Friday, 26 February 2016

Character Talk: Little Women

I've decided to introduce a new segment to my blog called Character Talk. In it I plan on really focusing on specific characters, types of character, things I love or hate in characters etc. 

For my first ever Character Talk I am taking on the characters of Little Women. First I'll give you a rundown

Marmee- very wise and calm mother of 4 girls (Fun fact: I played Marmie in my grade 8 school play!)
Meg- The eldest daughter, she is very proper and follows the rules, she wants to have a family and is oftentimes envious of others rich lifestyles
Jo- definitely a tomboy, always running around, getting into messes and scuffles, she's got a temper too! She wants to be a writer
Beth- Sweet and gentle, she's very shy and quiet and her only aspiration is to live happily with her dolls, cats and family
Amy- youngest daughter, slightly spoiled and bratty, she always uses big words (oftentimes the wrong ones), and her life goal is to be rich and a famous artist

I first read Little Women when I was around 7 or 8, so I've got a pretty long history with this book and its characters. So I thought it would be really interesting to reflect on what I thought of characters as a kid and how those views changed/stayed the same as I got older.

When I was a kid... I loved Jo! I loved how she was wild and crazy and loud. She was basically the opposite of everything I was but I wanted to have that. I wanted to be wild, I wanted to be a tomboy. I loved that she was a bit off kilter. Even though I was quiet, I still oftentimes had a temper (which led to me being a total drama queen!) so I appreciated getting to read about Jo and how she learned to work through her temper. She was a writer and loved reading, which I really connected with. As a kid (and even now) I loved writing and telling stories. I think seeing her in particular overcome the obstacles she faced with getting her writing published, and in her life in general, really helped me to understand more about persevering.

When I was a kid... My favourite book was a tie between Good Wives and Little Men. I liked getting to see my beloved characters growing up and living their own lives. Plus their kids were absolutely adorable!

When I was a kid... I was really mad about who ended up with who! I definitely thought Jo belonged with a certain young man and was miffed when they didn't get together! I wasn't always sure what Meg saw in her man, but thought that they were cute together. And Amy and her beau just seemed like such a rushed relationship.

When I was a kid... I also really loved Beth because she shares a name with me! I really admired her sweet nature and willingness to help people. She loves musics and cats just like me! I think deep down inside I really connect with Beth's sweet, homebody nature.

Now... My favourite character is Meg! When I was a kid I never really thought much of her but now I've come to love her! I think she's a bit of an in between character to Beth and Jo's extremes. I admire her resourcefulness and hardworking spirit. As I've gotten older I've definitely become more and more of a homebody so I love reading about Meg with her happy family! Plus her relationship isn't perfect- her and John fight and disagree but above all they love. And that is my favourite!

Now... My favourite book is either Little Women or Jo's Boys. I love the original story of the girls and all the things they learned as they grew up. And then to see them as grown women imparting these same lessons onto their own kids was amazing. Plus I just LOVE how Jo's story turned out

Now... I totally understand what Meg saw in John and I understand why Jo and *spoiler*  Laurie couldn't end up together- it just wouldn't have worked! Although I do still think that Amy and Laurie should not have been a thing! If Laurie ended up with any of the girls it should have been Beth (so she could be pampered to her heart's content!)

While I have always loved Little Women, whether I was a kid or an adult, the things I've loved/hated have changed! What about you guys? Have you ever read a book where your opinion changed over time?

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Loveathon Intro

1.     What’s your name?

My name is Elizabeth and I prefer my whole name (even though Elizabeth has a lot of possible nickames!)

2.     Where in the world are you blogging from?

I’m blogging from Alberta, Canada. Specifically where changes depending if I’m at university or at home!

3.     How did you get into blogging in the first place?

I don’t actually remember! It was a while ago! I’ve always loved reading and so I guess it just seemed to make sense to start book blogging

4.     How did you come up with your blog name?

I think it was probably the first thing I thought of! I’m actually thinking about changing it to make it more unique/specific to me but I’m still trying to come up with ideas

5.     What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?

I definitely mostly read YA, and within that my favourite genres are fantasy and sci-fi although I do also love historical fiction!

6.     What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews?

I’ve been trying to branch out more lately and do some discussion and book talk posts. I also love doing TTT if the topic is interesting and if I have time!

7.     Best blogging experience so far?

Probably meeting some pretty amazing bookish friends! I also love looking back on old blog posts and seeing how things have changed or remembering how I enjoyed a book.

8.     Favorite thing about the blogging community?

I love getting to celebrate a love of books with fellow bookish people but I also love how dedicated the community is to having serious and thoughtful conversations about issues in the world/book community.

9.     Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2016!

So some of these books have already come out/I’ve already read them but I was still very excited for them! They are Passenger, Salt to the Sea, The Mirror King, Truthwitch and the next Throne of Glass book (that's coming out this year right?) 

10.Name the 5 books you want to read this 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years!

Oh man only five? I have sooo many books I want to read that I haven’t got to yet! I guess I really want to read A Court of Roses and Thorns, The Ruin and Rising series (that counts as one right?), the last three Outlander books, a biography of Einstein and The Rose Society!

11.What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?

I absolutely LOVE The Cadet of Tildor. It was soooo good and I’ve never heard anyone talk about it!

12.Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?

Hermione and I would be the best of friends! Because we love books, cats, and keep our friends from doing ridiculous things!

13.Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend/girlfriend?

OH this is hard because so many of the guys I love have a romantic interest in the books and I don’t want to split that couple up! But I really love Sam from the Incarnate series and Chaol from the Throne of Glass series!

14.Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad (5 characters max)

Lets see… Hermione, Peggy Carter and McGonagall because we’d be a bad-ass lady crew!

15.Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?

I love to knit, play with my cats and to nerd out over science (especially chemistry!) and I collect pins

16.Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for?

I am addicted to buying journals and also my favourite pens (I have wayyyy too many of both!)

17.At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing?

Haha right now my favourite song to listen to has been either Fight Song by Rachel Platten or I Stand Alone from Quest for Camelot

18.Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.

I would LOVE to see any of Tamora Pierce’s books as a TV show!

19.What would your dream library look like?

HUGE! It be filled with books of all kinds and people could come in a borrow them and if they really loved it they could keep it and I’d be rich enough that I could just replace it

20.Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with?

Hmmm that’s tough. I think it’d be so cool to sit down with LM Montgomery, but as for alive authors I’d love to chat with Tamora Pierce, JK Rowling, Jodi Meadows or Alex Bracken 

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Impostor Queen

By: Sarah Fine
Published: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Bought (for my birthday!)
My Rating: 4 /5


Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule. (x)

My Thoughts

First off, every time I tried to look up this book on Goodreads or Chapters I could never find it because I was spelling it impostEr. I don't know if I've actually ever seen it spelled impostOr but my dictionary says either is right. Did anyone else have this problem?

I was super interested in the premise behind this book. In this world, there are magic wielders who have a mix of fire and/or ice magic. Some people have more of one, and there are varying strengths of magic too. The main character Elli is training to become the next Valtia, who is the queen, and the most powerful magic wielder. The Valtia's job is to use her magic to protect the people. I found this idea of magic was super interesting. It was a very specific type of magic which I haven't seen much of before!

I loved Elli, she was such a compelling, interesting character and I found her voice was extremely well-written. She was just one of those characters that you couldn't help but connect too, and I especially loved her questioning mind and intense spirit. At the same time though she was very much a 16 year old girl, who had her periods of questioning and doubt. All this together just helped to make her into such a well-developed, realistic character.

Probably one of my favourite things about this story, and about Elli is that she is bisexual! I know right now there is a huge push for diverse books, especially those featuring LGBTQ+ characters. What I absolutely LOVED about this story was that this was a fantasy story featuring a bi main character. So often diverse books are contemporary stories about the hard lives of the characters and while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's so nice to see an LGBTQ+ character outside of this setting, and in a world filled with magic and royalty. Also Elli's bisexuality is really well written, there is very little doubt that she loves both men and women, and having it spelled out so clearly is really important.

Not only is Elli well written, she is surrounded by an amazing cast of supporting characters, that I couldn't help but falling in love with. It was super interesting to learn about the magic and more of the world with Elli (who was largely ignorant of much of her world due to living in the Temple her whole life). Sarah Fine was absolutely phenomenal with her spell-binding writing and fascinating characters. I wanted to follow their journey and root for them.

This book was an absolutely fantastic blend of fantasy, magic and mystery. I would highly recommend it to readers who are interested in high-fantasy, unique magic or LGBTQ+ characters.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Book Talk: Little Women and Me

By: Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Status: DNF

I decided that since I actually DNF this book I would just do a little book talk instead. I found this book to be so disappointing and was not impressed with it at all- so I thought- what would make it better? How would I change it? And those are the questions I am going to answer in this post!

My (Shortened) Thoughts

The basic idea behind this book held alot of promise and I was very excited to read it. I enjoy retellings of classics and since Little Women is one of my all time favourites I thought I would enjoy this book but sadly I did not.

I had two main problems with this book, the first being the annoying main character. I've been a teenager and spent a lot of time with them and have never met any real person as annoying and whiny as Emily. Reading any of her parts was agonizing and made me zone out. So much so that I actually ended up flipping through the last half just to see how it ended.

My second problem was how Little Women was referred to. Since this book was obviously marketed as a Little Women retelling you wouldn't expect the author to blatantly refer to its as "a stupid book" (there was an actualy sentence with this wording!) The entire time Emily whined about the story, complained and made fun of the story. Probably not the best way to write a story whose audience is a fan of the story you are trashing ?!? As well most of this book was just Little Women with a few sentences or a paragraph here and there inserting Emily to the story- it was not original AT ALL.

So while the premise behind this was sooo interesting this book and its writing definitely missed the mark. Very disappointing overall

How to Change It

The other day while I was in the shower I was thinking (as one does in the shower) and I was thinking about what makes me love books. In doing so I realized that I have NEVER read a book that had dragons that turned out to be horrible! 

Which made me think about this book (being the last book I read that I did not enjoy) and I realized that it could have had so much potential! Just think, if you are going to fundamentally change the plot of a classic why not go wild? 

If you're going to insert a time traveler why not play with the rules of the time continuum? I can just see Emily trying to change the story of Little Women, and maybe being successful. What if the next day she woke up to screaming because there was a crack in the sky and the town was being attacked by dragons? Then in order to save the town/story Emily and the March sisters had to band together to use their unique skills to save everyone, defeat (or tame!) the dragons. 

Why not make Jo become a fearless dragonrider, while Beth could be the one who helps to tame the dragons (her sweet nature draws everyone/everything in), Amy might have a little dragon and be a messenger around town. Of course Marmie would bond with the queen dragon and rule them all together with her and her dragon's wisdom. And Meg would serve as a go between, helping the people to come to terms with their new lifes that features amazing, beautiful dragons. 

I feel like if you are going to try and develop such a classic story you need to push the boundaries and mix things up and if Little Women and Me had really stretched things and done something (like my idea with the dragons) it would have been so amazing! 

Have you guys ever read a book that's disappointed you? Have you ever thought about what you would change in a book to make it better or more interesting? Let me know in the comments! 

Friday, 5 February 2016

The Winter Horses

By: Philip Kerr
Published: March 25th, 2014
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Gift
Rating: 3.5 out of 5


It will soon be another cold winter in the Ukraine. But it's 1941, and things are different this year. Max, the devoted caretaker of an animal preserve, must learn to live with the Nazis who have overtaken this precious land. He must also learn to keep secrets-for there is a girl, Kalinka, who is hiding in the park. (x)

My Thoughts

I had just read a particularly bad book before this one so I was hoping it would be better (and honestly I didn’t see how it could possibly be worse!)

I’ve read a lot of books set during WWII, both fiction and non-fiction. This book offered a unique perspective, I don’t think I’ve read any other books from the perspective of a Russian Jew/ the Russian side of the war. Its particularly interesting because the Russians had such a unique story because during the war they were part of both the Axis and the Allied powers.

I loved little Kalinka and her bond to the horses. I’ve spent a lot of time with horses and they are definitely very wise creatures and so it wasn’t hard to imagine the Prwalzakis acting the way they did. I know that much of the story was made-up, the author calls it a legend, but I’m the kind of person who would choose to believe that maybe something like that did happen. 

As I child I was fascinated by the Prewalskis in the zoo at home, and reading this book reminded me of that, and renewed my interest in them. I don't know if my local zoo still has any of the horses around now but I kind of want to plan a trip to go visit them now!

It is a relatively short book but very enjoyable. Like any book set during WWII at times it was heartwrenching, horrifying and at times it was uplifting. I definitely enjoyed reading it, although it is by no means a happy book. I would classify this one as a 'university read' because it is short and not a super intellectual book- which is perfect when you just need a little break from school!