Monthly archives: November, 2015

Tackling the TBR: November 2015 [4]

tackling

I won’t lie: school kicked my ass in September and October. I rarely had time to sit down and blog, let alone read for fun and so my goals for these last two months are nowhere near where I would like them to be. Between August and September, the number of books I read decreased by 50% and it was the same downward trend for October as well. School came first of course, and so I really couldn’t do anything about my reading habits until late October. But by then it was a little too late to salvage my Fall TBR Goals.

For September and October, I had 5 targets:

  1. Read a total of 2 ARCs per month
  2. Read 1 TBR jar item a week for the rest of September; 2 for October
  3. Read only 1 Library Book per week
  4. Read 7 of my 10 selected trilogy series for Trilogy Termination
  5. Only add books to my On Hold list at the start of each month

So, was I successful? Here’s how I actually did!

Rule #1: Read a total of 2 ARCs/Review copies per month

I read 5 review requests in September alone and had another 5-6 in October. This was way more than I anticipated but so many great opportunities presented themselves. In the end, I was really overwhelmed and in turn decided to close my Request option down until December so I could focus solely on my TBR in November. I really have to learn how to say no! When it comes to Netgalley, I’m going to regroup and reevaluate how many books I want to read in December.

Rule #2: Read 1 TBR jar item a week for the rest of September; 2 for October

I’m really bummed that this one never came to fruition. I was really positive heading into September that I would be able to get some of my purchased books read but catching up on ARCs/requests really bogged me down.

Rule #3: Read only 1 Library Book per week 

Besides a few exceptions, I really did only have one book out a week for October. The problem became a backlog of ARCs which led to a backlog of library books. It was really unfortunate because I had some books I had been dying to read come into my hands but had to return them before I could read them :'(

Rule #4: Read 7 of my 10 selected trilogy series for Trilogy Termination

SIGH…this was my main goal for October and I failed miserably. This one hurts the most because I was really hoping to make a dent in this. Perhaps I will have to shelf this goal until my Christmas Holidays…

On the bright side though, I did update quite a few series with their newest books AND finished a trilogy that I had its last book finally release after 2 years of waiting so that was really exciting.

RULE #5: Only add books to my On Hold list at the start of each month

I did this for September but then October came and I swear, every book I’ve been waiting to read this year came out in a two week span. So, for a time I did have more than 5 (it was probably 7) books on hold. However, they were all pre-releases and I knew that if I didn’t put my name early on that list, I probably wouldn’t get a chance to read them until next October.

So what did I learn?

That I was very naive when I set these goals near the end of August. It had been 4 months since I had been in school and I think that was enough time to forget how strapped down for time I am when I’m busy with classes and other commitments. I really put too many things on my plate for these last two months and so I think I have to scale things down a bit and slowly work my way to where I want to be.

My Game Plan for November:

With school now in full swing and finals nearing, I really have to make every concession to reduce the stress in my life. My posts’ schedule for November and December is pretty much set (the exception is my yearly and monthly recaps) so in that respect I don’t have any pressing deadlines to complete. I’m going to set some hard rules for myself for November and then play it by ear for December once I know what I am doing for break.

So here’s my new game plan:

  • No requests/ARCs in November
  • No putting books on hold at the library in November
    • I’m just going to read the books I currently have on hold when they come in but not replace them with new holds when finished
  • Read 5 TBR books in November
  • Generally: Not starting a new series by an author I already have an unfinished series/sequels for

Has the new school year affected your reading? let me know below!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Throwdown Thursday: TV vs Movie Adapations

throwdownlarge

Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!

Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:

TV ADAPTIONS VS MOVIE ADAPTIONS

There is nothing greater than hearing your favourite series has been greenlight to come to life. But which is better: a TV series or a Movie Adaption?

Like I did for my eBook vs Physical Book Throwdown, I’ve modified my traditional Throwdown Thursday post as there are so many variables when it comes to picking a winner. Some series are just meant to be shown on TV while others are meant to be on the big screen (movies). So, instead, I’ve thrown together 3 “Considerations” that I think are important for deciding whether you want your favourite series to be a TV Series or a Movie Series. I’ve also thrown in some of my thoughts on recent adaptions and failures that I think highlight my main ideas.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment at the end of this post and vote in my poll!

Consideration 1: Length

One Hour a Week vs One Hour a Year

Character Development vs Plot Development

In the grand scheme of things, I feel like TV shows care more about character development and progression more than they do about a getting to the nitty gritty of the story. That’s because they have the time on a weekly basis to slowly unwind the plot. They want to you get attached to these characters so that you come back week after week to see what is going to happen to them next. And the little bits of a plot you get at a time keep you coming back because you never saw those twists coming…and they have more of an impact because you love these characters.

Movie on the other hand only have a set limit of time to develop both the characters and the plot. Usually, they condense one book into 2 hours–unless they are following that awful trend of splitting the last book into 2 movies (a la Hunger Games and Twilight)–which means they only have so much time to get you to like these characters and learn everything that is happening plot wise. For some novels/series, this format is better; especially if they are high actions ones that would benefit from the visuals and lack the character development in their novels.

CASE AND POINT:

  1. The Mortal Instruments Movie
    • The movie was a surprisingly huge flop but the recent development of a TV series has me super excited. This book series has always been about the characters for me and there are so many interesting parts to this world that a TV series seems like the perfect way to fully explore all of these fascinating bits without leaving anything out.
  2. Game of Thrones TV Series
    • The sheer size of these books terrify me! I have yet to read them, but feedback from friends who have lead me to believe that a TV series is the best route for this series. There are just so many interesting characters with dynamic and complicated plots that it makes that the length of a TV episode is much more effective than the length of a movie.

 

Consideration 2: Budget

Smaller Budget vs Larger Budget

Smaller risk and reward vs a big investment and little return

TV series come and go. At the start of the fall season there are always a bunch of fresh faces hoping to be that freshman show that breaks out into the big leagues and not a freshmen flop. But I feel as though the pitch to make a book into a TV show is one that is much more cost effective. Well, that is my opinion as someone who knows absolutely nothing about the entertainment business. I’m just going off the knowledge that there have been quite a few series that have had pilots filmed and then nothing ever happens to them.

To me, movies seem to be the hard sell because we are talking millions upon millions of dollars in profits and cost. It takes years for anything to be green-lit because no one wants to be associated with a box office flop. High risk, high reward but even higher losses. There are numerous series that I know have been optioned for films yet nothing ever happens. It also explains why movies about once popular series are released years later.

CASE AND POINT:

  1. Delirium Series TV Pilot
    • A few years ago, a TV pilot was filmed for this series with Emma Roberts and apparently, it was awful. I have to agree because I’ve watched a portion of the pilot and I can see why nothing ever became of it. I think this was one of those cases where the budget really wasn’t there in order to get the right writers and actors to get on board.
  2. Twilight the Movie
    • Say what you will about Twilight but the movies are absolute pop culture marvels. The movies came out right in the height of Twilight-fandom and one company capitalized on it. This is one of those cases where the risk was high and the reward was even higher. The first Twilight film cost an estimate $37 million and reaped in close to $400 million at the box office. New Moon cost an estimated $50 million, returned $709 million and the rest of the series follows similar results: and increased budget and even higher return.

Consideration 3: Faithfulness to Novel/Series

You’ll see that I don’t have a creative subheading for this one because this consideration can be all over the place. Some movie adaptions are spot on faithful to their book origins while others are all over the place. The same can be said about some TV Series.

I think the general feeling but all fans is that they love their original stories and they seriously dislike unnecessary modifications. I say “unnecessary” because I think even the most zealot of fans understand that some changes need to be made. I don’t like change, but sometimes I think change is for the better. There are a few movie/tv adaptions that I think capture the essence of the novel better than the novel does! (You can catch those thoughts in my various Movie Monday, Throwdown Thursday or Series review posts).

CASE AND POINT:

  1. Fight Club Movie
    • I’ve only read Fight Club (never watched the movie) for an English class in university but from that study, I know that Chuck Palahniuk (the author) actually prefers the movie adaption of his own novel over his novel! He feels it better captured the essence of what he was trying to say. Or at least, that’s what they say…we all know the first rule about Fight Club 😉
  2. The Vampire Diaries TV Series
    • After reading the books, I really enjoyed how the series added more to these basic characters. The TV series has more action, more romance and more substance to it overall. The changes they made were necessary in order to get the appeal of the next generation and to make it an interesting TV series. The essence of the show is the same: good vs evil with the hope that good will always win but the TV show makes that battle so much fun to watch.

Final Thoughts:

Like I said at the start, it really depends on the story that needs to be told. Some book series would make better TV shows than they do movies–that’s just the way it is. In general, I take the stand that series that focus more on character relationships and character development are better suited for TV because they have the time to develop that all. But series that are usually trilogies that focus more on the action or world are better suited for the movies.

Here are a few of my wishlist Adaptions:

My TV Adaption Wishlist:

My Movie Adaption Wishlist:

What are your thoughts: on book adaptations? Which novels or series are on your adaption wishlist Leave a comment below!

Next Time: Book Series vs Standalones

Series Review: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Nevermore (from Goodreads):
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

breakdown

Series: Nevermore Trilogy
Author: Kelly Creagh
# of Books: 3 (Nevermore, Enshadowed, Oblivion)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Single
Publication Dates: August 2010 – July 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover (Nevermore, Enshadowed), eBook (Oblivion)

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t recall how I found Nevermore. I think it was through Indigo’s YA Summer reads one year. Anyways, the idea of a cheerleader falling for a “goth” is a cliché in and of itself, but the weavings of Edgar Allen Poe’s work into a paranormal world? Call me intrigued!

The Concept / The World:

I’m not a huge Poe fan per say, but I’ve read many of his works for school and enjoy his unique stories. So I was excited to see how Kelly Creagh was going to work it all together.

The great thing about this series is that you don’t have to know Poe’s work inside and out in order to understand what is happening. I’m sure it would help at times and it would enrich your experience, but it isn’t necessary.

I will admit I still don’t really understand the world all that well–even after finishing the books. I know enough to enjoy the story and move forward without feeling completely lost. Part of the issue is that there was nearly 2 years between all the books–that is a super, super long time between books! Especially when you have read numerous other books in between and don’t have the time to reread everything (because these books are long). Thankfully, I kept good notes on what happened but I still feel like some of the finer details were missing for me in the grande scheme.

The Plot:

The plot takes a long time to get going at the start. I remember reading Nevermore waiting for the romance and drama to begin. And that isn’t to say that nothing happened during those first few chapters; it’s just not a high action paranormal read. Those chapters instead focus on character and world development, which is needed because the paranormal aspects are quite complex. But once everything starts to reveal itself, you get more of the paranormal plot line. 

There really isn’t much else to these books besides the romance and paranormal plot line. Meaning, there isn’t a lot of subplots as everything stems to the one common problem. And because of that, I didn’t find this book to be extremely “twisty”, rather it just had big revelations when things were made clear to the reader. Despite not having high levels of action for its book length, I still found this series to be super easy to read and it kept my attention. My attention may have been spent 80% of the time trying to keep everything about the world straight, but it made me pay attention.

The Characters:

I remember not really liking Isobel initially when I started Nevermore. She reminded me a lot of Elena from The Vampire Diaries in her character delivery–the cold hearted, popular cheerleader. But she really grew on me as her character expanded.

Varen is also a complex character but I always really liked him. He’s got that tortured soul thing going on and I like the mystery surrounding him. He always really intrigued me, especially when Isobel is the main focus of the narration, because he comes across as such an enigma. It was fun trying to learn more about him as a character while I read.

The rest of the cast is pretty typical of a paranormal YA series. New girl quickly becomes BFF, crazy exes, over protective parents, etc. But they all really work for this story and do their roles well.

The Romance:

I really liked Van and Isobel together. I think it helped that we got to really know their characters first when it came to seeing their relationship bloom.

It’s also a dark love–very reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s work. Perhaps I was just oblivious to it or perhaps it really doesn’t manifest until the final book but it almost seemed unhealthy to me. I think part of my issue was that it had been so long since I read Enshadowed and so I forgot plot developments and feelings. Once I got into Oblivion a bit more, I was totally back on board with their romance.

concSLOW

Series Rating: 4/5

Nevermore 4/5 | Enshadowed 4/5 | Oblivion 3/5

overall

This series continually builds to its climax in the final book so I recommend reading them as close together as possible. I think because I read Oblivion nearly 2 years after Enshadowed, it lost some of its appeal to me and I ended up really disappointed in the story. I don’t think would have been the case if I had read it right after Enshadowed.

Overall, it is a dark paranormal YA romance that has a unique edge to it that I haven’t really encountered in just one book and I really enjoyed them was all said and done…I just didn’t like waiting for them all 😛

Read if You Like: Edgar Allen Poe, dark paranormal, alternate dimension stories
Avoid if You: dislike long books with slower starts

similarreads

readingchallenges

book book

recapbutton

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Monthly Inventory: October 2015

October 2015

I’m going to be blunt: school has been kicking my ass! It has steadily been decreasing my reading and blogging time–which totally sucks! Midterms are over so hopefully I’ll be able to get more done in November but finals are just around the corner…

October was also a tense month because the Toronto Blue Jays made the MLB play-offs for the first time in over 20 years! I live in Toronto so it was a lot of fun to see the support the Jays had in their home city. Unfortuately, they didn’t make it to the World Series but it was a hard fought battle. On the bright side, they really brought Canada together and heightened baseball fever here (usually hockey is our thing). Plus, they inspired some great book-spine poetry as the Toronto Public Library and the Kansas City Library had a friendly twitter feud. One of my highlights of that series for sure! Here’s my favourite:

thoughts

  • 12 Books Read + 2 novellas
    • 2 standalones (including 1 ARCs)
    • 0 of books from TBR Jar
    • 1 nonfiction audiobook
    • Started 3 new series (including 0 ARCs)
    • Finished 0 series from start to end
    • Finished 2 previously started series
    • Read sequels for 2 previously started series
Favourite Read Least Favourite Read
Dark Wild Night (Wild Seasons, #3) Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't
★★★★★


★★

*Note: If the review is available, click on the cover! However, due to the nature of my blog (ie I review whole series) it often takes me a few weeks to publish a full review (pending book availability) so look forward to seeing some of these reviews in the upcoming weeks/months if there is no link available!

thoughts

Fair Game (The Rules, #1) Easy Love (Boudreaux, #1) Always Been You (Unforgettable You, #3) Heart and Soul (Lost and Found, #5) Losers Weepers (Lost and Found, #4) Tempt Me Like This (The Morrisons, #2)

I blame Kobo and their awesome 50% off promo for the end of the month…

thoughts

Most Viewed Post

COVER

Top Ten Tropes I Want to Go Extinct

Most Viewed Review

My Heart & Other Black Holes

View this month’s archives for more posts and reviews!

thoughts

Previously posted reviews I updated this past month:

thoughts

Book Bingo–Canadian: 0 books added
Everything YA Challenge: ✔ 2 YA reads
Goodreads Challenge: 13 books added
Monthly Key Word Challenge: ✔ “Number”
Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +32 points added
SERIESous’ Personal Classics Challenge: 0 books added
SERIESous’ Personal Nonfiction Challenge: 1 books added

View my Progress Here!

thoughts

  • I updated my Standalone & Series Review Directory
  • I am not taking any review requests for the month of November
    • This means I will not be accepting requests from Authors or Publishers who would like a review to be posted in November or December. I plan to reopen this in December if all goes well with school.
      • If you are a reader who has a series that they think I would like or want me to review, please feel free to contact me via the form on my Contact page. I might not get to it right away, but I will definitely add it to my TBR and I am always looking for great recommendations!

thoughts

thoughts

I went to see Ricky Martin on his One World Tour which was a lot of fun! His song La Mordidita has been in my head all month! I’ve also been listening to The Weeknd in preparation for his concert in November! AND, best of all, my favourite band ever Marianas Trench released their newest album (Astoria) so I’ve been enjoying all their new music 😉

What were your biggest reading or personal accomplishments of the past month?
Leave a comment below!

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: Blind Trust by Peiri Ann

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Blind Trust (from Goodreads):
*For mature readers 18+*
Loving someone has never been so deadly.

Valerie Harper has one assignment, one mission. Assassinate her mark and everyone he loves. But what happens when she finds that she loves him too?

Her instructions are simple; do not fraternize with your target, observe at a distance, and never engage with the enemy. However, as things take an unexpected turn in Val’s world, these simple instructions begin to change.

Refusing to be a puppet, Kyle Shultz walks away from his old life and settles into the college routine. But the life of a student is more difficult than he imagined. Making friends and attending parties are as foreign a concept as showing a target mercy.

The lines between the state of the job and the affairs of the heart are blurred as Valerie and Kyle’s worlds collide.
With a maze of enemies and hit lists to navigate, will these two young adversaries proceed wide-eyed and alone into the fray? Or will they blindly trust the feelings they can no longer ignore?

breakdown

Author: Peiri Ann
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense, Dark
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: September 24, 2015
Source & Format: New Adult Book Club RIRI provided by author–eBook  |  Thank you Peiri Ann!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I like reading romances that don’t follow the traditional path. Sure, it’s great to read about a boy and girl who fall in love while away at university but what if their situation was a little more...extreme? And I’m not talking crazy ex-partners who just can’t seem to let go. I mean, what if one of these people has been sent to kill the other?

Intriguing right? Though definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

I love stories where enemies fall in love and having an assassin fall in love with her mark is a perfect example of this. Sure, it’s a tad cliché but it is entertaining. So, I when presented the opportunity to read this book I snatched it up! I couldn’t wait for the fun and danger to begin.

The Concept:

If you are expecting some light hearted novel, I would look elsewhere. These are assassins who don’t mind killing people for money or for a purpose. If anyone has watched Kingsmen (or read the graphic novel) I find the tone is similar (in terms that it is normal for these characters to pursue this path) in the sense that these people are pretty nonchalant about killing other people. However, it isn’t at all espionage based or witty in its humour.

The Plot:

This book didn’t start off where I thought it was going to. When I first started, I had assumed it would be told solely from Val’s POV and Kyle’s past would be a bit of a mystery. I also thought we would be joining Val at the start of her mission. Turns out, we get both Kyle and Val’s POV which is A-ok and honestly, removes the predictability of the book regarding Kyle’s past.

We are also thrust into the end of Val’s mission when everything starts to fall apart. Which kind-of sucks because it takes away from the character and plot development I was expecting to see. Val’s opinion of Kyle has been well established before the reader even enters the scene, taking away from the romantic development that I wanted to see unfold.

The shit has also hit the fan and that accelerates everything at a pace that doesn’t really work for me. I like books that hit the ground running but I just felt lost trying to understand these characters AND what was happening plot wise. I still really don’t understand what did actually happen even after finishing the book…

That does have its positives though. What I thought was going to be a predictable novel turned out to be rather unpredictable, keeping me glued to my Kobo to find out what was going to happen next. So even if I didn’t understand what happened, it kept my attention in the hopes that I would eventually understand.

The Characters:

Regardless of what these characters may or may not do for a living, I had a hard time totally connecting with them. Part of the issue was simply trying to understand their thought process and coming up empty every time.

I’ll start with Kyle. I personally have a soft-spot for the suave jackass character but he was just a little too much for me. He seemed to be two extremes. One minute he would be a nice guy and then in the next he was a complete ass who was crude and heartless. And I suppose to a certain extent it worked for his character and made sense the more I read but my initial impression of him didn’t really seem to improve as I read.

As for Val, I wanted a little more from her. I feel like a lot more could have been done with her character but she just felt very underdeveloped to me–especially given all that happens to her. It felt all over the place to me and I didn’t like that. And when we did get some of that vulnerability, it arrived way past the point of me really caring.

The Romance:

I really struggled to see how these romance worked.  I understood why these two were drawn together in theory but in practice, there was more to be desired. Part of the issue is that Val’s feelings are already developed before the book starts. I just didn’t see what she saw in Kyle and that caused me not to see how their relationship would evolve. Kyle’s feelings were a little more obvious because the reader gets to see him establish a relationship with Val. But then again, my jackass impression of him stopped me from totally getting on board with the romance and he was all over the place emotionally as well. So overall, the romance fell flat for me.

The Spin-off:

There is going to be a spin-off with one of the side characters but that is going to be a pass for me. I didn’t particularly like him and I’m really not sure what to expect from his story.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

This book just needed some polish because I think all the right ideas were there. It just flopped all over the place and never seemed to be consistent. Cool premise but poor execution (and that pun was totally intended).

Read if You Like: unconventional romances, unconventional characters
Avoid if You: don’t like assassins, want a more straight-forward read

similarreads

 

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact