Sunday, 29 December 2013

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Another review! I am going to be having "Four Days of Book Reviews". First Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, now this, then tomorrow a new review, and the last day of December another review. Enjoy! (:

Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Pg #: 131
Reading Span: December 25, 2013
Rating: *** (three stars)

A Christmas Carol is the classic story of an old, bitter man, who, through meetings of past, present, and future spirits, changes his life for the better - just in time for Christmas!

This is a very traditional and heartwarming tale. It was the perfect book for me to read on Christmas Day. That said, it was very easy to forget that this wasn't just another A Christmas Carol retelling. There was nothing original or gripping in the way Dickens wrote it that felt like it was special as compared to other editions. I give him credit for coming up with this wonderful story, but I was a little surprised at how average it seemed to me.

Let's talk about the characters in this story. Because I have seen various editions of this story, none of them were surprise. Scrooge is bitter, Bob Cratchit is kind and devoted, and Fred (Scrooge's nephew) is merry and caring. Everything with the characters were pretty much as expected and reflected on the various movies and plays I have seen. The one thing I did find was that the Ghost of Christmas Past was extremely hard to picture in my head. I still fail to see how he can randomly grow legs... The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, however, was written exactly how I saw him.

The writing style was noticeably archaic, as this was written long ago. Because of this, sometimes I had to read closely to pick up on the meaning of the sentence, which I had expected. The one thing I was surprised about, however, was how superfluous some of the story was. It was often bogged down by heavy descriptions which I honestly couldn't make sense of, not because it was old-fashioned, but because I could not decipher was Dickens was trying to say, to be honest. Call me simple-minded, I really don't care.

I seem to have a lot of qualms about the book when you read above, but overall, I still enjoyed it and because three stars means "liked the book", that is the rating I have given it. I would recommend this book to read if you want a classic tale for Christmastime, but I would not recommend reading it any other time of year.

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Finally! A real review! *gasps from the crowd*

Title: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn + David Levithan
Pg. #: 260
Reading Span: December 13 - 21, 2013
Rating: **** (four stars)

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares tells the story of two teenagers who share an unexplainable connection through one red Moleskine notebook, and the adventures the simple journal sets them on.

The one word I could use to describe this book would be entertaining. I was so caught up in Dash and Lily's story, mainly because of the characters. Dash and Lily both had very distinct voices and narratives, which added interest and made it easier to distinguish the alternating POV's. At first, though I thought they were fun and interesting to read about, I didn't really like either Dash or Lily. I found Lily to be whiny and Dash to be sullen and rude, but I grew to love them. The supporting characters like Langston, Boomer, and particularly Great Aunt Idea were all super fun and hilarious and I just loved them! I also loved the character dynamic and dialogue in this book - it was so funny and entertaining to read!

The plot progression was well done; something was always happening and new characters were introduced at the right times to give the plot a boost. Plus I just love the idea for this book so very much, with the journal being passed between the two characters. However, I was hoping for a few more dares and less scavenger hunt. I feel like that was a missed opportunity that the authors could've jumped on.

Overall, this book is a cute and light read for the holiday season. It really sucks you in to it's cute and fun world and you'll find yourself immersed in Dash and Lily's story. This is a book I would definitely recommend, especially for Christmas.

Have a lovely day!

Midnight Readers Book Club

Hello! Today I am posting to inform you of a group I am going to participating in. Created by Brianna @ For the Love of Books (follow her - she's awesome!), this club is when you choose any book at all and read it from your bedtime until midnight - hence the name. It sounds super fun and I thought "why not?"

Brianna posts a wrap-up and TBR each night that she participates, but I will just be writing it in the Goodreads group ( If I do a end-of-the-week wrap-up or update, I will include it in that as well.

My first night of reading will probably be tonight, and I am hoping to do it again on Sunday. I will be reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (re-read), or, if I finish that this afternoon, then I will be reading the Giver by Lois Lowry. I figure I will probably read from 11:00 to midnight.

Feel free to join in, anyone can! Simply join the Goodreads group and post a blog post. Hope to see you there. (:

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Update + TBR

I literally suck. The last book review I posted was Vampire Academy... and I read that in ... September?  And before that I hardly posted any reviews as well. I also had a review I was going to do for Liesl and Po that's been sitting around since October. Have I mentioned that I suck? Anyways, in early January I will be posting some of my goals and I will expand on what I'm going to do to fix this problem. But for now, I'm going to be promising four reviews: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Partials by Dan Wells (when I finish it) and *hides* Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver.

I also have several tags planned. I apologize sincerely to Brianna @ For the Love of Books and Kalindee @ They Start Revolutions (go and follow them now - them and their blogs are fantastic!) for neglecting to complete either tag. The moment for Bookish Halloween Tag has, sadly, long passed, but I am looking forward to posting the Book Scavenger Hunt tag (check it out on Kalindee's blog). I also have two other tags planned so keep a watch for those.

Finally, what have I been reading? Now that I'm on break, I have so much more time to read. Lately I have been really slowing down with my reading and I don't like it! I have so many books to read, so it's great to get into the swing of things again. So far in December I have read Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (re-read), The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling (re-read), and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I am actually super excited about this! There is still almost a week left of my favourite month of the year, so I am hoping to finish another three books. Sounds ambitious, but I don't think it'll be too bad considering I'm on break.

Currently I am reading Partials by Dan Wells, my epic rec for... *hides again* November. At first, I was really liking everything about the story, only I couldn't get into it AT ALL. I was practically skimming (which I rarely ever do), and it was a struggle to make it through a few pages. One chapter was a celebration! However, I read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, then resumed reading Partials, hoping to motivate myself by rewarding myself with HP when I read so much of Partials (thanks a lot Brianna). But then I read a chapter more and it started getting super action-filled and awesome! So now I'm excited. (:

The books I would like to finish for the rest of December include Partials by Dan Wells, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling and finally, my epic rec for December, The Giver by Lois Lowry. I actually have hope to finish these by December. And if I finish two of these, my goal of 70 books read in 2013 will be met!! And guess what? I'm FINALLY back on track!

This was a very long and overdue update - but I have a lot of catching up to do! Keep updated because I am going to try to post more often in the coming weeks. What are you reading or doing on your break? And I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

November Wrap Up + December TBR/Epic Recs

Today is the final day of November which means time to take a look at the books I've read. I had a not-so-great month to be honest. I read five books, which sounds okay, but one was a children's book that was super short and easy to read (took me about an hour) and another was a very quick read that was also mandatory for a novel study.
  1. War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay: *** (three stars) - GINS novel study book
  2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll: *** (three stars) - Strangest book ever I swear
  3. Unwind by Neil Shusterman: ***** (five stars) - a;lskdjf;lksdjfjasdkjfd 
  4. Allegiant by Veronica Roth: **** (four stars) - *cries*
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: ***** (five stars) - Re-read... ahh love these books! <3
I also haven't been keeping up to date with anything really. I didn't do an October Wrap-Up OR a November TBR, I didn't participate in any Top Ten Tuesday's, I didn't complete a book spotlight or November book reviews. I haven't even published or fully written my Liesl and Po review from October. In case you didn't get the message: I've been slacking. All I have posted this month have been mandatory novel posts. I will try to improve that for December! I have quite the extensive list, so take a look (in order of priority).
  1. Partials by Dan Wells - My Epic Rec from this month which I didn't get around to reading. It will happen this month! 
  2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (re-read) - I just want to, kay.
  3. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - Yay light winter contemporary
  4. The Giver by Lois Lowry - My epic rec for December! See more below. 
  5. Winterling by Sarah Prineas - Light winter adventures and fantasy! 
  6. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - I haven't read this but this is the traditional Christmas classic!
  7. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu - Snow Queen winter fairytale, enough said. 
Other options: How to Save a Life by Sarah Zarr, Fathomless and Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce, Witchlanders by Lena Coakley and The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson.

Okay, so there are 13 mandatory books. Plus Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins which I'm not even halfway through. Yeah... that's realistic.... I'll try. And fail. Whatever. 

I know this post is super long, but I just want to say a quick note about Epic Recs. My book for the month is The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Brianna's is Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. We both have not read last month's books yet (we're trying!), but we definitely we complete both Epic Recs for December. Check back for another post on that later. 

Anyways, have a lovely day. Thanks. (:

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

GINS: Task #4

Hi! For this post, I was making connections between the novel study I am participating in (see here for more), and my academic consumerism tumblr (click top tab).

From reading the novel “War Brothers” by Sharon E. McKay, it came to my attention that there are many poor or impoverished people living in Uganda. 40% of all people living in the rural areas of Uganda are living in poverty - that’s around 10 million people! See, in the rural areas of Uganda, there are isolated from the developments and economic growth happening in the cities. As a result, they lack the technology to increase the efficiency of their crops and also to rid themselves of pests and diseases. And honestly, I wanted to know why they didn’t have the opportunities that we have here to improve their quality of life.
I was able to connect this to one very part of the government: social programs and services. Social services are provided by the government to help increase the economic inequalities amongst citizens, as well as promoting a better quality of life. In Uganda, there is little access to these type of services, such as health-care or financial support. There are huge amounts of people that also are sick from AIDS/HIV and don’t have the access or money for proper health care.
For the purpose of my mini-investigation, I headed to the Uganda Parliament website to try and get some insight into how and why their government uses their money. They do have a committee for social services, including health (and AIDS), education, and sports, but it isn’t clear what exactly their health-care looks like. I decided to try to find a bit more information about this. I found a rather interesting look at their health profile (, but nothing about the way their system runs. When I visited the Ministry of Health website for Uganda, the link that was supposed to redirect me to their practices said it was “hacked”. Interesting.
My point of this post was mainly to reflect and think about the difference in the life we have here as opposed to somewhere like Uganda. Our country’s wealth, government and economic system, allows us to live the lives we do and greatly affects our roles as consumers. I also don’t think we realize in North America the impact that social programs provided by the government has on the way we live each and every day.

Thanks for reading! Have a lovely day.

Monday, 18 November 2013

GINS: Round Table Discussion (Task #3)

This is our second round table on the novel War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay. This discussion was done with Michael who also is reading War Brothers. In this discussion we examine the novel after conducting some research about the book and the country it is set in (Uganda).

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Epic Recs with Brianna!

Hey there! Today I am posting to announce that Brianna from For The Love of Books and I are going to be participating in Epic Recs! This is a book club hosted by Amber at Books of Amber and Judith at Paper Riot. Basically how it works is you find a partner or friend (Brianna, in my case) and at the beginning of each month, you each recommend a book to each other that they have to read within that month. It's about expanding your horizons and being able to share your thoughts with them on the books you both read. Here are our choices for November...

For Brianna (chosen by me): Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo!
I chose this book because I love it so insanely much and I really want Brianna to read it so we can talk about it!!! Also, this book makes me feel all sorts of things (like clawing my eyes out, for example) and I kinda want to ruin Brianna's life too cause I'm a great friend. Sharing is caring, right?

For Me (chosen by Brianna): Partials by Dan Wells!
I've been wanting to read this and I think I'll like it, but I'm really not in the mood. That said, Brianna recommended it, so read it I shall.

We also each have a back-up book in case this book doesn't come in from the library (not likely for me, since I already have Partials in my possession). I am not going to give those away at this time because if this months picks work out, then the back-ups will be for the following month.

Thanks for reading! I'm hoping we like each other's picks! 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Consumerism Tumblr

As you may have noticed, there is now a top tab on my blog reading 'consumerism tumblr'. You're probably wondering what the heck that's about. As a new study at school, we are inquiring more deeply into our consumer identities. Our way of expressing this is going to be through different types of media presented in a tumblr blog format. I haven't posted anything yet, but maybe you'll be seeing some posts soon.

Have an excellent day!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

GINS: Round Table Discussion (Task #2)

Today I had the chance to get together with a few classmates to talk about our global issue novel studies. We each are reading a separate novel, but we were able to all answer a few guiding questions and compare.

Click these links to see my classmates Alyssa, Jada, and Ivana's blogs.

Thanks for listening! Have a great day.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Global Issues Novel Study: Task #1

For the next while, I am going to be participating in a novel study exploring various global issues within our society. Click here for more information. The novel I have chosen to read out of the various options is War Brothers by Sharon E. McKay. So far I have read 20% of the novel, enough to begin to analyze the content.

What is the main issue being addressed in your novel?
In the book War Brothers, the focus is on Joseph Kony's army of abducted child soldiers, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). There are many references in the book to this event, even though neither of our characters have yet been taken. "He is sad because he grandfather was taken by Kony." Joseph spoke in a matter-of-fact voice. Tony's mouth dropped open. They took him as he was walking home from school, and that is the last anyone has heard about him. He was just a little younger than us, then." And, "Kony can't get us, you know. We are safe." 

Why did you choose this piece for your project?
I chose this book because the fact the children the age I once was have had their childhood stripped from them. The topic of child soldiers just makes me extremely angry. At their ages they should still be innocent and not have to go through all the things they have and seen all the things they have seen. 

What background knowledge do you already possess on this issue? 
Though I do feel strongly about children not being abducted to become child soldiers, I don't know much background information on the issue. I am aware of Kony and his army of abducted children, but the details I know are few, and obscure. 

What questions do you have as you begin to read?
My main question I had while reading was how the two boys will become abducted. I am unsure how Kony's child army operates, so I was totally clueless as to how this will happen. Also, since Jacob's father is wealthy and he goes to a school with extra guards, how will he become part of the LRA? I also wondered what "cassava" is. When I looked it up, it turned out to be a woody shrub that grows in Africa and South America and is also the root of tapioca. I was also curious to another aspect of their culture, religion. It mentions how many people are Christian (Oteka and Jacob included), and how the witchcraft from the medicine man goes against their religion, but what other religions are prevalent in their society? And is Kony targeting those people? My last detail I noticed was that Bella, the maid, was described as being very, very old at over 50 years old. This shows that diseases mentioned like AIDS really affect their life span. Here, very old is around 90 years old! That's a huge difference in years. I had more questions too about why this difference might be so large. 

What characters have been introduced so far?
So far we've been introduced to both Jacob and Oteka, the two young boys who are the focus of the story, and from what I understand, both get taken by the LRA. Oteka's story is very interesting and sad, and Jacob's is much less sad, and he as a person is often both naive and ignorant so far from what I have gathered. I think that his experiences in the novel will change him however. We also have met many more characters such as Ethel and Bella (maids at Jacob's), Jacob's father and his friends, Tony (Jacob's friend), Adaa (Oteka's honorary grandmother), Oteka's deceased family, and the medicine man Oteka visits. And of course, we've heard lots about Joseph Kony. 

Right now I am still getting a feel for the culture, setting, and characters, but I am very much anticipating when the deeper issues begin to be explored. Thanks for reading!

Book Spotlight!

The first one of these I did was back in March 2013, but since May, I haven't continued it. So I decided I would spotlight a book today. I chose this book not because it was my favourite book, but because I am not planning on doing a review and still wanted to share my love for the book I am doing a spotlight. It is also not super well known, so I want to tell more people about this book!

Goodreads Synopsis:

After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks."But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along....

Sounds intriguing, right? It is. It's awesome. Told mostly in pictures with some type, IM's, and news clippings, this book leaves many things up for interpretation. As it says in the synopsis, it is up to the reader to decide. This made the book extremely beautiful, poignant, and powerful, and it's enjoyable to follow the clues and look closely to make sure you haven't missed anything that would've destroyed your understanding. Though it is super quick, don't speed through it - pay attention to the little things. Overall, it's a beautiful story, so give it a try. 
My Rating: 4/5 stars.

I recommend this book to teenagers that like books with visuals and 'clues', or are reluctant to read. If you like a type of book that doesn't tell you everything and that leaves many things up for interpretation, this is also a great read! Really though, it's super short, so give it a try.