Monday, 29 June 2015

Review: Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali & Raphaelle Barbanegre

Title: Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs
Author: Davide Cali and Raphaelle Barbanegre
Publisher: Random House CA
Publication date: April 14, 2015 
Genre(s): Children (Picture Books)
Source: Publisher
Format: Finished Copy
Pages: 32
Snow White is on the run from an evil witch when she comes across some dwarfs in the forest. They agree to take her in and keep her safe if she will help them with their chores. She soon realizes she's taking on a lot more than she bargained for. 77 breakfasts to make, 77 lunches to pack (don't forget the juice boxes!), 77 pairs of pants to mend and a whole lot of dishes. Eventually Snow White decides to take her chances with the witch. There's a surprise ending... well, it may not be so surprising. This is a hilarious retelling of the classic tale, with bright, energetic illustrations featuring busy dwarfs, and the even busier Snow White.
I am in university, and I am not ashamed to say I enjoyed this picture book. It is a children's book, so no doubt there was very minimal text. BUT, the drawings/graphics/pictures were so interesting and fun to look at! I absolutely loved the art, and I would be scrutinizing every page trying hard not to miss anything. Every page was so full of context and color, it was seriously beautiful to look at. There was also a hilarious twist to the original Snow White story that really had me laughing at the end of this book. Definitely recommend this to any children out there, or anyone who is a fan of art and the Snow White stories.

The jacket of the book also happens to be a poster! How cool is that!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Early summer book haul

This is the April/May book haul. Have already gotten several books in June but I will definitely be making another post at the end of June for that one! 
Received every one of these from the lovely ontario blogger friends! thank you so much to Brittany, Giselle, and Marina for all of these beauties! I actually ended up getting Burn for Burn signed when Jenny Han came here in early June! YEAY! plus I loved the movie Love, Rosie so I want to give the book a chance. The other books are either contemporaries I've been wanting to read or paranormal/sci fi books I have had on my to acquire list for a while! 
Feast your eyes in this beauty! I had to snag it when it came out to be around $45 canadian dollars from! now all I do is stare and pet it whenever I'm not feeling great
Some fantastic review books from the publishers! I love love loved finding audrey as well as the wrath and the dawn! two huge thumbs up for those! still haven't read the bottom three yet, though I'm super excited for Most Likely to Succeed and Everything, Everything! 
Fantastic cook books from Random House Canada! those above and the one below (that one is a salad book and it is oh so delicious!) Also the Snow White and the 77 dwarfs is the cutest coffee table book (or children's book) you could ever get your hands on! 
These are all the beautiful books I acquired over the past month or two. Let me know which ones caught your attention and which ones you recommend I read!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

Title: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A handbook for Geek Girls
Author: Sam Maggs
Publisher: Qurik Books
Publication date: May 12, 2015 
Genre(s): Non-fiction (graphic novel)
Source: Publisher
Format: Finished Copy
Pages: 208
Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.
The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy isn't you typical graphic novel. It is a weapon. It is a little handbook that includes everything a Geek Girl would need to know about the Geek World. From the fandoms available (Are you a Potterhead? Or a Startrekker?), to the best comic/anime/gaming cons available. You name it all. Sam Maggs (the author, duh) even gives us a description of everything, and anything we might need to learn about. She even teaches us how to properly prepare to a comic con! Tips included! This book was just absolutely fantastic, and I loved how Sam was able to fit everything that defines being a geek girl into this tiny 208 pages handbook. Really, from games, to ya books, to anime, Sam did not miss anything. Reading this book, it really reminded me how awesome it is to be a fangirl.
Now, not only did the book have writing, but it also had DRAWINGS! As any graphic novel out there, this book had awesome and adorable graphics that seriously added to the humor of the narrator. I was able to relate to a lot of the things that were mentioned, and laughed a lot at the inside jokes only fans would understand. It was a great experience, talking and joking about what you love with someone who truly understands it. Only of course, I would be laughing with myself like a weirdo but who cares.
I would totally recommend this to any fangirl out there! Keep in mind this is not a fiction (therefore no actual story with characters and whatnot), so it's not a book you might finish in one sit. It's a book that introduces you to the Geek world (if you're not already in it) and reminds us girls how awesome it is to be fangirls. I also really liked how this book mentioned feminism! It's so important for women and girls to feel equal and awesome and to understand that we are individuals who can rule the world! So pick this book up and let it remind you and show you how truly awesome you are! 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (Seraphina #2)

Title: Shadow Scale

Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House Canada 
Publication date: March 10, 2015 
Genre(s): Young Adult (Fantasy)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 608
The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
Oh Seraphina, where do I begin with this book? This is a massive 600 page ending to the Duology and it took a LONG while to finish! So much has happened and some of it was so good yet some of it was also just as disappointing. Seraphina is a historical fantasy novel, and although it isn't my favourite genre, I truly enjoyed the first book. Shadow Scale, however, was a completely different story. It started off quite slow yet there were so many things going on its hard to see that this was all fit into one book, which could've easily been fit into two. 
Normally, any book starts off slow and usually gets better as the book progresses towards this main goal at the end. This was also the case in Shadow Scale, yet I felt like the book just kept going downhill from where it started. What really frustrated me in the first book was that there wasn't much of a romance going on, so I went into Shadow Scale thinking ok we should at least get to see what would happen between these two characters. This however, never happened. Sure there was character development, yet it just seemed like the main lead was going through all these adventures with no real reasoning behind her goals. There is also the aspect of cheating in this book which I absolutely cannot tolerate and if you've read the book and know how it ends, then you should know how truly upset I was with it. I was willing to give this book about a 3/3.5 stars up until about the last 100 pages when everything just flopped. The characters I wanted to see more of, just disappeared, and there this was this constant battle between two characters that was just really really annoying. Just when the conflict looks like it's going to resolve, oh hey another problem arrises! This to me is just a sign of the author wanting to extend the length of the novel yet adding no strength to the story.
I do feel that this book should've been condensed to about half its size and definitely would've rather preferred a different route. It was a miracle getting through it, and although I love the writing of Rachel Hartman, I do have to say that to me, this book was a flop.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Double Reviews: Daughter of Deep Silence & The Summer After You and Me

Daughter of Deep Silence
Title: Daughter of Deep Silence 
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Publication date: May 26, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary/Revenge)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 384
I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.
Daughter of Deep Silence had so much promise initially with its Revenge (tv show) like setting. I love revenge plots, especially ones that don't end in a happily ever after where the girl falls in love with the enemy and the enemy turns out to be this misunderstood guy who isn't at fault at all. I hate those type of Revenge books and it seems most YA books have that exact plot progression. Unfortunately Daughter of Deep Silence, while in the middle had some great schemes going on, turned out to be exactly like the typical YA revenge plots that I really could do without. 
The beginning of the book was rather enticing and gripping. However as I continued reading the book, many plot holes emerged that I just couldn't brush off or ignore. I kept on going back and forth trying to see if the author explained the plot hole previously but I just missed it but unfortunately that wasn't the case. Being able to formulate a revenge plot and build up the premise for that requires detailed planning that I felt the author left us out of.. and I sometimes felt she glossed over many of them just because the details where never actually thought of. I wished so badly for the main protagonist to be like Emily from Revenge, where even if her emotions started getting in the way, she squashed them because she had a revenge plan that was years in the making. Unfortunately for Frances, the first sign of emotional turmoil had her breaking down and second guessing everything. The psychological and mental state of Frances was odd to be honest. Anyone who spent years trying to avenge their parents and went to such drastic measures like Frances did, wouldn't second guess and break apart at the mere glimpse of her ex crush who actually could be at the centre of the conspiracy.  
I still enjoyed the few planned dangerous escapades she pulled off, but I wish we got more details and they were a bit more thrilling. Daughter of Deep Silence turned out to be a disappointment mainly because of how weak the main protagonist was. I ended up skimming through the last one hundred pages because it turned into a typical cliche YA story and I really wished the conspiracy was better explained and explored. 

The Summer After You and Me

Title: The Summer After You and Me
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski 
Publisher: Raincoast Canada
Publication date: May 1, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 320
Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?
This is another book where the main girl already has a loving significant other but enters this other guy that apparently opens up her eyes to the world or reminds her of the good old days and in the meantime she is STILL Stringing along her boyfriend. I just don't understand people like this. If you are not satisfied with your current relationship, either work harder to make it better or just end it. You going behind anyone's back just to hang out with another guy isn't right, especially when you really have no emotional attachment or anything complicated keeping you from ending your former relationship. I always feel bad for the other person and it turns the heroine into a hateful character, especially if the author wants us to root for her to end up with the other guy. I'm totally OK with hateful characters, only when the author actually makes them hateful for the purpose of the plot. In here we're supposed to cheer her on? hell no. 
End of rant. I'm sorry but lately I've been somehow reading more and more contemporaries with that same plot device and it drives me mad. However for The Summer After You and Me, even taking out the whole annoying romance, I honestly did not find anything interesting. I love Doktorski's debut novel but this one failed to deliver for me. I didn't find myself immersed in the story or even the least bit interested about the outcome. I basically skimmed through the second half of the novel and didn't really miss much by just doing that. The story had potential to hit home emotionally for many people but it missed the mark. I will definitely be picking up more books by the author because I loved the first one, so I'm hoping this one is just a fluke for me