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Wednesday 30 April 2014

Seeing Green by Annabel Hertz: Spotlight!

Review on Huffington Post calls Annabel Hertz’s new book: energetic, witty and timely
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Drawing on clever social commentary and her own experience in the political realm, author Annabel Hertz will get readers “Seeing Green” in no time.
Her new book “Seeing Green” (April 15, 2014) steps into the world of cutthroat politics and environmental policy as seen through the eyes of a young multicultural woman whose personal life seems to parallel her professional life as an activist on the frontlines of Washington D.C. in the ’90s. Never afraid to articulate her personal convictions, Hertz’s modern day heroine is strong and profound, yet humorous and relatable. 
“Seeing Green” is Hertz’s first endeavor in historical fiction, reviewed on The Huffington Post as “timely, energetic and witty.”
Much like the protagonist she introduces in “Seeing Green,” Hertz has delved into the world of politics with organizations involved in international relations and sustainable development. More recently, she served as a policy consultant, adjunct professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations and Global Governance Fellow at the World Economic Forum.

“Seeing Green” is Hertz’s debut novel. She holds master’s degrees from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and San Francisco State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from the University of California where she studied politics. Hertz is currently pursuing a doctorate in international relations at American University in Washington D.C.

Q&A with Annabel Hertz

Arcani Kirsch, the heroine in “Seeing Green,” is a multicultural woman with a Native American and Jewish background. What role does her ethnicity play in the book?
Arcani’s mixed heritage plays several roles in the book. First, it’s a fundamental source of her identity predicament in that she is trying, throughout the book, to relate to both sides of her lineage and draw upon and unify these heritages for inspiration—and for connections to her own life.
At the same time, she sometimes feels a bit in limbo because of this mixture, and even experiences tension around it—not to mention the friction she encounters, as a minority, within society as a whole, which causes her to wrestle with her identity as an American.
Her multiculturalism is also symbolic of all the other ways that she is divided in the story—between striking out on her own and staying close to her aunt, sticking up for herself and not making waves, getting ahead without sacrificing values, being a Washington inside and an outsider….carefree versus committed, east coast-west coast. And the list goes on.
So, as a result, like many of us, Arcani spends a fair amount of time trying to both assert and reconcile competing tendencies in—or parts of— herself.
Finally, her mixed heritage is—I think and hope—a source of humor in book.

What do you think makes Arcani such a relatable character?
The aforementioned internal struggles makes her relatable, including to men, which indicates some level of universality in her character. She is imperfect—as are her immediate work environs and personal life, so most people have had some experience with that, and can empathize with her and things not going according to plan, see her vulnerabilities and forgive her self-righteousness, such that they welcome growth that occurs during her various mini crises, and want her to succeed.

Are you anything like Arcani?
On one hand, almost everything that happens to Arcani has never happened to me. She really took on a life of her own—which I am sure is a typical for many writers. On the other hand, I channeled some of my views through her, and reinterpreted some specific moments or emotions I have experienced in scenes with her, and added my heritage to hers halfway into writing the book specifically to personalize the story (as well as to complicate things). So, I am sure there are some similarities between us— though some folks who are not overly fond of her are still friends with me! But I also put pieces of myself—so to speak—in the other lead female characters, and even in the male and secondary characters. Each character is partly a composite of various people—and partly a product of imagination.

“Seeing Green” is a work of historical fiction. What parts of the book are based on real events?
            Presidential campaign events like the Democratic National Convention, the scene in Bryant Park, the Inaugural parade—those all occurred, as did of course the Rio Conference on Environment and Development, although the Earth Treaty is a gross over simplification of that conference’s outcomes.
The one-year follow up to Rio, the Ministerial conference in Paris, never existed. Some events are mixed—for example, the environmental inaugural ball occurred but its locale and the events in it were fictionalized, as was the politics on Capitol Hill and the hearing, though I drew from real hearings that were occurring at that time. References to international events—the aftermath of the Cold War, the Iraq war, Chernobyl, the Bosnian conflict—are all of course real. By establishing this broader context, I tried to capture the political zeitgeist of the early 90s. I also ended up showing how history—and particularly public and political debates—are cyclical. To me, the similarities and parallels were notable.

Do you have to know a lot about politics or environmental policy to enjoy “Seeing Green?”
            Not at all. In fact, one of my goals was to personalize the politics and policy to the point that it was intrinsic to the stories about the characters and their motivations, personalities, and growth trajectories. I wanted to make politics more accessible. Some of what’s currently popular on television about Washington already does this, but I think Seeing Green takes accessibility to a new level because of the depth and multidimensionality of the protagonist and her struggles (which doesn’t normally exist in political fiction), and because of its focus on underlings and underdogs who may have linkages to power but are relatively powerless, and have their own dynamics.

How did you get interested in politics and international relations?
            When I was 14, I saw a documentary at school called ‘The Last Epidemic’ about nuclear war and based on a conference held by Physicians for Social Responsibility. That was a life changing moment, much the way the cold war influenced the character Ginger in the 2012 film “Ginger and Rosa,” only in my case there was a delayed reaction—it wasn’t until college that I became active in the anti nuclear testing movement and interested in international disarmament. That was a formative and exciting time. I was inspired by Helen Caldicott, the Australian anti-nuclear activist, the Western Shoshone People, who were leading the charge in the US, and by Gorbachev and the momentum of Perestroika in Russia. Soon after, the Berlin wall was dismantled.

How did your experience in politics and policy shape your book?
            My experiences provided a very healthy reservoir to draw upon when coming up with the narrative and sub plots. Although the book really arose from the sheer desire to create and entertain, the content seemed value added and an appropriate fit—and the perspective seemed unique to what’s already out there.

“Seeing Green” is humorous and entertaining, yet it serves as a commentary on some serious issues. What do you want readers to take away from your book?
            First and foremost, I want them to have fun and be entertained—but ideally in a way that also feels nourishing and is perhaps thought provoking and maybe even moving. Some of my favorite films and novels combine these elements, and I worked hard to make the book read lightly, while still containing grit and ballast. In terms of take aways, the idea of being true to oneself both emanates and resonates. I thought that idea might inspire young women in particular—since Arcani is 25—but it’s a classic message that’s always had broader appeal. Also there is the green message—a de-emphasis on materialism—but this is conveyed through the plot and protagonist’s values, and is not intended to be preachy or overbearing, and I don’t think it comes across as such.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Review: You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

Author: Jennifer Castle
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count:  355 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: June 4th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: You Look Different in Real Life
Source: For Review

For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.
The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.
Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.
But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.
Smart, fresh, and frequently funny, You Look Different in Real Life is a piercing novel about life in an age where the lines between what's personal and what's public aren't always clear.

You Look Different in Real Life was a poignant, moving story that completely took me by surprise. I was not expecting such a touching tale of friendship, growing up, and love, yet that is what it turned out to be.

I liked this book a whole lot more than I thought I would. You Look Different in Real Life is a surprisingly wonderful novel that is diverse, fresh, and real. While there wasn't a lot going on, there was at the same time and I liked the steady pace that came with Justine's story, where it was almost like we readers were actually watching the documentary of their lives. I was also so impressed with the fact that this book has a combination of things that we pretty much rarely see in YA, at least not all together in one book: LGBTQ discussion, characters of different races, a character on the Autism spectrum, etc. I loved this book mostly because, well, it was real. I mean, other than the whole "filming your life" thing, but the characters were real, they had their issues and they had growth and understanding. There was hardly any romance, which was actually refreshing, and the little romance that was present was sweet and made me smile.

What I liked most about this novel was the fact that it didn't depend on action and surprise twists to keep it interesting. What had me hooked was the development that was immediately evident in all of the characters, each of them becoming more and more dynamic as I read on. I loved learning about these five kids and where their lives have taken them, as well as how they have reacted to it all. It was so interesting for me, reading a book that relied so heavily on characters and their growth, because I always find that I love these type of books so much more than I do with the books that have static characters with just a ton of action. I've been looking for a contemporary like this for a while now and I'm so glad this one was able to pleasantly surprise me. I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a great book about friendship, family, and understanding those around you.

Happy reading!

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Would Be My Best Friend.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Characters Who 'X' – Would Be My Best Friend.

1. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - This is probably the most obvious choice for me, as I have always felt very close to Hermione, like her character and I would be great friends if we lived in the same realm.

2. Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell -  So Cath is a total fangirl, which automatically puts her on my favourite list of female protagonists. She's nerdy, awkward, totally loyal and I'd love to chill with her.

3. Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door  by Stephanie Perkins - I totally adore Cricket's awkward manner and his creative mind and could so see myself being friends with him.

4.  Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

5. Samwell Tarly from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin - I feel like Sam and I would get along just nicely, reading and studying and talking about history for hours on end... 

6. Auden from Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen 

7. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter  by J.K. Rowling - 'nuff said.

8. Sydney Sage from Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - Sydney has always been a character that I just get and I feel like I would be able to really connect with her even in real life.

9. Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

10. Aria from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - I would love to have a friend like Aria. Total badass, caring, smart, and loyal.

That's my list for this week! Leave me a link to yours and I'll check it out!
Happy reading!

Monday 21 April 2014

Tidbit: Fan Expo Vancouver + TOM FELTON

Hey guys! Happy Monday! So I had a pretty exciting weekend... I went to Fan Expo Vancouver on Saturday!!!! (Think a smaller ComicCon in Vancouver) It was my first con and my first time cosplaying, so it was an incredible experience and so much fun! I went as  Fem!Castiel, from Supernatural, and it was a super last minute costume, but it worked... and someone recognized me! And gave me a hug! And started talking SPN with me! (basically made the whole day complete).

So that is moi, in my trench coat and my backwards tie... It was so fun and I got a Supernatural poster and some buttons and it was just a really great day! But do you wanna know what made it EVEN better???



So, yes, I met Tom Felton and got a picture with him and when I said goodbye, he said "Have a great day, my love." 

And well, yeah, then my eyes went completely wide and I backed away like a flustered, blubbering idiot, and said "um, yes, you too! Thank you!" and then I turned to my newly made acquaintances from the line up who had also gotten their picture with him and just freaked out a little bit. 

The thing is, I'm not like super huge on meeting a ton of celebrities or anything, but meeting someone who starred in the series that was such a huge part of my childhood was utterly incredible and just so unbelievably cool. 

And the rest of the day was amazing as well. Just seeing all the cosplayers and vendors and being in a huge room full of people who are so fanatical over the same things that I am was awesome. I don't really have very many friends who are super into fandoms like I am, so it was nice, being in a place with people who liked the same things I like, talked to me about different things that I don't get to talk about with anyone else other than on the internet, and just were all around nerds and completely proud of it. Plus, my little brother met his favourite TV star, Stephen Amell from Arrow and got to ask him a question at his Q&A, which was really cool for him as well. 

Anyway, just wanted to see if any of you guys ever got to cons like that or other events similar to that? Do any of you cosplay? Were any of you at Fan Expo Vancouver? Let me know! 

Happy reading!

Sunday 20 April 2014

Stacking the Shelves (53)

Stacking the Shelves is a book haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews -This is a great way for us to share what books we added to our shelves each week.

For Review:

Thanks so much to Harlequin Teen for this! (It's been a while since I checked my PO box :P)


Yay! So excited for both of these books! Leave me a link to your haul this week and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Review: Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Author: Leigh Fallon
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count:  342 pages, Paperback
Date Published: October 4th 2011
Find it on Goodreads: Forgive My Fins
Source: Traded

Their love was meant to be.
When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.
But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

Guys... I'm really getting sick of these female MCs that only think about their male love interest and basically nothing else.. It's getting really. really. old. 

I was pretty excited about this book. I absolutely love Ireland, so I was looking forward to reading a book set in it, but I was also a bit nervous, because of this line in the synopsis: "she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs." I mean, I know that's kind of the thing with these type of books, the 'instant love' but this... this was too much. It was like, the minute Megan and Adam got together, they refused to think of even the thought that they might be separated. It was one of those "I can't live without you, even though I've only known you for two weeks" and I just got really tired of it, really quickly. 

(I guess you could I say I don't really believe in that sort of thing)

I really wish I could say that I came out of this book pleased and ready to read the next one, but I found it to be so generic, with nothing much to it except a bunch of lore that seemed jumbled up together with not a lot of order and a love story that I've seen a hundred times. I ended up skimming most of the ending, as I found it to be fairly tedious and predictable. Sadly, this one wasn't a huge thumbs up for me.

(sorry about the blurry star, I'm trying to fix that)

Happy reading!

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things You'd Like to Own

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Bookish Things (that aren't books) You'd Like to Own. I LOVE this topic! I always see bookish things that are so cool that I'd love to have in my life but just can't afford or find.... 

1. Bath tub reading tray- I love baths and how relaxing they can be, however I get so BORED! I'd love something like this so that I can read and not worry so much about getting the book wet in the tub!

2. Mr. Darcy Proposal Sweater- this is from one of my favourite Etsy shops! I absolutely love Pride & Prejudice and would LOVE to have Mr.Darcy's proposal on a shirt!

3. Book Candle - Okay, I don't know if this is true or not, but OMG can you imagine a candle that smells like the best smell in the world... books?? 

4. Floating Bookshelves - I would LOVE to have these in my room to put some of my classics and favourites on! They look so great!

5. Book Shaped Platter - Um, YEAH. I can totally see myself serving food in my future place to people with a BOOK. 

6. Library Embosser - For someone who lends out their books constantly, this would be so great for me! I am always trying to figure out who I lent books to and sometimes they forget as well and then it's just a huge mess if I didn't write it down. 

7. Treadmill Book Stand - I usually despise going on the treadmill because I feel like I could be doing something else, more useful... BOOM. I CAN READ AND WALK AT THE SAME TIME

8. Madeline Sweater - Outofprintclothing.com is filled with adorable bookish shirts and other stuff and I totally adore this Madeline sweater!

9. Poe Pouch - I like to keep my bags organized by putting everything in little pouches and Out of Print Clothing has these adorable bookish pouches that I totally love! Especially the Edgar Allan Poe one!

10. Tardis Bookshelf - Um... I. NEED. THIS. 

Leave me a link to your TTT this week and I'll check it out! I'd love to see what other awesome bookish things are out there for us book lovers to pine over!

Happy reading!

Friday 11 April 2014

TGIF: Favourite Quotes About Books

Hey guys! Happy Friday! I've been feeling in need of some reading inspiration lately, so today I thought I'd share some of my favourite quotes about books and reading!

I just love going through these quotes when I'm feeling a little bummed or in a reading slump... They always just seem to strengthen my love and passion for reading when I need it the most.

Happy reading!

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose (ST – Trailer)

Hey guys! I was asked to be a part of the street team for Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose, and I am so excited to be a part of bringing attention to a book that is described as "raw," "gripping," and "authentic." Check out the synopsis below and some of the buttons and keep a lookout for more content about this incredible story in the upcoming month of April!

Fans of Go Ask Alice will devour Dear Nobody, a real teen’s diary, so raw and so edgy that it’s authenticity rings off every page.
They say that high school is supposed to be the best time of your life. But what if that’s just not true?
More than anything, Mary Rose wants to fit in. To be loved. And she’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen. Even if it costs her her life.
Told through the raw and unflinching diary entries of a real teen, Mary Rose struggles with addiction, bullying, and a deadly secret. Her compelling story will inspire readers--and remind them that they are not alone.

For more information and exclusive content on Dear Nobody, go to dearnobodydiary.com!

Happy reading!

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Most Unique Books I've Read. 

1. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – I wouldn't say that the plot is the most unique one I've ever read, but the writing is what makes this first on my list. Mafi's prose is wonderfully different and poetic and absolutely lovely. 

2. Every Day by David Levithan – The whole concept of living in a different body every single day is completely fascinating to me and so unique. I've never read anything like this book.

3. Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews – This book is the definition of an odd book. But it is also surprisingly ok and not your typical cancer book, at all

4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – Again, not the most unique plot, albeit some of it is really not something you read every day, but mostly what I love so much about this book was how it was written and the entire concept of two boys with the same name and such different voices, yet written intertwined into each other's lives. 

5. Graceling by Kristin Cashore – This is a book that I was not expecting to love as much as I did, but it really surprised me! It's a fantastic YA high fantasy that has so much more to it than just fantastical elements!

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – What I think is so unique about this book is that it kind of breaks down that fourth wall between our world and the fictional one. The main character is just like all of us, fangirling about fictional characters and completely obsessed. I love it. 

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – The narration alone makes this book one of the most unique novels I've ever read... I mean, a story in the perspective of death? Such an incredible concept. 


Ok so I couldn't think of ten, but that's my list for the week! Leave me a link to your TTT this week and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!

Monday 7 April 2014

Review: The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise

Author: Katie Sise
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Page Count:  312 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: April 30th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: The Boyfriend App
Source: Received ARC for review from publisher in exchange of honest review... Thank you!!

In The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise, super-smart, somewhat geeky Audrey McCarthy can’t wait to get out of high school. Her father’s death and the transformation of her one-time BFF, Blake Dawkins, into her worst nightmare have her longing for the new start college will bring.
But college takes money. So Audrey decides she has to win the competition for the best app designed by a high schooler—and the $200,000 that comes with it. She develops something she calls the Boyfriend App, and suddenly she’s the talk of the school and getting kissed by the hottest boys around. But can the Boyfriend App bring Audrey true love?

While I loved the idea of a super-smart, tech-savy girl main character who creates an app, I didn't end up being too big a fan of this book. During the first bit of the story, I was totally into it all. It was a cool idea and I just loved how awesome Audrey was, but after a while, I started getting a little bit annoyed by the whole concept of the app and all the boy-craziness that went along with it. AND then, Audrey's second app came out and that's when I gave up on trying to go along with the book. I just couldn't attach myself to the concept.. It was way too far-fetched for me to enjoy, at least for a contemporary that was supposed to be a fun and easy read. I mean, it's not that I don't believe it could happen, I just wanted something else to happen instead. I really wished Audrey had dug a little bit deeper inside herself like her teacher wished and realised that you can't manipulate someone's feelings through an app. I really wished I had liked this book more, but it ended up going way too all over the place for me to really enjoy. 

Happy reading!

Friday 4 April 2014

TGIF: Catching Up on Game of Thrones (Guest Post)

 Hey guys! As many of you probably know, the hit HBO show Game of Thrones based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin is is starting up its fourth season on SUNDAY! I don't know about you, but I am super excited. And in that excitement, I was contacted by a fellow GoT fan, Spencer, who asked if he could recap the show for us here on the blog! So, for any of you who need a quick refresher before Sunday on what has been happening in the world of Westeros, read on and catch up!

(I feel like this shouldn't need to be said, but I'll say it anyway just in case: FOR ANYONE WHO HAS NOT SEEN GAME OF THRONES, THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD. ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN SEASON 3.)

Catching Up on Game of Thrones

The massively popular medieval fantasy drama Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its 4th season on April 6, and continuously gathering a fan base of male and female viewers over the first three seasons, the show may become the most watched series in cable history. The series is based on the five “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels (of which A Game of Thrones was the first) written by George R.R. Martin. The adventure, scheming and drama occur in the fictional realm of Westeros, with more than two dozen characters comprising a cast who representing various socio-economic classes ruled by noble families vying for control of the entire kingdom and the right to sit upon the infamous Iron Throne made of molten swords.

Here’s a look at what’s happened on Game of Thrones so far; beware if you haven’t caught up on past episodes, though (go stream them from HBO Go, Direct Ticket or rent the DVDs from Netflix now before its too late!) - big spoilers follow!

To the shock of millions of viewers, the third season climaxed with the horrific Red Wedding where two more members of the Stark family met their demise. However, another wedding also occurred this season, with the unexpected nuptials of Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister. The wedding takes place at the insistence of the Lannister patriarch Tywin, who also played a role in the deaths of Catelyn and Robb Stark during the Red Wedding. Though successfully spared the indignities and dangers of becoming wife to the twisted King Joffrey, Sansa must now contend with being married to the much older Tyrion and the news of the deaths of her family members.

Meanwhile young Arya Stark escaped the Lannister castle during season two, only to find herself in an uneasy alliance with the hulking (and hated) knight known as the Hound. Originally having plans to return to her home at Winterfell, she learns of the deaths of her mother and brother from the mockings of Frey soldiers and vows to exact revenge. However, for her protection, the Hound (whose real name is Sandor Clegane) renders her unconscious before fleeing the site of the Red Wedding, in order to spare the young would-be warrior from certain death.

Jon Snow, the illegitimate son of the late Ned Stark, endures capture and then befriends female warrior Ygritte and the Wildings as they make their way cross country in the ice and snow. Though initially vowing his devotion, Snow betrays Ygritte and the clan. He determines to return and rejoin the Night's Watch. The end of season 3 has him overcoming his physical challenges, arriving at Castle Black and reuniting with friends. The Wildlings are now fully in preparation for an attack on Westeros.

Following Catelyn Stark's orders, the imposing female knight Brienne of Tarth returns the despicable Jamie Lannister to his family at King's Landing. However, this does not happen before the two happen upon a group of ruthless cutthroats who pose a threat to them both, but especially to the female Brienne. In a rare act of gallantry, Jaime sacrifices himself and, most horrifying for him, loses his sword hand to protect her. Now that he is back home, season 4 will undoubtedly reveal whether or not the incestuous relationship between Jamie and his sister Cersei remains the same.

Also having eyes on the throne, fan favorite Danenerys Targaryen (an IMDB poll has her second only to Tyrion Lannister in popularity) now has an army in the form of the Yunkai warriors that she saved from a life of slavery. Equipped with ships and now the fearless soldiers, the “mother of dragons” will prove a powerful foe to the powers that be in season 4.

If you'd like to hear more from Spencer, follow his twitter!
Thanks so much Spencer, for that awesome recap! I'm SO excited for Sunday! 
Do any of you guys watch GoT? Read the books? What do you think of the series? Any predictions for next season? (If you haven't read the books already :P) Let me know!

Happy reading!

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Review: Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count:  293 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: May 19th 2010
Find it on Goodreads: Forgive My Fins
Source: Purchased Second-Hand

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it's not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you're a normal teenage girl, but when you're half human, half mermaid, like Lily, there's no such thing as a simple crush.
Lily's mermaid identity is a secret that can't get out, since she's not just any mermaid--she's a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn't feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she's been living on land and going to Seaview High School ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems--like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher--but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren't really the casual dating type--the instant they "bond," it's for life.
When Lily's attempt to win Brody's love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily ever after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

I picked this book up wanting a light read and that is definitely what I got. Forgive My Fins is a fun, easy book about a boycrazy mermaid who is living on land, determined to make her crush fall in love with her. I was not expecting much depth, to be honest, and well, it's a good thing. While I found some things about this novel adorable, there were many other things that annoyed me to no end about Lily and the whole story in general.

First of all, let me just say that I predicted the ending from simply the synopsis. I guessed what was going to happen and in the end... well, I was right. And that's kind of always a bit of a disappointment, because I love it when a book surprises me. But alas, it did not. As I was reading, I couldn't help but shake my head at Lily's antics and her complete lust over Brody, a boy she hardly knows. I've never been a big fan of books where basically the only thing in the main character's head is a boy and that's all this really was. Lily hardly ever thought about anything other than one boy or another and I just wanted to scream at her "YOU'RE A MERMAID! THAT'S SO COOL, GO SWIM AND FORGET ABOUT THE GUYS FOR A MOMENT." I mean I understood that she had to find her "mate," but it just seemed like all that was really on her mind was how much she "loved" Brody. I suppose I didn't mind the rest of the story, but I really wanted Lily to dig a little deeper. I did like Quince though! He was a funny character and ultimately pretty sweet.

If you're in the mood for a light, romance-y read with a little supernatural twist, this book would probably be great! I just don't think I was in the right mindset for a book like this. I'm not sure I'll be reading the rest of the series, unless I can get it from the library or something like that.

Happy reading!

Tuesday 1 April 2014

What the How I Met Your Mother Finale Reminded Me About Writing

Hey everyone! So, I don't know about you guys, but I am a fan of the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother, which had its series finale last night. The finale was a bit disappointing, in my opinion, but it did remind me of something important about writing. This all probably won't make much sense if you haven't seen the finale, but if you have, well... yay coherency! If you don't know what the show is about, well... think sitcom.  A group of friends who hang out in a bar, getting into relationships and mischief and all that fun stuff. This particular show was based around Ted Moseby, telling his kids the story of how he met their mother... Over a period of 9 seasons. 

Now, I won't get into much of the details over what happened in the finale, so as not to spoil it for anyone, but I just wanted to talk a little bit about an important thing about writing that the finale reminded me of. And that is the idea that when you write, your characters take a life of their own and really lead the author down the path that they want to go. Now, I'm not saying I know much at all about writing professionally and while it's my absolute dream, I have never written a full length novel, but man oh man do I have dozens of un-finished stories. And it took me a little while to realise that as I was writing with a specific ending in mind, sometimes my characters and story had another ending in their vision and as I wrote, I usually ended up going closer to their way than my own. 

With How I Met Your Mother, there are a lot of different things to take into account, especially in terms of the different relationships and the growth and development of these characters. But when the series finale seems to completely dismiss so much of what the rest of the show has lead up to, it's hard to take it seriously and not wonder if it's some sort of sick April Fool's joke. I think the How I Met Your Mother writers forgot about the fact that, no matter how much you want your story to end the way you planned it to, characters grow and develop on their own, which sometimes leads you down a different path than you had originally mapped out. Sometimes, it really is okay to scrap that pre-filmed footage and work with the wonderful character development that we've seen over the past 9 seasons. I understand that there needs to be some realism to the show, especially about certain relationships not working out and not always a 100% happy ending, but there also needs to be an observation on the writer's part about where the characters should go NOW instead of where they should have gone in 2005. 

I do know that writing for a TV show so beloved like this must be incredibly difficult, as well as different from writing a book, as your characters literally come to life on screen, instead of simply on the page, however they are still characters with a background and hurt and memories that do not simply disappear because of a pre-filmed scene from the start of the series. These characters grew so much more than I think the writers probably imagined during the series and it showed, when we saw so much of that growth disappear in the span of one hour long episode. 

This is of course, simply my opinion and I really just wanted to open up this discussion with you guys about writing characters and letting the characters lead you at times. Also, if you did happen to watch the finale, what did you think? Let me know!

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Gateway Books/Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is: Top Ten Gateway Books/Authors in my Reading Journey.

Ok, so there's my top eleven for this week! oops! If you did a TTT this week, leave me a link and I'll check it out!

Happy reading!

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