Booky Thoughts and Me

Book reviews and pondering thoughts of a down to earth person

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And The Winner Is….419 by Will Ferguson

The Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced last night. After everything was said and done, only one book could be selected. That book was 419 by Will Ferguson.

I myself have not read the book yet, but I have seen the fantastic, intriguing cover everywhere. The closer it got to the announcement, the more it kept popping up. It is definetely going on my to-read list. However, it might be a while since I actually pick it up since my to-read list is really long right now. I need to catch up first. 🙂

Here’s a synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

A startlingly original tale of heartbreak and suspense

A car tumbles down a snowy ravine. Accident or suicide?

On the other side of the world, a young woman walks out of a sandstorm in sub-Saharan Africa. In the labyrinth of the Niger Delta, a young boy learns to survive by navigating through the gas flares and oil spills of a ruined landscape. In the seething heat of Lagos City, a criminal cartel scours the internet looking for victims.

Lives intersect, worlds collide, a family falls apart. And it all begins with a single email: “Dear Sir, I am the son of an exiled Nigerian diplomat, and I need your help …”

419 takes readers behind the scene of the world’s most insidious internet scam. When Laura’s father gets caught up in one such swindle and pays with his life, she is forced to leave the comfort of North America to make a journey deep into the dangerous back streets and alleyways of the Lagos underworld to confront her father’s killer. What she finds there will change her life forever…

Congratulations Will Ferguson on being the winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize!


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Book Review: Winging It

Winging It by Deborah Cooke

Published: December 6, 2011

Publisher: New American Library (NAL)

Zoe Sorrenson wants to come into her own powers as a dragon shapeshifter. However, balancing her personal life and dragon life is proving to be a lot more complicated than she first thought it would be.

All she wants for her sixteenth birthday is one normal day, to get a tattoo and another chance to see hot rocker Jared. But things start to get complicated and it starts to look like she won’t be getting any of those things.

Things become even more complicated when she is invited to a house party, which is an obvious trap from the Mages,but her friend Meghan, is not. It also doesn’t help her friendship when Meghan is banned from her Pyr birthday party. You can’t really invite a human to a dragon party, after all that would be breaking the Covenant.

With so many things happening at once, Zoe must act fast before it is too late, especially with her friend Meghan getting a last-minute invite to the Mages party.

Personal Thoughts:

This was a great sequel in the Dragon Diaries trilogy. Zoe is tested time and time again of her powers, by abiding by the rules that she must follow, and the relationships that are in her life.

I loved the introduction of Derek, he’s a new addition to the people that she gets to know. He’s very mysterious and only shows who he really is when she needs help. Also, Jessica was another great introduction. No matter where Zoe turned, Jessica was there with her best friend, Meghan. It was interesting to see that Zoe was fighting internally to see whether she was jealous of Jessica or whether she was more than meets the eye.

There was a lot of action right from the start and the tension between Zoe’s personal and school life made it even more interesting. I kept flipping the pages as fast as I could read to find out what would happen next. The details were well written and I could picture exactly where Zoe was and what she was experiencing. It was as though I was watching a movie. Good job on the details! I find that sometimes with a lot of details a story can get bogged down and boring, but there was just enough details in this book.

The series is definitely keeping me intrigued. Can’t wait to read the conclusion!

Side note: It’s interesting that I am reading two book series right now (different authors) , and in both of them, the second book has exactly the same themes/issues. I just find that weird.

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Random House and Penguin- a merger match?

Photo from Digital Book World

I recently found out about the possible merger between Random House and Penguin. It is still in the talks but it saddens me because it seems that as time goes by, there are less and less publishing houses. It breaks my heart to see bookstores close down due to financial hardships, publishing houses going bankrupt (i.e. Barnes and Nobles) and the book industry changing so much. I understand that each industry needs to adapt to the current trends, whether it is digital technology or print books, but it’s still a shocker.

I have seen what happens when news media and television companies merge and become one. The content becomes very similar and there is usually not enough voice/ opinion on what we are seeing or reading in the newspapers. There needs to be a good mixture of sources in order to have the true story heard. I get that in today’s world, everything is a lot more expensive and a lot of company’s want to do things cheaper and quicker, but in doing that, the quality is lost.

Here’s to hoping that this merger won’t do too much damage and leave the industry intact with its distinct yet small community. Readers will continue to read, however, if the quality starts to suffer or there is not enough that is differentiated between books, there will be dissatisfaction.

We’ll know all the details in two weeks according to the news sources. Lets see whether they will come up with a new name or just hyphenate it.


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Book Review: One Hundred Candles

One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen

Published: March 2011

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

The sequel begins innocently enough with Charlotte, Noah and Avery going to a house party. The host of the party, popular football star Harris Abbott invites all of them to Gwyn’s house for a little fun. They play a game called One Hundred Candles, where everyone in the circle goes around telling ghost stories and lighting a candle after they are done. When one hundred stories have been told, something is supposed to happen. Charlotte thinks it’s just fun and goes along, debunking each story as its told, however it all changes when they all go back to school.

Unexplained occurences begin to happen and all of a sudden their school is said to be haunted. Charlotte, her family and friends are now in danger, and she must find a way to close the door to the other realm that she has opened before it is too late.

Personal Thoughts:

This is the sequel to Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen. First thought that popped into my mind as I was reading this book was wow. It’s definitely more action packed than in the last book. Right from the start of the book to the very end. I liked how there were two plots, a main one and subplot to keep the suspense going.

When I saw the cover I thought, the one hundred candles might have something to do with a seance and it was close to it. I love how on each of the covers, we never actually get to see Charlotte Silver. We only see a part of her face but never the eyes.

The plot made things tense for Charlotte for a while by making it really personal. People that are closest to Charlotte are hurt and there is nothing that she can do. I felt sympathy for her and it made me keep on reading to find out what was going to happen. Things are definitely not what they seem in this book and that’s what makes it even more interesting to read.

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Music Wednesday- Rise Up by Yves LaRock

Rise Up by LaRock

My dream is to fly
Over the rainbow so high
My dream is to fly
Over the rainbow so high
My dream is to fly
Over the rainbow so high
My dream is to fly
Over the rainbow so high

Rise Up
don’t falling down again
Rise Up
long time I broke Its chains.
I try to fly a while so high
direction sky
I try to fly a while so high
direction sky

Today’s song is an inspirational song, at least it is for me. The lyrics encourage you to keep on trying and even if you fall down, to get back up and try again. The beat and the rhythm make is great to listen to, and gives you energy. The beat gives you that extra energy to push yourself further, whether it’s running, doing different exercises or just roller blading. It just makes you want to get up and dance or run away. 🙂

There are days when I need cheering up, or to be pushed or just to enjoy the moment. This song is a great one for those kinds of things. There is no way that you can be sad once you are done listening to it. This song reminds me of the things I have worked for so hard in the past and when I accomplished them, it was like a new beginning. I felt empowered to do anything no matter how small or big. I am also reminded every time that there are still a lot of things that I have not yet accomplished due to lack of time, money or some other reason. I will persevere and try to get them done sooner rather than later. It might take  me a few days or weeks, but the important thing is to complete them. The knowledge of having your dreams realized is a powerful thing. It will keep knocking on your door (within your subconscious) and reminding you to get it done.

We all have dreams that have not yet been realized or put to the side due to circumstances. Take them out and get started!

Here is a sample:

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Dragonette and Young Empires Concert

Young Empires at the Sound Academy

Aside from going to see Lights at last year’s (2011) CNE, I don’t remember when the last time I went to a concert was. It’s not that I don’t enjoy music or going to concerts, it’s just it’s always been either expensive, I had work and couldn’t book it off or the band that I wanted to see wasn’t coming to the Toronto area. Plus it helps having company to go with you and see a said concert. In any case, I finally got a chance to go see Dragonette, Young Empires, and Kaylee Johnston . I’ve never heard of Young Empires but it turns out that their music is exactly what I like.

They’ve been around since October 2009 but this is the first time that I have heard them perform. All I have to say is wow. Their show was amazing. Their music has this energy that makes you want to jump up and down in joy. Some of their songs just grab you and don’t let go. It’s like they are pulling at your soul to come out and see the world. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but it definitely moved me.

It’s rare for me to like the entire album of a particular artist, since I usually like a few songs and the rest are ok. However, I thoroughly enjoyed all the songs that Young Empires played from their new album.

Dragonette was great as well. She performed some of her older songs as well as a few songs from her new album. I haven’t heard her new album yet but will have a listen when I get a chance. It has some great songs on it.

None of my friends came with me so I was by myself. However, I don’t care whether that makes me a loser or not. There is nothing wrong with going to a concert by yourself and having a blast. I had a great time and I am glad that I had a chance to see it live. It’s hard to find people who have the same tastes in music, but that doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t go to a concert. It was a great, although rainy night, but it was definitely memorable.

Here’s a little taste of their music: 🙂

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Book Review: Bloom

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: May 8, 2007

“There’s a difference between falling and letting go.”

Lauren has a good life: she has decent marks, great friends and a great boyfriend. She has been with Dave, her boyfriend for a while now and everything is perfect. Everyone loves him, he’s popular, good looking, on the football team. She should feel lucky to have such a guy who wants to be with her.Then why is she so unhappy? What’s wrong with her?

It takes the arrival of Evan Kirland to really discover what has been worng in her life. He shows her that she’s been holding back and staying with Dave out of loyalty. She feels safe with Dave, she knows what to expect when she is around him. Being with Dave is the ‘right’ thing to do. Why would anyone leave such a perfect relationship?

As things start to get more complicated for Lauren, she realizes that she needs to make a choice and soon. Or a choice will be made for her.

Personal Thoughts:

I loved the simple green cover and the emphasis of the daisy. It’s a great connection from the flower to the word itself, bloom.

What really captured my attention first was the background of Lauren’s life and how she was brought up. The constant struggle within herself brought out my sympathy and made me want to comfort her. I loved how the author delved deeper into the secondary characters and gave us, the reader, a chance to see their life.

Lauren and Dave were great characters although the way that their relationship was described, it kept making me think of the 1950s.  Back then you could be with someone even though both parties weren’t exactly happy to be with the other, or were just content and lived on their lives. The struggles that Lauren kept having within herself whenever she was with Dave showed us a real look within.

The complexities surrounding Lauren and Evan were great. I loved the way they initially met and then years down the road it happened again. The hint of danger and of something happening when it shouldn’t keeps the intrigue throughout the book.  The author’s writing style was wonderful in the scenes when they were together. You could just tell that they had eyes only for each other. Overall, this book has a good story plot and the pace is just right. You keep wanting to know what will happen and keep turning the pages. I enjoyed this first delve into Elizabeth Scott’s book and will be taking a closer look at her other books.