Thursday, 31 July 2014

I'm Doing Bout of Books 11!

It's almost time for Bout of Books 11! It's hard to believe it's already time for this fantastic read-a-thon again, but here we are. I enjoyed it so much last time, that I've decided I'll be participating again this time!

If you don't know what Bout of Books is, here's the official blurb:

Bout of Books"The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog." - From the Bout of Books team

Feel free to check out my experience participating in the last Bout of Books. If you love reading, then prepare for Bout of Books fun!

Are you joining in on Bout of Books 11? Let me know below!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Book Outlet Boxed Bargains: 50% Off 50 Titles!

Click the image to see the fantastic deals!

As you've probably guessed from my June Book Hauls, Book Outlet is one of my favourite stores. From now until August 4, they're having a sale of 50% off of 50 select items - with their already-low prices, this is a great deal.

This week's selection includes everything from YA novels to fitness box sets to activity kits and fun children's books!

Check out their Canadian website here and their U.S. website here. International shipping options are available on both sites!

Have you ever bought from Book Outlet?

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Book Outlet.

Friday, 18 July 2014

"Shatter Me" | Book Review

"Shatter Me" Book Cover
Juliette's touch is fatal. The last time she touched someone was 264 days ago, when she accidentally murdered an innocent. The Reestablishment has locked her up and she's given up hope of living a normal life. In a cruel twist of fate, she's released and given a choice: use her curse as a weapon or rebel against the highest form of government she knows.

Tahereh Mafi is so good at building suspense. One moment, things are normal and the next, your heart's racing and you're almost on the edge of your seat from all the drama and action happening on the pages. Several scenes in Shatter Me are action-packed and thrilling!

As a protagonist, Juliette is very interesting to me. Her narrative voice is often poetic in a way, and I really enjoyed reading her thoughts and impressions on what is going on around her, for the most part. I say it that way because there were also many times where she was heavily doubting her self-worth and I honestly wanted to shake her and tell her something to the effect of, "you're worth more than this, don't be so hard on yourself!!"

The villain, Warner, is great because he's incredibly terrifying and creepy. Warner is obsessed with Juliette and wants her to help he and The Reestablishment fulfill their agenda - or more accurately, he wants her to want to. Yeah.

This is very much a romance novel, in my opinion. I think the focus for this novel, the first in a series, was the romantic relationship. The dystopian setting was discussed throughout the story, but I think more action will happen in the next novel, Unravel Me. I have conflicting feelings about the love story: on one hand, I really like Juliette and Adam together and I think they're well-suited to each other so far; on the other hand, it's a bit frustrating that she falls in love with the first guy she can touch without consequence.

A few pages into this book, I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it because of all the metaphors and generally flowery writing, but I was sucked into the story and didn't want to put it down. This is a great tale of the quintessential lovers in a dangerous time.

What dystopian YA novel or series do you recommend?

Monday, 14 July 2014

"Vampire" Review | Movie Monday

"Vampire" (2011)
*Trigger Warnings for suicide and rape*

Simon (Kevin Zegers) is a young biology teacher with a dark secret: he has a compulsion to drink human blood. In order to satisfy this thirst, he finds suicidal women on an online forum and assists them with their suicide under the guise that he'll kill himself once they've passed.

It's really debatable whether what Simon's doing is okay. Everything he does is with consent; he's constantly asking if the women are sure they want to die and if they're ready. On the other hand, he's lying to them by telling them he plans to die with them, when in fact, he has no intention of dying. In some cases, this raises the question of whether they would go through with their suicides if they knew they were in fact the only ones dying - but in many other cases, it's clear that the characters planned to kill themselves whether or not he was there. At one point he questions himself and his actions as well, telling himself "you should be helping her".

There's a scene where his friend from a strange party rapes and murders a woman as Simon waits and watches from nearby. For obvious reasons, this scene is difficult to watch, but I think it's in the film to provide a comparison to what Simon is doing. His friend brutalizes a woman and tortures her for his own pleasure; indeed, while Simon is taking his "victims'" blood for his own personal use, he makes sure the women are comfortable and sure of what they're about to do, and provides them with a peaceful death.

Everything about this film, including the soundtrack, is very tranquil and peaceful; it's meant to evoke thoughtfulness and calm. The film can feel very slow at times, which wasn't an issue for me at all because I think the whole concept is intriguing in the sense that it raises so many questions; others may require more patience to get through this, but I think it's worth it.

The marketing is very weird for this film - everywhere I look, it's classified as horror, but I disagree with that, I would definitely classify it as a drama. The tagline, "they're dying to keep him alive", makes it sound like he needs them to survive, like he's some kind of creature; it's really more of a compulsion, he's not going to die if he doesn't drink blood.

This film really made me think (actually, it continues to) and it's raised a lot of moral questions in me. While it can be unsettling, I like it when a film can move me in that way and really affects me for a long while after I've watched it.

Do you like it when a movie makes you question yourself? What movies have done this to you?

Friday, 11 July 2014

"Saga: Volume 3" | Book Review

"Saga: Volume 3" Cover
*Please note: This is a review of Volume THREE, and will contain spoilers from the first two volumes. Feel free to read my reviews of Volume 1 and Volume 2.*

In the last volume, Prince Robot IV arrived at D. Oswald Heist's home, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was concerned that he would ambush Alana, Marko, and co when they got there. But yet again, they avoided catastrophe because as it turned out, they'd been on Quietus for a week! This volume involves a lot of explaining what happened over the course of that week.

I like the way Brian K. Vaughan handled the Quietus story line, because instead of showing what happened in chronological time, he created a sense of suspense and urgency by not telling us that Alana, Marko, and co were already in hiding on Quietus.

Volume 3 feels far less action-packed than the first two installments; instead, the focus is on Marko and Alana talking to Heist, whose work inspired their whole relationship. The intrigue is ever-present in this series, and this volume is no different in that sense.

In this volume, there's much more of a media presence - Upsher and Doff, a tabloid journalist and a photographer, respectively, play a much larger role than in previous volumes. I think their storyline, i.e. being poisoned by The Brand so that if they leak information about Alana and Marko's family they'll die, is an interesting take on censorship. Saga is different from our world in a lot of obvious ways, but there are seemingly endless interesting parallels.

I really enjoyed Volume 3; there was plenty of intrigue - and just enough action - to keep my fascinated with the story all the way through!

What comics are you enjoying at the moment?

Friday, 4 July 2014

"Saga: Volume 2" | Book Review

"Saga: Volume 2" Cover
 *Please note: This is a review of Volume TWO. You can read my review of Volume 1 here.*

We pick up where we left off in Volume 1, with Marko's parents having recently arrived on the ship. Seeing how Marko's father, Barr, and Alana get along is a mixture of hilarious and really sweet. Watching their interactions shows us yet again that the Landfallians and Wreathers are not as different as the war is making them seem, and that their peaceful cohabitation is not impossible.

I like that in this volume, we learn more about the main characters, particularly Marko. We get to see snippets of his childhood that heavily hint at why he is now a pacifist.

We also get more of an insight into how Alana and Marko became a couple - I really enjoyed that aspect of the story because they certainly don't have a typical romance!

The series is as action-packed as ever, with our heroes facing new obstacles at every turn - including a very strange, erm, planet; and things get interesting as we're introduced to someone from Marko's past.

I love the way Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples ended this volume with a cliffhanger, as they did for Volume 1. I'm a fan of cliffhangers in a way - they leave me wanting more.

Once again, I'm really impressed with Saga and I can't wait to see where Marko, Alana, Hazel and company go next!

What's your favourite comics series right now?

You can also read my review of Volume 3.