Monday, July 28, 2014

TTT: Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From
I'm going to let this list speak for itself. Though I do have plenty of authors that I own four books from, I just picked the first four I saw on my shelves.

1. JK Rowling --- 17 books
(I own two copies of each Harry Potter book. The original American hardcovers and the new illustrated paperback boxset. I also own the audiobook of the first three books.).

2. Rick Riordan --- 14 books

3. Brandon Sanderson --- 8 books
(I own two copies of each book in the Mistborn trilogy. The gorgeous English editions for looking at and the mass market paperbacks for lending out).

4. Jane Austen --- 7 books

5. Gail Carson Levine --- 6 books

6. Tamora Pierce --- 5 books

7. Rainbow Rowell --- 4 books

8. Shakespeare --- 4 books

9. JRR Tolkien --- 4 books

10. Shannon Hale --- 4 books

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Graphic Novels #2

Graphic Novel Reviews #2
As I said in my Graphic Novel Reviews #1, I recently started reading graphic novels because I think they're interesting and often really cool. I always have things to say about the graphic novels that I've read, but never enough to write a full review for each of them. So I decided to start doing these short reviews in a grouped format so that I can talk about each and give recommendations without having to write full reviews.

Hark! A VagrantHark! A Vagrant

This isn't so much a graphic novel as it is a collection historical comics. I love the design of this book and the drawing style. Some of the comics were really funny, but there were some that I just didn't have enough context to understand. But the ones that I did understand were usually hilarious and ridiculous, just what I was expecting. I'm glad I read this, because it was so different than anything I'd read before.

3 out of 5 Stars

Boxers (Boxers & Saints, #1)Boxers

I'd heard great thing about this series, but I wasn't sure what to expect. Needless to say, I was blown away by this book. It was the perfect balance of historical fact and genuine characters. It was emotional and gritty and much darker than I thought it would be. And I loved how it didn't sugar-coat anything. Everything was as horrible and as real as it was supposed to be. Another aspect that was really great was how varied your reaction to characters needed to be. You liked characters one page and then a few pages later you were angry with them or you thought they were doing the wrong thing, but everything was within each character's motives. It made them seem like real people, within the context of the historical and accurate setting.

5 out of 5 Stars

Saints (Boxers & Saints, #2)Saints
So, naturally, after loving Boxers I was expecting a lot of Saints. It was definitely good and I really enjoyed reading it, but it didn't interest me as much as Boxers did. The artwork was still great and the characters were still interesting, but I didn't find the overall story as compelling. Still, it did a great job of showing the other side of the issue justly and without bias.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Great American Dust BowlThe Great Dust Bowl
Then I figured that another historical graphic novel would be a good thing to try since I enjoyed the first two I read so much. But this one was a much bigger struggle. It wasn't anything that I was expecting. There were no characters and no plot. This graphic novel is just an explanation of what the Dust Bowl was and how it affected America and Americans as a whole. The thing is, I happen to know quite a bit about what the Dust Bowl was because I've always had a particular interest in The Great Depression era. So this was just a regurgitation of all the information I knew with drawings. It would probably be better suited for a class setting as a way to help kids remember the information, which may be what it was intended for. Either way, I was disappointed.

3 out of 5 Stars

Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper (Amulet, #1)Amulet: Book 1
And then Amulet. I adored this graphic novel, with its beautiful artwork and a cool twist on a pretty common trope in children's books. There were so many characters, but they were all so distinctive, in appearance as well as personality. I couldn't put the book down because it flew by and so much plot happened while simultaneously introducing us to the world. I can't wait to read the rest of the series and find out what happens to these kids and their new sidekicks.

5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


By: V.E. Schwab

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

This book is everything. This book is a hardcore experience and I came away from it thinking about the world differently. It's been five days since I read this book and I still think about it all the time, just reveling in utter amazingness.
These characters are brilliant and freaking screwed up and SO WELL WRITTEN. Victor and Eli scared the crap out of me, but in the very best way. These characters were so vivid and interesting. Everything they did had purpose and added intrigue to the story. Their motives were always perfectly executed, so that you could feel what they were doing and what it would mean for everyone involved in the story to your core. That kept the reader invested in the story and constantly on the edge of their seat.
I cannot describe how brilliant the characterization of these characters are, just absolutely brilliant. It really delves into the mindset of villains and villainous behavior. There are so many different motives flying past each other in multiple timelines and through multiple events. And it was handled astoundingly well.  Yet another time that Victoria Schwab has wholly impressed me with her beyond spectacular execution of a complicated and intense story idea.

Which brings me straight to the plot, which was FREAKING AMAZING. I can't even believe how stunning and imaginative this plot is. This is truly brilliant storytelling, how the multiple timelines and storylines were balanced and how they were woven together so seamlessly. If I can learn to craft a story like Victoria Schwab, I could die happy.

This story is dark and twisting, morphing into something so much more mental and psychological than anything I've read before. As fascinating as I find superheroes, supervillains are just as fascinating and just as compelling. I loved the themes this book highlighted, ones that are not common in books. So much in this story is ambiguous. As the epigraph says, this book is dark against darker, pitching the evil against the diabolical and observing the outcomes.

There was no point in this book where I was not completely engrossed in what was going on, which is beyond difficult to manage with as much backstory this book had to deliver before the climax. The magic was in that every scene, whether it happened "Ten Years Ago" or "Last Night" felt equal in intensity and in mystery. There was so much build-up, but it felt like suspense is supposed to feel, which gave this book the epic feeling it needed.

I absolutely adored this book and I can now officially count Victoria Schwab as one of my favorite authors and one of the best voices currently in YA.


“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

“The moments that define lives aren't always obvious. They don't scream LEDGE, and nine times out of ten there's no rope to duck under, no line to cross, no blood pact, no official letter on fancy paper. They aren't always protracted, heavy with meaning."

“The absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence. You make them, in their own eyes, immortal. Which of course they're not, but what's the saying? We are all immortal until proven otherwise?”

“There were some people you had to stay away from, people who poisoned everything in reach. Then there were people you wanted to stick with, the ones with silver tongues and golden touched. And then, there were people you stood beside, because it meant you weren't in their way. And whoever Victor Vale was, whatever he was, and whatever he was up to, the only thing Mitch knew was that he did not want to be in his way.”  


Monday, July 21, 2014

TTT: Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)
1. Katniss
Because freaking duh. DUH. She's a survivor and a hunter as well as innovative, there's no end to the things she could help me with.

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)
2. Perry
Because the same goes for Perry. He's a survivor and has that awesome sense of scent to help out finding food and water and all that.

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)
Because he's clever and innovative enough to get us off the island by building some clever piece of technology. He'd also help lighten spirits, and also we could...
The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)

4. Percy Jackson
Beautiful comic relief, and also the possibility of swimming us to safety.

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)
5. Annabeth Chase
Because should Percy fail, she's more than used to picking up all of his slack.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

6. Hermione Granger
Because can you imagine? Her and Annabeth could plan some wicked cool strategies for survival and/or escape.

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)
7. William Herondale
Because A. He's William Herondale and B. Seeing him, Nikolai, and Percy interact would be GOLDEN.

8. Levi
Because he would keep us all in good moods with that goofy, gigantic grin of his and I would feel a lot more comfortable with him there with us all. He could berate Nikolai and Will if they get too out of hand.

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2)
9. Vin
Because her and Katniss teaming up would be SO FREAKING EPIC. No one would ever die if those two were paired up to save the world.
The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3)

10. September
Because she's proven she can build a great boat and then circumnavigate things with it.

The Selection (The Selection, #1)BONUS:
11. America Singer (but legitimately ONLY so that I could say, "America Singer, you've been voted off the island" and then send her sailing out to sea alone).

Monday, July 14, 2014

TTT: Favorite Movies and TV Shows

Favorite Movies and TV Shows
Here's where my other geek banner flies. I love TV and movies. I love any form of storytelling, but after books, these are definitely my favorites. I love the visual aspect and the brilliance that can be fantastic dialogue.

So yeah, sorry. My love for these things cannot be restrained, so these will have to be separated into three different categories. Because of the length of this already, I won't give explanations, just a list of my favorites.

1. The Avengers (basically any Marvel movie surrounding The Avengers, but this one takes the cake because of its brilliant use of an ensemble cast and its perfect dialogue.)
2. Hairspray
3. Tangled
4. She's the Man
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6. The Amazing Spiderman
7. Pirates of the Caribbean (1-3)
8. Mulan
9. 27 Dresses
10. Iron Man (1-3)

Book-To-Movie Adaptations:
1. Catching Fire
2. The Fault in our Stars
3. The Book Thief
4. The Hunger Games
5. Harry Potter (1-7)
6. The Lord of the Rings
7. Les Miserables
8. The Princess Bride
9. The Great Gatsby (The new one)
10. Pride and Prejudice (with Kiera Knightley)

TV Shows:
1. Doctor Who
2. Supernatural
3. Sherlock
4. Avatar: The Last Airbender
5. House M.D.
6. Psych
7. The Office
8. Parks and Recreation
9. How I Met Your Mother (Except for that craptastic finale. Don't even get me start, because I will put on my rage pants SO FAST)
10. Merlin
11. Dance Academy

Sunday, July 13, 2014


By: Rainbow Rowell
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . . Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

There are things about this book that might prevent an 18 year-old who has never been in a committed relationship from connecting with its story. This book is about married people, and I'm not married. This book is about the concessions of adulthood, and I've been an "adult" for less than 6 months. This book is contemporary, and as we've established, I typically don't connect with contemporary.
Yet Rainbow Rowell has overcome all of that and made me feel this book deeply. I was invested in this story emotionally, because I understood what these characters felt on a more specific level, even if I couldn't fully understand their emotional position from a place of experience.

Georgie McCool (which really is the coolest character name) is yet another fantastically drawn character that has been created by Rainbow Rowell. Though she was more of a challenge for me, as one of she was a harder character for me to relate to, the work was absolutely worth it. I've never experienced motherhood, but through Georgie, I found a way to understand it. Through her, I felt a life of mixed concession and boldness.

And the other characters were believable, too. Neal felt like a person, not just a love interest (Which is also something Rainbow Rowell does especially well). He had his own issues to work through, and he had his own, independent flaws. But, most of all, he was a great guy, and a kind and caring person.

The girls were adorable, Noomi most of all. They were characters in their own rights, even though they showed up less often than the others in reality. Mostly they were in Georgie's thoughts and in her motive.

Speaking of which, another aspect that Rainbow Rowell is excellent at: Motive.

Motive is something that a book with a magic freaking phone has to nail, it just has to. The book has to make you understand and then believe why this person is indulging a magic, time-machine-like phone. But I believed Georgie's motive 100% of the time. It worked well with her character and always with her position within the plot.

Now we come to one of my favorite things about Rainbow Rowell books. Her narratives naturally debunk classic literary romantic presuppositions. In Eleanor and Park she did it in showing that young love is important. In Attachments she did it in showing that your soulmate won't solve every problem for you, you have to figure out your life for yourself. In Fangirl she did it in showing that the happy, caring guy is usually the best for you and that you won't have to change for him. In Landline she did it in showing that you're not going to be perfect for the person you spend the rest of your life with, and they're not going to be perfect for you, but if they make your life bearable, If they help you breath, then it's worth the work.

I loved this book, but as this is a review I think it's necessary for me to give my single complaint about this book, something I feel about all of Rainbow Rowell's books. This isn't a critique, it isn't even something I'd necessarily change, but I wish there was more of this book. The ending is a bit abrupt. Satisfying? Definitely. But still pretty abrupt.

This book is wonderful and I absolutely loved it. Most of all, I can't wait to reread it as an adult, and possibly as a married person. I know it'll mean just as much (if not more) to me in the future.


"Georgie had never thought she'd be old enough to talk about life in big decade-long chunks like this. It's not that she'd thought she was going to die before now - she just never imagined it would feel this way. The heaviness of the proportions...It felt like too much. Not too much to have, just too much to contemplate. Commitments like boulders that were too heavy to carry."

"Neal didn't take Georgie's breath away. Maybe the opposite. But that was okay - that was really good, actually, to be near someone who filled your lungs with air."

"This was how Georgie had ruined everything. By being really good at something. By being really good with someone. By retreating into the part of her life that was easiest."

"You don't know when you're twenty-three. You don't know what it really means to crawl into someone else's life and stay there. You can't see all the ways you're going to get tangled, how you're going to bond skin to skin...She didn't know at twenty-three. That day, out on the patio, it just felt like the biggest day of her life so far, not the biggest day of her life from now on. Not the day that would change everything. That would change her, at a cellular level. Like a virus that rewrites your DNA."

"Even if your heart is broken and attacking you, you're still not better off without it."

"That's what Georgie did to him. She pulled the blood to the surface of his skin. She acted on him. Tidally. She made him feel like things were happening. Like life was happening - and even if he was miserable sometimes, he wasn't going to sleep through it."

Monday, July 7, 2014

TTT: Blogging Confessions - July 8th

Blogging Confessions

1. I dog-ear library books (Though never my own books). The way I justify it is that when I get a library book that's worn, I know that it has a lot of history. Maybe other people loved it as much as I will. And when I come to a page that's dog-eared, I read extra carefully to see what someone might have wanted to remember from that page, what struck them and made them want to keep that page.

2. I have done literally no networking. I don't comment on other people's blogs. I only follow bloggers on twitter, I never engage or discuss with them. Mostly because I don't know how to get my blog out there, but also because I always feel strange inserting my opinions or thoughts onto someone else's space (Even though I know it makes my day when someone comments on a review I've written, whether they agree or disagree).

3. Sometimes I cheat and let myself not review a book I didn't like. I just don't like talking about a book I'm not passionate about in either direction. I can write rant reviews, and enjoy doing so (See my review for The One by Kiera Cass). But when a book was just okay, but didn't sway me either direction, or I just felt a sort of vague dislike, most of the time I'll just not review it because of meh feelings.

4. I genuinely don't like most contemporary books that I read or they just don't interest me in the slightest (with a few notable exceptions). I get the appeal for everyone, and I wish I could connect with and enjoy them as much as other people, but I just don't. But at least I know that about myself, right?

5. I get VERY protective of fantasy, particularly fantasy that I love or that I know is highly praised and probably excellent. I know hardly anyone in my real life who loves the genre as much as I do, so discussing it in public can get a little embarrassing. You wouldn't believe how many times I get something along the lines of, "How can you enjoy that though? It's so unrealistic and silly." Then I go all rage monster, but I think I hide it pretty well... Hopefully.

6. I love straight-up historical fiction, but I don't read nearly enough of it. I always say I need to get on that, but I'm serious this time. I really need to get on that.

7. I don't typically search out stand-alone books. If a book I want to read is a stand-alone, that's fine. But I definitely prefer series, because you spend so much time with the characters, and the stories are typically very wide and broad. I just love that feeling of starting a new series, you know?

8. I don't know that this is a confession, but I'm going to say it anyway because you and me, reader, I feel like we're having a real heart-to-heart here.
I want to be a writer when I grow up. Thus far I've written two novels (neither of which are up to snuff, but I'm definitely getting better). I'm also interested in going into the publishing industry for a career.