Monday, 30 April 2012

Book Review: The Rescue

Taylor McAden is a volunteer fireman who is always the first to plunge into danger. But there is one risk he can't bring himself to take: falling in love. Then he meets Denise Holden, a single mother who has moved to the small town of Edenton, North Carolina, to build a new life. A near fatal car crash will bring these two together, but before that can happen, Taylor must look into his past and see if it's not too late to take a chance on the future

After seeing The Lucky One in theatres last week (read my movie review here), my friend Jenn was nice enough to lend me her copy of The Rescue to keep my love of Nicholas Sparks going. Like most romance novels, The Rescue was a cute, light, and heartwarming read. Unfortunately, The Resuce didn't "wow" me anywhere near as much as The Lucky One did, which is partly the reason why this review is so brief today. While I did enjoy my time spent reading this book, there was a certain spark of magic that was missing that I can't quite put my finger on. I've spent the past few days trying to figure out what it was that stopped me from loving this novel, but I keep drawing a blank (which is so frustrating)!

One of the things that did I enjoy about The Rescue, however, was the fact that the author drew on his own life experiences to write this particular story. According to an afterword at the back of the novel, like Denise's son in the book, Nicholas Sparks' own child suffered from a severe learning disability when it came to learning how to speak. I think adding this element into the novel really made it more personal and emotional  to those reading. I was definitely floored when I found out how closely the author's experiences with his son matched those of the characters in The Rescue

Overall, The Rescue is a book that is easy to pick up and enjoy, but just as easy to put down and walk away from. It wasn't gripping or overly exciting, but I found the story heartwarming and cute. If you are looking for an easy book to pass the time reading then The Rescue is definitely for you! I would recommend picking this one up from the library though rather than buying a copy from the store. 

Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Book Review: Black Heart

How does she do it? How does Holly Black keep coming up with these amazing stories? Black Heart, the third book in the Curse Workers series, once again captured my heart. I literally read the entire book in once night just so I could find out what would happen to my beloved Cassel next. Just as I expected, Black Heart was full of the mystery, adventure, and cons that I first fell in love with in White Cat and Red Glove. Based on how well she is able to lay out Cassel's cons, I'm starting to wonder if Holly Black doesn't have a future career as a con-artist herself!

So how does Black Heart measure up to the first two books in the series? While the adventure and romance is as good as ever, I found the end a little more predictable then the other novels. With that being said, there was still a lot of things that happened that I did not see coming at all (which I won't go into specifics about in order to avoid spoilers)! 

One of the things that I LOVED about Black Heart, however, was the way that it continued to develop the character of Barron. While I've been on the fence about Barron's intentions since he first appeared in White Cat, some interesting things happen in Black Heart that help to shed light on his softer side. There were definitely a couple of moments that made me sigh and sympathize with his character. At one point, I even wanted to give Cassel a big kick to the head because of something he does to Barron, and that is coming from someone who is Cassel's #1 fan! (For those of you who have read the book, I'm talking about the part where Cassel finds something in Barron's wallet)

Now, I can't remember where I read this, but somewhere online I saw something that said Black Heart was going to be the last book in the curse workers series. Someone PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong, because I really, really do not want this to be the last book! The way Holly Black ended things left a huge hole where another book could easily be written, and I'm hoping she plans to do just that. I mean, there is no resolution whatsoever regarding Cassel's future. Are readers just supposed to accept that Cassel is going to spend a lifetime of being hunted by both the FBI and the mob to do their dirty work for them? I, for one, cannot accept that! So if you are reading this Holly Black, PLEASE write a fourth book... my sanity depends on it! 

Rating: 4.5 Stars 

Waiting On Wednesday: The Friday Society

Be your own hero . . .
An action-packed tale of gowns, guys, guns--and the heroines who use them all. Set in Edwardian London, The Friday Society follows the stories of three very intelligent and talented young women, all of whom are assistants to powerful men: Cora, lab assistant; Michiko, Japanese fight assistant; and Nellie, magician's assistant. The three young women's lives become inexorably intertwined after a chance meeting at a ball that ends with the discovery of a murdered mystery man.

It's up to these three, in their own charming but bold way, to solve the murder--and the crimes they believe may be connected to it--without calling too much attention to themselves.

Told with Adrienne Kress's sharp wit and a great deal of irreverence, this Steampunk whodunit introduces three unforgettable and very ladylike--well, relatively ladylike--heroines poised for more dangerous adventures.

My Thoughts: 
I am literally drooling over this book. It has everything that I love in it: kickass heroines, mystery, murder, and steampunk! The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress is definitely right up my alley! I'm super curious to see what direction the plot will take and how the title of the book (which I love) fits into the story. Every time I look at the cover I just want to tear it open and start reading! Unfortunately for me, The Friday Society will not be published until December 2012....which means I have a LONG time to wait! Boo! Until then I will continue to admire it from afar and pray to the book gods that I will somehow be able to get an ARC copy! A girl can dream right? So what do you guys think? Does The Friday Society sound like something you would love to get your hands on?

Monday, 23 April 2012

Book Review: This Is A Love Story

This is a love story.
Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy - that much is true.
But when Sienna meets Nick it's not the way it happens in love stories. It's because of a squirrel on water skis...
She sees Nick's dangerous brown eyes and thinks,
Who will be there to catch Siena when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious.

This was one of those books that was frustrating....but in a good way! From the very first chapter I fell for Nick and Sienna, two friends who are secretly in love with each other. Funny and caring, readers can't help but root for these two charismatic characters to wind up together happily ever after! While Sienna is a sweet, down to earth girl that everyone can't help but befriend, Nick is an outrageous jokester who never wants to grow up. An odd pair to be sure, yet they are perfect for each other in every way possible!

This is where the frustration sets in...because no matter how much they love each other, something always seems to happen to keep them apart. As the back of the book so perfectly describes, This Is A Love Story is "the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else." With this forewarning in mind, I tried to stay as neutral as possible while reading this book, terrified that these two characters that I cared so much about would wind up either dead or married to other people by the end. 

Without giving away any spoilers, I will tell you this much, the ending was surprisingly good! While it was slightly unexpected, I found myself letting out a big sigh of relief and satisfaction that I had been holding onto the entire time I was reading. Overall, the story of Nick and Sienna's friendship was super funny, cute, and left me with a big smile on my face at the end! After witnessing their ups and downs, it was nice to see how their lives turned out over the five years that this book takes place. In many ways, I feel like they had become friends of my own! 

On a more personal note, I think one of the reasons I connected so well to this book was that parts of it somewhat mirrored my own life. My boyfriend and I have been together for three and a half years now, but before we started dating we became best friends. Due to a series of mishaps and  misunderstandings, however, we were like Sienna and Nick for a while, and almost didn't end up dating! Long story short, we eventually figured everything out and have been happy every since! 

Putting all of this mushy stuff aside, you are probably wondering whether or not I would recommend this book. My verdict: Definitely! It was a really cute, light, and fun read that I think most fans of romance and chick lit will enjoy. Make sure to add this one to your to-read list for the summer! This Is A Love Story has already been published in the UK, but it will be hitting North American shelves on May 1st! 

Rating: 4 Stars

Sunday, 22 April 2012

In My Mailbox: April 22nd, 2012

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. I kept this week's video short and sweet :) If you are looking for more detailed descriptions of the books then click the links below to see them on Goodreads!

This Is A Love Story by Jessica Thompson
The Book of Madness and Cures by Regina O'Melveny
Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
Black Heart by Holly Black
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Movie Review: The Lucky One

I've literally just gotten home from an afternoon showing of The Lucky One with my friends, and I have so many thoughts and feelings running through my head that I figured the best thing to do would be to sit at my computer and type up this review. Before I begin critiquing the actual film, it is probably good for you to know how much I LOVED the original story written by Nicholas Sparks. The novel was well written, heart wrenching, and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading! Not only that, but the ending was so surprising at the time that I almost had a mini heart attack!

Now, when I went in to watch the movie today, I realized that the film might not be as exciting for me as most of the viewers since I was already familiar with the general flow of the plot. Trying to keep as unbiased as possible, I sat back and took in the stunning views of Zac Efron on the big screen. As the movie progressed, however, I started to feel a twinge of annoyance. Parts of the plot had been changed, important scenes for character development removed, and the editing seemed a bit sloppy. In order to best display my grievances with this movie, its probably best to start a list.

1. The Casting: For the most part, the casting choices for this movie were pretty good! Zac Efron as Thibault, Blythe Danner as Ellie, and Jay R. Ferguson as Clayton were spot on! They each did a FABULOUS job of bringing their fictional characters to life on the big screen! The hatred that I felt for Clayton in the book was brought to the surface all over again, and of course, who doesn't love spending time watching Zac Efron be all heroic? Where the casting director failed, however, was in its choice for Beth. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop thinking about how Taylor Schilling looked too old to be dating Thibault's character! They really should have picked an actresses that looked closer to being his age for the role.

2. The Changes To The Story: I'd like to think that I'm usually pretty fair when I go to see movie adaptations of my favourite books. Due to time constrictions, I realize that directors often have to cut out scenes in order for them to tell the whole story in a two hour time frame. While there were a couple of scenes from the book that were cut from the movie, that wasn't really what bugged me. What annoyed me was the random parts that were added to the movie! I wish I could provide you with some examples, but doing so would ruin a somewhat surprising part at the end of the movie. Let's just say that although I can see how the addition of this scene helps to round out the story for viewers, I wish that this time had been spent on other important scenes that were actually in the book (or you know...more scenes with Zac Efron in them).

3. The Way The Film Was Edited: Maybe it's just me, but it seems like whoever edited this movie didn't know what they were doing. The amount of jumping around that happened made me feel  like I was flipping tv channels rather than watching an actual movie. One minute Beth is at a rose stand with her grandmother and 10 seconds later she's back at home and then 25 seconds later she's reading her son a bedtime story! This constant jumping really disrupted the general flow of the movie and made it a lot more choppy to watch. If the director really thought that some of these scenes were necessary he could have at least extended them a bit, or taken them out of the movie altogether! (Unless Zac Efron is in them of course!)

Despite all of my criticism, the movie version of The Lucky One was still pretty good. It's not something that I would rave about or buy the DVD of, but it was a nice afternoon to spend with my friends. I think that people who haven't read the book will enjoy it much more than those who are already familiar with the story. My final word of advice, however, is that you READ THE BOOK, and pass up on seeing the movie until its played every Saturday night on the television like The Notebook.

Rating: 3/5 Stars
(PS. My friend Jenn made the comment that more shirtless scenes with Zac Efron would totally have bumped this movie up a star lmao!) (And no, I am not as obsessed and crazy about Zac Efron as this review probably makes me appear)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Jay Asher, Lesley Livingston, and Charles DeLint Book Signing!

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Jackie (@Book_Obsession) and I made the journey over to Toronto for the Razorbill book signing at Indigo! After a long drive (filled with my screechy singing) and some retail therapy, we rushed over to the signing to grab some seats about an hour and a half before the authors were to arrive. Good thing we left early, because we managed to grab the only two seats left at the back! Everyone else who showed up after us was unfortunately left to stand at the very back in a long line.

Jackie and I waiting for the authors to arrive!
You could feel the excitement in the air when the authors finally arrived! Jay, Lesley, and Charles each took turns discussing their books before turning the microphone over to the audience for a Q&A session. Through some of these questions, the audience learned about how Jay came to team up with Selena Gomez for the upcoming film adaptation of his book Thirteen Reasons Why, Lesley's desire to have Pat Sajak's baby, and Charles' thoughts on the difference between writing for adults and teens.

Jay Asher, Lesley Livingston, and Charles DeLint!
To say that these three were hilarious would be an understatement! You could definitely tell that they have grown close over the past few days that they have spent touring together! The amount of teasing and jokes only grew throughout the night! One of my favourite questions from the audience was, "If you three were to co-author a book together, what would it be about?" Without hesitation, Lesley yelled out "MONKEYS," followed by Jay and Charles' addition of "Pat Sajak's monkeys!" See what I mean? Hilarious!

Jay Asher and me! 
As the Q&A wrapped up everyone happily lined up for a chance to get their books signed. I had brought with me Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston, Under My Skin by Charles DeLint, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. All of the authors were super sweet and nice when Jackie and I talked to them while getting our books signed. Jay even let me get a picture with him while I was waiting in line for Lesley!

Jackie talking to Lesley and Charles 
Overall it was a pretty fabulous night! I even got to meet Adrienne Kress on my way out, author of the upcoming book The Friday Society! I've been drooling over that book since I first saw the cover and read the description on Goodreads! This is the first book signing that I've been able to attend this year so far, but I'm hoping it won't be the last!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Book Review: Shadow Kiss

I've said it once, now I'll say it again...if you haven't already started reading The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead then you need to pick it up right now! I'll admit, despite the many recommendations from my friends to read these books I too kicked my feet around in protest for a couple of months before I begrudgingly picked up the first book, but boy am I glad that I did! Despite typically HATING vampire novels since the whole Twilight phenomenon, I fell in LOVE with Vampire Academy!

Shadow Kiss, the third novel in the series, picks up right where the awesomeness of Frostbite left off. Since Mason's death, Rose has been having weird visions of his ghost on campus, hinting at something dark to come. Without giving away any spoilers, I'll tell you this much, Shadow Kiss really played with my emotions! I was left gaping with my mouth wide open at the end, struggling with feelings of sadness and anger. If anything, I think this might actually be my favourite book in the series so far, strictly because of how emotionally involved I became in the plot.

I think part of my emotional involvement in this book is also a result of the amazing characters that Mead has created. I think it would be really difficult for any reader not to fall in love with Rose, Dimitri, Lissa, Christian, or Adrian! I couldn't help but become sucked into their daily drama and want to know what would happen to them next. Actually...on second thought... Lissa's dependence on Rose somewhat annoys me at times, but her sweet nature usually wins be back over after she's done being selfish. Overall though, Mead's characters are pretty unique and kickass!

The only minor problem that I had with Shadow Kiss was that parts of the plot were a little bit predictable. I was able to guess pretty early on what Mason was trying to warn Rose about, and just wanted to hit her head against a wall until she would understand too! That being said, there was also a HUGE twist at the end that I NEVER saw coming! I wanted to tear open the next book right away to find out what happens next, but unfortunately for me I left it at my student house.

So, if I have yet to convince you to pick up the Vampire Academy series from the three reviews I've posted so far, then I have failed as a blogger! In my defence though, it really is hard to put into words how gripping and addicting these books are! I have yet to meet someone who has read this series and not become a full blown Vampire Academy groupie, so definitely give these books a chance!

Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Stormdancer

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, land choked with toxic pollution, wildlife ravaged by mass extinctions.

The hunters of Shima's imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary beast, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows thunder tigers have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a hidden gift that would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Is it just me or does the synopsis of Stormdancer sound somewhat like a mixture of Naruto meets Kung Fu Panda? What do you guys think? Maybe I'm crazy! Anyways, Stormdancer has definitely captured my interest! I love the idea of the thunder tiger, and I'm really curious to find out more about the Lotus Guild and Yukiko's hidden gift. I also thought that the cover was gorgeous (surprise, surprise lol)! I've officially fallen in love with the type font that they used for the title of the book! Stormdancer will be hitting store shelves September 1st, 2012!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Book Review: The Traitor's Wife

Martha Allen, a young woman reviled by her family because of her refusal to marry, is packed off to be a servant in her cousin's home. She takes charge of the neglected household and annoys everyone around her - including a mysterious Welshman who works for the family, a man whose forceful nature matches her own.  As Martha comes to know him, she falls in love - and the two begin a courtship that suits their independent natures. But in the rugged new world they inhabit, danger is ever present, whether from the London assassins out for bounty, or the wolves - in many forms - who hunt for blood. 

When I first read the description of Kathleen Kent's novel The Traitor's Wife (originally published as The Wolves of Andover), I was really excited to start reading it. In my opinion, the synopsis made it sound like a really cool historical novel packed with mystery! While the basic storyline of The Traitor's Wife was good, I was disappointed, however, to find that it wasn't as  mysterious or gripping as I had hoped. Due to my unfamiliarity with King Charles and the political strife surrounding his reign, I also sometimes found the historical aspects of the novel a bit difficult to follow. On a few occasions I even turned to Google in order to clarify some of the background history surrounding the story. 

I also wasn't a big fan of the amount of time split between Martha's story and that of the London assassins. While I could see why the viewpoint of the assassins was important, I found that their part in the plot dragged on for longer then was necessary. Every other chapter was dedicated to the assassins' journey, and all I really wanted to read about was Martha. The chapters focusing on Martha's story were captivating and I constantly found myself wanting to know more about her and Thomas. 

On a more positive note, I found it fascinating that the story of Martha Carrier was actually based on the author's own ancestor! Kathleen Kent previously published another book, called The Heretic's Daughter, which focuses on Martha later in life when she is charged with witchcraft in Salem. Ironically enough I actually own a copy of The Heretic's Daughter, which I picked up from a used book sale but haven't read yet! I'm glad that I ended up reading The Traitor's Wife first now that I know it acts as a prequel to Martha's story! 

Overall, while I wasn't blown away by The Traitor's Wife, it was still a pretty fascinating story. It certainly peaked my interest about King Charles and Cromwell! Despite the fact that I was somewhat disappointed by this book, I'm definitely going to make sure that I find the time to read the rest of Martha's story in The Heretic's Daughter. After becoming somewhat attached to her in The Traitor's Wife, I want to find out how she ends up being charged and killed for witchcraft during the Salem trials! I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, and  those with a particular interest in the English Civil War, as they will probably find the storyline regarding Thomas Carrier particularly interesting! 

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Book Review: 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.

Talk about a wild ride! When I first picked up Touch by Jus Accardo I had no idea what to expect. While I've heard great things about it from other bloggers, I definitely did not anticipate Touch to be as action packed and kick ass as it was! Fans of X-Men will devour this novel, which focuses on a group of teens who each have unique powers due to a mutation in their sixth chromosome. Sure, the concept of kids with super powers isn't new or groundbreaking, but Accardo throws in enough twists and turns to keep readers hanging onto her every word! 

Not only did Jus Accardo create a kickass novel, but also a pretty unique cast of characters. I loved the fact that the main female protagonist, Deznee, was the kind of girl who wouldn't take (pardon the language) sh*t from anyone. It's very rare that I come across a strong female character like Deznee, so it was certainly a nice surprise! The character of Kale was also pretty....different. At first I found his awkward personality a bit off-putting, but as the story progressed his child like innocence really grew on me! I suppose anyone experiencing freedom for the first time is bound to be a bit awkward.

The only real problem that I had with Touch was that it started out a bit too slow for me. After reading TONS of 5 star reviews for it, I expected the book to capture my attention from page one. While Touch eventually did become extremely gripping and entertaining, I didn't really feel the magic until about the fifth or sixth chapter. Despite the slow start, Touch is definitely a great book to read when you are in the mood for a bit of adventure! I'll certainly be reading the next book in the series, Toxic, when it hits stores in September. I just have to find out what will happen to Deznee, Kale, and the other Sixes next! 

When it came to picking a rating for Touch I really struggled! My first instinct was to give it a 5 star rating, but I think that was only my reaction because I haven't really read any YA that I have enjoyed quite as much as this one lately. So while I have personally given this book a 5 star rating, I think many of my close friends would probably rate it as a 4. 

Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Book Review: The Virgin Cure

If you were to ask my friends and family to name one of my all time favourite books, I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to say "The Birth House" while rolling their eyes sarcastically. That's because ever since I finished Ami McKay's amazing debut novel a couple of years back I have been recommending it to every person I meet...yes...even the little old lady in the grocery store. You can probably imagine how excited I was then when I found out that Ami had published a new book called The Virgin Cure! In The Virgin Cure, McKay focuses on a young girl named Moth growing up during the Victorian era, who decides to join a brothel when her parents abandon her at the age of twelve.

Although I received The Virgin Cure this past Christmas from my brother (smart boy), I let it sit on the shelf for the past 4 months, frightened that it wouldn't live up to my high expectations. Once I worked up the courage to start reading it, however, my worries disappeared as I was swept away by Moth's touching (and sometimes disturbing) narration. While The Virgin Cure still wasn't quite as good as The Birth House, I was happy to discover by the end of the book that I wasn't disappointed.

One of the things that I loved most about The Virgin Cure was the topic that the novel focused on. This may sound extremely weird, but I've always been fascinated by the dark, seedy side of life during the Victorian period, like opium addiction, brothels, ect. Ami McKay definitely did a FABULOUS job depicting what it would have been like for a young girl to work in a brothel (although I'm sure in reality it would have been a lot more horrible then what the reader actually gets shown). It's pretty obvious that McKay did her homework when it came to providing historical details throughout the novel!

Speaking of historical details, one of the other things that I LOVED about The Virgin Cure was the pieces of commentary included in the margins of the book. In these commentaries the reader is given greater insight into everything from the clothes that women would have worn, to details about the medical equipment used by doctors during that time period. Reading these little snippets made me want to rush to my computer constantly to learn more about how people lived in the Victorian era!

So would I recommend The Virgin Cure? Definitely, yes! While it may not receive as much acclaim from me as The Birth House did, I still loved it and can't wait to see what this amazing author comes up with next. A word of warning to those who are a bit sensitive about topics like rape and prostitution though, as you may find a couple of scenes in the book a little uncomfortable. Ami McKay certainly knows how to make her readers squirm, but in the end the story is really powerful!

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries...

Gah! I'm so sorry that I've gone MIA over the past 5 days! I went home for Easter weekend on Thursday...only to discover that I had forgotten my laptop at my student house...Epic fail! So much for getting a lot of blogging done over the weekend! Now that I'm all finished my assignments for school though, I'm hoping to get caught up on my book reviews too! Over the past two weeks I've finished The Virgin Cure, Touch, City of Ashes, and The Traitor's Wife, and I have yet to post a review about any of them! Definitely by tomorrow I should at least have my review for The Virgin Cure up on the blog! Until then, sit back, relax, and enjoy this AMAZING youtube video that any Austen fan should fall in love with!

The Lizze Bennet Diaries is basically a youtube channel that is dedicated to providing a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice! Sweet right!? And for those of you out there who are nerdfighters, you'll be happy to know that it is being executively produced by Hank Green! Yay Hank! (For those of you who don't know who Hank Green is...he is author John Green's brother) Being the Austen lover that I am the first instalment definitely made me chuckle! What do you guys think? PS. Shout out to my friend Sabina! Thanks for showing me this video!!!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Book Review: Immortal City

Jackson Godspeed is the hottest young Angel in a city filled with them. He's days away from becoming a full Guardian, and people around the world are already competing for the chance to be watched over by him. Everyone's obsessed with the Angels and the lucky people they protect--everyone except for Madison Montgomery. 

Maddy's the one girl in Angel City who doesn't breathlessly follow the Angels on TV and gossip blogs. When she meets Jackson, she doesn't recognize him. But Jackson is instantly captivated by her, and against all odds the two fall in love. 

Maddy is swiftly caught up in Jackson's scene, a world of glamour, paparazzi - and murder. A serial killer is on the loose, leaving dead Angels' wings for the police to find on the Walk of Fame. Even the Guardians are powerless to protect themselves in the face of this threat … and this time it's up to Maddy to save Jackson.

When I first heard about Immortal City by Scott Speer, I was really intrigued, but hesitant. While I thought the concept of a world in which Guardian Angels are treated like celebrities was really cool, I wasn't sure that the author would be able to pull it off very well. For those of you who don't know, Scott Speer is actually a movie and music video director, and has worked with artists like Will.I.Am and Jordin Sparks. Although I could imagine Speer's experience in Hollywood  helping him to pull off the whole celebrity side of the story, I couldn't help but assume his writing skills would be terrible. But boy was I wrong! Not only does Speer write in a wonderfully flowing manner, but he manages to do so while weaving together a pretty good love story! 

That isn't to say that the romance in Immortal City blew me away, but it was definitely a nice piece of fluff to curl up with after a stressful day of school! I managed to tear through the entire book in about two nights, curious to find out who was murdering the Angels, and what would happen to Maddy. The ending actually managed to catch me a bit off guard, which doesn't happen very often! While I was able to figure out who the murderer was a few chapters before it was revealed, there was a tiny twist at the end which really caught my attention! Without giving away any spoilers I will say this much, I will definitely be checking out the next book in this series! 

There was only one thing that really bugged me about this book, and it was the way that it portrayed the angels. This was the first angel book that I have ever read, so when I first started reading it I found it hard to imagine Guardian Angels being self-centred enough to sell their ability to save humans to the highest bidder. I guess that's the old Catholic girl side coming out in me haha! Once I was able to put my skepticism aside, however, I really did enjoy the novel! 

Overall, Immortal City is definitely a novel to check out if you are looking for something nice, light, and fun to read! While this is only the first angel book that I've read, I'm sure all of those hardcore YA angel fans out there will devour this one in an instant! The story is unique, and Scott Speer does a good job of creating a pretty imaginative world! Considering his work as a director, I wonder if he plans on turning his novel into a movie? I guess only time will tell! 

Rating: 4 Stars

Sunday, 1 April 2012

One Year Of Blogging: A Reflection

I'm sitting at my computer right now in complete and utter shock. I may have started this blog over a year ago, but I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined how much I would learn and grow just by blogging about books. When I started Browsing Bookshelves back in April 2011, I took it up as a challenge to myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could start something and actually keep it going for longer than a month. In the first post I ever wrote I listed four goals that I wanted to accomplish after a year of blogging: write at least two posts a week, review around 50 books, meet some of my favourite authors, and blog about the things I love.

Not only have I met these goal today, but in my mind I've surpassed them! Since April 1st 2011 I have reviewed 73 books on my blog and averaged about three posts a week. I also had the amazing opportunity to meet incredible authors like Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver, and Tony Kushner! One of the things that I'm still in shock about, however, is the 186 GFC and 111 Facebook page followers I've received over the past year. I know these numbers are nothing compared to some of the other super popular blogs that are out there, but considering the fact that I figured I would never get more then 5 of my friends reading my blog I'm blown away by the following I've received! Every comment, follow, and referral has meant the world to me, and I can't thank every one enough for showing so much love and support!

Now for those of you who have just started blogging, or are thinking about starting a blog of their own, here are some of the things I've learned from the past year.

1. Blog About What You Love: There have been times where I've been tired and just wanted to give up and stop blogging altogether. My LOVE and OBSESSION with books, however, is the one thing that prevented this from happening, as I would get so excited about what I was reading that I wanted to share it with everyone online!

2. Don't Be Afraid To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I'm pretty shy at times and hesitant. When I first started blogging I was terrified to tweet my favourite authors or email publishing companies. As scary as that was for me, I realized that the majority of authors out there typically love hearing from their fans, and that most publishing companies really rely on the reviews of bloggers to promote their books! So don't be shy! Get involved in everything that blogging has to offer!

3. Be Social: Finally, one of the greatest things about blogging, is all of the great people you can meet who share your interests! Many of my friends from high school have enjoyed reading, but never to the full blown obsession that I possess. Following other book bloggers and getting to talk to them has been an awesome way to connect with other people who share my love of reading!

Soo this post turned out to be longer and more winded than I meant it to be. And there is so much more that I want to say, but to save you all from boredom I think I'll stop things here. I'll just finish by setting some new goals for myself for the upcoming year: to continue posting at least 3 times a week, to expand my network of blogger friends and publishers, to meet more great authors (and perhaps even interview them for my blog), and to continue to blog about what I love!

And now...for those of you waiting to find out who won my one year anniversary giveaway...drumroll please! Its Ikhlas from The Whimsical Whims of Ikhlas Hussain! Thanks so much everyone for entering!