Book Adventures Weekly, Issue 34

Today is Columbus Day in the United States (an unfortunate holiday, but I’m happy not to go to work!), and this weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Happy holidays! Happy eating, happy resting, happy excursioning, and especially happy reading!

Some blog news first: We have a twitter account! We’re @bookadventurers – this is where we’ll be sharing our stories, posts, and links from now on.

We also have a Goodreads account, where we’ll be sharing our reviews and connecting with you all.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

On the subject of today’s United States holiday, The Atlantic poses the question: why should schools re-think their Columbus Day teachings?

In #sciencefictionnotfiction, The New Yorker explores Life on Mars.

The New York Times Sunday Book Review comments on Margaret Lazarus Dean’s pessimistic book on the end of American spaceflight.

In a bit of dystopian non-fiction, The Atlantic explores Moldovian black market connections to ISIS.

In time for Halloween, Book Riot lists 13 creepy bookish trivia.

Liked this post? You may also enjoy 

Jaclyn’s review of The Martian

Stacey’s review of the creepy Nightlife

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Rook – Dystopian Scarlet Pimpernel

rookRook by Sharon Cameron
Scholastic: April 28, 2015 (Young Adult / Dystopia)*

I’ll go there again!
suitcase suitcase suitcase suitcase

A re-imagined The Scarlet Pimpernel, Rook wraps the classic tale of espionage, heroism, and romance in the packaging of a futuristic, dystopian and steampunk Europe in the middle of a new French Revolution.

The world-building is grounded in the historical events of the French Revolution and the fictional events in The Scarlet Pimpernel. There is a believable and consistent explanation for the unsettled, broken state of the world (and the city-sized crater in Paris). Paris, dubbed the Sunken City on account of the crater, is a hotbed of political intrigue and revolution. The political outline will be familiar to any who studied the French Revolution in school. The twist: some believe technology is responsible for the ills of their society, while others believe it has the power to transform lives in a good way. Overall, technology has been outlawed in Europe.


Prototype: Excellent Finish to the Story of Emma 2.0

prototypePrototype, by M.D. Waters

Dutton Adult: July 24, 2014 (Science Fiction / Fantasy)

My rating: Outstanding Adventure! (5/5)

It’s no secret that I loved Archetype. The Archetype duology has been one of my favorite series and two of my favorite books so far in 2014.

The love triangle

Not your typical heroine waffling “Edward is so sexy, but Jason keeps rescuing me!” or “Ranger is so hot but dangerous, but Morelli is also hot, and a man with a mortgage and a dog…” The outcome may never be in doubt (one of the men is revealed as self-centered, possessive, and sociopathic early on), but that’s not what makes the love triangle interesting. And honestly, love triangles often feel contrived and stale to me. Waffling and indecision frustrates me, and I find a suspenseful love triangle is a rarity. Most of the outcomes can be easily predicted. Anyway, Prototype relies on its depictions of the characters and their feelings for tension and suspense.

The emotional impact

Obviously, this section is mostly about the romance. The atypical love triangle. But in this section, I write about passion and emotional investment that comes about as a result of the prose, pacing, and plot. For me, this book had an incredibly high emotional impact. I felt closely connected to Emma and what she felt as she overcame her fears and insecurities while encountering new circumstances and difficult obstacles. Her emotions, her love and inner turmoil are clearly evoked through the prose. (more…)

Archetype: my new favorite

archetypeArchetype: A Novel (Archetype #1) by M.D. Waters
Plume: June 24th, 2014 (Science Fiction)

My rating: Outstanding adventure! (5/5)

I loved this intensely emotional, action-packed, and suspenseful novel about figuring out who you are and what exactly makes you who you are.

Emma wakes knowing nothing about herself but her name. The handsome man beside her tells her she’s his wife. What else is she to believe? But as time goes by and she begins to live her life again, her peace is disturbed by a strange woman talking in her head, and by dreams that feel so real, they could be. Real, that is.

The emotional depth, inner turmoil and conflict of the main character, and the need to find out what exactly has happened to Emma, kept me enthralled in this story. The reader knows just as much (or only a little bit more) about Emma, her life, and her world, as Emma does, and it heightens the suspense. I put this book aside only because I had to, and when I picked it back up I tore through it, turning pages into the wee hours.

While the story and the description set up a love triangle between the man who claims he is Emma’s husband, and the man Emma dreams of, there really isn’t a love triangle. Yes, it’s easy to figure out the bad guy. But I don’t think that ruins anything. Emma still has to discover for herself that he is bad, and I loved that it wasn’t black and white. Even when she finds out the truth, she still loves him. Instead of being Evil, the bad guy is motivated by human emotions such as greed and possessiveness. It made the relationships more realistic, with all their messiness and complications.

I immediately engaged with Emma, emotionally sharing her journey of self-discovery. The emotions fairly leaked off the page, and I haven’t been so invested in a character in a very long time. Emma is real, vivid, and immediate, and the reader is immersed in her doubt, fear, love, and pain. She may not always make the best decisions, and it was a bit frustrating to watch her hesitate when I wanted her to make up her mind, but it makes sense that she wouldn’t have the resources (i.e., memories and experience) to make the right decision immediately. I can’t wait to find out how Emma works through the next part of her story in Prototype, mostly because she was so vivid.

Let’s not leave the world-building out of this. While there are some gaps in the history of the world, I don’t mind not knowing everything. Over the course of the novel, as Emma discovers more and more about her past, and about her world, so does the reader. I enjoyed the slow reveal of the world, putting together the pieces one by one. I describe a bit of the world in the next paragraph, which may be a spoiler if you, like me, enjoy discovering a world as you read about it. So if you don’t want to know, stop here and go check out this book! **SPOILER ALERT** (more…)

A chaotic race through time in The Flight of the Silvers

silvers2The Flight of the Silvers by Daniel Price
Blue Rider Press, 4 February 2014 (Science Fiction)*

My rating: I’d go there again!

A roller coaster ride describes this book pretty accurately. Fast-paced, twisty-and-turny, with some peaks and lulls, and ultimately extremely difficult to put down until the very last page. I’ve never read any story quite like it.

The Silvers are six seemingly ordinary people with extraordinary talents, which they only discover after being magically transported from our world to another Earth by a mysterious trio of dangerous characters. The most important aspect of the new world they find themselves in is that, due to the Cataclysm, a natural (?) disaster that occurred in New York City in the early twentieth century, time travel is possible. Not just time travel – there are several ways to manipulate time, which everyone can access through technology, but which a select group of people carry innately within themselves. The Silvers are some of these.


Winter Itinerary

December is finally here, and as someone who’s not all that found of snow and cold weather, I’m very excited to stay in and curl up with some upcoming books that I’m looking forward to. And by looking forward to, I mean counting down the days to release dates. So without further ado, here’s my reading plans for this winter.

15787204Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan (Darkest London, #4)
Release Date: December 17th, 2013

I have been rabidly excited for this one since I learned that it would be Jack Talent and Mary Chase’s story. I will be running to Chapters before work on the 17th so I can get my copy and start it on my dinner hour, that’s how excited I am. Shadowdance is my most anticipated read of the winter and thankfully, it’s release date is around the corner. I hope it lives up to my expectations.



Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett (The Roaring Twenties #1)
Release Date: January 7, 2014

Love the concept for this one. Roaring twenties urban fantasy count me in! I’m really hoping that this series is going to be great, it sounds like a great blend of fantasy and romance, which is what I like! At this point, I haven’t heard any negative or positive reviews, so I’m anticipating it based on the premise alone.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (Castles Ever After #1)
Release Date: January 28th, 2014

I am a huge fan of Tessa Dare’s historical romances – they are quirky and fun and I can’t get enough of them. I was a little disappointed that this one wasn’t part of the Spindle Cove series, but Romancing the Duke looks to be in a similar vein and I’m looking forward to another quirky and funny courtship.

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab (The Archived #2)
Release Date: January 28th, 2014

I had read the first book in this YA series, and loved the lyrical style of writing and the awesome concept of an archive of the dead. The sequel kind of fell off my radar until I read a teaser with the first 8 chapters on the book. And now, I do not understand how I am supposed to wait until January to catch up with Mac and Guyliner.

Cress by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
Release Date: February 4th, 2014.

The first installment of Meyer’s sci-fi series was a little lack luster for me, but the second book, Scarlet, made me a huge fan of the series. I love how Meyer is playing around with these fairy tales in a sci-fi setting and can’t wait for the Rapunzel themed re-imagining.

Three by Kristen Simmons (Article 5 #3).
Release Date: February 11th, 2014

Three is the conclusion to Simmons dystopia series and I couldn’t be more excited. Both books one and two were amazing and I need something to fill my dystopia craving now that the Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogies have finished.

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop (The Others #2)
Release Date: March 4, 2014

Written in Red totally blew me away when I read it last year – it was such a different take on urban fantasy. I loved the world building and I’m super excited to learn more about this world and to see how Meg continues to interact with these monsters, because in this world, the werewolves and the vampires aren’t the romantic leads, they are scary creatures that eat the people that venture into their territory.

Dawn’s Early Light by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences #3)
Release Date: March 25, 2014

This is an awesome steampunk mystery series. I love the concept of a secret organization and the heroic duo of Brooks and Braun are one of my favourite mystery teams. Brooks and Braun are great characters and their dynamic is finally starting to change and I can’t wait to see what they get up to when they head to America.

And that wraps up what I’m looking forward to this winter. Here’s hoping some of these end up under the Christmas tree!

What are you looking forward to reading in 2014?

Not just another dystopian: ‘Never Fade’

16150830Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
Disney-Hyperion, October 15, 2013
Series: The Darkest Minds (Young Adult / Dystopia)
Rating: I’d go there again

Never Fade is the second in Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series, and it picks up pretty quickly from where the first book left off. To recap the first book, The Darkest Minds is set in a future where a plague has decimated the young, and those that survived developed powers. These powers were categorized, and Orange became the most dangerous because they can manipulate another person’s mind. Eventually, a corrupt government encouraged/forced parents to put their children into camps where they would be “safe.” Ruby is one of those children, and has been living at one of the worst camps for years hiding her Orange status. When she gets her chance to escape, she takes it. Out in the world, Ruby meets other kids who have not lived in camps before, and strikes up a strong friendship with Liam, Chubs and Zu; however, the team runs afoul of a nefarious Orange and in order to save her friends lives, Ruby leaves them for the Children’s League, even going so far as to wipe the memories of herself form Liam, whom she has grown to love. The question is whether or not Ruby’s sacrifice will be worth it.

The Children’s League is trying to fight against the extremely corrupt government. However, things are not picture perfect with the League and Ruby becomes suspicious when other kids with powers suddenly start dying on missions. She wonders if someone deliberately killing these kids?

When Liam’s older brother, Cole, returns to the League, Ruby is given a mission that will bring her back into Liam’s orbit, the problem is that Ruby has erased all of Liam’s memories of her. Liam has come into possession of a flashdrive with the cure for the plague that instigated the powers in the survivors. Cole gives Ruby the mission to retrieve the flashdrive; Ruby agrees because she believes it will give him the leverage to get the Children’s League to help get the kids in the government run camps released. Of course, getting the flashdrive is easier said than done, and in the end Ruby has to make a decision about her loyalties and her powers as an Orange.

Never Fade was just as action-packed as the first in the series. The book moves at a breakneck pace that will leave you unable to put it down because you are constantly left on the edge of your seat. The world isn’t lighthearted; kids are being murdered and murdering one another. It’s a scary world but you are completely engaged and you can’t help but hope for Ruby and her friends to make a difference.

What I loved most about Never Fade was the introduction of some new characters. First, there’s Liam’s older brother, Cole. I was expecting Cole to be a completely unlikeable character, but it’s clear that there’s a lot more to his character than as a super soldier; he’s been keeping secrets and I’m very interested in how that plays out. There’s also Vida, Nico and Jude, all of whom are kids with powers that are part of the Children’s League. It was so very interesting to get their side of things since in book one we only got the negatives of the Children’s League from Liam. I have an especial fondness for Vida and her smart mouth remarks, and the bickering between her and Chubs was fantastic and I’d love to see more, and for them to hopefully develop a friendship. I will say no more about the other characters, since that would spoil things, but rest assured there are some great new additions to the series.

Of course we still have the characters from book one, Liam and Chubs (Zu was not in the book). Chubs was my favourite character from book one and I was so happy to see him again, especially since his fate was in question at the end of book one. He seems to have changed a lot since book one and has gained a different outlook. Like Ruby, these changes haven’t always been ones he’s proud of. And then there’s Liam. He was missing for a good chunk of Never Fade and when he did show up he was confused about Ruby; he felt something for her but he didn’t remember anything about her. If you’re looking for the typical teen romance, that wasn’t really here, but what was there was pretty sweet. If you liked the initial friendships presented in book one, you will definitely like book 2 and the changes that have been made in their group dynamic.

Ruby once again showed herself as an interesting character. She’s a strange mix of strong and vulnerable. Strong because of what she’s willing to do for her friends and vulnerable because those very friends are her weak spot. I was very impressed with her character development in this one, and I liked how her powers were addressed. Ruby can do a lot more with her Orange abilities and it can be scary. I liked that Ruby was conflicted about her powers and that she did have remorse about how she used them at times. Ruby didn’t always use her mind bending abilities in the most moral way possible, but she was constantly learning from her mistakes and quick to consider her actions. In the end, I think that Ruby showed great potential as a leader and I can only hope that she continues to use her Orange abilities for the good side.

Overall, Never Fade was a great addition to the series and I can’t wait for the next one. This one is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and the Divergent series; the action and the disturbing dystopian world will sure to appeal to fans of the genre.


Article 5 (Article 5, #1)The Way We Fall (Fallen World, #1)Midnight City (Conquered Earth, #1)

Fall Itinerary

17380041Now that September’s hit, I feel like my reading list is out of control. There’s so much that I want/have to read this fall, I can’t help but think it’s really too bad that librarians don’t get to read all day at work. So without further ado, here’s a list of my most anticipated reads for this fall. Some (if they’re as good as I hope they are) will be reviewed here in the coming weeks and months. In no particular order…

1. Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood (September 3, 2013)

I first discovered Atwood after having to reading The Handmaid’s Tale in high school and have loved her dystopian books ever since. I’ve been following the Maddaddam trilogy, and have been both entranced and disturbed by the vision of the future Atwood displays. I can’t wait for the conclusion.

2. Longbourn by Jo Baker (October 8, 2013)

Pride and Prejudice remix? Yes, please! I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Longbourn and the downstairs version of Pride and Prejudice. In some ways, I think it’s capitalizing on the Downton Abbey success and I can only hope that it lives up to the hype. Since I’ve got an advance reader copy, hopefully I will be proven right sooner rather than later.

3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (August 27, 2013)

I loved Maas’ Throne of Glass and have been anxiously awaiting this one forever. I’m currently reading it. I love it, but I also hate it, since I know it’s NOT going to end well and then I will have another year to wait to find out what happens next. It’s moments like these when you wish you hadn’t discovered a series until after all the books were published.

4. The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn (October 29, 2013) 15702268

I love Julia Quinn. Her historical romances are cute and quirky, and I especially loved her latest featuring a mathematical genius with a limp. I can promise that this one doesn’t disappoint, since I’ve already read my review copy. I’ll be posting my review closer to the publication date.

5. A Study in Darkness by Emma Jane Holloway (October 29, 2013)

Steampunk is a genre close to my heart. I love the combination of a historical locale and the impossible. Holloway’s Victorian London, combines magic, steam barons, mystery and a dash of romance, all centred around her intrepid heroine, Evelina Cooper, Sherlock Holmes’ niece. I’ve just started reading it; so far, so good!

6. No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean (November 26, 2013)

MacLean’s another one of my favourite historical romance writers. She gives up great plots, great characters and fantastic romance. This will be third book in the Scoundrels series and I can’t wait for Temple’s story.

7. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (September 24, 2013)

The Shining is a book that I discovered in university when I had to read it for a class about hauntings. It was terrifying and amazing at the same time. I can’t promise that I’ll read this one right away, but it will be interesting to see what King does with Danny’s character after the events of The Shining.

171655938. Mortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber (September 3, 2013)

I’m not generally a huge mystery fan, but there’s something about a historical mystery that just draws me in. The second book in Huber’s Lady Darby series promises to be fantastic, now if only my library’s copy would arrive!

9. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (October 22, 2013)

Who isn’t looking forward to this one? Unfortunately, I’m near the bottom of the holds list at my library, so I probably wont be reading this one until the winter, but I’m still excited about it, especially since I keep seeing pictures of the upcoming film adaptation of Divergent.

10. Inhuman by Kat Falls (September 24, 2013)

Another teen dystopian. I don’t know too much about it, but it looks good. Plus, I have an advance copy, so how can I not be excited about that?

There will, of course, be other books that I’ll want to add to my “to-read” list for the fall – so it’s pretty clear that I need to retreat to my reading cave and blind myself with reading.

Guest Post: a line-up of upcoming YA movie adaptations

divGood Monday, lovely readers! My life is in upheaval these days, so I’ve called on a friend of mine, who has graciously provided a YA Book-To-Movie itinerary for you! Read on for some great recommendations for books (and movies) from Zarena.



Have you read a great movie lately?

Adapting a book into a movie is just another way to tell the same story. While I’m not above a little book snobbery -the book is almost always better – that doesn’t mean I don’t love watching the movie, too. While some die-hard book fans might disagree, I always look forward to a film adaptation. Who will they cast? What will they change? Will I love it? Will I hate it? Will I get popcorn or candy? Only time will tell.
YA book adaptations are all the rage in Hollywood these days. If you’re anything like me you’ll want to read the book ahead of time, so I’ve compiled a short list of the upcoming adaptations I’m most looking forward to:

The Spectacular NowThe Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

This gem is already in theaters. It stars Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller as Aimee and Sutter, two teens who start an unlikely romance. Aimee is shy and flies under the radar. Sutter is popular, outgoing, and a functioning alcoholic. Full disclosure: I wasn’t over the moon about this book and I had a hard time relating to Sutter, but I really think the subtle nuances of their budding relationship will translate better on screen. It doesn’t hurt that this film, which premiered at Sundance, is racking up glowing reviews.

The Fault In Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Shailene Woodley is back at it again, this time playing Hazel, a young girl who has been battling cancer since she was 13. While at a cancer support group Hazel meets a boy named Augustus and they quickly form a friendship, and that friendship quickly evolves into something more. I don’t want to say too much, but this book was exceptional. As the first of John Green’s novels to be adapted for film, a legion of loyal fans will have a lot to say about this one, no matter how it turns out.

DivergentDivergent by Veronica Roth

This upcoming adaptation of the popular Veronica Roth novel stars, wait for it, Shailene Woodley. Yes, again. Divergent, the first in a triology, is billed as a Hunger Games read-a-like. While they are both dystopias, and feature a strong female lead, the stories are quite different. I have a feeling that Roth’s story can hold its own on the silver screen, and unlike some recent YA film flops (City of Bones, anyone?) this film has some serious star power behind it: Kate Winslet will star as the big bad in this one. Isn’t that alone worth shelling out ten bucks?

If I StayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman

This adaptation is still in its early stages. After being shopped around for awhile, it seems to have found a home at MGM and a lead actress in the young, but capable Chloe Grace Moretz. Moretz will play Mia, a 17 year old girl who finds herself in a coma after she and her family are in a serious car crash. With friends and her loving boyfriend Adam tethering her to life, Mia must choose whether to wake up or let go. Told through series of flashbacks, I think this novel will translate really well on screen. While in the book we only get to know characters though Mia’s memories, in the movie we’ll see characters own their own scenes.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

This series has it all – great female characters, forbidden romance, strong friendships, and a fairly fresh plot. While the story suffers from predictability at times, it’s an overall fun and juicy read. Its film adaptation is slated for release next Valentine’s Day, and Mark Waters, the genius behind Mean Girls, is back in the directors chair to give us what I’m sure will be a smart and satirical ride. This movie is also a family affair with Mark’s brother, Daniel Walters, screenwriting the adaptation. Daniel is also the writer behind the 80’s cult classic Heathers which is just another indication of the places this adaptation might go. I was really surprised by the trailer, but I will reserve my judgement for now. We wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so let’s not judge a movie by its trailer!
Lastly, a few parting words of wisdom: always remember that a bad movie can’t actually ruin a good book. While you may feel that a beloved story and characters are being done a disservice when Hollywood comes a-calling, a movie can’t ever really compare with a book. I think Stephen King said it best:

“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.”

Book Review: Disappointed in “Defiance”

defiance Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Date: August 28th 2012
Genre: Fantasy
My rating: Dreadful trip!

What began with great promise petered out before the halfway mark. The story is interesting, for the most part, but the prose/narration couldn’t hold my interest.

The plot follows an unusual young girl: independent, outspoken, trained to fight and think. In this world, which hints at post-apocalyptic Earth, the old civilization, with its tall metal buildings and large cities, has been destroyed by a greedy wealthy man who dug too deep for fuel, and woke burrowing, dragon-like creatures, who laid waste to the land. In the aftermath, a group of men went into the beasts’ lair to try to destroy them, and failed – but emerged as powerful leaders, built cities behind great walls, and mysteriously protected the cities’ citizens. The most powerful of all has ruled his city with an iron fist, and a particular dislike for women. Each woman is assigned a Protector, without whom she can legally go nowhere. She is taught only Life Skills, which is your basic housewife training. Rachel, our heroine, has unusually been taught to defend herself, to think for herself, and to be independent. A case of the overindulgent single father.

The story opens with the disappearance of the heroine’s father, and the transference of his Protectorship to his young apprentice. Some romantic tension exists between the heroine and her new protector. The two set up house together, and each plans (separately) to find out what happened to her father. Unfortunately, this lands them in trouble with the villain, and the story evolves from there, with betrayal, death, deception, travel, and danger.

Interesting element: technology. I had expected more fantasy, less steampunk.

What prevented me from enjoying this book was the narrative style. Both narrators, the heroine and her new Protector, narrate in the first person. This by itself is often fine, but the author’s focus is on the internal thoughts and motivations of the characters, which distracted me from the story and often grew tedious. The narrative voices are mostly interchangeable. Ultimately, it felt as though the author told instead of showing. The story was never brought to life.

Additionally, although Rachel’s character starts out with great promise, an individual rule-breaker and living example of women’s abilities to live outside the restrictive expectations of this patriarchal society, her potential as a good role model for young readers is stunted by the hero, and love interest, Logan. Logan often perpetuates some of the harmful lies and misogynistic views that are far too prevalent in our own society. He hurts, controls, and belittles Rachel. Thus, the reader is left with contradictory impressions of the author’s beliefs: a strong heroine is able to defend and provide for herself, but her chosen hero reflects the anti-women behaviors and beliefs that the heroine has struggled against her whole life. The premise of Rachel’s character is undermined by the author’s execution (i.e., rendering) of Logan’s character and the world.

I had trouble finishing this one. I did find myself intensely interested in a supporting character called Quinn, however I will not return to this series.


For more (and better executed) kick-butt young heroines who don’t always fit into their worlds’ standard perceptions of young women and who have adventures in fantastic settings, try these (if you haven’t already):

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1) Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)