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Friday, May 30, 2014

From Book to Movie: Vampire Academy

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Last week, I decided that I was going to watch the Vampire Academy movie. I hadn't read the book, and after seeing the trailer- which did nothing to convince me- I wasn't sure I was ever going to see the movie. But I caved and watched it alone, one rainy afternoon. What is funny is, seeing the movie prompted me to read the book. So here I am, having both read and seen Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy. And I have some thoughts.

The Book:

I did see the movie prior to reading the book so I knew the story. I had also heard that he movie deviated from the book quite a bit (but thinking about it now, I am not sure that is true). Anywho, I knew what to expect and I went into reading Vampire Academy with very low expectations. I was anticipating a completely corny, and in all honesty- not very good book. And frankly, all of this was true. BUT... I still really enjoyed it. There was something completely addicting about this story. I couldn't put it down.

I think almost everyone had read this book/series. But here's the run down. Rose is a half vampire, half human guardian and she is bonded with her full blooded vampire friend Lissa (so basically Rose can feel whatever Lissa is feeling, and sometimes is mentally there with her). Lissa has some crazy magical ability called spirit, which in fact, is driving her crazy. Rose and Lissa ran away from their boarding school and had been on the run for two years- because Lissa's life was in some kind of danger. They are eventually caught by Dimitri, an older guardian, whom Rose falls head over heels for, returned to school, and face a whole bunch of drama/danger there.

So, like I said. This was nothing particularly amazing about Vampire Academy. The plot was predictable and the flow of the story was pretty formulaic. The writing also isn't spectacular- it's not terrible either. I feel like, had I read this book when I was twelve or thirteen I would have absolutely loved it, and been okay with Mead's writing style. But, I am not a pre-teen, and I kind of expect a little more maturity when it comes to how a story is told.

I really liked Rose. In real life she would have got on my nerves- she's annoyingly obnoxious. But I liked her in this book. I liked how loyal she was to Lissa- although I didn't like when she tried to run Lissa's life (well, her love life). I thought Lissa was annoying and whiney. It drove me a little nuts. She needed to grow up and stop being a damsel in distress.

Rose and Dimitri- For some reason this little romance makes me giggle like a school girl and roll my eyes at the same time. I loved their relationship and how connected they are to one another, they're just so darn cute. I also find it a little unrealistic, Dimitri being in his mid twenties, and Rose being a teenager. But what can you do? I am excited to see how their romance plays out in the rest of the series.

Overall, Vampire Academy is not an amazing life changing, awe inspiring novel. But it was so VERY entertaining, and completely addicting. I find myself wanting to just bunker down and read the next five books right away (I have since read Frostbite, and this feeling still exists). In all reality, Vampire Academy was a fun read, that brought me back to my childhood.

The Movie:


I had no intention of seeing this movie. But I was home one afternoon- kind of sleepy and a very bored, so I decided to give it a whirl. I was not expecting much (I actual thought I would fall asleep while it was on). But somehow I got sucked into it. This movie is bad. I mean really bad. But I absolutely loved it. There was just something entertaining about it. 

Where to begin, whoever wrote the screenplay for this movie... what were they thinking? It's not good. There are so many instances where two people would be having a conversation about one thing, and all of a sudden the tone of the scene would be totally different, and they would be talking about something totally different, and then, back to the original topic. The flow just didn't make sense, it was SO jumpy and all over the place. It was so awkward and sometimes really hard to follow- I'm talking worse than Twilight here people! That's one of the big things with this movie. The way things would jump around. It was ALL OVER THE PLACE.

I had absolutely nothing invested when it came to who they cast for this movie, none. But I do have some thoughts on how certain actors did. 

Zoey Deutch as Rose Hathaway 
She did a bang up job! She was so good. I thought she was funny, and sarcastic- I really liked what she did with Rose. Now, having read the book, I like her even more. She was great for the role. She really did a terrific job with what she was given. 

Lucy Fry as Lissa Dragomir 
I did not like her. She was awkward and weird- it was like she had never acted before. That hair flip scene, Oh man- I was so embarrassed for her. Not my favourite. 

Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri Belikov
Now, I have heard a lot of people weren't to keen on this guy. A friend said to me, that he wasn't attractive enough. this guy is really attractive, but...

I don't know what producers were thinking because, for some reason, they made him look ridiculous in the movie. I don't know if it was the hair or something else, but it just wasn't working. I couldn't tell if he was wearing a wig or not, I am inclined to say he was, because the hair didn't move. It was so stiff and it looked funny. Other than that, I liked him as Dimitri. He is actually Russian (no fake Russian accent here). He also did a good job of portraying Dimitri's wholesomeness. 

For the most part, I think the film stayed pretty true to the story. They changed some things that made me wonder why they chose to do that, they also changed the series of events, which wasn't necessary, and again, had me questioning their decision making. The whole movie was just a little awkward.

Overall, the movie was pretty terrible. But, if you watch it with low expectations and just to have a good time, I am sure you'll enjoy it. It's super corny, and it has it's cringe worthy moments. But, it does what movies are meant to do: It entertains. 

I am actually pretty curious about your thoughts, have you seen the movie? Did you enjoy it, or did it make you made? What did you think of the cast? Let me know. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

My Thoughts: The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver

Two sisters are summoned to their aunt's Greenwich Village flat, where they must start dressing like young ladies, cultivate their artistic sensibilities, and open themselves up to Life with a capital L.

When Franny and her older sister Valentine are summoned by their Aunt Theodora from foggy San Francisco to sunny New York City for one summer, they are taken to old-world locales like Bemelmans Bar, the Plaza, and the Sherry Netherland by their chaperone, Clover, Aunt Theodora’s protégé. As they discover New York City going lingerie shopping and learning about the simple elegance of a cucumber sandwich, they also begin to unearth secrets and answers about Aunt Theo's glamorous and romantic past, and they have a few romantic adventures of their own.

**Review copy received from publisher**

What was this book about? That was my first thought upon reading The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver. Really, I finished all 192 pages and had no idea what the book was about. I struggled with the story, it's not a long book, and still it took me a couple days to read it. I considered putting it down a number of times, but in the end I powered through it.

The Summer Invitation tells the story of Franny (Frances) and her older sister Valentine, who get an invitation to spend the summer in New York. This invitation comes from an elderly aunt the girls have never met, and who will not be joining them in New York until the end of the summer. Instead, they will be cared for by a 28 year old chaperone (who they have not met). My first issue with this, their parents agreed to this without really thinking about it... no discussion, no concerns, not really. They just let their fourteen and seventeen year old daughters venture off to a big city with a stranger. Really?!?!?

As I briefly mentioned earlier, I felt like this book was about nothing. The girls visit New York with the idea that they are to be educated about proper social etiquette. What was weird about this part- and I will do my best to explain this- was how their chaperone- Clover- approached this. The Summer Invitation is supposed to take place in modern day New York, however I felt like the tone was very much 1920s-1930s, with hints of modernity thrown in to confuse things. The girls weren't encourage to wear "trousers," they only ate at the right restaurants and blah blah blah. I felt like Clover was straight out of the 1930s, the way she would dress, act, even the way she would speak. It felt SO unrealistic to me. Had this story taken place in that era it would have made for a great read. However, it was to all over the place for me.

Honestly, I think what bothered me the most about this book, was how juvenile it felt. The book felt immature to me, it lacked character development and the plot was weak. Some would say this novel was a coming of age novel, and maybe it was supposed to be, but it never got there for me.

Overall, I really did not like The Summer Invitation. It was not the book for me. In saying that, I do believe that this book will be greatly enjoyed by younger teens, who are just starting to enjoy the thrills of reading.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Almost Put Down but Didn't

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish

This week's topic:

Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

I've divided this topic into two! Top five Books I almost put down, but glad I didn't, and Top five books I didn't put down, but wish I would have. 

Top Five Books I Almost Put Down, but Glad I Didn't: 

1) Wildefire by Karsten Knight- I read and reviewed this book in my first year of blogging. I remember  finding the pace of the story a little slow in the beginning, but the writing fantastic. About half way through, the story started to pick up and really loved this one by the end. 

2) Cinder by Marissa Meyer- Believe it or not, I wasn't sure about this one. I am not a sci fi fan, and I wasn't feeling the whole cyborg thing. And honestly, I found myself getting a little bored in the beginning. But something kept me reading and well, I am kind of obsessed with this series! 

3) The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson- I have ranted and raved about this book. But when I first picked it up, there were a few details that I wasn't comfortable with, that almost made me put it down. But I was curious about the rest of the story, and soon after I was completely captivated by the story.

4) Across the Universe by Beth Revis- Again, another Sci Fi. And again, I got a little bored with this one. But by the time I finished it, I absolutely loved it! It was great! 

5) The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff- This was a weird novel. And something about it really bothered me when I was reading it. Maybe it was the demon baby. Who knows. But I kept going, and it was kind of great. Weird and twisted and brilliantly written. 

Top Five Books I Didn't Put down, But Wish I Did:

6) Perdita by Hilary Scharper- It's not that I hated this novel. I just don't get it. I am not sure what the point was. I was always waiting for something to happen, which is probably why I kept reading. I had this feeling like something was about to happen, but it never did. Which was disappointing. 

7) The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield- I did not like this book. It was SO boring and silly. If I had not been reading this book for book club I would have quit reading it. I also didn't find the great secret revelation all that amazing. Ugh-  thinking about this book, makes me grumpy. 

8) Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater- This one is a bit complicated. I did not like this book. But, funnily enough I enjoyed the rest of the series a bit better. I am not even sure what made me decide to continue reading this trilogy. Anywho... I really did not like the characters. They were so annoyingly whiney. I wanted to scream!

9) The Handmaid's Tale by Maragaret Atwood- Hated this book. I'm sorry. I know it's supposed to be a classic and a social commentary, but I just did not like this story. I am surprised I even read it. It was SO sad and depressing. Not my cup of tea.

10) White Cat by Holly Black- I wasn't a huge fan of this book. I thought it was SO boring. The pace of the story was SO slow, and I wasn't a huge fan of Lila and the whole mob scenario. I enjoyed the writing and I liked the main character (for the most part).

There is my list for you all. I hope you enjoyed. Be sure to link your lists in the comments and I will be sure to check them out.

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bout of Books 10: Sign Up/MY TBR

This time last year, I participated in my first every Bout of Books read-a-thon. It's funny because I'm in the same boat as I was last year. Not in school, unemployed... blah blah blah. Anywho... I start my new job on the 20th, so I have all of the next week to do nothing but read. So that's what I am going to do. 

About Bout of Books: 

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Pretty exciting eh?

I have a TON of review books that I need to get through, so that's my goal. Some are about to expire and I need/want to focus on reading them.

Here is my TBR:

1) The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver
2) The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
3) The Dark World by Cara Lynn Schultz
4) The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
5) Five Ways to Fall by KA Tucker
6) Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella (non review-audiobook)

I don't expect that I will read ALL of the books listed. I have never read 6 books in a week. But I am going to try. I would also like to try to participate in a couple of the challenges and keep up with the blog. I will be keeping up with my read-a-thon progress below, so stay tuned!


Currently reading: The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver
What I've read: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella 
Pages read: 70 pages read and 4 hours of audiobook.

Currently reading: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
What I've read: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella/The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver
Pages read: 110

Currently reading: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
What I've read: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella/The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver
Pages read: 119

Currently reading: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
What I've read: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella/The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver
Pages read: 50 (sloooooow day) 

Currently reading: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
What I've read: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella/The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver/The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
Pages read: 135 + 1 1/2 hours of audiobook

Currently reading: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu/Tangled by Emma Chase (audiobook)
What I've read: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella/The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver/The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
Pages read: 0 + 2 1/2 hours of audiobook

Currently reading: Nothing (I didn't start anything new)
What I've read: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella/The Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver/The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco/Tangled by Emma Chase
Pages read: 0 + 4 hours of audiobook 

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Thoughts: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

**Review copy received from publisher**

I have been seeing a lot of buzz regarding Plus One for a few months now. Loads of people are talking about it. So, naturally, I was curious about it. I even requested it from Netgalley (I was denied). So, I was very excited when I was sent an ebook copy to review from Raincoast books.

One of my new years resolutions, regarding my reading habits, had been to come out of my comfort zone and read more fantasy/dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. Plus One fits right into that resolution, and I was excited to see what the story brought me. However, I am not sure what I would categorize Elizabeth Fama's most recent novel... maybe alternate reality.

In the Plus One version of the world, society is split into two, there are day dwellers (Rays) and night dwellers (Smudges), they are completely separated, the two groups do not really interact with one another and there are enforced curfews. The story follows Sol, and Sol lives in the night. She however gets caught up in this grand conspiracy that takes her on a crazy adventure with D'Arcy (who is a Ray).

I am going to jump in and say that I loved this book. It was so good. I really really liked the characters. Every single one of them. I loved Sol. She was feisty and sarcastic, but incredibly intelligent. She's a headstrong girl and is guided by her emotions. This really resonated with me, it's how I am 90% of the time. Sol's reactions are direct responses to how she is feeling. Which makes her a bit of a time bomb, you never know what she's going to say or do. And then we have D'Arcy. Who is basically the complete opposite of Sol. He's completely logical, and analyses everything. He doesn't let his emotions get in the way of things. That's not to say he isn't emotional. He is. D'Arcy is sweet, so sweet. And as the novel develops, we get to see him become a bit more vulnerable.

A secondary character in Plus One that I liked was, Jean, D'Arcy's dad. He was very accepting. His son brought him a whooper of a mess and he just went with it, tried to problem solve like he saw that sort of thing all the time. He thought outside the box, I liked that. I also liked that he, as a parent, had a role in the story. A lot of YA novels these days are missing parental figures. As in, parents have no idea what their kid is up to. Not in this story.

I also really liked how the relationship between Sol and D'Arcy matured. It was slow and easy. Sol didn't really like him in the beginning, I wasn't sure I liked him. So much so, that I wasn't sure if he was the second protagonist. I thought for sure she was going to meet someone else. But things started to make sense once you got to know him a bit more, once his motives were flushed out a bit more. Fama did a good job of that. She was able to develop Sol and D'Arcy's story without revealing to much, and without making it seem hokey.

Really, I can say the same thing for the whole story. You really have to let go of your sense of reality to read Plus One, but that's what makes it fun. The plot moves along at a fantastic pace, I never felt bored or annoyed with the story, and I never felt like it wasn't going anywhere. Things were revealed when they needed to be, Fama never kept you guessing for long- that was nice.

The only thing that bugged me about this book, and it might be a biggie for some: The ending. Plus One is a stand alone novel. WHAT?!??! No way. There are so many things left hanging. Okay, everything is sort of wrapped up, but more in a- let's prepare you for a second book, but let's not leave it at a cliff hanger- kind of way. I was grumpy when I found out that there was no sequel in mind. It's funny, because some books are series/trilogies when they really don't need to be, while this one could be, and would be a great series/trilogy, but it's not. I was not impressed.

Overall, I loved Plus One, I loved the characters and they way they grew throughout the story, I loved the plot, I found it unique and interesting, I just really did not like the ending. I thought it was a cop out, and it really made me wonder whether I want to read more by Elizabeth Fama, no matter how much I enjoyed the rest of the book. I do not like, nor appreciate bittersweet, ambiguous endings.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Covers

It's been a couple of weeks (maybe even months) since I've participated in a TTT. However, this week's topic I am just way to excited about. SO I needed take part. TTT is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish.

Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

Ps- I have a bunch of covers that I love and you can see some of my favourites here. These are specifically covers that I would hang in my house as decorations. 

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
I did not like this book when I read it. It was a very strange read. But I do like the cover. It would make a wonderful print for a home library, or above a bookshelf. 

The Winner's Curse by by Marie Rutkoski 
This was an interesting pick for me. While I like covers like this, I don't think they would make great framed pieces. This one however, I love. And I would hand it in my house. I'd put it in the guest bedroom. 

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
I love this cover (specifically this one). I would put a print of this anywhere in my house. But I do think it would look great in a breakfast nook or a bright kitchen (why? I don't know). 

Pantomime by Laura Lam
I have a thing for masks. This is a bit creepy, but absolutely beautiful. 

French Kissing by Catherine Sanderson
I love covers like this. They're simple but fun. This is something I would decorate a guest bedroom with, or even my living room. I have a calender that is in a similar style and I love it. 

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles 
This is one of my favourites. I seem to like my covers to be in black and white. They have a certain class to them. I love this cover, and I would hang it anywhere. I also love the twenties theme. 

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
While this wasn't my favourite book ever, I absolutely love the cover. I really appreciate the simplicity of it. 

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
This is amusing to me, because I hated this book. But the cover is exceptional. There is something great about it. I love the jar and the butterfly, again, it's simple and I really like that. 

The Spectacular Now by Time Tharp
How many times can I say simple... but really. I love this.

A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens
Another black and white cover. What can I say?

That's my list for you this week. I hope you enjoyed! 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

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"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