30 December 2012

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Oscar Wilde
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary (I love you, Goodreads): Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. "The Picture of Dorian Gray" was a succes de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins, and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895

My Thoughts: Dorian bothered me, to begin with. I know that he had to be self-centered for the story to work but still. Also, he said he was in love but got over her so quickly? Please! Then it goes awry and he's over it in no time. That's hard to believe. I know, I know, it needed to be so for the story. I did feel sorry for him though. He thought that the only thing that was important was his good looks. That's pathetic in itself. I love it when he goes kind of crazy. He moves the picture like that would make him feel better.

Some of the more minor characters bothered me but it might not have been them but rather how they treated Dorian, a human being, not a god or child yet impressionable to a fault. They weren't very smart when they were around him. Maybe it was just how people were during that time period but I don't really care...

I didn't like that the novel felt the need to go off on tangents. There was some useless information which is hard with classics because they are already hard to follow. You can get lost in the nonsense. I always have issues with getting off track. The older language and big words don't help that either but you do learn a lot of words.

The concept of this book is a bit crazy. Imagine that it actually happened. Also, imagine the fear that would eat at you if you had a portrait like that hanging around, waiting to be found, of course he goes crazy! I was sad that I knew how it ended. That's another problem with classics, you know how most of them end.

Final Thoughts: I thought that the story was enjoyable but it isn't close to being my favourite. Plus, for so few pages, it took a long time to read. I don't regret reading it at all, it's a good part of culture and I also understand his character in A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen better now (Good movie by the way).

27 December 2012


EasyReviewer: Kristen
Author: Tammara Webber 
Pages: 310 
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads): Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn’t easy…

He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.

My Thoughts: Now, don't let that 6 fool you. I enjoyed this book - it was easy to read and it made me want to finish it as soon as possible. However, there was just something about it that kept me from giving it a higher rating. Bare with as I try to explain. 

This book wastes no time - literally. Two pages into the novel and we're thrown into the story, which I actually really enjoyed. I typically hate all the fluff at the beginning of a novel. So, this was like a breath of fresh air. The story had a lot of promise, especially if you're into cutesy romance, which I totally am. I loved the way in which Tammara Webber wrote the story, and how she created something that read almost like it could be a diary. For the most part, I really liked Lucas (the saviour), but I couldn't shake this sketchy feeling about him throughout the novel. It was like I was waiting for him to do something, or some big secret to be revealed (which it kind of was, but not at all what I was thinking). There's something that just didn't feel right about him. I also think that Jacqueline forgave him too quickly for something pretty stupid he did - something pretty central to the story that I don't think was covered nearly enough. All in all, it was a good read. It was just missing something. Either there wasn't something that wasn't expanded upon nearly enough, or the fact sometimes the characters lost their believe-ability.  (Judge me for my made up words, everyone does!) Easy had so much potential, especially after reading rave reviews about it, but I guess this is just one novel that didn't cast me under a spell. 

Final Thoughts: Trigger warning, for those of you sensitive to violence against women. Good, quick read, but I probably wouldn't bother with it again. What'd you guys think!?

25 December 2012

A Christmas Carol

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Charles Dickens
Format: Paperback (all available) 
Pages: 89 (depending on copy but all short)
Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary (via Goodreads): Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like...and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas

Thoughts: Don't worry; it being Christmas, I'll keep this short. This was not my first Charles Dickens novel but it was definitely my favourite. I had never before read it but it's a Christmas classic so I needed to this year. I wasn't disappointed at all. I was glad to be thrown right into the life of Scrooge. The story would have been boring with extra background at the beginning. The reader did, however, need the description of him. In the first two pages, you understand what kind of man Scrooge is. This is good because the story goes right into trying to change him. This novel has some of the best descriptions I've ever read. Then again, my copy had a few pictures so...

I thought the whole premise was pretty incredible too. There are a lot of people that don't know what Christmas really is about and this book not only teaches that but also shows that people can change, forgiveness is possible and people can be truly happy. I can never really understand why the Ghost of Christmas Future scares everybody though. 

It was an easy read. My copy had huge font and pictures, like a said before. It was short, sweet, and to the point. I've seen many versions of this movie so it was great to be able to compare them to the real book. I love watching (or reading about) people changing.

In Conclusion: If you have the time before next Christmas, you should read this book. You might even make it a Christmas Tradition.

My Favourite Movie Versions:
A Muppet Christmas Carol: I loved this. Last year was my first time seeing it but I'm going to watch it every year now. The songs are catchy and who doesn't love the Muppets? I've never seen a movie that sticks so closely to the novel it came from. I read along with parts of the movie and entire lines were right from book. I loved it. The only big, big change was that the business partner in this movie was two brothers instead of one man, big deal!

Scrooged: This one is a bit more serious than the Muppet's version though there is a lot of humor in it too. The humor in this is more grown up. It is not exactly a children's movie but the ghosts are pretty hilarious  My favourite ghost is that of Christmas present because she hits him with a toaster! She's violent and it's the best. (P.S. The video doesn't go all the way to the end but it shows you what I mean. Sorry for the end!)

23 December 2012

Luminaire (Florence Waverley #2)

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Ciye Cho
Format: eBook
Pages: 546
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 

*Spoiler Warning*

Summary (via Goodreads): Being the only human in a world of merfolk... isn't easy. Florence Waverley chose to stay in Niemela, but things have gone awry. Secrets have risen and the prince she cares about has pulled away. All the while, dark dreams warn her of a tragedy that only she can stop. But in order to save the merman she loves, Florence will have to enter the Life Path tournament: a brutal test of fear and madness.

The tournament is a rite of passage--a maze where young mermaids and mermen battle to find their purpose. It is also a place where Florence will face grave danger: mermaids with evil magic, tunnels filled with sea fire, and guardians who wish to use her as a pawn in their secret plans. But will Florence be strong enough to survive the tournament... or will she perish inside it?

Everything hangs in the balance: her life, her world, and her love.

My Thoughts: After reviewing Florence, I was happy to have the opportunity to review the second novel in that same series. I loved this one just as much, if not a bit more, that the first. I thought that characters grew just the right amount (nobody can stay the same forever or the book, as well as life, would be boring). 

This novel had much more action than the first did. The majority of the book seems to be made up of action of some kind which keeps the plot moving and also keeps the story interesting. The action proves just how strong the main character really is. I would not be able to go through what she has. She has adjusted extraordinarily well and continues to grow stronger. She fights for what she wants which I love. It's great that she thinks for herself. She refuses to follow blindly behind someone, especially when she is offered the chance to fit in. It's no longer about that for her. It's a good thing that Rolan grew up because he was starting to get on my nerves. A few times, I told Kristen that I wanted to jump into the book and punch him in the face for being such a stupid boy.

I find that I am much happier with the way this book ended than I was with the last. I felt more satisfied than I previously did. In fact, I'm glad that it ended the way it did. The book left just enough questions and theories to make another book necessary. By that, I mean that I need to read the next one. I really want to know what happens. However, I was a little disappointed that all the nonsense with Kiren wasn't mentioned very often. There were a few references to him, what had happened, where he is, and what he is doing now, but nothing really happened with that story line. He was there, yes, but had little purpose in this novel. I thought that this one would be more centered on his plans, not the plans of others. Perhaps that will be in the third novel...

Also, where did Rolan's dad go at the end? I felt he was suddenly absent but that could just be me.

Closing: I think that this is the kind of series that you start and get sucked into. You want to finished them and kind out what is going to happen but you also need to finish them. I stand with what I said about Florence, this is an amazing book and I think you should check it out. Give it a try. What have you got to lose?

17 December 2012


Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Ciye Cho
Format: eBook (Paperback also available)
Pages: 471
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: "Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and brought down to Niemela--the hidden world of mermaids and mermen--Florence is the ultimate gift for Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of the dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul."

My Thoughts: I truly enjoyed this novel. I must say that it is the first books about mermaids that I’ve ever read. I loved the details about their underwater world. It seemed so beautiful that I wish I could do there. I’m glad that there was a lot of detail because I couldn’t have imagined it otherwise, it being so foreign to me, and the other characters would not have meant so much. By the end of the story, the characters were everything to me. One of the characters actually made an appearance in a dream of mine but maybe I just need to stop staying up until 3:00 am reading.

It killed me that I fell for the author’s trick. All authors have one. They set you up to love a character, place, or idea and you later find out that it was the worst thing possible. Luckily, I was in good company as Florence fell for it too. It just shows how good the author was at making you want something. You manage to ignore the clues given to the contrary. As much as I hate falling into this trap, it was well deserved for this book.

I was also glad that the author included so much of Florence’s real world and what she had gone through in her life. Without that background information, I could not have trusted any of her later decisions. It helped that I really understood how she felt while living her normal life. She was easy to connect to. Florence is much like every teenage girl. I’m happy she wasn’t the popular girl. Interesting stuff can happen to everybody and most people don’t see themselves clearly. Who doesn’t love a book with a message?

The novel offered changed in point of view a few times. Thank God, they were subtle because they weren't introduced and I didn’t notice to the end that it didn’t really fit with the story being told from Florence’s perspective. The book, however, needed this change because without it the reader would not have the necessary information. We needed to know what else was happening. The author found the perfect was to show that.

Final Thoughts: This book is an easy read but one that I was willing to stay awake all night for. I loved it. I would definitely read this novel a second or third time. It was a cute love story that had just enough action in it to keep it moving. It also had many different types of character, some mystery, and you can’t forget the incredible world in which it took place. I think that you should absolutely take a look at this book for yourself! Me?...I need the second one.

16 December 2012

Under The Never Sky

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)Reviewer: Kristen
Author: Veronica Rossi
Pages: 375
Format: Paperback (eBook available)
Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary (thanks Goodreads): WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.


Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

My Thoughts: Damn you, creative authors! Damn you, for tearing my heart out and crushing it! I don't know what it is about this book -maybe the plot that pushes itself forward or the danger you somehow know is always imminent - but I didn't want to put this down. A little piece of advice from me to you, don't pick this up if you have something important to do! It's killer to put down. It took me a while to adjust to Aria's world, and to truly understand how she thought Perry was barbaric. The first chapter lacked something for me, though it was crucial to the story. So when I started, it didn't have me keep coming back. Don't worry, that quickly changes. Just get a few chapters in. It didn't score higher for me, because at some points throughout the story, there were just things that I couldn't picture. Now don't get me wrong, it is by no fault of the authors. Just some things were outside of my imagination, I suppose. I can't be the only one out there whose heart totally and completely breaks when there is a character who can't read. I don't know what it is about it, but my gosh! My heart aches for Perry. Perry, he makes more than just my heart ache. KIDDING. Kind of. I love him. I adore Perry.  I can now call myself a fan girl - and I do, proudly. 

To be honest, and I really need to stop doing this, I didn't expect much from this book. I haven't even really heard much of it, let alone know it was a trilogy. Suffice to say, I've ordered the next one. The book ends in such a jaw dropping way that I just need my hands on it. Too bad it's not out for another 20 something days. Let me just go back to that ending. HOW COULD YOU VERONICA ROSSI?! How could you leave it at that! My fragile heart....

Final Thoughts: I devoured this book. If you enjoy dystopian/ young adult, you need to get this... now. 

14 December 2012


Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Steve Cypert
Format: eBook (series)
Pages: 589 (according to the ereader used)
Rating: 7.5

Summary (via Smashwords): Scapemaker follows Matthew Namely, who is propelled into a whole new world following a few tragic events. After meeting a strange and beautiful girl, he learns the art of dreamscaping. Matthew will come to know of Sandman, who is after a special element called Magineum. Neck deep in skinwalkers, sandsleepers, zombies, night terrors, and more, Matthew must risk his life to save the magineum.

My Thoughts: When I first started this novel I was a little bit worried because the characters seemed off to me. This was partly because of what will from now on be known as writer warm up (the characters spoke funny but don't worry it stops). I was happy to find out that the real reason for this awkwardness was that they were hiding something. The author did an outstanding job of making sure that the reader understood the place the story took place in as well as all the strange...let's call it magic. I loved how original this was. It was different than anything I'd read; however, I felt like it was one of those things that could be real. It made me wonder if it couldn't. Harry Potter did the same thing for me. Why couldn't something like this be true? That thought, though incredible, is also terrifying after seeing the bad that can come from people who only want power.

This story was one of the best I'd read in a long time for explaining characters and their motivations. I'll even overlook the cheese 'I kinda like like you' moment that two of them had. Also, I thought it was great for two of the main characters to bicker. Dae was right though, Matthew was a bit conceded. I'm so glad he got over that in the end.

This novel ends with a lead into the next book in the series though so be prepared to be pulled into it before it starts and left with a lot of questions. I might need to get my hands on the next one to find out how it ends. I want a happy ending, really is it too much to ask?

Final Thoughts: Very few authors could pull off writing a whole new world where almost everything needs to be explained, this one can. This book has everything from ghosts to mermaids (sorta), zombies to love, action, mind reading, flying, and magic. If you like fantasy novels than this would be a good one for you. It has everything and more.

P.S.Nightmares after this book are the worst. I'm not saying it gives you them. It's just that I can't help but wonder if maybe the book is true after all...

6 December 2012

The Wolves of Mercy Falls

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Rating Overall: 9 out of 10

I loved this book. It was one of the best introductions to characters I have read. By the end of the novel, I cared so much for the main characters. I ordered the second one from Bookdepository.uk.co right away. I hated the wait. I found that the book flew by. I had just started it but it was already done. I would have read it if it had been 700 pages. Also, I might be in love with Sam...just saying. Then again, who am I to break up these two?

Original Shiver Review

I think that, of the three in this series, the second was my favourite. It was full of emotions of every kind. It is told from the perspectives of four different people so I was worried that it would become hard to follow but it didn't. I also found that the green print didn't bother me at all. By the end of the book, you can't even tell that it is green. I would swear to you that it was black print. Anyway, back to emotions. I felt what the characters felt. I felt the love that was shared. I could feel the character's pain. I even cried at the end when... kidding, I refuse to give spoilers. Let's just say that I had a total melt down and made my friend take me to buy the third. I couldn't even wait for it to come in the mail this time!

I was quite happy with the ending to this trilogy. I admit, I was horribly sad to let them all go and at one point I put the book down and refused to finish reading it because I was so upset by something that happened. I almost threw the book across the room. I fell in love with characters that had once driven me mad. Some of them, I still hated. It's okay though because they needed to be hated. The red ink turned black just like it had for the green ink. I was alright with the final ending though I wish I could have gotten something a little more concrete. I'll live. I really did enjoy this trilogy. I'm definitely going to be reading them again, soon. I think that they are worth your time.You should check them out.

Reviewers Note: I decided to only give a partial review because I hate reviewing all the novels in a series. I have this horrible fear of spoilers. I feel I should avoid them at all costs. With this series, however, I feel the need to say goodbye to characters and story line in a proper way. So anyway, clearly, I loved these...

4 December 2012

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Victor Hugo
Format: Paperback (others available)
Pages: 429
Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary (Goodreads, we cannot live without you): In the vaulted Gothic towers of Notre-Dame lives Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer. Mocked and shunned for his appearance, he is pitied only by Esmerelda, a beautiful gypsy dancer to whom he becomes completely devoted. Esmerelda, however, has also attracted the attention of the sinister archdeacon Claude Frollo, and when she rejects his lecherous approaches, Frollo hatches a plot to destroy her that only Quasimodo can prevent. Victor Hugo's sensational, evocative novel brings life to the medieval Paris he loved, and mourns its passing in one of the greatest historical romances of the nineteenth century.

My Thoughts: I feel bad saying anything bad about Victor Hugo. It's not that I want to. As far as classics go it is one of the better ones. I found it, for the most part, easy to understand. As I got closer to the end, the more into the story I found myself. Sometimes, though, I didn't have a clue what was going on. The story was told from many perspectives and we knew more than just what they were thinking. Also, I thought that a lot of the detail describing Paris could have been skipped but it's his book; he can do what he wants. In the beginning I was worried that I would end up putting the book down. It started a little slow for my taste. 

It kills me what Disney does to stories. This wasn't like the Disney movie at all. I'm glad I read it and discovered that. It is a lot more heart-breaking than the child's version. Actually, I'm kind of sad right now. Why does Disney hate us so much?

Final Thoughts: The only way to get the real, original story is to read it. This is one of the easier classics to follow so if you want to try one but not sure which you might be able to actually finish, this one might be a good place to start.

2 December 2012

True Believer

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Format: Paperback (others available) 
Pages: 336
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Summary (Thank you Goodreads): As a science journalist with a regular column in Scientific American, Jeremy Marsh specializes in debunking the supernatural and has a real nose for the strange and unusual. A born skeptic, he travels to the small town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, determined to find the real cause behind the ghostly apparitions that appear in the town cemetery. What he doesn't plan on, however, is meeting and falling hopelessly in love with Lexie Darnell, granddaughter of the town psychic. Now, if the young lovers are to have any kind of future at all, Jeremy must make a difficult choice: return to the life he knows, or do something he could never do before-take a giant leap of faith.

My Thoughts: It took me much longer than I expected to fall in love with Jeremy. I couldn't get a handle on him for some reason. I often found myself questioning his motives even though most of the story is told from his perspective. I thought that was bizarre. To be honest, Lexie bothered me in the beginning too. Half way through the story I started to wonder if it was all in my head and if another recently read book was destroying my thoughts about this one. (Can someone read this and let me know if I'm losing my mind or not?) I got with it eventually and started to really enjoy this novel. I found myself excited to see how it would end. I wished that I could jump into the story and kick Jeremy and shake Lexie and ask why they were doing some of what they were doing. Also, Alvin was a fun character just because he stood out. He was both strange and intelligent which I enjoyed. Also, I love the grandmother figure that Sparks' uses often. They always no what to say to help and always have a witty comment. I love a good chuckle every once and awhile too. This was, however, not close to being one of my favourites by Nicholas Sparks, hence the lowish rating.

Final (Yet long) Thoughts: It was a fast read, less than a day, but it was worth it. I really enjoy Sparks' novels. This is the fourth one I've read and I have more on order. Someone once told me that they were all the same and therefore a waste of my time but I disagree. Of course, they are a lot alike; they have the same author and are the same genre but I believe that each offers the reader something different. These books have the ability to be read over and over again, each time letting the reader learn something new. I love that about books. I definitely believe that everyone should give one of Nicholas Sparks' novels a try. Start with one you haven't seen a movie for. I bet that you will fall in love!

P.S. I think I died a little at the end. Good call on that one, author.
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