Friday, 3 July 2015

Review: Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos

Title: Out of Reach
Author: Carrie Arcos
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: October 16th, 2012 
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Own
Format: Finished Copy
Pages: 256
How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found? A girl searches for her missing addict brother while confronting her own secrets in this darkly lyrical novel.

Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home.
Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger.

With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.
Before Out of Reach even came out, I was always eyeing it and have always wanted go pick it up. I just never did, until now, and I'm glad I finally did. Out of Reach was the perfect emotional roller coaster ride I expected it to be. It was a beautiful book that just felt so real to me, it honestly gave me the chills. Amy lost her brother to drugs, and now she's trying to find him and take him back. Amy and her brother always had each-others back, and lying was effortless for the both of them. It was all fun and games until Amy's older brother, Micah, got involved with drugs, even though he told Amy he had things 'under control'. The weed was fine, but when Micah started using crystal meth, Amy started to get a bit worried that Micah might have actually lost control instead. Not wanting to be disloyal to her brother, she never said anything to her parents, until they found out themselves.
Amy and Micah's relationship is understandable. If anyone has siblings,they would understand we tend to cover up for each other (but not when one of us uses drugs!!). It pained me even more when I put my self in Amy's shoes, because if that happened to my older brother, I'd be as lost as her. Carrie Arcos truly captured Amy's character, and I really enjoyed her. Tyler, Mica's friend who goes with Amy to help her find Mica, is an interesting character addition to the story.  Although this book is revolved around the relationship between the sister and brother, the little romance was definitely a nice break from all the tension. Tyler, although a bit of the typical bad boy, is still a great character whom I enjoyed reading about. Together, I think the search was much more interesting to read about rather than if it was just Amy herself.
Has this book made me cry? yes. Topics such as drugs really get to me, as so many people have allowed it to become such a norm. It all starts out as just "for fun", but not when your own family starts to realize your change in character and your obvious addiction. Drugs are dangerous, and have led to destruction of bodies, families, and much more. As stated in the book:
"Love is the strongest drug"
When you see a loved one get lost in a drug, its so painful because all you can do is stand and watch. Out of Reach is a beautiful book that captured all the ugliness and truthfulness of dealing with drugs, and how is affects all those around you. Definitely recommended to fans of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. 


Monday, 29 June 2015

Review: Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali & Raphaelle Barbanegre

Title: Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs
Author: Davide Cali and Raphaelle Barbanegre
Publisher: Random House CA
Publication date: April 14, 2015 
Genre(s): Children (Picture Books)
Source: Publisher
Format: Finished Copy
Pages: 32
Snow White is on the run from an evil witch when she comes across some dwarfs in the forest. They agree to take her in and keep her safe if she will help them with their chores. She soon realizes she's taking on a lot more than she bargained for. 77 breakfasts to make, 77 lunches to pack (don't forget the juice boxes!), 77 pairs of pants to mend and a whole lot of dishes. Eventually Snow White decides to take her chances with the witch. There's a surprise ending... well, it may not be so surprising. This is a hilarious retelling of the classic tale, with bright, energetic illustrations featuring busy dwarfs, and the even busier Snow White.
I am in university, and I am not ashamed to say I enjoyed this picture book. It is a children's book, so no doubt there was very minimal text. BUT, the drawings/graphics/pictures were so interesting and fun to look at! I absolutely loved the art, and I would be scrutinizing every page trying hard not to miss anything. Every page was so full of context and color, it was seriously beautiful to look at. There was also a hilarious twist to the original Snow White story that really had me laughing at the end of this book. Definitely recommend this to any children out there, or anyone who is a fan of art and the Snow White stories.

The jacket of the book also happens to be a poster! How cool is that!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Early summer book haul

This is the April/May book haul. Have already gotten several books in June but I will definitely be making another post at the end of June for that one! 
Received every one of these from the lovely ontario blogger friends! thank you so much to Brittany, Giselle, and Marina for all of these beauties! I actually ended up getting Burn for Burn signed when Jenny Han came here in early June! YEAY! plus I loved the movie Love, Rosie so I want to give the book a chance. The other books are either contemporaries I've been wanting to read or paranormal/sci fi books I have had on my to acquire list for a while! 
Feast your eyes in this beauty! I had to snag it when it came out to be around $45 canadian dollars from! now all I do is stare and pet it whenever I'm not feeling great
Some fantastic review books from the publishers! I love love loved finding audrey as well as the wrath and the dawn! two huge thumbs up for those! still haven't read the bottom three yet, though I'm super excited for Most Likely to Succeed and Everything, Everything! 
Fantastic cook books from Random House Canada! those above and the one below (that one is a salad book and it is oh so delicious!) Also the Snow White and the 77 dwarfs is the cutest coffee table book (or children's book) you could ever get your hands on! 
These are all the beautiful books I acquired over the past month or two. Let me know which ones caught your attention and which ones you recommend I read!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

Title: The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A handbook for Geek Girls
Author: Sam Maggs
Publisher: Qurik Books
Publication date: May 12, 2015 
Genre(s): Non-fiction (graphic novel)
Source: Publisher
Format: Finished Copy
Pages: 208
Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.
The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy isn't you typical graphic novel. It is a weapon. It is a little handbook that includes everything a Geek Girl would need to know about the Geek World. From the fandoms available (Are you a Potterhead? Or a Startrekker?), to the best comic/anime/gaming cons available. You name it all. Sam Maggs (the author, duh) even gives us a description of everything, and anything we might need to learn about. She even teaches us how to properly prepare to a comic con! Tips included! This book was just absolutely fantastic, and I loved how Sam was able to fit everything that defines being a geek girl into this tiny 208 pages handbook. Really, from games, to ya books, to anime, Sam did not miss anything. Reading this book, it really reminded me how awesome it is to be a fangirl.
Now, not only did the book have writing, but it also had DRAWINGS! As any graphic novel out there, this book had awesome and adorable graphics that seriously added to the humor of the narrator. I was able to relate to a lot of the things that were mentioned, and laughed a lot at the inside jokes only fans would understand. It was a great experience, talking and joking about what you love with someone who truly understands it. Only of course, I would be laughing with myself like a weirdo but who cares.
I would totally recommend this to any fangirl out there! Keep in mind this is not a fiction (therefore no actual story with characters and whatnot), so it's not a book you might finish in one sit. It's a book that introduces you to the Geek world (if you're not already in it) and reminds us girls how awesome it is to be fangirls. I also really liked how this book mentioned feminism! It's so important for women and girls to feel equal and awesome and to understand that we are individuals who can rule the world! So pick this book up and let it remind you and show you how truly awesome you are! 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman (Seraphina #2)

Title: Shadow Scale

Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House Canada 
Publication date: March 10, 2015 
Genre(s): Young Adult (Fantasy)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 608
The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
Oh Seraphina, where do I begin with this book? This is a massive 600 page ending to the Duology and it took a LONG while to finish! So much has happened and some of it was so good yet some of it was also just as disappointing. Seraphina is a historical fantasy novel, and although it isn't my favourite genre, I truly enjoyed the first book. Shadow Scale, however, was a completely different story. It started off quite slow yet there were so many things going on its hard to see that this was all fit into one book, which could've easily been fit into two. 
Normally, any book starts off slow and usually gets better as the book progresses towards this main goal at the end. This was also the case in Shadow Scale, yet I felt like the book just kept going downhill from where it started. What really frustrated me in the first book was that there wasn't much of a romance going on, so I went into Shadow Scale thinking ok we should at least get to see what would happen between these two characters. This however, never happened. Sure there was character development, yet it just seemed like the main lead was going through all these adventures with no real reasoning behind her goals. There is also the aspect of cheating in this book which I absolutely cannot tolerate and if you've read the book and know how it ends, then you should know how truly upset I was with it. I was willing to give this book about a 3/3.5 stars up until about the last 100 pages when everything just flopped. The characters I wanted to see more of, just disappeared, and there this was this constant battle between two characters that was just really really annoying. Just when the conflict looks like it's going to resolve, oh hey another problem arrises! This to me is just a sign of the author wanting to extend the length of the novel yet adding no strength to the story.
I do feel that this book should've been condensed to about half its size and definitely would've rather preferred a different route. It was a miracle getting through it, and although I love the writing of Rachel Hartman, I do have to say that to me, this book was a flop.