Tuesday, January 28, 2014

10 Worlds I'd Never Want to Occupy or Characters I'd Never Want To Be

Hello Lovelies! As always TTT is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is centered around universes and people we would NEVER want to be a part of.

1. The Maze Runner universe

You all know I thought those books were crap. And the universe would be horrible for me. First of all, I'm a lady so I'd probably die immediately from something stupid. Secondly, the first part of the universe is just a huge maze, and I would not want to run that maze, no thank you! Third, the universe is so badly built I'd probably find a plot hole and fall to my death.

 2. The Book Thief universe

Okay, yeah I get that this is actually our own universe just several decades ago, but I don't want to live then! Nazi Germany and losing like all the people you love to war, no thank you!

3. New World (from Chaos Walking)

Having to hear every dude's thoughts all the time--eck! That sounds terrible. Like I can imagine everything that they would say already (since that's about 90% of the media as it is)

4. Matched universe

To be fair, I only read the first book in this trilogy, but the idea that you have to listen to what a committee tells you on who you're supposed to love? Blech. The fun part about love is that you can love a lot of people in one life and you can meet people and love more than one person. Like ughhh. I'd rather lie down and not move again.

5. Uglies universe

I'm on book three of this quartet, and I find the whole universe pretty awful (haha punny). It's boring to have everyone be "perfect." But I will admit that it would be really fun to be able to change your appearance more or less at will (my preference would be the HP universe version--hell yeah metamorphmaguses, magi?).

6. I would never want to be Clay from Thirteen Reasons Why

It's bad enough when someone close to you kills themselves, but it's even worse when they then explain to you why from beyond the grave.

7. Divergent universe

For spoilerific reasons. But if you really want to know ask me and I'll tell you exactly why, ugh.

8. I would never want to be Lolita 


9. Beautiful Creatures universe

Like I'm cool with lots of magic and stuff, but a birthday countdown ending on having to decide what you want to be for the very rest of your life? WHY CAN'T I BE BOTH??

10. I would never want to be Charlie from Perks of Being a Wallflower

Like he has a pretty shitty life. Poor kid.

What would be on your list??? Honestly, I saw a lot of Hunger Games, and like, maybe I'm crazy, but I would totally be down for that. I'm a big fan of revolutions though.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mal the Mischievous Mermaid by Tiffany Mandrake is a delightful little chapter book for young readers.

It might be a middle grade book before MG March, but I got too excited at work to wait. It took me about twenty minutes to read, and it was quite entertaining. I initially got excited about the book because the back says something about not all fairies being nice. It was so refreshing to see something that didn't paint girls as sugar and sweetness. I'm really into the idea of people not telling girls that they have to be sweet. Nobody ever tells boys that.

So I was excited to see this book about supernatural creatures trying to get into the "Abademy of Badness".

Unfortunately, it was quite as exciting as I wanted it to be. Sure Mal doesn't listen and she lies. But in the end everything she ends up doing, kind of ends up being good. Like she takes a tooth from a kraken, but it cures the kraken's toothache. It's not actually about being bad; it's more about being passively good. Basically it didn't thrill me as much as I wanted it to. But I'll still give it three stars because it's something that I would want to offer as an option to my kids.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hello Lovelies!

It's been another week, another cold front here in Missoula. Good thing my snowflake graphic is still mildly seasonal!

This week I...
found a puppy with my roommate! It took us a few hours to get him back to his owner, but we managed it eventually!
watched Sherlock Episode 1 with my friends.
watched Teen Wolf!!!! (I'm too obsessed with this show, it's probably detrimental to my health.)
watched There Will be Blood, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (the original, it was darling!), Days of Heaven, and some Criminal Minds.
went to Trivia Night with a couple coworkers. We got second place! It was pretty awesome.

This week I read...
the rest of Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things. Check out my review here.
some of Special by Scott Westerfeld. It's hard work.
some of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster for my bookclub!

Still waiting for The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men --grrrrr, should have gone with extra quick shipping.

This week I added only a few books to my collection:
The top left is a collection of French fairy tales which my awesome roommate brought back from visiting her parents with me!
The bottom left is one of the books she loved from when she was little which I picked up for her (and a little bit for me to read during MG March!) It's called Jewel Kingdom, and it's the most darling thing I've seen recently.
Middle top is How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True  which looks like a fantastic quick romantic read from Sarah Strohmeyer. I'm psyched!
Middle Bottom is For Darkness Shows the Stars which I hadn't heard of until it came in to my work. And it's a Sci-Fi/Fantasy retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen! I got so excited and it looked so good that I had to buy it immediately.
Top right is the Star Wars Cookbook! To make you even more jealous, it came with cookie cutters of Darth Vader's head, Yoda's head, and  R2-D2!
Bottom right is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. This is another one that I've been looking at buying for a while and finally caved.

That's what my week looked like! I'm heading to a friend's to watch the second episode of Sherlock! How was your week? What did you get up to?
So obviously you can't look inside, but this was the only picture I could find of my edition, so ignore that for now. Or head to Amazon and look inside!

Anyway, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman is a collection of short stories and poems.

I saw a lot of bad reviews of this before I started reading it, so I guess I was pleasantly surprised by it! I really enjoyed these stories for the most part, although some of them did feel like they were unfinished bigger projects.

My personal favorites were...
The Fairy Reel--a short poem about splitting one's self in two.
October in the Chair--a delightful short story about the month's taking turns telling stories and the story October chooses to tell.
Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire--this is a hilarious story about someone who is supposed to write dark and dreary semi-horror stories but can't help but turn them into comedies
Instructions--another short poem about surviving a fairy tale
Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot--these are fifteen short vignettes about different types of vampires and I really appreciated their basis in Tarot cards.
The Day The Saucers Came--another short poem about missing out on life
Sunbird--a short story about an epicurean club
Inventing Aladdin--a poem about Scheherazade and the Thousand and One Nights
Monarch of the Glen -- a novella from the American Gods verse (woohoo +2 for novellas!)

That actually is about half the book which I greatly enjoyed. I mean the others were definitely a bit difficult to slog through, but I don't actually think it diminished my enjoyment of the book as a whole that much.

Favorite Lines: "She does not know where any tale waits/ before it's told. (No more do I.)/ But forty thieves sounds good,so forty/ thieves it is. She prays she's bought/ another clutch of days. / We save our lives in such unlikely ways."
"You didn't notice any of this because/ you were sitting in your room,/ not doing anything/ not even reading, not really, just/ looking at your telephone, / wondering if I was going to call."
"When I was young I was a fool. So wrap/ me up in dreams and death."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Correlation between Reading and Life

Hello Lovelies!!

It's me, your average 18-29 year old white female college graduate in a suburban/urban setting with a household income that's pretty tiny. Why do I mention this? Because I saw this infographic of "who in America is reading--and how". And that's what I want to talk about today.

To be clear, I'm not very good at math or interpreting surveys (or studies, but I feel like this one is more of a survey in nature) or anything like that, so I could be reading this all wrong. If you are an expert, please correct me in the comments! This is just what I'm seeing out of this infographic.

First of all, I think the standards for this are pretty low which is a good/bad thing--the only require you to have read 1 book (Yes, that's right ONE) in the last year to qualify for this study. I think that's great because sometimes people don't have time to read a lot of books and sometimes people are slow readers and frankly, it's good that people are reading anything at all. But the bad part of this is I wonder how many of these people would qualify themselves as reader. And what about people who read alternative types of books? What about avid readers of comics or graphic novels? Did they include those people in this study because the directions say a book and lots of people don't think of those categories as books. Or what about people who read technical manuals or newspapers? Do those count?

Anyway. That's not even part of the survey results. That was just my mind going off line. The first survey question is male or female (which hey, what about people who prefer to go by another gender? That's not very inclusive, Survey People.). This survey tells us that women are statistically 13% more likely to have read a book than a male. So here's my question. The study looked at people ages 18+, don't you think that by the time people reach that age, society has made an impact? We are constantly taught growing up that boys are supposed to play. They need to be outside. They should be playing football or soccer or running wild around the neighborhood. Girls should be quiet. You should hardly even know that you had a daughter. In my experience, it's far more likely for girls to read than boys because girls are TOLD that they are SUPPOSED to read. Is it really too much to expect that childhood behaviors would follow us into adulthood?

Race/Ethnicity only has three categories which well done again Survey People for erasing huge chunks of people from existence, but anyway, their results say that of the three categories (Black, White and Hispanic) Black people are most likely to be reading, White people are somewhere in the middle and Hispanic people are the least likely to read. I can't really say a lot about race because I'm white. I don't know how it feels or what it's like to be a different ethnicity. But I do think there's probably a lot of factors that go into this statistic. Probably it's easier for white people to do something else with their time (statistically speaking white people make more money--maybe they're out drinking it away or using it to go on a vacation or something, I don't know.) Maybe Hispanic people are least likely to read because they're working a lot or trying to connect with their families. I just want to think beyond this survey as simple numbers. There's a lot more at play than that.

The Age group statistics say that my age group (18-29) is most likely to have read a book in the past year. Duh. Quite a bit of that group is going to be college students. Almost every student has to read at least one book for college. Like that's pretty hard to escape. And even for those out of college or who chose not to go to college, we're an age group that works jobs--we don't usually have "careers" at this point. We have a lot of free time, and I would suspect that a lot of us have books that we are interested in. It also makes sense that the next age group who reads a lot is ages 50-64. Many people are hitting retirement age, they're getting older. They're thinking, hey, why didn't I ever read The Bluest Eye or War and Peace? What stopped me? I better get on that. Middle age people are the least likely to be reading, maybe because they're having a family? They're getting their careers rolling and making sure everything's trucking along? That's what I would think anyway.

The next statistic made me kind of sad. Of the three education levels (high school grads, some college, and college grads) college graduates are the most likely to be reading. On the one hand, that makes sense. We usually have better paying jobs that we don't have to spend as much time at. We don't have to have more than one job. But I think you can learn a lot from reading. And I think that people from every formal education level can benefit from learning more. Reading to me isn't about finding other people like me. It's about finding people who are different than me but who I can empathize with.

Household income was the only bracket where I was in the lowest percentile. And it didn't surprise me at all. You're telling me that people who make less than 30K a year read less than people who make 50K to 74,999 do?? WHAT? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? OH wait. You mean because for the most part people who make that money are working long hours working minimum wage and often don't want to do anything but sleep when they get home? Wow. What a concept.

I would really like to see TV watching statistics next to this reading statistics for the community type field. Because I have the suspicion that suburbanites would rank high there. The Suburbs are really for the middle class. They're for families. Urban people tend to gravitate to either poverty or richness. And I would say that holds true to rural areas as well. It's just that rural people are generally also farmers and have a lot of shit to do.

Basically I thought this survey was too one-dimensional to really take a look at America's reading habits. I don't think it was inclusive enough, and I don't think it matters. In the end, what I want is to just have people read. If I can get one person to pick up a book because of this blog, I will be ecstatic. I just want people to read.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hello Lovelies!! As always TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and you should check them out because they're pretty freaking great. This week's prompt is a Reading Wishlist -- y'know the things we wish we could read about more often.

1. Other types of relationships!

As you all know, I am so. over. love triangles! Or love angles as my friend reminds me they'd be more accurately called. I want single devoted relationships; I want polyamorous relationships; I want relationships that are strictly platonic! BRANCH OUT FROM THE NORM.

2. More believable world building!

I'm thinking worlds I can believe in. I'm talking Harry Potter with muggles and multiple schools and whole undiscovered parts of regular cities. I'm talking The Knife of Never Letting Go with Spackles and semi-familiar landscapes full of treacheries. I don't want lame pseudo-different places. The Maze Runner series sounded so promising but "shuck" came off as false and the world had more problems than answers! I want believable places I can escape to, not ones where I'm constantly being pulled out of the book by distracting contradictions.

3. More obvious diversity!

I don't want repeats of The Hunger Games issue with every book-to-film adaptation. Authors can be "delicate" about race or they can be blunt. When they're delicate, it turns out nobody pays attention!! Or at least not the white people in charge of creating and casting a film franchise. I want authors who are blunt! I want authors to come out and say, I'm black; I'm Japanese; I'm Korean; I'm Caribbean. I want authors to describe skin tone in detail! I want diversity in my books. Because I want people to remember that there's diversity in life.

4. More failing at adult life!

Reading has prepared me for almost everything in life. It did not prepare me for graduating from college and trying to be an "adult". It didn't prepare me for heating bills upwards of $200 dollars when I still felt closer to an icicle than a human being. It didn't prepare me for having to cook every day and lighting the stove on fire three times. It didn't prepare me for job application after job application and being let go because of "company downsizing" or whatever. It didn't prepare me for parents who are trying to be helpful but just come off as disappointed every time you talk even when you do love your life! It didn't prepare me for the realities of dating, i.e. it isn't easy; it might not happen; you're still going to have crushes on coworkers who don't want anything to do with you. 

5. More supportive BFFs!

I've been best-friends with the same woman for over a decade. Our friendship isn't going anywhere. Sure we might get annoyed with each other now and then, but we always come back together! And no matter what I want to do, she's behind it. And no matter what she wants to do, I'm behind. Why are there always jealous girl friends and back stabbing?? That doesn't happen all that often in real life!!

6. More foreign settings!!

To be fair, this is partially my fault because I'm sure books like this are out there (I was just looking at a few by China Mieville today!) but I want more of them. I want books in France (I loved Anna and the French Kiss!!) and books in Germany and books in Kenya and books in St. Maarten and books in Poland!! I know that Americans aren't the only people in the world! Let's provide well researched books that prove it!

7. More stand-alones!!

I love series. But I get burned out on series!! It's tiring to have to dedicated a lot of time and memory space to series. I don't feel quite as burned out now that I'm doing the prequels & sequels challenge, but when I suggest things at work, I would like to be able to offer at least a couple stand-alone options!!

8. More people making good choices for bad reasons!

It's irritating when you can see a character make a choice and they're just being dumb about it. At least when they make a bad choice for a good reason (i.e. sacrificing yourself for your family) it makes sense. But there's too much of that! Give me more books where people make "good choices" for bad reasons! Give me more books where people abide by rules because their parents say so. Give me more books where people go to college because society tells them to even though they don't want to!

9. More World War I books!

I get that WWII was terrible, and it needs to be permanently seared into our brains. But World War I was not good either. And I know more about WWII than I do WWI just from default of reading novels about WWII! I don't see many Revolutionary war books either, but at least there are a few. I guess I just want history books outside of WWII and the 1920s (which are having a big insurgence right now).

10. More contemporary books about something other than romance!

There's a lot going on in life! It's not all about the perfect guy. Talk about applying to colleges and trying to graduate high school without losing your soul. Talk about road trips and late night silliness. Talk about being a part of a team. It doesn't need to be dating!!

What do you want to read more of?? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello Lovelies!!

I got a little tied up yesterday with life, so I'm a day late with my week in review. Fortunately, not a whole lot happened this week.

Let's see here...

This week I...
worked. A lot. Or maybe it just felt like a lot because I had a wonky schedule since I went home last week.
went to Oula a couple times, which was awesome and I love it.
cleaned up my house a bit.
took some books into my local used bookstore (yay! Paring down my book collection aka one of my New Year's Resolutions!)
watched several movies from Empire Magazine's 500 Greatest Films list (aka one of my other New Year's Resolutions!) I was a big fan of The Apartment.

This week I read...
THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO!!!!!!!!!! Seriously everyone needs to read it.
The New World (A Chaos Walking Novella)
Ketchup Clouds.

This week I added to my book collection...kind of a lot. Oops. (It's a PROCESS guys, okay??)

These are most of the books I got this week. From Wednesday when I took books in.
Spindle's End by Robin McKinley : It's a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and even though it's been out for several years, I've never read. I love Sunshine by McKinley, so I'm excited to delve into this one.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo: This was a preemptive buy for Middle Grade March. I've never read any DiCamillo but I feel like I should have!
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck: This series sounds awesome, and this book is nominated for a 2014 YRCA. I would love to read the whole series this year.
Unbelievable by Sara Shepard: This is #4 in the Pretty Little Liars series, and I wanted it to be on hand for when I finish #3.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman: I've heard really great things about this book, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet. Now I have it, ready to read!
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi: This is another book which I'd heard great things about but hadn't gotten around to. Dystopic future? Right up my alley.
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look: This was another preemptive buy for Middle Grade March, but I think Alvin Ho looks so cute!!
Purple Hibiscus by Chiamanda Adichie: To be fair, I mostly bought this one for my roommate, but I kept it in this list because I'll probably end up reading it.
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: This has been on my radar for literally like four years, but I hadn't gotten to it. I really want to read it because it's a sort of retelling of 1984, and it could be a fantastic partner novel for when I teach English.
Judy Moody by Megan McDonald: This was another Middle Grade March buy. Judy Moody seems really popular with youngins and I want to know what's it's about!
Beautiful Darkness by Garcia & Stohl: I read Beautiful Creatures last year, and it was good, but I wasn't in a particular hurry to get the sequel. Now that I'm doing the Sequels & Prequels Challenge, it seemed smart to pick up a copy of this one.
A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon: I love, love, love The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, so I'm excited to give this book a try.
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson: I hadn't even heard of this Maureen Johnson novel, so when I saw it, I grabbed it! I love Johnson's other works and I'm excited to read this one.
Teaching with Love & Logic: This is more of a resource book, but I'm trying to be honest about what I'm getting book-wise!
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: This is another one which I've been really excited about and just got around to grabbing! Can't wait to read it.
The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin and David Shannon: This is a gorgeously illustrated Native American version of Cinderella. I wanted it on-hand for classroom use.
Tales From Shakespeare by Tina Packer: This is a fun, illustrated compendium of different Shakespeare plays. It'll be great for use in a classroom.
Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth: This is a beautiful picture book with a wonderful story that I just had to have on hand.
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Gannett: Yet another Middle Grade March buy!

 I also caved and bought Rainbow Rowell's Attachments  from Barnes & Noble. It's the first full-price book I've bought in a while!!

To be fair, I downloaded The Knife of Never Letting Go for free, so I didn't really buy it. But I will be buying it soon. I ordered The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men from Amazon, so they haven't gotten here yet, but I am dying for them to arrive.

And finally, I borrowed A Monster Calls from my friend because I needed more Patrick Ness in my life.

Woooh. It's been a big week for books! I'm reading Specials by Scott Westerfeld, right now, and I can't wait to get to these!

What did you do last week? Anything exciting? Have you read any of the books I picked up?? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher is an interesting look at life as a teenage girl with a terrible secret. I can't quite decide how I feel about it though. I'm going to try to keep this review spoiler-free, but if I change my mind I'll make it clear.

There were several things I really liked about this book. First of all, I'm pretty sure they come from a mixed race family. Which the cover (of course) doesn't really indicate, but a passage on the second page of the book, does indicate. Or at least I read it that way.

Also, Zoe's (the main character's)  sister is deaf. She signs through out the whole book. I love that Pitcher included a character with a hearing disability and didn't neglect them. I think it would be easy to be like "oh this person has a hearing disability so they don't talk a lot." Dot is six years old. She talks all the time! She's your typical six year old--she gets into things, she has a lot of questions, she runs around the place causing ruckus--she just does it all without hearing anything and with sign language.

That leads me to the other part I loved about this book. Zoe's family is so fleshed out and realistic. Dot's the youngest and cannot hear. Soph's the middle child and hates the attention that their mom gives Dot. A lot of the time, Soph refuses to sign, even though she knows how to, because she's jealous of the constant attention Dot gets, which Dot gets in part because she's the youngest and in part because she is deaf. Zoe's mom is a little bit neurotic. She's a stay at home mom, and she tends to harp on her daughters about everything. She cleans the house a lot. And Zoe's dad is light-hearted but serious. He balances out her mom in a lot of ways.

Although it drove me crazy at times, I also really liked how the book was set-up. Zoe's writing to a prisoner in Texas who's on death row. She tends to start out her letters by writing about what's happening now. Then she revisits the year before: all the events that led up the big life-changing event that's caused her to write to him.

I really like Pitcher's writing style in general, actually. She gives details but not too many details. She floats lines in that are truly beautiful but follows them up with something I can hear myself saying in high school.

Things I didn't like about this book are fewer, but in a lot of ways, bigger deals.

I'm not particularly fond of the love triangle in this book. It's not inaccurate or useless (see my post here on those) but it's just unfortunate. Zoe knows the choices that she's making are not good choices, and she makes them anyway. That's really accurate for life, but that doesn't mean it's exactly what I want in my books.

This is not a spoiler, but I did not like the ending.

Overall, I think Ketchup Clouds is really worth reading, but it hasn't jumped to my favorites list.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I know, I know...I'm supposed to be reading "old books" before "new books," but I couldn't resist reading this tiny prequel novella really quickly.

This is the review I just posted on Goodreads for it:
This prequel novella is a great addition to the world of Chaos Walking. I've only read the first book so far, and I think reading this novella directly afterwards was a good idea. It's relevant to the first book as a whole, while not giving away anything that may happen in the future. Instead, (as prequels should do) it clarifies the events of the first book in a new way. It's a quick read, and it's worth it.

I don't have much to add to that in this format, except for my points for the Prequels & Sequels Challenge!! My first points of 2014, woohoo!!

+2 for reading the prequel novella The New World by Patrick Ness.


2 points total!




I haven't felt this fanatic about a book series since I read The Hunger Games three or four years ago. The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking series.

I had heard of it from someone I follow on another website--she mentioned it was her favorite book and since I think she has good taste, I put it on reserve at my work. If we saw a copy, I would grab it and read it. Instead, John Green and Maureen Johnson tweeted links to a free download of it on Wednesday morning. I'm not particularly fond of ebooks because the only device I can really use is my phone (I get too distracted on my computer to read ebooks). I downloaded it anyway. I read quite a bit of it, but then I ran some errands and generally tried to be productive. I kept thinking about it.

Thursday I had to work, so I didn't get to read very much of it. I was planning on going out with friends later, but I had a bit of time to kill, so I started reading more. Then I couldn't put it down. My friends called me a little later than they were planning on, and I was like sorry guys I think I'm going to stay in and finish this book. They were cool with it (by far the best part about working at a book store).

I finished it last night and I am DYING to read the next one! In fact, I just ordered both the second and third from Amazon. I checked everywhere in my town and no one had it on hand, so I ordered it from the cheapest place I know of (sorry other local bookstores who would have graciously ordered it in for me! I'm still a poor post-college student).

I didn't know much about the premise when I started, and I kind of liked it that way. But let me give you a brief run down.

Todd Hewitt is a boy on the cusp of manhood. In his culture, you turn into a man when you turn thirteen. And his birthday is a month away. He has a dog, Manchee, which he didn't want. A life working as a farmer, which he doesn't particularly enjoy. Two pseudo-adopted dads, one of which drives him bonkers and the other of which he more or less worships. And the Noise. See, in Todd's world, boys hear everything in the world. They call it the Noise. It's the thoughts of men and animals out there to hear. It's a side-effect of the war with the Spackle--the alien species who originally lived on New World. The other side-effect of the war is that there are no women left. Not many men left either--just the men in Prentisstown where Todd lives. And Todd is the last boy to become a man. Then Todd hears the silence in the swamp.

I actually refuse to put any spoilers in this review because I don't want to accidentally ruin this book for anyone. It came out in 2009 and I'm not sure how it slipped under mine (and like everyone else's) radar, but I am on a mission to change that. I'm not typically a sci-fi fan, I lean more towards fantasy, but Ness does a fantastic job of world-building in this book. It was actually a little hard for me to tell if it was sci-fi or not for probably half the book.

If you read this and desperately need someone to talk to at 1 am like I did, I'll be here. Waiting for your phone call or comment.

Favorite Quotes: "Language [...] binds us like prisoners on a chain."
"Whereas the town knows all about you already and wants to know more and wants to beat you with what it knows till how can you have any of yerself left at all?"
"Men lie, and they lie to theirselves worst of all."
[The Noise] is what's true and what's believed and what's imagined and what's fantasized and it says one thing and a completely opposite thing at the same time and even tho the truth is definitely in there, how can you tell what's true and what's not when yer getting everything?"
"It's like the song of a family where everything's always all right, it's a song of belonging that makes you belong just by hearing it, it's a song that'll always take care of you and never leave you. If you have a heart, it breaks, if you have a heart that's broken, it fixes."
"His face and his Noise are as blank as I remember but the lesson of forever and ever is that knowing a man's mind ain't knowing the man."
"I weigh more than a mountain but less than a feather."
"I think maybe everybody falls. I think maybe we all do. And I don't think that's the asking. [...] I think the asking is whether we get back up again."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hello Lovelies!

This is gonna be a three part blog post today so feel free to skip around to what interest you.

Things that are on My Mind

Since I've been loving talking about something new every week, I think I'm just gonna call this "Things that are on My Mind". Today what's been on my mind is the hook in a book. Not the opening line or whatever "special" premise the author or agent might call a hook, but the part of the book that sinks its teeth into you to get you to keep reading. 

I started The Knife of Never Letting Go yesterday morning, and I can't stop thinking about it. I could hardly stop reading to write this blog post! Suffice it to say I'm definitely hooked.

But what was it that hooked me?? How did I go from, oh someone I know likes this book, I'll give it a shot to ARGH WHY DO I HAVE TO PUT THIS DOWN TO EAT?? WHY DON'T I HAVE A THIRD HAND??

I think for this particular book it's the anticipation that I'm loving. I have no idea where Ness is going with the story. I don't know what's going to happen to Todd. But I want to find out. I'd say that for me 85% of the time a book's hook is my anticipation of finding out what's next. The other 15% of the time, I fall in love with a character immediately and just want to read about them forever and ever. 

Sometimes a book never hooks me. Usually I still finish books, but I think I'm getting more and more prepared to mark books as did not finish instead of forcing myself to read through them (and potentially wasting my own time).

So what's your hook? What is something an author can do to get you to not want to put a book down?


Above you should see a little button that says 2014 Prequel and Sequel Challenge. Remember how one of my blogging goals for 2014 included "Finish 3 series"? Well this challenge is going to get me far, far beyond 3 series. I'm excited to see how many points I can rack up. Follow this link to check out the rules and link up yourself!

And finally part three,

I can't remember which blog I follow mentioned Middle Grade March, but I'm so enthusiastic about this idea!! If you've read my About Me, you'll know that I work in the young adult/kid's section of a bookstore, and I frequently have customers ask me for recommendations. I can give fantastic recommendations for picture books and beginning readers and young adult books, but I really struggle with middle grade suggestions. This challenge will allow me to expand my expertise in this area, as well as getting me closer and closer to my 100 books goal!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hello Lovelies!!

This week's topic on TTT hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For! This was a tricky one for me because I don't typically know about debuts before they're released, but I managed to stumble across a few.

1. It's already come out, but I haven't picked it up yet. I'm so excited to read
Look at that cover! It's so fantastic. And the synopsis sounds amazing. Check out the Goodreads here.

2. Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
Seriously just the first line in the description drew me in to that one. Downton Abbey meets The Selection, whaaa????

 Look at that cover!!!!!!!! I don't judge books by their covers (not at alllllllllllllllll) or at least I try really hard not to, but when a book had an awesome cover, it just calls to me. But it also sounds really really beautiful and sad. 

.  Suffragette movements. Debutante balls. Illicit art classes!! I MEAN COME ON. THIS SOUNDS FANTASTIC.

5. Hexed by Michelle Krys
I'm super picky about witch books. Like I either love them or despise them. This definitely looks like it'll be one I'll love.

6. Half Bad by Sally Green 
If Hexed looks like I'll love it, Half Bad looks like I'll adore it.

7. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

This sounds like exactly what I want out of a contemporary novel. It's a position that I think people always ask themselves about (what would I do if I were dying?) but then to flip that and say, if I did those things and didn't die what would happen? is so much more interesting. I'm really excited to read this.

8. Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington
It's been a while since I've read a really good ghost-based story, and this debut sounds like it'll be amazing.

 Honestly, this one could go one of two ways for me. Since it's about a "gifted and talented" student and camp, I'll either like it for accurately portraying that side of life, or I'll hate it for inaccurately presenting what I'll feel to be my life-story. I'm picky that way. But I'm trying to be optimistic and say this one will be awesome.

10. The Well's End by Seth Fishman 
A deadly virus? A boarding school? A search for a school?? THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD. And another amazing cover, to be honest.

So what do you think? Did I give you any good ideas? What debuts are you looking forward to?? Let me know in the comments!