Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie Monday - Raging Lady Wood

The Dilemma

Written by: Allan Loeb

Directed by: Ron Howard

Released: January 14, 2011 by Universal Pictures

Rating: PG-13

Summary: A man finds out that what you don't say to a friend is just as important as what you do is this story of how far you can bend a brotherly bond before it snaps. Since college, confirmed bachelor Ronny (Vaughn) and happily married Nick (James) have been through thick and thin. Now partners in an auto design firm, the two pals are vying to land a dream project that would launch their company. Ronny's girlfriend, Beth (Connelly), and Nick's wife, Geneva (Ryder), are by their sides. But Ronny's world is turned upside down when he inadvertently sees Geneva out with another man and makes it his mission to get answers. As the amateur investigation dissolves into mayhem, he learns that Nick has a few secrets of his own. Now, with the clock ticking and pressure mounting on the biggest presentation of their careers, Ronny must decide what will happen if he reveals the truth to his best friend.

The best parts of this movie are the scenes with Queen Latifah and Channing Tatum; they almost made me wet myself while in the theatre and my cheeks hurt well after the movie was over. Sure, Vaughn and James were funny, but at times it seemed as though they were trying too hard with the comedy.

There was really nothing special about this movie. It had a good ensemble cast and it has its comedic moments, but I wouldn’t have missed out on anything if I hadn’t of gone to see it. To be honest, it wasn’t even the first choice movie, but it was playing at the right time and neither my friend nor I had seen it. And while I don’t regret watching it, it’s definitely a movie that I should have rented and not spent that much money on.

Overall, it would be a good date night movie for a first date but maybe wait until it’s on DVD. I give it a 6/10.

Oh, and the post title would make sense if/when you've seen the movie. It's part of Queen Latifah's lines and it made me laugh so hard.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (38)

I was so good this week and I only bought one book... which was an impulse buy since I’m a sucker for fairy tales. Plus, it was 30% off and I really couldn’t resist then.

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright based upon the screenplay by David Leslie Johnson

Now, this is the first novel for this author, but it’s based on a movie script... so is this considered a 2011 debut? Can someone clear this up for me, please?

Well, this is what I got in my mailbox this week. Leave a comment and let me know what you got in yours.

Disclaimer: IMM credit goes to The Story Siren and her genius.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Second Queen of Pipes

Outside In

Written by: Maria V. Snyder

Released: February 15, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Summary: Me? A Leader? Okay, I did prove that there's more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion - between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we're free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again - while still touching base with Riley, of course. He's the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there's outside and then there is Outside. And something from Outside wants In.

I’m sad that this set of books is now over. I loved Trella and her escapades. Really, this was the type of book that could have continued on for a few more novels, but it’s refreshing to see a book stop before it gets stale.

It took me a while to get into reading this, though I’ve been lusting over it for months. I think that Harry was rearing his ugly scar-head and having his horrible way with my reading. However, once I got about ¼ of the way in, I couldn’t put the book down (figuratively) until the gritty end. There was so much that went on with this story and it was non-stop action until the last page.

Trella surprised me with this book. After reading the first and having her be so strong and independent, it seemed as though she took a bit of a back-seat at the beginning of this one. But, I could see where that played into the plot, and as things progressed I could see the old Trella peeking through until she was back in full force.

I loved the romance between Trella and Riley. Its progression was realistic despite the science fiction setting and with its ups and downs it leads the reading on an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. But more than the romance, which was knee-melting, was the mystery. This is a classic who-done-it with the side of ‘who to trust’. I was kept guessing until well into the plot and even until the very end I didn’t know who could be trusted. In short, it was all great.

There was mystery, action, adventure, romance, and space travel. If you haven’t had the chance to yet read Inside Out, it’s just as amazing. I give this a 9/10 and I'm definitely going to be buying my own hard copy in a few weeks!

I want to thank netGalley and Harlequin for making it possible for me to read this before its release. I am ever so thankful since I’ve wanted to read this ever since I read Inside Out in August.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Heartless Cover

Heartless is already available for pre-order on Amazon (and most likely The Book Depository), and there’s also a cover and a summary available!

Summary: Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

Doesn’t it sound amazing? I can’t wait until its release date in July of this year. The zombie porcupines alone are going to be well worth the read!

Sorry that the cover is so small - it's the only resolution that's available. But isn't it pretty? I love the purple.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Thirty-Six

Today’s wish list entry is a two-parter which sadly I’ll have to wait quite a while for.

A couple of weeks ago, Skins series 4 was released on DVD in Canada – a fact which had me chirp in joy when I spotted it at Wal-Mart last Friday. Sure, I had streamed the episodes last year in order to watch them, but it wasn’t the same as having a hard copy; nor was it as convenient.

Of course, it’s just my luck that series 5 starts tomorrow in the UK and it will take forever to reach the eastern shores of here, so as much as it pains me, I’m going to have to be patient on seeing the new generation. I’m especially curious because this new series has the actress from The Golden Compass and The Secret of Moonacre – both movies which are based on YA books.

And sadly I’m going to have to wait even longer to potentially find out about the lovely ending of series 4 until the movie comes out... and it’s only just not in pre-production.

The only potential non-wait is the novelization of the time between series 3 and 4 which was released earlier this month by Hodder Children’s Books.

Summary: This novel follows the 8 protagonists of series 3 and the forthcoming series 4 over the course of the college summer break. Brand new storylines, that do not and will not feature in the series, or the upcoming film in 2010. Effy, Freddie, JJ, Cook, Naomi, Pandora, Thomas and Katie are all dealing with the aftermath of the events at the end of series 3. Effy has fled to Italy with her mum, where she tries to put her feelings for Freddie, and the guilt she feels for stealing him from Katie out of her mind. The perfect distraction come in the form of sophisticated older man, Aldo...Naomi and Emily are struggling with spending time apart when Em goes to France with her parents and battles with her stubborn twin sister, Katie, Back in Bristol, Naomi pines for Emily while wondering about her future education, Thomas and Pandora are sweetly in love, and finding it difficult to consummate their feelings for each other. Freddy and Cook are engaged in a vigorous game of sexual one-upmanship with a frustrated JJ as referee...By the end of the summer, the gang will have resolved some issues and brought up some more, but always in the raw, uncompromising, contradictory and authentic narrative style that makes the series so popular and compelling. Language and sexual references are graphic

So basically my wish for this week is more Skins. Seriously, if you’re not easily offended and you haven’t been poisoned by the horrendous attempt of an MTV American version (I heard it’s really bad, but I do want to see for myself), check this show out. I’ve been watching it from the beginning thanks to a friend of a friend from university and it’s my favourite show out there.

Books Now Publicized on Television?

I was just watching last night’s episode of Gossip Girl (my mum recorded it for me) and a commercial caught my eye; one promoting the novel Vixen by Jillian Larkin. I actually had to pause and rewind to watch the commercial from the beginning. Let me tell you, it’s gorgeous. I’m still undecided on reading the book, but this television spot has left me incredibly intrigued.


Released: December 13, 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary: Jazz... Booze... Boys... It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun... or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden...

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry...

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties... when anything goes.

I tried to find a version online of the commercial to share, but it’s incredibly difficult to do that with dial-up. Still, I think that’s the first time that I’ve ever seen a book promoted on TV. Personally, I think that it’s an interesting idea and would be a great way to get them out there.

If you want to check out the book for yourself, there’s an Amazon LOOK INSIDE where you can read the first bit of the book. It's also now available at a bookstore near you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Read Chapter One of New Sarah Dessen

As bad as it sounds, I've never read any of Sarah Dessen's books. A travesty, I know, especially as a blogger, but for some reason I've just never picked up anything of hers and kept it in my hand. I think that I'll have to change that soon.

That being said, her new novel, which is due out this spring, has the first chapter posted online here. I've read it and I have to say that I'm incredibly intrigued.

What Happened to Goodbye

Released: May 10, 2011 by Penguin Young Readers Group
Summary: Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean's become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean's ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?

Doesn't it sound like it's going to be a great read? Plus, I've heard plenty of amazing things about Dessen's books, so I highly doubt that this one will be different in terms of quality reading.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Movie Monday - Timing is Everything

Country Strong

Written by: Shana Feste

Directed by: Shana Feste

Released: December 22, 2010 by Screen Gems

Rated: PG-13

Summary: A drama centered on a rising country-music songwriter who sparks with a fallen star. Together, they mount his ascent and her comeback, which leads to romantic complications involving her husband/manager and a beauty queen-turned-singer.

I really dislike country music. I think that it’s twangy and whiney and really, who wants to sing along to how a tractor is sexy? Unfortunately, I’ve spent almost my entire life in small-town Canada where country reigns and the local band that gets featured on CMT is front page news. But I’ve learned to somewhat live with it (I never listen to it unless forced), and I actually wanted to see this movie. Lucky for me, so did my mum, so we went together.

I was pleasantly supposed that I really enjoyed this movie, even the music. I’m not about to go out and buy the soundtrack, but the songs were beautiful and hearing Garrett Hedlund sing in a low smoky voice is enough to give a girl chills. Actually, everyone’s singing was great and I find it a little funny that the only actual country singer in the movie – Tim McGraw – didn’t even hum a note.

I was surprised that this movie was really centered on the addictions of Paltrow’s character. I guess that after seeing the trailer I assumed that it dealt more with overcoming her stint in rehab more than anything. And I wasn’t expecting some of the romantic relationships that there were, but it all made for a good movie.

The ending of the movie was foreshadowed in the scenes before but it didn’t take away from the emotion of the final scenes. I’m not saying whether it was a happy or sad ending but be prepared to cry if you’re an emotional person. I’m not a crier and even I was tearing up a little.

This was a great mother-daughter movie to see and I’m happy that I saw it. Still, I’m not sure that I would want to pay full price for it (I didn’t – it was cheap day), but it’s a great movie with a stellar cast and fantastic music. I give it a 7/10.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (37)

Go me! This week I staved off the addiction and I didn’t buy any books! The book ban was strong and definitely alive this week. But, thanks to netGalley, my appetite was sated because they have allowed me to read some amazing books.

And so, this week in my mailbox, I got;

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
One of the most sought-after books set for 2011 release? Yes, please and thank you!

Angelfire by Courtney Alison Moulton
2011 debut that I’ve heard great things about. I can’t wait to read it.

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
Another 2011 debut. This one sounds great.

Trickster’s Girl by Hilari Bell
I haven’t heard a lot about this one, but I’m looking forward to reading it.

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Same as above, but the summary intrigued me.

Feed by Mira Grant
I have looked all over the place for a hard copy of this book and I was so incredibly excited when I saw this on netGalley. Honestly, I squeed as I hit request and crossed my fingers.

So this is what was in my mailbox. Leave me a line and let me know what you got!

Disclaimer: IMM credit to The Story Siren.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Of TBRs and Book Bans

Sitting where I am, I can see a lot of my books – most of which are on my TBR – and I can’t help but think that the dreaded TBR is a huge side-effect of being a book blogger. At this very moment, I have 138 books on my TBR and every week there seem to be some additions. Hence the reason (at least one reason) for my book ban.

Which brings me to this question; does book bogging result in the explosion of TBRs or do we blog in an attempt to diminish that list? Let me know what you think!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fairy Heavy Metal 3

The Iron Queen

Written by: Julie Kagawa

Released: February 1, 2011 by Harlequin Teen

Summary: My name is Meghan Chase.

I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

Holy crap, wtf? What an ending to an amazing trilogy – which it is in my mind since The Iron Knight is all Ash’s perspective, which I consider to be an off-shot rather than a direct continuation – which had me in disbelief and crying. In short, I loved it. It wasn’t an ending that will make a lot of people happy, but it was a fantabulous ending (for now-ish) and was just perfect in my mind.

But this review is getting ahead of itself, so let’s backtrack.

It took me way too long to read The Iron King even after it was secured on my bookshelf and still a while longer to read The Iron Daughter, but the fact that I did wait and was able to secure an amazing e-book via netGalley (a million thanks to all who made that possible) for The Iron Queen, it made for a more fresh story in my mind and I wasn’t lacking on the previous details which would have faded from about a year of waiting. So go me in my procrastination station and let’s just rejoice that it didn’t take forever for me to read the third book... though now I have to wait for the next. I’m seeing a flaw in my plan...

Anyways, this was by far the nest instalment yet. Where the first set up the chain of events and the second was the rising action, this book was by far the climax of the three and was steeped in action, love, and adventure. I was at the edge of my hypothetical seat as I was reading this while on my bed and sprawled out comfortably, and though it took me a day or two to finish reading it (I had to sleep in order to work... damn the man) the last 150 pages are ones that you’re not going to be able to tear yourself away from. I know that I couldn’t.

Megan just keeps growing as a character as the books continue. Where she could be whiny and slightly annoying in the first book, by this one she was strong and taking control of the situation. And then there’s Ash. I am leaning slightly more towards Team Ash with this book and I have a feeling that it will escalate with the next book. But don’t worry, I’m not forgetting about Puck. He’s the perfect best friend for Meghan (and Ash) and I can’t wait to read more about him.

Being the best of the series, I’m giving this novel a 10/10. If you haven’t read the series yet, what are you waiting for? And if you’re waiting for this one, at least it’s not that much more that you have to wait!

ps: Another gorgeous cover!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lightning Strikes

This Girl is Different

Written by: JJ Johnson

Released: April 2, 2011 by Peachtree Publishers

Summary: This girl is different… That’s what Evie has always told herself—and it’s true. Home-schooled by her counter culture mom, she’s decided to see what high school is like for the first time—for her senior year. And what a year it is.

As it turns out, it’s not just Evie who’s Different. Lots of people are. Many of her assumptions about others are turned on their heads as she makes friends with kids her own age for the first time, discovers what’s good and what’s bad about high school, and learns lessons about power and its abuse—both by the administration and by Evie herself.

I’m not sure what to think of this book. I liked it, but it also took me a while to get to that point. Somewhere about a quarter in I contemplated chalking this one up to a no-go and leaving it at that; but it’s a 2011 debut and I hate leaving a book unfinished. I felt really bad, too, that it was very generously given to me through netGalley and I was considering not finishing it. So, I stuck with it and pretty soon I was fairly enamoured.

The beginning and surface content of this book was fun; a homeschooled girl experiences the institution known as high school for the first time in her life for her senior year. Throw in that she lives a relatively “hippie” lifestyle with a free-spirit mother and you’re sure to have some chaos ensue. What I wasn’t expecting was just how much trouble would be stirred up. Add the cherry of the fragility of new friendships, shake, and there you have it.

Evie was a strong character, I’ll give you that. And she was different to read, too, since a lot of the really strong female characters (at least I find) are set in more dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy settings and not near as many situated in more realistic settings. I liked her friends too, though Jacinda irked me a little, but both her and Rajas (what is the pronunciation on that anyways?)were well crafted in my eyes.

I loved the idea of the PLUTOs in theory, but seeing how it affected the entirety of the story I think that it would be a Pandora’s Box that I wouldn’t want to open. I don’t want to ruin the story, but think of it as if Gossip Girl took the low, low road and then multiply it by 1,000,000. Let’s just say that the results were well-meaning at first but quickly turned sour.

If you want a ‘damn the man’ type book with slight feminist tendencies that’s written realistically I would highly recommend that you give this book a chance. For me, it was a 6/10 and a great 2011 debut. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Borderline Personality

Girl, Interrupted

Written by: Susanna Kaysen

Released: January 1, 1993 by Random House

Summary: In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele--Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles--as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary. Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

I was incredibly lucky to find a brand new copy of this novel at a used book store for only a few dollars. I’ve wanted to read it ever since I found out that the movie was based on this memoir. Let me tell you, I’m pretty sure that this novel cemented my belief that I’m rather sane.

But let me expand on that.

While reading this novel there were several parts that I found hard to follow. Those parts just seemed jumbled – as was the chronology for a lot of the book – and I had to really take my time to read it to get the basic meaning. I think that if I wasn't of sound mind that it would have made a little more sense.

However, this was an amazingly written book and the fact that it was a little jumbled just added to the content and the overall experience of reading it. And I really did enjoy reading this book.

The insight that this book gave me was phenomenal and the emotions that it evoke while reading it are second to none. I loved reading about Susanna’s experience and her time spent in the institution. I found myself inhaling the pages in an effort to find out what happened next even faster.

While reading this, the one question that I kept asking myself ‘was she really crazy?’ and that was the question that haunted me throughout the entire novel and still now has me wondering. At some points I thought that maybe she really was, but then I can’t help but think that she was just overwhelmed and no one wanted to really help her so they shoved her in a hospital so that she was out of the way. It then could be possible that she became slightly crazy from being institutionalized. But whatever the answer, to see how obviously the entire experience was overcome in the end was fantastic.

I would greatly recommend this to pretty much anyone who would be mature enough to handle to content. It does deal with some subject matter that some people wouldn’t be comfortable reading about. However, if you give it a chance, this is a great book and I’m giving it an 8/10.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vintage Tuesdays - A Knight's Love

The Dragon Lord

Written by: Connie Mason

Released: November 28, 2001 by Leisure Books

Summary: Connie Mason's medieval is a lusty tale of deception and desire. In one horrifying hour, Rose of Ayrdale's life was shattered. Lord Dragon, one of King John's fiercest knights, brought the news that Rose's father was dead and revealed that he had been commanded to marry the traitor's widow or daughter and claim the estate. Rose was certain that neither her grieving mother nor Starla, her twin sister who longed to become a nun, could bear to wed Lord Dragon. But it was equally clear that their new lord had no wish to bind himself to a defiant maiden like Rose. Convincing the Dragon that Rose was the name of the sweet-tempered, biddable twin he was inclined to wed was accomplished in a matter of moments. Fortunately the deception did not have to last long. Indeed, before the hour was over, fiery Rose had subdued her true nature long enough to convince the Dragon it was her sister he'd wed -- and had seen her mother and gentle sister on their way to the sanctuary of a nearby convent. Though she feared the Dragon's wrath when he discovered her pretence, Rose was content with the fruit of her labours -- and pleased to have taken at least this small vengeance against her unwanted overlord. She'd be surprised to realize that the Dragon was already wondering if he'd been too hasty in sending the spitfire to the convent and taking the timid twin to wife -- for he is a man of powerful passions who would find the spirited Rose a perfect match

In high school I went through a major four-year phase of romance-only novels. Whenever I would go to the bookstore I would prowl the romance section almost all the time and used book shopping was my favourite. I also went through a major Connie Mason binge and I read a lot of her books almost exclusively for a few months. This book was no different but for some reason it was the one that stuck with me the most.

A few months ago I had this urge to re-read this book (though I thought that it was a different one that I had) and I was really happy that I found it on my shelf. There was really no rhyme or reason for me wanting to re-read it, but I stayed up late one night reading over half of it. I think that settled my fix because I haven’t picked it up since, but still.

There is so much that happens with these characters and their story. The use of multiple perspectives and narratives just adds to the drama and the passion. Mason truly can weave a story that keeps you turning the pages. Plus, she has strong female leads with equally strong male counterparts who are incredibly manly and gorgeous. The only complaint that I have is that her cover models all look the same. Complete Fabio look-alikes.

I love curling up with books like this and escaping into whirlwind romances. This is a great romance to read and I highly recommend it. I give it an 8.5/10 knowing that I will most likely read it several more times; every few years or so most likely.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Movie Monday - Evil Ballett Twin

Black Swan

Written by: Mary Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Released: December 3, 2010 by Fox Searchlight

Rated: R

Summary: Nina is a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her obsessive former ballerina mother Erica who exerts a suffocating control over her. When artistic director Thomas Leroy decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. But Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily, who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side - a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.

I have wanted to see this film ever since I first heard about it; it sounded so different and interesting, not to mention intriguing. And while I’m completely happy that I saw this movie, I just wish that I hadn’t gone with my mother. There are just some things that are incredibly uncomfortable to watch while a parent is sitting beside you, and lesbian love scenes are one of them.

However, a movie shouldn’t necessarily be judged on the uncomfortable parts, so I’m setting that traumatic experience aside and focusing on the movie itself.

The psychological aspects of this film are of the variety that you may need to watch more than once – I know that I will in order to comprehend it all. The way that this film takes the classic idea behind All About Eve and combines it with both the premise of Swan Lake and the actual ballet. The genius combination has left me blown away at the mere thought of it.

Both Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are phenomenal in their roles. Portman portrays the lead with such ferocity that her descent into the black swan is one that you can almost feel as the translation from the screen is that brilliant. Plus her interaction with the supporting characters like her mother and the ballet directors is riveting; I couldn’t stop wondering what was going to happen next and how Portman’s character would react.

This is the type of movie where it would ruin it if I gave too much away. However, I will warn you that it’s not a film for a younger audience. It has a lot of sexual material and the psychological relationships wouldn’t be understood by someone who wasn’t mature enough to handle them. Heck, I know that I’m going to have to watch it again to catch some of the smaller nuances. Still, it’s a brilliant film and worth a 10/10 rating.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox (36)

This week was another great week for books and I only spent a few dollars! Ok, a bit more than a few, but only enough for one book, so go me! The boon ban lives! Everything else was either borrowed, from netGalley, or from gift certificates.

So, this week in my mailbox was;

Awakened by P.C. and Kristin Cast (review)
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter (review)
Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler (review)
XVI by Julia Karr
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

The Countess by Lynsay Sands
One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen
Populazzi by Elise Allen
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (review)
Legacy by Kate Brian

I can’t wait to read the rest of this list; I’m so excited for all of them! Let me know what you got in your mailbox by leaving a comment.

Disclaimer: IMM is the brainchild of The Story Siren.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Watch the Dog is a Watchdog

The Boxcar Children

Written by: Gertrude Chandler Warner

Released: 1942

Summary: Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny, four orphaned brothers and sisters, suddenly appear in a small town. No one knows who these young wanderers are or where they have come from. Frightened to live with a grandfather they have never met, the children make a home for themselves in an abandoned red boxcar they discover in the woods. Henry, the oldest, goes to town to earn money and buy food and supplies.

Ambitious and resourceful, the plucky children make a happy life themselves--until Violet gets too sick for her brothers and sister to care for her.

I read this way, way back when I was first starting to read chapter books. It was The Boxcar Children – the series – and the Babysitter Little Sister books that kept me occupied for hours. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered this book on netGalley. I knew at once that I needed to re-read it.

I loved this book when I was young and I’m rather surprised that I don’t own a copy of my own. I could have sworn that I did, but upon further investigation of my bookshelf I couldn’t find a boxcar child anywhere. I’m thinking that my mum passed them along a few years back.

Reading this as an adult, I can still see why I fell in love with the characters and the story, but this time around I couldn’t stand Benny; I found him whiney and annoying. In fact, my favourite characters were Violet and Watch.

This is a series of books that promotes good manners and morals for kids, which I think is a fantastic thing to have in books for young readers. While I don’t think that I could sit down at my age and read the entire series, it was really nice to relive a bit of my childhood for an hour.

I would love to see this series revamped a little and with a more updated use of language. Unfortunately, I don’t think that in its original format that it would appeal to its set audience – not when they can read things like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Percy Jackson series. Still, this is a solid novel with a great series attached to it. I give it a 7/10.

Official Cover Release for The Liar Society

This cover just makes me want to read this novel even more! March 1 come faster.

I love the use of colour; it's so bright and amazing. Plus with the black background it really stands out. And the plaid is so much fun. I can't wait!

Friday, January 14, 2011

House of Night Eight


Written by: P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Released: January 4, 2011 by Atom

Summary: At the start of Awakened, the pulse-pounding eighth instalment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey has returned, mostly whole, from the Otherworld to her rightful place as High Priestess at the House of Night. Her friends are just glad to have her back, but after losing her human consort, Heath, will Zoey—or her relationship with her super- hot Warrior, Stark—ever be the same? Stevie Rae is drawn even closer to Rephaim, the Raven Mocker with whom she shares a mysterious and powerful Imprint, but he is a dangerous secret that isolates her from her school, her red fledglings, and even her best friends. When the dark threat of Neferet—who is coming closer and closer to achieving her twisted goal of immortality—and Kalona returns, what will it take to keep the House of Night from being lost forever, and what will one desperate girl do to keep her heart from being irreparably broken?

They really need to either stop writing these books or just wrap them up because I’m sick of this drawn out bullshit (oh, I mean bullpoopie [idiotic]). It’s in my opinion that these books could have ended a few instalments ago if they just cut out the middle crap and got down to the nitty gritty. I mean, I get it; Neferet is evil, Zoey is good, and people are stupid enough to fall for anything that they’re told.

When I first started to read this book I was so happy that it wasn’t focused on Stevie Rae and I went in with high expectations from what my cousin told me about it. Note to self; don’t trust the cousin who lends you pointless vampire books. So I started to get all excited before I even cracked open the first page. But boy was I disappointed. I think that I skimmed 2/3 of this novel and half-read every other page. Point is, I just didn’t care about reading this and I only finished it to say that I did.

This book read like all the others in the series only with different problems. All is well, evil comes, evil is somewhat beaten back, and nothing is really solved but it feels like it was. Everything was predictable but there were a few tiny elements that were a surprise. Blah, blah, blah.

I think that this entire series arc could have been something great. After all, it was a new spin on the vampire lore and it introduced some pretty great characters and a fantastically complex (on paper) battle between good and evil. But eight books (with several more on the way), is much too much. Hell, look at everything that Harry Potter went through and he only had to deal with seven novels. This just goes to show that children will read larger novels if they hold their attention. If condensed and stripped to the necessities I think that these novels would do just that. But there are at least two more books and the material is getting stale and boring.

I didn’t hate this particular book but I know that in time I’ll try and remember exactly what happened in it and I won’t be able to. All I’ll know is that it was okay and not something that I would read again. I’m also very happy that didn’t spend money to read this. I give it a 2.5/10. Sadly, I’ll more than likely read the next book when it comes out in November. Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment. But at least the cover is pretty...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wanted Ending for Liars?

While surfing around Goodreads, I came across this knowledge;

Wanted isn't the last book in the Pretty Little Liars series.

So I have to ask myself: Where else can this go? The ending of Wanted was all nicely wrapped up, but now that I think about it, there was a loose end or two that could easily become unravelled. Which is what I'm guessing is going to happen since over the next four years there are going to be four books.

Twisted comes out this July from HarperTeen and the next three, which are untitled for now, have unset dates other than the publication year.

I'm all set for another four books, I just wish that it wasn't a year in between each. What's your take on the matter?

No Parole 4

Sweet Deceit

Written by: Kate Brian

Released: June 8, 2010 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing

Summary: Ariana Osgood has been tapped for Stone and Grave, Atherton-Price Hall's most exclusive secret society. But so has her arch-nemesis, Kaitlynn. Winning one of the coveted spots is key to preserving Ariana's luxe life at APH, so she's not giving up without a fight. When Hell Week lives up to its name and the competition turns deadly, only one girl will walk away alive . . .

I love this series and this book didn’t disappoint. From the very beginning to the very end (especially the end) it was a non-stop thrill ride.

I greatly enjoy reading about Arianna’s escapades and with the Hell Week happening and Lexa being an uber witch there wasn’t a loss of drama. Plus, you get to experience Bridget’s wake and the aftermath of the last book (sorry id that ruined anything).

The one thing that I hate about these books is writing reviews. Don’t get me wrong, I want to share my love of them, but so much happens that you don’t want to give away the suspense.

Arianna, as always, has the innate need for control over her life and with the Hell Week events she can’t help but feel overwhelmed. After all, If she doesn’t get into the Stone and Grave she’s doomed in life – at least she thinks to – but having to cope with Kailtynn’s anxiety over it all as well… things just aren’t as sunny as Arianna would like them.

I can’t wait to see where this series will go before the final book – which comes out this June – and I just hope that the finale is as explosive as the series has been.

This is a definite 9/10 book for me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wish List Wednesday - Number Thirty-Five

Where I Belong

Written by: Gwendolyn Heasley

Released: February 1, 2011 by HarperTeen

Summary: Corrinne Corcoran’s upscale Manhattan life is perfectly on track—until her father announces he’s been laid off and she’s shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas, to live with her grandparents. All alone in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the glamorous life she’s supposed to be living. But as she grudgingly adjusts—making new friends and finding romance along the way—this city girl begins to realize that life without credit cards and shopping sprees may not be as bad as it seems....
In this sparkling debut that flawlessly balances romance and humor, readers will grow to love sharp and sassy Corrinne as she goes on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery.

This sounds like a cute book. I’m not sure if I would go out and buy it, but I would love it if my library got a copy or if I could borrow it from a friend. Plus, as a bonus, it’s a 2011 debut! And it has such a gorgeous cover.

Horseman the Second


Written by: Jackie Morse Kessler

Released: April 18, 2011 by Harcourt Graphia

Summary: Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a different kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.

As I write this review (which is several days before it will be posted) I have only just finished reading this book and I’m still in shock. Rage was just as good if not even better than Kessler’s debit Hunger and the subject matter still has my head reeling.

This is a fantastic novel and those words can’t even describe how wonderful it is. Completely setting aside the base subject matter of cutting, how true it is to emotion is not only phenomenal but it’s breathtaking and hard to find in novels period, let alone young adult. Missy, like Claire before her, is obviously a broken girl who, try as she might, can only give off the appearance of being whole. Her routine to put on her battle gear and her war paint every morning not only mirror War but also show just how fragile her actual armour is in the face of her every day battles.

The things that Missy goes through in this book are events which I wish I never have to deal with. I’ve never been one to cut but I have known people who did and yet I can’t imagine torturing a person who did and put them through what Missy endured. Yet she was such a strong character even during her moments of weakness; I couldn’t help but admire her greatly for that.

I rather loved the ending to this book purely because it felt as though it’s the way that it would have ended. It was just so realistic and, in some ways, sweet. I liked it better than the ending for Hunger, though not by much.

The writing in this book is such that can take a taboo subject like cutting – a subject that so many don’t understand – and not only portray it in this heartbreaking spotlight, but relate it to something like the horsemen of the apocalypse in order to reach more people with the supernatural/fantasy/sci-fi aspect. I have to give major props to Kessler for writing this novel and bringing the subject to more people. Hopefully it’ll help with understanding when a person decides to cut themselves.

When this novel is released, not only am I going to be purchasing a copy for myself, but I’m going to buy it for friends of mine too partially because I want to own my own copy and pass it along to as many people as possible, but also because a percentage of the proceeds is going to go to To Write Love On Her Arms; a non-profit organization designed to help those who struggle with self-injury, depression, addiction, and suicide.

So, of course, from everything that I’ve said above, it’s no secret that this novel is a complete 10/10. If you are able to, read it, and if you haven’t already, check out Hunger which is on shelves now.

I received a copy of Rage via netGalley. Thank you to them and Harcourt Graphia for the opportunity to read this advanced copy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Exciting News!

In my daily perusal of Perez, I came across this amazing information.

They’re making Wicked into a miniseries for ABC and Salma Hayek is a part of putting it all together with Erik Jendersen as the script writer – he wrote Band of Brothers (which I’ve never seen but I’ve heard of it)

Personally, I love the novel Wicked by Gregory Maguire and I’ve wanted to see the musical ever since it first came to Broadway, but the fact that ABC is creating a miniseries makes me giddy.

I can’t wait to see it!

A Mermaid's Song

Lost Voices

Written by: Sarah Porter

Released: July 4, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s

Summary: What happens to the girls nobody sees—the ones who are ignored, mistreated, hidden away? The girls nobody hears when they cry for help?

Fourteen-year-old Luce is one of those lost girls. After her father vanishes in a storm at sea, she is stuck in a grim, gray Alaskan fishing village with her alcoholic uncle. When her uncle crosses an unspeakable line, Luce reaches the depths of despair. Abandoned on the cliffs near her home, she expects to die when she tumbles to the icy, churning waves below. Instead, she undergoes an astonishing transformation and becomes a mermaid.

A tribe of mermaids finds Luce and welcomes her in—all of them, like her, lost girls who surrendered their humanity in the darkest moments of their lives. The mermaids are beautiful, free, and ageless, and Luce is thrilled with her new life until she discovers the catch: they feel an uncontrollable desire to drown seafarers, using their enchanted voices to lure ships into the rocks.

Luce’s own talent at singing captures the attention of the tribe’s queen, the fierce and elegant Catarina, and Luce soon finds herself pressured to join in committing mass murder. Luce’s struggle to retain her inner humanity puts her at odds with her friends; even worse, Catarina seems to regard Luce as a potential rival. But the appearance of a devious new mermaid brings a real threat to Catarina’s leadership and endangers the very existence of the tribe. Can Luce find the courage to challenge the newcomer, even at the risk of becoming rejected and alone once again?

Lost Voices is a captivating and wildly original tale about finding a voice, the healing power of friendship, and the strength it takes to forgive.

Wow. Not what I was expecting and that just goes to show that I need to sometimes pay more attention to plot summaries. Maybe since I was bewitched by the mermaid aspect I went off thinking it would be more Disney and less dark and intense like it was.

It was both refreshing and slightly terrifying to read in such detail the traumatic events that led up to the girls’ transformation. At the same time, it makes you want it to really happen since it would give a sort of release from the horrific life that the person was living and with that there would almost be a form of hope. In that way this novel was almost like a reverse Little Mermaid; where the fairy tale speaks of love and redemption while going from fins to feet, this is more about power and freedom, and a way of escape through transforming into a mermaid.

Luce was an ageless character who could be incredibly naive and yet be the most mature girl of the pack. In my mind she fluxed between fourteen and forty as I read about her. I couldn’t help but admire her loyalty to Catarina and the rest of the tribe even when things seemed to be against her. I know that if it was me I would have left as soon as things went sour. And I can’t help but wonder after reading the last page what she’s going to do next.

A lot happens in this novel and at times I felt myself wondering just when it was going to end. Not in a negative way, but in knowing that it’s the first in a line of books, so how much more can be crammed into this one book? Still, this is definitely a novel that you’ll want to check out and add to your 2011 debut list. It’s not only well written but it’s one that stays on your mind for a while after the ending sentence. Plus, check out that phenomenal cover. I give it an 8/10.

I received my copy via netGalley.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Movie Monday - The Best View Without Windows

Ah, and after several weeks Movie Monday returns! I am severely behind. (Once again, I really need to write my reviews as soon as I’m done reading/watching)


Written by: Steven Antin and Diablo Cody

Directed by: Steven Antin

Released: November 24, 2010

Summary: A small-town girl ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place in a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer.

I went to go see this movie with my mum just after it first came out (this review is a long time coming) and I was a little sceptical at first. This movie didn’t get the greatest reviews opening weekend and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to waste money seeing it because of that. But, my mum really wanted to see it, so we went and she paid! To be fair, I’m pretty sure I bought the popcorn...

Anyways, I really enjoyed this movie. The costumes and the makeup are fantastic and though Aguilera’s acting was rather green, her stage presence is fantastic. I loved all the scenes in the club and the music numbers; it’s like the best musical ever only without the actual musical “musical” numbers. Does that make any sense to anyone else other than me?

The music in this movie is great. Seeing Cher belt out these awesome ballads is something that should be captured on the big screen at least once more and this movie does that brilliantly. Hell, I’m sure that it will happen at least once more in my lifetime; I have a theory that Cher’s an alien since she hasn’t aged a day since the ‘70s and I highly doubt that she’s not immortal. She’ll outlive us all.

This is one of those movies that I may or may not purchase once it comes out on DVD, but I will for sure watch it again. Plus, I would want to watch it again just to oogle the eye-candy of Cam Gigandet. But, until then, I’m giving this a 7/10.

ps: Kind of surprised that Diablo Cody partially wrote the screenplay - it was lacking her specific word play.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (35)

Disclaimer: I am not the genius behind IMM - that goes to The Story Siren.

This week was a fantastic week. First off, I discovered netGalley and I fell in love. Seriously. From there I got;

Everything I Was by Corinne Demas
Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
This Girl is Different by JJ Johnson

I also picked up My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent. Now I just have to catch up on that series... But isn't this cover breathtaking?

Also, I forgot to add that I got The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur (review) courtesy of Good Golly Miss Holly ARC tours just after Christmas. I blame the stomach flu for my forgetfulness.

So this is what I got in my mailbox this week. Let me know what you got in yours!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Uprooted and Replanted

Everything I Was

Written by: Corinne Demas

Released: April 2011 by Carolrhoda Books

Summary: "My walls were stripped, and all that was left in the room was a pile of boxes and my mattress propped against the wall."

So begins Irene's journey from an Upper West Side penthouse to—well, she's not entirely sure where. Irene's investment banker father is "downsized" when his company merges with another. When he can't find work, her family's lifestyle—and her socialite mother's spending—quickly catches up with them. Eventually, they're forced to move in with Irene's grandfather in the big family farmhouse upstate. But what begins as the most disastrous summer of her life takes a surprising turn when she meets a most remarkable family.

I was more than happy to have the opportunity to read this via netGalley. I think that I have found a new love with that website.

I went into this book not quite knowing what to expect. The cover suggests something more dangerous and haunting than a realistic story about a thirteen year old girl, but the summary offered stated something different than was visually represented. So, since I thought that the cover was beyond gorgeous, I took a chance on it.

This was a lovely book about the reality that so many people could easily face. It’s also a story that could be related to by so many people for one specific part or for the whole. It’s a very realistic telling of life.

Irene was a character who you could easily pass on the street she was so well formed on the page. At thirteen she comes off as exactly her age, which is nice to read in a novel. And her emotions were true to form; you experience her first real crush on someone her own age, thoughts over her parents and how they’re coping with their loss of status, her father losing his job, and living with her grandfather. You also get to see the inner workings of a girl who’s unsure of how to make new friends when she’s without her old ones.

I really disliked Irene’s mother. I’m sure that some would feel sorry for her, but I just wanted to slap her and then shake some sense into her pea-brain. I think it’s because I just cannot fathom characters like hers both on the page and in real life. Reading this book I just wanted to yell “get over yourself and move on”. But that just goes to show how spectacular the writing is when it comes to these characters. Corinne Demas sure knows how to write people.

In all, though I enjoyed this novel and I appreciate the opportunity to read it early, it’s only ranking a 6/10 for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastically written book but it just didn’t push through an unseen barrier. Had it of done that it would have been incredible.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cover and a Summary

I loved She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott and I can't wait to read He's So Not Worth It this upcoming June. And now my excitement it even greater with a full summary and a lovely cover.

Ally Ryan, come on down to the Jersey Shore and forget your troubles!
Have you recently been humiliated in front of your friends and family at your former best friend's birthday party? Was your almost boyfriend partly responsible for that humiliation by withholding some vital information about where your estranged father is? Did you come home to find said estranged father sitting on your stoop?

If so, then it sounds like you could use a vacation! The Jersey Shore is the place to be. Your mother may be living with her boyfriend of only a few months, but at least the stunt Shannen pulled has put some of your friends back in your court. Even so, you're still angry and what better way to get over Jake than to blow off some steam with local guy, Cooper? People will hardly recognize your new attitude, but the old one wasn't getting you anywhere, so who cares!

Jake Graydon, an exciting opportunity is waiting for you in the service industry!

Are your grades so low your parents have grounded you for the summer? Did you the girl you really like unceremoniously leave you behind? Would you rather eat dirt than see your friends again? Then a job at the local coffee shop is just the ticket! Surprisingly, Ally's father is the new manager so you get to be reminded of her nearly every day. Maybe it's time to start flirting with your best friend's ex or even taking school a bit more seriously. Especially when you finally see Ally and she's hanging around with some loser and it's couldn't be more clear that she is over you.

Have a great summer!

I don't like the cover as much as I loved the one for the first book, but it's nice enough. The first just had that amazingly simplistic beauty - kind of like the second and third Twilight books.

Let the Games Begin

The Lying Game

Written by: Sara Shepard

Released: December 7, 2010 by HarperTeen

Summary: I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.
Let the lying game begin.

First off, if you’re not into slightly complicate narratives, this may not be the book for you. I know that it took me a chapter or two to feel at ease with the duo-narrative between Sutton and Emma and every time that I stopped reading, the next time I picked the book back up it took me a page or two.

Now on to the real review.

I loved this book. Seriously, Sara Shepard has this way with words and a story line that blows my mind. I have read mysteries before that deal with twins (long-lost or otherwise), but I’ve never read one quite like this. It’s very much like Pretty Little Liars in the way that you can never fully think through who may be the killer (or if there’s more than one) but the similarities from there are just from the fact that it’s the same author.

I loved how Sutton was present and shared the narrative with Emma as both were trying to piece together what happened. Though a little confusing at times, how they shared the story added so much more dimension to both characters. Plus, it was interesting to see Sutton almost through her own eyes as well as through Emma’s as Emma integrated herself within Sutton’s life. And Sutton’s memories represented as flashbacks add to the mystery and drama as little pieces of her life are explained to the reader but not Emma.

I wish that there was more that I could say in this review, but this is one of those books that you definitely don’t want to go into with spoilers in your head. I can’t wait to see where this series leads and I really can’t wait to read the next book in the series Never Have I Ever which comes out April 8th this year. I give this a 9/10.

Cover Alerts

Today I have the cover reveals of two very different books. First off is the debut by Michelle Hodkin;

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Released: September 27, 2011 by Simon and Schuster

Summary: Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love. She’s wrong

I love, love, love this cover. It’s so breathtakingly gorgeous and different. I’m not sure if they’re underwater – which is what I first thought – or flying. Either way, major props to whoever created it.

Next is the third instalment of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.


Released: June 14, 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary: Before Luce and Daniel met at Sword & Cross and fought immortals at Shoreline, they lived many lives. . . .

I hate this cover. I adored the first two; they were so hauntingly beautiful, but this one has an emaciated woman who looks overly airbrushed to the point of disfigurement and with a head that’s larger than her midsection. The composition is great, to colour-use is beautiful, but that model is disgusting. I really am not sure what they were smoking when they put her together.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but it’s what I think. Either way, I still want to read it – after I manage to get around to the first two sitting on my shelf.

Let me know what you think of the covers. Am I crazy, am I right? Agree, Disagree? Let me know!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Judgmental Death

Here Lies Bridget

Written by: Paige Harbison

Released: February 1, 2011 by Harlequin

Summary: Heroine, Bridget Duke, rules her high school, but when she crashes her car and ends up in limbo, she must confront the people she has wronged, all of whom want her to go to hell. The outcome of these meetings will decide her final destination.

I received this e-book via netGalley; a fact that I am ever thankful for.

I hated Bridget. Really, I loathed her, which shows just how well written she is. At the very beginning, I felt a little sorry for her but as the ages kept turning and the story unfolded I just wanted to slap some sense into her. And some morality. She was just such a bitch to everyone and spoiled little princess that in any other book it would make you stop reading... but Bridget’s train wreck of a life was like those gruesome scenes that you just couldn’t tear your eyes away from.

The entire first half of the novel I was just waiting for Bridget to get hers – a part which kept me reading – and when it finally happened I was relieved and relished in her character’s turmoil over it. That more than likely makes me sound like a horrible person, but once you read this book I’m sure that you’ll agree. Bridget is that sort of character that you love to hate, though, so these types of emotions are warranted. At least I think so...

Anyways, after the mid-way point I started to almost empathize with Bridget and wanted her to honestly become a better person. But I still didn’t like her much. She’s just one of those characters.

The story itself was great and had a fantastic concept that I don’t think can ever be overdone – it’s very similar to last year’s debut Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver in that respect. This was wonderfully written to the point where it made me, as the reader, be emotional over it. If you want a good novel to read for a few hours, this would be a good choice. This is great debut novel and if this is the set bar I can’t wait to see what this author comes out with next. I give this an 8/10.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fairy Heavy Metal 2

The Iron Daughter

Written by: Julie Kagawa

Released: July 27, 2010 by Harlequin Teen

Summary: Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Another review that is too long overdue – to the point where I read Winter’s Passage after I read this and its review has been up since the end of November. Eugh. I just warn you that this might be a horrible review for the pure fact that it’s been almost 2 months since reading this novel.

I really enjoyed reading this book to the point where I can’t wait to read The Iron Queen ASAP – which luckily I can courtesy of netGalley! This book in the series had more adventure and action in my opinion, and it just seemed to build more on the amazing debut novel of Julie Kagawa.

I liked how Meghan was built up more character-wise in this novel and how she has an even bigger inner conflict between Ash and Puck – I’m still on the fence with this one.

Ugh. See, this is why I need to stop waiting to write reviews. I feel horrible that I can’t think of anything else to say. But I promise that the review for The Iron Queen will be much, much better. Stay tuned for that.

So, for now, I’m giving this an 8/10. It was a good book in a great series. Oh, and the cover is gorgeous!

Wish List Wednesday - Number Thirty-Four

I love the fact that there are a whole batch of new debuts to look forward to this year, and lucky me this one is due out tomorrow from Puffin/Speak.


Written by Julia Karr

Summary: Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

Doesn’t is sound like some amazing dystopian/mystery? I can’t wait to read it!

What's on your wish list this week? Leave a line and let me know.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not a White Mare

The Last Unicorn

Written by: Peter S. Beagle

Released: 1968 by Viking Press

Summary: The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit, Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician--whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended--when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream.

This was one of my absolute favourite animated movies from when I was really little. In fact, I’m surprised that I didn’t wear out of VHS copy I watched it so much – note to self; dig out said VHS and re-live childhood for a few hours.

I don’t know if it was because it was all about unicorns – my room had unicorn wallpaper and a rainbow mural – or because I thought that she was so pretty when she became human, but my eyes never strayed from the story and the red bull scared me.

A few years ago I discovered that my beloved movie was based on a novel of the same name and I then made it my mission to unearth a copy at a used book store. I finally got around to reading it this fall (last fall as I write this now) and I wasn’t disappointed how the story was transferred from one medium to another in my mind.

I was captivated not only by the well-known story but by how the characters were written. Maybe it’s the remnant scenes left in my head, but the characters just jumped off the page. No, I take that back, it’s the fantastic writing quality of Beagle that really makes the characters pop along with the scenery and the emotions.

Molly Grue was by far my favourite character. I loved how snarky she could be but also how soft and loving she was. You knew as soon as she was introduced that she would fall into a motherly role with the unicorn (the lady Amalthea when she’s human) and you can almost hear her heart breaking at the end of the novel even though she knows that what’s done is for the better. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the unicorn too with her vast knowledge of almost nothing, and I loved reading her transformation – going from the aloof beast that she was to the almost-human girl that she becomes, and I so wanted her romance with Prince Lir to work, but she just didn’t carry the fire that Molly did.

This book is one that I’m going to forever keep on my bookshelf and buy for my younger bookworm cousins for their birthdays. It’s that quintessential part of my childhood that I’ll never outgrow, and for that it gets a 10/10.