A room without a book is like a body without a soul - Cicero

To Be Read Soon!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York-and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future. 
When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?

                                                                                 -Chapters Canada

What first attracted me to this book, not to seem too shallow, was the cover. I love me a good cursive font, which this one showcases beautifully, and I love the juxtaposing images of those swollen lips and the faded retro cityscape. I think this evokes exactly what the book is about. It captures the vulnerable concept of love that this book offers in spades, and also the cool 80's setting that the book takes place in.

I love that the book was set in the 80's. I feel like I haven't read a book in this seemingly forgotten era, and it contributed a retro edge that was just noticeable enough.

But that is not really what made this book a 4. This book encompasses love in all aspects. It is just so genuine, and even when it was heartbreaking, this book spoke the truth about love in all forms: love between sisters, enduring love in a stressing marriage, hard love from a mother to her daughters, complex love between a father and his daughters, first-time love, skanky love, unconditional love, love between friends, and unrequited love. The heart-wrenching love stories that make this book amazing are so true and bittersweet. They kind of broke my heart, but I wouldn't have it any other way! I couldn't think of a more perfect title for this book, and I think the only complaint that I have about it is that the summary doesn't quite do the story justice.

This is an adorable book that can be enlightening for young adults and also reminders for adults. I think that it is a adorable, and worth everyone's time :)

Spoiler Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!

First things first: the love story between Ari and Blake makes me want to swoon and cry at the same time. It was definitely my most favourite of the many complex love-related plot lines going on in the story. Ari was so young and innocent and perfectly characterized to meet experienced, smart, sexy Blake who showed her love for the first time, and then breaks her heart. Which broke my heart. When all was said and done though, I loved the bittersweet ending, with Ari's heartache not only leading to growth within herself, but also growth within all of her other relationships. It was such an accurate portrayal of young love, and an awesome example for young adults trying to get through something similar.

The other relationships that we see throughout the story are also so genuine and important, and I love them all. Even the creepy crush that Ari has on her older sister's husband. I mean, ew. There are some things that are just pushing it, and I'm really glad that she got over it! And when she did, it was really cute, because then he got to help her learn about her relationship, and he became the older brother figure to her that he always should have been. As we saw said hot firefighters relationship with said sister struggle, endure, and flourish, it was so hope inspiring and cute. Just showing how not every marriage is perfect, and not to give up even though things aren't perfect. 

That relationship also brings in the love that is shared among Ari's whole family. Her mother's tough love, that was sometimes hard for even me to take, but ultimately the kind of all-knowing motherly love that can straighten out any situation. Unconditional. Just like that of Ari's father, even though he was typically less outward with his affections.

Ari's relationship with her friends was also constantly evolving and truly deep. I learned so much from her shallow best friend, even though I wanted to kill her half the time. The dynamic that we saw when her new friend Leigh was introduced was also enlightening and showed a whole different side of love, along with Leigh's own struggles with love and fitting in.

Overall, I really think that this book deals with so many important teen issues and captures every emotion perfectly. It is not only a cute, genuine read, but also a life-lesson wrapped up into booky-smelling beautiful-cover-toting perfection. I really just keep thinking about all the different aspects of this epic book, and I can't help but smile.

Oh, the power of books--Cheers & Enjoy♥

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Till death
Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.
But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.
Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life-or death-story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.
But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true-no matter what rules she has to break.

                                                                -Chapters Canada

Dead Rules was a surprisingly good and fun read that was full of intriguing themes and new plot ideas. At first glance, I loved the book and the cover, but was a little underwhelmed at the premise. I'm glad I decided to pick this one up though, because although it reminded me of other series about life after death, and death themes among books in general, this particular one was unique and interesting enough to hold it's own in a varying category.

One of the things that I enjoyed most about Dead Rules was how interesting it was. I loved finding out about things that I was wondering about, and even though there was a lot the reader didn't know going into the novel, I still wasn't frustrated, which I found to be a really good balance. As we discovered about Jana's death, and about the fascinating deaths of her new friends at death school, I became more and more into the book, and really wanted more. In fact, after having read the book, there is definitely potential for a sequel, and I am really hoping that Dead Rules sees a sequel, because I am really not ready to say goodbye to Jana's world just yet.

The idea for the book, as a whole, was just so unique and everything that encompassed this new realm was both interesting and realistic. I really love when an author can seamlessly create a state parallel to our existing one that is implausible, but also fits perfectly into phenomenon and mysteries of our society. I just love jumping into these kinds of worlds and living there for a while.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves paranormal or supernatural story lines and also readers that may be skeptical towards the genre, because it really was a great read, and didn't seem at all weird or unreasonable!

Spoiler Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!

As aforementioned, I really didn't have high hopes for this book, since I have read numerous other books in the ghost genre, and they weren't anything special. Dead Rules was a breath of fresh air though, in a stiflingly similar genre. As soon as I was introduced to Jana, I wanted to know more about her death and about all of her new acquaintances in Death School, and the mysteries of their deaths.

I didn't really care too much for Michael, obviously, he was so clueless and downright mean about everything to do with Jana, even though she was crazy about him and he was responsible for her death. Like geeze, stop stringing her along, she was obviously waaaaay more into the relationship than you, you could've at least let her down easy. I never really understood what he was even trying to achieve when he set about waxing up her bowling shoes. Like was making her fall and humiliating her just supposed to embarrass her enough to make her less eager, or make her break up with you? This just made me hate him more, and I loved that Russell built up the anger like this, while on the other side we see the dramatic irony play out with Jana willing to jeopardize everything for this phony a-hole that kills girls without even blinking. But he got his in the end, oh did he ever!

I absolutely adored Mars (I mean come on, I would give my left arm for a man with that kind of warmth! Seriously, I am always cold..), but I really wish we would have seen a little more action on the romantic spectrum. In a way, though, I really wouldn't have changed it because it was just so realistic. As much as I love the 'love-at-first-sight' aspect of mostly every other YA book in existence, this made the story seem that much more realistic in a totally implausible setting, which balanced the book completely. If Mars Dreamcote (love the name, btw) was at all cocky or outwardly vying for Jana's attention until she couldn't resist, it would have made the book too much for me, and taken away from the main themes.

I really do hope that we get to see more from Jana, Mars and Michael (since he is now dead!). I loved that he got killed off, and in a totally unexpected way, because the whole time that is what Jana was striving for, but I obviously didn't think that it was actually going to happen. It was totally unpredictable, and I really commend Russell for taking a cliche idea and giving it enough originality and surprising-ness that it totally payed off. I love this book, and I will definitely be recommending it in future!

Yay for books that surprise us in good ways!--Cheers & Enjoy♥

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Covergasms♥ (11)

Covergasms♥ is an original Book♥Hooker feature that discusses all things cover related!

          It seems like so long since I've done a Covergasms♥ post, which is weird, since I seem to have so many lined up, and often keep myself from doing one so that I don't do them too often. Aaaaaaanywho, I did a Reminiscent Reads post based on the wonderful Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, the other day, and I think it would do just fine with an accompanying post to discuss the covers. Especially since I am going to be delving into the newest addition to the life-changing series, Sisterhood Everlasting, soon. Also since they did a pretty rockin' cover re-design recently that I just luuuuuuurve.




(Original covers on the left : New covers on the right)

So I absolutely love these new covers (I never really was fond of the original ones)! They are all so cohesive and demonstrate a fun aspect that shines through the pages. Fun, friendship and togetherness, I say!

They also fit really well with the newest book Sisterhood Everlasting which brings us into the story when the girls are adults (which I think is brilliant, and can't wait to read!), so all of us softies who read the book years ago as teens can continue the journey with our fab four now that we are adults. I love it!

Just Lovely--Cheers & Enjoy♥

Cloaked by Alex Flinn

I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.

                                                                  -Chapters Canada

As soon as I started reading Cloaked, I knew that I would not like it. I immediately wanted to put it down and pick up one of the many other books that I have sitting waiting for me, and would most certainly be more worth my time. Unfortunately, once I start a book, I have to finish it.

Having read and watched Beastly, a book by the same author, and enjoyed both relatively, I really wasn't expecting to so loathe this particular novel. But I did. It was so predictable and really just immature. I didn't find the incorporation of the fairy tales at all interesting, just boring and annoying. I also really hated the main character. He just seemed so transparent and un-genuine. At first, I just pitied the poor dude, but then things kept changing. Sometimes he was pathetic. Sometimes he was clueless. Sometimes he acted like a stud. It was all just so confusing; I didn't like it at all.

I don't really know who to recommend this book to, and I almost feel like it should be categorized as a middle grade novel. The plot was so juvenile and predictable, I really can't think of anyone possibly enjoying it.

Spoiler Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!

I really don't want to spend much more of my life doing anything related to this book, but I really do need to vent more about it, if only for closure!

I am really so ticked at how much I hated this book. I almost feel cheated, since I really did like Beastly and was seemingly promised equal greatness in this book. The cover just seems to evoke an eerie fairy-tale narrative promises depth. Just like in Beastly. The Beauty and the Beast re-telling definitely worked there. But here, oh no. It was just so silly. I didn't find Johnny believable, with his dreams of designing shoes (really? shoes?). It just seemed all wrong for him. And then how clueless he was. Everything was so obvious the minute it happened which was just so annoying. I knew right when his father was mentioned that he would turn up later on. I knew the minute the Fox entered the story that he was the Dad. And with Meg. It was all too much. Just pushing the reader back and forth. There was too much going on. It was way too many annoyingly obvious twists going on at once. And the magic just seemed ridiculous. Such random things that weren't well thought out at all.

And the whole princess and prince were so obnoxious and tacky. I really just hated the whole thing. This book is sloppy, immature, and not really worth anyone's time. I'm actually being quite generous with my 2 rating. I really do love the cover though.

I'm a meanie, I know--Cheers & Enjoy♥

Monday, September 5, 2011

(Related) Reminiscent Reads (7)

Reminiscent Reads is a feature that Cait at A Life Like Mine and I started recently to showcase the books we have read before starting our blogs. From time to time we will choose a few, good/bad, related/not, and do a mini-review explaining a little bit about the plot and our overall opinions.

Since someone was so kind enough to lend me Sisterhood Everlasting, the new book by one of my favourite authors, Ann Brashares, I think it is only fitting that I showcase one of my all-time favourite series' before I delve into what can only be a delight in book form! I present to you: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants! 

Also, since I will be talking about all the books in the series, this review could be a tad bit spoiler-y...



I remember absolutely loving this book. I read it so long ago, but I remember the feeling like it was yesterday: perfection. It was the perfect book for a girl my age and everything was just so right. Out of the four girls, there was always someone for any teenage girl to relate to, and all of the letters and escapades were so coming-of-age yet fun and light. This is was the first novel in a series that would change my life, and the lives of young girls everywhere, forever. The pants were so magical and symbolized something so much more than fitting into denim; fitting into life.



In the second installment in the series, we pick up right where we left off with Lena, Bridget, Tibby and Carmen. The girls continue on the journey with the pants, finding love in unexpected places, and learning about everything that they went through last summer. We see the girls grow, change and mature, which makes this book so much more than just the enjoyable, fun read that I saw it as when I read it so many years ago. This book is about love, loss, family, friends, life, and learning to get through. Truly amazing.



In the third book, we see the girls in the summer before college starts. This book really contributes to the versatility of the series, as we see the girls growing and learning their identities through all different experiences. We see that the girls are still connected, even though their experiences take them physically and mentally far from home. Lena is still experimenting with life and love, and learns volumes about family and loss. Tibby is also struggling with new romantic endeavors, and blame and depression from anxiety about her family and changes that she is going through. Bridget revisits issues from her past and learns more about herself and love. Carmen struggles with her family life and starting a new endeavor in college, and also about herself and her ability to love selflessly. This third touching book in the series sets us up beautifully to experience the last book, and left me wanting more and more of these wonderful girls and all of their stories.



Entering into the last book in the Sisterhood series, it was almost as if the magical pants themselves have gone unseen for a while, just becoming a metaphor and catalyst for all of the life altering experiences that we see our four favourite girls endure. The book brings us full circle, though, when we are brought back to the magic of the pants and everything they represent. I love how Brashares incorporated that special, magical feeling that we started off with right in the beginning. We see how the girls end up, and everything wraps up nicely, bittersweetly, and perfectly. Brashares writes beautifully and magically in this heartfelt ending to an iconic series.



So this isn’t actually part of the original series, but is a continuation or sorts, with cameos from the original Traveling Pants girls. I really didn’t enjoy this book. I found that I was too mature too understand the struggles of the girls, and to relate to them. I also just felt myself longing for the original girls, which is a void that is not easily filled. Having said that, the key plot ideas and themes of this book were equally important as those in the original series, and I found that a new generation of young readers could benefit and love this continuation of a wonderfully epic series.

If you haven't read this series yet, or anything by Ann Brashares, I seriously urge you to, since her writing is beautiful and timeless. Her stand alone novel The Last Summer (Of Me & You) is also amazing, and I can't wait to read both Sisterhood Everlasting (seeing the original 4 girls as adults) and her newest novel Her Name Is Memory. There has also recently been cover-redesigns for the original series, which are gorgeous, and I might just do a Covergasms♥ post on them soon!

Reminiscing--Cheers & Enjoy♥

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper.
But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn't believe in them. Not that Meena isn't familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you're going to die. (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.) But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets-then makes the mistake of falling in love with-Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It's a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire hunters, would prefer to see him dead for. The problem is, Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met whom she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's future, she's never been able look into her own. And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.
Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future. . . .
If she even has one.                                                   -Chapters Canada

Having read almost all of Meg Cabot's other books (and loving all of them!), I had really high expectations for this book. It was only alright.

I didn't really know much about the book when I picked it up (my trust in Meg Cabot is pretty high), and was pretty surprised to find that it was about vampires (which, in retrospect would have been pretty obvious if I was observant enough to look at the cover!). As I have read and loved many other vampire-based books, I decided to give it a chance. Although I am pretty close to being over the whole vampire craze, this book was different enough to keep me interested, set with an independent heroine and funny characters. It did come off as kind of spoofish though, which I'm not sure was intentional or not. Alaric (name of a vampire hunter on The Vampire Diaries) Wulf (wolf? hello... always hate vampires) who is a vampire killer in the book, kind of tipped me off. And then there were lots of True Blood and Twilight references to keep a salivating paranormalist happy. In any case, it did lighten the theme of the book, and I still enjoyed the plot and the romance.

Overall, I think that Meg Cabot fans will still enjoy this light, fun, if supernatural, chick-lit read, that has all the humour and spunk of a usual Meg Cabot novel.

Spoiler Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!

As soon as I started reading Insatiable I knew where the plot was going. Average girl meets tall, dark, handsome stranger; soon finds out he's a vampire. What I did like though, was that our Meena actually had second thoughts when she discovered Lucien's secret. Which should be a knee jerk reaction, people! It was plausible, and I liked this aspect. Something I didn't expect also, was Alaric becoming a romantic interest, although this does ring true with mocking other books in the genre (especially seeing as his last name is Wulf!). Anyway, the love triangle seems interesting, and for once I can't really decide how it's going to play out, or how I want it to either. Since this book is the first in a series, I am totally looking forward to seeing who Meena chooses.

Aside from the romantic themes going on, there were also very interesting plotlines woven into the story, with a whole slew of secondary characters that were just as interesting as Meena and her beaus. Her brother Jon's story is far from over, and I really hope that we see more of Leisha and her baby, and Emil and Mary Lou Antonescu.

After reading Insatiable I really am looking forward to learning more about Meena's life, even if this isn't my favourite Meg Cabot novel.

He vants to suck her blood!--Cheers & Enjoy♥

Thursday, September 1, 2011

In My Mailbox

An awesome meme started at The Story Siren!

          So I have finally decided to start doing an In My Mailbox post! Since I don't actually receive ARC's (yet, I hope) and I have a pledge not to buy anymore new books until I've read the ones I have, I don't really have a need to do this feature every week. But since I still do accumulate some books, one way or another, I've decided to do a post every now and then. So this one takes into account the month of August. Enjoy!

Even though I am still not supposed to buy ANY books, I still managed to squeeze a few in. I did my best, ok?!

♥ Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz 
          I just really needed to buy a book (withdrawal, people!) and I love this author.

♥ The Last Summer (Of You & Me) by Ann Brashares 
          I have already read this book, loved it, and love the author. And it was $1. As if I could pass it up.


This month was a pretty good one as far as borrowing books from the library. I found lots of books that I've been dying to read:

♥ Other Words For Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
♥ Dead Rules by Randy Russell
♥ Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
♥ The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin
♥ Cloaked by Alex Finn
♥ Insatiable by Meg Cabot
♥ Room by Emma Donoghue


I have had so many nice people lending me books this month, I just hope I can read the books and return them to their owners promptly:

♥ Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
♥ Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
♥ Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
♥ The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
♥ Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Not pictured above (already read, reviewed, returned):

♥ The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
♥ Ordinary People by Judith Guest
♥ A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess


I finally won a giveaway, which is super exciting! The book is:

♥ Haunted Heart by Tania Donald

And it is signed by the awesome Australian author. Thanks so much to Alpha Reader for having the amazing giveaway and shipping it to lonely Me, all the way up in Canada!


So this is my very first audiobook! I really badly want to read this book, so when I saw the audiobook, I grabbed it. Since I have so many other hobbies, I decided that it would be a good idea for me to possibly multitask and listen to a book while, let's say, quilting. I will let you know how it goes, and comment below with how and why you listen to your audiobooks!

♥ Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Well, that concludes my very first In My Mailbox post, and hopefully there will be more to come!

What books have you gone through this month?--Cheers & Enjoy♥

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