Movie Book Covers

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I am almost positive that between the title of the book and the plot summary provided the average shopper would be able to connect the publication with the movie. Though, I suppose there are some readers who would be more apt to read a book that is blatantly advertised as a (or soon to be) major motion picture. Still… I don’t like it and for me I feel as though it ‘cheapens’ the story within, and influences the perceptions of both the characters and environments described within.

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The Infernal Devices (series) / by Cassandra Clare (CBR #4-6)

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Set in a time period that preludes her bestselling series ‘The Mortal Instruments’ (TMI), Cassandra Clare presents ‘The Infernal Devices‘ (TID) where a set of new characters are placed in a world that feels entirely familiar. As with TMI the main character – Tessa Gray – is a feisty female heroine who is unaware of the power she possesses, or her position in the Nephilim and Downworld communities. While the circumstances vary from TMI the general plot of TID likewise forces her to confront a great enemy, her personal demons, and the struggle between the love and loyalty to friends, family, and men. A number of characters (those that are immortal that is) from TMI ‘reappear’ in TID, this combined with the character family names help to create connections between the two series.

clkwkprincefinalcover-264x400The dialogue is riddled with the traditional Cassandra Clare sass and sarcasm that I thoroughly enjoy. Though, arguably due to the expected propriety of the age, the attitude is less pointed than what appeared in TMI. Nevertheless, Tessa Gray was infused with a love for literature, an element that helped quickly endear me to her character. I felt a number of the characters included were well formulated and I enjoyed getting to know them. However, (perhaps because I read TMI first) I continually found I wanted more than I was getting. I couldn’t help but feel I was re-reading TMI with new characters, slight event adjustments, and less action. The power that Tessa possesses could have ideally been explored to a greater extent (or have more emphasis) in the latter two instalments of the series compared to what it was. Nevertheless, if you enjoyed TMI series than it is likely a return to the Shadowhunter world through TID would be found enjoyable. A great series for those that enjoy youthful paranormal romance.9781416975908-no-stkr-265x400

Clockwork Angel – 3.5/5
Clockwork Prince – 3/5
Clockwork Princess – 4/5
The Infernal Devices – 3.5/5

Omens / by Kelly Armstrong (CBR #3)

Omens / by Kelly Armstrong – “‘Omens’ felt like a long intro to a potentially great book” 3/5.

‘Omens’ is the first book in the latest series (Cainsville) by Kelly Armstrong. The story centres around the seemingly perfect life of 24 year old Olivia Taylor Jones – obviously untrue as it would make for a rather boring story – who just discovers she is the offspring of two notorious serial killers (Todd and Pamela Larsen).

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This revelation alongside the publicity that results from such a discovery has Olivia on the run. Through the gentle persuasion of the strangers and her own gut instinct it would seem all roads lead to Cainsville, Illinois. Where upon arriving she immediately begins to carve out a life in the odd little town and begins – with the help of the handsome lawyer Gabriel Walsh – to investigate her parents and the legitimacy behind the crimes.

I am generally a fan of Kelly Armstrong’s novels, but I found ‘Omens’ to be underwhelming and somewhat disappointing when compared to her other publications. It was… fine? Traditionally, her novels have centred heavily around the paranormal and this one continued to hint to it’s existence without giving you anything tangible or exciting to latch onto. I felt there was no real build-up in the story line but rather progressed flatly between chapters.

Others have compared the town of Cainsville to that of ‘Stephen King’s Castle Rock or Dean Koontz’s Moonlight Bay’. However, I found the setting deviated little from any small ‘set in their way’ town – aside from the subtle hints at possible supernatural elements that were definitely not scary.

In all, ‘Omens’ felt like a long intro to a potentially great book, as I found the underlying concepts to be promising and I am interested in seeing how they develop. I remain hopeful that the sequel will manage to accomplish what the first in the series could not.

3/5

Sold / by Patricia McCormick (CBR #2)

soldSold‘ is a story about a poor little thirteen-year-old girl from a village in Nepal who leaves her loving mother and gambling step-father for the big city in the hopes of earning enough money to provide her family with the new tin roof they so desperately need. However, what she finds is far from what she had imagined and she is scared she may never return home.

It is an extremely easy read written as though daily entries by the main character Lakashmi – though not so formal as to resemble a ‘dear diary’. The book was written in honour of the “nearly 12,000 Nepali girls sold by their families, intentionally or unwittingly” into such a life as that depicted through Lakashmi. The publication was a national book award finalist.

The book is composed from relatively simple language and is quite short (~2 hrs). As such, this book is accessible to people of various ages and reading levels. I am torn in my recommendation as I found the message and content to be important but struggled with the writing style from a personal preference. If anyone else has read ‘Sold’ or does in future – I would love to hear the thought of another.

3.5/5

The Fault in Our Stars (CBR #1)

Christmas (holiday) break has arrived and this means I have a few weeks where I am not required to complete several assignments and readings. As such, I finally have some time to cram in some much desired leisure reading, which I am calling ‘Christmas Break Reading‘ (CBR).

Today, I started and finished The Fault in Our Stars / by John Green. It is around 336 pages long and I found the dialogue helped move the story along relatively quickly

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The storyline follows Hazel – a young woman living with cancer – and her interactions with Augustus Waters whom she met in a Kid Cancer Support Group. The plot develops around, is propelled by, and focuses upon their relationship, which is identified as both beautiful and heartbreaking. Terrifically insightful, the dialogue is punctuated by poems, quotes, and musing of the Hazel and Gus that provide an intelligent and thought provoking environment for their dialogue to flourish.

If you are the type to become emotionally invested in what you read      avoid reading this in public (think ‘P.S. I Love You’ bawling). That being said, the sarcasm and quick quips between the characters willalso have you laughing out loud. I would highly recommend giving this a read, and I am looking forward to reading other titles by Mr. Green.

Catherine Steele (me) now on Facebook and Twitter!

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Hey everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I have finally done it! I have made the plunge into the world of social media (despite my reservations) and connected my blog to a Facebook page and Twitter account – links are also on the right-hand side.

Should you frequent either of these sites, I would encourage you to visit, peruse, discuss, and possibly ‘follow’ me. Much of the content will be repeated through the sites (though, Facebook and Twitter will be more interactive) and this integration is intended for your convenience and social media preference.

I decided to make this integration after I noticed an increase in activity of user traffic visiting my blog (yikes!), I have been mesmerized (*terrified) knowing that individuals all over the world have interacted with words i’ve written (no pressure). As a result, I began considering whether I should capitalize on my (momentary and minuscule) influx of daily visitors by further developing my presence in social media. Problem is, I am both introverted and private by nature (aside from the blog I thought no one read), and such an integration truly creates an element of vulnerability.

This hesitation is because, much like the physical world, the internet is an exceedingly vast, wonderful, and terrifying place. Putting yourself – or a version of yourself – online, opens oneself up to praise as well as criticism, the latter not always being the most constructive (e.g. see Youtube, Reddit, 9gag, online news articles, etc). Furthermore, there are serious and real privacy/security risks to generating a social presence that should not be taken lightly.

However, while the increase in visitor traffic was scary it also meant someone (besides my mom or friends) cared about what I had to say, and that was kind of exciting. Thus, in the end I felt constructing additional social media platforms to be the best decision for me, as it forced me into an environment that I felt I could thrive in and others would benefit from.

I look forward to reading your comments and hearing your opinions (even those that disagree with me) and hope this integration benefits everyone involved.

Library Shaming: Harmful or Helpful?

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Library Shaming: Harmful or Helpful?

It seems to be impossible for anything to simultaneously gain in popularity and avoid offending someone or generating some kind of conflict, Library Shaming is no exception. Generated with the intention of allowing library professionals and para-professionals a place to anonymously vent, laugh, and commiserate, it is being criticized as ‘unprofessional’ and ‘damaging’ to the patron-librarian relationship.

In response to this pocket of dissatisfaction, a moderator of Librarian Shaming proudly blogged his support of the website as a necessary and healthy outlet for librarians to vent their frustrations. He addresses some criticisms and highlights the fact that this site has become viral mostly within the library world, and points out that “we’re just not that influential, and that’s OK.” 

“One critique I’ve seen a  few times goes along the lines of, “If I said this stuff, I’d get fired!”

“That’s the point.

Perhaps it is my penchant for laughing through commiseration and sarcasm that I agree that Librarian Shaming operates effectively as an outlet. Truth be told, I could satisfy this need by sharing a few cocktails or beers with co-workers, however, it undervalues the power of anonymity. Not everyone will be receptive to every criticism. It would be difficult to vent about the MLIS program to others who fully support it, or to rage about the actions of surrounding co-workers, etc. Furthermore, there is something cathartic about knowing you are not alone but that others share in your frustrations or ‘bad habits’.

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In the end, I can’t say whether or not such a website should exist or what long term potential benefits or consequences might arise. I can say that I have found humour within the site, but I recognize that others might not. I do recommend that anyone struggling with the notion of Library Shaming should read the moderators defence and reflect upon your own perspectives to help formulate an opinion.