Sunday, 30 October 2011

Book Review: The Dovekeepers

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

How can I even begin to put into words the beauty and magic which fill the pages of Alice Hoffman's newest novel, The Dovekeepers? Through her characters Hoffman brought the history and tragedy of Masada to life. I was captivated from page one, almost as if I had been placed under a spell by Shirah herself (one of the main characters who is known as a witch). Through the narration of the four women, I became emotionally invested in the novel, almost as if I was experiencing their personal struggles and triumphs with them.

There were many things that I loved about The Dovekeepers, the main thing being the plot. Having heard about Masada before reading the novel, I was curious about how Hoffman would  represent this historic event. While I anticpated something fascinating, The Dovekeepers surpassed my wildest expectations through its  level of detail and the interweaving of the various characters' background stories. While the novel itself is not by any means a fast read, it continually kept me interested and hanging on to find out what happened next. In fact, The Dovekeepers is not a book that is meant to be devoured quickly, but savoured slowly so that the reader can enjoy the imagery, magic, and enchantment which it presents.

Another thing I loved about this novel was its characters. Each of the four women, Yael, Revka, Aziza, and Shirah is unique and interesting for their own reasons. While each of these women came from various backgrounds and situations, they all shared one thing in common: a vibrant spirit which refused to be broken. Out of the four, however, Yael and Aziza's narration quickly became my favourite, and I was left wanting to hear more from them as the novel went on.

Overall, I would highly recommend The Dovekeepers to readers who enjoy either historical fiction, or are simply looking for a unique story to read. I fell in love with this novel, and it is definitely going to be added to my list of favourite books. Those who have read and enjoyed Anita Diamont's novel The Red Tent will surely fall in love with The Dovekeepers as well. The magic of this novel is hard to resist. 

Friday, 28 October 2011

Follow Friday: Literary Dinner

If you could have dinner with your favorite book character, who would you eat with and what would you serve?

This is really a tough question... Let me debate my several choices here ....

Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables): With Anne around the dinner certainly wouldn't be boring! We could use our imaginations and go on some grand adventure, or take a stroll through the haunted woods. For dinner we would definitely have to incorporate plum pudding and raspberry cordial somehow! On the negative side though Anne has Gilbert's heart...which would probably result in some jealous rage on my part by the end of the night.

Peeta (The Hunger Games):  Over the course of dinner I would convince Peeta that Katniss isn't worth his time and instead make him fall madly in love with myself! At least that's how it would happen in my dreams. In reality he would probably be a pretty mopey dinner guest after all the trauma of the Hunger Games....but on the bright side, with his baking skills he could be the one to cook dinner for me!

Frankenstein's Monster (Frankenstein): I always felt really bad about what happened to poor Frankenstein's monster, so I would probably be guilted into inviting him to dinner. He always seemed like a fairly intelligent guy in the novel, so I'm sure we would have some kind of stimulating conversation, as long as he didn't spend the whole evening complaining about his creator! On the downside, if I remember correctly Frankenstein's monster spent most of the book surviving off of food from the wilderness...which wouldn't be all that tasty for me...

Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice): I've always admired Elizabeth's spunk in sticking it to Darcy when he treated her so rudely. On the other hand, however, Elizabeth was a little prejudiced on her part when it came to Darcy as well. I'm not too sure what we would have for dinner, but I do know that there would have to be dancing afterwards! 

Will Herondale (Clockwork Angel): Despite Will's consistent rudeness he never fails to make me laugh with his wit and sarcasm. I'm sure I would spend the whole dinner chuckling over his vast array of insults and witticisms. Plus, he is supposed to be super handsome, so he would definitely be easy on the eyes (unlike poor Frankenstein's monster!). For dinner we would have some kind of traditional, Victorian meal....whatever that may consist of....

So with so many great choices you see my dilemma! After looking at the pros and cons of each of these characters, I still can't decide who I would want to invite the most. This is probably cheating... but I think I would ultimately invite them all and instead have a huge dinner party! It would definitely be interesting to see how all of these different characters interacted with each other! Which of your favourite characters would you invite to dinner?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Black Heart

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy. 

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.

Let's be realistic here...I'm sure anyone in their right mind who has read the first two books in this series is already counting down the days until Black Heart is released! Cassel stole my heart away in White Cat, and the world of the Curse Workers held me spellbound. I'm really looking forward to seeing what kind of con Cassel ends up pulling in this book. My only regret is that I won't be able to get my hands on a copy of this book until April 2012. Oh well! I'm sure that it will be more than worth the wait! 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Top Eight Books to Read for Halloween!

What better way to get yourself in the mood for Halloween then some creepy books to give you a scare! Who needs scary movies when you can get just as much terror from a book?!? Here are my top eight recommendations for books that are perfect to read during the Halloween season....

Probably one of the creepiest books that I have ever read! The suspense of this novel will really put you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out what is really going on in Rosemary's new apartment. Levin's story still haunts me to this day. Between murders and demons, this book is perfect for fans of The Exorcist!

2. The Bloody Chamber
In this collection of short stories, Angela Carter re-imagines the darker side of fairytales, including Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood. These creepy and dark stories of murder, blood, and sexual deviancy will both captivate and repulse you. If you ever wondered about the true origins of some of your favourite fairytales...this book is definitely for you!

3. The Shining
Having heard from countless people over the years that The Shining movie was both mind boggling and terrifying, I watched it last Halloween to see what it was all about. The movie was a snoozefest, however, compared to the original book. Stephen King's novel was both thrilling and creepy! Between the ghosts and murderous rampages I was often left biting my fingernails in suspense! If you haven't seen the movie version yet, I would suggest skipping it altogether and simply read the book. After all, the book is always better than the film!

4. The Monk
A classic, gothic novel from 1796, The Monk will certainly surprise readers when they discover how dark a novel from this century could actually be. Matthew Lewis' story follows the life of Ambrosio, a monk who is tempted into committing some of the most atrocious sins. Between incest, murder, and torture, Ambrosio's decline into hell is both fascinating and repulsive. I had to read this book for one of my English classes a few years ago, and it quickly became one of my favourite books!

 5. Interview with the Vampire
Vampires are one of the creatures most often associated with Halloween, probably because they are called both "the creatures of the night" and "demons." The story of vampires Luis and Lestat is gripping and dark....and they certainly don't sparkle in the sunlight! Skip Twilight this Halloween and read a real vampire novel!

6. The Restorer
Filled with ghosts, murder, and mystery, The Restorer is the perfect paranormal romance novel for readers who are looking for something a little bit lighter on the horror side. While there are still moments of alarm, they are brief and entertaining. The majority of the novel takes place in a much more Halloweeny can you get?

7. Rebecca
I know I've talked about this book about a hundred times on my blog...but its just so good! The suspense and creepiness of the novel took me by complete surprise when I read it for the first time in school a couple of years ago. Readers will be on the edge of their seat as they try to figure out if the narrator is actually being haunted by the ghost of her husband's first wife....or simply going mentally insane!

8. Nevermore
While this YA novel isn't exactly a horror story, its focus on Edgar Allen Poe and demons certainly gives it a creepy edge. Nightmares come to life as Isobel finds herself more closely drawn towards Varen, the school goth. Plus, the plot takes place over the period of Halloween!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Booktacular Costumes: Halloween for Book Lovers!

I can't believe Halloween is only one week away! As always I've left the task of finding a costume to the last minute. I stopped by my local costume store this past weekend to browse, but I was unimpressed by both the insane cost and lack of originality when it came to their costume selection. It seems like people looking for great costume ideas are left up to their own imagination. As a result, I spent the past few hours searching online for creative book-related costumes for Halloween. There were so many great ideas that I just had to share some of them here on my blog. It was difficult to narrow it here are just a few of my personal favourites!

1. Edgar Allen Poe
This costume is quick and easy for any guy to put together! All you really need is a suit...a   moustache...and a raven to sit upon your shoulder! I really like the "Nevermore" quote bubble coming out of the raven's mouth too. It gives it that extra special touch!

2. Arthur
I have yet to meet a person who did not love either reading the Arthur books or watching the tv show when they were a kid. I was personally obsessed with it! Grab a yellow cardigan, a white dress shirt, a pair of glasses, and make a headband with ears and you are all set to go! 

3. Animorphs
Am I the only one who remembers this hit series from back in the 90s? I loved the Animorphs' covers and how they showed each character morphing into a different animal or creature. I suppose this costume only makes sense with a group...and you would have to walk around in a line all night....but I just thought it was too creative to pass up sharing!

4. Emily Elizabeth 
I could not get enough of Clifford the Big Red Dog growing up...and he continues to remain a hit with younger generations today. I'm in love with this costume for so many's's simple...and the added touch of Clifford's big red leg just pulls it all together! 

5. Katniss Everdeen
With the movie set to be released next year, I'm sure the amount of people dressing up as Katniss will triple in future Halloweens to come. I bet that Katniss character costumes will soon become as popular as kids dressing up like wizards from Harry Potter! 

6. Sylvia Plath
The first thing that Sylvia Plath is most well known for is her novel The Bell Jar. The second thing most people know about Sylvia Plath is the circumstances of her tragic death. Plath died after placing her head in an oven with the gas turned on. While this costume is somewhat morbid... I have to say that it is definitely creative! 

7. Mary Poppins 
This is my dream costume! I love Mary Poppins! Little known was a book before Disney made it into a movie! If it wasn't for the fact that Halloween is only a week away I would be hunting down a seamstress right now to put this outfit together for me! I would be singing the songs from the movie all night long..."Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!"

What are some of your costume plans for this halloween? Are there any other literary characters that you would love dressing up as?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Top 5 Library Love Scenes

Maybe this is just a coincidence, but it seems to me that throughout literature and film the setting of the library is often used as the place where the two protagonists either begin their flirtation, or reveal their undying love for one another. Perhaps it is the secluded, intimate nature of the library that is so appealing to authors and screenwriters. Whatever the reason, these scenes always make me crack a smile...especially since I one day plan on being a librarian myself. Here are 5 of my favourite library love scenes from movies below.

1. Beauty and the Beast
I have yet to meet a female reader who has not listed Beauty and the Beast as one of their favourite Disney movies due to the epicness of this library. Obviously the Beast is smart enough to recognize that a good book is the way into any girl's heart!

2. Gone With The Wind
Sure Scarlett may have been a little naive in assuming that Ashley would eventually marry her, but little did she know that the true man of her dreams was already waiting for her just behind the couch in the library.

3. Harold and Kumar
Maybe the love between Kumar and Vanessa is fleeting, but it is a perfect example of how movies often depict the library as the perfect place for teenage hook ups! I remember a similar scene in The Prince and Me as well, but alas, I couldn't find that one online! 

4. The Music Man
Who wouldn't love to be serenaded by a handsome man in a library? Poor Marian the librarian had no idea what was about to hit her! This scene certainly personifies the whole "librarians are sexy" a clean 1960s kind of way....

5. Becoming Jane
Apparently even Jane Austen couldn't escape the amorous atmosphere of the library (at least according to this highly inaccurate film version of her life). But then again...who can resist flirting amongst the bookshelves? 

These are just five of the many examples that I could have pulled showing how libraries are "hot spots" so to speak. Others include Atonement, The FBI Files, The Prince and Me...ect. ect.! What do you guys think about this trend? Are there any other movies you can think of that fit this list?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Touch

When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home. 

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized. 

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe. A secret Kale will kill to protect.

I first heard about Touch  about a month ago when a fellow blogger wrote a glowing review about how awesome she thought it was. Since then I have stumbled  across numerous people who are absolutely singing praises about how much they love this new series. I'm now eagerly anticipating its release in November so that I can see if it will live up to all the hype that I've been reading about it! From what I've read in the synopsis it certainly sounds promising! While I can already guess what Dez's secret is, I'm interested to see exactly how the plot will pan out. Here's hoping that this will be a great new book to take my breath away!  

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Top Ten Books I Bought Because of Their Covers

As I have stated about a million times now on this blog, I'm a sucker when it comes to a pretty cover. They really need to develop a cure for "judge a book by its cover syndrome!" In fact, last night I went to Chapters with my friends and picked up a copy of Elizabeth Miles' book Fury, partly because my friend is going to a signing for this book next week, but mostly because I thought the cover was so pretty. I know... I'm pathetic! Anyways, here are just ten of the books that I've bought because I fell in love with the covers. Thankfully, a lot of them ended up being well written and enjoyable as well, but some of them disappointed me terribly. Oh well!

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Disgrace of the National Book Awards.....

So for those of you in the book world who have not already heard, there was a terrible mix-up in the announcement of the National Book Awards nominees last week. Having existed for 61 years now, The National Book Awards is one of the biggest things next to the Pulitzer prize when it comes to recognition for literature. During a live radio broadcast this past Wednesday, Lauren Myracle's YA book, Shine, was announced as one of the five finalists in the teen section. Shine focuses on the story of a girl whose best friend falls victim to a hate crime due to his sexuality, and has received plenty of great reviews from users on

Unfortunately, it turns out that Myracle's book was nominated by accident! According to news reports, a staff member misheard the title of the book when they were writing down the names of the nominees over the phone. Instead, it was supposed to be Franny Billingsley's book, Chime, that was to be announced as a finalist. Realizing their mistake, the people at The National Book Awards originally decided to make a compromise and allow both Shine and Chime to remain on the list. On Friday, however, Myracle received a request from the foundation in charge of the reward to remove her book from the running "in order to preserve the integrity of the award and the judges' work." Seriously? Their "integrity?" If anything they just ruined the integrity of The National Book Award by making such a ludicrous request!

Apparently Myracle was quite gracious considering the circumstances, and agreed to remove her book from the list of finalists on the condition that they make a $5,000 donation to the Matthew Shepard foundation. I have to give Myracle some credit for everything that has happened. To hear that your book has been nominated for a prestigious award, only to find out that it was a mistake would be quite crushing! If anything, I think The National Book Award foundation showed a real lack of tack and grace by requesting Myracle to remove her book from the running due to a mistake on their part. Kudos to her for instead requesting for a donation to make up for their thoughtlessness. Although I haven't personally read Shine, I believe that it should have been given an equal chance despite the fact that it wasn't meant to be a finalist to begin with! If what I've been reading on Twitter is any indication, the foundation is already receiving a lot of flack for their decision, and I couldn't agree more! 

Have you read Lauren Myracle's book Shine? What do you think about The National Book Awards mix up?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In My Mailbox!

Today marks the beginning for my reading week for University, and lucky for me I got a slew of amazing books over the past few days to keep me busy!

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
First off the lovely people at Simon & Schuster sent me a beautiful copy of Alice Hoffman's new book The Dovekeepers! I have been DYING to read this story so I was super excited when I came home from school and found it waiting for me in my mailbox! Although I'm about halfway through Fateful right now by Claudia Gray, I decided to put it aside for the moment so that I could start reading this one right away. I'm about 50 pages in now and the story is already so beautiful and touching!

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin
I have been patiently waiting for this book to come out for over 3 months now. I love dystopians....and the plot of this one sounds especially intriguing! A world where chocolate and coffee are illegal? I would never survive! I managed to pick up a copy of All These Things I've Done from the library and I can't wait to get a chance to finally read it!

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Finally, when I heard that Chapters was having a 20% off sale this week I just had to stop by and do a bit of browsing. While I was checking out the biography section I came across Persepolis, which I have been meaning to read for a while now! Persepolis is a memoir which is presented in graphic novel form about the author's time spent growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. I've heard a lot of great things about this book, and I love biographies, so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in this story!

PS. This past week I started a Facebook Page to correspond with my blog! Inspired by my friend Jackie at The Hardcover Harlequin, I wanted a space where I could share other book related news, pictures, and tidbits of information that I feel aren't really blog posting material. I've come across so many things over the past few months that I've wanted to share with my followers, but it didn't really make sense to just post a picture or a quote without writing some kind of discussion to go with it. So I hope that you will all visit my Page and maybe even "Like" it so that you can get all the updates that I plan on sharing on it :)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. 

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

To say I was excited for this book is an understatement. I have been counting down the days until I could read Lola and the Boy Next Door  after having devoured Stephanie Perkins' first novel, Anna and the French Kiss, over the summer. The wait was certainly worth it! Lola's story is sweet yet realistic. I loved the fact that Stephanie Perkins really brought issues such as family and personal identity to the forefront of the novel. Lola's struggle to discover herself was really a topic that I'm sure any teen can relate to.

The romance plot was also very well executed in what is essentially a reverse of the love triangle originally presented in Anna and the French Kiss. Sure the story was predictable, but it still gave me little butterflies in my stomach every time Cricket stepped into one of the scenes! Besides, isn't the whole point of romance novels to give reader's a happy ending where the two main protagonists finally get together in the end? The fun part is in trying to figure out how the two lovebirds will get from Point A to Point B! 

Although I really did enjoy Lola and the Boy Next Door, there were nevertheless  a few aspects of the novel that rubbed me the wrong way. One of the main ones was the way that Perkins approached the topic of homelessness in the novel. While it had the potential of being a really great theme in the plotline, Perkins kind of just lets it fall to the side. Instead, readers are left with Lola harbouring a form of resentment towards homelessness which is never completely resolved.

Another thing that strangely bugged me about this novel was the appearance of Anna and St. Clair as supporting characters. While I absolutely adored them in Anna and the French Kiss, and should have been thrilled to see them appear again, they actually ended up annoying me a bit. Maybe it was because I was viewing their relationship from Lola's point of view, but Anna and St. Clair were presented as being so gushy and in love that it was almost sickening. 

Nevertheless, Lola and the Boy Next Door was a nice, light distraction away from my school work. While I ultimately enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss more, Lola brings her own charm which I'm sure other fans of Stephanie Perkins will fall in love with.

Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, 14 October 2011

Before Stephanie Meyer there was.......... Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Last night my friend and I were sitting through another boring cataloguing class where we were learning about how some authors use a variety of names or pseudonyms, and the way that these get put into a library system. (Side note: who ever would have guessed how much work goes into putting one library book into a catalogue! You have to input all of these stupid codes called MARC that are a lot like HTML, and there is a rule book the size of an encyclopaedia!) Anyways..I digress. Rather than looking up the  list of the authors that the prof had given us to check for differences in their names, we decided to search for some of our favourite authors instead. As I was typing away I looked over to my friend's screen and was surprised to see her typing in the name of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes!!! I was so excited! In a world now saturated with paranormal authors it is rare that I meet anyone these days who has even heard of this author, let alone is a fan of her books. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is a YA author who wrote her first book, In the Forests of the Night when she was just 14 years old. I first stumbled upon her in grade 8, when a friend of mine let me borrow her copy of Hawksong, a shapeshifter story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. Needless to say I was hooked! Over the course of a month I went through every book she had written up to that point in time. Her novel Demon in My View was actually the first vampire novel that I ever read!

I guess the purpose of this post is to show Ms. Atwater-Rhodes a little appreciation. In my mind she is the original queen of vampire teen fiction, as she published her stories way before the Twilight craze hit. As my friend and I did some more searching we were happy to discover that she actually published a new book this past January called All Just Glass, which I will definitely have to check out at the library. If I had to suggest one book by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes for you to pick up and read it would be Hawksong for sure. This is the book that first made me fall in love with this author, and the series it was turned into is phenomenal (at least that's what I thought in high school).

Are there any authors from when you were a teen that you still hold a special place in your heart?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Virgin Cure

"I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart." So begins The Virgin Cure, a novel set in the tenements of lower Manhattan in the year 1871. As a young child, Moth's father smiled, tipped his hat and walked away from her forever. The summer she turned twelve, her mother sold her as a servant to a wealthy woman, with no intention of ever seeing her again.

These betrayals lead Moth to the wild, murky world of the Bowery, filled with house-thieves, pickpockets, beggars, sideshow freaks and prostitutes, where eventually she meets Miss Everett, the owner of a brothel simply known as "The Infant School." Miss Everett caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for companions who are "willing and clean," and the most desirable of them all are young virgins like Moth.

Through the friendship of Dr. Sadie, a female physician, Moth learns to question and observe the world around her, where her new friends are falling prey to the myth of the "virgin cure"--that deflowering a "fresh maid" can heal the incurable and tainted. She knows the law will not protect her, that polite society ignores her, and still she dreams of answering to no one but herself. There's a high price for such independence, though, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.

Ever since I finished reading The Birth House a couple of years ago I have been dying for Ami McKay to write something new. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this weekend that she has a book coming out on October 25th! I did a happy dance! From the synopsis of The Virgin Cure it appears like McKay is taking on another historical plot line, which makes me even more excited considering what an excellent job she did on her last book! The Birth House was really accurate and well researched, so I assume that I can expect the same kind of detail from The Virgin Cure. I'm so happy that I stumbled upon this book... I can't believe it almost snuck right past me!

Monday, 10 October 2011

One For the Money Movie Adaptation!

Although I heard rumours earlier this year that Janet Evanovich's romance/mystery series was set to hit the big screen, I never expected it to happen so fast! Her first novel, One For the Money, is set to be released in January 2012 with Katherine Heigl playing the leading role as bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Although I'm not the biggest Heigl fan, I'm curious to see how this novel will get adapted into a movie. I have yet to read a single book in the Stephanie Plum series, but I've always heard that it contained the perfect combination of romance, mystery, and humour!

The trailer for the film was uploaded to Youtube two weeks ago and it looks promising! I'm definitely going to be reading the book now before it comes out (especially considering it has been on my to-read list for over two years now). If the movie is going to be anything like the book, then the plot will revolve around Stephanie becoming a bounty hunter after being fired from her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store. Her first target is Joe Morelli, a vice cop who has a history with Stephanie herself... "From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water--wanted for murder." 

What do you guys think this adaptation will be like? Have any of you read one of Evanovich's novels before? Check out the trailer below! 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Arc Review: Clockwork Prince

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. 
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

Talk about an epic page-turner! When I first started reading Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince, which is set to be published December 6th, I was slightly hesitant. Although I did enjoy the first book in this series, Clockwork Angel, it had started out a little slow for my taste. Clockwork Prince, however, had me hooked from page one! With the Magister’s identity finally known to the Clave, the author didn’t have to spend so much time on giving out background information to set up the plot. Instead, the novel picks up right where it left off, amidst the tension of the characters who are now desperately seeking the whereabouts of Mortmain.

The romance plot in Clockwork Prince steps it up a notch as well! If any of you were left stuttering like me after the cliffhanger of the first novel, just wait until you read the first chapter of this book! The tension of the love triangle between Will, Tessa, and Jem heats up big time, leaving me with as many conflicting emotions as Tessa herself! Although I have always been one of Will’s biggest supporters, I can’t help but consider Jem as a strong contender now for Tessa’s heart as well.

Overall, Clockwork Prince was a breath-taking and fascinating read! I caught myself daydreaming about it a couple of times during school, aching to be reading it curled up in bed instead of listening to a boring lecture about standard deviation. My only complaint would be that unlike Clockwork Angel, there was no epic cliffhanger at the end of this one! I know…I know! I always complain about how I hate cliffhangers and the way that they make me hang on desperately for the next book…but in the case of Clockwork Prince I’m already dying to find out what happens….so what’s the harm in throwing me a little bone to mull over for the next year until Cassandra Clare publishes the third book? That isn’t to say that the book ends on a wrapped up note. The last sentence caused me to gasp in surprise, but I was expecting a bit more. Maybe the author will make it a little more epic before the book is published and add some crazy epilogue… I can only hope!

Anyways… lovers of Clockwork Angel will fall head over heels for this book! If you haven’t already read the first book in The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, then I suggest you get started NOW! Like I said before, I personally found the first book a little bit slow at times, but Clockwork Prince more then makes up for it! It is definitely worth picking up a copy when it hits store shelves in December (make sure to add it to your Christmas list!).

Rating: 5 Stars

Saturday, 8 October 2011

In My Mailbox!

So this was a pretty slow week for me bookwise. I only managed to pick up a copy of Claudia Gray's new novel, Fateful, from the library. Nevertheless, I'm pretty pumped about finally having a chance to read it! I've never read anything by Claudia Gray before, but I've heard only good things about her novels from other bloggers. Besides...werewolves on the Titanic? I'm intrigued to see how this tale will unfold! I'll be starting Fateful as soon as I finish reading Lola and the Boy Next Door... which realistically will be within the next 24 hours if I have any say about it!

PS. Stay tuned tomorrow for my Arc review of Cassandra Clare's upcoming novel Clockwork Prince! :)

Friday, 7 October 2011

Follow Friday: Character Swap

Q.If you could pick one character in a book, movie or television show to swap places with, who would it be?

So many tempting choices! If I were to swap places with a character from a book it would have to be Anne from Anne of Green Gables. Lame...I know! But I've always had a fascination for the time period in which the novel is set, and I was actually a lot like her in personality when I was a kid.... non-stop chattering and mischief! I've also had a crush on Gilbert Blythe ever since I was a little girl. He is one of the ultimate romantic characters of all time! 

Now if I were to switch places with a character from a movie I would have to go with Natalie Portman's character, Jane, from Thor. I've always been really fascinated with science and wish that I was better at it. Alas, I was cursed to be drawn to English instead! Plus, there is the added bonus of Chris Hemsworth... need I say more?

Finally, if I were to switch places with a character from a television show I would choose any of the investigators from Destination Truth. Everything about unexplained mysteries and creatures has always captivated me, and I would love getting paid to research about it! The fact that they get to travel all over the world to hunt things like bigfoot and sea monsters is definitely an added bonus! Who wouldn't love spending a week in Peru, Ireland, or Kenya...even if it is in the middle of a scorching desert or bug infested jungle? I would probably have to sit out on any of the alien investigations though... I've been scarred for life ever since watching E.T. as a child! 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Value of Graphic Novels

For one of my lectures yesterday, my class had an interesting discussion on the value of graphic novels, and their place in the library. It's kind of funny, but before starting university I always thought of graphic novels as easy reading with no literary merit at all. It wasn't until I started my English degree, and graphic novels were on many of my course reading lists, that I stopped to think about the depth and range of themes that these works actually posses. The majority of graphic novels out there focus on a variety of issues such as dysfunctional families, culture clashes, mental health, war, and everyday life.  As a result, while people may think of comics as simply a bunch of pictures, they fail to recognize the comment that these graphic novels make about our culture and everyday life.

There is also the fact that graphic novels promote literacy, especially amongst children. Studies have shown that reading graphic novels actually "requires more cognitive skills than reading text alone." Not only do students have to take information from the text that they are reading, but they are now forced to examine and interpret the vast symbolism provided through the illustrations as well. Graphic novelist, Art Spiegelman, is quoted as saying that comics are "a gateway drug into books," and I would have to agree! Graphic novels are an easy and entertaining way to get children motivated to read. 

I witnessed this personally with my younger brother, who always hated to read, especially for school! He would avoid it at all costs if possible! One day, however, I happened to bring home a graphic novel that I had been reading for my own enjoyment, and persuaded him to take a look at a couple of pages. Within minutes he was hooked! Our basement walls are now lined with the graphic novels that he has consumed, my mom happily providing the money because "at least he is reading something!" 

As a result, I am a strong supporter of graphic novels, especially within the library system! As a future librarian (hopefully!), I really think that the value of reading graphic novels needs to be promoted more. There is a stigma attached with comics that they are not literary, but that is far from being true! Try telling that to Art Spiegelman, who won the Pulitzer prize for his historical graphic novel, Maus, which retells the story of his father's time spent in a concentration camp! Or Marjane Satrapi, whose Persepolis series is an autobiographical account of her life in Iran during the Islamic revolution. Even graphic novels like Naruto or Bone are important for the part that they play in larger popular culture. Graphic novels have value, and as such need to be viewed as something other than silly or a waste of time.

What do you guys think? Have you ever read any graphic novels? Do they have value in your eyes? 
Persepolis by Margane Satrapi