Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

Submarine is another book that was recommended to me, this time by my friend, Jay. I have to say, after reading it, I'm a little surprised he would recommend it to me, but alas I plugged through the book and completed it in record time.

The story is that of Oliver Tate and his crazy, messed up life. Or, I should say, this kid himself is pretty messed up. A coming of age story, 15-year old Oliver appears to be obsessed with his parents, obsessed with words, and does not seem to know himself at all. He's a bully, he keeps a diary, and he's in love with a girl who has eczema and he cannot help but point it out constantly. The things he does and gets away with in this book are quite astonishing, and I am now convinced that guys are crazier than girls haha.

Maybe this book would make a lot more sense to a male, but to me it just felt so all over the place. I kept thinking while reading, "This story is crazy. This boy is crazy. I'm not a boy, maybe I just don't get it..." If you liked Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger or The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky I think you would enjoy this book. Dunthorne is a good writer and certainly has a way of getting his ideas across in a clear manner, I just did not like the story itself.

Sorry I can't rave about this one, but that does not mean you should not try it for yourself. I have included some links below, as always, so check them out if you would like some more information. Happy Reading!


Thursday, 26 January 2012

There's Cake in my Future by Kim Gruenenfelder

Of all the things I love, I do love chick lit! Sorry guys, not so good for you, I know. However, my friend, Michelle M., recommended this book to me, so I had to give it a try (and those of you who have suggested other books, I'm working on it!)

"After listening to her closest friends' latest travails in love, parenting, and careers, superstitious bride-to-be Nicole (Nic) believes she has the perfect recipe for everyone's happiness: a bridal shower "cake pull" in which each ribboned silver charm planted in her cake will bring its recipient the magical assistance she needs to change her destiny. Melissa (Mel), still ringless after dating the same man for six years, deserves the engagement ring charm. The red hot chili pepper would be perfect for Seema, who is in love with her best male friend Scott, but can't seem to make their relationship more than platonic. And recently laid off journalist Nic wants the shovel, which symbolizes hard work, to help her get her career back on track. Nic does everything she can to control who gets which silver keepsake - as well as the future it represents. But when the charmed cake is mysteriously shifted from the place settings Nic arranged around it, no one gets the charm she chose for them. And when the other party guests' fortunes begin coming true, Mel, Seema, and Nic can't help but wonder... . Is the cake trying to tell them something?" (Raincoast  Books)

This book was so fun and funny. And of course, it had some romance (which I am a sucker for. Shhh...don't tell anyone.)  I loved the characters and each of their situations. I thought Mel was so funny when she decided the best way to get over someone was to get under someone else (which does not suit her personality at all.) And Seema is a beautiful Indian girl who is too afraid to go after what she wants. Nic is lucky to have such adorable "bonus kids" and they are SO funny.

To find out more about this book please check out the links below. I hope you can find the time to add this one to your list. Happy Reading!


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan

I'm not sure I can put into words how much I love this series. The writing is absolutely incredible, the characters feel like they are people you have known forever (and you get to know what their reactions will be to certain situations), and the adventure/excitement is completely different in every book.

Written by Australian author, John Flanagan, this series has 10 books in it:

My suggestion, if you decide to take on this series, is to read them in the following order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. Book 7 was written after 5&6, but actually takes place before them. If you read them in the order I have suggested, you will be able to fully enjoy the amazing story Flanagan created for the 7th book because you will not be privy to what happens next and who is present.

While these books would primarily be recommended for boys, I think that any child (or adult for that matter) of any sex could read them. There are a few female characters in the series who are very strong and have fantastic roles. As I said, the characters are absolutely wonderful. They are so easy to love, and you become so attached to them that your emotions go on a roller coaster ride anytime anything good or bad happens to them! It is really hard not to fall in love with them and want to know MORE MORE MORE!!!!

I do not want to give too much away about this series, so I have included the summary of the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan, below. I hope you think it sounds as interesting as I did, but let me tell you: IT'S WAY BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"They have always scared him in the past—the Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now 15-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied. . . ." (Penguin Canada)


It is bitter-sweet for me that I have finished the series. I always feel good when I have completed a series because I hate it when they go on for too long, but when there are 10 books and you love them ALL, you kind of wish it could continue. Flanagan did, however, write another book called The Lost Stories (which I have yet to read.)

 "The secret history of the New York Times bestselling Ranger's Apprentice

Unconfirmed accounts of a group of Araluen warriors - tales of adventure, battle, and triumph over evil - have spread for centuries throughout the known world. Most notable is a clan shrouded in mystery, phantom warriors known as the Rangers.

Two names pass the lips of every storyteller: Halt, and his apprentice, Will. They and their comrades in arms are said to have traveled throughout the kingdom and beyond its borders, protecting those who needed it most. If true, these rumors can be only part of the story.

Only now, centuries after these men and women walked the earth, do we have confirmation of their existence. Behold The Lost Stories." (Penguin Canada)


Flanagan has also started a new series, The Brotherband Chronicles, which I have yet to start. Just released in November, I'm sure this will be a great follow-up series. I can't wait to read it!

"They are outcasts. Hal, Stig, and the others—they are the boys the others want no part of. Skandians, as any reader of Ranger's Apprentice could tell you, are known for their size and strength. Not these boys. Yet that doesn't mean they don't have skills. And courage—which they will need every ounce of to do battle at sea against the other bands, the Wolves and the Sharks, in the ultimate race. The icy waters make for a treacherous playing field . . . especially when not everyone thinks of it as playing.
John Flanagan, author of the international phenomenon Ranger's Apprentice, creates a new cast of characters to populate his world of Skandians and Araluens, a world millions of young readers around the world have come to know and admire. Full of seafaring adventures and epic battles, Book 1 of The Brotherband Chronicles is sure to thrill readers of Ranger's Apprentice while enticing a whole new generation just now discovering the books." (Penguin Canada)

I really really really hope you will give this series a shot. I promise, it will NOT disappoint. Even if you are not a fan of reading kids books yourself, please give it to someone you know. I think children could learn a lot about being a good person, what it means to have courage, etc. from this series and the characters in it. And if you DO decide you are interested and read it, PLEASE let me know! I could talk about this series all day long! I hope this blog has not come off as gibberish, but if so, that is a sign of my love for it.

THANK YOU JOHN FLANAGAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, 23 January 2012

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

“Cripes Miss Wilcox, they're not guns,' I said.
No, they're not Mattie, they're books. And a hundred times more dangerous.”
Jennifer Donnelly, A Northern Light

I absolutely love the way Jennifer Donnelly writes. She does so in such a way that you can’t help but feel completely enveloped in her stories and as though you are actually watching the happenings of her stories occur. A Northern Light takes place in 1906 and is an interesting story of that time. 

"Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown entrusts her with the task of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers that the letters could reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, Jennifer Donnelly's astonishing debut novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original." (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books)

The mystery in this book is based on an actual event that took place on July 12, 1906. Donnelly knew of the story from her grandmother and she decided to add her own spin to it, bringing in Mattie Gokey, and weaving the story of Mattie and Grace together. I love that Mattie has a “word of the day” in which she looks up a new word in the dictionary every day and she attempts to use them in a sentence throughout her day. She also has “word duals” with her best friend, Weaver, which are funny to read about. This book deals with many issues of the time in which this story takes place and I hope you will give it a chance or tell someone you know about it.


To find out what another blogger had to say about this book, please go to: 

Donnelly has also written another fantastic book, Revolution, which is my favourite young adult book. I will not go into detail about it on here, but if you are interested, please check out the following links below:


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Coming Soon to a Bookstore Near You...

As I have had the pleasure of reviewing books for Random House for about a year and a half now, I was lucky enough to read a couple of books that have yet to be released. The first one, set to be released on February 28th by Random House Canada, is written by a Canadian author. Web of Angels by Lilian Nattel was a book that kept me interested from the moment I read the back to see what I was getting myself into.

Instead of writing my own little summary of what this book is about, I borrowed the one that Random House used (that had me convinced this would be good from the moment I read it.)

"On the surface of things, Sharon Lewis is a lot like any other happily married mother of 3: she is the beating heart of a house full of kids, cooking and chaos, the one who always knows the after-school practice schedule, where her husband put the car keys and who needs a little extra TLC. Her kids and husband think she's a little spooky, actually, the way she can anticipate the tensions of any situation--and maybe they love her all the more for the extra care she gives them.

Life is definitely good until the morning Heather Edwards, a pregnant teenaged friend of the family, kills herself. The reverberations of that act, and the ugly secrets that sparked it, prove deeply unsettling to the whole family, and stir up Sharon's own troubling secret: she has DID, or dissociative identity disorder. And the multiples inside the woman the world knows as Sharon seem to know what happened to Heather, and what may be happening to Heather's surviving sister. Will Sharon's need to protect the innocent cause her to finally come clean about her true nature with her family and friends, and not just in the anonymous chat rooms on the web where she's connected to others like herself? Will a woman with DID be able to persuade her quiet and respectable community that evil things can happen even in the nicest homes?"

DID is something that we have heard and learned more about in recent years, so I thought it was great that Nattel decided to use this as her subject matter. I found it absolutely fascinating to read about and I could not wait to figure out where the book was going. I absolutely loved it and had a really hard time putting it down. I ABSOLUTELY recommend this book, but it is not for the weak of heart. The subject matter can be a bit intense in parts and sensitive readers should probably steer clear. I hope you love this book as much as I did!

Check out these links to learn more about the author and her book (she has a lot of extras on her website):


The next book is by an author most people have at least heard of: Philip Pullman. He has written a new book that is set to come out May 8th, again published by Random House Canada, and it is entitled Two Crafty Criminals! And how they were captured by the Daring Detectives of the New Cut Gang. Again, I have included the synopsis from Random House so you can get an idea of what this one is about.

"Benny Kaminsky and Thunderbolt Dobney lead a rag-tag gang of neighborhood rowdies. Their territory is the New Cut on London's South Bank—a place bristling with swindlers, bookies, pickpockets, and the occasional policeman. And their aim is to solve crimes.

When counterfeit coins start showing up in their neighborhood, Thunderbolt fears his own father may be behind the crime. But his friends devise a way to trap the real culprit. Then the gang takes on the case of some stolen silver. They have just two clues—a blob of wax, and an unusually long match. But even this slippery thief is unmasked by the determined kids of the New Cut.

Filled with silly sleuthing, improbable disguises, crazy ruses, and merry mayhem, these stories are action-packed romps from one of the best storytellers ever—Philip Pullman."

This book is not as serious as His Dark Materials, and it is fun fun fun! What kid doesn't love a book (two stories) about a gang of child detectives?!?!?! It was much different from his other work I have read, but he is still a great writer. Some really goofy and silly stuff happens in these two stories and the characters have some tough issues to deal with. If you know a child in the 9-12 age range (or an adult of any age who loves kids books) then you should definitely get them to read this when it is released!

To find out more about Two Crafty Criminals! or Philip Pullman:


As always, thank you for reading! I hope to continue to bring you books that have yet to be released so you can add them to your list and get them as soon as they come out! Happy Reading!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Flapper Frenzy

If you know me at all, you know that last year I became obsessed with Flappers. I think it is an interesting time, I love hearing about the fashion and music, and the book would not be true without gangsters, of course.

My newest Flapper read was Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson. This book is about Cordelia, Astrid, and Letty. Cordelia and Letty are best friends who run away to New York for reasons which get in the way of their friendship. Cordelia finds herself living a whole new life, Letty discovers that becoming famous is harder than it looks, and Astrid finds herself with a new friend from a small town. Full of drama, excitement, and death, this book was SO MUCH FUN, and lived up to my Flapper expectations.

Be sure to check this book out, as well as Beautiful Days, the second book in the series. Also, check out the authors website for more information! Enjoy my Flapper Friends!


Sunday, 8 January 2012

3 Great Reads

Delicious and Suspicious by Riley Adams

As I’m sure it is clear by now, I am obsessed with reading cozy mysteries. I find them funny, amusing, and the characters are usually pretty interesting. This book was no different.
Set in Memphis, this is a story of the Taylor family who run Aunt Pat’s Bar-B-Que. When a Cooking Channel scout is found dead in her hotel room, there is a long list of suspects for the police to sift through, as Rebecca Adrian stepped on many people’s toes before she met her death. With the suspicion looming over her restaurant, Lulu starts investigating on her own so that life in the usually bustling barbeque restaurant can get back to normal.
This story was so much fun and was definitely representative of the stereotypical south. Good food, great characters, and trying to figure out who “dunnit”, it was a read that just ate up my time until the very last page. All that talk about food had my stomach rumbling on more than one occasion! And for those so inclined, there are some recipes for this good southern food in the back of the book. Go on down to Aunt Pats, where the conversation is free and the food is worth every penny!


Tell it to the Trees by Anita Rau Badami

Tell it to the Trees, published by Random House Canada, introduces us to the Dharma family, an Indian family living in northern Canada. The beginning of the story tells the reader that a woman who had been renting from the Dharma family was found frozen to death outside the house, how she end up there a mystery. The story is divided into sections, each one focusing on certain characters and the story is told from their point of view. Reading the story constructed this way makes it easier to get inside the heads of the characters and also makes it easier to see the bigger picture. Can YOU figure out what happened to Anu?
This book was NOTHING like what I was expecting it to be when I read the dust jacket.  Having said that, I really really enjoyed it. From the beginning I was completely sucked in and could not put it down. I liked that it was from different characters point of view, although it would have been nice to see what Vikram had to say. I figured out part of the way through how Anu died, but I was curious to find out how it had been carried out and who all was involved. I found it scary how much Varsha was turning out to be like her father and her possession of people was kind of creepy. I loved Akka, but it bothered me that she just sat by and said nothing while all of this stuff was going on in her house.
I definitely recommend this book. It gives insight into the Indian culture and it also makes you realize that you never know what is going on behind closed doors! Let me know if you read this!!!

Check out this book on the Random House website:

Eve by Anna Carey

Another one of my obsessions is teen post-apocalyptic novels. So far with this genre, I have not been disappointed. They have all been different enough to keep me interested and make me want to keep reading. Eve was no exception.
Eve is a student at an all-girls school, where they are taught to work hard, excel at your talent, and fear men and boys. All the girls are being prepared to go on to the next level, four years at another school where they will basically become a master of their interest (sound familiar?) When Eve finds out where the girls will really be going when they graduate, she manages to escape with the help of one of her teachers. Eve is a special girl and the King has big plans for her. Now that she’s on the run, everyone is looking for her. Will she make it to Califia, a safe camp for those who are against the Kings wishes and plans?
I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was exciting, interesting, and there were some truly pull-on-your-heartstrings moments. Of course there is a love story, which may make some people roll their eyes, but it is interesting to watch it unfold when Eve has been trained to fear men. This book is the first in a trilogy and the second book, Once, is set to be released in July 2012.

I hope you will check out these 3 books and let me know what you think!  As always, thank you for reading my blog!