Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Top Ten Favourite Secondary Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Top Ten Favourite Secondary Characters and such a hard one! I've tried to narrow it down and pick my actual favourites but the truth is, while I LOVE a lot of characters while reading the book, secondary characters don't always stick with me. I guess that's how you pick the favourites though, right? The ones that actually stick with you?
Neville Longbottom
Every book could use a Neville Longbottom! Neville is the BEST. The way that he turns from a clumsy, awkward boy to a confident and capable wizard is a beautiful transformation and even better because... it's Neville! He's sweet and dedicated and loyal and my heart twisted for him every time someone tried to mess with him.
Magnus Bane
I love Magnus! He's flamboyant, charming and sparkly -- a winning combination. I love how open and sincere Magnus is as a character. After living for who knows how long, he is understandably jaded and hardened by some of the things he's experienced, but he never lets that get in the way of his cheerful nature.
Finnick Odair
FINNICK <3 I love that Finnick is so much more than you initially see him as. Sidenote: I can't WAIT to see Finnick in Catching Fire. Every time I see a picture or part of the trailer with him in it, I get all excited and bouncy.
Nikolai from Siege and Storm is the best addition to the series ever! He has some hilarious, witty lines and a magnetic, winning personality. I loved that his words and actions were so well thought-out and that he genuinely cared about his work. Fingers crossed that there's more Nikolai to come in Ruin and Rising!
Asha from Speechless by Hannah Harrington is the best friend you could ask for. She's such a fun, friendly character and definitely one of the most genuinely kind, accepting people I've read about. Just remember: the square root of awesome is Asha! <3
Lola's dads
Lola's dads are so real! They're the perfect blend of protective and caring. They were really invested in Lola's well-being but also in her happiness. Also, they have a pie business and make fun of Lola almost as much as my parents make fun of me. I am in full support of this family!
Adrian Ivashkov
I don't know if Adrian counts as a secondary character, even in the Vampire Academy series but I figured that if I had an excuse to gush over Mr. Ivashkov, I should take it! Adrian, Adrian, Adrian. Adrian is hilarious and charming but more than that, he's kind and considerate and loving. Also, gorgeous. It's hard to forget how amazing of a character Adrian is. He was a favourite of mine from when we were first introduced to him in Frostbite and he's been on that list ever since!
Sir Nealan of Queenscove
If Adrian doesn't count as a secondary character, I'm pretty sure Neal from the Protector of the Small quartet doesn't either but... oh well. Neal is such a great character and friend to Kel! He's there for her when she needs him, he always has his head stuck in a book and he has the most dry sense of humour. I miss reading about him!
Grim! I love this cat, he is the greatest. I love that he was actually REALLY NECESSARY as a secondary character for the main characters to achieve their goals. He's got so much sass but also so much wisdom. As he continually reminds us... he's a cat!
Luna Lovegood
I will defend Luna ANY DAY. She's such a strong, independent character and I adore the fact that she is never ever ever afraid to be herself or stand up for what she thinks is right.
Well, there's my top ten! What's yours? 

Monday, 26 August 2013

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty QueensBeauty Queens by Libba Bray

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Won
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover, 396 pages
Release Date: May 24, 2011

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What's a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.
This book is crazy. Crazy AWESOME. Girl power, hilarity and Boyz Will B Boyz... what's not to love?

Libba Bray has set out to write a thought-provoking, hilarious novel with a ridiculous premise and... she's done it. This is a novel that I can almost guarantee will have you laughing (on every page if you're anything like me), thinking about some deeper questions and developing a connection to at least one of the characters.

The Miss Teen Dream contestants are a diverse and outrageous group. They begin as intentionally stereotyped characters but with each passing chapter, layers are peeled back and the real complex nature of these girls is revealed. We judge these girls and their behaviour so quickly but when all is said and done, it's a group of pretty amazing women. I had no trouble connecting on a really personal level to a bunch of these girls, despite the moulds they're built from.

Libba Bray makes you think but she has fun (and lets you have plenty of your own!) while doing it. Through a series of footnotes and commercials that I worried may get repetitive but never did, the ridiculous nature of some of the things we value and demand as a society are brought up. Why are girls pressured to be so perfect? What is perfect? When does it end, does it ever end? The reality of the consumerism and commercialization in the novel and our own world is well-written and almost uncomfortably true.

Whether you go into this novel for a laugh, for the crazy schemes or for terrorist Momo B. ChaCha's stuffed lemur (all of which are very good reasons), I hope that you leave with more. Although, with Libba Bray's expert hand penning the story, I doubt you'll need my hope.

4.5 Golden Crowns!

Cover Comments: This cover is perfection! The makeshift lipstick sash? A+

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Add to: Goodreads
Source: Library
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Format: Hardcover, 435 pages
Release Date: June 4, 2013

Spoilers for Shadow & Bone in the summary. Review is spoiler-free for both books!
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Siege and Storm is Leigh Bardugo's phenomenal follow-up to Shadow and Bone. In this complex, stunning tale, the characters are tested more than ever and the beautifully-crafted world of the Grishas is carved wide open for a closer look.

Alina and Mal are frighteningly real as characters. They are at once selfish and kind; thoughtless and thoughtful. I wanted to throttle them both at times (although I must admit, Mal got the brunt of my frustration) but these are people in the most fragile, complex situation and I'm thrilled and relieved that their personalities reflect that.

Do you remember in the 7th Harry Potter book when Harry was obsessed with the Horcruxes and you just wanted to slap him awake? That's a little bit like how I felt with Alina. There's this constant push and pull with power, a dance to try and take what she needs to make things right but not take too much and become overcome with it. Siege and Storm asks the hard questions but doesn't necessarily give you the answers.

This, like the first novel in the series, is such an emotional book. Bardugo keeps you on your toes, constantly manipulating the situation, always bringing out whole scores of feelings. The dialogue and world-building is pitch-perfect. I don't know how Leigh Bardugo does it but this is another breath-taking conclusion. The last chapters of the book pack such a punch that it left me reeling. I need to read the last book. Soon. Now. Yesterday.

And you're telling me I have to wait another 10 months?

5 Golden Crowns!

Cover Comments: Love this cover! I hope desperately that they never change the pattern they have going for this series because between the font, swirls, dragon and colours... I'm getting a little flail-y.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Review

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones WonderCon 2013 Live Blog image
Source: Cinema Blend
On Wednesday, my sister and I hit our local movie theatre to see The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, something that we've both been eagerly anticipating for the past year. The Mortal Instruments series has been a favourite of mine for years now and it was exciting and hella nerve-wracking to finally see it portrayed on the big screen!
The cast for this movie was great. I thought Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins and Robert Sheehan in particular were excellent in their roles and that Aidan Turner (Luke) and CCH Pounder (Madame Dorothea) more than did their characters justice. I would have liked to see more of Alec's soft, vulnerable side and more of Isabelle's fiery, sarcastic side, but I understand that they were working on limited screen time. One character that did disappoint me a little, acting-wise, was Godfrey Gao. I was really excited for him to be Magnus (and I still love him, looks alone!) but I thought his lines lacked emotion.
HQ Cast Photo - mortal-instruments Photo
Source: Fanpop
In terms of the plot, this is where I'm split. On one hand, I liked it a lot from the perspective of someone that has read the book. I had no trouble understanding what was going on but that's obvious -- I mean, I'm clearly familiar with the mythology and the world. Now, if I was going into this movie with zero prior knowledge... I'd probably be confused and held back by the sheer amount of stuff. It's a lot of information to take in and a fine line to juggle when trying to stay true to the books, but I really wish more of the details of the Shadowhunter world had been left out to keep it simple. Never thought I'd say this, but I almost wish the movie had strayed a bit further from the books!

Where the movie did stray, it wasn't difficult to tell why. A lot seemed to be to amp up the drama and I liked the action-filled, exciting atmosphere that ensued. It wasn't all fight scenes and demon kills though. I was glad that the humor that permeates the books was present in the films -- it was definitely needed to lighten the mood at times.
Source: TMI Source
I was pretty impressed with the CGI/special effects in the movie. Let's just leave it at this: everything that was supposed to be creep me out did. Sign of a successful movie, clearly ;)

To sum it up: I think book fans will be pleased with this movie and how the actors managed to portray their favourite characters. Viewers that are new to the series however may find it hard and a bit tiresome to follow along with the plot and mythology. Personally though? I really, really liked it!

This movie has been receiving such mixed reviews... have you seen it? I'd love to hear your thoughts!