Monday, September 30, 2013

TTT: Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different Top Ten list topic that a bunch of bloggers take and make their own list of those things.
1. Insta-Love
I could be wrong, but I don't think I have ever heard of someone who actually likes Insta-love. I always find it sloppy, lazy, and a little cheap. It robs the story of the slow build-up, the tension that makes us all sit on the edge of our seats waiting for the characters to finally open their eyes. My hatred is mostly because I refuse to believe that relationships exist that don't start out at least a little bit awkwardly (unless it slowly turns from a friendship into a relationship, but that's not what insta-love is). If we all voted, do you think we could stop this madness?

2. Half-Hearted World Building
If the author isn't into the construction of the world, then I won't be either. I think if you decide to have your story take place in a different world then you have to devote a sizeable amount of time (at least in the first book) to making your reader understand the world. If you don't then the book with have an overall flat feeling.

3. Characters Keeping Secrets for No Reason
Character: "But...But I can't tell them this huge secret that could ruin all of our lives!"
Me: "Well, why not?"
Character: "Because something is holding me back."
Me: "Okayyyy, what?"
Character: "I don't want to."
Me: *puts book down and walks away*

(Obviously I'm not referring to times when it actually makes sense for the character or they have a good enough reason, like shame, guilt, trying to keep people safe, or things like that. But if it's merely to add drama UGH. Get it out.)

4. When Indecision Makes Up Most of the Plot
I'm a pretty decisive person. So when a character takes a whole book (or even half of it) to make one decision it tends to bug me. I mean, if other things are happening and the decision is only brought up every once in a while before being resolved, that's fine. But if it is just the character thinking about the decision for chapters on end I can't stand it.

5. Aimless Wandering
This is why I don't read a lot of contemporary. Sometimes it works (like with Little Women, which is one of my favorite books). But other times I just need the story to get places and for things to happen.

6. Language
This is more of a personal one. I know a lot of people disagree with this and that's totally fine. I personally don't cuss and prefer finding other words to describe how I'm feeling. For that reason I don't like reading excessive cussing and bad language. But I also understand its use in contemporary. Teens cuss. Usually a lot. So, as with the other things on this list, there are exceptions. I didn't mind it in Eleanor and Park because it was used for a purpose and to make a point about Eleanor's step-dad. It's when it's used just to be used that I have a problem with it.

7. Amnesia
I honestly don't know what it is about this storyline, but I CANNOT STAND the "this person woke up with amnesia and now must find themselves" plot line. I have tried over and over and over again to read these kind of books, but I always have the same negative reaction. I've even tried what some people call the best amnesia book they've ever read (Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac) and I still couldn't bring myself to enjoy it.

8. "Dark, Brooding, Handsome" and Boring Love Interest
I don't get this one at all. What is so desirable about a silent, sad, "strong" guy. Give me a genuinely flawed hero with a backstory and a heart over that any day. Heck, give ANY OTHER TYPE OF GUY CHARACTER. Just not the "strong and silent type." It's been done. It's played out. I never liked it and I never will.

9. When the Actions of a Character Don't Fit the Character as has been Described
This isn't referring to character growth or development. For example, I'm talking about when the book tells you that a character isn't rash or action-seeking and then a couple pages (and 100 rash and action-seeking decisions without the slightest hesitation shown) later they are a totally different character than we were just told. If you're going to do that then show the character hesitating or deciding to be brave and rash. (A great example of how to do this right is The Girl of Fire and Thorns).

10. "Forbidden Love"
UGH. Just like the brooding hero, this is a thing that I have never EVER enjoyed. I usually find the love to be superficial (and actually, it usually IS insta-love) and fueled only by adrenaline. I won't even pick up a book if its summary hints at this.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Book Thief

The Book Thief
By: Markus Zusak
The Book Thief

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
I've said this before at the start reviews, but I'm going to say it again. There is no way I could ever summon the words to tell you just how beautiful and touching and masterful this book is. That's means you have no choice but to read it yourself, right? right? Yeah, don't question me on this. Just do it.
I don't even think I can organize my thoughts on this in a cohesive manner so I'm probably just going to ramble and rave for a bit and you're going to pretend it makes sense. Deal?
So this book. This book is a World War II story, but not the way it's usually told. It's told from Death's perspective with the main characters being Germans. The cast of characters are genuine and flawed and human. They're not the Germans from WWII that we're used to hearing about. It's a story of genuine people who just happened to be Germans during The War. About Germans who welcomed a practically orphaned girl into their family, Germans who hid a Jew in their basement, Germans who worried about feeding their kids, Germans who lost sons to the war too. It's about German kids who grew up and played soccer and threw snowballs. German kids who were hungry enough to steal and yet raised kind enough to give. It gives faces to what is so often left faceless. Because it's easier to think of them all as enemies, as evil. The truth is much more complex. It's harder to accept. That maybe, just maybe the people doing the terrible, horrible, inhumane things were, in fact, humans just like us. Maybe the every day German citizens were just trying to survive the war like we were. And even more unusual is how it points out that the Allies left casualties, too. They decimated Himmel street and while it may have necessary, it wasn't glorious or triumphant. It was messy and tragic and dirty.
And it accomplishes all of that without negating or minimizing the horror that Germany inflicted on the world and, more specifically, the Jews. It asks questions like, how do good men survive in a country doing so much evil?
The other main point revolves around the power of words. It's addressed again and again that words change people, sway people, rally people. For better or for worse. Max and Liesel used them to build a friendship even while the Fuhrer used them to build armies and concentration camps. One of the most beautiful things in this book was Max's books for Liesel. The Standover Man and The Word Shaker were just gorgeous.
The friendships and families in this book are just as beautiful as the rest of it. Hans and Rosa and Max and Rudy and Ilsa stepped right up and took their places in my heart. I loved most of all that these parts were realistic as well as touching. They felt all kinds of things for each other that they never said. They each showed love differently.
And, as is the case with most stories as wonderful as this one, by the end you are completely wrecked emotionally. I loved that this book doesn't use tricks or mysteries to get you to keep reading or because it feels like it has to use them to keep you invested. Most of the time it told you where you were going to end up a good 200 pages before it happened (or even in the prologue). But that didn't take anything away. Actually it added to the story in ways I didn't think possible.
This book is a story, plain and simple. And yet it's so profound and beautiful and touching. This is probably the best written book I have ever read.
Can we make it a international law that everyone, every single person, must read this book at some point in their lives? Can that be a thing?
"***A DEFINITION NOT FOUND IN THE DICTIONARY*** Not leaving: an act of trust and love, often deciphered by children."
"***THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN A BOY WHO HATES YOU*** A boy who loves you."
"Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain."
"And it would show me, once again, that one opportunity leads directly to another, just as risk leads to more risk, life to more life, and death to more death."
"Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness."
"It was one of those moments of perfect tiredness, of having conquered not only the work at hand, but the night who had blocked the way."
"But then, is there cowardice in the acknowledgement of fear? Is there cowardice in being glad that you lived?"
"In years to come, he would be a giver of bread, not a stealer---proof again of the contradictory human being. So much good, so much evil. Just add water."
"I don't have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me. There are many things to think of. There is much story."
"She wanted none of those days to end, and it was always with disappointment that she watched the darkness stride forward."
"If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter and bread with only the scent of jam spread out on top of it. It was the best time of her life. But it was bombing carpet. Make no mistake."
"She heard his stomach growl---and he was giving people bread. Was this Germany? Was this Nazi Germany?"
"It's probably fair to say that in all the years of Hitler's reign, no person was able to serve the Fuhrer as loyally as me. A human doesn't have a heart like mine. The human heart is a line, whereas my own is a circle, and I have the endless ability to be in the right place at the right time. The consequence is that I'm always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. Still, they have one thing I envy. Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die."
"...but there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness, too. That was writing."
"***THE BOOK THIEF--LAST LINE*** I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right."
"It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching, and finding."
"I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race---that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant."
"***A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR*** I am haunted by humans."

Monday, September 23, 2013

TTT: Best Sequels Ever

Best Sequels Ever
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different Top Ten list topic that a bunch of bloggers take and make their own list of those things. This week is Top Ten best sequels ever.
I am going to limit this to strictly second books in series. It just be WAY too hard to narrow down the list if I included 3rd, 4th, 5th, and so on books. I mean, every Harry Potter book would be on here and every Percy Jackson book and every sequels in almost every series I included here. So yeah, I'm just sticking to 2nd books.
Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)1. Siege and Storm
Everything you love in the first one amplified. This didn't suffer from second book syndrome in the slightest (I guess that's going to be a given for all the books on this list). I love Leigh Bardugo because she's a really cool person and her books just blow my freaking mind. (plus, you know, STURMHOND).
The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)2. Crown of Embers
I really liked The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I thought it was different and interesting and just good fantasy. Then comes this book and the story takes on an epic scale. We see Elisa become the queen she's meant to be and it took the scale of the story and blew it up.
Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)3. Froi of the Exiles
I was hesitant going in to this sequel knowing that Froi, this wild, violent boy was going to be the narrator. But then Melina Marchetta took my every expectation and inverted it, flipped it upside-down, and exploded my brain. She made me love Froi, Arjuro, and Quintana. I was so invested in the story and the world and it broke my heart in the best way.
4. Dark Triumph
Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2)
Let me give you a scenario that explains how great I thought this book was. Previously I had rated Grave Mercy (it's predecessor) as a five-star book, but I loved this one so much that I actually went back to change that rating to four so that I could adequately show how improved the series became. The romance was charming, the action was interesting, and the plot was twisting and dark, but hopeful. What's not to love about that?
The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)
5. Sea of Monsters
I read The Lightning Thief and loved it, but it wasn't until I read Sea of Monsters that I actually fell in love with this series. 
UnWholly (Unwind, #2)6. Unwholly
Another case of expanding, but this time in terms of plot. Just when you thought it couldn't get darker or creepier, IT DOES. And Neal Shusterman found even more ways to address political and moral issues through this series in a way that makes sense and isn't talking down to the audience at all.
Insurgent (Divergent, #2) 
7. Insurgent
More action. No love triangle. Trouble for Tris and Tobias that they decide to work through together. An actual realistic reaction to trauma from Tris. This was just as fantastic as Divergent and it set up the series for a fantastic finale.
The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, #2)

8. The Throne of Fire
Good stuff just got gooder errrr...better. We met Bes who became one of my favorite characters in the series and in all of Rick Riordan works. I also connected with Sadie on a I-want-to-hang-out-with-you-NOW level. I kind of want to be her, too.
Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings, #2)9. Sweetly
I wasn't too keen on Sisters Red, it was just okay for me. But I decided to give the series another go because I love fairy-tale retellings and I'd heard a lot of good things about this series. I'm so glad I kept going. I really enjoyed this book and Fathomless and now I can't wait for Cold Spell. I really connected with Gretchen and I saw a lot of myself in her. That was one reason I enjoyed this book so much.
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)
10. Catching Fire
No one can convince me that this book doesn't contain one of the biggest (and best) plot twists in the history of ever. Two of them if you ask me.
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)11. Crown of Midnight 
Throne of Glass was great. I really loved it. But then this baby comes along and DANG. This series turns fantastic so fast I was afraid to blink and miss any of the progress. (Yeah, I'll admit that only barely made sense, but that's just what this book did to me. It cancelled out the sense-making part of my brain and now all that comes out when I talk about it is rave-y gibberish.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty
By: Libba Bray
A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)
Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique.

I've known that I would really enjoy this book for a while. Then I jumped into Libba Bray through The Diviners, which as you'll see if you check out my review, I really enjoyed. Then I tried to start the audiobook of this one and just couldn't get into it. But this week I decided to try actually reading it. I see now that it is actually a bit hard to get into, but after a hundred pages or so, I was hooked.

This is definitely a character-driven book. The girls are broken and flawed (and we're not talking for what passes for flawed in some books. I'm talking, messed up past the point of typical "likability.") But I think that was a plus for them and for the overall story.
Gemma: She's sarcastic and easily angered, but despite that she is still allowed to be compassionate and strong and brave and clever. It's brilliant. The thing is she has no idea what is happening to her and no one to explain it to her. She does the best she can. I loved seeing her with Pippa, Ann, and Felicity. I think that while their friendship often came off as petty, that's because they're still naïve and a bit immature. But that's why the relationship is so believable. They are girls who almost just met in a boarding school that none of them really want to be in. But there were moments when I thought, I've felt that exact same way around my friends. That's where it hit home for me in its reality.
Gemma is a great narrator because she is an observer. She's sees things in the other girls that they believe they have hidden well. Then she doesn't exploit it, she has compassion for them (even when she's angry at them).
Pippa: While almost a stereotype, the way Pippa is treated in the book she avoids that fate.  She's given a believable backstory for the time, she's given a personality that goes beyond the typical "beautiful minion" type of character. She's the hopeless romantic of the group because she is the one most likely to be tethered into a marriage she doesn't want, and soon. I liked all the little details about her, like that she babbled because she was a afraid of not being heard.
Felicity: Now she was an intriguing character. Felicity with a want for might beyond any she would have as a good Victorian daughter. You can tell early on that she's manipulative and too charming for her own good. She knows how to harness words to her own benefit and that's what made her longing so believable. I loved her because she's complex and interesting, but I'm not quite sure yet where her story will end up.
Ann: poor Ann. She's shy and unwanted by everyone she meets. That kind of character is usually given an angel's personality that everyone else just happens to miss. But the thing that made Ann stand out to me was how she really did take affection, even feigned affection, wherever she could find it. She knew the girls were tricking her at the beginning but she followed anyway, she let herself believe it anyway. I think she could have a lot of character development coming in the next two books.
Hester Moore: She is awesome. A great teacher. I loved every scene that she was in because she was the one person actually caring for Gemma. I have a feeling she'll be a part of the coming books.

I will admit that the plot of this book was a bit slow-moving. But for me it kind of had the same vibe as The Infernal Devices. The language was such that I found myself not caring all too much about the speed of the book. Toward the end, though, things started happening very quickly and I really liked that.

I love the emphasis on Gemma realizing that all the girls' dreams are valid. Pippa just wants a prince charming, and that's valid. Ann wants to be pretty and that's fine. It's not about telling other people what they want, because most of the time they won't want the same things you do.
I also love that while this may be a fantasy story, it's still mostly a self-discovery story for Gemma and the other girls. They're being offered more power to choose and feel than they've ever been given before, and to see their reactions is fascinating.

Just as in The Diviners, Libba Bray brought in a writing style so beautiful. As I said earlier the pacing of this book would have annoyed me more had it not been for the engrossing language. Just like with the best of authors, even common sentences or dialogue she was able to get deeper points across about just what she wanted this book to mean.


"No, she dies for love," Pippa says, sounding sure of herself for the first time. "She can't live without him. It's terribly romantic."
Miss Moore gives a wry smile. "Or romantically terrible."

"May I suggest you all read? And often. Believe me, it's nice to have something to talk about other than the weather and the Queen's health. Your mind is not a cage. It's a garden. And it requires cultivating."

"We are all unkind from time to time. We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it's like chasing clouds."

"It's not Kartik's longing that hurts. It's my own. It's knowing that I'll never have what she has--a beauty so powerful it brings things to you. I fear I will always have to chase the things I want. I'll always have to wonder whether I'm truly wanted or whether I've just been settled for."

"It isn't that we do what we want. It's that we're allowed to want at all."

"We're all looking glasses, we girls, existing only to reflect their images back to them as they'd like to be seen. Hollow vessels of girls to be rincsed of our own ambitions, wants, and opinions, just waiting to be filled with the cool, tepid water of gracious compliance."

"But forgiveness...I'll hold on to that fragile slice of hope and keep it close, remembering that in each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We're each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We've got to forgive ourselves that."

"Shall I tell you a story? A new and terrible one? A ghost story?...Are you read? Shall I begin? Once upon a time there were four girls. One was pretty. One was clever. One charming, and one was mysterious. But they were all damaged, you see. Something not right about the lot of them. Bad blood. Big dreams...They were all dreamers, these girls...One by one, night after night, the girls came together. And they sinned. Do you know what that sin was?...Their sin was that they believed. Believed they could be different. Special. They believed they could change what they were-damaged, unloved. Cast-off things. They would be alive, adored, needed. Necessary. But it wasn't true. This is a ghost story, remember? A tragedy. They were misled. Betrayed by their own stupid hopes. Things cold be different for them, because they weren't special after all. So life tooke them, led them, and they went along, you see? They faded before their own eyes, till they were nothing more than living ghosts, haunting each other with what could be. What can't be...There, now. Isn't that the scariest story you've ever heard."

Monday, September 16, 2013

TTT: Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List:
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different Top Ten list topic that a bunch of bloggers take and make their own list of those things. This week is Top Ten books on my fall 2013 TBR list.
This list is going to be split into three sections: books that haven't been released yet, books that were just released and that I have on hold, and books that I should have read a long time ago.
Books That Haven't Been Released Yet:
The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)1. House of Hades
I. NEED. THIS. BOOK. NOW. After the cliffhanger that is Mark of Athena (why, oh, why does that phrase always sound like a pun) I have been dying for more Percy Jackson. Now we are so very close.
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3)
2. The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two
I loved the other two books in this series. I'm very much looking forward to more beautiful writing and more September and Saturday and Wyverary.
UnSouled (Unwind, #3)
3. Unsouled
I loved Unwind and Unwholly was even better. I have a feeling that this series is just going to keep getting better and better.

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)
4. Allegiant
Who ISN'T freaking excited for this book? I don't want this series to end, but OH MAN, I want to know what is happening outside the flipping fence.
Altered (Crewel World, #2)
5. Altered
I really loved Crewel and there was a major cliffhanger at the end. I'm excited to see where it all goes.

Books That Just Came Out That I'm Going to Read Really Soon:

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)6. The Burning Sky
This book actually comes out this today and I'm pretty pumped to read it. I've heard really great things about it (not to mention a really positive review from one of my favorite authors). I've heard the world-building is pretty dense, but I'm more than okay with that.
Fangirl7. Fangirl
I adored Rainbow Rowell's style in Eleanor & Park. I am also a bit of a fangirl. So I have every hope for this book. I've also heard fantastic things about it.

The Beginning of Everything8. The Beginning of Everything
I love Robyn Schneider and her youtube channel, so I just knew that I had to get my hands on her book. It's been compared to John Green's books in terms of humor and prose. That paired with the rave reviews I've heard all adds up to me dying to read it.

Books I Should Have Read a Long Time Ago:
The Book Thief9.  The Book Thief

This book has had so many people professing their love for it that for a long time I was kind of nervous to jump into it. But now that the movie is coming out I think it's finally time to get on it. I know I'm probably going to love it, so I just need to do it.


A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)10. A Great and Terrible Beauty

This series has intrigued me for a long time. Now that I've read The Diviners by Libba Bray I know that I love her writing style. So I'm more excited to finally get on this series. Plus I love historical-based fantasy, so it's a no-brainer for me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


By: Shannon Hale
Austenland (Austenland, #1)
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined. Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen; or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them.
Cute, cute, cute, cute, cute, annnnd cute. I almost never read contemporary (and I almost never like it) and this was pretty dang cute. This was just what I needed to get out of my Crown of Midnight book-hangover. I needed something light and sweet and this delivered.
I love Shannon Hale's writing. I've read some her fantasy stuff (The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, and Princess Academy) and loved it. I think this is her only non-fantasy series, but it was infused with some of the same whimsicality.
This is also my first bound into the vast world of Austen inspired fiction (not Jane Austen herself, but the stuff based off of and inspired by her books). I quite liked it.
I especially enjoyed the moments of humor because they were all genuinely funny. For example,
"And you, Mr. Nobley, are annoyingly stubborn. Together we must be Impertinence and Inflexibility."
Jane was an enjoyable and heart-felt narrator. She was a quirky kind of crazy, but it was sort of endearing. I loved Henry and his dynamic with Jane. They had the kind of banter I like between characters.
Overall this was a fun, light, and engaging read and was just what I needed to get me out of my slight reading slump.
"She felt really alone now. But here's the thing-suddenly, she felt as though she belonged inside the aloneness..."
"With her father's estate entailed away, marriage was not a convenience for Elizabeth--it was life and death. And even so, she managed to laugh and spin and wait to fall really in love."
"Why was the judgment of the disapproving so valuable? Who said that their good opinions tended to be any more rational than those of generally pleasant people?"
"Now she could feel his gaze on her face and longed to crack the silence like the spine of a book, but she had nothing to say anymore. She'd lost all her thoughts in paint and rain."

Friday, September 13, 2013

Curse of the Bane

The Curse of the Bane
By: Joseph Delaney
Curse of the Bane (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles, #2)
Now it's the dark's turn to be afraid The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, deal with the dark. Together they rid the county of witches, ghosts, and boggarts. But now there's some unfinished business to attend to in Priestown. Deep in the catacombs of the cathedral lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat; a force so evil that the whole county is in danger of being corrupted by its powers. The Bane! As Thomas and the Spook prepare for the battle of their lives, it becomes clear that the Bane isn't their only enemy. The Quisitor has arrived, searching for those who meddle with the dark so he can imprison them--or worse.

I still like the feel of these books, but I wasn't quite in the mood for this one. I try not to use that excuse too often because a good book will always be a good book despite what mood you're in, but I really was not in the mood for this one. That means, all along I was appreciating what was happening and I knew it was exciting, but I couldn't get into it and it took me way too long to read.
(To be fair, I am still kind of in a book-hangover from Crown of Midnight because it was just SO FREAKING AWESOME. That could have something a lot to do with it.)

This was an important book character-wise. A ton of stuff went down with Alice and between the Spook and Tom. While the last book was setting up the world-building for the future this book was definitely setting up the characters for conflict and growth in the future.

The Bane was sufficiently creepy and now I'm worried about Alice going dark-side and everything. We know a whole lot more about Tom's mam. We've seen Tom best some pretty intense creatures that not even the Spook could beat.

I'm going to take short break from this series until I'm more in the mood for it, but I'm excited to see where it goes from here. 


"...and suddenly it felt good to be working with people like that. People who knew what they were doing. We'd all played our part, all done what had to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible. It made me feel good. It made me feel a part of something."
"...and the first step toward knowledge is to accept your own ignorance."

"Most things look better from a distance," he said. "And as a matter of fact, so do most people."

Monday, September 9, 2013

TTT: Books I Would Love To See as a Movie/TV Show

Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/Show
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different Top Ten list topic that a bunch of bloggers take and make their own list of those things. This week is Top Ten books that you would love to see as a movie or TV show.(set in a perfect which movies don't butcher the books we love.) But be warned, I couldn't narrow it down to just ten, so I changed the list to include nine movies and five shows.

Most of these are books that I wouldn't dare suggest if we weren't talking about a perfect world. All of these I would be heartbroken to see as bad movies, but if they were done correctly would be absolutely terrific.

Books I Want As Movies:
Fairest (Enchanted, #3)1. Fairest
And I am NOT talking about the kind of crap-movie that Ella Enchanted got. I'm talking a magical adaption that transfers this book straight to the screen. I'm talking Aza and Ijori exactly like their book-selves as movie-selves. I'm talking I want a perfect version of this or I don't want anything. This is one of the books that I would be VERY protective of if a movie were to ever come out because it meant so much to me as a girl.
Legend (Legend, #1)
2. Legend
This book almost seems tailor-made for a film adaptation. I think the characters would really pop on screen and the world could be taken straight to the movie. As you read this book you have a movie playing in your head and to see it transfer would be so cool.

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)3. Grave Mercy
I can see it now, with the period costumes and the castle the visuals would be stunning. Not to mention the intrigue working really well on the screen. I also think Dark Triumph would make a really good movie adaptation.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)Yes, yes, I know they already have Percy Jackson movies out. But COME ON. Percy deserves better than this. I want proper adaptions starting with a remake of The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters. I want proper adaptions that start with young actors (we're talking 11 and 12) and watch them grow through the series. I want proper adaptions with the details right and the world developed properly.
I just want Percy.
I know this is a lot to ask for and is most likely never going to happen, but we're talking about a perfect world here, right?

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)5. Anna and the French Kiss
This, done right, would be pure movie magic. Paris would look so good on the screen and the awkward, real-life relationship between Etienne and Anna would enchant the viewers. This would be the romance-comedy movie to top all romance-comedies.

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)6. Shadow and Bone
Just imagine. This world would look so freaking good in movie format. And let's just take a moment to think about how breath-taking the costumes and the palace would be. I would be interested to see how the shadow fold would appear. Then in the a Siege and Storm movie, meeting Sturmhond? I WANT IT.
Eleanor & Park
7. Eleanor and Park
While I do think that most of the charm of this story comes from how things are worded, I also think the story could stand on its own in a visual medium. I can just see it with Eleanor's crazy curls and Park's style.
The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)
8. The Lost Hero
Then, after we've done the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series up right, we can get on to doing the Heroes of Olympus series in the right way. These stories are nothing short of epic and would make terrific movies.
Princess Academy (Princess Academy, #1)
9. Princess Academy
Another childhood favorite that, when done correctly, would be a fantastic movie. It has a great climax and fantastic, inspiring girl characters for little girls to look up to and learn from.

Books I Want As TV Shows:
Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)1. Finnikin of the Rock
I want more Lumatere Chronicles in my life, I don't think I'll ever get over how much I love it. I think a TV show version could really capture the magic in a unique and cool way. Each episode could take pace from the different characters' perspectives. This could create a whole new way of story-telling in TV shows. 
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)
2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Another fantasy world that could really work in the show format. There would be room to expand things. The characters, the world would look so cool with the desert and the sea and Invierne.

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)3. The Diviners
Can this be a thing, please? Please? I mean, every episode would be pure creepiness and wonderful-ness. There would be whole cast of characters to watch and love. There would be a lot of material to work with and the roaring twenties? That makes for beautiful styling.

Unwind (Unwind, #1)4. Unwind
Please? The gritty qualities of this world would be absolutely terrifying when seen on a screen (as they should be). I think the length of the story would lend itself better to a TV show, as would the characters. There are also plenty of twists and turns to end and begin seasons and episodes on.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)5. Throne of Glass
Another castle setting that would look really cool. The competition in the first book would make for some nice action and I would want to see Celaena and Chaol and Nehemia in screen-form. I think the characters would lend themselves to an engaging watching experience. With how far the world and the story stretches and is going to stretch I could see it fitting in the form of a TV show quite nicely.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight
By: Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)
After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes. Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice. 

Oh. My. Wyrd. That was a freaking amazing book.

Okay, so I loved Throne of Glass, in some places it dragged one, but I loved it anyway. Then I read the novellas and I loved them even more. They hurt me to the core, sure, but I loved them anyway.
Then this. This beautiful masterpiece of a story tore out my heart in the very best way.

Celaena: She just keeps developing and we're only two books into the series. She's fierce and smart and funny and just a little bit crazy. I love that her mysteries and secrets are getting deeper and even more serious. She's playing a risky game because she has no choice and she plays it well. We got to see some her grief in The Assassin and the Empire, but in this one we see her full cycle of grief. It hurt even more because what she went through was so similar to her other tragedy.
I also loved seeing what her relationship with Chaol was like and what her new friendship based relationship was like with Dorian. This is another supposed love triangle that quickly became less triangular. And I think it is handled so well, because Celaena is decisive and civil through it all.
Celaena has quickly become one of my favorite female characters ever. I am so very excited to see where things go in the rest of her story.
Chaol: Where to start...I love every bit of him. He's heartbreakingly self-sacrificing and so sweet. I'm not even an dog-person, but when he saved Fleetfoot for Celaena I just about died.
I particularly like that he's so conflicted. Despite his efforts to make a choice he is split between two loyalties. He's having to rearrange everything that he's previously thought about the world. Even with as much as I am dreading his separation from Celaena, I'm also strangely excited. I'm excited to see some separate development happen for each of them before they come together again (I'm assuming, of course, that they do come together again because I'm not sure I could stand the wait if I didn't let myself be optimistic).
Dorian: The poor dear. He said it multiple times, but it really hit me hard that he's all alone with his problems in a political shark tank. He could be found out at any moment and he's still so brave about it all. It actually hurt me seeing how much he cares for Celaena. I just want him to be happy.
Nehemia: I can't even piece together my thoughts about her. I love her character so very much. I've always loved her and Celaena's friendship, I mean, two fierce and straight up awesome heroines bonding over mutual responsibility to their people? That's the stuff that fantastic books are made of.
The King: The creepy just get creepier. Sarah J. Maas has really created a convincing villain in him. We don't see him directly all that often, but when we do it makes an impact. A page or two here and there and you have the reader quivering at what he's capable of.

The Plot:
I'll admit that when I heard The Throne of Glass series was going to be six books long I didn't know how it could last that long without overstretching the world or the plot, but now I get it.
Erilea just keeps expanding, both outward and backward, which means better expansion forward.
Now you could say that I'm thoroughly excited for the other four books (sure, I don't like that I'll have to wait until 2017 for the story to be completed, but it's also a great thing that the story will last that long). I'm looking forward to having four years left to live in this wonderful story and this terribly fantastic world.

The Writing:
Beautiful. Just beautiful writing. The way Sarah writes so easily evokes emotion. There were chapters and even lines that hit you really hard in the heart. Not even about characters that you necessarily knew, like Rena Goldsmith and the slave girl in Callaculla.

"Rena Goldsmith was still reciting her list of the dead when the ax fell."

I just. This review did not do this book justice, at all. There are so many intricacies to the world and plenty hints at what is coming and I, for one, can't wait to find out what that is.


"Sometimes, it felt as though the darkness stared back at her--and the face it wore was her own."

"Because," she whispered, her voice shaking, "you remind me of what the world ought to be. What the world can be.”

"...these people who had the dust of a hundred kingdoms on their clothes. To have that sort of freedom, to see the world bit by bit, to travel each and every road..."

Monday, September 2, 2013

TTT: Contemporary Books That Would Be Great Paired With A Required Reading Book

Contemporary Books That Would Be Great Paired With A Required Reading Book
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different Top Ten list topic that a bunch of bloggers take and make their own list of those things. This week is Top Ten books with X setting.
I've split this into two sections. The first consists of books that I think would go well paired with an existent required reading book. The second is made of books that I couldn't find a match for, but that I still think should be required reading for High School students.

Books Paired with Other Books:
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series (paired with any Greek Myths or The Odyssey)
I mean, kind of obvious (and this would most likely work best in middle school), but that would be the best required reading assignment EVER.

The Fault in Our Stars2. The Fault in our Stars (paired with Mortals by Tobias Woolf)
Mortals isn't a book, but it is a short story I had to read for English class last year. It's all about how we think we will be perceived after we die and how we actually are perceived. I think The Fault in our Stars really gets to the root of that discussion (as well as others) and makes you laugh and cry along the way. 

Eleanor & Park3. Eleanor and Park (paired with Romeo and Juliet)
A doomed loved story from back then paired with a (relatively) doomed love story from the relative now. I think together they would show that being young and in love is a universal and timeless theme in the world. There will always be young people falling in love and making admittedly not great decisions because of it.

4. Anna and the French Kiss (paired with Pride and Prejudice)
Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Just like Eleanor and Park goes well with Romeo and Juliet, I'd say that Anna and the French Kiss goes well with Pride and Prejudice. (I guess I'm not 100% sure that Pride and Prejudice is taught in schools, seeing as it was never a part of my school's curriculum. But I would be very surprised if it wasn't taught anywhere in school). Anna and the French Kiss is a modern gem, with humor and a tale of true love. I think it very much goes along with Pride and Prejudice.

5. The House of the Scorpion (paired with To Kill a Mockingbird)
The House of the Scorpion (Matteo Alacran, #1)The House of the Scorpion deals with a lot of issues, but one of them is treating certain people (clones) like less than other people. Except for the few people who are willing to reach out and show kindness to those people, acknowledging that they are just as deserving of love as anyone else it. I think the themes of injustice aren't necessarily identical, but they do parallel each other.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Books I Think Should Be Required:

6. Harry Potter
Yes. Just yes. (I am of the very firm belief that everyone should read the Harry Potter books).

Unwind (Unwind, #1)7. Unwind
This book hits so many important points, but the important thing is that it lets you make your own decisions about what you read. The writer doesn't take you directly to the answer he wants you to arrive at. He just presents situations to you and you come to decide for yourself.

The Help8. The Help
 I think this is one of the most important books I've read and easily one of the most important books that has come out in my lifetime. Beyond that, it tells a simple, but beautiful story.

Little Women (Little Women, #1)
9. Little Women
I know this is already a classic, but I don't recall ever hearing of it taught in school. I've always loved this book and I think it tells a great story with humor, wit, and great lessons.