Sunday, December 11, 2011

“Miracles happen to those who believe in them.”

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder: The hospital has been like a second home for Cam Cooper. For the last seven years, she's done nothing but go back to it over and over again. So the last thing Cam wants to do with the life she has left is pick up everything and move to Promise, Maine. A place known for it's miracles.

Cam won't deny that Promise is strange. What with its purple dandelions and all. Things get even more strange when Cam receives an envelope with a bucket list, a list of things she needs to do before she dies. As she checks things off the list, Cam Cooper begins to believe that maybe miracles can exist.

Really, really, really want to read this novel. Miracles come in a lot of different shapes so I'm interested to see what form it takes here. Also it just sounds interesting and different. I just hope to god it isn't like a Lurlene McDaniel book because her books have never been hopeful for me as a reader. It always ends in tears with that woman.

The book trailer is really pretty and it suits the cover art of the novel as well as the overall impression I get from the description of the novel.

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder is already out and in hardcover.

(note: title quote comes from Bernard Berenson.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

“Censorship in any form is the enemy of creativity, since it cuts off the life blood of creativity: ideas.”

The first time I saw this video it was in the corner of my computer screen wearing Maureen Johnson's face. I was immediately intrigued. What could this video be? And like most people on youtube, I ignored the title and clicked it (this is how you get rickrolled, people).

I think this video is incredibly important because it highlights where censorship really comes from and that's fear. It's not about protecting children or the people of the world. It's about catering to the fear of one or more people who get their five minutes to say something.

It happens before the book comes out and even after. It's what gets put into a novel and what gets taken out. It's the small changes too like language and even tone.

Firstly, censorship is ridiculous and secondly, it's heartbreaking and we shouldn't roll over into a fort of blankets and take it. Get me?

And it's kind of hilarious how everyone forgets that Canada, my home, also protects my rights concerning free speech as do many other countries around the world (I'm looking at you Laurie Halse Anderson. Or maybe I'm jumping to conclusions. It just felt heavy handed, okay?).

Some of the books that have been challenged in the last decade are astonishing. Books like the Harry Potter series, Charles Perrault's Fairy Tales, To Kill a Mockingbird , Bridge to Terabithia, The Golden Compass, and even The Giver. Complaints ranged from religious grounds to the use of language to the depiction of violence.

It's important that we speak up against censorship because if we don't, then what will become of our books?

(note: title quote from Allan Jenkins)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Remember me to one who lives there, he once was a true love of mine."

The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten: When Lucy's boyfriend breaks up with her on the first day of the new school year, she doesn't know what to do. Brokenhearted and humiliated, Lucy accepts a magical offer of help from three girls. But everything has a price.

In return for their help, the three girls ask Lucy to make a boy fall in love with her within seven days, break his heart and then collect one of his brokenhearted tears. It doesn't seem like much especially when Lucy is willing to do just about anything to get back what she lost.

Heartbreak, it affects everyone differently, which is what I like about this book. Lucy is sad but she's bitter and angry too. I'm so used to just seeing acceptance and defeat in novels about heartbreak so Lucy taking charge of how she feels and wanting to do something about it is refreshing. It'll definitely make for an interesting read.

Also, who are those three girls? And why do they want the tears of the brokenhearted? It's all pretty weird and mysterious.

The book trailer is vair vair creepy but awesome too. It makes me want to read the novel even more now but since it's not even out yet, I have to wait. I am not a patient person I will have you know.

The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers comes out December 27th 2011 but there is more than one date for it. The publisher's website says the 14th of January but the author's website, amazon, and goodreads have it set for December.

(note: title quote from the song Scarborough Fair.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

“Lovers, forget your love And list to the love of these She a window flower And he a winter breeze ...”

Wintertown by Stephen Emond Every year around winter, Evan looks forward to one thing and that's a visit from his old friend Lucy. But this year is different. Lucy is different. She has short dyed black hair, a nose stud and a harsh attitude.

Evan has no idea what happened but he's determined to find and bring out the 'old Lucy' because he knows she's still in there...somewhere. He'll do it even if it means he'll have to face 'new Lucy's' temper.

This is the one book this December that I have truly been waiting for. Yes, I am interested in others but this one has really captured my attention. They've compared it to Garden State, which is one of my favorite films, and I suppose I'm looking for that coming of age and discovery novel this winter. Also, it's illustrated and I can't help but be really excited about a novel that mixes text and images (breaking down them traditional walls).

And look! The cover is so pretty. I admit I can also be extremely shallow about the novels I pick up but only at first. I love the use of the silhouetted figure, paper confetti to create the snow and the background. All simple elements that come together to create a unique and interesting cover.

Wintertown arrives December 5th in hardcover and coincidentally on the first day of Uni exams for me. Bittersweet day.

(note: title quote from Robert Frost)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Even if all the clocks in the station break down, thought Hugo, time won't stop."

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick: Hugo Cabret is an orphan that lives in a wall at a busy Paris train station. His quiet life's routine of thieving to survive and keeping time with a large clock can be timed down to the second. But that routine is disrupted when he meets an excitable girl and an angry toy booth owner.

I have not read the book yet but I have it on do 121 other people. It sounds pretty stellar. It's supposed to blend story and illustrations together and I cannot express just how much I enjoy that sort of thing. It's also a movie now, directed by Martin Scorsese.

This adaptation kind of crept up on me. I didn't even know it existed until about two weeks ago. The trailers were short and I always seemed to catch them right at the end. That's simply no way to be introduced to an adaptation. One needs time for these things!

And even though I dislike 3D films (because I can't watch them without feeling ill due to my eyesight and their overabundance of the last few years), I want to see this movie. Visually it looks stunning and the story has me more than interested in seeing it. I am so looking forward to watching it sometime soon.

(note: title quote from is from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick)

Monday, November 14, 2011

“Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.”

So...who else got chills? The music in the background is stunning (someone get me the soundtrack!) and the way everything looks is near perfect (so far). I'm actually quite excited for the movie.

I didn't expect to be. I thought I wouldn't actually care about it (much like I don't care that Breaking Dawn Part 1 is coming out despite how often my friends bring it up) but I do.

Gotta say though, I didn't think Jennifer Lawrence could pull it off but she's proving me wrong. She's the perfect Katniss Everdeen. And everywhere I look there is someone I adore. Seriously, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz in the same film? Catch me before I fall into a swoon from all this awesome.

(note: title quote comes from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone."

I've been remiss in my attentions to news surrounding the two films so here I am, posting the last 3 videos Peter Jackson has posted on his facebook. A lot of fun things to see in each video. Truly amazing to be seeing all this before the films come out in 2012 and 2013. Enjoy.

(NOTE: title quote from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain. "

Dark Eden by Patrick Carman: Will Besting is 15 years old when he's sent to Fort Eden, a place that is supposed to help him deal with his fears. But Will is not alone when he arrives there. There are six other teenagers just like him at Fort Eden, each of them struggling with their own intense phobia.

Will thinks the treatment process is a little weird. Each patient must spend time inside a chamber where they must face their fears. Strangely enough, it works as each of them leave the chamber feeling stronger. But soon after something starts to feel wrong as all seven patients experience odd aches and pains.

What did the fear chamber really do to them?

I used to seriously have a fear of the dark. Turn off the light and I wouldn't be able to sleep for the entire night and every little sound freaked me out. It wasn't until I truly faced my fear that I actually got over it. Now I can actually sleep without the light on (except after watching The Walking Dead for some reason). So I'm really interested in the whole idea surrounding these teenagers facing their fears and somehow being changed by their experience. Sounds creepy so I am down to clown with this novel.

Dark Eden is out now in hardcover.

Dark Eden 2: Eve of Destruction by Patrick Carman.

I was so surprised to see the cover art and the description up for the second book in the series. I didn't expect it at all. I'm not going to post more than the release date and the cover for now since I think the synopsis gives away a lot.

Dark Eden 2 comes out April 24th 2012 in hardcover.

(note: title quote from Mark Twain.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Since golden October declined into sombre November..."

Death Watch (#1 in The Undertaken series) by Ari Berk: When Amos Umber goes missing, his son Silas is overwhelmed by loss and incomprehension. Why his father and where could he be?

Silas eventually learns that his father was not just any mortician but an Undertaker, an individual who is able to bring peace to those spirits trapped on earth in various states of limbo. As his father's disappearance continues, Silas and his mother are forced to leave their home and go back to the small town of Lichport, where Silas was born, and move in with his uncle Charles.

As time moves on, Silas explores Lichport's abandoned streets and cemeteries and begins to grow suspicious of his uncle Charles and of his uncle's strange house. Silas can't quite put his finger on it but he knows that whatever it is has to be connected to his father's disappearance. Silas' exploration eventually leads to the discovery of his father's old office and of the Death Watch, an old Hadean clock with the power to grant its possessor the gift of seeing the dead.

I've been waiting since the summer months to talk about this book. First off, I love the cover. The dark and eerie colours fit the book so well and I like how the title of the book seems to rise up out from the 2nd darker colour. Also the little drawing of the skull with wings and a compass is pretty cool.

The story has a lot going for it too since it's a good ol' supernatural mystery. Also, ever since I read American Gods and Thoth and Anubis turned out to be the town morticians, I've been interested in the figure of the mortician. Not in a morbid sense but in a this-could-be-a-great-character-for-a-book-no-one-ever-talks-about-the-mortician kind of way.

Death Watch by Ari Beck comes out November 15th 2011 in hardcover.

Darker Still(#1 in the Magic Most Foul series) by Leanna Renee Hieber: It's 1882 in New York City and Natalie Stewart is obsessed with the painting of the young British Lord Denbury. Every time she visits the painting, Natalie notices that something is different about it. As if Lord Denbury has moved within the framed confines of his painting. She also begins to feel like Lord Denbury's painted eyes are looking right at her.

Trapped by dark magic, Jonathan Denbury's soul is stuck in a painting while his possessed body runs around New York causing mischief. But Jonathan believes there may be a way out but to do that, he would have to lure Natalie Stewart into the painting. Because only together do they stand a chance at breaking the curse.

This novel sounds exciting. Partly because it reminds me slightly of The Picture of Dorian Gray and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Of course, it won't be anything like those books and I don't expect it to but just the allusion to them caught my interest. Also the cover is quite pretty and I can be quite shallow when it comes to book covers.

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber is already out in paperback!

(Note: title quote from T.S. Eliot)

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Go to hell! Oh! I've been there, thank you. I found it quite lovely."

by Neil Gaiman

When Coraline moves into an old house subdivided into four flats, she finds a locked door in the living room.

Later, when she's home alone, she tries the door and it opens. She steps through it to find a flat almost exactly like her own, complete with "other" parents. Everything in this alternate world seems to be better, even the "other" parents are more fun even though they have black shiny buttons instead of eyes.

But soon enough, the "other" parents want to call Coraline their daughter and that means trading her eyes for buttons.

If you ever want to be terrified by a children's novel, read Coraline. It didn't win the Bram Stoker Award for Works for Young Readers for nothing. I don't know what scared me more the kids trapped in the mirror or the buttons for eyes. This is another one of his novels that I truly like even though it scares me to bits.

If you like this one, also check out The Graveyard Book. I chose to put Coraline first since it's an older novel.


The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre
by H.P. Lovecraft
edited by August Derleth

It's an anthology of H.P. Lovecraft's most terrifying, most fiendish and most blood chilling tales. *cue crack of thunder*

I honestly didn't think they'd be very scary. I had this whole laugh-in-the-face-of-danger attitude going to read this book and I will admit that all his stories scared me. Especially, The Picture in the House. I'm still having nightmares about it.

Some stories included in the book are:
The Rats In The Walls
In The Vault
The Music of Erich Zann
The Call of Cthulhu
The Dunwich Horror

+ And many more.


The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Fairytales aren't just for kids. I say this because I know I'm not the only adult still reading and enjoying them. They're scary and strange but they're also fun to read.

It's also amazing to know that these stories have been around for so long and that they've survived the passing of time.

Some of the stories included in the book are Briar Rose, Snow White, Little Red Cap, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretal and Rapunzel.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Kate Beaton, I must confess that I did find Canadian history quite boring.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton is a thing of wonder. It is a collection of her comics, some of them old favorites and some of them new.

Now that I've gotten that quaint and sweet description out of the way, I shall move right along and say that it is an amazing book. I have not stopped laughing since I got it, which was roughly a week ago (so basically I'm dead. I am a spirit cackling from the grave).

Her comics and commentary on world history, literature, entertainment, life and everything are the funniest things I have ever seen. Kate Beaton even has me looking up historical figures and events on my computer (like Nikola Tesla. Now all I want to do is scream and throw my long johns at him but alas, he's dead).

Also, she's Canadian so I feel a little swelling of pride in my chest is apt. Or is that swelling love? I haven't the faintest idea. Maybe it's both.

If you want to see some of her work for yourself before you buy the book (and you shall feel compelled to...eventually), you can check out her website:Kate Beaton on the Internet

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Tears are the silent language of grief."

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert: Lily's mom is fading away. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is taking bigger and bigger pieces of her each day. When traditional therapy doesn't work, Lily's mom turns to bee sting therapy in order to deal with the pain. Eventually that too fails and Lily's mom seems to give up.

On a spring day full of possibility, her mom asks for one of the most difficult things she's ever asked Lily for - mercy. Can Lily give her mom what she wants or will Lily hold on to her mom until the end?

Euthanasia is always one of those touchy subjects that no one particularly wants to handle and if they do, they do it with care. It's a pretty loaded issue with moral, ethical and (for some) religious ramifications. I give this author points for even tackling it. I look forward to taking a crack at this novel sometime soon.

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert will be out on the 8th of October in paperback.

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas : One of the only things Rose's mom leaves behind after she dies is a paper bag labeled Rose’s Survival Kit. Inside is an iPod, a picture of peonies, a crystal heart, a paper star and a kite.

Confused, Rose finds herself coming back to the items in the bag and trying to figure out what each of them could mean and what her mom is trying to say through them. Another strange source of comfort comes from the family gardener, Will, who is also her school's hockey champion. Unlike everyone else, he understands how she feels and what she's going through. Will Rose gain something new in her loss?

This one reminds me a lot of Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes in the way that a relative of the main character dies and they leaves a package behind. A small package that is supposed to lead to something bigger for the main character. I'm interested to see the thoughts behind the survival kit for Rose and what happens with Will.

The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas comes out on October 11th in hardcover.

Without Tess by Marcella Pixley: Tess and Lizzie are as close as sisters can be. They even have their own secret and made up world full of magic and fantastical creatures. As time passes, Lizzie is ready to leave their imaginary world behind and grow up while Tess isn't.

Tess clings to her delusions and won't let go. Deciding that she can't live in the real world, she takes her own life. Years later, Lizzie still struggles to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of the psychologist at her school and Tess's old journal, Lizzie searches for answers and for a way let her sister go.

I know, I know. What's with all the horribly doom and gloom novels for October? I don't really know. They all seem to be getting published this month and some of them even sound good enough to read?

Anyway, I really like the look (the cover is simple but pretty) and the sound (delusions!)of this novel. Mental health is something that affects a lot of people, not just the old. I think out of all of the novels I listed in this post, this is the one I'm most looking forward to.

Without Tess by Marcella Pixley comes out October 11th in hardcover.

(Note: title quote is from Voltaire.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun. "

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber: Perry Stormaire is not one for adventure. His only concerns right now are his applications for college and practicing with his band.

Then on the night of his big first gig, Perry is forced into taking Gobi Zaksauskas, the Lithuanian exchange student who lives with his family, to the prom. He thinks it's going to be a boring night at the school gym with lame music and an even lamer date but he's wrong.

Gobi Zaksauskas is not the quiet and timid teenager Perry thought she was but instead, a calm and collected assassin with a list of targets she needs to take out before the night is done. Dragged along for the ride, Perry is sort of glad they skipped the prom.

This book sounds so insane that I have to read it. My prom consisted of a rickety limo ride, dance music, surprise waffles, watching tv awkwardly with my friend's parents and then passing out asleep (it'd been a long day, okay? I was tired) on my friend's bedroom floor. So Perry's prom night sounds a lot more exciting than mine ever was. I just hope this book turns out to be as fun as I think it will be.

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick comes out October 25th in hardcover.

Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler: Myra isn't the type to have flights of fancy. She needs to keep her feet on the ground if she's going to take care of her four younger brothers and her pregnant older sister.

She's got mostly everything under control until her boyfriend breaks up with her. After that, she doesn't know if she can keep it together. Suddenly Myra starts doing things for herself, things she wouldn't have done before such as quitting her job, applying for a scholarship to study birds in the Galapagos Islands and falling for some new. A guy who wants nothing but for Myra to spread her wings and fly.

I really like how this book sounds. She gets thrown for a loop by the break up and then starts doing all these amazing things that I think will be beneficial for her. Myra needs to stop thinking about other people for a second and start thinking about her own life. Excited to see if Myra really does fly in the end.

Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler will be out on October 13th, 2011 in hardcover.

Past Perfect by Leila Sales: Chelsea's goals for the summer are to hang out with her best friend, to spend some quality time eating ice cream and to get over her ex-boyfriend Ezra.
But not everything according to plan when Chelsea discovers that Ezra will also be working at the Essex Historical Colonial Village. With her. Which makes getting over him a little hard to do. Things become even more complicated when she meets someone new, someone who may not even be available.

Is history about to repeat itself? Chelsea hopes not.

What really drew me to this book was the setting. It sounds like it will be pretty awesome working at a historical reenactment village and I hope we get to explore that space. Secondly, I love the complication on top of complication going on here. And lastly, I like that Chelsea is going to realize that she still has a lot to learn about love and life and everything. Character growth and epiphanies are big with me.

Past Perfect
by Leila Sales comes out on October 4th, 2011 in hardcover.

(note: title quote from Thomas A. Edison )

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"They say the history of the West was written from the saddle of a horse..."

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: The Scorpio Races happen every November. It's a tradition so old, it's immortal. Riders compete to make it to the finish line. Some make it there alive and some do not.

Sean Kendrick, the 19-year-old champion, returns and is as fearless as ever.

Puck Connolly, however, is different. Luck has never been on her side but she enters the race anyway. She's the first girl to ever ride in it and she has no idea what she's just signed up for.

I love Maggie Stiefvater's books so it's no wonder why I'm checking this one out. That being said, the novel does have a lot going for it. I like the idea of this race and I want to know more about it. I also really want to know this world in which the story takes place. Every detail is really quiet and small about this book right now so naturally, I'm hooked.

The Scorpio Races comes out October 18th, 2011 in Hardcover.

And here's the trailer for the book and it's amazing, of course. The music and the stop motion images flow together perfectly. Really, it's just a pretty piece of video and it just intensifies my want for this novel.

(note: title quote is from the film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.”

You would think or would at least hope that after the uproar this summer at San Diego Comic Con over the "too few women in comics", DC would take some time to reflect and do something meaningful about it. Not just about the number of women they have working in their company, but also the number of women featured as prominent characters in their comics. But it is not just quantity we hope for.  Quality is something we want desperately.

Apparently, this is too much to ask for.  And to think...I was so excited for the arrival of Red Hood and the Outlaws.

 I hope you've got comfort food with you because it is going to get depressing real fast.

Number One : Starfire. Apparently, she's been turned into someone who will sleep with anyone because it makes her feel free.  The reason for this?  She was a slave.  DC Comics has dressed it up as "sexual liberation", when it in fact is quite the opposite.  It is called catering to your male audience. Especially, when as you read the comic you get the sense that the writer (Scott Lobdell) is high fiving every man whose fantasy of Starfire he's just fulfilled.

Sexual liberation (also known as the sexual revolution) was a time where we broke from traditional views on sexuality. There was an increased acceptance of sex before marriage, homosexuality, bisexuality, contraception in its various forms and the legalization of abortion. It is about acceptance and not letting prejudice deter human beings from living their lives as they see fit.  Mr. Lobdell has no concept of what the sexual revolution meant for women and the world at large because if he did, he would not be using it here as an excuse for his decisions in Starefire's characterization.

Here, we're supposed to think that Starfire is taking charge of her free life, which includes her sexuality.  It does not come across as empowering or good.  It made me so uncomfortable to see this because she is just another object in these comics for the male heroes to entertain themselves with despite her own strengths. She does not feel like their equal on this team.  And the fact that Starfire seems to be suffering from some sort of memory loss concerns me.  Is she of sound mind to make these decisions?  None of the characters seem to think that maybe, something might be wrong with her. No one seems to care about Starfire's well being at all.

DC's response over Twitter?

  • "We've heard what's being said about Starfire today and we appreciate the dialogue on this topic."
  • "We encourage people to pay attention to the ratings when picking out any books to read themselves or for their children."
Why does DC  Comics never give anyone a straight answer?  They "appreciate the dialogue on this topic" but don't contribute to it in an honest manner.  And blaming the reader for picking up a T rated comic? It is not the implication of Starfire being sexually active that is disturbing.  She is a powerful woman that can do what she wants. It is rather, the fact that Mr. Lobdell is trying to mask the male fantasy and call it sexual liberation that is scary.  Starfire is not a person in this comic.  She is a thing to be gazed at and used.

Number Two: Starfire seems to lack a personality. Unless sleeping with people is apparently her only character trait? This is the new DC Universe, I expected things to be different but goodness.

I went into this with an open mind, and I can say in all honesty it doesn't feel like Starfire has a personality. She's been a slave and she's been betrayed so where is all that emotion that should come with having gone through that? Did she lose it at the intergalactic airport? Did the United States of America not allow her to pass through into their country with it in a carry-on bag?

Where is the fierce and passionate Tamaranian I used to know and adore? They took a character that was brimming with life and turned her into a one-dimensional object that sits in the background. Great.

I've been reading comments from various readers of the comic. Some of them, the more relaxed people who want everyone to calm down, say there's a reason for all of this and that answers will come along eventually down the line in the series. But how long must we wait and why did we have to wait to begin with?

Other comments from readers about this comic have been less than kind and I mean people are using some downright offensive language.  It is not about the quality of the comic but actually in reference to Starfire. They are all comments made by men and they are laughing about her like she is a joke.

Will I be checking out the next issue? I won't be.  This series was made for one audience only and I am not part of it.

Very well written article on the same subject matter but obviously more intelligently written: The Big Sexy Problem with Superheroines and Their 'Liberated Sexuality'

Interesting article: A 7-year-old girl responds to DC Comics’ sexed-up reboot of Starfire

And this is just for giggles: Someone's attempt at being Starfire Sexy.

(note: quote from Joseph Conrad.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose. "

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (author of the Silverwing Saga): Twin brothers Victor and Konrad Frankenstein spend their days living inside their imaginations where all they seek is the next adventure.

On one such day, they discover The Dark Library with its countless books on alchemy and old remedies but their father catches them both and forbids them from ever entering the room again. But then Konrad becomes ill and Victor becomes convinced that the secret to helping his twin brother is locked away inside The Dark Library. Against his father's wishes, Victor returns to it and finds an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life tucked away in one of the books.

Accompanied by his friends Elizabeth and Henry, Victor sets out to find an alchemist and the three ingredients needed to make the elixir. Will Victor succeed with this dark endeavor?

I know I've mentioned Mary Shelley's Frankenstein before and not in the most favorable light but I did actually like it (I just didn't like being told to read it). The short novel gave me the creeps. It's one of those books built on the theme of Man as God, the creator, and the consequences of such a thing.

This isn't a new idea - breathing new life into old characters. It's been done for Sherlock Holmes and it's continually being done to the James Bond series but for the first time, I actually want to read this one. I suppose it might be because it satisfies that lingering hole for me in the original. Just what the hell drove Victor Frankenstein to creating his Creature? It couldn't have only been a thirst for knowledge. It had to be more. I always felt that there had to be more.

And the novel, out almost a whole month now, was optioned to be made into a film in January. Though it appears, Oppel is being more quiet and realistic about the whole movie optioning thing. He knows what production hell is (if you don -it's where film ideas go to die). Just because it's been optioned doesn't mean there will be a movie. Do I hope there will be one? I'm not sure. It could be an interesting film but it could also be a terrible one. We shall see.

I remain hopeful though and hope readers will give the novel a chance. I hope it will get them interested in the original Frankenstein novel too.

To read an interview with Mr. Oppel from the Toronto Star, go here: The darker side of sweet sixteen

(note: title quote from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.)

"This paperback is very interesting, but I find it will never replace a hardcover book - it makes a very poor doorstop. "

If you're on a budget like me, you spend a good few months pining for a certain hardcover book until it sheds its hard shell and comes out in a soft paperback edition. For the month of September, there are two novels that I think are worth a read. Let's break it down.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick: 14-year-old Sig is sitting in an isolated cabin in a snow covered wilderness but he's not alone, the corpse of his dead father keeps him company as he waits for his sister and mother to return. Then a stranger, large and gruff, knocks on his door and accuses his father of having cheated him out of his gold.

The stranger wants it back but Sig doesn't know anything about any stolen gold. What Sig does know is that there's a loaded Colt revolver hidden somewhere in the cabin but can he find it in time?

I'm a closet western nut (I blame Deadwood and John Wayne) so the author's already got me there. Another thing is the overall story grabs me. Will Sig find the Colt? Will he be able to shoot it? Did his father really steal the gold? And I just love how the story takes place within the closed walls of the cabin. Talk about tension and restriction!

And the cover, it really brings out those notions of mystery and desolation created in the book by the stranger and the cold landscape where the cabin is located through the use of the dark image and the blue colour.

The Curse of the Wendigo (The Monstrumologist #2) by Rick Yancey: Dr. Warthrop is trying to prove the existence that Homo vampiris, the vampire, but that task must be put aside as a former fiancee asks Warthrop to save her husband from a Wendigo. A greedy creature whose hunger is never sated.

Despite not believing in the creature, Dr. Warthrop heads to the Canadian wilderness and rescues the poor man, who is starved and near death. But is what Dr. Warthrop brought back still a man?

Does Canada have Wendigos? Probably. I'm kidding. Maybe. But truthfully, I'm glad to see that this book is out in paperback now so I can finally read it. I've always found the Wendigo to be such an interesting creature in mythology. It was once human but when it tasted human flesh, it lost that humaness and became a monster. They could even copy human voices in order to lure their victims! (sleeping with the light on, thank you) You see a lot of it brought up on TV like Supernatural, Haven and Fear Itself.

But back to the novel, Rick Yancey is such an impressive writer and I look forward to seeing how he's going to scare me with this novel and the legend of the Wendigo.

(note: title quote from Alfred Hitchcock.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis: It's been a year since Luna's mom was hit and killed by a taxi and she's still dealing with the pain. A hurt she shares with her brother Tile and her dad.

When Luna begins to clean out what used to be her mother's studio, she stumbles upon her mom's old cellphone - fully charged and with seven messages in its voicemail box. Messages that have been sitting there for a year.

As Luna plays through each one it becomes clear that there was a lot about her mom that she didn't didn't know and that the accident that was her mom's death may not have been an accident at all.

I really like the synopsis of this book. I also like the idea of truly getting to know someone after they're gone through the things they leave behind. In this case, seven messages on a cellphone in a studio that hasn't been touched in a year. I wonder who they're from, what they say and what they reveal about Luna's mother. Whatever the answers, my interest is caught.

The Shattering by Karen Healey: Keri always has a plan and she knows exactly what to do in an emergency. But she finds herself at a loss when her brother commits suicide, leaving her grief stricken and confused.

When a childhood friend named Janna tells her that it wasn't suicide but murder, Keri can't quite believe her. Especially since Janna lost her own brother a few years ago. But Janna insists that she's telling the truth and that they're not alone in their loss. A tourist in their town named Sione has also lost a brother to suicide that same year.

As they dig deeper, the facts start to pile up and form a pattern: one boy killed every year, all older brothers, and each boy had spent New Year's Eve in the town of Summerton. Can the girls save the next intended victim and stay alive long enough to uncover the truth?

It sounds so creepy that it must be good or at least entertaining. I know...I'm a bit morbid. I blame the fact that I watch a lot of Criminal Minds. The show always gave me the why driving the violent action and I suppose that's what interests me the most about this novel - the why. Why a boy each year? Why older brothers? Why is Summerton important? I have a reason now for why I should read this book.

Quick cover comment, I don't like it all that much. I think a lot more could have been done here design wise. I haven't seen the actual print book so that opinion may change but over the internet? It's a little underwhelming.

Burnout by Adrienne Maria Vrettos : On the morning following Halloween, Nan wakes up in a subway car. She's wearing skeleton makeup and an unfamiliar extra small costume she doesn't remember putting on. In fact, Nan can't remember where she was or what she did yesterday. At all.

Nan swore to herself that this wouldn't happen again. She's no longer the girl who gets black out drunk all the time. She's changed and she needs to know what happened. As she tries to gather the pieces of her forgotten day, Nan has flashbacks of her old and dangerous life. She wouldn't go back to that, would she?

But the more Nan figures out, the more scary things become. She thinks that maybe this time, she may have gone a little too far.

This kind of reminds me of The Tracey Fragments by Maureen Medved except that Tracey wakes up naked with only a shower curtain in the back of a bus. Anyway, that's not important. What's important is that this novel sounds pretty cool. I mean, Nan has a preexisting problem with alcohol and she assumes it may be the cause of her forgotten day. It could be. It might not be. I don't know. I guess we'll find out when we actually read the book.

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer: Willa believes she's lucky because she's got a family that gets along. Not many can say the same. But then hundreds of miles away, a savage and bloody crime takes place that threatens the peace of Willa's life and family. Willa's biological father has murdered his new family and is now traveling east towards Willa and her mom.

While under police protection, Willa begins to learn secrets that her mom has spent years keeping from her. Secrets that make her rethink her own identity. Willa sets about trying to decipher and understand the facts of her past but her own dark secret looms over her and threatens to pull her happy family apart.

First off the cover just gets me. The girl staring at you with her cold blue eyes and blank expression. It should make me run for the hills or want to buy the girl an ice cream to brighten up her day but instead, it just fascinates me. I look forward to seeing the story unfold and finding out what Willa's secrets are as well as if her father actually catches up with her.

All these books are out now. So run to your local bookstore or if you're hip, order it online.

(note: title quote is from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"A perfect sister I am not, but thankful for the one I've got.”

Irises by Francisco X. Stork: Sisters Mary and Kate have plans. Kate is leaving for Stanford and Mary just wants to stay home and paint. But when their strict father dies, they're forced to deal with a new kind of freedom. One they aren't prepared for and one they don't know quite how to handle. But with this freedom comes a new responsibility to their mother, who remains in a vegetative state.

Kate's boyfriend, Simon, proposes to her and she knows he could offer her the one thing she needs right then - stability. But she's drawn to Andy, whose passion and aspirations match her own so perfectly. And Mary herself faces a challenge when she falls for someone with a violent past that scares her.

The sisters must figure out their lives and each other as well as what's worth living for.

I knew he'd been working on something and now instead of just my suspicions and hopes, I have proof. It'll be interesting to see how Stork writes his female protagonists for this novel since I've only seen him deal specifically with male main characters. Mary and Kate (I keep wanting to insert Olsen in there) have a heaping load of things going on, a lot of them unimaginably tough, so I think how they overcome them is going to be compelling. I wish this book was coming out sooner. LIFE, SHE IS TOO CRUEL.

The cover is pretty and simple and not overdone, which is nice to see. I was disappointed, however, to see that it didn't reflect the covers of 'Marcelo in the Real World' or 'The Last Summer of the Death Warriors'. I loved the cover art from those two books and since he'd used it twice, I was hoping there would be a third occasion for the artist to work his or her magic again.

Release Date: January 1st, 2012.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Strange indeed, sir. Peculiar even."

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs: Jacob's grandfather used to tell him stories when he was a kid. Stories about a large and beautiful house on an island, a sharp beaked Headmistress and a bunch of strangely talented children. At 16, Jacob stopped believing those stories a long time ago but then the monsters came and everything changed.

And it all started with a few photographs.

I love this book. I well and truly do. I've been reading it all week (school started up or else I would have been done in 3 days) and I just finished it today.

I adore the mixture of writing and pictures and they both play off of each other to create something really special, something I haven't seen before. This book had me going in so many directions. As I read the novel, I had all these assumptions about what this book was going to be like and with every chapter I read, my assumptions fell apart. I'm not saying it's a bad thing at all. In fact, when a book can surprise me, it's a good thing. If you read it, you'll understand why.

Another funny thing is, I had nightmares about this book. I can read various short stories by H.P. Lovecraft and go to bed unafraid and dream about nothing but not so with this book. I can't even explain it except that I woke up so thoroughly frightened and concerned about faceless children. Nightmare fuel, y'all, I know.

Some good news that isn't about me and my sleeping habits? There shall be a sequel. Ransom Riggs did some more exploring during the summer and found some more pictures that he'll be incorporating in the next book. I'm already so excited for it.

This is a video about the author's journey in Europe where he searches for the house he envisions as Miss Peregrine's home for her peculiar children. Really fascinating and amazing to watch. Some of the things he shows you in the video are so heartrendingly beautiful. It gave me chills.

(note: title quote from Murdoch Mysteries.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Almost every species in the universe has an irrational fear of the dark. But they're wrong, 'cause it's not irrational."

The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist #3) by Rick Yancey: Will Henry can finally get back to being normal now that Dr. Warthrop and his new assistant Arkwright are off chasing the "Holy Grail of Monstrumology". But when Arkwright returns with the news that Dr. Warthrop is dead, Will can't quite believe it.

Wanting to know the absolute truth, Will must journey to a place steeped in more darkness and horror than he's ever experienced before. A place where human bones are used to make nests and the rain that falls from the sky is blood red.

Release Date: September 13th, 2011.

And because of the outpouring of amazing support, there will indeed be a fourth novel to the series!

Wondering what I'm talking about? Then you missed what happened back in August when the series was suddenly discontinued by Simon and Schuster. But not for long as people started to email the publishing company asking them to reverse their decision. I personally wouldn't have known that this was happening if not for fellow blogger Stephanie Reads, who brought it to my attention. I'm glad that there will be more in the series and I look forward to enjoying more of Rick Yancey's stories.

(note: title quote from Doctor Who. If I remember correctly, it was Ten's era.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"If love be rough with you, be rough with love."

Pure Red by Danielle Joseph: Cassia Bernard wants to find her pure red, her heart's desire and her passion. But during a hot summer in Miami, she'll learn that what the heart wants isn't always what it needs.

This book reminds me of every sad Taylor Swift song I've ever heard and I feel like it would be about disillusionment and about finding out that nothing is clear cut. Sounds cool and worth a look.

Release Date: September 8th, 2011

Stay With Me by Paul Griffin: Cece and Mack are different. Cece is a straight A student with plans for the future and Mack is a high school dropout from a broken home. It's so unexpected when they connect over a rescue dog and fall in love.

But when Mack's past comes back, will it make them stronger or pull them apart?

Sounds like it has the potential to be a great book. I really want to know more about Mack and his past misdeeds as well as how Cece and Mack will impact each others lives.

However, I do feel like the cover could use some work because it really does not catch my eye in a hey-this-is-pretty kind of way. And I get the impression that the dog is copy and pasted into that photo. If your copy and pasting is obvious then something is definitely wrong.

Release Date: September 8th, 2011.

Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins: Lola Nolan believes that putting on your clothes each day should be like dressing up. The wilder the pattern, the crazier the colours, the more perfect it is. Despite her lawless style and rocker boyfriend, she's got a big heart of gold.

But when the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, move back into town and next door, Lola's going to have to deal with their shared history and the old feelings she used to have for Cricket.

Stephanie Perkins needs to keep churning out sweet and adorable books just so I can revel in their romance. Like Anna and the French Kiss, this novel sounds like a lot of fun and I can't wait to get my hands on it. The cover is also really pleasing to the eye with all the colour and finally, we get to see a guy on the cover.

Release Date: September 29th, 2011.

(note: title quote from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Masks. They hide our faces. They hide our fear."

I've been holding off really talking about the new 52 from DC Comics because I wanted to form my own opinion after I'd read something that was a product of the relaunch. You opinion that wasn't still ranting and pouting.

Batgirl #1
Written by: Gail Simone
Penciller: Ardian Syaf

3 years. It took three years for Barbara Gordon to walk again and she's trying to get back into the groove of wearing the mark of the bat on her chest again. But there's a new baddie in town named Mirror and no one's quite sure what he's after. It wasn't the 'welcome back' that Batgirl was expecting.

I actually liked the first issue. I didn't expect to since Stephanie Brown is my one and only Batgirl but I did. I think Mirror is going to be an interesting bad guy to figure out.

My only problem? They didn't explain how Barbara can walk now after being confined to a wheelchair due to her spinal cord injury. So I'm into the series for now but if that doesn't get explained soon then there is going to be a problem.

Issue #2 comes out October 12th.
Issue #3 comes out November 9th.

Batwoman #1
Writer and artist: J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman

Kate Kane has a lot to deal with. Her father betrayed her. She has a new unruly sidekick. And there's a monster on the loose that's taking the children of Gotham. It's never a quiet night for Batwoman.

I was so surprised that this series is continuing the story from the last issue before the relaunch was announced. I didn't think they'd do that since it was supposed to be a reboot. But I am not complaining. I loved the art and the story from before so I was happy to see it carried on. That being said, I liked this issue but it felt like there should have been more to it. That's what I hate about single issues, they always leave you wanting more.

Also, for those wondering, Batwoman is still a lesbian. That wasn't suddenly changed like some of the other things in the DC Universe (i.e. Amanda Waller).

Issue #2 comes out October 12th.
Issue #3 comes out November 9th.

There are definitely going to be some hits and misses with the new 52, no doubt in my mind, but I do think that there will be some good comics coming out of it too.

(note: title quote from Batman, New Earth series.)

Equal dark, equal light

Damage by Anya Parrish: When Dani was eight years old, there was an accident. She fell from a building and no one believed her when she told them that Rachel, her imaginary friend, had been the one to push her over the edge.

7 years of therapy later and Dani no longer believes in Rachel. Now fifteen, Dani has dreams of being a dancer but a fatal accident leads to a startling realization: Rachel is real. And Dani knows that Rachel won't stop playing games until she's dead.

I've always loved the idea of the imaginary friend but I find they've always been sort of positive figures. Yes, they cause a bit of mischief but they don't do it with the intention to hurt (ex. Drop Dead Fred). That's why this novel interests me. The imaginary friend is a dark force in the story that only Dani can see so the question Rachel actually real or is Dani completely bonkers? And if Rachel is real, what is Dani going to do to combat someone only she can see? I'm excited to find out.

Release Date: September 8th, 2011 in paperback.

by Marianna Baer: It's going to be a strange year at Frost House for Leena Thomas. First, she's assigned a new roommate she didn't expect - strange and odd Celeste Lazar. Then weird things start happening inside the boarding school - picture frames falling, doors locking unexpectedly, and furniture tipping over.

Celeste blames the other girls in the house, thinking they're behind the strange events because they want to make her leave. While Leena strives to keep the peace in the house, she begins to feel increasingly unsafe and uncertain. Is Celeste to blame or is it all in Leena's head?

This book sounds so creepy. You got your big ol' house, weird roommate (possibly from hell) and odd things happening inside the aforementioned house. It sounds like a recipe for something entertaining. I also really love the cover art for this book. I think it really hammers home Leena emotional struggle as well as the idea that she's imagining it all.

Release Date: September 13th, 2011 in hardcover.

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey: When Wren's boyfriend dies in a car accident, she decides that she will not live without him. Using the powers she was born with, she tries to bring him back but what comes back isn't her boyfriend. He's only a cold shell of the person she remembers.

So Wren hides him away but the situation becomes more complicated when the new boy at school, Gabriel DeMarnes, guesses her secret and makes Wren feel things she thought she could only feel for Danny. Wren made her choice and now she has to figure out a way to put things to right even if it costs her own heart.

I have high hopes for this book and not just because it involves a zombie boyfriend but because it's about decision making and consequences and about doing the right thing even if it hurts. Really a cool idea. I don't know why I keep thinking about Ed chained up in a shed with a ps2 like in Shaun of the Dead.

Release Date: September 20th, 2011 in hardcover.

Shifting by Bethany Wiggins: Magdalene Mae has a secret. She's a shape shifter. After being bounced from one foster home to another, at eighteen she's determined to make this last one stick. She wants things to be different this time around. The plan is to act normal and stay out of trouble.

But there's something lurking in the shadows of her new home and they're not going to leave Magdalene Mae alone.

Shape shifters! I don't think I've ever dealt with these creatures in a novel outside the Harry Potter series so this is going to be new for me. I wonder if Bethany Wiggins will allude to the folklore behind shape shifters at all in her story. I wonder if she'll build upon the ideas in folklore stories and create something entirely her own.

Release Date: September 27th, 2011 in hardcover.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: There's a crack in the sky and winged creatures are slipping through. The only sign of their visit being handprints burned into doors.

In Prague, an art student with natural blue hair named Karou fills her sketchbooks with drawings of monsters. She can speak many languages including those that aren't human. But Karou has no idea who she is.

When she runs into one of the winged creatures in an alley, she becomes embroiled in an old and harsh war that will reveal the answers she seeks but will she regret knowing the truth?

Out of all the books I've listed here, I think this is the one I'm most looking forward to. Early reviews for it have been consistently good, which surprised me. I thought it would be one of those books that sounded perfect but ultimately fell flat so I'm happy to see my worries about it dashed. I also think this book probably took a lot of world building and there's nothing I find better than an author who can create their own tiny universe within a book.

Release Date: September 27th, 2011 in hardcover.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"I do not sit at home with the pause button on Colin Firth in clingy pants, okay?"

Being a total nut for anything Austen, I think it's absolutely normal to feel like you might want to run away to that time and place full of propriety, parties and pretty dresses. Even know, they didn't have proper toilets or toothbrushes or clean running water. But all that realistic Debbie Downer stuff aside, it's the good stuff that drew me to this book when it first came out in 2007.

Jane Hayes, the main character, had the same feeling. Except maybe a bit more intense because her love/obsession with Fitzwilliam Darcy has ruined her for all other men. So when an old relative of hers gives her a chance to take a trip to an English holiday spot that allows women to act out their Regency-era fantasies, she takes it happily.

But a beautiful house, empire-waist gowns and propriety can only distract her for so long as she realizes it's all a game. Is Jane ready to crawl out of that Darcy shaped hole and fall for someone real?

You'll have to read the book to actually find out or you the film based off Austenland that just finished filming. SURPRISE!

Now there isn't a release date for the film yet but I'm still so excited for it. I love movies like this where they mix the old with the more modern. Admit it, you too watched ITV's Lost in Austen and loved it to bits.

Another thing that it has going for it is that Shannon Hale, the author herself, had a hand in writing the script for the film. I like that this seems to be happening a lot more often now. Also the cast seems fun. Keri Russell plays Jane, remember her from Felicity? Other fantastic names include JJ Feild (Captain America), Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords), James Callis (Battlestar Galactica), Georgia King (The Duchess), Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) and Jennifer Coolidge (Legally Blonde).

Austenites of the world unite!

Interested in reading more? Check out Shannon Hale's Blog.

Feel free to even check out the Austenland website. Right now it's still COMING SOON but maybe someday soon there will be some colourful and awesome content.

(note: title quote from the Lost In Austen tv series.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NEW 52. NEW 52. NEW 52.

And so it begins. DC Comics relaunch starts today with the Justice League #1. I've been reading around and the reviews have been mixed. Some people like it and are excited for more and other people are underwhelmed and unimpressed.

Obviously, a lot of people were not in favor of this move but only time will tell if this endeavor truly succeeds or fails. It's just the first issue so yeah, let's not get ahead of ourselves and give it a chance.

I don't actually care all that much about the Justice League. I'm more looking forward to something else entirely. Of course, Batgirl #1 with Barbara Gordon is one of them. It will be written by Gail Simone and pencilled by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes. This will be coming out September 7th.

I'm also looking forward to Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. I love Jason Todd, even though he may be possibly insane, and I'm looking forward to a series about him and his own team of vigilantes and non-heroes. A team that includes Starfire and Arsenal. The series will be written by Scott Lobdell and pencilled by Kenneth Rocafort. Red Hood and the Outlaws is set to be released on September 21.