Tag «standalone»

Single Sundays: Measuring Up by Nyrae Dawn

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Seventeen-year-old Annabel Conway is tired of the Hillcrest High School elite making her life miserable because she’s not a size two. This summer, she’s hiring a personal trainer to help her lose weight.

Annabel doesn’t expect her trainer to be a gorgeous guy around her age. Boys like Tegan are jerks. They pretend to like girls like her so they can make an idiot out of them. Been there, done that. Totally not going there again. She kind of hates him on principal. Blond. Muscular. Funny. It doesn’t help that he knows her measurements!

Soon, Tegan’s so much more than that. He’s the boy who teaches her to box when she has a bad day. Who jogs with her and lets her set the pace. Who kisses her until she melts. He makes her feel beautiful regardless of what the scale says. Unlike her mom, he doesn’t expect perfection, and he doesn’t try to shield her from the world like her dad and best friend. Tegan likes her the way she is.

But what happens when he’s not there? He can’t always be there…

Will Annabel be able to stand on her own and learn that she already measures up? That her worth doesn’t lie in what the world thinks, the scale says, or even what Tegan tells her—but in herself?

Review:

I really liked loved this book! I’m not sure if it was because I was so busy in my real-life that I found an escape reading this (I think I enjoy books more when I know I should be doing other things, like studying for exams, etc.) but I think if I read this two weeks from now, I would still have enjoyed this book.

I think most girls can relate in some way to Annabel. Even though I have personally never struggled with my weight the same way she has, I still found her extremely relatable in how she thinks about herself. I often felt like we were personality twins as I was reading because I couldn’t help thinking, “I would have done/said the exact same thing!”. I find books today have the “rebellious” independent girls who are their own person, yet they all have perfect bodies/features and unbeknownst to them, every guy in the general vicinity is in love with them. With Annabel you don’t get that particular character but someone you have probably felt like at one point in your life.

Which is why I loved the relationship between Tegan and her. You could really see why they liked each other–it wasn’t just physical chemistry but what they talked about and believed that drew them together. They really supported each other–and not in some twisted, nearly obsessive way that some New Adult heroines and heroes “need” each other in order to live. Basically, they have a healthy, realistic relationship.

However, as much as I loved this book, I was a little disappointed. I would really like to see a sequel as I felt some issues, specifically with Tegan’s story, were not fully resolved. But overall, there is a solid ending that provides closer to the readers so you can cease your worrying over my wishful thoughts :P.

Conclusion:

This book was refreshing in a genre that is often just sex & tragedy focused. The characters a relatable and the plot is realistic. With this book, Nyrae Dawn has become a must-read author for me!

Rating: 5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New/Young Adult, High school, Realistic
Recommended for: 16+
Similar Reads: Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot (Heather Wells Mysteries, #1) and Take Me by Bella Andre (Take Me Series, #1)

Movie Monday: Stardust

Movie Monday: Stardust

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Stardust by Neil Gaiman | Movie: Stardust (2007)

Which did I read/see first? the MOVIE

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Adventure, Science Fiction
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Dates: 1998
Source & Format: Own–Softcover

thoughts

Neil Gaiman is one of those authors that everyone seems to have read and enjoyed. I myself had never read one of his books before so I decided to give it a shot.

I will admit that my reading of this book is skewed as I saw the movie before I read the book. I think I was expecting a novel more like the movie and that isn’t the case. While the two do share some similarities, there are also some key differences and because of this, I was a little disappointed in the novel.

I liked it enough, but I often felt like it was a little too out-there for me. I didn’t connect with the characters as well as in the movie and I didn’t really like the plot twists as well either. I also thought it was missing out on some of the charm the movie had as well.

overall

Overall, the book didn’t do much for me. It was an interesting story but didn’t capture my attention all that well.
Rating: 3/5

I was skeptical about seeing this movie. When the trailers were playing on TV, I thought “this is going to be a weird movie”. However, I was watching Much Music (the Canadian MTV) and one of the VJ kept raving on and on about how excited she was for this movie and then proceeded to play a few clips from the movie. After seeing these additional clips, my interest was peaked and I waited until it was available on DVD to watch it.

I loved this movie–which slightly shocked me I think. There was so much more to it than the trailers had given me reason to believe and I liked the quirkiness to it. I liked the whole adventure that Tristan and Yvaine go on and the banter between them & the other characters. It was adorable to watch the romance between them. The cast was fantastic and I have to say that Robert De Niro made the movie for me. There is something about the characters in the movie that I like so much more than in the book.

The movie reminded me a bit of The Princess Bride in that it has this charm to it that makes you love it (but be warned, it isn’t nearly as funny). I have since seen it numerous times and every once and a while I just get a hankering to watch it (like as I write this review :P)

thewinneris

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE. This is definitely just a personal preference and completely subjective. I don’t think it has anything to do with watching the movie first–I think it is just because I enjoyed the plot path the movie takes more so than the novel. I certainly won’t begrudge anyone who disagrees with me as the novel is beautifully written and so creative and unique but I enjoy the movie a lot more.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Stardust (from Goodreads):
Catch a fallen star…

Tristan Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester – and stumbles into the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman’s most beloved tales, and the inspiration for the hit movie

Trailer:

Single Sundays: Team Human by Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Mel is horrified when Francis Duvarney, arrogant, gorgeous, and undead, starts at her high school. Mel’s best friend, Cathy, immediately falls for the vampire. Cathy is determined to be with him forever, even if having him turn her could inadvertently make her a zombie.

And Mel is equally determined to prove to her BFF that Francis is no good, braving the city’s vampire district and kissing a cute boy raised by vampires as she searches evidence in this touching and comic novel

Review:

I went into this book thinking it was going to be a fun read about a tough girl braving the world of vampires in a satire. I’m not sure why I was expecting this because as I reread the summaries from Goodreads and my local library’s collection, I really should have got the clue that this book wasn’t for me.

I didn’t find this book very funny. I don’t think this is a good sign because I laugh at everything–and I truly mean everything. To give it credit, I think I did chuckle at a few things but overall I was left disappointed in the humour aspect. I expect books written as satires to have a little ironic humour in them and I didn’t think this one did.

Also, Mel drove me crazy. She annoyed the crap out of me and I found it hard to continue reading. She’s rude and selfish and unnecessarily violent. Francis is weird and I wanted to give Cathy a good slap. The only character I enjoyed was Kit because I thought he was quirky and probably delivered on the “satire” part of the novel. (After I read this, I guess the satire part shines in the characters because they are everything I hate about angsty teen vampire romance novels–so bravo!).

The plot was ok and I guess I see the irony (*coughcough* Twilight) but there was nothing that really wowed me about it.

Conclusion:

This book was a miss for me. It fails to deliver as a satire and has unlikeable characters. Thankfully, it was a quick read.

Rating: 2.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Teen, Romance, Vampires, Satire
Recommended for: 15+
Similar Reads: Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon

Movie Mondays: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky | Movie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover Movie Poster

The Book:

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Genre: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Humourous, High School, Bullying

Thoughts:

This is one of my all time favourite books. I read it in a few hours and I laughed so hard during it. Charlie is hilarious and it was one of the first books I can ever remember laughing through.

I also like it because it is relatable and realistic. And even though it was written years ago, it definitely applies to today’s teens as it deals with topics of bullying, coming out and finding yourself.

It should be noted that the book is written as a series of letters from Charlie as he describes his life and daily events to a friend. This format isn’t for everyone but it’s a nice change from other novels.

Conclusion:

This novel definitely isn’t for everyone and if you don’t enjoy books dealing with growing up, I would stay away from this. I think people in high school or in college would enjoy this more than a 30 year old but to each their own. But overall, if you want to try something new definitely read this!

Rating: 5/5
Similar Reads: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

The Movie:

It should be noted that the movie was written, directed and produced by Stephen Chbosky so I went in with high expectations and was not disappointed.

While it didn’t follow the book exactly, you definitely got the main messages and feelings from the book in the movie. I laughed and I cried and I left the movie with that “feel-good” feeling great movies have. The cast was great as well. I especially loved Ezra Miller’s Patrick. He nailed my favourite character perfectly. But I have to give props to the rest of the cast as well.

Overall, fans of the book will not be disappointed and if you liked the movie, you will love the book.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is a TIE . Both are great in their own way and the message and feelings of the novel can be found in the movie. You can’t go wrong here!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Perks of Being a Wallflower (from Goodreads):
Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Trailer:

Single Sundays: I’ve Got Your Number by Sophia Kinsella

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

I’ve lost it. 🙁 The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive 🙂 !!

 
Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!
 
Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.
 
What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Review:

I really enjoy chick-lit from Britain so I wanted to read a stand-alone novel from this genre. After reading Kinsella’s Shopaholic Series, I decided to see what her other novels were like, so mission created.

The whole concept of the story is a little far-fetched for the logical thinker in me but I think that is why I enjoyed it so much. It was a fun, quick paced and humourous read. It was like a mash-up of the Shopaholic series and Bridget Jones’ Diary–book series I have really enjoyed–into one.

At times, I felt like it was a little too much Becky from Shopaholic, so I left with the impression that Poppy wasn’t a totally original character. It makes sense to me as Kinsella’s success has been based on a specific character type with her Shopaholic series and she can obviously write that character type very well (and she is well liked by fans). From my experience with her other novels I have read by her since, this is the character personality she has stuck with–in nearly every.single.book. But I think I would have liked a little more “originality” in Poppy.

The plot was fun, if a little predictable but I did laugh quite a bit throughout it and that is always a good sign in my books (no pun intended!)!

Conclusion:

There isn’t too much else to say about this without giving away spoilers but if I had to choose between I’ve Got Your Number and Wedding Night, I’d pick this one. I enjoyed it much more and the characters are a lot more likeable. A solid British Chick Lit Novel.

Rating: 3.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Chick Lit, British Lit, Romance, Contemporary, Humour
Recommended for: 22+
Similar Reads: Wedding Night by Sophia Kinsella and The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot (Boy Series #1)

Single Sundays: A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Talia fell under a spell…Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic…

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger’s soft kiss.

I couldn’t help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn’t know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I’m stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels…The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

Review:

If you were to ask me who my favourite Disney Princess would be, it would be a tie between Jasmine from Aladdin and Princess Aurora, aka, Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty isn’t as popular a princess as Cinderella or Snow White or Belle so when I read that this book was about Sleeping Beauty, I jumped at the chance to read it because in the past, the retelling of fairy tales that I have read have been about those princesses and it’s refreshing to read about something else.

Before I read this, I read Beastly by Alex Flinn which is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast so I was familiar with her writing style. Her books are definitely geared towards a younger teen crowd (14+) but I did read this when I was a little younger so I enjoyed it. Now, I don’t think I would so much just because I am slightly outside that target audience.

Jack and Talia (aka Sleeping Beauty–Sleeping Beauty’s first name changes depending on which version you read) are both self-centered in their own ways. But they aren’t annoying like “I have to put this book down I can’t stand them”–more like you know that they are going to learn a valuable lesson by whatever transpires in this novel. It’s nice to see them grow through their relationship and the events that happen together.

I loved the interaction between these two, more so than in Beastly. I think it is mostly because Talia doesn’t know everything about the modern world (like phones, etc.), so I find the comments she says are pretty funny and Jack has some great responses.

Conclusion:

It’s been a long time since I read it, but I really enjoyed this book. Probably my favourite of the books I have read by Alex Flinn. I recommend this more for younger teens but I think older audiences might enjoy it as well.

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Middle School, Romance, Fairy Tales, Time Travel, Magic
Recommended for: 13+
Similar Books: Beastly by Alex Flinn and Devoured by Amanda Marrone

Single Sundays: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Single Sundays: On Sundays, I review a stand-alone book that is not a part of a series. Here is this week’s offering:

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

Review:

I am a huge Shakespeare nut. In university, I took an introduction to Shakespeare course as my elective and every year I see at least 2 of his plays. So needless to say, if I see a book that is based on a Shakespeare story or has Shakespeare in the title/plot summary–I am there.  So I am happy to say that I very much enjoyed this book!

One thing I really enjoyed about this was the history within it. Mingle’s writing makes me feel like I am living in that exact moment of history. Especially with respect to the history of Catholic and Protestant religions in Britain. I had studied that in school and I felt that she captured that history incredibly well. She is descriptive enough to allow you to create the world in your head but not so descriptive that you are skimming the paragraph to get on with the story. It is the perfect balance which makes this book so enjoyable to read.

You don’t have to be a Shakespeare nut to like this book. It has very little to do with his plays and focuses more on what his life was like back in his time. There is a bit of mystery and suspense, and of course, romance but it mostly focuses on the history.

That might be why people don’t like this book. If you don’t enjoy history focused novels, you might want to avoid this one. You might not like the heroine either. I didn’t particularly love Miranda–she wasn’t as annoying to me as some other heroines but I didn’t find anything that I particularly liked about her.

The book ended pretty suddenly in my opinion (it might have been because I was tired when I finished it though :P). I also like a little bit more closure in my books so I wouldn’t hate the idea of a sequel but it really isn’t necessary.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the history of it all but that history might not appeal to everyone so be warned!

Rating: 3.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Time Travel, Shakespeare
Recommended for: 16+
Similar Books: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly; Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Ruby Red Trilogy) and Juliet by Anne Fortier