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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

These Are a Few of my Favourite Things (1)


Last month I did a little introduction to this new thing I am featuring on the blog, where I share some of my non-bookish favourite things. I have a couple of things to share with you today, and I hope you enjoy.

Movie:

Don Jon



I am slightly obsessed with Joseph Gordon Levitt- I think he's a great actor and just so freaking adorable. So I knew I wanted to see Don Jon for a number of reasons. Because not only did Joe star in it, he also wrote and directed it, and because Scarlett Johansson also starred and I really like her to. 

Don Jon did not disappoint. It was fantastic. Super clever and incredibly witty. But I warn you- this movie can get pretty raunchy at times. But I think the movie tells a deeper story than what is presented in the trailer. It's totally worth seeing- especially if you like movies and JGL. 

TV: 

The Originals

I have been watching The Vampire Diaries since the middle/end of the first season. And while the show is entertaining I probably would have quit watching had it not been for Klaus. I think he's an absolutely brilliant character. I was both excited and apprehensive when the CW announced that they were developing a spin off series based on Klaus and his family. While the pilot presented in the last season of The Vampire Diaries had me intrigued with this new series, I was disappointed with the second pilot for the show itself. However, with the second the third episodes I was totally hooked and I am absolutely loving the show. Joseph Morgan is kind of a brilliant actor and he does Klaus SO well. Klaus is a complex character and sometimes you love him and other times you hate him (well not me, I love him all the time).




Music:

Lana Del Rey- Paradise Album

I've been obsessed with this album lately. Well Lana herself. I've just discovered her and I absolutely love her voice. I've been listening to this whole album non stop. My favourite songs have been Born to Die and Blue Jeans.








Justin Timberlake- 20/20 Experience 2 of 2

The second part of JT's album came out at the end of September and I didn't buy it right away. While I liked the first part well enough. I wasn't totally thrilled with it.  But I love JT so I knew I would get it eventually. I have to say that it's pretty fantastic. Way better than the first edition. It sounds more like the JT of Future Sex Love Sound., but not exactly the same. I am loving it and when I am not listening to Lana I am probably listening to Justin. My favourite song on this album at the moment is 'Only When I Walk Away'- It's pretty good.



Beauty:

C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve- This stuff  has been amazing for me this last month. It's getting pretty cold in my part of the world and this means that everything dries out. My lips, my cuticles, my elbows. Everything. And this magic little product has been amazing. I use it for all three areas (but mostly my lips and cuticles) and it's been a saviour! I got mine from Bath and Body Works in the US (I know you can get it here in Canada from there as well).


And because I am a book junkie, there was no way I could not add a book.

Book:

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

I read a lot of book this month. But Perfect Ruin was by far the best book I had read. Which is interesting considering it was the first book I read this month. You can check out my review here, and find out why I enjoyed it so much. DeStefano is a brilliant writer and she did a good job with this one. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Thoughts: Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards


Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.

What happened to her? 
And why can't she remember?

** EARC received from Netgalley




You know what's great? Reading a book that you think is going to be a "meh" kind of book, finishing it and realizing that it was actually pretty great. That's what happened when I read Natalie D. Richards Six Months Later. For some reason going into this book I was expecting some clich├ęd book with an incredibly predictable outcome. But I found none of this while reading Six Months Later. Generally I am not a fan of mystery/thriller type novels. I tend to get a little stressed out and become way to involved with the plot that my own life takes the back seat while I am reading. But I had seen enough good things about this one to give it a try.

The story begins with Chloe being at school with her and her bestie Maggie talking about SATs and study groups and what not, it's just a regular day. But then Chloe goes to class and falls asleep. When she wakes up she is no longer in class and it is no longer spring. Chloe quickly learns that six months have passed and she has no recollection of what went on during those months or why she can't remember.

What initially intrigued me about Six Months Later was the reason behind the memory loss. I automatically assumed that it was something supernatural-like. But as I read the novel,  I soon realized that this wasn't necessarily the case. This made for a very intense and interesting read. At one point I was sure aliens were involved and then I was sure that this chick was just losing it. Whenever I thought that I had things figured out something would happen and I would be just as clueless again.

The characters in this book were good. I loved Maggie, Chloe's best friend. She was one kick ass character. During the time of Chloe's lost time, her and Maggie have some kind of fall out and are no longer speaking. But Chloe needs her friend and I appreciated how Maggie was able to be assertive with her former friend, but not mean or rude. I may not be making sense but that's what I liked. Maggie was not a push over. Adam was a also pretty cool. I liked the mysterious relationship he had with Chloe.

Overall, the characters in Six Months Later aren't hugely memorable and I can't say that I connected that much with any one of them, but the story as a whole made up for that. If you are looking for a fast paced, mysterious thriller this book is for you. And it's a stand alone so you don't have to worry about any sequels.

~Happy Reading Everyone!
















Monday, October 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I was forced to read



This week's topic is kinda fun and made me think of all those books I read prior to blogging. I hope you enjoy. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish

Top Ten Books I Was "Forced" to Read (either by teachers, friends, other bloggers, book club)




1) In Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien- I read this WAY back in high school and I really liked it. I was surprised with how much. It's a mystery novel that is pretty trippy. You are never sure what's the truth and what's made up. When I first heard the synopsis of Gone Girl, it immediately made me think of this novel. I haven't read Gone Girl so I don't know if they are similar. But In Lake of the Woods is a good story. 





2) The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffennegger- I was browsing the book store one day years ago and my friend saw this book and told I absolutely HAD to read it. Because it was SO good. So I read it. Loved it, hated the movie though. I thought it was JUNK! 

3) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta- When I read this book every blogger and their cousin had been talking about it. Saying that it was amazing and their favourite book. I needed to know what all the hoopla was about. SO I did it, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Jellicoe Road is one of the book I recommend the most to people. I love it. 

4) Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O'Neill- I can't remember why I read this one. I think one of my teacher friends was teaching it to her grade 12 class and wanted me to see if it was appropriate. It's a heavy novel but VERY good. And it's by a Canadian author. 

5) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keys- I read this book back in the tenth grade I believe. I loved this book and it made me ugly cry. A lot of books that I read in school made me cry. But this one particularly. Flowers for Algernon is about a mentally disabled man who becomes a genius through an experiment. It breaks me heart just thinking about it. 

6) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan- I specifically remember Farrah from I Eat Words talking about how much she loved this one, and if possible to experience the book via audio. I took her advice and absolutely loved it. The audio book is hysterical and the story is so endearing. Loved it. 

7) The Outsiders by SE Hinton- Read this book in the eight grade. I distinctly remember finishing it on the morning of my 14th birthday and bawling my eyes out. My mum came into my room and was like "what? What happened?"  This was a required reading for us that year and while I loved this book, once again, I was SO sad at how hopeless is made me feel. Oh the emotions of teenagers. 



8) The BFG by Roald Dahl- I can't remember what grade I was in when this was a required reading. But I know it was in elementary school sometime. But it was this book that fuelled my love for all things Roald Dahl. 

9) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer- This was a book club read from a couple month ago and I think it's my favourite so far.  I loved Charlie, the little boy and how messed up he was after the death of his father. I loved the perspective the author gave in terms of 9/11. How it affected the families involved. It was an intense novel and I am glad to have read it. 


10) Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt- My mum had to read this one for a class she was doing and she enjoyed it so much she insisted that I read it as well. I don't normally read non fiction because I don't usually like it. But this book was amazing and completely heartbreaking. But it's more hopeful than one might think. I really appreciated what it had to say. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Thoughts: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano


On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan's older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.


**Review copy received from Simon and Schuster Canada

Back when I first started to blog seriously Lauren DeStefano's debut Wither was one of the first dystopian/post apocalyptic novels I had ever read that I actually liked. I remember being blown away by her writing and the story she gave me. As I read The Chemical Garden Trilogy I continued to be blown away by Destefano's writing and her talent for weaving words together in this incredibly poetic way. It was magical.

Upon finishing Sever (book three in the Chemical Gardens Trilogy) I was happy that there was already plans for more from DeStefano. I couldn't imagine seeing nothing else from her. I didn't know a lot about what to expect from this new series, which I had been described a utopian society in a city floating on a rock in the sky. Sounded good to me. So I went into reading Perfect Ruin knowing very little and and not expecting a lot. I did see a few tweets here and there from fellow bloggers who were having a hard time getting into the story. This left me feeling a wee bit nervous.

Perfect Ruin is the first book in three part trilogy (I think). It introduces us to Morgan a sixteen year old girl whose family has been through some trials. Her older brother Lex is a jumper. What this means essentially is that he tried to jump from Internment (the floating city) to get to the ground, this is a big faux pas. As it often leaves those who survive mentally incompetent. This is unacceptable because Internment is a city that is very tightly run. Residents of the city marry who they are told to marry, they have children when they are told to have children, they take medication when they are told to. Everything is all very regulated. This is to ensure that nothing goes array in the city. So when a girl is found murdered, there is chaos. Homicide isn't something that that happens on Internment and it sends everyone into a frenzy. Including Morgan who is beginning to question the way things are on Internment and is feeling the pull of the edge herself.

Perfect Ruin (to me) was a little reminiscent of Matched by Ally Condie (which was the only book I read in that trilogy). In that everything in the city was very regulated and there was a way everything was to be done. Even the way I saw the city in both books was the same. I am in no way comparing this story to Matched because I think they are very different. However their societies are similar. If you didn't like Matched still give Perfect Ruin a go, because it is very good.

As mentioned earlier, some of the earlier reviews on this book has said that not a lot happens in Perfect Ruin, and that the beginning is pretty slow. I agree and disagree. It is true that not a lot happens in the beginning, but what's DeStefano is doing is setting the stage. She's showing you what life on Internment is all about. What Internment itself is all about. These are all important details. I loved that by the end of the book I felt like I knew the workings of the city and those who lived there.

What I really loved about Perfect Ruin were the characters. I thought Morgan is a fantastic protagonist. She is a curious, loyal and brave individual. Her brother Lex is also one of my favourite characters. He's suffering from his jump which left him blind and he is a wounded soul who wants something more from his life. According to the powers that be on Interment this makes him erratic and mentally unstable. But Lex is intelligent and he is also incredibly loyal. I loved the relationship that he has with Morgan. It's something special. Lex is often off in his own world, but there are times when you see how truly he cares for his sister, and it's beautiful. Basil, Morgan's betrothed is also a pretty interesting character, I have a feeling we'll be seeing some interesting things from him in the future. I also liked how well he and Morgan interacted. They respect one another and that's important for any relationship. While Pen, Morgan's best friend was one of the few characters who didn't stand out for me. I feel like she's going to surprise us and be a monumental figure in future books. I'm curious about her.

Overall, I really liked Perfect Ruin and I was in my happy place the whole time I was reading it. It's beautifully written and the characters are well developed and three dimensional. If you are going to read this book, read it for the characters alone.You will not be sorry. Lauren DeStefano know's what she's doing.

~Happy Reading Everyone.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Series Enders



This week's topic is a tough one for me because I don't generally finish series that often. I read the first book, maybe the second book. There are a number of series sitting incomplete on my shelves. Shame on me. Sooooo, I am not sure if this will be a complete list yet. But let's give it a try.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish 


Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders

Best: 



1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling- If this is not on everyone's best list I just don't know that I can take them seriously. JK Rowling knew what she was doing with this one and I loved every minute of the ending. I was completely stressed out and off my rocker for the full three days it took me to read this. But whew! 

2) Boundless by Cynthia Hand- Now it depends on what team you're on for this one I think. But I was totally rooting for this specific relationship and I got what I wanted. It was brilliant and perfect and I was so glad when I finally got this one done. 

3) We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han- Love this series, love the end. This was really depends on whose team you are on. If it's right one, you will not be disappointed. 





Meh: 

4) Forever by Maggie Steivater- Don't shoot me guys. But this was one series that was not a fan of.
I did find that I went further into the series the more I enjoyed it. There were certain things in this story that I did not like and there were still some unanswered questions for me. I was excited to hear that Maggie was penning a spin off story featuring Cole and Isabelle. That's exciting for me. 

5) Sever by Lauren DeStefano- When I first read this book, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. But the more I stewed over it, and thought about it. The more I realised that nothing really happened and then there was a resolution that had no real explanation. Lauran is a brilliant writer and her characters in Sever were still pretty spot on, it was just her plot that needed work. 




6) Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins- This series were one of the most stressful series I have ever read. My poor little heart can barely handle it. I liked the first two books in this series and was curious about how it would all come together, I felt like the end was a bit to rushed. What's funny is that I didn't even know there was an epilogue until a friend told me (months after I had read the book), so I had to go back and read that last half a page. Made a world of difference. 


But I think that's all the series that I have ever finished. That is pathetic. Bahahah!

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl