Ender’s Game: The Movie

31 Oct

Hey Squinklebooks Squad,

 

You’ve heard me talk about how much I love Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel, Ender’s Game, so I’m super excited about finally seeing the movie adaptation this weekend.  Check out this awesome promo shot!

 

Ender's Game - Movie - Oval

 

 

Now, we’ve talked about the reasons why some people think booklovers and moviegoers alike should boycott this film.  I’m not here to tell you that you have to watch this movie (lest you incur the twitchy eye of your awesome teacher).  That’s completely up to you.  But I’ll tell you why I’M going to see it:

 

It’s a great story.

 

Ender's Game - BookAnd for all the controversies that surround the author’s remarks and choices, he still created a pretty fantastic world to get lost in.  Ender’s Game is a story replete with action, adventure, and dilemmas.  Card’s characters are full of passion, determination, tenacity, optimism, and courage.  His is a tale with heart.

 

So, bring on the popcorn!

 

Ender’s Game opens in theatres on November 1.

Born Wicked (Jessica Spotswood)

25 Oct

Hey Squinklebooks Squad,

 

I’ve heard of a saying that there’s a special place in heaven for mothers with three boys in the family. But if you ask my mom, she’d say mothers with three girls deserve a palace gilded in gold among the clouds as well. Because Jessica Spotswood’s Born Wicked is of three sisters, I was immediately drawn to it. Add their magical abilities and a setting where said magical abilities must be repressed on pain of death or being deemed delusional, and you’ve got a great unputdownable story.

 Born Wicked

 

Spotswood’s novel abounds in conflict. On top of the aforementioned need to hide magical abilities, there’s a distant and often absent father, a busybody neighbour, a meddling governess, a looming intention ceremony, an omnipresent and repressive group, and the kind of class struggles present anywhere and everywhere. There’s also a really interesting love triangle, which made me, at various points in the story, root for one or both of the suitors!

 

But the strength of Born Wicked lies in the relationships amongst the three motherless girls. Cate, the eldest, shoulders loads of responsibilities, and it is through her eyes that we view Spotswood’s world. Cate is strong, determined, and unfailingly protective of her sisters. You can definitely see how negative an impact their mother’s death had on her. Tess, the youngest, is just beginning to experience and learn about the magical abilities they possess, and hers are so powerful that they are potentially dangerous. She’s also great at observing people’s feelings and reactions, which I envy a lot. Maura is the middle child, and what a typical middle child she is! Smart, witty, stubborn, passionate, … and sometimes unable to control her emotions, Maura is a great foil for Cate. That I am so annoyed with her by the end of the novel is a testament to how well Spotswood writes and develops that character.

 

4.5 Squinkles

 

I love, love, love that Spotswood tackles witch hunting and burning that harkens back to the 16th to 18th centuries in Europe and North America. It was great to read about the characters encountering conflicts like taboos, persecution, and mild paranoia about whom to trust. I felt like I was in a perpetual state of anxiety … which may not be great for some readers, but I surely loved it! And there was something delicious about Belastras’ bookshop: I’d probably spend all my time there if it were in my town.

 

I can’t wait to dive into the second book, Star Cursed, but ay, here’s the rub: the earlier I read Book 2, which I’m sure will end off with an incredible cliffhanger, the more interminable the wait will seem for Book 3, Sisters’ Fate, which releases in summer 2014. Oh well—happy dilemma have I.

 

Shelf Life - Add

 

Jessica Spotswood very kindly signed my copies of Born Wicked and Star Cursed when I met her at the Penguin Canada offices this past summer. I’m crossing my fingers I get to meet her again once I manage to get my hands on a copy of Sisters’ Fate!

 

Cahill Witch Chronicles Trilogy

*Image from Jessica Spotswood’s website.

 


Jessica Spotswood’s Online Corners

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Chapters

 

Thank you, Penguin Canada, for sending me a copy of Born Wicked and Star Cursed.  All opinions and suggestions expressed herein are entirely my own;
I received no compensation for them.

Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl (Emily Pohl-Weary)

24 Oct

Dear Squinklebooks Squad,

 

Not Your Ordinary Wolf GirlDid you enjoy the Twilight saga? Well, this book is nothing like those stories. In Emily Pohl-Weary’s Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl, you will meet Sam, who lives the life of a rock star on stage but whose life off stage is decidedly less exciting. Until she unwittingly gets bitten while biking home one night after a concert, of course.

 

That’s when everything changes.

 

This seems to be the season of strong female characters as this is the third book in a row I’ve read whose protagonists are far from the doe-eyed, maiden-in-distress archetype. Or maybe I’m only now discovering more and more fiction replete with confident, determined women thanks to the plethora of wonderful female authors out there. Whatever it is, I really enjoyed Pohl-Weary’s take on the werewolf subgenre because the love story isn’t really the meat of this novel.

 

4 Squinkles

 

What can you expect from the story then? I love that Pohl-Weary tackles the challenge that stems from change and that Sam has to learn how to accept her circumstances while she makes the most of them. She’s not whiny or needy despite the fact that she could use all the help she can get to deal with her new life. I like that there’s a conflict between conforming to societal norms (super hirsute faces scream “wolf girl”, don’t they?) and letting the true self come out. For much of the story, Sam is unsure which of the two boys in the novel she can trust, and I like that she waddles back and forth in her decision because boy is trust always a tough issue.

 

If you’re looking for an adventure-packed read full of twists, turns, and a strong female protagonist, give Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl a whirl.

 

Shelf Life - Add

 

And while you’re at it, try your hand at these questions: Why did Pohl-Weary set her story in NYC? Why is the heart of the conflict about becoming a wolf girl? Why is it important to the story that Sam is part of a rock band rather than just, say, a school band? Why might there be different factions of werewolves introduced in this story? Why does romance not factor as much in this story as in other novels in this genre?

 

I was so lucky to have met Emily Pohl-Weary while she was at the Penguin Canada offices this past summer.  She very graciously signed my copy of her novel, a pic of which I’ll post soon.

 

Emily Pohl-Weary’s Online Corners

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Chapters

 

Thank you, Penguin and Razorbill Canada, for sending me a copy of Not Your Ordinary Wolf Girl.  All opinions and suggestions expressed herein are entirely my own;
I received no compensation for them.

Campaign of the Gods (Mike Evers)

23 Oct

Campaign of the Gods

 

Squinklebooks Squad,

 

Here’s another fun story by Mike Evers. This time, lovers of mythology will get lost in an interesting world where Asgardian gods mingle—at first inadvertently and then very willingly—with Earthly humans. Stuart Gooding is a police constable who is anxiously awaiting the birth of his first child. You’d think that all he had to worry about was assembling a cot and crossing his fingers that the baby doesn’t come while he’s patrolling the streets of Hopfield. But with Norse god, Loki, a troublemaker in every aspect, in the mood for mischief, Officer Gooding’s quiet life won’t stay quiet for very long.

 

Evers has a talent for creating intricate worlds where the lives of various characters intertwine. While I did find some parts were slower than others, I was sufficiently intrigued to find out how the gods and humans untangle themselves from Loki’s net that I was eager to continue reading nonetheless.

 

3.5 Squinkles

 

Some things I particularly enjoyed, which I think you might enjoy, too, are the little introductions to Norse deities and concepts that serve as background on the characters and places each chapter mentions. If I ended up not enjoying the story, I would’ve been happy to have learned a little something about Norse mythology at the very least.

 

Mike Evers’ Online Corners

Website | Book Trailer

 

Shelf Life - Borrow

 

Thank you, Mike Evers and Great Minds Think Aloud, for sending me a copy of Campaign of the Gods.  All opinions and suggestions expressed herein are entirely my own; I received no compensation for them.

Allegiant (Veronica Roth)

22 Oct

Happy Book Birthday 

The third and final book of Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy is finally here!

 

Divergent 3 - Allegiant - Toronto

 

*Image from Harper Collins Canada’s Facebook page.
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