone should be made to read in school:
I think that in elementary school it should be books like Harry Potter which got a large part of an entire generation reading when they came out – something that the kids will be genuinely interested in and want to read even when they’re not in class; something that will jump-start a love of reading.
In high school, there should be classics like Pride and Prejudice covered along with the Shakespeare and one best-seller novel of a previous year; basically something that will try to satisfy every person, like The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

8. Book that everyone should read, period:
Such a hard question. I think that everyone should read the classic fairy tales since so many people only know what Disney has told them. Seriously, some of the original fairy tales are twisted and demented and amazing.

9. Favourite character:
Tough question. I have such a cliché literary crush on Jacob Black though!

10. Best villain:
Hannibal Lector. He is one amazing bad guy and so intellectual.

11. Favourite concept series:
What is a concept series anyways? I think I’m going to have to pass on this one.


12. Favourite invented world:
Though I know it’s based on our world now, I would have to say the world contained within the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.

13. Most beautifully written book:
I loved The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory; I couldn’t put it down and I was on vacation in Cuba at the time.

14. Funniest book:
Anything by Katie MacAlister. She always had me laughing out loud on the bus whenever I was reading her. It drew quite a few stares at the time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Of Flying Carpets and Castles



Castle in the Air

Written by: Diana Wynne Jones

Released: 1990 by Methuen Children’s Books Ltd.


Summary: Far to the south in the Land of Ingary, lives a young carpet merchant called Abdullah. In his dreams, he is the long-lost son of a great prince. This dream is a complete castle in the air, or is it?
Abdullah's day-dreams suddenly start to come true when he meets the exquisite Flower-in-the-Night, daughter of the ferocious Sultan of Zanzib. Fate has destined them for each other, but a bad-tempered genie, a hideous djinn, and various villainous bandits have their own ideas. When Flower-in-the- Night is carried off, Abdullah is determined to rescue her - if he can find her.




Well, I didn’t like this book nearly as much as I adored Howl’s Moving Castle, but I guess that’s what you get most of the time with a companion novel. Of course this wasn’t a bad novel either – I just liked Howl more. There’s something about a snarky wizard that just makes me laugh and want to read and have a small literary crush on him.

This book had an Aladdin feel with the Arabian desert city, oasis’, the entrapped genie, the poor carpet vendor, and the Princess of a Sultan. There’s even a magic flying carpet, just like the Disney movie and the main character’s name is Abdullah… fishy if you ask me. Still, this book for all its similarities is completely different in so many ways that it’s still fun to read. There’s much magical mayhem, just like in Howl, and Sophie and Howl make appearances as their happily married selves.

I found the plot to be up-beat and interesting and the referrals back to elements of the first book in the ‘series’ (if you can really call it a series with only three books… trilogy is maybe better) make it familiar in a nice way. This also helps the reader situate themselves within the Howl realm, which is an added bonus.

The characters are your typical stereotype characters for any fantasy-adventure book involving genies, but they are written in such a way that you really don’t mind it. Plus, there are more than enough surprises thrown in that they keep you on your toes and guessing.

When it’s all said and done, though I didn’t love this as much as the first, I still really enjoyed reading it and finding out what happened after the ‘happily ever after’ of Howl. I’m giving this book a 6/10 – I just wish that there were more of Howl and Sophie – and the language and characters makes it a great read for all ages.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Supposed to Be - FP Friday



Better Together

Written by: Templeton21

Rated: M


Summary: After her fiancé dumps her, Violet Littleton wants nothing to do with love and the entire ridiculous concept of it. But then, she meets his eyes from across the bar. It was only supposed to be a one night stand. Supposed to be anyway.



I remember reading this when it was first being posted on a different site but I was pleasantly surprised when it was re-posted on FictionPress and since then it’s been one of those on-line books that I have always come back to, to re-read. Unfortunately, it’s one of the only fully completed stories still listed online since there have been so many plagiarism problems, especially for this author. Still, this is a great story of hers and it’s one of my favourites. Some of her other work can be found through her blogspot.

There’s just something so compelling about the characters and the situations that they are thrust into; I mean, who can’t relate to the heart-wrenching feelings associated with utter heart-break. It’s also the idea that you can, in fact, meet someone at the bar, have a one-night stand, and in doing such find the love of your life. I suppose that it’s the whole “true love” idea that really appeals to the reader.

The characters are realistic and easy to relate to especially since every personality type is covered. Though I don’t mean that in the necessarily cliché way that you tend to see in other books and movies. You’re not going to find your spoiled rich kid who hangs with the preppy athletic type who is dating the perfect prom queen. Of course since the characters are also of an older age (think mid-twenties), you’re not going to get those high-school types but those types do grow up eventually and they’re definitely not here.

The plot is simple, though not overly simple, but that just makes it a nice enjoyable read. It’s a lovely romance that makes you want to truly believe in true love and “the one”.

Overall I’m giving this a 7/10. It’s not the best thing in the writer’s repertoire but it’s definitely worth a read or four.


Photo taken from flickr and altered by me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Children of Gods: Take Four



The Battle of the Labyrinth

Written by: Rick Riordan

Released: May 6, 2008 by Hyperion Books for Children


Summary: As an incoming freshman, Percy isn't expecting his high school orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this fourth instalment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop them, Percy and his demigod friends will set out on a quest through the Labyrinth-a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humour and heart-pounding action, this fourth book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet.






I do believe that I have a new favourite book in this series and I know that I stayed up way too early in morning reading it; at 5am I should be sleeping not engrossed in the climax of a book. I absolutely love how these books incorporate American history (as well as Greek theology) into their details as well; having the labyrinth as a part of the Underground Railroad? That was genius.

What else t say about this book. It was cute to see that Grover had a girlfriend named Jumper and I laughed so hard when, at the end of the novel, she was brandishing a stick to whip monsters with. I couldn’t help but get a mental picture of a nun with her ruler only she was dressed all in fairy clothing. And Annabeth and Percy kissed and it was so sweet!

Character-wise, I loved the return of Tyson and how he aided so much with everything in the book. You can tell that he’s growing as a character not only older but wiser as well. I was also surprised by the return of Nico and how all events containing him turned out; I was never sure how he was going to react and what side he was going to take. His sudden arrival at the very end of the book at Percy’s birthday party almost made me scream at the book for being finished; I want to know what happens in the last book and I’m on a waiting list at the library for it. I’m also curious to see what happens with Rachel – whether she becomes an even larger part of the overall arc or if she just fades into the background, her part over with – and I think that she’s a strange and curious character with a bit of mystery around her. Plus, her added to the plot makes Annabeth so jealous it’s really funny to read.

Overall, the character growth in this book was phenomenal and so much happened with them that it’s hard to comprehend that it all was contained in one book.

The plot was great too, though I can see how it was simply building for the great climax of the entire series with the next book. I can’t wait to see what happens to everyone and whether or not Kronos is destroyed… or I guess I should wonder how he’s going to be destroyed since you know that he is bound to be so that things end rather happily. This is a children’s series after all.

With everything said and done, I’m giving this book a 9/10 and I cannot stomach waiting too long to read the final book. I just hope that whoever has it before me on the list doesn’t take too long to read it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Animal Instincts



Beastly

Written by: Alex Flinn

Released: September 20, 2007 by Harper Collins Publishers


Summary: I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright-a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever-ruined-unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.






What can I say about this book? Well, though I enjoyed reading it – it was a nice, light (with a moral) read that was entertaining – and I thoroughly was impressed by the modernization of Beauty and the Beast, I’m not sure what I think about it. Like I said, I enjoyed reading it sucker for fairy tales that I am, but it wasn’t spectacular.

Maybe I’m being too harsh though. My unease about the book could be due to the fact that there is a movie being released this summer based upon this book and starring Vanessa Hudgens; an “actress” whom I think is completely talentless. Perhaps knowing that she would be playing Lindy ruined the character and thus her part within the book.

So let’s set her aside.

I thought that the character of Kyle/Adrian encompassed the role of the beast beautifully. He was self-loathing and tortured though was able to throw himself into his reading and gardening and express himself, while growing with his flowers into a better person. His transformation into a real human being was what was really brilliantly written about this book. As a reader you really did not like him in the beginning when he was a jerk but then after he is turned into the beast, and has to start relying on things other than his quintessential good looks, you start to see depth in his character.

The other characters are well written as well and fit into their roles perfectly: the blind tutor (both physically and metaphorically), the caring housekeeper, the absent father, the narcissistic girlfriend, the groupie best friend. Then there’s Lindy and her user father. I admit that the drug addict father was a nice twist on the original father from the fairy tale, but Lindy was annoying and not just because of who’s going to play her in the movie. I mean, I would feel hurt too if my father bartered me in return for not getting sent to prison to a complete stranger. However, I don’t think that I would take it out on the person that he bartered with when I saw how amazing my accommodations were and how every detail was thought about before I had arrived. Maybe I would sulk about the entire situation but I would still be courteous to those who were putting me up. Anyways, she just rubbed me the wrong way throughout the entire book.

The plot was an amazing modernization interpretation of the original. The setting of urban New York played well into the whole idea behind the story since it allowed Kyle/Adrian to go out in the world through the disguise of a homeless person. It also showed how a person can feel a prisoner in any situation, in any setting, even when they have the freedom to roam the streets. The urban setting against the wildness of the roses in the greenhouse also shows another layer to the characters, setting, and atmosphere.

I suppose that in the end it wasn’t that bad. It was a nice, light read that I enjoyed despite the Lindy character. If someone was wanting to read a good fairy tale I would suggest this among other retellings. In the end, I’m giving this a 6/10.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Endless Prison



Incarceron

Written by: Catherine Fisher

Released: May 3, 2007 by Hodder Children’s Books (in the United Kingdom), January 26, 2010 by Dial Books (in North America)


Summary: Imagine a living prison so vast that it contains corridors and forests, cities and seas. Imagine a prisoner with no memory, who is sure he came from Outside, even though the prison has been sealed for centuries and only one man, half real, half legend, has ever escaped.
Imagine a girl in a manor house in a society where time has been forbidden, where everyone is held in a seventeenth century world run by computers, doomed to an arranged marriage that appals her, tangled in an assassination plot she both dreads and desires.
One inside, one outside
But both imprisoned.
Imagine a war that has hollowed the moon, seven skullrings that contain souls, a flying ship and a wall at the world's end.
Imagine the unimaginable.
Imagine Incarceron.





This was one of those books that I’m not sure whether or not I liked. I know that that sounds strange, but I just don’t know what to think of it. While I enjoy a good utopian vs. dystopian, steam-punkish book, this one was so complex that at times I wasn’t sure exactly what I was reading.

For starters, it took me forever to get into it; over half-way through the book and I finally couldn’t put it down. Before that, I would read a chapter or two and then be bored and turn to something else for a while. However, the action really picked up about half-way through the fourth part (of five parts) of the book and I just had to know how things finished. The ending was rather disappointing, though surprising, and it set up nicely for the second book Sapphique, which sadly isn’t due out in North America until the end of the year.

I have to admit that the book was intriguing, though. Premise-wise, it’s incredibly original and unique; an entire prison that’s like an entire world where only one person knows where it truly is and what it’s about; everything else is just speculation and even that that’s sometimes not enough. Parts of the book make you question everything that you’ve previously read – like, is the prison really a prison, is where Claudia lives a part of the prison or really the real world? Then there are all those twists which are thrown in sporadically throughout just as you think you’ve gotten everything figured out. It’s nice when you can’t fully anticipate where things are headed and this book has so many little details that make a big impact after you’ve forgotten about them, it’s insane.

With the characters, I wasn’t fully taken with them but they were beautifully written. Finn was an interesting one since you have no idea what’s going on there and the mystery is infuriating and not fully sated at the end of this book. Claudia was rather annoying, though likeable and relatable. It was nice to see her as a strong female protagonist too. Jared the Sapient confused me in the way that I couldn’t place his age or get into the psyche of the character and the ending especially left me questioning about him. The rest of the characters were unique in their own ways and were forever astounding you as you read along. Like the plot, you never fully have them figured out.

For being so hard to get into, though then being infuriatingly mysterious, I’m giving this book a 5.5/10 heading towards a 6/10. I think that the last third of the book really saved it and I want to read the next book to see how the loose ends are tied up.


Summary taken from Catherine Fisher’s official website.



On a side note; isn't the cover absolutely gorgeous?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Movie Monday - Children of Gods: The Movie



Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

First Released: February 2, 2010

Written by: Craig Titley and Joe Stillman, based on the novel by Rick Riordan

Directed by: Chris Columbus

Rating: PG


Summary: It's the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus and assorted monsters have walked out of the pages of high school student Percy Jackson's Greek mythology texts and into his life. And they're not happy: Zeus' lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.
Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother.
As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.





Well, it wasn’t the book, that’s for sure. Then again, almost no movie can surpass the phenomenal story of the book anyways, so all things considered this was a fairly good rendition.

I have to admit that I liked that the ages of Percy, Grover and Annabeth were changed to 16 but there were so many elements left out of the book that play an integral part in any up-coming sequels (The Sea of Monsters is due out some time in 2012, supposedly in 3D) that it makes me wonder if they were looking at the bigger picture when writing the script. I mean, come on; Clarisse, Thalia and the Oracle are all missing and they come to play such large roles later on in the books. They messed up the look of the characters that were there too. Annabeth is supposed to have fair hair and grey eyes, not be a brunette with blue ones. And when did I miss that Grover was black? However, his change I didn’t mind; it went well with his personality. Plus, what the hell is up with Persephone? Granted the take on her relationship with Hades was intriguing, I just didn’t see it as meshing well with that scene in the book.

Plot wise, it followed the same idea as the book. They go to Auntie Em’s Garden Emporium, they go to the Lotus Hotel and Casino, but suddenly the Hydra from the second book (at least I’m pretty sure that it was in the second book and not the third) is in the movie and they defeat it with Medusa’s head which was not shipped to Olympus and they’re able to drive.

I liked the ending – the one after a few of the credits ran. While it stuck to the book in many ways, it was a nice interpretation and change within the movie.

Overall, I did enjoy the movie but only when I wasn’t comparing it too critically to the book. It was better than Twilight, though, and that’s a major compliment. I’m really excited for when this comes out on DVD too so that I can see the extra features and see how they made the special effects and how they created the camp. As a movie separate from the book, I give this film an 8/10, but in comparison it ranks a little lower on the scale. Still, a good movie.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Goddess Awakened



Cybele’s Secret

Written by: Juliet Marillier

Released: September 9, 2008 by Random House Children’s Books


Summary: For Paula, accompanying her merchant father on a trading voyage to Istanbul is a dream come true, and even better, he is allowing her to act as his assistant. They have come to this city of trade on a special mission to purchase a most rare artefact, a gift from the ancient goddess, Cybele, to her followers. It's the only remnant of a lost pagan cult. But it soon becomes clear they are playing at a dangerous game.
A colleague of Paula's father is found murdered. There are rumours of Cybele's cult reviving within the very walls of Istanbul. And most telling of all, signs have begun to appear to Paula; signs that can only be coming from the mystical Other Kingdom, urging her to unlock Cybele's secret.
Paula doesn't know who in Istanbul she can trust and finds herself drawn to two very different men: a mysterious, dashing pirate and her bodyguard, Stoyan.
As time begins to run out, Paula realizes they may all be tied up in the destiny of Cybele's Gift, and she must solve the puzzle before unknown but deadly enemies catch up to her.





I have to say first that I absolutely love Juliet Marillier’s writing style. It’s so fluid and descriptive that you can really picture everything in your head as you read. Plus, it’s just plain beautiful. That being said, I’m not surprised that I loved this book. I had read the previous accompanying book in the summer – Wildwood Dancing – and I had fallen in love with the use of The Frog Princess and The 12 Dancing Princesses as fairy tale inspiration.

This book was different, though, from the previous. For starters, I couldn’t detect any fairy tale persuasions within it; of course that may have just been from my lack of knowledge of all fairy tales. Or maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention to that while trying to practically devour this book. I loved the love story between Paula and Stoyan and though I adored the character of Duarte I wasn’t rooting for him like I was Stoyan throughout the entire novel. Still, it was a fairly nice love-triangle. Besides, what fun is love if there aren’t any obstacles along the way?

Plot-wise, I think that compared to Wildwood Dancing it was lacking a little. However, for a “sequel” this was amazing and it would have been hard to top the first one anyways, though this does come close. I liked how it played itself out and there were enough turns that caught me off-guard that it was entertaining and non-predictable in the non-romance plot points.

I’m wildly waiting a third novel in this series (if you can call it a series with only two books) that ties up the mysteries of Tati and the Other Kingdom and I think that I may be devastated if there’s not one in the future. However, for now, I’m giving this particular book a 9/10 since it’s truly amazing.


Summary taken from Goodreads.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A.I. vs. Humans: Take Two



Crashed

Written by: Robin Wasserman

Released: September 8, 2009 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Summary: Before the accident, Lia Kahn was happy.
Before the accident, Lia Kahn was loved.
Before, Lia was a lot of things: Normal. Alive.
Human.
Lia no longer believes in before. Six months after the crash that killed her, six months after being reborn, Lia has finally accepted her new reality. She is a machine, a mech, and she belongs with her own kind. It's a wild, carefree life, without rules and without fear.
Because there's nothing to fear when you have nothing left to lose.
But when a voice from her past cries out for revenge, everything changes. Lia is forced to choose between her old life and her new one. Between humans and mechs. Between sacrificing the girl she used to be and saving the boy she used to love.
Even if it means he'll hate her forever.
The Second book in the gripping trilogy



What to say about this book. Well, there was more action than in the first and I felt as though Lia as a character grew a bit more… but there was still something off. It took me a while to actually finish reading the book and I almost had to force myself to do it and I don’t know why. I enjoyed the plot of this book better than the first, more happened, and you saw into the lives of a lot of the main characters. Plus, you find out what happened to Auden and the general mystery of the entire book is left off in a bit of a cliff-hanger at the very end. It had all the makings for a fantastic read, but I just wasn’t into it.

I don’t know. Maybe I was in a bit of a book-funk at the time and I just need to re-read both the first book and this one right after each other to get the full effect right before I read the final in the trilogy when it comes out. Whatever the case, for now I’m giving this book a 4/10 and the shortest review to date.

2010 Debut Author Challenge




From frequently perusing The Story Siren, I have come across the 2010 Debut Author Challenge and it has struck my fancy. Being the avid reader that I am, I finally thought that I should join this challenge and, while participating, come across some amazing new writers.

My only regret is that I’ve already read and reviewed Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and I can no longer submit that post to the challenge.

Still, I think that this is something spectacular to undertake and I know that it’s something that I’m going to enjoy. I’ve decided to keep track of how I’m personally doing in my side-bar with a list of the book that I have acquired that meet all stipulations that the challenge puts forth, as well as a little challenge button made by me to spur other people into checking it out.

So I guess this means ‘good luck’ to me and on to my next review.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Man-to-Man Defense - FP Friday



Full Court Press

Written by: BreeJalil

Rated: M

Published: April 29, 2009 – November 1, 2009

Summary: New town. New Boys. Enter Carmondy's life where emotionally detached Beck rocks her world, shameless flirt Anderson keeps her from falling apart and nice guy Sloan just adds to the confusion. And isn’t casual sex supposed to be simple?



Ok, I admit that, being as sports-illiterate as I am, I’m rather fond of sports stories. Call it living vicariously or a search for a sports education, whatever, I find them fascinating and entertaining – if they’re written right - which this story is.

Before I go any further, I have to say that there are explicit sexual encounters in this particular story (it is rated M for a reason)… and they’re amazing. They’re so hot at times that they can make you melt right on the spot. I’m talking on fire.

But other than that, there’s an actual story here; it’s not just a long piece of fantastic smut. There’s such depth within this story, a fact that I was surprised with (not in a bad way), and there are such raw emotions that it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the characters. And these are some wonderful characters.

I’m not even sure if I can adequately describe this story to its full potential and do it justice. It’s just so astonishing and with so many real sports facts it can make your head spin. There are several sub-plots to the main sports/romance one and the characters are so well-defined that as a reader you can fully picture them in your head.

Another definite bonus about this story is, not only is it complete, but it’s over 250,000 words long; that makes for a novel-length read and several good hours spent.

This story is a truly noteworthy 9/10 and a story that I really cannot wait to read again at a later date.




Image taken from here and was altered by me.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Monster’s Bride



Never the Bride

Written by: Paul Magrs

Released: August 10, 2006 by Headline Book Publishing


Summary: Brenda has had a long and eventful life. Now she has come to Whitby to run a B&B and find some peace and quiet. She and her best friend Effie link nothing better than going out for tea at the Walrus and the Carpenter or dinner at Cod Almighty and keeping their eves open for any of the mysterious goings-on in town.
And what with satanic beauty salons, more-than-illegal aliens, roving psychic investigators and the frankly terrifying owner of the Christmas Hotel there is no shortage of nefarious shenanigans to keep them interested.
But the oddest thing in Whitby may well be Brenda herself. With her terrible scars, her strange lack of a surname or the fact that she takes two different shoe sizes, Brenda should have known that people as, well, unique as she is, just aren’t destined for a quiet life.



I really enjoyed this book, especially since it wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be.

First off, the way that it was written was like nothing that I have ever really read before. Each chapter is like a short story but with reoccurring characters and it’s all centred around the main protagonist Brenda and her best friend Effie. The writing itself is witty and intriguing and it makes me kick myself for not buying the sequel when they were both on the bargain table at Indigo.

That being said, it’s a dark, foreboding type of book that makes you laugh and almost cry at times. It’s original and twisted with the most interesting plot lines that I have read in a while.

The way that it is almost like interlocking short stories gives the book a different groove that you read in, but I really liked the change in pace from other books. It’s weird, though, because though it does in fact seem like short stories strung together, each chapter being a new one, it’s not the type of book that you could read out of order. There are details that are referenced back to throughout the other chapters and there are points that help to build upon the later goings-on in the book. For instance, the Christmas Hotel is first explored in the first chapter but it isn’t until the fourth that it’s really a main focus for Brenda and Effie. Likewise, characters make a cameo appearance in chapter one or two but they don’t fully come into their own until later on in the novel.

What I really enjoyed about this book was Brenda. She is such a remarkable character who deals with what life throws at her and isn’t phased by much it seems. She’s also this amazingly strong female character of a calibre which is hard to find in most books.

All in all, I think that I might read this again but for all the good things that this book is, it’s not one that I would re-read for a good while. I suppose that because it was so original and different it really stuck with me and I can easily recall what happened in it because of that. So, that being said, why would I read it again while it’s still so fresh even though I finished it a while ago? Still, I give it a 7/10 for originality and it’s a book that I would recommend to someone who wants something a little off-kilter to read.


The summary was taken from the back of the novel.