Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Bye Bye Blogger

Today is a bit of a sad day for me, but keep in mind that change is good!  Chels and a Book has MOVED!  I am extremely excited to announce that I have spent the $25 necessary to move Chels and a Book to its own domain!  Also, I have taken a new and more simplistic approach to the style of the blog and have transferred over to Wordpress.  Although Wordpress does not have a follower button, I hope you will all still stop by or sign up for the email updates =).  Thank you all for the support!  Now, please come and visit me:

P.S. This is so exciting!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (7)

My apologies for being completely MIA the past two weeks!  Between work events, visiting friends and, well, work in general, life has gotten a bit busier.  However, fear not, the reading has continued, as has the unstoppable book buying (though it has subsided slightly).  I treated myself last weekend to two books I have been drooling over since the first mention of their existence, Michael Moore's new novel SACRE BLEU and the current teen craze GRAVE MERCY by R.L. LaFevers.

If you are a big Christopher Moore fan and will be picking this up in the next few weeks, you should join the online discussion with my book club at Gin & Rhetoric!  We start our discussion May 1st.

I also plan on getting the blog back up to date this week with reviews for THE FUTURE OF US, SOULLESS and CHELSEA CHELSEA BANG BANG!  I also finished the second book in THE TAKER Trilogy, THE RECKONING a few days ago.  For those of you who know the blog at all, you will know that I ADORE this series.  However, since the book won't be released for another few months, the review will have to wait.  But if you get the chance, PICK IT UP!

Hope everyone had fabulous book weeks!  In My Mailbox is hosted over at The Story Siren.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Books Before Blogging (Part 1)

Once upon a time, in a land before blogging, before Goodreads and before the creation of multiple book-related networking websites, there was word-of-mouth.  Still the most popular form of book recommendation, word-of-mouth has always been my favourite way of discussing books.  Also before blogging and Goodreads, I was still as obsessed with books as I am today -- only I didn't get to write long-winded reviews about everything I read.  SO!  I wanted to draw some attention to older books, but books that I still recommend to everyone and keep proudly on a special shelf in my room.  Here goes:

Perhaps one of my favourite books of all time, HEY NOSTRADAMUS was a Christmas gift one year.  I sat on my parents leather love seat and devoured it (oh, and bawled my eyes out).  Coupland wrote in a way I had never experienced before.  He was so raw and shamelessly oblivious to touchy subjects.  This story, loosely based on the Columbine shootings, centered around two teens who had secretly married so that their religious beliefs permitted a sexual relationship.  Tension arises when unexpected news is announced within the first few pages and the couple separates to go to their prospective classes.  Jason goes to class, while Cheryl makes her way to the cafeteria and is momentarily killed by a group of teen boys with guns.  The book is narrated by four characters, one chunk at a time.  Cheryl opens and narrates into death, while Jason picks up, years later -- a brutally scarred man. Jason's present-day girlfriend and his father also narrate in the second half of the book.  I cannot explain how powerful this novel is.  Like that one book you could never quite let go of, this novel changed the way I saw things.

On an entirely different note, one of my all-time favourite girly reads was Bridget Harrison's TABLOID LOVE.  I read this book the summer before moving to Ottawa to begin my undergrad in Journalism at Carleton (that didn't last long, but my love for this book sure did)!  An important note is that this is a MEMOIR!  Bridget Harrison is a real-life Carrie Bradshaw, sent from London, England to New York City to write for The New York Post.  Her other side is undoubtedly Bridget Jones.  In a new place, thousands of miles from her home and her fiance, Bridget proceeds to ROYALLY mess up her own life.  Though she makes mistakes in this novel, I felt for her -- and believe me, this is not a completely light read.  Harrison reported on the attack on the twin towers in 2001 and the passages from that time period are heart-wrenching.  She was even publicly called out for detailing the innermost secrets of her relationship with the main man of the book.  After the books publication, he expressed extreme sadness in her exposure of their relationship within the text.  Harrison responded with an article stating that although their moments were precious and personal, they were a large part of her life, which this book documents.  It was fascinating, hilarious and heart-breaking.  An absolutely wonderful story.

Another old favourite is Diane Schoemperlen's AT A LOSS FOR WORDS.  This book, written in the second person perspective, is the narrative of an older women, once abandoned by her lover in her early twenties and giving him a second shot multiple years down the road.  This novel is called a "post-romantic novel", which can pretty much tell you that it is not a heart-warming story -- however I could not put it down and loved the fresh take Schoemperlen took on her narrative.  This book also houses one of my all time favourite quotes -- EVER.

 "Many times I've googled you, and I've found that, in addition to your usual self, you are also an evangelical pastor who writes hymns and other sacred songs, a bookseller specializing in fantasy fiction, a collector of Civil War firearms, the owner of an asphalt company, the owner of an antique store, the vice president of a communications corporation, a risk analysis consultant, a jazz saxophonist, a forensic accountant, a disc jockey, a filmmaker, a Web designer, an oncologist, a psychiatrist, a criminal lawyer, and a high school football coach.  You are also a street in Seattle, a road in Wyoming, a hiking trail in Oregon, a lake in New Mexico, and a mountain in Alaska.
One in a million? 
I guess not."

BAM!  That is how I feel every time I read that quote, which remains post-noted in my edition of the book.  Such an interestingly written novel.  Short and bittersweet -- I loved this little book. (Oh, AND she's Canadian!)

There are many other books I wanted to include in this post, so for now, we will just call it part one.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

In My Mailbox (6)

I've had a small but perfect week in books!  After all the wonders that have been piling up beside my bed, a small week was much needed.  Having just finished a heavier horror novel, I am going as girly as it gets: SOPHIE KINSELLA!  Also, my friend Ikhlas and I met up quickly to do one more book exchange -- and a cookie one!  Being quite the talented baker, Ikhlas has me drooling over pictures of her decident baked goods on a regular basis.  Today, when handing me SHATTER ME, Ikhlas also handed me a batch of pink frosted sugar cookies.  They are already gone and they were amazing!  All in all, a wonderful book (and cookie) week for me!

Book review: The Strain

Ever since reading ROSEMARY'S BABY in a 17th floor hotel room in New York late at night while it poured outside, I have been leaning more and more into horror.  The eerie combination of the downpour mixed with the satanic references of the book had me glued to the page.  Since then, I have been on the hunt for something just as thrilling.  A recommendation from my fellow horror fan, Alexis, (and a fabulous deal at Chapters) put Del Toro and Hogan's THE STRAIN next on the list.

THE STRAIN features a multitude of characters dealing with the after effects of a mysterious murder scene.  When a Boeing 777 lands at JFK airport and stops dead on the tarmac, traffic control is in a frenzy.  Not only does the airplane seem to have no power, but all of the windows have been pulled down. Representatives from the CDC are sent in to investigate and our main character, Dr. Eph Goodweather is pulled from an evening with his beloved son to rush to the airport.  Eph is a part of the Canary project, a "rapid-response team that investigates biological threats".  What they find instantly instills terror into the team and the reader.

Just the image of the plane, blacked out from the inside but illuminated by large spotlights from the outside, was chilling.  I won't lie, this novel is about vampires -- but not the sparkly kind we are now used to.  These vampires are demonic beings and the product of a virus; the spread being referred to as "the strain".

The story is built mostly on suspense and has you ripping through pages to find out what happens, but I was occasionally caught on the many transfers of characters. So many people are involved in the investigation of "the strain" and even more are caught in the effects of it.  Although I felt that this separated me from Eph a bit (who was undoubtedly my favourite character and the reason I enjoyed the book), I understand the necessity of all the background information. 

Certain scenes had my skin crawling, but there is no doubt that this book is the beginning of a trilogy, meaning the end leaves you with a further injection of terror rather than answers.  Del Toro and Hogan had me envisioning dark hooded figures standing in my doorways at night.  Mission accomplished.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review: This is a Love Story

Confession: When I was in high school, chicklit was my vice.  I just couldn't stop reading about these women whose lives seemed to fall apart just so that they could finally fall together.  I would dreamily read through each one, only to replace it with another.  I LOVED them.  Then, during my first year of university, I hit a wall.  I wanted to read something utterly different and I jumped from Sophie Kinsella to Douglas Coupland.  Whenever I would return to chicklit, I would giggle my way through the first few pages, only to be reminded that, ah, yes, this is going in the same direction it always does.

That was until debut author, Jessica Thompson's THIS IS A LOVE STORY.  Drawn in by the cover (which I assumed was made to look super cute in order to make fun of the whole concept), I took a copy home from work at the same time as one of my bosses.  We would reconvene every morning while I made my coffee and she toasted her bagel and discuss Nick and Sienna, two of the cutest but also most frustrating characters in my literary history.  Though I wouldn't classify it as chicklit exactly, and it definitely didn't follow the usual plotline, it brought out that part of me that loves watching good people finally get what they want.  Except, I wasn't sure if that would actually happen and this is what kept me reading.

Nick and Sienna fall in love at first sight, and their chance encounter on the morning train only explodes when they discover that they are working in the same office.  But, nothing is as simple as it seems.  Both convinced the other feels nothing, Nick and Sienna proceed to date all the wrong people, while simultaneously never being able to let one another go.  Their blossoming friendship fools no one but themselves.

While I have never read David Nicholls' ONE DAY, I have heard many wonderful things and based on the plot synopsis (and the movie trailer, sorry!), I can say that the concepts are similar though dealt with much differently.  THIS IS A LOVE STORY had some sad parts (one in particular) but I didn't bawl my eyes out -- which my friend Yaz did while reading ONE DAY.  This story is slightly fluffier, but what makes it so much fun to read is the characters.

Nick, to me, was a Ted Mosby.  Maybe I'm just watching too much How I Met Your Mother, but Nick is constantly battling between what he wants and what he thinks he needs, just like our favourite sitcom guy, Ted.  Sienna is that ridiculously sweet, "I want to help the world", driven but slightly naive young woman who knows what she needs but tries to deny herself what she wants.  What a perfectly confusing match!  THIS IS A LOVE STORY is the story of how sometimes, you just have to let go and run with life.  My favourite part of the whole book was the dialogue and all the witty British banter. This is the perfect read to get you into spring mode!  THIS IS A LOVE STORY will be in bookstores May 1st!

Also, check out this fabulous interview with Jessica Thompson here.