December 29, 2011

Book Review: Clockwork Prince

Title: Clockwork Prince
Series: The Infernal Devices trilogy
Length: 498 pages
Publisher: McElderry Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
On-Sale Date: December 6, 2011
Format: ARC paperback

There will be SPOILERS for anyone who has NOT read CLOCKWORK ANGEL. Read at your own risk!

Clockwork Prince takes place over a two week period.
Will, Jem, Tessa, and the rest of the Shadowhunters at the London Institute have been entrusted with the task of locating the Magister’s whereabouts (even though he’s vanished off the face of the Earth).  The Clave has set a terrible price, if they don’t succeed in their task.
Can the Magister be found in time?
Mortmain isn’t going to make it easy to find him.  There are countless problems that arise and horrible betrayals that come to light.
Can anyone be trusted?
During all this, Tessa grows closer to Jem … and Will.
Who’s heart will be broken?
Will’s been disappearing more than usual.  He’s even starting to worry Jem.  However, Will actually has a good reason for his actions this time.
What in Raziel’s name is going on with that boy?
Secrets are uncovered, lies are unraveled, and sides are taken.
Who will be victorious?

Clockwork Prince was a book that you could not wait to get a hold of, (especially with the way Clockwork Angel ended).
This was another classic Cassandra Clare; once you were swept up in the book everything else becomes unimportant … it was okay when you missed your stop on the bus, as long as you were able to finish the chapter.
It was exciting to open the book, flip the pages, and finally get to read it.

Most people who read this book would have already read Cassandra Clare before, and would be expecting Clockwork Prince to top all of her other books … but it didn’t (at least for me).  Yes, I couldn’t put it down while I was reading it, but that was until the last couple of chapters.  The ending was too bittersweet.  It was unbelievable in a does-not-compute kind of way.

The mystery known as William Herondale was unraveled in Clockwork Prince, and so much detail was shared about his character.  At the end of Clockwork Angel, you were left completely in the dark, and wondering what was going on with him.  Will was an enigma, but by the end of this novel he was a puzzle solved.  There was a moment of enlightenment when those questions were answered, surrounding Will’s actions, and then his personality made perfect sense.

In Clockwork Prince Will’s past confronted him, and it was easy to see why it had always haunted him.  He had some painful secrets hidden in his heart.  The events of Clockwork Prince fractured him a little (and me, a lot, because I have a soft spot for Will).  Will’s layers were peeled away, and his heart was exposed.  He was completely vulnerable for the first time.

Will’s mysterious persona was slowly stripped away as Clockwork Prince progressed, but he didn’t lose any of his appeal.  He was even more intriguing beneath his condescending sarcasm.  Will’s character could be appreciated, even more, after the events of Clockwork Prince.

Jem’s story wasn’t the focus of Clockwork Prince; therefore certain things that he did seemed to come out of nowhere.

There were a couple of shocks at the end of Clockwork Prince that were difficult to process, and even more difficult to move past.  The end was startling even though there were numerous SURPRISES during the book.  (Cassandra Clare did not bore her readers).  There were hints given, and clues strategically placed, but the ending still seemed abrupt and sudden.  The events were jolting enough to derail a reader.

There was a lot that occurred in this book, and you expected it to finish with this spectacular ending, but Clockwork Prince left you slightly baffled. The ending did not exceed expectations.  It was meant to outshine the rest of the book, but it overshadowed it instead.

Even Charlotte and Henry had surprises in-store.  Their relationship continued to be oddly endearing, and their marriage was very sweet.
Me at Book Expo America (May 2011)

Magnus Bane continued to be a secondary, but vital, character in The Infernal Devices series, (it’s a trilogy, but you never know).  He was especially essential to the development of Will’s plot line, and of course, Magnus added his individual sparkle to Clockwork Prince.  He popped up quite often, and his own story became increasingly interesting.

In Clockwork Prince, Cassandra Clare delved into the budding love triangle between Tessa, Will, and Jem, and focused on building their one-on-one relationships.  It wasn’t long before Tessa’s romances with Will and Jem became intense (and hot).  Tessa and Jem became exceedingly close, but a piece of her heart had been lost to Will.
In certain ways the boys’ relationships with Tessa mirrored each other, because they seemed to develop at the same rate.

Will and Jem had possibly the strongest relationship in Clockwork Prince.  It seemed like nothing could come between them, but in Clockwork Prince their brotherhood was tested at every turn.  The mechanics of their relationship was astonishing.  They still put each other first no matter what.  Will and Jem truly loved each other, and you didn’t want anyone or anything to ever come between them (even Tessa).

Tessa became more dependent on the Shadowhunters in Clockwork Prince, as she was no longer the same Tessa Gray that was introduced in Clockwork Angel.  She was now integrated in the Shadowhunter world and part of the London Institute.  She had lost a part of herself in Clockwork Angel, (because of her brother’s betrayal and Mortmain’s manipulation), and was still seeking something to fill the void.  She didn’t realize that she was enough or that she could help herself.  Although, she wasn’t completely confident, not once did that stop her from jumping into action.

As a whole, Clockwork Prince did not amaze me, but certain pieces and certain characters did.

Premise: 4/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

Disclosure: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy from the publisher. This did not influence my review in any way.

Note: The cover of Clockwork Prince was released at Book Expo America this year (May 2011). I got a picture taken with a GIANT version of the cover. I missed the release because I was in line for another author, and a nice lady with Simon & Schuster, appreciating my enthusiasm, gave me a t-shirt and an excerpt of CP!

November 14, 2011

Love List (9)


It's November 14th.  That means it's time for another Love List.  Also, in one month's time classes and exams will be over with until the new year!

Some lovely things:
The Scorpio Races.
Maggie Stiefvater.
Meeting Kate Voegele.
Seeing Kate Voegele live and in concert (!)
Glee season 2.
Watching a show on DVD and rediscovering what you loved about it in the first place.
That feeling right after you've written a test.
Tumblr obsessions.
Candy brains.
The fact that Glee has a new Christmas album.
Ontario Book Blogger Meet-Up.
Random House of Canada.
The Maze Runner.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
Meeting Elizabeth Miles.
11:11 on 11/11/11.
Looking forward to Christmas.
Uptown Girl.
Blaine Warbler wearing bow ties on Glee.
I know I already said it, but The Scorpio Races again !!!
The Hunger Games official movie trailer.
The Warblers rendition of Uptown Girl on Glee.
Finally owning an agenda for the upcoming year.

Yes, I was this close to the stage!!!


 Song of the day:  We Didn't Start The Fire by Billy Joel

Book Review: The Scorpio Races

Title:  The Scorpio Races
Author:  Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press (and imprint of Scholastic Inc.) 
On-Sale Date:  October 18, 2011
Length:  404 pages
Format:  ARC paperbacks

My review of The Scorpio Races was posted on Indigo Teen Blog.

"The Scorpio Races was a piece of art.  It was beautiful and memorable."

"I know that The Scorpio Races is a book that I will read again (and again) because I already miss it."

October 14, 2011

Love List (8)

I will love when the assignments and readings and essays and experiments and papers are over.
I will love when I have time to write and post reviews.
I will love having time to myself.
I miss you Read & Riot.


September 28, 2011

Author Interview: Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is Michelle Hodkin's debut.  This is the book that everyone seems to be talking about, and I'm happy to say that Mara Dyer is finally here.  You can check out what the hype is about, and find out who Mara Dyer really is
Michelle took some time from her crazy schedule to answer a couple of quick questions about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, her new author experiences, and herself.
Unfortunately, all the questions I wanted answers to would have spoiled Mara Dyer if you haven't already read it.  Therefore, I kept the questions spoiler free!

Read & Riot:  Favourite colour?
R&R:  Favourite book or book series?
MICHELLE:  I could never pick just one. But I do have a Top 5 list of adult novels I adore:
1) THE MAGICIANS - Lev Grossman
2) JURASSIC PARK - Michael Crichton
3) LOLITA - Vladimir Nabokov
4) GEEK LOVE - Katherine Dunn
R&R:  Favourite author?
MICHELLE:  Again, it’s impossible to choose, but when I was younger, I was obsessed with R.L. Stine’s books, and I think it’s probably fair to say I’ve read more books by him than any other author.
R&R:  Favourite season (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter)?
MICHELLE:  Autumn.
R&R:  Favourite place to be?
MICHELLE:  I’m a nomad!  I love to travel and move around.  Right now, I’m enjoying New York City a bunch (I used to live there when I was in college), but I also really love Portland, OR.  I’ll tell you the truth, though—I’ve never been to Canada (except for a very brief trip to Vancouver when I was 9) and I’ve always wanted to go, now more than ever since I’ve been getting the chance to talk to so many awesome Canadian readers.  So I’m very much hoping I get the chance to visit someday soon!
Read&Riot: Yes, you SHOULD come to Canada!
R&R:  If you were stranded on an island for one year what book, CD, and movie would you take with you?  Let’s pretend this island has electricity, and you are living comfortably for that year.  
MICHELLE:  Book: ON GOLD MOUNTAIN by Lisa See. I’ve read it 13 times and it never bores me.
Movie: When Harry Met Sally
CD: For Emma Forever Ago, Bon Iver; it’s beautiful but also unobtrusive enough that I could listen to it for a year without getting sick of it.
R&R:  What are five words that describe Mara Dyer (the character)?
MICHELLE:  Troubled, curious, complicated, smart, loyal.
R&R:  Which character, besides Mara, speaks or spoke to you the most?
MICHELLE:  Probably Jamie.  His lines are always the easiest to write.
R&R:  Do you believe Noah is any one's ideal guy (besides possibly Mara’s)?
MICHELLE:  I don’t know! It’s hard to see him out of the story’s context.  I certainly hope people enjoy reading about him, though.
R&R:  Why did you decide to become an author?  Was it a conscious decision or did you just start writing for fun and then all this happened?
MICHELLE:  It wasn’t a conscious decision at all.  I never actually even had the thought “I want to be an author.”  I had a story that I just had to write, and I wrote it.  And I’m grateful for everything that has happened every single day.
R&R:  How did / does it feel going through this process?  (getting signed, seeing your cover, holding your ARC … etc)
MICHELLE:  It’s still very, very surreal.  In many ways, I haven’t fully grasped that there’s going to be a book, a real book, with my name on it, in stores.  I’m still getting used to it!
R&R:  What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
MICHELLE:  Write the story you have to write, and tell the story that only you can tell.
R&R:  This is your debut into the writing word.  Congratulations!  Do you feel more nervous or excited?
MICHELLE:  A mixture of both! I still can’t believe it’s happening.
R&R:  Did you model Mara’s brothers after your own?
MICHELLE:  I didn’t really model any of the characters after anyone else, really.  There are definitely elements of myself and sometimes elements I borrowed from other people I know and love, but they’re caricatured elements, really—and when I’ve done that, it was mostly to make myself (and my friends and family) laugh.
R&R:  Did you have a favourite scene to write?  If so, could you describe why it was your favourite without spoiling the book?

MICHELLE:  Chapter 50 *wink*
*Read & Riot runs to Mara Dyer and flips to Chapter 50*
R&R:  If you were in school with Mara how would you describe her?
MICHELLE:  Disturbed.
R&R:  When you wrote this book did you ever expect all this excitement to surround it?
MICHELLE:  Never in a million years.
R&R:  The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is one of the most anticipated YA books of 2011, (a category it deserves to be in by the way).  Can you put into words how that makes you feel?
MICHELLE:  First of all—thank you!  I don’t even know how that’s the case—I’m trying to get used to the idea that other people have actually read it!  Mostly, I just hope people enjoy reading it—I think books should be entertaining, so if MARA DYER helped anyone pass time on a plane flight or in a waiting room or between final exams, I’m beyond thrilled.  It was a tremendously fun book to write, and I hope it’s fun for people to read.
R&R:  What was your favourite thing about writing Mara (the character)?
MICHELLE:  My favorite thing is definitely sneaking in little inside jokes; sometimes Mara will make a comment about something she did or someone else did, and the incident she’s talking about will have actually happened to someone I know or to me.  It keeps me entertained. *grins*
R&R:  What would you say to your readers, potential or otherwise, if you could?
MICHELLE:  That there WILL be a sequel, and it will be out in Fall 2012.
Read&Riot can't wait for the sequel! (And you won't want to either).
R&R:  What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
MICHELLE:  Finish the book!

Thank you so much to Michelle for answering all my questions!

If you want to know more about Michelle Hodkin and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer you can check out her website.
If you want to contact Michelle you can find her on twitter.
You can also read my spoiler free review of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer!

September 14, 2011

Love List (7)


This should be the 8th Love List, but it's not.  I missed last month because I was incredibly stressed out and too busy.  It's September so I'm in school now, and it's been a big BIG change for me.  This is when these things are the most important.  It's easy to be worried and feel lost or overwhelmed, but it's not always easy to remember the things you love, or the things that make everything worth it.

A Million Suns.
Beth Revis.
Vanier College.
Meeting people.
My job.
Getting a seat alone on the bus.
ROOM by Emma Donoghue.
Hand-selling Divergent.
September TV.
Boy Meets World.
Fanfiction writers.
People who read.
Monster by Paramore.
Kate Voegele.
Gravity Happens.
Honest people.
The word "crazypants".
Riding the subway when you're not in a rush.
Just Listen.
Sandcastles by Kate Voegele.
School supplies.
Wallace Wells from Scott Pilgrim.
The Mandarin.
McQuackle :)


August 20, 2011

Book Review: Withering Tights

Publisher: Harper Teen (and imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
On-Sale Date: June 17, 2011
Length: 275 pages
Format: ARC paperback

Tallulah Casey is ready to be a star.  She’s wants people to see past her knobby knees and into her shining soul.
She’s going to be spending her summer at Dother Hall, an arts academy for girls (no need to worry; there’s an all boys school in the area!).
Tallulah could not be more excited and anxious for her summer to begin, even though, deep down, she doesn’t really know what to expect.  Tallulah is unsure of her talents, and must excel in her classes, if she wants to ever return to Dother Hall.
Keeping in mind that she cannot fail, Tallulah begins forging new friendships and a reputation.

Withering Tights was one of the most wonderfully ridiculous books I had ever read.
I didn't know a book could be quirky, but Withering Tights could definitely be described as such.

Tallulah was something else.  I could certainly have said, that I had never encountered a character like her.  She made up words and had the nerve to spontaneously break out into song and dance.  Tallulah was a fun narrator.  She was still quite innocent, and didn’t have any adult worries weighing her down.

Tallulah was old enough to feel embarrassment, but young enough to not let self consciousness take over.  She went through some pretty mortifying situations, but just kept on kicking.  When she fell on her butt she just got right back up and tried again.

Tallulah always kept you guessing.  She wasn’t the same on every page.  Tallulah was trying to figure out what she wanted to be known for.  The great thing about reading a character so young was that she hadn’t discovered herself yet.  You got to share her journey, and were there when she figured out who she was.
Tallulah was just so awkward, it was comical.  At times, Lulah and her antics were laugh out loud hilarious.

Tallulah fit in well with her fellow girls of Dother Hall.  The girls all had this electric energy and they fed off of one another.  They complimented each other nicely.  It certainly didn’t hurt that every character had their own personal brand of nuttiness.
When boys came into the picture there was a whole new brand of hilarity and wonder brought to the story.  Tallulah's mates had minimal experience with the opposite sex, and it was endearing to read.  Every boy that was added certainly mixed up the plot.

This novel was just plain fun.  The characters were upbeat and weird, (some more weird than others), and the plot had you on a roller coaster that took you along for the ride.

Withering Tights was face paced.  Tallulah didn’t stay in the same place for long.  You couldn’t keep up with her and you couldn’t catch her, so you just had to enjoy the story that was being told.

This was the first book by Louise Rennison that I had read.  The British words and made up language used in the novel took some time getting used to (and occasionally tested my patience).  There were times that I encountered multiple unfamiliar words on the same page, which took away from the Withering Tights experience.  There was a glossary in the back, but it didn't hold all of the words I looked for.

You needed to embrace knobby kneed Lulah or you wouldn’t have enjoyed the story.
Her character growth in Withering Tights was just right, and allowed for more to be told of Tallulah’s story; growing pains and all.

Reading Withering Tights was like imagining the funniest thing that could have happened and then something even funnier would occur.

I would read another story about Tallulah Casey without a second thought.

In my opinion, there was a lesson you could take from Withering Tights, (besides bicycle ballets are dangerous).  You should be proud of who you are, and use your insecurities to your best advantage, because as soon as Tallulah did, she felt empowered and was ready to take on whatever the future held instore.

All in all, I missed Tallulah and her friends, soon after I was done.

Premise: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the publisher. This did not influence my review in any way.

August 15, 2011

Book Review: The Splendor Falls

Title: The Splendor Falls
Publisher: Delacorte Press (a registered trademark of Random House Inc.)
On-Sale Date: January 11, 2011
Length: 513 pages
Format: Trade paperback

Sylvie Davis has been sent away.  She’s going to be spending some time with her deceased father’s cousin, Paula.  Most importantly, she’s going to have some time away from her life.  Sylvie will be staying in Bluestone Hill Inn as Cousin Paula is the owner.  It is the perfect place for Sylvie to have some time to herself, and to explore the large property that surrounded her.
After the nasty accident of breaking her leg on stage, (otherwise known as "The Accident"), Sylvie became a different person.  She can’t dance anymore, and is devastated.  So, her new step-father, along with her mother, decide that some time away from home would be best for everyone.
Sylvie arrives at Bluestone Hill with her chihuahua, Gigi, and in a less than cheery mood.  She didn’t ask to come there, but if anything, maybe it’ll bring her closer to her dad again.
Despite her less than stellar attitude, Sylvie doesn’t seem to have trouble making friends.  Two people in particular are immediately interested in Sylvie.  There’s Rhys, the mysterious guest, and Shawn, the all-around golden boy.  There’s definitely animosity between those two,  and could Sylvie be the cause?
Although Sylvie is drawn to both boys and the secrets they keep hidden, she’s even more curious about the story surrounding Bluestone Hill.  And who is that she keeps seeing running through the darkness?

I truly enjoyed reading The Splendor Falls.
It was a scary story with its own twist.

One of the main characters was Sylvie’s chihuahua, Gigi.  It isn’t often that a main character has four legs and barks.  I loved this puppy.  She was the best furry friend to Sylvie.  Gigi was a friendly counterpart to her owner’s snappy moods and surly attitude.  She made the entire town and tenants of Bluestone Hill melt.  I have never been a huge animal lover, but my heart was touched by Gigi throughout the story.  She was just as important to the story as Sylvie.

Sylvie lost everything.  She lost her whole life.  Dancing was everything to her, and breaking her leg nearly broke her.  Sylvie knew no other lifestyle, but had to build one on a broken dream.  Her mother, step-father, step-brother, and psychologist all believed that they knew what was best for her.  Unfortunately for everyone else, (Team Help-Sylvie-Get-A-Life), Sylvie was the only one who could figure it all out for herself.  Still, they made the decision for her to spend her summer with Cousin Paula in a small southern town far from her native Manhattan.  It was there that Sylvie was supposed to find her bearings.  It truly was a good place to start, because this was where her father, who meant everything to her, spent his summers growing up.  She was lost when her father died.   She really needed to find a part of him again.  Even dead, Sylvie’s dad was there for her more than her mother ever was.

Sylvie had such a presence.  She didn’t quite know who she was yet, but she made herself known.  Sylvie was confident despite the seemingly downward spiral she had been caught in.  She had a level head on her shoulders, but had trouble believing in herself, because the people that surrounded her no longer trusted her completely.  She didn’t want to cause any upset because this felt like her last chance.  Sylvie had made some mistakes that were taken the worst way, so she was shipped off to a distant family member.
Fortunately, this ballerina was much more than just beauty.  The fact that she wasn’t cuddly and prickled those around her, just added to her character.  Quite ironically, her closest friend was a puppy.  Sylvie was only gentle and caring with Gigi, and normally she bristled around everyone else.
She followed her instincts and didn’t let The Accident slow her down.  
When Sylvie danced she knew who she was, but when it was ripped away from her, she was forced to see who she could be without it.

There was a story hidden in Bluestone Hill, and it seemed like Sylvie was the one that was meant to uncover it.  Sylvie was almost convinced that she was truly going crazy.  She saw the unexplainable, but in a place with such history she wasn’t the only one that did.  There were many clues laid out for those who cared to look.
Sylvie wasn’t only meant to find herself that summer.  The story was more than her.  She was meant to find truth and answers, so the story could finally be put to rest.

The two boys interested in Sylvie from nearly the beginning, didn't make for a conventional love triangle.  The relationships between Sylvie, Rhys, and Shawn took continuous twists and turns until the reader was left in a constantly confused state.  Each boy had Sylvie questioning him, and it wasn’t until the end that it all made sense.  It was a well plotted mystery, because all the intricate pieces fell into place at the end.

The Splendor Falls was a wonderful, wonderful read.

Premise: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

Disclosure: I received a finished copy from the author. This did not influence my review in any way.