Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Puck vs. Ash - See what Happens Next

I have yet to read The Iron King by Julie Kagawa even though I have heard nothing but good things and it's been sitting on my shelf for months now. So, of course, I have no opinion on the Puck vs. Ash debate yet... but hopefully I will soon.

However, if you've devoured both The Iron King and The Iron Daughter and you're waiting for more, you can head over to either Julie's blog or the HarlequinTEEN blog and read an excerpt from The Iron Queen which is due out in February 2011.


Isn't the cover gorgeous? I really can't wait to read the books.

The Devil's Daughter

Rasputin’s Daughter


Written by: Robert Alexander

Released: January 19, 2006 by Viking Adult
Summary: From the bestselling author of The Kitchen Boy with the same riveting historical narrative that made The Kitchen Boy a national bestseller and a book club favourite, Robert Alexander returns to revolutionary Russia for the harrowing tale of Rasputin's final days as told by his youthful and bold daughter, Maria. Interrogated by the Provisional Government on the details of her father's death, Maria vividly recounts a politically tumultuous Russia, where Rasputin's powerful influence over the throne is unsettling to all levels of society, and the threats to his life are no secret.


I first read this book while in my first year of university and in need of something to read before I went to sleep that wasn’t a text book. The only reason that I picked up this book was that it caught my attention in the store and I love reading about the Romanov family and what happened before and after the war broke out. There’s just so much mystery surrounding their deaths that it’s always so interesting to read about what could have happened.

This book definitely didn’t disappoint. It was so refreshing and different to read about the events from the perspective of the daughter of the ever-villainized Rasputin. To see the emotions that the main character Maria shows towards her family, but most of all her father, you see conflicting inner turmoil which happens while a young girl is coming into adulthood.

It’s been several years since I’ve read this book and all that I can really remember is that I loved it. I think that since I’m incredibly fuzzy on the details I need to reread this book soon to truly remember why I loved it so much the first time around. I’m giving this book a 9/10.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Movie Monday - Down With the SS

Inglorious Basterds

Written by: Quentin Tarantino

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Released: May 20, 2009 in Cannes

Rating: R


I think that I am completely behind on watching this movie with all the hype that surrounded its release, but it's finally on the movie network, so now I had no excuse on a boring Wednesday night off from work.

Well, what can I say other than this is definitely not what I expected when I sat down to watch it. The subtitles alone threw me for a minute since i was completely anticipating that, since it starred Brad Pitt, that it would be in English. However, I recovered quickly and sat down to enjoy.

And enjoy I did.

I liked how the separate stories melded together in their own separate ways and how even the smallest detail wasn't overlooked. I also enjoyed how the movie was separated into different parts, each sectioned off by a title.

The acting was superb. I don't think that anyone else could have done it as well as the cast did. Mike Meyers also completely threw me with his small part; I honestly did a double-take when he was on the screen and I wish that I had been watching a DVD rather than it on TV because then I could have rewound and paused so that I could really take in the make-up job. Plus, I am so envious of the wardrobe, hair, and make-up of the actresses in the movie; it was all so absolutely gorgeous.

All in all, I'm giving this movie an 8/10 and I highly recommend it if you're not easily offended and can watch some rather gorey parts - like men getting scalped and people being shot.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

ARC Alert!

So there's this book coming out in January called Across the Universe by Beth Revis. Straight up, when I saw the cover and read the title I wrote it off as a novelization of the Beatles inspired movie from a few years ago.

However, I saw it listed as a dystopian novel on another blog so I started to warm up to the idea of it. Then I found out that you can read the first chapter online, so I tried it out. Honestly, this is amazing. It's so descriptive and different. I can't wait to read the book in the new year. Of course, you should just take my word on it...

But then! I found the authors blog, and I found out that you can enter on facebook to win an advanced copy.

So go, read the first chapter and then enter to win an ARC if you like what you read. I highly doubt that you'll regret it.

In My Mailbox (16)

As always, credit for IMM goes out to Kristi at The Story Siren; if you want to discover amazing books, check her website.

Now, of course, this week marked the tentative end of my book ban since Mockingjay was released! But, I might just extend the ban indefinitely... if anything it aided in my curbing the habit. The book-buying habit that is. However, it didn't stop me from browsing the clearance shelf at chapters and grabbing a couple of books. I may have bought more, but I needed to replace my darling Gustav after he got the BSOD a few weeks ago.



Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
As if this book was a surprise...


Sovay - Celia Rees
I loved Pirates! so when I saw this I had to try it.
Ever - Gail Carson Levine
Like above, I love her books. I think that I've read Ella Enchanted 100 times and it never gets old.




So, this week was a grad total of three books and a brand-new computer, Fritz, to replace Gustav. What did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, August 27, 2010

GAH! I want this book SOOO much!

So, I was scrolling through my blog reading list and I came across this post.

I almost dropped my computer off my lap I was so excited. Really.

Basically, Rachel Vincent is giving away a copy of Pride, her last Shifters book. This is a book that I have been waiting to read ever since the first one came out because I needed to know how the series ended. Since then, the need has just multiplied and I can't wait until it comes out!


I think that I would give my entire left brain for he opportunity to read this an entire month early...

Top Ten of the Moment

This is a weekly meme features over at Breaking the Bookshelf and I wanted to participate in it this week since I thought that the topic was an interesting one;

Fictional Women who Inspire You - she can be from a TV show, movie, or a book.

Well, here goes.


1. Buffy Summers - really, of course she has to be first. Not only do I love the show, but Buffy is that kick-ass female character who always does the right thing in the end and is always trying to help people. Seriously, even when she discovered that she was living in a complete fantasy and was actually a patient in an asylum, she chose to go where she was needed the most and delved back into the world of Sunnydale with all its demons.

2. Katniss Everdeen - Anyone who can survive the Hunger Games twice in a row using her talents and her smarts is someone who needs to be added to this list. Granted I haven’t read Mockingjay yet, but I’ve read a lot of spoilers… so I have an idea what happens. Someone please tell me that she shot a really sharp, poisoned arrow through Snow’s eye?

3. Nora Charles -The Thin Man - portrayed by the ever amazing Myrna Loy and created by Dashiell Hammett, she is able to mix wit with charm, class, and the ability to not really ever get drunk when downing large quantities of alcohol. Plus, Myrna Loy is just the epitome of class.

4. Annabeth Chase - Percy Jackson and the Olympians- The girl is ancient Greece royalty and yet she doesn’t let it go to her head. In fact, she’s a level-headed quick-thinker.

5. The ladies from Steel Magnolias - unending friendship and the ability to take what life gives you. They offer shoulders to cry on when need be and they can make you laugh when your world is falling apart.

6. Jody Sawyer - from the first Center Stage movie, she doesn’t give up her dream to dance professional ballet even though she doesn’t necessarily meet the physical requirements.

7. Dr. Lillian Moller Gilbreth - Cheaper by the Dozen - true life, made into a best-selling novel, used to spur FOUR movies since 1950, Dr. Gilbreth is a woman to be reckoned with who raised twelve children all while having a career in engineering and psychology. Also, she was played my Myrna Loy in both of the original films; she’s one classy lady.

8. Just about any female character that Tamora Pierce has ever written who I have read about. Her female characters are intelligent, courageous, and they never back down from what they believe in.

9. Nancy Drew - How many years later and she’s still a pop culture icon who completely kicks some mystery butt. Plus, she’s so adaptable and timeless that you can never guess her true age.

10. Mary Boleyn - The Other Boleyn Girl - She has such a strength of character that you can’t help but admire her.



Some honourable mentions would be;

Tally Youngblood - Uglies
Evelyn “Grams” Ryan - Dawson’s Creek
Sabrina Fairchild - Sabrina
Ellie Linton - Tomorrow When the War Began

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Discussion on Thursday 2

So, I think that the entire YA blogging community let out a collective breath on Tuesday as Mockingjay was released and the vast majority of them have, by now, read and reviewed the book (I am not one of them... Harry has reared his ugly head just a little on this one).

This lust over a book, especially one that has such a following, is something that happens only every so often - Harry Potter, Twilight(ish) - where there is a midnight release party with rabid fans who are practically salivating over the need to read the book before anyone else. It really brings out a different side of people, many who choose to dress as their favourite character, and it's really something to witness. I remember standing in line for the fifth(?) Harry Potter book at midnight with my mother and seeing my psycho music teacher standing in line with her equally crazy daughter, both dressed in full witch-goth garb.

*** Let me clarify; the teacher was nuts regardless and the midnight release had nothing to do with it. ***

Honestly, it's always an event that's full of such energy that even though it's incredibly late at night, in no way are you able to go to sleep. Granted, movie premieres are worse than book releases, what with people lining up for days just to ensure that they get the best seats, but no matter what, it's still so similar.

So, for this week, I have to wonder;

What springs forth the obsession with the need to read a book as soon as it is released, whether that's a midnight release or not? And what makes a book the sort of book where this obsession forms?

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - Number Seventeen

Well, since Mockingjay is now firmly in my grasp, I really don't have any books on my wish-list.

However, I then re-stumbled across the third Carrie Ryan book. Granted, I have yet to get around to reading the first two books - they look pretty on my shelf though - but when it comes to books in a series I always feel the need to own them all.

The Dark and Hollow Places

Released: March 22, 2011 by Delacourt Books for Young Readers

Summary: There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah’s world stopped that day and she’s been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn’t feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets -- dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah’s longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it’s up to Annah -- can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return’s destruction?


It sounds amazing. I can't wait to read all three books.

On a side note, here's the potential paperback cover image, due out in 2012. It looks a heck of a lot like the cover of  Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. But I still like it; it's so harsh and captivating.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vintage Tuesdays - Painter's Obsession

Girl with a Pearl Earring


Written by: Tracy Chevalier

Released: August 16, 1999 by HarperCollins



Summary: With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries--and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.

Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter's jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic. Still, Girl with a Pearl Earring does contain a final delicious twist.


I had watched this movie before I read the book, and while the movie was alright, the book is superb. Honestly. I’ve read it several times now and it never loses any of its charm. Griet is this naive character who evolves as she ventures out in life and becomes the fixation of a famous painter for one of his most well-known works (of course, she doesn’t know that the painting would end up as world renown as it did).

I don’t know if I can explain it any better than that it’s a coming of age story that breaches time and space so that anyone can enjoy it. I give it a high 8/10.

Tomorrow is Now Today!



IT'S TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so excited that Mockingjay comes out today.



And if I'm really ambitious, I'll drive into town after work and buy my copy...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Movie Monday - The Greatest Girl Band EVER

Josie and the Pussycats


Written by: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan, Richard Goldwater, Dan DeCarlo, and John L. Goldwater

Directed by: Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan

Released: April 11, 2001

Rating: PG



Summary: A girl group find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy to deliver subliminal messages through popular music in this send up of the music industry and pop culture.


I had the insane need to watch this movie tonight, which is why it influenced my choice in movie this week. Seriously, I almost tore apart everything to try and find the DVD, only to know exactly where it was the whole time.

Anyways, this movie came out when I was in elementary school and I quickly became obsessed with it to the point where I bought the soundtrack… which I still play at loud volumes while driving down the highway… The reason that liked the movie so much, aside from the kick-ass music and girl power, was because I always read the Archie comics and the Josie stories were generally my favourite since they were always different.

On a side note: did anyone notice how with the Archie comics they repeated the same ones all the time? Also, Betty was completely better than Veronica.

Point is, I am greatly enjoying watching this movie as I write this review. It’s been years since I sat down and watched it and I forgot how much I enjoy it. Plus, the blatant advertising and use of subliminal messaging makes me laugh every time.

All in all, this is a fun dive into the past and it’s a good way to mindlessly wind down from after a day at work. I give this movie a 6/10.

5-4-3-2-1 ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



ONLY 24 HOURS LEFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Is anyone going to a midnight party? I know that Chapters here in Canada are hosting a few all over but they're too far off for me to justify driving to one. Plus, I work the next morning, so that probably wouldn't be the best idea.

Still, I cannot wait!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In My Mailbox (15)

As always, IMM is credited to Kristi from The Story Siren who has an amazing blog that you should check out if you haven't already.

Yes, it was another week where I couldn't control myself. However I'm using the excuse that three of the books had their proceeds go to charity since I bought them at the GoodWill bookstore and the other was at 25% off. So it was like I was saving money by buying them!

Ok, that's a really bad way to validate my unneeded spending, so I blame my aunt who wanted to go book shopping.

So, without further ado, here's what I unnecessarily bought myself.


Burning Bright - Tracy Chevalier
Girl, Interrupted - Susanna Kaysen
I Love You Beth Cooper - Larry Doyle


Another Faust - Daniel & Dina Nayeri



So this is what I got in m mailbox this week, what's in yours?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The First Queen of the Pipes

Inside Out


Written by: Maria V. Snyder

Released: March 24, 2010 by Harlequin

Summary: Keep Your Head Down.

Don't Get Noticed.

Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.



I was a little hesitant with this book due to the great reviews that I’ve read about it, but I was also expecting it to be a fabulous read, and thankfully it was. Granted it wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I think that that was a part of why I liked it so much.

One thing that I really enjoyed about this book was how I didn’t know what exactly was going on. Without giving anything away, while I had a vague idea of what outside was, I didn’t know fully what to expect and I never would have guessed the ramifications of Trella finding it.

Ok, that gave away a bit, but not all that much.

I loved the characters in this book; Cog especially. Broken Man was a character that I could have done without since I found him whiney and impulsive, but I see why he needed to be a part of the whole story. And if course the character that I enjoyed reading about the most was Trella. I was able to relate to her hermit tendencies and her want to have space of her own. I can’t wait to see what happens to her in the next book Outside In, due out next spring.

I’m giving this book a 9/10, especially since the sequel is one that I’m going to be anticipating for the next sixish months. Also, this book really makes me want to read more Maria V. Snyder books.

Luckily, I have her first two books in the Glass trilogy all ready to read on my bookshelf!

Friday, August 20, 2010

There is a God...

... Because things like this are found every so often and make my life something much more entertaining.

Seriously, I've been laughing for a solid amount of time and if I keep reading then I know it's not going to stop. I think that this blog may have the ability to completely make me die from laughing too much. Of course, that would have to be possible first... Is it?

Anyways, here's a little taste of what's available;


That comic makes more sense if you read the entire post... It's located on the side-bar of the blog.

So if you want more, go to Hyperbole and a Half. Many thanks go to Kate from Kate B 1-2-3 for putting me onto this gift to all people; May you live the ideal YA-perfection life.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Day After Today - Part One

Tomorrow, When the War Began


Written by: John Marsden

Released: March 27, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Juvenile Books

Summary: When Ellie and six of her friends return home from a camping trip deep in the bush, they find things hideously wrong -- their families gone, houses empty and abandoned, pets and stock dead. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in the town has been taken prisoner. As the horrible reality of the situation becomes evident they have to make a life-and-death decision: to run back into the bush and hide, to give themselves up to be with their families, or to stay and try to fight. This riveting, tautly-drawn novel seems at times to be only a step away from today's headlines.


Last Sunday I described this book as ‘The Hunger Games meets… something’ and I think that I might have to elaborate on that more.

Ok, so in The Hunger Games, the contestants are randomly chosen and then thrown into the middle of a battle ground. They then have to fight in order to be the last one standing so that they can win. (ps: I can’t wait for Mockingjay next week!)

Then, in Tomorrow, When the War Began there are seven friends who escape the invasion because they’re out camping and in order to save their captured friends and family they need to defeat the enemy and be the last ones standing.

Where Hunger Games has spectators who offer help, Tomorrow has other people who managed to evade capture.

So, you see, at the very base of things the two are very comparable. Of course, they are absolutely nothing alike when it comes down to it.

That being said, let’s get on with this review.

I cannot wait to read the remaining books in this series and then the trilogy which acts as a sort of sequel. That being said, it’s incredibly hard to find the two remaining books that I don’t have but I’m looking online, so finger’s crossed. Honestly, this book was so good that it can only really get better.

I thought that this book was so thrilling to read; I never knew exactly what to expect or what they were going to think of next. Plus, you get love, romance, passion, adventure, and action all wrapped neatly within the pages of this book. I can’t wait to see what happened with Ellie and her friends next and if they manage to rescue their families without injury.

If you haven’t read the book/series yet, so far it has my stamp of approval. I also can’t wait to watch the movie whenever it comes to North America, or whenever it’s released on DVD. I’m giving this book a 9/10. It’s well worth the time spent reading.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - Number Sixteen

I know that a lot of bloggers have shown this book on their blogs lately, so I'm a little late to jump on the band-wagon, but I just had to choose this for a Wish List Wednesday post because it's so gorgeous and it sounds like it's going to be a fantastic read.

Ripple
Written by: Mandy Hubbard
Released: 2011 by Razorbill/Penguin

Summary: Eighteen year old Lexi Wentworth is cursed. For as long as she can remember, she’s spent every night swimming. If she doesn’t, she’ll regret it—simply walking will be agony, as if she’s stepping on shattered glass. Her body craves the water, demands the water, until she can’t say no.


But it's not the swimming that troubles Lexi. It’s the singing that goes with it.When she turned sixteen, her siren song killed the only boy she's ever loved. Now, she avoids the popular shores of the Pacific in favor of a long forgotten lake up in the mountains, where she can swim and sing in peace, far from the population of her oceanside home.

Until, that is, Troy Mills discovers her lake. He’s new to Lincoln City High, and he doesn’t know about Lexi’s reputation as an ice queen—a reputation she’s carefully cultivated to keep everyone around her safe. He pushes her, talks to her, forces her to dream of what life could be like if she weren’t a siren.

Lexi can’t stop herself from warming to him, from falling for him. Soon, he’s demanding answers, following her to the lake, unknowingly risking his life. How can she keep him safe when the one thing she wants most--to hold him close-- will endanger his life?

Doesn't it sound like it's going to be amazing? Plus, it's not something that I've ever really read about before in a summery for a book so it looks like it's going to be quite unique. If I had to describe it, I would say that it's a little Swan Maiden mixed with a bit of The Little Mermaid. Still, I can't wait to read it!

One thing though... what's that on her left leg? I wonder if that's just a watermark or if it's something that ties into the story.

Be My Edward

Ahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah




Check out the original source material here. I love this online comic.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vintage Tuesdays - Who's The Alien?

Camouflage

Written by: Joe Haldeman

Released: February 4, 2004 by Ace

Summary: A million years before the emergence of humans, an alien spaceship splashes into the Pacific Ocean. After it comes to rest miles underwater, a creature emerges from the vessel and, after assessing its aqueous environment, drastically alters its appearance in order to survive.
After many millennia of existence in the form of various deep-sea creatures -- sharks, whales, porpoises, schools of fish -- the changeling eventually leaves the safety of the water and enters the world of man. Adopting various human persona's -- graduate student, soldier, surfer, circus dwarf, prostitute -- the ever-inquisitive changeling slowly masters the intricacies of human society.

When a strange artifact is discovered seven miles below the surface of the Pacific in the early 21st century, the changeling is inexplicably drawn to it. But so is something else: another, much older, shape-shifting alien. This chameleon's motives for wanting to unlock the secrets of the artifact, however, are far different from the changeling's.


So, while in university, I took a Science Fiction class which was both a stupid and wonderful idea. It was horrible in the way that it made me read some horrific books that I would never read had I of had a choice and wouldn't even use as a door-stopper.

BUT it also introduced me to some amazing books that I never would have even considered reading had they of not been on the syllabus. This was one of the amazing books that I was introduced to while in that class.

I went into reading this with an idea in my head that it would be rather boring or entirely too complex in its science mumbo jumbo, but I also had just read a different book for that class which has pleasantly surprised me, so I as hoping for another experience like the last. Happily I can say that I loved this book and I'm always recommending it to people who I know like  read about aliens.

I liked how this book always kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next. You were never sure who the changeling was or who (or what) the chameleon is. My favourite part (one of them anyways) was when you read about the life that the changeling had when it spent time as a television set in a seedy motel.

In short, if you want to try something different from what you usually read, try this. If you like aliens, you'll probably love this, and if you just want to read something interesting and unusual, this is the book for you. I give it a 7/10 and I actually can't wait to re-read it at a much later date when I forget who was who.

Monday, August 16, 2010

BSOD - WTF - FML

So my computer may have completely died this time since it has now been plagued with the Blue Screen of DEATH and I'm freaking out because it has so many files on there that I don't want to lose.

Of course, a few weeks ago when my brain was telling me to 'go buy an external harddrive' I didn't listen to it and look where it got me. So is the way of my life...

This means that unless the post was primed before-hand, it's going to be a lot harder for me to have regular updates like I enjoy doing. In fact, I'm on my dad's mini computer right now and it's so hard to work on since I'm used to a full-sized laptop keyboard. Plus, he's very protective over it and I almost had to sign away my soul to use it.

Ok, it wasn't that bad, but I did have to up the puppy dog eyes in order to steal it away for a while. Then I had to practically steal the cable...

That aside, I'm going to try and get posts done either using my dad's computer or my blackberry but I'll have to see how much I can get done.

Ideally, I'll be able to get my computer fixed this week while I have my days off... But I'm not going to hold my breath on that one. I just hope that it's not going to cost me an arm and a leg to repair it or buy a new one. It's just so sad because I love my laptop Gustav and I don't want to have to replace him.





Yes, I name my technology... But I've always been weird that way.

Movie Monday - Who Is She?

Salt


Written by: Kurt Wimmer & Brian Helgeland

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

Released: July 23, 2010



Rating: PG-13



Summary: As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt swore an oath to duty, honour and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture. Salt’s efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives, as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: “Who is Salt?”





I’ve wanted to see this movie ever since it first came out and I finally saw it last week with a friend of mine and am I ever glad that I did. Angelina Jolie never seems to disappoint and this movie is not the exception.

Ok, it was slightly predictable (I guessed two major plot points well before they were revealed) but you were still kept wondering what all was going to happen. I enjoyed how the ending was just enough to tie things up but it left it open for the possibility of a second movie in the franchise - which would be awesome.

One thing that was really well done about this movie was the hair and make-up. I could tell that she was wearing a wig for the movie but it was a very high quality wig and it was styled in a way that made it seem just so natural (to the untrained eye) but what really got me were the make-up effects near the end of the movie. Jolie is completely unrecognizable unless you look really close and I was blown away. Of course, if I later hear that it was some other actor I might just cry, but for now it’s breathtaking.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a film that both males and females will greatly enjoy. There’s action, adventure, suspense, and gorgeous people to look at through the entire movie, so there’s really something for everyone. I’m giving it an 8/10.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Real JPMETZ

So there is this amazing comedian on YouTube whose name is Justine (a.k.a. jpmetz) and she has recently began to vlog book reviews, which I am now going to share here because, honestly, they never fail to make me laugh.






Check out her other videos because they're just as hilarious. At least I think that they're hilarious...

In My Mailbox (14)

So it was predicted, so it has become.

I fell off the book-wagon again BUT I knew that I had to seize the moment and get the books before someone else did. It was for the good of mankind and all that, yadda yadda yadda.

As always, IMM credit goes to Kristi from The Story Siren. If you haven't already you should head over there. She has an amazing blog.

Anyways, this week consisted on collecting - yes COLLECTING - John Marsden's Tomorrow books 2, 4 & 5.


If you haven't checked out these books already, I'm only partially done the first one and I'm in love. It's like the realistic version of The Hunger Games meets... something. I don't know what, but it's phenomenal so far and it should just get better according to Goodreads reviews.

Until next week, this is what's in my mailbox. What's in yours?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Pirate's Life We Be

Pirates!


Written by: Celia Rees

Released: October 6, 2003 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books

Summary: Nancy Kington, a wealthy merchant's daughter living in Bristol, England in the early 1700’s, is sometimes lonely but enjoys the privileges her father’s business brings. Minerva Sharpe is a penniless slave’s daughter living and working on the Kington’s Jamaican plantation. These two young women, united through a set of extraordinary circumstances including a brutal murder, an arranged marriage, and set of ruby earrings, find themselves sailing the high seas in search of love, adventure and freedom—as pirates!


I read this book way back in high school when I borrowed it from a friend because she recommended it to me and I loved it. So, of course, when I saw that it was at my local book store a few weeks ago I bought it with my store credit. Then I proceeded to re-read it (since it has been a few years) and I fell in love with it all over again.

Yes, I realize that it’s not historically true and the characters sometimes fall a little flat, and the death of the Brazilian has an amazing lead-up which ends in nothing, but it is just so fun to read that I couldn’t help myself but to enjoy it.

One thing that I wish was that there was a sequel (or at least more of an epilogue) so that I could know what happened to Nancy after she set sail back to England and whether or not she ever found William again.

However, the imagery in this book is phenomenal. I love the way that the ruby jewellery is described and the way that they relate to the entire story and in that way become as if they were a character themselves. Of course, the scenery is gorgeously described as well and I couldn’t help but wanting to sail around the islands located in the Southern Pacific.

Even though I love this book, I’m only giving it a 7/10. It leaves so many ends untied and, I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s over too fast though it takes too long.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Scream If You Want To...

Today is Friday the 13th and I decided to share something about me that almost no people know.

I have never read a book (in the last 15 years or so) that has scared me so much that I was no longer able to continue reading it.

Seriously.

In fact, other than Goosebumps books and one Halloween Sweet Valley Kids book, I haven't not been able to read something. Don't judge, some of those Goosebumps books from when I was in grade three were really, really freaky and scary. I mean, reading about some sponge thing that lived under your sink? Yeah, that's the stuff that nightmares are made of. And that SVK book was so scary that I had to stop reading it while on a car trip and read a different SVK book.

But since then, nothing has been too much for me to read. Too bloody, too brutal, too gory, too brutal. Nothing has made me put down a book unless I wasn't able to get into it. And sometimes that makes me a little sad because half the fun of reading a horror book is having it scare the pants off you.

Come to think of it, there hasn't been a movie that I haven't been able to sit through and laugh at either in the horror genre... but books are almost always better than movies, so it's no wonder why. It's bad, though, that I can no longer go see a horror movie in theatres and watch it without disturbing the people around me with my laughter. Black Christmas; yeah, that was bad. My friends and I distrubed the entire theatre with our obnoxious laughter. Snakes on a Plane? I have nightmares about snakes, but not because of that movie. I just hate snakes. But that movie made me almost wet myself from laughing so hard.

Moral of the story is; it takes a lot to get me scared.

In fact, usually it's my over-active immagination that gets my heart racing, my pulse pouding, and the hair on the back of my neck standing on end. I am, in that respect, my own worst enemy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Discussion on Thursday

Ok, so today I wanted to do something a little different and I thought “hey, this could be something that I do more regularly” so here goes – Discussion Thursdays. Granted, these aren’t going to happen all the time, but they’re something new and I hope that they stem actual discussions.


Anyways, today I came across the photo file on my computer for this book and I couldn’t remember why I had saved it in the first place. Then I took another good look at it and I remembered why.



So there’s the book cover in question; Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin. I admit that it’s an absolutely gorgeous cover. The composition is amazing and I love the colour usage. I think that a brighter dress might have made the model pop more, but whatever, I still like this cover.

What I can’t understand about it is this; hypothetically, this would be representative of a part of the book (I haven’t read it so I can only guess – It’s released in September) and from the summary,



Phoebe finds herself drawn to Mallory, the strange and secretive new kid in school, and the two girls become as close as sisters . . . until Mallory’s magnetic older brother, Ryland, shows up during their junior year. Ryland has an immediate, exciting hold on Phoebe, but a dangerous hold, for she begins to question her feelings about her best friend and, worse, about herself. Soon she’ll discover the shocking truth about Ryland and Mallory: that these two are visitors from the faerie realm who have come to collect on an age-old debt. Generations ago, the faerie queen promised Phoebe’s ancestor five extraordinary sons in exchange for the sacrifice of one ordinary female heir. But in hundreds of years there hasn't been a single ordinary girl in the family, and now the faeries are dying. Could Phoebe be the first ordinary one? Could she save the faeries, or is she special enough to save herself?


I can see where it might fit in. But, why would she be wearing heels, high ones by the look of it, while running through tall grass and other foliage? She doesn’t look as though she’s being chased, so sudden need to run while in heels doesn’t apply, in fact it looks like she’s frolicking, so what’s the reason?

If this were in real life, that girl would end up with a twisted ankle or worse. Forget about the tall grass that would snare around her feel and legs, think of the uneven ground of nature and compare that to running in heels which is tricky on flat, smooth terrain to begin with. She would end up being rushed to the ER in a matter of meters.

One thing can be said about the shoes though; at least the heels themselves are rather sturdy looking and obviously not stilettos.

Of course, I know that this is the cover of a fictional book and some of you are going to think that I’m being too ‘sensitive’ or whatever. No, I just wanted to know what people think about covers like this one where you find yourself asking yourself “WTF is she/he wearing/doing/smoking/whatever”.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - Number Fifteen

So, by the time that this posts (gotta love the scheduled posting option) I may have some of these books in my possession, which would completely break my book ban for the second week in a row but I'm calling a loophole with the fact that they're there and I need them to complete the series before I can start reading them. This way my sanity will be saved due to not having to scour the ends of the earth of copies of the next book that I need to read.

See? It's for my personal health and sanity that I discover where these books are hiding so that I can capture them and devour them.

Wow, that made me sound a little like Hannibal Lector...


Anyways, according to the Chapters website, The Dead of Night, Darkness be My Friend, and Burning for Revenge are all available... but their website is often misleading and annoying so we'll just have to see.

A Pirate's Life For Me

The Dust of 100 Dogs


Written by: A.S. King

Released: January 13, 2009 by Flux



Summary: In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of one hundred dogs, dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body -- with her memories intact.

Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.


It took me a while to get into this book. In fact, I almost put it back on the shelf and started to read a different book all together. However, I stuck with it for a few more pages and I really fell in love with the story.

I loved how you got alternating perspectives on Emer/Saffron’s lives with the thrown in smattering of how life was as a dog. I wasn’t all too keen on Frank’s chapters, but it offered an interesting insight into his character (who I really didn’t like). I also liked the chapters about Seanie, but I think that’s because I completely fell in love with him as Emer did. I just wish that there had been more with him in it.

The story itself wasn’t anything that spectacular on the surface, but once you start to get the back-story to Emer/Saffron it really takes off. I always found myself waiting to read more about Emer as she descended into her piracy. Saffron’s chapters fell a little short with me, but I think that’s because something was missing from Saffron (i.e. Emer) and it felt as though she wasn’t being true to herself. Also, Saffron’s family was horrible and I didn’t care to read about them. Her brother was a nightmare.

As the book progressed, I found myself more and more invested in reading it and needing to know what was going to happen next. For a book that started off poorly for me, it ended really well. I just wish that there was more to read, especially since I want to know what happens next in the life of Saffron/Emer.

I’m giving this book an 8/10 and I highly recommend it if you like anything to do with pirates, the high seas, and independent, strong female characters.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vintage Tuesdays - The Author Edition

Ok, so in high school I discovered this hilarious author by the name of Katie MacAlister. Seriously, I would read her on the bus, pass the book off to my friend when finished, and then we would both be reading MacAlister on the bus while peeing ourselves laughing out loud.

Thus people thought that we were crazy.

Of course, this was before the explosion of BS vampires and authors cashing in on two-bit characters, so I was more into her books than I am now. Thankfully, she's also able to write contemporary romances and her awesome Dragon-Guardian series. Plus, she just tried her hand at steampunk (which I haven't read... but I  might) so she's fairly versatile. Granted, they're all romance books... but that's not really the point.

The point that I'm trying to make was that her books got me through the perils of high school and riding a big yellow bus until I was able to drive myself to class. They're funny (extremely so) and sexy and full of fun that I sporadically pick up one of her books and re-read it. She's also the one author who I always recommend when friends want a good chick-lit-humorous-romantic read (with or without vampires or other-worldly beings).

Sadly, though, for the last couple of years I've stopped reading as much MacAlister than I used to just because I've discovered so many other amazing books that I don't have the time to read everything that I want to read. I really do need to catch up with what she's recently written, but with my ever-growing TBR pile, I can't see a time where that's going to happen in the near future.

Of course, her books will always hold a dear place in my heart and I'm always keeping an eye on her website to see what's new and upcoming for her. So if you're looking for that great adult summer read that's going to have you giggling as you bask in the sun - or shade as it pertains to me - then try MacAlister if you haven't already. She's a 10/10 author who knows how to reel you in and keep you there while you both laugh and sigh at the romance.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fat Camp is Cool

So, instead of featuring a movie review this week, I decided to go with a new TV show, specifically one that's based on a book that I really want to read.

ABC Family has really been pumping out the good and popular television shows lately - Greek, Pretty Little Liars, The Secret Life of the American Teenager - and Huge is no exception. From the few episodes that I've been able to watch (I am so far behind in my TV shows) I am really enjoying the series and the entire concept behind it.

However, what I really enjoy about this show are the characters. Nikki Blonski who plays Willamina "Will" is perfect for both the comedic and serious parts of the main character role. She's able to capture the funny moments and yet make you cry at the deep ones. And she's not the only one. All of the actorsare so in-tuned with their characters and they really bring them to life on the small screen.

In short, this is an amazing show that's completely unlike anything else that's out there. I give is a 9/10.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In My Mailbox (13)

Yes, I violated my book ban, but only on three of the books! And as always, IMM credit goes to Kristi at The Story Siren.

So, Sunday night (or maybe it was Monday, the days blur together so much in the summer) I checked the mail and came across the package that my mum sent me comtaining Just Like Me, Only Better by Carol Snow which I won from Goodreads. I'm guessing that it came earlier in the week, but I'm really bad at checking the mail and so is my dad.


This book sounds great and I can't wait to read it.

Then, on Thursday I went and traded in books at one of my local used book stores and I got


Pirates! by Celia Rees
The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

and


Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz

All in all, that was a good used book store raid that kept within my book ban since no money exchanged hands and I got them all on credit.


However, then came my very bad decision to go the Chapters.

See, since I really want to read the Tomorrow series by John Marsden, I looked for them in a few different used books stores, but apparently they're really hard to find in Canada or something so I turned up nothing. But since I'm not one to back down easily, I decided to try my luck at Chapters and was able to get the first and last in the series.


Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden


Then I spied the third Frank Beddor book in the Looking Glass Wars series, so I caved and bought that one too...


So at the end of this week, I fell off the wagon again BUT at least it was only three books since the others were free (basically). Of course, this is all adding to my ever-growing TBR list, but I can't wait to read them all!

This is what I got in my mailbox this week, what did you get in yours?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ooooh Pretty! Part 2

Rachel Vincent's new cover was revealed last night (this morning?) on her website for the next Soul Screamers book and it's gorgeous.


Of course, that's my opinion.

I just love the blue and that dress is dreamy. I want one for myself. I'm not too sure how I feel about the male character suddenly in the mix, but I'm not hating it!

How They Love Her

The Adoration of Jenna Fox


Written by: Mary E. Pearson

Released: April 29, 2008 by Henry Holt & Co.



Summary: Who is Jenna Fox?

Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she’s still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?

Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. Along with the memories come questions—questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?

In this fascinating novel, acclaimed author Mary E. Pearson presents an unforgettable look at one human life and a glimpse into a possible future that may be closer than we think.



I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into reading this book, and I’m still not too sure what I think about it other than I liked reading it.

Back in July when I was reading this book (this review is long overdue) I couldn’t help but notice how similar this book was to Robin Wasserman’s Skinned. Now, since I’m lazy and I don’t feel like writing out everything again, I’m going to direct you to my post.

Now, after reading, I still feel the same way – that The Adoration of Jenna Fox took a different path from the same starting point of Skinned – however until I can read Wired this September I can’t fully compare the two.

So, I’m going to focus on everything else.

Jenna Fox as a character was one who I didn’t really connect with but I didn’t hate her. She just fell flat for me, which is understandable since she didn’t even know herself so how could the reader get to know her properly. As Jenna regained a sense of self, I did start to enjoy reading about her more, but even at the end of the novel I didn’t find myself caring all that much.

I enjoyed reading the science part of the science fiction aspect of the novel; the entire debate of how or if things should be regulated is one that really relates to how life is now. Medical ethics is something that the book really delves into and it’s really interesting. Also, the lengths that a parent will go to in order to keep their child with them, medical or no, are ones that sort of scare me with this book but I can also completely understand where it was coming from.

Anyways, I’ve babbled enough about this book (does it even all make sense?) so I’m just going to rate it a 7/10 and leave it at that.





On a side note, here are other versions of covers for this book. Aren’t they all gorgeous? I love them all for different reasons.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tale of a North-Born

East


Written by: Edith Pattou

Released: 2003 by Harcourt Children’s Books



Summary: In the rural villages of Norway, there is an ancient belief that children inherit the qualities of the direction in which they are born. Nymah Rose, the last daughter of eight siblings born to a poor mapmaker and his superstitious wife, was a North-born baby. It is said that North-born babies are wild, unpredictable, intelligent, and destined to break their mothers’ hearts because they all leave hearth and home to travel to the far ends of the earth. To keep her close, Rose’s mother lied and told her she had been born of the obedient and pliable East. But destiny cannot be denied. One day, a great white bear comes to the mapmaker’s door to claim Rose’s birthright.



Ok, this is one of my favourite fairy tales to read, but this wasn’t my favourite rendition of East of the Sun, West of the Moon but it was still really good. In fact, this was the first one that I’ve read where I can picture it happening (aside from the trolls and whatnot) but it was more realistic than any of the others that I’ve read.

Now, I’m normally not one who enjoys reading a book written from alternating perspectives but with this book it worked. In fact, the fact that the Troll Queen was one of the narratives made me feel really sorry for her. She was just so pathetically in love and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. However, it really shows the reader the lengths that a person would go to in order to obtain what they want most.

I also liked how the White Bear started his narrative in broken poetry and had his language progress after he transformed back into a man. I thought that that was a perfect representation of his character.

Something that I really enjoyed was the whole idea behind the names and the birth-direction; I thought that it was a very original idea and it fit well with the story. It was definitely an interesting aspect to everything and it connected well with the story itself.

In the end, even though this wasn’t my favourite version of this fairy tale, it was still a very original perspective. I’m giving it an 8/10.

Top Ten of the Moment (1)

Over at Breaking the Bookshelf, Swimmer hosts her Top Ten of the Moment and this week I decided to join in on the fun.


I have to say, it was hard to narrow down my (so far) 2010 reads to only 10 favourites, but I did it and here’s my list.



10. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
8. Pretty Little Liars (The entire series… I couldn’t choose just one) by Sara Shepard


7. Whip It by Shauna Cross
6. Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
5. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones


4. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
3. The Lightning Thief (And all Percy Jackson books. They’re all just so good!) by Rick Riordan
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sneak Peek Inside The Cover

So, you can read the first few dozen pages of Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers over at Amazon.

After seeing this and reading it, I must admit two things.

One, the cover at Amazon is GORGEOUS and I love it. It's so much better than the fugly old-people one that's going to be used when the book is published. Oh well, maybe this is the European version or something.

Two, I don't think that I'll be reading this book unless I obtain a copy for free (i.e. the library). Frannie annoys me so much within the first few pages that I can't see myself reading more from her perspective. Nope, I can't stand a narrator who uses "'cause" instead of "because" ever since time. She also seems just too immature.

Of course, these are just my opinions. I would love to hear other ones.

She-Beast Night

Hell Week


Written by: Rosemary Clement-Moore

Released: August 19, 2008 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers



Summary: Maggie Quinn has battled an ancient demon, faced down psychotic cheerleaders, and saved her best friend from certain death, but nothing can match this. Formal sorority recruitment, otherwise known as rush.

And after facing hellfire, infiltrating sorority rush should be easy. But when she finds a group of girls who are after way more than “sisterhood,” all her instincts say there’s something rotten on Greek Row. And when Hell Week rolls around, there may be no turning back.


When I got this from the library I didn’t realize that it was a part of an ongoing series, but that didn’t take away from the book itself. In fact, I think that since it was the second book, it was quite easy to catch on to what had happened in the first one. Plus, the subject matter was incredibly entertaining, so that added to it.

Speaking with knowledge of the inner-workings of sorority life, I really enjoyed this book and how well it captured how it is in a sorority house – minus the demons. Of course, some of the girls in my sorority were really big monstrosities of a human being, so really it was almost bang-on.

But really, the entire Rush was well written and accurate (of course, my sorority little sister would smack you and say that it’s called Formal Recruitment, but whatever). No, right down from the Rho Gamma’s to initiation, I could completely relate to the book. And it was a really amazing take on Greek life in general. In fact, I know of fraternities who have actual Hell Week with Beast Night (which wasn’t really in the book) and what they do is so slightly mean yet completely hilarious.

So, if you’re going into your first year of university and looking to pledge, or you’re just looking for a fun book to read, this one may be for you. I’m giving it 7/10.



And I still laugh whenever I look at the cover with the girl giving the finger. Every time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - Number Fourteen

There are just so many amazing books that are going to be released in the future that it's sometimes hard to choose only one, which is why this week there are two books.



Tortall and Other Lands: A Collection of Tales
Written by: Tamora Pierce
Released: February 22, 2010

Summary: Collected here for the first time are all of the tales from the land of Tortall, featuring both previously unknown characters as well as old friends. Filling some gaps of time and interest, these stories, some of which have been published before, will lead Tammy's fans, and new readers into one of the most intricately constructed worlds of modern fantasy.



I love Pierce's books and I am so excited about this book. It's going to be amazing to re-visit old characters. I can't wait.



Wither
Written by: Lauren DeStefano
Released: March 22, 2010

Summary: What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left



Thanks goes out to Kristi from The Story Siren for letting me know about this one with her Books to Pine For post.  This book sounds amazing and I can't wait to read it!