Thursday, 30 June 2011

Book Review: The Help

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

I can't believe how many times I went into Chapters or the library and passed this book by! It's not that I wasn't aware of how many good reviews The Help has recieved in the press, but I was wary that it would not live up to the hype. After seeing the trailer for the movie adaptation, however, I finally motivated myself to pick up a copy and give it a try. I am so glad I did! The Help was a rollercoaster ride of emotion and I loved every minute of it! From moments that warmed my heart to those that had me clenching my fists in anger, The Help made me feel like I was participating with the characters in their journey through the story.

There has been some criticism online and in the media that Kathryn Stockett's characters were artificial and failed to portray the African American voice in the South. I am neither African American or from the south, but I couldn't help but fall in love with each of the three narrators present in The Help. Out of Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny, however, I couldn't help but love Minny's narration the most! In my personal opinion, Kathryn Stockett really brought to life not only the main characters but the supporting ones as well. For example, Hilly was the perfect villian. Each time her name showed up on the page I had to fight the urge not to strangle her myself! And Miss Celia's naive yet loving character made me want to slap her into reality and then give her a big hug!

Overall, with the release of The Help to the big screen this August I would highly recommend reading this book whether you plan to see the movie adaptation or not! I really hope that the movie lives up to how truly wonderful Kathryn Stockett's novel is, and I'm curious to see how the director will interpret the main plot. The Help has made it on my list of all time favourite books and I look forward to reading it many more times in the future to come!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Born Wicked

Cate Cahill and her sisters are considered eccentric bluestockings—a little odd, a little unfashionable, and far too educated for their own good. The truth is more complicated; they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it could mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. Before their mother died, she entrusted Cate with keeping them safe and keeping everyone, including their father, in the dark about their powers. When her father employs a governess and Cate begins to receive notes from her missing, presumed-mad godmother, her task becomes much more difficult. As Cate searches for answers in banned books and rebellious new friends, she must juggle unwanted proposals, tea parties, and an illicit attraction to the new gardener. Cate will do anything to protect her sisters, but at what cost to herself?

There are so many things that have me anxiously awaiting this book! The first thing is that I haven't read a book about witches in a really long time now and this one sounds like it has potential to be really good! I mean mad godmothers, banned books and hot gardeners? Sign me up! I also absoultely adore the cover on this novel! I sadly suffer from judge a book by its cover syndrome and would probably end up reading this novel even if the synopsis sounded terrible just for its outer beauty alone. Born Wicked is set to be published in February 2012, which means there is still a long wait ahead of me! 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Book Review: Falling Under

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams. 

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear. 

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul

When I first started this book I  had very high expectations for how good it would be. Unfortunatly for me, however, I found that Falling Under started off very slowly. There were a bunch of times I thought about putting it down and picking up something else to read, but thankfully I didn't, because the novel soon picked up to the point where I was staying up late into the night to finish it! For me, Falling Under became irresistable after Theia physically went to Under for the first time. It was there that I actually started to like the character of Haden, who started off as such a jerkt that I couldn't stand the way Theia kept saying she was in love with him after all the bad ways he treated her. Like Theia, I then soon "fell under" the spell of Haden's charm.

Although this books starts off very slowly, there were a couple of things that I loved about it right away, the main one being some of the characters. I absolutely adored Donny's personality! She was so spirited and audacious, and I love the way she kept fighting to reveal how much she actually cared about Gabe. Varnie was tied with Donny for the position of my favourite character. A cross-dressing pyschic who surfs? Talk about imaginative! I think this is one of the first novels I've ever read where I liked the supporting characters more then the main characters!

One of the other things I loved about Falling Under was the change in perspective about two-thirds of the way through the novel. I think switching to Haden's narrative voice was one of the main things that made me finally see the softer side of his character and put some of my hate for him aside. Haden's point of view also gave me a chance to look at some of my favourite characters in a different way as well, like Donny, Varnie, and Amelia. Overall, I think that if you are able to get through the first 100 or so pages of this book then you will really enjoy Falling Under. It takes a while to "fall under" its spell, but I think you will be glad you did when you finish reading it! 

Rating: 4 Stars

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Year in Books (so far)

So I can't believe it but it is halfway through the year of 2011 already! Where in the world has the time gone?? What better time to assess the books that I have read so far in the year and see what aspects of each were my favourites? The following questions have been taken from Inkcrush. Although she seperated her questions into different categories, I just selected the questions that I liked the best to answer. Enjoy! 

1. Favourite Book Read So Far in 2011?
That's a tough call... It's really between The Hunger Games and Divergent....but I'll go with Divergent since it was actually published in 2011.

2. Best Achy, Heartbreaking, Tear-Jerking Read.
Definetely The English Patient. This novel had me in tears at the end! I like that the ending wasn't conventional....but I still find it heartbreaking when characters who love each other so much don't end up together due to circumstances.

3. Adrenaline Fueled, Unputdownable Award
The Hunger Games had me reading non-stop for a day! I snuck it in to read at work, I read it while I ate dinner at home, I stayed up till late in the night...I just couldn't get enough of it!! And after I raced through it I kind of regretted not taking my time to read it more slowly so that I could have pro-longed my enjoyment of it for a little bit longer. 

4. I So Want To Go There Award
Shannon Hale's novel Austenland had me dreaming of going to the Austen inspired vacation destination described in her book. Pathetic... I know....but I think it would be so much fun to live in a recreation of Austen's world for a day! 

5. I Had No Idea I Would Love This Award
That would have to be Anna and the French Kiss! I bought this book on a whim because I had heard from so many other people about how fantastic it was, but I never seriously thought I would enjoy it as much as I did! I couldn't put it down!!! I'm already looking forward to Stephanie Perkins next novel so that I can devour that one as well!

6. Would Make the Best Movie Award
My automatic response to this one was Divergent...but it is actually in the works of becoming a movie right now so instead I would have to choose White Cat! I think it would make such a cool con movie if they were able to work out the twists and turns well enough so that the audience didn't expect them! Plus...I would love to see Cassel on the big screen *swoon*!

7. The Brilliantly Funny Award
Hounded was definetly not what I expected! From the cover and the synposis I thought it would be a cool, action packed novel, but in reality it was set up more like a comedy! There was so much humour in this book that I laughed out loud more than once! Definetly a nice suprise! 

8. Most Haunting Award
I'm not sure if the word "haunting" in this case is supposed to refer to scary or emotionally trying... but I think I'll go with the latter. The Postmistress, which was set in WWII was "hauntingly" beautiful. The story was so sad, yet it carried so much power with it as well. 

9. Who I Completely Fell in Love With
I fell in love with sooo many characters so far this year... but the most memorable would have to be St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss and Cassel from White Cat. Cassel is the classic bad boy with a heart of gold, while St. Clair proved that good guys really do exist in the world (although they are prone to making mistakes just like anyone else). 

10. Best Ending
While I didn't necessarily enjoy how many unanswered questions remained after I finished reading this novel, The Handmaid's Tale had by far the best ending! It left everything up to your imagination about whether or not the unnamed narrator would actually escape or be sent to her death. The additional "historical" notes that Atwood placed at the end of the novel also causes readers to question the validitiy of the story itself, and whether or not the narrator herself is to be trusted. Overall, the ending of this novel will haunt me forever...and I especially hate how the movie version completely changed everything in order to give viewers the typical Hollywood ending that they wanted. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

In My Mailbox (8)

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

Although I still have quite a few books sitting in my to be read pile at home, I stopped by the library to pick up a couple of my requests that had come in this week. I'm especially looking forward to reading The Iron Queen as I really enjoyed the first two books in the Iron Fey series! I haven't read the synopsis for this one yet....partly because I want to be suprised about what happens when I read it!

I've also been waiting for The Help to come in for me at my local library for months now! I am really excited about this book because the story itself sounds really good and I want to be able to read it before the movie adaptation comes out this summer! I've read some good reviews about this book, so I'm hoping that I won't be disappointed!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

When I first heard about Anna and the French Kiss I was a little reluctant to put it on my to-read list. It initially seemed to me like just another typical novel of teen romance....but boy was I wrong!! I am so glad that I convinced myself to pick up a copy of this book because it was absolutely bloody amazing!!! Right from the very first page I was caught up in the excitement and anticipation of trying to discover if Anna and St. Clair would indeed end up together by the end of the novel. This novel was seriously like crack to me! As soon as I put it down the only thing I could think about was when I would be able to pick it back up again! At one point, my poor boyfriend even had to put up with me ignoring him while I snuck in a few more chapters before we went out with some friends for the night.

So what exactly did I love about Anna and the French Kiss? Probably the number one thing I loved about this book was that the relationships within it were realistic and believable. Sure, the whole part about them going to bording school in Paris together might be a bit on that fantasy side of things, but the struggle of their emotions seemed very real. I think if St. Clair and Anna had gotten together by the fourth chapter the novel would have felt less geniune to me. Even the side characters like Josh and Rashmi displayed how teen relationships are far from being perfect.

Another thing I loved about this novel was the setting itself. I adore Paris! And while yes, I mentioned before that it made the novel a little less realistic for me, I couldn't get enough of all the tiny details that Stephanie Perkins gave readers about this amazing city! Having been to Paris myself about 5 years ago, the decriptions in the book made me feel like I was back there again, especially the part about ground zero by Notre Dame (like Anna, I too have stepped on that star....although my wish has yet to come true :P).

I suppose to sum up this review the only other thing I can say is that this book truly is a wonderful read! I know that a lot of other bloggers have given Anna and the French Kiss great reviews, which often makes me hesitant in case I am disappointed. This novel, however, was far from a disappointment! It well exceeded my expectations, and I can't believe that I almost passed it by because the synposis didn't immediatly catch my attention!

Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, 24 June 2011

Book Review: Red Glove

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else. 

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does. 

When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself? 

Having absolutely adored White Cat, the first book in Holly Black's Curse Worker series, I had pretty high expectations when it came time to reading Red Glove. White Cat was one of those rare books for me where I couldn't predict the outcome of the novel, and felt myself being conned along with the characters in the story. I was so thrilled to discover, therefore, that Red Glove was filled with just as many twists and turns, and a whole new set of cons to uncover! 

In Red Glove, Cassel remains the bad boy with a heart of gold, but must now make the difficult decision of joining forces with the mob or the FBI. As a result, readers are given a greater glimpse of Cassel's inner character, which in many ways made me love him even more despite its imperfections! The conflict of his emotions is especially evident in his relationship with Lila, who is cursed to love him. While Cassel's conscience tells him to not take advantage of her, his love and temptation for Lila often gets the better of him.

Not only does Red Glove focus on Cassel's conflict with the mob, FBI and Lila, but it also examines larger issues of human rights through the vote occurring within the novel which will determine whether or not workers must reveal their identity to the government. In many ways, this part of the novel kind of reminded me of X-men, where a politician attempts to similarly evoke a law which will require mutants to be registered. Readers are then forced to question themselves about whether or not personal privacy or the so called safety of the country is more valuable to them.

Overall, Red Glove was absolutely amazing!!! I totally recommend this series to everyone who has not already read it! I am already highly anticipating the third novel, Black Heart, which won't be released until April of 2012. If you love a novel that keeps you up until the early morning hours reading then Red Glove is definitely for you! 

Rating: 5 Stars

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Neil Gaiman's American Gods to Become an HBO Series!!!

So I found out online today that Neil Gaiman's amazing book American Gods is set to become an HBO series!!! For those of you unfamiliar with Neil Gaiman, this is not the first of his books to be adapted. His novels Stardust and Coraline were also made into movies over the past 3 years, which met with huge success at the box offices. He not only writes books, but also graphic novels, and is also well known for his Sandman series.

I am excited on so many levels about this announcement!!! First of all American Gods was such an incredible read! The plot focuses on an ex-convict named Shadow who becomes mixed up in a war that is brewing between the ancient gods (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Noridic, ect.) and the new American gods (gods of the internet, television, credit cards ect.). In the America which Gaiman creates, the power of gods is based on the amount of people who believe and worship them. This balance of power causes many of the American gods to demand more respect from the older gods, who are beginning to be forgotten in the minds of humanity. Needless to say, an epic battle insues with tons of amazing action and side plots! 

I am also super excited about this adaptation of Gaiman's novel as HBO has a history of turning out absolutely outstanding television series! With the recent success of Game of Thrones, I can only imagine what level of amazingness HBO can bring to American Gods! The series is set to have 6 seasons, with Neil Gaiman on board as one of the show's main writers! Although it isn't set to air on television until 2013, I think the wait will be worth it! I can't wait to hear who they will be casting as the main characters, especially Shadow, Mr. Wendesday, and Anansi! 

What do you guys think about HBO taking on American Gods? Are there any actors that you would particularly like to see as certain characters??

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Midnight in Austenland

So I know this book doesn't come out until February 2012... but I'm just way too excited for it!!! I never imagined that Shannon Hale would consider writing a sequel to Austenland (which I adore!), so I am really curious to see what it will entail! There is no synopsis available online at the moment, and Shannon Hale has stated in her blog that she is still midway through the writing process of it right now. One of the biggest questions I'm wondering is if the story will involve new characters at the Austenland mansion, or the return of the main heroine from the first novel! The anticipation is killing me!!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Book Review: Clockwork Angel

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I have been sitting at my computor for about ten minutes now trying to decide how in the world to begin this review. I think a lovely reviewer named Jillian from The Book Lantern describes it best "This book felt like an awkward first date. We tried to get to know one another, but things just didn't seem to click. Sometimes I was bored; sometimes I was fascinated in spite of myself. But, sadly, there wasn't a spark." Indeed, no matter how hard I tried to fall in love with Clockwork Angel, it just didn't seem to work. It wasn't until about page 280 that I began to feel like the novel was starting to really capture my interest. While I'll admit that there was a nice twist at the end the plot which I didn't see coming, the slow beginning kind of killed it for me.

While I may not have felt any sparks with reading the Clockwork Angel, that does not necessarily mean that I did not enjoy certain aspects of the novel. In many ways the character of Will was one of the redeeming factors for Clockwork Angel. I loved all of his sarcastic remarks and his slighlty bi-polar personatlity! One of my favourite quotes from the novel is a conversation that Will has with his rival Gabriel: "You know," Gabriel said, "there was a time I thought we could be friends Will." "There was a time I thought I was a ferret," Will said, "but that turned out to be the opium haze. Did you know it had that effect? Because I didn't."

The one thing I really respect about Cassandra Clare with regards to Clockwork Angel was her restraint in revealing anything about Will's mysterious past, which is probably one of the main reasons I will end up reading the sequel (yes...even though this novel didn't completely grab me the cliffhanger at the end makes me crave to know what happens)! In doing so, she really adds to the complexity and dimension of her characters. So, would I recommend reading this novel? If you are a fan of The Mortal Instruments series you will most likely love Clockwork Angel, as long as you are prepared for a slow beginning!

Rating: 3 Stars

Monday, 20 June 2011

Top Five Literary Fathers

Although Father's Day ended yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to pay tribute to the literary fathers that have captured the hearts of not only their fictional children but readers alike!

5. King Lear
Sure King Lear might have made some mistakes in his life by sending away the daughter who truly loved him, but the scene with Cordelia at the end never fails to make me cry. His pure agony and sorrow over the death of his beloved daughter demonstrates King Lear's fatherly devotion. Like any father in real life, King Lear made some mistakes, but that doesn't necessarily mean he is a bad father!

4. The Father from The Road
Although he's never given a name, the father from Cormac McCarthy's The Road demonstrates the length that fathers will go to in order to protect their children from harm. I loved how hard he tried to assure his son that everything would be okay, constantly telling him that they are carrying the fire of humanity and civilization inside them.

3. Mr. Bennett

Now my English professor would probably argue with me on this point, but I think Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice is fantastic! I will never forget when he tells Elizabeth, "Your mother will never speak to you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will not speak to you if you do." Sure Mr. Bennett's failure to regulate his daughters results in near disgrace for Lydia, but his decision to help Elizabeth avoid a loveless marriage makes him wonderful in my opinion!

2. Atticus Finch
One of the things I love most about Atticus Finch is his ability to stand up for what he believes in. Throughout To Kill a Mockingbird, he acts as a wonderful role model for Jem and Scout, offering them a fountain of good advice. His respect and patience for his children never ceases to amaze me!

1. Matthew Cuthburt

Although Matthew is not Anne's real father in Anne of Green Gables, he is nevertheless my all time favourite fictional father-like figure!  His quiet, shy manner and absolute adoration for Anne melts my heart every time I read this novel! While Anne is not his true daughter, he helps Marilla to raise her as if she was family. The scene at the end where he dies never fails to make me cry as if he was my own father! 

So what do you guys think of the five literary fathers that I have picked for this post? Who are your favourite literary fathers and why?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

In My Mailbox

This week was pretty successful for me in terms of getting books! Due to the Stanley Cup game between Vancouver and Boston, Chapters had a Canucks sale online where members got an additional discount. This offer was too tempting for me to pass up so I bought three books that have been on my to-read list for a while now! Due to the mail strike in Canada right now I didn't expect to get these books for another couple of weeks, but I was happily suprised to find them in my mailbox on Wednesday :)

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
Falling Under intrigued me from the moment I first saw its cover online a couple of months ago. I put it on my to-read list right away, but then sort of forgot about it until after my friend Chelsey from Bright Lights, Big City suggested I pick up a copy as it came with one of her highest recommendations! According to Chelsey the cover "feels like velvet in your hands," and it turns out she was right! It has one of the softest covers I've ever felt! I can't wait to get started on this one!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
When I first heard about Anna and the French Kiss I thought that it looked like a fun, lighthearted novel, but it wasn't something that I was completely interested in reading. My mind was soon changed, however, after reading so many fantastic reviews online about this book! Rather than passing it by, I thought I would pick up a copy and see if the reviews have been right! Hopefully I won't be disappointed!

Red Glove By Holly Black
Ever since I finished reading White Cat I have been dying to read the sequel!! After restraining myself for weeks whenever I drove by Chapters I finally managed to order a copy of Red Glove! I really hope this novel is as good as the first one, and I am super excited to find out what happens to Cassel next!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Before my shipment of books arrived in the mail I stopped off at the library and picked up a copy of Clockwork Angel to read, thinking that my order would not arrive for another couple of weeks. My friend Jackie from The Hardcover Harlequinn swears by this book, so I'm excited to see how good it actually is! While I'm craving to start digging into some of the other books I got this week, I think I'm going to start reading this one first since it's due back at the library next week!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables

When Marilla Cuthbert's brother, Matthew, returns home to Green Gables with a chatty redheaded orphan girl, Marilla exclaims, "But we asked for a boy. We have no use for a girl." It's not long, though, before the Cuthberts can't imagine how they could ever do without young Anne of Green Gables--but not for the original reasons they sought an orphan. Somewhere between the time Anne "confesses" to losing Marilla's amethyst pin (which she never took) in hopes of being allowed to go to a picnic, and when Anne accidentally dyes her hated carrot-red hair green, Marilla says to Matthew, "One thing's for certain, no house that Anne's in will ever be dull." And no book that she's in will be, either.

It is very rarely that I ever read a novel more than once, as there are so many interesting books out there that I feel the need to devour as many new ones as I possibly can! Anne of Green Gables, however, is one of the few exceptions for me. This was not just my second time reading this novel, but my third! Ever since I first became acquainted with Anne and her wild imagination I've wanted to be transported to her world of Avonlea (and indeed I was during a trip to PEI when I was 11)! Anne of Green Gables is one of the most heartwarming and amusing books I have ever read, and it only seems to get better the more times I read it!

I think one of the main things that has always made Anne of Green Gables so loveable to me is L.M. Montgomery's slew of charming characters. Ever since I first read this novel when I was about 10 years old I have been madly in love with Gilbert Blythe! His competition with Anne in school, and his attempts to befriend her after their first disastrous meeting (which ended with a slate being broken over his head) never fails to make me sigh in adoration.  Gilbert is not the only character to win over the hearts of readers, but also that of dear old  Mr. Cuthbert. I don't think its possible for any reader to not love shy, sweet Matthew, and I never fail to shed tears at the end of the novel as if he were my own grandfather. The character of Marilla is also one of my absolute favourites, and I especially love the way in which Anne is able to transform the stiff older woman into a soft mother-like figure throughout the novel.  From Mrs. Lynde's sharp tongue to Mrs. Allen's gentle heart, the inhabitants of Avonlea form a community that makes readers wish they belonged there as well. 

I was very hesitant to review this book at all, because I find it extremely difficult to put into words how simply amazing this novel is. As a result, I think the only thing I can really say is that if you have not read Anne of Green Gables before then you must now! It is one of the few books that I think everyone should read before they die! Not only is the original novel incredible, but also the 1985 tv movie version of the story, which is one of the few adaptations that I think is as good as the book itself! The imagination and blunders of Anne have been charming  readers since it was first published in 1908, and will certainly continue to do so for generations to come!

Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. 
Elisa is the chosen one. 
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. 

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. 

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do. 

First of all I think the cover of this book is gorgeous! Secondly, the plot sounds amazing! And thirdly, Tamara Pierce is quoted on the cover! To sum it all up I think this book looks fantastic! I will most likely be grabbing a copy from the library or my local bookstore when it is released in September!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Book Review: The Postmistress

Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.
On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.
The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.

How can I begin to express how emotionally and intellectually this novel moved me? The Postmistress was a heart wrenching tale of war, loss, humanity, and chance. Like most novels set during World War II, The Postmistress made me feel both depressed and hopeful. On the one hand I felt great pride in the bravery and initiative of the chacters, but also very dejected when confronted with the tragedy of war. The story of Frankie especially affected me, as she spent a great deal of time travelling the trains in Germany to record the voices of Jewish refugees attempting to escape to America.

Not only did the plot of The Postmistress grab me, but also the beautiful writing style of Sarah Blake. Her eloquent words swept me away and pulled at my hearstrings. I especially enjoyed how she incorporated the scripts of real radio broadcasts into her novel, which added to the historical atmosphere of the novel.

Despite this use of real scripts and events, the only thing that I didn't enjoy about The Postmistress was some of the historical inaccuracies. For example, in the acknowledgements Sarah Blake admits that her character Frankie would not have had access to a voice recorder as she is described in the novel. While these small details took away from the historical accuracy of The Postmistress, they did not subtract from the overall appeal of reading the novel.

Rating: 4 Stars

Monday, 13 June 2011

Amazing Hunger Games Parody

So I just stumbled upon the most amazing Hunger Games music video parody from Tynga at Tynga Reviews! It was made using the tune of Britney Spears "I Wanna Go." I love a good parody video and this one definitely made my day!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Book Review: Hounded

Tempe, Arizona is as far removed from paranormal activity as is possible. And that’s where Atticus O’Sullivan, rare book salesman, herb peddler, and 2,000 year old Druid the last of his kind has decided to set up shop. He’s been on the run, guarding a very powerful sword from a very angry ancient Celtic god for over two millennia now. But while these years have been good to him Atticus has become more powerful than he could have possibly imagined The Morrigan, a very old god of death, has predicted death and doom for our hero, and it’s up to Atticus, with help from a pride of werewolves, and a gorgeous bartender possessed by an Indian witch, to stay alive, hopefully for another thousand years.
I first heard about The Iron Druid Chronicles when I read someone's Waiting on Wednesday post that discussed the second book in the series. Naturally curious, I looked up the first novel on Goodreads and was immediately intrigued by the combination of  Irish myth with a paranormal plot. I was also happy to discover that on Goodreads Hounded had received a numerous amount of great reviews with an average rating of 4.27 stars out of 5.As I usually place great trust in my fellow reviewers both on Blogger and Goodreads, I decided to buy a copy of Hounded from online last week! 
When I first picked up Hounded, I expected a paranormal novel filled with magic and intricate battle scenes, especially due to the intensity of the cover. While Kevin Hearne's novel delivered just that, I soon discovered an added bonus...humour! I don't think I have ever read a paranormal novel that was so lighthearted and fun before! Despite being a 2,000 year old Druid faced with a potential death sentence, the main character, Atticus, was constantly making wisecracks and jokes that would have any reader laughing out loud! The connection between Atticus and his irish wolfhound named Oberon was especially amusing. Whenever the two of them were together it was like watching a two man comedy team! 

Although Hounded was a very amusing novel in terms of its comedy and characters, I found it a very confusing read when I first started. Not being familiar with a lot of Irish myth or folklore, I often found myself lost when Atticus referred to such people as the Tuatha De Danann or the Morrigan. While I was able to figure out some of the Irish gods and goddesses by the end of the novel, I am still confused about who the Tuatha de Danann are and resorted to Googling it this morning (they are a race of people from Irish mythology). 

Due to the really high ratings Hounded received from reviewers on Goodreads, I was also slightly disappointed by the novel. That isn't to say that Hounded was a terrible book! I really did enjoy my time spent reading it, and will probably check out the next two books in the series when they are published this month! I just don't want readers who are interested in reading this novel to have as high expectations as I did when I started it!  While the paranormal aspects fell a little short for me, the comedy redeemed Hounded and made it the lovable book that it is! 

Rating 3.5 Stars

Thursday, 9 June 2011

If I Were Stuck On A Deserted Island...

As I was sitting bored at home yesterday afternoon that age old question popped into my head: If I were stuck on a deserted island and could only bring three books with me what would they be?

Now this is probably one of the most difficult questions you could ever ask a book addict such as myself. With so many amazing authors, genres, and books in the world, it seems almost criminal to imagine a scenario in which you are only given three books to read for the rest of your life! After pondering over this question for quite some time I came up with the following three books (although I'm still not completely satisfied with my choices)....

Pride and Prejudice By Jane Austen
There is no way in hell I could survive on an island for the rest of my life without a little bit of Austen to keep me company. In reality, I would take all six of Austen's novels with me, but alas I decided to narrow it down to just one. After a long struggle between choosing to keep Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion (my two favourites), I decided to go with the former as it is the first Austen novel I ever read, and Mr. Darcy is just so dashing!

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
I read Gone With the Wind about three summers ago and it quickly became one of my favourite books! I love the tense relationship between Scarlett and Rhett with their constant bickering and making up. The bonus about this book is that it is huge! Like Dictonary huge! Sooo if I'm stranded on a desert island at least this book will take a little more time to read then some of the others I could have chosen.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games series is a new addiction of mine. I chose to bring this one so that I would have something light and fun to read. While it would be kind of disappointing not having the second and third book to complete the series, I could always use my memory to fill in the gaps of what happened next. The first book is by far my favourite anyways!

So these are the three books I would choose to bring with me if I were to be deserted on a desert island with nothing else to read! I'm sure this list will keep changing as I continue to read more and more amazing books! So what do you guys think of the books I have chosen? What books would you choose??

PS. Check out blogger Caitlin from The Cait Files! She has started a new weekly meme on Thursdays called Review Appreciation Day, which focuses on promoting book reviews by sharing them with fellow bloggers! I think its a fabulous idea! :)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: All These Things I've Done

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

In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight—at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

I recently heard about All These Things I've Done from The Story Siren's most recent In My Mailbox posting. I love the concept that author Gabrielle Zevin has created in that chocolate and coffee have become contraband (although I could never survive in such a world myself!). I'm really interested to see how this whole mafia family works out as well! I just wish my wait for this book wasn't so long as it will not be published until September 27th! 

Monday, 6 June 2011

Book Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch…

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in. But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.    
The Girl in The Steel Corset is a novel that I spent the past few months highly anticipating! Leading up to its release I read dozens of reviews online, the majority of which gave The Girl in The Steel Corset raving reviews. Needless to say, as soon as it arrived in the mail, I tore open the box and immersed myself into the life of Finley Jane and the steampunk world which Kady Cross has created!

For those unfamiliar with steampunk, it is a literary and art movement which focuses on re-imagining what Victorian England would have been like if they had been given access to various aspects of technology that we have today.As a steampunk enthusiast, there were many things that I loved about this book: the seamless amalgamation of the Victorian period with aspects of modern technology, the focus on steampunk fashion, and the slew of creative and unique characters. Indeed, despite his position as a rather shady individual, the character of Jack Dandy quickly stole my heart over everyone else!

One of my favourite things about steampunk novels, however, is there tendency to bring to life both historical and fictional characters from the Victorian period, and project them into a different scenario or plot line. The Girl in the Steel Corset was no exception to this custom, and I was happy to discover references to such people as Darwin, Jack the Ripper, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jekyll and Hyde!

In the acknowledgements to the book, Kady Cross noted that in writing The Girl in the Steel Corset, she hoped to make a cross between The League of Extraordinary Gentleman and X-men. Being familiar with both of these graphic novels I would have to say that Ms. Cross definitely succeeded! I loved the idea of a group of misfits who fight crime and are given mysterious powers through a mutation in their cell structure! I'm excited to find out in the next few novels if there are any more characters that will emerge with hidden powers!

Unfortunately, while I genuinely enjoyed The Girl in the Steel Corset, I was not without my criticisms. One of the main things that bothered me about this novel was how quickly it seemed that Griffin was able to help Finley gain control of her dual personality. It seems to me that a condition such as hers would require much more time to discover a solution then what is described in the book. I also found the novel a little predictable at times. I managed to unravel The Machinist's identity and plans within a few short chapters, which kind of took a bit of the anticipation and excitement out of the novel.I suppose that the number of good reviews I read about this book gave me very high expectations which weren't exactly met for me. Nevertheless, The Girl in the Steel Corset was a fun book to read, and I will definitely be sticking around with this series to find out what happens next!

Rating: 4 Stars

Sunday, 5 June 2011

In My Mailbox (8)

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

After having been on the waiting list at my local library for a couple of months I was excited to finally get the call that a copy of The Postmistress was waiting for me! Although I haven't really read any reviews of this book, it has been a staff pick at my local Chapters since it was first published, and I never tend to be disappointed by recommendations from people who work at bookstores! And the cover is gorgeous!!! 

After months of drooling over this book I finally broke down and ordered a copy from Chapter's website (where it was discounted...yay!). Having studied Steampunk in one of my English classes I was super excited to see how it was incorporated in this novel. I started The Girl in the Steel Corset the day it arrived in the mail and now only have about 30 pages left, so my review will probably be posted tomorrow!

In order to get free shipping for The Girl in the Steel Corset, I needed to spend a couple of more dollars online. As a result, I picked up a copy of the first novel in Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid trilogy called Hounded! I've read a couple of good reviews about this book on other blogs recently, so I'm excited to see if Hounded is as good as my fellow bloggers have claimed!

While I was at the library picking up The Postmistress, I also took a quick look in the YA section and grabbed a copy of Shannon Hale's Princess Academy. As I've said many times before on this blog...Shannon Hale is one of my favourite YA authors! I read the Princess Academy years ago but can't seem to remember the plot at all, so I'm going to take some time to hopefully re-read this one!